News Archive - August 2002

Last Two Days To Win A Print Over At Caithness Art
2 Limited Edition Prints titled 'Paradise Below the Waves' and 'The Big Leap' are on offer if you are lucky in this free competition by Caithness artist Richard Arrowsmith  When this competition finishes there will be a new one started for September.  This time it will be for a Limited Edition Prints of 'The Stag' and 'Highland Cow' paintings.  July's competition winner was Raymond Sinclair, living in France, who won a Thurso & Wick print.  The competition is FREE and takes only seconds to enter your details.

Thrumster Primary One 2002
The school at Thrumster has four new pupils this year.  Unfortunately the only new girl was absent.  But we will be back to take another picture when everyone is there.

Staff Reductions May Affect Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise (CASE)
More of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network's budget is to be spent on front-line activities and less on back-office administration, under new plans just announced by the development agency.
A drive towards greater efficiency, begun last year by chief executive Sandy Cumming, will see overall staffing levels across the network reduced from the present 660 to 560 by the end of December 2003.

New Rights For Scotland's Carers
New legal rights to ensure the many thousands of unpaid carers get the help and support they need come into force on Sunday 1 September 2002.  Amongst other rights carers will be entitled to an assessment whenever they want, regardless of whether the cared for person is being assessed.  Young carers under 16 will also have similar rights for the first time.

New Initiatives Launched On Drugs and Crime Among Young People in Highland
The Deputy Minister for Justice, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, was in Inverness earlier today (Friday 30 August) to launch new services aimed at tackling youth crime and substance misuse in the Highlands..

Where Have All The Flowers Gone - Celia More Retires From The Flower Shop, Wick
Celia More is retiring from The Flower Shop business in Wick she started in 25 years ago.  Saturday will be her last day getting the flowers out for all sorts of occasions before she hands the business over to its new owner Jane Miller.  From last years Wick High Reunion Celia also appears in a 1962 North School Photo.  Happy Retirement Celia.

Bexley Terrace, Wick
Bexley Terrace in Wick sits above the old lifeboat station and over looks the sea out past the harbour.

Harbour Road, Wick
Harbour Road sits just below Bexley Terrace and runs from the harbour to Bexley Terrace and North Murchison Street

UKAEA Donates Redundant Computers To Local Groups
UKAEA Dounreay has donated eleven redundant PCs to the following local organisations and charities; Wick Academy Development Trust, Caithness Voluntary Group, Highland Pre-school Services, Thomas Barnardo House, Wick Town Improvements, Alzheimer Scotland, Caithness Deaf Care, Halkirk Youth Club, People First Caithness, Playden Nursery and Castletown Youth Club.

North Murchison Street, Wick
North Murchison Street leads towards the sea and also has the Highland council run care home Pulteney House situated near the end of the street.

A Jubliee Display Bed in Wick
For those of you not living in Wick we thought you might like a look at one of the flower beds that have been on display over the summer months in Wick.  Each year one or two of the displays are made up fro an anniversary or to mark a special occasion.  This year it was the Queen's Golden Jubilee for this particular flower bed on the slopes just past the Old Parish church.

History Of Caithness
Appendix 2 - Memoranda Connected With Public Roads In The County Of Caithness
Ever wondered how the Causewaymire road to Thurso or the Wick Bridge was ever built then here is your answer.  The financial arrangements to build 137 miles of road in the county came into being and no longer would labour be called out from the local inhabitants but wages would be paid albeit based on land valuations to cottagers and inhabitants of towns

Murchison Street, Wick

Give Blood In Wick 17 September - Mark Your Calendar Now
Also in Thurso in October - check our Health & Welfare Page if you forget the dates.

Miller Academy Primary 2 - 1968
Hey Thurso High 1974 Reunion folk.  Just when you thought it was all over the pictures keep coming.  Derek Townsend sends this one of his Miller Academy Class from 1968.   If you have not seen the reunion pictures yet Click Here

Huddart Street - Next Up For New Gallery
A bright sunny afternoon in Wick - well some of the time.  Just managed to catch this part of Huddart Street with the blue sky over head.

Ducks And Geese Are Still A Common Site Around Caithness
This small pond was certainly being appreciated by the ducks and geese near Old Wick.  Click through to see where they live and couple of views nearby.

Ardersier Yard Closes
J Ray McDermott's oil fabrication activity has finally come to a close at the Ardersier yard marking the end of an era.   Many folk from Caithness have worked there. There has been almost 30 years of activity at the site, near Nairn, which is owned and operated by J. Ray McDermott S.A. At its peak, there were over 3,000 staff employed at Ardersier constructing offshore platforms for the oil industry.

Smith Terrace - New Picture And Gallery Set Up
A new picture added to Smith Terrace and a new gallery set up.  As we add new pictures to the streets we are reorganising the pictures into the new gallery set up for easier viewing.  This building has had many occupants over the years and was for some time a Coop shop. 

ORKNEY ENTERPRISE Appoints Youngest Ever Director Amongst New Appointments
Three new directors with a wealth of business, tourism and service sector experience have been appointed to sit on the board of Orkney Enterprise.  The youngest ever director of the company Craig Spence at age 25 is a director in a family hotel business.

Motorists are being advised of temporary road closures of the U305 road at Helmsdale which will take place on two consecutive weekends next month to allow RailTrack to modernise the rail level crossing at Marrel.  These closures will take place between 7.30 pm on Saturday 7th September and 12.30 pm on Sunday 8th September and between 7.30 pm on Saturday 14th September and 12.30 pm on Sunday 15th September - all over a length of approximately 50 metres centred on the level crossing.

Group See Ormlie Play Area Started As Equipment Moves In
All eyes will be on Pentland Construction Ltd who has won the contract to provide the first class facility for Thurso. Jupiter Play and Leisure Ltd will supply the equipment and the Highland Council Street Lighting service will provide innovative lighting throughout the park area.

Missing Hempriggs Man Found At Charity Farm And Taken To Hospital In Wick
Alex Cowie, 73 was reported missing last night from Hempriggs House  - a home for the elderly near Wick.  He was spotted by a member of the public this morning and subsequently found by Highland council Bin Men at 8.38am after a member of the public reported a man fitting the description issued by police having been seen in the Charity Farm area about 8.00am.  Rescue services including RAF Helicopter from Lossiemouth, Assynt Mountain Rescue, Wick Lifeboat, Police dogs and the Coastguard carried out searches last night and this morning before he was located and subsequently taken to Caithness General Hospital where he was said to be in good condition but being kept in meantime.

John Badbea - The Lost Letters
John "Badbea" Sutherland written of recently by Joy Corley in her short history of Badbea on has suddenly found a voice of his own with the surprising acquisition recently of a transcript of some of his letters by the Clan Sinclair Study Centre at Noss Head.  The centre has kindly given us permission to publish the letters and thanks to Robert Richmond who has prepared them for the web site.  They make a fascinating addition to join the History of Badbea where the children were once tethered to prevent them falling over the cliffs.........

Sinclair Connections Latest Pillarguri Festival - Norway
What's that got do with Caithness we hear you say.  Well if you have a Sinclair connection or are just interested in Caithness history hop through and take look at how the Norwegian Caithness connection is alive and well despite the circumstances of the past.  Pillarguri Festival, which remembers the Colonel George Sinclair of Stirkoke and his Caithness Scots Adventure in Norway in 1612.  A selection of photos on the Sinclair's Club web site linked in the section.

Castletown Senior Citizen's Jubilee Outing
Over 60 senior citizens from Castletown enjoyed a day out to the Castle of Mey and John O'Groats as part of the village's Jubilee celebrations.  A three-course meal was later served up at the Drill Hall and entertainment was laid on for the evening. A great day out was had by everyone - the volunteers enjoying themselves as much as the guests!  Main Queen's Jubilee In Caithness Index

Jamie Stone, MSP Sees For Himself Front Line Work At Dounreay's New Facilities
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MSP Jamie Stone gets a close look at a nuclear fuel element being built in the D1202 fuel fabrication plant at Dounreay. Plant manager John Gibson was on hand to describe how staff skilled in the manufacture of nuclear fuel are turning uranium and aluminium metals into fuel elements that can be irradiated in research reactors for medical and industrial purposes.

Orkney Science Festival Starts On Friday
The 12th Festival gets under way on Friday of this week (30th August) with an eight-day programme packed with activities, with participants from all over the UK as well as from overseas. International contributors come from Australia, Zimbabwe, Slovenia and Denmark. If you happen to be in Orkney between 30 August and 6 September you might be interested in the packed programme of events covering a wide range of topics.  Tours, talks and all sorts of things for all age groups.  Its another packed programme this year across the water, just a short ferry trip.

Caithness Patients Council  - Minutes From June Meeting
Various matters discussed and reported including an update on progress towards a new Renal Unit at the hospital in Wick scheduled to be ready in January 2003.  Waiting times were reported to have dropped following an initiative.  Integrated clinics for diabetes patients were discussed to see if  Physician, Chiropodist, Dietician and Diabetic Nurse could be available at the same time to prevent a round of different appointments.  A range of other matters are minuted.

Caithness Deaf Care - Latest Updates

Funding For Better Behaviour In Schools
Every local authority across Scotland is to benefit from a share of an additional £10m to tackle the problem of indiscipline in schools, it was announced today.  Highland gets £457,374 as its share towards the new initiative.

Watten School - All The Pupils
And yes it was a great day in Caithness as you can see from this picture of the kids at Watten Primary school with the hay bales in the fields and end of Loch Watten in the background

History Of Caithness Appendix 1 - The Ancient State Of Husbandry
Here is the first of several sets of notes in the Appendix.  It sets out the rich variety of produce available in the county and state of the common people with comparisons to slavery in America and the West Indies.   The notes concentrate mainly on the second half of the eighteenth century and there is little doubt that Caithness was viewed as a rich agricultural area with additional resources from the sea.

Watten Primary One & South School, Wick Primary One

Ken Butler's "Plants In Late Summer" In Caithness
Ken butler continues his series on what you may see growing in Caithness around this time of year.  All of the plants mentioned are being added to a handy plant list.  This can also be found via the Nature and Environment pages.

More Thurso Bay Raft Race Pictures
Raft Race Story

Thurso High 1974 Reunion Pictures From The Weigh Inn Thurso

Caithness.Org Goes To Strathy

The Road Begins To Twist And Turn

Strathy Point - The Lighthouse, The Caves, The Coast, The Beaches

Pick A View At Strathy And Find More Round Every Bend

Well Worth A Trip To Strathy

Thurso Bay Raft Race
A large crowd gathered at Thurso beach to witness the annual Thurso Bay Raft Race organised by the North Coast Branch of the Coastguard Association.  First across the finish line at Scrabster beach was ‘Final Fling 2’ crewed by members from Rolls Royce Vulcan stores in a time of 23 minutes 29 seconds.  Second was ‘Wick Fire Brigade’ in a time of 24 minutes 13 seconds.  Third was ‘Out of Control’ crewed by members from Johnson Controls in a time of 25 minutes 58 seconds.

History Of Caithness - Chapter 15 - Richard Oswald And The Oswald Family
This is the final part of Chapter 15.  This is the last chapter in the book but unlike modern books it is a long way from the end of the information.  starting soon we will bring the Appendix, Postscripts and notes which are really a series of essays on different aspects of Caithness and every bit as interesting as the main body of the book.  In fact they make up well over one third of the total pages.   So a long way to go yet.

A Walk Round Thurso Cemetery

Bower School's New Primary One Class
Caithness has several small village schools and Bower school is one of them.

£200,000 Play Facilities  - construction about to start.  After four long years of campaigning, consulting and seeking funding, Ormlie Community Association in Thurso can now see their efforts coming to fruition with the construction of the new community play area.  Ormlie Community Association was reformed in 1997 to specifically address the inadequate and dangerous condition of the play areas and the problem of speeding cars within the estate.  From these early beginnings a huge regeneration project has been implemented with a community office, staff and partner agencies all working closely to address the issues.

Wick Girls Group Autumn Programme
The latest activities planned for coming months.

New Primary One Classes At Hillhead And North Schools

Another Successful Charity Walk For Group Of Friends In Their Fourth Year
Sheena Nicolson, Clyth has been organising a walk for her friends for several years and this year was no exception.  They all had a very enjoyable sponsored walk round the Horseshoe at Harpsdale (nearly 10 miles) and raised £1600 to be split between Macmillan Nurses (Caithness) and the new Oncology unit at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.   The group have raised nearly £7000 since they began their walks.

Ross Finnie Hits The Button For 10,000 Drum At Supercompactor
Scotland’s Minister for Environment and Rural Development today consigned the 10,000th drum of low-level radioactive waste from the site restoration of Dounreay through a new £6 million treatment plant at the site.   The milestone was reached when Ross Finnie pressed the button on a 2000-tonne supercompactor that crushes drums of waste to a fifth of their size after they have gone through a series of quality control checks.

Biodiversity Week In Caithness
30 August - 8 September 2002 - The Ranger Service are running a series of events.  They include Seawatch, Bats, Fungi and Food - check the programme for full details. 
Biodiversity Main Page - - Ranger Pages - - Nature & Environment Pages

Meetings On Health Services In Caithness
The Assembly Rooms in Wick on Wednesday 4th September and will be repeated at The Town Hall in Thurso on Thursday 5th September from 9:45am to 3:30pm.  the days will see presentations by various Health Service staff and everyone will have the chance to say what they want to see in the health service.   The Health Council wants to try to give everyone an equal opportunity to have his or her voice heard and is running this series of meetings under the banner "Caithness Voices".

Skirza To Duncansby - A Coastal Walk
The Skirza to Duncansby part of the Caithness coast is a great walk.  These pictures were from one we went on in April when the seabirds were nesting in their tens of thousands. Spectacular cliffs, stacks  - and even one stack surrounded by cliffs making a very unusual feature so large it would barely get into a picture as we could not stand far enough back.  There is a gloup, a broch, a quarry and much more to see along the way.  Many wild flowers bloom along the clifftops. Finally the walk comes out at the familiar stacks of Duncansby but from the side that many folk never see as most folk drive to the Duncansby Lighthouse and make the short walk to Seabird City and the Stacks.  Going from Skirza gives a very different viewpoint

The Accidental Death of an Accordionist
Lyth Arts Centre brings back the Highland Theatre Collective to Latheron and Lyth Halls on 28 and 29 August.  The same group that preformed "The Wedding" recently.  This one has murder, mystery, comedy and live music.

Local Hotelier Pat Buchanan Becomes Director of Highland 2008 At Skye Meeting
Pat Buchanan who with her husband run the Dunbeath hotel and who is already on the board of Visit Scotland has become a director of Highland 2008 the group bidding for the Euro Soccer event in 2008. The meeting  was held in Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Sleat, Skye, hosted by the Inverness Highland 2008 bid team.  Skye and Lochalsh is set to play a prominent role in promoting cultural connections with Ireland should Inverness Highland become the Capital of Culture in 2008.

Llamas In Harris, Outer Hebrides
Trevor and Pippa Gibbs of Drinishader have imported the first two of a number of llamas that they intend to train as a llama trekking team.  In a first for the Hebrides, visitors from around the world and locals alike will be able to experience the company of these quiet, elegant and gentle animals and encounter the unique Harris scenery at the same time. Llamas are already in  Caithness at Kings Park Bed & Breakfast

Sutherland Brothers, Wick - Hi-tech Programme Moving Forward
Colin Sangster has just returned from the Landmark conference in Berlin, Germany where he was asked to inform delegates about changes in working practices at Sutherland Brothers Ltd and how the future of the company is being shaped around e-commerce.  Sutherland Brothers Ltd has made a major change over to using the internet and telesales ordering integrated with existing fax and email facilities, providing customer relationship management facilities to the telesales operators.

Caithness Apprentices Back From Tall Ships Trip
Two young Caithness men are getting used to life on land again after a 10-day adventure on the high seas.  Fresh from their passage from Dundee to Denmark and back to Aberdeen, Jamie Mackay and David Kelly both say they thoroughly enjoyed their time on board the tall ship, Prince William as part of Tall Ships Adventures 2002. The pair, both Modern Apprentices employed by Alstec and Rolls Royce respectively, were fortunate enough to secure the two places on board the Prince William funded by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).

St Andrews Drive, Thurso
This street in Thurso is laid out with grassed pathways and a number of courts for rear entrance and car parking including Green Court, Braemore Place, Langwell Court and Tormsdale Place.   From one side and several parts of this area there are great views Over Thurso we published earlier.

George - A Stroll In August
Perhaps it should be "Stroll - Walk - Lie Down" In August as George generally takes it at a fairly easy pace round the garden.

History Of Caithness - Chapter 15 - John Finlaison
Another of the once famous folk from Caithness.  John Finlaison born in Thurso on 27 August 1783 had one of the sharpest calculating minds of his day and eventually worked for the UK government for nearly 50 years as accountant and actuary and created many of the systems for controlling government finances and was consulted by many of the politicians and chancellors of his day.
Coming next .....  - Richard Oswald and the Oswald Family

Caithness Business Web Sites
189 Caithness Business web sites are currently listed in the Business Pages.  We are currently working on several new ones.  But if you have a business web site located in Caithness then make sure you  have it listed in the business section.  Get it listed and get it seen - Listing is FREE.

Pulteneytown Peoples Project
The recently formed group are very busy on several fronts - The Construction Industry Training board (CITB) and the College are offering to work in partnership with the group to assist a team of 5-8 women achieve an award from the CITB.  It is to help women get employment in the building industry.  If anyone is interested or wants to know, they can contact Koreen MacDougall on 602216 who is spearheading this project on behalf of Pulteney Project. A bus trip for any resident who is over 50.  It will be on Wednesday 4rth September and will go to the Castle of Mey, Laidhay for light lunch, Dunbeath Heritage Centre and finally the Clan Gunn Centre.  See page for details.  The land behind the distillery has been cleared by Calum Miller and is to be reseeded.  Calum Miller has carried out the work to help the community project.

Halkirk Football Tournament Pictures
East End won all age groups except U7. Teams competing included Canisbay, Lybster, Castletown, Thurso Swifts, Thurso Youth Club.

Waybaggers Walk To Sandwood Bay

Four New Highland Schools Open
Four new Highland schools – built at a cost of £17 million as part of the first Education Public Private Partnership project - will open this week when 32,800 pupils in Highland return to school after their summer break.  Ardnamurchan High School, Strontian, will open tomorrow (Tuesday). On Wednesday, Spean Bridge Primary and Strathdearn Primary, Tomatin, will welcome their first pupils, and on Thursday, Glen Urquhart High School opens its doors.

Post Office Launches Appeal For New Postmaster In Dunnet
The Post Office is launching an appeal for a local person to come forward and provide a Post Office service to the community of Dunnet.  The Post Office is looking to find a new subpostmaster or subpostmistress who would be able to spare 12 hours per week, on days to suite him or her, to help to keep the Post Office service in the village.   Applications for this role should be received no later than Monday 26 August.

St Fergus Masonic Lodge
Masonic Lodges have been in Caithness for a very long time.  Here is a short history of the St Fergus Lodge in Wick

2002 Marymas Angling Competition - St John's Loch
The recent annual Marymas Competition  fished on St John's Loch saw 6 anglers participate and a sum amounting to £80.00 was raised and donated to the Britannia Hall Committee. Fishing was difficult as the loch has been affected by an Algae bloom and unusually heavy weed growth this year. A number of good fish were seen but these proved difficult to tempt to the fly. Only five anglers each returned one fish at the weigh-in.  Les Jones picked up the trophy with 1 for 1lb 11ozs.

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 85 - 94
There was plenty of action for the kids at the races and dogs featured in the dog show, pet show and the dog races.

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 73 - 84
The popular dog races have been commentated on for 16 years by John Sutherland.

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 61 - 72

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 49 - 60
Cooking Demonstration from Le Bistro Restaurant.  

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 37 - 48
Scarecrow competition

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 25 - 36
Floral, baking and other competitions

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 13 - 24
Children's competitions

Bower Show & Gala Pictures 1- 12
Floral and Plant competitions

Reunion Updates
Thurso High 1974  - last updated list shows 216 folk are heading for the reunion next Saturday 24 august in the Weigh Inn, Thurso.  Meantime planning for the 1966 Wick High Reunion in 2004 is already well ahead and looks like it could well be the biggest reunion yet in Caithness with folk already indicating they are going to be in town for that one at the Waterfront.

Wick High - Commercial class 1955 - 56 4th Year
The result of a recent reunion by this commercial class is a run of pictures of various schools that we are now bringing to the site.  Some have a few gaps in the names lists so if you know any send them in.  This one is complete.

Guides At Castle of Mey Kept Busy
The guides at Castle of Mey have been kept busy in the first few days of the castle opening.  Hundreds of people have already been to see the castle since it opened on Wednesday for the first time.   Accommodation in the area has been very busy.  300 people are estimated to have entered the castle in the very first hour of opening.  The possibility that it will go on the schedules of cruise liners is becoming a possibility as the new pier at Scrabster progresses with its capability of taking very large ships in the new deep water anchorage it provides.  Already it looks as if the castle is guaranteed to be the county's number one attraction for a number of years to come. 

Caithness Riders Access Group Gets Going
The recently formed group, Caithness Riders Access Group (CRAG), met with Forest Enterprise and the Highland Council on 12th August at Latheron Hall to discuss potential routes for off road riding.   Various areas in the county were identified as possibilities for creating a network of paths and bridleways for use by walkers, cyclists and horses, which is the main aim of the group.  The meeting was well attended and preliminary investigations are now taking place as to potential routes, some of which may already exist for walkers, but may not currently be suitable for horses.

Killimster School About 1948
This picture has all the names attached so it should be easy to spot folk you know.

More Free Online Training Courses
The latest selection includes short courses on - Population, Food and the Environment - Does Business Impact Peace?  - On the Edge of Extinction  -The North Atlantic right whale is on the edge of extinction. How Do Flowers Know When to Bloom?   Also a selection of new Music courses.

Further Up Thurso River - A New Gallery

History Of Caithness - James Bremner - Civil Engineer
In chapter fifteen we find information on one of the great engineers of his day who was born and lived in Caithness and was consulted on many matters from all over the UK.  James Bremner, the most remarkable man for mechanical ingenuity which the north perhaps ever produced, was born at Keiss, near Wick, on the 25th September, 1784.

£2.5 Million Funding For North Highland Rural Communities
Communities in the North Highlands will benefit from a rural development programme that has secured some £2.5 Million pounds of European funding. The Programme is part of the Leader + initiative which was announced today by Peter Peacock MSP, Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services.

Castle Of Mey Open To The Public
Her late Majesty the Queen Mother left the castle to a trust to ensure it was preserved for the area.  It was her residence in the north of Scotland where she came each year for a few weeks.   From August 14th to 6th October 2002, the Castle will be open at the following times - Tuesdays - Saturdays 11am - 5pm : Sundays 2-5pm : Mondays closed.

£2.6 Million Decommissioning Facility Officially Opened Near Thurso
JGC Engineering and Technical Services, that is playing a key role in the decommissioning of Dounreay's two fast breeder reactors had their new facility at Janetstown opened by Energy Minister Brian Wilson.

Another £30 million Alliance Announced By Brian Wilson Energy Minister
A new partnership will create 50 new jobs at Dounreay.  This latest £30 Million contract follows another announcement for the same amount of £30 million in February this year.  Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced the DFR Breeder Fuel Alliance while officially opening an off-site liquid metals test facility near Thurso.

Extra £4,277,000 For Highland Council
An additional spending allocation of £4,277,000 - approved by the Scottish Executive to be spent on important community issues - has been welcomed by The Highland Council Convener Councillor David Green.

Baligill, Sutherland
Baligill lies between Strathy and Melvich just off the a836 road on the north coast of Sutherland.  It sits between two bays and at the coast there are great views of Strathy Point to the west.

Melvich, Sutherland
Melvich sits above the mouth of the Halladale river that flows into Melvich Bay.  Sandy beaches with terrific coastal views east to Caithness and on west to Strathy Point.

Portskerra, Sutherland
Here is the first of some new sections on Sutherland.  Portskerra has a beautiful little inlet where small creel boats anchor in summer time.  At other times the sea comes spectacularly crashing in.  Portskerra is on the coast at Melvich.

Halkirk's Golden Jubilee Garden Competition Results Announced
One of the events organised by the committee responsible for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in Halkirk was a garden competition which was open to anyone residing in the Parish of Halkirk.

Clan Sinclair Trust Ready To Start Conservation Plan for Castles
The Clan Sinclair Trust takes another major step forward. After about eighteen months of negotiation the documentation has now been signed by Heritage Lottery Fund and work on the Conservation Plan will begin on 19th August. This in turn will release funding from Historic Scotland, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and Highland Council.

Orkney Youngsters Back From Tall Ship Trip
Orkney youngsters are getting used to life on shore once again after a 10-day voyage aboard the tall ship Prince William.   Fresh from their passage from Dundee to Denmark - before the return leg across the North Sea to Aberdeen - all agree that they have enjoyed the adventure of a lifetime.  Orkney Enterprise decided to offer four places on a youth voyage operated by the Sail Training Association as a way to boost the personal development and team working abilities of Skillseekers

History Of Caithness - Chapter Fifteen - James Traill (1758 - 1843)
We now come to James Traill famous for his improvements in the county and especially his setting up of the flagstone quarries and works at Castlehill

An ambitious project is set to bring the Western Isles' rich history back to life. `Hebridean Connections - People and Place' project is a joint initiative aimed at making the area's diverse cultural and historical past available to everyone, everywhere.

The Salmon Pool, Thurso River On A Warm Afternoon
It was one of those days that could have been from a book or film on Monday.  School Holidays with young folk and dogs playing in and around the salmon pool on the Thurso River.  A warm afternoon - dogs loved the cold water as did the boys on the old inner tube.  Recent path improvements have made it easy to walk or cycle through the park to the salmon pool from the centre of town.

Looking Over Thurso From St Andrews Drive

New Services For Pensioners From The Pension Service
A phased programme, starting in Autumn 2002, will mean that claims and enquiries relating to Retirement Pensions and Minimum Income Guarantee will be dealt with at a new centre in Motherwell.  Pensioners will be able to contact the pension centre by dialling an 0845 telephone number.   An information web site is available as part of the new streamlined services being introduced.

Towards A Fully Literate Highlands
Recent research shows that one in five people in Scotland have still to fully develop their literacy skills, according to Mary Rhind, Co-ordinator of a new Highland initiative which supports the teaching of basic numeracy and literacy skills to adults.   New Grants available.

Have You Tried Selling A Car On Caithness.Org? - It's Easy and Its FREE
A Porsche and other Cars, Computer Games, Computers, Videos, Brand New TV, Mobile Phones, Free Firewood, Bricks, Photographic Equipment, Bird Cage, Piglets, Furniture.  Just some of the items passing through our FREE Items for sale column in the last couple of weeks.   Go on empty the attic or garage.  Your unwanted items could be in your wallet or bank account earning interest.

After The Mey Games Some Pre Marriage Rituals
After the Mey Games the fun continued with Dave Kennedy (a member in the Mey tug o' war team) from Tressdale getting his ritual send off from his team members before marrying Lyn Durrand a week on Friday.

Two incidents of bogus workmen have been reported to Lochaber Police.  Both incidents occurred in the village of Kinlochleven and involved two men calling at houses in the village. In each case the men purported to being from the Water Board.

Brenda Lees, Archivist Gets Ready To Leave Caithness for Wales
Brenda Lees an archivist at North Highland Archive is seen here at a night out in the Nethercliff Hotel, Wick where she received several parting gifts from friends and volunteers to remind her of her few years in Caithness.  Brenda is leaving to take up a new job in Wales near the area where she used to live. 

History Of Caithness Chapter 15 Begins
Chapter 15 deals with some of the famous lay people of Caithness.  We begin with Sir John Sinclair (1754 - 1835) famous for his agricultural improvement schemes,  his  "Code of Agriculture" and "Statistical Account of Scotland".  In 1793 his ideas on the economy shone through when he took instant action to relieve the lack of finance  of merchants by speeding up credit facilities in various places and so averting a general collapse increasing an already bad situation.  His reputation is still huge in many places and he is probably less well known now in the county of his birth.

OK Kids - "Bored" " Nothing To Do" - Check The What's On Today
Time is running out and it will soon be "Back To School"   Check out the rest of the week in the monthly What's On.  Plenty of activities left to try out.  Then you can think about taking the sport or activity up later.  You won't know if you enjoy it if you never try it.

Prince Charles At Canisbay Church On Sunday

Bettyhill Pipe Band Opened Mey Games

Mey Games 13 - 24

Big Crowds See Prince Charles At Games To Commemorate Queen Mother

Mey Games Pictures 37 - 48

Prince Charles And Friends See Queen Mother's Games

Cheers For Castle Of Mey Tug-O-War Team

Prince Charles Starts Tug-O-War

Castle Of Mey Team Wins Tug Of War

Valerie Carr In Wick To Launch Her New Book "Green"
Valerie Carr was back in Caithness to launch her new book GREEN.  The book was initially started for her children and grew into a volume of her memories of her childhood remembering Caithness in the 1950's and 60's.  It describes life for a young person growing up in the countryside and living in Caithness with a love of animals and gathering of many pets.  An enjoyable read that will have folk recalling similar episodes from many parts of Scotland and elsewhere.

History Of the Clan Gunn - Part Two
Robert Gunn's "History of the Clan Gunn" describes some of the conflicts following the suicide of Helen "The Beauty of Braemore"  - The Conflict of Blar-Tannie (Tannach Moor),  Battle of Dirlot,
Battle of Allt Nan Gamhna - also known as St. Tears

Bower Mini Show & Gala Programme
14 August - 18 August - Main day Saturday 17 August for all the competitions and local fun.  See last years pictures

West Highland Way Walkers Raise £610 For Highland Hospice
Two Caithness ladies walked the 98.4 miles of the West Highland Way to raise £610 for the Highland Hospice.  Jan Banks (right) and Margaret Sutherland (middle) handed over a cheque to Joanna Geddes manager of the hospice shops in Caithness for the Hospice
Highland Hospice Page

Kite Buggy Course - Two Places Left On Sunday 11 August
Contact  course 1.00pm - 6.00pm - At Dunnet Breach.  Weather Dependent.  Course Fee £40

Caithness Kids Get Water Rescue and Swimming Certificates
Wick Swimming Pool was the place toady as the kids involved in learning emergency and rescue skills in the water got their certificates after completing the last day of the short course.   There have been plenty of activities for young folk this year organised at the swimming pools in Wick and Thurso in addition to a range of other sports and fun activities.  There are still a few days of activities to try - Check it Out

Why Not check Out Your Local Pool
Both Wick and Thurso Swimming Pools have modern up to date facilities with fitness suites.  Here we have pictures of the Wick pool and equipment.  We will add Thurso pictures later.

Scrabster Pier Development - Latest Pictures

More Viking Pictures From Thurso Gala

Oxana Trader At Wick Harbour
The Oxana Trader was in Wick harbour delivering a cargo of salt.  not the type for the dinner table but the scatter on the icy roads variety.  With so much of the stuff being put on the roads does anyone ever ask what amount of pollution is being caused by this practice and is there another way....

Caithness Field Club - Programme Of Activities 2002 - 2003
If you wanted to learn about Caithness, get out in the fresh air on walks and sit in on winter talks then this is a group to think about joining.  Everything is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere and whether you just want to go out for a stroll or find out more in depth about local treasures in archaeology or visit some out of the way places you will find that the Field Club caters for everyone.  With a £5 a year membership that includes an annual Bulletin of articles on a range of topics it is well worth checking out.   The membership have a combined knowledge of the area that is quite remarkable covering many topics.  So why not check it out and in a few years you might be the expert........

Walking On History - Yarrows Kids Get Round The Trail
Over a dozen children from around the county joined the Highland Council Ranger Service on Tuesday 6th August to 'Walk in History'. The group completed the Yarrows Archaeological Trail as part of this summers' activities programme organised by Education, Culture & Sport (Highland Council). The children gathered some insight into the fascinating archaeology of the area.

A Framework For Bio-diversity Highland
The Framework document produced by Highland Council on behalf of the highland Bio-Diversity Partnership is reproduced here for everyone to see what is being discussed and how it might impact on the Highlands.  Biodiversity is about nature, and also about people. Biodiversity may be a fancy name for the richness of the natural world but it also takes us further forward than traditional nature conservation. It sees the natural world as a vital asset and as essential to our survival and our quality of life.

History Of Caithness - Chapter Fourteen Completed
Another two short parts on local dignitaries and some information on local religious groups in Caithness being this chapter to an end.   Chapter15 coming soon gives details of well know Caithnessians in various walks of life including Sir John Sinclair famous for his statistical account and agricultural improvements and ?James Trail who set up the flagstone quarries at Castlehill.

Valerie Carr, Author Comes To Wick To Sign Her New Book "GREEN"
Valerie Carr spent her childhood around the village of Latheronwheel and has written "Green"  as an extension to her few pages she started to write for her three children to let them know what she did as a child before the age of the DVD and the play station.  Many readers will find the country life portrayed in her childhood days in Caithness remarkably similar to rural life in Scotland through the fifties and sixties.  Valerie Carr will be in D R Simpson's, Newsagents, Wick on Saturday 10th August to sign copies of her book.

Archaeology In Caithness  - A Rare chance To See A Broch Being Dug
On the Keiss John O'Groats road near Freswick.  Caithness Field Club have arranged with the team of archaeologists to have an open evening for members and visitors.  Everyone is welcome to go along and see the site opened up last year and see what progress has been made and the new information being gleaned from this Broch. Come and see an excavation in progress as it will all be filled in two days later for this year.  Make your own way to the site which is very near the main road.  See you all there.

Broadband Services - John Thurso MP Gets Involved
Here at Caithness.Org we feel that Broadband access is one of the most important communication issues facing the Highlands and other rural areas.  the benefits of fast Internet access may seem of only passing interest to the casual user.  But already business decisions regarding the setting up of new companies and location of premises are being affected.  New employment opportunities are moving to areas where the service is available.   Without such services an area may lose out without knowing it.  We are pleased that our local MP John Thurso has joined in the campaign to get these services extended.  Today we publish his letter to all constituents asking for them to register with BT.  We already have some discussion on the topic on the Message Board.  Email John Thurso and register today to help us all get faster access.

Caithness Film Maker David Scott - Programme on TV Tonight
David Scott a film maker originally from Wick and who returns to visit his mother will be seen in a TV programme tonight at 10:30pm on Grampian and Scottish TV "Beyond The Highlands" showing him on a trip from Glasgow where he now lives to Wick.  He visits several people in the county in a journey relating his own life experience wrestling with drug addiction.  Among the folk he meets are crofter Peter Stewart, Burnhill, Thrumster, John Angus , Dunbeath, Dr Neville Jones, a writer of letters to the John O'Groat Journal and his family at Mid Clyth. Also Canadian artist Monique Sleidrecht at Freswick Castle.

Viking Longboat Burns In A Great Finale To Thurso Gala Night Parade
The Thurso Gala Night parade of floats ended in what must be one of the most spectacular endings to a gala night anywhere outside Shetland.  The Vikings sang their song before lighting the the longship by throwing their torches into the boat to set it alight.  Well done Thurso Gala committee, the Shetlanders and the companies whose contributions made it all possible.

Thurso Gala - Banger Derby

Pulteneytown People's Project Holiday Club A Hit With The Kids

Wick Gala Riverside Races

Bill And Aline Mowat Celebrate Their Golden Wedding
Bill and Aline Mowat, Coronation Street, Wick celebrated their 50 years of marriage on Friday 2 August with a dinner for their family at Mackays hotel followed next day by lunch in a marquee for over 110 relatives, neighbours and friends.  The marquee was set up in the garden of their house where they have lived since 1958.

History Of Caithness - Chapter Fourteen - Dr Morison of Canisbay
Another minister of the church of Scotland who came to Caithness in 1768 and was well known for his poetry and ability to deliver sermons without notes and was tested to deliver a sermon based on a text handed to him at a service in Wick.

Businesses Be Seen With Our Banner Ads
For less than £10 a month your business could be seen on a growing network of web sites. 
Think about it.....then get in touch....its easier than you think.  

Thurso Night Gala Pictures 97 -100

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 73 - 84

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 85 - 96

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 49 - 60

Thurso Gala Pictures 61 - 72

Thurso Gala Queen And Attendants

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 25 - 36

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 37 - 48

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 1 - 12

Thurso Gala Night Pictures 13 - 24

Thurso Gala  - Fancy Dress - Pictures 49 - 58

Thurso Gala - Fancy Dress - Pictures 37 - 48

Thurso Gala - Fancy Dress - Pictures 25 - 36

Thurso Gala - Fancy Dress - Pictures 13 - 24

Thurso Gala - Fancy Dress - Pictures 1 - 12

Thurso Gala Gets Biggest Crowds For Several Years
Thurso had one the biggest crowds out for a gala night parade for many years.  The combination of a bright sunny evening and the brilliant idea of inviting the squad of vikings from Shetland's own festival in January proved to be a great draw.  The squad arrived from Shetland in the morning and advanced round the town in the afternoon meeting people and getting pictures taken.  A colourful longship had been built by the apprentices at Dounreay and it went on the parade of floats before being burned by the vikings throwing their torches on to the boat.  A huge crowd gathered at Thurso harbour for this unusual site.  First in the evening was the Fancy Dress competition which was a very colourful set up in the square gardens.  Coming over today lots of pictures as we process them on to the site.  If you want lots of colour keep looking in now and then to see where we have got to....................

Vikings Arrive At Scrabster From Shetland As Thurso Gala Week Begins
Thurso Gala got started this morning at Scrabster harbour with the arrival of the Vikings from Shetland.  This band of warriors normally take part in the famous "Up Hellya" celebrations.  Thurso is going to have something different with their help and will be burning their own replica longship at Thurso harbour after the Floats parade.  With a team of guisers like this  - all expert boat burners -  it should all go well.   Children's Fancy Dress first at 5.30pm See you there.

Latest Ranger Notes
Details from the Caithness whale watch weekend and what's going on with the birds.

A Short History Of Clan Gunn Begins Today - Part One
We are pleased to announce the start of a short history of Clan Gunn.  Robert Gunn M. A, a historian has offered to allow Caithness.Org to publish his short history.  The history of Clan Gunn will appear in five parts.  Robert begins "The Clan Gunn is often referred to as "the MacGregors of the North" due, in part, to their many conflicts with their neighbours, which had the unfortunate result of the Gunns being eventually blamed (by other clans) as the "chief trouble-makers in the area." Of course this isn't the case, as will be shown...."    As we watch the story unfold in the Gunn Connections section please let us know if you have anything you would like to comment on as it unfolds.  We will pass on any comments to Robert for his consideration.

UK Report on Cetacean Watch Weekend
A little over 200 sites were manned around the British Isles including Northern Ireland, from Hermaness in Shetland down to Jersey in the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly in Cornwall. Around one thousand people participated, with groups of as many as 20-30 attending some sites. Systematic watches were carried out from the land-based sites whilst others went to see on a variety of vessels from yachts to oil rig supply vessels and ferries.

Wick Gala Autotests

Wick Gala Golf
Wick Gala Golf finished last night with presentation of prizes by the Gala Queen and her attendants.  Ron Taylor won the men's competition as best scratch golfer with a round of 68.  Marion Mackay, Margaret Sinclair and Doreen Cormack were one tow three in the ladies competition.  For other places in the men's handicap see the Wick Gala Index page

Wick Gala Cycling

Wick Gala Fancy Dress Football
Lifeboatmen 4 Fire Brigade 3 in a no holds barred match with first a rugby ball then the real thing with some huge punts of the ball into the river ...rescued by a player whipping off a dress to reveal a cute swimming outfit to rescue the ball from the river.  Played with great gusto and huge amounts of power play from the rescue services.  Just stand back if you see these guys running!!!!!!!!!

Thurso Gala Programme

Wick Gala Grizzly Park Fun - Pictures 49 - 58

Wick Gala Grizzly Park Fun - Pictures 37 - 48

Wick Gala Grizzly Park Fun - Pictures 25 - 36

Wick Gala Grizzly Park Fun - Pictures 13 - 24

Wick Gala Grizzly Park Fun Pictures 1 - 12

Highest Yet As Hit Rate Breaks The 4 Million Barrier In July
Hits 4,110,202  Pages 1,175,139  Visitors 75,981 - Yes Its All in One Month!!
Thanks to all of you for looking in to make July the biggest ever on the site.  We would also like to thank our many contributors who send us information, updates, news, photographs and other items for the web site.  Have we reached our peak?  Who knows?  On with the the day.  More Wick Gala from yesterday coming shortly.


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