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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 22nd April 2000
Issue No 176

Jean's Gift to the Scottish Nation.

A wealthy helicopter pilot from Yorkshire has saved a rugged corner of Scotland for the nation.

Jean Fawcitt left a fortune in her will to the National Trust for Scotland. The cash will now help them buy the remote Barrahead Islands, 80 miles west of the mainland. No one lives on the islands, but the Trust hope to breathe new life into them by repairing ruins, providing visitor information and safeguarding the rich wildlife. Trust director Trevor Croft said: "The Barrahead Isles are exceptional in terms of their value to the people of Scotland. "The Trust's experience of caring for the similar property of St Kilda, particularly in managing threats to the environment, will be invaluable." The islands - Mingulay, Berneray, Pabbay and Rosinish - are the most southerly islands of the Outer Hebridean chain. The trust are buying them from the Barrahead Isles Sheep Stock Club - owners since 1955 - in a deal worth around 450,000. Around 275,000 will come fromthe legacy of Miss Fawcitt, who died in 1997. Although she lived in Harrogate, she had a lifelong love of Scotland and wanted to buy an estate as a sanctuary for wildlife. Scottish Natural Heritage will contribute 75,000, another 50,000 will come as a donation from an annonymous NTS member, and 50,000 will come from the Chris Brasher Trust conservation body. Mr Brasher described the islands, with their unsullied beaches, towering cliffs, flower rich grassland and viking remains, as 'magical'. He said: "Mingulay and Pabbay have enchanted me. On my last visit, I was worried we might see holiday hotels littering this paradise. I am delighted we have been able to help with their purchase." Roger Crofts, director of Scottish Natural Heritage said: "Mingulay is perhaps the best known island, thanks to the famous boat song, but together they represent a fantastic array of cultural and natural heritage." Mingulay and Berneray were made a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1993. News of the sale comes at a time when land ownership issues dominate the headlines in Scotland. In March the Macleod clan chief put the Black Cuillin mountains on Skye on the market for 10 million. And this month Ben Nevis went up for sale to the John Muir Trust for 500,000.


Beaver Comeback

Beavers are to be reintroduced to the Scottish countryside - almost 500 years after they were hunted to extinction. Scottish Natural Heritage recently approved the seven year pilot project which will be launched early next year in the Highlands and will initially feature around 12 animals. The dam building creatures were hunted by man for their pelts for clothing, glands for use in medicine, and tails for food. They became extinct in Scotland in the 16th century. Experts believe the imported dozen animals could expand to a community of around 30 to 40 by the end of the pilot project. They will be let loose, probably in three families of four, in carefully chosen locations in the Highlands. The exact spots will be closely guarded to protect them from human predators.

Beauly's Poignant Link

A young German soldier killed in World War l by shrapnel from a British grenade, and a German priest who was sent to Dachau concentration camp 20 years later by the Nazis, have sparked a link between Beauly and a village in the Rhineland. The soldier, Joseph Engling, and his former spiritual tutor, Father Joseph Kentenich, are in the process of beatification by the Vatican in Rome, the initial step towards sainthood. Father Kentenich, who survived Dachau and died in 1968, 50 years after his former student, founded the Schoenstatt Movement, an organisation dedicated to "forming the new man in the new society" just before World War ll. It takes its name from the tiny Rhineland village of Schoenstatt where it started, and has since increased to 25 communities internationally. Schoenstatt and Beauly were both originally manastic communities and both names mean the same - "beautiful place". The Norman settlement of Beauly takes its name from the French "beau lieu". The Schoenstatt Movement is inviting people from the Beauly area to take part in a pilgrimage-cum-holiday to its namesake village in Germany.

Floral Feel Good Factor

Organisers of a community project set up last year to brighten up Nairn are looking to build on their success this year. Green and Beautiful Nairn was established for last year's Walker Cup golf extravaganza. Now the committee behind the project is hoping to improve the look of the town even further. Tree and bulb planting, including a millennium tree-planting scheme, are being planned as well as hanging baskets and a garden competition. A spring clean campaign is also to be held in the town later this month. Chairman Sheena Baker said: "There have been many signs in Nairn over the last few years of reviving community spirit. I am confident that every sector that became involved last year will do even better this year and that new participants will be joining us in numbers."

Highland MP in Call for Better Internet Security.

A North MP has called on the Government to step up security on the Internet to boost Highland firms at the leading edge of commercial technology. The demand came from Inverness East and Lochaber Labour MP David Stewart, with a warning in the Commons that successful trading by computer required public confidence in the confidentiality of credit card or bank account information. He said he wanted a change of emphasis in the Governments Electronic Communications Bill to accommodate concerns which North firms seeking to exploit the new medium have expressed to him. Mr Stewart said the Internet could reduce or eliminate the disadvantage of the geography of the Highlands and Islands from the point of view of local consumers and some firms in the forefront of e-commerce. Intervening in Trade and Industry Questions in the Commons, he said growth of e-commerce had been immense. He said: "There is a tremendous potential for e-commerce, but the great constraint is security, for individuals and business." E-commerce Minister Patricia Hewitt said she entirely agreed - and pointed to action by the electronics industry to ensure security. Mr Stewart said later he was pleased by Ms Hewitt's response, because people were worried what might happen when they supplied details of credit cards over the Internet. He said: "There are a number of firms in my constituency that are effectively Internet Companies that are at the forefront of conducting business electronically. "It was following discussions with them that I decided to raise the issue in the Commons."

Step Back in Time

History buffs in Inverness will have the opportunity to take a step back in time this summer - on board a replica 18th century frigate. The Grand Turk will visit Inverness on Friday 9th June as part of a UK tour. It will then sail down the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus. The frigate is being used to promote conservation work undertaken on the UK coastline by the National Trust for Scotland and the National Trust. Limited places are available for visitors to sail down the Caledonian Canal where they can hear from the present crew how the frigate is maintained and speak to costumed interpreters about life on board during the 18th century.

Highland Stone Goes South

A 50 tonne load of natural stone from the Highlands is being used to build a millennium stone circle in a London park. Inverness based Granit Union is supplying the flagstone and granite for the mini Stonehenge being erected in south Lewisham. Two slabs of flagstone from the firm's quarry at Weydale near Thurso, are to act as standing stones while the circle will be made out of 12 glacial granite boulders with a carved flat stone in the middle. They will be laid out in such a way that the shadow cast by a person standing on the centre stone can be used to tell the time. The circle will actually be an ellipse of the precise shape of the latitude of the site with the centre stone doubling as a sun dial.

Charity Event

Students from Inverness Royal Academy raised more than 1,000 to help the flood victims of Mozambique and a similar amount for the Blythswood charity. The money was earned through a sponsorship read by first and second year pupils over a six week period which was also held to encourage reading.

Political Roundup

Hi-Tech Lowdown.

Putting his IT skills to the test recently, Inverness East Nairn and Lochaber MSP Fergus Ewing tried our the new information resource at Inverness Library. Mr Ewing made the visit to demonstrate the Partner Libraries Network which offers constituents direct access to a current information resource on the Scottish Parliament. He said: "It is an indication of how the Parliament is closer to the people, I urge constituents to take advantage of the network and visit the facilities at Inverness library."

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.
Sunday
Bands of showers across the region. Bright with sunny spells. Moderate North Westerly winds. Fairly mild.
Monday
Mainly dry. Fairly cloudy with limited sunshine. Light Southerly breeze. Mild temperatures.


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Caledonia



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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