News Archive - January 2003

Bobby And Bhreadh
By special request we are starting a section on Dogs in Caithness.  and yes we will be happy to add a picture of any dogs in Caithness to the gallery that will be created shortly.  Meantime here are a couple of pictures of two happy pooches out for their stroll early this morning at Wick river in the snow.

Helmsdale to Ord of Caithness Improvements
Phase 2 Route Options Mon 3rd to Fri 14th Feb 2003
The Scottish Executive is extending consultation on the A9 Helmsdale to Ord of Caithness Improvements Phase 2 Route Options. The Exhibition material shown at the Exhibitions held in Helmsdale and Latheron on 27th and 28th November 2002 will be displayed in an A3 booklet at Wick and Thurso Libraries between 3 and 14 Feb.   A questionnaire will be available for people to send in their views.

Forss House Hotel  - New Web Site From Scorrie Internet
Scorries Internet Services the business side of Caithness.Org is pleased to launch another local Caithness web site.  Forss House Hotel sits by the river in a perfect position with views of the mill and waterfall.  The new web site has its own picture galleries of the hotel and the immediate area.

Geese Passing Caithness.Org Door
These guys have been passing by on a number of days making a fine old racket and
taking no nonsense from some local dogs that they chased after a short barking session.

Highland Health Council Back Up to Strength With New Members
The Highland Health Council recent appointments for Ross-shire and Inverness-shire of Cathel Macaskill and Cathy Stafford bring the council back up to strength.  Despite the recent upsurge in new bodies such as patients councils and representatives on GP Cooperatives the Health Council remains the officially recognised body to help patients with complaints and other advice on a range of issues.

More History Comes To Life At Laidhay Croft Thanks To CASE
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is giving history a helping hand with a grant for the Laidhay Croft Museum at Dunbeath.  The Laidhay Preservation Trust has been awarded £5,700 via the Community Economic Development (CED) programme - administered by the development agency - to build a shed in which to display historic crofting tools.

Marie Curie Daffodil Day 2003
Volunteers to help collect for a couple of hours on Saturday 8th March in Wick & Thurso
Call 01463 238 328 for information.

Lanergill School
Another old school in the Caithness countryside. Old Schools Index

Early John O'Groats From The Air
Here is John O'Groats from some years back.  We do not have a year for the picture but the area is much emptier than now. Check it against our more modern aerial pictures.

A project manager has been appointed to oversee the £1.5 million Connected Communities project, which aims to deliver wireless broadband across the Western Isles.  John Black, a radio telecoms consultant, took over as project manager this month. The timing of his appointment coincides with a major survey of over 1,000 Western Isles-based businesses to establish their broadband requirements.

Sand Yachts From Earlier Days In Action
Bob Levens now sends us a picture from the early days of the Sand Yachting club that was all the rage for a number of years in Caithness.  Although that has long since goen the modern Kite Buggying is growing in strength with more folk taking it up every year.  We hope to bring you more news of further kite buggying courses and days in Caithness to take place at Easter and in the summer.  Meantime if anyone has more Sand Yachting pictures we would be happy to add them to the section.

Epilepsy Support Group Initiative
The Nerve Centre web site for neurological conditions currently has an item about a possible new Epilepsy support group they are trying to help into existence.  If anyone would like to assist with this or wants more details then they should contact the organisers via the Nerve Centre web site.

There Is Life After Birth
Lorna and Christine met each other in Craig Dunain in  Inverness where they were both being treated for Post Natal depression. They clicked with each other in the way that only women can do when they share similar experiences and problems. The friendship they struck forged a bond that they still share four years later.  They have now opened a web site and help listed in our Health and Welfare Section.

A Short History Of Sand Yachting
Sand Yachting may have been overtaken by Kite Buggying but Bob Levens searching through his fathers old papers shows that the sport in Scotland was started by the Caithness club.  He has also uncovered amongst other things a short history of sand yachting showing the Caithness was following in a long line of people interested in using the wind to get themselves moving at speed.  We hope to encourage more of the Kite Buggying this year in the county but hopefully Bob will find more items of interest harking back to the yachting days.

The Boars Of Duncansby
Paul Doherty took this picture of one of the famous stretches of water on the Caithness coast.  The "Boars of Duncansby" are a fast moving stretch of water in the Pentland Firth caused by a combination of tidal race and strong currents.  A boat losing engine power and caught here is soon swept away.  And this is just one of several extreme waters in the firth.

Pentland Skerries And A Rainbow
Another picture from Paul Doherty showing the ever changing sky over the Pentland Firth looking to the Skerries

Seater - Canisbay
This picture of Seater was taken by Paul Doherty on Christmas Day.

Wick Pipe Band Launch 2003 Programme of Events
Wick Pipe Band have set out tier programme for 2003 including the dates for their increasingly popular Pipe Band Week and weekly summer shows which are a mix of Scottish entertainment ranging through Scottish Dance Band, singers, dancers and the odd comical quip from the compere.

"Hats" By Jenny Stewart
Another Caithness Dialect Poem
How div ye feel aboot hey-gear?  Div ye weyre them or leyve yur heyd bare,
Ah mosst admit ah'm a convert, though ah do lek e win in ma hair,

Watten On A Wet Day

Alexander Bain Memorial
He thought above himself and so he helped to raise a new world industry.
The memorial to one of the inventors and engineers that Caithness has produced stands in the village of Watten.  Alexander Bain left school it is thought at the age of 12 and went on to dream of communications methods unheard of in his day.  His inventions covered the fax, electric clock and telegraphic equipment at a time when electricity was still a new idea to most in the western world.

Latest From Mairi In Antarctic 25 January
Maiari Nicolson from Wick works for the British Antarctic Survey and here in her latest letter she describes her camping out and somewhat different travel to work by Twin Otter Plane and Skis.

Air Services In Highland Get Extra Support
The Route Development Fund for Highland airports is to receive £300,000 from Highlands and Islands enterprise in a bid to encourage more flights to and from the 10 Highlands and Islands airports.     The fund was started with a £1.2million grant from the Scottish Executive and part of the aim is to increase the frequency of flights.   But how many Caithness folk are looking enviously at the new cheap Ryanair flights in and out of Stornoway in the Western Isles and they are today offering tickets from Prestwick to London today for £6.99.  If we had that in Caithness there would be no problem getting passengers.

Sculptured Stones Of Caithness
More mysterious stones with symbols and writing that still defies translation.  Anyone out there got the answers to these Caithness mysteries?

Wick West Councillor Deirdre Steven Sets Out For A Seat In Scottish Parliament
Deirdre Steven currently the local Highland Council member for Wick West will not stand again in the ward as she intends to stand as the Labour candidate for the Scottish Parliament in the Caithness, Sutherland and North Ross-shire seat.  Four candidates now declared and include Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat) the sitting MSP,  Alan MacLeod (Conservative) and  Rob Gibson (Scottish National Party).

First Minister Jack McConnell Live From Aberdeen - Monday 7.45am
Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, is making his first major address to Aberdeen and Grampian's business community at a Chamber breakfast meeting on Monday 27 January.   At this special Chamber Breakfast The First Minister will outline his vision and plans for Scotland in the run up to the Scottish Parliamentary Elections in May this year.   Are other parties watching this use of technology?  

The Highland Council’s Director of Education Culture and Sport Bruce Robertson has renewed his plea to parents of all Highland pupils to urge them not to take holidays during the school term so the council can raise standards of achievement, part of which is targeted at reducing absences from schools.

Engineering Apprentices At UKAEA Gaining Excellent Experience
UKAEA Engineering Apprentices not only gain experience in their trade field during their 4 years, but also spend a 3-month period during their 3rd Year in a design office placement.  Over the past 3 years RWE Nukem, who provide a Design and Consultancy Service on site, have taken 5 UKAEA apprentices and shown them the design processes and systems they use on a day to day basis.

Wasted Ticket
One of the newer bands in Caithness have their own web site up and running.  If any other bands have sites they would like linked to the music pages then get in touch.  The band can now be found via the Music pages with it's constantly updating music news.   The band is also listed in our Caithness non business web sites page.    Caithness Business web sites are listed in our Caithness Businesses Web Sites page.  Listings are free for all Caithness sites - just get in touch if yours is not in.

THE SCULPTURED STONES OF CAITHNESS - A survey by Tim Blackie and Colin Macaulay
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.  The survey was first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletins.  There are 27 stones described - many with drawings.  The first two are in place today and the others will be added in coming days.

Caithness Quilters - Talk On An Antique Dresden Plate Quilt
28 January 7.30pm Pentland Hotel, Thurso - Non Members £3.  The talk will be delivered by Tom Bryan a Canadian whose grandmother owned the quilt.

Caithness.Org Visitor Numbers Surge Again
The web site is currently experiencing its highest ever daily visitors after a slight dip over the Christmas holidays.  It looks increasingly likely that this month will break the 100,000 visitors - the first time since we began.  Already this month visitors have looked at over one million pages.  A couple of months ago the site came into the one million a year visitor rate with a hit rate in excess of 50 million.

a gweed new year tae een an’ a’
Mike Clark looks back on hogmanay and contemplates the tatties for the coming year and other jobs...

New Baldrick For Wick Pipe Band
On Hogmanay evening the Opera House at Ackergill Tower was the setting for a short ceremony at which the Directors of Ackergill Ltd presented a new baldric, or Drum Major’s sash, to Wick RBLS Pipe Band in recognition of the friendly ties which exist between the Company and the Band.

Need A Search Engine
If you are fairly new to the Internet or like most us never have time to delve into how much of it works and where everything is located we have a list of just a few of the search engines and directories in our links pages.  Google one of the biggest search engines have also launched a nice tour of how their various services work and it is easy to use and gives you a good introduction to it all.

Caithness Field Club  - Bird Walk Date Confirmed
Sunday  23 February 2003   A walk to Loch of Mey with two members of the SOC.

Scotland's Land Reform Bill Debate Live
Whatever your viewpoint on Land Reform in Scotland you can watch the debate in the Scottish Parliament live for most of the day with the final vote at about 5.00pm.

Thurso River 2003 Salmon Season Got The Traditional Start
From 9 weeks to to 84 years old and a good crowd of anglers out recently at the start of the salmon season in Caithness.  With a dram and pipes played by Jaimie MacGregor of Forss Country House Hotel and no mean angler himself the day certainly started well.

Mackay Country Latest Development Report
The latest report from Mackay Country a development group in Sutherland who are moving forward ideas on boosting everything in their area from cultural and business projects and raising the profile of the area generally. Web Portal Project Gets Underway
The first steps towards the creation of an Internet portal to promote Shetland as an ideal place for life, leisure and business have begun with a recruitment drive.  If you are a web developer you can register an interest.

When The Highland Council sets council house rents for the new financial year on Thursday 13 February, it is being recommended to confirm an average increase of 3.8 %.  This will increase the average weekly rent (over 48 weeks) from £47.98 to £49.80, a rise of  £1.82.

Thurso 79-85 Reunion  - Latest List Of Who Is Going
This one is not until April 2004 but get in touch with the organisers As soon as possible if you are thinking about going.

The Scottish Food Challenge - For All Secondary Schools
The Scottish Food Challenge 2003, endorsed by the Executive's Healthyliving campaign, was launched today.  The Challenge, part of Sainsbury’s Taste of Success scheme, is open to all secondary schools and sets pupils the task of developing an inspiring recipe with the winning dish being developed into a new food product or recipe card available exclusively in Sainsbury’s stores.

The Highland Council is developing a strategy for maximising community benefit from large-scale renewable energy developments that have a long-term impact on the local environment. It believes it can be a model for other local councils throughout Scotland to adopt.  The Council is in the forefront of interest in wind farm developments and small scale hydro schemes and is anxious that developers are made aware from their first contact of the Council' s expectation that local communities should benefit.  It is also to lobby hard to ensure that communities benefit more from the distribution of the Aggregates Levy and the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.

The Highland Council has recorded a recruitment success, which could prove an inspiration to other councils facing the difficulty of recruiting qualified social workers.  Through its Social Work Service, the Council has introduced a new trainee scheme, which gives staff the security of a job and the benefits of on-the-job training for a professional qualification.  The Council was delighted with the response to its advert for its new trainee scheme.

The Highland Council has warmly welcomed the Scottish Executive’s decision to extend the use of bilingual Gaelic-English signage on trunk roads in the West Highlands.

Winners Of Dounreay Visitor Centre Drawing Competitions
Dounreay recently presented three talented local children with prizes that were awarded for drawing competitions and a junior quiz, all of  which were held throughout the 2002 season in the Dounreay Visitor Centre.  There were also three other  winners from various parts of the UK who received their prizes through the post.  Fiona Gunn, Secretary to the Dounreay Director, joined the winning children for the presentations and is pictured (from left) with Sharon Mackay aged 6, James Halliday aged 11, and Amanda Burns aged 14, who are proudly showing off their prizes and drawings.

Thurso Girls Group Programme
Another fairly new group for girls at secondary school in Thurso sets out its programme for the first part of 2003.

Wick Girls Group Programme Jan - Apr 2003

1975 Wick High Reunion Group Set up New Web Site
Now has lists of names on their own web site.  Caithness.Org will keep the link page in place for anyone trying to find the information.

What's On In 2003 At Dunbeath Heritage Centre
Here are some of the events being planned for the year at Dunbeath Heritage Centre.

Turning On The internet Tap
The campaign to convert internet access in the Highlands and Islands from a luxury that ties up your telephone line to a utility that doesn't, is to receive another major boost.  Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to invest almost £750,000 in two major projects to promote the benefits of broadband and encourage people to register their interest in receiving it.

Helmsdale Clearances Project Gains £200,000
The Clearances Centre Ltd, Helmsdale, was awarded assistance of £200,000 towards the development of their Clearances Memorial by Highlands And Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Unemployment Increases Marginally
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 790 last month to 859. 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) 7.0% (5.7%), 5.0% (4.7%) and 2.8% (3.0%).

More Scrap Cars To Be Crushed In Caithness
Speedy Skip Hire Ltd, Thurso, were awarded £28,150 towards the diversification of the business into the collection and processing of scrap cars, which would be crushed into bales and transported south, via rail, for recycling.

50 New Jobs.  The  UK  Atomic  Energy  Authority  has  applied for planning permission to construct   a   new  facility  for  the  management  of  intermediate-level radioactive waste (ILW) at Dounreay.  The  proposed  waste  transfer  facility is designed to increase the site's capacity  for  storage  of  waste  from  the  decommissioning  programme at Dounreay.  It  will  also  enable  the long-term management of liquid waste after  it  has  been  conditioned  in cement. The new facility will allow a small proportion of this cemented waste to be returned to foreign customers from 2008 under the terms of historical reprocessing contracts.  Subject to planning and regulatory consent, the new facility is expected to create  50 jobs during its two-year construction and a further five when it comes  into  operation. It is expected to cost in the region of £16 million to design and build.

Keiss School Gets Great Report Card From Schools Inspectors
The quality of learning and teaching at Keiss Primary School, Caithness, together with the overall quality of attainment and the good leadership gained praise from Inspectors.

Captains Galley Valentines Weekend
The newest restaurant in Caithness is gearing up for Valentines Weekend and is taking bookings now.

New taxi fares will come into effect throughout the Highlands from 3 February. Following consultation with the trade, it has been agreed that a £1.80 initial fare on tariff 1 be introduced and increases across the board be set at 10%. It has also been agreed that a soiling charge of £50 be introduced as compensation to a driver when a passenger causes the vehicle to be put off the road for cleaning.


A new and improved Accident and Emergency (A&E) service at Dunbar Hospital in Thurso will be re-open on 28th February 2003.  The A&E service has been temporarily closed since May 2002 when the service provided at Dunbar Hospital was transferred to the A & E Department at Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

Latest Free Seminar From ERI
5:00pm Friday  31 January 2003
‘Wastes applied to land: back to where they came from, so what's the problem ?’
The spreading of agricultural and industrial organic wastes on farmland will increase. The land and locations available for applications are variable, while the quantities and composition of wastes are extremely variable. So, how do we decide what should be spread where, and when?

Early Lambs At Hopefield Farm
Lambs at Hopefield farm , Caithness with their anti fox coats on.

Newtonhill New Footpath
A new footpath will soon make things easier for walkers going from Wick up to Newtonhill Community Woodland.  The woodland established in 1996 is continuing to be improved by volunteers and the range of wildlife especially birds is increasing.

New Police Station Nearing Completion At Wick

Caithness Moto Cross Winners
Plenty of trophies were being awarded to members of Caithness Moto Cross following another successful year in 2002.

The Old Stemster School and Schoolhouse

Lidl Supermarket Roof On
Still moving fast is the new supermarket building for Lidl on the outskirts of  Wick.  The roof covering was virtually completed by today.

Cabrellis Cafe To Close After 110 Years (1893 - 2003)
You only have a few days left to check out the place where generations of folk have got their sweets, Italian ice-cream, cigarettes, snacks and meals.  If everything goes to plan the cafe will become a Chinese Restaurant and be handed over shortly after next Tuesday.

Wick From the Air World War Two
This photograph was sent to us by Blair Bartholomew from Australia who found it amongst his late fathers possessions.  His father was based in Caithness for a while when he was in the RAF.  Blair and his wife visited Caithness in the summer of 2002. 

Bellhaven Brewery To Take Over Carters Bar
The famous Scottish Real Ale firm of Bellhaven Brewery based in Dunbar is set to take over Carter's Bar in Wick if the final hurdle of the licence transfer next week.  The company well known for its range of real ales has been adding new pubs to its group over the last few years.  The company also plan to make some alterations to the premises once they take over.

Grassy Backie, Castletown

Doull Lane, Castletown

Bank Lane, Castletown

Wares Lane, Castletown

Joiner's Lane, Castletown

Butcher's Lane, Castletown

Allan's Lane, Castletown

Calders Lane, Castletown

Lanes Of Castletown
Here is Gunn's Lane the first of a few pictures  of the lanes in Castletown taken today.  More coming up over the next hour or two as at 7.20pm

E Moose By Jenny Stewart
Fan wur good hooses first wiz beelt we's nixt till park an fairm,
An ten months o e year or so id caused is no real hairm,
Boot harvest time wiz nivvur fine e season o e moose,
An ivry year a beastie called till squat in wur fine hoose.

CASE Helps With A Face-Lift For Forss
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is committing over £600,000 towards environmental renewal works aimed at improving the external surroundings of the Forss Business and Technology Park, which is under development near Thurso.

Sale Report Quoybrae
Caithness Livestock Centre - Aberdeen & Northern Marts sold 32 cattle and 432 sheep at their special sale at Quoybrae.  Farming News

George Reluctantly Ponders The World In 2003

Keoltag Drive, Reay
Keoltag Drive is to be found in the small village or Reay on the north coast of Caithness.  The street has several modern houses with plots still available for new houses to be built.

Harrow Terrace, Wick
Harrow Terrace runs from Harrow Hill to a builders yard that used to be the site of Caithness Glass before it moved to new premises on the outskirts of Wick.  These pictures were taken at the start of the year in on a chilly but bright day.

New Education Service
A new education service in Highland - to help better involve children with additional support needs in mainstream education  was launched today (Wednesday 15 January 2003).

Tax Credit Changes For All Parents
“Balancing work and family life: enhancing choice and support for parents”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown at a press conference at the Treasury today announced the changes being made to tax credits in the UK.  April this year brings the biggest change in children’s benefits for decades as £2 billion a year shifts from fathers to mothers.

The Highland Council is one of seven councils in Scotland, which have been commended by the Accounts Commission for making a notable improvement in their level of collection of the Council Tax. The rate in Highland has risen to 92.2%, an increase of 7.1% since 1996/97, when the Commission began tracking performance information.

New Renal Unit Visited By Friends And Fundraisers
There was a big turn out of individuals and organisations to see the new renal unit now open for patients at Caithness General, Wick.  Many organisations in Caithness including the Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group took the opportunity for a look round the new facility.

New Schools In Caithness For Thrill Seekers With Phoenix Flying and Thurso Surf
Two new schools for Caithness give locals and visitors the chance to get into real action in the air and on the sea.  Thurso beach is one of the best in the UK for surfing and there is plenty of room in the empty skies over Caithness.  find them in the Caithness.Org Business Index anytime.

Caithness CAB Recruiting - Welfare Rights Officer

South School Wick January Newsletter

More Property For Sale In Caithness
Latest property for sale in the business pages includes a house from the Mortgage Shop and private sale of plots at Murkle and Forss.

John Street, Wick

Tolbooth Lane, Wick

More Property For Rent Just Added
If you are looking to rent a property in Caithness keep checking our pages.

Proudfoot Road, Wick

Room 13 - The Latest Exhibition Now On At St Fergus Gallery, Wick
"We've Been Tae See It". Now showing the work of 35 of Britain's finest applied artists in a touring exhibition.  Catch it until the 1 February at St Fergus Gallery, Wick.  More information at who have helped to organise the tour.

Lindsay Drive, Wick
Although we are not setting out to put every house in the county on the web we have had an increasing number of requests to have more houses added to the web site.  So although we may not get them all we are gradually increasing the numbers of views of each street.  Sorry if we miss yours

Grampian Records, Wick Goes Into Liquidation
The Wick company that was trying to break into CD production has gone into liquidation.

The 13,000 residents, who live within Britain’s largest national park at the Cairngorms, will be asked soon to vote for the five community representatives, who will serve on the 25-strong Park Authority from its inception on 25 March.

Drive And Survive Courses For Caithness & Sutherland Taxi Firms
Taxi drivers and car hire companies from various parts of Caithness and Sutherland have taken time out to brush up on their customer service, driving skills and fleet safety. JK Taxis, Wick; Russell's Garage, Brora; and CFD Executive Car Hire, Thurso all attended 'Welcome Host' and 'Drive & Survive' courses provided by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).

South Head Across Wick Bay
Another sunset view from Caithness.  This one is across Wick Bay.

£800 Donation For Caithness Talking Newspapers
Staff at Dounreay have united their resources and donated over £800 to help Caithness  Talking  Newspapers  spread the news to locals and exiles across the UK.  Dounreay's  appeals  and  donations  fund, the employees charities fund and members  of  UKAEA Constabulary all chipped in following the group's recent appeal  for  a  replacement  tape  duplicator  to safeguard and enhance the service to the visually impaired in the far north.

Pulteneytown Church New Porch
The new porch at Pulteneytown church designed to protect parishioners from the wet and windy days we have at times in Caithness has met with mixed reception from locals.  It all depends on your point of view.

Dentists Wanted In Caithness And The Highlands
Dental Practitioners / Community Dental Officers Required - check it out if you want to work in the Highlands of Scotland

Housing Market On The Go In Caithness
It may be just week two of  2003 but already more houses are coming up for sale in Caithness.

Community groups throughout Caithness are being invited to a meeting next week when an attempt will be made to cultivate interest in promoting civic pride through floral and other activities.   Caithness Floral Activities Working Group, formed by The Highland Councils Caithness Area Committee, has called a public meeting at Watten Hall, Watten, on Tuesday (14 January) commencing at 7.30 pm to identify interest in joint working and to discuss funding opportunities.

The Highland Council has welcomed the allocation of £3.1 million over the next three years to Inverness as the result of review of Scotland’s six cities by the Scottish Executive. The money comes from a City Growth Fund, totalling £90 million, which is aimed at helping boost the economies of Scotland’s six cities.

New Bench Seats For Crimea Monument
David Morrison as Chairman of the Footpaths Committee of Wick Community Council has received good news from Scottish Water with regard to the bench seating around the monument.  Scottish Water has confirmed that as part of the work at the new Waste Water Treatment Plant currently under construction outside Wick they will replace the bench seating at the Crimea monument.  The monument lies on the footpath that leads out from Wick and is a popular route along the coast with locals and visitors.

Waste Water Treatment Works Progress
Contractors Morrisons are pleased that the work at Wick is well ahead for handover of the site later this year to Scottish Water.

Scrabster Pier - Linkspan Now Being Put In Place
The linkspan for the new pier at Scrabster arrived over the holiday period and is now being put in place at the new pier.   The new pier when it comes into operation later this year will allow much bigger boats and ferries to use Scrabster Harbour.  The probability of cruise ships stopping has also been increased with the opening of the Castle of Mey to the public with a highly successful opening season making it the number one visitor spot in the county.

Lidl Supermarket Making Good Progress
The new supermarket in Wick is moving fast and even as we take the pictures we are behind as the roof is already being put in place.

New Renal Unit Opens At Caithness General Hospital
The new renal unit opened at Caithness General with staff having undergone full training.  the new unit means an end for many patients who had previously to travel overt two hundred miles round trip to Raigmore hospital in Inverness up to three times a week.  The unit will also have the capacity to treat visitors to the area by prior arrangement.

Caithness Countryside Volunteers Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 14th January, 7pm at Mackays Hotel, Wick. New members are very welcome.

Northern Nashville Country Music Launch New Web Site
Keep up with what is happening in the country music scene in Caithness.  A link will be added to our music pages shortly.

The  UK  Atomic  Energy  Authority  today  published  a preliminary list of options  for  managing  the legacy of radioactive particles in the offshore sediment near Dounreay.  The  preliminary options are identified in the latest edition of Dounreay's Public  Participation Newsletter for stakeholders, published on the opening day  of  an  exhibition  in  Caithness  and  Sutherland about the particles legacy.

Training Opportunities In Tourism And Hospitality
People in Caithness and Sutherland considering working in the tourism and hospitality industry are to be given an ideal opportunity to acquire the essential skills required to gain employment in that sector.   A limited number of places are available on three separate pre-season training courses, which are to be funded by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) via their ESF assisted Tourism Training initiative, are to be delivered at venues in Wick, Durness and Dornoch.  The courses, which are free of charge, will run from 17th February - 5th March.

Wick River Freezes
Wick river along with other rivers, lochs and ponds in the county were freezing over last night and plenty of ice was around early this morning.  But even if the ice gets thicker no one should walk on it in case it collapses.

Highland Council Winter Emergency Information
Handy telephone numbers and information.

A campaign has been launched in the Highlands and Islands to make greater progress in transforming 1,700 km of lifeline single track roads to modern standards, at an estimated cost of £400 million.  HITRANS, the strategic transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, is enlisting the support of a wide range of public agencies and businesses to argue for the annual funding for the upgrading of single track roads to be significantly increased to ensure improvements are made within the 20-year period of its strategy.

The Highland Council hopes to make progress on two campaigning issues in the New Year. The Council is arguing strongly for the Scottish Executive to: - Remove the 50% Council Tax discount offered to the owners of second homes and long-term empty homes; and Enter into early negotiations with Skye Bridge Ltd to buy out the toll regime, thereby "unlocking the potential of Skye and Lochalsh".

About 1712 hours on Monday, 6th January, 2002, Police at Thurso received reports of a smell of gas and a visible haze near to the Gasworks at Janetstown, near Thurso.

Berriedale Post Office Needs New Postmaster Urgently
The Post Office is launching an appeal for a local person to come forward and take over running the Post Office service for the community of Berriedale from March 2003.

Be Prepared For Cold Weather If Driving
Scotland is lined up for some very cold weather in the next few weeks if the forecasts prove correct.  Here in the Highlands most folk are used to some years being far worse than others but it is as well to remember to make sure that some things are looked at especially if you are travelling far in your car.

About 0615 hours on Saturday 4th January 2003 the occupant of No 23 Henrietta Street, Wick, discovered a fire within the hallway of his house. The fire was quickly extinguished and nobody was injured as a result, with only minor damage to the house.  Police are treating the fire as suspicious and are appealing for witnesses and/or information on this incident.

Police in Inverness are warning Bed and Breakfast owners to be wary of a couple who left their B & B yesterday taking their key but leaving no money.

Looking Over Caithness - Ever Changing Sky
Rounding off Friday's run of pictures with some views across the county from the Castletown - Wick road.

Witness Service Available In Caithness
The Witness Service is available in many places but it may be unknown to many individuals cited to attend court in trials.  The service is run by Victim Support Scotland and provides practical and emotional support and assistance to witnesses, friends and families.




John O'Groats

For all the threats of snow and the odd shower of rain the day turned out to be quite sunny and well worth a jaunt round the coast.


Wester - Latest Pipeline To Be Floated Out For First Time In Winter

Looks like someone had trouble getting the peats to catch light today.   Hope the fire is burning brightly now.

At Reiss Beach

Lots Of Wick Street Party Pictures On John Baikie's Web Site

Light Snow In Caithness - Wick

Gersa WRI About 1950
Here is another old Gersa picture from Brian Polson but this time it is of the local Womens Rural Institute (WRI).

Gersa School About 1954
The schooldays section is growing as more folk dig out their old photographs.  Brian Polson has supplied a couple from Gersa School. all the names are in for this one.

Gersa School 1956
All the names are in from this picture supplied by Brian Polson

Particles Exhibition
A number of preliminary options for managing radioactive particles in the offshore sediment near Dounreay will be published next week on the opening day of an exhibition intended to inform and stimulate debate about the issue.  The exhibitions will take place on:
Wed, Jan 8th  4pm to 8pm at the Victoria Hall, Reay.
Thur, Jan 9th  11am to 3pm and 6pm to 8pm at Thurso Town Hall.
Friday, January 10th   11am to 3pm at Thurso Town Hall.

The Biggest Street Party In the North - Wick - Last Night


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