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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 30th December 2000
Issue No 212

....And the Dog Spoke Gaelic

The new owner of a collie dog was puzzled when three year old Sweep failed to respond to her commands.

The young dog just stood there staring blankly each time Linda Hanshaw went through the canine repertoire of "sit, lie down, stay, and come here". Linda, who got the Border collie from the Hebridean island of Barra, said: "At first I thought he must be deaf." But, after a frustrating time, Linda was stunned to discover the reason Sweep was failing to obey her. He did not understand English, only Gaelic. That was the language he was brought up to before being rehomed to Linda in the Inverness-shire village of Carrbridge. She said: "You could have knocked me down with a feather. That explained why when I took him out for walks and we stopped at the roadside he would ignore me when I told him to cross. "He did not understand what sit meant either. He appeared to be completely oblivious to everything I told him. "In the end I could not believe it, a Gaelic dog." So Linda was then faced with the problem of learning, and pronouncing correctly, the various Gaelic words of command. She said: "When I had learned Gaelic sufficiently, I then had the difficulty of teaching Sweep English. "Each time I said the Gaelic word I would slip in the English word with it. Gradually, I have dropped the Gaelic word so Sweep now responds to English instead of Gaelic. I anticipated a problem or two in retraining somebody else's dog, but never having to cope with a language barrier." Betty Burgon of Grantown Dog Rescue said: "We got Sweep for Linda from an old lady on Barra who could no longer look after him. "Linda fell in love with Sweep as soon as she saw him. But when she later told us of her problem with him, we were puzzled as collies are intelligent dogs."Betty continued: "We went to see if we could help and, out of the blue, my husband uttered the Gaelic word for 'lie down' and Sweep dropped to the ground. We had cracked it. "We spent five years in Stornoway and have the odd word of Gaelic. So I phoned a friend in Stornoway who is a fluent Gaelic speaker and got her to give me a list of several dog commands in Gaelic to pass on to Linda, and it has done the trick."

Fifth Whisky Award

The Macallan single Highland malt whisky has landed its fifth Queen's Award for Enterprise and its third in succession. The award, presented at the Craigellachie distillery by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Air Vice Marshal George Chesworth, was accepted by 78 year old Cathy McPherson. A former worker at the Speyside distillery, Mrs McPherson was one of the team who, in 1953, helped to deliver the brand's first bottling to overseas customers. During the 3 years since The Macallan started its winning hat trick, 6 million bottles of the whisky have been shipped to overseas markets. Meanwhile, Glenmorangie Distillery, in Tain, has marked the 10th anniversary of its new still house where the first spirit filling into casks from the new stills took place. David Macdonald, grandson of the founder of Glenmorangie, was at the forefront of the decision to increase the capacity at the distillery. To commemorate the anniversary and mark the special occasion, a presentation took place to celebrate the renaming of the still house in Mr Macdonald's honour.

Starving Otter on the mend

An ageing otter with teething trouble has been saved from starving to death because he could no longer catch his prey. Dax had become too slow to catch fish and even if he did, his few remaining teeth were too weak to eat them. Dax's weight plummeted to less than half of what it should have been before he was found by members of the International Otter Fund sanctuary on Skye. Now in retirement, he is living the life of Riley in the Broadford based sanctuary being fed dead fish and he has time to munch them slowly until he can digest them. He has also found a new friend by adopting a young cub who is also being cared for at the sanctuary before it is released into the wild. Grace Yoxon, of the International Otter Survival Fund, said: "Male otters in the wild are usually solitary except during breeding and so it was a great surprise when he adopted a young cub, Soil from Islay. "Dax was really thin when we found him at Dunan near Broadford. He has to eat the fish we give him very slowly." The otter sanctuary has an indoor hospital and several pens for the otters to splash about in.The two otters now curl up together and Dax is providing perfect otter company for the youngster which will help him with social skills.

Ancient Bones Found

Human bones have been found on the site where St Columba reputedly converted King Brude of the Picts to Christianity. The remains were found when workers removed a path which led up to the front door of the Old High Church, in Inverness. The entrance was being replaced by a ramp for wheel chair bound churchgoers when the find was made. The broken bones were surrounded by cockle shells and appear to date back to the 14th century. The Highland Council's property and architects department immediately passed the find onto the local authority's archaeology department. They in turn passed the remains to Northern Constabulary and it has since established that the bones are several centuries old. Elayne Grimes, a spokeswoman for Northern Constabulary, said: "Examinations on the bones have been carried out by the Highland Council's Dorothy Law. "The bones were found to be surrounded by shells which was apparently a ritual in the 14th century." The Old High Church was built in the 1770s.

Dolphin Plea

The organiser of a dolphin watch group on the Moray Firth is calling on members of the public to form their own sub groups to increase our knowledge of the mammals off our coastline. Peter MacDonald, who gave a talk recently on the subject, said their group mainly meets in Cullen and Findochty. "We have over 70 members from Nairn and Fraserburgh and what we would like to see is small sub groups being set up right along the coast. It will increase our knowledge of the movements of the dolphin population and of course it will be an opportunity for people to come together and watch the activities without having to travel from their home bases." Mr MacDonald said this years sightings had been really good. "We have had over 2,000 recorded sightings of six different species ranging from bottle-nosed dolphins to northern bottle-nosed whales which were seen in Findhorn Bay."

More Backing Needed

A National Lottery grant is being used to help lever a six figure sum from the same source to go ahead with plans for a major heritage scheme in Wick. The grant is part of 50,000 due to be spent in preparing the way for the project which centres on the restoration of what was one of Britain's first industrial estates. A number of public agencies are spearheading the plans to create a Thomas Telford Heritage Area in the Lower Pulteneytown part of the town. It is also planned to capitalise on the pulling power of the Telford name to provide lucrative spin-offs to the local tourist trade. It will conform to the grid iron layout conceived by Telford to service the herring trade which turned Wick into one of Europes busiest fishing ports in the early 19th century. Area manager Brian Whitelaw said the National Lottery grant due to be matched by 25,000 from the council, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and Scottish Homes.

Scottish Left Out

A new TV series on the history of Scotland is to be filmed after a flood of complaints about the BBC's History of Britain being only about England. The new 10 part series will chart Scotland's past from Neolithic times through to the opening of the Scottish Parliament. Fiona Watts, a senior lecturer at Stirling University and presenter of the History File on BBC Radio Scotland, will front the new series. In Search of Scotland, due to be screened next year, is the first time in almost 30 years that the BBC has attempted a detailed history of the nation. The announcement came after the corporation received heavy criticism for Simon Schama's History of Britain. Many feel the series, which has delighted critics south of the border, presents the UK's past solely from an English perspective. A spokesman for BBC Scotland denied it was simply a reaction to comments made about the Schama series. She said: "A series on this scale takes time to pull together and as such it is not, and has not been produced in reaction to the recent History of Britain." Ms Watts, who is also the author of Under the Hammer: Edward l and Scotland, said she could understand how Scottish viewers could be upset by Schama's series. She said she hoped the programme would give different views on Scotland's past. "There is going to be lots of healthy debate, so I'm not doing a Schama," she said. Tom Devine, author of the best selling The Scottish Nation said people needed to see Scotland's role in world affairs. "The danger is that Schama's series is from an English perspective, with occasional reference to other nations, he said. "People need to see the role a relatively small country like Scotland played on a world stage."

Charity Event

Members of Stornoway Boys Brigade have raised almost 10,000 to help the Church of Scotland's overseas work. Youngsters from the company collected an impressive total of 9,500 and were awarded trophies for the amounts. A cheque for the kirk's World Mission Fund was handed over to the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Reverend Andrew McLellan, at a ceremony in Viewfield Church, Stirling.

Political Roundup

Executive Urged to Head for the Highlands

Highland Council convener David Green has invited First Minister Henry McLeish and his ministerial team to the Highlands to demonstrate their commitment to making a difference to rural communities. Councillor Green has suggested the Town House, Inverness - setting of the historic meeting of Lloyd George's cabinet in 1921 - as a possible venue for the meeting. He said: "A cabinet visit would break new ground and afford an opportunity to relate to the challenges facing the Highlands."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy. Sleet/snow, some heavy. Some brightness. Winds moderate W-NW. Temperature 1c to 6c.
Saturday Night
Snow showers, heaviest in W. Frost. Winds light NW. Temperature -4c to -9c
Bright start with a hard frost. Cloud building gradually from the S. A few showers on the W coast pm.
Rain and snow mainly on high ground as it becomes less cold. Mainly cloudy. Some sun in the S. Breezy.


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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