News Archive - February 2003

IRAQ CRISIS - Public Meeting To Be Held By SSP Candidate
There will be a PUBLIC MEETING in the St Clair Hotel, THURSO, at 7.30pm on WEDNESDAY 12th MARCH.   Speaker will be Frank Ward, the SSP Candidate for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross in May's elections. Followed by an open discussion.

No It's Not George - This One Is "Harley"
Regular surfers to Caithness.Org might know that this is not George although the colours are similar.  Harley was taken home with another cat after she had spent over a year in a cat home in a large pen and the staff were beginning to give up on ever getting them homed.   Harley and her friend live in Glasgow and we took this picture on a visit just to prove we do get out of Caithness now and then.  If any children would like to send in pictures of their cat George in her (yes her) section then just email a picture with a name and we will add it to a gallery in George's pages.

New Police Station Nearly Ready
The new police station at Wick is nearly ready as clearing up continues around the new building and communications wiring is being completed.   The old bus waiting room is being turned into a children's interview section to provide a less intimidating environment.

24th and 25th Particles Found On Sandside Beach
Both particles have been sent for analysis.

Caithness Biodiversity Plan Launched
The Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan was launched on Saturday 22nd February 2003 at Dunnet.  The launch event was held in the Northern Sands Hotel, attended by 29 people.  Highland Biodiversity Project co-ordinator Janet Bromham gave a presentation on the plan itself, followed by a number of presentations from practical biodiversity projects that have received funding over the past year. Afterwards, there was a visit to a small tree nursery, where Dunnet resident Mrs Sheila Moir, whose father planted the first tree at Dunnet nearly fifty years ago, planted another tree to welcome the next phase in the Forest's history.

One Side Of Main Street, Lybster

Mowat Place, Lybster

Jeffrey Street, Lybster

Shelligo Road, Lybster

Golf View Drive, Lybster

Golf View Place, Lybster

Heritage Lottery Award Of £1.19 Million For Wick
Heritage Lottery Fund  is about to sign the contract confirming the award of £1.19M towards the Lower Pulteneytown Townscape Heritage Initiative.     It is believed that matched funding from Highland Council, Communities Scotland and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise take the figure to nearly £2 million.

Sick Of Spam In Your Mailbox?  This Might Help...
Here is some help for those of you who perhaps like us are flooded with unwanted emails.  Niall has given a short explanation of what a little programme called Mail Washer can do for you.

Another Health Service Shake Up - White Paper on Scotland's Health
A blueprint to transform Scotland’s health and its health services was outlined today.  Key points in the White Paper Partnership for Care include the abolition of NHS Trusts, a new Scottish Health Council to replace existing health councils  and a new guarantee of treatment on time.  Of course there is an election before any of this can be implemented.

Loch Scarmclate
Here is another of the lochs that are designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is one of the group of six lochs designated as a Ramsar site that was mentioned in connection with the pictures of the bird hide at Loch of Mey we put up earlier this week.  As Caithness has over 100 lochs we have a long way to go in getting pictures of them all.  It is not hard to see why the county has such a huge and varied wild bird life.  The fishing is not bad also......

Disability Rights Commission Special Bulletin
Special issue of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) email bulletin, outlining the Commission’s stance on the Government’s consultation over a Single Equality Body.

Caithness Music Festival 2003  - Deadline For Entries 14 March
The Caithness Music Festival is one of the biggest local festivals involving all ages in competitions in Scotland and it is no wonder they insist on entries being in on time so if you are getting ready make sure your entry form is in on time.  Although the numbers of entrants are dominated by local schools in all categories there are adult sections and any singers or musicians should check it out. 

Local MSP Jamie Stone has given a warm welcome to the news that two community transport schemes in the Far North have won financial support from the latest round of grants from the Scottish Executive's Rural Community Transport Initiative.  The Caithness Voluntary Group has been awarded £94,929.  This will allow them to purchase a new vehicle, pilot a car-sharing scheme and continue their Dial-a-Ride service.  The Sutherland Partnership will receive £82,234 to continue employing a transport co-ordinator to co-ordinate projects throughout Sutherland.

Rob Gibson SNP Candidate On Population Decline
Wake up call - Scottish government must help more to stay in North - SNP The Far North, the islands, Glasgow and Dundee all share depopulation that threatens real hopes of future prosperity. It is time to wake up and ask why the Scottish Executive is only now talking of the consequences?'  said Rob Gibson, SNP prospective Scottish Parliamentary candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

Frank Ward SSP Candidate For Scottish Parliament Helps Anti War Movement
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross candidate Frank Ward, who will contest pro-war Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone in May's election, said that his branch of the SSP is organising transport and publicity for a good attendance at an anti-war protest set for March 15th in Inverness.

South School February Newsletter
What's In South School's Newsletter? - Uniform Prices, Caithness Music Festival, Playground Issues, Pultneytown People’s Project, Bring And Buy Sale, Doughnut, Day Book Fair and Nursery Enrolment.

A suspected radioactive particle resulting from historical operations at Dounreay was found during routine monitoring of Sandside Beach today.  The particle was removed from the beach and taken to the site for analysis.

Highland Council Homelessness Strategy
The Council, in consultation with key partners, has produced a Consultative Draft Highland Joint Homelessness Strategy. This Strategy and associated Action Plan highlight the key issues in relation to homelessness in Highland and sets out how we intend to address them. The Council would like views from organisations and individuals.  Submissions by online form or in writing are required by 24th March.

Caithness Deaf Care Teams Up With Highland Vision Services
A new One Stop Shop approach between the two organisations will be in the revamped offices of Caithness Deaf Care at Harbour Terrace, Wick.  The offices are currently being renovated and the service is looking for more volunteers to help with their work.  Crossroads Care already operates from the office in Wick.  The Scottish Council on Deafness is coming to a question and answer session on 5 April and in March a session will be held on using Interpreters for professionals in the Health Service and others as a prelude to the new Interpreters service which will be based in Inverness providing sign language interpreters for the Highlands.

High Life Card Boosts Swimming In Caithness
September to December 2002, usage at Wick swimming pool had increased by 3,429 and by 3,999 at the pool in Thurso compared to the same period the year before. Both facilities, which are run by The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service, also showed a combined increase in income of £12,101 since the scheme had been introduced.  The card offers cheaper access to the pools for a monthly payment and there are special concessions for people on low income.

£1 Million Fish Grading Factory For Scrabster
Scrabster Seafood's new facility will allow them to change from the traditional method of packaging fish of varying weights and sizes en masse in 60kg boxes. Instead, the company will be able to pack fish according to customers' individual requirements 'adding value' to the product.  The new factory - where fish will be weighed, graded and boxed in accordance to their weight and size - will create at least 14 new full-time jobs in the far north.

New Offices In Wick And Golspie To Create New Jobs
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is spending over £1.2 million creating two advance offices in Golspie and Wick in a bid to attract inward investors or to help indigenous companies to grow.  Based in the newly built Wick and Golspie Business Parks, the two offices have the potential to create up to 40 full-time jobs.

Hunters Of Brora Goes Into Receivership
The last 20 people working at the Brora Mill have lost their jobs as the company has now finally closed down.  The mill had manufactured cloth and woollen goods for over 100 years.  Even a new factory and equipment a few years ago has not enabled the firm to get through the changes in the world economy and downturn in demand for its goods.

Information In On The Aces Picture From Yesterday
Gordon Doull has a long memory and knew the other folk in yesterdays picture and one or two other details about why they were at the Portland Hotel in Lybster 42 years ago.

The campaign to change the current on-call working arrangements at Wick ambulance station has taken a significant step forward following an intervention by MSP Jamie Stone.  Through lobbying, Mr Stone has secured a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue. MSPs will discuss the problems with the present regime for ambulance staff at Wick on Thursday. Mr Stone is pressing for a review of the on-call system, with a view to upgrading it to full-time.

The new Telemedicine Accident and Emergency service opens in Dunbar Hospital, Thurso on Friday 28th February at 08:30am. The hospital provides a 24 hour A&E service.  The new service was launched by an open day for the public on Friday 21st February, at which there was a good turn out of local people.

Enact - International Women's Day Festival 5 - 15 March 2003
If you are in Edinburgh and want to find out more about Women's Campaigning groups then you might want to go to some of the meetings, discussions and entertainment during this annual festival.  More links on a range of issues of interest to women can be found at our links page Women On The Web

Loch Of Mey Bird Hide
The James McIntyre Memorial bird hide at Loch of Mey offers the chance to watch birds at an SSSI site.  The site is of international importance and has a huge range of birds using this wetland area over the course of a year.  Take your binoculars and a flask of tea anytime.

The Carnegie Club Golf Course at Skibo Castle, Sutherland is to be the magnificent setting for the first Highland Junior Golf Championships on Tuesday 15th April.  No entry Fee but restricted to 75 golfers.  Handicaps will be used if entries exceed 75.  Young golfers under 18 years old from the Highlands, Islands (including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland) and Morayshire, with a golf handicap of 24 and under for boys or 36 and under for girls are entitled to enter, free of charge.   OK folks go for it now.

All Golfers May Want To Check St Andrews Deal
If you cannot qualify for the competition at Skibo then you may want to check out this great golfing offer at St Andrews the home of golf.  This offer is open to anyone living more than 50 miles from St Andrews so Caithness definitely qualifies.   If you are flying in to play golf why not check out our coastal courses here in Caithness.

Business Opportunities At Dounreay
At a special seminar organised by Orkney Enterprise, companies and organisations from the islands were invited to register an interest in finding out if the massive Dounreay project could become an important source of income in the future.  It was stressed that many non-specialist skills and supplies will be needed - everything from civil engineering and construction work to day-to-day goods like the food required for the 2,500-plus workforce at the Caithness site.  Check out the public tendering web site for more information.

The Road To Noss

The Aces - Circa 1961
The latest picture into our Early Pictures section is one of the many bands that Caithness has produced reflecting the many musical talents produced down the years.  This picture has been sent by one of the band members Sandy Ryrie who has lived in Canada for many years but was back in Caithness last summer.   The band members in the picture are Gordon Doull, Sandy Ryrie, Robin Gunn, William Morrison, George Maclean.  Does anyone know who the two ladies in the picture were?

Young people in Caithness will have the opportunity to change the look of their local communities due to a new grant from the Scottish Arts Council.  The Highland Council has been awarded £40,000 to encourage young people who live within Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP) areas of the Highlands to work together with their peers, artists and voluntary organisations to create public artworks.

A new partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland and The Highland Council will be launched in the Highlands this week when the 'Ossian - Fragments Of Poetry' exhibition by artist Calum Colvin comes to the Iona Gallery, Kingussie on the first leg of its Highland tour.   After Kingussie the exhibition heads for Thurso, Portree, Helmsdale, Wick and finally Inverness.

'To The Drum Of The Sea'  New Caithness Inspired CD
The eagerly awaited DEBUT album by Donald Lindsay is released Monday 17th March 2003.  The album is a collection of tunes by the Rev Alex Muir.  Alex was minister of Canisbay in Caithness from 1982-1991, and composed many of the tunes on the album during this time.

Currant Affairs With Mike Clark
Whether you grow currants for jam, wine or the birds Mike offers some tips on increasing your stock and getting a good crop.

Wick Pipe Band Looking For Old Photographs And Artefacts
Wick RBLs Pipe Band is in the process of upgrading the Pipe Band Hall, High Street, Wick and hope to make the hall more attractive to both visitors and locals by displaying old pipe band photographs and artefacts. An appeal has been launched for anyone with old photographs of the Wick Pipe Band to donate or lend them to the pipe band. Other old artefacts are also required as is a shop mannequin to display an old uniform.

Winter Walk - Loch of Mey
A walk to Loch of Mey with two members of the SOC.   Sunday  23 February 2003
Leaving Wick and Thurso Railway stations at 10.30pm, taking the road signposted to Scarskerry and just before the right turn to Harrow Harbour there is a ruined croft on the right.  Meet here at 11.00am directly opposite is the sign to the hide.  "Wellies" are advisable and binoculars, telescopes and packed lunch.

Thurso FC North Caledonian League Champions 2002/2003
They clinched the league title this afternoon, as Alness lost to Golspie. That means Thurso are six points ahead, with Alness only having one game left.   Well done.....

Wick Girls Pipe Band
This picture has been sent in by Shelagh Moir from Scrafskerry.  At the rate they are building up perhaps we will have all the pictures.  However if anyone can pinpoint the year for this one let us know.

The Audley Horn Trio - Thurso Live Music Association
Friday 28 February 8.00pm  Thurso High School
This trio of violin, horn and piano is performed by three sought-after musicians, each a soloist in their own right.  They have had outstanding reviews as a trio and will perform music by Dukas, Brahms, Schumann, Mozart and McMillan.

Scottish Community Drama - Festival Of One Act Plays
Saturday 1 March 2003 - Assembly Rooms, Wick  - Curtain Up 7.00pm
Wick and Thurso Players will compete in this heat with Wick Players performing excerpts from Enter A Free Man by Tom Stoppard.  Thurso Players has two entries with White Liars by Peter Sheaffer and Just A Song At Twilight by Valerie Maskell.

Blue Monday Has Six Bands At Redwood, Thurso For Saturday Night
Six bands will play tonight and meet music industry figures at the Redwood Restaurant in Thurso tonight.
Acid Inc, Ticket To the Island, Estrella, NEI, Caithness coyotes and Minicab Ride are lined up to perform and then meet some music industry people.  Blue Monday have organised this as part of their promotion of Caithness music.  Starts around 9.00pm if you want to catch them.

Thurso Pipe Band 90th Anniversary Reunion
The band are trying to contact former members of the band for a reunion to celebrate their 90th anniversary.  A buffet/dance will be held in Thurso on Saturday 19 July.  Anyone interested in attending the reunion can contact David Manson secretary on 01847 891042.  The band will be performing on the same day with Kirkwall City, Wick RBLS, Ardgay/Bonar Bridge and the Caithness Junior Pipe Bands.

Caithness.Org Message Board Breaking Records Of Its Own
Yesterday saw the Message Board break records for having the most people on at one time.  24 people were on the message board all at once yesterday.   Hottest topic of the last few days is the one following a comment about the protest postcards at Caithness General on the Iraq situation.   In a few days it has become one of the fastest growing topics on the message with many folk coming in to see what has been said next.  You may not agree with any or all of it but at least you can have your say, debate, argue etc.

'Bio, Chemo, Cryo and Silo! Environmental Research At Abertay'
Free Seminar - Friday 28 February 2003 - 5.00pm - Dr David H Bremner - School of Contemporary Sciences - Abertay University - The university of Abertay Dundee is highly rated for its research in the Environmental Sciences.  Its internationally recognised research groups work on topics as diverse as yeast biotechnology, avian reproduction, molecular analysis of genetic diseases.

Wick Lifeboat Tows Southards From Trinkie Rocks
The Wick Lifeboat went to the rescue to tow in the fishing boat Southards after she suffered a gear-box failure shortly after having left Wick.   The lifeboat towed the vessel back to Wick and away from the rocks near the Trinkie swimming pool where she might have run aground.  Rocks At Trinkie

Fireworks Restrictions Appeal
On behalf of The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association I would like to appeal to your readers to support our Fireworks campaign, which calls for an end to the disruption and distress caused to dogs and their owners by fireworks.

MUIRBURNING - Highlands And Islands Fire Brigade
Since Monday 17th February 2003 the Brigade has attended 97 incidents involving 271 separate appliance mobilisations from 60 different stations. 39 of these incidents were countryside fires and 24 of these appear to have started as muirburning that got out of control. 3 further incidents involved damage to buildings resulting from muirburning out of control.

Unemployment Up In January
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 859 last month to 916. 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) 7.3% (7.0%), 5.4% (5.0%) and 3.0% (2.8%).

Community INVESTMENT Grants
Thurso & District Squash Club have received approval of up to £20,000 to assist with an extension and improvements to their premises, while Melvich Community Council is to receive up to £22,000 to assist a playground project. Also assisted were Thurso Town Improvements, for the purchase of pedalo boats to be used on Thurso Boating pond and lighting in the square, and Dornoch Focus Group, to assist with the Historylinks Trail in and around Dornoch.

Community Planning
Caithness Community Care is to receive £15,875 to assist with the Caithness Handyperson Scheme, which will assist elderly and vulnerable householders with a range of maintenance tasks, while the Sutherland Partnership is to receive up to £4,440 to assist with stage one of North West Youth Initiative, which seeks to support young carers.

Disability Rights Commission February Newsletter
No lifting” bans on home care for disabled people must go - Government announces draft Disability Bill
Public call for greater right to live - DRC briefing on evacuations and the fire-fighters strike -  - Educating for Equality: campaign update - New committee to help break down employment barriers for disabled people
Improving disabled access to the health services - The employment of people with learning difficulties
Launch of Autism Awareness Information Campaign - What is the tourist industry doing about disabled access? - Draft guidance on British Sign Language/English Interpreting...and more.

HMS Sutherland Visits Sutherland
The Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland has been in Loch Eriboll, Sutherland and was leaving today to go to Kinlochbervie.   It was the first time the Sutherland had been to Sutherland.   The ship was paying a good will visit and has recently been refitted.  Later this year the ship will be off to the Gulf.

Two Wind Turbines Up At Forss
The two turbines delivered last week are now in place and the skyline of Forss has changed for the foreseeable future

Free Fruit For First Two Years Of Primary School In Scotland
£2 Million per year for next three years. Healthier school meals are on the menu while children in the first two years of primary will enjoy free fruit thanks to new measures and investment announced today.  A package of improvements, backed by an additional £63.5 million, aims to drive up nutritional standards, improve the health of young people, and tackle child poverty.

Children In The Highlands Education Support Service (CHESS)
A new multi-agency Highland wide service in the education section offering a range of services, advice, mediation for children additional education needs, parents and professionals.   They have a web site.  Information meetings around the Highlands for interested individuals and organisations.  Thurso Meeting 18 March 2003  2.30 - 4.30pm  Thurso Ormlie Centre.

First Salmon On Thurso River At Westerdale
The first salmon of the season was caught by James MacDonald (74) on Beat 8 at the covered pool and the salmon weighed in at 8lbs.   James first fished the Thurso when he was 8 and fished for it trout until 20 years ago when he  retired from the Merchant Navy was then persuaded to try the salmon. He has fished regularly since then and this is the first time he has caught the first of the season.  The fly was a 2" Willie Gunn.

Lyth Arts Centre  - More Shows In Exile
After a lot of delay work on the Refurbishment of the building is well underway with completion due in Spring 2004.  During 2003 the Centre will continue its programme-in-exile with a number of events in other venues in Wick, Thurso and other parts of the county.  Thanks to an award from the Scottish Arts Council's Lottery Department, we are due to stage two large outdoor concerts later in the year.

Hypothetically Murdered
Thursday 6 March 2003  8.00pm Thurso High School
Tartan chameleon presents Shostakovich's virtually unknown and long-buried score Hypothetically Murdered.  Described as hyper-kinetic, visually extreme, musically dynamic, a black comedy romp, booth profoundly moving and entertaining.

Smith Is Most Common Surname In Scotland
Smith, Brown and Wilson are the top three surnames in Scotland, according to a survey published today.  The survey, carried out by the General Register Office for Scotland for the years 1999-2001, found that there has been little change in surnames over the last 140 years.

Wick Boys Brigade Needs Adult Helpers Urgently
There will be a public meeting in the Boys' Brigade Hall on the 3rd March 2003 at 7pm.  This meeting is being held for two reasons.  The main reason is to appeal for helpers to come along on a BB night to help the officers.  Currently there are only 3 people running the Company and secondly to set up a parents group.

Worldwide Demand For More Pictures Of 60 Years Celebrations
Ted and Ida Nicholas have a scattered family and friends so here are a few more pictures of the big day for you all to see.

Sunny But Frosty
Caithness has settled in to a few days of sunny but frosty weather as can be seen from these pictures at the weekend at Thurso River.  Out of the sunshine frost has lain heavily in some places.  A slight breeze and the days have been very cold and fresh.

Epilepsy Support Group Gets Going On Tuesday Night
If you want to find out more or discuss issues or find out what is available go along.

Calling All Outstanding Young People
Do you know anyone aged between 16 and 25 who’s made an outstanding contribution to the community, environment and sport? If so, Whitbread would like to hear from you.  Launched by Whitbread PLC, the UK’s leading leisure company, Whitbread Young Achievers (WYA) is a major new awards scheme celebrating the achievements of young people nationwide. The awards recognise exceptional achievement in three categories: community, environment and sport. The overall winners in each category will each receive £2,500 for personal and project development.

E Access Bulletin February
Here is the February issue of the E - Access Bulletin newsletter on technology issues for the blind or partially sighted that we post from time to time to let people know they exist but if you want regular copies you should sign up for it at their web site.  They keep you up to date with all the latest technological developments and in a packed issue this month talk about digital audio access to television available on FREEVIEW  - a consortium being led by the BBC.

Access For All at Caithness Castlehill Flagstone Trail
Regular users of the Castlehill Flagstone Trail in Caithness will be pleased to know that The Highland Council Planning and Development Service are upgrading the trail to allow All-Abilities access.  The repair has been enabled by the award of £30,000 funding from the Aggregates Levy Grant Fund. The works will improve the path with the use of natural materials, and especially flagstone, given the focus of the trail.

Letter In Response To Speculation About Wick Airport
Bob MacLeod, Manager of Highland and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has written to the press and others concerning recent speculation about Wick airport. - "I write regarding local speculation concerning the future of Wick Airport, fuelled by a factually inaccurate report recently produced by The Highland Council. Since this report received widespread press coverage I would like to place the facts relating to Wick’s future, as one of 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, on the record."

Playbox Play Group Whist Drive
Friday 21 February 8.00pm.  If you cannot make that night then check the other Whist Drive Dates or if you are running whist drives let us know the dates.

Triple C Country Music 2003 Dates
See what's on from 28 February in the Caithness Country Music Scene.

Three Peace Sweet With Wildcat
Saturday 22 February 8.00pm
The incredibly poplar band from Orkney giving the pipes a razzamataz with drums and guitar etc you may never have heard before.

Cars And Lots More Can Sell For FREE On Caithness.Org
All sorts of vehicles, trailers, horseboxes, spares and more are selling in the Items for Sale section.  but also check out the Computer And Game Consoles section.  You might find lots of bargains in the general Items For Sale or advertise your own items and empty the garage, loft or cupboard.  Why not do you own "Life Laundry" and advertise items and turn them into cash.  Nothing to lose as we do not charge....Its FREE.....As someone nearly said "Its the Internet Stupid"

Ted And Ida Nicholas Celebrate 60 Years Married
Ted and Ida Nicholas celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary (Diamond) in the Pentland Hotel on 8th February. They were married on 10th February 1943 in St Stephen's Church, Preston. Ted came to Caithness in 1955 to assist in the commissioning of the D1201 and D1202 fuel fabrication plants in Dounreay, followed by his wife and family two years later

Highland Hospice Dinner Dance
Saturday 15 March At Portland Arms Hotel
The fifth annual Tartan Dinner Dance will be bigger and better than ever.  This fundraiser supports nurses and palliative medical care in Caithness & Sutherland.  Get your tickets early.

Breezy At E Trinkie On Sunday

Second Turbine Building At Forss
Forss Wind Turbines are going up fast with the second one already under construction as shown by this picture in from photographer John Baikie.  These machines are huge and the company plans to build several more

Reiss Beach  - Brilliant Sunshine And Very Cold Breeze

Scrabster Ferry Terminal Gets A Make Over
One of the new sites at Scrabster will be the made over ferry terminal where work is well under way.  No word yet as to when the new pier will be completed but the new terminal building may be ready first.
Caithness Ferry Pages

Around Scrabster

Walking Holborn Head

Scrabster Pier  - Beautiful Day - Sunny And Very Cold

No War Protestors Out In Thurso
A spontaneous protest to speak to passers by took place in Thurso.  Their aim was to get people to send postcards objecting to a war to Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street.  Generally passers by who expressed an opinion were against a war with a few exceptions.

Caithness General Postcard Protest Sign Hots Up Debate In Message Board
The "NO WAR" postcard sign at Caithness General (now removed) has sparked of the debate on the Message Board.  Whatever your views on the current Iraqi situation you can have a say in a few minutes.  Anyone can read the boards but you must register to post messages.

Six Candidates Get Ready To Slug It Out In The May Election
Our election section is already up and running for the Scottish elections in May.  We have two candidates in with some details about who they are.  Others will follow soon.   The election pages will have the profiles and new information as we approach the election so if you want to find out who is standing keep checking back to our May election pages.  The section also has links to the political parties if you want to dig deeper into what they stand for.

Although it's only been up for a short while, to help make it the best possible site a number of changes have taken place.  There is now a number of new features added.  A Message Board has been added for visitors to leave any kind any messages they wish relating to the band.  There is Acid-Chat, a chat room anyone can log into and chat, with members of the band appearing at special times posted in the Message Board, where you can chat to them right there.

Latest Progress Pictures For Wick's New Supermarket - Lidl

North Pier Finally Gets Last Concrete In Place To Finish Repair Work

Blades Already On First Windmill At Forss
The blades on the first windmill at Forss were put in place today just two days after arrival.   Whilst most folk will marvel at the engineering some local residents are not so happy that they now have to look at the windmills as shown by this letter on the subject from someone who will now have to see it every day.  Anyone else with views on the topic can put them on the Message Board.

Ploughing Match Winners
The winners from the ploughing match and more of the competitors in action at Stemster Farm.  Want to hold it in the Caithness.Org garden next year lads?

UK Census Shows 390,000 Claimed To Be Jedi
One of the quirk of the census is that it allowed people to put down almost anything for a religion.  The Star Wars fans got hold of the story that if more than 10,000 said they were Jedi it would be listed as new religion but in the end the authorities have put them in with the 7.7 million who claimed no religion. Scottish Statistics From The 2001 Census

Wick Girls Pipe Band
A few more pictures of the famous Wick Girls Pipe Band.  The earlier pictures will shortly be moved into the new gallery system for faster viewing.  And yes we have many more pictures of the band to come.

Ploughing Match 2003 Pictures
The Ploughing match at Stemster Farm had good weather and good turnout for the day.

More Sports Coaching Courses
Badminton Instructors Course, Introductory Coaching Award Course, Community Sports Leader Award, Level 1&2 Wheelchair Basketball Coaching Award, Pre-School Asst, Gymnastics Coaching Award.   Contact Tina Robinson - Sports Officer in Caithness for more details.

New Command Centre For UKAEA Police  - £4 Million Contract Awarded
60 New Construction Jobs.  The first major construction project for the newly formed Major Projects and Engineering Division of UKAEA has been awarded to Highland-based, R J McLeod (Contractors) Ltd for the construction of a new police command and control  building  at  Dounreay.  Building Starts in March 2003 with completion by March 2004.


Legal Action Possible As Hamnavoe Ferry Lies In Leith
Northlink is forking out £10,000 a week with the ferry being tied up art Leith as there is crew of ten on board.  The £28 million ferry is all ready but Scrabster pier is 6 months behind schedule for opening.

Caithness Fossil Group
A new section has been set up for the Caithness Fossil Group whose members have an interest in the fossils and geology of Caithness.  The group can be found in the Palaeontology section which itself is located in the History section.

Windmill Goes Up At Forss
The delivery of two wind turbines by sea was followed by the building phase almost immediately.  The 31.4 metre blades were due to arrive by road.

Reay School Pictures 1948 and 1953
Many thanks to Doreen Steven (nee Taylor) for these two pictures with most names in.  If anyone knows any missing ones let us know

Wick Play Areas Community Group Gains Lottery Award
The proposed major refurbishment of the Bignold Park play area in Wick took a huge step forward when Wick Play Areas Community Group were awarded a grant of £67,381 from the National Lottery’s Community Fund

Mart Report From Quoybrae
Aberdeen & Northern Marts sold 49 cattle and 1208 sheep at their special sale at Quoybrae.  Prime cattle sold to a top of 102p per kg for a 555 kg Blonde cross bullock from D A Budge, Brae-edge, Castletown.  Top gross price was £596.90  for a 635 kg Limousin cross also from Brae-edge.

SNP Candidate Attacks Lack Of Dentists In Rural Areas
Rob Gibson the SNP parliamentary candidate for the May 2003 elections for the Scottish Parliament in Caithness Sutherland and East Ross wasted no time in attacking the latest report on lack of dentists in the far north.

Wind Mills Arrive By Sea - A New Era Has Begun
Thurso Bay yesterday saw the start of a new invasion of Caithness.  Wind Mills have arrived by sea for the Wind Farm at Forss.   With several at various stages of planning the skyline in some parts of the county is on the brink of change.  As these new wind farms come on stream Caithness will be adding to the grid.

Leaders Needed At 1st Wick Scouts
1st Wick Scouts is growing, and with the recent increase in numbers they need more adults willing to help.  If you have a skill you would like to share (canoeing, abseiling, crafts etc), would like to help on the committee or would like to become a Scout, Cub or Beaver Leader please contact the Scouts on or visit go along on Friday evenings 7-9:00 at the Wick Scout Hall on Kirk Hill.

Barons Well, Wick

Barons Court, Wick

Loch Beg
One of the small lochs in Caithness that sits on the Thurso river a mile down river from Loch More..

More Sculptured Stone
Another few stones from the pictish period in Caithness.  Originally published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin.  Some of the stones are to be found in local cemeteries or museums.

Ben Griam, Sutherland
Another long view in Sutherland typical of the huge expanses of empty country the Highlands are famous for.  This part of the country is rich in wild life.  Like many parts of Caithness and Sutherland it is dotted with lochs and streams and the ones in this area feed into the Helmsdale River.

Acid Inc Takes The Digital Route
Another Caithness Band has taken itself onto the web in a bid to get known and make it easy for folk to see what they are getting up to on the music scene.  They are the latest in  growing line up of Caithness bands to find that a web site is the most effective way to let more people know about what they are doing.  Find them in our music section anytime.

Winter Walks with Highland Council Ranger Service
Sunday 16th February;  Forest walk Loch Calder.  A walk in Forest Enterprise grounds, west of loch Calder.  Expect some rough walking, and wet conditions underfoot.  Reasonable fitness required.  Meet in Janet street, Thurso 10am. to share cars as parking is restricted.  Reasonable fitness required Boots essential. Bring lunch.  As this is a winter walk when daylight is short and weather unpredictable we advise that you bring a woolly hat, gloves, spare sweater and torch.

Caithness.Org Announces 2003 Kite Buggy Courses In Caithness
We are happy to announce another set of Kite Buggy courses from one of Scotland's few qualified instructors and leading exponents of this fast growing sport.   Grant Golding who runs courses in the central belt of Scotland especially on the west coast returns for a second year with much new equipment and specialist kites for his classes to try out.   So if you want to get first class tuition from one of the few qualified instructors in Scotland check out the information to book up.

River Helsmdale At Suisgill In Autumn
Into the Strath Of Kildonan today with this great view from Evelyn Macklyn to remind us what superb countryside Sutherland has.  This scene is to be found in just a 15 minute leisurely drive from Helmsdale where the road follows the river.  Taking this direction will take you up to Port Skerra on the north coast to see the Pentland Firth or you can do it in reverse having first followed the coast up to Wick round by Thurso and then south from Melvich - You can even try panning for Kildonan gold.

The Highland Council has renewed its call for the headquarters of the proposed new body Forest Enterprise Scotland to be based in Inverness. Councillors believe the existing territorial office located in Inverness is ideally situated to provide the HQ functions of the new agency.

The Highland Council today (Thursday) confirmed plans to inject £30.5 million into its budget of £412 million in the new financial year, which commences on 1 April.

The Highland Council is to seek a report from its Chief Executive on the work of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Colsa) and how it represents the Council’s interests and at the same time invite senior representatives of Cosla to address them a meeting of the new Council following the 1 May elections.

Kinbrace Station - See It On The Way North
The winter weather may have disrupted travel and kept the kids off school for a couple of days in the north but it has provided some beautiful views of Caithness and Sutherland as this one from Evelyn Macklyn shows.  The trains still run right through here and still stop at the station which is a private house these days.   If you have never done this trip north in the snow you will see herds of deer often running as the train rolls past.

Scrabster Pier Set Back By Weather Damage
The new pier at Scrabster originally due to open in August 2002 now looks as if it will move further back to June due to recent weather damage.  The new ferry "Hamanvoe" scheduled to use the new terminal has been sitting in the harbour at Leith for several months as it is too big to use the current facilities.  Meantime another ferry company Pentland Ferries is gearing up to increase its services.

Pentland Ferries
The newest ferry company running between Caithness and Orkney and using the Gills pier had a very successful year with its low cost operation.  So successful that it is to introduce a second ferry making sailings every two hours possible.   Its lower fare structure appealed to many folk last year and there is no reason to doubt that the extra sailings with two ferries will not be equally successful.

New Assistant Chief Constable Appointed For Northern Constabulary
Chief Superintendent Garry Sutherland originally from Caithness is to become the next Assistant Chief Constable Designate for Northern Constabulary following a decision by The Northern Joint Police Board on Wednesday 5 February 2003.

Collie Dog Found - Does Anyone Know The Owner?
Yesterday, Tuesday 4th Feb, a collie was found in the Alterwall area of Lyth - a male dog, totally white face with black tips on ears, thick coat and very friendly with a constant waggy tail!!  He has white paws and has a lovely nature.  He is presently being looked after in the Alterwall area until we can find his owner - he is possibly a working dog.  He was apparently seen a week ago in Lyth so has been living rough  for a week at least.  He appears lost and looking for his owner.  One theory is he has accidentally come out of a pick up truck and the owner has no idea he is in Lyth. 

Fisher Girls
Frieda Murray has sent in a couple of pictures from her family collection.  She can identify only her grannie on the right but if anyone else recognises anyone let us know and we will add names to the picture.   Caithness Folk Pictures Section

A Challenging Snowy Second Gear!
The latest Second Gear Pre-learner Driver Training day took place recently at Dounreay, using their  'off-road' area and Exhibition Centre.  For the First time ever since the very popular and successful pre-learner driving programme began the participants had the chance to drive on the 'off road' area in very snowy conditions!

Highland council house tenants are being asked to have their say on a five-year business plan which sets out The Highland Council' s aims for maintaining and improving houses and meeting the standards that tenants expect.  The draft plan outlines Council priorities on repairs, rent levels, rent collection, house improvements as well as service standards.

Lidl Supermarket Pushing Wage Rates Up In Wick
The new supermarket chain due to open soon on the outskirts of Wick is offering very competitive rates of pay by advertising up to £7 an hour for its stores in the county.   It remains to be seen if there will be a quick change around in staff in other shops offering much lower rates.  With J D Wetherspoons looking to employ up to 35 staff in their new pub/restaurant some employers may need to look soon at their wage rates if they are to retain experienced staff.

Thurso Town Hall Visitor Centre - Public Consultation
Friday  7 and Saturday 8 February Open 2.00 - 6.00pm   Staff from the council will be available to give information and answer questions relating to the development of the Town Hall.
Earlier Information about the new development

Winter In Wick 1958
Frieda Murray has sent us these pictures to remind us that winters keeps coming round and it certainly looks reminiscent of the last few days in Caithness and the north.  Does anyone have any pictures of the big ones around 1962/

Saturday 1st March 2003 from 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Groups involved in encouraging the development and use of the Gaelic language at a local level are invited to attend a one-day conference organised by The Highland Council's Community, Learning and Leisure Service.  The aim of the conference is to allow groups to network and share their experience, discuss their support needs with representatives of the Council and other agencies and learn of the opportunities which may be available to help fund their work.   The conference will take place in the Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.

Wings Over Wick - Additional Information or Requests For Information
We have thought for some time about setting up pages for additional information or requests.  We have done so today following a request for information on a man in 608 Squadron for a book.  The information request is in respect of Flt. Lt. David Walker who was stationed at RAF during January and February of 1942. He was killed off the coast of Norway when flying with 608 Squadron.  Any future requests or additional details about the period will be added to this new page.

Latest Pictures Of Wick's New Police Station Progress

Launch Of New Mental Health Online Conference Centre
The Mental Health Foundation will launch its groundbreaking, online conference centre on Thursday 27 March 2003 with a consultation on the Government’s National Framework of Values for Mental Health.  Sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and the University of Warwick, the Values in Mental Health conference aims to bring together for the first time online service users, service providers and policy makers from around the world to discuss and help develop the Values Framework.

Holiday Cottages And Flats
Is you holiday flat or cottage listed in the Caithness Business Pages.  Make sure your FREE entry is in and up to date.  Likewise Bed And Breakfast or Caravan Site establishments.  Make sure your entry is in - now one of the biggest FREE listings for Caithness.   For even more coverage you can take out a banner ad to circulate around all of our pages and many other local web sites.

Old Post Office To New Restaurant/Pub - No Stop For Snow
Despite the snowy weather conditions and difficult road conditions a spokesman for G M R Henderson said there had been no hold-ups in there work in or a round the building.  The Old Post Office is to become the Alexander Bain is due to open in April

Berriedale 1932
Thanks to Shelagh Moir for this postcard picture from 1932 showing a nice summer day looking down on a scene that is much the same today.

8% Increase In Council Spending Above Inflation For 2003 - 2004
Highland Councillors will be asked later this week to agree a budget which shows an increase in spending of £30.58 million or 8% in the new financial year, which commences on 1 April.  This includes significant growth in Education, Culture and Sport, Social Work and TEC Services to meet priorities, such as waste management, road maintenance and flood prevention.  In the Council agrees a revenue budget of £413.1 million for 2003-2004, it will result in the Council Tax increase being contained to £50 at Band D. This will give a new Band D level of £989.

Car Park Closed 5th February to 28th February
Regular users of Reiss Car Park in Caithness will be pleased to know that the subsiding areas are shortly to be repaired by The Highland Council Planning and Development Service. The repair has been enabled by the allocation of £15,000 additional windfall funds from the Scottish Executive.

Inspection of Standards and Quality in Thurso High School, Caithness
A report by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education on the 900 pupil Thurso High School, commends the good ethos, the high quality of the pastoral care of pupils, their positive approach to learning and their sense of equality and fairness.

Changing Approach View To Wick
These pictures taken on 28 January show how the approach view to Wick is changing as the new Lidl supermarket takes shape.

Hill Avenue Bombing Of Wick
On the 26th of October 1940 a group of three Heinkels attempted to bomb Wick airport dropping over twenty high explosive bombs.  A third of these bombs were duds.  One bungalow in Hill Avenue got a direct hit and other houses were seriously damaged. Houses were damaged in Roseberry Terrace, Henrietta Street and George Street.  Plaster and ceiling work was damaged in about 140 houses. The effects of the bombs were felt over a great distance......published in 1989 by Hillhead Primary School.

WK 814 "Faith Ann" On Wick Harbour Slipway Today
 Even though fishing boats in Scotland are now under the severe pressure of the mandatory tie ups there is still the ongoing expenses in keeping vessels seaworthy.  So work goes on at slipways like Wick and other ports.  Hopefully we are not seeing the complete end of the fishing industry in the north but the no fishing days will be hard for fishermen.

Pulteneytown People's Project Meeting Wednesday 5 February
All meetings are at South School, Wick and a list until April is now on the PPP page.

Severe weather in the North and West of Scotland caused disruption to flights to and from airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited today.  Several Inverness flights were cancelled due to extreme weather conditions across the UK while there were knock on delays to flights at Stornoway, Benbecula, Kirkwall and Sumburgh.  Inverness Airport was closed until early Monday (3 February 2003) afternoon despite airport fire crews working through Sunday night and Monday morning on snow clearing operations.  The airports at Stornoway, Wick, Kirkwall and Sumburgh were open throughout the day although some flights were delayed.

Snow In Wick Today

A special Valentine's Day seminar is being organised by The Highland Council to help anyone involved in the organisation of civil marriages to understand the recent legislation, "Marriage (Scotland) Act 2002".  Under the new Act which was brought into force in June 2002, local councils can now extend the choice of venues for civil marriages beyond the registration office to specific buildings and sites provided the place does not compromise the solemnity and dignity of civil marriages.

Herring Gutters At Wick - Possibly 1920's
Shelagh Moir has sent in this old postcard showing Herring Gutters at Wick after seeing the earlier one below.  Sadly it reflects the exact opposite of the fishing industry today where the enforced tie ups started on 1 February 2003.   Wick harbour has been quiet for a number of years and the latest blows will not help the Scottish fleet.

Helpline Numbers
More telephone numbers are being added to the Helpline list.  Today we have added a few more including Scottish Water who came quickly to our rescue today to empty our Septic Tank.  They were here in three hours despite the operator pointing out that it might take up to 10 days.  Many thanks to Scottish Water who happened to have a vehicle at Halkirk today which they sent over to deal with our problem.  Thanks also to the men on the lorry who dealt with the problem in quick time.   The number and others are in the Helpline list.

Wick's Herring Boom - Postcard
Howard Pierpoint in the USA has sent in this interesting postcard showing Wick in the Herring boom days

Snowy Today On the Castle Coast of Caithness
Up to 8 inches of snow may be seen today in Caithness and other parts of the Highlands particularly in the far north and west.  Many schools are likely to be closed due to the adverse conditions and motoring organisations are advising against unnecessary trips.

Murkle Open Bowls Competition Winners
Today's competition winners at Murkle were Cath MacDonald, Les Stevenson, Erine, Springham and Skip, Allan Hourston representing the Viewfirth Club.

Otters On Thurso River On Sunday

By the end of May 1940 defeat of Holland and Denmark and especially the occupation of Norway made it easier for German planes to get to Wick. Wick received more attention from German planes than any other town in the far north. Official figures say that 222 high explosives were dropped on Caithness and that Wick was attacked six times.   The first bomb to fall in Wick was on July 1st 1940 and was the most serious attack. The war was less than a year old and there had been little bombing of mainland Britain. It was at the end of the period called the phoney war, when people did not know much about bombing. The London Blitz was still to come.  The bomb fell in Bank Row at the end of a summer afternoon. It was the first recorded daylight bombing of Britain in the Second World War.

New Links In Caithness.Org Education Page
Also new additions in Education Resources

The Road To Mybster

Loch More Pouring Water Into The Thurso River

Gordon Campbell Announces "I Am Bound To win" In Scottish Elections
Colourful character Gordon Campbell announced he is standing again in the elections as an independent.  Famous in the north for his short sharp statements and outrageous actions - he has in the past stripped off to his underwear at meetings.  Gordon Campbell is 65 and has worked as a translator as he is fluent in German.  Gordon Campbell lives in Dornoch and has contested two previous elections - the Scottish Parliament and the last Westminster Elections.  Flamboyant and tireless he is sure to be seen frequently around th north on the campaign trail once again.

Sports Coaching Courses
Coaching courses in Trampolining and Gymnastics  - Details from Tina Robinson Sports Officer for Caithness.

Wick Angling Association - Permits Now Available for 2003 At Hugo Ross

Caithness And Sutherland Environmental Group CASEG AGM
The Annual General Meeting will take place in the Pentland Hotel on Monday 3 February at 7.30pm.  All Welcome.

Northern Nashville Country Music Club AGM
AGM will be held on 14 February at 8.00pm in Royal British Legion Club, Thurso.  New Members welcome and reminder that membership fees are now due.

Scrabster Community Association
The AGM will be held in Scrabster Village Hall on Tuesday 19 February at 7.30pm.  An open meeting will be held first to discuss future plans for the hall.  All welcome and refreshments on offer.

Caithness U17 Badminton Championships
Entrants from four clubs -  Wick, Thurso, Castletown and Dunnet took part in the recent Under 17 competitions.

January Surge In Visitor Numbers Is The Biggest Yet
Hits 5,034,888  Pages 1,383,793  Visitors 108,256
Daily Average  Hits 162,415  Pages 44,638  Visits  3,491
Totals Since June 2002 Hits 36,331,840  Pages 10,405,693  Visitors 695,074
What can we say that we have not said several times over except thanks for all your support both in visiting the web site and to all of you who send in items to keep the whole thing rolling along.   The stats smashed through the 100,000 visitors in one month - by a big margin for the first time.  So on with the show.

Wick Pipe Band Changes
Pipe Band Hall, High Street, Wick at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5 February 2003.
Supporters of the Band are being invited to become associate members. The annual fee will be £5 and in addition to supporting the Band, it is intended that associate members will also be eligible for a range of benefits.

Road To Papigoe Was Blocked By Snow Drifts
Caithness had its share of snow and a number of roads were blocked by snowdrifts until the snow ploughs opened them up.  Generally there seemed to be few problems.  The snow on the road to Papigoe on Thursday was up to three feet deep but this was from snow blown off the fields.  In other places the snow was only an inch or two.

Easyjet Starts New Service From London Gatwick To Inverness
The low fares airline Easyjet has new flights from Inverness to London (Gatwick) offering even more choice about how you get in and out of the north of Scotland.  Pity they have not arranged flights in and out of Wick airport.  Still for all you ardent travellers they have made it easier to get up and down the country at a reasonable price.


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