Rait Castle- the last remaining 13th-century hall castle in Scotland-,haunted by a curse of a chilling episode in Scotland’s bloody history of clan warfare around 600 years back is in ruins now. The present owner of the castle who is one of Scotland’s most ancient noble families, is under pressure to save its remains.
Fears that Rait is in danger of collapse have led to local campaigners urging the Earl of Cawdor’s family to take action to conserve the ruins near Nairn. Many years of neglect has left the castle over grown with thorny bushes and the tree roots that has bore into the 800 year old mortar might effect its stability. Rait castle is a fine manifestation of a unique architectural style and needs to be protected for posterity. However the present owners of the castle is not very keen on its maintenance citing paucity of funds. However, many feel that the owners should demonstrate responsible custodian ship of this archaeological piece of wonder, which is a Class A listed building that dates back to the 13th-century.
The castle is located on Cawdor Estates, home to the Thanes of Cawdor of Shakespearean fame who can trace their lineage back to MacBeth. The clan warfare set off a series of bitter court battles where the dowager was given control of the nearby family seat, Cawdor Castle, in her husband’s will in 1993.
The recent dispute between Colin Campbell, the Seventh Earl of Cawdor, and his step-mother Lady Angelika, Dowager Countess of Cawdor is the latest stumbling block in its restoration as the castle is owned by a family trust run by the Earl’s Cawdor and not by Lady Cowdor. Conservation experts acknowledge that Rait is an architectural gem with its single sand stone elegant window tracery carvings and a beautiful domed ceiling. There is also a long-forgotten chapel hidden under the vegetation. Meanwhile the custodians of the castle have met representatives of Historic Scotland and are working out plans for its restoration and grant assistance.
The South and Central Scotland is about to face a heavy snowfall reports the meteorological department. Dumfiries and Galloway, Scottish borders, Strathclyde, Tayside, Central and Fife will experience heavy rain’s and will convert in to snow over higher grounds.
It is not the first time Scotland is facing such a weather fury, previously also snowfall has many times disrupted the life of the people in Scotland. The fear for strong winds is also expected this time, which may even worsen the situation. Meanwhile snow fall is nothing unusual during the month of March said Met officials.
Previously also snowfall has made life of people miserable with huge loss of lives and things, now it has to be seen what’s in store for the Scots this time.
The first ever official papal visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI will meet the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland this autumn. During his four day visit to the UK,the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide, will hold a public mass in Glasgow and besides that he will also conduct a prayer vigil in London and a public mass in Coventry.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and President of the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said he was totally thrilled and as Pope John Paul II’s trip as a pastoral one in 1982 was an enormous success, he presumes that this occasion too would be a wonderful event for the whole of Scotland.
This visit will be an opportunity to cement ties between the UK and the Holy See and to deal with poverty and climate change as well as to consider the important role of faith in creating strong and cohesive communities.
Pope Benedict’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth II will be an encounter between two heads of state as well as two heads of churches.
The cost of the visit would be met from the existing budgets and no additional expenses would be provided to the various forces involved. The Scottish Secretary Mr Murphy said that the non police cost may come around £15 million including the state and pastoral elements of the visit.
Following their sisters footsteps, James and Stephen Clegg are eyeing to make it to the Paralympics. These brothers from the Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School are the only two Scots in the Brithish disability squad who are successfully winning medals in a mix of competitions. Even both have broken British records in their age groups for visually-impaired swimmers.
Being brothers of a silver medal holder in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, both James 16 and Stephen 14 are looking up to make it to the Paralympics. Their sister Libby has won medals in both Paralympics and BBC Young sports personality of the year. Even after suffering from Stargardt’s disease – a deteriorating genetic eye condition which affects the central vision, these brothers and sisters have conquered all their odds and proven their talent in many tourneys.
James with his swimming abilities has been selected as an ambassador for the UK school games. Both the boys have performed exceptionally well in many competitions said, Paul Wilson, Disability performance manager at the University of Stirling. The mother of the boys expresses her gratitude towards the Royal blind school which had supported and motivated both the boys. With the aim to participate in the Paralympics James and Stephen are working hard to make it to the Paralympics, these kids have come up as the living examples of the adage “Where there is a will, there is a way”
The RAF base at Kinloss at Morayshire and its sister station of the former RNAS Lossiemouth, have been at the front line of the defense ever since the outbreak of the Second World War. Set up on the 1st of April in 1939, the 14 Flying Training School located close to the Arctic Circle was well known for its bone biting winds and eye blinding snows that tested the endurance of the trainees.
In the history of RAF Kinloss shows, many an aircraft were lost during training missions, with pilots being pushed through training to re-supply front-line squadrons. Remains of aircraft strewn around the airfield and to nearest town of Tolbooth Street, Forres were common sights. The training of aircrew continued all through the war years. Soon it began its involvement with maritime operations. The Avro Lancaster was adapted for use as an anti-submarine and search & rescue aircraft, in which it excelled for more than quarter of a century, when it was replaced with the Nimrod R1. The transition from the Shackleton to the Nimrod was smooth and symmetrical. The landmark British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-09′s to the South Pole, which missed the goal by just 97.5 nautical miles, was interestingly led by Ernest Shackleton and the vessel was the Nimrod.
The motto on the crest of RAF Kinloss is “Power to the Hunter”. The hunter has been the MR2 since the eighties and its versatility is at par at its namesake, the great hunter from Classical Mythology. It was put to use in a variety of operations and applications including communications and surveillance with ground forces, maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare & search and rescue.
The bomb-bay of the Nimrod can carry 9 Stingray anti-submarine torpedos, 150 sonobuoys; and for search-and-rescue missions air-deliverable dinghies & survival packs, which were used successfully in the operations in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.
42(Reserve), 120 &201 are three of the oldest squadrons in the RAF, which leaves behind a legendary past and a glorious history. The fabled black-&-white photographs taken by Shackleton crews of Tupolev reconnaissance aircraft with the Soviet airmen waving across would be fresh in the minds of war veterans and older generation alike.
Now the Hunter is all set to be put down as the present economic crisis might lead to the closure of the bases at Kinloss & Lossiemouth. In a bid to curb expenses and to ensure steady resources to the frontline, the Hunter is left with no other choice than to beat a retreat. It is indeed a sad thing to have happened but at the end of the day, Hunter remain unbeatable and eternal! “Let power be to the Hunter”!