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a huge thank you to our sponsors

Issue No 44, December 2013 delivered free to every address in Kilmallie

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A huge thank you to the businesses below who have sponsored the newsletter this year. The cost of copying this newsletter has again been very generously donated by Lorna and Finlay Finlayson of Crannog Restaurant, Fort William. The paper for this issue has again been generously donated by BSW Timber, Kilmallie Our other newsletter costs have been met by donations from the other businesses below and from KCC’s limited funds.

runner-up community newspaper of the year 2012

BOYD BROTHERS (HAULAGE) LTD

CLYDEBoyd Fort William Ltd

would you like to become a sponsor too? We rely on the contributions from our business community for the cost of distributing this free newsletter to every address in our area. We welcome sponsorship from all businesses located in Kilmallie, or with principal key personnel resident in Kilmallie. If you would you like to see your name or logo in print supporting your community newsletter, please join with our current sponsors. All donations, big or small, are hugely appreciated. Please contact us at treasurer@kilmallie.org.uk for details.

nights will soon be drawing out!

KCC reports – p2 reasons to join KCC – p3 road safety – p4 road safety & happiness - p5 councillors’ corner - p6 community policing - p5 cherishing wild land- p7 christmas lights - p8 Banavie Primary – p9 Lochaber High Notes - p10 playgroup - p11 Coastguard – p12 ambulance station - p12 Canal News – p13 Community Centre - p14 Music for All – p14 Banavie Floral - p15 FOCAL - p15 no thank you big enough - p16 shinty club - p16 art lochaber - p16 Corpach Woods - p17 Green Fingers - p17 pulp mill gantry – p18 update from Africa - p19 Rugby Club - p20 wild about kilmallie – p21 canal steamers - p22 getting ready for winter – p23 more scouting memories - p24 remembering school days- p24 Muirshearlich & Glen Loy – p25 focus on folk - p26 focus on business– p27 puzzles - p27 sponsors - p28

thanks to Alex Gillespie for taking these pictures & staying up extra late so we could get them to press on time

a very merry kilmallie to you all

Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund gave us a great start to the festive season story and more pictures on page 8

win a prize! in john’s xmas quiz for children age 5-11 see page 13


Welcome to a Christmas Cracker Kilmallie Community News. In this issue we highlight both the wild lands of, and road safety in, Kilmallie. In Russell’s article he reminds us that we can walk all day in Kilmallie and not meet another soul in areas only accessible by foot, whilst our road safety articles draw our attention to the difficulties members of our community face when trying to cross the busy main road that cuts through our villages. Congratulations to the members of the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund for organizing the funding, and a very big thank you to the local businesses and individuals who donated the monies, to enable Kilmallie to have a Christmas tree and festive street lighting this year. There are some wonderful articles in here so settle down in a comfy chair and enjoy. Thank you to all the contributors, newsletter team and sponsors well done on another excellent issue. With all best wishes to you and yours for a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Margaret Mackenzie, Chairman chairman@kilmallie.org.uk

Kilmallie’s natural heritage

One snowy day last month, we set out to walk to the highest point in Kilmallie. It was the sort of weather that Scottish winters do best – crisp, cold and bright. We started up the track to the bothy in Glen Dubh Lighe; it was straightforward enough. But from there up on to the ridge of Braigh nan Uamhachan it became rougher and steeper. Despite an early start, we soon realised that we would not get all the way up and back down in daylight. It was still a long way along the ridge to the coll between Gaor Bheinn and the apparently unnamed peak just to the south at 961m. The snow made for slow going, but even on a long summer day it would still be a challenge. As we stood high on the ridge, admiring the deeply shadowed glens below, it was apparent how much of Kilmallie is only accessible by foot. It is easy to walk all day in Kilmallie and not see anyone else. These are the kind of wild places that fire the imagination. In many ways they define the character of Kilmallie, and we all want to see them protected. Indeed Scottish Natural Heritage is in the process of designating ‘wild lands’ which include large areas of Kilmallie. However, in some senses, protecting wild land is the easy part of habitat conservation. What is more frequently overlooked are the small pieces of natural, undeveloped land closer to home. These areas may be more fragmented and less remote but despite, and indeed because of that, they are still very important areas for wildlife and nature. Even in the more developed areas of Kilmallie, we can still live alongside wildlife with just a little thought and care. Small areas of woodland and burns can provide vital connections that link habitats, often giving them a much greater significance than just their land area would suggest. However we are seeing a steady encroachment into these habitats, partly as a result of failures in the planning system, and a lack of appreciation that, even if these places may not look all that special to us, they are important for wildlife. The bare gravel of the Blar, once a natural

seasons greetings & all best wishes for 2014, from KCC

habitat of European importance and now just home to a few wandering seagulls, is a constant reminder of planning gone wrong. When development takes place which impacts on the natural landscape, either on a large or small scale, there is a need for a strategic overview of where this can best be located, rather than the current approach of treating each application in isolation. The Local Plan should be able to do this for some types of development. However, there have been several recent applications in Kilmallie for housing developments in areas designated as ‘hinterland’ in the Local Plan. Hinterland areas should be off-limits to preserve key areas of crofting land or natural habitat, but the repeated argument that ‘just one more house won’t do any harm’ results in an increasingly fragmented landscape. Forestry also has a huge impact on our area, where we are fortunate to have such beautiful native woodlands. There seems no overall strategy for encouraging land owners to grow the most suitable trees in the best locations. Micro-hydro schemes are another example where KCC has been pushing for a strategy that looks at the best solutions for the area as a whole. We all need power, and micro-hydro can be a very effective way of delivering this with relative little impact. Nevertheless, there is still a need to take account of the overall impact of multiple schemes. A key role of KCC is to represent the view of the community on planning applications that have wider implications. Nobody in Kilmallie wants to lose our natural heritage and important wildlife. Somehow we need to find a way to move on from looking at each planning application in isolation to a more co-ordinated approach where all developments that impact on our landscape are located in a way that maximises the benefits while minimising the damage. Russell Leaper, Secretary

Ferguson lorries are a familiar site on our roads. So this time, we spoke to MD Alasdair Ferguson about his business. What is your company name?

Ferguson Transport & Shipping Trading as Ferguson Transport (Spean bridge ) Ltd & Ferguson Shipping (Kishorn Port) Ltd. All companies are a part of Ferguson Freight Holdings Ltd. Where are you located?

Our Head Office is in Corpach on the site of the Old Auction Mart adjacent to Corpach Port and harbour. We have other depots, operating centres and facilities at Annat Corpach, Mallaig, Kishorn, Invergordon, Inverness and Grangemouth in Central Scotland.

What does your company do?

We are a logistics company, using HGV vehicles, specialist trailers, shipping vessels and rail to deliver the best solutions for our customers. We also have warehousing and storage facilities in Corpach and our own port facility at Kishorn Port and quayside warehousing in Mallaig. How long have you been operating in Kilmallie?

We relocated from Spean Bridge almost four years ago into our purpose built service workshop and Head Office premises adjacent to Corpach Port, but we have been operating in and around Kilmallie for the past 50 years! Historically for Riddochs sawmill, TSK, Wiggins Teape pulp and paper mill, loading and unloading ships at Corpach basin. Our key customers in the area today are BSW, Marine Harvest, along with Rio Tinto and the Forestry Commission. How many people do you employ locally?

We are a family business, founded in 1959 by the late Archie Ferguson and his wife Anne Ferguson, and now with 6 third

generation family members involved in the business. Headed up by Managing Director, Alasdair Ferguson, with fellow directors, Carol MacKinnon, Financial Director, Jack Ferguson, Operational Director, and Leslie Innes, Office Admin, Director. We employ 152 staff in total, with approximately 75 based from our Head office, service department and depots locally in Corpach.

What do you and your business like best about being in Kilmallie?

The people, the working environment, and the business opportunity in the area. We are now closer to three of our main customers where we aim to provide “Logistic solutions successful with partners”. We have built custom built premises including our Head Office, service workshops, welding/ fabrication and warehouses to suit our customer and business needs bringing our business closer not only to our key customers in the area but the core of our employees who live in the local area.

Across 1

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1 4 7 9

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Cracker (7) Get on the horse (5) Bagel mix at end of house (5) Fruit sounded like it was meant to be of the imagination (7) Drink cooler (4,3) Viking from the north or south east (5) Get away. See cap mixing it up (6) Part of the branch or something used as a tether (6) For writing on (5) I find this is the best policy (7) Makes your eyes water, or cry? (4,3) Can come before the kebab(s) (5) Of the kidneys (5) Halves of quarters (7)

Down 18

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Thank you to Tony Whitelocke for another great crossword. And for a bonus point... have you noticed the recurring ‘theme’ in Tony’s crosswords, and can you guess the charming reason behind it?

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1 Scottish wind instrument (7) 2 Bares about this blade (5) 3 Little Miss Muffet sat here (6) 4 This girl is in the mega nebulus (5) 5 Dig up (7) 6 Part of the blue tit learning about the heading (5) 8 Kit out this mixed up pique (5) 13 A tin cap stirred up. He’s top man on the ship. (7) 15 You can be made up to these (5) 16 Beats (7) 17 Part of Chas telling a story is pure 6) 18 A saint (5) 19 Royal lager up (5) 21 This flyer is quick (5)

Answers to last issue’s puzzle: Across: 1 SCALPEL, 4 SIDES, 7 CREAM, 9 GAMBLER, 10 NOSEGAY, 11 ALLAN, 12 STRING, 14 BISHOP, 18 LISTS, 20 THISTLE, 22 COMPERE, 23 GREEN, 24 SODOM, 25 MUSTANG Down: 1 SECONDS, 2 AMENS, 3 LEGBYE, 4 SAMBA, 5 DELILAH, 6 SIREN, 8 MEGAN, 13 RESUMED, 15 ICING, 16 PFENNIG, 17 STREAM, 18 LOCHS, 19 STEAM, 21 THETA

did you take part in the Lochaber Living BID ballot?

from the Chair

focus on business

businesses -

over 40 contributors to this issue!

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please send us

your ideas for future ‘focus on folk’

At 86, David Cargill has an energy and enthusiasm for life that would be the envy of many people half his age. He recently spoke to Christine and Mandy about his life and his writing.

I was brought up in Lockerbie. I married Sheila in 1955, and the Education Authority tried to persuade me to stay in the Dumfriesshire area, but I’d been here on holiday when my brother was assistant factor with Lochiel Estates and I really liked the area. I was a PE teacher, and when I was offered a job up here, I decided to take it and we moved north, to Inverlochy. I worked in the Fort William Senior Secondary School and several others, including the old Banavie School, under Walter Cameron, He persuaded me to run a night class giving PE training to Kilmallie Shinty Club, and that was my first association with the Corpach area. I trained the shinty team in the old GSC Hall, and eventually they won the Camanachd Cup in 1964. I trained the Banavie School in athletics and one year I entered them for the N of Scotland Championships in Inverness. Walter said they had no chance! On the way there, the bus broke down and we’d have missed the heats, so I flagged down a car that was going north and my two sprinters, a girl and a boy, were given a lift up to Inverness (you wouldn’t get away with doing that now) while the rest of us waited for the relief bus to come. They got through to the finals, and we won the championships that year! Walter was quite surprised! After a couple of years we moved to Corpach – we had two children, Alan and Jane, by then and we needed a bigger house. We scouted round and decided we’d like to come up to the higher part of Hillview Drive. When we moved here it was just grassland, there were no houses, ours was one of the first to be built. I’ve loved it here ever since. When the new High School opened in 1960, I got a job there, eventually becoming principal PE teacher and staying till I retired. The school was reasonably small in those days, but when the pulp mill came, it grew from about 500 to 1400 pupils in a very short time and we had to take on more staff. The facilities weren’t all that great back then – I was recently shown round there by the Head and I was gobsmacked to see the fantastic facilities they have now. When the school’s swimming pool was built I took a course to qualify as an examiner for the Royal Lifesaving Society. And then I qualified as a synchronised swimming coach. I trained a lot of girls but four senior girls in particular were really good - they performed synchronised swimming stunts in the town pool, and we put on aqua shows there. After all these years I still correspond with two of them at Christmas. My teaching

join us for a night in the cells!

hopefully the January meeting of KCC will be held in the new police station on the Blar, preceded by a tour of their great new facilities. Everyone welcome. But please email us first to check as arrangements are subject to change at the last minute.

Elliott (who lives through the hedge) edited it for me and she did a great job. It starts in a real life WW2 airfield that I discovered in Devon – it was so completely hush hush, that the RAF have never acknowledged it existed. It brings in Lochaber too (a great idea that was suggested to me by Christine at Printsmith). No plot spoilers but it’s a good mystery and it takes in Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie and Corpach. It was selected for representation at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In The Statue of Three Lies which was based in Lockerbie, I mention a girl by name of Janette that I’d met around 1941 in Lockerbie after she was evacuated from Glasgow. We lost touch over 60 years ago, but this year she contacted me having read the Glasgow Herald review of the book and we’re now close friends again after all these years. I’m now working on the final book in the trilogy – The Cinderella Murders. It too is partly set in Lochaber, and it’s a good whodunnit, full of suspense. I’m hoping it will be published next year, with the launch in Kilmallie Community Centre. And I’m doing lots of other things as well - I’m chair of the Lochaber District Lunch Club and the Caol Community Management Committee Ian Rankin’s advice to me was to ‘just keep writing’. Apparently when he wrote his first novel he sold no copies at all, and his second only sold about 200, so there’s hope for me yet! I’m not looking for fame and fortune (I’ve given the books away to Cancer Research and the Heart Foundation) but writing is doing me a lot of good and it helps me feel young at heart. If someone gets pleasure out of reading one of my mystery thrillers I’m quite happy. And I’d never have met Janette again without it. If you’d like to help David raise funds for local causes, his books are available online from Waterstones and Amazon (kindle and hard copy) Also available in the High Street at The Granite House and W H Smith (ask at the counter)

kilmallie community news

Thanks as always to all our contributors, our delivery team and of course our sponsors - the newsletter couldn’t happen without all your input and support. If you’d like to help in any way, please get in touch more help is always very very very welcome. The deadline for the next newsletter is 15th February, for publication in early to middle of March. Your newsletter team: Christine Hutchison Jan MacLugash Kshama Wilmington Mandy Ketchin

772252 772383 772499

email us at newsletter@kilmallie.org.uk Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the newsletter team or of Kilmallie Community Council.

KILMALLIE COMMUNITY COUNCIL Members of the public are most welcome at all our meetings. Meetings are currently held at 7:15pm in Kilmallie Community Centre on the 3rd Wed of every month excl July and Dec, but please check the website in case of changes. Next ordinary meeting dates are 15 January, 19 February and 19 March 2014. Next AGM is 18 June 2014. Chairman Maggie Mackenzie, 42 Hillview Drive, Corpach, PH33 7LS chairman@kilmallie.org.uk Secretary Russell Leaper Canal House, Banavie, PH33 7LY secretary@kilmallie.org.uk Treasurer Jan MacLugash Salen, Banavie PH33 7LY treasurer@kilmallie.org.uk Other members

Associate member

Christine Hutchison Mandy Ketchin Kshama Wilmington Chris Pellow

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five great reasons (and there are dozens more) to join Kilmallie Community Council maybe you care what happens in your back yard? Community Councillors aren’t nimbies, but it’s a great opportunity to promote radical community activism, to make a difference to things you care about locally - to help make the things you want happen, whether big or small maybe you have a passion for one particular project or local service (like wanting more local facilities for young people, or changes to the bus timetable, or protecting wildflowers on our verges? as an associate community councillor you can focus your time and energy on the things that matter to you, you don’t have to get involved in everything maybe you have an interest in a career in politics? community councils are a great place for young people to gain experience with local non-partisan issues - and it looks good on your CV! maybe you and your friends and neighbours enjoy your free newsletter and would like it to continue? we can always do with a bit more help maybe you’re hungry? Jan and Christine bring great cakes and biscuits to our meetings! KCC has space for two full members, and lots of associate members. Please get in touch if you’re interested and would like to know more.

www.kilmallie.org.uk

focus on folk

days were really busy – I tended to coach the less able students, and we did athletics, and cross country and even took them up to Inverroy for horseriding lessons. The playing fields at the High School were really bad at times because of the rain, I got a mild rebuke from the Education Authority for sending them photographs of canoes on the playing fields... but they got the message! I also took yoga night classes in the late 60s and early 70s. It was the most popular night class at the time with about 40 women taking part. I still correspond with some of them. I wish I could still do yoga but unfortunately the joints don’t quite allow it any more. I took part in pantomimes too at school and eventually became a member of Kilmallie Players amateur dramatic society which used to put shows on in Kilmallie Hall. But I retired when I was 57 – I had an injured back and I thought there was nothing worse than an aging PE teacher. That was back in 1984, which seems a lifetime away now. I started to think about doing other things and I took up photography. I liked to photograph shows in theatres: I became a friend of the Stage Manager of the Black and White Minstrel Show and I got permission to photograph them from the wings – but of course they came to an end as they weren’t exactly politically correct. I also photographed the Ballet Rambert in Eden Court and events like the Grand National and the Blackpool Ice Show (I won a photographic competition three times at Blackpool). I’ve got a digital camera now so everything’s changed – I used to print the photos myself, in a wee dark room with all the chemicals. I was awarded Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society for the work I’d done. I was the timekeeper for the Loch Linnhe Swim at one stage – and I’ve got photographs of that. It’s quite a challenge to swim – but I never did it myself, I wasn’t that good a swimmer! But as I got older I started to think about writing. In 2000, I was inspired to write my first novel by a ‘locked room illusion’ that had taken place in Boston USA in 1952, which I’d read about in a book by Paul Daniels. I’d just completed all the research for “The Statue of Three Lies” when Sheila took ill in 2003. When we found that she was suffering from Alzheimer's I shelved the book – I just put it away. But by 2008 I decided I would finish it, get it published and give the proceeds to Alzheimer nurses. I was glad that I managed to get it selfpublished in America just before Sheila died in Jan 2010. I realised if I could sell more copies I could raise more money for a good cause, so I then self-published it in Britain. I managed to raise about £700 for Moss Park Nursing Home and the Montrose Centre which Sheila had attended. I was invited to become a member of the Society of American Magicians on the strength of that book. My second book in the trilogy, Gauntlet of Fear, was published last year. Dr Mary

see the newsletter in full colour at

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You may have seen the recent press coverage about calls for improved road crossing facilities at Corpach. KCC has had road safety firmly on the agenda since we re-formed in 2011. The previous KCC also campaigned for improvements, but it is not always easy for the simple requests of local communities to hold sway against the might of national agencies. Like many rural Highland communities, we don’t have all that many roads in Kilmallie. A large proportion of the network we do have is classed as trunk road,** ie part of the essential national road network that is subject to national standards for design and speed limits, and comes under the control of Transport Scotland*** (not Highland Council). When a community asks for a new pedestrian crossing, Transport Scotland surveys the site to see if it meets the national criteria. The main factors are the number of people crossing and the amount of traffic passing the site. Other factors include the number of road casualties near the site and local features such as hospitals, schools and shops. In response to KCC, Bob Mitchell of Transport Scotland has agreed to commission the survey, but this is no guarantee that the crossing will happen. Indeed the outcome of the survey might even strengthen the case for not having a crossing: our population is small, there is only one shop, and - fortunately - there have been few accidents. Also the amount of traffic might not be considered high enough. We don’t yet know whether they take into account the proportion of HGV traffic (Corpach is described as a transport hub in the Local Development Plan). But all this is to reduce the issue to mere transport statistics, and we know it is not just about that. It is about our community feeling comfortable and safe moving around in our own local environment.

our photographer photographing their photographer photographing us!

Care Lochaber, KCC, and local residents at risk on the narrow traffic island

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion so far. Some of the views expressed include:  it’s not just about safety, it’s about independence, being able to cross the road without relying on help from others  it’s not safe for children on the traffic islands  it’s hard for mothers with pushchairs  sometimes you’re stuck on the traffic island for ages and it’s scary with huge lorries driving so close, even when they’re travelling well within the speed limit  the parked cars either side of the main crossing zone don’t help  sometimes there are cars parked all round the corner too  I don’t feel safe using the traffic islands. I go further down to cross but that means having to cross the whole road at once. I can’t hurry, so sometimes I have to wait for ages for a long enough break in the traffic in both directions  it’s not just crossing the main road that is difficult. Parked cars at Drumfada Terrace make crossing bad there too, and there are blind corners where the cars travel too fast  if you’re partially sighted, you can’t always see the cars unless they have lights on, even during the day As well as a safe means for pedestrians to cross the main road at the Co-op, other issues that KCC are pursuing are:  reduction of the speed limit between the new Blar roundabout and the eastern outskirts of Corpach - it is 60mph at present - terrifying if you are trying to cross the road at the canal bridge where sightlines are very restricted.  reduction of the speed limit between the western outskirts of Corpach and the sawmill - it is 40mph at present and we think it should be reduced to 30mph because of the extent of residential development on both sides of the road,  introduction of driver-activated speed signs at the entrance to the 30mph zone either side of Corpach. If places like Spean Bridge, Fort Augustus and even the tiny Strathyre can have them, then why can’t we?  introduction of 20mph limits in ALL residential streets and roads. We’ll continue to keep you posted. ** ie the A830 all the way from Lochybridge westwards. (The B8004 from Banavie to Gairlochy is the responsibility of the local authority, Highland Council). ***Transport Scotland are the national transport agency of the Scottish Government. They are accountable to Parliament and the public through Scottish Ministers. They have contracts in place with private operating companies to manage and maintain our motorways and trunk roads. www.transportscotland.gov.uk

If we want Transport Scotland’s survey results to support the need for a crossing at Corpach, we need to give them the evidence of all the difficulties, frights and near misses that we have experienced. Please give KCC as much information as you can, either by email or via our suggestion boxes. Please give your name and contact details.

We remember Hugh Muir in another great collection which he sent us before he died earlier this year. With thanks to Hugh’s family for permission to publish it, and more to come next time..

The community of Muirshearlich is roughly north of Banavie and west of Torcastle. It means the field of the broom-rape. In 1466 was called Mischoralich and in 1633 Musherlich.

thanks to everyone who turned out for the Lochaber News photoshoot, and to Care Lochaber too for highlighting the difficulties faced by our elderly and disabled residents thanks to the kind and courteous Fergusons lorry driver who stopped to let us cross the road safely when we were getting pictures taken to highlight the road safety issues in the Lochaber News thanks to Lochaber News for giving our road safety issues prominence on their front page but apologies to the HGVs who might have thought we were getting at them. KCC have no issue with the lorries themselves. The businesses that use HGVs are a valued part of our local economy. People just want to be able to cross the road without fear or anxiety. Buses going by can be just as frightening if you are waiting on the traffic island, but we would nevertheless like to see more of them!

Going through this area - and the Canal tunnel - is Allt Sheangan (= the narrow burn): this burn is fed from a lochan called Kilmallie Loch. It is reported that this was once a place where people skated and noted for its mussels. About 200 yards from the burn is a house now called Arkavie. It opened as a school in 1841 and was still a school until about 1887 when it became Kilmallie Poorhouse. It could accommodate 16 people. I believe it was still operating in the 1930s when Mrs McLennan was warden. In the 1873 minutes of Kilmallie School Board it is noted that in the area "east of Hotel " ie Camaghael, Torcastle and Muirshearlich there were 34 children of school age (5-13 years).

Only about 1/4mile of the mysterious nearby Banquo’s Walk is visible although another section was exposed, nearer the Castle, with 2012 tree felling. Thoughts are that this is all that remains of a road stretching northwards from the castle. In the early 19th cent Torcastle Mansion was built - by/for Lochiel’s factor. Later it was let to a number of tenants with one of the better known - the Gooch family - who got involved in scouting, guiding and WRI. The building became Torcastle Hotel in 1947 under W Bremner. Serious fire destroyed the building in 1950.The mansion had been a hospital in the 2nd WW.

early 1960s there was a foresters’ camp at the farm. About 10 men lived in a basic hut. This hut is believed to have been formerly used by contractors on the construction of the new Glencoe road! Glen Loy is the glen of the calf. The best known place in the Glen is probably Erracht (= place of assembly). Formerly known as Ardloy. A son of Lochiel lived here in 1715. By 1772 a large stone barn was built and is a listed building although at this time the house was still of a very basic construction. In 1793 Major Alan Cameron of Erracht formed the Cameron Highlanders. The Camerons of Erracht had their own tartan.

In 1852 Torcastle had 17 acres of arable land At the head of the Glen is Achnanellan and supported 8 cows and 2 horses. (= field of the island) and also Puiteachan The first known Kilmallie Church Glebe was (= place of the young moor fowl). Many established here in 1734 of 4½acres. The signs of building ruins in the glen. At one, house cost £60. The site was returned to the Achnaherry (about a mile east of heritors in 1804 when a new glebe was Achnanellan) supported 8 families in 1750 but by 1875 was just ruins. An old drying kiln given at Corpach. can still be seen here. There was once an Inn Strone means a promontory. Viscount Graham of Claverhouse (Bonnie Dundee) led near the south side of the upper river. It was run by Duncan McPhee believed mainly for the first Jacobite Rebellion. During his drovers. attempt to raise the clans he stayed for months at Strone before going on to the battle of Killiecrankie. Strone was the home of a well known bonesetter called Alex Cameron who died in 1875. Below and to the East of the farm is the outline of a large sawmill used at the time of the Canal construction and was driven by water diverted from the river Loy.

In 1729 there was a school at Bunloy. In 1901 a new school at Innerskilavulen (= confluence of the mill burn). This site was about a mile up the glen. Some part of mill dam can still be seen. In 1931 a new school was opened at the NE side of the bridge over the River Loy. Closed in 1946.

At the bottom of Strone Brae there was Hugh Muir once a blacksmith. From the 1930s until the

On the hillside above Muirshearlich, is an obvious long wall. This was the march-wall until 1891 when it was the boundary between Argyllshire and Inverness-shire. It is claimed that, in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie, after raising the standard at Glenfinnan marched his army through here, via Annat, to avoid being seen by the troops at the Fort. Torcastle means the bluff rock of castle or, if it was once torc castle, boar castle. The original castle, one of the earliest in Scotland, was built in 11-12th C by Banquo, Thane of Lochaber. Then owned by Clan Chattam/McIntosh. About 1530-1570 rebuilt by Lochiel. By about 1665 Cameron Chief left. By about 1740 the castle was empty and becoming ruinous. At one stage it had a The Glen Loy aqueduct, carrying the Caledonian Canal over the river Loy Photo: Colin Park drawbridge.

10 years ago On the right is an extract from the November 2003 newsletter. Do you have any reminiscences about the garden competitions? We’d love to hear from you if you do.

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at the Corpach video at http://vimeo.com/80398797

road safety for kilmallie?

history snippets Muirshearlich to Glen Loy

take a look

in recent speed checks

most of the culprits were apparently local

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scouting memories

Walter Cameron, in the old GS hut which was still in use then. In fact, he actually took over from Walter Cameron as Scout After our last issue, Billy MacMillan Master and was indeed the last ever got in touch to offer more scouting scoutmaster of Kilmallie when he became memories. Kshama and Libby went to the first ever Scout Leader. Billy was Scout meet him to listen to his stories. Leader for a total of about five years from Libby and I were recently made most about 1967 until 1972; he only stopped welcome in the home of Billy and Ann because he says that he had no back up in MacMillan in Corpach, where everyone must the early 1970’s from the District know him and his family: some of you might Commissioner. There was a reorganisation of know him for his first aid expertise. Others the then geographical areas as far as might know him for his well deserved Silver scouting in Lochaber was concerned. Of Acorn Award, the second Highest Award in course, Billy was quick to step in as activities Scouting. He was given it in 1983 for adviser for the whole of Inverness-shire; he Specially Distinguished Services and must be thus became one of the earliest advisers. one of the youngest at the age of 39 to get The title in full was “District and Area it. We soon realised that he must also be Activities Adviser”. famed for his very good memory! Billy was responsible, with the help of Billy left Glasgow and moved to Fort friends, for the classification of waters in the William to serve in the pulp mill back in area into different grades for example “open Easter 1967. He had been an Assistant water” which was most difficult to navigate Scoutmaster back in Glasgow, but he loved was graded A while Loch Ness was only a mountaineering and canoeing amongst mere B but many of the locals thought quite other outdoor sports. When he came to rightly that it should be upgraded as it really Lochaber he couldn’t wait to teach boys how is a challenge. Many visitors to the area were to explore the hills, rivers and lochs and to advised by Billy, he remembers a group from realise how lucky they are to live here. Billy Bermondsey near London who had only found that he and his many fellow workers practised on the Norfolk Broads - an had to be housed all over the area. But it inexperienced and uneducated lot by seems as if Billy was a person who helped Highland standards! Tourists came from all establish a centre of community life here in over. Billy helped to set up an official Corpach for the workers which is vital for campsite in Inches and remembers some of families settling into an area. Amongst other those in charge: Andy Holmes, Alistair things he resumed the role of helper with Whitehead, Chris Dyre, Dr John Richardson the boy scouts here, a role that he had and him. He remembers an army exercise obviously loved in Glasgow. He helped above the camp: Chinooks flying overhead

were you in primary school in the 1930s? If so, Christine and Mandy would love to come and talk to you about your reminiscences of your school days. Many thanks to Dougie Dykes who has sent us these photos wondering if they jog anyone’s memory. Can anyone fill in the missing names? Dougie lives in Corpach now but has lived in the past in Torlundy, Caol, North Ballachulish, and various other places outwith the area.

and guns being parachuted in on them. Billy became Assistant Activities Commissioner. He took the scouts to Beauly and to Auchangillan where he earned his Camp Warden Badge. Here he was one of the socalled Service team; he was a successor to the previously mentioned Andy Holmes who was himself preceded by Douglas Scott. He planned the Scout Camp in Holland, the Camp was in Ommen. He remembers that the host Dutch group requested to borrow the Scottish troop’s heavy equipment when they paid a visit. Such memories are precious and should be shared; Billy certainly showed deep feelings for Kilmallie whilst we were interviewing him. He has worked hard for the youngsters here and I feel very privileged to have met such a true Scouting hero. Kshama Wilmington

ideas for road safety & happiness Today’s progressive urban planners acknowledge that what makes a happy city (irrespective of its relative wealth or poverty) is one that fundamentally favours pedestrians, cyclists and public transport over cars and lorries (1). Moreover a happy city fosters a healthy economy with untold spin-off benefits for everyone. The same is true for towns and villages. But it makes for a tricky design challenge when a trunk road passes right through the middle of a village, as it does in Corpach. We all need our trunk roads: they allow us to transport ourselves and our freight around the country with reasonable speed and efficiency. But do we really want them to overwhelm the character of our villages as they pass through? Government policy seems to Should we be asking instead for dictate that they must. But many people,  a 20mph zone through the centre of the including groups like the Go20 campaign, village, which would significantly reduce are challenging this presumption. A 2010 the risk of serious accidents (and at British Social Attitudes survey found 71% of approx 1/3 mile long, it would only add people were in favour of 20mph limits a mere 20 seconds to a vehicle’s (2) where people live . journey)?  traffic calming measures at the start of the 20mph zone, eg road narrowing to create ‘gateways’? (This is considered good practice to draw drivers’ attention to the lower speed limit) While a new conventional pelican crossing  and a simple ‘puffin’ type crossing at the seems on the face of it to be a good solution shop, without railings (there’s no need to crossing the road at Corpach with less to restrict where people must cross anxiety and risk, it may have downsides too: because it will be easy anywhere).

other routes to road safety

be careful what we wish for Billy with his certificates and his prized Silver Acorn Award

Top: Photo of Dougie’s father Ewen (Okey) Dykes and other pupils at St Bride's Primary School North Ballachulish circa 1933. Back row: John Macintyre, Kirsty MacInnes, Ewen (Okey)Dykes, Morag Finnigan, Jean Finnigan, ??, ??, ??. Front Row: ??, Kirsty Peak?, ??, ??, ??. Below : Photo of Dougie and other pupils at Tomacharich Primary School 1952-53. Back Row; Kenny Matheson, Irene Carr, Sophia Spence, Elizabeth Matheson, Daisy Dunn, Mary Lawrie, David Matheson, Donald Cameron? (Auchindaul Farm?) & Miss Nicholson (teacher). Mid Row: Ian Lawrie, May Stewart, Grace Chappel, May MacLachlan, Helen Morrow, Margaret Matheson, Bridie Dunn. Front Row: Douglas Dykes, Gordon Mathers, Billy Palmer, Billy Macdonald, George MacLennan? (forestry?)

making the village centre a much more urban place, a more no-go place for pedestrians, especially if there are long ugly railings either side of it. causing frustration to traffic having to stop and start (plus higher fuel consumption and extra noise especially from lorries accelerating and changing gear). reducing the amount of parking space near the Co-op (because the zigzag lines restrict parking either side of the crossing). This will inconvenience all the local residents who take the car to shop at the Co-op, as well as people passing through on their way west. And if lack of convenient parking deters people from shopping there, our one remaining local shop may become threatened. and some research even shows that pelican crossings can increase the number of accidents (3) (maybe because traffic generally travels faster and takes less care?).

So what on earth to think?

Transport Scotland may say it can’t be done. And they will no doubt quote all sorts of Guidance Notes that they must adhere to. But times, and attitudes, are beginning to change as more people experience the advantages of slower road speeds. In their last Speed Limit Review, Transport Scotland didn’t consider 20mph speed limits, but they did say that as part of their “ongoing review of the safety of the trunk road network, consideration will be given to potential 20mph pilot sites at suitably identified locations”. Should we call for Corpach to be one of these pilot sites? Should we reclaim the village for people on foot of all ages and abilities. What driver wouldn’t be willing to trade that extra 20 seconds for the increased independence, confidence, safety, security and, ultimately, happiness, of our families.

There would be no congestion and little inconvenience to trunk road traffic, (who 1 would notice that extra 20 seconds?). Traffic would hardly ever be held up by the lights at the crossing because it would be 2 easy for people to cross wherever they wished without traffic control. (Why bother with the puffin crossing at all you might ask, but they definitely make life easier for some 3 people with disabilities like partial sight or learning difficulties, and for children building confidence in crossing roads independently). All those people on foot who suffer anxiety and practical difficulties crossing the road at present, would not have to live their lives intimidated by a trunk road.

Happy City: Transforming our lives through urban design, by Charles Montgomery, Penguin 2013 2010 British Social Attitudes Survey – Attitudes to transport www.20splentyforus.org.uk/UsefulReports/ BSocialAttitudes2010.pdf eg Investigation of Pedestrian Accidents Analysis at signalised pedestrian crossings in Edinburgh, Napier University, 2009

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do we have the world’s only dual-speed roundabout?

would you like to see

access to the war memorial improved?

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let us know

what should KCC be focussing on in 2014?

This time we asked our Ward councillors: What do you consider is the greatest road safety issue in Kilmallie and what would you like to be done about it?

Eddie sent us his apologies as he was unable to write something for us this time, but he welcomes what KCC is doing in campaigning for road safety, and he is in full support of KCC’s aims. He says road safety has been an issue

since he was head teacher at Banavie School, and he has spoken to Lochaber News recently about the specific local road safety issues that KCC Cllr Eddie are raising. Hunter

Speed is the one overriding road safety issue which has been brought to my attention by residents at various intervals. The main road safety concerns in Kilmallie are the speed of vehicles, particularly heavy lorries, travelling through the village of Corpach. Trunk Roads, and more recently the police, carried out speed checks. The Police reported that in some cases it was local motorists who were ignoring the speed limit. They also reported, that in the main, motorists including those large Lorries which trundle through the village adhere to the speed limit. This is something that many residents have not accepted. The police will continue to take note of residents concerns. A pedestrian crossing outwith the vehicle parking areas at the shops would

safeguard residents. Transport Scotland invariably takes account of any accidents which have occurred in the area in question before taking action. My own view is that action should be taken before accidents happen. If there is a negative response from Transport Scotland to providing a crossing, I would suggest that the Community Council collates those instances of close shaves and pass them on to Bob Mitchell at Transport Scotland with an invitation to attend a future meeting of the Community Council to discuss the concerns of local residents. The good news is that Highland Council intends to implement twenty’s plenty signs on appropriate roads under their control. Unfortunately, these are not enforceable. On the other hand,

the Council may erect 20mph signs, where appropriate, which are enforceable on those non trunk roads under Highland Council’s control. All this will cost an extraordinary amount of money from Highland Council’s Capital Budget and could take anything from 5 to 10 years to accomplish throughout the Highlands. We could achieve an awful lot more if Scotland had fiscal responsibility. Until then, we have no option but to live with the fact that there is not enough money in the Westminster block grant to accommodate all Local Government requirements.

For me the greatest road safety issue is really multi-faceted in Kilmallie, as the fact is, a busy trunk road runs through a long busy working village stretching from Annat to the Marine Harvest roundabout, bordered by the Caledonian Canal and the main line railway. Traffic and pedestrians do not mix well in any situation and certainly not alongside a trunk road which now carries vast quantities of trees, timber, fish farm feed, harvested salmon as well as tourists and ferry traffic for Skye and beyond. If I have to prioritise Great Glen Way walkers and canal users crossing a 60mph stretch at the Banavie bridge, Banavie school, the heavy lorry use at industrial Annat, the railway crossings, and Corpach village centre with most of the residential

houses and the bus stop separated from the main shop, post office, pub and hotel, then it is the latter I will choose. The first four can be covered by reduced speed limit at the bridge, roundabout at Drumfada, and are already covered by smiley face 20mph and lollipop person at the school, and the railway crossing gates already installed. However, the centre of Corpach has different problems. After recent discussions at Kilmallie Community Council it was evidently clear that the crossing of this busy part of the road in the centre of the village needs traffic calming and I have already written to Transport Scotland requesting traffic lights with pedestrian controls, similar to Lochy Bridge and Camaghael, be installed. Traffic lights combined with more side

walk railings to guide pedestrians to them would be much more effective than the refuge islands which are currently in place and difficult for articulated lorries and buses to negotiate. With the best will in the world, a large vehicle will cause a passing draught as vast quantities of air are disturbed, even when observing the speed limit. It must also be very difficult for wheelchair users and helpers to balance on these perches while being buffeted by a lorry legally travelling at 30mph. it is also very disconcerting for our fleet-footed youngsters to have to make the decision, do I carry on, or wait. A great question, a simple answer, now wait for the installation!

community policing The build up to the festive period has begun and the local policing response will again focus on drink driving and alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder. Work on the new Fort William Police Station at Blar Mor continues on schedule with completion expected in the second week of December with the building being fully operational well before Christmas. The Scottish Ambulance Service will co-locate a few weeks afterwards. This new police station has been the subject of many years of careful planning and local police officers and civilian staff alike are looking forward to moving into a modern facility which is fit for 21st Century policing. On a wider level, Police Scotland has designed a divisional policing structure which ensures there is equal access to specialist policing services across Scotland. The purpose of these units is to provide direct support to local policing. A number of these specialist units have already been deployed in Lochaber on a variety of significant and resource intensive enquiries thereby negating the need to redeploy local officers away from their communities. Furthermore, as you may already be aware, Police Scotland have committed to a Trunk Road Policing Unit being based at Fort William which will eventually see an additional

Cllr Bill Clark

Cllr Allan Henderson

sergeant and nine constables operating from the area. This is the only new road policing base being created in Scotland and will bring direct benefits to communities across the wider Lochaber area through an increased high profile policing presence on arterial routes such as the A82 and A830. The first officers have already arrived and it is expected that half the unit will be in place by the end of November 2013. Operational performance in Lochaber in the first six months of Police Scotland has been good with violent crime down 20% and instances of public disorder down 24% compared with the same period last year. A significant increase in the number of visits and inspections of licensed premises has in no small part contributed to sizeable reduction in alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder. As per previous newsletter articles, I would welcome any feedback or comments on local Policing in the Lochaber/Kilmallie area as we continue to prioritise keeping people safe in the communities we serve. PS197 Andrew Bilton Liaison Officer for Kilmallie Community Council Andrew.bilton@northern.pnn.police.uk Police Service of Scotland Fort William Police Station, High Street, Fort William Tel 101 for non-emergency

getting Kilmallie ready for winter Severe weather is part of life in Northern Scotland. We are all too aware of the consequences that severe weather can bring: power cuts; frozen pipes; being stuck in your home or stranded in your car or being unable to pick up essential supplies such as medicines and food. Such consequences can be debilitating and distressing even for those of us who are accustomed to harsh winters. That is why the British Red Cross is running a campaign in partnership with the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the risks severe weather can pose, and encourage individuals and communities to become more resilient. We are asking people to think ahead and pull together some essential items that could help you through the winter. A little time spent planning your journey, knowing the risks and preparing an emergency kit for your home or car could help you cope better during an emergency. At home your emergency kit could consist of:  List of emergency contact numbers – on paper  Battery operated torch and radio with spare batteries (or wind up)  Any essential medication and a first aid kit  Three days’ supply of bottled water and ready to eat food that keeps  Copies of important documents like insurance policies and birth certificates  If needed, baby and pet supplies In your Car:  Ice-scraper and de-icer  Snow shovel  Map for unplanned diversions  Blanket and warm clothes  Water and some snacks  Jump leads  Battery (or wind up) torch and radio On the move:  Check the weather forecast before making your journey  Fully charge your mobile phone  Tell someone where you are going We are also asking communities to get together and plan ahead for severe weather and emergencies. Taking a few simple measures can make communities more resilient and better placed to cope with To donate online to the Red Cross Typhoon appeal, please go to www.redcross.org.uk

Many thanks to Fiona MacLeod and Anne Eadie of the British Red Cross for this valuable advice about winter safety.

emergencies. In your Community: Do you have a community resilience/ emergency plan? If not visit www. readyscotland.org/my-community to find out how your community can start to put a plan together. If there is a plan, why not think about testing it out. This may be something that your local authority emergency planning officer could assist with. Publish a list of community contact numbers Organise a first aid training course in the community. Having members of your community trained in First Aid could save a life - especially in rural communities. During severe weather check on your neighbours, family and friends, especially those who live on their own Clear snow and ice from pathways of elderly neighbours

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If you have care responsibilities, think about who will help anyone you normally look after if you are stranded. If you are interested in learning first aid the local British Red Cross team offers courses that can be tailored to your community’s need. They teach everything from first aid for sprains, burns and falls to emergency life -saving skills. The course can also take time to look at risks that communities face in winter, and give hints and tips on how first aid and other simple steps can help. If you would like more info or would like to book first aid training please contact Emma Georgeson either by phone (01463 796614) or email egeorgeson@redcross.org.uk For further advice please visit www.redcross.org.uk/preparescotland

thanks to the guys who’ll be gritting our roads this winter

our Highland councillors’ corner

in anticipation

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I greatly enjoyed the piece on The Gondolier in the last newsletter. My grandmother’s uncle, Captain Donald Cameron, was skipper of her for many years, as were two of my mother’s uncles, Peter and Alec Grant. Donald Cameron was born in Banavie in 1848 into frightening poverty. It is a tribute to the old parish school system that he got enough of an education to go to sea and pass his master mariners ticket in 1878. Like other Kilmallie people at this time, such as the poet Mary MacKellar, he probably had the Rev Archibald Clerk of Kilmallie to thank that he grew up literate in both Gaelic and English, an advantage that would be denied subsequent generations as the Education Act of 1872 suppressed education through the medium of his mother tongue. An inscription inside his Gaelic dictionary reads Mr Donald Cameron, SS Chevalier, Glasgow 1876. In the pre-railway age The Chevalier plied between Glasgow and Oban via the Crinan Canal and, I think, onwards to Corpach. Chevalier Cottage in Tomonie probably has a link with this boat. After a spell on the Orkney crossing he moved to the Caledonian Canal where he successively commanded four of MacBrayne’s canal steamers: Glen Garry, Loch Ness, Gairlochy and finally Gondolier. Of these craft, Gondolier was the only one specifically designed and built for the canal. Glen Garry began working on the canal in 1846 as Edinburgh Castle ll and was lengthened and renamed in 1875. When she was broken up in 1927 she was one of the oldest steamers in the world. For many years, Gondolier and Gairlochy ran the Banavie to Inverness service, one leaving either end of the canal in the morning and completing the passage in about 7½ hours. Gairlochy went on fire at Fort Augustus pier in 1919 and her remains can still be seen there, I believe. Donald largely built the house in which I

live so I have reason to be grateful to him. Peter Grant took over the Gondolier about 1915 and was her skipper until shortly before his death in 1935. He, too, had previously served on the Chevalier and Gairlochy. His father, William Grant, was in charge of bank maintenance PS Chevalier, skippered by Ronald’s great uncle Alex Grant Photos from Jack Lee’s Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery and lived at Canal Cottage, near Torcastle. My mother claimed that Peter delivered the daily newspaper by throwing it onto the bank from the paddle wheel casing! She remembered the canal in the 1920s as being beautifully maintained with freshly painted woodwork, manicured grass and hanging baskets of flowers at the locks. It is to the credit of the current canal staff that this situation has, in large measure, been restored. Peter’s brother Alec apparently also skippered the Gondolier but I remember him as skipper of the canal tug, Scott ll. As a child of 5, I was taken on a trip towing the canal’s dredger from Banavie to Loch Lochy, where I had my first ever bout of seasickness. In the words of the song Tioram air Tir “An fhirinn a th’agam nach maraiche mi” (The truth is I’m not a sailor). All these Captains would be ashamed of me! Gondolier was withdrawn from service at the start of the Second World War and sunk as a block ship in one of the entrances to Scapa Flow. HMS Royal Oak had just been PS Gondolier in one of the locks at Fort Augustus sunk by a U-boat that managed to sneak in past the nets. On a visit to Orkney I was told that the fierce Pentland tides ripped the I got my information from a collection of wee steamer apart, leaving only the engine family newspaper cuttings, memories block for divers to visit today. If they had of what my parents said plus “The only preserved her for another 50 years Caledonian Canal” by AD Cameron and plus what a visitor attraction she would be today. “The Caledonian Canal” by Guthrie Hutton. Ronald Cameron

Here are the words of the traditional whaling song from South Uist that Ronald refers to in his article above. You can hear it as sung by Arthur Cormack at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A_LvyCgWxI

Tioram Air Tìr

On dry land

Ruith na muic-mhara ri gaillionn 's a chuan Mo mhéoirean air reothadh a dh'aindheoin a bhith cruaidh B' fhéarr a bhith 'n ceart-uair air acair air Chluaidh Na bhith díreadh nan crann an South Georgia

Chasing the whales in a storm at sea My fingers frozen in spite of their toughness It'd be better now to be at anchor on the Clyde Than climbing the masts in South Georgia

Sèist 'S truach nach do dh'fhuirich mi tioram air tír 'N fhìrinn a th'agam nach maraiche mi 'S truach nach do dh'fhuirich mi tioram air tír Ri m' mhaireann cha till mise shéoladh

Chorus It's a pity I didn't stay on dry land It's the truth that I'm no sailor It's a pity I didn't stay on dry land As long as I live I won't return to sailing

Díle bho'n t-sneachd 's tu gun fhasgadh o'n fhuachd T' aodann 'ga sgailceadh le fras bho gach stuadh 'S t-airgiod am pàilteas 's gun doigh a chur bhuat 'S e síor-losgadh toll ann a d' phòca

Heavy snow showers and no shelter from the cold Your face slapped with a shower from every wave Plenty of money with nowhere to spend it And it forever burning a hole in your pocket

Nuair gheibh sinn forladh 's nuair ruigeas sinn traigh Falbhaidh an oinseach-sa còmhla ri cach Chosg mi de dh'airgiod aig cunntair a' bhàr A cheannaicheadh tri taighean-òsda.

When we get leave and we reach the shore This idiot will go along with the rest I've spent enough money at the bar To buy three hotels.

cherishing kilmallie’s wild land “Wildness is a key quality of Scotland’s landscapes which is widely appreciated and increasingly recognised as a high-value asset. “Scotland’s extensive natural and seminatural areas - often rugged, relatively remote and showing limited obvious management or development - are an important part of the nation’s identity that sets it apart from the rest of the UK. These areas provide significant economic benefits, especially by attracting visitors to Scotland, and are often promoted in the marketing of products and services. Significant health and social benefits accrue from their use as many people derive both physical and mental benefit from recreating in these areas. The habitats found within them are also an important resource for biodiversity and carbon management. “The experience of wildness can be enjoyed widely across Scotland in a range of settings, such as rocky gorges, more isolated coast and even in greenspace close to settlements. However, Scotland’s larger and more remote areas where wildness qualities are most strongly expressed are known as wild land. These areas are not empty of human activities or influence, and it is important to recognise that Scotland’s wild land is distinct from ideas of ‘wilderness’. But the evidence of past and contemporary uses of these areas is relatively light, and do not detract significantly from the quality of wildness that can be experienced. “The Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 map identifies those areas of wild land character which are significant in a national context. These areas are especially important and merit particular recognition as they identify Scotland’s remaining extensive areas of the highest wildness. This is an increasingly rare characteristic in a Scottish, UK and European context”. The above words are taken from Scottish Natural Heritage’s recent Consultation Paper on the Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 Map. In the map on the right, we have overlain the boundary of the wild land area on top of the KCC area. From it you can see that almost 40% of Kilmallie is classed as wild land, and as such deserves our special care and recognition. For more information go to www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlandsnature/looking-after-landscapes/ landscape-policy-and-guidance/wild-land/ mapping/

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Kilmallie census results: www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/highlandfactsandfigures/census2011

canal steamers

see

Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr

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KILMALLIE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Over 200 hardy Kilmallie residents turned out on a cold but thankfully dry night on Friday 6th to witness the Christmas tree switch-on organised by the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund. It was great to see the community spirit that has meant Corpach and Banavie has continued to enjoy its Christmas lights this year despite the council funding being withdrawn. Councillor Bill Clark thanked the local businesses and individuals who have provided the sponsorship while Banavie Primary School’s Nia Reid (P1) and Laura Davie (P7) performed the switch-on ceremony. This was followed by carols led by a choir from the Music Shed and music from the Lochaber Community Wind Band. The whole event was supported by the Star for Harris charity who provided well-earned refreshments for everyone after the event. Despite months of planning the ceremony almost never happened. The first bad storm of the winter had broken the Banavie tree and damaged many of the lights and tree in Corpach as well. Thankfully with the help of Robbie Milne from Highland Council repairs were made in time for the switch-on to go ahead. The Christmas Lights Fund would like to thank everyone who braved the cold weather to attend, helping make the night a great success. Our special thanks go to the Star for Harris team for the hard work providing the refreshments afterwards. It certainly shows that Kilmallie still deserves its Christmas lights and that it has been worth the effort to ensure the Christmas spirit is kept alive in our community. Andy Wilmington Members of the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund have been meeting throughout the last six months in order to co-ordinate fundraising and to make arrangements for the switching-on photos ceremony that took place on 6th December. by Alex, Andy, We would like to say a big “thank you“ to the many local Jan & businesses and organisations who have sponsored us. Mandy Without their help we would not have had any Christmas lights this year – a miserable prospect! We are also grateful to STAR for Harris who have made many of the arrangements for the evening. Paul Brian (Chairman, Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund) Our Sponsors All-Round Signs BSW Sawmill Breedon Aggregates Cameron Carriers CLYDEBoyd Corpach Boat Builders Corpach Co-operative Soc Corpach Hotel Corpach in Colour Gillian Sloan Framing Harbro Ltd John McLellan & Co Letterfinlay Foods Letterfinlay Hotel Lochaber Housing Assoc Ltd Lochaber Rugby Club Marine Harvest Moorings Hotel Rockhopper Sea Kayaking Snowgoose Mountain Centre St Clements Fruit Baskets Tradewinds And many individual donors.

wild about kilmallie

glen road. John Cuthbertson of Snowgoose reported a wildcat right in the middle of Corpach two winters ago, and cats have also been seen along the shores of Loch Lochy as far as Kilfinnan. Whether or not these are 100% ‘pure’ is unknown, but the issue of genetic purity is contentious, and to some extent does not matter if these animals are the nearest thing we have to Scottish wildcats. If you have seen a wildcat or wildcat type in and around the area please let us know and we will pass it on. This information is invaluable to the effort to conserve the Scottish wildcat. If it turns out that there are several in the area then it may well be worth taking more active steps to look after our very own Highland Tigers. Foremost of these is The Scottish Wildcat is an iconic species of the remote and the control of domestic cats. Please consider keeping your rugged countryside typical of the landscape in Lochaber. moggies in at night and/or having them neutered so as to Sadly, wildcats have been much in the news this last year, reduce the risk of further hybridisation. We cannot promise primarily for the wrong reasons. Some estimates have sightings of wildcats to visitors, but we can feel privileged placed numbers of viable ‘pure’ wildcats in the whole of that we share our space with Britain’s rarest mammal. Britain at less than 30, a far cry from the previous figures of Could I also make a further appeal for around 400 animals, which was bad enough. Small information about the whereabouts of local populations are under threat from disease, persecution and hedgehogs. I have seen live hedgehogs (or changes in food supply, but the real threat to their survival is their droppings), or even road kills only hybridisation with domestic or feral cats. However, true infrequently around and about Kilmallie. We had one in the population numbers are unknown, and in remote areas with garden a couple of summers ago, but it seems to have few feral cats there may be wildcats remaining that are moved on. Whilst hedgehogs should be safely tucked up for going about their daily lives unbeknownst to man. This is the winter now, hopefully having escaped bonfire night, it especially true of some of the wilder areas of Lochaber, but would be good to get some idea as to how their population nevertheless it seems that unless we do something about is faring in the area. Does anyone have hedgehogs that the situation now the Scottish wildcat will soon be extinct. regularly visit their garden? This is another declining species, Recent local proposals aim to address this issue. These but in an area rich with slugs and snails, one that we would include the establishment of an island reserve on Carna in do well to look after. Loch Sunart and also a wildcat haven on the tip of the Jon Mercer Ardnamurchan peninsula, where there is a known population of ‘pure’ animals. Here feral cats can be removed Glenloy Wildlife photo at top of page: Keven Law and domestic cats neutered. Meanwhile, it seems that there are other potential wildcats in and around the region, including and thank you to Angela Mercer Kilmallie. In the past year we enjoyed for her beautiful drawing a good sighting of a wildcat (or of a close wildcat wildcat-type) whilst returning home encounter at late one night from a bat and moth Glen Loy event at Glenfinnan. The cat crossed the road between Kinlocheil and Corriebeg, paused to look at us and slunk off into the roadside vegetation by the loch. Even more excitingly we recorded camera trap images (albeit grainy) of a large stripey feline with a thick bushy tail in the garden of Glenloy Lodge. The cat was investigating the pine marten den and also caused a commotion amongst the residents. This follows on from other reported sightings from neighbours up and down Glen Loy in the last couple of years, and we have also found cat footprints in the snow along the

Wildcats

the glenloy tiger

lochaber natural history society Lectures are held in the Alexandra Hotel, Fort William, 7:30pm all welcome 16th Dec - The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland: a Traveller's Guide - Clifton Bain, IUCN 20th Jan - Freshwater Pearl Mussels - Iain Sime, SNH 18th Feb - Ancient Life at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland - Noel Williams 24th Mar - topic to be confirmed

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well done Ken for giving “a voice to the things that don’t have one”, Lochaber News Nov 28

looking forward

to next year’s christmas lights party already!

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Busy Busy Busy

Children from throughout the school entered the Lochaber Agricultural Show, The Rural Education Trust Show and the Kilmallie Show and came back with armfuls of awards from each one.

Lochaber Sports Association Awards Lochaber Sports Association held their Annual Awards Ceremony at Banavie on Fri 22nd November and we are very proud to announce that Lochaber Rugby Club came away with a hat trick of awards:  Youth Endeavour Award - Laura Davies  Services to Sport - Pauline Donaldson  The club that has been most active in the promotion of sport in the community Lochaber RFC

Children In Need was on Friday the 15th of November and we did loads of activities to raise money. Primary Three/Four sold wristbands for £1 and Pudsey key rings for £2 around the school. They also drew giant pictures of Pudsey for every class and if people had loose change at home, they would bring it in and stick them all over Pudsey. Overall, we raised the amazing total of £415.66.

Annual Boxing Day Match Presidents XV v 1st XV Kick off 2pm Black Parks Everyone Welcome

Date for your Diary

Youth Report In the month of October, Lochaber Rugby Club mini section have travelled North and South to attend tournaments with great success. Our P4/5 and P6/7 teams firstly attended the Etive Vikings round of the Argyll Dalriada series. Both teams playing very good rugby with varied success. Teams taking part included Etive Vikings, Mull RFC, Oban RFC, Mid Argyll and Lochaber RFC. The P4/5 team coming away with 3 wins out of 4, and the P6/7 winning 2 of their matches in a very competitive tournament. The teams them attended the Ross Sutherland mini tournament at Invergordon. This was also the first time our P4/5 team were presented with their new playing strips from our sponsor Bidwells. The P6/7 team played great rugby winning a few of their games, considering they were up against teams with substantially bigger playing numbers. The boys stuck to the task and gained in confidence as the tournament went on. The P4/5 team started where they left off at Taynuilt in winning form, playing teams from Highland, Caithness, Moray, Nairn, Strathspey, Ross Sutherland and Kinloss. The team eventually ran out winners of the tournament being undefeated with some great performances from all the players. For some of the players in both age groups this was their first time playing in a tournament and they came through the experience with flying colours. With tournaments coming up in November at Lochgilphead and Oban before the Winter break, we look forward to more success on the pitch. Pauline Donaldson www.lochaberrfc.co.uk or ‘Like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest news from Banavie.

RESPECT COMMITMENT TEAMWORK

This year’s Halloween disco was a huge success with a wide variety of costumes. Primary Five to Seven children worked very hard at Dance Platform and put on a super dance over two nights in the Nevis Centre. The school have also had visits from Eden Court, Blas, Save a Life, Countryside Rangers and Feis, giving children a wide range of experiences.

Christmas Craft Fair Saturday 14th December, 11am – 2pm Christmas Concerts Wednesday 11th December – afternoon Thursday 12th December – evening (Tickets only)

Seasons Greetings from everyone at Banavie Primary School

Around the Classes In Nursery, children have been learning about Divali and trains and they are hoping to go on an exciting visit soon to the railway station. Primary One children have settled in well and have been having great fun on the Trim Trail, keeping fit and healthy. Primary Two had a surprise visit from Wilma the Witch at Halloween and they were able to help replace her stolen Spell Book. Primary Three/Four have been learning all about money, while Primary Four/Five has been busy learning Gaelic with Mrs Beck. Primary Five/Six visited Urquhart Castle as part of their topic, Wallace and Bruce. In October, Primary Six children spent the day at Glencoe Outdoor Centre where they took part in kayaking, archery and problem solving/team work. Primary Six/Seven class recently visited Stirling Castle to extend their learning about Mary Queen of Scots. Primary Seven have made the first of their transition visits to LHS when they took part in the basketball competition in October.

Charity Fund Raising Our Macmillan Coffee Morning in September raised £398.78. Thank you to all those who contributed delicious baking and also to Morrisons for donating the tea and coffee. A final thanks to all those who came along to help this worthwhile cause.

Autumn by Millie Jackson Autumn is wondrous, leaves falling everywhere. Autumn is vibrant; orange, brown, copper and yellow are all around. Autumn is spine-chilling; nipping frost bites your nose. Autumn reminds me of my bedroom, it’s very messy with leaves and twigs that the wind has blown everywhere. Autumn tastes full of fresh air, cool and breezy. Autumn sounds are mixed, from roaring fires to the churning leaves. Autumn smells of newly grown pumpkins from newly grown pumpkin patch. Autumn feels like you are standing under a waterfall with forever falling rain. Autumn looks golden, like it’s worth a million pounds. Autumn makes my fingers go numb, if I’m not wearing gloves. Autumn is beautiful, so many colours around at once.

about the plans for the new Scottish Rural Parliament at www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk

Unfortunately due to weather conditions, work has stopped on our pitch improvements and it is unlikely to recommence until 2014! The works are 80% complete, but they need at least 1 week of dry weather before they can drive over the surface to carry out the remainder of the works. Finally the pitch will be seeded in early spring - the delays most likely mean we will be at the Black Parks for two years instead of one.

Pupils and staff have been working very hard since the start of the new school year. In class we have been studying a wide range of topics including volcanoes, the Romans, Ancient Egyptians, Wallace and Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Julia Donaldson.

find out

congratulations Pauline and Linda, local sports heroes working tirelessly for their clubs

Pitch Improvement Works


photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

Vic Ralph Memorial Shield for Young Musician of the Year was awarded to Ruairidh Shaw of the Pipe Band and jointly to Sarah Johnson and Glen Falconer of the Wind Band. Sunday saw the bands performing again at the Commando Memorial while, earlier in the day, Sixth Year pupils Mairi McCrae and Ashley MacLachlan laid the school’s wreath at the war memorial in the Parade. Remembrance weekend is of great importance for our school and all those involved value the experience highly; in remembering lost heroes our pupils learn valuable lessons and make a significant contribution to the events of the weekend. Many of our pupils achieved success at the National Mod in October and many have achieved individual and team or group successes locally and further afield throughout the year. Some recent successes include Paulina Szumko winning the ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition organised by the Rotary Club of Lochaber and Zoe Smith and Owen Cairns sharing the Fraser MacPhee ‘Sports Ambassador’ award. I am pleased to report that our staff achieve successes too. Earlier this term, at the Lochaber Sports Association Awards Night, Donald MacLean, Depute Head Teacher was awarded the accolade of ‘Coach of the Year’. Mr MacLean has been a stalwart of school shinty for many years, coaching the LHS team to be the best school shinty team in the world! He gives freely of his time and has a first class working relationship with team members, always employing an inclusive approach to team selection. He has guided his school teams to win all the major shinty trophies, the most notable being thirteen consecutive wins in the MacPherson Cup (the Camanachd Association’s U14 Scottish Schools Championship). Not only does he coach the

Jim Sutherland Head Teacher www.lochaber.highland.sch.uk

photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

update from

which makes the roles we have taken on so interesting. We had a young UK doctor out for eight weeks as a volunteer and although restricted in his activity by lack of the local language, he has been great at helping at clinics, leading on some teaching sessions, acting as an extra driver lifting and laying patients/ even occasionally delivering the bodies of those who have died from hospital to their villages (a very important task and very Hello to all Kilmallians from Malawi! Thank you to the editors of expensive if families do not have this service), and generally this newsletter for continuing to seek out news from us, and being there to bat ideas off, which I have very much publishing the ramblings I send. Thank you also to all who have appreciated. Helps allay the worry that I am making it up as I go read and then emailed, messaged and even donated since – along, as I often am, faced with some of the scenarios I have hearing stories and news from home and being reminded of seen over the last few months! Seamus (not as Irish as his name local generosity always uplifts us and helps me in particular suggests) left early November and I have to say we all miss him. continue to feel connected. Contact details are at the end of the As well as his medical talents, he also played a mean guitar and “news” for anyone who has a spare moment to write. boisterous sing-songs were the highlight of our recent patient day-care days, as they initially listened in awe then happily So – here we are, more than a quarter of the way through our joined in and those who could got up and danced! It was an assignment and feeling very settled and very much part of the centre and its work. In fact we came back into the country after amazing sight. The patients are now back to just me without a note in my head, never mind an accompanying instrument. a week in Tanzania last month, this time with our proper work permits which allowed us to fill in our entry forms legally as The morphine crisis I reported in the last two editions has, at “work” for reason for entry. On passing through immigration, last, come to an end. The long awaited morphine powder is now my passport was stamped and the officer looked up and said in the country, and we received the promised delivery of our ‘welcome home!’ It was quite an emotional moment, but I have first supply within the week. At NdiMoyo we never completely to say that that’s exactly what it felt like – coming home. I think ran out thanks to the wheeling and dealing with the HIV clinics ‘settled’ covers it! who accessed stock from the NGOs supporting them, but we did Work at NdiMoyo keeps us both very busy within our respective run a bit too uncomfortably close to the wire on a number of roles, and despite the slower pace of life and smaller workload, occasions. The campaigning did bring together many likethere still never seems to be enough hours in the day! Peter has minded medical folk from across Malawi and we have formed a now completed Mark 2 of the strategic plan with accompanying research forum, whose first project is to explore the availability budgets for further scrutiny by the UK Board of Trustees prior to and use of morphine in Malawi and of which I seem to have found myself as principle investigator! On the up side we have ratification. It has been a huge piece of work so he is looking managed to secure funding and once through ethics, hopefully forward to an ease of the pressure for a little while, although this seems unlikely. The main area of focus at the minute is the this month, we plan to get started and complete the first round of interviews and visits before the end of December. The proposed new build planned for next Spring. Our current clinic is no longer fit for purpose, and by UK standards probably never proposed outcome is to be able to find out how much morphine Malawi needs and then try to marry this to the quotas raised in was! There is limited space, and no real privacy to examine/ order to stop the stock-outs which have been happening year communicate with patients. However when first renovated from the old bank it previously was back in 2008, it was a huge on year.

page 19

sub-saharan africa!

step up from the ‘clinic under a tree’ option. The first drawings for discussion were, of course, far too ambitious so following endless meetings and brain-storming sessions this has been scaled down to a more serviceable new model with six examining rooms, all with a door, a couch, wash-hand basin, and a desk, a nurses’ room and patient and staff toilets which is such a bonus on current facilities (yes – I did mean it when I said the current facilities needed upgrading). Projects such as this take much time to reach fruition as they are totally reliant on donor-funding, and the applications that precede them. Thankfully two generous benefactors have helped realise the plan thus far and it is hoped we will be working from our new premises by the middle of 2014. Although state of the art, Malawian style, they are basic in comparison to Scotland, wooden examining couches without helpful pump action raisers, no computer access in the clinic rooms etc, but there is a considerable buzz of excitement amongst the staff. I hope to be able to report back in the Spring edition of definite progress on that front. The current clinic is kept very busy meantime with increased admissions and attendees in each of the last three successive months, possibly as a result of increasing awareness sessions we have run in getting the information about palliative care to everyone in the community. Much work is still needed but following a review of expected demand, the clinic team are now looking at a change in their hospital and outreach clinic sessions to try to make the service more accessible and equitable for those living in the more remote villages. We are still seeing patients with very advanced disease so some of our role is in raising awareness of symptoms that should be reported on earlier when there may just be some treatment available. There is always something to be done/worked at

The more vigilant reader will have noted that I have not mentioned the festive season many of you will be preparing for as you read this. In my on-line UK newspaper and ‘Good Housekeeping’ I read of shopping days left, winter weather, and mouth-watering recipe ideas related to this time. I feel quite disassociated with it all, not just in the no access to anything, and knowing this is the first year we will be celebrating without family about, but because we are currently at the height of the hot season and Salima is very hot and dry! We will do something to celebrate as the centre will be closed for a few days, it will just be a different experience. So, on that note I will bring this update to a close. We wish you and those you love a very happy Christmas and every best wish for the New Year ahead. We will be thinking of you all at (our other) home. Further updates will be made as we continue this work. If anyone would like to follow the process more closely, there is a group setting on facebook which I try to add to on a fortnightly basis. Type Ndi Moyo into the FB search bar and you should get a ‘closed group’ option (not the open one I suggested in my last report). Otherwise my email address is Kathryn.hamling@hotmail.com and I do so enjoy hearing tales from Corpach and surrounds! Our fundraising webpage remains open for anyone who would like to contribute, with all donations going straight to NdiMoyo Palliative Care: www.everyclick.com/peterandkathryn Kathryn Hamling

first Lochaber Ideas Week took place in Kilmallie (in The Moorings)

The current term at Lochaber High School has proved to be even busier and more eventful than planned. Firstly, the arrival of ‘The Box’ shortly after the October break heralded the arrival of a team of Her Majesty’s Inspectors to carry out a wholeschool inspection. Inspectors arrived on 18 November and spent a week in school observing lessons and meeting groups of pupils, parents, staff and partners. The experience has been a positive one for the school and a report of Inspectors’ findings will be published in January by Education Scotland. The other big news this term is that The Highland Council has approved funding for Phase 4 of our ‘Lochaber 21’ rebuilding and refurbishment programme. This means that – subject to contract – the final phase of the building work involving the refurbishment of classrooms in Art, English, Maths and Music will now be started two years ahead of schedule and the whole project will be completed in 2015. The ‘icing on the cake’ was news that funding had also been approved to upgrade our astro pitch to a state-of-the-art 3G all-weather pitch with work to be carried out during summer 2014. While the ongoing building works are a constant factor at the school just now, we will very soon see real improvements to the learning environment. When the project is complete we will have a secondary education facility that is amongst the best in the country. November is always an important month in the school calendar as we work with the Commando Veterans’ Association to mark Remembrance Day. This year, because our hall is currently ‘under re-construction’, our Friday concert for the Commandos was held in the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church. As always, the Wind Band, the Big Band and the Lochaber Schools Pipe Band gave impressive performances culminating in a joint rendition of ‘Highland Cathedral’. The

team, he also deals with funding, transport, strips and fixtures. Now we are looking towards Christmas and, again because of building work, we are using external venues for some of our traditional events. The Wind Band concert will be held in the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church while the junior Christmas disco and the senior Christmas dance will be held in Caol Community Centre. We’re grateful to these organisations for providing these venues and I’m sure that the events will be just as enjoyable wherever they’re held. Merry Christmas from all at Lochaber High School!

great that the

don’t forget to use KCC’s suggestion boxes for all your ideas

page 10


parents busily searched for photographs to determine the placement of personal

proving to be a firm favourite with everyone enjoying building with assorted sizes and shapes of bricks to measuring and

belongings prior to participating in the wonders of play. The children have all

settled in well to a new term which saw the successful application of an extension to our centre numbers to include

everyone. Making the most of the good weather we have enjoyed an

array of play experiences both indoors and outdoors. The local woodland is definitely a favourite with exploits ranging from den-building, climbing, running and rolling, drawing, mark making, map writing “in case we get lost going back to

The gantry which has been with us since the mid 1960s is now no more. ClydeBoyd have organised its removal on behalf of ClydePort. The gantry was built by Arjo Wiggins to carry a pipe line. Wood chips arriving by boat were blown along the pipe to stacks on shore. The venture was never a great success as the chips jammed in the pipe and when they did flow the wear on the pipe was considerable. My own memories of the gantry include sailing when the yacht club was based at the old mill. Being swept under the gantry by the tide was always a possibility!

playgroup”, to Gruffalo and Troll hunting. While back in our garden the children have been busy threading ribbons making

brightly coloured creations to dance in the wind, building houses with “real heavy wood brick” supported by “numbers” or “names” developing their understanding of print and numeracy in the wider environment. Our budding gardeners joyfully picked carrots, potatoes, peas and lettuce some of

which were transformed into lovely soup for snack. Soup making was great fun with a number of children intrigued by

the gantry as seen from the hill above Achaphubuil

the “roaring” of the “noisy blender” while others waited in anticipation to sample the culinary delights. “This is delicious”, “yum it makes us healthy and strong” and “my muscles grow big”, “can we do lots of cooking” were just a

few of the children’s comments. Many changes of clothing were experienced as a result of the exploits at the water butt, some were pouring and filling, others experimenting with materials that floated and sank while some wanted to

“shower “their friends. Latterly the change of weather has seen the formations of icicles on the side of the building and

Now with ships carrying logs and chips for the sawmill to and fro and boat loads of salt for the roads, the port is becoming quite busy. In addition Corpach Boatbuilders have their own traffic. Space is needed to manoeuvre boats especially when there is a tide running. The gantry has now been completely removed including the piles. So the channel is clear right down to the sea bed. The only bit to be left is at the seaward end of the island where the gantry is connected to the dolphins.

wondrous glass ornaments forming in stray buckets which little hands and fingers have tentatively touched and pressed, “ouch its cold and slippy”, “it’s so clear, it’s like glass” were some of the descriptions: do we have budding authors in our midst? At the beginning of term indoors the children enjoyed

climbing, balancing and crawling on the climbing frame, rolling and cutting out with playdough and experimenting

bustling productive kitchen cooking lots of items for the menu, to the “Co-op” and latterly the building site. This is

hammering. To the delight of the group this culminated in an activity using real tools and materials to produce some interesting creations which are now ready for decoration. Lots of scrap paper and catalogues piled up in the writing

area, and with the supervision of a staff member the children busily fed this into the shredding machine. A number of children were fascinated by this procedure and now take on the responsibility of “weekly shredders” to assist in caring for our environment by giving consideration to how we can reduce waste. The shredded paper was used as a medium for

play to the great delight of all involved: the playroom floor was re vamped!! Items were buried within the paper with lots

of feeling, touching and fumbling to describe what was found. The introduction of metal items into the tray supported by an assortment of differently sized magnets intrigued the children and saw the development of problem-solving skills relating to forces and materials.

Not only have the children been busy, but so have the Mums, Dads and the board of trustees, initially with the

organising and delivery of the Halloween fundraising night held in Kilmallie Community Centre, which catered for

everyone; stalls for adults and children, delicious baking, all kindly donated, bouncy castle, face painters and a great raffle. The success of this was quite apparent and hopefully this will become an annual event. Recently parents held a baking and produce stall outside the old post office in Fort William: again a fantastic amount of money was raised. Without the support of parents and the community the function of the Playgroup and Day Care would be greatly

diminished, and the experiences of the children would be compromised, so please accept our thanks and gratitude for

all that you do. Playgroup presently is filled to capacity with a few names on the waiting list. However we do have vacancies from 12 noon onwards for Day Care. Enquiries to 01397 772016 or

via e-mail to kilmallieplaygroup@hotmail.co.uk. Enrolment for the 2014-2015 session is usually organised for

with many types of materials within the arts and crafts table. February/March time. Please look at local newspapers and The children’s enthusiasm led to them making pictures of flowers for the Rural Complex show and “tickly“ feet painting pictures for Kilmallie Community Council. They all proudly showed their exhibits off to one another and to anyone who

Paul Biggin piles of the gantry being removed

came to visit: imagine the excitement when they won a lovely shiny trophy. This holds pride of place next to Kenny our Playgroup mascot. We have been experimenting with an assortment of equipment to create pictures, imagine the

astonishment when we splattered paint everywhere using toothbrushes and used our lungs in ”big puffs” to blow the

paint across the table: we really did get in quite a mess but giggles all around highlighted the fun and experimentation

within this activity. Art work is greatly valued and is used to decorate the playroom: regularly the children make reference to their own work and reflect on that of their peers. The

with its 50th anniversary coming up next year we’d love to hear about your reminiscences to commemorate the opening of the pulp mill

page 11

noticeboards for information. Carole

Kilmallie people are healthier than people in Scotland generally

- corpach paper mill – have got a fantastic facebook page!

house corner has served many purposes from creating a

through the door into a brightly newly decorated cloakroom. The children and

Pulp Mill Gantry

check it out

Familiar faces and excited new faces spilled

on average

page 18


HM COASTGUARD AT CORPACH

Tom Giubhais and National Moth Night

The green box which is sometimes “home”

Phil Wren, Sector Manager

This shared user site looks down Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe

welcome to Kilmallie Christine had a chat with Alan Knox, the Area Service Manager of The Scottish Ambulance Service for Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, in his office in Inverlochy. Alan and his staff are looking forward to moving to the new Ambulance Station on The Blar. The new station is spacious, bright, purpose built with extra facilities which will make it very efficient and much easier to clean. The Ambulance Station in Inverlochy became their Fort William base in 1974 when there were 4 members of staff. The building is now not fit for purpose and although the service pass their audits on Health and Safety issues, such as infection control, the conditions they do this in are not efficient. The staff

page 17

complement is now 26 and staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – this has cut down on on-call duties, a much more efficient system for staff and the community. Included in the 26 are Support Department staff, eg Health and Safety and Community Resilience. The latter includes the First Responders Scheme. Alan says the new station on the Blar is custom designed to fit the modern needs of the paramedics, technicians and other staff. Surfaces are easily cleaned – granite worktops and ‘wet wall’ walls – very efficient and perfect for infection control. The layout of the station will allow the cleaning of ambulances to flow better – after a call-out the ambulance will be reversed into the bay, equipment emptied out for cleaning and taken through the sluice and laundry areas. The vehicle is steam-cleaned and then the equipment is replaced ready for the next call. The new station has shared areas with Police Scotland. These include locker room, dining room, conference room and an education room with video-conferencing equipment. Such a change from the current station! They will have a larger stores area which will mean better procurement. This will be a pleasant area to work in and access to the main roads should be easier. The Scottish Ambulance Service staff hope to be in the new station at the end of January 2014.

Lochaber Rural Education Trust

Children’s Holiday Club for Children aged 4 – 8 Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st February 2014 for more information contact Linda 01397 700800

Paul Biggin reports that Martin Faulkner (of Scottish National Heritage) asked if he could go up into the “Pinewood” and see what moths he could find as part of the National Moth Night. This is what Martin said about it:Moths undoubtedly get a raw deal when compared to their butterfly cousins. Sometimes it’s just because most of them come out at night. National Moth Night tries to redress the balance. This year it was 10 August and we had a good, warmish night. It was made more enjoyable by listening to tawny owls and watching bats hunting. We got a real result in Tom Giubhais using three ultraviolet lights. The Rusty-dot Pearl is a rare immigrant for Scotland and has never been found in Lochaber! Bit dull maybe, but still a result! The other 18 species were all fairly common, but there were some very beautiful carpet moths. The moth that seemed to be most popular and common was the dark marbled carpet. However, that’s because it’s big enough to see without a magnifier. The yellow underwings are the ones you would probably know. They’re big, common and sometimes you see them during the day. If they get disturbed they whir away and you see their bright underwings. Then they seem to disappear! They fold up their wings and drop to the ground while you or a bird is still looking for the bright orange.

green fingers

lifesize The real stunner was, wait for it, Argyresthia goedartella. It’s a micromoth which really is micro. Its wings are like burnished gold with inlay of pearl. The only problem is that it’s about 5mm long at most. It’s other curious habit is that it ALWAYS rests with its head down and its tail up. Nobody knows why. I’ve been trapping in Tom Giubhais quite a few times this summer. What I enjoyed finding the most was another micro-moth - Nematopogon swammerdamella. Another long name as well! But its family are called longhorns because their antennae (feelers) are so long. This one waves them about constantly. It has a hard life – eats dead leaves as a caterpillar, turns into a dull brown adult and has a long name. Here’s the list of the others I caught this year. They have more interesting names: Barred Red, Chestnut, Clouded Drab, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Common Quaker, Common Rustic, Dark Marbled Carpet, Dotted Clay, Double-striped Pug, Dun-bar, Ear moth, Engrailed, Flounced Rustic, Green Carpet, Green-brindled Crescent, Grey Pine Carpet, Hebrew Character, July Highflyer, Larch Pug, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Light Emerald, Mottled Beauty, Northern Spinach, Red-green Carpet, Small Quaker, Small Wainscot, Yellow-line Quaker, Scoparia ambigualis. If you want to see what they all look like, UK Moths is a great website (ukmoths.org.uk).

Outside hose reels and lances should be put under cover. We have lost one or two over the years. Make a cover for outside taps. We have fish, frogs, newts etc in our outside pond and if the frost is hard we put a cover made from a frame with fleece tacked to it, if it gets very frosty you might need to break a small area to keep it free of ice as frogs and fish can die. As Winter approaches there is a lot to do in the garden. Leaves to be lifted and stored (you can make How many of us have dirty tools?? Now is a good time to check a container out of netting), they will take a year or two to rot down, them and oil them, also get Mower serviced if necessary. don’t put them on Compost Heap as they take too long to break You can order your seeds etc for the coming down. We lift a lot of them on the lawn with the mower, saves year. We get a selection of Catalogues and raking them up. it is lovely to plan for next year’s garden. We store some of our veg in the shed, but they need extra Don't forget to feed the Wild Birds. protection if the weather turns very cold or you will be left with mush! Check the shed or garage for frost sensitive items eg paint, sprayers, power washers etc. Some writing on labels is VERY small. Morag Mackell

the garden in winter

for more community woodland?

November 2013 and we have dealt with 9 incidents since my last report but even so we are heading for the busiest year since 2006. Have you ever wondered how it is possible to speak on a radio (not a phone) to someone hundreds of miles away? Probably not! It is by the marvel of radio waves, also called propagation. Have you ever wondered what happens when it all goes wrong? Again, probably not, because like me we take it for granted that an engineer from somewhere will be on the case and preparing to locate and fix the problem. It is not an easy fix for us as it involves attending an aerial site which I will explain about later. Radio transmissions from ships in and around Corpach and surrounding areas are passed either directly from ship to ship or ship to shore but only if they are in a direct line as these radio waves (very high frequency) can’t travel round corners. In order for a ship to talk to someone a long way off then the transmission is relayed via one of our aerials at a high point. We have just two in Lochaber. One on the hill above Achindaul near Aonach Mor and the other on the hill above Arisaig. Radio traffic at sea from the Mull of Kintyre to Cape Wrath (and for us, inland to cover the canal, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness) is monitored and co-ordinated by the Coastguard Operations Centre in Stornoway. Very recently this Operations Centre suffered a complete loss of communications at 10 pm. The emergency plan now kicks into place. This involves manning every aerial site with members of local Coastguard teams so here the Corpach team and the Mallaig team were dispatched up their respective sites to operate the equipment manually. This involves taking local control and to listen, answer and intercept if necessary radio traffic from ships between Oban and Skye. The team members worked in shifts through the night until the problem was resolved at 0530. The Achindaul site is a 6 foot square metal box with a desk, a chair and a radio set. The box has no windows and a heater which keeps the temperature just above freezing. It has bottled water and a kettle. Not the best of environments, especially in winter. It is testimony to the professionalism of our volunteers that keep our shores safe.

are there opportunities

did you know

there is a Banavie Merino sheep stud in Australia?

page 12


there is no thank you big enough...

loves spending time with them. Normally they see each other at clinics or when they are unwell at Yorkhill Renal Unit. Morgan also took part in the Donor Run, this is one of the most important parts of the whole weekend as it not only raises awareness but also lets us all acknowledge all donors and their families. This is a 3km or 5km run, jog or walk that the whole team and their families can take part in. During these events you get to meet so many other In August this year Morgan was in Sheffield people that are going through the same for The British Transplant Games. It was the thing as you are and everyone is so grateful for the second chance at life that they have 4th year running that she has competed in been given by Donor families who when the Games. Unfortunately her health was they are going through the most painful not very good this time and it was decided times in their lives when their loved ones that Morgan would travel down with the have passed away they have made the most rest of the Glasgow Children's Team as a spectator only. On the day of Morgan’s race courageous decision to donate their organs. Morgan decided that she no longer wanted There is no thank you big enough that any of to be a spectator and wanted to take part in us could possibly give to these Donors and personally for Morgan this is something she the Obstacle Race. Unbelievably Morgan will be needing sooner than we would like. It won her first race and ended up winning a is very difficult having the health of your silver medal in the final. This is Morgan’s best result to date. Morgan loves being part loved ones in the hands of a stranger but sadly this is the way it is. The only thing we of the Glasgow Children's Team which is sponsored by Kidney Kids Scotland. Morgan can do as a family is raise enough awareness for Organ Donation and reassure people has made life long friends in her team and Remember the great photo of Morgan Macintyre on the front page of our last issue? She had just won medals at the Transplant Games in Sheffield. Here, her mum Caroline tells us more about the bravery of transplant donor families, and she expresses the eternal gratitude that Morgan and her family (and others in similar need) feel towards the donors and their families.

Kilmallie Shinty Club The Club is quiet at the moment: we will have a few pre-season friendlies but they have not been arranged yet and the games fixtures don’t come out until about Christmas. Kilmallie Shinty Club had a great dinner and dance in Caol Community Centre on Saturday 9th November. The music was

The New Year kicks off the second part of our programme of workshops on Sunday 19th January with Gay Anderson and ‘A JOURNEY INTO THE UNKNOWN...’ A chance to relax and enjoy the process of letting your painting evolve moment to moment. The journey is the thing! So make your way to the Braxy Hall in Inverlochy and begin that journey. Then on 8/9 February local painter Alistair Smyth will teach us some useful techniques in ‘PRACTICAL SKILLS FOR PAINTERS’, a workshop to explore Linear Structure, Perspective, Colour and Glazing. Borders tutor Bella Green will return to Art Lochaber on 18/19 March to give a weekend course on ‘BALANCING COLOUR, looking at ways of creating mood

provided by the Ballochmyle Band. The following awards were made:The Robert Hood Shield First Team Player of the Year Liam MacDonald The Mungo MacLeod Shield Second Team Player of the Year Donald MacIntyre Alasdair MacIntyre Cup Under 17’s Player of the Year Alexander MacIsaac The BOSS Trophy Under 17’s Most Improved Player Finlay Ireland

with a limited palette. The final weekend workshop of the programme will be held on 5/6 April when Lys Hansen from Stirling will be leading ‘WILD AND WONDERFUL PAINT’, an introduction to expressionism. Unless otherwise stated, the workshops take place at An Clachan, Torlundy. Lifts are available for anyone without a car and fees

canal news We are now into our Winter hours and because of early darkness we are open from 9am till 4pm Monday to Friday and closed over the week-ends. photo: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

that they are saving so many peoples lives and it also effects each person’s whole family too. Sadly as a family we have been on both sides of Organ Donation. We have been on the Transplant List waiting for a kidney for Morgan and we made the heartbreaking decision to Donate what we could when Morgan’s Dad Jason MacIntyre was killed nearly six years ago. We understand these are decisions no one wants to make but you just need to look at Morgan and see the difference it makes to someone’s life. Morgan is keeping her fingers crossed that she will be well enough to compete in next year’s Transplant Games in Bolton... Something to look forward to... Caroline Macintyre BSW Shield Under 14’s Player of the Year Kyle Michie Kilmallie Shield Under 14’s Most Improved Player Dean Jeffries The next Club “do” is the Christmas Draw on Saturday 28th December in Tradewinds. Ian Joseph MacDonald and Malcolm Hughes will be playing the tunes! Linda Campbell Secretary 01397 700800

are £45 for the weekend workshops; £10 for the day at Braxy Hall. If you would like further details on our programme of workshops or would like to book a place, please contact Catherine Putman on 01855 841231. Please look up our new website artlochaber.co.uk. Lorna Finlayson

At Christmas we close on Tuesday 24th December at approx 2pm and will remain closed until Monday 6th January 2014 at 9am. A duty team will be available 24/7 to deal with any emergencies over this period: the Canal emergency number is 0800 072 9900. This number will connect you to the Police Control Room in Inverness. They in turn will contact the Duty Officer who will deal with the emergency. After the turn of the year we will be open to boat traffic from the Monday 6th till Friday 10th January and close again to boat traffic from the 11th January till Monday 17th March 2014. We have just appointed two new full time staff to our operational team - Alan Douglas from Arisaig and Dave McCook from Caol.

Alan will be based at Gairlochy over the summer months and Davie will operate between Corpach Sea-lock & Gairlochy. Both bring different skills to the team. Alan previously worked as a Ghillie in Arisaig and brings a load of practical skills with him. Davy was a police officer in a previous life and his vast knowledge of the local area & community will certainly add to the experience of using the canals to our customers. (PS In the photo Davie hasn’t got the pig-tails).

Children’s Canal Safety Quiz for Xmas 

For ages 5 to 11

Prize: a tin of sweets for the first correct answer drawn out of hat

Answers to Corpach Sea-lock office by Monday 6th January 2014 - just pop your answers through the letter box. Remember to include your name, address, phone number and age.

1)

What does S.A.F.E. stand for?

2)

Anagram safety equipment -- Nig rifle

3)

Ducks float, you - - - - (fill in missing word.)

4)

What does R.N.L.I stand for?

5)

What number do you dial for the Coastguard?

6)

What do lock-keepers wear to keep them safe in case they fall in the water?

7)

What should you stay off in winter?

8)

Is it safe to swim in the canal?

9)

What colours can be seen when you look at the lighthouse lights?

10) Hard one to finish - What are the left & right sides of the boat called and what colours are displayed to represent each side? Have a Safe Xmas & New Year wishing everyone all the best for 2014 John, Alec, Michael, Tom, Terry, Davy and Alan. John Stafford

page 13

Highland Council considering introduction of new hi-tech ways to grumble

congratulations

to STAR for Harris for being awarded a grant

page 16


Kilmallie Community Centre Well I had my wish for heavy rain and strong winds to test the final remedial work on the new roof. Glad to say it’s all ticketyboo, now along with the biomass heating system the hall is very comfortable for the various user groups.

Carol Service which is always driven by the Mustard Seed Fellowship will be held on Sunday 15th December at 6.30 pm followed by tea, coffee and mince pies. Hope to see you all there.

I must congratulate the Kilmallie Playgroup and their helpers who ran and organised a very successful Halloween Party, the hall was filled to capacity with all these hyper active children and parents having a fabulous time, once again very well done to them all.

A big thank you goes out to the Highlanders Muay Thai Club (Kick Boxing) as they gave up their night to allow the Christmas Light Fund Committee to use the main hall to make it a bit of a Gala Night along with the support of the STAR for Harris , the pupils from Banavie Primary School and the Wind Band.

The Lochaber Music For All have had some excellent concerts so far this year, they generally have five or six from September through till March. Their next concert is “The Cullin Sound“, a woodwind trio with a difference. This should be another excellent show, it’s on Sunday afternoon 26th January starting at 3pm. All welcome. During late November to early December the hall committee and some volunteers were busy erecting and decorating the trees for the Christmas Tree Festival and the Christmas Craft Fare which was held on the 7th December, the trees were also in situ for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony which was held on the 6th of December. The Community Christmas

calling all kilmallie food & drink businesses Highland Council is working on a project with Think Local to develop support for local food and drink businesses. In order to do this they need to find out what your business needs are and identify barriers to growth. Please contribute to their consultation by completing their online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ Highland_Producers_Survey In a separate survey they will be researching the needs of local retailers and hospitality providers in relation to the provision of local food and drink.

The hall bookings are going very well. we have bookings through January, February, March and April as well as some annual events such as Heather’s Walk. Best wishes to you all for the Festive Season and the forthcoming year 2014. John Macdonald Chairman Kilmallie Community Centre Station Road, Corpach, Fort William PH33 7JH Scottish Charity SC000604 CHAIRMAN Mr John Macdonald, Merchiston, Badabrie, Banavie, Fort William 01397 772443 SECRETARY Mrs Norma MacLellan, 12 Hillview Drive, Corpach, Fort William 01397 772597 TREASURER Mrs Sarah Kennedy 0776 880 5040

All concerts are taking place at Kilmallie Community Centre. Tickets are available at the door

Beryl Austin

page 15

memorial for a friend Shortly after Kay Gretton died the remaining members of Banavie Floral Improvements (Joanne and myself) were busy planting daffodils in Banavie (an annual occasion in the autumn to guarantee a splendid display for the following spring) we discussed various options for a suitable memorial and finally settled on a bench somewhere in Banavie. Following a discussion with Ron (Kay’s husband), he picked a site with probably one of the best views on the canal of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis. He also selected the inscription for the plaque on the seat. We contacted the canal through John Stafford to see what he thought about our idea. He was very supportive and not only found suppliers for us but also submitted an application to Historic Scotland for permission to site the seat on the canal side (something we hadn’t even thought of). We looked at what was on offer and finally settled on a recycled bench made by a company based in Comrie. The bench is made from recycled plastics and is weather resistant and, hopefully, vandal proof too. Money was raised by donations from friends of Kay who were so very generous, including a van to collect the seat thus saving a large delivery bill (thank you McKleener’s laundry). The seat was finally put in place exactly one year after Kay’s death and has been very well used ever since.

Brenda and Helen enjoying Kay’s memorial bench

a fantastic view from Kay’s bench

Sheena MacIntyre

Sheena and Joanne tidying up the tubs and planting them up again ready for another spring

Music For All is a local music club series in Lochaber which holds around five concerts a year between the months of October and April. Prices Annual adult membership £38.00 Senior citizen membership £30.00 Adult per concert £10.00 Senior citizen per concert £8.00 Child per concert (under 18) £1.00

banavie floral improvements

The Jacquin Trio Saturday 15th February, 7.30pm As winners of the St Martin-in-theFields Chamber Music Competition 2012, the London-based Jacquin Trio are emerging as persuasive advocates of music for the distinctive combination of clarinet. viola and piano.

Cullin Sound

Brass Diversions

Sunday 26th January, 3:00pm This is a woodwind trio with a real difference! Three of Britain’s leading woodwind players - flautist Amina Hussain, clarinettist Sarah Watts and bassoonist Laurence Perkins - are a small beautifully balanced ensemble which is as well suited to concert performances in the major UK and international concert halls as it is to smaller community venues.

Sunday 23rd March, 3:00pm Brass Diversions is a cutting edge ensemble, recently formed to promote a wide range of unexplored repertoire, and is already involved in a number of collaborations and commissions. The trio’s three members met as students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and each is pursuing diverse careers with their respective instruments of piano, trombone and trumpet.

They say “The site is popular but under developed in terms of tourist infrastructure. There is insufficient signage from both the A830 and A82, poor landscaping of the car park, lack of toilets, insufficient interpretation and insufficient cafe and retail We have news of a consultation at The offering.” From this you maybe get a fair Moorings on 11th December about Scottish idea of what they are proposing to develop. Canals’ latest proposals for Banavie. They say “Neptune’s Staircase is worthy of But unfortunately this is too late to let more! Scottish Canals have put Banavie you know about it in advance and too soon forward as part of the Scottish to be able to give you a report on what Government’s Scenic Routes initiative. The happened at it. first phase of this was rolled out in the Loch Hope you were able to make it along and Lomond National Park where key vistas are had an opportunity to express your views. to be celebrated with small architectural Scottish Canals (SC) want to develop interventions to allow tourists to enjoy the Neptune’s Staircase as a tourist attraction. scenery. A design competition amongst young architects will be conducted with the brief to improve the landscaping around the bottom car park and creating a viewing area for Ben Nevis.” It is welcome news that they also say “We are keen to include in the brief ideas from local stakeholders.” SC also want to develop Banavie as an ‘Activity Hub’. On this they say “Banavie is at the start of the Great Glen Ways and yet there are no facilities, such as equipment hire facilities to support this. The Banavie to Gairlochy stretch of the canal is a manageable 7 mile journey by boat, boot or

Neptune’s News

photo: Colin Smith

bike and Scottish Canals wish to promote the use of the canal and the tow path to day trippers. This is to be combined with tourist developments in Gairlochy to receive such visitors and we have had interest from outdoor activity providers to partner with us to implement this. We have earmarked the cluster of buildings on the east side of the canal at Neptune’s Staircase to accommodate these uses.”

Pods SC have said their plans for pods at Banavie are dropped “for the time being” but it was still interesting to see a photo of the pilot pod on BBC News a few weeks ago - see “Bothies planned for Caledonian Canal” at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands -islands-25106652. Does the photo reinforce your original opinion of the pods (a few loved, a lot loathed) or will it change your mind? Maybe we’ll have had news of the proposed pods at Moy at the consultation on 11th. (Friends of Caledonian Canal Lochaber) is a subgroup of the Kilmallie Community Company. For more info, or to be added to our mailing list, contact Jan MacLugash, 01397 772383, email: janet.maclugash@gmail.com

according to 2011 census, there are 20 more women than men in Kilmallie - who are they?

don’t forget:

garden waste collection (brown bins) stopped now till Mon 3rd March

page 14


Kilmallie Community Centre Well I had my wish for heavy rain and strong winds to test the final remedial work on the new roof. Glad to say it’s all ticketyboo, now along with the biomass heating system the hall is very comfortable for the various user groups.

Carol Service which is always driven by the Mustard Seed Fellowship will be held on Sunday 15th December at 6.30 pm followed by tea, coffee and mince pies. Hope to see you all there.

I must congratulate the Kilmallie Playgroup and their helpers who ran and organised a very successful Halloween Party, the hall was filled to capacity with all these hyper active children and parents having a fabulous time, once again very well done to them all.

A big thank you goes out to the Highlanders Muay Thai Club (Kick Boxing) as they gave up their night to allow the Christmas Light Fund Committee to use the main hall to make it a bit of a Gala Night along with the support of the STAR for Harris , the pupils from Banavie Primary School and the Wind Band.

The Lochaber Music For All have had some excellent concerts so far this year, they generally have five or six from September through till March. Their next concert is “The Cullin Sound“, a woodwind trio with a difference. This should be another excellent show, it’s on Sunday afternoon 26th January starting at 3pm. All welcome. During late November to early December the hall committee and some volunteers were busy erecting and decorating the trees for the Christmas Tree Festival and the Christmas Craft Fare which was held on the 7th December, the trees were also in situ for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony which was held on the 6th of December. The Community Christmas

calling all kilmallie food & drink businesses Highland Council is working on a project with Think Local to develop support for local food and drink businesses. In order to do this they need to find out what your business needs are and identify barriers to growth. Please contribute to their consultation by completing their online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ Highland_Producers_Survey In a separate survey they will be researching the needs of local retailers and hospitality providers in relation to the provision of local food and drink.

The hall bookings are going very well. we have bookings through January, February, March and April as well as some annual events such as Heather’s Walk. Best wishes to you all for the Festive Season and the forthcoming year 2014. John Macdonald Chairman Kilmallie Community Centre Station Road, Corpach, Fort William PH33 7JH Scottish Charity SC000604 CHAIRMAN Mr John Macdonald, Merchiston, Badabrie, Banavie, Fort William 01397 772443 SECRETARY Mrs Norma MacLellan, 12 Hillview Drive, Corpach, Fort William 01397 772597 TREASURER Mrs Sarah Kennedy 0776 880 5040

All concerts are taking place at Kilmallie Community Centre. Tickets are available at the door

Beryl Austin

page 15

memorial for a friend Shortly after Kay Gretton died the remaining members of Banavie Floral Improvements (Joanne and myself) were busy planting daffodils in Banavie (an annual occasion in the autumn to guarantee a splendid display for the following spring) we discussed various options for a suitable memorial and finally settled on a bench somewhere in Banavie. Following a discussion with Ron (Kay’s husband), he picked a site with probably one of the best views on the canal of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis. He also selected the inscription for the plaque on the seat. We contacted the canal through John Stafford to see what he thought about our idea. He was very supportive and not only found suppliers for us but also submitted an application to Historic Scotland for permission to site the seat on the canal side (something we hadn’t even thought of). We looked at what was on offer and finally settled on a recycled bench made by a company based in Comrie. The bench is made from recycled plastics and is weather resistant and, hopefully, vandal proof too. Money was raised by donations from friends of Kay who were so very generous, including a van to collect the seat thus saving a large delivery bill (thank you McKleener’s laundry). The seat was finally put in place exactly one year after Kay’s death and has been very well used ever since.

Brenda and Helen enjoying Kay’s memorial bench

a fantastic view from Kay’s bench

Sheena MacIntyre

Sheena and Joanne tidying up the tubs and planting them up again ready for another spring

Music For All is a local music club series in Lochaber which holds around five concerts a year between the months of October and April. Prices Annual adult membership £38.00 Senior citizen membership £30.00 Adult per concert £10.00 Senior citizen per concert £8.00 Child per concert (under 18) £1.00

banavie floral improvements

The Jacquin Trio Saturday 15th February, 7.30pm As winners of the St Martin-in-theFields Chamber Music Competition 2012, the London-based Jacquin Trio are emerging as persuasive advocates of music for the distinctive combination of clarinet. viola and piano.

Cullin Sound

Brass Diversions

Sunday 26th January, 3:00pm This is a woodwind trio with a real difference! Three of Britain’s leading woodwind players - flautist Amina Hussain, clarinettist Sarah Watts and bassoonist Laurence Perkins - are a small beautifully balanced ensemble which is as well suited to concert performances in the major UK and international concert halls as it is to smaller community venues.

Sunday 23rd March, 3:00pm Brass Diversions is a cutting edge ensemble, recently formed to promote a wide range of unexplored repertoire, and is already involved in a number of collaborations and commissions. The trio’s three members met as students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and each is pursuing diverse careers with their respective instruments of piano, trombone and trumpet.

They say “The site is popular but under developed in terms of tourist infrastructure. There is insufficient signage from both the A830 and A82, poor landscaping of the car park, lack of toilets, insufficient interpretation and insufficient cafe and retail We have news of a consultation at The offering.” From this you maybe get a fair Moorings on 11th December about Scottish idea of what they are proposing to develop. Canals’ latest proposals for Banavie. They say “Neptune’s Staircase is worthy of But unfortunately this is too late to let more! Scottish Canals have put Banavie you know about it in advance and too soon forward as part of the Scottish to be able to give you a report on what Government’s Scenic Routes initiative. The happened at it. first phase of this was rolled out in the Loch Hope you were able to make it along and Lomond National Park where key vistas are had an opportunity to express your views. to be celebrated with small architectural Scottish Canals (SC) want to develop interventions to allow tourists to enjoy the Neptune’s Staircase as a tourist attraction. scenery. A design competition amongst young architects will be conducted with the brief to improve the landscaping around the bottom car park and creating a viewing area for Ben Nevis.” It is welcome news that they also say “We are keen to include in the brief ideas from local stakeholders.” SC also want to develop Banavie as an ‘Activity Hub’. On this they say “Banavie is at the start of the Great Glen Ways and yet there are no facilities, such as equipment hire facilities to support this. The Banavie to Gairlochy stretch of the canal is a manageable 7 mile journey by boat, boot or

Neptune’s News

photo: Colin Smith

bike and Scottish Canals wish to promote the use of the canal and the tow path to day trippers. This is to be combined with tourist developments in Gairlochy to receive such visitors and we have had interest from outdoor activity providers to partner with us to implement this. We have earmarked the cluster of buildings on the east side of the canal at Neptune’s Staircase to accommodate these uses.”

Pods SC have said their plans for pods at Banavie are dropped “for the time being” but it was still interesting to see a photo of the pilot pod on BBC News a few weeks ago - see “Bothies planned for Caledonian Canal” at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands -islands-25106652. Does the photo reinforce your original opinion of the pods (a few loved, a lot loathed) or will it change your mind? Maybe we’ll have had news of the proposed pods at Moy at the consultation on 11th. (Friends of Caledonian Canal Lochaber) is a subgroup of the Kilmallie Community Company. For more info, or to be added to our mailing list, contact Jan MacLugash, 01397 772383, email: janet.maclugash@gmail.com

according to 2011 census, there are 20 more women than men in Kilmallie - who are they?

don’t forget:

garden waste collection (brown bins) stopped now till Mon 3rd March

page 14


there is no thank you big enough...

loves spending time with them. Normally they see each other at clinics or when they are unwell at Yorkhill Renal Unit. Morgan also took part in the Donor Run, this is one of the most important parts of the whole weekend as it not only raises awareness but also lets us all acknowledge all donors and their families. This is a 3km or 5km run, jog or walk that the whole team and their families can take part in. During these events you get to meet so many other In August this year Morgan was in Sheffield people that are going through the same for The British Transplant Games. It was the thing as you are and everyone is so grateful for the second chance at life that they have 4th year running that she has competed in been given by Donor families who when the Games. Unfortunately her health was they are going through the most painful not very good this time and it was decided times in their lives when their loved ones that Morgan would travel down with the have passed away they have made the most rest of the Glasgow Children's Team as a spectator only. On the day of Morgan’s race courageous decision to donate their organs. Morgan decided that she no longer wanted There is no thank you big enough that any of to be a spectator and wanted to take part in us could possibly give to these Donors and personally for Morgan this is something she the Obstacle Race. Unbelievably Morgan will be needing sooner than we would like. It won her first race and ended up winning a is very difficult having the health of your silver medal in the final. This is Morgan’s best result to date. Morgan loves being part loved ones in the hands of a stranger but sadly this is the way it is. The only thing we of the Glasgow Children's Team which is sponsored by Kidney Kids Scotland. Morgan can do as a family is raise enough awareness for Organ Donation and reassure people has made life long friends in her team and Remember the great photo of Morgan Macintyre on the front page of our last issue? She had just won medals at the Transplant Games in Sheffield. Here, her mum Caroline tells us more about the bravery of transplant donor families, and she expresses the eternal gratitude that Morgan and her family (and others in similar need) feel towards the donors and their families.

Kilmallie Shinty Club The Club is quiet at the moment: we will have a few pre-season friendlies but they have not been arranged yet and the games fixtures don’t come out until about Christmas. Kilmallie Shinty Club had a great dinner and dance in Caol Community Centre on Saturday 9th November. The music was

The New Year kicks off the second part of our programme of workshops on Sunday 19th January with Gay Anderson and ‘A JOURNEY INTO THE UNKNOWN...’ A chance to relax and enjoy the process of letting your painting evolve moment to moment. The journey is the thing! So make your way to the Braxy Hall in Inverlochy and begin that journey. Then on 8/9 February local painter Alistair Smyth will teach us some useful techniques in ‘PRACTICAL SKILLS FOR PAINTERS’, a workshop to explore Linear Structure, Perspective, Colour and Glazing. Borders tutor Bella Green will return to Art Lochaber on 18/19 March to give a weekend course on ‘BALANCING COLOUR, looking at ways of creating mood

provided by the Ballochmyle Band. The following awards were made:The Robert Hood Shield First Team Player of the Year Liam MacDonald The Mungo MacLeod Shield Second Team Player of the Year Donald MacIntyre Alasdair MacIntyre Cup Under 17’s Player of the Year Alexander MacIsaac The BOSS Trophy Under 17’s Most Improved Player Finlay Ireland

with a limited palette. The final weekend workshop of the programme will be held on 5/6 April when Lys Hansen from Stirling will be leading ‘WILD AND WONDERFUL PAINT’, an introduction to expressionism. Unless otherwise stated, the workshops take place at An Clachan, Torlundy. Lifts are available for anyone without a car and fees

canal news We are now into our Winter hours and because of early darkness we are open from 9am till 4pm Monday to Friday and closed over the week-ends. photo: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

that they are saving so many peoples lives and it also effects each person’s whole family too. Sadly as a family we have been on both sides of Organ Donation. We have been on the Transplant List waiting for a kidney for Morgan and we made the heartbreaking decision to Donate what we could when Morgan’s Dad Jason MacIntyre was killed nearly six years ago. We understand these are decisions no one wants to make but you just need to look at Morgan and see the difference it makes to someone’s life. Morgan is keeping her fingers crossed that she will be well enough to compete in next year’s Transplant Games in Bolton... Something to look forward to... Caroline Macintyre BSW Shield Under 14’s Player of the Year Kyle Michie Kilmallie Shield Under 14’s Most Improved Player Dean Jeffries The next Club “do” is the Christmas Draw on Saturday 28th December in Tradewinds. Ian Joseph MacDonald and Malcolm Hughes will be playing the tunes! Linda Campbell Secretary 01397 700800

are £45 for the weekend workshops; £10 for the day at Braxy Hall. If you would like further details on our programme of workshops or would like to book a place, please contact Catherine Putman on 01855 841231. Please look up our new website artlochaber.co.uk. Lorna Finlayson

At Christmas we close on Tuesday 24th December at approx 2pm and will remain closed until Monday 6th January 2014 at 9am. A duty team will be available 24/7 to deal with any emergencies over this period: the Canal emergency number is 0800 072 9900. This number will connect you to the Police Control Room in Inverness. They in turn will contact the Duty Officer who will deal with the emergency. After the turn of the year we will be open to boat traffic from the Monday 6th till Friday 10th January and close again to boat traffic from the 11th January till Monday 17th March 2014. We have just appointed two new full time staff to our operational team - Alan Douglas from Arisaig and Dave McCook from Caol.

Alan will be based at Gairlochy over the summer months and Davie will operate between Corpach Sea-lock & Gairlochy. Both bring different skills to the team. Alan previously worked as a Ghillie in Arisaig and brings a load of practical skills with him. Davy was a police officer in a previous life and his vast knowledge of the local area & community will certainly add to the experience of using the canals to our customers. (PS In the photo Davie hasn’t got the pig-tails).

Children’s Canal Safety Quiz for Xmas 

For ages 5 to 11

Prize: a tin of sweets for the first correct answer drawn out of hat

Answers to Corpach Sea-lock office by Monday 6th January 2014 - just pop your answers through the letter box. Remember to include your name, address, phone number and age.

1)

What does S.A.F.E. stand for?

2)

Anagram safety equipment -- Nig rifle

3)

Ducks float, you - - - - (fill in missing word.)

4)

What does R.N.L.I stand for?

5)

What number do you dial for the Coastguard?

6)

What do lock-keepers wear to keep them safe in case they fall in the water?

7)

What should you stay off in winter?

8)

Is it safe to swim in the canal?

9)

What colours can be seen when you look at the lighthouse lights?

10) Hard one to finish - What are the left & right sides of the boat called and what colours are displayed to represent each side? Have a Safe Xmas & New Year wishing everyone all the best for 2014 John, Alec, Michael, Tom, Terry, Davy and Alan. John Stafford

page 13

Highland Council considering introduction of new hi-tech ways to grumble

congratulations

to STAR for Harris for being awarded a grant

page 16


HM COASTGUARD AT CORPACH

Tom Giubhais and National Moth Night

The green box which is sometimes “home”

Phil Wren, Sector Manager

This shared user site looks down Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe

welcome to Kilmallie Christine had a chat with Alan Knox, the Area Service Manager of The Scottish Ambulance Service for Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, in his office in Inverlochy. Alan and his staff are looking forward to moving to the new Ambulance Station on The Blar. The new station is spacious, bright, purpose built with extra facilities which will make it very efficient and much easier to clean. The Ambulance Station in Inverlochy became their Fort William base in 1974 when there were 4 members of staff. The building is now not fit for purpose and although the service pass their audits on Health and Safety issues, such as infection control, the conditions they do this in are not efficient. The staff

page 17

complement is now 26 and staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – this has cut down on on-call duties, a much more efficient system for staff and the community. Included in the 26 are Support Department staff, eg Health and Safety and Community Resilience. The latter includes the First Responders Scheme. Alan says the new station on the Blar is custom designed to fit the modern needs of the paramedics, technicians and other staff. Surfaces are easily cleaned – granite worktops and ‘wet wall’ walls – very efficient and perfect for infection control. The layout of the station will allow the cleaning of ambulances to flow better – after a call-out the ambulance will be reversed into the bay, equipment emptied out for cleaning and taken through the sluice and laundry areas. The vehicle is steam-cleaned and then the equipment is replaced ready for the next call. The new station has shared areas with Police Scotland. These include locker room, dining room, conference room and an education room with video-conferencing equipment. Such a change from the current station! They will have a larger stores area which will mean better procurement. This will be a pleasant area to work in and access to the main roads should be easier. The Scottish Ambulance Service staff hope to be in the new station at the end of January 2014.

Lochaber Rural Education Trust

Children’s Holiday Club for Children aged 4 – 8 Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st February 2014 for more information contact Linda 01397 700800

Paul Biggin reports that Martin Faulkner (of Scottish National Heritage) asked if he could go up into the “Pinewood” and see what moths he could find as part of the National Moth Night. This is what Martin said about it:Moths undoubtedly get a raw deal when compared to their butterfly cousins. Sometimes it’s just because most of them come out at night. National Moth Night tries to redress the balance. This year it was 10 August and we had a good, warmish night. It was made more enjoyable by listening to tawny owls and watching bats hunting. We got a real result in Tom Giubhais using three ultraviolet lights. The Rusty-dot Pearl is a rare immigrant for Scotland and has never been found in Lochaber! Bit dull maybe, but still a result! The other 18 species were all fairly common, but there were some very beautiful carpet moths. The moth that seemed to be most popular and common was the dark marbled carpet. However, that’s because it’s big enough to see without a magnifier. The yellow underwings are the ones you would probably know. They’re big, common and sometimes you see them during the day. If they get disturbed they whir away and you see their bright underwings. Then they seem to disappear! They fold up their wings and drop to the ground while you or a bird is still looking for the bright orange.

green fingers

lifesize The real stunner was, wait for it, Argyresthia goedartella. It’s a micromoth which really is micro. Its wings are like burnished gold with inlay of pearl. The only problem is that it’s about 5mm long at most. It’s other curious habit is that it ALWAYS rests with its head down and its tail up. Nobody knows why. I’ve been trapping in Tom Giubhais quite a few times this summer. What I enjoyed finding the most was another micro-moth - Nematopogon swammerdamella. Another long name as well! But its family are called longhorns because their antennae (feelers) are so long. This one waves them about constantly. It has a hard life – eats dead leaves as a caterpillar, turns into a dull brown adult and has a long name. Here’s the list of the others I caught this year. They have more interesting names: Barred Red, Chestnut, Clouded Drab, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Common Quaker, Common Rustic, Dark Marbled Carpet, Dotted Clay, Double-striped Pug, Dun-bar, Ear moth, Engrailed, Flounced Rustic, Green Carpet, Green-brindled Crescent, Grey Pine Carpet, Hebrew Character, July Highflyer, Larch Pug, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Light Emerald, Mottled Beauty, Northern Spinach, Red-green Carpet, Small Quaker, Small Wainscot, Yellow-line Quaker, Scoparia ambigualis. If you want to see what they all look like, UK Moths is a great website (ukmoths.org.uk).

Outside hose reels and lances should be put under cover. We have lost one or two over the years. Make a cover for outside taps. We have fish, frogs, newts etc in our outside pond and if the frost is hard we put a cover made from a frame with fleece tacked to it, if it gets very frosty you might need to break a small area to keep it free of ice as frogs and fish can die. As Winter approaches there is a lot to do in the garden. Leaves to be lifted and stored (you can make How many of us have dirty tools?? Now is a good time to check a container out of netting), they will take a year or two to rot down, them and oil them, also get Mower serviced if necessary. don’t put them on Compost Heap as they take too long to break You can order your seeds etc for the coming down. We lift a lot of them on the lawn with the mower, saves year. We get a selection of Catalogues and raking them up. it is lovely to plan for next year’s garden. We store some of our veg in the shed, but they need extra Don't forget to feed the Wild Birds. protection if the weather turns very cold or you will be left with mush! Check the shed or garage for frost sensitive items eg paint, sprayers, power washers etc. Some writing on labels is VERY small. Morag Mackell

the garden in winter

for more community woodland?

November 2013 and we have dealt with 9 incidents since my last report but even so we are heading for the busiest year since 2006. Have you ever wondered how it is possible to speak on a radio (not a phone) to someone hundreds of miles away? Probably not! It is by the marvel of radio waves, also called propagation. Have you ever wondered what happens when it all goes wrong? Again, probably not, because like me we take it for granted that an engineer from somewhere will be on the case and preparing to locate and fix the problem. It is not an easy fix for us as it involves attending an aerial site which I will explain about later. Radio transmissions from ships in and around Corpach and surrounding areas are passed either directly from ship to ship or ship to shore but only if they are in a direct line as these radio waves (very high frequency) can’t travel round corners. In order for a ship to talk to someone a long way off then the transmission is relayed via one of our aerials at a high point. We have just two in Lochaber. One on the hill above Achindaul near Aonach Mor and the other on the hill above Arisaig. Radio traffic at sea from the Mull of Kintyre to Cape Wrath (and for us, inland to cover the canal, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness) is monitored and co-ordinated by the Coastguard Operations Centre in Stornoway. Very recently this Operations Centre suffered a complete loss of communications at 10 pm. The emergency plan now kicks into place. This involves manning every aerial site with members of local Coastguard teams so here the Corpach team and the Mallaig team were dispatched up their respective sites to operate the equipment manually. This involves taking local control and to listen, answer and intercept if necessary radio traffic from ships between Oban and Skye. The team members worked in shifts through the night until the problem was resolved at 0530. The Achindaul site is a 6 foot square metal box with a desk, a chair and a radio set. The box has no windows and a heater which keeps the temperature just above freezing. It has bottled water and a kettle. Not the best of environments, especially in winter. It is testimony to the professionalism of our volunteers that keep our shores safe.

are there opportunities

did you know

there is a Banavie Merino sheep stud in Australia?

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parents busily searched for photographs to determine the placement of personal

proving to be a firm favourite with everyone enjoying building with assorted sizes and shapes of bricks to measuring and

belongings prior to participating in the wonders of play. The children have all

settled in well to a new term which saw the successful application of an extension to our centre numbers to include

everyone. Making the most of the good weather we have enjoyed an

array of play experiences both indoors and outdoors. The local woodland is definitely a favourite with exploits ranging from den-building, climbing, running and rolling, drawing, mark making, map writing “in case we get lost going back to

The gantry which has been with us since the mid 1960s is now no more. ClydeBoyd have organised its removal on behalf of ClydePort. The gantry was built by Arjo Wiggins to carry a pipe line. Wood chips arriving by boat were blown along the pipe to stacks on shore. The venture was never a great success as the chips jammed in the pipe and when they did flow the wear on the pipe was considerable. My own memories of the gantry include sailing when the yacht club was based at the old mill. Being swept under the gantry by the tide was always a possibility!

playgroup”, to Gruffalo and Troll hunting. While back in our garden the children have been busy threading ribbons making

brightly coloured creations to dance in the wind, building houses with “real heavy wood brick” supported by “numbers” or “names” developing their understanding of print and numeracy in the wider environment. Our budding gardeners joyfully picked carrots, potatoes, peas and lettuce some of

which were transformed into lovely soup for snack. Soup making was great fun with a number of children intrigued by

the gantry as seen from the hill above Achaphubuil

the “roaring” of the “noisy blender” while others waited in anticipation to sample the culinary delights. “This is delicious”, “yum it makes us healthy and strong” and “my muscles grow big”, “can we do lots of cooking” were just a

few of the children’s comments. Many changes of clothing were experienced as a result of the exploits at the water butt, some were pouring and filling, others experimenting with materials that floated and sank while some wanted to

“shower “their friends. Latterly the change of weather has seen the formations of icicles on the side of the building and

Now with ships carrying logs and chips for the sawmill to and fro and boat loads of salt for the roads, the port is becoming quite busy. In addition Corpach Boatbuilders have their own traffic. Space is needed to manoeuvre boats especially when there is a tide running. The gantry has now been completely removed including the piles. So the channel is clear right down to the sea bed. The only bit to be left is at the seaward end of the island where the gantry is connected to the dolphins.

wondrous glass ornaments forming in stray buckets which little hands and fingers have tentatively touched and pressed, “ouch its cold and slippy”, “it’s so clear, it’s like glass” were some of the descriptions: do we have budding authors in our midst? At the beginning of term indoors the children enjoyed

climbing, balancing and crawling on the climbing frame, rolling and cutting out with playdough and experimenting

bustling productive kitchen cooking lots of items for the menu, to the “Co-op” and latterly the building site. This is

hammering. To the delight of the group this culminated in an activity using real tools and materials to produce some interesting creations which are now ready for decoration. Lots of scrap paper and catalogues piled up in the writing

area, and with the supervision of a staff member the children busily fed this into the shredding machine. A number of children were fascinated by this procedure and now take on the responsibility of “weekly shredders” to assist in caring for our environment by giving consideration to how we can reduce waste. The shredded paper was used as a medium for

play to the great delight of all involved: the playroom floor was re vamped!! Items were buried within the paper with lots

of feeling, touching and fumbling to describe what was found. The introduction of metal items into the tray supported by an assortment of differently sized magnets intrigued the children and saw the development of problem-solving skills relating to forces and materials.

Not only have the children been busy, but so have the Mums, Dads and the board of trustees, initially with the

organising and delivery of the Halloween fundraising night held in Kilmallie Community Centre, which catered for

everyone; stalls for adults and children, delicious baking, all kindly donated, bouncy castle, face painters and a great raffle. The success of this was quite apparent and hopefully this will become an annual event. Recently parents held a baking and produce stall outside the old post office in Fort William: again a fantastic amount of money was raised. Without the support of parents and the community the function of the Playgroup and Day Care would be greatly

diminished, and the experiences of the children would be compromised, so please accept our thanks and gratitude for

all that you do. Playgroup presently is filled to capacity with a few names on the waiting list. However we do have vacancies from 12 noon onwards for Day Care. Enquiries to 01397 772016 or

via e-mail to kilmallieplaygroup@hotmail.co.uk. Enrolment for the 2014-2015 session is usually organised for

with many types of materials within the arts and crafts table. February/March time. Please look at local newspapers and The children’s enthusiasm led to them making pictures of flowers for the Rural Complex show and “tickly“ feet painting pictures for Kilmallie Community Council. They all proudly showed their exhibits off to one another and to anyone who

Paul Biggin piles of the gantry being removed

came to visit: imagine the excitement when they won a lovely shiny trophy. This holds pride of place next to Kenny our Playgroup mascot. We have been experimenting with an assortment of equipment to create pictures, imagine the

astonishment when we splattered paint everywhere using toothbrushes and used our lungs in ”big puffs” to blow the

paint across the table: we really did get in quite a mess but giggles all around highlighted the fun and experimentation

within this activity. Art work is greatly valued and is used to decorate the playroom: regularly the children make reference to their own work and reflect on that of their peers. The

with its 50th anniversary coming up next year we’d love to hear about your reminiscences to commemorate the opening of the pulp mill

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noticeboards for information. Carole

Kilmallie people are healthier than people in Scotland generally

- corpach paper mill – have got a fantastic facebook page!

house corner has served many purposes from creating a

through the door into a brightly newly decorated cloakroom. The children and

Pulp Mill Gantry

check it out

Familiar faces and excited new faces spilled

on average

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photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

Vic Ralph Memorial Shield for Young Musician of the Year was awarded to Ruairidh Shaw of the Pipe Band and jointly to Sarah Johnson and Glen Falconer of the Wind Band. Sunday saw the bands performing again at the Commando Memorial while, earlier in the day, Sixth Year pupils Mairi McCrae and Ashley MacLachlan laid the school’s wreath at the war memorial in the Parade. Remembrance weekend is of great importance for our school and all those involved value the experience highly; in remembering lost heroes our pupils learn valuable lessons and make a significant contribution to the events of the weekend. Many of our pupils achieved success at the National Mod in October and many have achieved individual and team or group successes locally and further afield throughout the year. Some recent successes include Paulina Szumko winning the ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition organised by the Rotary Club of Lochaber and Zoe Smith and Owen Cairns sharing the Fraser MacPhee ‘Sports Ambassador’ award. I am pleased to report that our staff achieve successes too. Earlier this term, at the Lochaber Sports Association Awards Night, Donald MacLean, Depute Head Teacher was awarded the accolade of ‘Coach of the Year’. Mr MacLean has been a stalwart of school shinty for many years, coaching the LHS team to be the best school shinty team in the world! He gives freely of his time and has a first class working relationship with team members, always employing an inclusive approach to team selection. He has guided his school teams to win all the major shinty trophies, the most notable being thirteen consecutive wins in the MacPherson Cup (the Camanachd Association’s U14 Scottish Schools Championship). Not only does he coach the

Jim Sutherland Head Teacher www.lochaber.highland.sch.uk

photo by Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

update from

which makes the roles we have taken on so interesting. We had a young UK doctor out for eight weeks as a volunteer and although restricted in his activity by lack of the local language, he has been great at helping at clinics, leading on some teaching sessions, acting as an extra driver lifting and laying patients/ even occasionally delivering the bodies of those who have died from hospital to their villages (a very important task and very Hello to all Kilmallians from Malawi! Thank you to the editors of expensive if families do not have this service), and generally this newsletter for continuing to seek out news from us, and being there to bat ideas off, which I have very much publishing the ramblings I send. Thank you also to all who have appreciated. Helps allay the worry that I am making it up as I go read and then emailed, messaged and even donated since – along, as I often am, faced with some of the scenarios I have hearing stories and news from home and being reminded of seen over the last few months! Seamus (not as Irish as his name local generosity always uplifts us and helps me in particular suggests) left early November and I have to say we all miss him. continue to feel connected. Contact details are at the end of the As well as his medical talents, he also played a mean guitar and “news” for anyone who has a spare moment to write. boisterous sing-songs were the highlight of our recent patient day-care days, as they initially listened in awe then happily So – here we are, more than a quarter of the way through our joined in and those who could got up and danced! It was an assignment and feeling very settled and very much part of the centre and its work. In fact we came back into the country after amazing sight. The patients are now back to just me without a note in my head, never mind an accompanying instrument. a week in Tanzania last month, this time with our proper work permits which allowed us to fill in our entry forms legally as The morphine crisis I reported in the last two editions has, at “work” for reason for entry. On passing through immigration, last, come to an end. The long awaited morphine powder is now my passport was stamped and the officer looked up and said in the country, and we received the promised delivery of our ‘welcome home!’ It was quite an emotional moment, but I have first supply within the week. At NdiMoyo we never completely to say that that’s exactly what it felt like – coming home. I think ran out thanks to the wheeling and dealing with the HIV clinics ‘settled’ covers it! who accessed stock from the NGOs supporting them, but we did Work at NdiMoyo keeps us both very busy within our respective run a bit too uncomfortably close to the wire on a number of roles, and despite the slower pace of life and smaller workload, occasions. The campaigning did bring together many likethere still never seems to be enough hours in the day! Peter has minded medical folk from across Malawi and we have formed a now completed Mark 2 of the strategic plan with accompanying research forum, whose first project is to explore the availability budgets for further scrutiny by the UK Board of Trustees prior to and use of morphine in Malawi and of which I seem to have found myself as principle investigator! On the up side we have ratification. It has been a huge piece of work so he is looking managed to secure funding and once through ethics, hopefully forward to an ease of the pressure for a little while, although this seems unlikely. The main area of focus at the minute is the this month, we plan to get started and complete the first round of interviews and visits before the end of December. The proposed new build planned for next Spring. Our current clinic is no longer fit for purpose, and by UK standards probably never proposed outcome is to be able to find out how much morphine Malawi needs and then try to marry this to the quotas raised in was! There is limited space, and no real privacy to examine/ order to stop the stock-outs which have been happening year communicate with patients. However when first renovated from the old bank it previously was back in 2008, it was a huge on year.

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sub-saharan africa!

step up from the ‘clinic under a tree’ option. The first drawings for discussion were, of course, far too ambitious so following endless meetings and brain-storming sessions this has been scaled down to a more serviceable new model with six examining rooms, all with a door, a couch, wash-hand basin, and a desk, a nurses’ room and patient and staff toilets which is such a bonus on current facilities (yes – I did mean it when I said the current facilities needed upgrading). Projects such as this take much time to reach fruition as they are totally reliant on donor-funding, and the applications that precede them. Thankfully two generous benefactors have helped realise the plan thus far and it is hoped we will be working from our new premises by the middle of 2014. Although state of the art, Malawian style, they are basic in comparison to Scotland, wooden examining couches without helpful pump action raisers, no computer access in the clinic rooms etc, but there is a considerable buzz of excitement amongst the staff. I hope to be able to report back in the Spring edition of definite progress on that front. The current clinic is kept very busy meantime with increased admissions and attendees in each of the last three successive months, possibly as a result of increasing awareness sessions we have run in getting the information about palliative care to everyone in the community. Much work is still needed but following a review of expected demand, the clinic team are now looking at a change in their hospital and outreach clinic sessions to try to make the service more accessible and equitable for those living in the more remote villages. We are still seeing patients with very advanced disease so some of our role is in raising awareness of symptoms that should be reported on earlier when there may just be some treatment available. There is always something to be done/worked at

The more vigilant reader will have noted that I have not mentioned the festive season many of you will be preparing for as you read this. In my on-line UK newspaper and ‘Good Housekeeping’ I read of shopping days left, winter weather, and mouth-watering recipe ideas related to this time. I feel quite disassociated with it all, not just in the no access to anything, and knowing this is the first year we will be celebrating without family about, but because we are currently at the height of the hot season and Salima is very hot and dry! We will do something to celebrate as the centre will be closed for a few days, it will just be a different experience. So, on that note I will bring this update to a close. We wish you and those you love a very happy Christmas and every best wish for the New Year ahead. We will be thinking of you all at (our other) home. Further updates will be made as we continue this work. If anyone would like to follow the process more closely, there is a group setting on facebook which I try to add to on a fortnightly basis. Type Ndi Moyo into the FB search bar and you should get a ‘closed group’ option (not the open one I suggested in my last report). Otherwise my email address is Kathryn.hamling@hotmail.com and I do so enjoy hearing tales from Corpach and surrounds! Our fundraising webpage remains open for anyone who would like to contribute, with all donations going straight to NdiMoyo Palliative Care: www.everyclick.com/peterandkathryn Kathryn Hamling

first Lochaber Ideas Week took place in Kilmallie (in The Moorings)

The current term at Lochaber High School has proved to be even busier and more eventful than planned. Firstly, the arrival of ‘The Box’ shortly after the October break heralded the arrival of a team of Her Majesty’s Inspectors to carry out a wholeschool inspection. Inspectors arrived on 18 November and spent a week in school observing lessons and meeting groups of pupils, parents, staff and partners. The experience has been a positive one for the school and a report of Inspectors’ findings will be published in January by Education Scotland. The other big news this term is that The Highland Council has approved funding for Phase 4 of our ‘Lochaber 21’ rebuilding and refurbishment programme. This means that – subject to contract – the final phase of the building work involving the refurbishment of classrooms in Art, English, Maths and Music will now be started two years ahead of schedule and the whole project will be completed in 2015. The ‘icing on the cake’ was news that funding had also been approved to upgrade our astro pitch to a state-of-the-art 3G all-weather pitch with work to be carried out during summer 2014. While the ongoing building works are a constant factor at the school just now, we will very soon see real improvements to the learning environment. When the project is complete we will have a secondary education facility that is amongst the best in the country. November is always an important month in the school calendar as we work with the Commando Veterans’ Association to mark Remembrance Day. This year, because our hall is currently ‘under re-construction’, our Friday concert for the Commandos was held in the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church. As always, the Wind Band, the Big Band and the Lochaber Schools Pipe Band gave impressive performances culminating in a joint rendition of ‘Highland Cathedral’. The

team, he also deals with funding, transport, strips and fixtures. Now we are looking towards Christmas and, again because of building work, we are using external venues for some of our traditional events. The Wind Band concert will be held in the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church while the junior Christmas disco and the senior Christmas dance will be held in Caol Community Centre. We’re grateful to these organisations for providing these venues and I’m sure that the events will be just as enjoyable wherever they’re held. Merry Christmas from all at Lochaber High School!

great that the

don’t forget to use KCC’s suggestion boxes for all your ideas

page 10


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Busy Busy Busy

Children from throughout the school entered the Lochaber Agricultural Show, The Rural Education Trust Show and the Kilmallie Show and came back with armfuls of awards from each one.

Lochaber Sports Association Awards Lochaber Sports Association held their Annual Awards Ceremony at Banavie on Fri 22nd November and we are very proud to announce that Lochaber Rugby Club came away with a hat trick of awards:  Youth Endeavour Award - Laura Davies  Services to Sport - Pauline Donaldson  The club that has been most active in the promotion of sport in the community Lochaber RFC

Children In Need was on Friday the 15th of November and we did loads of activities to raise money. Primary Three/Four sold wristbands for £1 and Pudsey key rings for £2 around the school. They also drew giant pictures of Pudsey for every class and if people had loose change at home, they would bring it in and stick them all over Pudsey. Overall, we raised the amazing total of £415.66.

Annual Boxing Day Match Presidents XV v 1st XV Kick off 2pm Black Parks Everyone Welcome

Date for your Diary

Youth Report In the month of October, Lochaber Rugby Club mini section have travelled North and South to attend tournaments with great success. Our P4/5 and P6/7 teams firstly attended the Etive Vikings round of the Argyll Dalriada series. Both teams playing very good rugby with varied success. Teams taking part included Etive Vikings, Mull RFC, Oban RFC, Mid Argyll and Lochaber RFC. The P4/5 team coming away with 3 wins out of 4, and the P6/7 winning 2 of their matches in a very competitive tournament. The teams them attended the Ross Sutherland mini tournament at Invergordon. This was also the first time our P4/5 team were presented with their new playing strips from our sponsor Bidwells. The P6/7 team played great rugby winning a few of their games, considering they were up against teams with substantially bigger playing numbers. The boys stuck to the task and gained in confidence as the tournament went on. The P4/5 team started where they left off at Taynuilt in winning form, playing teams from Highland, Caithness, Moray, Nairn, Strathspey, Ross Sutherland and Kinloss. The team eventually ran out winners of the tournament being undefeated with some great performances from all the players. For some of the players in both age groups this was their first time playing in a tournament and they came through the experience with flying colours. With tournaments coming up in November at Lochgilphead and Oban before the Winter break, we look forward to more success on the pitch. Pauline Donaldson www.lochaberrfc.co.uk or ‘Like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest news from Banavie.

RESPECT COMMITMENT TEAMWORK

This year’s Halloween disco was a huge success with a wide variety of costumes. Primary Five to Seven children worked very hard at Dance Platform and put on a super dance over two nights in the Nevis Centre. The school have also had visits from Eden Court, Blas, Save a Life, Countryside Rangers and Feis, giving children a wide range of experiences.

Christmas Craft Fair Saturday 14th December, 11am – 2pm Christmas Concerts Wednesday 11th December – afternoon Thursday 12th December – evening (Tickets only)

Seasons Greetings from everyone at Banavie Primary School

Around the Classes In Nursery, children have been learning about Divali and trains and they are hoping to go on an exciting visit soon to the railway station. Primary One children have settled in well and have been having great fun on the Trim Trail, keeping fit and healthy. Primary Two had a surprise visit from Wilma the Witch at Halloween and they were able to help replace her stolen Spell Book. Primary Three/Four have been learning all about money, while Primary Four/Five has been busy learning Gaelic with Mrs Beck. Primary Five/Six visited Urquhart Castle as part of their topic, Wallace and Bruce. In October, Primary Six children spent the day at Glencoe Outdoor Centre where they took part in kayaking, archery and problem solving/team work. Primary Six/Seven class recently visited Stirling Castle to extend their learning about Mary Queen of Scots. Primary Seven have made the first of their transition visits to LHS when they took part in the basketball competition in October.

Charity Fund Raising Our Macmillan Coffee Morning in September raised £398.78. Thank you to all those who contributed delicious baking and also to Morrisons for donating the tea and coffee. A final thanks to all those who came along to help this worthwhile cause.

Autumn by Millie Jackson Autumn is wondrous, leaves falling everywhere. Autumn is vibrant; orange, brown, copper and yellow are all around. Autumn is spine-chilling; nipping frost bites your nose. Autumn reminds me of my bedroom, it’s very messy with leaves and twigs that the wind has blown everywhere. Autumn tastes full of fresh air, cool and breezy. Autumn sounds are mixed, from roaring fires to the churning leaves. Autumn smells of newly grown pumpkins from newly grown pumpkin patch. Autumn feels like you are standing under a waterfall with forever falling rain. Autumn looks golden, like it’s worth a million pounds. Autumn makes my fingers go numb, if I’m not wearing gloves. Autumn is beautiful, so many colours around at once.

about the plans for the new Scottish Rural Parliament at www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk

Unfortunately due to weather conditions, work has stopped on our pitch improvements and it is unlikely to recommence until 2014! The works are 80% complete, but they need at least 1 week of dry weather before they can drive over the surface to carry out the remainder of the works. Finally the pitch will be seeded in early spring - the delays most likely mean we will be at the Black Parks for two years instead of one.

Pupils and staff have been working very hard since the start of the new school year. In class we have been studying a wide range of topics including volcanoes, the Romans, Ancient Egyptians, Wallace and Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Julia Donaldson.

find out

congratulations Pauline and Linda, local sports heroes working tirelessly for their clubs

Pitch Improvement Works


KILMALLIE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Over 200 hardy Kilmallie residents turned out on a cold but thankfully dry night on Friday 6th to witness the Christmas tree switch-on organised by the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund. It was great to see the community spirit that has meant Corpach and Banavie has continued to enjoy its Christmas lights this year despite the council funding being withdrawn. Councillor Bill Clark thanked the local businesses and individuals who have provided the sponsorship while Banavie Primary School’s Nia Reid (P1) and Laura Davie (P7) performed the switch-on ceremony. This was followed by carols led by a choir from the Music Shed and music from the Lochaber Community Wind Band. The whole event was supported by the Star for Harris charity who provided well-earned refreshments for everyone after the event. Despite months of planning the ceremony almost never happened. The first bad storm of the winter had broken the Banavie tree and damaged many of the lights and tree in Corpach as well. Thankfully with the help of Robbie Milne from Highland Council repairs were made in time for the switch-on to go ahead. The Christmas Lights Fund would like to thank everyone who braved the cold weather to attend, helping make the night a great success. Our special thanks go to the Star for Harris team for the hard work providing the refreshments afterwards. It certainly shows that Kilmallie still deserves its Christmas lights and that it has been worth the effort to ensure the Christmas spirit is kept alive in our community. Andy Wilmington Members of the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund have been meeting throughout the last six months in order to co-ordinate fundraising and to make arrangements for the switching-on photos ceremony that took place on 6th December. by Alex, Andy, We would like to say a big “thank you“ to the many local Jan & businesses and organisations who have sponsored us. Mandy Without their help we would not have had any Christmas lights this year – a miserable prospect! We are also grateful to STAR for Harris who have made many of the arrangements for the evening. Paul Brian (Chairman, Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund) Our Sponsors All-Round Signs BSW Sawmill Breedon Aggregates Cameron Carriers CLYDEBoyd Corpach Boat Builders Corpach Co-operative Soc Corpach Hotel Corpach in Colour Gillian Sloan Framing Harbro Ltd John McLellan & Co Letterfinlay Foods Letterfinlay Hotel Lochaber Housing Assoc Ltd Lochaber Rugby Club Marine Harvest Moorings Hotel Rockhopper Sea Kayaking Snowgoose Mountain Centre St Clements Fruit Baskets Tradewinds And many individual donors.

wild about kilmallie

glen road. John Cuthbertson of Snowgoose reported a wildcat right in the middle of Corpach two winters ago, and cats have also been seen along the shores of Loch Lochy as far as Kilfinnan. Whether or not these are 100% ‘pure’ is unknown, but the issue of genetic purity is contentious, and to some extent does not matter if these animals are the nearest thing we have to Scottish wildcats. If you have seen a wildcat or wildcat type in and around the area please let us know and we will pass it on. This information is invaluable to the effort to conserve the Scottish wildcat. If it turns out that there are several in the area then it may well be worth taking more active steps to look after our very own Highland Tigers. Foremost of these is The Scottish Wildcat is an iconic species of the remote and the control of domestic cats. Please consider keeping your rugged countryside typical of the landscape in Lochaber. moggies in at night and/or having them neutered so as to Sadly, wildcats have been much in the news this last year, reduce the risk of further hybridisation. We cannot promise primarily for the wrong reasons. Some estimates have sightings of wildcats to visitors, but we can feel privileged placed numbers of viable ‘pure’ wildcats in the whole of that we share our space with Britain’s rarest mammal. Britain at less than 30, a far cry from the previous figures of Could I also make a further appeal for around 400 animals, which was bad enough. Small information about the whereabouts of local populations are under threat from disease, persecution and hedgehogs. I have seen live hedgehogs (or changes in food supply, but the real threat to their survival is their droppings), or even road kills only hybridisation with domestic or feral cats. However, true infrequently around and about Kilmallie. We had one in the population numbers are unknown, and in remote areas with garden a couple of summers ago, but it seems to have few feral cats there may be wildcats remaining that are moved on. Whilst hedgehogs should be safely tucked up for going about their daily lives unbeknownst to man. This is the winter now, hopefully having escaped bonfire night, it especially true of some of the wilder areas of Lochaber, but would be good to get some idea as to how their population nevertheless it seems that unless we do something about is faring in the area. Does anyone have hedgehogs that the situation now the Scottish wildcat will soon be extinct. regularly visit their garden? This is another declining species, Recent local proposals aim to address this issue. These but in an area rich with slugs and snails, one that we would include the establishment of an island reserve on Carna in do well to look after. Loch Sunart and also a wildcat haven on the tip of the Jon Mercer Ardnamurchan peninsula, where there is a known population of ‘pure’ animals. Here feral cats can be removed Glenloy Wildlife photo at top of page: Keven Law and domestic cats neutered. Meanwhile, it seems that there are other potential wildcats in and around the region, including and thank you to Angela Mercer Kilmallie. In the past year we enjoyed for her beautiful drawing a good sighting of a wildcat (or of a close wildcat wildcat-type) whilst returning home encounter at late one night from a bat and moth Glen Loy event at Glenfinnan. The cat crossed the road between Kinlocheil and Corriebeg, paused to look at us and slunk off into the roadside vegetation by the loch. Even more excitingly we recorded camera trap images (albeit grainy) of a large stripey feline with a thick bushy tail in the garden of Glenloy Lodge. The cat was investigating the pine marten den and also caused a commotion amongst the residents. This follows on from other reported sightings from neighbours up and down Glen Loy in the last couple of years, and we have also found cat footprints in the snow along the

Wildcats

the glenloy tiger

lochaber natural history society Lectures are held in the Alexandra Hotel, Fort William, 7:30pm all welcome 16th Dec - The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland: a Traveller's Guide - Clifton Bain, IUCN 20th Jan - Freshwater Pearl Mussels - Iain Sime, SNH 18th Feb - Ancient Life at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland - Noel Williams 24th Mar - topic to be confirmed

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well done Ken for giving “a voice to the things that don’t have one”, Lochaber News Nov 28

looking forward

to next year’s christmas lights party already!

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I greatly enjoyed the piece on The Gondolier in the last newsletter. My grandmother’s uncle, Captain Donald Cameron, was skipper of her for many years, as were two of my mother’s uncles, Peter and Alec Grant. Donald Cameron was born in Banavie in 1848 into frightening poverty. It is a tribute to the old parish school system that he got enough of an education to go to sea and pass his master mariners ticket in 1878. Like other Kilmallie people at this time, such as the poet Mary MacKellar, he probably had the Rev Archibald Clerk of Kilmallie to thank that he grew up literate in both Gaelic and English, an advantage that would be denied subsequent generations as the Education Act of 1872 suppressed education through the medium of his mother tongue. An inscription inside his Gaelic dictionary reads Mr Donald Cameron, SS Chevalier, Glasgow 1876. In the pre-railway age The Chevalier plied between Glasgow and Oban via the Crinan Canal and, I think, onwards to Corpach. Chevalier Cottage in Tomonie probably has a link with this boat. After a spell on the Orkney crossing he moved to the Caledonian Canal where he successively commanded four of MacBrayne’s canal steamers: Glen Garry, Loch Ness, Gairlochy and finally Gondolier. Of these craft, Gondolier was the only one specifically designed and built for the canal. Glen Garry began working on the canal in 1846 as Edinburgh Castle ll and was lengthened and renamed in 1875. When she was broken up in 1927 she was one of the oldest steamers in the world. For many years, Gondolier and Gairlochy ran the Banavie to Inverness service, one leaving either end of the canal in the morning and completing the passage in about 7½ hours. Gairlochy went on fire at Fort Augustus pier in 1919 and her remains can still be seen there, I believe. Donald largely built the house in which I

live so I have reason to be grateful to him. Peter Grant took over the Gondolier about 1915 and was her skipper until shortly before his death in 1935. He, too, had previously served on the Chevalier and Gairlochy. His father, William Grant, was in charge of bank maintenance PS Chevalier, skippered by Ronald’s great uncle Alex Grant Photos from Jack Lee’s Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery and lived at Canal Cottage, near Torcastle. My mother claimed that Peter delivered the daily newspaper by throwing it onto the bank from the paddle wheel casing! She remembered the canal in the 1920s as being beautifully maintained with freshly painted woodwork, manicured grass and hanging baskets of flowers at the locks. It is to the credit of the current canal staff that this situation has, in large measure, been restored. Peter’s brother Alec apparently also skippered the Gondolier but I remember him as skipper of the canal tug, Scott ll. As a child of 5, I was taken on a trip towing the canal’s dredger from Banavie to Loch Lochy, where I had my first ever bout of seasickness. In the words of the song Tioram air Tir “An fhirinn a th’agam nach maraiche mi” (The truth is I’m not a sailor). All these Captains would be ashamed of me! Gondolier was withdrawn from service at the start of the Second World War and sunk as a block ship in one of the entrances to Scapa Flow. HMS Royal Oak had just been PS Gondolier in one of the locks at Fort Augustus sunk by a U-boat that managed to sneak in past the nets. On a visit to Orkney I was told that the fierce Pentland tides ripped the I got my information from a collection of wee steamer apart, leaving only the engine family newspaper cuttings, memories block for divers to visit today. If they had of what my parents said plus “The only preserved her for another 50 years Caledonian Canal” by AD Cameron and plus what a visitor attraction she would be today. “The Caledonian Canal” by Guthrie Hutton. Ronald Cameron

Here are the words of the traditional whaling song from South Uist that Ronald refers to in his article above. You can hear it as sung by Arthur Cormack at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A_LvyCgWxI

Tioram Air Tìr

On dry land

Ruith na muic-mhara ri gaillionn 's a chuan Mo mhéoirean air reothadh a dh'aindheoin a bhith cruaidh B' fhéarr a bhith 'n ceart-uair air acair air Chluaidh Na bhith díreadh nan crann an South Georgia

Chasing the whales in a storm at sea My fingers frozen in spite of their toughness It'd be better now to be at anchor on the Clyde Than climbing the masts in South Georgia

Sèist 'S truach nach do dh'fhuirich mi tioram air tír 'N fhìrinn a th'agam nach maraiche mi 'S truach nach do dh'fhuirich mi tioram air tír Ri m' mhaireann cha till mise shéoladh

Chorus It's a pity I didn't stay on dry land It's the truth that I'm no sailor It's a pity I didn't stay on dry land As long as I live I won't return to sailing

Díle bho'n t-sneachd 's tu gun fhasgadh o'n fhuachd T' aodann 'ga sgailceadh le fras bho gach stuadh 'S t-airgiod am pàilteas 's gun doigh a chur bhuat 'S e síor-losgadh toll ann a d' phòca

Heavy snow showers and no shelter from the cold Your face slapped with a shower from every wave Plenty of money with nowhere to spend it And it forever burning a hole in your pocket

Nuair gheibh sinn forladh 's nuair ruigeas sinn traigh Falbhaidh an oinseach-sa còmhla ri cach Chosg mi de dh'airgiod aig cunntair a' bhàr A cheannaicheadh tri taighean-òsda.

When we get leave and we reach the shore This idiot will go along with the rest I've spent enough money at the bar To buy three hotels.

cherishing kilmallie’s wild land “Wildness is a key quality of Scotland’s landscapes which is widely appreciated and increasingly recognised as a high-value asset. “Scotland’s extensive natural and seminatural areas - often rugged, relatively remote and showing limited obvious management or development - are an important part of the nation’s identity that sets it apart from the rest of the UK. These areas provide significant economic benefits, especially by attracting visitors to Scotland, and are often promoted in the marketing of products and services. Significant health and social benefits accrue from their use as many people derive both physical and mental benefit from recreating in these areas. The habitats found within them are also an important resource for biodiversity and carbon management. “The experience of wildness can be enjoyed widely across Scotland in a range of settings, such as rocky gorges, more isolated coast and even in greenspace close to settlements. However, Scotland’s larger and more remote areas where wildness qualities are most strongly expressed are known as wild land. These areas are not empty of human activities or influence, and it is important to recognise that Scotland’s wild land is distinct from ideas of ‘wilderness’. But the evidence of past and contemporary uses of these areas is relatively light, and do not detract significantly from the quality of wildness that can be experienced. “The Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 map identifies those areas of wild land character which are significant in a national context. These areas are especially important and merit particular recognition as they identify Scotland’s remaining extensive areas of the highest wildness. This is an increasingly rare characteristic in a Scottish, UK and European context”. The above words are taken from Scottish Natural Heritage’s recent Consultation Paper on the Core Areas of Wild Land 2013 Map. In the map on the right, we have overlain the boundary of the wild land area on top of the KCC area. From it you can see that almost 40% of Kilmallie is classed as wild land, and as such deserves our special care and recognition. For more information go to www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlandsnature/looking-after-landscapes/ landscape-policy-and-guidance/wild-land/ mapping/

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Kilmallie census results: www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/highlandfactsandfigures/census2011

canal steamers

see

Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr

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let us know

what should KCC be focussing on in 2014?

This time we asked our Ward councillors: What do you consider is the greatest road safety issue in Kilmallie and what would you like to be done about it?

Eddie sent us his apologies as he was unable to write something for us this time, but he welcomes what KCC is doing in campaigning for road safety, and he is in full support of KCC’s aims. He says road safety has been an issue

since he was head teacher at Banavie School, and he has spoken to Lochaber News recently about the specific local road safety issues that KCC Cllr Eddie are raising. Hunter

Speed is the one overriding road safety issue which has been brought to my attention by residents at various intervals. The main road safety concerns in Kilmallie are the speed of vehicles, particularly heavy lorries, travelling through the village of Corpach. Trunk Roads, and more recently the police, carried out speed checks. The Police reported that in some cases it was local motorists who were ignoring the speed limit. They also reported, that in the main, motorists including those large Lorries which trundle through the village adhere to the speed limit. This is something that many residents have not accepted. The police will continue to take note of residents concerns. A pedestrian crossing outwith the vehicle parking areas at the shops would

safeguard residents. Transport Scotland invariably takes account of any accidents which have occurred in the area in question before taking action. My own view is that action should be taken before accidents happen. If there is a negative response from Transport Scotland to providing a crossing, I would suggest that the Community Council collates those instances of close shaves and pass them on to Bob Mitchell at Transport Scotland with an invitation to attend a future meeting of the Community Council to discuss the concerns of local residents. The good news is that Highland Council intends to implement twenty’s plenty signs on appropriate roads under their control. Unfortunately, these are not enforceable. On the other hand,

the Council may erect 20mph signs, where appropriate, which are enforceable on those non trunk roads under Highland Council’s control. All this will cost an extraordinary amount of money from Highland Council’s Capital Budget and could take anything from 5 to 10 years to accomplish throughout the Highlands. We could achieve an awful lot more if Scotland had fiscal responsibility. Until then, we have no option but to live with the fact that there is not enough money in the Westminster block grant to accommodate all Local Government requirements.

For me the greatest road safety issue is really multi-faceted in Kilmallie, as the fact is, a busy trunk road runs through a long busy working village stretching from Annat to the Marine Harvest roundabout, bordered by the Caledonian Canal and the main line railway. Traffic and pedestrians do not mix well in any situation and certainly not alongside a trunk road which now carries vast quantities of trees, timber, fish farm feed, harvested salmon as well as tourists and ferry traffic for Skye and beyond. If I have to prioritise Great Glen Way walkers and canal users crossing a 60mph stretch at the Banavie bridge, Banavie school, the heavy lorry use at industrial Annat, the railway crossings, and Corpach village centre with most of the residential

houses and the bus stop separated from the main shop, post office, pub and hotel, then it is the latter I will choose. The first four can be covered by reduced speed limit at the bridge, roundabout at Drumfada, and are already covered by smiley face 20mph and lollipop person at the school, and the railway crossing gates already installed. However, the centre of Corpach has different problems. After recent discussions at Kilmallie Community Council it was evidently clear that the crossing of this busy part of the road in the centre of the village needs traffic calming and I have already written to Transport Scotland requesting traffic lights with pedestrian controls, similar to Lochy Bridge and Camaghael, be installed. Traffic lights combined with more side

walk railings to guide pedestrians to them would be much more effective than the refuge islands which are currently in place and difficult for articulated lorries and buses to negotiate. With the best will in the world, a large vehicle will cause a passing draught as vast quantities of air are disturbed, even when observing the speed limit. It must also be very difficult for wheelchair users and helpers to balance on these perches while being buffeted by a lorry legally travelling at 30mph. it is also very disconcerting for our fleet-footed youngsters to have to make the decision, do I carry on, or wait. A great question, a simple answer, now wait for the installation!

community policing The build up to the festive period has begun and the local policing response will again focus on drink driving and alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder. Work on the new Fort William Police Station at Blar Mor continues on schedule with completion expected in the second week of December with the building being fully operational well before Christmas. The Scottish Ambulance Service will co-locate a few weeks afterwards. This new police station has been the subject of many years of careful planning and local police officers and civilian staff alike are looking forward to moving into a modern facility which is fit for 21st Century policing. On a wider level, Police Scotland has designed a divisional policing structure which ensures there is equal access to specialist policing services across Scotland. The purpose of these units is to provide direct support to local policing. A number of these specialist units have already been deployed in Lochaber on a variety of significant and resource intensive enquiries thereby negating the need to redeploy local officers away from their communities. Furthermore, as you may already be aware, Police Scotland have committed to a Trunk Road Policing Unit being based at Fort William which will eventually see an additional

Cllr Bill Clark

Cllr Allan Henderson

sergeant and nine constables operating from the area. This is the only new road policing base being created in Scotland and will bring direct benefits to communities across the wider Lochaber area through an increased high profile policing presence on arterial routes such as the A82 and A830. The first officers have already arrived and it is expected that half the unit will be in place by the end of November 2013. Operational performance in Lochaber in the first six months of Police Scotland has been good with violent crime down 20% and instances of public disorder down 24% compared with the same period last year. A significant increase in the number of visits and inspections of licensed premises has in no small part contributed to sizeable reduction in alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder. As per previous newsletter articles, I would welcome any feedback or comments on local Policing in the Lochaber/Kilmallie area as we continue to prioritise keeping people safe in the communities we serve. PS197 Andrew Bilton Liaison Officer for Kilmallie Community Council Andrew.bilton@northern.pnn.police.uk Police Service of Scotland Fort William Police Station, High Street, Fort William Tel 101 for non-emergency

getting Kilmallie ready for winter Severe weather is part of life in Northern Scotland. We are all too aware of the consequences that severe weather can bring: power cuts; frozen pipes; being stuck in your home or stranded in your car or being unable to pick up essential supplies such as medicines and food. Such consequences can be debilitating and distressing even for those of us who are accustomed to harsh winters. That is why the British Red Cross is running a campaign in partnership with the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the risks severe weather can pose, and encourage individuals and communities to become more resilient. We are asking people to think ahead and pull together some essential items that could help you through the winter. A little time spent planning your journey, knowing the risks and preparing an emergency kit for your home or car could help you cope better during an emergency. At home your emergency kit could consist of:  List of emergency contact numbers – on paper  Battery operated torch and radio with spare batteries (or wind up)  Any essential medication and a first aid kit  Three days’ supply of bottled water and ready to eat food that keeps  Copies of important documents like insurance policies and birth certificates  If needed, baby and pet supplies In your Car:  Ice-scraper and de-icer  Snow shovel  Map for unplanned diversions  Blanket and warm clothes  Water and some snacks  Jump leads  Battery (or wind up) torch and radio On the move:  Check the weather forecast before making your journey  Fully charge your mobile phone  Tell someone where you are going We are also asking communities to get together and plan ahead for severe weather and emergencies. Taking a few simple measures can make communities more resilient and better placed to cope with To donate online to the Red Cross Typhoon appeal, please go to www.redcross.org.uk

Many thanks to Fiona MacLeod and Anne Eadie of the British Red Cross for this valuable advice about winter safety.

emergencies. In your Community: Do you have a community resilience/ emergency plan? If not visit www. readyscotland.org/my-community to find out how your community can start to put a plan together. If there is a plan, why not think about testing it out. This may be something that your local authority emergency planning officer could assist with. Publish a list of community contact numbers Organise a first aid training course in the community. Having members of your community trained in First Aid could save a life - especially in rural communities. During severe weather check on your neighbours, family and friends, especially those who live on their own Clear snow and ice from pathways of elderly neighbours

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If you have care responsibilities, think about who will help anyone you normally look after if you are stranded. If you are interested in learning first aid the local British Red Cross team offers courses that can be tailored to your community’s need. They teach everything from first aid for sprains, burns and falls to emergency life -saving skills. The course can also take time to look at risks that communities face in winter, and give hints and tips on how first aid and other simple steps can help. If you would like more info or would like to book first aid training please contact Emma Georgeson either by phone (01463 796614) or email egeorgeson@redcross.org.uk For further advice please visit www.redcross.org.uk/preparescotland

thanks to the guys who’ll be gritting our roads this winter

our Highland councillors’ corner

in anticipation

page 6


scouting memories

Walter Cameron, in the old GS hut which was still in use then. In fact, he actually took over from Walter Cameron as Scout After our last issue, Billy MacMillan Master and was indeed the last ever got in touch to offer more scouting scoutmaster of Kilmallie when he became memories. Kshama and Libby went to the first ever Scout Leader. Billy was Scout meet him to listen to his stories. Leader for a total of about five years from Libby and I were recently made most about 1967 until 1972; he only stopped welcome in the home of Billy and Ann because he says that he had no back up in MacMillan in Corpach, where everyone must the early 1970’s from the District know him and his family: some of you might Commissioner. There was a reorganisation of know him for his first aid expertise. Others the then geographical areas as far as might know him for his well deserved Silver scouting in Lochaber was concerned. Of Acorn Award, the second Highest Award in course, Billy was quick to step in as activities Scouting. He was given it in 1983 for adviser for the whole of Inverness-shire; he Specially Distinguished Services and must be thus became one of the earliest advisers. one of the youngest at the age of 39 to get The title in full was “District and Area it. We soon realised that he must also be Activities Adviser”. famed for his very good memory! Billy was responsible, with the help of Billy left Glasgow and moved to Fort friends, for the classification of waters in the William to serve in the pulp mill back in area into different grades for example “open Easter 1967. He had been an Assistant water” which was most difficult to navigate Scoutmaster back in Glasgow, but he loved was graded A while Loch Ness was only a mountaineering and canoeing amongst mere B but many of the locals thought quite other outdoor sports. When he came to rightly that it should be upgraded as it really Lochaber he couldn’t wait to teach boys how is a challenge. Many visitors to the area were to explore the hills, rivers and lochs and to advised by Billy, he remembers a group from realise how lucky they are to live here. Billy Bermondsey near London who had only found that he and his many fellow workers practised on the Norfolk Broads - an had to be housed all over the area. But it inexperienced and uneducated lot by seems as if Billy was a person who helped Highland standards! Tourists came from all establish a centre of community life here in over. Billy helped to set up an official Corpach for the workers which is vital for campsite in Inches and remembers some of families settling into an area. Amongst other those in charge: Andy Holmes, Alistair things he resumed the role of helper with Whitehead, Chris Dyre, Dr John Richardson the boy scouts here, a role that he had and him. He remembers an army exercise obviously loved in Glasgow. He helped above the camp: Chinooks flying overhead

were you in primary school in the 1930s? If so, Christine and Mandy would love to come and talk to you about your reminiscences of your school days. Many thanks to Dougie Dykes who has sent us these photos wondering if they jog anyone’s memory. Can anyone fill in the missing names? Dougie lives in Corpach now but has lived in the past in Torlundy, Caol, North Ballachulish, and various other places outwith the area.

and guns being parachuted in on them. Billy became Assistant Activities Commissioner. He took the scouts to Beauly and to Auchangillan where he earned his Camp Warden Badge. Here he was one of the socalled Service team; he was a successor to the previously mentioned Andy Holmes who was himself preceded by Douglas Scott. He planned the Scout Camp in Holland, the Camp was in Ommen. He remembers that the host Dutch group requested to borrow the Scottish troop’s heavy equipment when they paid a visit. Such memories are precious and should be shared; Billy certainly showed deep feelings for Kilmallie whilst we were interviewing him. He has worked hard for the youngsters here and I feel very privileged to have met such a true Scouting hero. Kshama Wilmington

ideas for road safety & happiness Today’s progressive urban planners acknowledge that what makes a happy city (irrespective of its relative wealth or poverty) is one that fundamentally favours pedestrians, cyclists and public transport over cars and lorries (1). Moreover a happy city fosters a healthy economy with untold spin-off benefits for everyone. The same is true for towns and villages. But it makes for a tricky design challenge when a trunk road passes right through the middle of a village, as it does in Corpach. We all need our trunk roads: they allow us to transport ourselves and our freight around the country with reasonable speed and efficiency. But do we really want them to overwhelm the character of our villages as they pass through? Government policy seems to Should we be asking instead for dictate that they must. But many people,  a 20mph zone through the centre of the including groups like the Go20 campaign, village, which would significantly reduce are challenging this presumption. A 2010 the risk of serious accidents (and at British Social Attitudes survey found 71% of approx 1/3 mile long, it would only add people were in favour of 20mph limits a mere 20 seconds to a vehicle’s (2) where people live . journey)?  traffic calming measures at the start of the 20mph zone, eg road narrowing to create ‘gateways’? (This is considered good practice to draw drivers’ attention to the lower speed limit) While a new conventional pelican crossing  and a simple ‘puffin’ type crossing at the seems on the face of it to be a good solution shop, without railings (there’s no need to crossing the road at Corpach with less to restrict where people must cross anxiety and risk, it may have downsides too: because it will be easy anywhere).

other routes to road safety

be careful what we wish for Billy with his certificates and his prized Silver Acorn Award

Top: Photo of Dougie’s father Ewen (Okey) Dykes and other pupils at St Bride's Primary School North Ballachulish circa 1933. Back row: John Macintyre, Kirsty MacInnes, Ewen (Okey)Dykes, Morag Finnigan, Jean Finnigan, ??, ??, ??. Front Row: ??, Kirsty Peak?, ??, ??, ??. Below : Photo of Dougie and other pupils at Tomacharich Primary School 1952-53. Back Row; Kenny Matheson, Irene Carr, Sophia Spence, Elizabeth Matheson, Daisy Dunn, Mary Lawrie, David Matheson, Donald Cameron? (Auchindaul Farm?) & Miss Nicholson (teacher). Mid Row: Ian Lawrie, May Stewart, Grace Chappel, May MacLachlan, Helen Morrow, Margaret Matheson, Bridie Dunn. Front Row: Douglas Dykes, Gordon Mathers, Billy Palmer, Billy Macdonald, George MacLennan? (forestry?)

making the village centre a much more urban place, a more no-go place for pedestrians, especially if there are long ugly railings either side of it. causing frustration to traffic having to stop and start (plus higher fuel consumption and extra noise especially from lorries accelerating and changing gear). reducing the amount of parking space near the Co-op (because the zigzag lines restrict parking either side of the crossing). This will inconvenience all the local residents who take the car to shop at the Co-op, as well as people passing through on their way west. And if lack of convenient parking deters people from shopping there, our one remaining local shop may become threatened. and some research even shows that pelican crossings can increase the number of accidents (3) (maybe because traffic generally travels faster and takes less care?).

So what on earth to think?

Transport Scotland may say it can’t be done. And they will no doubt quote all sorts of Guidance Notes that they must adhere to. But times, and attitudes, are beginning to change as more people experience the advantages of slower road speeds. In their last Speed Limit Review, Transport Scotland didn’t consider 20mph speed limits, but they did say that as part of their “ongoing review of the safety of the trunk road network, consideration will be given to potential 20mph pilot sites at suitably identified locations”. Should we call for Corpach to be one of these pilot sites? Should we reclaim the village for people on foot of all ages and abilities. What driver wouldn’t be willing to trade that extra 20 seconds for the increased independence, confidence, safety, security and, ultimately, happiness, of our families.

There would be no congestion and little inconvenience to trunk road traffic, (who 1 would notice that extra 20 seconds?). Traffic would hardly ever be held up by the lights at the crossing because it would be 2 easy for people to cross wherever they wished without traffic control. (Why bother with the puffin crossing at all you might ask, but they definitely make life easier for some 3 people with disabilities like partial sight or learning difficulties, and for children building confidence in crossing roads independently). All those people on foot who suffer anxiety and practical difficulties crossing the road at present, would not have to live their lives intimidated by a trunk road.

Happy City: Transforming our lives through urban design, by Charles Montgomery, Penguin 2013 2010 British Social Attitudes Survey – Attitudes to transport www.20splentyforus.org.uk/UsefulReports/ BSocialAttitudes2010.pdf eg Investigation of Pedestrian Accidents Analysis at signalised pedestrian crossings in Edinburgh, Napier University, 2009

page 5

do we have the world’s only dual-speed roundabout?

would you like to see

access to the war memorial improved?

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You may have seen the recent press coverage about calls for improved road crossing facilities at Corpach. KCC has had road safety firmly on the agenda since we re-formed in 2011. The previous KCC also campaigned for improvements, but it is not always easy for the simple requests of local communities to hold sway against the might of national agencies. Like many rural Highland communities, we don’t have all that many roads in Kilmallie. A large proportion of the network we do have is classed as trunk road,** ie part of the essential national road network that is subject to national standards for design and speed limits, and comes under the control of Transport Scotland*** (not Highland Council). When a community asks for a new pedestrian crossing, Transport Scotland surveys the site to see if it meets the national criteria. The main factors are the number of people crossing and the amount of traffic passing the site. Other factors include the number of road casualties near the site and local features such as hospitals, schools and shops. In response to KCC, Bob Mitchell of Transport Scotland has agreed to commission the survey, but this is no guarantee that the crossing will happen. Indeed the outcome of the survey might even strengthen the case for not having a crossing: our population is small, there is only one shop, and - fortunately - there have been few accidents. Also the amount of traffic might not be considered high enough. We don’t yet know whether they take into account the proportion of HGV traffic (Corpach is described as a transport hub in the Local Development Plan). But all this is to reduce the issue to mere transport statistics, and we know it is not just about that. It is about our community feeling comfortable and safe moving around in our own local environment.

our photographer photographing their photographer photographing us!

Care Lochaber, KCC, and local residents at risk on the narrow traffic island

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion so far. Some of the views expressed include:  it’s not just about safety, it’s about independence, being able to cross the road without relying on help from others  it’s not safe for children on the traffic islands  it’s hard for mothers with pushchairs  sometimes you’re stuck on the traffic island for ages and it’s scary with huge lorries driving so close, even when they’re travelling well within the speed limit  the parked cars either side of the main crossing zone don’t help  sometimes there are cars parked all round the corner too  I don’t feel safe using the traffic islands. I go further down to cross but that means having to cross the whole road at once. I can’t hurry, so sometimes I have to wait for ages for a long enough break in the traffic in both directions  it’s not just crossing the main road that is difficult. Parked cars at Drumfada Terrace make crossing bad there too, and there are blind corners where the cars travel too fast  if you’re partially sighted, you can’t always see the cars unless they have lights on, even during the day As well as a safe means for pedestrians to cross the main road at the Co-op, other issues that KCC are pursuing are:  reduction of the speed limit between the new Blar roundabout and the eastern outskirts of Corpach - it is 60mph at present - terrifying if you are trying to cross the road at the canal bridge where sightlines are very restricted.  reduction of the speed limit between the western outskirts of Corpach and the sawmill - it is 40mph at present and we think it should be reduced to 30mph because of the extent of residential development on both sides of the road,  introduction of driver-activated speed signs at the entrance to the 30mph zone either side of Corpach. If places like Spean Bridge, Fort Augustus and even the tiny Strathyre can have them, then why can’t we?  introduction of 20mph limits in ALL residential streets and roads. We’ll continue to keep you posted. ** ie the A830 all the way from Lochybridge westwards. (The B8004 from Banavie to Gairlochy is the responsibility of the local authority, Highland Council). ***Transport Scotland are the national transport agency of the Scottish Government. They are accountable to Parliament and the public through Scottish Ministers. They have contracts in place with private operating companies to manage and maintain our motorways and trunk roads. www.transportscotland.gov.uk

If we want Transport Scotland’s survey results to support the need for a crossing at Corpach, we need to give them the evidence of all the difficulties, frights and near misses that we have experienced. Please give KCC as much information as you can, either by email or via our suggestion boxes. Please give your name and contact details.

We remember Hugh Muir in another great collection which he sent us before he died earlier this year. With thanks to Hugh’s family for permission to publish it, and more to come next time..

The community of Muirshearlich is roughly north of Banavie and west of Torcastle. It means the field of the broom-rape. In 1466 was called Mischoralich and in 1633 Musherlich.

thanks to everyone who turned out for the Lochaber News photoshoot, and to Care Lochaber too for highlighting the difficulties faced by our elderly and disabled residents thanks to the kind and courteous Fergusons lorry driver who stopped to let us cross the road safely when we were getting pictures taken to highlight the road safety issues in the Lochaber News thanks to Lochaber News for giving our road safety issues prominence on their front page but apologies to the HGVs who might have thought we were getting at them. KCC have no issue with the lorries themselves. The businesses that use HGVs are a valued part of our local economy. People just want to be able to cross the road without fear or anxiety. Buses going by can be just as frightening if you are waiting on the traffic island, but we would nevertheless like to see more of them!

Going through this area - and the Canal tunnel - is Allt Sheangan (= the narrow burn): this burn is fed from a lochan called Kilmallie Loch. It is reported that this was once a place where people skated and noted for its mussels. About 200 yards from the burn is a house now called Arkavie. It opened as a school in 1841 and was still a school until about 1887 when it became Kilmallie Poorhouse. It could accommodate 16 people. I believe it was still operating in the 1930s when Mrs McLennan was warden. In the 1873 minutes of Kilmallie School Board it is noted that in the area "east of Hotel " ie Camaghael, Torcastle and Muirshearlich there were 34 children of school age (5-13 years).

Only about 1/4mile of the mysterious nearby Banquo’s Walk is visible although another section was exposed, nearer the Castle, with 2012 tree felling. Thoughts are that this is all that remains of a road stretching northwards from the castle. In the early 19th cent Torcastle Mansion was built - by/for Lochiel’s factor. Later it was let to a number of tenants with one of the better known - the Gooch family - who got involved in scouting, guiding and WRI. The building became Torcastle Hotel in 1947 under W Bremner. Serious fire destroyed the building in 1950.The mansion had been a hospital in the 2nd WW.

early 1960s there was a foresters’ camp at the farm. About 10 men lived in a basic hut. This hut is believed to have been formerly used by contractors on the construction of the new Glencoe road! Glen Loy is the glen of the calf. The best known place in the Glen is probably Erracht (= place of assembly). Formerly known as Ardloy. A son of Lochiel lived here in 1715. By 1772 a large stone barn was built and is a listed building although at this time the house was still of a very basic construction. In 1793 Major Alan Cameron of Erracht formed the Cameron Highlanders. The Camerons of Erracht had their own tartan.

In 1852 Torcastle had 17 acres of arable land At the head of the Glen is Achnanellan and supported 8 cows and 2 horses. (= field of the island) and also Puiteachan The first known Kilmallie Church Glebe was (= place of the young moor fowl). Many established here in 1734 of 4½acres. The signs of building ruins in the glen. At one, house cost £60. The site was returned to the Achnaherry (about a mile east of heritors in 1804 when a new glebe was Achnanellan) supported 8 families in 1750 but by 1875 was just ruins. An old drying kiln given at Corpach. can still be seen here. There was once an Inn Strone means a promontory. Viscount Graham of Claverhouse (Bonnie Dundee) led near the south side of the upper river. It was run by Duncan McPhee believed mainly for the first Jacobite Rebellion. During his drovers. attempt to raise the clans he stayed for months at Strone before going on to the battle of Killiecrankie. Strone was the home of a well known bonesetter called Alex Cameron who died in 1875. Below and to the East of the farm is the outline of a large sawmill used at the time of the Canal construction and was driven by water diverted from the river Loy.

In 1729 there was a school at Bunloy. In 1901 a new school at Innerskilavulen (= confluence of the mill burn). This site was about a mile up the glen. Some part of mill dam can still be seen. In 1931 a new school was opened at the NE side of the bridge over the River Loy. Closed in 1946.

At the bottom of Strone Brae there was Hugh Muir once a blacksmith. From the 1930s until the

On the hillside above Muirshearlich, is an obvious long wall. This was the march-wall until 1891 when it was the boundary between Argyllshire and Inverness-shire. It is claimed that, in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie, after raising the standard at Glenfinnan marched his army through here, via Annat, to avoid being seen by the troops at the Fort. Torcastle means the bluff rock of castle or, if it was once torc castle, boar castle. The original castle, one of the earliest in Scotland, was built in 11-12th C by Banquo, Thane of Lochaber. Then owned by Clan Chattam/McIntosh. About 1530-1570 rebuilt by Lochiel. By about 1665 Cameron Chief left. By about 1740 the castle was empty and becoming ruinous. At one stage it had a The Glen Loy aqueduct, carrying the Caledonian Canal over the river Loy Photo: Colin Park drawbridge.

10 years ago On the right is an extract from the November 2003 newsletter. Do you have any reminiscences about the garden competitions? We’d love to hear from you if you do.

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at the Corpach video at http://vimeo.com/80398797

road safety for kilmallie?

history snippets Muirshearlich to Glen Loy

take a look

in recent speed checks

most of the culprits were apparently local

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please send us

your ideas for future ‘focus on folk’

At 86, David Cargill has an energy and enthusiasm for life that would be the envy of many people half his age. He recently spoke to Christine and Mandy about his life and his writing.

I was brought up in Lockerbie. I married Sheila in 1955, and the Education Authority tried to persuade me to stay in the Dumfriesshire area, but I’d been here on holiday when my brother was assistant factor with Lochiel Estates and I really liked the area. I was a PE teacher, and when I was offered a job up here, I decided to take it and we moved north, to Inverlochy. I worked in the Fort William Senior Secondary School and several others, including the old Banavie School, under Walter Cameron, He persuaded me to run a night class giving PE training to Kilmallie Shinty Club, and that was my first association with the Corpach area. I trained the shinty team in the old GSC Hall, and eventually they won the Camanachd Cup in 1964. I trained the Banavie School in athletics and one year I entered them for the N of Scotland Championships in Inverness. Walter said they had no chance! On the way there, the bus broke down and we’d have missed the heats, so I flagged down a car that was going north and my two sprinters, a girl and a boy, were given a lift up to Inverness (you wouldn’t get away with doing that now) while the rest of us waited for the relief bus to come. They got through to the finals, and we won the championships that year! Walter was quite surprised! After a couple of years we moved to Corpach – we had two children, Alan and Jane, by then and we needed a bigger house. We scouted round and decided we’d like to come up to the higher part of Hillview Drive. When we moved here it was just grassland, there were no houses, ours was one of the first to be built. I’ve loved it here ever since. When the new High School opened in 1960, I got a job there, eventually becoming principal PE teacher and staying till I retired. The school was reasonably small in those days, but when the pulp mill came, it grew from about 500 to 1400 pupils in a very short time and we had to take on more staff. The facilities weren’t all that great back then – I was recently shown round there by the Head and I was gobsmacked to see the fantastic facilities they have now. When the school’s swimming pool was built I took a course to qualify as an examiner for the Royal Lifesaving Society. And then I qualified as a synchronised swimming coach. I trained a lot of girls but four senior girls in particular were really good - they performed synchronised swimming stunts in the town pool, and we put on aqua shows there. After all these years I still correspond with two of them at Christmas. My teaching

join us for a night in the cells!

hopefully the January meeting of KCC will be held in the new police station on the Blar, preceded by a tour of their great new facilities. Everyone welcome. But please email us first to check as arrangements are subject to change at the last minute.

Elliott (who lives through the hedge) edited it for me and she did a great job. It starts in a real life WW2 airfield that I discovered in Devon – it was so completely hush hush, that the RAF have never acknowledged it existed. It brings in Lochaber too (a great idea that was suggested to me by Christine at Printsmith). No plot spoilers but it’s a good mystery and it takes in Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie and Corpach. It was selected for representation at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In The Statue of Three Lies which was based in Lockerbie, I mention a girl by name of Janette that I’d met around 1941 in Lockerbie after she was evacuated from Glasgow. We lost touch over 60 years ago, but this year she contacted me having read the Glasgow Herald review of the book and we’re now close friends again after all these years. I’m now working on the final book in the trilogy – The Cinderella Murders. It too is partly set in Lochaber, and it’s a good whodunnit, full of suspense. I’m hoping it will be published next year, with the launch in Kilmallie Community Centre. And I’m doing lots of other things as well - I’m chair of the Lochaber District Lunch Club and the Caol Community Management Committee Ian Rankin’s advice to me was to ‘just keep writing’. Apparently when he wrote his first novel he sold no copies at all, and his second only sold about 200, so there’s hope for me yet! I’m not looking for fame and fortune (I’ve given the books away to Cancer Research and the Heart Foundation) but writing is doing me a lot of good and it helps me feel young at heart. If someone gets pleasure out of reading one of my mystery thrillers I’m quite happy. And I’d never have met Janette again without it. If you’d like to help David raise funds for local causes, his books are available online from Waterstones and Amazon (kindle and hard copy) Also available in the High Street at The Granite House and W H Smith (ask at the counter)

kilmallie community news

Thanks as always to all our contributors, our delivery team and of course our sponsors - the newsletter couldn’t happen without all your input and support. If you’d like to help in any way, please get in touch more help is always very very very welcome. The deadline for the next newsletter is 15th February, for publication in early to middle of March. Your newsletter team: Christine Hutchison Jan MacLugash Kshama Wilmington Mandy Ketchin

772252 772383 772499

email us at newsletter@kilmallie.org.uk Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the newsletter team or of Kilmallie Community Council.

KILMALLIE COMMUNITY COUNCIL Members of the public are most welcome at all our meetings. Meetings are currently held at 7:15pm in Kilmallie Community Centre on the 3rd Wed of every month excl July and Dec, but please check the website in case of changes. Next ordinary meeting dates are 15 January, 19 February and 19 March 2014. Next AGM is 18 June 2014. Chairman Maggie Mackenzie, 42 Hillview Drive, Corpach, PH33 7LS chairman@kilmallie.org.uk Secretary Russell Leaper Canal House, Banavie, PH33 7LY secretary@kilmallie.org.uk Treasurer Jan MacLugash Salen, Banavie PH33 7LY treasurer@kilmallie.org.uk Other members

Associate member

Christine Hutchison Mandy Ketchin Kshama Wilmington Chris Pellow

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five great reasons (and there are dozens more) to join Kilmallie Community Council maybe you care what happens in your back yard? Community Councillors aren’t nimbies, but it’s a great opportunity to promote radical community activism, to make a difference to things you care about locally - to help make the things you want happen, whether big or small maybe you have a passion for one particular project or local service (like wanting more local facilities for young people, or changes to the bus timetable, or protecting wildflowers on our verges? as an associate community councillor you can focus your time and energy on the things that matter to you, you don’t have to get involved in everything maybe you have an interest in a career in politics? community councils are a great place for young people to gain experience with local non-partisan issues - and it looks good on your CV! maybe you and your friends and neighbours enjoy your free newsletter and would like it to continue? we can always do with a bit more help maybe you’re hungry? Jan and Christine bring great cakes and biscuits to our meetings! KCC has space for two full members, and lots of associate members. Please get in touch if you’re interested and would like to know more.

www.kilmallie.org.uk

focus on folk

days were really busy – I tended to coach the less able students, and we did athletics, and cross country and even took them up to Inverroy for horseriding lessons. The playing fields at the High School were really bad at times because of the rain, I got a mild rebuke from the Education Authority for sending them photographs of canoes on the playing fields... but they got the message! I also took yoga night classes in the late 60s and early 70s. It was the most popular night class at the time with about 40 women taking part. I still correspond with some of them. I wish I could still do yoga but unfortunately the joints don’t quite allow it any more. I took part in pantomimes too at school and eventually became a member of Kilmallie Players amateur dramatic society which used to put shows on in Kilmallie Hall. But I retired when I was 57 – I had an injured back and I thought there was nothing worse than an aging PE teacher. That was back in 1984, which seems a lifetime away now. I started to think about doing other things and I took up photography. I liked to photograph shows in theatres: I became a friend of the Stage Manager of the Black and White Minstrel Show and I got permission to photograph them from the wings – but of course they came to an end as they weren’t exactly politically correct. I also photographed the Ballet Rambert in Eden Court and events like the Grand National and the Blackpool Ice Show (I won a photographic competition three times at Blackpool). I’ve got a digital camera now so everything’s changed – I used to print the photos myself, in a wee dark room with all the chemicals. I was awarded Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society for the work I’d done. I was the timekeeper for the Loch Linnhe Swim at one stage – and I’ve got photographs of that. It’s quite a challenge to swim – but I never did it myself, I wasn’t that good a swimmer! But as I got older I started to think about writing. In 2000, I was inspired to write my first novel by a ‘locked room illusion’ that had taken place in Boston USA in 1952, which I’d read about in a book by Paul Daniels. I’d just completed all the research for “The Statue of Three Lies” when Sheila took ill in 2003. When we found that she was suffering from Alzheimer's I shelved the book – I just put it away. But by 2008 I decided I would finish it, get it published and give the proceeds to Alzheimer nurses. I was glad that I managed to get it selfpublished in America just before Sheila died in Jan 2010. I realised if I could sell more copies I could raise more money for a good cause, so I then self-published it in Britain. I managed to raise about £700 for Moss Park Nursing Home and the Montrose Centre which Sheila had attended. I was invited to become a member of the Society of American Magicians on the strength of that book. My second book in the trilogy, Gauntlet of Fear, was published last year. Dr Mary

see the newsletter in full colour at

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Welcome to a Christmas Cracker Kilmallie Community News. In this issue we highlight both the wild lands of, and road safety in, Kilmallie. In Russell’s article he reminds us that we can walk all day in Kilmallie and not meet another soul in areas only accessible by foot, whilst our road safety articles draw our attention to the difficulties members of our community face when trying to cross the busy main road that cuts through our villages. Congratulations to the members of the Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund for organizing the funding, and a very big thank you to the local businesses and individuals who donated the monies, to enable Kilmallie to have a Christmas tree and festive street lighting this year. There are some wonderful articles in here so settle down in a comfy chair and enjoy. Thank you to all the contributors, newsletter team and sponsors well done on another excellent issue. With all best wishes to you and yours for a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Margaret Mackenzie, Chairman chairman@kilmallie.org.uk

Kilmallie’s natural heritage

One snowy day last month, we set out to walk to the highest point in Kilmallie. It was the sort of weather that Scottish winters do best – crisp, cold and bright. We started up the track to the bothy in Glen Dubh Lighe; it was straightforward enough. But from there up on to the ridge of Braigh nan Uamhachan it became rougher and steeper. Despite an early start, we soon realised that we would not get all the way up and back down in daylight. It was still a long way along the ridge to the coll between Gaor Bheinn and the apparently unnamed peak just to the south at 961m. The snow made for slow going, but even on a long summer day it would still be a challenge. As we stood high on the ridge, admiring the deeply shadowed glens below, it was apparent how much of Kilmallie is only accessible by foot. It is easy to walk all day in Kilmallie and not see anyone else. These are the kind of wild places that fire the imagination. In many ways they define the character of Kilmallie, and we all want to see them protected. Indeed Scottish Natural Heritage is in the process of designating ‘wild lands’ which include large areas of Kilmallie. However, in some senses, protecting wild land is the easy part of habitat conservation. What is more frequently overlooked are the small pieces of natural, undeveloped land closer to home. These areas may be more fragmented and less remote but despite, and indeed because of that, they are still very important areas for wildlife and nature. Even in the more developed areas of Kilmallie, we can still live alongside wildlife with just a little thought and care. Small areas of woodland and burns can provide vital connections that link habitats, often giving them a much greater significance than just their land area would suggest. However we are seeing a steady encroachment into these habitats, partly as a result of failures in the planning system, and a lack of appreciation that, even if these places may not look all that special to us, they are important for wildlife. The bare gravel of the Blar, once a natural

seasons greetings & all best wishes for 2014, from KCC

habitat of European importance and now just home to a few wandering seagulls, is a constant reminder of planning gone wrong. When development takes place which impacts on the natural landscape, either on a large or small scale, there is a need for a strategic overview of where this can best be located, rather than the current approach of treating each application in isolation. The Local Plan should be able to do this for some types of development. However, there have been several recent applications in Kilmallie for housing developments in areas designated as ‘hinterland’ in the Local Plan. Hinterland areas should be off-limits to preserve key areas of crofting land or natural habitat, but the repeated argument that ‘just one more house won’t do any harm’ results in an increasingly fragmented landscape. Forestry also has a huge impact on our area, where we are fortunate to have such beautiful native woodlands. There seems no overall strategy for encouraging land owners to grow the most suitable trees in the best locations. Micro-hydro schemes are another example where KCC has been pushing for a strategy that looks at the best solutions for the area as a whole. We all need power, and micro-hydro can be a very effective way of delivering this with relative little impact. Nevertheless, there is still a need to take account of the overall impact of multiple schemes. A key role of KCC is to represent the view of the community on planning applications that have wider implications. Nobody in Kilmallie wants to lose our natural heritage and important wildlife. Somehow we need to find a way to move on from looking at each planning application in isolation to a more co-ordinated approach where all developments that impact on our landscape are located in a way that maximises the benefits while minimising the damage. Russell Leaper, Secretary

Ferguson lorries are a familiar site on our roads. So this time, we spoke to MD Alasdair Ferguson about his business. What is your company name?

Ferguson Transport & Shipping Trading as Ferguson Transport (Spean bridge ) Ltd & Ferguson Shipping (Kishorn Port) Ltd. All companies are a part of Ferguson Freight Holdings Ltd. Where are you located?

Our Head Office is in Corpach on the site of the Old Auction Mart adjacent to Corpach Port and harbour. We have other depots, operating centres and facilities at Annat Corpach, Mallaig, Kishorn, Invergordon, Inverness and Grangemouth in Central Scotland.

What does your company do?

We are a logistics company, using HGV vehicles, specialist trailers, shipping vessels and rail to deliver the best solutions for our customers. We also have warehousing and storage facilities in Corpach and our own port facility at Kishorn Port and quayside warehousing in Mallaig. How long have you been operating in Kilmallie?

We relocated from Spean Bridge almost four years ago into our purpose built service workshop and Head Office premises adjacent to Corpach Port, but we have been operating in and around Kilmallie for the past 50 years! Historically for Riddochs sawmill, TSK, Wiggins Teape pulp and paper mill, loading and unloading ships at Corpach basin. Our key customers in the area today are BSW, Marine Harvest, along with Rio Tinto and the Forestry Commission. How many people do you employ locally?

We are a family business, founded in 1959 by the late Archie Ferguson and his wife Anne Ferguson, and now with 6 third

generation family members involved in the business. Headed up by Managing Director, Alasdair Ferguson, with fellow directors, Carol MacKinnon, Financial Director, Jack Ferguson, Operational Director, and Leslie Innes, Office Admin, Director. We employ 152 staff in total, with approximately 75 based from our Head office, service department and depots locally in Corpach.

What do you and your business like best about being in Kilmallie?

The people, the working environment, and the business opportunity in the area. We are now closer to three of our main customers where we aim to provide “Logistic solutions successful with partners”. We have built custom built premises including our Head Office, service workshops, welding/ fabrication and warehouses to suit our customer and business needs bringing our business closer not only to our key customers in the area but the core of our employees who live in the local area.

Across 1

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Cracker (7) Get on the horse (5) Bagel mix at end of house (5) Fruit sounded like it was meant to be of the imagination (7) Drink cooler (4,3) Viking from the north or south east (5) Get away. See cap mixing it up (6) Part of the branch or something used as a tether (6) For writing on (5) I find this is the best policy (7) Makes your eyes water, or cry? (4,3) Can come before the kebab(s) (5) Of the kidneys (5) Halves of quarters (7)

Down 18

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Thank you to Tony Whitelocke for another great crossword. And for a bonus point... have you noticed the recurring ‘theme’ in Tony’s crosswords, and can you guess the charming reason behind it?

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1 Scottish wind instrument (7) 2 Bares about this blade (5) 3 Little Miss Muffet sat here (6) 4 This girl is in the mega nebulus (5) 5 Dig up (7) 6 Part of the blue tit learning about the heading (5) 8 Kit out this mixed up pique (5) 13 A tin cap stirred up. He’s top man on the ship. (7) 15 You can be made up to these (5) 16 Beats (7) 17 Part of Chas telling a story is pure 6) 18 A saint (5) 19 Royal lager up (5) 21 This flyer is quick (5)

Answers to last issue’s puzzle: Across: 1 SCALPEL, 4 SIDES, 7 CREAM, 9 GAMBLER, 10 NOSEGAY, 11 ALLAN, 12 STRING, 14 BISHOP, 18 LISTS, 20 THISTLE, 22 COMPERE, 23 GREEN, 24 SODOM, 25 MUSTANG Down: 1 SECONDS, 2 AMENS, 3 LEGBYE, 4 SAMBA, 5 DELILAH, 6 SIREN, 8 MEGAN, 13 RESUMED, 15 ICING, 16 PFENNIG, 17 STREAM, 18 LOCHS, 19 STEAM, 21 THETA

did you take part in the Lochaber Living BID ballot?

from the Chair

focus on business

businesses -

over 40 contributors to this issue!

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a huge thank you to our sponsors

Issue No 44, December 2013 delivered free to every address in Kilmallie

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A huge thank you to the businesses below who have sponsored the newsletter this year. The cost of copying this newsletter has again been very generously donated by Lorna and Finlay Finlayson of Crannog Restaurant, Fort William. The paper for this issue has again been generously donated by BSW Timber, Kilmallie Our other newsletter costs have been met by donations from the other businesses below and from KCC’s limited funds.

runner-up community newspaper of the year 2012

BOYD BROTHERS (HAULAGE) LTD

CLYDEBoyd Fort William Ltd

would you like to become a sponsor too? We rely on the contributions from our business community for the cost of distributing this free newsletter to every address in our area. We welcome sponsorship from all businesses located in Kilmallie, or with principal key personnel resident in Kilmallie. If you would you like to see your name or logo in print supporting your community newsletter, please join with our current sponsors. All donations, big or small, are hugely appreciated. Please contact us at treasurer@kilmallie.org.uk for details.

nights will soon be drawing out!

KCC reports – p2 reasons to join KCC – p3 road safety – p4 road safety & happiness - p5 councillors’ corner - p6 community policing - p5 cherishing wild land- p7 christmas lights - p8 Banavie Primary – p9 Lochaber High Notes - p10 playgroup - p11 Coastguard – p12 ambulance station - p12 Canal News – p13 Community Centre - p14 Music for All – p14 Banavie Floral - p15 FOCAL - p15 no thank you big enough - p16 shinty club - p16 art lochaber - p16 Corpach Woods - p17 Green Fingers - p17 pulp mill gantry – p18 update from Africa - p19 Rugby Club - p20 wild about kilmallie – p21 canal steamers - p22 getting ready for winter – p23 more scouting memories - p24 remembering school days- p24 Muirshearlich & Glen Loy – p25 focus on folk - p26 focus on business– p27 puzzles - p27 sponsors - p28

thanks to Alex Gillespie for taking these pictures & staying up extra late so we could get them to press on time

a very merry kilmallie to you all

Kilmallie Christmas Lights Fund gave us a great start to the festive season story and more pictures on page 8

win a prize! in john’s xmas quiz for children age 5-11 see page 13


Kilmallie Community News December 2013