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Blackhawks set to soar

By SPP Reporter

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Ladies teeing off in front of the old clubhouse at Kingussie Golf Club in 1905
Ladies teeing off in front of the old clubhouse at Kingussie Golf Club in 1905

AVIEMORE Blackhawks have been revamped, revitalised and are now waiting to be the best in Britain within the next three years.

The Stakis Aviemore Centre have stepped into the Hawks’ sponsorship breach with £40,000 that should give the club the chance to build a first-class team.

In the past the club have been financed mainly by local fund-raising and minor sponsorship and only two months ago they faced the very real possibility of folding.

This new backing will lift travel restrictions on the club and enable them to finance experienced players from America and Canada.

Stakis believe it is only lack of funds which is preventing the Hawks’ success and are pleased to get involved in the local community in this way by setting the club on a solid footing.

There is certainly no shortage of local talent with about 40 local men already playing in the premier league throughout the country.

As well as encouraging new players, the club also want to encourage more and new spectators, particularly of the family variety.

"Ice hockey is fast becoming a spectacular spectator sport," said Mr Cameron Shearer on behalf of the club, "so we want to attract people to our game from as far afield as Inverness and Dalwhinnie."

To encourage spectators to the Aviemore Centre ice rink, the admission fee to Hawk games will include free ice skating after the game.

With the Hawks playing in the Scottish League Division One and high hopes of qualifying for the British Championships, their matches should certainly be entertaining.

Sad farewell to Angels Of Mercy

A CHAPTER in Kingussie’s history closed at the weekend when a group of Angels of Mercy said farewell to the town.

Since 1927, the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul have run St Vincent’s Home in Badenoch.

But with staff no longer available to operate the service, they have been forced to close their doors.

The end of one era marked the start of another, however. For Highland Health Board have been given Scottish Office permission to acquire the picturesque building and run it as a National Health Service hospital.

They took over the ownership and management of building, for which they paid £100,000. The ground floor will be used as a geriatric hospital with the upper floor designated as a unit for the mentally confused.

The departure of the town’s "Angels" was marked at a Mass of Thanksgiving at the local Roman Catholic Church, led by Bishop Colin MacPherson.

Landmark opens new attraction

EUROPE’S newest slide experience and Scotland’s longest aerial monorail are both available now in the Landmark Centre adventure playground at Carrbridge.

The completion of phase two of the centre’s £50,000 adventure playground coincided with Landmark’s 16th birthday.

The two latest additions to the playgrounds are the giant tube slide and the monorail.

The tube comprised almost 50ft of twisting stainless steel tunnel descending from a platform 25ft up among the pine trees. The tube has been specially imported from Scandinavia and is the first of its kind in Scotland.

The monorail, at 120ft long, is the longest aerial runway of its kind in the country and both new features will provide a challenge for Tarzans of all ages.

Landmark remains one of the most popular attractions in the Highlands, 16 years and four million visitors since its first opening.

Apathy fails to

close centre

A MOVE TO close Grantown’s community centre unless there is more local commitment to its running was rebuffed last week.

The 14 members who did attend last week’s annual meeting agreed to struggle on despite local apathy.

"The centre is suffering from its own success," said committee chairman Mr John Westwater.

"Increased usage and membership is reflected in the workload of the committee, many of whom feel their work is not appreciated by some who use and take advantage of the centre’s facilities."

Mr Westwater said members of the public were quick to criticise almost anything and everything about the centre.

"My only retort would be to ask those vociferous critics to join the committee and actively attempt, in a positive manner, to achieve a higher standard of management should they feel so publicly motivated," he added.

Last week’s annual meeting failed to muster a full complement of 10 committee members from a centre membership of 450.

Eight members agreed to carry on with running the centre and hope to find two newcomers to fill the vacancies. But they were not prepared to threaten to close the centre to force people to come forward.

New snow fences clear a hurdle

NEW SNOW fencing for Cairngorm was given the green light by regional planners despite objectors’ warning that it is "a thinly veiled attempt to get a toe-hold for ski-ing in the Northern Corries".

The final decision though, still lies with the Scottish Secretary because the area of the Cairngorm Chairlift Company’s proposals lies within an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Regional planners unanimously supported twhe plans to extend ski-ing westward from the existing snowfields after they had visited the site for themselves.

They also heard again from objectors who all fear the plans are just the same as those for Lurcher’s Gully only "in disguise".

In March the Chairlift Company applied to erect three double and one single snow fence from the Fiacaill Ridge into the lower areas of Coire an t-Sneachda to access the long-lie snow fields there.

The three parallel fences are intended to funnel skiers from the top of the Fiacaill Ridge tow and the Coire Ca ‘traverse’ down to the gully of the Allt Coire and t-Sneachda opening up a new two kilometre run ending near the Day Lodge and car park, while the single fence is to give better access into t-Sneachda from the lower Fiacaill tow.

Cairngorm Chairlift Company Chairman, Lord Leven, says the fences will relieve congestion on the slopes and provide another interesting run for beginner and intermediate skiers.

"People are already ski-ing in Coire an t-Sneachda," Lord Leven told the planners, "the fencing will merely enhance an already extensively used run.

"We want to expand westward because of the good snow lie and good ski-ing there. It is possible to go eastwards but conditions there are not nearly as good."

Probe into hotel jobs mystery

LOCAL unemployment people don’t seen to want hotel jobs in their own area – and district councillors want to know why.

The Stakis organisation, who own the Aviemore Centre and Coylumbridge Hotel, say they like to take local people first, and district councillors, in talks with the company, made it clear they were keen to see local people being given first chance at jobs.

But is seems, even with a local unemployment rate of 18%, that local people aren’t coming forward to apply for vacancies.

"A lot of people don’t come forward because they are very unsure of their future in an industry where they are taken on when it is busy and thrown out when it is slack or have their wages reduced," said Kincraig councillor Joe Wainford.

Aviemore councillor Willie McKenna agreed that people were put off by this kind of "lifting and laying" as the tourists come and go but he suggested the people of the valley be asked directly why they are not interested in local hotel jobs.

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