Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team

Torridon & Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team is looking for some new recruits. They currently have 20
on the “call out list” but would like to increase this to about 25. Because of the sparse population around
Glen Torridon the team draws its recruits from as far afield as Tain and Gairloch.
The kind of person required should be a “team player” with a good level of fitness and enough experience to
be able to handle mountain terrain in all conditions.
Climbing skills are useful but not essential.

 Mountain rescue in Scotland is manned by volunteers. There is no on call rota. All members may be called to an emergency at any time. On average the team has about two dozen call outs a year. Every call out is a
journey in to the unknown. It may be a low level search for a missing person in warm sunshine or an all night
technical rescue of a multiply injured climber in full on winter conditions. A wide range of skills and training is
required. The team trains together on the first Sunday of each month and funding is provided for members to
attend a variety of external courses.
Further information can be found on the team website,

The team covers the area between Loch Maree in the north and Loch Carron in the south, and from
Applecross in the West to Achnasheen in the East. This includes some of the most spectacular mountains in
Scotland - with Liathach, Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin being especially popular. In all there are 17 Munros
(mountains over 3000 feet) and 12 Corbetts (mountains over 2500 feet) within the team’s area of search.
Anybody who is interested in training with the team should contact team leader, Arjan Hendriks, on 01445
791364 or at

Winners of 2014 AGNV Writing competition

Primary Short Story Winner
Ronan Blakey (P6), Kilchuimen Primary, Fort Augustus


My home is lurking mysteriously on the edge of the desolate moor. He is very protective of his inhabitants
but he got a hole in his head playing football with a huge rock. My home lurks.
Who lives in my house? My family lives in my house who are, Freddie the noisy, Ronan the tall, Mungo the
annoying, Angus the clever, Becca the blonde, Bella the calm, Dad the angry and Mum.
I can see a nice Mum slaving over a hot stove. I can smell a delicious spaghetti bolognaise in the air. I
can taste my mum’s delicate cooking. I can feel a warm feeling going down my back. I can hear Freddie
shrieking in the next room.
What does my home feel like? My home is lonely, isolated and safe. My home is lovely, unpredictable and
fearless. My home is tired, unlucky and firm. My home is lonely.
Where is my home? My home is my family.

Primary Poetry Winner
Emma Macdonald, (Age 11), Kinlochewe Primary


My home is in Scotland and that’s where I’ll stay
There’s no other place in the world I’d rather be than in my home
My family and me
My home is so loud and lively but no one seems to care
Our dog barking at any visitors but that’s because she’s being protective
Smells of warm, comforting chicken soup greet me as I walk in from school
My room is messy and muddled, everything is spread out
My home is never quiet, always full of noise, never a silent moment
My home has brothers and sisters squabbling
My home has pets crowding up the kitchen
My home has a family who love each other
Even though we sometimes argue
My home is semi-detached, joined to my cousins, auntie and uncle
My home has the sound of mum playing her guitar
And singing her favourite songs
My home has vegetables growing in a patch
And a shed full of things no one knows about
My home has a warm living room
With a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be done
My home is my favourite place to be

Secondary Short Story Winner
 Lexanne Stewart, Gairloch High School


As I walked up the road to the brooding monster of a house I listened to the hoots and howls from the night
creatures. The moon was my only light illuminating everything with an eerie shadow. A dense forest
surrounds me from every angle. Up ahead in a small clearing is a building that I have been doomed to stay a
night in.
I stop in front of the battered mansion and hope it doesn’t collapse on me during the night. The wind howls
through the broken windows, the front door swings freely on its hinges and creaks loudly. The steps leading
up to the front door are partly crumbled. I look up at the tower sort of thing that pokes out from either side of the house and think of all the strange things that might have happened here. A clap of thunder and a flash
of lightning later and I’m bounding up the steps and closing the door behind me.
The inside is surprisingly tidy and stable, no crumbled stairs or broken furniture all over the place, of course
there is the odd book laying on the floor open and the stale smell drifting from every corner, some places may have a rat or two in them. Surprisingly there are pictures black and white and faded but the people in them look happy. A man and a woman (man and wife, I guess) and a boy and a girl both wearing black overcoats (maybe just dark coloured). Out of the corner of my eye I see something flit across the room. I drop the picture and the frame smashes on the floor into many pieces and scares away a group of birds sitting on the window ledge. There are a lot more pictures dotted about the place. This place once housed a happy family. This, as unlikely looking as it might be, was a home once.

By the way, I’m Kyle Anderson. I’m 15 years old and I have been dared by my friends to stay a night in
the only gothic house in my village. My mum thinks I’m staying at a friend’s house. One day I will get my
revenge, sweet, sweet revenge. I chuckle but it echoes through the whole building so I decide to say everything in my head. I get into my sleeping bag and settle down for the night.
“Kyle, Kyle waken up, I want to show you my home,” sang a little girl’s voice. I spring out of my sleeping bag and run to the door frame, spin on my heels and look to where I was a second ago. My eyes dart all over the place and my tousled and knotted hair sticks out at the back of my head. I search for the owner of the voice but I can’t find her.
“Who are and where are you?” I ask wildly.
“Don’t be scared, Kyle, I only want you to say hello to my friends and to look at my home,” she says as she
emerges from the shadows to my left. I spin to look at her and she says, “Isn’t it beautiful?” She lifts her arms up and turns in a slow circle.
“Yes…it is, but still…who are you?” I say cautiously. “My name is Emily Henderson and I’m 10 years old.
This is where I lived when I was alive nearly 150 years ago. I love it here. I know it like the back of my hand; all the passages and good hiding places for when me and my friends play Hide and Seek.”
“OK…cool, so where are….your friends?”
“Oh, you, know, hiding from you, they’re scared of you,” she answers, as if this was an everyday conversation we are having. “Are they? Well they shouldn’t be,” I say. I have decided to trust her. She seems no different from what a living 10-year old girl would be like. “I know. They want to get to know you better. I told them you would stay with us. Make this your home, we can be your family now, Kyle. We can love you. Please make this your home now, Kyle.” Her eyes are boring into me with such intensity that I
think there might be a hole between my eyes. She’s not pleading though. It’s….it’s as if she knows what my
answer will be, as if she’s sure I will say yes. I want to say no. I try with all my might to say it but it just doesn’t exit my mouth. The words that escape from my mouth are a surprise to me but not to Emily. I find myself saying, “Yes, of course I will stay with you.” I take her hand in mine and say, “Show me your new home!” A flash of light erupts from the wall and Emily says, “Follow me, Kyle.” Emily dragged me towards the light. We step through the portal and I feel slightly disorientated on the other side. I look up and find the grimy faces of four children looking at me wearily. One of them, about Emily’s age, speaks up and says,
“Welcome home, Kyle, you’ll love it here.”
I walk around the room and I have a weird feeling of belonging.
“Finally home,” I say.

Adult Short Story Winner
Lisa MacDonald


She is only half listening to the rumble and roar, the thick clack followed by the rolling and finally subsiding
bubble. Some kettles boil slowly and some are surprisingly quick; some take ages, so long you go off
the idea of tea altogether.
The view from the kitchen window is always important and often surprising; the eyes to the soul of the home, you could say. She sweeps with her gaze the bleak, empty and barely green hillsides across the loch. Winter
is coming. She can see it in the weight of the sky, the purple, ashen clouds and the viciousness of the wind
bending the hawthorns against themselves.
She shudders and begins, in the hollow, clock-ticking silence, to look for the teabags. They’re usually not
hard to find; people like their lives to be simple, or their kitchens at least. They want their tea when they want it. A cupboard to the left of the kettle, normally. Sometimes the right, but less often. Mostly higher up. Which is odd, she thinks. She supposes the idea is to hold the kettle with the right hand and fetch the tea with the left but really you need two hands to do it so now you have to reach across the hot steam. Makes you wonder.
Some people have matching sets of three or four caddies, helpfully labelled and set in a line along the back of their clean, black counter. Full marks for those; they certainly make it easier. Quicker too, and less banging of cupboard doors. Although it’s not as interesting; not much choice. A cupboard stuffed full of half-used boxes and packets makes for a more exciting experience, a learning opportunity, even. Lapsang Souchong, who would have thought!
People's fridges are more personal, even in the matching-caddy homes. Tell you a lot, they do.
Wensleydale. And pâté. And fancy stuff she has never even heard of. Some people keep their fruit in the
fridge. And their bread, too.
She is careful never to touch anything except the milk. People notice these things. Nobody would ever miss
a teabag or a drop of milk, but cut into their cheese and they see it right away. Everyone has their own,
unique way of cutting it, you know. Some people cut perfect, thin slices. Some cut the corners off first. Some diagonally. Everyone has a slightly different way of angling their knife. People notice.
Ornaments and pictures are dangerous. You can look, sure, but you never touch. People notice the slightest
change in angle. Not everyone does, that's true. There are homes where you just know, from the moment
you're in, that they can hardly remember what things they have, never mind where exactly they left them.
Where there are shoes on the floor and sofa cushions that don't match and books stacked leaning in corners
and so many notes and postcards tucked into picture frames that you can barely see the paintings. Those
homes give her an odd feeling, like an echo of a memory she thought she once had. But they have their
own dangers. You move a picture on the mantelpiece even just a fraction of an inch and it leaves a clear line
in the dust and once you've disturbed it you can never make it right again. You just have to hope they don't
notice till the dust gets the chance to cover your tracks or that they'll blame the children, or the cat. She found this out once when she unthinkingly picked up a framed photograph to imagine herself amongst the beautiful, smiling family.
Same with the tea towels - everyone has a special way, which is The Only Way, to fold them or hang them up and you have to watch out for that. She likes the sort of home where tea towels are flung carelessly over the backs of chairs or dumped in crumpled, damp piles on the corners of worktops. The carelessness isn't real, isn't the whole story. There's so much attention to detail, so much stuff collected together, so much thought. So much love, she thinks. So much to see.
This home is the kind where they fold the towel exactly in half and then hang it from the exact middle of the
oven door handle. Still, it has to be braved. Once her tea is either cold or finished and the home has been
explored in every drawer and detail (she likes to think of it as an 'experience', a 'sampling' rather than an
intrusion; for she leaves almost no trace and takes nothing except a small, unimportant token - a candle,
a clothes peg, a fridge magnet, just something to remember by) she always washes her cup meticulously,
wiping away every last smudge of her lipstick. Then she dries it and puts it away where it came from. She
checks the bin, the worktops, the sink and wipes away any drips or spills. She folds the towel and replaces it carefully in its exact right place. As she lets herself out she checks her watch and wonders if there is time for one more Home Experience before she has to catch the bus back to the city and the Shelter.

Adult Poetry Winner
Lynn Valentine

Build a house from the heather
Bind the blinds with sea foam
Tile the roof with silk feathers
Ring the rafters with bone
Stitch cold kindling from cobwebs
Gather dust for fire-flame
Pick blue dew drops for bed clothes
With wild yew trees stake claim
Sew a rug with seamed sunlight
Glean a pot with gold gloss
Cast a candle from starlight
Fill a bed with green moss
Let the grey ghost of our child
Echo in the round rooms
Playing with shadows and smiles
Beyond my barren womb

Writing competition judges

The AGNV Editorial Team would also like to offer an enormous thank you to the three marvellous
local writers who kindly agreed to judge the 2014 competition:

Bryan Islip has had a short story published by the USA’s prestigious Carve Magazine.
Two other stories, Speaking Of Champions, and Willie’s Place, won awards in successive years of the Real-Writers competition. Two novels have followed, More Deaths Than One, and Going with Gabriel, and two anthologies  of short stories; Twenty Bites and Twelve of Diamonds.
 Bryan lives in Aultbea and is currently writing two further novels, parts of which he is publishing from time to time  in his blog

Phil Jones is a Welshman currently on the run in the Scottish Highlands. His hill-walking guide to Snowdonia
'80 Hills' was published in 2010 and he also has a short-story collection 'Summertime Blues' available on
Kindle (highly recommend this – I couldn’t put it down  – Moira). Writing as Cyan Brodie his debut novel
'Dream Girl' won the Red Telephone 2011 Young Adult Fiction Novel Competition and is allegedly due for
publication any time soon. He is now working on his third YA novel 'Dark Sky' set closer to home in Lochinver.

L G Thomson has been recognised by Emergents as a writer with real commercial potential. While Emergents seeks a publisher for her crime thriller, Boyle’s Law, readers can download Each New Morn, her post-apocalyptic survival thriller set in Scotland (I also highly recommend this – Moira). An earlier novel was short-listed for the Dundee Book Prize. She lives in Ullapool and likes sharks, Jim Thompson novels and Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. She dislikes custard, macaroni cheese and Mamma Mia.

Readers, now sit back and enjoy the winning entries. We will also publish the runners-up in the June issue.


We are delighted to announce the winners and runners-up of the 2014 writing competition.

Primary Short Story: winner: Ronan Blakey, Kilchuimen Primary; runner-up: David Parsons, Lochcarron Primary

Primary Poetry: winner: Emma Macdonald, Kinlochewe Primary, runner-up: Freya Finlayson, Strathpeffer

Secondary Short Story: winner: Lexanne Stewart, Gairloch High School

Adult Short Story: winner: Lisa MacDonald, runner-up: Eve Evans, Nairn

Adult Poetry: winner: Lynn Valentine, North Kessock, runner-up: Victor Johnstone, Perth

Congratulations to all of you from the AGNV Editorial Team! Adult, secondary and primary winners receive a £50, £30 and £20 book voucher respectively.
Participants were invited to write on the theme, HOME and we received 70 entries, each quite unique in its
interpretation of the theme.
The judges were delighted to read the entries and were heartened to see so much interest in creative writing,
even in these days of 140 character Twittering. They noted some lovely and imaginative phrases in the
primary entries – the sinister and ever-changing canal; a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be done – and also a great
deal of humour in evidence with undelicious pizzas and mum’s great cooking that sometimes isn’t so great. The descriptions of smell and sound were evocative – puppy food, garlic sizzling, mice in the walls, ftershave, hair gel, people shouting, music playing, all great stuff.
The judges found the adult short story winning entry intriguing and an attention grabber from the start.
Furthermore, the winning adult poem was described as ‘a haunting piece, beautifully written.’
The judges would like to say well done to everyone who took part and offer their congratulations to the winners.

Carry On Recycling

Ink cartridges, mobile phones, I-pods and CD/DVDs welcome !!!

To everyone who has been dropping off recycling items at the school, thank you!
We will collect all HP, Lexmark and Dell ink cartridges as well as laser cartridges. Mobile phones are very
valuable and will give the account a good boost. We are also able to collect digital cameras, sat nav and
handheld consoles (DS) too. Do not forget to bring in your old CDs and DVDs.
Inquiries or drop off items at Strathgarve Primary
01997414286 or Larisa 01997455230
Thank you for this much needed boost to our school funds.