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What we learned this week about drug rooms, Cody’s heroics, Scotland’s pain and Belmont revival

There was a rare show of consensus between Holyrood and Westminster while hopes were reignited for an Aberdeen institution.

Drug consumption room
A drugs consumption room. Image: PA

It’s not a common occurrence, but there was general agreement among politicians at Holyrood and Westminster when Scotland’s top prosecutor gave the green light to trials of drug consumption rooms.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, who heads the prosecution service, confirmed she would advise police it would “not be in the public interest to prosecute users” for possessing drugs in these facilities, with a pilot project scheduled for Glasgow.

The Scottish secretary Alister Jack said later that Westminster would not intervene, but added there were no plans to devolve drugs laws to Holyrood.

Cody’s remarkable climbing job

A seven-year-old boy from America successfully climbed the Old Man of Hoy, the formidable natural structure situated off the coast of Orkney.

Cody Weishaar scaled the 449-ft sea stack with his father and three of his friends after his family moved to Ayrshire from Missouri and explored different climbing routes.

The youngster said: “This bird [a fulmar] had a really good aim and it spat on my face, right on my cheek. At least, he didn’t poop on me.”

Bernard Looney resigns

BP’s chief executive Bernard Looney caused shock by quitting.

BP’s chief executive, Bernard Looney, dramatically resigned after an investigation into his “conduct in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues”.

The oil giant said the board received allegations from an anonymous source in May 2022, which was followed by Mr Looney disclosing “a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO”.

Chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss has stepped in as interim chief executive.

All pain, no gain for Scotland

Hype surrounded the build-up to the 150th anniversary celebration of the first football match between Scotland and England. But, despite a packed Hampden Park and fans giving the national anthem laldy, the meeting between the sides ended in anti-climax.

English star Jude Bellingham led his rivals a merry dance – just as Jim Baxter had done at Wembley in 1967 – and Gareth Southgate’s men eased to a 1-3 victory.

Manager Steve Clarke admitted his opponents had been the better team. Still, it was only a friendly and his focus is on qualifying for next year’s European Championship.

Renewed hope for the Belmont

There are hopes the Belmont Filmhouse could reopen its doors. Pic: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

A group of film fans and business brains who share a common passion for celluloid have been announced as the preferred operator of a revived Belmont Cinema.

Almost a year on from its closure, confidential talks took place about the Aberdeen institution at a council meeting and the local authority has decided to place the future of the venue in the hands of the recently formed Belmont Community Cinema Ltd.

They said later that they intend to run it as an independent, not-for-profit enterprise.

Another group with lofty plans

Staying on a positive theme, Scotland’s only indoor ice climbing facility, The Ice Factor in Kinlochleven, is expected to re-open in the coming months.

The venue shut earlier this year amid a dispute over unpaid rent, but Kinlochleven Community Trust, which owns the building, has now named Fort William-based Three Wise Monkeys Climbing as the preferred bidder for the lease.

At least it’s good to see some things on the up.

King Charles visits Tomintoul

King Charles visited Tomintoul in the Highlands this week. Pic: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Excited crowds lined the square in Tomintoul to welcome King Charles on a rare royal visit to the tiny Cairngorm community. The monarch was in Tomintoul to tour the refurbished Tomintoul and Glenlivet Discovery Centre and visit an affordable housing development aimed at sustaining the rural community.

Tomintoul Primary School children took a break from lessons to line the street outside their classrooms to wave flags while wearing paper crowns they made themselves.

Ferry choppy water ahead this winter

CalMac warned it faces challenges across its west coast network this winter and added its timetable was one of the most complex the company has ever had to produce.

The ferry operator said contributory factors to its problems included the continued absence of its ferry MV Hebridean Isles, and planned closures of ports at Uig in Skye and Port Ellen in Islay for work.

So it looks as if it’s Groundhog Day – and weeks and months – for islanders.

Merry dancers lift the mood

Northern Lights captured by Wendy Sutherland.
The Northern Lights danced over Scotland’s sky last week. Image: Wendy Sutherland.

Many people across the north and north-east had their spirits lifted after the Aurora Borealis put on a dazzling autumnal show.

Beautiful bright hues of green and purple were seen in Buckie, Rosehearty, Lossiemouth and Peterhead and further north in the Western Isles.

The Met Office has said there could be further shows in the weeks ahead.

Population rises, but not by much

The delayed 2022 census showed that Scotland’s population has risen to 5,436,600 – the highest figure ever recorded.

But it increased by just 141,200 since 2011 – a sluggish level of growth and one of the slowest rates across the whole of the UK.

More than one million people are aged 65 and over – a 22.5% rise. No wonder politicians spend so much time chasing the so-called “grey” vote.