Lined up with the minister, in August 1905, are the office bearers of the United Free Church in Fort William – many well remembered names among them.
Back Row (left to right): John Warren (Banker), John MacPhee (Piermaster), Thomas Spence (Chemist), Duncan MacKinnon (Draper), Alexander Mackay (Headmaster), John Watson (Town Chamberlain), Donald MacMillan (Choirmaster and Master Painter), Alex MacDiarmid, Archibald McNicol and John Sinclair (Ironmonger).
Seated (left to right): Donald Fraser (Master Slater), Daniel MacLeish, Rev John McIntosh, Alex MacDougall (Bookseller), and Donald Cameron.
And quite a lot of rain – the like of which we haven’t seen and heard for a long time.
STILL, the “Cauldron on the Mound” was well alight, the Paralympic Flame having been borne there safely from the top of Ben Nevis.
THE summit of the Ben was busier than usual at the weekend.
Friday afternoon saw “The Sermon on the Mount”, when Fr McAuley and Fr Connor concelebrated Mass, their congregation having kept religiously to the right path to get there.
Ex-Big Country’s Mike Peters was scheduled to stage a high level concert on Saturday, and members of the cast of Waterloo Road climbed Britain’s highest mountain that day, too, for charitable causes.
Gi’e us a break
I don’t know about your kitchen calendar but ours gave out the clear message for Monday of this week.
“Summer Bank Holiday in the UK (Except Scotland)”, it told us.
Our other calendars and diaries deemed it safer not to mention a Bank Holiday Monday at all!
How about yours?
Judging by the number of people rattling the various banks’ doors on Monday, quite a few folk didn’t know it was their long weekend.
Stick it up ’em
BBC Alba’s televising of the Fort William v Kilmallie match on Saturday afternoon (with an action replay on Sunday night) came in for much scrutiny – and some praise.
And a few interesting points arose, with a couple of nice on-field touches.
It was good to see the handshake between a Kilmallie sub and his opposite number, when the former took the field.
And it was also pleasing to note the willing on-field loan of a Fort stick to hammer a loose dowel back into the laminated club head of – a Kilmallie caman.
Meanwhile, the televised team sheet continued to Gaelicise Kilmallie’s Carmichael!
HAVING mentioned the Two Spokes – not a lot changes.
Exactly 13 years ago, Highland Council’s then Lochaber area education chairman, Michael Foxley, professed his anger at the shortage of teachers of Gaelic despite him having highlighted the problem some 15 years before!
“Plus ca change?” – or whatever the Gaelic equivalent might be.
Meanwhile, it’s the uncertainty over the site of the proposed stand-alone Gaelic Medium Primary which is exercising everyone.
And I do hope that, well before the “Sixty Years School” is built, and opened, Highland Council will have advertised to ensure there are sufficient Gaelic teachers to take up the posts there.
THE “Sixty Years”, to which I’ve referred, is the projected lifespan of the Gaelic Medium Primary – on the Blar or adjacent to Ardgour Road.
For my part, it’s 60 years since I approached Charles G Mitchell, headmaster of Fort William Senior Secondary School, with the request: “Sir, can I take Gaelic in the first year?”
Came the unequivocal shouted reply: “Gaelic, Abernethy? It’s a dead language!. Take Latin!”.
At 12 years of age I couldn’t very well suggest to Charlie Mitchell that Latin was “deader” than Gaelic.
DESPITE the opposing views, some humorous flashes apparently punctuated the clashes during last week’s lively debate – in Inverness, of course – regarding the location of the aforementioned Fort William Gaelic Medium School.
Provost Allan Henderson commandeered the large display screen normally utilised by officials, and showed pictures of the Blar Mor site to the council’s adult and children’s services committee.
One of the images depicted the unmistakeable, if greying locks of his colleague, Cllr Eddie Hunter, who was looking out onto the Blar.
Or, as the civic head – a bit salt and peppery in the tonsorial department himself – put it, to a high degree of hilarity in the Glenurquhart Road Chamber: “There’s the greater spotted Eddie Hunter!”
The subject of the picture, entering into the spirit of things, observed: “Yes, that’s me, not David Bellamy, emerging from the dark peat bog and green bushes!”
Meanwhile, the Argyll-based weekly was giving a front page description of another local member, as “Cllr Brain Murphy”.
LATER in the day, Cllr Andrew Baxter, having spoken in favour of the Ardgour Road location for the school, observed that it is rare for all seven of Lochaber’s elected members to “agree on anything”.
“So much so”, he went on, “that if we all got into a minibus, and headed for Inverness, we would fall out as to the best route to take!”
Cllr Hunter later told Cllr Baxter that he would drive the minibus to Invergarry, to give the others time to argue amongst themselves, and then take a vote as to who would take it on from there.
MANY moons ago I suggested, as a money saver for the local taxpayers, that not one, but two minibuses, should convey our elected represeatives to the Inverness nerve centre – and back.
One for the town and South Lochaber-based members, with a pick-up point at Macrae and Dick’s, and one for their Achaphubuil, Caol, Corpach and counterparts, boarding at the Road to the Isles filling station, picking up the Brae Lochaber representative en route.
The idea was punctured without trace.
And the mileage claims for the councillors’ individual motors have continued apace ever since.
AND some Lochaber News extracts for end August/early September, 1982.
* Time has run out on an ambitious project to reopen the Corpach Pulp Mill, closed two years ago with the loss of more than 400 jobs.
* Plans for an ambitious “Tourist Village” at Ballachulish have had to be shelved for the foreseeable future, the Black Isle Property Company, of Inverness, announced.
* If any Glasgow dog owners are looking for ther alsatian, it could be in Fort William Police Station! An English tourist, driving up the A82 (along the Boulevard) saw the dog “wandering about”, and picked it up, intending to drop it at the first police station she saw. But that wasn’t till she reached Fort William!
* JU MacInnes, co-presenter of Radio Belford with Alasdair Fraser, signed off with the last of his weekly music programmes for the patients.
* John Cameron, Dalaraban, Upper Achintore, took the overall championship at the 1982 Lochaber Agricultural Show at Happy Valley with an 11 months old cross Charolais bullock calf.
May we through your columnn say a huge thank you to all who helped and contributed in any way to our flag week earlier this month.
We managed to raise £634.50 – which is tremendous given the current financial climate.
So special mention for Adam, Alistair, Janet, Becca, Brian, Christine, Jan, John, Keith, Noreen, Ronnie, Tommy and Tracy.
We must also thank the public in the Fort William area who gave so generously to help make this total.
All the money raised will be used for our service here in Fort William, to maintain and improve our equipment, and our support for those clients who find our service so invaluable.
We had to postpone our scooter run/wheelchair push, but hope to hold this event some time in September. More info on this later.