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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 11th March 2000
Issue No170

Tossing the Caber in the Olympics

Highland athletes are to boost our chances of gold medal glory by launching a bid to have caber tossing recognised as an Olympic sport.

The brawny boys of the Scottish Highland Games Association are fed up with seeing the likes of ballroom dancing, chess and billiards being taken seriously. So they have decided that one of Scotland's great sporting pursuits should be given the same treatment. They are to write to the International Olympic Committee and ask them to accept caber tossing as valid as any other sport. A cross party group of Scottish MPs said they would be willing to back any application to the IOC made on behalf of the caber crowd everywhere. Although it is most closely associated with Scotland, the sport is practised not only in areas with a large ex-pat community, like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but also in more unlikely countries such as Russia, Germany, Thailand and Indonesia. So caber tossing can claim to be truly international - as well as being more of a sport than synchronised swimming will ever be. It is also likely to provide a massive boost to the prospects of a Scot standing on the Olympic winners' podium. Although she would not be involved in making the final decision, Princess Anne is a member of the IOC. And with her love of Scotland, she could be expected to put in a good word for the caber tossers who she has often seen in action at Highland Games. Alan Sim, president of the Scottish Highland Games Association, said it was high time his sport was given the recognition it deserved. He said: I will be writing to the IOC to put the proposal forward. It is something we have been thinking about for a while now."

Loch Linnhe's Fish Tank

It's the biggest fish tank the world has ever seen. Several fathoms below the surface of Loch Linnhe, at Fort William, at least 40 species of marine life are nestling within the reassuring comfort and safety of World War 2 tanks and armoured cars. Lobsters are manning the gun turrets of 45 ton Centurions and crabs are trooping into 30 ton Saladdins, thanks to a deal struck between the Scottish Office, Ministry of Defence and diving experts at Fort William's innovative Underwater Centre. As well as the marine life, hundreds of deep sea divers from all over the world are flocking to the site. Centre boss Don MacGregor said: "The new facility is providing deep sea diving in a loch and that is what it's all about, for divers to see things they would only see if they dived into a deep sea wreck. "One advantage we have is that the visibility is generally likely to be better in Loch Linnhe." More than 1500 divers attend courses in deep sea diving at the Underwater Centre. The centre obtained a special licence to have the armoured vehicles put on the bed of the loch.

Fur and Feathers

Fur and feather exhibits from throughout the Highlands were showcased recently at the 95th annual show staged in Wick by Caithness Ornithological Society. An increase in the poultry entry to over 160 - one of the biggest ever turnouts - helped boost the overall number of exhibits past the 700 mark. Veteran Halkirk breeder Ivor Craigie kept at the top of the pecking order in the poultry with his game bantam beating allcomers. Thurso's Dennis Gunn ruled the roost among the homing pigeon fanciers, while Wick's William Ironside took the top prize in the fancy pigeon section. Wendy McAllan and Liam Sutherland from Wick won the cat show with their white moggy called Scrumpy while a black labrador won the dog show for C McPhee of Wick.

Baffling Words

The sometimes baffling words of Robert Burns are made clear on a website launched recently. Fans of the Ayrshire bard will be able to discover what he meant when he wrote "baudran" (the cat) or "Devil's pictur'd beuks" (playing cards). A glossary of 2,000 Scots words have also been translated into English, French, German and Spanish on the site. And it includes and archive of 560 of Burns' songs and poems which can be searched for favourite phrases or quotations. Nick Fiddes director of Scotweb Ltd who created the site said: "The development of our Burns website to include a multi-lingual glossary is our present to Burns fans worldwide for the new millennium. "Translating key Scots words into different languages enhances the understanding and therefore enjoyment of Burn's poems and songs. "Using the Internet ensures Robert Burns accompanies us well into the 21st century."

Dog Now on a Diet

A storeman went beyond the call of duty recently - when he helped free an eight stone rottweiler stuck between two car seats. Ewan Bannatyne was asked to help rescue 11year old Emma who had got her 32in waist wedged in a 5in gap. The dram began after the dog's owner, Anne Coyle, popped into the Curry's store in Telford Street, Inverness. Emma, as she usually does, tried to jump into the front of the car but got stuck between the two front seats. Usually all it takes is a wee push to free the dog - but this time the big softie really got herself in a jam. When Mrs Coyle returned to the car, her best efforts failed to free Emma, who had piled on the pounds over the years. Then she spotted Mr Bannatyne, who was helping another shopper put a TV into a car, and asked for his help. Mrs Coyle said: "The shop assistant was in the rear of the car and I got into the front and we moved the seats back and forward to free Emma. The young man did not even bat an eyelid." She added: "I think Emma must have been stuck between the seats for about 20 minutes and was slightly miffed by the whole ordeal. But she was none the worse for it." Mrs Coyle said there was only one way to stop her getting stuck again. "There will be no more leftovers for her - she is going on a diet."

Highland Music Festival

Organisers of the popular Highland Traditional Music Festival are already well advanced in their efforts for the 19th event which takes place at Dingwall from June 23 - 25. They have already signed a number of big names for a bill topped by Celtic supergroup Capercaillie, who appear at the centrepiece event, the Heritage of the Festival Concert, at Dingwall Town Hall on June 24th. And they have included a blend of old and new to celebrate the increasing resurgence of traditional music. Capercaillie first played the Dingwall festival in 1986 and another returning artiste is Breton traditional superstar Gilles Servat, who first appeared at Dingwall in 1992. This year he and Karen Matheson will perform a mixture of Breton and Gaelic songs, a first for a Scottish traditional music festival.

New Hall Opens

There was standing room only at Farr village hall near Inverness recently when the new building was officially opened by Highland councillor Kathleen Matheson. A crowd of more than 250 gathered to hear committee chairman Dr Arthur Bennet praise the seven years of hard work behind the venture. He paid tribute to local businesses and the National Lottery Charities Board for the funding of it. He later called on Inverarnie farmer Maxie Smith - who donated a site for the hall - to cut the ribbon to open the evening's celebration ceilidh. Mr Smith said the next stage would be the development of football and shinty pitches and he called on residents to help a new fundraising venture to get the sports ground running.

Charity Event

An Inverness millennium bash turned out to be a double celebration after partygoers made a 275 donation to Macmillan Cancer Relief with cash left over from the event. Raigmore resident Sandra Ian who helped organise the community party, presented the cheque to Muriel Gordon from the charity recently.

Political Roundup

Fair Share of the Jobs

MSP for the Highlands and Islands Winnie Ewing MSP, has written to the Deputy Minister asking what steps he is taking to ensure more civil service jobs are dispersed to the Highlands and Islands. Her actions come after the Executive was accused of backtracking on a pledge to transfer Civil Service jobs to the Highlands and Islands.

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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