Sunday, July 23, 2006

Valuable painting taken from shop

A valuable painting has been stolen from an art shop in the Highlands, police have said.

The acrylic oil portrait of the head and shoulders of a woman was taken from Calm Arts in Ullapool.

The theft took place at the premises in West Argyll Street, which deals in portraits and frames, between Wednesday and Friday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northern Constabulary on 014637 15555 or Crimestoppers.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ullapool Hosts Rehearsals for Highland Quest Final

Rehearsals are under way in Ullapool for the final of Highland Quest, the competition to find a Scottish musical for the Year of Highland Culture, 2007.

"The Highland Quest was launched eighteen months ago and attracted over 140 entries from all over the world. We are now down to the final five. Over two nights in July the judges will choose the winner at a special showcase featuring highlights from the final five musicals."

Balloons - Writing team: Alison Prince, Jon Hollingworth, David Boni and Heather Gough

Set on Arran sometime in the future as global warming and rising tides threaten the island communities. Political machinations and PR spin have a dramatic effect on the crazy and creative solutions to save the islanders homes and livelihoods.

Marrying Meg -Writer: Mark Robertson

Brief outline of story: A musical comedy based on the faerie tales of the Borders. Set in the early 1600s amongst two warring families who are looked over by the faerie

Shenachie -Writing team: Sally Beamish and Donald Goodbrand Saunders

Brief outline of story: The Shenachie (storyteller) casts a spell on a serene Highland Glen that has lasted throughout history. In the clearances of 1900s and also the present, the story revolves around the inhabitants of the glen, with the Shenachie, always in background, but always present.

The Sundowe -Writing team: John Kielty, James Kielty and Gerry Kielty

Brief outline of story: Set in present day Edinburgh with the city in terror. People begin vanishing and vampires stalk the streets.

Whisky Kisses -Writing team: Euan Martin, Dave Smith and James Bryce

Brief outline of story: The competition between two whisky collectors as they battle to find out who will be awarded the prize - the single last bottle of very rare malt.

Watch the video on BBC News Using the following link

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Loch Roag Shellfish Health Warning

A health warning has been issued after an increase in toxins was discovered in Loch Roag on the isle of Lewis.

Environmental health officers urged people not to eat any mussels, scallops or cockles from the loch due to a "raised level of algal toxins".

A Comhairle nan Eilean Siar spokesman said: "It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from the loch until further notice."

The loch is one of the main shellfish areas on the island.

The council spokesman said: "We will continue to monitor the situation and would hope to give the all-clear in the next few days."

Rescuers attack 'irresponsible' climbers

from the scotsman
A PARTY of anglers and another of climbers faced criticism yesterday after triggering separate "needless" major emergencies.

The leader of one of Scotland's busiest mountain rescue teams said the operations, which involved more than 50 people, were caused by irresponsible actions. The companion of a missing climber failed to inform the emergency services that his friend had returned safe and well to their camp. The anglers were reported to have been drinking heavily.

Donald MacRae, the leader of the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team in Ross-shire, yesterday said that the two weekend searches had tied up valuable resources and could have potentially put lives at risk.

He claimed the call-outs would have left rescue teams severely stretched had they been needed for a genuine emergency in one of Scotland's most remote areas. Mr MacRae said the members of the Dundonnell rescue team had already been deployed to search for a 64-year-old climber, reported missing on Mam Sodhail in a remote area at the southern end of Glen Affric, when they were alerted about an angler who had gone missing at a loch near Ullapool.

Members of the RAF Kinloss and Torridon mountain rescue teams were called out to respond to the Ullapool emergency. A helicopter was also sent from RAF Lossiemouth.

Mr MacRae said: "The members of the Dundonnell team set off just before 5am on Sunday morning to search for the climber who had been reported missing in Glen Affric. It takes a while to get there and the team were still responding to the emergency when we received the alert about the missing angler and the rescue teams from Kinloss and Torridon had to be called out.

"The chap who was missing had turned back up at the campsite late on Saturday evening but the climbers failed to notify us until we found them. That caused the rescue to continue and endanger our lives as well as protract the rescue."

Mr MacRae said the missing angler had been traced by the Torridon and Kinloss rescue teams, less than a mile and half from where a party of fishermen had been camping.

He added: "There is a suggestion that the group had been drinking heavily and it is believed that may well have been a strong contributory factor in the angler going missing. My understanding is that quite a large of amount of alcohol had been consumed by the party of anglers and it was bit difficult to extract information from them. We had to deal with people who were clearly not coherent in their thinking process."

Mr MacRae branded the actions of the two groups "irresponsible". He added: "I don't mind people enjoying themselves, but they have to be responsible.

"Their actions resulted in more than 50 people being tasked to deal with these two rescues. And if there had been a genuine emergency, late on Sunday morning, it would have had to have been done by 50 tired guys. I would ask people who are out to enjoy themselves outdoors to act responsibly and remember they have to be well-equipped and be prepared for whatever venture they are involved in.

"There could have been a real emergency elsewhere in the hills and we could have been severely stretched. We also had search and rescue dogs and their handlers deployed to both incidents, drawing people in from as far away as Ballater.

"And these were two rescues which, with a bit of responsibility from each party, should never have happened."

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said: "We can confirm one man reported his walking companion missing during a walk on Mam Sodhail. When rescuers arrived both men were located in their tent some distance from where the man had been reported missing. It is understood both men refused to leave the hill."

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