Highlands & Islands

Inverness Courier marking its 200th anniversary

A copy of the Inverness Courier from December 1817 Image copyright Inverness Courier
Image caption The Inverness Courier was first printed in 1817

A Scottish newspaper that reported the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster is marking its 200th anniversary.

The Inverness Courier was first printed in December 1817.

In 1933, the paper's Fort Augustus correspondent, Alec Campbell, reported a sighting by Aldie Mackay of what she believed to be Nessie.

Mr Campbell's report described a whale-like creature and the loch's water "cascading and churning".

The editor at the time, Evan Barron, suggested the beast be described as a "monster", kick starting the modern myth of the Loch Ness Monster.

'Remarkable milestone'

The Inverness Courier is printed twice a week, with news and features on people and events in Inverness and the surrounding area.

Over the years, the paper has reported on the opening of the Caledonian Canal in 1822 and the Kessock Bridge in 1982.

Gordon Fyfe, a reporter at the Courier in the 1970s, said the newspaper had become an institution in Inverness.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It has been 200 years of serving its community.

Image copyright Inverness Courier
Image caption The Courier covers news and events in Inverness and the surrounding area

"With 17,856 editions over 200 years, it is truly a remarkable milestone in the history of the newspaper, which has become an institution in the city."

Mr Fyfe, who started his journalistic career at the Courier as a 17-year-old in 1970, said what the paper did "extremely well" was champion community campaigns.

These campaigns have included raising more than £2m for a children's ward at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Looking back over the stories it has covered, Mr Fyfe said he was "tickled" by Mr Campbell's report of the Loch Ness Monster in 1933.

He said: "The kind of language used in the paper in those days was very lively, so the monster was "a creature disported itself itself rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale and the waters cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron."

The Courier's long-serving editors have included Eveline Barron, a member of the Barron family that had owned and edited the newspaper.

Mr Fyfe described Miss Barron as a "bold, fiery, very fearsome lady" who wrote "controversial, forthright" leaders for the paper.

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