Douglas MacQueen's blog

Scotland: Major new oil discovery found off Shetland

Oil exploration firm, Hurricane Energy, has made a large undeveloped discovery of oil in Scottish waters. Its is estimated that one billion barrels of recoverable oil could be contained in an area located 60 miles (97km) west of Shetland. It is thought that up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remains under the North Sea and in the wider basin.

Scotland: Local crofter's sheepdog rescued from gorge after being missing for 12 days

A sheepdog belonging to a local crofter that went missing 12 days ago has been rescued from a gorge. Nel the collie is an older dog and retired from working. She was spotted by someone passing on a train on the nearby West Highland Line. Members of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team used ropes to get down into Monessie Gorge, at Roybridge near Fort William, where the the cold and hungry dog was stuck. Nel was returned to the crofter who was delighted to have his dog safely returned.

Fight to bring the Galloway Viking hoard home

Metal detectorist Derek McLennan, from Ayrshire, discovered a haul of Viking treasure in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-Ghàidhealaibh) in 2014. The value of the treasure runs to hundreds of thousands of pounds. There is now a heated discussion taking place about where to house the the Viking treasure hoard involving Dumfries and Galloway Council and National Museums Scotland (NMS). The Council wants to house the artefacts in a new art gallery being built in Kirkcudbright (Gaelic: Cille Chuithbeirt) but NMS is also bidding for the hoard.

Fund to help restore Scotland's peatlands launched by the Scottish government

Peat, also called turf, is made from partly decomposed plant material and forms in waterlogged conditions. Lack of oxygen means the plants do not rot completely and peat is unique to natural areas of peatlands and bogs.  It takes thousands of years for peatlands to develop and there is an estimated 1.7 million hectares of peatland in Scotland. It's ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on earth and peatland plants capture the CO2 which is naturally released from the peat.

Nicola Sturgeon announces second Scottish independence referendum

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon caught most people on the hop this morning by her announcement that a new Scottish referendum on independence is being sought. It was her timing more than the announcement itself that caused surprise, as most thought it would come at the Scottish National Party’s spring conference at the end of the week. She said that she wanted the referendum to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019.

Growing demand for more Gaelic education in Glasgow

The demand for Gaelic education is growing in Scotland's largest city Glasgow. The number of pupils in Gaelic Medium Education, where lessons are mainly taught in Gaelic, stands at 900 and the two existing primary schools are full. As reported recently in The Scotsman newspaper the growing demand for Gaelic education has led to the need for a third primary school in Glasgow. Rolls are predicted to increase to 1150 within three years and a report presented to the council’s education committee points out that a “sharp increase” in demand for places had been recorded in August 2016.

Surge in support for Scottish independence

A new opinion poll carried out by Ipsos MORI for Scottish Television's STV News, shows that independence for Scotland is now backed by half of voters. Support for autonomy is now five points higher than in the September 2014 referendum. This will give added impetus to those calling for a ballot on Scottish independence to be held in the Autumn of 2018. It also provides a boost for the Scottish National Party ahead of their spring conference in Aberdeen next week.

Scotland's First Minister to formally open new museum on Lewis

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to formally open a new museum and archive on Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Leòdhas). Lewis is the northern part of Lewis and Harris (Leòdhas agus na Hearadh), the largest island of the Outer Hebrides (Na h-Eileanan Siar), an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The islands are rich in history and were once part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar, known as The Kingdom of Mann and the Isles.

New publication for Scottish independence supporters

News from the Celtic League:

The National have sent us a preview of tomorrow’s new magazine launched in conjunction with the independence supporting web site Bella Caledonia.

It’s an interesting development in that what was initially a social media blog has now gone main stream.

Other independence sites like ‘Wings over Scotland’ are also flourishing. Wings recently raised way above its fundraising target of £45,000 within hours of the appeal being launched.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming's life saving discovery of Penicillin

Alexander Fleming FRS FRSE FRCS (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist, whose crucial discovery of penicillin saved the lives of millions of people all over the world. In September 1928 while studying influenza Alexander Fleming noticed mould had developed accidentally on a set of culture dishes being used to grow the staphylococci germ. The mould had created a bacteria-free circle around itself. He experimented further and named the active substance penicillin.

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