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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 22nd July 2000
Issue No 189

Cuillins Row Sparks Move to Change Land Laws

An investigation into the ownership of land in Scotland has been proposed by a local politician.

Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MSP Fergus Ewing has tabled a proposal for a Private Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament which seeks to amend the process of land registration in Scotland with the aim of moving away from the Register of Sasines to a more modern map based system. The move comes amid the row over Skye landowner John MacLeod of MacLeod's move to put the Cuillins up for sale with a price tag of 10 million to pay for repairs to Dunvegan Castle. The figure has been heavily criticised by community and conservation groups and doubts were raised over the validity of the MacLeod's right to sell the mountain range. Mr Ewing claimed that if the Bill was accepted it would require the clan chief to produce evidence of his title and register it. He added if the Keeper of the Land Register was not satisfied with evidence, it could open the way for other claimants to make an application. He said: "If this Bill were the law of Scotland, the public could find out who the owner of land is, and tenants, crofters and others would know who to approach in respect of any land transaction permission consent which is necessary. "It would also show how much of the landmass of Scotland is owned by so few people."

Wear the Kilt Today

Canny kilt owners who don the traditional Highland garb for an Inverness tourism showcase today will be admitted free. Organisers of the town's annual Highland Games have pulled out all the stops to add a splash of colour to the Bught Park entertainment. The committee who put together the programme also organised a traditional Piper's March from the town centre to the park. Members of the British Legion Pipeband will lead the parade from the Eastgate Shopping Centre to the Bught Park. All kilt wearers who follow the pipes and drums will be admitted for nothing. The only downside for those sporting the kilt, however, is confirmation that they will beasked - for the sake of decorum - to cover up before attempting to ride the 150ft high "Terrorslide". The organisers also said that a new Games flag will fly over the Bught Park stadium. Incidently, a duplicate of the black and glod banner will fly over the town of Archdale, North Carolina, home of a sister event, the Triad Games.

Atholl Highlanders Parade

The millennium review of the Atholl and Lonach Highlanders took place recently at Blair Castle. The castle was closed for a short time as the regiments paraded before the colonel of the Atholl Highlanders, the 11th Duke of Atholl, and the patron of the Lonach Highlanders, Major Sir Hamish Forbes of Newe. The annual parade took place just days before the majority of the Atholl regiment leave on a visit to Canada and the US, where they will pay a visit to the town of Atholl in Massachusetts. During the event the Atholl Highlanders marched on parade before being joined by the Lonach Highlanders. Each regiment was then inspected by their respective colonel and patron. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Atholl Highlanders paraded on several ceremonial occasions in connection with royal visits. In 1966 Iain Murray, the 10th Duke of Atholl, reformed the regiment to its present strength. The traditional gun salute fired by Master Gunner Sandy Reid and his team signalled the start of the Atholl Gathering.

Black Isle Network

People visiting or living on the Black Isle will this year benefit from a new network of footpaths launched recently. Two years in the making and involving the co-operation of 25 landowners and community councils, the Black Isle Path Network is made up of over 90 miles of multi-use path which connect traditional trails with quiet roads and farm tracks. Sarting points can be found at North Kessock, Munlochy, Fortrose, Avoch, Rosemarkie and Cromarty and oaths offer easy access to the countryside for people of all ages and abilities with some suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Nothing New at Culloden

A team of archaeologists carrying out the first major survey of the battlefield' at Culloden has so far turned up nothing to refute the site's authenticity, according to National Trust for Scotland site manager Ross MacKenzie. The 10 specialists from Glasgow University have been using radar equipment to locate graves and evidence of battle activity for a BBC2 television programme investigating famous battlegrounds. There were some concerns raised when the exercise began recently that it might uncover facts that would force a reinterpretation of history, but Mr MacKenzie said the evidence so far only confirms that the site is genuine. "They haven't turned up anything major," he said. "There's evidence of musket balls which we already knew were ther. If anything the study has proved 100 per cent the battle of Culloden was fought where we thought it had been. "There has always been a slight element of doubt but this has settled it once and for all."

Ben Nevis in Safe Hands

A leading Scottish conservation group which has bought Ben Nevis pledged recently to work hand in hand with locals in its future management. Nigel Hawkins, director of the John Muir Trust, told a recent meeting: "Fort William and Ben Nevis are intrinsically linked and if it belongs to anyone, it is you. We see ourselves as guardian." His pledge at a Fort William public meeting allayed local fears that the 6,700 member trust might override community interests and the efforts of a working party. Mr Hawkins said the trust had welcomed the invitation to join the Highland Council led Nevis working party. Set up 18 months ago, the working party is developing a management plan to deal with visitor and traffic pressures on the ben and neighbouring Glen Nevis. "We hope our involvement as a conservation owner will provide the missing link, working closely with others to implement the future strategies," said Mr Hawkins.

Highland Pearl Mussels

People in the Highlands are being asked to take part in a campaign to help safeguard Scotland's rare and endangered freshwater pearl mussels from illegal persecution. Organisers of the Operation Necklace 2000 clampdown are asking people, particularly riparian owners, ghillies, anglers and householders living near rivers in the north and west, to keep their eye on their local area. They are also urging them to contact the police if they see anyone pearl fishing, or if they are aware of anyone involved in the taking or harming the endangered species, or trading in its pearls. The launche of the campaign follows changes in the law in March 1998 which made any form of pearl fishing in Scotland illegal and increased the penalty for offences.

Charity Event

North charities enjoyed a bumper Sunday recently when over 1000 car boot bargain hunters descended on the Black Isle for the areas biggest charity sale event. The car boot sale raised over 6000 for the Moray Firth Radio Charity Trust which goes towards a mixture of groups in the local area.

Political Roundup

National Parks Concern

Fears about local input into plans for a National Park covering the Cairngorms were voiced by Highland Council convener David Green recently. His concerns came in the wake of the passing of primary legislation which will ultimately see the creation of National Parks in Scotland - first Loch Lomond and then in the Cairngorms. Councillor Green said he was uneasy about the speed with which the legislation had gone through and the limited opportunity for members of the local community to keep up with, and meaningfully influence, the debate.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Sunny periods, some hazy but E coast cloudier. Winds light mainly from E. Temperature 18c to 23c.
Saturday Night
Clear spells in the W, cloudier in the E, mist/fog later. Dry. Winds light/mod E-NE. Temperature 7c to 12c.
Mostly dry and bright with some sunny spells after a cloudy start. Light winds. Foggy at times.
Cooler and accasionally cloudier but staying dry most of the time. Thicker cloud over the hills.

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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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