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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 5th February 2000
Issue No165

Cruise Ship May Host Mod Visitors

Competitors and visitors to the 2001 Royal National Mod in the Western Isles may be accommodated in a cruise ship in Stornoway.

Plans are well in hand to take the cruise ship Midnatsol, which can accommodate 550 passengers, to Stornoway to alleviate the accommodation problem. Mainland choirs had threatened to boycott the Western Isles Mod in 2001 because of the lack of accommodation. The convener of the Western Isles Mod 2001 publicity and promotion committee, Murdo Morrison, returned recently from London, having had discussions with cruise operators at the World Travel Market. He said: "The main barrier is the cost of hiring a cruise ship and we would have to ensure that it was utilised fully, perhaps stopping at various destinations before heading for Stornoway." The ship, which has 325 berths, 40 car spaces and travels at a speed of 18 knots, looks a promising proposition. Mr Morrison accepted that the cruise ship idea had been discussed for the last Western Isles Mod, although the plan had been dropped at the time. "We are much more optimistic this time because we have a cruise ship in mind that can tie up at Stornoway Harbour. When I met the cruise operators in London, we took things a step forward and I will be giving more detailed proposals to the 2001 Mod Committee at their next meeting," said Mr Morrison. He added: "The tourist board is confident that there will be accommodation for everyone."

Effort to Revive Bruce Link

Robert the Bruce's touching tribute to his dead wife survived for more than six centuries. The payment to churchmen for prayers for Elizabeth de Burgh's soul lasted through religious turmoil and political upheaval. But it has now been revealed that the payment, ordered by Bruce in 1327, fell victim to council bureaucracy in the 1970s. It was administered by the now defunct Cullen Town Council in Banffshire over the centuries, but was overlooked when local government was reorganised in 1976. Now, the new minister at Cullen Kirk is calling for the annual payment, worth just a few pounds a year in today's money, to be reinstated. The Reverend Melvyn Wood said: "The link with Robert the Bruce is part of our local heritage and people here are proud of it. It would be tragic if this historic link with the past was just let go. "The great irony is the payment survived the Reformation, which discouraged praying for the souls of the dead, but didn't survive local government reorganisation." Robert the Bruce had strong connections with the old Royal Burgh of Cullen, where his mother had a house yards from the 12th century church. When Queen Elizabeth died on a visit there in 1327 her heart and other internal organs were removed according to the custom of the day and buried inside Cullen church.

Gaelic Tribute

A copy of "The Ploughman" by Shawbost-educated Scott Martin - which won the Poem for Scotland Award to mark the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament - has been translated so that a Gaelic version could be presented as a millennium gift to the Parliament. Convener of the Western Isles council Roddy Murray received a copy of the poem from Mr Martin who recently made his first trip to the island in 31 years. Last September his poem was presented to the Presiding Officer of the Parliament, Sir David Steel, and now has pride of place in the Visitor's Centre of the Parliament Building in Edinburgh. Mr Martin, who now lives in Dundee, presented a copy of the poem to his old school at Shawbost, his grandfather's home village.

Golf Clubs Get Green Message

Golf clubs throughout the Highlands and Islands were urged recently to "go green" at a seminar aimed at underlining the advantages of using more environmentally friendly and cost effective course management techniques. Organisers, the Highland Golf Development Group and the Scottish Golf Course Wildlife Initiative, say the benefits can be significant including a more attractive playing environment and cheaper running costs through reduced chemical costs. There are over 40 golf clubs in the Highland and Islands ans, so far, only three - Strathpeffer, Boat of Garten and Fortrose and Rosemarkie - have signed up for the initiative. It is hoped the seminar convinced more clubs to follow their example.

Far North Links for the Navy

The crew of the frigate HMS Sutherland further strengthened their bonds with people from the county recently. Councillor Alison Magee, vice-convener of Highland Council welcomed Commander Rupert Wallace and 50 of his officers and men to Dunrobin Castle. Lord Strathnaver, a direct descendant as son and heir of the present Countess of Sutherland, was host at a lunch attended by Sutherland community leaders and officials. Mrs Magee stressed how her old district council seized the opportunity to foster a friendship, "with many being surprised that such a remote location as Sutherland could be affiliated with such a large ship." She went on to praise the efforts of the sailors of HMS Sutherland in assisting local good causes, and especially building a sheltered garden for the elderly patients at Migdale Hospital, Bonar Bridge.

Expensive Snuff

A rare silver 200 year old snuff box bearing the initials of an Inverness maker sold recently for just under 5000 at auction. The boat shaped snuff mull, which dates from around 1800, was made by Inverness silversmith Charles Jamieson, whose work is rarely seen in salerooms. "This is an extremely unusual piece," said: Ronald Cowie, head of silver and jewellery at Phillips Auction Rooms. "Not only because of its Inverness maker's mark, but also because of its shape. Scottish provincial silver is very much in demand at present and the more unusual the piece, the higher the price achieved. It is beautifully smooth and has clearly been well used."

Roman Battle

Inverness was named recently as the likely site of a famous Roman victory. The location of the Battle of Mons Graupius in 83AD has baffled historian for generations but Colonel John E. Fletcher, writing in a Scottish national newspaper claims to have solved the mystery. Marshalling all the available information about the Roman commander Agricola's campaign against the loose confederation of Scottish tribes known as the Caledonians, including aerial photographs of many of the camps made during the march, he carried out a detailed reconstruction of the advance northwards from Stracathro, near Brechin. Of the photographs, he said: "The discovery of these marching camps eliminated several other alternative battle locations and the direction of them points like an arrow towards the probable battlesite." That place according to Colonel Fletcher is Craig Phadrig, on the outskirts of Inverness, which is topped by an Iron Age Celtic hill fort.

Charity Event

The Inverness office of a national autism charity has been given equipment by a computer company. The Scottish Society for Autism' Highlands and Islands service, based in Young Street Inverness, has been given a computer by ICL to enhance services offered to children and adults in the region. It will used for study and games.

Political Roundup

Fur Farms to Stay Out of Scotland

Fur farms will be banned from moving to Scotland after the industry is outlawed in England and Wales, it was announced recently. Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie confirmed that the Executive will push through a bill to stop businesses moving north after Westminster makes the practice illegal south of the border.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Some rain in the West a.m. Bright in the East. Locally heavy rain later. Wind light to moderate South Easterly. Temperature 12c to 16c.
Saturday Night
Locally heavy rain. Misty. Winds moderate to strong Easterly. Temperature 8c to 12c.
Bands of showers across the region. Bright with sunny spells. Moderate North Westerly winds. Fairly mild.
Mainly dry. Fairly cloudy with limited sunshine. Light Southerly breeze. Mild temperatures.

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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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