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Chatterbox Citizenship Award





O you know someone who deserves a pat on the back for all the work they do in their community? Last year Chatterbox presented its first Citizenship Award, and now it’s time for you to nominate your candidates for 2012. We are looking for someone who has made an outstanding contribution to their community in the Black Isle. To give your nomination a chance of success, it is important that you provide a full statement of why you think they deserve recognition. We also need your name, address and contact details (phone number, email etc). There are no restrictions* on who you Page 2 Chatterbox September 2012




nominate, as long as they live in the local community. Please send your nominations to Claire Divine, Editor, Chatterbox, 18 Mackenzie Place, Avoch, IV9 8QP or email editor@ The deadline for nominations is November 7th. The selection for the Chatterbox 2012 Citizen of the Year will be made by the editorial team and announced in the December issue. * Members of Chatterbox production and editorial teams are not eligible for this award, nor any other awards that Chatterbox may promote.

Black Isle


In The Picture

Printed and published quarterly for the Black Isle by Chatterbox Community News Group Chatterbox provides a vehicle for any member of the community to demonstrate his or her opinions or beliefs, so long as these are not defamatory or offensive. Publication does not mean articles are the opinion of the magazine or its production team. Send stories, letters and adverts to: The Editor, Chatterbox, 18 Mackenzie Place, Avoch, IV9 8QP; phone 01381 621243; email editor@

The Team Editor Claire Divine Layout Russell Turner Advertising Linda Bailey Printing Sandy Mitchell Liz McKinlay Treasurer Margaret Leggatt Chairman Sandy Mitchell

Advertising Rates for 2012 are based on 73p per column centimetre, using our standard seven-column layout. We give 15% discount to advertisers who book for the year. See our website for full details of rates and discounts.

Next Issue The winter edition of Chatterbox will be available in early December. The deadline for articles, photos and adverts is November 7th Chatterbox was founded in September 1997 by Jack Malpas

Bridget Houston retired from Munlochy Primary School on June 14th after 24 years of service. A special assembly was held in the school on her last day when Mr Raistrick presented her with a bouquet of flowers, gardening vouchers and a very special card made by the children in the school. All pupils and staff wish her a long and happy retirement. Do you have a picture to share? Send it to

A View from the Black Isle

Wanted – some magical help! C

AN someone wave their magic wand across the Black Isle and summon up some new members for the Chatterbox team? The Editor is also working as the Secretary and organising Distribution, Mike has resigned as Advertising Manager (he had stepped in to help after retiring as Editor), so the advertising will probably also end up with the Editor and the Layout Manager. The Treasurer is tired and would like to step down, but will not leave Chatterbox in the lurch, so to speak! Thank goodness we have a strong print team to rely on! So please, if you’ve wanted to get involved but were unsure please get in touch and come and see what we are about. Some roles only require a bit of effort a few times a year! On top of this the whole team is out in the community, attending events, taking photos, interviewing and writing articles. A big thank you to all the people that send in Cover: Hamish MacAngus

articles – it’s great to hear of so many positive stories and events happening on the Black Isle. Our adult writing completion did not attract enough entries to actually make it a competition. Thank you to the one person who entered! It appears that the children and young people of the Black Isle seem keener for this kind of competition, so we will be running the writing competition for them in a later issue. Time is running out for entries for the Chatterbox Citizenship Award 2012 (please see facing page). In 2011 we had 12 people nominated for the award. These people can be nominated again if they are still active in their communities, or even retired after years of giving. The deadline is November 7th. Do you have any comments that you would like to make about Black Isle Chatterbox? Feel free to get in touch with the editor: Claire Divine

Picture: Sandy Mitchell

Story: Pages 4-5

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Scary sights in

The winning scarecrow, created by Rhys and Paige Kennedy.

By Sandy Mitchell


ULBOKIE has at last lived up to its Gaelic name of Spooky Hollow. For anyone passing through the village in August was in for a few surprises. In every nook and cranie, eldritch craturs have been popping up and staring you out – all part of the Great Scarecrow Competition. Thanks to three enterprising lasses, on Saturday, August 11th the Culbokie Gathering was brought back to life. And thanks to a suggestion from local resident and Dingwall GP Louise MacLarty, all those Tattie Bogles have been set up in and around the village. The girls behind the revival are Kirsty Wilson (15), Rachel Mackenzie (16) and Hannah Kinsman. The winning scarecrows, as chosen by judge Cllr Billy Barclay, were: 1 Help Ma Bob, inspired by Bob Marley, by Rhys and Paige Kennedy; 2 Hamish MacAngus (above, left), Morag and Darrell Wilson; 3 Chris Hoy, Nicola and Mike Adam. Pictures: Sandy Mitchell

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Spooky Hollow

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One of the play spaces made dangerous by dogs.

Foul play at Avoch Primary By Liz McKinlay


CHOOL playgrounds are very important learning and play environments. They are places where fun is had, friendships are made and social rules are learned. Avoch Primary School has wonderful play spaces for all the youngsters from nursery age right through to primary seven. There is a lovely area at the front for all pupils and nursery kids and a great field at the side for all sorts of games, sports and, of course, football. However, people exercising their dogs are changing these spaces to virtual minefields. The janitor, Maartin Schouten, reports regular incidences of dog fouling in both areas of the playground. He recounts incidences of pupils playing football, picking up

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the ball and being covered in dog faeces. Nursery children playing in the grounds at the front of the school are also coming into contact with faeces. This is especially dangerous because youngsters are particularly at risk from disease due to their lack of awareness and tendency to put their hands in their mouths. Dog dirt can cause all sorts of diseases. Maartin says that notices don’t seem to be helping, and people exercise their dogs at night in both areas of the playgrounds, without picking up their dog dirt. “We have installed CCTV and are now able to identify dog owners, but it is still happening," said Maartin. "Dog owners will be identified and reported to the dog warden service. Parents and the local community can help by also reporting guilty dog owners.�


Sun shines on Summer Show T

HIS year’s Black Isle Horticultural Society Summer Show was again a resounding success. There were over 300 entries of fruit, vegetables, flowers, pot plants, food, preserves, crafts and photographs at the show, held in the Gordon Memorial Hall in Rosemarkie on August 11th. The few days of sunshine immediately before the show meant that, despite the poor weather over recent weeks, a good show of vegetables and cut flowers was on display. There was strong competition in the food and preserves sections, with 17 sticky black gingerbreads for the judges to taste! A number of new exhibitors entered the show for the first time, which was very encouraging. Local councillor and gardener Craig Fraser presented the trophies to the winners. New exhibitors are always welcome in all the sections of the show. If anyone would like to receive a copy of next year’s schedule, which lists all the classes that people can enter, or just want to find out more about the show, please contact show secretary Graham Sullivan at or on 01349 861991.

Trophy winners with Cllr Craig Fraser (left) who presented the prizes. Picture: Ian Rhind

Trophy winners

A feast for all the senses on show in the Gordon Hall. Picture: Sandy Mitchell

Young gardeners an inspiration I WAS honoured to be asked by Graham, Bill and Lucy (Black Isle Horticultural Show organisers) to hand out the prizes at the show. I was impressed at the standard of flowers and vegetables that can be grown on the Black Isle. What really inspired me was the entries by the young people, who show real promise for the future. It puts me to shame as I grow only veg that a gardener would love and I certainly would not win any prizes. It shows that the youngsters know that fruit and veg do not grow pre-wrapped in plastic. At the prize-giving I mentioned that

the more we get people involved with growing the better it will be for future generations. In Cromarty, the Cromarty Allotment and Garden Society are into the first few months of growing and have turned the old tennis court from a site that was covered in weeds into a productive allotment area. Many plot holders are already picking tatties, cabbages and broccoli, all without the use of pesticides. This project has generated a lot of interest locally and I am convinced that this enthusiasm for growing can be generated across the Black Isle. Cllr Craig Fraser

Ken Fenwick Presidents Cup – For most points in pot plants – Susan Seright, Rosemarkie Lady Ross of Cromarty Challenge Cup – For best exhibit in class for three vases of sweet peas – Hamish MacDonald, Avoch Nancy Smith Cup – For best vase of six sweet peas – Susan Seright, Rosemarkie A. Maclennan Cup – For dahlias, open – Robert Holmes, Contin R. Maclennan Cup – For roses, open – Alastair Dowling, Inverness The Rae Challenge Cup – For exhibitor from Fortrose, Rosemarkie or Avoch with most points in Dahlias and Roses – Susan Seright, Rosemarkie Black Isle Horticultural Society Challenge Cup – For most points in pot plants and cut flowers – Susan Seright, Rosemarkie The Rod Anderson Challenge Cup – For fruit, open – Clive Howard, Culbokie Kinnock Challenge Cup – For most points in Fruit and Vegetables – Clive Howard, Culbokie Quincentennial Cup – Exhibitor from Burgh of Fortrose and Rosemarkie with most points in Pot plants, Cut Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables – Susan Seright, Rosemarkie Banksian Medal – For the highest aggregated points of sections 1+2+3+4 (winners in previous two years excluded) – Sheila Maher, Corntown Colonel Torin Challenge Cup – For children’s exhibit, best miniature garden – Katherine Holm, Rosemarkie The Forsyth Trophy – For food – Erica Cormack – Mount High The Black Isle Partnership Trophy – For crafts – Margaret Williamson, Avoch Colonel Irvine Challenge Cup – For best colour print of any horticultural subject – Lucy Maclennan, Fortrose Fortrose Challenge Rosebowl – For best exhibit in show – Robert Holmes, Contin

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Sea Scouts Skipper Derek Martin at work on the barbecue.

Avoch Gala By Liz McKinlay


N most places that organise their local festivities in summer, people anxiously scan the forecast, stare at the sky, or quote their grannies’ well worn myths about signs of rain. The villagers of Avoch, looking forward to their Gala day on June 23rd, were no different. Weather warnings had been issued for parts of the country, blood pressures rose, contingency garden gazebos were provided, and collective parts of bodies were crossed for a fine day. The initial signs at 10am looked a tad damp as the Avoch army started to set up camp. The Sea Scouts, overseen by Skipper Derek Martin, lit their barbecue and set up their stall. Jane Jardine and Jenni Findlay of

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the Avoch Amenities Association had their delectable baking stall and tea tables beautifully organised in the pavilion. Munro’s garden centre had arrived with their gorgeous array of plants to support the event, the Avoch Brownie pack and Macmillan cancer support stalls were gearing up with all sorts of goodies to sell. There were many local crafts including lovely stained glass and beautiful photographs on sale, and Avoch Church of Scotland had been baking up a storm and beautiful smells emanated from the Indian cookery stall, run by Mairi Faulkes and her husband. The clouds parted, the sun shone, outer garments were removed, and sighs of relief were heard above the noise of the bouncy castle being inflated. With piper in place, the main


Herring Queen Emily Lingard with attendants Ellie Mann and Abbie Ross.

Soloman Baarda entertains the crowds. Pictures: Mike Noble

defies the weather event could get under way, to welcome the Gala Queen and her attendants – in Avoch, the Herring Queen, to reflect the village’s fishing heritage. Emily Lingard, this year’s Queen, and her attendants, Ellie Mann and Abbie Ross, were piped in by Sea Scout Solomon, and took their place on their throne in front of villagers, visitors and doting families. They were flanked by Avoch Brownies and the Sea Scouts. Emily was duly crowned by Mike Noble and the Avoch proclamation read. With photographs taken, gifts distributed to the Queen and her attendants, the buzz of the business of enjoying the stalls and

Cllr Craig Fraser was among the visitors meeting up with fellow Gala revellers commenced. Meanwhile, the Avoch army of volunteers swung into action and provided the village with a great afternoon, despite the downpour midway through the day. However, spirits were not dampened as folks took shelter under the gazebos and enjoyed

the sumptuous spread available in the pavilion. Jenye Monckton, speaking on behalf of Avoch Amenities committee, was delighted with the event that has brought much needed funds to the association. On behalf of the committee, Jenye would like to thank everyone for their support and, in particular, Stephan and Angus for their muscle and practical help; Beanie for driving the Queen and attendants; Moira Anderson, Janice Macleman, Mags Williamson and Margaret Leggatt for their hard work; and of course everyone who came along to support the event.

Avoch Primary School Gala Art Competition Primary 1 – 1st Mala, 2nd Jamie, 3rd Anna Rose, Special, Emma and Finlay Primary 1/2 – 1st Lachie, 2nd Findlay, 3rd Ruby, Special, Elin Primary 3 – 1st Lewis Jack, 2nd Mia, 3rd Freya, Special, Tom Aldridge, Lucas Primary 4/5 – 1st Robert Smith, 2nd Zoe Erikson, 3rd Canneach Primary 5/6 – 1st Myra, Isla and Kim, 2nd Maria and Jena, 3rd Fraser, Eric and Tim Primary 7 – 1st Freya 2nd Lewis, 3rd Cameron, Special, Tom

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On the way to big school

The Avoch Primary 7 leaving dance was organised by a small number of the P7 parents. These parents put a lot of time and effort into this night, ensuring that all of the P7s left primary school with an occasion to remember. There were several meetings and many, many e-mails to make sure everything was well organised. Parents also provided drinks, food, sweets, balloons and party decorations. Very generous financial assistance came from Avoch Under-12 Football Club and Avoch Primary Parent Council. The P7 leavers also received a keepsake T-shirt with the number “12” (for 2012) on the back, made up of the names of all those leaving this year. We wish them all the best and great success at Fortrose Academy. Picture: Ian Rhind

Work begins on Avoch café/restaurant project By Claire Divine

W An artist’s impression of the front (above) and rear of the premises.

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ORK has finally started on the proposed café/ restaurant near the harbour in Avoch. The current works are soil investigation and analysis to ensure maximum protection of human health by limiting risks to ground water arising from the site’s previous use as a filling station. A revised planning application was submitted in August. The redesign takes into account the ‘gateway’ position of the site and aims to blend in with the sensitive Conservation Area and surrounding listed buildings of the High Street, whilst providing a more modern elevation to the firth and taking advantage of the views and natural daylight.

“The building will utilise construction techniques and materials never employed before in the Highlands for the superstructure, resulting in exceptional thermal performance,” said a spokesman for the designer, Ormonde ADPM. “There will also be extensive use of green materials and technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of the building.” The business is scheduled to open in spring 2013. It will be a café during daytime hours and a more formal restaurant in the evenings. There will also be a deli counter as an extension of the Comfort Foods business taken over recently by Mr and Mrs Timson in Rosemarkie. It is understood the business will be run as a family venture.


Lottery cash aids Black Isle A

WARDS for All Scotland is supported by Creative Scotland, Sport Scotland and the Big Lottery Fund. It awards grants of between £500 and £10,000 for people to take part in art, sport, heritage and community activities and projects that promote education, the environment and health in the local community. Here’s a few of the most recent recipients of Awards in the Black Isle: Resolis Primary School received a £7,463 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The school is to build and install a traverse wall for all pupils to use. Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club received a £7,000 Awards for All grant from Sport Scotland. The club is to develop the practice area to create a junior-friendly coaching environment. The grant will contribute to the cost of practice nets, a storage shed for junior golf clubs and practice aids, three chipping mats, coaching aids, safety sign, swing apparatus and PGA Level 1 Coach Education fees Tore Primary School has received a £8,066 Awards for All grant from Big Lottery Fund. The school intends to install playground equipment in the school grounds. The grant will fund a climbing stack, parallel bars, stepping logs, jigsaw traverse wall, crawl tunnel, safagrass mats and tech mesh. Northern Counties Girls Golf Association received a £1,880 award. This will help provide coaching sessions and organise events in the seven golf clubs across North Scotland. The grant will contribute towards PGA Pro coaching time, fun days, certificates and golf items, PGA level 1 fees, skills challenge equipment, transport to events and advertising. Cromarty and District Community Council received a £2,000 award. The council will run a programme of dance sessions and purchase the equipment required to build a Smoothie Bike Rider which will enable the group to offer smoothie sessions in which young people can engage in a physical, fun activity to produce a healthy drink.

Thanks from Anna MARINA and Anna would like to thank everyone who gave their time and effort and helped at the Soup ‘n’ Sweet event held at Avoch Masonic Lodge earlier this year in aid of therapy for Anna who has cerebral palsy. They gave special thanks to the ladies who provided catering for the event and to the Right Worshipful Master and officers of the lodge. Thanks to everyone who came along and to those who gave a donation; a total of £1,030 was raised which will go towards Anna’s next therapy trip to London later this year.

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Anderson T

HE Anderson restaurant with rooms in Fortrose has been named Champion Beer Pub 2012 by DRAM Magazine at a lavish ceremony, held at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel, filled with the cream of the Scottish licensed trade, all hoping to be recognised in the prestigious awards. Gold, silver and bronze medals in the Olympicthemed ceremony were hung around the neck of each medalist, who stood on stage on an Olympicstyle platform. The Champion Beer Pub award, sponsored by Molson Coors, went to the Scottish pub that champions good beer, actively promotes responsible beer consumption and has a large beer selection that is successfully paired with food. The Anderson was awarded the Gold Medal based on having the UK’s most-impressive beer collection, featuring 120 Belgian beers, real ales and ciders and a vast selection of hard-to-find beers made by today’s most-innovative brewers from Scotland, England, Norway, France, Denmark, USA, Germany and Italy. Since opening in 2003, it has poured real ale from nearly 300 breweries and its collection of 30 extreme beers from the Danish “gypsy” brewer, Mikkeller, is the largest outside of his home base of Copenhagen. As an alternative to bottles of wine, it also offers several gourmet beers in 750ml bottles. “To have a selection like ours is hard enough in the city,” says co-owner Jim Anderson, who assembles the beers, often at great effort and expense, “but up here in the Highlands, it’s another ball game. No one wants to deliver past Inverness, and often I have to arrange my own carriage.”

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wins top beer pub title

Jim Anderson, complete with his winner’s medal, behind the public bar at his Fortrose estaurant. Picture: Claire Divine Cooking with beer is something chef, Anne Anderson, finds both challenging and rewarding. “Many recipes call for ’beer’ as an ingredient,” she says, “but until you begin to experiment with the fantastic range of flavours in the beer family, you have no idea how much difference choosing the right beer can make.” Among the beer-laden dishes she’s offered are Belgian Flamande

Carbonade, British Venison, Ale & Mushroom pie, German Sauerkraut and Mexican Drunken Prawns. The Andersons moved to Fortrose in 2003 from the USA, where they worked in the catering industry in Philadelphia, New York and New Orleans. In addition to an immense beer selection, The Anderson offer 150 single-malt whiskies, 120 wines by the

bottle and a menu of authentic international recipes that changes daily. There are also nine en suite guest rooms upstairs. Previously it has been named CAMRA Pub of the Year, DRAM Small Bar of the Year, won a Whisky Magazine Gold Medal and been one of the Sunday Herald Top 10 Scottish Restaurants. ■ ■ @TheAndersonUK

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Gail Sanderson and Jill Pimms behind one of the stalls.

The Rev Mel Langille enjoys a cuppa.

Bargains in the sun By Liz McKinlay


Anne Hamilton was one of the day’s models.

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HARITY shop, free tea and cakes, plus beautiful weather, add up to all my favourite things, so it was no hardship to go along and mingle with the good people of the Black Isle to support the promotion of their gem of a charity shop. The shop, on Academy Street in Fortrose, is run by the Scottish Episcopal Church on the Black Isle, as reported in our summer edition. June Evan-Baker kindly offered her garden to host the event which supported and celebrated the shop and the charities it has helped. The church also wanted to express its gratitude to the local community for its support. There were some resplendent costumes and jewellery as local ladies modelled items available in the shop. Toys, books, designer clothes and even two beautiful cane garden chairs were for sale – all kinds of treasures to be found in this charity emporium were on show. The Rev Mel Langille sported his bagpipes and sampled the wonderful array of home baking to set himself up for a good “blaw”.

The shop has a range of clothes, books, knick-knacks, toys and things you may not have thought you needed, but once spied have to be purchased! The prices – and I say this as a charity shop expert – are extremely reasonable. Since its opening last October, the shop has raised a wonderful £4,000. Monies raised go to charities, both local and in Malawi, and so far cheques have been sent to Highland Disabled Ramblers, Reality Works, SOAR Youth Projects, and Medicines for Malawi. The beauty of this shop is that whilst you’re indulging in some retail therapy, you are also donating to some wonderful causes. Do remember it’s also a worthy cause to donate. Now’s the time for an early autumn clear out! For those of us who enjoy a good rummage, I can highly recommend the shop tucked away in Academy Street in Fortrose. ■ Opening times: Wednesdays and Saturdays – 10am till 1pm. Follow the signs beside the Eilean Dubh Restaurant.


Mrs Stormont watches as Mr Sharky faces up to another soaking sponge.


HE forecast for Monday, June 25th was dry; however, for two Fortrose Academy teachers the outlook was very wet! A group of S2 pupils headed by Natalie Dunton, Craig MacNamara and Sophie Millar decided to help raise money for the Black Isle Need to Play Association by sponging two teachers. The association helps children with additional needs from local families who have financial difficulties. “We thought it would be a great idea for children to help the children,” stated Natalie. “It was also to tie in with the 100-mile Cycle Challenge which the school was supporting,” added Craig. The event was promoted by an article by Rebecca Setford in the parents’ June Newsletter and a

Teachers get a soaking for charity PowerPoint presentation to all pupils during assembly by Louise Dunton. Both girls are in S1. Six teachers put their names down and the pupils voted by donating money to the teacher they most wanted to be sponged. Physics teacher Mr Sharky and history teacher Mrs Stormont received the most donations and at 1.30pm they walked to their fate in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The two game teachers had to face

ten pupils with water-laden sponges. Unable to move, they had to sit and hope the pupils’ aim was poor! Once the 10 pupils were exhausted, Mr Sharky and Mrs Stormont did not escape a further soaking as full buckets of cold water were tipped over their heads as a parting “thank you”. “We really enjoyed preparing for the event,” commented Sophie Millar afterwards. “We didn’t mind giving up our lunch breaks and free time. It was for a great cause.” The event raised a tremendous £113.86 for the charity. Members of the Black Isle Need to Play Association were delighted by the donation and overjoyed by the initiative and support of the Fortrose Academy teachers and pupils. Sarah Dunton, Natalie Dunton and Craig MacNamara

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A place O

N Saturday, June 2nd, with the sun shining, The P.A.R.K. – The Place for Active Rosemarkie Kids – was officially opened. Following the removal of the existing play equipment over the last few years, for safety reasons, parents were dismayed to learn that there was no money in the pot to replace it. Undeterred, in May 2011, The P.A.R.K. committee was formed, with the aim of redeveloping the play park. The community rallied round and put their massive support behind the project. Each fundraising event was a great success despite the “summer” weather of last year. Delicious strawberry teas were enjoyed, faces painted, bingo and football played and in just over six months the committee, made up of parents and grandparents, had reached its ambitious target of £80,000. “We even won the RBS Community Force award, where the three projects with the most votes, in each RBS area, receive £6,000,” said Gail Paterson, the group treasurer. “We couldn’t have done it without the community’s support, from local businesses and individuals too numerous to mention. Everyone has shown an overwhelming response and we can’t thank everyone enough. We actually raised an amazing £89,000 in total.” Funding was secured from the Scottish Government and European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 programme, Fortrose & Rosemarkie Common Good Fund and Highland Council’s Black Isle Ward Discretionary Budget. The installation of the new equipment was begun but made for a very nervous committee because the park was not fully completed until just two days before the opening! However, a year from the outset, excitement and anticipation was high in the village. Mary MacKenzie (95), Rosemarkie’s oldest resident and great supporter of village events, was given the honour of cutting the ribbon and declaring The P.A.R.K. officially open. Under a lovely blue sky, everyone came out to enjoy a Picnic in The Park. Sofia Ryan, committee secretary, said: “The delay worked in our favour and actually made the opening even more special as nobody had really had the chance to see and try out the new park until Mary cut the ribbon. “We now have a fabulous place that young and old can enjoy and comments from all around have been so favourable.” Cllr Billy Barclay, who was right behind the project from the beginning, commented: “I knew from attending the first meeting of the committee that this project was going to succeed. What I did not realise was the speed that the funds were to be raised. “The Rosemarkie community got behind the project and the results are for all to see. This is a great example of what can happen when you have people with a ‘can do’ attitude involved in a project. Everyone connected with The P.A.R.K. should be proud of their achievements.” Once again summer this year has been a bit of a washout but since it opened The P.A.R.K. has proved extremely popular and along with Avoch play park shows that a need for these play parks is most definitely there. Folk have been coming from all over the Black Isle and beyond with a great time had by all, except when parents try to get their children home!

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for all active kids

Joannie Mair and Edith Grigor prove the park is not just for bairns. Pictures: Liz McKinlay

Mary MacKenzie, Rosemarkie’s oldest resident, who cut the ribbon to open The P.A.R.K., with Neil McLeod, chair of the park committee. September 2012 Chatterbox

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Fortrose Academy Awards Ceremony An awards ceremony was held on Wednesday the 6th of June. Over 100 awards were handed out and pupils were very pleased to receive these awards. S1 Č‚ S3 pupils received awards for either academic achievement or effort in classes. S1 Č‚ S6 could receive special awards. The best example was Hugh Merrell who won a special award for running with the Olympic torch! Two pupils said it was really good and ‡š…‹–‹Â?‰ǤDz –Š‘—‰Š–‹–™ƒ•‰”‡ƒ–„‡…ƒ—•‡ we got a certificate for our hard work in ͳǨdzŠ‹ƒƒ…Â?‡Â?œ‹‡Č‹Í´Ç¤ČŒ”•‘™Â?‹‡ (LS) who presented the awards told us Dz –™ƒ•ƒ‰”‡ƒ–Š‘Â?‘—”–‘ŠƒÂ?†‘—––Š‡ awards and I thoroughly enjoyed the ‡˜‡Â?‹Â?‰Ǥdz Dale Harwood S2

Highland Young Musician 2012 By Rachel Spence S2 On Sunday the 27th June 2012, ten Highland school pupils gathered in the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness to compete to find the Highland Young Musician of the Year 2012. The annual competition run by the Friends of Highland Young Musicians celebrates music in young people, and involved ten young musicians this year. After the first round, five got through to the final, playing in front of an audience, and a panel of judges. At the end, the judges revealed their decision. In third place came oboist Bruce Foster of Dingwall Academy, violinist Rebecca Amphlett from Grantown Grammar came 2nd, aÂ?†ǎ…‡ŽŽ‹•– Findlay Spence of Fortrose Academy scooped first prize. Š‡Â?‹Â?Â–Â‡Â”Â˜Â‹Â‡Â™Â‡Â†ÇĄ ‹Â?†Žƒ›•ƒ‹†ÇŽ – was a great experience to participate in such a prestigious …‘Â?’‡–‹–‹‘Â?ǯǤ Â?–Š‡•ƒÂ?‡Â?‹‰Š–ǥʹͲͳͳǯ•™‹Â?Â?‡”ǥ violinist Helena Rose of Lochaber High School performed, before presenting Findlay with the Trophy for Musical Excellence. As quoted by ƒÂ?‡Â?„‡”‘ˆ–Š‡ƒ—†‹‡Â?…‡ÇŽ –™as a great concert showing some fantastic musical talents.ÇŻ

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A Flavour of Fortrose Academy... Bon voyage Mrs Downie By Claire Holliday and Rebecca Setford Today we went up to interview Mrs Downie, a learning support teacher who is unfortunately leaving the school at the end of this term. We asked her how long she has been in the school and she gave us a surprising answer of 18 and a half years! In those 18 and a half years she has most enjoyed the history trips and London trips. We also asked her if she was going to miss her work here, she ƒÂ?•™‡”‡†ǥ Dz‡•Ǥ ‘˜‡Ž› •–ƒˆˆ ƒÂ?† †‡’ƒ”–Â?‡Â?–Ǩdz ƒˆ–‡” –Š‹• •Š‡ •ƒ‹† that she used to live in Shetland before moving here to Fortrose. We asked her to sum up Fortrose Academy in three words and she Â•ÂƒÂ‹Â†ÇĄDz‰”‡ƒ–•…Š‘‘ŽǨdz I am sure Mrs Downie will be greatly missed by her work colleagues and the students of Fortrose!

Bon voyage Mr Fraser! By Isla Mackay and Hannah Danson ÄĄĹ„Ĺ‡Ĺ‰Ĺ‡Ĺ„ĹˆÄşÄœÄ¸ÄśÄšÄşĹ‚ĹŽÄžĹˆĝŊŠŠĹ„ÄťĹŒĹ„ĹƒÄšÄşĹ‡ÄťĹŠĹ Ĺ‰ÄşÄśÄ¸Ä˝ÄşĹ‡ĹˆĹˆĹ„Ğʼn/ĹˆÄśĹˆÄ˝ÄśĹ‚ÄşĹŒÄ˝ÄşĹƒ someone like Mr. Fraser, waves goodbye to Fortrose! Mr Fraser, a craft and design teacher will be retiring at the end of June so we have asked him some questions before he leaves! Q: How long have you worked at Fortrose? Äœ0ĤĽĜŋĺÄˇÄşÄşĹƒĜʼnĥńŇtrose for 17 and a half yÄşÄśĹ‡Ĺˆ1 Q: Has it always been your dream to be a technical teacher? Äœ0ÄŠĹ„Ä˛Ä˝ÄşĹƒĤĹŒÄśĹˆĹŽĹ„ĹŠĹƒÄźĤÄ¸Ĺ„ĹŠĹ ÄšĹƒ/ʼnğĺʼnńŊʼnĹ„ÄťĹˆÄ¸Ä˝Ĺ„Ĺ„Ĺ ņŊĞĸŀŠŎ enough, though wood and metal work was my favourite subject! Q: What has been the highlight of your time at Fortrose? Äœ0ĤÄşĹƒÄżĹ„ĹŽÄşÄšĹŒÄ˝ÄşĹƒʼnĽĺÄ¸Ĺ„ĹƒĹˆĹ‰Ĺ‡ĹŠÄ¸Ĺ‰ÄžĹ„ĹƒĹˆĹ€ÄžĹ Ĺ ĹˆÄ¸Ĺ„ĹŠĹ‡ĹˆÄşĹŒÄśĹˆÄžĹƒĹ‰Ĺ‡Ĺ„ÄšĹŠÄ¸ÄşÄš1 Q: Have you had any funny or embarrassing moments? Äœ0IJ劊ĤĹŒĹ„Ĺƒ/ʼnĜĚłĞʼnʼnńʼnĽĺÄşĹ‚ÄˇÄśĹ‡Ĺ‡ÄśĹˆĹˆÄžĹƒÄźĹ‚Ĺ„Ĺ‚ÄşĹƒĹ‰ĹˆġŊʼnĤ/Ĺ‹ÄşĽĜĚ Ĺ‚ÄśĹƒĹŽÄťĹŠĹƒĹƒĹŽĹ‚Ĺ„Ĺ‚ÄşĹƒĹ‰ĹˆĹŠĹˆĹŠÄśĹ Ĺ ĹŽĜʼnĹ‚ĹŽĹ„ĹŒĹƒÄşĹ?Ĺ…ÄşĹƒĹˆÄş1 Q: Can you describe your time at Fortrose in three words? Äœ0čŇńġĜġŠŎğńńĚġĺʼnʼnĺŇÄśĹƒÄšÄˇÄşĹˆĹ‰Ä˛Ä˝ÄşĹƒĤĸĜłĺʼnńÄĄĹ„Ĺ‡Ĺ‰Ĺ‡Ĺ„ĹˆÄşĞʼnĹŒÄśĹˆ ğńńĚĞʼnğńʼnġĺʼnʼnĺŇÄśĹƒÄšĹƒĹ„ĹŒĤĝĺĺŠĞʼn/ĹˆĜʼnÄžĹ‰ĹˆÄˇÄşĹˆĹ‰1 We would all like to wish Mr. Fraser the best of luck in his retirement!

Left: Mrs Downie Right: Mr Fraser


A club for people who listen By Bob Bull


LACHBEG Croft Folk Club started in October 2010, as a result of the combination of two things: the design of the building and its suitability for acoustic music; a desire amongst musicians to have somewhere to play to people that want to listen – not a pub. We were pleased to be able to get Claire Campbell from Abagail Grey to launch the club. More than 70 people turned up for the first night, which was too many. Things settled down after that with an average of around 30 attending on the third Tuesday of each month (though once or twice it has been nine!) Each month we try to get a young performer and somebody more experienced, and always have an option of an open mic for people who want to play a song or two, and a session where people can make noise together. The aim is to give local people a chance to perform, so we don’t aim to

import musicians from elsewhere. The list of people who have played here includes, Black Rock Ceilidh, Corralach, Ranald Smith, Red Hook Rapids, Megan Blythe, Fiona Mackenzie, Lilian Ross, Davy Cowan, Last Summer

Effect, Ashleigh and the Cosmonauts, Sara Bills, Steve Eaglesham, and many more. In conjunction with Highland Environmental Network we have just run, for the second year, the Free Range Folk Stage at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, and we have been asked to do it again next year. This year we brought in a couple of performers from outside the Highlands, and look forward to Sarah Coloso from Dundee performing later in the year. For the next few months we have: ■ September 18th: Susanna Wolfe and Steven Barclay. ■ October 23rd: Dougie Burns and Marc Clement. (Please note this is the fourth Tuesday). ■ November 20th: Duncan Overmeer. I am not expecting to have to work too hard to find performers, so if you would like to play please get in touch. There is no admission charge, but we do ask for donations. ■ See the back page for more details of the club.


Busy Sea Scouts AVOCH Sea Scouts took on the running of the Avoch Community Centre on July 1st. They will be using it as their training base and organising and running the centre for Avoch Amenities Association for the next year, possibly longer if things work out well. Their website includes a blog, where you can see who is using the centre and make bookings. See 1st Avoch Sea Scouts under Groups on

or go direct to avochcommunitycentre. This is part of the scout group’s site at www.avoch So far everything seems to be going very well. The car park area has already been tidied up, the leaking canopy at the entrance has been fixed and our reporter says that he can’t remember when he has seen the place looking so neat and tidy. Somebody needs a pat on the back!

Church celebrates ON Saturday, September 29th, St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church at Arpafeelie celebrates its bi-centennial and the restoration of its main stained glass window. This famous church is the oldest Episcopal Church in the Highlands. A service of blessing and celebration, led by Bishop Mark Strange,

will start at 2.30pm. The church will be open from 11am for those who would like to view the extensive flower arrangements. Please feel free to come – you will be most welcome. Refreshments will be available. Celebrations will continue with a service on Sunday at 11am.

FIVE local entrepreneurial girls recently decided they would like to help raise some money for Munlochy Animal Aid, and all by themselves organised a guess the number of sweets in a jar competition. With some help from Anne Phillips at Rosemarkie Spar, they set up at the beach and raised £37.20! Boosted by their success, they then held a bake stall outside the Spar and raised

Aid for the animals their total to £100. Left to right are Susannah Bowman, Hannah Fea, Chloe Fea, Maria Ryan, Iona Henderson and, from Munlochy Animal Aid, Iona Nicol. All the girls are ten except seven-year-old Hannah.

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Flooding is In search of the Reid family ‘not a danger’ OVER recent years, as many of you know, there have been concerns over potential flooding due to issues with the burn in Avoch. In recent weeks Avoch was visited by the Flood Prevention Team and their findings were that no work was necessary in terms of flood prevention. Their reason was that the parkland areas were sufficient to absorb any water that may make its way into that area. It was also mentioned that it was important to keep gullies clear at all times. I have to accept the findings of the team, but I can’t say I am comfortable with the outcome. When they were in Avoch they interviewed several people, many with local knowledge of the history of the village, and it transpired that no flooding was recorded from these areas that we have concerns Send your letters to about. I hope we are not in a position editor@ to find out if their findings are correct or not. or to The Editor, At the time of writing, work has Chatterbox, 18 progressed in the new layout and Mackenzie Place, surface for the High Street in Avoch. Avoch, IV9 8QP This work is long overdue but it is the No anonymous letters will be first phase of other works planned in published but authors’ name and Avoch, involving School Brae and other address will be withheld on request areas. Cllr Billy Barclay Boggie Well toys, household goods, or payment for Fortrose playschemes, riding lessons or even a family outing. The provision is tailored directly to what will give the family the best form of support. With grateful thanks, The committee of Black Isle Need to Play


Thanks to cyclists

THE committee of the Black Isle Need to Play Organisation would like to take this public opportunity to extend our very grateful thanks to the 15 hardy cyclists and their valiant support team for their overwhelming generosity in taking on a sponsored 100-mile cycle to raise money to support families with children who have additional needs. Thanks, too, for all those who enabled the event to take place by smoothing out all the practical and logistical issues. So far, they have raised the fantastic sum of £2,909 with more money still coming in. This is a wonderful achievement and will make an enormous difference for many families over the coming months. We would also like to thank Natalie and Craig and their school chums for organising a Sponge the Teacher fundraiser which itself raised £113. A novel idea indeed and hats off to the willing recipients of wet sponges. To everyone who donated to either of these events, please know that the money will be very well used. Following referrals from a professional such as the health visitor, speech and language therapist, GP or similar, funding is provided in whatever way it is needed. This could be vouchers for Page 20 Chatterbox September 2012

Volunteers sought IT might seem a wee bit away from November but we are already planning the Poppy Appeal in the Black Isle. About 45% of the total monies raised in the Black Isle come from door to door collections. The shops throughout the Black Isle raise a further 32% which is really superb but we need to keep the momentum going as far as the door-to-door collections are concerned. Unfortunately quite a few of the regular collectors are getting a bit older and are finding it more and more difficult to manage the collections – hence my appeal through the columns of Chatterbox. Collectors are needed this year throughout the Black Isle – especially North Kessock and Culbokie areas where we have never been able to do house-to-house before. If you feel that you could manage to give a little time to do a collection in your area this November, I would be delighted to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to give me a ring on 01381 620110 or 07770

THE two gentlemen on the left are from Lewis (my father, Donald Morrison on extreme left). The photo was taken in Hyde Park, Sydney Australia on September 8th, 1939. On the right is Mr Reid from the Black Isle somewhere. I would be interested to hear from any of his relatives. Apparently Mr Reid’s sister worked in the Marine Hotel at that time. Contact no for me is 01381 621610. Catherine Kernahan

373772 and I will be only too happy to welcome you onto our team. Ramsay McGhee Poppy Scotland Area Organiser

Balsam and fruit trees THANKS to everyone who got in touch and want to help rid the Avoch and Killen burns of the invasive, nonnative, Himalayan balsam. We’re currently working with others to put an application together so we can fund a project over the next few years – it will take several years of sustained work to completely get on top of Himalayan balsam. Watch this space and the Avoch notice board for more information. You can also contact me. We’re still looking for any information about local varieties of fruit trees to plant in the gaps in the Avoch play park. We’re keen to find local varieties of fruit trees of all kinds – apples, damsons, pears, greengages... anything! We’re sure people must have some idea of what’s locally distinctive or suitable for this area. Perhaps you know of an old fruit tree we could take a graft from? Please let us know. Phil Baarda 01381 621928

Railway plea I AM researching the history of the railway between Muir of Ord and Fortrose for possible publication of a small book. I would be very interested to hear from anyone with recollections of the branch line when it was open, or with photographs of the stations, particularly Rosehaugh Halt. Jack Kernahan Loch Skerrow Wester Balmungie IV10 8SL 01381 621610

Women In Business

Freshen up with Rebecca By Liz McKinlay


F you passed Rebecca McDougall in the street, you would immediately think: “What a very pretty, fresh faced young woman.” But this lady has a keen business brain to go with her good looks. Rebecca runs her beauty business from Fortrose, where she lives. Since she was a child, Rebecca has always been interested in make-up and vintage fashion. Among her heroines are Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy, to name but a few. Rebecca likes the sheer femininity of being a make-up artist. She studied advanced make-up in Glasgow and has set up her own business – The Fresh N Up Company, which delivers a number of services. Her company supplies on site beauty rooms – tents where people can freshen up their make-up and nails at festivals, weddings, and events. Most recently she was at the Belladrum Festival. She has also launched, in Scotland, a new tanning product called Wow Brown, which is supplied to individual buyers and salons. It was formulated in Dublin by two beauticians and is selling extremely well. “Claire Divine, an employment adviser with Highland Council, really helped me get going and has supported me for two years, helped me to keep motivated and develop my skills,” said Rebecca. “My family, in particular, are very supportive too. My dad, who is a photographer, is the one who inspired me to get into business from a young age. He has been a massive support to me. “There’s a lot to learn about turning an interest into a business, and I have learned to be more disciplined and consider more carefully how to invest cash to get the best return. My mum was really helpful, too, helping me negotiate the red tape, as she’s an admin manager,” she explained. Rebecca says the best thing about running her own business is having the freedom to do what she wants with her own company, and pride at creating something for herself. She also likes the freedom of setting her own timeframes and hours. “I want to take The Fresh N Up Company all over Scotland and develop the tanning product wholesale. I want to see my company on site tents at all kinds of events to help women look their best at all times.” ■ phone 07765 086480

Rebecca McDougall – enjoys being a make-up artist.

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Black Isle People

The quiet man in By Sandy Mitchell


MET Chap Middleton quite by accident. I had gone to interview Craig Middleton, the young entrepreneur who had set up his micro-brewery by Davidston Farm near Cromarty. It turned out his dad had a well-established motor-bike tuning business, Highland Motorcycle Dynos, set up five years before, right next door. I’d taken a quick look round the workshops and seen the state-of-theart Dyno rolling road. I made a promise to come back and find out more. So I did. Chap I found a friendly unassuming guy concerned not to be thought to be bragging by telling his story. After a long career as a forestry contractor, he decided in 2007 to turn his earlier love affair with speed into a new business – tuning the kind of bikes for other

people that he himself used to race. In the late nineties he had been a successful sidecar and solo racer, eventing at most of Scotland’s tracks – Knockhill, East Fortune and Crail. For five years it was sidecar racing and in 1990 he became F1 Sidecar Champion at Knockhill. The following year he was second in the Scottish Senior Championship. Then in ’92 while leading the same Championship he broke his left arm in an accident at East Fortune. I’d watched sidecar racing on TV and seen the passengers having to make lightning movements from side to side so I asked Chap about this. It wasn’t easy, he said, to get a good passenger (though, I thought, “passenger” doesn’t seem quite the right word). Ideally he should be about ten stone and both fit and strong. And, he added drily, not afraid of a bit of speed…

His first partner was a lad from Ardross but the main man for several years was Hugh Ducat, nicknamed Shug. But it was on one occasion in 1994 when Shug was injured that Chap had his most serious accident – through no fault of his own. He had been doing a practice session with a stand-in passenger, who fell off as they whizzed through a chicane. Chap pulled off the racing line, ran up the side of the track and stopped. Another rider, coming at speed – his eyes for a split second on the man who had rolled off – went straight into the back of Chap’s outfit. Chap’s back was broken in three places and he was out of racing for over two years and in pain for a long while. “I am lucky still to be able to walk,” he told me. But the lure of speed drew him back to the sport, this time on just two wheels. In ’99 he got a Seeley Norton and started to develop it – for like most riders he built up and tuned his own machines. It took two years to get the Norton ready for competition and in 2001 he had his first solo success, a prize in the Bob Macintyre Memorial race at East Fortune. He recalls the prizes that day were presented by Jim Redman – six times World Motorcycle Champion. It was to be three more years before Chap won his first solo race but the year after, 2003, he had another accident, this time a broken wrist and shoulder. Despite this he carried on racing for another couple of years before deciding it was time to stop. I wanted to know which was more dangerous – solo or sidecar. He reckoned they were much of a muchness: “Only in the cockpit you get a false sense of security.” When I wondered did passenger and driver ever swop jobs he said sometimes passengers – like Shug – did become drivers but drivers (and here he gave a wee grin) never become passengers. The move from racing to a

Chap works on bikes of all shapes and sizes. Page 22 Chatterbox September 2012

Black Isle People

search of speed Chap in action on the track and in his workshop. professional tuning business was a natural progression since he had all along tuned his own bikes and his pal Shug worked in a Dyno car-tuning workshop. Chap reckoned the same system could work just as well for bikes. As he put it, he had always been looking for ways to get more speed out of his own machines. The business has grown steadily, mainly through word-of-mouth. Last winter he was especially busy tuning race bikes, though he also offers the service to owners of ordinary road bikes. On my visit there was a bike up on the Dyno, the back tyre on the rolling road and ahead at eye level a TV-type screen where readings show up. Torque and horse-power are measured and – most important of all – the optimum fuel/air ratio is calculated. After I’d taken some pictures I was led upstairs to the workshops where, said Chap, the real work is done – the stuff he himself is really interested in. Here engines are stripped down, especially over the winter when there is more time to hand, and all sorts of modifications like types of pistons can be pondered and tried out. This is where Chap’s own experience as a racer comes into its own. In a way, he explained, the Dyno is just the last stage in the process – testing out and validating what has been patiently worked out and worked on up the stairs.

■ Highland Motorcycle Dynos Glencora Davidston Cromarty IV11 8XD ■ 01381 600300 ■ highlandbikedynos@ ■

A sign of his growing reputation is reflected in the kind of racers entrusting their bikes to him. Recently, two young lads from Dunfermline, Greg and Sean Gilfillan got first and second places on bikes tuned by Chap. The wins were in

support races for the British Superbike round at Knockhill. On a bigger stage he has also prepared bikes to race on the Isle of Man in the Manx Grand Prix. These races have for long been seen as a training ground for up-and-coming riders hoping to graduate to the worldstandard Isle of Man TT races. Recently Chap prepared bikes for Tony Wilson and Mike Swanson. Tony achieved second-fastest newcomer in the Senior race out of 90 starters and Mike got a replica award in the Junior race. So Chap may have retired from racing, left the forests for the racetrack and the track for the rolling road but no doubt he’ll go on putting all those years of experience at the service of lads who want to go very very fast, and in the right place for that – out on the circuits. September 2012 Chatterbox

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Black Isle People

Bike trio completes By Glenda Boyle


HUGE cheer rang out in Avoch as family and friends gathered to greet three Black Islers on the penultimate day of their Land’s End to John O’Groats sponsored cycle ride. Shirley Kelly, Richard Fea and Gay Faulkner – who have raised thousands of pounds for their chosen charities – got a grand welcome from a happy crowd, delighted to see them all so fit and well just nine days after starting the ride in Cornwall. The cyclists were inspired by adversity in their families to take on one of the most gruelling challenges in the fundraising world. They averaged about 100 miles each day over 10 days, backed up by their support team of Shirley’s husband, Martin, and children, Lewis, 11, and Niamh, 7, and Richard’s wife, Rosie, and daughters, Chloe, 10, and seven-year-old Hannah. There was a special reward for Gay at John O’Groats... her husband, Rory, had been called into hospital to receive a long-awaited liver transplant. Gay, from Rosemarkie, explained: “As we rolled into John O’Groats on our bikes, Rory rolled into theatre to receive his new liver. He is making a fantastic recovery and was out of hospital within 10 days of surgery. This was made possible thanks to a donor and I’d like to encourage others to consider carrying a donor card. “The cycle was great fun – an adventure of a lifetime – and not a puncture among us! A big thank you is due to our fantastic support team, my two cycling buddies and everyone who has made donations to support our fundraising efforts.” Gay will split her estimated £3,000

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Gay (left), Richard and Shirley make a brief stop at Avoch Harbour en route to the Nigg Ferry and onward to John O’Groats. proceeds between Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and the British Liver Trust which is working to reduce the impact of liver disease in the UK through support and research. Shirley, from Avoch, raised more

than £6,000 for Maggie’s centres as a tribute to own her mother, Margaret Bruce, who received great support from the local unit in Inverness. Sponsors for Richard, from Rosemarkie, have pledged more than

Black Isle People

gruelling fundraiser

Shirley, Gay and Richard with their all-important support team. £2,000 for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. His nephew, Lazaros Hatziannastassiadis, was born with liver disease. Lazaros, now aged 10, had two liver transplants in 2007, and leads an active and healthy life. Shirley, a former midwife and health visitor, said: “My mother was my inspiration for this. Mum and the family received great support from Maggie’s which is completely funded by charitable donations. I wanted to help this fantastic organisation to

provide support to other families in similar situations.” Richard, a finance manager at Cromarty Firth Port Authority, said: “The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation has been very supportive to our family, and we wanted to give something back. The charity supports children and families through diagnosis and treatment and also funds vital research into liver disease. This was very much in my thoughts during the challenge.”

Shirley described the cycle challenge as a “truly amazing and fulfilling experience.” She added: “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to complete this with such a great team. The back-up we received en route from Martin, Rosie and all the kids, and the support from Gay and Richard, helped to make it all possible. “We’d all like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in this. We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and generosity.”

Shirley’s mum, Margaret (left) and motherin-law, Helen, display their pride in their girl. September 2012 Chatterbox

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Black Isle People

Cycle epic aids By Sarah Dunton


Some of the cyclists who helped raise money for the association – back: Angela Tease, Sarah Dunton, Stephen MacNamara, Craig MacNamara, Kimberley Spence, Niven Marshall, Jim McBride, Pete Clunas; front: Sharon McLoughlin, Jim Neville, John Skinner and Jane Setford.

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ESPITE the Black Isle Need to Play Association being in existence for nearly 20 years I was surprised so few local people were aware of this charity and the tireless work of the volunteer committee members to raise funds. The association is a charity which provides assistance for children with additional needs who live on the Black Isle and whose families require financial help to allow those needs to be met. This can take the form of respite care, provision of toys, equipment and books, or transport to and from facilities like the Puffin Pool. As a fairly new member on the committee I wondered how we could raise awareness of our charity and finally came up with the idea of a 100-mile cycle challenge. I immediately received the support of Kimberley Spence and Angela Tease, instructors at the Black Isle Leisure Centre, and John Skinner, janitor at Fortrose Academy. Following the date being set for Saturday, June 23rd, the participant list slowly grew. However, once on board, the persuasive charms of Stephen MacNamara were hard to resist and our numbers soon swelled to 15. Transport to the start of our challenge, just north of Laxford

Black Isle People

children Bridge on the west coast, for so many people was proving complicated. Then Alistair Ferns, deputy at Fortrose Academy, came to our rescue by donating the use of the school minibus, bike trailer and fuel for the challenge. Morag MacNamara and Marean Skinner supported the group with hot drinks and food at each of the three stops and made sure everyone was well catered for. David Dunton supplied a second support vehicle to follow the cyclists to ensure we were all safe and none of the cyclists were lost on route. Despite the damp weather we had a favourable wind and completed the route via Lairg, Bonar Bridge, up and over the Struie, over the Cromarty Bridge and all the way to Cromarty, finishing at the Black Isle Leisure Centre car park. The total distance was 102 miles and the ascent of the challenge was over 1,430 metres – that’s more than the height of Ben Nevis. Participants took on the ride for many reasons: as a personal fitness challenge, to spend time with like-minded people or just

wanting a fun day out. Whatever their reason for doing the challenge, the end result was the same – the profile of the Black Isle Need to Play Association improved and the funds available for local children with additional needs received a much-needed boost. The total amount in sponsorship received to date is £2,909.68. Ian Goode, facility manager of the Black Isle Leisure Centre, and staff donated £60 and a further £80 was collected during classes prior to the cycle challenge. The support of everyone, local and further afield, has been tremendous and I am assured that our main objective of raising awareness to local residents and families has been met and we have also raised valuable funds to help local children. Cycle participants were: Sarah Dunton, Kimberley Spence, Angela Tease, Jane Setford, John Skinner, Alistair Ferns, Nino Meeham, Niven Marshall, Stephen MacNamara, Nigel Rigden, Jim Neville, Jim McBride, Sharon McLoughlin, Pete Clunas, Alan Patterson and Craig MacNamara.

■ If you have a child with additional needs and feel the association can help, applications for grants can be made confidentially via a care professional e.g. health visitor, GP, speech & language therapist or similar. BINtP members are not made aware of individual circumstances. ■ BlackIsleNeedtoPlay/

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Black Isle People

Creative urges first By Russell Turner


NEWLY published author’s work and research have taken her from Aberdeen to Russia, but she has never forgotten her Black Isle roots. Lorna Dey’s first novel, Banana Pier – a political psychological thriller – is written under the pen name of Alex Chisholm, but long-standing Rosemarkie residents may remember her as Lorna Corall. Her father, Tom, came from Aberdeen and her mother, Marnie, who is still alive at 96, is a Black Isle Munro. Her father’s family used to farm at Feddanhill, Rosemarkie in the 19th century. Her grandmother’s family farmed at Whitebog and were related to Cromarty geologist Hugh Miller – “a chair in his cottage belonged to my great granny” she said. Lorna was born and lived in Groam House and attended Fortrose Academy before moving to Aberdeen in the early 1960s. “My childhood in Rosemarkie was spent largely on the beach, playing at the burn, clambering over the rocks and exploring the caves where young imaginations were nurtured on stories of smugglers moving contraband inland along secret tunnels,” she recalled. “There were some forays into the Fairy Glen but it was less attractive to young girls who preferred tripping along the High Street on their mother’s high heels or daring one another to step inside the spooky ice house.” Lorna’s parents built and ran the Beach Cafe which provided her and friends with endless ice cream drinks sucked through paper straws as they gazed out at the porpoises’ synchronised displays in the bay in front of Fort George (or Fort Fart as Lorna called it) while its big guns cracked and thundered. Her first writing ventures took place in a caravan in the garden which she

Page 28 Chatterbox September 2012

Above: Lorna Dey on a recent trip to Copenhagen. Below: Lorna with her brother John and parents at Groam House and with Morven McAdam outside the Beach Cafe in the1950s.

Black Isle People

stirred on Black Isle and a friend, Moira Miller, who lived with her dog Patch on Shore Road, used as their publishing centre, creating their own newspapers until their lack of circulation killed them off, but the literary seed had been sown. After graduating from Aberdeen University she became a lecturer at Aberdeen College in politics and history and then a history and modern studies teacher in various Aberdeen schools. “I’ve always had an interest in politics and current affairs,” she said. “As I child I used to daydream of questioning politicians in the combative style of the late Robin Day and then I thought of becoming a journalist. As a teenager I was horrified at the inequalities of race, especially the struggle of black people in the USA and won an art competition for a painting on the theme and used to write poetry on the subject of inequality.” Lorna still has family in the Black MY interest in politics made me aware of the different political systems around the world and when I began to travel I was attracted to eastern Europe where life was strikingly different from the norms of the west. During trips to the old Soviet Union I met some lovely, friendly people but there were also others who were plainly desperate for the communist system to break down so they could expand their ’business ventures’. Staying with Russians, it became clear how corrupt the whole political setup was there and the constant struggles people had to get by, but it was not all doom and gloom. I was won over by the architecture and some beautiful landscapes as I travelled the trans-Siberian express across country. On our return from our last visit, the whole Soviet edifice began to break down and around that time I was at the opening of an exhibition in Aberdeen Art Gallery when I overheard two oil executives discussing business trips to Russia. I was surprised there were business interactions happening during the communist period between our oil companies and the Soviets and the beginnings of the story were conceived. Banana Pier has been simmering for nearly 20 years. Mostly it lay abandoned for a year or two then I would do some more research and perhaps write a little more. The research involved was huge and I ended up with a great deal of material

Isle and usually gets back two or three times a year. “When I first visited Groam House after it became a museum I was very disappointed as the old 18th century house had disappeared, with only its shell remaining, although the museum itself was a fine one,” she said. “I have been back several times since and when the upper floor was added I thought it an improvement. I recall the house as it was very vividly so while the physical can be destroyed the memories remain. “Rosemarkie seems so little now but full of memories. There’s the brae where as a six-year-old I lost control of the big pram containing my brother and it ran towards the High Street. Luckily a neighbour was looking out of her window, spotted it and ran out and stopped it as it crossed the pavement. Another time I tipped him into the burn from his push chair. Looking back there appears to be a theme developing here!

“I have never forgotten playing with a handful of sixpences and threepenny bits on the beach along from the burn burying them and retrieving them but somehow eventually the sands swallowed them all up. They’re probably still there.” One of her less happy memories was taking part in a fancy dress competition in Fortrose, dressed as a skiier. “I had no idea at the time what a skiier was,” she said. “Whatever, I didn’t win. I think it was someone dressed up as Tommy Steel or perhaps Elvis Presley who did. “At the school concert where I think my cousin Roderick and I were performing a dialogue, we had to hit each other on the head with spoons. He gave me a whack and I hit him harder. It got quite out of hand and ended in acrimony. Would never pass a health and safety test now.” ■ Continued next page

Lorna with her husband Mike and son Jamie in summer 1991 in the Russian kitchen which appears in Banana Pier. which became unwieldy to sort through. However, I took early retirement and decided it was now or never and really got down to writing. It’s a political psychological thriller set mainly in Aberdeen and Russia. The plot is complex as the story meanders along webs of corruption, spying, blackmail and government collusion with touches of humour, love and paranoia thrown in. The novel is self-published, a Matador imprint at Troubador Publishers. I had tried the usual publishers but was getting nowhere. Some publishers responded, others stalled and I hoped to have it released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of Gorbachev so time was not on my side. So I decided to go through Matador. A second novel was started

around the time Banana Pier was being published. It has an art theme and is set in medieval Nuremberg. Like the first it’s making slow progress but once it is finished I think I might just put it out as an e-book, having experienced the difficulties of getting bookshops to accept Banana Pier. Until you’ve gone through the process no-one has any idea just how difficult it is for someone without a profile to be taken seriously in the book world and the hours spent selfmarketing are often in vain. However, I am pretty philosophical about the whole experience as I know other quite successful authors who make very little from their work so I never had any expectation of earning a living from writing, fortunately. ■ http://alexchisholmscotland. September 2012 Chatterbox

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Black Isle People

Creative urges first stirred on Black Isle ■ From previous page Other memories of school are also mixed. “I suppose Mrs Mackenzie helped me with writing in that she taught me the elements. I cannot say that was where it really began although it may have been. Certainly I was writing little stories and poems from a very young age and I recall my mother saying to my father that a particular rhyme was ‘quite good for someone my age’ which I suppose is as good as it gets. Write to your age. “The other teachers I recall are Miss Scott and Miss Mackinnon, an odd lady, whose dog chased and bit me on the ankle one time when we were walking back to school from the Drill Hall. I didn’t receive much sympathy there. “On a similar note, I remember Miss Noble who was a real tartar of a woman. Had I thought about her I could have drawn on her for one my more terrifying characters in Banana Pier. I think she had an addiction to the leather belt and she wasn’t averse to cutting mockery of her young charges.” Another Black Isle memory revolves around her bicycle, which was her mother’s old one, repainted. “I don’t believe anything else had been done to this ancient relic, for when our bikes were tested under cycling proficiency at Fortrose Academy mine failed in every one of its aspects,” she said. “I was totally affronted! “It was while I was riding this same bike that a car took the corner at the bottom of the Manse Brae at Rosemarkie too wide and I hit the wall trying to avoid a collision. I somersaulted off and was taken home unconscious with my shoulder dislocated. Doctor Jack sat up the whole night with me and while I recovered from having it reset by him, the impact on that side of my body has stayed with me throughout my life. “But it was the look of the bike which I most resented – instead of

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Tom and Marnie Corall building the Beach Cafe. shiny chrome handlebars, mine were painted a horrible dull silver colour and that I could never live down.” Even worse was the tattie holiday when she really did go tattie picking, at the McIver’s farm. “It was sheer hell, freezing cold and the tractor was always up on me to uncover the next drill before I had finished my bit. The only consolation was Mario, who had been a prisoner of war and stayed on in the area and was also employed there at the time, who was very kind to us. “As for tattie picking, it was clear I was not suited to the life and never went back!” Despite all that, Lorna will always have a soft spot for the area where she was a child. “When I go back I am always reminded how quaint Rosemarkie appears. Coming from the Aberdeen area where so many buildings are grey granite, the pinkness of the soft sandstone of the village is very striking. The Black Isle is most definitely one of the gems of Scotland.”

Lorna with Moira at Rosemarkie tennis courts, 1950s.

Recipes from Sutor Creek

Wild Mushrooms on Toast By Chef Graham Fox


HE wild Chanterelle is a fleshy aromatic variety of mushroom that grows well in the moist, mossy forests of the Black Isle. The Chanterelle season is relatively short, generally running from late summer to early winter in Scotland. Chanterelles are a wonderful addition to egg, chicken and meat dishes but sometimes the best way to enjoy them is simply on their own. Try this recipe with Chanterelles or with other varieties of mushroom

such as Shiitake, Chestnuts or Oysters. Wild Mushrooms on Toast Serves 4 300g of Chanterelles 2 tbsp finely diced shallots 2 cloves of garlic 1 tbsp chopped tarragon 1 tbsp chopped chives 1 slice of crusty bread per person 1 slice of cooked streaky bacon per person 1 tsp red wine vinegar

200 ml double cream 1 tbsp vegetable oil Salt and freshly ground pepper Method Heat the oil in a large, hot frying pan then add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the vinegar and reduce until it is almost evaporated. Add the cream and reduce by half. Add the chives, season and serve on the toasted crusty bread. Garnish with the bacon and chopped tarragon and serve immediately.

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Decisions will shape the future of Scotland W

HEN you read this, I will be enjoying a holiday during the Scottish Parliament summer recess with more time to reflect on some of the big decisions that have been made in the last few months in the Parliament. Of course there are no insignificant Bills or trivial votes but some debates will have wider-reaching consequences than others. There are two in particular that stand out for me: Scotland’s future and lower limits for drink-driving. I believe that on these two fronts, our children and our grandchildren will share the benefits of good decisions. An historic vote took place before recess and, for the first time, the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood indicated its support for Scotland becoming an independent country. It was a small step but an important stepping stone on the road to Scotland’s future. This historic vote marked the beginning of the latest phase in Scotland’s constitutional progress. It is the first time that Scotland’s elected representatives have voted in support of Scottish independence in Scotland’s Parliament. Only a few years ago such a vote would have been unimaginable, and it shows just how far we have come as a country over the last decade. It is Scotland’s journey and each individual in Scotland who chooses to voice their opinion in every vote and poll has been responsible for the route we have taken over the last decades. The Referendum is due to take place in autumn 2014 but before that we have much to do in navigating the waters of constitutional change, beset by the Unionist Parties’ efforts to shipwreck us. The Yes campaign was launched in May and many have already signed a declaration of support

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Holyrood View by Dave Thompson MSP

‘This is not about party politics, or ideological allegiances. It is purely and simply the people of Scotland choosing their future’ in favour of independence for Scotland including iconic stars like Sir Sean Connery and politicians such as Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie. This is not about party politics, or ideological allegiances. It is purely and simply the people of Scotland choosing their future. I am delighted that there is not only good reason to be optimistic about the future, but also about the present too. Since my election in 2007 I have been campaigning for a lower limit on drinkdriving. It has been five years of pressing the Westminster Government

to do something about the tragedy of drink-driving; it has been five years of Westminster dragging its feet and doing nothing. All they have accomplished is agreeing to transfer the power to the Scottish Parliament. Only a month after the 2012 Scotland Act gave the Scottish Government the power to change the limit, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill confirmed his intent to reduce the limit and said the change would be effected as soon as possible. The Scottish Government’s intention is to reduce the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg as a matter of priority. In Europe, 24 countries have already reduced the limit to 50mg or less and the UK is one of only three countries which have not. Reducing the limit saves lives – of that there is no question. The longer we wait, the more fatalities are caused by drink-driving and that is why I have campaigned so long and so hard to see change. Sharing a car or taking public transport when going out for a drink is surely a price worth paying if even one life is saved. Another issue for which I have been campaigning for a number of years is installing barriers at open level crossings and Network Rail is set to roll these out across all level crossings on successful completion of the Ardrossan Pilot. This is something which is to be welcomed as the barriers being tested in Ardrossan can be implemented quickly and cheaply. The pilot commenced in late April and, as I write, is still on-going but, if all continues to plan, the rollout to other level crossings may well be under way by the time I return. Again, as with drink-driving, installing barriers at level crossings saves lives so the quicker that barriers are put in place, the better.


Avoch season nears an end

BLACK Isle residents can’t have failed to notice a rather strange-looking bicycle on its roads. The rider is Stuart Smyth who lives with his wife Mary in a house facing Avoch Harbour. The traditional bicycle, it appears, was not designed with posture in mind, unlike Stuart’s bicycle which reduces saddle sores and strain on arm and neck muscles. It also comes in several guises: three or two wheels and longer or shorter wheel-bases. It is aptly named the Recumbent

and is specifically designed for touring and comfort rather than speed. Stuart has had his American-made machine for 15 years during which he has ridden all of the Land’s End to John O’Groats route, though not at one go. In addition to cycling, Stuart and Mary have constructed a vertically challenging garden, of some splendour, at the back of their house. Jim Thomson

Bowling club in committee crisis By Geoge Brodie


OES Avoch need a bowling club or has it run its course? Does anyone really care? Readers of Chatterbox will be aware of the state of the club and the need for new committee members and players. So far the club is in decline but able to fulfil its commitments to the Northern Bowling League, apart from withdrawing from the league matches where three teams of four players are required. Bowls may not have as high a profile as some other sports but can be just as rewarding. There are almost 900 clubs across Scotland, with approximately 73,000 members, making bowls one of the biggest sports in Scotland. In Rossshire there are 13 clubs including Avoch. In the Highlands there are 38 clubs. Bowling is a game that anyone can play, no matter their age, gender or physical ability. It is also a game that can be picked up very quickly.

There are club, league and open competitions to take part in, also the possibility to represent Scotland in international competitions. Most of the committee and current members of Avoch Bowling Club are getting on in years. As much as they would like to, they cannot go on for ever. To take the club forward, a secretary, treasurer and green-keeper are urgently required. Without these, the club will not survive. An open meeting has been arranged for Tuesday, October 2nd, to take place within the Pavilion. Check local notice boards nearer the time for confirmation. Please come along and be prepared to play a full part in the club. This meeting will decide whether it stays open or will close with immediate effect. For more information visit the green any Tuesday or Friday night at 7pm during September or contact George Brodie on 01381 621103 or Jimmy Skinner on 01381 620572.

BY the time this gets into print there will be only a few weeks left of the outdoor bowling season but at the time of writing (early August) there are still open competitions to be played as well as our club competitions which have fallen behind due to the rain we have had over the last few months. Results of the main Avoch competitions played so far are: ■ The Avoch Triples. An open competition was played on May 12th and attracted 16 entries. The winners were from Golspie (skip – M. Irwin) runners-up Fortrose (skip – G. Chalmers) losing semi-finalists Fortrose (skip – M. Lumsden) and Alness ( skip – B. Willems) ■ The Black Isle Pairs. This is restricted to the Black Isle clubs and attracted 23 entries. The final stages were played on the Muir of Ord green on May 15th to 18th. The winners were Fortrose (A. Ogilvie and R. Williamson), who won it last year ,with Conon (Campbell and B. Stewart) as runners-up. ■ The Margaret Jack Two Bowls Pairs. This is restricted to the Ross-shire clubs. It was played on August 4th and attracted 18 entries. The winners were from Alness (Andrew Adamson and George Dune, who also won last year). Fortrose (Billy Sutherland and George Chalmers) were runners-up. ■ The Etta and Colin Macarthy Cup. This is restricted to club members, and was played on July 14th. Winners were Margaret Patience and John Morrison with John Marker and William Skinner as runners-up. The club had to pull out of the Northern Bowling League (restricted to Ross-shire clubs) due to the lack of players. The league ended on July 30th when Fortrose became the champions with Alness as runners-up. George Brodie

All set for badminton FORTROSE Badminton Club’s new season has begun and players of all ages are welcome. The club plays at the Black Isle Leisure Centre. Seniors (16+) meet on Monday and Wednesday from 810pm. Juniors (12-16) meet on Wednesday from 7-8pm. For more information contact Megan Stubbs (seniors) on 01381 622548 or Stephen MacNamara (juniors) 01381 621724.

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Looking Back

Marvellous T

HOSE of you passing Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie this summer will have noticed the arrival of three large and colourful mosaic panels adorning the wall facing the road. These fantastic works of art are the result of workshops led by local artist Sally Purdy who worked with three groups in early 2012 as part of Groam House Museum’s outreach work. Taking part in the project were members of Groam House Museum’s volunteer team, students from Fortrose Academy and members of Resolis Friendship Group. All three designs were created by group members, most had never tried mosaic work before, and it’s fair to say there was some trepidation before work began. However, it didn’t take long for those involved to gain their confidence with the technique and start to make decisions about the best images to use, colour and delegation of work. Although each mosaic is very different they are all based on a Celtic theme linking to the museum’s collections. Fortrose Academy chose to use Celtic animals with a large Eagle forming the centrepiece of their design. The students felt this was symbolic of strength and unity and was appropriate for their community. The museum volunteers took some time to agree but ultimately felt that the

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The mosaic created by museum volunteers. very bold cross design they chose would be eyecatching and represented the Celtic theme well. The Resolis group also wanted to represent their own community in the image. The red kite and the sun in this panel refer to the successful reintroduction of the bird to the Black Isle, and to the meaning of Resolis which is ’slope of light’. An official unveiling event was held at the museum in May when many of those who had taken part in the project came together with Groam House Museum Board members and friends of

the museum to celebrate the end of the project and see the three panels in situ for the first time. Mosaic-related merchandise should be available in the museum shop before the end of the summer. P5 and P6 children from Munlochy Primary School took part in their own mosaic project in early June and over three days designed and completed their own panel depicting a Celtic bird which can be seen proudly displayed outside the school. Also led by artist Sally Purdy, this is to be used as a pilot project to demonstrate the

Looking Back

museum mosaics

Above: The groups outside the museum, ready for their work to be unveiled. Above right: The Resolis Friendship Group’s panel. Below and right: Fortrose Academy pupils and their mosaic. success of Groam House Museum’s work with schools. These projects were made possible through funding from Heritage Lottery, Highland Council and Highland LEADER. The museum hopes to secure additional funding in the near future to enable further community and schools mosaic sessions towards the development of a Celtic mosaic trail around the Black Isle.

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UK will prosper better together T

HE campaign to keep Scotland in the UK launched in June, and I for one am excited about making the positive case for our country. As part of the United Kingdom, Scotland is integrated with its largest trading partner and closest ally, and has all the benefits of a larger economy with a strong, certain place in the world while retaining our unique identity and culture. The benefits of our nations working together are innumerable. Our mortgages are cheaper, thanks to the UK’s AAA credit rating. We have the second largest embassy network in the world, letting us share our culture and our products with people across the globe. And we can be confident in a stable and prosperous future for our families – whether they are in Scotland, England or across the globe. I believe that we are lucky to have the best of both worlds as a UK member and a strong, proud nation. I think the Scottish people agree. You can sign up to help the campaign or get updates on their website at


T last the options for the troubled Stromeferry by-pass have been published, although

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Westminster View by Charles Kennedy MP the relief that there is movement on that front must surely be countered (possibly with a sharp intake of breath) by the figures in question. A permanent solution – which is sorely needed – could cost upwards of £100 million; a painful sum at any time, let alone when there is such a pinch on the public purse. However, needs must at times of crisis, and for the area this truly is a crisis. A recent survey (run by the Lochcarron & District Business Association) showed that 70% of businesses in the area were hit by the road closure this winter, and more than a quarter were seriously affected. We cannot let this go on. I’ve started a petition to put pressure on SNP ministers in Edinburgh to meet the challenge and fix the road. We’ve already had a phenomenal response – at the time I put pen to paper, more than 300 people have signed up online and well over 100 signed at the Lochcarron Games, where

volunteers were talking to people about the need for the improvements. You can sign it at With your support, we can get a permanent solution for the road – and about time, too.


always enjoy visiting the summer shows and games around the constituency, to catch up with old friends and get a feel for the issues that are really important to people in the area. This year, I was at the Black Isle show on August 2nd, Belladrum Festival on the 4th and the Lochaber Agricultural Show on the 25th. Although sadly I couldn’t be there myself, activists were at the Lochcarron Games on July 21st talking to people about the issues they’re facing and asking for signatures on my Bypass petition. I’m delighted to say that there was a strong reaction – almost everyone identified the Bypass as a huge concern, and there was unanimous agreement that the Scottish Government needs to take it seriously. Remember, if you ever have an issue which I can help you with, you can contact my office on 01349 862152, write in to 5 MacGregor’s Court, Dingwall IV15 9HS or email me at charles @highlandlib

Public Information

Time to dust off the dancing shoes


ORTROSE Scottish Country Dancing Group classes start again on September 24th. The group meets Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 10pm at Gordon Memorial Hall in Rosemarkie. Beginners and more-experienced dancers are welcome to join the class, on their own or with a friend. Scottish Country Dancing is a fun and sociable way to get

some exercise, especially through the winter months. The dancing provides an opportunity to learn and practise many different reels, jigs and strathspeys. At £2.50 per class it is also very good value for money. Contact Margaret (teacher) on 01381 600338, Susan (secretary) on 01381 620840, or come along on a Monday night.

Test your food knowledge THE average household in Scotland wastes £430 a year by throwing away food. Try this quiz and test how good you are at making the most of the food that you buy. 1 Yoghurt can be frozen. True or false? 2 25,000 tonnes of bread is wasted in Scotland each year. Can you think of three ways you could reduce the amount of bread you waste? 3 19,000 tonnes of potatoes are thrown away every year in Scotland. Can you think of three ways you could reduce the amount of potatoes you throw away?

4 I can use food after the “best before” date. True or false? 5 What temperature should your fridge be at to keep food at its best? 6 It’s fine to put food waste in the bin because it just rots down at the landfill site. True or false? 7 Think of three good reasons to write a list before you go shopping. 8 How many people does half a mug of rice feed? 9 I never waste food. True or false? 10 Where can you get more information and ideas on how to reduce food waste? ■ Answers on Page 40 September 2012 Chatterbox

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Public Information

Writers welcome Guide is THE Black Isle Writers’ Group begins another writing year on Wednesday, September 26th, with a talk on Writing Spontaneously by BIWG member Eleanore Simpson. The group meets in the Plough Inn, Rosemarkie, on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from September to April. Meetings start at 2pm. Contact Freda Bassindale on 01381 620663 or

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useful for everyone


Y Black Isle is a “portable Black Isle notice board for the over-55s”. It is a directory of services and activities in the Black Isle for people over 55 put together by the Older People’s Working Group of the Highland Council’s Black Isle Ward Forum and will be distributed later this year. During July the guide was sent out for comment and consultation, and hopes to be as up to date as possible when distributed. It is an amazing source of information including “What’s on near me”, an A-Z of everything Black Isle, many comments of residents’ favourite things, a Black Isle translation

guide and includes a Black Isle Cycle Route. Although the guide is aimed at the over-55s, it is a very useful guide for any household. By the time you read this the consultation period for adding entries or correcting details will have passed and the guide will be made available soon. Contact: Cllr David Alston, Chair of Services for Older Adults Working Group; Ward manager: diane.agnew @highland. Tel: 01349 868477

Public Information

Million Miles plan makes progress T

HE Transition Black Isle Million Miles Project has received an award of £194,741 over three years from the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund. Aim – We aim to reduce Black Isle residents’ car travel by 1%, equivalent to almost 1 million miles per year, by promoting sustainable alternatives. We believe this can be fun – a way of making new friends and getting fitter – besides discovering the joys of safer, greener more sociable ways of travelling. Outline – Travel behaviour is particularly entrenched so we argued for and were granted funding for a threeyear project. The project focuses on three sustainable transport options: lift sharing, cycling and public transport. During the first year we will focus on Fortrose, North Kessock and Muir of Ord, and from this experience develop a programme across the whole Black Isle. Lift Share – We will work with Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) to bring a tailored car-share web interface to Black Isle communities, potentially developed from their existing website, Cycling – Studies in Scotland show that the principal barrier to cycling is the perception that it is unsafe. Our main strategy will be a range of community cycle events and training to provide the skills and confidence to cycle safely on the existing road and cycle network. We will arrange training for a team of community cycling trainers, who will run events such as accompanied bike rides,

training in safe cycling and bicycle maintenance, as well as bike and accessory demonstrations. Some of these events will be organised in conjunction with local schools, others will be more widely available. Public Transport – We will undertake trials of improved bus timetable information tailored towards popular journeys in target communities. We will also promote the use of public transport in conjunction with other travel modes, e.g. through park-and-ride, and bike racks at bus stops. Sustainable transport events – To complement these activities, we will organise a number of events (film nights, debates, competitions etc) aimed at promoting sustainable travel more widely as a lifestyle choice. Physical resources – Although most of our work will focus on changing behaviours and attitudes, we will work with HITRANS and Highland Council to install bike racks at key bus stops. We will gather the views of cyclists and walkers to develop an Active Travel Map of the Black Isle. We will also lobby Highland Council to improve dangerous stretches of roads or tracks that we identify as constraining the active travel network. Survey – We will measure the impact of the Million Miles campaign by conducting surveys throughout the project, building on the surveys we have already undertaken. We will also recruit a proportion of the survey respondents to give feedback about their changing travel habits at intervals during the project.

New group seeks bookworms THE Book Group meets the first Wednesday of the month in Fortrose Library from 2-3pm – and would welcome more readers joining in. It is a self-led group, supported by the librarians. They borrow multiple copies of the books we have chosen to read, free of charge, from over 100 titles in the list of books available to book groups. The meetings are very informal and sociable, over a cuppa, centering on discussing the book of the month and other books we have read. Inevitably the discussions become wide-ranging, enriched by the different perspectives of the people in the group. It all started when I joined the thriving Fortrose Library Reading

Group which meets the first Wednesday of the month there, 7.30-8.30pm, and found it clashed with the meetings of the Black Isle Singers which I had also joined. I asked the librarians if they were planning to start an additional group or knew of an alternative one I could join. They said no, but would be happy to support me if I would be willing to start a new one. How could I refuse? Our first get-together was in February and each month brings surprises and authors new to us. Come and join us. It is fun. For more information please contact Fortrose Library on 01381 622235. Eleanore Simpson

Marine at large in the Cairngorms ONLY I could do this – help organise a day out on Cairngorm Mountain for the residents and carers of Marine House, Rosemarkie, and on arrival be told that two of the group did not like heights and could we stop at a lower level! In the words of Victor Meldrew, I thought: "I don’t believe it!" In the end it all worked out for the best. Six residents, along with staff and family members, left Marine House in poor weather and arrived at Aviemore in rain. As we approached the Cairngorm access road the sun came out and remained with us all day. No need for rainwear or gloves on this day. I obtained permission from the Glenmore Visitor Centre staff to park in their car park. From the centre we walked the prescribed wheelchair route to Loch Morlich after first visiting the café. All had a big bowl of soup and big lumps of bread followed by slices of home-made cherry or Danish apple pie, tea or coffee and layer cake provided by Irene. The wheelchair path is well surfaced and ideal for the purpose for which it was designed. The path took us through forest, by a river and along a beach. On the way we stopped to look at wild flowers and all things fresh and green, not to mention a green bug which one carer tried to photograph with a high tech camera which seemed to malfunction. Irene and I did our best to hold the bug still whilst the carer did her best with the camera but the green bug wouldn’t sit still and took off – I can’t think why. Two lady tourists with two little white dogs were required to walk in the grass as the footpath width was restricted by wheelchairs and Irene and I on hands and knees crawling around after this green bug with another carer standing over us with her camera. The look on the faces of the two lady tourists was one of total disgust, which could account for why they were accompanied by two little white dogs and not a man! The forest walk took just over one hour and we arrived back at our bus for more tea and cakes and the journey home. We arrived back at Marine House much refreshed and happy after a very good day out in the sun and fresh air. The opinion of all is that we should do it again soon. Brian Oakley

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Public Information

RoWAN quiz answers 1 Yes. Freeze yoghurts when you run out of time on the dates. They make great healthy alternatives to ice cream straight from the freezer or blitz in a blender with fruit and a splash of milk or juice for a thick smoothie. 2 Reduce bread waste by: putting it in the freezer and just get it out when needed, buy smaller loaves or rolls, turn it into breadcrumbs and put in sauces/toppings on meals or freeze, make your own, use in a recipe such as bread and butter pudding. 3 Waste fewer potatoes by: storing them correctly (in a dark/cool place), don’t buy them in bags (just buy the amount you need loose), use them up in soups, grow your own (then just dig them up as you need them). 4 True: Many of us are confused by dates on food and throw away food when it is still safe to eat. Using food after the ‘best before’ means that it will just not be at its best in terms of quality – it doesn’t refer to safety. The exception to this rule is eggs. Providing the eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date but not longer than this. ‘Use by’ is the really important date as it relates to safety – never eat food past the ‘use by’ date. If a food can be frozen its life can be extended – freeze before the ‘use by’ date, then defrost and use within 24 hours. 5 Fridges should be kept between 0 and 5 degrees. 6 When food rots down in landfill sites it gives off methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Although some of

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this methane is now trapped for energy, around 25% escapes. 7 Benefits of writing a list include: fewer trips to the shops, saves time at the supermarket, saves money as you only buy what you need. 8 Half a mug of rice feeds around two people. Lots of food gets wasted because people cook too much, particularly pasta and rice. Work out how much you normally eat and use a mug to measure it out before you cook it. 9 Research by the government has shown than 90% of people say they do not waste food, but the figures just don’t stack up. If that’s true, the other 10% of us must be wasting almost all the food we buy, given the 6.7 million tonnes of food waste that we generate in the UK each year. Keep a diary for a week of food that you throw away, and then see if you can make a difference by planning ahead, measuring portions and so on. 10 See for more information and recipe ideas to help reduce food waste. ■ RoWAN is a Highland charity promoting waste awareness. For more information on ways to cut your waste see RoWAN is also looking for volunteers in your area to help with our work. Training, support and expenses are provided. Activities include helping on information stalls, giving talks or distributing posters. Our volunteer project is funded by Zero Waste Scotland. Contact RoWAN on 01349 867063 or 07730 208850, email uk. Scottish charity number: SC031891

Public Information

Young and old get to grips with the latest digital technology.

Taking a look at digital and audio books


N June, Fortrose Community Library, with assistance from the academy's 4th year Asdan group pupils, held a coffee afternoon to allow anyone with an interest in library services for people with visual impairment to find out more about the services available from the library. These include the new e-books and audio books download services which complement the more traditional large-print books and books on CDs. The event was well attended and several people were given demonstrations by pupils of the new “playaways” – a brilliant new talking book format. These are books in digital format on a device the size of a mobile phone which has headphones. You simply switch on and listen. Everyone who attended enjoyed the hospitality and thanks go to all who helped at the event and particularly those who baked. Wanda Mackay, the local youth development officer, who works

with the pupils, added: “It was a great day and it was good to see some of the older people actually show the young people how to work the Kindle that talked. That they were up to speed with such technology was impressive. “To see the young and old mix and build strong trusting relationships and learn from each other was really positive. Everyone enjoyed the day. The young folks had done a lot of home baking and received donations from local shops which were very much appreciated. “This was a great opportunity most enjoyed by all. Thanks to the library staff for inviting us along to support the day.” People with visual impairment may borrow all library materials free of charge. Magnifying sheets and information about services are also available from the library. ■ Fortrose Community Library, Fortrose Academy, IV10 8TW; 01381 622235; fortrose.library@

September 2012 Chatterbox

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Market is the place to meet the people H

AVING had time to think after the local elections I have decided that it is far more effective for me to hold my regular council surgeries at the community markets that are held three times a month at Cromarty, Culbokie and North by Councillor Kessock. Craig Fraser I have trialed this idea over the past month or so and the feedback I have received has been very positive. This ‘I would like to see arrangement will allow me to meet many more Black Isle our Black Isle, with residents and discuss their issues assistance from and concerns. Some of the topics have community councils, included: wind turbines and wind form small groups to farms, planning, insurance for poly tunnels being used by do litter picks and people with smallholdings and village tidy ups crofts, how to improve transport links with the potential for a park periodically and ride scheme at Tore, bus throughout the year’ services and A832 road improvements at the Fairy Glen, Rosemarkie. Some of these issues are out village tidy ups periodically with my control so I forward throughout the year. these concerns to our Highland I have tried this myself here in MSPs. Cromarty and TEC Services have been very accommodating in OLLOWING on from my arranging to pick up the rubbish previous article, “Let’s clean such as weeds and ivy. Whether up the Black Isle” (Chatterbox, this facility could be arranged for March 2012) I have come to the communities across the Black conclusion that as money is very Isle remains to be seen and I tight at Highland Council, with will be having further discussions ground maintenance particularly with community councils and affected, I would like to see our TEC Services to see if this is Black Isle, with assistance from viable. I would welcome any community councils, form small positive suggestions in this groups to do litter picks and regard.


Page 42 Chatterbox September 2012

Black Isle View

Macross’s Scotmid Puzzle





10 11 12 13 14 17, 21 22 24 26 28 29

Step in winter – Venezuelan (9) Cowardly cropped crow (5) Go bluish-yellow (5) Flags from both poles confused by dastard (9) Back now, finished and convinced (3, 4) Coming along on the railway (2, 5) 20, 3 Gothic poet from old paean with regal mix (5, 5, 3) Press released around pained expression for accomplishment (7) Baffles about ship relics (7) Somehow posed trio as lodger (9) Pasta made Spanish style (5) Wired strangely – strange? (5) Your vials arranged differently (9)

4 5 6 7 8 13 15 16

18 19 22 23

Down 1

Improvise flight – maybe East or West (4)


No. 62

Scattered wild Western loses East (6) Veers, rants maybe crosswise (10) Easter break is confusing (6) Defeatist image? (8) Gird up - to defend against cattle (4) Halve our restructured repair work (8) Pink scheme providing media (4) Puppy with assistant? (5) Change trains into change (10) Simenon essay holds the ninth day before the ides (5) Hangers-on cultivated peas by the sound of it (8) Convinced image (8) Skin mineral source for craze (6) Teasingly mischievous and I’m quiet about being holy (6) 25 Feathered flank of the rough end – like 5 (8)




The Scotmid prize Post your solution to the Editor marked “Crossword”. The first all-correct answer opened on 1st November will win £20 from Chatterbox and a mystery prize from Scotmid, Avoch.

The winner of Crossword 61 was Chris Jones from Fortrose. September 2012 Chatterbox

Page 43

Local Musicians Acoustic/ Folk

@ Glachbeg Croft For performers and listeners

With performances from Susanna Wolfe and Steven Barclay

Followed by open mic/ session

Tuesday 18th September 2012 7.30pm No entry charge, but donations requested. Family friendly. Refreshments available or bring your own

Glachbeg Centre , Allanglach Wood, North Kessock, Inverness, Ross-shire. IV1 3XD 01463 811923 The club exists to provide a place for performers to perform. 3rd Tuesday of each month Please contact Bob if you would like to perform in the future.

Chatterbox 62  

Community magazine for the Black Isle, Scottish Highlands