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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 5th August 2000
Issue No191

Battle for Glencoe

The battle for Glencoe has taken a new twist. The action group set up to oppose a new visitors centre have won official backing.

The Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee have agreed to visit Glencoe and investigate their claims. The descendants of the MacDonalds massacred more than 300 years ago by the Campbells have been sent a rallying call in a bid to stop the National Trust for Scotland building a new 3 million centre. Angry local people, who have drawn up a 250 strong petition, claim it would desecrate the site of the massacre and put their firms out of business. The action group complained to the Petitions Committee that consultation was not carried out fairly before permission was granted for the centre which will include a 66 seat restaurant and craft shop. They have suggested the current visitor centre, a mile from the new site, should be extended. Alister Sutherland, a solicitor from Glasgow who has retired to the glen and is leading the fight, said: "This is the small man being pushed around by a big authority. "We don't want the centre to be on the site of the massacre and we are worried what effect this might have on local businesses. At least half a dozen could go to the wall." Mr Sutherland also accused the trust of arrogance in ignoring the views of the local community. Another grievance was that few local people were likely to get jobs at the centre, with only part time vacancies available. Mr Sutherland added that MacDonalds from around the globe were joining the struggle, including some from the United States and Canada. He said: " They are appalled at what is happening here." Fergus Ewing, SNP MSP for the Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber constituency which includes Glencoe, backed the action group. He told the Petitions Committee: "This is a case of the wee guy against officialdom." A spokesman for the trust who own 14,000 acres in the glen, said the site was currently used for camping and there was considerable doubt over exactly where the 38 MacDonalds were killed. He claimed: "Archaeologists have not found any evidence of anything at the site." The spokesman said only half of those people who signed the petition actually lived in the local area, adding: "Possibly they don't understand the trust's proposals completely."

Icy Response

The chief of Clan Munro recently revived an ancient family tradition for the millennium by climbing a Munro to seek the annual rent for his 1,5000 acre estate. Clan legend says the chief must - if asked - provide a snowball at mid summer from 3,433ft Ben Wyvis for the reigning monarch as a condition of holding his lands. Although no record remains of when this unusual token was last collected by royalty, Hector Munro of Foulis has climbed the peak with a coolbag and returned to the clan seat, Foulis Castle, with his unusual trophy. The snowball, lifted from near the summit, sat in a freezer at his Clanland Centre on the Cromarty Firth awaiting a visit from a royal visitor or a representative of the monarch.

Highland Clearances Fund

The organisation set up to construct a hilltop monument to victims of the Highland Clearances stands to benefit by over 100,000, raised earlier to build a replica Pictish broch in Helmsdale. Helmsdale Heritage Society, which runs the village's Timespan museum and art gallery has agreed to transfer 30,000 it currently holds for the broch project to the charitable company Highland Clearances Memorial Centre Ltd, towards the erection of the memorial. It has also agreed that public funding earmarked for the broch project should be transferred to the monument project, if the grant funding organisations are willing. The heritage society has been unable to find a suitable site for the 40ft drystone broch in the 10 years since the scheme was proposed.

Kilt Antics

A Moray kilt factory has sent a peace offering to a Welshman after his devotion to the tartan cost him his Highland dress. Ceri Urch of Porth, Mid Glamorgan, has been banned from wearing his beloved kilt by his wife after it attracted the attention of other women. Ceri spent 300 on a kilt in the green and dark red of the Welsh national tartan and proudly wore it to rugby matches and weddings. But showing it off to regulars at his local turned out to be a big mistake. A group of curious women asked him if he was wearing anything underneath and Mr Urch allowed one of them to find out for herself - just as his wife walked in. Mr Urch ended up sleeping on the settee that night. The next morning he found his 300 kilt ripped to shreds.But traditional tartan weavers in Keith were so touched by his plight they have offered a discount on a replacement kilt. Linda Gorn - spokeswoman for the Keith Kiltmakers Guild said: "We can understand why his wife got so furious - kilt wearers can attract unwanted attention from women - so many of our own Scotsmen wear shorts underneath to counter attacks from curious woman and hungry midges."

New Arrivals

The newest arrivals to swell the size of Scotland's only wolf pack made their first public appearance recently. Six cubs were born to a female wolf at the Highland Wild Life park at Kincraig, near Aviemore, and have started to emerge from their den. The cubs, all thought to be male are the largest single litter at the park and have seen the pack increase from 12 to 18 animals. Their mother, Dubh (black in Gaelic) went underground to give birth. It is the third litter of cubs born to Dubh and dominant male, Tor (Gaelic for hill). Jeremy Usher-Smith, the director of the park said: "Six cubs is the biggest single group that the park has had. "We are sure that these new arrivals will be a big hit with the public. This is a very proud time for everyone involved with the park."

Tribute to '45 Hero

Hours of hard work by Army Cadets recently ensured there will be a lasting tribute to one of the heroes of the Jacobite rebellion. The newly formed Fort Augustus detachment of 1st Battalion The Highlanders moved a two ton obelisk of rock from the forest above Fort Augustus to the graveside of Roderick MacKenzie of Glenmoriston, where it was erected as a memorial stone. Roderick MacKenzie, the son of an Edinburgh jeweller, was a member of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's party when the prince was fleeing the Duke of Cumberland's troops in July 1746, three months after the battle of Culloden. As he closely resembled the Prince in age, stature and colouring, he allowed himself to be mistaken for the prince and, thus acting as a decoy, was killed by a redcoat patrol who believed him to be the prince. His head was then carried to Fort Augustus, then to London for verification, by which time Bonnie Prince Charlie had made good his escape. Local clansfolk secretly buried Roderick's body by the River Moriston where he fell.

Pipers in Inverness

A record entry of 62 competitors took part in the Inverness Piping Society's annual junior piping competition recently. Among the start performers was Colin Gordon from Inverness, who won the overall 18s and under competition, and also the best Inverness piper. The competition was sponsored in part by Inverness and Nairn Enterprise through the Highland Festival 2000 Community fund. Society president Archie MacLean said: "The important role that traditional music makes to the rich culture of the Highlands is immense and we are grateful for the support of Inverness and Nairn Enterprise in ensuring Highland bagpipe music continues to go from strength to strength." The society is more than 50 years old and its main purpose is to encourage solo bagpipe playing.

Charity Event

A postman has claimed a new record time of climbing all the Scottish mountains above 3000ft. Charles Campbell took 49 days to beat the record time of 51 days and nine hours to 'bag' the Munros. He swam between the mainland and the isles of Mull and Skye cycled between the peaks to complete the 1660 mile trek. He managed to raise more than 1000 for charity.

Political Roundup

Extended Week in the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament could expand its working week to cope with the legislative programme, Presiding Officer Sir David Steel has said. The chamber could sit on Wednesday evenings in an attempt to keep pace with the eight Executive bills and anticipated private members and committee bills to be debated. The current weekly timetable allows for full sessions on Wednesday afternoons and all day on Thursdays, while committees meet on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Mondays and Fridays are set aside for travelling and constituency and party business. Outlining the procedures Sir David said: "The pressure of legislative business means times may have to be extended.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Patchy rain or drizzle in the W. Sunny spells mainly in the E. Winds mod/fresh W-SW. Temperature 16c to 22c.
Saturday Night
Clear start in the E. Cloudy, patchy rain in the W, moving E. Winds mod/fresh W-NW. Temperature 9c to 14c.
Cloudy with rain, mostly in the N and W. Any bright intervals will be in the E. Mod/fresh N-NW winds.
Cloudy with isolated rain patches in NW and W. Mainly dry with bright intervals elsewhere.


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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