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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 15th December 2001
Issue No 261

Sam Finds a New Home

Sam the West Highland terrier who had his death sentence lifted by High Court Judges, has been given a new home.

The dog was sent to live on a farm in Argyll where he will have hundreds of acres to run around and be able to bark as much as he likes - without disturbing the neighbours. Hundreds of people had offered to give Sam a new home when he was sentenced to death by Aberdeen District Court last September after a neighbour complained about his incessant barking. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was caring for the dog at its Edinburgh shelter, announced that an elderly couple, who are visited every day by their four grandchildren, would be his new owners. The family, who do not wish to be identified, have another terrier, and the grandchildren's dog is also a daily visitor. "Mr Shaw asked us to rehome Sam with a lively family," a spokeswoman for the animal charity said, adding that the terrier gets on very well with other dogs and children. "The grandchildren go to school every day and then come to visit after school. "He should have plenty of company, between the grandchildren and having adults there during the day and having another dog to play with." The campaign to save the Westie was started locally by neighbours of his former owner, William Shaw of Aberdeen, after JP John Logan issued a destruction order. Former film star and animal welfare campaigner Brigitte Bardot also gave her support to the Save Our Sam campaign. The destruction order was overturned by two Court of Appeal judges, but they ruled the dog must be rehomed. In the run up to the appeal, Sam was looked after by the National Canine Defence League.

Historic Archway Unveiled

An 80 year old archway made from the jawbone of a blue whale - one of the best known tourist attractions in Lewis - was unveiled recently. The bone has been refurbished with eight layers of fibreglass to protect it from the elements. The blue whale - the largest on record in the northern hemisphere - was stranded off Bragar in 1922 with a harpoon in it. None of the authorities was prepared to do anything about it, so the locals cut it up themselves and then used the blubber for oil for their lamps. It was decided to use the jawbone to commemorate the occasion and it was erected at Lakefield House, which was the post office at the time. Lord Leverhulme, the soap king who owned Lewis at the time, paid it a visit and wanted to buy it for an entrance to Lews Castle in Stornoway, but the Bragar people would not part with it. It had begun to deteriorate in recent years and the West Side Association and the Whalebone Project Trust decided to raise 8,000 to have it restored to its original colour. Eight coatings of fibreglass will now ensure a long term survival. Murdo Morrison of Lakefield House, told the assembled guests that a time capsule had also been placed with the refurbished jawbone. Pupils of Bragar Primary School performed a playlet for the occasion and afterwards two young pipers led a procession from the school to the archway, where convener Alex Macdonald unveiled a plaque. He said: "Bragar without its whale jawbone would be like Edinburgh without its castle."

Acclaim for Solo Art Exhibition

A teacher recently unveiled a stunning array of paintings for his first solo exhibition at Elgin Library's Gallery. Ross-shire born Ken MacLennan, who is principal teacher of art and design at Milne's High School in Fochabers, studied drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art, and before moving to Moray worked in Dunfermline, Plockton and Edinburgh. Mr MacLennan said: "I was brought up in a crofting community and have a natural affinity with the Scottish landscape. I like to think this is reflected in my work." Most recently, he depicted local architecture in his paintings and how the buildings are absorbed into their natural settings." "I think the title of the exhibition is quite appropriate - Structures in Landscape - and as it is the first time I have exhibited on my own, I hope it is a success," he added. Forty nine paintings in pastel, acrylic, oil and charcoal are on display with subjects including Raasay, Glencoe, Over looking The Spey, Findochty Chimneys and Portknockie Crags. He continued: "I'm inspired by a number of painters including the post impressionist Paul Cezanne and the Scottish colourists. When I'm painting landscapes I hope each area relates to another and I try to get some order out of the landscape. Hopefully, this will come across when people view my paintings." Mr MacLennan has also exhibited with Scottish Society of Artists and the Royal Society of Watercolourists, and locally at The Piccolo Gallery, Nairn, and Just Art, Fochabers.

Farmers Market is a Success

Inverness Farmers' Market reached a significant milestone in it's brief history recently. The market - which provides a central outlet for local farmers to sell their produce - notched up it first birthday. And in one of the most difficult years for the farming industry, organisers said Inverness Farmers Market had been an outstanding success. They are now looking to capitalise on it. Organiser Debbie McBean said: "It's been a difficult year for farming but the market itself has been a saviour for some farmers. "It's given them an outlet to sell that they wouldn't normally have had, and we hope the success will continue. "We've had one year and we continue to get people interested. Today I'd say about 80% of them are regulars who come back again and again, which is a good sign." The market can cater for 30 stalls, with numbers peaking during the festive period and specialist events on the epicures' calendar.

Inverness to Host Mountain Conference

Delegates from mountainous regions throughout Europe will gather in Inverness next year - during what has been designated the International Year of the Mountain - for a conference which could prove crucial in gaining extra European money for the region. About 350 delegates of the Euromontana, the European regional association of mountain area, will meet in May at Eden Court for the organisation's third biannual conference. Highland Council hopes the conference will provides a chance to press the case for the Highlands and Islands to continue getting special treatment after the special transitional funding ends in 2006. The council's European Affairs spokeswoman, Councillor Kathleen Matheson (Drumossie), said: "The year 2002 has been declared the International Year of the Mountain by the United Nations. "This is an excellent opportunity for us to tell policy makers and the public of the difficulties facing mountainous areas as well as the huge contribution they make to economic, social and environmental policy objectives."It's expected that Michael Barnier, the European Commissioner for regional policy, will address the conference.

A First Heritage Fair

The first heritage fair held in the Highlands has been voted a huge success. Hundreds turned out at Wick Assembly Rooms recently for a look at past and present life in Caithness. More than 40 individuals and groups put on a rich variety of displays, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances. The idea sprang from a chance conversation between Highland Council's education chairman, Andy Anderson, and retired Canadian head teacher Della Webster. Ms Webster, from New Brunswick, invited Mr Anderson over to a heritage fair in Ottawa last year. Opening the fair, Mr Anderson said he was delighted that the first one in the Highlands had come to his home town. "It all stemmed from a phone call I got from Della asking what we are doing in our schools about heritage," he said. "After I went out to Canada to see what they do over there, I was absolutely hooked and Caithness, with its rich and diverse heritage, was the right place to get the ball rolling." Ms Webster said she was delighted to come to the fair, which she felt was set to take root in the Highlands as it had done in her country. A contingent from Skye and Lochalsh attended the two day event to help prepare for a fair scheduled in their area next year.

Pet Fosterers Rewarded

A group of volunteer pet fosterers in Dingwall were thanked recently for their work. The volunteers of Pet Fostering Service Scotland - run in partnership with Age Concern - help out elderly people by looking after their pets when they are unable to do so themselves. As part of the recent Age Concern Older People's week, and to tie in with the International Year of Volunteers, they were presented with certificates by the scheme's organisers. Neveille Macdonald, Highland organiser for Pet Fostering Scotland, praised the volunteers. He said: "I am an invalid myself and, as well as being a fosterer, I have also had to have my own pets fostered. "Since it started, the service has enabled numerous older people in our area to be admitted to hospital or have a period of respite care knowing that their pet is being looked after safely in a fosterer's home." She added: "Fosterers are often sad to give pets back to their owners. "This is good, this is exactly the attitude we are looking for in fosterers. "Likewise, there is also a noticeable change of behaviour in the pets; I have just taken in a huge cat - she is very moody at the moment because she misses her owner."

Charity Event

A collection at Tesco's supermarket in Inverness Retail Park provided more than a little help to Raigmore Hospital's kidney unit. The collection raised the bulk of the 1500 which Kidney Support Scotland presented to the Inverness hospital, with the remaining money coming from other local activities including a pub crawl.

Political Roundup

MSP Becomes a Guide Ambassador

Local MSP Fergus Ewing has become one of the newest ambassadors for one of Britain's biggest youth organisations - and as a bonus got to sample some outdoor cooking. The Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MSP recently visited the Nairn and Auldearn Brownie Revels in Auldearn, where he was presented with his Guide Ambassadors Badge, given to anyone who promises to promote Guiding and its benefits to girls and young women. Mr Ewing was presented with a memento by members of the 1st Nairn, Auldearn, Tradespark and Rosebank Guides and responded by thanking the girls and promising to promote the Guide movement and all its volunteers. He then went on to the 1st Nairn Guide cook-out where he sampled some of the girls' cooking and told them he was glad he did not have the responsibility for judging their cooking.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Dry in the W but cloudy with sunny spells. E cloudy with patchy drizzle. Wind light SE'ly. Temperature 2c to 8c.
Saturday Night
Mainly cloudy, local frost. Patchy drizzle. Winds light E-NE'ly. Temperature -3 to 3c.
A frosty start. Dry with sunny spells but cloudier in the W. Light variable winds.
Mainly dry with some pleasant winter sunshine at times. Winds light SE'ly.

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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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