Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 566

Issue # 566                                               Week ending Saturday 22nd  August  2020

Some People Missed the Mist Last Week and Others Are Really Happy That it Was Haar
by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

Gaelic, we are told, is dying off in many communities but it still manages to pop up in the unlikeliest places. For instance, did you know that in the 1970s it was all set to be used as a nonsensical promotional tool for a chart-topping tartan-clad band keen to show off their Scottish credentials?

Les McKeown, the then lead singer of the Bay City Rollers, admits they concocted a story Shang-a-Land was a Gaelic battle cry favoured by Robert the Bruce. In a recent interview, he said: “The rest of the song was about the hero’s battles and his eventual triumph at Bannockburn in 1314, where Bruce ‘ran with the gang’ (his army), who would ‘rip up’ and ‘lay down’ their foes.” No way.

It was the band’s fifth single and was being released on April Fools’ Day. It was a wind-up. It was never going to convince anyone. For a start, Shang-a-Lang is a happy song. There is no way a Gaelic speaker would be rockin' to the shang-a-lang sound of the music. Hey, hey, rockin' to the music. Hey, hey, rocking to the music. Rocking every night and day, hey hey. Gaelic speakers just don’t do that. I know, because I used to be one.

Before lockdown, I used to meet people who often passed the time of day with a cheery “Seadh, a chlown. Ciamar a tha thu?” which was “Hi, you clown. How are you?”. “De mun a tha a chaileach. That was an innocent inquiry about how my old lady was. Of course, I never told Mrs X they referred to her as an old biddy. Now that we venture out, the older Gaelic speakers are still incarcerated and forced to listen to yet more radio reports of how Gaelic is dying. Gloominess all round. Just how we like it, apparently.

During lockdown, there was no one to practice my Gaelic with. It is slipping away. I am just like an SNP MEP. They campaigned to have Gaelic in the European Parliament then when they won that, they realised none of them could speak it.

Gaels don’t laugh - particularly at ourselves. We are glum and dour and we sing longingly about places where we grew up, shores where our loves wait tearfully while we are sailing the high seas and of our mothers and ... er, that’s it. Maybe if we sang shang-a-lang as we ran with the gang, doin' doo-wop be-dooby doo-ay we would be perceived differently but that’s not us.

It’s all gloom. Like when the mist came in off the Minch on Saturday. Coming back from Harris, suddenly parts of North Lochs disappeared from view. Not a bad thing, I hear you say, but there was Loch Erisort and then it wasn’t. Mrs X lectured me for calling it mist. She insisted sea mist is haar. Listen madam, if Paul McCartney had sung about Mull of Kintyre and haar rolling in from the sea, you would have a point. Younger readers are now scratching their heads.

Talking of brats, the Daughter drove to Plasterfield-on-the-Hill from Gloucestershire the other day in her wee van which has a lot of hi-tech bleeping electronic stuff in it. You know - equipment like satnav, dashcam, a reversing camera, a cup-holder for make-up.

Seriously, she copes very well with long-distance driving, because she prepares really well. She did, however, have one alarming incident. As part of her preparations, she got ample snacks for a 600-mile road trip and plonked them on the seat beside her within easy reach.

She was stooring up the M5 motorway for about 15 minutes when an alarm went sounded. It was persistent and lights began to flash on the dashboard. Oops, serious stuff. She pulled into a service area to figure it out. Nothing seemed amiss. Tyres were fine, oil was fine, water was fine. Her make-up was perfect. Obviously.

Time to admit defeat and call Dad, maybe? Well, she does accuse me of helicopter parenting - you know, hovering and not letting her do her own thing. She probably did think of calling but she wouldn’t have wanted to. So she sat back, scratched her head and reached for a snack as she began to ponder her situation. Suddenly the annoying beeping died and the warning lights went off.

How? Her large bag of Peppa Pig goodies was so heavy the seat sensor thought a person was on it. The beeping and lights was a warning for the passenger to put on a seatbelt - probably the first time a litter of pink pigs was told to put on a seatbelt.

I struggle with seatbelts myself. The doctor says it’s because I should be exercising more regularly. I have an idea. The Americans have a name for the toilet. They call it the John. I will call our toilet the Jim. It will sound so much better when I tell the doctor that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

Man’s Body Recovered During Search for Swimmer in Western Isles

Emergency services were called to Loch Caitiosbhal near Marvig on Lewis following reports of a swimmer in difficulty. A concerned member of the public raised the alarm to HM Coastguard around 10.40am with numerous units dispatched to the scene.  Despite their best efforts, a man’s body was recovered a short time later.  In a statement, police confirmed his next of kin has been informed. Inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the death, which is not being treated as suspicious, are ongoing. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

New Face Hopes to Help Take Gin to the Market

Isle of Cumbrae Distillers has a fresh face on board thanks to crowdfunding donation from those eager for Millport’s very own gin.  More than £20,000 was raised in just over a month to help purchase the company’s still, however some of this funding has also been used to acquire a marketing intern.  Strathclyde University marketing graduate Eilidh Reid, who hails from Largs, has joined the distillers to explore the potential for cruise ship customers to visit the island.  Distiller Philippa Dalton said: “Eilidh is great and has a lot of age and experience, she came up with some good ideas and is from Largs so knows the island well. Eilidh is very excited about everything we’re doing and we are really glad to have such a motivated person on our team.”  The Distillers want to bring more tourists to the island to visit their premises and take part in gin making classes, which in turn will benefit other island businesses as well. Philippa said: “Eilidh is going to be connecting with potential customers for us, particularly focussing on social media and connecting with The Coig and the journey up the coast. She’s going to see if she can connect with any tour companies and see if they would be interested in adding to their itinerary or coming on to the island.  We’ve got some small-scale cruise ships coming into Millport, but we also want to connect with the ones that come into Greenock’s new ocean terminal from 2021 onwards.”  With lockdown relaxing across the country, the distillers are hoping to unveil their signature ‘Nostalgin’ in person for the first time in the next few months. Philippa said: “We’re hoping to have some form of opening in September, just to have the shop open for people to view.  If we can get everything moving in the next few weeks then we could have something to sell from the shop.  People have still been coming up and asking us about our progress, which is almost a year since we started. Bearing in mind everything that has happened, our progress has not been bad considering we might be producing our gin before Christmas.”

Taste of the Past Ready to Be Served At Historic Inverness Venue

Customers have praised a new city bar and restaurant which has reopened after launching less than a week before lockdown.  Rose Street Foundry opened in a renovated iron foundry after a multimillion-pound investment to refurbish the historic site on Inverness’s Academy Street.  The Category B listed building, built between 1893 and 1895, was left unoccupied until being acquired by Cairngorm Taverns.  With assistance from Inverness Townscape Heritage Project, the foundry was finally ready to open in March after being sympathetically restored, with décor paying tribute to its industrial past.  Cairngorm Brewery was behind the venture and managing director Ms Sam Faircliff said having to close so soon had been disappointing, but they were glad to be able to get back to business.  Rose Street Foundry started to offer a takeaway service from May and, after initially opening as a pop-up shop last month and then for drinks from last Wednesday, August 5, Ms Faircliff hopes the restaurant will start serving food again from today.  She said the menu was still being finalised as recently as Monday, with the restaurant set to operate at a reduced capacity due to social distancing guidelines.  Ms Faircliff added: “We were open for six-and-a-half days before lockdown. This was devastating as we were unable to furlough staff as the majority of them started after March 2. I think we all have to be cautious and ensure that we are following strict cleaning regimes to ensure our customers and staff feel safe. We have a booking system in place which includes a track and trace facility.  Hopefully if folk follow the Scottish Government guidelines and cases of Covid-19 don’t increase, then we should do as well as we can with the much reduced capacity.”

Prince Charles Ordered Tailors to Stop Making Jacket After Finding Out Where Buttons Were From

Prince Charles ordered tailors to halt making a tweed kilt jacket when he discovered its buttons were from Austria.  The heir insisted that every inch of material used on his new outfit was sourced in Scotland.  His demand included the tiniest detail on the striking attire – down to the stag horn buttons on the jacket and matching waistcoat.  Craftsman John Sugden, who made the clothes, said it showed the Royal’s commitment to the industry north of the Border.  He added: “The prince had chosen the tweed himself. It just happened by chance to be the cloth on my father’s old briefcase. The majority of stag horn buttons come from Austria. The prince is very open and fastidious and passionate about craft.  So he was particular that the buttons had to be Scottish stag horn. He does care about the detail. It really matters to him that he promotes British crafts – even with the smallest of things.  We were actually both a little concerned that it would be the Austrian buttons that went on the jacket because we couldn’t find an alternative at the time.  But the prince’s fastidious nature drove us to look into sourcing Highland stag and we went to great lengths to do so.  Now we have a gamekeeper who makes them for us. Why do we have to ship stag horn buttons from Austria at all that extra cost? It does not make sense.  It also fits in with the prince’s philosophy about carbon footprint with the distance goods -unnecessarily travel to market.” John, owner of Campbell’s of Beauly, stitched the buttons on to the stunning khaki green, faint houndstooth pattern tweed, which has an orange window pane check.  The 40-year-old has just been announced as a textiles programme ambassador for The Prince’s Foundation.  He is also co-chair with Patrick Grant – of the Dumfries House Textiles School in Ayrshire.  The Prince’s Foundation Future Textiles programme aims to address a skills gap within the UK textiles industry by offering practical workshops and advanced training courses to school pupils, teachers and those looking to gain employment in the industry.  Many of these courses are delivered in the estate’s Textile Training Centre, located in the old sawmill at Dumfries House, where the foundation is based.  Programmes range from one-day workshops for school pupils to in-depth training programmes producing garments for the luxury fashion market.

Musicians Hire Fishing Boat to Beat France Quarantine

A group of musicians beat the France quarantine rules with just 10 minutes to spare - after chartering a fishing boat to get them back to the UK.  After a five hour Channel crossing, eight members of the Scotland-based Dunedin Consort arrived at Hayling Island in Hampshire at 03:50.  They made the last-minute dash after a performance in Lessay Abbey, Normandy, on Friday night.  It was the first concert by the baroque ensemble since lockdown began in March.  They were among thousands of British people who were trying to get home before the 14-day quarantine requirement came into force at 04:00.  Jo Buckley, the Dunedin Consort's chief executive, told BBC Scotland they knew quarantine was a risk as they travelled to France on Wednesday.  But after four months in lockdown, the musicians were desperate to play together again.  And if they had withdrawn from the concert on the basis of speculation about new restrictions, the organisation would have lost "many thousands of pounds", she added.  "This is the impossibility of planning concerts amidst all the changing rules and regulations," Ms Buckley said.  When the quarantine rules were announced late on Thursday night, the group spent hours online trying to find ways to get home before the deadline.  As self-employed musicians who have been hit hard economically during lockdown, they needed to return home to work.  Amongst other things, they are lined up to work with the online Edinburgh Festival next week. "We looked into ferries, the Eurotunnel, flights, even chartering a private jet — you name it, we tried it, but we couldn't find any way of doing the concert and getting home before the quarantine curfew," she said. Eventually - on Friday morning - they tracked down a firm which hired out a boat for fishing trips from Hayling Island. Once they finished the concert at 22:30 local time (21:30 BST), eight of the 13-strong group boarded a coach to Cherbourg where they met the Valkyrie boat. They left the French port shortly before midnight and arrived in the UK about five hours later. "It was lovely," Ms Buckley said. "The boat was very comfortable. We were all able to have a little sleep inside even though we were all quite excited when we got on board. It was a calm night so it was a very easy crossing." With just minutes to spare until the new restrictions came into force, they arrived in Hampshire.  They were taken to London Euston by minibus and from there the musicians were able to make the final leg of the marathon journey home.

Aviemore's 'Ant Boy' Acknowledged by Young Scot Awards As 'Inspiration to Others'
Xander Johnston, of Aviemore, has congratulated the ultimate winners of this year's Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards and wished them well as they go about their vital work on behalf of the environment.  He was nominated for this week's title for his brilliant work but was delighted to see that in the end it was Scottish Youth Climate Strike which took the accolade. "They do a great job," he told the Strathy  and I actually work with one of the team, Holly Gillibrand, in another of our projects, Scotland the Big Picture, so I'm really pleased for her. But the 13-year-old entomologist was given full credit by the event for his celebrated contributions to the cause.  Because of the coronavirus regulations the event - 14th of its kind - was staged 'virtually' and introduced by BBC presenter and DJ Gemma Cairney, with Xander receiving this tribute: "Xander, aka Ant Boy, is a young nature entomologist and he is regarded as the country's youngest expert in a number of different insect species and has first-hand experience in identifying and protecting them. The teenager creates videos for his You Tube channel in a bid to educate and inspire others to make a difference to the environment." The Strathy spoke to him today He said: "There's lots going on. Not being at school during the Covid lockdown left me with time to get on with other things and there was always something to do. I have been enjoying my involvement with the Lynbreck Croft team's online conversations and recently I was asked by BBC Countryfile if I would be a judge for their 2021 calendar competition, among other things!"  The Strathy is putting together a piece on a very positive note which has been struck with a local developer, environmentalists and the planning authority on protecting one particularly endangered species in the strath.  Xander and his environmentalist father, Ross, have been delighted with the response from the builder to a request to avoid removing a series of vital nests in Aviemore. Mr Johnston said: "It's a very positive news story and hopefully will inspire others."  For the record, this week's Young Scot Awards had two Highland winners: Sporting Award: Hope Gordon (24) from Sutherland, who crowdfunded £10,000 to have her leg amputated, has become a top para-canoeist. Overall Young Scot Award 2020 and Environment Award, sponsored by Standard Life Aberdeen: Holly Gillibrand (15) from Fort William, is part of the group of young people who established the Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS).  Holly Gillibrand, SYCS, said: "Winning two awards alongside activists who I've been working with for over a year and a half is incredibly exciting, especially since everything we do is not to get recognition but to fight for our planet and our futures."

Alpha Solway PPE Contract Award Promises 200 New Jobs

A south of Scotland firm has secured a £53m personal protective equipment (PPE) contract which promises to create 200 new jobs. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the deal would see Dumfriesshire-based Alpha Solway supply NHS Scotland.  It will provide 232 million surgical masks, six million respirator masks and two million visors.  Ms Sturgeon said it was an important step in ensuring secure supplies of PPE for the "foreseeable future". She said the order was expected to meet the needs of the health and social care sector in relation to surgical masks and visors between now and next summer.  Alpha Solway director Steven Binnie said the Annan-based company - part of the Globus Group - was "proud" to be awarded the order at an "incredibly challenging" time. We are also delighted to announce that it allows us to create 200 new jobs," he said.

Highland Polar Bear Hamish to Leave Scotland
The first polar bear cub to be born in the UK in 25 years is to be moved from his home in Scotland to a park in England.  Hamish, who is now two-and-a-half years old, shares an enclosure with his mother Victoria at the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore.  The park's owner, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said he will be moved in late October. Hamish's new home will be the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.  It was always RZSS' plan to move the bear to another zoo. As well as Hamish and Victoria it has two adult male polar bears. The park already has polar bears and is part of a European breeding programme.  Hamish was born in December 2017. His name was chosen following a public vote.  The cub's father, Arktos, is kept in an area in a different part of Highland Wildlife Park along with another adult male named Walker.  Before Hamish, the last polar bear cubs born in the UK were twins at Flamingo Land in Yorkshire in December 1992.  In the wild, polar bear cubs usually leave their mothers after two to three years. Rachel Williams, senior animal keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said: "It has been an incredible two and a half years watching him grow and he will be missed by everyone here at the park."  Yorkshire Wildlife Park's head of animals, Dr Matt Hartley, said the park was looking forward to welcoming Hamish.  He said: "Yorkshire Wildlife Park participates in the European Endangered Species Programme by housing sub-adult males during the important period of their development prior to becoming breeding males or retired males that are genetically well represented in the carefully managed population."

Bus Driver Caused Crash That Killed Couple in West Lothian

A bus driver has admitted causing the death of a couple after driving dangerously on to the other side of the road in West Lothian. Stephen Jones, 57, repeatedly drove a service bus on to the opposite carriageway on the B792 Torphichen to West Calder road.  Ian McKay, 78, and his wife Helen McKay, 79, from Bathgate, died after the bus hit their car.  Four passengers who were travelling on the bus were also injured.  The single decker bus, operated by EM Horsburgh, was on a route from Livingston to Linlithgow.  Footage of the lead up to the crash with the Vauxhall Corsa was shown to a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh. It including efforts by Mr McKay to avoid the collision as he steered towards the edge of the B792. Both vehicles ended up in a farmer's field.  Jones, from Whitburn in West Lothian, repeatedly drove on to the wrong side of the road, drove at a speed that was excessive for the layout of the road, failed to negotiate a left-hand bend and drove into the path of Mr and Mrs McKay's car. Advocate depute Steven Borthwick, prosecuting, said four passengers were on the bus.  Mr Borthwick said one of the passengers, Agnes Marshall, 78, was unhappy about the way it was being driven as it was "swinging around the corners" and in her view going too fast. Another passenger Greg Moodie, 56, said that as the bus pulled away from temporary traffic lights at Torphichen it was gathering speed and momentum quickly and was "going way too fast". Mr Borthwick told the court: "As the road reached the bend he noted the bus driver made no effort to negotiate the left turn but continued straight on. The bus then continued to travel along the opposing carriageway.  He states that the bus driver made no attempts to brake and indeed appeared to accelerate before the bus collided with the deceased's car," said the prosecutor.  Jones, who has previous convictions, including for speeding and careless driving, was later interviewed by police and said the bus he was driving was on time and running to schedule. The judge, Lord Doherty, deferred sentence on Jones until next month. He was remanded in custody.

National Gallery and Kelvingrove Museums Reopen

Some of Scotland's biggest museums have opened their doors to the public for the first time since lockdown.  Visitors can now book online for the National Gallery in Edinburgh and the Kelvingrove museum in Glasgow.  Online booking is part of a range of hygiene measures which include one-way systems and reduced visitor numbers.  A £4m recovery fund for independent museums and galleries has also been announced amid warnings of financial uncertainty for Scotland's museums.  Glasgow Life, which manages the city's biggest museums, prioritised the opening of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum but said a return to pre-lockdown service was unlikely.  Kelvingrove is used to welcoming thousands of daily visitors, but numbers are now restricted to just 250 people per day.  David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: "The pandemic has hit us as an organisation pretty hard" He confirmed that tickets were free but the booking system would ask visitors to make a charitable donation. A similar system will be in operation for the National Gallery in Edinburgh, which is also asking visitors to book online.  Visitors can book a free ticket online which will grant access to the National Gallery for one hour and the Kelvingrove museum for two hours.  Face masks will be required and some smaller spaces will be closed off to allow for social distancing. Less than a quarter of museums and galleries have reopened since the relaxation of restrictions in mid-July, and smaller organisations will find reopening more difficult than larger museums.  Glasgow Life has lost more than £10m of income since March and is forecasting losses of up to £38m for the financial year, with many of its staff on furlough or shielding. Before the pandemic hit, Glasgow's museums welcomed a record number of visitors, attracting more than 19 million people in 2018.  In the same year the National Gallery in Edinburgh was among the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland, welcoming more than two million visitors.

Scottish Water Fined After Worker Breaks Back in Fall At Pumping Station

Scottish Water has been fined £140,000 ($A 244,6697) after a worker broke his back when he fell through an insecure floor into sewage at a pumping station.  James Anderson also suffered a broken collar bone and ribs in the fall at the Prestonpans station in East Lothian in June 2017. Safety investigators found the floor had been damaged by floods over a number of years. Scottish Water admitted breaching health and safety at work regulations.  In his sentencing statement at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Robert D M Fife said: "It would be reasonable to say this was an accident waiting to happen." An agreed narrative provided to the court stated the practice for 10 years had been to work around the gaps in the floor until they could be refitted.  Sheriff Fife said: "Employees were working in an environment with sewage and at height. The potential for serious or very serious injury, including fatality, in the event of an accident was obvious."  Mr Anderson was in intensive care at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for 10 days before being transferred to the Western General Infirmary where he remained for three weeks.  He underwent multiple operations on his head, with the wound twice becoming infected due to the bacterial build-up from the sewage he fell into.

Encrypted Phone Cracked to Convict Drug Dealer

A drug dealer was caught after police cracked an encrypted phone full of damning messages has been jailed for eight years. The arrest led to the seizure of £1.3m ($A2,374,876) worth of heroin and cocaine as well as £517,000 ($A 944,470.)in cash. A Berlingo van he was driving in Glasgow was found to have a secret compartment used to smuggle drugs. An encrypted mobile also contained incriminating messages to Collin, whose user name was "Big Poppa". Collin was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow having earlier admitted to being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.  He was brought to justice as part of the UK-wide Operation Venetic during which experts managed to crack the encryption used by Encrochat - a global communication system used by criminals.  The court heard he was under police surveillance and was seen driving an expensive Audi SQ7 before getting into the van. He later carried out what appeared to be drug transactions including collecting three large tubs in the Dawsholm Road Industrial Estate near the city's Anniesland. When he was stopped soon afterwards, mobile phones were found including a white V Smart device which was encrypted. When decrypted, it emerged Collin had texted "Been caught" to an associate moments after he was stopped.  The device revealed Collin was regularly in touch with 10 contacts who had nicknames including "icecream", "blackhorse", "magicstopper" and "tinthepark.com".  The court heard there were also "detailed instructions" given to Collin by a contact on how to package cash and where to drop it off.  A flat in Anniesland linked to Collin was then raided where police found large consignments of heroin, cocaine, cash and substances used to bulk out drugs. Other related equipment, including a hydraulic press, were seized.  The judge, Lord Armstrong, said Collin's level of involvement showed the drug operation was "organised and planned" and he would have received a 12-year sentence had it not been for his guilty plea.

Paddle Steamer Waverley to Return to Clyde Cruising this Week

The paddle steamer Waverley's operators have announced that the famous ship will return to service on the Clyde this weekend – for her first cruises since October 2018.  The vessel, built in Glasgow in 1947, will undertake a short programme of cruises on 'home waters' between August 21 and September 5.  Her schedule – published online by Waverley Excursions Ltd on Tuesday – includes one call per week at Kilcreggan pier, leaving at 12 noon on August 21, August 28 and September 4 for a sail direct to Rothesay.  There will, however, be no calls at Helensburgh, as the town's pier remains closed to all marine traffic on safety grounds – as it has been since the same month when the Waverley last sailed. The Waverley hasn't carried passengers since the discovery, shortly before her 2019 season was due to begin, that her boilers needed replaced at an estimated cost of more than £2 million. Following a major fund-raising campaign, which included a pledge of financial support from the Scottish Government, the boiler replacement work was carried out this summer. The ship, with only crew on board, carried out successful sea trials on the Clyde on Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14, and was spotted by many delighted observers.  Due to Covid-19 regulations the Waverley will operate with a significantly reduced capacity throughout her abbreviated 2020 programme, with social distancing measures in place on board, and tickets will only be available in advance.

Sarah Hunt Set for Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

A former Peebles High School pupil is gearing up to row across the Atlantic Ocean in a one-of-a-kind boat.  Sarah Hunt, 31, is a member of an all-female rowing team, the Bristol Gulls, who have signed up to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December.  Ms Hunt, originally from Skirling in Peeblesshire, will row 3,000 nautical miles with her three teammates during an event dubbed “the world’s toughest row”. "I'm so excited,” Ms Hunt said. “Just to be doing it with three other women who are massively inspirational and to be supporting the charities."  The team will travel from La Gomera – one of the Canary Islands – to Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. The charities they have chosen to support are Portishead RNLI and Clean Up Bristol Harbour.  The Bristol Gulls will be the first team in the fixture’s history to compete in a completely eco-friendly vessel – the Rannoch Eco-boat Mk1 – featuring a foam core made from 10,000 500ml plastic bottles. The Peeblesshire News asked Ms Hunt, an aerospace engineer for Rolls Royce, how it feels to be on the verge of making competition history. She said: "It's really exciting – I always describe it as stories for your grandkids.  It's nothing groundbreaking, there's nothing revolutionary about this, but it's the way that we're using it.  "We hope that this boat is mark one, that it's going to be the start of a new way of doing things. And that's what it takes, it takes someone doing something differently and being a bit bold and ‘out there’ to initiate that change." The team are hoping to raise £45,000 to get them to the starting line of the race. They aim to recoup costs after they reach the Caribbean by selling their boat.

Dounreay Site Available for Reuse in the Year 2333
The site of a Scottish nuclear power facility should be available for other uses in 313 years' time, according to a new report.  Dounreay, near Thurso, was the UK site for the development of fast reactor research from 1955 to 1994.  The facility on the north Caithness coast is in the process of being closed down, demolished and cleaned up.  However, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said it would be 2333 before the 148-acre site is safe for reuse.  The date forms part of the authority's newly-published draft strategy.  They said "credible options" for the site in future will be developed over the next two years. Buildings to be demolished include the distinctive dome-shaped Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR). Important stages in the removal of radioactive material from the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) are expected to be competed over the next three years. A target date has also been set for the clean-up of a highly contaminated area called the Shaft.  Built in the 1950s, it plunges 65.4m (214.5ft) below ground.  Radioactive waste was disposed there from 1959 to 1977, when an explosion ended the practice. Waste is to be removed from the Shaft by 2029, according to the NDA report.  The document also sets out investment made so far aimed at helping Caithness and Sutherland adjust to the closure of Dounreay, a major employer for the two areas.  The NDA has spent £8m over the past year supporting socio-economic projects, including upgrades to Scrabster and Wick harbours.  It is also supporting plans for the Sutherland Space Hub, which could facilitate up to 12 launches a year of small satellites into space from a site near Tongue.

Beattock Peat Extraction Plan Prompts Climate Change Fear
Proposals to extract peat from a site in Dumfries and Galloway should be rejected because of fears about its impact on climate change.  Council officials said plans by Everris to remove peat from Lochwood Moss were incompatible with government targets.  The company, which provides peat to grow salad and fruit products, wants to extract from the site until 2030.  Peatlands have been identified as key to climate targets because of their potential carbon storing properties.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said that such sites across Scotland could play a key role in meeting the government's target of net zero emissions by 2045.  Lochwood Moss has been used for peat extraction since the late 1980s. Everris, who want to extend their current licence to extract peat from the site for another 10 years, said the impact on carbon levels of continuing to operate at the location would be negligible.  The company also said there was nothing in current Scottish planning policy to prohibit peat extraction.  It added that there was no "inevitable release" of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from peat harvesting and "certainly not in large quantities".  However, Dumfries and Galloway Council planning officers said the project went against the local development plan, which aimed to support sustainable development including the reduction of greenhouse gases. They said it conflicted with the local authority's climate emergency declaration and have recommended councillors refuse the application.

Michael Gove in Talks with George Galloway to Discuss Protecting the United Kingdom Against Scottish Independence
Michael Gove has been in talks with George Galloway to discuss how to protect the UK against rising support for Scottish independence, it has emerged.  The discussions were held shortly after Mr Galloway launched his Alliance for Unity party, which aims to take on the SNP.  Senior figures in Boris Johnson’s government have also been in touch with former Labour first minister Lord McConnell to discuss the UK internal market.  And it has been reported that Mr Gove has been in touch with the former Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander, who was chief secretary to the Treasury in David Cameron’s coalition government.  It is understood the talks have been held on an informal basis but they come at a time when Mr Gove, who is from Aberdeen, has been given greater responsibility for defending the Union.  Mr Gove sought to “sound out” Mr Galloway and reports suggested they discussed strategy. The Cabinet Office Minister has also held a number of conversations with Scottish pro-Union politicians from a variety of parties in the last six months, as support for independence has grown.  This week a Panelbase poll put support for leaving the UK at a record 55%, while another, for ComRes, put independence backing at 54%.  At first glance, an alliance between Mr Gove and Mr Galloway, the socialist former Labour MP and current broadcaster on Kremlin-backed RT, would appear to be an unlikely one. But Mr Galloway was a prominent No supporter during the 2014 independence referendum, appearing on the debating stage with Ruth Davidson.  This week Mr Gove and Mr Galloway appeared to be in agreement about the possibility of extending the indyref2 franchise to 795,000 Scots based elsewhere in the UK.  Mr Gove tweeted “interesting question” when the idea was raised by Mr Galloway.  SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “Michael Gove now appears to accept a referendum is going to happen – but the fact he seems to be endorsing anything George Galloway says is the surest sign yet of the rising panic in Downing Street at the surging support for independence.  Mr Gove is already on record as saying ‘it wouldn’t be fair’ to change the franchise rules for a second referendum, and the 2014 vote, based on residency, set the gold standard.  And he must be really desperate if he hopes to find inspiration from an unelected lord and a Lib Dem who was Scots Secretary for all of two weeks.”