The 20th Annual Rotary AMAM Golf Tournament was held on Sunday 29th May with 25 teams entering.

The winning men’s team was ‘Two Whyte’s and a Brown’ – Lorne Brown, Ronald Whyte and Gavin Whyte.  The winning ladies team was ‘Kiwi plus Two’ comprising Mary Michie, Kim Topping and Helen Brian.

Rotary President Simon Hardiman thanked the major sponsors, MOWI, John McLellan & Co Funeral Directors, Lochaber Building Services, Fleming & Fleming and Alan Ingram.   Other generous sponsors supported every tee and green, and gave prize monies.

Thanks were given to the committee and members of Fort William Golf Club, particularly Rosemary Macintyre and John Watssman for all their help.  

Donald Young, organiser, thanked his fellow Rotarians for their support with the event, in preparing the course, for raffle prizes and Alan Kirk for gathering sponsorship.

President Simon said, “Catering and the bar went well all day and competitors particularly want to thank the Greens Convener and Jonny Henshall, Greenkeeper.  Everyone felt the course was in great condition.  Last but not least, thanks to the competitors for supporting us each year and making it possible for Lochaber Rotary to support so many worthwhile local causes.“

All team photos can be seen here and the full prize list was:

Winners                                                Lorne Brown, Ronald Whyte, Gavin Whyte

2nd                                                         S. Jamieson’s Team

3rd                                                          Marc Macdonald’s Team

Ladies                                                    Helen Brian’s Team

Best Visitors                                          John Macphee’s Team

Longest Drive (Ladies)                        Rosemary Macintyre

Longest Drive (Men)                             Liam Macdonald

Nearest The Pin-3rd Hole                     James Duncan

Nearest The Pin-6th Hole                    Marc Macdonald

Nearest The Pin-12th Hole                  S. Howden

Nearest The Pin-16th Hole                  George Brand



We are alerting all golfers to the return of the Rotary AMAM Golf Tournament on Sunday 29 May, postponed for two years because of Covid 19.  The format this year will be a “Three-Person Texas Scramble”.  

The entry fee for three person teams is £45 and bookings should be made directly with Fort William Golf Club.     

There will be various prizes and a raffle.

The event is being held thanks to generous support from local business particularly MOWI and John McLellan Funeral Directors.

(Don’t be confused by the bonnie photie above – we need THREE PERSON teams but just couldn’t resist re-running this shot of these four worthies from 2018!)


Although plans had been well in hand for the Christmas Craft & Food Producers’ Festival and Cairngorm Reindeer Parade scheduled for 27th November, Lochaber Rotary has decided to cancel the event this year.  

Traditionally, numbers attending have been high and while the Parade would be straightforward to manage, some elements within the Nevis Centre would ideally need fairly close contact to be successful.

Lochaber Rotary President Simon Hardiman said; “In the interest of community safety, we came to the conclusion that this still doesn’t seem to be the right time to be encouraging families to gather together.” 

Santa has been reported as being disappointed but relieved too because he would have had to stay quite distant from the children and said; “I would be quite sad if anyone caught Covid as a result of coming to see me”.



The Rotary Christmas Festival and Craft Fair towards the end of November has been a popular annual event in recent years.  Those who have attended previously will realise that a great deal of close interaction is involved but with the restrictions it quickly became clear that managing activities like Santa’s Grotto, queueing, cash handling and movement around the Nevis Centre would prove close to impossible.   While the reindeer could walk side by side (!) only Santa could ride in the sleigh and everyone else on the parade would need to keep their distance.   To ensure the safety of all the participants but with a heavy heart, the decision was taken to cancel the 2020 event.

But Rotary’s work had to continue and so we developed “Knitivity”!   This ambitious community project created a 13 feet / 4metre high Christmas tree made up of hand knitted and crocheted items that formed the decorative cladding to a steel frame fabricated by Macphersons Welding & Engineering Services.   The tree was on display in the lead up to Christmas. Organiser Sheana Fraser said, “It took a huge effort to cover the framework as the surface area was around 500 square feet and we needed around 1,000 items!” 

The community responded admirably and we had plenty hats, scarves, wrist-warmers, etc. and these will be donated to homeless charities, Alzheimer Scotland and local care homes.  A new word for some of us was “twiddle-muffs” which are knitted muffs with items attached such as buttons, ribbons and the like to keep dementia patients’ hands active and busy and are a source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation.  The Club’s traditional base, the Alexandra Hotel, also played its part by providing a prominent bin into which the knitters could tip their work.

All in all it was a great success and President Richard Baxter said, “While Covid 19 has given us plenty challenges there have been opportunities and scope for some fun too.  Thanks to the community for getting behind this imaginative idea!”  

Thanks are also due to Ferguson Transport and Shipping who continued their support of Lochaber Rotary by presenting a cheque for £500 and to the Highland Cinema for hosting the tree where their patrons enjoyed some seasonal colour.



The Rotary Club of Lochaber’s business lunch meeting on 31 October saw Club Secretary Geoff Heathcote’s last appearance at the Club after seven years of very active membership.  Originally from Chesterfield, Geoff and his wife Jenny arrived in Lochaber fourteen years ago to spend their retirement years in this idyllic west highland location – buying a house in the little township of Muirshearlich with its countryside location and panoramic views of the Ben .
However, Geoff, who was retiring after 35 years working in earth moving machinery and plant management, was soon managing the local branch of Crossroads Care before moving to run the Deaf Care Unit, a position that he held for 4 years.  Geoff joined the Lochaber Rotary Club in January 2012 (on Burns Night!) and quickly became the club secretary, a role at which he excelled – often described as the key post in an active and successful club.  Geoff’s wife Jenny has been unwell for some years and they are moving to be nearer to his son and daughter and their spouses who are keen to help them. They will live in the village of Kirk Langley in South Derbyshire and it is likely that Geoff will transfer to the nearby Rotary Club of Ashbourne. On behalf of the Club, President Iain Johnston presented Geoff with a framed and dedicated picture of Ben Nevis. Iain said “It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to our secretary of seven years. Jenny’s illness and pressure from his family have understandably made him decide to move down south”.  Geoff responded “It’s been a pleasure to be secretary and a member of the Rotary Club of Lochaber. It’s a sad day leaving the people and the projects associated with the Club. I am proud to have been a member of Rotary and we intend to return for occasional visits to Lochaber” Club members responded with warm applause before saying their one-to-one goodbyes to Geoff. Photos courtesy of Abrightside Photography


On Saturday 24 November, the Rotary Club of Lochaber, supported by principal sponsors Ferguson Transport and Shipping, laid on a pre-Christmas event packed with entertainment and activity as well as showcasing Lochaber’s wide range of quality crafts and food products on display in the Nevis Centre. Blessed with a bright clear November morning, Santa and his team of Cairngorm reindeer were the highlights of the all-day festival. Supported by little elves David Rodgers, nine, from Roybridge and Aine MacPhie, six, from Mallaig, and led by the Lochaber Pipe Band and the young cheerleaders the Ben Nevis Allstars, Santa’s sleigh paraded from Cameron Square to the Nevis Centre followed by hundreds of enthusiastic youngsters and their parents.

Aine and David, winners of the Lochaber Times’ Christmas Card message competition, then joined Santa in his Grotto to help hand out gifts and toys to well over 300 children over the ensuing three hours. The stallholders reported steady business peaking in the early afternoon when the hall was packed with visitors enjoying the vast array of craftwork merchandise and festive products much of it unique to Lochaber.  Also entertaining the crowds was non-stop music from Buskers’ Corner where seven acts, including the Great Glen Swing Band and the Lochaber Showstoppers, who performed live over the course of the day.
The Bouncy Castle, Santa’s Postbox and the Light Garden tearoom were also major attractions and the “6 Classic Malts” whisky raffle, won by retired teacher Gail Young from Banavie, raised over £1,000 for local charities.  Alasdair Ferguson, managing director of Ferguson Transport & Shipping, said “We were once again delighted to continue this year as main sponsor for the Rotary Club of Lochaber’s 11th Annual Christmas Festival. The event, as always, was a great success building on previous years’ successes. We were delighted to once again fund the cost of bringing the reindeer and sleigh to Fort William”.

Club President Iain Johnston, while emphasising that the festival is more about a community event than about raising money, thanked Ferguson Transport for their continued sponsorship and said “I would like to thank everyone who has made this such a successful day – the stallholders, the Nevis Centre staff, the Cairngorm reindeer company, fellow Rotarians and most of all the general public. Thanks again to everyone, and we hope to see you all back next year at our twelfth festival”.

Photos courtesy of Abrightside Photography