Page 1


Community Newspaper of the Year

Highlands & Islands Media Awards 2008

Gong for George p.12

The Black Isle Messiah p.16

Rosemarkie Halloween Party p. 23

Chatterbox 44 pages

Produced in Avoch for Rosemarkie, Fortrose, Avoch, Killen & Munlochy Winter issue (No.51) Dec. 2009

Manageress Lainy Pescodd and Assistant Manageress Rita Moore helped Neil Wilson and Lilian Noble with cutting the ribbon to reopen the Avoch Scotmid store, after its recent refurbishment. See p.38 Chatterbox 48 March 2009 page number 1

Les wins Fun Race Chatterbox photo

Les Nicolson from Ormonde Terrace, Avoch, won the Fun Race at this year’s Harbour Charity Race Day on 19th September in Poppet. Leslie is a relative newcomer to sailing and is largely self-taught. See our article by Jim McDougall on p.7. But Gwyn Tanner, Harbourmaster, who organizes the event, says that this could well be the last time it takes place, due to lack of support. Out of 23 possible entries, only 9 turned up and Gwyn says that if it wasn't for the four visiting boats, the whole day would have been cancelled. “Boats are expensive to maintain and need a lot of attention especially if they are not used. The real losers out of this are the pensioners, as all the race proceeds go towards their Christmas party.” Gwyn professed himself very disappointed with this year's total of £195.

Post, phone or e-mail Send your story, letter or advert to

The Editor Avoch & Killen News Group Duthac, 7 High Street, Avoch IV9 8PT or telephone

01381 620777 or by Email, to or or via the Chatterbox website at

We acknowledge with thanks assistance received from the Highland Council through the Black Isle Ward Councillors’ Discretionary Budget, from the Sangster Memorial Trust and the National Lottery through Awards for All.

Next Issue in March Please submit all material as soon as possible. The next issue will be published at the beginning of March. Press date will be 14th February. We will do our best, but we regret we cannot guarantee the inclusion of any material received after the press date.

Chatterbox 48 March 2009 page number 2

Lorraine & Mira’s Halloween party

Photo courtesy of Rachel Hince

see page

CONTENTS… Winter Chatterbox 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24

Avoch Post Office; Planning system Black Isle swimming pool Avoch Amenities Ass; Bus services Race Day at Avoch harbour Letters Black Isle Leisure Centre Funding help for community groups Charles Kennedy Raymond Sutherland George Patience Joan Munro A & K Community Council Greening the Black Isle Childhood memories The Black Isle “Messiah” Land’s End to John o’Groats Community Council Kessock Bridge Black Isle heritage memories David Forsyth; Under 5s; Cromarty Film Festival Avoch harbour; White lines “Tranquil harbour” (photo) & poem Buried treasure; Halloween party Groam House Museum


A Merry Christmas and a Good New Year to everyone School field; P.L.A.Y. McEye cartoon; Tennis; Avoch Nursery Nature Notes Peggy Upton: “Shops” Comfort Foods; Chatterbox Killen Hall Bowls Rot in the church; Thatching Nippers & Snippers; Bonfire at Rosemarkie 35 Food & art at Cromarty 36 Mairearad Green 37 Macross Scotmid Prize Crossword 38 Scotmid; Brownies 39 The Chocolate story continues 40 Football - the Patiences Christmas Market 41 Digital switchover; Ed Jefferies; Councillors’ Corner 42/44 Remembrance parade



Mike Noble

Story writers:

Sandy Mitchell Kitty MacWilliam Jim Thomson Rachel Hince

Mike Noble


Linda Bailey


Sandy Mitchell Rogan Divine


Kitty McWilliam

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Chatterbox Community Newspaper of the Year

Founded by Jack Malpas, September 1997 Copyright

Administration Treasurer: Chairman:


Mike Noble

After some initial reluctance everyone now seems to agree that our colour printer has made Chatterbox a much more lively and interesting read. Advances in colour printing technology have made Chatterbox’s present form economically possible, but colour printing still comes at something of a premium. The print for a colour page costs us 10 x the cost of a black & white page, so there is a limit to the amount of colour we can include and still remain profitable. It would be great to be able to print the whole magazine in colour, but to maintain our profitability we would have to charge about £1.75 for a copy. I have heard some folk say that they think we should increase the price, but we don’t really want to do this in the present economic climate. However, it is possible that there may be some kind, generous folk out there who might like to sponsor us to include more colour, so if anyone feels thus inclined, their sponsorship would be enthusiastically and very gratefully received. To print an additional pair of colour pages costs us a little over £40 per issue. Put another way, to convert all the remaining black & white pages to colour would cost us around £585 per issue. What do you think about all this? You can post a response on the “Community Chat” page of the website, or drop me a line in more traditional ways! Best wishes Mike

31 Secretary:



Highlands & Islands Media Awards 2008


Mike Noble


25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 34

Tel: 01381 620777



Colour printing

Printed and published quarterly in Avoch by

Chatterbox Community Newsgroup

Claire Divine

Margaret Leggatt Sandy Mitchell

Advertising rates Our rates are based on 55p per column centimetre (using our standard 7-column page layout). A panel the size of this one currently costs £8.98 for a single insertion on a B&W page and a full page in colour is charged at £120. For details of charges for all sizes between these two extremes, please see our website. We give discounts for block-booked adverts (4 over a year) and extra discount for pre-payment. We advertise for voluntary groups without charge. Our website illustrates various advert sizes & rates.

Subscribe by writing to Claire Divine, Hon. Secretary, 18 Mackenzie Place, Avoch IV9 8QP or at 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. The publication of submitted articles should not be taken as any indication that such opinions or beliefs are supported or promoted by Chatterbox or any of its production team members.

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page No. 3

In Brief Surveys will Guide Future Transport Investment Motorists in the Inverness area are to be asked for their help in identifying future transport improvements in the Inverness area by completing surveys on their travel movements. The Highland Council has recently awarded a contract to AECOM Ltd for the preparation of a land-use/ transport model for the journey to work area of the city of Inverness, covering the Moray Firth catchment with a population of 150,000. Vandalism A lot of vandalism is reported to have taken place in Avoch and Fortrose over the October holidays. Several youths are being reported for damage to the Youth Cafe and Fortrose Academy. A break-in at Gabi’s (Indian Take-away) is being investigated also damage to the Avoch bus shelter. There have also been problems with the last bus from Inverness with bad behaviour and drivers are refusing to do the Friday night run, so police have been getting on the bus. The last bus is subsidised by about £32 a passenger.

Move proposed for Avoch Post Office

Anticipation at the Co-op

Post Office Limited is proposing to move the Avoch branch from its present location to the Avoch Fishermen’s Co-operative Ltd a little way along the road at 35 High Street. The same range of services will continue to be available and customers will still be able to collect benefits in cash using the Post Office’s everyday banking services or Post Office card account. The premises will have level access, with a new door at the entrance. Internally there will be a hearing loop and space for a wheelchair. Roadside parking is available directly outside. The premises are approximately 100 yards away from the current location, along level terrain.

If the Post Office does decide to move its Avoch branch to the Fishermen’s Co-op it will be enthusiastically received there. Allan Carmichael, who runs the shop for the Co-op directors, says that its existing range of chandlery, ironmongery and household goods would not be reduced, though. In fact the opposite might be true; hopefully, it might result in an increase in their stock range. While detailed layout arrangements have still to be fully worked out, as the final decision to go ahead has yet to be taken, the expectation is that the new entrance would remain in the same position as at present, giving level access for disabled users. The postmen would be likely to use the existing rear access to their sorting area, located in the current office area. Allan is expecting that he would train for the day to day running of the Post Office and that Alistair Jack, one of the directors, would be the official SubPostmaster. The likelihood is that another assistant would be also recruited for the shop. Allan is looking forward to the prospect with quiet enthusiasm, but is very conscious that there is a good way to go before plans become definite.







8.30-1pm 2-5pm

8.30-1pm 2-5pm

8.30-1pm 2-5pm


8.30-1pm 2-5pm


Proposed opening hours are The Post Office is now holding a consultation period until 22nd December, during which members of the public are invited to write to them with any comments or feedback on the proposals. In particular, they are wanting: • Comments on the proposed opening hours • Comments about access and facilities at the new location • To know about any local issues specific to Avoch which they should consider. The address to write to is; Kenny Lamont, Post Office Limited ℅ National Consultation Team PO Box 2060 WATFORD WD18 8ZW Or, on line, you can go to; The Post Office says that the final decision will be communicated, within the branch, by means of a poster at the end of the consultation period. For further information, contact the Customer Helpline on 08457 223344 or textphone on 08457 223355. Information is also available online at

Planning on line Claire Divine The whole planning application process has been put on line. Richard Hartland, Head of Planning and Building Standards has written to Community Councils informing them of this fundamental change in the administration of the planning process. Avoch & Killen Community Council, presumably in common with others, has been informed that the Scottish Executive has introduced “eplanning” ( This puts the whole planning process online and, except for the City of Edinburgh and Scottish Borders all applications can now be made using this website. The Community Council will be expected to access information on planning applications and give comments etc. online. They will also apparently be able to track all correspondence regarding applications online as well. Please see yourenvironment/planning/eplanning/

Access Chatterbox on line Visit our website at where you can access our “last issue” or the “previous issue” to read or download the copy you want and why not explore

Chatterbox Interactive ? Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 4

No Swimming Pool for the Black Isle But lots of things for other communities all over the Highlands

The prospect for a swimming pool We had already stressed to the Council being provided in the Black Isle became that its failure in November 2008 to much brighter in Spring last year when back the pool, and only to look at it - thanks to good work from Dave again if Council support were “the last Thompson MSP - the Big Lottery agreed element”, would, in effect, doom our to accept an application for an award project to failure. This has verbally of up to £1M. been confirmed again, and is contrary by Stuart Edmond, But, inexplicably, and despite to what the Council told Mr Dave its own criteria identifying the need for Chairman, Black Isle Thompson MSP, that a Council such a pool, Highland Council decided commitment was not necessary in Swimming Pool that it would only look at helping with advance of application. The Big Lottery a capital contribution and essential requires at time of application that Foundation help towards running costs (only £65K there is a “robust and realistic” a year) if other funding bodies came in Business Plan in place. Without the first. This was despite the fact that main funders necessary assurance from the Council to support us require the local authority to be in from the beginning, with revenue funding our Plan therefore does not meet and Black Isle parents indicating that they were the BL requirement. prepared to pay for the cost of school swimming In October we made an urgent “eleventh hour” lessons. appeal to the Council asking if they would now commit Despite this major set back, we decided to to an assurance of revenue support and modest capital carry on, and in September, after much hard work and funding to enhance the likelihood of a positive jumping through what we thought were quite recommendation going to the Big Lottery committee, unnecessary hoops, we submitted a which meets in December to consider revised application and Business Plan our application. We stressed that a to the Big Lottery for formal Council commitment would also The current capital consideration. enable us to proceed with our programme includes: dance The Plan was updated application to SportScotland for studios at Lochaber and following discussions with Highland capital support, which we also need. Wick, indoor sports facilities Council staff , who regarded our Funding from the Big Lottery, at Thurso and Wick, estimates of income and expenditure SportScotland and the Council, extension to Thurso as realistic. These showed that the together with the community’s Swimming Pool, upgrade of proposed pool would need revenue contribution, would leave us with playing fields Thurso and support of about £65K and a capital only 20% of the cost to find, which we Wick, sports hall at Dornoch, contribution of some £550K. The had planned to seek from a range of capital cost update showed an all-weather playing fields at other sources including national increase up to £2.7M. charities and businesses. Fort Augustus, Kingussie, We also renewed our However, Councillor David Golspie and Grantown (all at detailed planning permission and got Alston has said publicly that there is £800,000 each), playing written assurances from the Council no likelihood of the Council fields at Lairg and Aviemore, and Tulloch Homes that the responding positively to our appeal, improvement to facilities at additional land needed for the pool citing the Council’s current budget Ballachulish, Portree, alongside the Leisure Centre would difficulties as the reason. These Broadford, Portmahomack, be transferred to our ownership at difficulties do not, however, appear Durness, and on and on---. nominal cost. to hinder the Council from funding And not a penny for However, in a very recent other sporting and leisure and discussion with our Big Lottery Case anything anywhere in the recreational facilities all over the Officer, it was made very clear (once Highlands. Black Isle. again) that our application was likely to fail for want of a firm commitment As a community group, the from the Council to give revenue Foundation now has to decide funding. This was despite our application and plan whether to abandon its fifteen–year fight for a pool and being regarded as “a really good project with a sound to consider if there is a means of keeping the flame business plan, demonstrated need and realistic flickering so that it can be re-lit for a future drive for projections of usage and income”. this much-needed facility.


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JET CAR WASH Batteries, Tyres and all accessories

Tel 01381 620355

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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Avoch Under 5s outdoor area: Plans for a safe outdoor play area adjoining the Avoch Community Centre have been amended to provide access for vehicles to the playing field. Woodland trail Plans are understood to be in hand by Avoch & Killen Community Council to provide a woodland trail for Avoch Primary School, but conditions are currently too wet to do any work. Community Council area Avoch & Killen Community Council agreed that no changes are required to its area of concern. A map showing the boundary has been provided by Highland Council. Homewood Avoch & Killen Community Council has agreed not to comment on the planning application lodged for a new house in the garden ground of Homewood on Henrietta Street. Village officer Rogan Hersee has taken on the job of village officer and has been provided with equipment costing £26.

A & R MacArthur

Long Road, Avoch

In Brief

page No. 5


From “Fisherlore of Avoch” by David King Sutherland Keetee: Ut now Bella byoch theere uh sicht for sair een. Bella: Aye a good an that speykun, theere warr than a squrrul un the wunter, aye sleep un. Bit meedeer dud thee ear the laitest? Keetee: No, ut ust Bella. Bella (whuspurun): The new man up the brae ees commun seen, a singel man ut that, un a braa praichur tee, theyre tellun mee. Keetee: Weel, weel muckle need, the fowks thats gae-un the day is affel, theyre aa too weel off wee ther cyowts at the tatas. Some a the coveys med pouns um earun, un mair than that the yulls ed aa good shots the day espaishlee them wee the reyng nuts. The druft nuts ur feenisht um theynkun, un um no a wutch or a warlock. Bella: Loo at ut agen, the mull. Shoorley theel be glad tul ken uts cummun doon seen, un no afore time. Bit um braa gled the barbur got a buttey grun for beeldun a shoppey. I wush et wuz aince deen tul uh get mee puckley straigley air cutten an curlt. Keetee: Aye, bit see mine, uts warr than a brummeJ buhsh. Uh canna caym et wee thus cowld wather, mee fjngurs ur krotten wee the roomaticks, bit uh must be gae-un now, so cheerio Bella meedeer, uI see thee the mourn uf ets dry.

More money Black Isle bus services Caroline Eccles problems for Avoch Amenities At the recent meeting of Avoch Amenities Association, held on 18th November, Gordon Killbourn, Treasurer, informed those present that the bill for renovation of the electrical system and installation of heaters was £5,500. This was substantially greater than expected and has left the Association with no spare funds. The interest for the last twelve months has been transferred from the deposit account to cover immediate needs, but fund raising is an urgent necessity. Unfortunately Janice Macleman is unable to repeat her sterling work of last year as Fundraiser Organizer and no volunteer has come forward to undertake the role. This is a vital task and AAA is asking for volunteers.                                         In the meantime it was agreed that all group members of the Association would be asked to undertake fund raising activities on behalf of the Association. No doubt everyone will understand the reason for this request and AAA is looking forward to hearing from you or your group as to how they may be able to help in the matter.

21 Bank Street, Cromarty

Do you think there should be better bus services between the Black Isle and Dingwall? Do you work in Dingwall and would like to travel by bus, or would you like to go shopping in Dingwall and beat the crowds in Inverness? If so, now is a good time to say, as Highland Council is currently consulting on its “Local Transport Strategy”. The draft strategy is on the Highland Council website and the consultation runs until Dec 11 2009. Responses can be sent by post to Highland Council HQ or email to Please also let Avoch and Killen Community Council know if you would like better services and they can help make the case- ring Caroline on 01381 621894 or email

No Avoch Gala Committee Caroline Dobson In the last year Janice Macleman and her team did a marvellous job fundraising for the Avoch Amenities Association and Gordon Killbourn and Gordon Clarke have been invaluable in holding things together for some time, as Treasurer and Risk Assessment Officer respectively. Alas, all are now unable to continue in these roles for personal reasons. The Association would like to express sincere thanks for the work they did in making the Gala and other events possible and making sure that the bills were paid and the Community Centre functioned safely. Can you now help by taking on one of these roles? At the present the Association has been unable to organize the Christmas Fayre that was much enjoyed last year and also there will be no Gala unless a Gala Committee can be formed. If you can help please contact Caroline Dobson, Secretary, Avoch Amenities Association, either via the Chatterbox website or on 01381 620840.

01381 600855

Sutor Creek Café is a licensed ‘Scotland the Best’ listed restaurant situated by the harbour in Cromarty. We specialise in wood-fired pizzas, great local seafood and succulent slow-roasts along with a fine selection of organic wine and beers. We are open from 11am for coffees and cakes, lunches and dinner.

Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 6

Race Day at Avoch harbour Jim McDougall

The seventh Avoch Race Day was held on 19th September. The turnout of Avoch-based boats was not as good as it might have been, but those who did take part had a thoroughly enjoyable day despite one or two mishaps caused by the weather. Two races were run. The first was for the slightly more serious sailing competitors; the course took the yachts from the start at the harbour across the firth to leave the Petty Bank buoy on their starboard side, round the Meikle Mee buoy and returning to cross the finish line back at the harbour. The wind got up a bit as the boats approached the Meikle Mee buoy and resulted in one boat, Circe, shredding its spinnaker and tearing its mainsail. But despite these mishaps the crew still managed to take full honours for the seventh consecutive year.

In the same race another boat suffered a broken mast, but she still managed to cross the finishing line under jury rig. The other race was, as usual, purely a fun race, in which anything goes. Only four boats took part in a straight dash across the firth, round the Munlochy buoy and back home to the finishing line at the harbour. Unfortunately one boat retired early and a second went round the Petty Bank buoy instead of the Munlochy buoy. All the competitors had a thoroughly enjoyable time, though, and were rewarded

with a few beers, hamburgers and a bit of good natured crack and banter. £195 pounds was raised and as usual this has been donated to the Avoch old folks Christmas Party fund. 1st race; 8 competitors; first Circe, second Stardance, third Sea fever. Fun Race 4 competitors; first Poppet, second Sarah Claire, third Geena .. All the competitors want to thank Gwyn Tanner, Harbourmaster, for his support in organizing the race day and for his culinary skills at the barbecue.

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Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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page No. 7


Send to or to The Editor, “Chatterbox”, 7 High St., Avoch IV9 8PT

Progress in Avoch Dear Editor We are coming to the end of 2009 and there has been a lot of good work done in the Avoch area, especially down by the School, where the steps and various projects have been completed in association with The Highland Council’s Safer Routes to School,   and credit must go to Caroline Eccles and Lisa MacKellaich.   Also members of the Community Council have been generous in their work towards draining and reseeding the playing fields at the School.   We really have to look at traffic movements in Avoch streets. George Street is the most used, owing to location of the shop and it has been suggested that we may have to consider making it one-way (from bottom to top).  Deliveries required at that junction will need to be fully considered, though.    Advice would first be needed from the Council’s Tec. Services to see if it would be possible, and meanwhile I would be happy to hear the views of Avoch people about traffic issues in that area.   Potential flooding from the Burn remains an issue.  I made an offer to Tec. Services to supply and build up the low lying areas likely to be affected with materials from the Farm.  Unfortunately they were unable to take up my offer up because of concerns about liability.  So there are no funds available for this work in this financial year.  However, the Black Isle Councillors will continue to press for this work to be completed. I would like to think that we can progress improvements to Avoch Community Centre during the next year – the Avoch community needs this work done soon.   


Opportunities for young people (Sent in by Robbie Russell)

Dear Editor, My family would like to pass on a


big ‘thank you’ to Joyce and JP Cars

I work for UnLtd Sport Relief and we have been given money from Comic Relief to give out to young people who want to set up community based projects that address social problems using sport or recreation. We get loads of applications from the central belt (Glasgow and Edinburgh) but don't get than many from up North, particularly Aberdeen.

in Avoch for their help in getting us mobile during our holiday after our car broke down on the first day. We were staying about 3 miles out of Avoch and would have been virtually stranded if it had not been for their generosity, consideration and trust. Because of their help we did manage to tour your beautiful Black Isle, and spend some money with the local businesses! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay (car troubles excepted) and hope to return again to your wonderful friendly communities and stunning land and seascapes again. J McElwee, Cumbria

Send your letters to

The Editor ‘Chatterbox’ Duthac 7 High Street Avoch IV9 8PT or telephone

01381 620777 or by Email, to or on line at

Regards Cllr Billy Barclay

and The Other Shop


NEWSPAPER DELIVERIES 7 DAYS A WEEK Chatterbox 51 December 2009

We have awards ranging from £500 - £10, 000 for young people aged between 11 - 21. You can find out more on our website

Computers for rural people The Arthur Rank Centre (ARC) is committed to supporting the rural community, and has set up the Computers for Rural People scheme to provide computers at very low cost to encourage people to take the first step in computer ownership

Petition to save Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations have launched a petition urging the Prime Minister to save the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland in its current form. The e-petition already has over 2,270 signatures, and is open until 27th April 2010.

Hate free highland website Robbie Russell This is a new website for reporting non-urgent hate crime of any nature. But rather than me write about it you might as well just click the link and visit it. It would be good if you can also tell others about it.

Christmas At Munro’s

Avoch Post Office Telephone 01381 620340 Hot drinks and pies Cold drinks & milk Crisps Sweets Full range from Cromarty Bakery Toys Cards for all occasions

The awards are funded by Comic Relief and provide opportunities for young people to bring communities together, to help promote understanding and solve problems through sport, arts and recreational activities.

ristmas Merry ChHolly from

Christmas Decorations, Real & Artifical Christmas Trees, Indoor & Outdoor lights, Seasonal Pot Plants & our own Planted Baskets, Books, Gifts, Christmas Hampers, Holly Wreaths & Posies, Bird Food & Feeders, Garden Gift Vouchers



Bogallan, North Kessock, Inverness Telephone 01463 731210

Open Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm • Sun 12noon - 5pm page No. 8

Black Isle Leisure Centre Christmas opening hours: THURSDAY 24 December 10.00am – 3.00pm FRIDAY 25 December CLOSED SATURDAY 26 December CLOSED SUNDAY 27 December 10.00am – 3.00pm MONDAY 28 December 10.00am – 3.00pm TUESDAY 29 December 10.00am – 3.00pm WEDNESDAY 30 December 10.00am - 3.00pm THURSDAY 31 December CLOSED FRIDAY 1 January 2010 CLOSED SATURDAY 2 January CLOSED SUNDAY 3 January 10.00am – 3.00pm MONDAY 4 January 10.00am – 10.00pm (Normal opening hours resume) Please call us on 01381 621252 to check class availability and for general enquiries.

Activities at the Leisure Centre special event, with a visit to Fortrose Phew! What a fabulous and busy summer and Community Theatre to watch a Christmas autumn we’ve had here at the leisure centre. puppet show and have a party afterwards –all We’ve had 2 very successful play schemes, a supervised by Leisure Centre staff. 4 week mega activity filled event in the We have also added kindergym on Tuesday summer months, and a similar 2 week event mornings for our younger customers. during the tattie holidays, with over 800 Our list of adult classes has expanded by participants attending in total. Among the adding Body Attack® to our timetable in many activities on offer were pizza making, September. This hugely puppet making and an successful class led by the entertaining bug day with ANGELA TEASE LEISURE SUPERVISOR fabulous Sarah Mc Fee just keeps the opportunity to get up BLACK ISLE LEISURE CENTRE getting better so we’ve added a close and personal with TEL: 01381 621252 Thursday morning class that creepy crawlies galore! We starts at 10am, with 3 class times won’t rest though as our to choose from, come along and give it a go. intention is to run a successful Easter play To complement this fast paced session we scheme with lots of exciting activities so also continue our highly regarded Body keep watching this space for times booking Balance® class which is a great strengthening etc….what excitement lies in store! In the and stretching combination workout. mean time we are still running our Saturday Spinning® goes from strength to strength Club, from 10am until 12 noon during term and with 4 instructors 5 classes and 12 bikes time. To round off the year in festive fashion what are you waiting for! Saturday Club participants are invited to a

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page No. 9

Helping hand for community groups Diane Agnew, Black Isle Ward Manager A scheme aimed at helping community groups access support for their ideas and projects was launched on Thursday 24th September.

The Black Isle, Cromarty Firth and the Tain and Easter Ross Highland Council Wards along with the Eilean a' Cheò and Nairn Wards have jointly developed an easy access fund with the Highland LEADER programme, so community groups in their areas can apply for money to hire some expertise to help make projects in their area happen. The idea for the Community Development Support Scheme came about because Councillors were very aware that ideas were coming forward in their communitites, but extra help would be key to building on them. Black Isle Councillor Isobel McCallum, Vice-Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, said “There are wonderful volunteers in every community but they are also very busy and sometimes just need a helping hand to push forward improvements in their communities.” She added,”This scheme will help groups access up to £2000 to buy in the project expertise they need”. The Community Development Support Scheme is funded by the Ward Discretionary Budget in each of the five Wards and the LEADER programme. Full information on your local Ward Scheme is available from your Ward Manager.

The scheme aims to ensure that Communities who have a local development proposal can access expert development advice and assistance where necessary to help them take local projects on from the planning to the funding and implementation stages. It will be open to formally constituted voluntary groups whose membership is open to the whole community. Assistance is discretionary and each application will be considered on its own merits. The funding is intended to provide project development help through the employment of a community development consultant or similar by community organisations. The scheme aims to help groups’ progress projects or to access specialist expertise which is not available within the group. It should therefore enable groups to progress a project which is a local priority by allocating funding to the group to procure expertise to work for the group, generally for a short period of time. The Community Project Development Scheme is unable to assist with ongoing general fundraising or simple development work. Applications will only be considered where the group has clearly identified what project it wishes to undertake, who it would be aimed at and what benefits could be anticipated. Assistance is not intended to support the everyday activities of the group or for simple work for which group members have the skills or for the delivery or implementation of a specific project. The maximum grant is £2,000 which includes an additional contribution from the community group of 5%. This contribution must be in cash and not in kind.

Budgets at Black Isle Ward Forum The next Ward Forum for the Black Isle Ward is organized for Thursday 28th January, 6 to 8pm at Culbokie Primary School. The topic will be Highland Council’s budgets.

Action for Planning Transparency APT is a group made up of members of the public, and it is based in the Highlands of Scotland. See their website at: The Objectives of APT are: • to encourage honest and open debate between communities and planners; • to create a focus for communities and a sharing of experience in planning matters; • to raise public awareness of the planning process, and strengthen the participation of local people in all stages of that process. To contact Action for Planning Transparency please email

BIG success!

The first-ever Black Isle Gathering event ran in Fortrose Academy on October 29th 2005 and about 300 people went along. This year, on Saturday 26th September, over 600 people enjoyed over 60 stalls. Our picture shows the organizing team, taking a brief break for a photocall in the sunshine outside Fortrose Academy. Left to right are voluntary workers Verity Walker, Tony Leggatt and Mary Bowers, who run BIG, and helper Philip Eley.

Massage your cares away

Tranquil Massage Help reduce muscular spasm Ease respiratory problems Stimulate circulation


For appointments contact Ann McGhee, Therapist Tigh Ur, Deans Road, Fortrose IV10 8TJ

Tel: 07831 196164 Fax: 01381 621788 Email: Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 10

Charles Kennedy Remembering

The future of energy – beyond warm words?

These early days of winter are a time for rituals. The growing cold and dark of Highland nights prompt us to make preparations for the frosts to come. Our occasional reward, away from the streetlights of town, is the spell-binding view of the stars on a crisp, clear night.

Another feature of this time of year, I am afraid, is the renewed focus which falls on the costs of energy.

One important ritual has taken place at this time for the past 90 years. Remembrance Sunday has had a renewed significance in recent years with troops in active service, overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the last of the veterans of the horrific conflict which came to an end on 11th November 1918 passing away. This year has seen the end of our role in Iraq, but we seem no closer to a resolution in Kabul. The military situation seems if anything more difficult than in the past. The casualties have, tragically, grown and the democracy – reflected by the turmoil and doubt surrounding recent presidential elections – seems no less fragile. The simple act of remembering the sacrifice which has been made, and is still made today, for our freedom should never become politicised. Our respect and admiration for the bravery of servicemen and women should not be about the rights and wrongs of particular conflicts. Nor should we forget the civilian casualties of conflict abroad any more than the victims of war at home half a century ago. I regret enormously that the occasion this year was marked by very personal attacks on the Prime Minister in the national press. It is an editor’s responsibility to choose what to publish, when to publish it and how to do so. Come what may in the years ahead, Remembrance Sunday should be a time for restraint.

Slightly over eight out of ten units of energy consumed in Highland households goes on heating, so it is little wonder that this colder time of year places enormous pressure on domestic budgets. Earlier in the summer, working with Inverness MP Danny Alexander, I conducted a survey of many households across the Highlands & Islands – trying to identify solutions, and to encourage local people to take advantage of the support which is on offer. Some of the results are alarming, if not wholly surprising in the wake of the

…energy efficiency – and improved insulation in particular – is a critical part of the long term solution. recession’s impact on incomes, alongside continuing sharp rises in energy bills. Of well over 700 responses received, slightly over half reported spending more than 10% of household income on heating – meeting the Government’s definition of fuel poverty. One in five reported acute fuel poverty, with over 20% of income going on fuel. There is a range of issues which must be addressed concerning the support which is on offer. One among them is the way users of heating oil, LPG and solid fuel – of whom there are many where mains gas is absent – have been left out of Government initiatives to provide emergency help.

The ‘big six’ electricity and gas suppliers are required to offer social tariffs to all their customers. While not without some complications, I would certainly encourage anyone experiencing difficulty with energy bills to contact their supplier about this option. A significant discount may be available. The difficulty here is that while a discount and other support applies across the board where heating is from electricity or mains gas, those who rely on heating oil miss out for a very large proportion of their costs. At the same time, they have no protection from regulation against unjustified or sudden price increases. With the environment also high in the agenda as we await the beginning of the crucial Copenhagen Summit on climate change, we should not forget that energy efficiency – and improved insulation in particular – is a critical part of the long term solution. It is by some distance the easiest way to lower bills without leaving families in the cold. Again, in this area, there are problems: too much has been left to the big energy firms, who are encouraged to find quick and easy fixes in large volume instead of providing help where it is desperately needed. On insulation, on energy price regulation, and on help for those reliant on heating fuels, the time for warm words has passed. The Government must now commit to serious action. In the meantime, please do contact my office if I can help with these or other problems – details appear in the advert below. You can also contact the Energy Saving Trust for independent advice on the support currently available – just ring 0800 512 012 to discuss your options with a member of their local team in Inverness.

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Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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by Karen Sutherland

Photo, supplied by Karen, showing Raymond when he worked for A Ross & Son in the Quarry at Daviot in 2007

Donald Raymond Sutherland 31st October 1950 – 15th June 2009 June saw the very sudden and sad passing of Raymond Sutherland, born in Cromarty Hospital 31st October 1950 to Donnie and Alice Sutherland, residing at the time at Corrachie Farm Avoch. Soon after starting school the family moved to Fortrose High Street and he attended Fortrose Academy. After leaving school Raymond briefly tried his hand at fishing, this became more a hobby than a job as years went on. Once back on dry land Raymond started working for Walter Macdonald Butchers, in Muir of Ord achieving the level of master butcher. However he wanted to follow in his fathers footsteps and had a taste for the open road. His first driving job was for Coca Cola Inverness, delivering throughout the Highlands. However a class 2 licence soon became a class 1 when he started with Highland Haulage Inverness. Raymond now travelled the length and breadth of Great Britain where he made many life-long friends, both on the road and off it. Raymond married Rosie on 31st October 1975 and they went on to have 2 sons and a daughter. Raymond was born in 1982, James in 1984 and Karen in 1987. After 19 years of dedicated service Raymond moved to W.F Kelly and Son at Tomatin. This was indeed Raymond’s ideal job as he was transporting whisky, “the water of life”, through out the country. Moving closer to home he started work with

Charlie Frasers Coaches at Munlochy. Well known with his red North Kessock school bus, Raymond was still on the road and closer to home with his family. However the call from the “water of life” was too much and he found himself working with Carntyne Transport Inverness. Here he was working with many life long friends, back on the road once again. Finally he decided, after a few years with Carntyne, that he had travelled the road long enough and he took a job with Ross Sand and Gravel, working at the quarry in Daviot. As work became scarce he moved to HQC (Highland Quality Construction) Inverness. After 18 months he found himself out of work for the first time in 58 years, but started work with Inverness Farmers’ Dairy two weeks before his passing. Raymond was a son, a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle and a good friend to many. Everyone has their own special memories of Raymond. He knew the roads of Great Britain like the back of his hand, where ever you wanted to go Raymond knew how to get you there. No one needed a Sat-Nav when Raymond was about. The Sutherland family would like to thank everyone who sent flowers and cards at this sad time and thanks everyone who came to the funeral service and showed their support. Raymond is gone but I’m sure he will never be forgotten.

George Patience proudly shows off his MBE, which he received from the Queen in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace on Friday 13th November. The award was in recognition of his work for the Algerines Association, a Royal Navy veterans’ Association. George, formerly of Ormonde Terrace, Avoch, and now living at Drumnadrochit, where his wife’s family are from, served for 12 years in the Royal Navy, including a period as an able seaman in the 1950s on an Algerine-class minesweeper, HMS Welcome.

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This casualty of the September gales, stuck fast on the beach below St Andrews Church in Fortrose was a visitor from Cromarty. A boat belonging to a member of Chanonry Sailing Club was sunk by the same storm Photo by Verity Walker

Long service medal Dinah Mann The Mann family would like to thank Joan Munro for her 30 years of service to date on the farm. Joan joins two other employees, Donald MacDonald, Fortrose, and Alex Duguid of Muir of Ord, who have also had long service medals and are both now retired. Joan received her medal and gifts at a Presentation Dinner at Kinkell House Hotel on Friday 20th November. Joining her at the presentation were her son Calum and husband Sandy, who has worked with me for 27 years, on and off. Well done Joan, Alex and Donald.

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What is the Community Council for? Caroline Eccles

Do you ever wonder what Avoch and Killen Community Council gets up to? Over the last couple of years we have been working to try and get the best deal for the community from two major housing applications. These are at Memorial Field (the field behind the recycling point) and Rosehaugh South (the first field on the left within Rosehaugh Estate at the end of Rosehaugh East Drive). Both of these sites finally got planning permission in early October for 22 house plots and 8 affordable house plots on each. For both proposals the Community Council held open community meetings, with attendance being good at one and poor at the other. We also had discussions with the developer’s agent and with the Highland Council planning department, and eventually put in detailed comments objecting to both schemes. All in all, a considerable amount of time and effort, and a fair amount of frustration. Both areas of land are allocated for housing in the Local Plan, so it was highly unlikely that they would not get permission for housing, but we had major concerns about many points including: the number of houses, drainage (particularly at Memorial Field), the impacts of additional traffic on pedestrians, provision of play areas, management of landscaped areas, the poor quality of the design brief for both sites. We also recommended that a financial contribution should be made by the developers to improving services in the village, given that 60 households will have quite an impact. Did we get a better deal for the community? Yes. The planners did agree with many of our comments, they passed them on to the

developers and changes were made. Not everything we suggested was taken on board however. A key issue is the number of houses. This was not reduced, despite the allocation in the Local Plan being only 20 houses on each site. Whilst the developers are putting in some measures that will be helpful for the community, many of these, such as open space provision, are things that should be automatic as part of any good application. Road safety is a concern for the Memorial Field site, and the developers will be funding a pedestrian crossing. Thanks to our intervention this will now be push button operated, at a significant additional cost. In relation to the Rosehaugh South proposal, the developers will be paying for traffic calming along Mackay Terrace and Rosehaugh East Drive. The planners also asked for a £5k contribution to the upkeep of the MacKay Terrace play park. Thanks to pushing from our Councillors this sum is now up for discussion (we hope it will be raised), and additional traffic calming at the junction between MacKenzie Place and School Brae will be put in. To push for these changes has taken time and effort. It would be far better if the Highland Council were to have a much stronger and consistent line on developer contributions. With more vociferous community support, we think it likely that more of our comments would have been taken on board. Although some people came along to our meetings, only one member of the community commented in writing on the Rosehaugh South application and none commented on Memorial Field. If you feel strongly about planning issues, don’t just mutter, speak to the Community Council and to the Planning Department at an early stage.

Top Council award for Black Isle project

Greening the Black Isle was one of two Ross-shire projects which won top awards at the annual Quality Awards run by The Highland Council. The teams received their awards at a ceremony held at The Town House, Inverness. Greening the Black Isle, a project which encourages communities to be more sustainable in the way they heat buildings,  won the Protecting and Developing the Environment category. It is a partnership environmental project involving Community Energy Scotland, the Council and LEADER, which supports communities to develop sustainability plans for their community buildings – addressing energy efficiency, renewable energy and reducing their carbon footprint. The partnership consists of 14 community organizations, which are now actively developing renewable energy projects. The project has also helped raise awareness of energy conservation across the community.   The other main winner was Court to Career, a project involving the Community Service team at Alness - it won in the  Supporting Communities and Older People category. Portree Primary School was named as the Council’s Team of the Year. Employee of the Year is David MacIver, a streetwork project officer who works with rough sleepers in Inverness. Trainee of the Year was Simon Hindson, a graduate planner based at Inverness.

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Contact Louise MacKay on 07725 897 536 page No. 14

lights far above us. Briefly I wondered and then soon forgot as I sat in bed close to my mother and my new baby sister.

First acquaintance

Fifteen years later I was on the Avoch/Fortrose road with my friend, Christine Craig, and her father. Christine had been visiting us at Toll Road and Rev. Craig had come to escort his daughter home. It was a beautiful, frosty night and I decided to walk with them as far as the First Cut, just beyond the harbour. Being war time, there were no distracting lights anywhere and as we left the village behind Mr. Craig said (I can hear his deep voice now), “Isn’t Orion beautiful tonight?” He sensed my puzzlement. “Betty, do you mean to tell me that you don’t know Orion?” “No, Mr. Craig, I don’t. I’m sorry.” Whereupon he lifted his stick and introduced me to the stars of that glorious constellation. Immediately that long-submerged memory of April 1924 surfaced and I realized with awe and wonder that there was order and beauty in those twinkling lights. A new interest was born that has never left me.

Childhood memories … by Betty Patience I wonder how far back readers’ earliest memories go. I believe it can be as early as the age of 2 years plus. My first true memory can be dated - 24th April 1924. I was 3 years, 3 months and 1 week old. On the afternoon of the previous day my father had walked me along to my granny’s home, 30 High Street, now Rye Cottage. He was still lame after a serious accident on board ship en route for South America and needed a stick. In the early hours of the 24th he appeared at No.30 with good news for my anxious granny

and my two aunts. Mother and her new baby were both well. I was now sound asleep in granny’s bed, but there was no question of leaving me there until morning! Aunty Mag wrapped me in a shawl, tied me on her back and we set off slowly for 14 Factory Buildings. The cold night air soon roused me and by the time we reached the Congregational Church, already familiar to me, I was wide awake. I looked up, and for the first time noticed the myriads of twinkling

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Many years later, in the autumn of my final year of teaching, my P4 pupils helped me to cover one wall of our classroom with black paper. Then, with stars cut out of scrubbed and flattened milk bottle caps, we set up The Plough, Orion and The Great Triangle. Above, in bold print, the triumphant words, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” One of the greatest joys of winter must surely be the beauty of the stars, proclaiming to all mankind the reality of the Creator who called them into being by the sheer power of His word. As the poet-king of Israel said, “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

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Black Isle Messiah

Avoch & Killen Community Council

Forthcoming meetings All at 7.30pm at The Community Centre

December   January              February          March           

Monday 7th No meeting Monday  1st Monday 1st

Planning update

Alasdair Nicolson (formerly from Munlochy) conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Inset (below) the composer, George Frederick Handel.

Scratch chorus and orchestra reaches 100+ Interest in participating in the chorus and orchestra of the Black Isle Messiah (performance Sunday 13th December, 7.30, Black Isle Leisure Centre Hall, Fortrose) snowballed over the last week or so as the 30th November deadline loomed for those who want to take part. “We had a dozen applications last weekend alone,” explained Verity Walker who is working alongside Black Isle Leisure Centre staff to organize the weekend of workshops and rehearsals which

culminate in the unique Sunday night concert. “We don’t want people to forget that you can still support the event, even if you don’t come along to sing or play an instrument.  We still need an audience, and tickets are on sale now at the Black Isle Leisure Centre!” Those wishing to guarantee a seat are strongly advised to book soon.  Tickets are £7.50 (£5 for concessions), and profits will be ringfenced for future classical music events in the Black Isle.  Maybe an early Christmas present for a music-lover in your life?

Lands End to John o’Groats Mike Noble

We were immensely proud of our Ella when, with a group known as “The Lonach Highwaymen”, she recently completed a cycle run from Land’s End to John o’Groats. As she pulled in to Jo’G with the other six riders (all blokes) in the wind and rain on 9th October, she looked the picture of health and wanted to carry on riding! Unfortunately the sea was in the way so they all settled for a wee party, celebrating with friends and the ladies who had supported them all the way. Each rider paid his own expenses, but they raised funds for their local school, Strathdon Primary, and for the local charity Cash for Kids. Their website at http:// says that they have so far raised £7125.93.

It was reported at the Avoch & Killen Community Council meeting on 2nd November that both the Memorial Field and Rosehaugh South housing applications had been passed at the last Highland Council Planning Committee meeting. Various amendments were made at the meeting to the planning conditions suggested by officials, including a condition that the pedestrian crossing by the Memorial Field will be push-button operated. This is a significant additional cost, and so the developer is not being expected to contribute to other village services. The proposed “Give and take” traffic calming system to be installed by the play park on School Brae was discussed. This may cause some difficulties for heavy goods vehicles, but any traffic calming is likely to do so. It was agreed at the planning meeting that there will also be traffic calming where Mackenzie Place meets School Brae. The developers will draw up a scheme, which Councillor Barclay will then discuss with the Community Council. The sum which the developers are providing for the maintenance of the play park by Mackay Terrace is still to be agreed.

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Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 16

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Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 18

Congestion expected


Kessock Bridge to be resurfaced Kessock Bridge has now been open to traffic for 27 years and carries approximately 30,000 vehicles a day between Inverness and the Black Isle. The need for major maintenance was discussed at the Black Isle Ward Forum on Thursday 12th November. The road surfacing on the bridge was originally laid to a very high specification, both to guarantee its longevity and to provide protection and additional stiffness to the flexible steel bridge deck below. Consequently the structure has required considerably less patching and repairs than would have been expected with a more conventional surfacing system and has survived 27 years - with only one major patching scheme and numerous localised repairs. The surfacing is, however, now beginning to deteriorate rapidly and it is necessary to intervene and resurface the entire bridge. Significant delay would result in further deterioration of the surfacing until it becomes hazardous to the public and no longer provides the required protection to the bridge superstructure beneath. This could result in weld failures and significant structural repairs to maintain the integrity of the structure. ScotlandTranServ has reviewed the options for resurfacing the bridge in considerable detail. Only 3 types of surfacing, all of which are very specialised, can provide the protection required for a long-span steel-deck bridge like this one. It is now intended to start resurfacing work (which would take approximately 5 months) in March 2011. This date is however still dependent on sufficient funding being secured for the scheme. The work required is largely weather-dependent and since the bridge is very exposed, needs to be carried out during spring/summer so as to avoid extensive weather delays and ensure effective application of the waterproofing membrane and surfacing layer. To ensure longevity of the surfacing it will also be necessary to apply the materials with minimal joints in the surfacing and it will therefore be necessary to close each carriageway to traffic while the old surfacing is stripped, the deck primed, a waterproof membrane applied and the resurfacing is laid. Continuous contraflow traffic management will be required, ie: one lane of traffic in each direction

on the southbound carriageway, while the works are completed on the north side, then switching to complete work on the southbound carriageway. These traffic management arrangements are expected to result in considerable disruption to traffic and specialist traffic modellers have been employed to forecast the extents of the expected delays. Initial traffic modelling revealed that delays in excess of one hour could be experienced by commuter traffic and that the queues which would form would result in extensive queues on the A82 and local roads through Inverness, which could effectively gridlock the city during the evening peak. To reduce the queues and minimise disruption to the Inverness area it will therefore be necessary to reduce the amount of traffic crossing the bridge while the works are in progress. Several options are being investigated: - Additional bus provision - A park and ride facility near Tore Roundabout - A temporary bus gate on Longman Drive - A temporary bus / HGV lane between Tore Roundabout and the bridge - Temporary signals on Longman Roundabout - Additional train services - A passenger ferry between North Kessock and Inverness - Promoting car sharing initiatives These options and others have been discussed at three workshops with Highland Council and initial consultation with other stakeholders has been started. Calum Calloway, Bridges Manager with ScotlandTranServ, says that it is intended to find the best ways to ease disruption and try to leave a legacy of better transport infrastructure for the future. The final package of measures is some way from being finalized, and the Black Isle Ward Forum gave an opportunity to listen to peoples’ views and ideas. HYPERLINK "mailto:kessocksurfacing@scotland." kessocksurfacing@scotland.transerv Article based on a briefing note prepared by Calum Galloway CEng MICE, Bridges Manager, ScotlandTranServ 11 November 2009

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Prefix all with “http://” Health/Medical Photo: Ian Rhind

Black Isle Heritage Memories Project Cait McCullagh Local people offer a tremendous resource for research, investigation and celebration of our heritage. We are inviting members of Black Isle communities to share, with each other and with the wider Highland Community, stories, memories and their knowledge of local buildings and archaeology, using historic maps, photographs and artefacts as inspiration. Initially the project will focus on the western area of the Black Isle centred around Tore, extending, initially, south to Munlochy and Bogallan, north to Culbokie and across the A9 to Ferintosh and also Avoch. We will also be paying special attention to the heritage associated with forestry and to agriculture; again collecting local knowledge and memories of the buildings and archaeology that form part of this heritage. We are currently arranging a series of sessions entitled 'Remembering your Community', to take place in community halls throughout these areas, in the New Year; dates to be announced soon.  At these sessions we are inviting you to join together with others in your community to share what you know and also to share your interest in finding out more.  In order to help you to collect and record this archive of local memories, information and insights, we will be arranging  free training in Oral History Collection and Recording between now and Christmas.   Next Spring, we plan to bring those who have contributed to the project together with local schools, in order to share their findings with the newest generation of Black Islers. Upon completion of the project the digital archive will be deposited with Am Baile; new records regarding the archaeological and built heritage will be entered onto the Highland Council's Historic Environment Record and a print publication will be produced to celebrate the project's findings and, in order to build on the interest and enthusiasm that we hope this project will generate, we plan to loan the digital recording equipment, free of charge, to local community groups and associations. Would you like to know more?  Perhaps you have ideas and information to share? Maybe you know folk who have something to contribute?  You might like to help with the collection and recording of this vital record of local knowledge? I would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact me, Cait McCullagh at  01349 867733 or The Black Isle Heritage Memories Project is part financed by the European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme and by Awards for All

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Fortrose Medical Practice www.fortrosesur News/events etc. Chatterbox www.chatterbox Sport Avoch Amateur Football Club avochies.inthete modules/page/ page.aspx? pc=home Fortrose Union Football Club www.spanglefis FortroseUnion/ Heritage Mackenzie Foundation www.mckenzief index.php Avoch Heritage Association

Community Avoch & Killen Community Council Avoch Amenities Association www.chatterbox amenities2.html

Others Scottish Government www.scotland.g Releases/ 2008/09/16095 049 Information provided without guarantee of accuracy. Please let us know if you are aware of any changes send to editor@chatterb

The tractor before (inset, left) and after (main)

Your “Favourite Film Festival” is back Cromarty Film Festival 4-6 December 2009

Restoration driver by Jim Thomson David Forsyth from Munlochy, coach driver with Charlie Fraser, must be known to the hundreds of people he has taken to the Republic of Ireland and to many countries on the continent of Europe. And also by the countless school children taken to and from school and the many local people he has taken to weddings and on other pleasure trips over more than twenty years. But David’s interest in vehicles is not confined to his occupation of driving. For some time he has held an ambition to restore a vintage vehicle to its former glory, and

about a year ago he purchased a Ferguson 1947 petrol-driven tractor, a TE20, and set about fulfilling this. This TE20 was one of Ferguson’s first tractors, costing two hundred pounds when it was new, and it was previously owned by someone in Laide, on the west coast. Surpisingly, perhaps, it wasn’t used on a farm, but for taking in the peats. Now that David has the tractor carefully restored, he may be able to fulfill another ambition to compete in future ploughing competitions.

With an intriguing programme that combines classics with our special guests’ favourite films. It’s another festival worthy of an Oscar nomination! Special events include: The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox with lead animator Anthony Farquhar Smith and some very special screenings of rare film from the Scottish Film Archive. Check out the full programme on the website, Special guests at the festival, introducing their favourite films, include Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, Paul McGuigan, Charles Kennedy, Gillies McKinnon, A L Kennedy, Kevin MacNeil, Sanjeev Singh Kohli, Paul Riley, Johnny Meres and Andrea Calderwood. A host of films to be shown includes The Man Who Fell to Earth, La Strada, Duck Soup,Funny Bones, The Jungle Book, Whisky Galore! and The Apartment, to mention but a few.

Tell Lai ny!

She did it !!

Louise Coull climbed Ben Nevis to raise funds for Avoch Under 5's. In support, the children went for a sponsored toddle around Avoch. We climbed to the top of Braehead which seems like a mountain when you are only three years old! So well done everybody! We raised over £200 to go towards the outside area. Brownies, Youth Club and Avoch Under 5's are all looking forward to growing their own vegetables and flowers and having a safe area to run around in the fresh air. Thank you to Jasmine Chinese Take Away and to Brenda May's Hairdressers for their kind donations. 

Here’s on and unde e for the kids! (7 How manyr) can you fin sprigs of holly Chatterbo d in this x? Write the name on anumber and your and give it piece of paper Scotmid st to Lainy in the First correcore. t answer ou the hat w t of ins a priz e!

Visit to the war memorial Karen Plested Avoch under 5s visited the war memorial to lay a wreath and enjoyed meeting a soldier who told us about his job. We served tea and cakes to the local service men who came in on Friday 13th November. Thank you for coming and we look forward to seeing you again.

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Christmas fun at the fair

Come to Avoch Community Centre on Saturday 19th December between 11am-3.30pm. Plenty of exciting things to do and buy. Look out for signs around Avoch near the time for more details. page No. 20

Avoch Harbour Back in 1960, George Forsyth, who had been Clerk and Treasurer to Avoch Harbour Trust from 1934 to 1974, wrote a short memoir of his times in the post, “in the belief that the people of Avoch will find it interesting, as concerning their most valuable asset - the Harbour.” This has been preserved by Willie Forsyth, who has now kindly passed it to Chatterbox. We have re-formatted it into a small (A5) 12 - page booklet. Copies are available from the Editor at 30p each.

The “Great Drowning” of 1871 from “Avoch Harbour”, by George Forsyth “A boat load of women were being rowed out to a yawl which was anchored on the edge of the channel, and which was to take them to Inverness to sell their fish. The boat was obviously over loaded, and some movement of some of the passengers caused it to capsize, with the result that fourteen men and women were drowned. The morning was a fine sunny one with hardly a breath of wind. Mr Sutherland distinctly remembers seeing some of the corpses, and in particular watching one woman going into a house with a scissors in her hand, which the youngsters later learned was to free the hand of a dead woman from her hair, which she was clutching. Mr Sutherland also mentioned the name of a young woman who was very annoyed by being refused passage because the boat was already over loaded - fortunately for her. Mr Sutherland also related, as told him by his father how at a time when the village was practically [at] starvation point, a vessel arrived to load a cargo of potatoes and meal. This was too much for the hungry villagers, and a riot took place, the vessel and crew were stoned and compelled to leave without their intended cargo.”

Drawing the line Concerned at possible risks to pedestrians, Bob Cook, owner of the Harbour Guest House on Avoch High Street, phoned the Regional Technical Services some time ago to inform them that the white ‘pavement’ guide lines outside his Guest House and the Post Office were becoming very indistict. He phoned again on the 8th of October and spoke to Gary Slupek, Technician at Technical Services Dept.,who noted what Bob had to say, and he was delighted when, about an hour later, a Regional Council Vehicle stopped

Jim Thomson

outside the Guest House to apply new white lines. Bob responded immediately by phoning to thank Gary for his prompt attention. And not far away, outside the Fishermen’s Co-op, the seating for a manhole cover was becoming troublesome, causing a fearful clatter as vehicles ran over it. Bob made several phone calls and found out that the Water Department was responsible. Local residents are very grateful that a repair has now been made and the High Street is considerably quieter.

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27 High Street, Avoch overlooking the harbour ‘Kiosk Theory’, by McEye Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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page No. 21

Tranquil Harbour Journalist Russell Turner, who lives in Newhall, has become a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society (LRPS). This requires a very high standard and is an excellent achievement. He started off with a Pentax K1000 with developing and printing done by High Street outlets. He was really a snapper, and for several years he took no photographs at all. Two years ago he took up the interest again, this time with a digital camera and says his strengths are a reasonable eye and good cropping. More of his photographs can be seen on his website at and also on his club's website at 

Fishertown Squatting by willow creels, rotting bladder wrack, green slime, grey frills, white feet, hardened under nails, in the skin of hands. Her hands, my hands, mother’s hands. Gone. Baiting lines-calloused palms, nicked pads, every tip pricked. Nigg mussels, tugged from hemp, rusted ochre chain; hinged, bearded, tickling. Beached cobbles drip briny drops by the heron’s ground. Slits between hovels ooze women’s sighs, longings. Midden-stuffed crevices, elbows-grazing slices, gods lost in sandstone clefts, beneath wood loused straw. Outwith The Vennels-merchants, hog-men, shoemakers. And The Sutor giants watch the man-stealing sea, the chasm beyond this crooked bay. Silt-splashed skirts weigh heavy, tie me (an up-turned boat) to this strip of land this space between sea and kettle-steam Jane Verburg

Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 22

Buried Treasure To mark The Homecoming year Joe Gibbs, founder of Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, devised a competition to design and make a mouse, inspired by one of Burns best loved poems. The jewel, with a retail value of over £10,000, is buried somewhere in Scotland, with clues on line at The competition was open to all UK jewellers and was won by Susan Plowman, goldsmith, who owns The Studio Jewellery workshop in Fortrose and also The Studio in Achnasheen. The website address is Susan's entry was a mouse, created in 18ct white gold and covered in 184 natural champagne, cognac, pink and fine white diamonds with a black diamond eye, clinging to a solid 18ct yellow gold stalk of barley. The total 18ct gold weight is just over 2oz and it’s a substantial heirloom piece, about 2" high, which can be worn as a pendant or a brooch. The mouse is mounted on a carved beech stand which could be hung on a wall or used as a very special desk ornament! Susan has also created a range of jewellery to celebrate The Homecoming year. Her Burns range is made in sterling silver with gold and features a replica Burns cottage, brooch sized, which opens to reveal "auld lang syne", engraved inside, a red rose with a carved red coral rose, a Tam O'Shanter necklace and of course a wee mouse on barley, costing less than 1% of the buried treasure - more affordable for aspiring poets and those of us who are finding the clues hidden in the letters and paintings by Michael Forbes on the website a little tricky! Susan says it would be really good, as it was made in Fortrose, if a local won it! The retail value is now £12000! 4 texts are printed with the clues and incorporated into the menus for The Studio Cafe at 28 High Street Fortrose, which re-opened on Saturday 7th November.

Ghouls united by Rachel Hince

If you had been taking a leisurely stroll along Rosemarkie beach on Halloween afternoon then you would have witnessed a riot of ghouls, witches, vampires, monsters and other grisly characters having some serious spooky fun. The beach cafe had been transformed into a dark, very creepy haunted shack. Outside there was gore, slime, 'sick filled' containers with creepy crawlies inside,

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

doughnut dangling with extra sticky 'blood sauce', lucky dip, apple bobbing, coconut shy with 'monster heads', and much more. The afternoon ended with 'Count Dracula' and 'The Witches cat' winning the best dressed competition. All the little monsters had a fantastic time. Thanks to Mira and Lorrainne for all their hard work.

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page No. 23

Major Donation and New Purchases for Groam House

Cherry trees

Alastair Morton

The Cherry Trees outside Coronation Park, Avoch. The Community Council has made an official request for the retention of these trees, and asked for an assurance that they will not be cut down. Members felt there would be many members of the community who would be saddened at the loss of such a good asset to the visual environment of Avoch. The Community Council is aware that the trees need attention, but the question of funding this has not yet been resolved.

Groam House Museum’s campaign to raise the profile of “the father of modern Celtic design”, George Bain, has been hugely boosted by a major donation from his proud granddaughters. In addition significant purchases have been made recently both of Bain’s work and that of contemporaries who contributed to the 20th century Celtic Revival. This lovely Iona napkin ring was purchased earlier in 2009.

George Bain, born in 1881, originated from Scrabster but his family moved to Edinburgh when he was about nine and he received his professional training as an artist there. He became an art teacher and worked in Fife for many years during which he made his close studies of the masterpieces of Celtic Art such as the Book of Kells and indeed the Rosemarkie crossslab, unravelling how their creators had constructed the intricate and beautiful designs. On his retirement in 1946 he moved to Drumnadrochit with his wife Jessie, who had been born there, and attempted to establish a College of Celtic Cultures. However , the problems of funding in the postWW2 period put paid to his dream. In 1952 he moved south to England and lived out his days with one of his daughters, Chirsty, and her family, dying in 1968.

A Christmas greeting card design by George Bain The George Bain Collection is a significant and growing part of the Museum’s collection of art treasures. A successful Heritage Lottery Fund award in 2008 provided the Museum with a unique opportunity to expand the collection. In time it is hoped that the official designation of ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’ will be achieved. Groam House first hosted an exhibition of Bain’s work in 1997 based on material loaned by the Bain family. The success of that exhibition led to the family donating most of the art-work borrowed, as well as other items, and the Museum’s George Bain Collection was born. They unanimously decided that the Museum was the most suitable resting place for Bain’s creative legacy, alongside some of the Pictish sculptures that had helped to influence his work. Since then his granddaughters have been hugely supportive of the Museum’s efforts to expand the collection and this has resulted recently in their most generously donating most of their grandfather’s work and archives remaining in the family’s possession. Their generosity and support is greatly appreciated by Groam House and the Museum was delighted to welcome one of them, Chirsty Henderson, to its 20th anniversary celebrations in June.

Within a few weeks there was more excitement when a visitor to the Museum’s web site responded to an appeal for news of works by George Bain. Reverend Canon Ian Gemmell’s grandfather had been a teacher colleague of Bain’s in Kirkcaldy and in retirement had been gifted by Bain a portfolio of sketches from his time as a war artist in the Balkans towards the end of WW1. There were over 60 sketches in the portfolio, all in mint

The recently acquired Bain portfolio of sketches condition. A meeting was arranged for Groam House curator Susan Seright to view the sketches and as a result Reverend Gemmell was convinced that the sketches should become part of the museum’s collection. An agreement for the Museum to purchase the portfolio quickly followed and there have been many other significant purchases made during the year. Part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s award was designed to enable an ambitious ‘public engagement programme’ to be held in 2011. The programme will include a new touring exhibition, which will enable the new additions to the collection to be put on display for the first time, as well as talks, workshops and school events. Watch this space for further news of progress !

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“Not just for Fishermen” Chatterbox 51 December 2009

LTD High Street, Avoch 01381 620866 page No. 24

Recovery of green shoots


Elizabeth Gill

(A sub-Group of Avoch and Killen Community Council)

Following the recent works in laying the new sewer through the school football field the Community Council decided to undertake major works in the form of a total reseed of the field. The field had suffered from bad drainage and potholed surface for many years and, following the recent works to drain the very wet areas, now seemed the best time. The drainage was expertly done by Barry Adams and Russell MacKenzie who did a wonderful job of installing numerous drains and cutting in a ditch alongside the woodland area. Barry, Russell and their team put in a lot of hard work and did it at a very reasonable price for the community. We mustn’t forget the generosity of CSC in Culbokie and Innes Pipes from Nairn who both very kindly donated drainage pipe for this project. The project was supported by Highland Council (which owns the field) to the tune of £1400 pounds, which covered the cost of the specialist seed required for the hard wearing surface. This left the Community Council with all the costs of the labour and machinery hire. In true community style the decision was made (with great trepidation) to go for it! On 10th October a great mass of machines gathered at the Community Centre. Martin Gill had persuaded veteran ploughman Bert Williamson to undertake the important job of ploughing up the existing surface (even at his age he had never ploughed up a football field before) but there was a problem – THE WEATHER. The day before had not been very good, with a lot of rain, bad news for any ploughman. There was a lot of head scratching

and after walking over the field, trying to find any dry areas, the word was ‘go’. Colin Gill had very kindly donated & delivered his ploughing match plough for the project. Thank you Colin, but due to the ground conditions on the day we decided to use a different plough. The area next to the bank was the wettest and it was touch and go as to whether the tractor would make it through, far less be re-sown. Berty however persisted and once through the initial wet bits he managed to turn a lovely furrow. Rory Mann used his expertise in grass-land management skills and successfully rotovated the field in front of the plough. As the day went on the sun came out and things started to dry up. Martin then came along with his power harrow and broke up the furrows in order to make a quality seed bed. The next task was to try and level out some of the dips and humps which have plagued the young footballers for many years. This was done by Rory Mann and Norman MacIver using a specialist levelling machine and Norman’s eye for a level field. After many times passing up and down the field, it was felt that the worst holes had been removed. After a number of hours looking down on the park the team took a break hot tea and coffee with bacon rolls and biscuits expertly provided by Kate MacIver. This was most welcome. After another pass by Martin to finish off the final surface and a number of overhanging trees and branches felled by Mike Wilson and his boys the field was ready for sowing.

C S and Mrs E L Hiddleston

DAIMLER CHAUFFEUR HIRE TRADITIONAL WEDDING CARS UNIFORMED CHAUFFEURS Fairy Glen View, Eathie Road Rosemarkie IV10 8SJ 01381 620247 Mobile: 07711 093522 Chatterbox 51 December 2009

would like to thank all those who have helped the group in any way this year. The support of the people and various groups in/around Avoch has been tremendous. We are now concentrating our efforts on applying for national funding, so we may not have many events going on locally. But we will be at the Xmas Sale on Sat 19th Dec from 11 to 3pm, in the Community Centre with the usual stalls. These will include baking, bric a brac, Phoenix Cards/Wrapping Paper, and a tombola/raffle with some great prizes. One of the prizes is a wonderful hamper full of festive goodies! This can be seen in Avoch Fisher-man’s Co-op where tickets can be purchased. Best wishes for Christmas and 2010 from all at P.L.A.Y

Poor Hattie

Mary Bowers Poor Hattie's out of action, probably until mid Jan. She's got a spiral fracture in the tibia bone of her back leg. The orthopaedic vet at St Monans in Fife decided not to go ahead with the planned operation so we've got weekly visits now to her vet in Dingwall to get the splint and dressing changed. As you can see from her photo, she's a bit fed up! Unfortunately she has to be kept mainly cage-bound, with no exercise.


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page No. 25


Rapiers at dawn

Tai chi at dawn

Gymnasts at dawn

Avoch Nursery

“Fly away home”

Hazel Carmichael

by Jim Thomson Avoch residents, Nigel Bishop, his wife Julie, daughter Megan and their neighbour’s son Alexander McClymont, were at the Rosemarkie bonfire and thoroughly enjoying the pyrotechnic display when their pleasure was suddenly arrested. Alexander received a mobile phone message from Bob, his father, that Nigel and Julie's house chimney in Alexander Street was on fire. Understandably, Nigel was at first incredulous. He thought that because of what they were then watching it was simply a leg pull, but quickly realised that the call was genuine and hurried back to his house. His arrival was timely indeed, as Fiona McClymont had rightly alerted the Fire and Rescue Service from Fortrose - and they were about to break down the door! But the fire in the chimney was soon extinguished, with no damage caused. Julie was expansive in her praise of the Fire fighters from Fortrose who carried out their work expeditiously and with obvious concern for the house contents. No doubt Nigel, Julie and Megan would not have had much interest in returning to the Rosemarkie Bonfire!

The children of Avoch Nursery have been visited lately by Ailsa ,their Oral Health Educator (Tooth Lady!) and B J Roo, her giant kangaroo. She showed us all how to look after our teeth by brushing them well, even after snack time at nursery.

Andy Murray fever

Stuart Balharrie, whose son James attends the nursery, also visited by us and spoke to the children about his job as a Policeman. Now we know that policemen do much more than just “catch the baddies!” We will also be visited soon by Gillian Hier and her ambulance to learn all about being a paramedic. Thank you to all of you for giving up some of your free-time.

This summer ‘Andy Murray fever’ brought a staggering 74 junior & juvenille members to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Bowling & Tennis Club, where tennis coaching goes on throughout the year for all age groups. Because of increased membership it was decided hold a doubles tournament as well as the usual singles matches and the response was fantastic - three quarters of the membership entered. In the singles events Jake MacLeod won the U18's, beating Kenneth Simpson in a gruelling 3 sets; in the U15's Chris Kelly beat Kyle MacLeod and in the U12's Ben Kelly beat Tom Kelly. Partners for all the doubles matches were drawn from a hat to ensure more fun.The U18's doubles is still ongoing........but winners of the U15's were Tommy McLoughlin & Chris Kelly, who beat Joe McKellar & Gary MacLeman and in the U12's Finn Raistrick & Ross McIver beat Ben Beasley & Ben Kelly. Rosie Young won the U12's girls singles, beating Rachel Spence. Many thanks to the numerous parent helpers at coaching and umpiring, who made it all possible. In the adult tennis competitions Patsy Alexander got the better of Sylvia Hulme in a tightly fought match in the ladies singles and again triumphed in the ladies doubles with her partner Maggie Macdonald against Barbara Jones and Maggie Wylie.  In the mens singles Greg Mudge beat Eugene Kelly while Greg and Eugene teamed up to win the mens doubles against Roy Nixon and Colin Ferguson.  The mixed doubles final has still to be played but the finalists are Doreen Ferguson and Eugene Kelly against Sylvia Hulme and Greg Mudge.

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Email: Chatterbox 51 December 2009

For Remembrance Sunday the children made their own sticker poppies, and added their own pennies to the school’s giant poppy, the money going to The Poppy Appeal. We all learned a bit more about the day, before joining in with the minutes silence. On Friday 20th November the children will have all been wearing their pyjamas to nursery and raising some money for Children In Need at the same time. The staff and all the children of Avoch Nursery would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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Nature Notes

Chatterbox photos

by the Avoch Observer

Early Hynerpeton-Devonian amphibian

In October Avoch had a rather unusual visitor - a Kingfisher. This bird, about the size of a large House Sparrow, is well known for its mainly blue, colourful plumage. The naturalist, W.H.Hudson, wrote, “It is surpassing in beauty and brilliancy any blue ever seen in sky or water, or in flower or stone or any other thing.” The bird sits still on the branch of a tree, overlooking running water, and dives in to catch a small fish. Kingfishers have nested in Easter Ross, but no further north. They are not common birds, and the whole Scottish population may be no more than about one thousand. In Victorian times the bird suffered badly, as its feathers were used to adorn ladies’ hats. In severe winters, when slowflowing burns freeze over, many Kingfishers die; others may move to the coast. The Greek name for this bird was Halcyon. In ancient times it was believed that they nested on the open seas, which were always calm at this time, and the term “Halcyon days” came to mean a time of happiness and prosperity.

Two people who live on the High Street were taken aback recently when they found a frog in their gardens. There are not many ponds near Avoch and frogs must spend much of their lives in or near roadside ditches. Several years ago, on a summer day, I came across hundreds of half-inch frogs crossing a road on Rosehaugh estate. Perhaps their pond had become overcrowded.

If you find a frog in your garden, you should leave it where it is, as it does no harm to plants and finds slugs and snails to be very tasty morsels. When Autumn comes, these amphibians must find a suitable place to hibernate, and they just hop or crawl until they find one, which may be a crevice

below ground. They have even been found hibernating about fifteen feet below the surface of a loch in the Cairngorms. I recently heard from someone interested in wildlife who lives at Mount High, that there were ditches there with large numbers of tadpoles. I had never heard of tadpoles being around in October, but when I had a look at these ditches in early November there were still some rather large, inactive ones there. Tadpoles eat microscopic plants, and perhaps that particular environment was lacking in the element Iodine, which is needed to make the hormone, Thyroxine, which is necessary for the amphibians to undergo metamorphosis into frogs. We sometimes look on the amphibians as being a not very important group, and forget that their ancestors were the first back-boned animals to live on land, where at that time there were no Reptiles, Birds or Mammals. Some of the early amphibians were over 12 feet long, with huge teeth, and they dominated the land for over 100 million years.

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Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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page No. 27

The Village Shops of Yesteryear Peggy Upton (nee Patience –Monsie) When I returned to my native Avoch, Oh! the changes I have seen; I thought that my eyes had failed me When I saw the bowling green.

When he wrapped it up in paper It would stick to it like glue And by the time it reached the pan There wasn’t much to stew.

I think of Bakies’ granny At the bottom of the street When you went in to get a loaf Perhaps a friend you’d meet .

It looked so much like Fortrose With a street they call Rose Place And a supermarket That they call the Mace.

We didn’t have a Marks and Sparks, We had an M & B. Maggie Tolly had a shop Where now the Mace you see.

“Anything new Maggie?” I can hear them say “Only my loaves JessieOh, well that’s the way”.

I’m glad they kept the pally, Where I used to play; For going are the landmarks That I knew in my day.

It was there I bought my first pink blouse Made of celenese And when I washed the blooming thing It reached right to my knees.

Poor old Bella Aileen With her paraffin in a shed When I went for a bottle full This is what she said:

Most of all I miss the little shops That were scattered all around Where we could buy the week’s supply For under just one pound.

MacDonald’s had a bakers shop (It’s now a child’s boutique) Oh, those gorgeous butteries They were really quite unique!

“Ma it’s a whisky bottle! Foes your father take a dram? I never saw that coat before Your looking awful gran.”

There was over twenty then Now there’s only eight And it was nice and cheery When they opened late.

Rows and rows of fancy cakes, The best you’d ever seen. When you had one in your hand They knew where you had been.

Jack, he had a fish shop In the middle of the dock. He opened every night at five o’clock.

There was dear old Mrs J.J, Who lived right near the pier; She was so very jolly And your news she’d like to hear.

Mrs “Thinkyou” had her shop Just across the way. She sold the bits of this and that You need from day to day.

They used to queue outside And wait, and wait and wait, But we didn’t seem to mind The chips were really great.

I went for Dad’s tobacco, “BoggieXX” he would say. I did not know the difference But four pennies I would pay.

When I went in at pickie time, The last night in December, She gave me a rotten orange How well I remember.

There was Johnie with his batteries To light us up at night; He was a very godly man He tried to keep me right.

Next there was the coffee house, Owned by Mr Jack. He didn’t sell much coffee But nothing did he lack.

Mrs Mac and Aunty In George Street they did trade. They had lots of sweeties, Some of them they made.

“Have you been to Sunday School?” I can hear him say. “No I haven’t Johnie I’ve been out to play.”

A suit of clothes he’d make for you For your wedding day And Annie who used to work there Got cracking right away.

When the sun was very hot They’d melt before your eyes And when you bought their lucky bags You’d sure get a surprise.

Now we all have a favourite shop And mine was by the sea. It was owned by Maggie Gowie In my memory I still see

Granny going to and fro, With skirts right to the ground, She was there quite often For she always had a pound.

I went up to our chemists’ shop When I had a cold To buy an Askit powder That was what I was told.

All those old fashioned sweets In every shape and size Highland Cream and Row-Chow And great big bully’s eyes.

Jessie had a baker’s shop, Helped along by Nell; My favourite was their snowballs, I remember them so well.

Instead I bought some Birrels Ida said was good And ate them all ‘fore I got home Then didn’t want my food.

We won’t forget the dear old folk Their kindness and their cheer They were the ones who made our Avoch The Avoch we hold so dear.

Sometimes I got a broken one To me ‘twas such a treat! Oh, how I miss the little shops And all the friends we’d meet.

Sometimes I went to Dannie To see what he’d in stock; That’s when I was playing Round about the Dock.

Dave, he had a butcher’s shop And groceries as well. When I went in, mother’s mince A quarter he would sell.

He was always very patient And sometimes very kind, However long I took to choose He didn’t seem to mind.

With grateful thanks to Moira Reid for providing us with this copy.

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Gourmets’ delights Rachel Hince Say the words “comfort foods” to most people and they will immediately conjure up images of chocolate, cheese, cakes, biscuits …. in fact anything that eases and consoles the mind and body! The shelves of ‘Comfort Foods’ the new butchers, delicatessen and greengrocer in Rosemarkie have a fantastic selection of produce that will do just that, whether it be a tub of delicious marinated olives, a rich buttery pastry or a succulent joint for the Sunday roast. Since the shop opened on 24th August 2009, business has been booming. It is set to flourish further with an expansion of the premises in the 2nd week of December. This will mean an even greater range of products, such as confectionery and freshly cooked ready-made meals. Richard Comfort spoke about the success of the shop … “It’s popular with many of the locals because it sells such a range of top quality, fresh, local produce” Best sellers include the meat section, fresh breads and fine cheeses. He was also keen to promote the various special offers that run “at the moment it’s a free desert/soup when buying two ready made meals”. I was impressed with the wide selection and presentation of the goods and thought that many items would make excellent gifts. With Christmas fast approaching, the shelves will have a festive air – there will be Christmas hampers, home made Christmas puddings and dumplings and even more confectionary on sale. We wish Richard and Lorraine every success.

My first Chatterbox meeting Rachel Hince I attended my first Chatterbox meeting on Tuesday 27th October. The members of the CB production team were warm and welcoming. There was a good "team spirit" and discussion was lively and enthusiastic. I didn't feel pressurised to sign up to anything... I explained that at this stage I wanted to "suss things out" and just spend the first few months familiarizing myself with key names and places. I hope to provide some stories local to Rosemarkie and am looking forward to meeting the folk who live there. It seems to be a very friendly, helpful community. The night ended with a selection of cakes, biscuits and drinks from Kitty who was hosting the meeting. All in all, a very enjoyable evening. I would encourage other members to come along. Thanks to the Chatterbox team for treating me gently.

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Chatterbox layout in production, using Apple “Pages” on an iMac, helped (or perhaps I should say “hindered”) by Abby the cat. Sadly, though, after something like thirteen years with us, she has gone on to a “better place”. I suppose I have to say that most places would be better than sitting on top of my printer! Mike

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

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page No. 29

“It was a super wee hall in its day” Pat MacLean reports that on the evening of Saturday, 31st October, a large crowd of local people gathered to witness the end of their Village Hall at Killen. No doubt many, like Pat, were remembering the happy times spent there. Christmas parties of their childhood, dances, concerts and lots of other social gatherings that were part and parcel of a once popular little hall. Pat said, “It was a super wee hall in its day.” Alas, age and weather finally took their toll and had reduced it to an unsightly ruin.

Pat wanted to record thanks to Martin Gill, Norman MacIver and all the others who tidied up the site - and who gave her the rather doubtful pleasure of setting fire to what was left of the hall. She said that, having been the focal point of the Killen community for over eighty years, it was very appropriate that it ended its days in a “blaze of glory” - and what could have been a miserably sad occasion was turned into an event which was much enjoyed by all. Anne Moseley, for the Killen Hall Committee, also wanted to thank the local

farmers for their invaluable assistance and the local communities for turning up and turning this event into a very enjoyable night with a wee drink and cakes that were all made at the last minute. Now that the site is a community responsibility it needed to be secured, hence the fire. However, there is still a lot of work needed to clear the site and any volunteers are welcome! The old school chairs, where names and messages can still be seen have been recovered and Anne is thinking of organizing an auction of these chairs to raise funds for the project.

There’s a blog/site where anyone can leave suggestions for the use of the site and memories of Hall on “Community Chat” on the Chatterbox Community Website (address above) or you can email to

Get netted!

We have a great range of gifts for all the family jewellery, perfumes, cosmetics, kids toys etc.

Come in and have a browse!!! 17 Millbank Rd, Munlochy Tel: 01463 811201 Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Does your group need internet access? Chatterbox now has broadband internet access at Avoch Community Centre. Free wireless access is available to all groups using the centre. Contact Chatterbox for availability.

J P Cars ✶ ✶

Private Car Hire Long and Short Distance Tel: 01381 621457 0782 483 2343 page No. 30


COMMUNITY CENTRE for all your functions and indoor games


 One Off Use: Flat Rate of £ 6.50 per hour.  Regular/Long Term User:  Flat Rate of £ 5.50/hour.  Fundraising:  Flat rate of £10.00 per session (hourly rate for less than 2 hours)  


 Flat Rate of £ 6.00 per hour. Photos by Allan Lemon

Another year over for Avoch Bowling Club

Special rates and arrangements for adult & teenage parties For bookings or more information please contact

AAA Bookings Secretary Jenye Monckton, telephone 01381 621430

George Brodie Secretary On 29 August there were 14 players in the Hugh Sutherland Memorial Cup, which is restricted to clubs from within Ross-shire. At the semifinals stage Fortrose met Muir of Ord and two Avoch teams played each other. Muir of Ord (Willie Stewart, Ian Hammond, John Gourlay) and Avoch (Jimmy Skinner, William Skinner, John Morrison)went through to the final and the Muir of Ord team were the eventual winners. The Green closed on Saturday 26th September with the playing of the Bessie Brown Memorial Cup, which was followed by an excellent meal in the pavilion, after which Ann Russell presented the club trophies. Margaret Patience was Ladies’ Champion and Jane Jardine was runner-up. The Gents’ Championship was won by Ecky

Patience and his runner-up was Alick Patience. The T A Patience Cup was won by Ecky Patience and Jimmy Skinner was runner-up. Jimmy Skinner also won the D Macintosh Cup - runner up for this trophy was Roy Nicol. William Skinner and Ecky Patience won the Silver Jubilee Cup, with Alick Patience and John Morrison as their runners-up, and in the Maurice Brown Side Competition the Ladies Winner was Jane Jardine and Alick Patience was Gents Winner. The Bessie Brown Memorial Cup was won by Jane Jardine, Roy Nicol and Jimmy Skinner. Runnersup were Gerry Carolan, John Morrison, and Ecky Patience During the close season the club only meets for the AGM in February, which is its only event until the green opens at the end of April next year.


Phone Avoch

(01381) 621000


FREE-RANGE EGGS We can lay them on your doorstep! £1 for 6 eggs Anne Chance Easter Balmungie Farm

Telephone: 621006

Jo’s Garden Enterprise

Eilean Dubh

The new Black Isle Restaurant We want our menus to reflect the best of what the Black Isle has to offer and will be using as much fresh local fish, meat and produce as we can get our hands on! Anne and Graham Law To book, please call us on 01381 620690

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Easter Balmungie Farm, Eathie Road by Rosemarkie Tel. 01381 621006 Bedding Plants Perennials Herbs

Free Delivery on the Black Isle Join us on line at

page No. 31

Avoch Church fights the rot Kitty McWilliam Avoch Parish church reopened with morning service on Sunday 15th November. The congregation was delighted to be back in the church, as for the greater part of the summer services have been held in the Church Hall in Rose Street. During routine maintenance and inspection work, dry rot had been discovered in the vestry. Dry rot is caused by the fungus Sepula Lachyrmans, which was first discovered in the 1700‘s. It

is a quite spectacular fungus, as the picture shows, and has characteristic reddish spores. But unfortunately it spreads with devastating effects in dry and wet wood. When established it does not confine itself to one area and, as was the case in the church, on closer inspection the fungus was found to have spread to behind the organ much further than expected. The repairs included the removal and replacement of the joists in the vestry roof and also replastering, redecorating and cleaning of the parts of the church. The work has now been completed, at great expense to the congregation.

Dutch Elm Disease

a footnote to our report in the last issue Twelve trees in Nairn have been felled due to Dutch Elm disease and because they have become a hazard to the public. Another 12 are under observation to see what affect the disease is having on them and whether they will have to be felled next year.

C.B.Financial Services Louise Mackay for bookkeeping

As we age, the bodily functions start to slow down, resulting in stiffness and the propensity for age related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and general aches and pains. It is important to exercise in order to keep the blood flowing through the veins to feed the muscles and organs and maintain healthy joints.

No time for bookkeeping? Enlist my help! Contact Louise for your bookkeeping requirements Tel: 0772 589 7536 Croit Bhan, Killen, Avoch IV9 8RQ Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Bailey’s Health & Fitness

Ring 077 6969 3993 or visit Classes in Avoch Church of Scotland Hall page No. 32

Tom and Andy, Thatchers from Somerset by Jim Thomson

It may not be a record breaker but the ten and a half hour journey made by Tom Dunbar and Andrew Fade to re-thatch Rye Cottage at Avoch Harbour takes a bit of beating. Tom said that, apart from refuelling, the journey was virtually non-stop from Somerset in the far south-west of England. They brought food to sustain them, of course, which was eaten in the car. Tom said that it would take three and a half tons of Devon wheat to re-thatch the roof, but apparently commercial wheat or corn etc. which is grown for cereals is unsuitable for thatching as the stock or as Tom would call it "moat of reed" is too short. Special crops are grown in several counties in England for thatching with stocks at least two and a half feet long. There is very good camardarie among thatchers, said Tom, evident as they get together in seminars from time to time to discuss and swap information and advice. Thatching is one of the oldest of building crafts and even heather thatch still survives, although its use is confined to summer houses and pavilions in some areas of the British Isles. Tom and Andy got to work on the house, where unsurprisingly, perhaps, the last occupants were, I understand, named Patience. And the end results were wonderfully neat, as you can see from our photographs - Ed.

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Join us on line at

page No. 33

Snappy name

Candlelight concert As part of this year's Cromarty's Homecoming Hogmanay, the Cromarty Arts Trust is holding a concert at The Stables on Tuesday 29th December at 7.30pm.

for new shops in Fortrose

Cruiteran by Candlelight

by Kitty McWilliam

Jackie Smart at work in “Snippers”

When the hairdresser’s salon in Fortrose’s Station Road closed it was a sad loss for the community. But since the beginning of September, when Nippers and Snippers opened, the village now has two shops for the price of one. The name of the shop delivers what it says, a shop which sells children’s clothes and a hairdressing salon and the idea for two shops was the brain-child of the new owners, Audrey MacCulloch and Vicky Fraser. The friends had children at about the same time and realised that there was a market for suitable clothes, and when the shop fell vacant they decided to give it a go. They have a good range of affordable clothes for ages from birth to 5 years old, including newborn gift sets, bibs, socks, hats, bootees and pram sets. There will also be a Christmas range available, with lovely outfits for all those Christmas parties, and it is hoped to extend the age range in the future. Vicky and Audrey manage the shop between them so that they have time to spend with their own families. The shop is open 10-4.00p.m. Monday to Friday and 10-1.00pm on Saturdays. Having set up the clothes shop there was still part of the

original hairdressing salon available, and, keeping it in the family, Mrs Jackie Smart, Vicky’s Mum, opened Snippers on 5 October. Snippers is open 9 - 4pm Monday to Friday and 9 - 1pm on Saturdays, although appointments can be made after 4pm, if needed. Jackie also does OAP days on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Throughout December she is offering 10% off colours and perms so that everyone is spruced up for the festive season. Take along the voucher below for the 10% discount. Audrey said that they were all delighted with the shops and were enjoying the challenge. And they’re looking forward to a busy time in the future! Nippers and Snippers Station Road Fortrose 01381622222 Audrey Mac Culloch in “Nippers”

A classical concert to come home to. Shake off those post-Christmas blues and relax to the sound of The Cruiteran String Quartet playing Mozart, Dvorak and some popular favourites. Enjoy the complimentary festive refreshments in the beauty of The Stables, Cromarty. Ticket prices: Adults £6, Children £3 from The Emporium, Cromarty or, 01381 600354. See also & http://  

Festival of fire Rosemarkie Bonfire & Firework Display 7th November 2009 The sky above the Moray Firth was an explosion of vibrant colour as crowds gathered on Rosemarkie beach to watch an amazing Firework display, courtesy of Rosemarkie Amenities Association. Nearby, a huge bonfire crackled away, its flames dancing and leaping high into the cold night air. In the distance the sound of pipes could be heard and the aroma of hot dogs and burgers wafted its way from the beach café. This was the first time we had gone to the display having recently moved up from Lewes in East Sussex. The small market town of Lewes is well known for its Bonfire celebrations which are the largest and most famous in the country. Not only does it mark the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 but it also commemorates the memory of the 17 Protestant martyrs that were burnt at the stake during the Marian Persecutions 1555-1557. Having said all of that, we thoroughly enjoyed our first Bonfire experience at Rosemarkie. The event was well supported and the local people very welcoming, and also good to see so many of the local businesses helping Co-fund the Firework Display. We look forward to coming to this again. The Hince family, Rosemarkie.


c he u o v

Nippers and Snippers Station Road Fortrose 01381 622222

10% off Perms and Colours in December 2009, with this voucher Chatterbox 51 December 2009

GEORGE E CHALMERS Funeral Directors Independent Family Run Business

The firm’s aim is to provide a discreet affordable service with professional care and understanding. Pre-Paid Funeral Plans Available Complete Personal 24hr Service Rest Rooms Available ‘Roselea’, East Watergate, FORTROSE, ROSS-SHIRE IV10 8TQ Tel:

01381 620796 Mob: 0780 1466983 page No. 34

A Recipe for the Senses Claire Divine There’s been an interesting collaboration in Cromarty recently: art, poetry and food! This seemed a strange mix at first, until talking to the creators revealed a great insight into how all the senses were fed at a very enjoyable evening “A flavour of Cromarty” at the Sutor Creek Restaurant in October. The host of the evening was the chef Collin Munroe, who supports local artists by exhibiting their work, which in turn creates interest in his food and restaurant. The evening menu was a taster menu, with all the food sourced within approximately 10 miles of Cromarty. The menu was fantastic and revealed the abundance of rich and varied food that is produced so close to Cromarty. The collaboration between the chef, artist and poet began with Rosie Newman, the artist and Jane Verburg, the poet getting together at an informal writer’s group and deciding to work on a piece based around Cromarty. Jane was inspired by a talk by the History Society about fisherwomen’s role in the fishing community of Cromarty, and the architecture of Cromarty. The “Midden”, which means refuse or rubbish was often shells and bones which were stuffed between the walls of houses. It acted as insulation and Jane says, “If you look between the walls of some cottages even today in Fishertown you will see another, more secretive, mystical place. Find the space between The Pantry and the house next door on Church Street”?!

Rosie started her art work based on Jane’s first draft. The art and the poem were worked on at the same time. The process was, as Rosie put it, “like making a collage….it was like creating recipes, in art, in poetry and then food”. This is the first time that the collaborators have worked together in this way, but all agreed that it is a concept that could be readily repeated. It was a very enjoyable and sold out the opening evening at Sutor Creek. Jane read out her poem, which was well displayed, along with a printed card explaining what some of the references in the poem meant. She thanks Mary Bowers and David Alston for helping with historic references. Rosie’s art speaks for itself. She sold four of the eight paintings in the series and several prints on the night! There’s still time to see the exhibition at Sutor Creek as it will run through December. Rosie has already created another piece of art work, in a totally different medium, but again based on local observations. It’s a large piece of work on display in the atrium at the SNH building, Great Glen House in Inverness. It’s called “Take Off” and is a screen printed wall-hanging of Knott Birds which have a flying pattern that makes them appear to vanish and reappear as they fly. It’s well worth a visit, and this exhibition runs through to January 2010. More about the artist and images from the exhibition can be found at

Brenda May’s Hairdressing Salon High Street, Avoch IV9 8PT 01381 620503

Sunbed hours Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

9am - 2pm 9am - 2pm 9am - 2pm 9am - 2.30pm 9am - 12 noon

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Avoch & Killen Community Council needs new members Why not become a Community Councillor? The work is interesting and varied and will keep you in touch with local people and what goes on in your area. The Community Council needs a new Chairman and a new member willing to take this on will be especially welcome. Meetings are held monthly in the Avoch Community Centre. If you can spare the small amount of time needed, please contact the retiring Secretary, Claire Divine on 01381 621243

GARDEN TREE SURGERY H & H Brown, Bunchrew Tree Felling & Topping Damaged Trees Removed or Made Safe Fruit Tree Care Tree Management and Advice Free Quotations Public Liability Insurance hbrowntrees@hghd.

Phone Hugh 01463 713245 07845 468540

The Avoch Bakery George Street Fresh morning goods daily Available locally at

Scotmid, Avoch Black Isle Farm Shop, Fortrose SPAR, Rosemarkie SPAR, Munlochy SPAR, Kessock Ord Filling Station, Muir of Ord and other good local stores

Station Hotel COME AND JOIN US! Bridge Street, Avoch Telephone 01381 620246

Join us on line at

page No. 35

“An independent wine company providing you   with top quality chateaux wines in a box and bottles”

Passing Places

Tom Cannavan, The Hour, STV

Visit us at to place your order For further information, email us at Premium chateaux wines exclusive to Provenance in the UK Sourced from small independent vineyards Eco-friendly alternative, Chateaux wines available in boxes as well as bottles

Get the Lazy Corner film on DVD !

£5 from Avoch & Killen Community Council ring Caroline Eccles on 01381 621894 Profits will go towards the maintenance of the Corner

Lewis Macleman Plumbing and Heating Gallowhill, Avoch Telephone 01381 620587 Mobile 07833 727434

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Mairearad Green’s acclaimed composition Passing Places is due to be formally launched on CD/ DVD at two very special events this coming December in Inverness and Ullapool. Passing Places is an evocative and intelligent musical journey set to stunning visuals of Mairearad’s hometown, Achiltibuie in Wester Ross, and is the result of a Celtic Connections New Voices Commission. The CD/DVD was recorded live at the 2009 festival and Barry Gordon of the Scotsman described it as, “memorable tunes and exquisite playing, capped off with a wonderfully executed visual backdrop synced perfectly to the music.” A member of highly successful musical collaborations such as Box Club, the Anna Massie Band and the Poozies, Mairearad is regarded as one of Scotland’s most gifted accordion players and in recent years has gained herself an equal reputation as a composer. This and the launch of her CD/DVD has resulted in the production of a brand new tune book ‘Passing Places’ featuring sheet music from the Passing Places commission, as well as some of Mairearad’s best

known works including the notable Maggie West’s Waltz. The launch of the CD/DVD and tune book comes at a particularly fitting time, when Mairearad has been nominated as Scottish Composer of the year at the Scots Trad Awards. The Passing Places launch events will both take place on Friday 11th December and will include a live performance of the commission and an opportunity to purchase both the CD/DVD and tune book. The Inverness launch will start at 4.30pm in Eden Court Theatre and be followed by an 8.30pm launch and celebratory party in the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool. Tickets are required for the Ullapool event and can be purchased directly from the Ceilidh Place on 01854 612103. Please join Mairearad at either of these special events, enjoy some wine and nibbles amongst like-minded folk and help celebrate the launch of this unique Highland product which showcases imagination, musicianship and a love of home. Both the CD/DVD and tune book are available for purchase at

te uBeautyBits l o s ABeginners Exercise Session aerobic step - body toning - indoor cycling - all in one simple circuit

Tracy Morris

Adding strength exercises to an aerobic workout is really all circuit training is, but doing so has one big benefit – Muscle. The more muscle your body has the more energy (calories) your body burns at rest. And although muscle weighs more than fat, it is a lot smaller, so swap those scales for a tape measure.

Mobile Beautician

Start Dates: First Saturday & Thursday in March 09 2 Fletcher Days/Times: Thursdays 7.30 – 9pm, Saturdays 11 Gardens – 12.30pm Avoch Location: Fitness First Instructor: Linda Bailey Duration: MARCH ONLY Ross-shire Cost: Members - £2 Non Members - £3.50622400 Tel: 01381

Mobile: 0752 502 9388

Ring Linda on: 077 6969 3993/01463 222123 Email: for more detailed information and to secure your place page No. 36

Macross’s Scotmid puzzle 1











17 High Street, Rosemarkie


12 13





14 18


18 19




21 22 23





Across Across 1 Old stocking fans regroup was Idi Amin the last of them? (5, 2, 8) 5 Woman around lack reworked providing custodial ankle-wear (7) 9 Video chart entry for one of the 1 across 5s (5) 10 Fail to retain nothing; stops unsettled matters (5, 4) 11 Tender in particular dishes, say. Bargains? (7, 6) 13 Sentimentally pretty bird sound cut short (4) 14 Snort heroically - a cold wind blows through it (7) 17 Go back over with ingredients from caterer (7) 18, 6 F-freak out and mean to change - give it a try! (4, 2, 6) 21 Vehicle with talking bird, article caught in stream and a piece of opera. (7, 6) 23 Model clue; lava gives club-like appearance (9)

Dappled drops the bishop for a Mackintosh? (5) Doubtful puss etc? (7) Bridge tool. (7)

25 26

Down 1 2

Painter of moose back east (4) Kisses small steps around British thymus glands (15) Stem; an aggregation of anther and filament. (6) Record 99 about cinema (5) See 1 across See 18 Panel can think me fitting for the first of the 1 across 5s (7, 8) Straightforward route to a comfortable life (4, 6) Missel thrushes rush taps (5, 5) Finger work main about fix (8) TV in bits? Put to the side (3, 5) What’s coming to you round about for pressure (6) A slippery form of republic? (6) Earl, perhaps, but not a 1 across 5 (4)

3 4 5 6 7 8 12 15 16 19 20 22

Answers to No.50… ME I RE A GE E



The Scotmid prize Post your solution to the Editor marked “CROSSWORD”. The first all-correct answer opened on 1st January will win £10 from Chatterbox and also a £10 token to spend at Scotmid, Avoch.

! WINNER -over prize

The winner of the roll was for the Crossword in No.50 ch. Lynda Cochrane, Avo

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Newspapers and Magazines. You can reserve a copy.  Avoch and Cromarty Bakeries.  Free range eggs, chicken and duck from Easter Balmungie Farm.  National Lottery and Scratchcards (no more queues)  Paypoint Services including bill payments, TV licence, mobile top-ups and Collect+ parcel service. Credit and Debit Cards taken. Cash Back available.  Wines, beers and spirits with free glass hire on party packages.  Look out for our £1 ranges and monthly special offers.  Free monthly prize draw in store.  Money off coupons and free entry competitions available at html/shop.htm  Friendly and personal service.  Free local deliveries within 5 miles by arrangement.

Gwyn Phillips 17 High Street Rosemarkie Telephone 620206

Join us on line at

page No. 37

Avoch store relaunched by Jim Thomson

Manageress Lainy Pescodd helps Neil Wilson and Lilian Noble with cutting the ribbon and all the staff members enjoy the photocall in the bright Autumn sunshine. Left to right are Sue Hyslop, Morag Fraser, Lisa MacDonald, Margaret Marshall, Peg MacKay, Jill Opitz, Caroline Eccles and Assistant Manageress Rita Moore.

On Friday the sixteenth of October the Avoch SCOTMID cooperative store reopened after several days of extensive re-furbishment. The formal opening was carried out by two people well-kent in the Village, Lilian Noble and Neil Wilson. I understand that Lilian is the oldest living woman in Avoch and is within a couple of years of achieving the coveted status of Centenarian, and that Neil was due to celebrate his eighty-ninth birthday the next day. Certainly the new layout of the shop is very pleasing and bright, making it look even bigger. Lainy Pescodd, the Manageress, said that the staff are very enthusiastic about the new layout and that they believe that their customers will be appreciative of the additional new lines which they now have and the extra space created between the aisles.

Brownies celebrate 100 years of guiding. 1st Fortrose Brownies took part in the Centenary celebrations in Dingwall.We had fun and games and took part in a parade along the High Street. Well done to Zara for holding the flag all the way. The girls are looking forward to the next 100 years! If you are interested in joining Brownies please contact Karen Plested at

We sell some of the best produce available locally. Come and have a look at our range of vegetables, cheese, ice-cream, local bakery, meat & poultry, smoked fish, eggs, tea & coffee, juice, oatmeal, muesli, honey, preserves and much, much more! We also sell newspapers and magazines! Open Monday - Saturday. 49 High Street Fortrose Ross-Shire IV10 8SU Tel/Fax: 01381 620055 E-mail: Web: Chatterbox 51 December 2009 page No. 38

The Chocolate Story Continues For some years now, Ingrid and Lucas Story have been making their very special Belgian chocolates on the ground floor of the Fortrose High Street building they bought from Mario Pagliari. But until recently all the selling took place in their little shop in the Victorian Market, Inverness. Then in December 2008 they finally opened a second shop right next to where the chocolates are made. There had been some sadness when the old shop closed down but now new life has been breathed into the premises. I went along to ask Ingrid how things were going with the new venture. When I called it was a new member of the Story family who welcomed me. This was Günther, the oldest son. His younger

brother had grown homesick and returned to Belgian, taking his Glasgow girl-friend with him. With Günther’s help, Lucas and Ingrid have done all the shop conversion themselves, their son, a real handyman, doing all the needed plumbing and electrical work. Now, says Ingrid, things have been going well. She thinks local people enjoy the different window displays and appreciate the effort that goes into keeping them attractive. They are changed several times a year, and the Storys get what they need either direct from Belgium or from a Dutch firm based in Glasgow. This year they have started to get more and more customers from the two caravan sites either side of Chanonry Point. Ingrid cannily offers samples of the goodies and as often as not, before they leave, the visitors come to buy gifts for their folks back home. And promise to be back again for more next year.

Sandy Mitchell

Just now the family are getting ready a new display for autumn. Inside the shop, aside from the regiments of chockies in the display cabinet, there are cakes with fancy figurines, and lines of made-up boxes tied with ribbons. In one corner a little fountain plays below palm fronds, a butterfly as big as a seagull, clings to another wall. In the window there’s a nautical scene. It is clear the Storys put in a very big effort to make their new premises an attractive place to visit and browse. Just one problem, Ingrid adds the shop is at the wrong side of the street and gets too much sunlight. Means that chocolates can’t go on window display and brightness outside makes the inside of the shop look dark. But Ingrid thinks she has the answer to that one – a crystal chandelier! Must be a song in there somewhere…


STORY BELGIAN MASTER CHOCOLATIERS HOME AND HANDMADE CHOCOLATES TO OUR OWN RECIPES 65 High Street Fortrose Tel: 01381 622302 Mob: 0776 606 0511 Shop in Victorian Market, Inverness and at 67 HIGH STREET, FORTROSE

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

Join us on line at

page No. 39

CONTACT NUMBERS Childline 0800 1111 Children First 01381 620757 Citizen's Advice Bureau: Dingwall 01349 864850 Inverness 01463 235345 Community Advice Service 01479 810919 Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 0271234 Family Mediation 01463 712100 Healthways, Dingwall 01349 868689 Homestart Ross/ Cromarty 01349 883484 Housing: Inverness 01463 710454 Ross/Cromarty 01349 868471 Out of Hours 0845 7002005

The Patiences

Marriage Counselling 01463 712888

Patiences versus The Rest: The game took place, we think, in July/Aug 1979, 30 years ago. It received some coverage from the national press and some of the guys were interviewed by the Radio 1 Newsbeat programme. The photo is of the Patience team with my father as goalie, in the foreground. Back row left to right; Neil (Dusty), James (Jumma), David (Day Day), John (Toorie), Andy (Jessie), Andy (Steed), George(Dodo). Front row Left to right ; George (Miles), Lewie (Red Shiel), Alec (Scent), Keith (Keo), Alec (Ackie), Iain(Cockles). The Patiences won, 5-2, with Jessie scoring 4 (should have been 40) and Miles scoring 1(again, should have been more. John M Patience

Men's Advice Line 0181 6449914


Police: Inverness (H.Q.) 01463 715555 Ross,Cromarty/ Skye 01349 862444


Kirsty Shaw, Market Organiser

Rape and Abuse Line 0808 8000123 or 7pm-10pm 01349 865316

The Market will be full to bursting with a recordbreaking 20 plus stalls - local handmade crafts and gifts, plants and produce - everything from brussels sprouts to mince pies, smoked salmon,beef and awardwinning bread; so come and do your last minute Christmas shopping here or just come in for a coffee and homebaking and a chat. Ferintosh SWRI  will be   doing  the teas and will also have a stall selling mince pies/baking in aid of the charity Mary's Meals. Music by Kiltearn Fiddlers and a free glass of Christmas punch to all shoppers! If you need a lift to the Market, please phone Kirsty Shaw on (01349) 863407. If you would like to order holly wreaths for Christmas with free delivery

Reach out Highland 01463 711585 Ross Council on Alcohol 01349 852438 Samaritans Inverness 01463 713456 Linkline 0345 909090

to the Black Isle or collection from the December Market, please telephone Kate Stewart on 01381 610766 to place your order. At the Food and Drink Awards in October,the Market was a runner up to Aquascot Ltd who came first in the 'Innovation' category of the Awards. A-Bun-Dance the Bakers, one of the Market's regular stallholders came first in the 'New Business' awards with Marie Faulke from Rosemarkie, another regular stallholder (who makes Indian chutneys and food) a runner up, so a good result all round.   The January Market will be on Sat 16th Jan.

Shelterline 0808 8004444 Social Work: Dingwall 01349 865262 Inverness 01463 724040 Out of Hours 0345 697284 Victim Support: Highland 01463 710806


Women's Aid: Dingwall 01349 863568 Inverness 01463 220719

Horticultural Consultants & Greenhouse Suppliers

Information provided without guarantee of accuracy. Please let us know if you are aware of any changes - send to editor@chatterboxn

Chatterbox 51 December 2009

8 Nessway, Fortrose, Ross-shire IV10 8SS Proprietor: Ian Fraser Tel: 01381 620315 page No. 40

Digital Switchover

Councillors’ Corner

David Alston Avoch will be the first community on the Black Isle to experience the switch over to digital TV and the switch off of the analogue signal. All this will happen on 8th September 2010 when the Knockmore transmitter, which most people in Avoch get their signal from, goes fully digital. A few other Black Isle residents on the north side who pick up their signal from the Rumster Forest transmitter in Caithness will already have 'gone digital' on 2nd June with the rest of the area, served by the Rosemarkie mast, following on 6th October. Full details are available on Digital UK's web site and Digital UK will also hold a public meeting in the Black Isle well in advance of the switch over. A few weeks ago I met with John MacNeil, the assistant national manager of Digital UK, who explained the process. One very helpful piece of information was that, until the analogue signal is switched off, the transmitters cannot broadcast the digital signal on full power. As a result, some people are now getting a weak digital signal and may feel they will have a problem. However, if they currently get a good analogue signal they will get a good digital signal after switch over. I found John and Digital UK keen to help and explain and I am sure they will work with all of us on the Black Isle to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

ED JEFFERIES AWARDED MALE JUNIOR FENCER OF THE YEAR AT BRITISH FENCING AGM former pupil of Fortrose Ed Jefferies from Munlochy and Academy was awarded the Male Junior Fencer of the Year at the British Fencing AGM in Telford on the 12th September. This was in recognition of winning the silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Belfast for Mens Foil being the first Junior World Champion medal for a British fencer since 2002.   Amongst other results was World Cup win in Poland which left Ed ranked 2nd in the World at Junior level for the 2009/10 season. Ed now moves onto the senior level with a world ranking of 75.  As he is ranked 3rd at Senior level in the UK he will represent GB in Mens Foil as an individual and as the youngest member of the GB Team in the Senior World Championships in Turkey in the first week of October – Good Luck Ed!   Ed will be training in Russia for a week prior to the Senior World Championships. Ed as always wishes to thank The Highland Council’s Black Isle Ward, the Duncraig Trust and O’Brien Properties for their continued support. 

David Alston, Highland Councillor It is hugely unfortunate that the Black Isle Swimming Pool plans and their application to the Big Lottery have come during what is now the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s. Charitable trusts which might have funded the project have seen their income disappear; Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s budget is much reduced; and the Council’s allocation from the Scottish Government for capital projects has just been slashed by 16%, almost certainly with further cuts to come. And the harsh reality is that there simply isn't any slack either in the Highland Council's revenue budget – and will not be in the next several years. To promise future funding to the Black Isle Swimming Pool, we would have to commit ourselves to cutting money from front-line services because it is dishonest to pledge money which the Council does not have. As the Budget Leader for the Council, I am determined that we will be honest with the public. I am often asked: just how bad are the prospects for the Council and the public sector? It seems clear that in four years time the public sector will have something like 12% less resource [less spending power, in real terms] and that this will happen whatever Government is in office. It is a direct consequence of the financial storm which has broken on us, caused by the folly of leading bankers – many of them Scottish – and the failure of Government to regulate them. But we should also remember that, even with these cut backs, we have funds for education, health, local services and support of business and agriculture far beyond the expectations of previous generations. If we spend the public’s money wisely, support each other in our communities, and find a new balance between what we can do for ourselves and what should be done through public bodies – then we can continue to thrive.

CUSTOM MADE BLINDS David Alston david.alston.cllr@highland. Billy Barclay billy.barclay.cllr@highland.g   Isobel McCallum Isobel.mccallum.cllr@highla   Craig Fraser   Diane Agnew (Black Isle Ward Manager) .uk Tel. 01349 868477

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The 1st Avoch Sea Scouts troop off after the memorial parade Chatterbox photos


GEORGE BAIN – GAMES AND GATHERINGS The exhibition features original artwork by George Bain, some of which is displayed in public for the first time. The exhibition will run until the 25th April. For opening times see right.

Quality gifts are still on offer at greatly reduced prices. The sale continues on weekends 2-4pm until the museum closes for the winter on 6th December

Groam House Museum, High Street, Rosemarkie Ross-shire, IV10 8UF. Museum Tel: 01381 620961; Office Tel: 01463 811883 Email: www:

PLANS FOR 2010 EXHIBITION The museum is planning an exhibition on the local antiquarian Dr Wm MacLean who excavated Caird’s Cave, Rosemarkie in 1905-12

MUSEUM WINTER/SPRING OPENING HOURS 7th Dec – 5th March 2010 : CLOSED 6th March to 25th April : Sat & Sun 2-4pm EASTER 27th March to 5th April Daily 2-4.30pm

ADMISSION FREE For news and full information on the work of the museum please visit:

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ROYAL BRITISH LEGION AVOCH BRANCH . Despite falling membership we had a good turn out at the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday, 8th November. We were most grateful for the company of a large contingent of the 1st Avoch Sea Scouts, with their Scout Master Mr Derek Martin. This year there was also a much larger attendance by local people. The service was conducted by the Reverend A. Glass from Dingwall and as always two minutes silence was observed at 11 o’clock. Last post and Reveille was sounded by Mr Bill Burgeon, and piper Stephen Miller played the lament. Bunyan’s lines were spoken by Rev. Glass. The Branch wreath was laid by Bill Burgeon, Seaforth Regiment Association, a wreath by Eoin Munro and George Brodie laid the RAF.wreath, for three local boys killed while with Bomber Command. Mr Evan Findlay laid a wreath in memory of his grandfather and uncle. Wreaths were also placed on the Memorial for the Sea Scouts, for Highland Council and for Avoch and Killen Community Council. A most welcome innovation this year was the placing of a wreath, at a later date, by the little ones of Avoch Nursery School. A combined Service was held in the Congregational Church where a collection was taken for the Poppy Appeal. Neil Wilson

Comment was heard, after the memorial service was over, as to how sad it is that passing motorists no longer seem to feel constrained to stop their vehicles, even during the course of the two minutes silence. Perhaps for future years signs should be produced saying “Please stop Remembrance Service in progress.” Ed.

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Remembrance Sunday at Avoch

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Chatterbox 51  

Community Newspaper for the South Black Isle (Scottish Highlands)