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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 26th August 2000
Issue No194

Ancient Find by Nessie Hunter

Nessie hunter Steve Feltham may still be waiting to rock the world of zoology with a picture of the monster, but he has made a discovery that has certainly interested local archaeologists.

And it is all thanks to Steve's monster making sideline. A rock that was to have formed the base for one of Steve's Nessie sculptures turned out to be something far more valuable when staff at Inverness Museum identified it as a 4000 year old Stone Age axe head. The find has now been declared treasure trove and is being studied by experts at the museum. The axe head was among a pile of stones given to Steve by his friend Stuart Grant from Tomich. It was only when Steve began to make one of the models that he sells to support his loch watching that he noticed how unusual the rock was. "That could have been sitting on someone's mantelpiece somewhere with a female monster on top of it,"said Steve. "You could see it was not naturally formed, it was too even, so I took it to the museum," added Steve. But even he was surprised by its true identity. Museum assistant curator Patricia Weeks confirmed that the stone appeared to be a Neolithic polished axe head made from a schist stone local to the Tomich and Cannich area. While admitting that the axe head was not the nicest example seen at the museum, Miss Weeks said the relic was of interest because of where and how it had been found. "There is a hill fort close by where it was discovered," she said. "Although the hill fort is slightly later than the axe head, being late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, it does show a continuity of occupation and there are hut circles in the area which are roughly contemporary with the axe head." No decision will be made on whether the axe head will be displayed at Inverness Museum until after a report has been sent to the Treasure Trove Secretariat in Edinburgh. The axe head is not the biggest archaeological artefact discovered by Stuart Grant - a few years ago he unearthed a moss covered standing stone near Guisachan House. He has also found what he believes to be a Stone Age arrow head. But Stuart admitted: "It was a real fluke that one with the Stone Age axe. We have this place up near the river where we go for firewood and when I'm up there I get any beautiful looking stones I can find for Steve. I think it was Tina my partner who actually found it and when Steve told us about the axe head she said in hindsight that there was something that looked like an axe, but she didn't tell me."

Day of Vikings

Ancient technology was brought to life recently at a Stornoway museum. A series of craft demonstrations were held at Museum nan Eilean to accompany its exhibition Gall Ghaidheil, the Western Isles in the Viking World. The demonstration by local crafts people focused on textile crafts, using the techniques and equipment of Viking times. Using a reconstruction of an upright loom in the exhibition's Viking House, Norma Rosier demonstrated the techniques of weaving. Also as part of the programme there was a chance to learn how to play the popular Viking board game, Hnefatafi, and an opportunity for children to dress up in Viking costume. The exhibition runs till the middle of October and features a selection of Viking objects from the Western Isles and the Hebrides. There is also another opportunity to see a selection of pieces from the internationally known Lewis Chess pieces.

High Note

Highland music could be set to receive a boost if planning permission for a new Celtic recording studio is granted. Unity Recording Studios, currently based near Forres is aiming to double the size of its premises to become a state of the art digital studio in Auldearn. If Highland Council grants Alan Harfield permission, the studio will be equipped with automated mixing and digital recording equipment. Mr Harfield, who plans to move into the adjacent farmhouse, hopes to soon be bringing more Highland music hopefuls into the limelight. The current studios, which have been up and running for five years, have so far signed up such top Highland names as The Pagan Poets, Andy Thorburn, Iain MacBeath, Dagga Gordon and have attracted musicians from the nearby Findhorn Foundation.

On Camera

Live pictures of birds of prey are now being beamed up by satellite and viewed from up to 10 kilometres away. Pictures of rare sea eagles and Britain's smallest bird of prey - the merlin - can now be seen at RSPB nature reserves across Scotland. Visitors to both the Peatland Visitor Centre at Forsinard, Sutherland and the Aros Centre in Skye can see the images of newly born sea eagle chicks and nesting merlins on a large screen as part of a free exhibition. Norrie Russell, RSPB manager at Forsinard, said: "This is the first time we have shown live images of a merlin's nest and we are delighted with the pictures. "Merlins are a most beautiful dashing falcon about the size of a thrush, but they are incredibly elusive. With around 1,000 nesting pairs in Britain, most people will seldom have seen this tiny raptor." Images of the birds can also be seen via the Internet on a webcam.
http://rspb.org.uk/webcams

Political Role for Sir Sean

Recently knighted Sir Sean Connery will return to Scotland next year to play an active role in the SNP General Election campaign. Sir Sean recently held a private meeting with SNP leader Alex Salmond and business manager Mike Russell in an Edinburgh hotel while he was in Scotland to be knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace. Sir Sean, who has always declared his support for the SNP, and has "Scotland Forever" tattooed on his arm, is expected to play his biggest political role so far. During last year's Scottish Parliamentary elections, he spoke to a rally of activists and recorded a voice over for a party political broadcast. But next year it is believed he will be much more involved.

Parliamentary Gaelic

Work has started on a glossary of Gaelic terms in a bid to move towards a bilingual Scottish Parliament. The glossary, which will be completed by February 2002, will also be available for use by local authorities and other areas of public services and the private sector. The Glossary Project - Faclair na Parlamaid - has been pushed forward by development agency Comunn na Gaidhlig (CNAG) and is backed by the Scottish Executive, the Gaelic Language Promotion Trust and the Gaelic Society of Inverness. MSPs already hold some debates in Gaelic, with the use of translation headsets. Hugh Dan MacLennan, chairman of the steering group set to monitor the production, said he hoped that the glossary would mean a move towards a more secure status for the country's native language.

Farmers Market in Inverness

Inverness Farmers Market is definitely here to stay - an agricultural success story at last. When six publicly funded pilot markets in the High Street pedestrian precinct are completed this month, the markets are to continue as a self financing enterprise, on the first Saturday of each month, revealed director Debbie McBean of Glenferness. A committee of seven producers has been established to set up a private company to run the markets, under Mrs McBean's chairmanship. Town centre manager Sharon MacKay said: "This venture was too important and too successful for it not to continue. "I am absolutely delighted that the farmers and producers are now going to carry on under their own steam and wish them well, because they have already put in a tremendous amount of work. "The market should bring in more and more customers, as its presence on the first Saturday of every month becomes generally known, and people realise they can have a most enjoyable morning buying the very best of local produce." Her project has added street entertainment to each market. Recently the Vass family from Nairn played upbeat Scottish folk music.

Charity Event

Cancer patient Sylvie Smith has been thanked for single handedly raising almost 1000 for the Macmillan Raigmore Cancer Unit Appeal. Sylvie clocked up four miles from the Tomfat Woods to her home at Broomhill Cottages, Farr, as her contribution to the Macmillan Miles Challenge in June. Fund raising manager Hilary Kirby said the 1.6 million appeal would provide a new chemotherapy unit, and two new Macmillan postholders, a pharmacist and a clinical nurse. She said: "Sylvie's effort was very special - not forgetting her dog, Mitch, who also completed the course.

Political Roundup

Scottish Law

MSPs recently began debating the final stage of a bill aiming to make Scots law compatible with European human rights legislation. The Bail Judicial Appointments etc (Scotland) Bill proposes sheriffs must consider bail automatically when an accused person first appeared in court charged with an offence. It would also repeal bail exclusion, which prevents sheriffs considering bail where a person is accused of treason or murder, or accused of certain serious violent offences and has a previous conviction for one of those offences.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Mainly cloudy. Showers, thundery/heavy, easing. Winds strong S easing to light/mod SW. Temperature 17c to 20c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy/showery, then dry/clear spells. Winds light/mod W-NW.
Sunday
Fairly bright with frequent sharp showers becoming confined to the N as the day goes on.
Monday
Mainly dry with bright/sunny spells. Cloudier on W coast, W and N Isles. Warm with S-SW winds.


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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