Exercise has been allowed during even the worst of the pandemic but not many people have taken advantage of the opportunity as fully as Rhona McPherson, who features on the cover of our Spring edition.

From her home in Charleston, Rhona has indulged her passion for wild swimming with regular dips in the Beauly Firth, whatever the weather. She tells us why.

There’s been more athleticism in and around Chanonry Point where Fortrose runner Michael Hoult completed a 50-mile ultramarathon on a triangular route which also included Rosemarkie. His impressive effort took only a little more than eight hours.

Lockdown has also been a productive time for another Fortrose resident, Julie Ann Mackay, who has taken over the former Harry Gow premises to launch her own business – Tweedy Pie. It’s opened with online sales; now she’s waiting for restrictions to be lifted so she can share her crafts and pies in person.

There must be something in the Fortrose air because another new business is up and running, and because it’s fully online the lockdown has been less of a problem. Loom + Linen is a joint venture by Lucy Vaughan and daughter Amy McIlhenny. Amy tells us all about the knitted goods, original cards and postcards, and other items to be found on their website.

Julie Rutter began business as Black Isle Yarns in 2016, inspired by local landscapes and seascapes. Now she’s published her first book, Perspectives, celebrating the outdoors and including some of her own knitting patterns.

Looking back, we learn the tragic love story of English woman Mary Brown and Avoch-born Donald Judge, told by Mary’s niece, Susan Connelly, who is seeking information on his Black Isle roots.

Highland bikers have been providing vital support to the NHS, led by Graham Allan of Mount Eagle. We discover all about the charity Highland and Island Blood Bikes.

And there’s much more inside the latest Chatterbox – out now, and still only £1.50.

Russell Turner

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