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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 12th August 2000
Issue No192

Battle Stations

Californian descendants of Gordon Highlanders re-enacted the bloody Egyptian battle of Tel-el-Kebir recently on the outskirts of Inverness.

The 40 bagpipe-playing, kilt-wearing, rifle-wielding American enthusiasts were armed with a Gatling gun and cannons to act out the actions of the Anglo Egyptian conflict of 1882. The battle, originally fought on the banks of the Nile, was re-enacted at Fort George. The spectacular event saw pyrotechnics used to create the sounds of the guns and the smoke of the battle. The re-enactment group - named Bydand Forever after the regimental motto and battle cry Standfast - come from all over California, and a number are descendants of those who fought in the regiment. They have recreated the manoeuvres and fighting tactics of the Gordon Highlanders through painstaking research of the Regimental Museum in Aberdeen. Their uniforms and equipment are exact replicas of the originals. Historic Scotland North's regional director, Bob McIlwraith said: "Bydand Forever were definitely one of the highlights of this year's events programme. They are famous for their firing demonstrations, which are the talk of Highland Games all over California and Scotland. "They last visited us three years ago, when they performed spectacularly well at Fort George." Mr McIlwraith added: "These Americans are true upholders of the traditions of the Gordon Highlanders." Since the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders were merged with the 1st Battalion of the Queen's Own Highlanders in 1994, San Diego based Bydand Forever has kept alive the spirit and tradition of the Gordons in the US. They were founded by Gary Harper, whose family originally came from Aberdeen. Several years ago he sold his fuel station in San Diego to concentrate full time on running the group, all of whose members claim Scottish roots. The unit is now in demand for roles in period Hollywood movies. It has 22 riflemen using real 19th century Martini-Henry weapons, together with six Royal Navy sailors with 1874 models of Gatling guns. In addition, there are four artillery gunners. The commemorative company has two pipers and two drummers but strangely, there are no officers, as the highest rank in the American Gordons is colour sergeant. The men, and sometimes their families as well, travel to Highland Games held all over California each summer. They appeared also at Huntly 2000 Games. Almost all the 7,500 British troops participating in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir were Highlanders, in a war which was designed to protect Britain's interest over the Suez Canal. The waterway had been cut through the desert 13 years earlier to link the Mediterranean and Red Seas.


Community Woodland

An ambitious plan to site community woodland on a prominent six hectare site overlooking Inverness could move closer to reality soon. Alastair Cunningham, who owns land at Leachkin Brae, on a site above Craig Dunain hospital, is behind the scheme. The plan is to create two community based schemes, one a community led woodland on the edge of Inverness which would offer people a walking route with stunning views, and a second aiming to teach local people with learning difficulties how to grow and manage crops such as raspberries and strawberries. A temporary working group has been set up to promote the project. Mr Cunningham grows raspberries and strawberries organically on his smallholding at the top of Leachkin Brae and also supplies trees which he sells to the Forestry Commission and commercial companies. He said: "I have experience of working with special needs people. We have agreed in principle that this is something which the land can be used for and we will shortly submit a formal offer for it.


Games Tribute

A Dingwall lollipop man who for many years has undertaken voluntary work on behalf of his home town was chosen recently to receive one of the highest honours the community can bestow. Retired Hydro Electric linesman Joe Yates was this year's chieftain at the annual Dingwall Highland Gathering. Mr Yates, who has been chairman of Dingwall Fire Brigade Club for over 20 years, also helps to run Dingwall Gala Week and is involved in a variety of local good causes. Games publicity officer John Hanson said: "Joe was a worthy choice for the millennium year. He's known locally as Mr Dingwall because he has worked so hard so many years on behalf of the town." Dingwall Highland Gathering, first held in 1947, features the full range of traditional events, from tossing the caber, tug of war, shot putting and races, to dancing and piping.

Glowing Praise

Cows on Skye may glow in the dark in future, thanks to 16 young bright sparks at one of the island's primary schools. To stop motorists at night crashing into dark coloured cattle straying on to Skye's unfenced roads, pupils of Elgol school came up with the idea of cows having luminous tags pinned to their ears. And the brainwave won the little school at the foot of the Cuillin mountains glowing praise from the judges in a competition set by Glasgow Science Centre to find Scotland's best young inventors. The youngsters travelled to Edinburgh recently to receive a 250 cheque plus a certificate. Head teacher Pat Anderson said: "Hopefully the ear tags idea will be taken up by crofters and farms as a road safety measure." The kids from the Misty Isle have also been presented with a Golden Bin award for transforming refuse into garden ornaments and received a 1000 Scottish Wildlife Trust award for their school garden.

Lochabers Past

Survey work on a road for the future has uncovered a piece of Lochaber's past. What is thought to be the remains of a settlement have been unearthed at Achraig between Kinloid and Back of Keppoch. Surveyors have found traces of rectangular buildings with enclosures, and the remains of field banks, clearance cairns and tracks. They are thought to date between Medieval and Jacobite periods. They have also uncovered a stone cairn between Arisaig and Kinsadel. The finds have let to roads officials calling in experts from Historic Scotland. The work is being carried out in preparation for construction of the Loch nan Uamh - Arisaig bypass on the A830 Road to the Isles.

Standing Stone

The Highlands and Islands have many historic standing stones but now there's a new one at Duirinish in the north of Skye. Dunvegan Community Council decided to mark the Millennium by erecting the Duirinish Stone in the same way the Celts would have done thousands of years before. The 16ft sandstone/shale stone was discovered near Elgol on Skye and taken by boat, car and muscle to the top of a hill above Dunvegan. Weighing between four and ten tons, getting the stone into place involved some real effort but like many of the historic standing stones it could be in place for thousands of years. With views of the Cuillins and nearby Dunvegan Castle, the area attracts 200,000 visitors a year and the stone will be another attraction. The stone raising was part of a weekend of activities including a dance, ceilidh and children's competitions.

Loch Ness Double

Body doubles are commonly hired to stand in for top stars when shooting some film scenes. But now a lake near Los Angeles is set to star as Loch Ness in a new film about the world famous waterway's monster. Production of The Loch began recently starring Irish actor Patrick Bergin. The Loch is being directed by Chuck Comisky of the Addams Family fame. Although some shots will be taken around Loch Ness, most of the filming will be done in California, producer Fred Kuchnert confirmed. He said: "Whilst the movie is purely fictional, the writers have attempted to be as correct as possible to both the science and folklore of the loch." The Loch is one of three Nessie films in the pipeline at present. London based Ecosse Films are working on The Waterhorse. The Nicholas Cage movie Tom Sick will also shoot at Loch Ness next year.

   Nessie says: "And here's me wi' ma bags packed ready to get off tae California and now they dinnae need me. Shame."

Charity Event

It wasn't so much the leg wax as the leg pulling of the youngsters around him that caused Kenny Barker some pain recently. He was helping to raise the profile of the Smithton - Culloden Youth Centre which is currently battling to boost finances and win the backing of locals. Mr Barker, a member of the centre's management committee, volunteered for the sponsored leg wax. The event raised 200 for the centre.

Political Roundup

MSP Backs Bill

Highlands and Islands MSP Dr Winnie Ewing is supporting a cross party Bill to end leasehold casualty legislation in Scotland. Currently landlords can make huge 'casualty' payment charges to often unsuspecting tenants by resurrecting this archaic and dormant legislation. Although the legislation needed to end leasehold casualties is not contained in the Executive's land reform proposals, it has the support of the Scottish Executive, and if successful, will end the right of landlords to demand such payments. Dr Ewing said: "People often do not realise they could be a victim of leasehold casualty clauses until its too late. It's a devastating sting in the tail for anyone to be trapped by."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Rain then showers in the W. Dry then showers in the E. Winds light/mod S-SW. Temperature 16c to 23c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy then clear spells. Showers dying out except in NE. Winds light/mod W-SW. Temperature 9c to 14c.
Sunday
Sunny spells and showers a.m heaviest in E. Scattered showers heavy p.m, especially in SW and E.
Monday
Dry in W a.m, cloud increasing p.m with showers. Cloudy a.m in E, drizzle on Moray coast, brighter/showery p.m.


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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