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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 2nd December 2000
Issue No 208

It's Official: Scots are the UK's Happiest Citizens

A new survey has revealed that relaxed community life north of the border is making Scots among the happiest people in Britain.

Two thirds of those surveyed said they felt happy about their health and claimed there is less stress about time pressures and crime than anywhere else. Almost one in two Scots suffered from stress, caused by the poor summer weather, but are still in a better frame of mind than the rest of Britain. In the north of England, the number of people suffering from stress rises to almost two thirds, while in London there is a virtual epidemic of depressed residents. The results are according to the Lloyds TSB's quarterly Lifeindex, which measures the mood of 6,000 people nationwide about their finances, health, optimism and other factors. A similar survey has revealed a spirit of optimism in Scotland. Beverley Tricker, a spokeswoman for Aberdeen and Grampian Tourist Board, said: "There is Scottish Tourism Board research which says people are taking health and well being breaks in their own country. "Last year, a newspaper article made a lot of the fact that Aberdeen was supposed to be the saddest place in Britain. "We were adamant that this was wrong so we are glad to see there is new research showing otherwise." Emma Hogg, a mental health specialist with Health Promotions, said the more healthy people become the better they tend to feel about themselves. She said: "Mental health is as equally important as physical health. There are lots of things people can do whether they are healthy or not to make themselves feel good."

Remote Location

The remotest pub in mainland Britain is having to extend its opening hours to keep up with the demand by adventurous and intrepid visitors. The Old Forge public house at Inverie on the Knoydart Peninsula in the West Highlands is in the Guinness Book of Records as being so isolated it is accessible only by sea - or by trekking over mountains. But the popularity of the Knoydart wilderness area means tourists are sailing up Loch Nevis in their droves. Husband and wife team Ian and Jackie Robertson run the pub with flair and good humour. "We can't cater for coach parties as there's no road access," Ian declares solemnly. "Nor do we have juke boxes or video games. Our normal dress is waterproofs and wellies - and midge cream in season." The Old Forge is a haven for live folk music. It has its own fiddles, whistles, guitars, drums, washboards and spoons and patrons are encouraged to use them. Recently a band from Glasgow sailed in to provide the entertainment. While the music was in full swing, 30 members of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team arrived, having worked up a thirst on exercise in the area.

Mallaig's Mackintosh Centre

Theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, well used to seeing his name in lights in London's West End, will have it highlighted in the West Highlands - in Gaelic. A residential unit and resource centre for old people was open recently in Mallaig overlooking the former croft where Sir Cameron spent his school holidays as a boy. It was named Tonad Mhio an Toisich - the Mackintosh Centre - in recognition of the contributions he has made to ensure it was built. The literal Gaelic translation of Mackintosh is, appropriately, Front Man and Leader. With Sir Cameron having provided 170,000 towards the cost of the Mallaig Resource Centre he has certainly played a major role. The millionaire producer of stage musical hits like Oliver, Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon is a generous benefactor to the Mallaig and Morar areas. As Laird of Nevis Estate he gave 100,000 towards Mallaig's swimming pool, gifted a mini bus to local voluntary organisations and has helped several other projects. A spokesman for Highland Council's social work department, operators of the resource centre, said: "There was widespread support for the facility to be called after Sir Cameron in recognition of his continuing interest and assistance towards the centre and the community at large."

Dolphin Rescue

A confused dolphin which came ashore near Stornoway was rescued and returned to the sea recently. When local SSPCA (Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) inspector Calum Watt was alerted by astonished beachcombers about the stranded bottlenose on the saltings in the Steinish estuary, he decided to form a mercy mission. He enlisted the help of a team of coastguard auxiliaries and other volunteers to get the mammal back into its own environment as soon as possible. The volunteers managed to put the 8ft dolphin on a stretcher on the saltings and they carried it 600 yards across the sand dunes into the sea, and waded out to a spot where it was then set free. Too often in the past, rescue bids have been too late as dolphins have perished after being out of the water for too long. A delighted Calum said afterwards: "It looks like this was just an accidental stranding but because we got it quickly it will probably be all right. It swam off quite happily, anyway."

Badgers Settling In

Two families of badgers appear to have made permanent homes in man made badger setts, near Inverness. The artificial setts were built by Scottish Natural Heritage after the badgers were evicted from their original homes to make way for buildings in the Inverness Business Park on the A96 on the outskirts of the Highland Capital. It was feared that the creatures would not take to the setts and they would be in danger of freezing to death on cold nights. But SNH officers are delighted to report that regular checks have proven that the carnivores are indeed still using them. The artificial homes have corrugated iron tunnels which lead to large wooden boxes for breeding. Anne Youngman, the Dingwall based area officer for SNH, said: "We were very worried that the badgers would not use these setts. "But I have been checking them regularly and they are definitely showing signs of being used. "The original setts had to be destroyed to make way for the development." Despite being shy and unassuming creatures which are very rarely seen, badgers often live very close to man. They are members of the mustelidae family and their closest relatives are otters, stoats, weasels, polecats and pine martins. It is an offence to keep, injure or kill a badger or interfere with its setts. SNH and the Aviemore based Highland Badger Group are urging motorists travelling between Inverness and Nairn to "think badger" along the route because they often stray onto the road when they are foraging at night.

Newly Restored

The painstaking transformation of a 128 year old former iron works warehouse into the impressive centrepiece of a new Inverness shopping centre development was unveiled recently in the presence of a descendant of the Victorian businessman who had the building constructed. The warehouse was built in 1872 as part of the Falcon Iron Works and Foundry which was opened in 1858 by town councillor John Falconer and his brother Charlie and employed 30 workers before it was sold in 1887. The former warehouse in Falcon Square fell into disrepair and was left lying unused until it was dismantled and rebuilt 60 yards away in an ambitious operation described as resembling a "giant three dimensional jigsaw" to form part of the new Eastgate Centre II extension. John Falconer's great granddaughter, Margaret Miller, of Munlochy, was present when the reconstructed building was revealed in all its glory for the first time. Mrs Miller, who brought with her a family heirloom of decorative tongs made at the original foundry said she was very proud of the building which will act as a legacy to her great grandfather. "I am immensely proud that it has been restored, it really is quite something. I think that it is really good that the town has got it right for once in terms of buildings, as it hasn't always in the past," she said.

Christian Group on the Web

Dingwall and District Christian Fellowship has launched a website - the first, its members believe, set up by any local church. The site was compiled by John Thomson of Inverness and sets out in detail what the fellowship stands for and what members believe. It also affords visitors the opportunity to make prayer requests over the Internet and leave messages in a specially designed guest book. Additionally there are separate sections on the Sunday School and music ministries, plus a whole section devoted to the church's resources of books, tapes and videos, which can be borrowed over the Internet. Pastor Ian Lowe said: "This is just the beginning. We will continue to develop this site and hope to see it grow. "We believe the church needs to be where people are and these days people are spending a lot of time on the Internet."

Charity Event

Bank workmates managed a seven mile sponsored walk around Dingwall recently. They were amongst a group of 25 Bank of Scotland staff from the town's personal banking call centre who raised over 1000 for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Their bosses then matched the sum to bring the total raised to 2037. The team of walkers took around two hours to complete the route.

Political Roundup

Fair Deal on Fuel

Caithness and Sutherland MP Robert Maclennan is calling for a fair deal for the Highlands and Islands over fuel taxes. Mr Maclennan said the blanket increase in fuel duty had served to increase the differential in prices between urban areas and the Highlands. He said: "The people of the region have suffered under a national policy designed to discourage car use and prompt people to use public transport. "Because the population of the area is small and scattered, a viable public transport alternative cannot exist."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Patchy rain, then bright in the E. Rain/showers in the W. Winds strong S, local gales in the W. Temperature 7c to 11c.
Saturday Night
Scattered showers. Cloudier in the W for a time. Winds strong SW. Temperature 3c to 8c.
Sunshine and scattered showers am, cloudier from the SW pm, with rain in the S areas by evening. Fresh winds.
Mainly cloudy and unsettled with rain and showers, heavy at times. Fresh to strong winds.


This is Caledonia ( Caley for short ) A Ness-Scape family member and mascot. She is a White German Shepherd. Caley has decided to take over the editing of Nessie's Loch Ness Times, and she's sure she'll make a good job of it. What do you think?

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