News Archive - January 2002

Grey Coast Theatre Company Gets Applause At Keiss Primary School
Proving a great hit with children all over Caithness and Sutherland.  The actors come crew of Grey Coast Theatre's blend of teaching and acting building towards an afternoon performance was a great hit in Keiss Primary School Today.

Bower Primary School Included In Council's Upgrade Plans
A total of 25 projects have been included in the bid, which has been sent to the Scottish Executive for a decision by the spring.  It is proposed that the 21st Century School Improvement Programme be undertaken between 2005-2010. It is estimated that the programme will attract an estimated £220 million of funding from the Executive over its 30-year life. The net annual cost to the council is likely to rise from £1.3 million to £6.5 million by 2010.

Council Agree To Work Closer With Bear On Winter Road Maintenance
The Highland Council has agreed to hold top level talks with BEAR Scotland, the private company with responsibility for trunk road maintenance in the Highlands, to explore how best an enhanced service can be provided to the public in adverse weather conditions.  Was there ever any doubt that this was the only way forward.

Wick Play Areas Community Group - January Minutes
One of the areas newer voluntary groups shows how it should all be done.  From its first meeting in May last year they have progressed the organisation through all the steps towards setting up a new Play Area in the Bignold Park, wick.  The latest meeting confirmed that their funding applications were now in place and that all the other stages from plans to legal matters were in hand.  We wish them good luck with their lottery application after so much hard work over the last few months. Main Index

Wick Girls Pipe Band Photo From Isabelle Thurley
Isabelle has been hitting the emails with Carolyn Poulton to come up with a list of names to go with this picture of the Wick Girls Pipe Band.  one name is missing and there is a little debate about the twins in front.  Can anyone help fill out the last details n this picture and sort out the twins for sure.  Many more pictures still to come in this series.

49-51 Reunion Group Still Sending Pictures
This group may have had their latest reunion in August 2001 but the pictures are still coming in.  This one is of their reunion in 1991.  Has anyone booked the hotel for 2011.

Scottish Women's Rural Institute (SWRI) Wick Branch
Here is another new page for a long established group.  Their full programme and list of office bearers is now on the new page.

Caithness Cross Stitch Using Caithness.Org Pictures
You might like to know that a range of pictures from Caithness.Org are now available as cross Stitch Kits.  Sonya Adamson has created a unique range of kits including cotton aida fabric, full skeins of embroidery threads, tapestry needle, chart and full instructions.  And of course they are all based on some great pictures from Caithness.Org including Andrew Spratt's castles and pictures of churches, lighthouses, boats and much more.  To get a catalogue contact Sonya Adamson 

Educational Resources
Just added a link for teachers to get lots of useful classroom items on the Winter Olympics starting in February at Salt Lake City.  See also our Winter Olympics links.  We have also started our 2004 Olympics links page.....and they are in Athens.

Highland Hospice Building, Inverness
Many people in Caithness & Sutherland contribute to this well known charity and as they are gearing up for their Tartan Ball in March we though that you might like to see where some of the money goes.  The Building lies beside the River Ness opposite Eden Court theatre.  They provide care services for cancer patients from all over the Highlands.

Caithness Patients Council Looking For New Volunteer Members
If you are a former patient of Caithness General Hospital or Raigmore Hospital, or the relative of a former patient, we would like to ask you now to consider putting your name forward for vacancies which have arisen in the Patients Council.

Minutes Of Caithness Patients Council Meeting 24 September 2001

NHS Board Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will take place on Tuesday 5 February 2002 at 10 am in the Board Room, Assynt House, Beechwood Park, Inverness.  Board Meetings Are open to the General Public.

Small Boats Still Working At Wick Harbour

Donations Online Now Beat Phone Donations For Some Bigger Charities
The bigger charities like Oxfam are beginning to show much better results from online donations than from telephone ones.  At the very least small charities like those in Caithness should be aware of the power of letting people know what you need.  Make sure your fundraising campaigns are on your page on the web site.  Some donations may come your way just by telling people.  All Caithness groups have a free page on the web site so why not use it to let people know about your campaigns no matter how small.  Caithness groups can all harness the power of the Internet on Caithness.Org.

All Names Now In For Team 16 East End Boys Football Club
Thanks to Brian Campbell for completing the listing.

Other Old County Sport Pictures
We have a growing collection of pictures of old football teams especially for Wick' s long running East End Boys Club.  But what about the rest of the county.  Has anyone got some old pictures of other teams or other sports from a few years back.  If so  send them in and don't worry about names.  See East end pictures and you will see we are gradually getting the names from all those people who were in the teams even though they may be far away now.  So dig in those old albums.

Wick & Thurso High Schools To Benefit From New Community School Spending
The Council has attracted the third highest spending allocation in Scotland - £1,021,440 in 2002/2003 and £1,149,120 in 2003/4, as well as £200,000 of existing pilot funding for 2002/2003. And there are hopes that the Council can add to this by tapping into funding which is available via the Changing Children’s Services Fund and the Discipline Task Force Fund as well as the existing Social Inclusion Partnership funds.

Highland Hospice Annual Tartan Ball
Saturday 9 March at Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster sees the 5th annual Tartan Ball.  If you would like to attend full details of how to obtain tickets and a form are just a click away.  The night will combine a buffet, dancing, music and  entertainment.  Check it out to attend or make a donation.  Money raised is spent on palliative care in Caithness and Sutherland and the Hospice now employs two nurses in the area.

More Resources Needed For Winter Road Maintenance
The Highland Council has once again urged the Scottish Executive to plough more resources into the trunk road winter maintenance contract, which is run by private contractor, BEAR Scotland, to avoid further chaos on the roads.

More Wick Girls Pipe Band Pictures

Was This Dr Barbara Moore On One Of Her John O'Groats To Lands End Walks
This picture is one from the Wick Girls Pipe Band collection we are adding to the site.  Although no details are with the picture it looks very much like the famous Dr Barbara Moore being played from Wick by the girls of the band.  Can anyone let us know the year this event took place?
Answer In From Hugh Ross  - 7 June 1960.

Next Part Of The History Of Caithness
How the fishing started in Wick, population levels, public buildings go up, one of the worst storms ever 19 August 1848 with 41 boats lost at sea and the ever present castles.  Start At The Beginning

Blue Monday Club Storms Back With A Touch Of Acid

Taking On Wick Again - Storm

Acid Inc. Getting Going with A Series Of Numbers

Northern Constabulary area is presently experiencing extreme weather conditions, high winds and driving rain.  At this time both the Skye Bridge and the Kessock Bridge have been closed to high sided vehicles.  Many roads are affected by lying water and some are littered with fallen branches from trees. Some trees have fallen on roads but they are being removed by various agencies including Bear Scotland, Highland Council and local contractors.  Drivers are being warned to reduce their speeds, drive with headlights on and to exercise extreme caution in the prevailing conditions.  Other parts of Scotland are experiencing similar conditions.  Gusting in some places between 80 and 100mph.

Disability Rights Commission To Launch New Code of Practice
On 26 February the Disability Rights Commission will launch a new code of practice offering advice to businesses and services in Britain on how to overcome the physical barriers to access experience by disabled people.

Updated Disability Information Links

Wick Girls Group Had a Busy January So Far
Wick Girls Group formed very recently and already have lots of activities under their belt.  Check out their programme on the Main Page.  A new Thurso Girls Group is getting started and details will appear in the near future.

Woman's Body Found In Tent Near Wick
The body of a missing person KAY EVANS (37) from Stoke on Trent has been found in a tent near Wick.

North School Football Team 1974-75
Rube Bain sets the scene of the invincible North School football Team from back then.  Read his side of kicking butt to all the other teams.  Is this how you remember North Schools team from then.  Lets hear you version of the team and help Rube and us check a few names on the picture.

Road Accident Near Smiddy Inn, Thrumster
About 0145 hrs. on Sunday 27th. January, 2002, a road accident occurred on the A99 Latheron to Wick road opposite the Smiddy Inn.

Dounreay Climbs International Safety Ratings System
Improved management of safety at Dounreay has helped the site to earn its highest ranking yet on the International Safety Rating System.  The plant has been graded Level Eight, placing it among the top five per cent of industrial units that are audited by the independent foundation Det Norske Veritas.

Thurso High Class 1974 Reunion
Karen has sent in the latest updated lists of the year and indicated that 114 tickets have been sold so far.  Still plenty of time but the sooner you all indicate that you want tickets the easier it is for the organisers to plan.  If any of you have school photos or other pictures from your old school days send them in for the web site.   Reunion is at the Weigh Inn on 24 August 2002.

Forss Village Hall - Burns Supper

Forss Mills - Restoration Of The Larger One Is Complete

Freswick House - House Or Castle?
This tall gaunt house stands with its feet in the sea on the east coast of Caithness. It is a tower-like structure which bears a resemblance to the tall gaunt Scottish castles which are all around the coast in this northern land. They were built to defend themselves from the Viking raids which were numerous and which lasted for many years.

Brough, Dunnet - The Village of Captains

The Caithness Bouilag Four Poster
As a result of work carried out by the Archaeology Branch of the Ordnance Survey during the period 1982-83 a number of previously unrecorded antiquities were identified in the parish of Latheron to the south of Dunbeath Water between Achnaclyth and Bouilag Hill (Proudfoot, 1983,54). This is an area of abandoned crofting communities and well known are the remains of wags, or galleried dwellings, nearby.......more

Angela Finlayson
Migration is a term that conjures up uneasy thoughts of the Clearances and the dispersal of families overseas.   Currently, however, historians and demographers are increasingly interested in internal migration - the ways in which our forebears moved around their own localities and further afield without necessarily becoming part of the emigrant stream........more  

Back To Snow In Caithness Today - These Scenes From Thurso River 12.30pm

Caithness Rugby Club
Caithness Rugby Club  have a new website which is up and running at  Links will be made shortly in the Sports pages.  More information will be added shortly to the new web site.  So all you rugby fans put it in your favourites now.

Old Rural Caithness Though Writer's Eyes
An aerial view of the rural arable landscape of lowland Caithness gives an instant impression of neat geometry created by our agriculturalists. This is essentially a very modern picture, largely forged in the nineteenth century: it is a landscape of revolution rather than evolution. This revolution was accomplished by the consolidation of land and the replacement of joint farms by single holdings.  By the middle of the 19th century the old system of township agriculture was virtually extinct, the remaining examples of run-rig (or rig and rennal at it was sometimes termed) being mere curiosities.

New Neurological Group Gets Ready To Start Work In Caithness
The new group will be located at the Pop In Parlour, Thurso.  The centre will be manned by volunteers  for perhaps two hours per day initially, and full training will be given.  If anyone is interested in volunteering, or wishes to know more about what is proposed,  get in touch with the Secretary Carole Henderson at or by leaving a message on 01847 890996. 

History Of Caithness Continues
Here Calder continues with his description mainly of the Caithness coast with its castles, bays  and nearby lochs.  The process of adding links to pictures and illustrations on the web site has also begun. If you are starting out then go to Page One.

Items For Sale Section
The section has been getting busier all the time and Niall noticed that more folk were posting wanted ads.  So to make life easier for you all he has set up a new section for Wanted Ads.  For private individuals only the ads service is completely FREE.  So if you are looking for a particular item and you do not want to buy a new one try out the wanted section.  Find that bike for the summer or sell your own one that is cluttering up the garage.  We are monitoring the ads and may shortly set up new sections for particular types of items to make them easier to find quickly.

Highland Council Launches A Drive To Recruit More Children's Carers
Highland council have launched a drive to increase the numbers of people available to act as short and long term foster carers, adoptive parents, specialist carers for children with special needs and respite carers for families with children who have disabilities.

Aviemore Is Frontrunner In Bid For Scottish Natural Heritage New Office
Aviemore is emerging as the favoured location to be promoted as the Highland bid for the headquarters of the Scottish Natural Heritage.  The holiday village and gateway to the Highlands is seen as the natural choice for a "state-of-the-art" home of the Government’s environmental agency.  The organisation who also have a small office in Golspie are being encouraged to move into the Highlands where many of the major sites of environmental importance are located.

Sutherland & Caithness Recycling Action Partnership (SCRAP)
The group have been having great success distributing over 550 composting bins so far.  Their next meeting open to the public is on 4 February at 7.00pm in Thurso Town Hall.  If you live in Caithness or Sutherland and are interested in a composting bin to save you money and help the environment then check out their pager for details

Highland Council Winning The Council Tax Collection Battle
The Highland Council is one of five councils in Scotland, which has been commended by the Accounts Commission for Scotland for increasing its collection of Council Tax in each of the past five years. The council increased its level of collection from 85.1% in 1996-97 to 91.4% in 2000-2001.

More Miller Family History Pictures
More pictures and information in the growing Miller Family History pages.  This set focusing on the three who were killed in the first World War.  A stark reminder of the Caithness-Canadian contribution to that terrible conflict showing the families who lost their fathers, brothers, uncles.  If you have not seen the section Start Here

Edinburgh John O'Groat Literary Society 1959 Magazine
It's surprising what turns up from time to time.  And today we begin to publish this magazine first published by a small literary group in Edinburgh with Caithness connections.  The magazine turned up along with photographs of the Wick Girls Pipe Band.  We will publish the whole magazine over coming weeks.  This one is from 1959 but we would be interested to hear from anyone with other years that we might also share.  Or if anyone has information on any of the authors then get in touch.  So many thanks to the literary group from back then for this latest contribution to the web site.

Duncan Street, Thurso

Thurso Streets Photo Index - Thurso Main Index

Barrock Street, Thurso

Canisbay And Dunnet Day Care Centre
The centre is organised and funded through a volunteer committee and they would like to find some new members.  The next meeting will be held in the Castle Arms Hotel at 7.30 PM on Thursday, 7th February 2002 and new volunteers will be welcome.  Go along and find out a bit more about the centre.

49th Caithness Music Festival 10 - 14 June 2002
This should have been the 50th year but due to the general election being called the festival was had to be cancelled last year.  The Caithness Music Festival is probably one of the largest music festivals in Scotland entered mainly by local school children.  It is a mammoth undertaking for the volunteer committee who run it every year and it always attracts a huge entry.  The sheer range of cups, shields and other awards is staggering.  This is the first year that Caithness.Org has featured the festival and we will be following it through from the programme issue in March to the festival and last night concerts that run in Wick and Thurso.  Take a peak to see the huge range of music drama and verse competitions.

Message Boards Get a Major Overhaul
Following the server problems last week with the loss of four weeks messages the message board has had another overhaul and will shortly have a new range of colours added for you to choose from.  The Items For Sale section will also be changed very soon to give more categories and an Items Wanted section to reflect the growing demand by people looking for particular things.  Some people have been advertising houses for sale and that's fine although we would point out that for £15  an advert in the Property Pages is excellent value (One payment until property sold).

Betsy's Cottages, Castletown

Dounreay Gets All Clear From Health & Safety Executive
Following over complying with nearly all of 143 recommendations the Dounreay Nuclear Plant has been given a clean bill of health.  In the late nineties a series of problems culminating in the cutting of a major power cable by a digger on the site gave rise to series of bad reports.  The long list of recommendations have been complied with resulting in Dounreay being well placed to carry out the decommissioning work now underway.  The announcements regarding the current standards at the site were made in Inverness today.  New Dounreay News Index.

Wick Has An Airport
Inverness folk are hopping mad that the latest issue of 350,000 tourist brochures shows the nearest airport to be in Aberdeen.  The brochures that have been sent all over the world have omitted the symbol for an airport beside Inverness.  OOPS!!   Well they do indeed have a lovely airport and recently opened new terminal buildings.  But if you cannot find Inverness - "Mak Yer Way Tae Caithness Flying In To Wick Airport" Ach Weel!!

Take A Look Up And Down Robertson Lane, Thurso

Cottage, Main Street, Castletown
Heading up a section to contain the pictures of Main Street, Castletown is this little cottage situated at the very end of the street as you come into Castletown from Wick

Police Station, Castletown

Council Photographs
another section for Council and Official photos has been prompted by a couple from Alex Sutherland who now resides in Inverness and whose father Dr W R N Sutherland was provost of Thurso in the late 60's when this picture was taken.  The reason for the picture was a presentation to Bella Cormack.  Alex is working on the names for the other picture he has sent in.

Chat Room Now Back In Action ....But
Only but is that everyone needs to re register to enter.  No problem to all you old hands in the chat rooms.  For new folk its easy and usually gets busier after 8.30pm unless you arrange to meet people in there at other times.  There is a section on the message board to set up organised group chats for any topic.  Happy chatting.

Wick Girls Pipe Band - More Pictures And A Poem
The Wick Girl's Pipe Band probably did more than its founder Jim Christie ever intended.  They had them spluttering in their porridge in die hard male dominated piping circles when the first all girls band won the piping competition in Edinburgh in 1958.  A poem by an ex girl piper shows the affection with which they remember their days in the band that took them all over the UK and to Europe.

The Place It All Began - Jim Christie's Old Bake House
At the beginning no one not even Jim himself could have foreseen the phenomenal success of the Wick Girls Pipe Band.  From taking the girls through their early chanter practices to the full pipes with his wife making uniforms.  Jim gave his lessons for free and there is little doubt that he and his wife gave many girls a different perspective on life that they may never have had without their time in the band.  Many more pictures still to come.

Eigg History Secured for the Future
A fascinating new collection of photographs depicting the social history of the Island of Eigg can now be viewed at Inverness City Museum thanks to the work of the Eigg Historical Society.  Over 2,000 images have been collected, arranged and labelled into collections.

Message Boards Now Running Again
The message boards are back online but all messages after 19 December have been lost.  Please add your message again for anything important or if you have items for sale then add the message again if its missing.  Once again apologies for the problems that were entirely out of our control.  It is hoped to have the Chat Rooms up and running by 7.00pm UK time.  We have had some discussion about dealing with future problems like this and if we solve the financial side of that equation then we will let you know.  Does this mean we will have to rerun Christmas and New Year on Caithness.Org. Ach Weel cheers and Happy whatever.

People First Group Next Meeting 12 February at Thor House
Speaker Councillor Roger Saxon

History Of Caithness Continues
For those of you following the History of Caithness another paragraph has been added to Page 3 and a longer Page 4 now added.  If you are just starting then go to Page 1.  Remember that these pages may be the equivalent of several pages of a book.  We may make them longer as we proceed.

Moving Further Down South Road, Wick

West Park, Wick

More Maps On Caithness.Org
The latest map on Caithness.Org is a basic Road & Rail Map.  The maps are linked to a variety of pages on the site to make them easy to find.  Sections that have links to the maps include  - Maps, A - Z, Tourist Information, Geography, UK Information, Links, Site Map, Travel To Caithness and several other pages.  Plenty of choice to find a local or other map both on Caithness.Org or other webs sites.  The Castle area maps are now also linked on the Maps page.  Further maps will be added in the near future cover other aspects of Caithness

Castletown Community Council Minutes 13 December 2001
These minutes cover the controversial closure of the Clydesdale Bank Branch and a commitment by the Royal Bank to rural branches. 

Political & Government Sections Revamp And More Links
As part of the major upgrades to sections currently underway we have now gone back to the government information to revise the pages.  A little more is still to be done but we hope the new links on the pages make it easier for you to find local information on representatives and news.

North Highland Archive January - March 2002 Newsletter

Unemployment Rate Up Slightly In Caithness & Sutherland in December
The number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 954 last month to 1,014. The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso ‘Travel to Work Areas’ respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month are shown in brackets) 8.2% (7.1%), 7.0% (7.0%) and 3.3% (3.4%).

Wick Girls Group Programme January - March 2002

Wick Squash Club Gets Grant £2445
The club received a Community Action Grant to assist with upgrading of the squash courts.

£258,875 To Grampian Records  Under Finance To Business
Grampian Records received one of the largest grants in December from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise.  this grant is to assist with new facilities to produce CD's and DVD's now that the tape market they had done so well in are finally beginning to disappear.

Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise December 2001 Report

History of Wick Girls Pipe Band
A recent picture of Wick Girl's Pipe Band has sparked off some surprising contacts.  We now have two collections of photographs and information about the band that started during World War II and went on to become very famous.  We start off with a tribute to Jim Christie (died in 1988) the founder of the band and written as an obituary/tribute for his many years of dedication and work with the Wick Girl's Pipe Band.  Much more to come.

Newton Avenue, Wick
Pictures of Newton Avenue taken recently when the snow as on the ground.  A quiet area of Wick consisting of mainly bungalow type properties

Wings Over Wick - Met Flights
In the second half of World War Two, Wick became home for important meteorological flights which were used to collect important weather data. It is said that the date of D-day was changed as a result of one of those flights. At first the small unit 1406 were based at Wick and this later developed into 519 squadron. L F Hart, Orpington, KentF Vaisey, Moulton, NorthantsMr David Bain, Wick, Stanley Chambers, lpswichPeter Rackliff, Wokingham, Berks

WK151 Two Boys
First boat built after WW2 by Alexanders of Wick for Skipper Dan Plowman (& others) of  Wick (1946).  Initially equipped for dual purpose fishing - seine net and drift net - reverting to seine net only upon the demise of the local herring fishery.  Pictured here off Holborn Head.

Wings Over Wick -  Squadron 43
Probably one of the most notable events involving a fighter squadron at Wick was the landing of a German Heinkel III bomber on Wick airfield. This capture was made by Squadron 43 - "The Fighting Cocks" who flew Hurricanes from Wick. The story is a fascinating one.  F Lt Peter Townsend in his version from his book "Duel Of The Eagles"  and Cook Butcher with the RAF  Harry Thompson remembers that night.

Heinkel 111 Shot Down At Wick Airport By Sgt Hallowes Squadron 43
Heinkel 111 shot down at Wick airport 8 April 1940.  The picture shows the many bullet holes in the tail and the lion emblem of the German squadron KG26

Caithness - Castle County Of Scotland  - A New Map
As the Castle section has progress with contributions of Reconstructions by Andrew Spratt and information gathered by Robert Richmond along with photos and area maps he has prepared it has become apparent that this part of the county's history has been too long neglected.  Today Robert introduces a Caithness Castles Map that begins to bring home the sheer size of the task we have undertaken.  It has been as much a surprise to us as it may have been to you to find all of these castles.  Sinclairs, Gunns, Keiths and many other families have associations with the area but so also do Scandinavians with all the viking castles and many more as we are beginning to see.

Home Delivery and Hole In The Wall Banking in Co-op Stores in Caithness
Humping heavy shopping home may be a thing of the past now that Coop's new Home Delivery service is in place.  Anyone purchasing over £25 worth of shopping can get it delivered to their home FREE of charge Monday to Saturday.  just tell them when you want it delivered up to 5.30pm.  The recently opened new hole in the wall Coo-p bank looks to be a hit also.

Latest Fundraising New For Charities
Some interesting items in this latest news from Fundraising UK.  One in particular might make Caithness Charities think twice about accepting old computers as a donation - see Charities Say No To Obsolete Crap.  Lets you see the problems of getting a free old computer.

Haggis Heuchs by Jenny Stewart
Many thanks to Isabelle Thurley for this latest timely contribution to the poetry section.  This one on the Burns suppers that Jenny has attended and contributed to.  And one more that will give you a smile -  New Years Resolutions

Friday 18 January 9.00 - 6.00pm  Assembly Rooms. Wick
The event is aimed principally at all businesses in the area, its purpose is to ensure they have access to the best possible information and advice in relation to the skills needs of their businesses and their employees. A range of speakers will give short presentations throughout the day – each one repeated – allowing businesses to attend at the point of the day which suits them best.

Bon-accord Street, Wick
More additions to our street pictures.

History Of Caithness - Next Part
The John O'Groats Ferry,  In 1496 John Groat, son of Hugh obtained by charter a portion of land in Duncansbay called One Penny land paying yearly "tres modius Brasii" (three measures of malt). Where did the term Pentland come from.  Was it Pictland or Pentland Firth?.

Praise For Voluntary Action In Highland
Highland communities have been praised for their commitment to volunteering by Councillor David Alston, Chairman of The Highland Councils Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee.   At 40%, the level of adult volunteering in Highland is 13% above the Scottish average and only in Shetland and Argyle & Bute is there a higher level of commitment.

Dornoch Abattoir To Reopen
An investment of over £1 million will see the re-opening of a north abattoir for the first time in a decade and the venture has the potential to create more than 50 new jobs for the Sutherland area. Scotch Premier Meat Limited is taking over the former Grants of Dornoch slaughterhouse to establish a dedicated lamb slaughter and processing line.

Minister Launches Gaelic On-line Forum

Area Plan For Old Wick Castle (The Old Man O' Wick)
Still moving through the castles area plans today we bring you Robert Richmond's latest drawing.  This plan shows extremely well just how difficult it would have been to take the castle by force.  Robert says "The Castle of Old Wick is the only one in Caithness I have come across so far which had two ditches and drawbridges, the outer one contained in an impressive gatehouse. The whole complex, with this double protection and its natural position on 100 ft cliffs, must have been impregnable in its day. Little wonder there has been  a defensive fortification on this spot for at least 800 years!"   Old Wick Castle Index
Main Castles Index where a new navigation bar is under test.

Caithness Rural Gaelic Choir - Open For New Members
The choir are about to start to get ready for the Royal National Mod in Largs.  If you are interested in joining them now is a good time to get started.  No auditions - just sing in tune.  No need even to be a Gaelic speaker.  Learn the music by coming along and bring a sense of humour

Caithness Waybaggers First Walk of 2002 - Berriedale Water
The first walk of 2002 for the Caithness Waybaggers was up Berriedale Water on Sunday 6th January 2002.  The Braemore road was still quite icy and required careful driving. We left a car at the disused quarry and then drove back to Berriedale where we were to start our walk.

Next Part Of History Of Caithness By J T Calder
We have decided to make the pages longer and have therefore combined the previous pages int0 one.  The latest section is on Page Two.  Here Calder continues his description of the Caithness coast and includes the story of a man who has a relationship with a mermaid.  But his descriptions of the coast end lighthouses are still as accurate today as when he wrote his history.

Duke Of Edinburgh Award - Caithness Branch January Newsletter
The Annual Presentation of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to Caithness recipients took place on Friday 30th November when over 30 young people were awarded Awards or Sectional Certificates.

Berriedale Castle Area Plan
The whole site is best viewed from the graveyard at Berriedale where there is a convenient lay-by as the main road twists and turns up out of the village going North. From here you can clearly see the natural defensive position upon which the castle was built.

Marie Curie Cancer Care Daffodil Day Saturday 9 March
For the last couple of years has been helping to promote one of Marie Curie's biggest fund raisers of the year.  Not only do they need donations but each year an army of volunteers go into shopping centres and streets with the small daffodils to collect money their work.  Volunteers are needed to donate a couple of hours on the day to help with the collection of donations.  We have been in Safeways and the Co-op for the last couple of years.  Check it out any time and sign up for a couple of hours.  We have.

Serendipidists Club Is Underway For 2002
If you are single and over 30 you don't have to sit at home alone.  This friendship group have a monthly meeting every second Friday in Mackays Hotel at 8.00pm.  They organise a whole range of nights out and trips.  Its all about making new friends and enjoying yourself by extending your social life.  Contact details in the section.

Site Map
We have started to build a site map as yet another aid to navigating the site.  The link to the site map is at the top of this page at present.  More will be added to the site map over coming weeks.  It is a straight alphabetical listing and we hope this helps your searches.

The Write Place  - Latest Web Site From Scorrie Internet Services
The Write Place is what it says. The right place to come with your documentation problems, of which the biggest one at present is the requirement for small businesses to comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act (1994). Under this Act, every business employing one or more persons is required to have a Health and Safety policy. In addition Dougie Don offers a range of services from producing raffle tickets to letter headings, posters etc reflecting his experience in the printing business.  Dougie has a great deal of experience in both the areas shown on his new web site.  Based in Castletown The Write Place will always be worth contacting to ask for a price.

Burns Style Poetry
Burns Suppers are looming and following our publishing Jenny Stewart's Reply till E Toast others are coming in.  These poems in the style of Burns may not be highly crafted but they are usually amusing and often one is recited at less serious suppers.

Jessie Paul From Halkirk Celebrated Her 100th Birthday Today
Happy Birthday To Jessie Paul who had lots of her family and friends to see her today at Pentland View Nursing Home.  Jessie has relatives all over the UK and in Canada.  A great writer about her family and experience we are delighted to have found some of her Memories of Halkirk From 1920

Further Down South Road, Wick

More Scrabster Pier Pictures - On Schedule

Murdo Rivach's Grave
This very interesting article by George Watson for the Caithness Field Club Bulletin sets out the evidence and tales surrounding a burial site near to Loch Watten.  Cattle droving with all its inherent dangers (was this the reason for so many Scots/Irish in the American West droving cattle as "Cowboys").  This article is followed by an Addendum To Murdo Rivach's Grave by Elaine Smith with more information on northern drovers and the origins of things like "Blackmail" from the Rent or tribute extracted from the passing herds of Black cattle.  Another interesting point was "Were the heads of Caithness warriors brought home for burial in a grave where only skulls were found?"  The start of Money - the IOU.

Scrabster's New Pier Has Begun To Show
The new pier at Scrabster can be seen as the pile driving has successfully driven in the first supports.  the masses of metal supports are lined up along the new road recently completed.  More pictures coming later tonight.

London Caithness Association Speech Stirs Old Memories
Alastair Walsh Atkins son of Mrs Marguerite Walsh Atkins, nee Black originally from Halkirk who made a speech in Caithness  dialect to the London Caithness Association nearly 30 years ago has been in touch to say his mother has been delighted to hear that her speech from so long ago is on the Internet
My mother Mrs Atkins, is now in her 92nd year.

Fun With Fruit - Children's Health Initiative
Fun with Fruit aims to increase the consumption of fruit in 3 and 4 year olds and help to establish good eating habits in early childhood. £35,000 per year from the Health Improvement Fund will finance this project over the next 3 years.

Reply Till E Toast by Jenny Stewart
As Burn's night comes rushing towards us, Isabelle Thurley has got cracking to send Jenny's take on the bard for the famous toast at all Burn's Nights.  Has anyone else had a go at ripping off Scotland's famous poet and wants to share it with us.  Send it in for consideration.

New Thurso East Castle Pictures & Castle Gatehouse Pictures

A Second Glance At Brims Castle by G Watson
The article now published in the Brims castle section was written by George Watson for the  April 1998 Edition of the Caithness Field Club Bulletin.  It tackles the architecture, history and mentions some of the hard to prove connections to Bonnie Prince Charlie and The White Lady Ghost. Castles Section

Davidson's Lane and Thurso Library

Thurso West Church, Thurso

River Thurso Swollen With Melted Snow on 5 January

Braal Castle Area Plan
The latest area plan is for Braal Castle near Halkirk.  Robert Richmond who drew up the plan is more convinced than ever that - "Without a strong natural position a barmkin wall and ditch would have been essential and I'm pretty sure in this case that the ditch would have contained a moat of sorts fed from a burn coming down off Hill of Sour".

Mill Road, Thurso
This street runs from Millbank Road Into St Andrew's Drive

Janet Street, Thurso

New Thurso A - Z Street List
A new Thurso A - Z Street Index Page has been set up as we are now putting many more Thurso pictures into the section over the next few weeks.  The Main Thurso page will remain in place and will have general information pictures and links to other information.

Revised Child Protection Policy From Highland Council
Community groups in the Highlands are welcoming the re-launch of a policy, which aims to ensure the safety and protection of children while attending community or sporting activities.
The full copy of the updated policy is reproduced in our Community Pages.  Click Here

Spreading That New Look
The front page has had a makeover and over coming months many more sections will get a boost with the new navigation bar.  In the Links Section Women On The Web and Human Rights have changed over and had some new links added.

River Thurso At Halkirk Sunday 6 January

Wick High School In Cold Weather

Broubster Forest Walk With The Rangers
A great day out with the rangers was had by a hardy band to blow away the New Year cobwebs.  The day turned out be very good with almost no wind and surprisingly a much higher temperature than the early part of the year.  Terrific views especially over Caithness to Sutherland were had from one of the higher parts of the forest.  This must be yet another of Caithness best kept secrets as the area comprises several Trout Lochs and a few good walks round the forest.

Caravan Thefts At Aviemore But Police Warn Holiday Makers To Be Vigilant
Two caravans at Dalraddy Caravan Park, Aviemore were broken into and property stolen.  Highland Police are warning that the thieves may move on to other areas and that holiday makers and camp site owners should be vigilant.

Millbank Road

Kenneth Street Houses and snow Clearing

More Barbara Place Pictures

Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster In Recent Snow
Lybster certainly had its fair share of snow in the recent cold weather in Caithness.   

Attempted Robbery At Elm Tree Filling Station, Wick
About 5.30 pm on Wednesday 2nd January 2002, Elm Tree Filling Station, George Street, Wick,  a man wearing a ski mask threatened the staff member and demanded money.

My Great-grandfather Goes To Work
Fiona Hamilton who has Caithness roots in her family and now lives in Bristol is a poet and has sent us this example of her work that describes her connection to him and the county as he skates on the river to Thurso.

Scrabster Castle/Bishops Palace Area Plan
Another area plan now in the castle section that continues to grow.  This castle site is easy to find as it lies just off the Scrabster road.  The castle site is at the beach on a low cliff and has excellent views in both directions as you might expect from a spot chosen to be able to keep an eye on what ships might be approaching or maybe they just liked a nice view as much as today.

Winter Fun - Kids Links
With the weather so cold here are some interesting links for children with an emphasis on snow.

Got A Property To Sell
£15 is still the rock bottom price to advertise your property in our Business Pages.  Not every week but one payment for the whole period until its sold.  No matter what else you do get your property seen all over the world with this value for money offer.   How many folk look at the web site?

Bus Service Withdrawal - Parents To Protest
Scrabster parents faced with the withdrawal of bus services that normally took their children to school are planning to hold a protest march.

Brims Castle Area Plan
Another area plan is now in from Robert Richmond.  Pictures of the castle are already in the section and information can be found at the Brims Family web site.  Several other new castle sections have been set up ready to receive information as we have it ready.  Meantime a few details like map references are in place.  There are now sections on 33 castles but we know there are more still to put in.  The section has a long way to go yet.

Even More In Free Online Courses

History Of Caithness - Next Page
The page numbers relate to the web site and may contain two or more page lengths compared to the printed book.

Genealogy Links
Just added to the Genealogy Links is a new web site The 1901 Census for England & Wales.  It has over 1.5 million pages of records and is sure to be a very busy web site.  in fact it so busy that its already crashed due to heavy demand.  but if you are looking for information on ancestors from the south put this on in your favourites and try later.

Roxburgh Road, Wick
Roxburgh Road runs from Old Wick Road to Battery Road and has South School nearer the Old Wick Road end.

Assault/Impersonation Of Police Officers
An incident which took place at Crofters Showbar, Aviemore about 0145hrs on the morning of Tuesday, 1 January, 2002 is being investigated by the police.

Barbara Place

Former Coastguard Houses

Battery Road, Wick
This is Battery Road as the snow begins to melt.  the street is on the outskirts of Wick with great views out to sea and looks in one direction out to the old coastguard station and houses.  In view of the numbers of streets now going in a new A - Z Index to Wick streets is now in place.

Calder's History of Caithness
Today's additions

One Of The Old Wick Lybster Railway Cottages

Ulbster Snow

Whaligoe Mill With Frozen Pond
This was the Mill with its pond frozen over on Sunday. The mill sits near to Whaligoe Steps and has great views out to sea.  The pond has ducks and the owners grow their own trout..  Ideal conditions as the pond is fed by a stream from Loch Watenan

The History Of Caithness by J T Calder
Starting today and running throughout the year we commence to bring to the web site that huge work - J T Calder's Civil And Traditional  History Of Caithness.  This will become another huge section on the web site as not only will we be bringing the whole of the history onto the web site it will be linked wherever possible to other sources and illustrated by links to pictures on the site and new pictures wherever possible.  We begin with chapter one but chapter five is already in the Caithness Castles Section.  The second edition of the history was published in 1887 and is still one of the most  comprehensive works available.

The Euro Starts Today
If you are going to mainland Europe from now on this is the currency. You can now travel through heaps of Europe with one set of notes.  Comparing prices will be much easier when you go on holiday.

Happy New Year From Caithness in 2002
We hope everyone has a great year.  And just for the record what decade are we in.   Have still not decided.  We had the 1960's, The 70's, eighties, nineties.  The early nineteen hundreds for the first decade seemed to fit.  But what are we in now?  The 20 hundreds?  The early two thousands?  And what was the first decade ever counted? The Ten? Any one got an idea? Enjoy the 1st of January.

2001 Smashed The Records
Hits 18,119,285  Pages 3,353,023  Visitors 558,576
December 2001
Hits 2,372,004  Pages 375,968  Visitors 52,877
What a year  - doubling , tripling and in some case four times the numbers from the start of the year.  Even if visitor numbers stay as they are 2002 will beat 2001 as the early part of 2001 had much lower visitors and page views.  Just multiply December's figures by 12 and you will see what we mean.  Thanks to all of you for looking in over the year and to all of you who sent in items for the site.

January Newsletter Coming Soon
Our monthly ramble through what has been happening on the web site and in Caithness generally will be on its way shortly.  If you would like to receive it every month in your email just enter your email address in the box on this or any other page.  We do not pass your email address on to any other place and you can unsubscribe any time.  Its Free and its only once a month.


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