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Village plays its part in Loch Ness, the movie

A SLEEPY West Highland village is being transformed by film-makers as they prepare to shoot the film Loch Ness starring Ted Danson.

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The tiny hamlet of Diabaig in Wester Ross now seems set to become as big a tourist attraction as the Aberdeenshire coastal village of Pennan after much of Local Hero was shot there.

But the west coast village, where it is expected that a large number of the scenes will be shot, is around 90 miles from Loch Ness itself.

Builders have been in Diabaig for the past three weeks. They have:

* Renovated nine properties on the shoreline;

* Re-opened the local school which had been shut for more than 40 years;

* Painted all the houses to make them look older;

* Painted fishing boats at the pier because the film-makers did not like their blue colour, and

* Extended a holiday cottage called Cadha na Hearba and turned it into a hotel.

The fictional hotel will be called the Moffat Arms and it is there that Danson, playing an American marine biologist trying to prove or disprove the existence of the monster, will meet a local hotelier played by Joely Richardson.

Diabaig's picturesque pier and view of scenic Loch Diabaig, which runs off Loch Torridon, is considered by Working Title, the production company, to look more romantic than Loch Ness itself.

Mr Sandy Mackenzie, 62, a retired council roadman of Lower Diabaig, said: ''I think this will put us on the map once and for all. The whole community is buzzing about this.''

He added: ''The workers are not putting us out too much and most of us are just very excited.''

Mr Willie Ross, a retired joiner of Ben Bhraggie, Diabaig, said: ''It is great publicity for the place. I hope people will come flocking to the place when they see the film.''

He added: ''I have been told that a boat will be arriving with 15 divers and that they will be supposedly looking for the monster in the movie right here and not in Loch Ness.''

It is thought that there will be an influx of about 80 actors, film crews and back-up people who will live in chalets and holiday homes near Diabaig.

Filming is expected to start on September 24 and will last for a fortnight.

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