Skye Bridge toll row continues
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A protester who goes by the name Robbie the Pict has threatened Scotland's transport minister with criminal action.
The problem, The Scotsman reports, is that after 130 people were convicted of refusing to pay the toll for the Skye Bridge, the procurator fiscal -- Scots for prosecutor -- made an embarrassing admission. He said he had not seen the document that gives the Skye Bridge Company the authority to charge tolls.
Now, Robbie the Pict demands that Tavish Scott admit failings in the system by the end of January or "this office will report you to the police for aiding and abetting the concealment of fabrication of Crown evidence, a felonious act."
Skye, once reachable only by boat -- preferably a bonnie one like the one that carried Bonnie Prince Charlie in a traditional song -- became connected to the mainland by bridge in 1995. An anti-toll group called the span "the most expensive, privately run, unjust toll bridge in Europe," but the government responded to the protests by buying the bridge and doing away with the tolls in late 2004.
Audio guide to give scoop on Scots bard
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Fans of Scotland's forgotten poet are taking steps to make sure people who see his monument can get all the facts on his life.
Bob Watt of the Friends of Robert Fergusson wants a plaque proposed for Edinburgh's Canongate -- which already boasts a statue of the bard -- to include a telephone number for an audio guide on Fergusson's life and times. Watt hopes to use the latest in technology so the guide can provide downloadable pictures of 18th century Scotland and an appropriate soundtrack as well.
"With most statues you just see the person's name and after the unveiling they are completely forgotten about and people walk past them not having a clue what they did," Watt told The Scotsman.
The Robert Burns Society of New York and the St. Andrews Society of New York State have agreed to put up money for a plaque. But Watt said he knew the local authorities would never agree to one large enough to provide all the information he wanted.
Fergusson, famous during his lifetime and a major influence on Burns, sank into obscurity after his burial in Canongate Kirkyard.
Aquarium is winter refuge for sea turtles
BOSTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A group of young turtles lacking the strength or skill to get out of northern waters before winter set in is spending the winter at the New England Aquarium.
This year, there are 36 -- three loggerheads, one green and 32 Kemp's ridley sea turtles -- the MetroWest Daily News reports. They were found on the beaches of Cape Cod Bay by volunteers who go out looking for stranded turtles as the weather starts turning cold.
Most are juveniles with medical problems or injuries. They get expert care from Charles Innis, who gave up a suburban veterinary practice to treat marine mammals at the aquarium.
The record for stranded turtles turned over to the aquarium was 140 in 1999. They will eventually be released to live out what could be long lives at sea.
Chinese lay claim to inventing golf
LONDON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Most think the Scots invented golf but the Chinese say they were playing a golf-like game 1,000 years ago.
Professor Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University said he found a reference to a game called chuiwan -- "chui" meaning to hit and "wan" meaning ball.
Players used 10 clubs, including a cuanbang (equivalent to the modern driver) and a shaobang (a 3 wood or spoon). Royalty inlaid their clubs with jade, edged them with gold and decorated the shafts elaborately.
A description of the sport, written during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), has been found in a volume called the Dongxuan Records.
Golf "clearly originated in China," he said, adding that Mongolian travelers took the game to Europe.
However, it is generally accepted that the first place where all the modern aspects of the game were brought together was in Scotland. Scots were also the first to use holes rather than targets.