Community paper for Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Glenuig, Arisaig, Morar,
Mallaig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
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A REVIEW OF WEST WORD'S YEAR 2000
Some of the events are mentioned in the month in which they happened,
some in the month they appeared in the paper.
A REVIEW OF WEST WORD'S YEAR 2000
The big story, of course, was how each community had seen in the New Millennium. Mallaig had the front page story with their 48 hour celebration - fireworks, food and fun. The Millennium Bug didn't strike, but the 'flu bug did - and lightning, for the second year running, putting out of action West Word's e-mail and Ian Watts' Weather Station among other casualties. From Gordon MacLennan we had the first in an occasional series of 'Backward Glances', an article which sparked immense interest. On Muck they started to train Eilidh the Pony for her role in 'Castaway' on Taransay. Canna's nativity play featured in the national press - it had a cast of three shepherds and a doll called Rosie - work started on the island's St. Edward's Chapel and the primary school again won a £5000 prize (2nd. this time) in the Daily Record Token Competition. Eigg and Muck schools both won £1000. Mallaig had a new Community Council after a mammoth counting session. The Fraternal Talks started and were a huge success. Work started on the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre and Robert MacMillan started collecting for his Millennium Scrapbook project.
The proposed Traffic Management Scheme for Mallaig was front page, together with the opening of the new Mallaig Library. Arisaig folk were concerned they would lose a resident police presence with the proposed demolition of the police house. Fireman Sam started his monthly Log report. Burns Night featured in pages from Mallaig and Inverie Primary Schools. Kirsty Wark was on Muck to report on their windpower project for her TV programme and Eilidh the pony went to Taransay, in very rough weather. Morar Primary put up nestboxes as part of their playground project and Glenuig had an open meeting about their proposed community shop. The feature article looked back at John Murray's 30 years as Harbour Master. The Pool held a sponsored 'Millennium Swim' and gales affected the whole area.
Moby MacLean was in port with his whale boat prior to a fund raising leg of his Round Britain Tour. Tasha and Brigg started the only rocking horse workshop in Scotland, on the Isle of Eigg. Lady Lovat School beat Gaelic competition from 14 other schools to win a medal from the Scottish Knights Templar Society. Felicity Blackburn retired from Arisaig Primary after more than 30 years teaching. Rum held an Open Day and Eigg their Feis. We carried results of the Agricultural Show and the Fire Service held a Gala Day. Eigg had a double wedding. We had the first instalment of Rev. George Baird's memories of boyhood in Mallaig.
Our front page story was the official Opening of the Muck Windpower Scheme - the only paper to do so. There was a drought on, affecting the islands so badly that Muck had no water to offer their guests tea or coffee, but as the ceremony started the heavens opened and drowned the guests at the critical moment. Eilidh the 'castaway' was evicted from Taransay for having a foal and returned to Muck - in bad weather. But Muck's lonely corncrake had had his advert answered... Knoydart saw the Millennium's Great Cattle Drive when twelve beasts were brought in by boat and old drove roads, ten years after the last cattle had been taken out. There were the results of the Arisaig Games, held last month and photos of Arisaig's Millennium Street Party. Rum hosted the Small Isles Inter-island Games. We featured articles and photos of pH2000, the pan-Highland Millennium extravaganza in Inverness - again, the only newspaper to do so, as far as we know. Participants were from Mallaig High School Eigg and Knoydart. Mallaig Pool held a Gala Day, Arisaig its first Regatta and Mallaig & Morar their annual Games. Trials of the new Mallaig Lifeboat were carried out. Local band Dàimh launched their first CD with a concert in Glenuig.
The miniature Mallaig Harbour, down at HR Wallingford, was pictured on the front page after Harbour personnel travelled down to see wave study tests being carried out. A magnificent Dolls House was donated to the RNLI by HM Shotts Prison. The BBC filmed 'De a Nis?' at Morar Primary. A message in a bottle, found at Glasnacardoch beach and answered in December 1999, resulted in a letter and photos from Capt. Penney in Newfoundland. Mallaig Pool held their Relay Marathon and 'A Walk on the Wild Side'.
Ross MacEachen hit the headlines when he was named Top Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his Cyclops Creel invention. Mallaig Health Centre was finished and had its Opening. Mallaig Harbour Authority considered introducing Electrical Motor Cycles, called Lola Firpo, to enable workers to get round the pier quickly - or did they? Plans for Muck's new pier were much changed owing to lack of money. Eigg completed a major Clean Up on the island as part of their Waste Management Project. The High School's Youth Forum was campaigning for improvement to the 'all weather' pitch while discussions began re the re-siting of Arisaig's kick about field and play park. The old Ice Factory was demolished - on Jackie MacKellaig's birthday. Tuna was landed for the first time ever in Mallaig and West Word's story not only made the national press but it resulted in West Word featuring on a lunchtime TV programme! Knoydart lost contact with the outside world when phone connections went down long term. John Henderson retired after 40 years in the RNLI, and Archie Lawrie after 30 years in the Coastguard. The RNLI honoured Charlie MacGillivray and the Coastguard Packy MacKinnon (Canna), Bertie McMinn and Ann Currie with medals. Bollards and signs started to sprout everywhere!
The front page carried photos of the Gala Day's Raft Race, and Lola, winner of the Arisaig Regatta Yacht Race. We had photos of the retirement 'do' in August of District Nurse Kath Cameron retired after more than 33 years service and Dr. Shina Young went on a sponsored walk. Dr. Raff joined the area's practice. We read about Morar Primary School's Gaelic Mass being televised . We celebrated the memory of Farquhar MacRae, who died last month. We had more coverage of the Regatta and of the Flower Festival which was held at the same time, as well as all the results of the Mallaig & Morar Games. The Duke of Edinburgh Award was going well, with report of a successful summer practice expedition in July. The High School held their Gala Day. The month had some magnificent rainbows.
The Communications Network was officially launched and was the front page story. We had photos and results of MHS's Gala Day and the School's Challenge Day at Outward Bound. Mallaig & Morar Community Centre Association began a project to make a mosaic for the floor of the new Community Centre. The Lochnevis was keeping everyone guessing and waiting. Andrew Fairburn held a successful exhibition of his paintings. And we had some splendid photos of the Madame Prawn entrants in September's Parade. 'A Backward Glance' continued with a reprint of a 1965 article by Arisaig's Pat (the Post) McCarthy. Mallaig got its Credit Union open after a long slog by volunteers to get it going. Lochaber Gun Club held their first successful clay pigeon shoot. It rained every day of the month.
The opening of the Health Centre shared the front page with the Donna Marie, first fishing vessel in the country to gain an Investors in People Award. The photo of the Health Centre was one of the first to be taken by West Word's new digital camera, made possible by donations from the 3 CCs, Mallaig Harbour Authority, M&NWFA and Spar. The Drove Walk took place, from Loch Nevis to Inverness, in aid of the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre. Lochaber Communications Network came to the area with a community computer in the Campus office. Cal Mac's Superferry Lochnevis was launched in Troon while pier building on Muck and Rum proceeded slowly. The Balmoral visited Canna and work started on the island's St. Columba's Chapel. The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme started in Mallaig High School. 'A Backward Glance' continued with Marie MacPherson's reminiscences about Arisaig. Viv and Jill's song was performed during the Highland Festival and Denis Rixson's book on Knoydart was reviewed.
A 'mixed bag' on the front page! Integrated travel throughout the Highlands, archaeologists keeping an eye on the new A830 route, and moorhens delaying the removal of the Fort William turntable in London. A public meeting about the road was well attended in Arisaig. We had a report and photos of the Lochnevis launch, a ceremony attended by many local worthies. Pimmy MacLean was appointed Harbour Master. Police in the area were going to be issued 'stab proof' vests and CS sprays. We carried the obituary of Angus MacKinnon of Eigg whilst saddened islanders prepared to hold the 3rd. Anniversary of the buyout. A corncrake on Muck advertised for a female companion. The Astley Hall had a Midsummer Night bonfire party and to place a time capsule in the half finished hall. Rum carried a report on their building in May of a memorial cairn to Richard MacIver. Mallaig Police began an initiative which would result in every primary pupil being given a cycle safety helmet and courtesy of West Word's new camera we were able to print photos of the presentations an hour after they had taken place. Muck held its annual Open Day and Arisaig its Agricultural show. Fr MacKinnon became a Monsignor.
West Word celebrated its sixth birthday and the new Mackintosh Centre featured on the front page and inside, with an invitation to everyone to the opening later in the month. The official opening was carried out by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who had been devastated by the loss of his house by fire on the 4th. Flora Lawrie retired after 30+ years of teaching. The Lochaber News carried a big photo and story of West Word and the Jacobite steam train. Canna had its first wedding on the island for years. Mallaig Hall's Mosaic Project was proceeding and Arisaig Hall were collecting signatures on tiles as a Millennium statement of who was in the village. More reminiscence from Rev. Baird, and we carried results of the Hallowe'en Disco. The Post Office staff had new uniforms! And new fuel tanks were erected on Mallaig Pier to make refuelling for boats easier. We read how Chernobyl children had had a happy and healing holiday in Lochaber and the Canoe Club recounted encounters with whales.
At last! The Lochnevis arrived in Mallaig and began her daily runs - though all was not satisfactory as the Small Isles found freight was harder to unload onto the Eigg flit boat. The Astley Hall was also front page, to mark its unofficial opening after a year's renovation. Sprat fishing was going well and we caught on camera the demolition of the old Mallaig oil storage tanks at Mallaig Station. Inverie Primary School had been recycling beachcombings into artwork! Knoydart appointed a new Development Worker and Arisaig Primary got a new Head Teacher, Chai Jones. Morar's Maggie MacKay was pictured with the big cheque she raised for the Highland Hospice. We had photos of the winners of Mallaig Library's Hallowe'en Competition. The Arisaig & South Morar War Records were opened after 80 years to reveal a magnificent 'time capsule' scrapbook. The end of the month saw the unofficial opening of the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre. And at Christmas it snowed...
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