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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 17th June 2000
Issue No 184

Another Battle of Bannockburn

Red faced publishers have been forced to hang their heads in shame.

For in the battle section of a new Scottish reference book, they left out the most famous of them all - Bannockburn. Editors at book giant Harper Collins failed to notice the glaring omission of Robert the Bruce's victory over the English in Factfile Scotland. In the book's chapter on Scottish battle sites, Falkirk, Culloden and other famous battlegrounds are given prominence. But the site of Bruce's legendary battle in 1314 which won Scottish independence is ignored, leaving Scots readers baffled. Even proof readers apparently failed to spot the error before the book, compiled by researchers in Scotland, was rushed to shops in time for its launch on last Monday. As copies of the book continued to be shipped around the country editors at the company's Glasgow office promised to correct the mistake in the next edition. But bemused Scottish historians described the error as 'appalling' and said they could not believe it had gone unnoticed. As news of the error spread around bookstore's, the publisher's Glasgow reference department, which oversaw production of the book, blamed a 'computer glitch'. Edwin Moore, a senior editor at Harper Collins, admitted he was embarrassed by the omission. Mr Moore said: "All we can do is hang our heads in shame, put our hands up to the mistake and apologise. "It seems some data for the book could have been corrupted when transferring files. "We are embarrassed and the mistake will be corrected when we print the second edition of the book." But Scots historians said the omission of what was a crucial moment in Scottish history was astonishing. David Ross, author and expert on both Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, was one of those surprised. He said: "This is like writing a book on conflicts in the 20th century and forgetting about the First or Second World Wars." Harper Collins was given a last minute offer to save face after the National Trust for Scotland, who cares for the Bannockburn battle site stepped in. A stunned Simon Walton, spokesman for the Trust, said: "If the publishers concerned contact me I will be happy to supply them with a flyer on Bannockburn to insert and send them a nice picture to put on the cover."

Bid to Halt Rare Bird Decline

A bid is being made to halt the catastrophic decline in black grouse and capercaillie by enlisting the help of farmers in the Cairngorms. Twelve farms and crofts in Badenoch and Strathspey will take part in the year long "Upland Grain Initiative". Part of their land will be used to grow "sacrificial" grain purely for the benefit of capercaillie and black grouse, which face extinction within the next ten years. Dr Peter Cosgrove, the Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer, said: "The Cairngorm area once boasted a healthy population of black grouse and capercaillie and up to the 1970s it was commonplace to see woodland grouse fattening up on oats, stubbles and stooks to sustain themselves through the winter. "However the reduction in upland farms and crofts and a decline in oat growing has induced the disappearance of this habitat and in turn many of the species depend on it." Dr Cosgrove said that farmers had identified the link between the decline in oat crops and the fall in capercaillie and black grouse. The project is also expected to benefit song birds also in decline such as skylark, yellowhammer and linnet.

Gift for the Games

The boss of an Inverness hotel has given a "farewell gift" to the town by approving sponsorship of a spectacular aerobatics display. Andrew Leonard, manager of the Express Holiday Inn at Stoneyfield on the Golden Mile, reached an agreement with organisers of this years Highland Games just days before he announced he was leaving the area to take up a new post in London. The games are scheduled to be staged on Saturday 22nd July. Highland Council events officer Gerry Reynolds explained: "One of the special attractions we have planned for the event was an aerobatics display. The hotel chain, through Mr Leonard, agreed to sponsor the display. He is now leaving for a job in London but we very much welcome this unusual parting gift." Mr Leonard, who has been at the helm of the 94 room Inverness hotel since January, is taking up the post of managing another of the chain's operations close to the Millennium Dome in London.

Woodland Questionnaire

Visitors to a Loch Ness side wood could be in for a surprise over the coming year. For they could find themselves approached as part of a national questionnaire being organised by the Woodland Trust. The Trust has commissioned a visitor survey to find out what people think about the woods it owns and manages. Abriachan Wood, by Loch Ness, will be included in the probe which will see a total of 1000 approached and questioned throughout Scotland. Said development officer Andrew Fairburn: "One of our main objectives is to increase people's enjoyment of woods. "Rather than try and guess what people think, we decided to conduct s survey so that we can find out what they like and don't like so that we can do something to improve their experience." The Trust owns 76 woodlands in Scotland. Fifteen woodlands representing the variety run under the auspices of the Trust have been chosen for the probe which will be carried out by polling organisation System Three, whose interviewers will all be badged.

Isle Ownership Celebration

Historic Isle Martin north of Ullapool recently celebrated its first anniversary in local ownership. Members of Isle Martin Trust were at the first birthday party on the 3rd June. In succeeding weeks the 400 acre island, the site of a ruined chapel and named after a mysterious monk thought to have been associated with St Columba, has welcomed its first tourists. The actual handover to the trust by former owner, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, took place on May 3 last year, but trust chairman Roy Osborne explained that the birthday party date exactly 13months after, had been chosen to avoid a clash with other local events. Mr Osborne said repair work on the islands formerly crumbling jetty was nearing completion and plans for a jetty at Ardmair, to make the task of ferrying visitors to the island easier, have been drawn up.


Lawnmower Call to Feeding Time

A crofter has a sure fire way of rounding up his cattle - he simply turns on his electric lawnmower. For the cows know that a tasty treat of fresh clippings is on the menu whenever they hear the hum of Neil Mac Gillivray's mower. Even if they are half a mile from the cattleshed beside My MacGillivray's crofthouse at Pennyghael on Mull, the 20 head of beef cows and calves come at the canter, virtually stampeding into his garden. The 84 year old crofter of Aird of Kinloch, loads the cut grass into an old fish box and drags it out to the cows. Mr MacGillivray said: "I first started putting out the grass cuttings to the cattle about three years ago and now whenever they hear my Flymo they come at the trot. "The cuttings of the lawn grass must be very sweet tasting to them compared with the rougher grass on the croft and the hay they normally feed on because they go daft for it. "We have been forced to put up a sturdy metal gate across the yard because there was a danger that they would be so impatient to get at the cuttings they would crash through the fence into the garden. "The cattle would be in the house given half a chance. It is quite incredible how they respond to the sound of the mower."

"Praise in the Park"

The biggest Christian gathering to be held in the Highlands this year was staged yesterday at Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. "Praise in the Park" organisers invited all primary schools in the Highland Region to take part in the cross denominational event. The programme included hymns and psalms - old and new - with input from senior secondary and primary seven pupils, who led the singing of a Gaelic Psalm. Rev Richard Gibson, the Kirk's Adviser in Mission and Evangelism for the Highlands, said: "We invited several special guests including Ian White, the contemporary Christian singer". The organisers sent out a resource pack to more than 100 Highland schools for use in their religious education teaching for primary seven pupils, with the co-operation of Highland Region's education department. The event coincided with Pentecost Sunday.

Charity Event

A research body which played a part in the first vaccine for polio, the development of artificial hips and the pioneering of ultra sound scanning was the focus of a fundraising event in Nairn recently. Action Research, one of the country's leading medical research charities was last year responsible for committing 4 million to almost 50 different research projects around the UK.

Political Roundup

Scottish Parliament View Slammed

Cardinal Thomas Winning came under fire after branding the Scottish Parliament an "utter failure". Cardinal Winning wrote recently that the new Parliament had made him "almost feel ashamed". But the Church of Scotland's powerful Church and Nation Committee accused the Cardinal of misrepresenting the "real progress" made by the devolved Parliament. And Canon Kenyon Wright, former chairman of the Scottish Constitutional Convention said the remarks were a "narrow, blinkered interpretation of the big issues".

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Mist/cloud on W coast. Elsewhere bright/sunny. Winds light/mod S-SW. Temperature 14c to 22c.
Saturday Night
Broken cloud, some mist. Rain/drizzle on coasts. Winds light/variable. Temperature 09c to 12c.
Sunday
Dry start but cloud spreading to give drizzle/light rain. Clearing overnight. Winds mod S.
Monday
Mainly cloudy with some sunny spells. Risk of occasional showers pm. Light winds.


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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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