News Archive - April 2003

Graeme Smith (Liberal Democrat) Fights Election On His Record
Graeme Smith has been out campaigning round the Wick Ward these last couple of weeks and stands on his record of getting things done.  He faces opposition from Niall smith (Scottish National Party) and Bill Mowat (Labour).

Summer Kite Buggy Courses
Enquiries are coming in to Grant Golding for the summer kite buggy courses at Dunnet.  Dates will be announced shortly.  If you want to be informed of dates email Grant  - details in the Kite Buggy pages.

Newtonhill Woodland AGM
The Friends of Newtonhill Woodland are having their AGM on Thursday 22nd May at 7pm at the Queens Hotel.  Everyone with an interest is invited to attend.

Line Dancers Help Alan McIvor Move Closer To Thurso Book Publication
Alan McIvor and some of the Line Dancers in Caithness caught at a night of fun and fund raising to help him publish a book on Old Thurso, They had a night of foot stomping and strutting in the Janet Street Club on Saturday night.  The proceeds of the event £75.00 was donated to Alan McIvor to assist him with publication.

Trevor Wight's "Twist" Exhibition At St Fergus Gallery, Wick
This vibrant and distinctive set of screen printing can be seen at St Fergus Gallery, Wick until 10th May.  Trevor Wight a talented Canadian artist is passing on some of his skills to pupils at Wick High School where he is currently a teacher.  The exhibition is made up from some of his work over the last three years....
The artist is inviting the public to a reception for the exhibition on Friday 9th from 5.00pm - 7.30 to meet him and discuss the work.

Add A Picture And Brighten Up Your Business Page FREE
We are gradually adding pictures to the free business pages but if you would like your business page to have a brighter look then just email us a picture of your premises for inclusion.  And there is no charge for this service  - just another way to get the most from your free page.

Wick Based Training Company Wins International Contract
Wick based, Training Consultancy, JIT Training has won a contract to provide CRM Training to international news agency Reuters. JIT Training will be working in partnership with London based CRM Consultancy, Extraprise Ltd.  The contract involves providing virtual and classroom training to Reuters employees for around the world and J I T Training will be delivering in classrooms in London and Luxembourg as well as from Donna Fleming’s own home office.

Sinclair Bay Beach Clean
The beautiful beach at Sinclair Bay, north of Wick, Caithness is looking more inviting to visitors and wildlife after an extensive beach clean which took place on Sunday 27th of April. The weather held for the volunteers to fill a skip full of bags from the masses of accumulated litter along the beach.  The event was funded through the Moray Firth Partnership and organised as an environmental project for the Caithness Countryside Volunteers by the Highland Council Ranger Service. Valuable assistance on the day was provided by Mr Watt from Subsea 7, who loaded, transported and unloaded all the fill bags to a skip on the Wester Site.

Centralisation Of NHS Hitting The Far North Say SNP
Drugs and alcohol counsellors should be based around Highlands - SNP says stop the NHS centralisation on Inverness.  News that three new drugs and alcohol counsellor posts will be based on Inverness comes as no surprise.  "Centralisation under the NHS robs the Far North, West and south Highlands of posts. The  SNP will bring democratic accountability to the NHS" said SNP Far North candidate Rob Gibson   our election message is   to build up public service  jobs in Tain, Brora and Wick.  The NHS announcement is another slap in the face for the North. Inverness could well share counsellors with other areas. Basing these posts elsewhere seems alien to the NHS administrators. This must be changed by political instruction of the incoming government.'

3 Votes On Thursday - Who Will Get Yours?
One Vote for Your MSP - Then One vote for the Regional MSP  - list candidates and finally one vote for the local council.  Speculation is rife to see whether voters will vote for one party with their first vote and another party with their second vote to bring in the candidates on the party lists or individuals standing mainly on single issues.  The Green Party won three seats in this way at the last election  For the council it is a straight first past the post  - whoever gets the most votes wins. i

The Scottish Socialist Party has been redoubling its efforts in the last few days before polling on Thursday. A Highlands & Islands Regional List seat is within the SSP's sights.  Opinion Polls published in THREE National Newspapers on Sunday and Monday all put the SSP on course to win perhaps 6 or 7 List seats in the new parliament, and for Tommy Sheridan to perhaps win outright in Pollock. Steve Arnott, the SSP's top Highlands List candidate, is encouraged by the polls.

East End Boys Club 1968
Another picture from the long running football club in Wick

More Construction Jobs Will Be Created With this Latest Development.  The  UK  Atomic  Energy  Authority  has applied for planning permission to  construct  a  new  plant  to clean up radioactive effluent that will arise  during  the next  phase of decommissioning the Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay.  The  £2.4  million  project  will  remove  radioactivity from the effluent before it is discharged to the sea.  Since  the  reactor  closed  in  1994, the fuel has been removed and a £17 million plant built to destroy the 1500 tonnes of sodium liquid metal used as coolant.

Young Stars Could Be Highland High Fliers
The search is on to find two Highland children to star in a new television advert promoting air services in the region.  Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is looking for two youngsters to appear in a TV commercial that will be filmed towards the end of May.  The airport operator and leading Glasgow-based advertising agency Frame Cunningham will be holding auditions at the Inverness Thistle Hotel on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 May and are inviting children aged between 8 and 12 years to come along if they fancy a shot at small screen fame.  The final advert will be screened on Grampian Television later in the year and also be used for marketing and promotional purposes by the company that operates 10 airports in the Highlands and Islands.

Married At Forss
Fiona MacDonald and Stuart Donn were married at Forss House Hotel.  Their picture is the first one into our new wedding section.  If anyone getting married would like their picture in our section just send one in.   This picture taken by John Baikie, photographer.  the new wedding section is indexed at the foot pf this page and other links will be added shortly and as the section grows.  So if you are getting married in Caithness or are from Caithness and getting married elsewhere and want to share the day with all your friends and relatives everywhere just send a picture in or ask John Baikie to send one in if he is taking your pictures.

Donald Mackay Wants Voters To Look At His Experience In Thurso Central
Donnie Mackay (Independent) may be thought of as having the most difficult challenge in local Caithness politics as he challenges the Caithness convenor John Rosie (Labour)

Miller Academy Kids Set Off To York
Pupils from Miller Academy were off on a school trip to York today.   They were up early as the buses left at 7.00am.  Visits have been arranged to Yorvik Viking Museum, York Dungoen, Cliffords Tower, Eden Camp World War Museum, The Railway Museum and the York Archaeological Centre.  The programme also includes ten pin bowling, a swimming session, a cruise on the Ouse, disco and an afternoon at Flamingo Land Leisure Park  Mill Academy Pages

Thrumster School Wins Rural Swimming Gala Trophy
Here are the swimmers from Thrumster Primary School who took part in the Rural Schools Swimming Gala in Wick Pool on Friday 25th April and helped Thrumster School win the event and take the trophy.

Dunrobin Castle To Become A Wedding Venue - CASE Grant
The changes in the law to allow people to be married almost anywhere they choose may mean many more places being seen in wedding photographs.  Dunrobin Castle is just one of many picturesque places that many couples might have in might choose for their ceremonies.  Dunrobin Castle Ltd, Golspie, was awarded £10,200 toward the cost of developments, which will enable them to make the castle available for weddings.

Unemployment Heading Up In Wick And Sutherland But Down In Thurso
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 1,002 last month to 1,035. 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) 7.8% (7.6%), 6.7% (6.1%) and 3.4% (3.5%).

James Yorke plc Ltd, Cheltenham, was awarded assistance of £14,500 towards the purchase of new plant and equipment for the development of a CD replicating operation. Also in the manufacturing sector, AEA Technology Battery Systems, Thurso, was awarded £80,000 towards the purchase of plant and equipment for life safety testing of battery packs and cells, while Dunbeath Engineering, Dunbeath, was awarded £56,000 towards the development of the company.

Hotels Get Cash To Upgrade
Dornoch Castle Hotel Ltd, Dornoch, were awarded assistance of £81,000 towards the redevelopment of the hotel, while the Seaview Hotel in John O'Groats is to receive up to £39,700 towards the cost of upgrading their facilities.

Population Drain - Key Election Issue For  Rob Gibson (SNP)
Loss of people from North confirmed - repopulation is key election issue says SNP.  The breakdown in census figures confirms a key drop in the people of NW Sutherland, Easter Ross and East Caithness.  This is a damning indictment of Tory, Labour and LibDem government. The Lib/Lab failure to restart work at Nigg fabricators has forced out many workers from Tain and Invergordon. The North of Scotland can support far more people and it is a key pledge of this SNP campaign to aid the repopulation of this area.' said Rob Gibson, SNP candidate.

Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off
The Mill Theatre, Thurso - Friday 9 May & Saturday 10 May  8.00pm
Lyth Arts Society and Thurso Players are co-promoting Prime Productions visit so there are two evenings to choose from to see this terrific play at The Mill.  first performed in 1987 by Communicado, Liz Lochhead's reworking of one of the most dramatic chapters od Scotland's history has become a classic of our times with fifty performances scheduled on this Lloyds TSB Scotland tour from Stranraer to Shetland.  A seven strong cast leads us, blow by blow, through the tale of political intrigue and human tragedy which has surprising moments of humour and is full of references to today's world.

Scottish Dance Theatre
Assembly Rooms, Wick - Monday 19 May 8.00pm -1 Hour 45 Minutes
The company is working at the cutting edge of the contemporary dance scene in Scotland and when this tour opened in February in Dundee and toured to London it attracted considerable interest and approval.  Two new contrasting pieces are included featuring the company's eight dancers.  these are works commissioned by SDT and devised by guest choreographers.  The Wick audience will have the opportunity to see a short home-grown work performed by Wick dancers from the Elise Lyall School of Dance which will open the show.

Deirdre Steven And The Labour Team In Wick On Saturday
With election day for the Scottish Parliament and the Councils approaching fast all the candidates are out n various parts handing out leaflets and meeting people.  Deirdre Steven had the Labour team in Wick on Saturday afternoon seeing as many people as possible with less than a week to go until the polls.   Election Pages

Summer Training Starts for East End Boys Club

Orkney Teams Had A great Day At The Mini Rugby In Wick
Over 50 boys in rugby teams from Orkney were just a few of the teams from all over the Highlands and Islands playing in the Mini Rugby competitions at Wick High School today.  Orkney teams did very well.  We caught up with them after they bought nearly all the ice cream in the Harbour Cafe.  With seriously good weather the boys had lunch at the school after the rugby and then took the afternoon to look round the town before getting the ferry from Gills.

Keep Up With The Latest News In Caithness, Highland, Scotland In Print and By Radio
Our monthly index of Caithness news comes with news feeds from the Scotsman updated daily.  There are links to specific topics and a link to BBC Radio Scotland site to get the broadcasts for Highland, Orkney and other Scottish Regions on your PC while you browse Caithness.Org.  the news broadcasts from the BBC are updated on weekdays throughout the day so you can always get the latest items at any time you choose. 

More Properties For Sale
If you are looking for a property in Caithness then keep checking the Caithness.Org Property Pages as new houses are going on regularly.  Our rented property page also has several places available and they change constantly. Selling your house?  We charge a once only fee of £20.  You ad can be on until it is sold.  Tell the whole world for £20 - it has to be worth thinking about. Rentals are only £5.  Wow!

Highland Health Council To Be Replaced By New Scottish Body
The Future Of Health Councils In Scotland - A consultation document "A New Public Involvement Structure for NHS Scotland" has been launched by the Scottish Executive.  Proposals include replacing health councils (including Highland Health Council) with a new national organisation, The Scottish Health Council, which will also have a local presence. closing date 9 June.  Patients Rights And Responsibilities - Public Consultation - closing date 20 June.  Proposals setting out what patients have a right to expect from the health service in Scotland and how they can access their health records have been issued for consultation.

What's The Biggest Club In Caithness? - The Caithness.Org Message Board.
Membership of the Message Board has surged since the turn of the year.  215 new folk have joined the Message Board taking membership to an all time high of 941.   If you have not ventured in to the Message Board take a look and see what is going on.  General exchanges and arguments on a wide range of topics from the very serious to just for fun. A section for folk looking for family history details and another for School Reunions.  Music, Jokes, Chat Room session arrangements.  One of the fastest growing areas is the FREE classified ads where you can sell or ask for items.  Selling cars, computers, and just about anything it is one of the fastest growing parts of the Message Board.

Waybaggers at  Ben Griam Beg
Ten walkers set off to climb Ben Griam Beg (580 metres)  just south of Forsinard.  The group had a very enjoyable day out - warm enough but colder as they moved on to higher ground

Last Chance To Hear Candidates for Scottish Parliament
Eve Of Poll Hustings Meeting  - Wednesday 30 April - 7.00pm - Wick Old Parish Church Hall
Organised by The church Of Scotland Presbytery Of Caithness

The Waybaggers Saw Duncansby In The Snow In February

Caithness Waybaggers Were At Poulouriscaig In December
The Waybaggers group have still been out walking regularly and here is the first of a few sets to see where they have been recently.  The walk in December was to the abandoned village of Poulouriscaig.  This lies on the northern coastline between Armadale and Kirtomy .  Four families lived here.  This was a result of the “Clearances” in Strathnaver.  The last family moved out in the 1930’s.

Thurso Players New Web Site
All the information on the very active theatre group in one place - history, coming plays etc.  Links are on the Thurso Players page on Caithness.Org and in other places.

Rob Gibson SNP Candidate Attacks On The Big Issues
Rob Gibson was in Caithness today to see voters in various parts of the county.  whilst in Wick he looked in at the harbour.  He is attacking the Lib/Lab partnership on several fronts  - "The Lib/Lab Scottish Executive must account for its record - creaking public services; haphazard, unambitious clean power schemes; 50% above average unemployed in Northern Scotland plus migration of educated youngsters; poor health standards; a glaring jobs crisis through shrinkage in fishing, Nigg fabricators, Hunters of Brora creating real uncertainty. The Lib/Lab failure to train enough doctors, dentists and nurses beggars belief.".

New Play Park In Wick - Work Begins
The Wick Play Areas Community Group Hard work since May 2001 is paying off as the work to build the new Play Park has started.  Work will be completed in a few weeks.

Juniors At Halkirk FC make Trip To See Ross County Game
Photos of junior trip to Ross County in March by Halkirk FC brill day had a tour of the stadium and watched the match in the afternoon.

Newtonhill Woodland Open Day
The Easter Open Day held at Newtonhill community Woodland on Sunday 20th April turned out to be a wonderful success. The weather was fine and almost 200 people turned out on the day. The 'Friends of Newtonhill Woodland' and ranger service organised a range of events from a family treasure hunt to guided tours of the woodland and face painting.  Assistance for the day was also given by the Pultneytown Peoples Project (who organised a egg and bonnet competition) and the 1st Wick Scouts (who organised the car parking and badge making).

Broadband Sign Ups At BT Web Site Going Up Fast
Thurso reaches 325 and Wick 196 at the BT Broadband site but no sign yet that it is anywhere near enough to get a trigger level set.  Figures were Thurso 239 Wick 144 on 7 March so that is quite a jump in a few weeks.

Castletown Football Club Has A Web Site
Castletown football club's new web site has been added to our lists of football clubs

‘Twist’ by Trevor Wight At St Fergus Gallery, Wick
‘Twist’ is a response to life and experiences here in Caithness of the artist Trevor Wight, a high school teacher, ‘Twist’ shows work from both sides of the Atlantic.  Four larger pieces were produced over a two-year period in Canada, while  twelve smaller pieces have been produced during his time in Scotland.   The exhibition runs until 10th May

Busy Easter For Wick Pipe Band
Wick RBLS Pipe Band had a busy Easter weekend. On Saturday afternoon the Band played in the Market Square for the Easter Eggstravaganza and at night there was a large crowd for an Easter Variety Show in the Pipe Band Hall. On Sunday the Band completed their annual Karen Burke Memorial Sponsored March from Coopers Corner to Staxigoe Harbour"

PINXIT Exhibition At Timespan  - Chance to Pick Up A Bargain In Art
Timespan in Helmsdale is currently mounting PINXIT, an anonymous exhibition of artwork by known and unknown artists, including a number of famous names, and the gallery recently received a boost with the last-minute submission of four drawings and a watercolour by the hugely influential Scottish artist John Bellany RA CBE.   In the democratic spirit of the show all works were priced at £35 each and the Bellany drawings will be going for that amount as well - but such is the demand, particularly as the anonymity is lost, that the opportunity to buy them will be assigned by drawing lots, while the watercolour will be sold by silent auction to the highest bidder...........................

The £28m NorthLink vessel, MV Hamnavoe, made her first commercial sailing on the Pentland Firth route  on Monday, April 21 after engaging in a busy weekend of public events in Stromness and Scrabster.  Two trailers, 52 cars and 250 passengers were welcomed aboard the maiden voyage.

Wick is one of five harbours that may qualify for rates relief of up to 100% in a new initiative announced today.  Harbours in Highland which rely on whitefish catches are Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Mallaig, Ullapool and Wick.  The new measures introduced by the Scottish Executive offer rates relief of up to 100% to harbours and affected businesses dependent on whitefish catches.  The Executive will meet 95% of the relief and the Council the remainder.

New Communications Service For The Deaf In Highland
Deirdre Aitken and Ann Mearns from Caithness Deaf Care were two of the people in Inverness at the announcement of the new service coming into operation in mid May.  The new Highland wide service will offer a translation service using British Sign Language in many situations where problems can arise due to communication difficulties such as hospital and GP visits.  The government has now recognised BSL as a language in its own right and this is the first time that there will be a worker in Highland specifically employed as a sign language interpreter.

Scotsman Story highlights concern over paid tourist services at Visit Scotland web site
Tourist Businesses - Still Getting On The Web Free With Caithness.Org
If you are in the tourist industry in Caithness or Sutherland and want to take advantage of FREE promotion online then make sure you get the most out of our FREE pages that have increasing traffic.  Your business can get all your contact information on including web site link, email phone/fax, map link and if you send us a picture we will include that on the page.  If your page is already on make sure it is up to date and send us any amendments by filling in the form.  Its easy and its FREE.  So whether you are a Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Camp Site, Holiday Cottage, Art Place or in fact any type of business do it now.  It is FREE and lots of local businesses are reaping the benefits.

A Shop In Lybster
Although they are fast disappearing Caithness still has a few small shops serving their community in villages and in the larger towns.  One or two have been in the same place for a very long time such as D Munro in Lybster.  This traditional shop still has original fittings and wooden ceiling maintained in excellent condition.  These old shops are fast disappearing - shop in one or two while you still can.  Many of them are run by people who have been in business for a very long time but some may not carry on to another generation as the advance of the supermarket makes it difficult.  If they all disappear many people will find life extremely difficult if they have to shop in Wick or Thurso.  Maybe now and then we should all now and then take a trip to a village shop.

East End Boys Club  - More Names For the 1970 Football Team
Many thanks to Wullie Sinclair for putting together many of the names for this picture that has been on the web site for over two years.  Still a few to get if anyone knows the missing ones.

Disability Rights Commission  - April Newsletter
Another comprehensive newsletter.  The first item may be worth a good look if you or a friend or relative have ever been charged by Ryan air or Stansted Airport for using a wheelchair when flying.  The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is now considering a major legal case against Ryanair and the British Airports Authority (BAA) involving a large number of disabled people who’ve been hit by the wheelchair charge. The legal case - termed a “class action” - could be taken against Ryanair and BAA by a large number of disabled people with the  DRC’s backing.   They want to hear from people who’ve been charged for the use of a wheelchair to get around the airport they’ve travelled from – from the check-in desk to the aeroplane.

Scotland's Haven - Another Great Coastal Place In Caithness

More Football News and Links
We have now added even more updating football news and links to the football links page.  The Scotsman news headlines are now being fed into the page along with more international news and links to all the local and many other football web sites.

A Belated Happy Birthday To Caithness FM
We are just a couple of days past the fifth anniversary of the start-up of our local radio station.  A big vote of thanks to all the volunteers who have run and are still running the station that plays every night in the county.

James Sutherland (SNP) In Wick West Sets Out His Case
with a lifetime in the fishing industry and still representing fishing interests with the Scottish Fisherman's Federation James wants to tackle a number of local issues from employment, crime and the re-routing of the A9.   James Sutherland is standing in Wick West against Neil MacDonald (Labour) and Bill Fernie (Independent)

Neil MacDonald (Labour) In Wick West
Neil MacDonald (Labour) wants folk to shop locally and supports local talent such as Wick Players and local bands.  He wants to see a cinema or bowling brought to Wick and call a halt to predictions of doom and gloom and "talking down" the town.  Neil Macdonald is up against James Sutherland (Scottish National Party) and Bill Fernie (Independent)

So Much To Do In Caithness! - Thrumster House - At Daffodil Time
Bet you all think Caithness floats on daffodils by now.  Well there are certainly huge numbers around in springtime.  Here we had to sneak in a day early on Saturday before the daffodil tea day yesterday as we were off floating round the Pentland Firth on the new ferry Hamnavoe.  But we could not miss the show at Thrumster as last year the rain poured and the wind howled.  This year was the opposite -  sunny and warm.  Thrumster House Pages

Kite Days At Dunnet On Windthings
The Windthings web site is featuring Caithness as a place to come to get great kiting conditions following a highly successful and enjoyable few days.  The guys will be back in the summer with more courses and the latest kites.  If you are interested in courses then just keep checking from time to time.  In the central belt of Scotland Grant Golding runs a variety of levels of courses at beaches and details can be found via Kite Power Scotland and Caithness courses will be advertised in our Kite Buggy pages.

"Time for A Change In Pulteney" says Katrina MacNab
Katrina MacNab (Independent) lives and works in Pulteney, her children go to school in Pulteney.  Aged 33 her experience is already substantial through recent employment helping folk through difficult times and currently as manager of the Pulteney People's Project.   She takes on Jim Oag (Labour) who has been a councillor for the ward for 20 years.   This is one of five contests in Caithness for the Highland Council.  2003 Election

More Daffodils
Another couple of daffodil pictures in Wick.  these are at the statue of an early Medical Officer of Health - John Alexander - up near the railway station and looking over the Wick river and down to Mackays Hotel.

Robbie The Pict
Rose to fame taking on the government over the Skye Bridge tolls and still fighting legal battles. He is now a candidate for the Scottish Parliament and has once again taken to the courts over his lengthy party title.  With his slogan "Vote Pict" he is fighting an aggressive campaign emphasising Scottish roots and traditions.  Can he turn his extensive knowledge of Scottish history and ability to mount legal campaigns into a successful bid to be one of the list MSP's in the Scottish Parliament? The proportional system makes it just possible and probably will depend on the fame he has gathered over the last few years in his relentless campaign to scrap the Skye Bridge tolls and perhaps his fighting spirit bent to new battles on health etc.

Thurso High 79 - 85 Reunion
Latest updates to list of folk heading for the reunion in 2004 plus a class photo from Sara Witten

Hamnavoe Trip - Scrabster to Old Man Of Hoy
One of a series of trips laid on for local people in Caithness and Orkney to introduce the Hamnavoe Ferry before it commences service on the Scrabster to Stromness route.  the brand new ferry is starting ahead of the new pier being completed and everyone onboard was delighted with the trip on a beautiful spring day out in the Pentland Firth.

Easter Eggstravaganza

Easter Train Takes The Strain To Caithness, Orkney And The Highlands
An Easter Train Trip to The Highlands has had a great few days with unbeatable spring weather.  The folk from this train at wick were over in Orkney overnight and come back via John O'Groats before heading to Dunrobin Castle later today.  They will be stopping at Dunrobin Station we featured recently.

Bridge Street Church, Wick - Easter Festival - Quilt and Patchwork

Newtonhill Community Woodland Open Day
Sunday 20 April 2.00pm Onwards
The Friends of Newtonhill Community Woodland and the Highland Council Ranger Service invite you to their Easter Open Day on Sunday 20th of April. Gates open at 2pm - Free Entry. There will be nature walks, displays, stalls, Green Gate making demonstrations, face painting, games and quizzes. There will be an Egg/ Bonnet competition at 2pm, and a children's treasure hunt at 2:30. Everyone is welcome.

Roger Saxon Ready For Another Four Years
Roger Saxon who has represented Thurso West for the last four years is ready to represent the ward again and takes on Jim Fry (Independent)

Castletown Under Sevens New Football Strips
Castletown Junior Football Club under sevens side has received a new set of strips from John Murray, who has the Mace shop in the village. They are looking forward to the new season which gets under way on the 28th of April. More info on

Scottish Water Stops Firemen's Charity Fundraising Car Washes
Lets face it no one wants to waste water or cause a hazard but is Scottish Water being a bit too heavy handed in applying the rules for the use of the Hydrants in a good cause.  There may be places where it is inappropriate but surely they should be coming up with a decent explanation for banning something that has gone on for several years and this is the first anyone is hearing of a problem concerning the car washes in Wick.

Playboys At The Portland Arms, Lybster Tonight Friday Night
10.00pm Tickets £6

Wick Heritage Centre Opens Early This Year
Wick Heritage is open at Easter this year and looks set to stay open for the summer now rather than its normal June opening.  Visitors taking a chance were lucky to find it open today but it is open on Saturday and Monday also.  The biggest local museum in the north it is absolutely packed with items and pictures.  If you have never been in or not for while take two or three hours out to explore this interesting place.

Daffodil Day At Thrumster House
Sunday 20th April - In aid of Yarrows Heritage Trust from 12.30pm onwards

Lyth Arts Centre With Dogstar Theatre The Strathspey King
Saturday 19 April 8.00pm Ross Institute, Halkirk

Easter Festival At Bridge Street Church, Wick
Saturday 19 April 10.30am - 4.00pm

965 Caithness Businesses Now In The Caithness.Org Business Pages
If you business is in Caithness is your business listed with a FREE page in our growing Business section.  Look what you get - Free page and link to your web site, contact details and if you want a free picture on the page.  Postcode linked to a map to show your location. Fax number linked to send to your fax machine direct from a special email link to enable anyone to send information from their email.  Make sure your business is listed.

Highland Council Offices Closed At Easter Break
Service Points and administrative offices of Highland Council will close at 5.00 p.m. on Thursday 17 April 2003 and re-open at 9.00 a.m. on Tuesday 22 April for the Easter holiday.

Bill Fernie (Independent) Ready To Get Out In Wick West
In the last couple of years many folk have seen Bill snapping pictures all over the county for the web site but in the next couple of weeks you might see him round the doors in Wick West where he is standing against Neil Macdonald (Labour) and James Sutherland (SNP)

Liberal Democrats In Force Campaigning In Caithness Today
The Lib Dem team was out in force in wick taking advantage of the good weather to get round and see the voters.  Jamie Stone contesting the northern seat for the Scottish Parliament was accompanied by  MP at Westminster John Thurso for Caithness Sutherland and East Ross.   Graeme Smith the Lib Dem candidate in the Highland Council election is standing in the Wick Ward.  Jim Wallace standing for the Lib Dems in Orkney was also enjoying a day out in Caithness meeting people in the county.

UKAEA Hands Surplus PC's To Local Groups
UKAEA Dounreay has recently donated surplus PC equipment to local organisations. Pictured receiving their equipment are representatives from various groups.   Thurso Community Council; The Casper Club; Castletown Primary School; Talking Volumes; Viewfirth Club; Wick Old Parish Church;
Multiple Sclerosis Society and St Peter's & St Andrew's Church Women's Guild.

Caithness Moto X Club Round 2 of the CMXC Championship
Sunday 20th April  - "Scrabster farm Gala track"
Opposite the "Hill of Forss" junction on the A836, Thurso outskirts
Sign-on & Scrutineering at 11am.
One day licences & memberships available. Track & parking facilities made available

The Last House Museum
The last house Museum At John O'Groats has quite a mix of items from local crofts as well as great many pictures of ships and boats wrecked in the Pentland Firth.  lots of items and information on local families mixed with old household and crofting items.  Caithness has quite a few small museums so if you are interested you can spend many hours looking round them all.  Caithness Museums/Centres

More Daffodil Views Round Wick
Yes the Daffodils are still out in force round the county with early varieties beginning to wane but later ones and those in the shade coming into full bloom now.

Donald Mackay (Independent) Challenges In Thurso Central
Donnie Mackay another Independent is on the campaign trail in Thurso Central.  He takes on John Rosie (Labour) who has been a councillor for many years.  There are four Wards with Independent candidates standing out of the five contested wards.  Labour have candidates in all five wards whilst Scottish National Party are contesting two - Wick and Wick West.  The Lib Dems are contesting only in  the Wick ward.
Three Independents and Two Lib Dems are already home and dry with no other contestants challenging them.

Calder's History Of Caithness
Appendix 5  - The Earls Of Caithness Of The Sinclair Family
Appendix 5 - Pedigree of the Mey Family
Another couple of extracts from the history

Bob Graham : The Protect Rural Scotland Party Chasing The Peach Ballot Paper
Are you flagging yet?  With more and more candidates chasing their second vote for the Scottish Parliament voters have plenty of candidates to think about with many trying to highlight the problems facing rural areas and particular problems like fishing.  Bob Graham wants a halt to wind turbines projects, affordable housing for young people and will be looking hard at farming issues if he wins a list seat.

Activity Outing To Thurso For Pulteney Kids
Mums and kids made a day out to Thurso with visits to Viking Bowl, Ormlie Skateboard Park and Thurso Swimming Pool all on a lovely sunny day.

School Holidays And Great Riding Weather

New Picture Gallery For John O'Groats
We are still extending the gallery set up for pictures and here is the start of a new one for John O'Groats with a couple of Daffy pics to get it going.

Time Running Out For Support For Balmore Animal Centre To Come In
Anyone thinking about sending an email to support Balmore Animal Centre had better do it soon.  Petitions are out all over the place but the group cannot be everywhere.  Messages of support can also be sent by email to before 23 April 2003 but the sooner the better.  Will the nearest Animal centre soon be in Inverness?

Session A9 From Gordon Gunn Band and Friends
The latest CD from the band has been taken from all the travelling they do up and down the A9.  but the cracking line-up of musicians is likely to make this a best seller for CD collections all over.  The album features four fiddles:- Charlie McKerron - Capercaillie Gordon Gunn - Gordon Gunn Band Duncan Chisholm - Wolfstone Adam Sutherland - Croft No. 5  Backed up by:- Brian McAlpine - keyboards (Pearlfishers / Gordon Gunn Band) - Tim Edey - melodeon & guitar (Sharon Shannon Band) - Kris Drever - guitar & vocals (Fine Friday / Ivan Drever Band) - Ewan Vernal - double bass (Deacon Blue / Capercaillie) - -David "Chimp" Robertson - percussion (Capercaillie) - Wow!!  Could they squeeze in any more talent?

More Election Action - Red Ramble Organised by SSP
The SSP are organising a mass ramble across the estates owned by Mahomed al Fayed.  The SSP claim that he and other landowners  - 72 0f whom own half the Highlands are conspiring to stop the Right To Roam.  The ramble will take place on Sunday 27 April at 12 noon assembling at Ken's Garage, Kildary.   The Ramble will be a peaceful walk over some of the 65,000 acres owned by Mr Fayed.  Everyone is invited to join the ramble designed to leave only footprints and cause no damage.

Neil Gunn Readers Group
Contact details for this group are now on the new page for anyone interested in Neil Gunn.

Bill Mowat Emphasising His Labour Connections
Bill Mowat (Labour) heads to Wick for this contest with Niall Smith (SNP) and Graeme Smith (Lib Dem).  A previous councillor he has plenty of experience and here he lays out many of the issues that interest him.  With three of the main parties represented in this contest it will be an interesting one to watch.  This is the only contest in Caithness with no Independent candidate standing.

International Rural Network Conference
Delegates from across the world are expected to attend a major international conference in Inverness in June 2003. Taking Charge (June 23  27, 2003) will focus on various issues around rural development with speakers sharing experience and the latest research on issues of rural community empowerment, rural health and rural education.  Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the event with speakers travelling from over 30 countries including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Sweden, India and the USA.

Sculptured Stones Of Caithness
The final pages for this comprehensive survey by Tim Blackie and Colin Macaulay are now completed.  The aim of this survey was to produce an up-to-date and comprehensive list of The Pictish and early Christian sculptured stones which have been found in the modern county of Caithness, and to provide brief details about the stones which might be of interest to the general reader.

Hustings At Helmsdale
Timespan in Helmsdale is hosting a hustings meeting on Wednesday 16th at 7pm, with a particular focus on culture and tourism, though other local issues will no doubt also be addressed.   It seems no one can remember a hustings meeting having happened in the village for decades.  Most of the main candidates for the northern seat in the Scottish Parliament have agreed to attend.

John Rosie In Thurso In Campaigning Mood
John Rosie sets out his case for being re-elected again to represent Thurso Central.  John lists the issues he wants to return to represent the area on and some of issues he has given support to in the last few years

Lyth School Reunion More Details
To be held on the 23rd of August 2003 At 6.30pm Final date to apply for tickets 31 July 2003
Venue - Lyth Village Hall

E-Access Bulletin - April 2003
The technology newsletter dealing with technology issues for blind and visually impaired people.  The newsletter is reproduced here from time to time to allow people to find it and sign up to receive it each month by email.

Caithness Artist Julian Smith Gears Up For Three Week June Exhibition
Julian Smith designer and artist is working flat out for his three week exhibition at Swanson Gallery, Thurso for a three week period in June.  Julian who runs Designsmith is this time using his artistic skills in his exhibition of oil paintings and prints many of which will be for sale.  Living beside St John's Loch and the pool he constructed some years ago gives him plenty of inspiration with the huge numbers of birds that arrive throughout the year.  The prints and paintings will continue to be sold under the name Artsmith.

Thrumster Hall

Thrumster Daffodils

MV Hamnavoe’s public open day in Scrabster yesterday (Sunday, April 13) attracted nearly 1,500 visitors in only three hours.  Two RNLI fund-raising buffet cruises, one from Stromness this Saturday (April 19) and the other departing Scrabster on Sunday (April 20). All 800 tickets for these cruises have now been sold, raising £8000 for the RNLI from ticket sales alone.

Thurso Museum - Current Position On the Threat To Artefacts
The museum is under threat due to the proposed refurbishment of the building which it occupies, to be carried out by the Highland Council. The proposal is to connect it to the Town Hall in a major refurbishment programme. Both buildings are very neglected and are in urgent need of restoration and modernisation.

Scrabster Daffodils
Yes they are everywhere in the county.  While some folk may think they have become a bit of a scourge as there have been so many planted over the years they do have the merit of always being colourful and have the ability to keep growing year after year in our windy conditions.  Great for dafs and kites.

Some Early Sports Pictures From Thurso
Alan Kennedy has sent in these pictures of football teams in Thurso from a few years back.  Names of everyone are in the Early Pictures Sports Index page.  At some point we will prepare a sports pictures list like the schooldays lists to make it easier to find the growing numbers of early years sports pictures coming on to the web site

The Mill At West Murkle

Ossian Swanson Gallery, Thurso
The latest Exhibition at Swanson Gallery, Thurso is by Calum Colvin taking Ossian the blind poet of the third century as its theme.  The verses were presented by James Macpherson in the 1760's to a public enthused by the idea of a 'Scottish Homer' (Voltaire) and the Romantic thought that noble culture could be a product of a primitive age an a remote place.

Kite Buggy, Kite Surf, Kite Board - It Was All Happening At Dunnet Beach
Some of the top kite people have not gone home but lessons are continuing over the next few days at Dunnet and plans are already underway for a week in the summertime.  Just keep checking for details.

Pulteney Ward Contest
Katrina MacNab (Independent) the only woman candidate In Caithness takes on Councillor Jim Oag (Scottish Labour).

Wick Ward Voters Need To Know Their Smiths
Graeme Smith (Lib Dem) faces two challengers for the Wick ward on 1st May.  Niall Smith (SNP) and Bill Mowat  (Scottish Labour) make this another three way contest for the voters.  Graeme Smith took over from Andy Murray at the last election and this time faces another two well known folk.  Bill Mowat has been in the council in the past and works as a freelance journalist and writer and Niall Smith is the Development Officer of Caithness Voluntary Group.

Bower Inn Re-opens Under New Ownership
The Bower Inn will re-open on Wednesday 16 April with new owners.  The bar is opening first but work is well underway to reopen the restaurant and restart serving food at the once popular place in the middle of the county.

Achanarras - A Window on the Glorious Devonian
Jack Saxon gives more insight on another Caithness treasure - Achannaras Quarry - "Standing by the derelict wind-swept, waterlogged quarry of Achanarras in Caithness, Scotland it is difficult to realise that this was once a great fresh-water lake in a desert landscape in the tropics. The coral reefs of the Devonian oceans teemed with life, but Achanarras was an oasis in an arid desert, and the waters of the oasis teemed with fish."

Police enquiries into the death of OMAR JOHN MATTAN whose body was found at West Murkle, Caithness on 9 March 2003 have made a further appeal.

Excavations at Everley, Tofts, Freswick 2002
some initial thoughts by Andrew Heald.  The broch at Everley was opened up for two seasons 2001 and 2002 and Andrew Heald archaeologist wrote up some early thoughts on the findings.  The paper was reproduced in the 2003 Caithness Field Club Bulletin and has been linked to pictures we took over the last couple of years.  Unfortunately there was no funding to continue the dig for 2003.

Current Biological Recording Schemes
Ken Butler writes in the 2003 Caithness Field Club Bulletin about biological recording schemes that anyone with an interest can become involved in.

The Pennyland Mausoleum at Victoria Walk, Thurso
Eric Voice brings together the information in an article in the 2003 Caithness Field Club bulletin and provides a fascinating look at some Caithness history surrounding this much neglected building.

Kestrel Unloading Fertilizer At Wick
A quiet day at Wick harbour but at least the unloading was carried out in bright sunshine.

A Classic Walk  A Trip to Latheron & Forse Early Settlement
Another item from the 2003 Caithness Field Cliub Bulletin by the late Gordon Wilson.  As usual packed with information about the route and what you might expect to find along the way.  Some information on Doocots just for good measure and complete with a small map which would be most useful to print out and take with you when trying out this walk.

Badryrie Wood - 18 Years On By Ken Butler
In 1984 Gordon McLachlan conceived the idea (1) of enclosing an area of ground, close to the abandoned village of Badryrie [ around ND 207432 ] that contained a few old trees.  With grant aid from the Nature Conservancy a deer-proof fence was erected to enclose some, but not all the trees in the area.   On 9th July 2002 Ken Butler and Chris Ferriera visited the site to make an assessment of its conditions and prospects 18 years after it was enclosed.

Latest On Castle Research From Clan Sinclair Trust
History rewritten  The draft Conservation Plan prepared by Field Archaeology Specialists of York University has been received by the Trust.

Hamnavoe Arrives At Scrabster
It may be later than expected but Hamanvoe has finally arrrived and will be making a variety of trips for local schoolsholdren and groups as well as open days for the public in both Scrabster and Stromness
Sunday 13 April 1300 - 1600 Public open day on board Hamnavoe in Scrabster Harbour   Saturday 19 April 0930 - 1200 Public opening and tours of ship in Stromness

More Caithness Poetry
We return to Caithness poetry with some questions for you all to ponder and send in the answers to add to the poems for future reference and to assist others.  What does "roch" and "tempan" mean, as in the poem E Caithness Midgie The Blin' Hunder - J Mair also gives rise to a couple of questions.

Another suspected radioactive particle resulting from historical operations at Dounreay was found during routine monitoring of Sandside Beach today. It was the second to be found today.

Latest Mart Report From Aberdeen And Northern - April Show

SEPA has published the most recent report from its research project into the health effects of particles from Dounreay.  The report is a review of the procedures used for monitoring Sandside beach. It also calculates the minimum detectable particle activity and compares it with statutory requirements, and reviews two documents which comment on the procedures used at Sandside.


West Murkle - A Jewel In The North
Although it was a slightly overcast day when we too these picture West Murkle has a lot to recommend it.  From a tranquil bay with a lovely isolated beach surrounded by crofts and farms to a place that has lots of history all within easy walking distance from pictish stones, brochs and other signs of ancient settlement.  The vikings landed here and you can see why they might want to return to such an idyllic spot.  We will be back to capture more of this area and on some sunnier days.

WHAM Waste Education Exchange Launch Event!
25th April, 10am - 3pm - Beauly - £10 organisations/£5 individuals – includes lunch and refreshments
An opportunity to share new ideas and good practice – on the day and in the future.  For all practitioners of environmental education – particularly those who focus on the topic of waste – the opportunity to network, exchange ideas and materials and try out some brand new resources, like the WHAM Compost Explorer Game – can you meet the compost challenge and build a happy compost heap?.

Northern Nashville Country Music Club
Just had their AGM. You can get more details of what's on etc from the web site

Castle Varrich At Tongue By Colin McKay
This article is taken from the 2003 Bulletin of Caithness Field Club.  The castle stands on the foot slopes of Ben Loyal in Sutherland on a local high point of rock overlooking both the Kyle of Tongue and the village of Tongue.  This article by Colin Mckay describes what can be found at the site today and suggests some possibilities about when the castle was built and the reasons why it might have been built where it was.

A Cave Below Castle Varrich
Geoff Leet of Caithness Field Club has asked if anyone knows of the exact position of the cave at Castle Varrich.

Birds and Plants In 2002 by Ken Butler and Donald Omand
On birds - Both spring and autumn migrations were very quiet in Caithness last year. However, there were some notable rarities.  On Plants  - The biggest event in the Caithness plant world was the survey of the Munsary peatland reserve by Plantlife. A team from University of South London, led by Richard Lindsay, carried out a comprehensive baseline survey.

Early History Of Strathnaver by Gordon Wilson
This short history was sent in Gordon Wilson before his death for the web site.  It is repeated here as it has now been published in the 2003 Caithness Field Club Bulletin.

Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2003
The latest Field Club bulletin has just been published and we have begun putting it onto the web site.  As usual it is packed with articles on various topics on Caithness in particular and one or two others

Undergraduates from throughout the Highlands and Islands are being offered the chance to work with a wide variety of local businesses during the summer.  STEP, the Shell Technology Enterprise Programme, is a UK-wide student placement scheme, backed by Shell UK and administered in the region by Careers Scotland and local enterprise companies in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network. Unlike more general work experience schemes, STEP offers students in their second or penultimate year the chance to get their teeth into a specific project designed to help the business improve its performance.

MV Hamnavoe Prepares For Active Service
MV Hamnavoe, the third of NorthLink's new fleet of ferries to be delivered, will embark on a programme of public events prior to beginning active service towards the end of this month.  
Sunday 13 April 1300 - 1600 Public open day on board Hamnavoe in Scrabster Harbour
Saturday 19 April 0930 - 1200 Public opening and tours of ship in Stromness

Caithness Scouts Night Stunt
On Saturday the 29th of March at night, and into the early hours of British Summer Time, over 30 Caithness Scouts and Explorer Scouts took part in the annual "Night Stunt" competition held this time around Kirk and Quoybrae.  This was the first competition run in Caithness for the new Explorer Scout section for Scouts aged 14 - 18 and was won by one of the teams from Wick. All the teams had to navigate round some checkpoints and activity bases, with the Explorer Scouts following a longer route than the younger Scouts.  The competition for the Scout section (aged 10œ - 13) was won by 2nd Thurso's B team.

Loads For Wester Yard Held Up Traffic In Wick
Cars parked South Road, Wick made it impossible for the heavy loads bound for the Wester Pipeline Construction Yard operated by Halliburton to get through.  Traffic was diverted for about 30 minutes yesterday while police found one of the owners to move the car and open the road.

Organisers of The Highland Council’s first Highland Junior Golf Championship have been encouraged by the number of applications for the new tournament to be included in the golfing calendar.  Seventy four young golfers from throughout the Highlands, Islands and Moray have been announced as competing for the Highland Junior Golf Championship to be held on Tuesday 15th April at the internationally renowned Carnegie Golf Club at Skibo Castle.  There are two entries from Wick and one from Thurso.  Most entrants are boys with only 5 girls competing out of the 74 entrants.

Town & County Club Annual Bowling Competition
The Billy Bain annual Triples Competition was held in the Town and County Club in Wick on Saturday and Sunday 5th and 6th April. All profits from the event goes to a local charity, and this year's charity was the Macmillan Cancer Nurses.


Newton Hill Community Woodland - The Story So Far and Open Day
Why not visit the woodland at your leisure or attend a fun afternoon at the Easter Open Day on Sunday 20th at 2pm.  This event has been organised by the Highland Council Ranger Service and 'Friends of Newtonhill woodland', in association with the Pultneytown Peoples Project.  A range of events will be available including a children's egg/bonnet competition (2pm), children's mini treasure hunt (2.30pm), 'Green gate making' demonstration, nature walks and display/ stalls. Everyone is welcome!.

Kite Buggies At Dunnet Beach From Wednesday 9 April
If you want to see a kite buggy in action then from tomorrow you should take a trip out to Dunnet beach.  If you are interested in finding out more about this increasingly popular activity then just come along and ask.  A build up towards the weekend will allow anyone interested to see a range of kites, buggies and kite boarding in action.   We will have a few pictures later in the week.

Latest Election Information
How the numbers breakdown between Independents and Party members.  How many are returned unopposed and other details about the elections.

It is estimated that 1,000 people will be involved in staffing the 360 polling stations and the various counts.  Polling for both elections will take place between 7.00 am – 10.00 pm on Thursday 1 May.  Within the polling station, the voter will be given three ballot papers.  An aquamarine ballot paper is to vote for the candidate of your choice in your Scottish Parliament Highland constituency (first past the post) election.  A peach paper is to vote for either the political party or the individual of your choice on the Highlands and Islands Regional List, through the additional member system – a form of proportional representation.

The Road To Scrabster Pier Is Underway

Caithness Riders Access Group (CRAG) Meeting 7 April  - Report
"CRAG had an excellent turnout on 7th April at the Brown Trout Hotel, Watten, with over 40 people attending the event held to give an update on the routes CRAG have opened up, a report from the Highland Access Project, a Ranger perspective, and a presentation from CED and CASE.

The Three Highland Constituencies - Scottish Parliament Candidates
All the nominations for the three Highland areas for the Scottish Parliament.  Some of the candidates in the areas are also list candidates looking for the second vote in the Highland area.  What will you do with your second vote this time round?  Well the candidates for the list are to be found at the link below or when you have time in the Caithness.Org Election Pages


The elections for The Highland Council being held on Thursday 1 May will involve 170 candidates contesting 60 wards.  Twenty (20) candidates have been returned unopposed, 19 of whom are existing councillors.   Fifty-one (51) face a contest to retain their seat.  Ten, including Convener David Green, Lochbroom, who is now Chairman of the Crofters Commission, have decided not to seek re-election.

Thurso Blooms Again In Springtime

Nominations for Highland Council Announced
Of the 10 electoral wards in Caithness 5 will be contested.  The contested wards are Thurso West, Thurso Central, Wick, Wick West and Pulteneytown.  Candidates Unopposed: Alistair Macdonald - Caithness north West, Tom Jackson - Thurso East, David Flear - Caithness Central, John Green - Caithness North East and William Mowat - Caithness South East.  Caithness Nominations List, All Highland Council Areas Nominations

Tannach School And Schoolhouse
Another of the old schools in Caithness.  Tannach has been a private residence since it closed about 1950.
Like many other country schools in the county it closed as the population declined when the need for labour on farms was much reduced as mechanisation took over much of the heavy work.

The Daffodils And Spring Flowers Are Out Along The Tannach Road

Springtime At Milton
The daffodils are out along the main road at Milton just outside Wick and opposite the fields have been ploughed up and are well ahead taking advantage of the long run of dry weather in Caithness.

Bill Fernie And James Sutherland To Contest Wick West In Highland Council Elections
Bill Fernie is to stand once again for election to the Highland council in the Wick West ward.  Bill will stand as an Independent candidate.  Meanwhile the Scottish National Party  have announced that James Sutherland will also contest the Wick West Ward.  A full list of candidates for all wards is expected to be announced by Highland Council on Monday 7 April around 5.00pm.  Wick West has been represented by Deirdre Steven who is now standing as a Labour candidate for the Scottish Parliament.  The SNP also announced that Niall Smith will contest the Wick seat currently held by Lib Dem Councillor Graeme Smith.  Neil Campbell has also been nominated for Labour to run in the Wick West Ward.

First Gear Runs Another Successful Driving Course For Young People
The latest course of the First Gear training programme, a youth initiative for pre-learner drivers aged 16 & 17, concluded recently with Bob Law of RML Safety Training Services presenting the 8 young people with certificates after they successfully completed the course.

Banniskirk 1947 Original Picture Sent In
Well over a year ago Jim Dunnet sent in a copy of this picture taken from the John O'Groat Journal.  Well Janet Mowat has now enabled us to put on the original picture as she had a copy of the same picture.  So many thanks to Jim for the one from the Groat as it has sparked off finding the original picture from Janet.  And thanks to Janet for sending these pictures in today.

Halkirk School Class 1976
Another sent in by Janet Mowat. As always if you know the missing names in the last three pictures then get in touch to complete the list.

Another 1979 Halkirk School Class Picture
Picture sent in by Janet Mowat

Halkirk Schooldays Section Starts
This new schooldays section starts with a class from 1979.  Janet Mowat has sent in three pictures to get things started.  the next two will be coming later

Caithness Junior Badminton Competitions
Caithness Badminton Association's President at American Tournaments which were held in Wick Games Hall on Wednesday 2nd April where 31 boys and 13 girls U13's attended.  On Thursday 3rd April in Thurso Games Hall 26 Boys and 12 girls U15/U17's participated.

Thurso FC Win Morris Newton Cup
Thurso FC won the Morris Newton Cup by defeating Bonar Bridge by five goals to nil in a one sided match at Victoria Park, Dingwall. Goals were from Kevin Morris, Alan Murray, an own goal, Luke Cassidy and Gavin Bremner.  Thurso have the chance to complete a fantastic treble next Saturday when they play Halkirk in the final of the Football Times Cup in Thurso.

More Pictures From Stars In Their Eyes

Hidden And Rooms And Secret Orders  - Ashley Cowie 5 April
Ashley Cowie stirred up a few debates with his article on Dirlot castle in 2002 and this one on Mey Castle may also get the historians amongst you thinking.  Making more connections to Knights Templar, Masons with secret passages and more lines on the map round the Caithness Castles and links to castles further south.  lets hear your own theories on this one on the message board.

Caithness Badminton Under 13s Boys Doubles League Winners 5 April
The Dunnet/Castletown team, coached by Isobel Mackay, who were undefeated all season, and won the Under 13s Caithness Badminton Boys' Doubles League.  Well done and good luck next season.

Caithness SWRI Choir Wins National Final In Wick

Stars In Their Eyes At Blackstairs Lounge, Wick
Friday night saw another successful "Stars In their Eyes" night at the Blackstairs Lounge.  Playing to a packed house with everyone out to enjoy a noisy evening as different folk took to the stage in the guise of well known groups and singers performing some of the well known numbers.  And a return visit by the Village People who made an appearance last year had them dancing and singing on the tables and chairs.  Elvis got in on the act to a huge response

Good Turnout At Watten Hall For Scottish Parliament Election Candidates
With almost a month to go the Scottish Crofting Foundation got the election off to a flying start with a surprisingly good turnout at Watten Hall on Friday 4 April 2003.  All of the main players were there and the only change from the notified candidates speaking was David Jardine (Green Party) who replaced Eleanor Scott who had been at another meeting that day in the south.

North District Novice and Intermediate Competition was won by the Caithness squad last Sunday in Inverness.  Caithness Gymnastics Clubs' - Competition Squad, competed in the North district Gymnastics Competition, with a fantastic outcome.  They came home with 9 Gold Medals, 7 Silver Medals and 2 Bronze Medals.  Absolutely fantastic.  Well done everyone.

Daughters At Work Day
Daughters and Sons who came to Dounreay for Daughters to Work Day on Thursday 3rd April 2003.  The initiative is spearheaded by the Girl Guides UK to give girls a chance to expand their horizons in thinking about their future careers.  This year however UKAEA Dounreay decided to extend the day to sons as well.  57 daughters and sons visited the site.  During their visit they spent time with their parents, toured the site, visited the emergency services and received talks by female members of staff and from the training department on what careers are available at Dounreay.

Latest Gigs At Wildcat Music - Bill Jones &  Sarah Wright
The Pentland Hotel, Thurso 17th April 2003 8.00pm + Iain Scally
Bill Jones returns to tour in Spring 2003 after her recent international performances in USA, Japan and Holland. Bill on vocals, piano, accordion, flute and whistles is joined by Sarah on flute, whistle, bodhran and harmony vocals.

Thurso Pipe Band Sets Out Their New Season Of Events
The Thurso Pipe Band web site has updated the web site with all the events for 2003 and pictures of some past events.

Balmore Animal Welfare Centre In Caithness May Close - URGENT HELP WANTED
An urgent appeal for support to keep our local animal Welfare Centre open has gone out from the Friends Of Balmore Crisis Group.  Due adverse stock market conditions and operational costs the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Animals is looking to close several centres and the one in Caithness is in the group that looks set to close.  The crisis group will be out getting signatures for their petition but they cannot possibly get everywhere by 23 April.  If you want to help you can email them with a support message or print out a petition form from this web site and get some signatures from friends and family and post it to Balmore Welfare Centre.  Time is short so you need to act fast.

Daffodils At John O'Groats Mill

"Clarity" Delivering Sand At Wick Harbour
Wick harbour may have few fishing boats coming in to the harbour these days but large heavy cargoes are still delivered by sea.  Heavy loads such as sand, coal and fertiliser would require dozens of lorries coming up the main roads to deliver the same quantities carried by each of the boats that call.

Daffodils Splash Colour Round Wick

Canisbay Kids At The New Viking Boat Now Floating Round The Playground

Highland Rangers Help Children Plant Shrubs At Canisbay School

Mini Reunion by Roger Burt
"Last year a small group of us Pultneytown Academy "Old Boys & Girls in the very young 50+ range.  Actually we all started off at the South School in the late Fifties) decided to have a mini reunion of our own, and so after long months of waiting, much anticipation and just a little trepidation, we finally got together on the weekend of March 14-17th 2003.  Has your reunion group had later follow ups?  Why not see if anyone else want to arrange one.  We can help get you in touch again by adding messages to the pages.

Wick Bridge Street Church Easter Festival
Saturday 19 April 10.00am - 4.00pm.  Exhibition of Craft, Wall Hangings, Patchwork, Flower displays, Music and teas  - Admission £1.50 Children FREE.
Pictures From Last Years Easter Festival

Daffodil Tea - Pulteneytown Parish Church Guild
Saturday 12 April 2.00pm Admission £1 - Usual stalls and lots of daffodils.

Caithness Riders Access Group Meeting 7 April 7.30pm Brown Trout Hotel, Watten
Aiming to provide more off-road riding in the county as horses and traffic do not mix well.   With their slogan "Cars Dent Horse Die" to bring home the message they are looking for any assistance with information about old tracks and rights of way that horses, cyclists and walkers can use.

Weydale School Reunion
Another reunion gets going  Reunion Date Saturday 11 October 2003. Venue - Royal British Legion, Thurso.  Get in touch with the organiser as soon as possible if you wish to attend.   Send in any old Weydale pictures for the reunion pages.

William Mowatt Retires After 50 Years In Motor Trade
Wick motor dealer William Mowatt has called it a day after 50 years of selling, servicing and repairing motor vehicles.   Mowatt's Garage has closed the doors after the retirement of William Mowatt last week.  The Garage has been sold to Caithness Tyre Company and William Mowatt retains an interest in elm Tree Filling Station next door.

Guided Walks Along The Great Glen Way
The Highland Councils Countryside Ranger Service has produced a leaflet detailing a programme of guided walks on the Great Glen Way and surrounding area.  They range from a 3 mile loop walk around Laggan Locks, to an all day hike from Drumnadrochit to Inverness.  Eight guided walks are scheduled to take place from 21 April until mid October 2003.

South School, Wick - Pyjama Walk
South School Kids went on a sponsored Pyjama Walk two miles round to the Trinkie and back via the park and distillery.  Funds raised will go towards the school trip in June to Aviemore.

Dunrobin Station In Springtime
Dunrobin Station sits right opposite the gates to Dunrobin Castle making it easy to get to on a relaxing train journey to the north of Scotland.  Not many trains pass this way each day and the track meanders into Sutherland before heading for Caithness making it one of the most scenic train trips in the UK.

Concordat Sought From Renewable Energy Developers
Highland Councillors have agreed to ask prospective developers of wind, wave or hydro power in their area to sign a concordat to demonstrate their willingness to work in harmony with the local community. Councillors believe the current level of benefit offered to communities from operators of renewable energy developments is inadequate and they are eager to campaign to establish procedures so that a greater share of the profits from the business should be secured for the local community.

A photographic book that takes you right into the dramatic landscapes of Scotland.  Eight key regions are featured as the book explores the wild, rugged beauty of the Highlands over the seasons.  From the familiar vistas that those with a passion for Scotland will love to see again from another angle to views that will bring the sensation of all that the last wilderness in Europe has to offer.

Caithness Book Shop

March - Another Busy Month At Caithness.Org
Hits: 5,002,112  Pages: 1,245,916  Visitors: 105,074
Daily Average: Hits 161,358  Pages 40,190  Visitors 3,388
Total Since June 2002 Hits 47,565,481  Pages 12,816,842  Visitors 896,880
Thanks once again to all our visitors.   Looks like we are on course to break the million visitors in one year.

CASE Helps With Purchase Of Cow Bath!
An innovative piece of agricultural machinery designed to assist in the treatment of sick or injured cattle is now available for hire in the far north, with help from (CASE).  G, E & A Mowat of Quoynee Farm near Halkirk have been awarded a business development grant worth £1,500 towards the purchase of an Aqua Cow Riser Tank, which can be hired out to vets and other farmers in the area through the Caithness Machinery Ring.  Farmers often have to deal with 'downer cows' - cattle which through sickness or injury are unable to get back on their own four feet themselves.

Gulf Families Support Group
In case anyone has not yet heard of this new group and their web site you will find the link in a couple of places on Caithness.Org.  One is in the Monthly News Index Page starting fromApril.  The other is in the Iraq News And Links page.  

Kite Week Expands With New Mountain Board With Kites Course
Are You Over 16 Years Of Age - Ready for This Challenging New Sport Taking Off In Caithness
There are still spaces available for Kite Buggy courses and new spaces for the Kite Mountain Board Course which is a new course similar to the buggy course but using mountain boards, this course will be ran on Sat 12th April by Stuart Potter of Windthings.  We are looking at making this a twice yearly event at Easter and in Summer, and hoping it will eventually culminate in residential courses.

Caithness Quilters New Committee Elected At AGM
Next meeting will be in the Church hall in Argyle Street, Wick on the 29 April 2003 at 7.30 pm. New members welcome.

People all over the country are being invited to Set their Sights on a Safer Scotland by handing in firearms and other weapons to the Police.  "Our Scottish Amnesty, fully supported by the Scottish Executive and all Political parties, is being held in parallel with one south of the border and will run from Monday 31 March 2003 until 30 April 2003.

Dunrobin Castle At Daffodil Time
Dunrobin Castle re-opens to the public on Tuesday 1 April.


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