25 YEARS AGO
(May 22nd, 1987)
A Scourie man is to be the Highland Green Party’s first prospective parliamentary candidate, standing for Caithness and Sutherland. He is Bernard Planterose, a nature reserve warden, who is fighting on the anti-Dounreay ticket.
Thanks to the vigilance of police sergeant William Bruce of Bonar Bridge, a group of Easter Ross youths who raided Rogart sub-post office in the early hours of December morning were traced within 24 hours. In the course of the inquiry, detectives then uncovered a series of unsolved housebreakings carried out by the group.
With more and more interest in the welfare of fishermen in North West Sutherland, a meeting has been called to form a Kinlochbervie branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Mr Alistair Morrison of Achlyness, who undertook a sponsored walk from Durness last year to help raise lifeboat funds, is among the sponsors of the idea.
Fountain Forestry have declined to contribute to the cost of a new public footbridge at Melvich and express fears that it may lead to increased poaching of salmon.
Fond memories were rekindled in many members of the congregation of Creich Church on Sunday when the Rev E Lacey dedicated a window to the memory of Mrs Isobel Neill Martin, wife of the Rev John Martin, parish minister of Creich from 1934 to 1958.
The window portrays a woman surrounded by her pets and other features of nature which she loved. The background shows the twin tops of Carn Bhren, as viewed from Creich Manse, and the familiar outline of Arthur’s Seat, representing the city of her birth and early life.
Detective Sergeant Brian Mackay from Melness recently received his Metropolitan Police long-service medal from Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman at a ceremony in London. Brian (42) is the son of the late Arthur Mackay, who was headmaster at Melness Junior Secondary School for more than 30 years, and Mrs Annie Mackay, formerly of Sgeirnor, Talmine.
A new 50ft TV mast has been erected on Sangomore Hill by BBC engineers in conjunction with ITV. Although not officially switched on, with some minor adjustments yet to be made, it is already improving reception from Durine to Lerin with much less aerial equipment than before.
50 YEARS AGO
(May 25th, 1962)
Next Friday the village of Brora will be “invaded”. But local folks need not be alarmed for the invasion will be a friendly one by Gaels from all over the county, who will be attending the annual mod being held for the first time in Brora’s new High School. Nearly 200 competitors, juniors and seniors, will be vying with each other for the many trophies and money prizes.
If Mr William Mackay of Rossal, Rogart, cares to spend £375, British Railways will install a telephone at the level crossing near his holding so that he can contact Rogart signal box to find out when trains are approaching.
Mr Mackay has been worried since the introduction of diesel trains because they run more quietly than steam locomotives and he is afraid of the danger, especially from north-bound trains because there is a blind corner for about half-a-mile.
The trouble is that his house is on one side of the line and his livestock on the other. He has to drive his cattle over the line every day and also his tractor when he is ploughing or transporting such as fertilisers.
A Strathnaver museum is to be established in the former Farr parish church at Bettyhill. In it will be commemorated the past way of life of all who lived in the region formerly known as Strathnaver and embracing the parishes of Tongue and Farr.
That was stated by the seven trustees who have accepted the building which has been handed over to them by the Church of Scotland for this purpose.
Sutherland Education Committee agreed at Lairg on Wednesday, despite the small junior secondary roll, to allow Lochinver School to retain its present status. That means that the practical course pupils will continue to be educated at home instead of going, as was suggested, to schools at Golspie or Dornoch. Parents had protested the move.
Sutherland Planning Committee were told at Lairg last Monday that Mrs Charles Janson of Uppat, would be very willing to negotiate with the County Council if they wanted to purchase 11 acres of her land at Brora as a possible industrial site. The ground would be available for that purpose. The planning committee at its last meeting, recommended that the council should try to earmark this site in the event of an industrialist wanting to start a factory in Brora.
75 YEARS AGO
(May 27th, 1937)
Major Hilleary, chairman of the Scottish Development Council on the Highlands and Islands, met district councillors of Kildonan, Loth and Clyne, and others at Helmsdale on Tuesday, to discuss improvements and other schemes for the betterment of local industries.
Kildonan goldfields, it was suggested, should be opened up. Another scheme was to utilise the abundant water power to produce electricity while Portgower clay deposits were recommended for the making of bricks. A plea that each crofter should possess 30 acres of land and 50 ewes was also put forward.
The Coronation of Their Majesties was celebrated in Kinlochbervie with a goodwill throughout the whole of May 12th. In the forenoon the pupils of Badcall-Inchard School and side schools were assembled at the Inshegra Park where the children enjoyed sports and a picnic.
Mugs given by the Education Committee were given to each child. An interesting feature was a football match between the school and a combined side-schools’ team, resulting in a draw of two goals each.
Later a programme of sports for adults was gone through when competition was very keen, there being as many as 20 competitors in some of the events.
At 10.30pm a bonfire was lit on “Creag and Lochan Duibh”. It was lit by the oldest man present, Mr Alexander Macrae, who climbed the same hill to light the Jubilee bonfire. The celebrations were carried into the 13th in a dance held in aid of the Ambulance Association.
Mr James Macleod, Old Bank House, Helmsdale, was on Thursday, 20th May, met by a large party of railway employees at the Belgrave Arms Hotel, on his retiral through ill-health, after 46 years loyal service with the old Highland Railway and L.M.S. Companies.
As an engine driver, Mr Macleod is well known on the Perth to Wick route. His friends, while expressing regret at the circumstances of his retiral, presented him with a token of their esteem in the form of a handsome easy chair and a valuable case of cutlery. A merry evening was spent in song and speech and after supper the company broke up with the singing of the National Anthem.
100 YEARS AGO
(May 30th, 1912)
Donald Bain, a manservant with Mr Hugh A. Hunter, Brora, was charged before Hon. Sheriff-Substitute Kennedy in Dornoch Sheriff Court on Monday with assaulting Mr Hugh A. Hunter to the effusion of blood. The accused pleaded guilty and was fined £1 1s or 14 days imprisonment. He went to prison.
Robert Mackay and Mary Mackay (husband and wife) were charged before Sheriff Mackenzie in the Dornoch Sheriff Court on Tuesday with ill treating and neglecting a child in their custody, the daughter of Jane Mackay, a sister of the female accused.
The evidence given by John Mackay, Inspector of Cruelty to Children, Constable Kenneth Mackay, Helmsdale and Dr Galbraith, Dingwall, was to the effect that the child was kept in a deplorable condition.
The little one had received insufficient nourishment, she was in a dirty condition and altogether grossly neglected.
No good purpose would be served by repeating the gruesome details that had to be told in court. One gratifying feature of the case was that when the attention of the mother of the child was called to the state of matters which existed, she removed the child to other quarters where she is making progress.
The male accused said he took the mother and child into his house and when the mother left more than a year ago, it was against his wishes that the child was kept.
Mrs Mackay on her own behalf, stated that the child was delicate from the date of her birth, and she received the same attention from her that her own children had got. The money received from her sister was not sufficient to keep the child.
Mr Peters, procurator-fiscal, said the case was one of the most disgraceful of its kind that had ever occurred in the county of Sutherland.
Sheriff Mackenzie remarked that the case was a perplexing one. Some allowance would have to be made for the special circumstances referred to in the evidence. The child was left in the home of the accused persons against their will. She was a delicate child and required special care, but now that she was removed elsewhere she might not suffer permanent injury through the neglect of her former guardians.
The accused persons had neglected the child and must be punished for their cruelty. He took a lenient view of the case when he allowed them off with a fine of £1 1s each, or 10 days’ imprisonment each. The fines were paid.