News Archive - June 2003

More Winning Teams From The Thurso FC Fun Day Football

Is There  A Potential Pentland Firth Disaster Heading Our Way?
As the press has indicated up to 94 ships with particularly toxic contents and ready to be broken up may be heading our way.  As a few folk in our Message Boards have discovered this does not look like a good convoy to be passing through our waters.   If one or more of these ships founders in the Pentland Firth what is the danger to sea-life and fishing not to mention the beaches round the Scottish coast.  Add your thoughts or information to this thread.

Golf Challenge Round Caithness
On 1 July 2003 up to 12 men will attempt to do what we believe has never before been attempted , i.e. to play all four Caithness golf courses in one day. This will be a sponsored golf challenge with funds raised going towards providing suitable transport for the Neurological Group's Wick group which meets in Wick Youth Club.   Tee-off time at Reay is 4.30am(!) with Thurso around 7.30am, followed later in the day by Lybster (2 round played here) and lastly Wick. If you see any of the guys on the course, or in the bar in Wick afterwards, please feel free to drop a donation into the golf bags! Your support will be much appreciated!

Mon 7 July, 2.00 pm - Blue Monday Club, Ormlie Centre, Thurso; Meet the Professionals and its FREE.  Anyone thinking about a career in the music business will have the chance to find out how to get started at a series of Highlands and Islands workshops tied in with the upcoming Proclaimers tour.  Unlike TV shows like Popstars or Fame Academy, the 'Get Into Music' workshops have been designed to be just as relevant to those interested in working behind the scenes - in recording, production or distribution for example - as they are for budding performers.

Whittles Publishing, Caithness Add Another Neil Gunn Book
THE SILVER BOUGH by Neil M. Gunn Foreword by Dairmid Gunn
Anyone who enjoys good writing, whether or not a collector of the work of Neil M. Gunn will be waiting in anticipation for October when this Neil Gunn book is reprinted.  A backdrop of an archaeological story in Scotland serves only to increase the fascination and appeal.  A reprint of one of Gunn’s lighter and more intriguing books centring on the investigation of an ancient cairn.  The book will be available in October joining a growing list of books now being brought out by Caithness based Whittles Publishing.

Thurso FC Fun Day Football
Thurso FC Fun Day Football competition attracted a large entry with over 40 teams taking part.  East end coach Peter Swanson has sent in a few pictures.

A Red Admiral Butterfly Snapped today In a Caithness Garden
Colin Stewart took this picture of a red admiral butterfly in his neighbours garden today.   There are quite a range of moths and Butterflies in the county.  If anyone else has managed to take any pictures we would be happy to start a new section to contain them and build a record of them.  Details of location and names would be helpful.  If any rare ones are sent in we will omit the location.

excavate overlay At Battle Moss, Thrumster On Sunday
Hundreds of glass blocks were laid out along the lines of stone rows at Battlemoss, Loch of Yarrows and in three circles shown by a recent geophysics survey.  In August archaeological excavations will take place  - the first of any stone rows in Caithness.  The art side of this unique project continues at Dunbeath on Wednesday at Dunbeath  when the glass blocks will be built beneath Chapel Hill.  2 July 10.00am-12.00pm; 1.00-3.00pm; 3.30-5.00pm; 5.30-7.00pm glass installation - Chapel Hill, Dunbeath Heritage Trail, Dunbeath.

Wick Pipe Band Week  5 - 12 July 2003
Parades, Highland Dancing, Open Air Ceilidh, Old Time Scottish Dancing, Summer Scottish Show and a the finale fun night with a the Pipe Band dressed as you see them only once a year...packed week..

Lybster Gala 2003 Starts - A Week Of Fun Ahead
See what is on for the rest of the week.

Canisbay Show 2003

Friends Of Achvarasdal Took To The Streets Of Thurso With A Petition
With Help From North Coast Jazz Band

After Hours At Ebenezers Bar, Wick Last Night

Island Games Start In Guernsey
Orkney has sent a team to the 10th Island Games in Guernsey.  Come on now why did Caithness not have a Stroma team there?.  Maybe next time and good luck to the Orkney team.

Eye In The Sky Over Wick Golf Club
With steady club improvements in recent years including a new clubhouse, new fairways and upgrades if you have not played Wick for a few years why not get along to check it out when in Caithness......

Reply To Query By Caithness Internet User From BT Shows Little Chance of ADSL Broadband In The Near future
Your line is connected to the Thurso exchange. So far 370 customers have registered an interest against your exchange, but unfortunately we are unable to set a trigger level. The costs of upgrading  have proven so high, that the trigger level is unrealistic judged against the number of subscribers on your exchange. Consequently, we have decided not to publish it.

DEMAND UP FOR GAELIC PLACEMENT SCHEME.  Tha meudachadh de 65% ann an àireamh na h-oileanaich a tha a' gabhail pàirt ann an Sgeama Greis Gnìomhachais a th'air a ruith le Buidheann Leasachaidh na Gàidhlig, Comunn na Gàidhlig (CNAG).  A Student Placement Scheme run by the Gaelic Development Agency, Comunn na Gàidhlig (CNAG), has reported a 65% increase in the number of students taking part this year.

UKAEA Dounreay today has sent to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and  the Food Standards Agency the findings of laboratory tests carried out on  rabbit  faeces  found  in an area of the site historically used for the burial of low-level waste.

Dounreay Employees Charity Fund Donates To Caithness Crossroads Carers
"Crossroads Caring for Carers Caithness are a small charity providing respite care services to carers in Caithness.  The Dounreay Employees Charity Fund recently donated £300 towards the charity for upgrading their software on their computer systems.  Pictured presenting the cheque to Maggie Page, (centre) Co-ordinator of Crossroads are Rob Roy, Chairman of the DECF and Marie Mackay, Secretary of the DECF."

Highland Councillors today agreed that free milk should be provided to all primary school pupils in Caithness as part of a pilot scheme which will run from September 2003 to July 2004.  An estimated 2,164 pupils will receive the free milk in 18 primary schools, including those with special educational needs, at a cost of £83,407. Funding for the project will be provided from within the Highland Council’s “Hungry For Success” allocation from the Scottish Executive of £2.7m over the next 3 years.

Take A Look Round Dornoch

The Future of Entertainment is Interactive.  Edinburgh International Games Festival’s ‘Go Play Games’ event to offer visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy hands-on experience of the best of contemporary gaming.   Visitors to Edinburgh’s Royal Museum during the month of August will find themselves in the unlikely position of being asked to touch the exhibits, as the world-famous visitor attraction throws open its doors to the ‘Go Play Games’ exhibition.

Highland Councillors in Caithness are actively involved in discussions to secure the future of Achvarasdal Church of Scotland home, Reay.  On Tuesday 24th June, Convener David flear and Area Housing and social Work Chairman, Bill Fernie met in Thurso with Harriet Dempster, Director of Social Work Service and Bob Silverwood, Area Social Work manager.  The councillors emphasised the important role the home played not only in Caithness but the north of Sutherland.  there was no other home providing a similar service.  Councillor Fernie said: "I visited Achvarasdal on Monday and was very impressed by the setting.  The residents clearly appreciate the service they receive.

Artsmith Exhibition Heading for Record Breaking Attendances
You have just a couple of days left to see the Artsmith exhibition at Swanson Gallery, Thurso.  Its looks as if it may well break attendance records for an exhibition at the gallery.  Julian Smith the local artist will be there on Saturday for a while so if you want to know anything about the pictures just ask.

Summer Kite Buggy Courses In Caithness - Are You Ready To Fly?
Mon 21st July - Mon 28th July  The full windthings team are due up with the windthings traction school offering courses in Kite Surfing, Kite Buggying, Basic powerkite flying, Advanced Buggying, Advanced Kite Surfing and Advanced Mountain Boarding.  Six of the best instructors are coming to Caithness.  Interested? Then sign up soon for these courses growing in popularity at Dunnet Beach.

Thurso FC  - North Caledonian League Winners
Following on from their successful season in the North Caledonian League which they won, along with the Morris Newton Cup and the Football Times Cup, Thurso FC swept the board with the awards at the Annual League Dinner. Kevin Morris was joint top goal scorer (with Scott McKain of Dornoch FC) in the League with 16 goals from 18 games. Michael Gray received Goalkeeper of the Year as well as overall League Player of the Year.

excavate : overlay
excavate : overlay is an artist-led project taking place in a number of locations on the east side of Caithness between 25 June and 2 July this year. It brings art, archaeology and anthropology together through the investigation of selected archaeological features at the Yarrows and at Dunbeath.  28 & 29 June 10.00am-12.00pm; 1.00-3.00pm; 3.30-5.00pm; 5.30-7.00pm glass installation Battle Moss, Loch of Yarrows, Thrumster.

Achvarasdal Residential Home - Near Reay

Ackergill Tower From The Air
These latest aerial pictures of Ackergill tower show clearly the layout with the two dovecotes in front only one of which is a real dovecote and the other was built to balance the scene viewed from the tower.
Ackergill Tower Dovecotes at Ground Level
Ackergill Tower In Castles Section

Disability Rights Commission - June News Bulletin

Duck Decoy At Ackergill From The Air
The Ackergill Duck Decoy was used for shooting wildfowl in Victorian times.  It is made up of a large circular wall enclosing ground and a moat crossed by several small bridges then another moat and an island in the centre connected by another bridge.   Decoy Index

Looking Down On Halkirk

Following advertising, an open competition and interviewing a number of high quality applicants the Board of Caithness Archaeological Trust is delighted to announce that Dr Andrew Heald has been appointed as Archaeological Development Officer to the Trust.  Andy Heald, who was Director on behalf of the National Museums for Scotland and University of Edinburgh of last year’s excavations of the broch at Everley, said, “This is a great opportunity to work with the people of Caithness to promote their amazingly diverse, but little known heritage, which is of the highest quality.

Results from the biggest ever visitor survey in the Highlands and Moray will be unveiled in detail at a series of presentations across the area over the coming weeks.  Almost 5000 visitors were interviewed over 12 months as part of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise-led project to give tourism businesses and industry planners an insight into visitor profiles, transport arrangements, spending patterns and accommodation needs as well as visitor satisfaction levels.

Denture Venture
A Caithness-based dental technician has plenty to smile about after being awarded a grant to start his own business.  Qualified dental technician, Allan Young has been awarded a financial package from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) via the HIE-Starts programme.  HIE-Starts is a Network-wide initiative designed to help new businesses by providing a regular income for the first twelve months of trading, usually the most difficult time for fledgling businesses.  Allan is setting up his new business - AKL Dental Laboratory - at The Bridges Dental Clinic in Wick, where he has leased a room from dental surgeon Neil Erridge.  He initially plans to concentrate on denture work from The Bridges Clinic but could eventually provide his services to clinics in the wider community, as well as offering a denture repair service direct to the public.

Glenmorangie Drams It Up For Charity. How Many Caithness Charities Could Benefit?
Barrels Of Money Are Waiting Via The Taxman
Glenmorangie plc is setting an example to employers across Scotland by signing up to Payroll Giving to boost their commitment to good causes and the community.  They, along with The Giving Campaign - a National initiative to boost charitable giving in the UK, are urging more local employers to follow suit.

Riding Route From Caithness Riders Access Group
Loch Stemster Ride Details Now Available.  The track goes from Loch Stemster at Achavanich (just above where the Rumster road from Lybster joins the A9 Causewaymire) to Munsary cottage, which is the Plantlife Nature Reserve. The distance is about 3 miles, so 6 there and back.

"Subitango!" with Tango Siempre and Mina & Geraldo
Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster Tuesday 8 July  8.00pm 2hours inc. Interval
From the music and dance of early 20th century Buenos Aires to the breathtakingly beautiful jazz-inspired sounds of Astor Piazzollo, this show blazes with life and colour of this most sensual of art forms.  "Subitango!" has performed to sell-out audiences in theatres, arts centres and festivals throughout the UK.  the show features virtuosic live music from the UK's leading tango ensemble, Tango Siempre, and stunning choreographed dance from the acclaimed tango dance couple Mina and Geraldo.

Colours Of The Rainbow - Caithness Quilters
On Friday 27.06.03 Marion Barnett will be giving a talk - All the Colours of the Rainbow (everything you wanted to know about dying but were afraid to ask) and a show of her Quilts in the Ross Institute Halkirk at 7.30pm. Visitors Welcome.

Achvarasdal Home Future Under Review By Church Of Scotland
10 homes including Achvarasdal in Caithness will close unless quick solutions are found to the problems they face. To that end, the Board will continue to work closely with local authorities over the coming weeks in order to try to save these homes.  However, should no solution be found within the next three months, these homes will close by the end of the current financial year.

Caithness Canine Club 2003 Open Dog Show
The 2003 Caithness Canine Open Dog Show was well attended although entries were down on last year due another show elsewhere.  The club had recruited Albert Wight a well known show judge who recently judged the Best In Show category at Crufts in London.  Mr Wight worked hard from 9.30am  working through various classes including Gundogs - working - pastoral -hounds - utility and finally Best In Show. Mrs Betty Flavell also well known in the judging circuit was also there to deliver her expertise in Toys/Terriers and other varieties.  Caithness Canine Club runs a range of classes for dog owners...

More Trinkie Pictures From Mike Brunton

John Thurso MP Officially Opened Homeaid Centre
Homeaid the charity serving Caithness and Sutherland by recycling furniture and household goods had its centre officially opened by John Thurso MP who praised the organisation for its success in preventing so much going to landfill and providing a source of furniture and other goods for people on low incomes.  A number of councillors had also turned out with Caithness Convenor David Flear helping John Thurso try out the stocks ready for fund raising at the county show in July. 

Trinkie Midsummer Barbecue A Big Hit
Ian Sutherland and his Trinkie Volunteers brought off a very successful barbecue fundraiser to make some cash to repair Wick's outdoor swimming pool.  This famous landmark was once again ringing with fun and games and kids swimming in the newly painted pool.   Well done to all concerned.

A Miller Family Group
Another addition to the Miller family history pages from Maureen Materi In Canada. This Milller group photo was taken in Wick before 1912 when the family was living at 43 Wellington Street.  Miller Family History Index

Artsmith exhibition creates a big impression - Two Saturdays to meet the artist
The eagerly anticipated display of work by local artist Julian Smith, has been greeted with enthusiastic praise from scores of visitors during its first two weeks at the Swanson Gallery, Thurso.  The appreciative audiences have been captivated by the selection of strong and colourful paintings as well as a unique and thought provoking multi-media animation which echoes the "Moving images" theme and, for many, has brought the whole show to life.

Caithness Kids Visit Dounreay

Stemster Farm From The Air
Aerial Views Index

"Sustainable Forestry, Biodiversity and Biomass"  Money Might Grow On Your Trees
Expert speakers have been invited from Forward Scotland, Highland Birchwoods, Nordic Enterprise Trust, AMEC, Integrated Energy Utilities Limited, SVS Composting, Forest Enterprise, British Geological Survey, the North Highland Leader+ Partnership.  They will share their knowledge on the new technologies and business potential identified for sustainable forestry/biodiversity and biomass utilizing industries and processes.  The Seminar is open to organisations/agencies involved with economic development, small businesses, local forestry groups, community woodland groups, community organisations, land owners, farmers and crofters.  Please note strictly bookings only.

Young scientists from a Caithness school have made a flying visit to the centre of pioneering fusion research at Culham in Oxfordshire.   Stuart Campbell (14) from Wick High School travelled with a friend and teacher to the UKAEA site after winning the top prize in a competition during the Caithness Science Festival. The competition was designed to inspire and encourage youngsters to consider the relevance and impact of science on everyday life, and to consider science and engineering as a career.

Want To See A Deltic Locomotive In Caithness?
Monday 23 June 2003   A special train will descend on both Wick and Thurso on Monday 23rd June.  It is really a "very special" as it will be hauled by a deltic loco - actually two-- 55019 and 55009 - and should arrive in the early hours of morning morning--certainly before 8 am.  The train is being run by the Deltic Preservation Society and will be on a four day tour of Scotland.   It's Wick first then Thurso after that down the road to Dingwall for a trip to Kyle.  Those interested in local railways will want to see the train.

North MSP Rob Gibson Challenges Scottish Executive On Patient - Public Involvement
Rob Gibson MSP for Highlands and Islands challenged the urgency and democracy of attempts by the Scottish Executive to create a belated move towards more Patient Focus and Public Involvement [ Motion S2M -154]. Wed pm 18 June  The rights of patients to have easy and speedy answers to their questions about the health services they receive has to be greatly improved. We have to protect staff from harassment, but the culture of consultation must be far more open and inclusive than recent examples indicate. In his speech he highlighted the tortuous lessons learned from the current responses by the Highland NHS Primary Care Trust to the dental crisis in Caithness.

Balmore Animal Centre Dog Walk Breaks Records
The Dog Walk organised last Sunday by the Local Branch of the Scottish SPCA at Thurso was a great success over double last years figure.  The Branch officials would like to thank all the walkers and their dogs; those who helped and those who contributed to this achievement, over £1360 raised making this one of the best events ever.

Scrabster Pier From The Air As Completion Approaches
Scrabster Pier Pages

The Gaelic writer Angus Peter Campbell has been appointed to the prestigious Iain Crichton Smith Writing Fellowship which is funded by The Highland Council, the Scottish Arts Council, Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise and Ross and Cromarty Enterprise.  Mr Campbell, who is originally from South Uist, but now lives in Sleat on the Isle of Skye takes over the post from the previous writing fellow, Kevin MacNeil. Mr Campbell said, “It’s a tremendous honour to be awarded this fellowship, which the previous writer, Kevin MacNeil, held with such distinction.

Rhind House Store In Wick Gutted By Fire
About 2000 hrs on Tuesday 17 June 2003 , three units of the Fire Brigade attended a fire within an outbuilding adjacent to Rhind House, Education Department, West Banks Avenue ,Wick.   The building is used as a storeroom for the Education Department and was extensively damaged as a result of the fire.  It is believed nothing of importance was stored in the building as records of any interest were kept in Rhind house itself and early records had been transferred to the North highland Archive at Wick Library.

Wick School Kids Plant Flowers In Market Square
A few children from each of the four Wick primary schools - Pulteneytown Academy, Hillhead, North And South were out planting up the tubs in Wick despite the blustery wet weather.   The tubs are supplied by the Wick Flower Baskets committee and were first put out last summer in the town centre.

A Stroll Round Inverness Kicks Off A Highland Gallery

St Magnus Festival - Over The Pentland Firth
20 - 25 June 2003  Celebrities, premieres, community performances and isles excursions are just some of the ingredients of Orkney's prestigious midsummer celebration of the arts.

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Week Featuring On Caithness Nerve Centre Web Site
While you are over check out the Far North Golf Challenge that will take place on 1 July with 12 players doing all four Caithness golf courses in one day.

Gala Days and Weeks To Come In Caithness
OK folks you have 6 weeks to think up an idea for a float or costume for Thurso Gala who have their programme in the section.  Wick Gala this year could see a big turn out especially as there are lots of new places for the parties afterwards.  Two new pubs and the Backer Club has been refurbished so Wick could be bouncing on Gala night this year.  Some have been planning their float for months .  Have you got your ideas together yet.

Massed Pipe Bands Inverness
Wick Pipe Band was amongst the massed bands on Saturday at Falcon Square beside the new shopping complex at Eastgate, Inverness Castle and around the streets  -   36 Pictures Now In.

Up to 1,300 businesses and community groups across the Highlands and Islands are in line to share £500,000 worth of grants to help them upgrade to broadband telecommunications.  The area's development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is making the funding available to accelerate the take-up of broadband services in the region.

IT Firm Helps Highland Businesses Save £10,000
Leading Scottish IT consultancy, Escape, will next month show businesses throughout the Highlands and Islands how they could shave almost £10,000 off their IT and internet bills by using new ADSL internet technology.

Halkirk Man's Car Took Best In Show At Alness
Edward Sutherland from Halkirk took the Best In Show award at the Alness Vintage, Historic and Classic Car Rally on Sunday.  Edward's car seen in the picture with him is a Riley 2.5 Roadster

The Jungle Clearances At Ormlie
An area which is commonly known by the children and young people of Ormlie as 'The Jungle' appropriately so, as the weeds were as high as the wall in the summer.  The Highland Council kindly removed the top surface and provided plastic sheeting to cover the weeds, whilst MM Miller, Building Contractor, Wick provided.

Dancing In Caithness
Ceilidh Dancing at Halkirk Wednesday evenings at 8pm   John Mackay is the man to contact - 01847 831 718.  It's great fun!   Do you know of other groups not listed in our dancing section.  just email it in to get it added to the section.   there is more dancing in Caithness than folk imagine and it covers many different sorts.  Make it easier to find by sending in details for both children and adults.

Halkirk Gala - One That Got Away
We may take a lot of pictures but inevitably we cannot be everywhere.  So if you have a picture or more that you would like added to a Gala section or indeed anywhere on the web site for everyone to see then just email it to us and we will add it to the section.   If unsure about what to send just check with us regarding file sizes etc.

Blood Donations Take On Extra Urgency
Tuesday 17th June 2003 THURSO, Dounreay Sports & Social Club, Duncan St 2.00pm – 4.00pm & 5.00pm – 8.00pm.  An extra urgency has come on all blood collection services to cover a shortfall likely to be caused by the threat of West Nile disease meaning travellers who visit America this summer will not be allowed to donate blood for a month after they return.

Telford Street, Wick - Being Partly Rebuilt
Part of Telford Street and Miller Street are now being rebuilt.  New modern houses are being put behind the old stone walls.   The project is controlled by Pentland Housing with M M Miller of Wick carrying out the contracting.   Much more of Telford's Wick is to be upgraded over the next few years.

Health services in the far north have picked up a near £8,000 windfall from the decommissioning of Dounreay.  The  money  was  collected  from  companies  and individuals working on the construction of new office accommodation and donated to the Bignold Wing at Caithness General Hospital in Wick for the purchase of equipment.  The  construction  team  wanted  to  mark  the completion of the project by giving  something  back  to  the  community,  as UKAEA project manager Mark Aitken explained.

Caithness Vintage Vehicles Come Out On Top At Alness Rally
Caithness vintage car owners were rewarded well at the Alness Vintage and Historic Vehicles rally on Sunday coming out top in several.  Halkirk owners in particular stood out taking several top positions.

Summer Days In Caithness
As seen in the weather statistics below Caithness is having one of its better years for weather.  These pictures from Mike Brunton also prove that Caithness is enjoying a good year as farmers are racing ahead of normal with the hay making at Huna.  Houston's mill near john O'Groats as ever makes for some great pictures.

Wick Weather Statistics Mar - May 2003
A mild spring is being followed up as things are looking good at the moment for the summer with all but one day this month where the highest daily temperature has not broken 60oF (15.6oC).  Martin Duffy's records certainly prove we are in one of our better years.

Oral Health Links
As Halkiirk Gala highlighted the lack of dentists in Caithness we thought we had better build some links to encourage you all to brush your teeth more often to save your health, emergency treatment (getting harder to find) and cash - it's getting more expensive if you need lots of treatment.  If people dressed as teeth make you laugh then you may not have yet had a problem.  Try to improve your oral health by taking care of your teeth by checking what you eat and drink and brushing your own and especially your children's teeth.  Less sweets and sugar, less fizzy drinks and brush those pegs and well done teeth people.

Halkirk Centenary Highland Games Could Be Biggest Yet
Saturday 26 July - Opening Ceremony 12.15pm - The 100th Halkirk Highland Games looks set to smash the records for attendances in recent years.  The committee are setting the biggest prize money at a Highland games and competitors are expected from far and wide.  All the usual track and heavy events with piping and dancing competitions.  In addition a surprise event is being organised.  To coincide with the 100th anniversary a special commemorative book is being produced at a cost of only £5.  Orders are being take via the web site so get your order in now before it is sold out or take your chances of getting one on the day.  Caithness.Org will be there hoping to take more pictures than ever of this 100th Halkirk Highland Games.  see you all there

Halkirk Gala - Thurso Pipe Band

Halkirk Gala - The Big Band Got Halkirk In The Mood

Halkirk Gala Floats
There were plenty of teeth floating around as well as a whole float on the subject of Lack Of Dentists in Caithness.  If you are a dentist looking for work in the Highlands Step This Way.  Floats also had a go at the new Scrabster Pier which has had a series of problems and is long past its completion date.  Two topics that are likely to have further outings at Wick and Thurso Galas later in the summer.

Halkirk Gala Queen Crowning

Fresh Futures Transforming Your Space
A new grant programme on behalf of the New Opportunities fund is designed to help communities improve their local environments by making them safer, healthier, greener, cleaner , better designed, more welcoming and accessible to all.  A total fund of £4.3 million is now available.  Groups have two years to make an application with the final deadline on 31 March 2005.  Grants can be from £20,000 to £300,000 although grants in excess of £100,000 are likely to be offered to projects with high numbers of beneficiaries.  More information at

Crescent Street, Halkirk

Halkirk Gala Children's Fancy Dress

South School Nursery Mural Painting Day
South School Nursery Class were assisted in painting a mural on the wall outside the nursery at south School by Canadian artist Monique Sliedrecht who has been working for the past 18 months at Freswick Castle.  the kids were clearly having great fun using their hands to get right down to work.  Monique currently has work on show at an exhibition in Helmsdale entitled Out Of Freswick until 27 June.

Technology news for people with vision impairment

Dunrobin Castle And Gardens Open For Charity On Saturday
Saturday 14 June 10.30am - 5.30pm last admission 5.00pm Admission £6.50 OAp £5.70 and children £4.50
40% to Cancer Research and 60% net to SGS charities.  The castle and gardens are open seven days a week in the summer.

A Walk Duncansby Stacks to Skirza
Sunday 15 June -  Caithness Field Club - Leaving Wick and Thurso Railway Stations at 9.15am meeting at Duncansby Stacks car park. Calum MacKenzie will lead (01847 893754) All welcome.  Wear strong boots or shoes, take waterproofs and snacks.  Take a look the other way round

Saturday 21 June Prizes for Best Decorated Float.  Parade leaving Market Hill at 1pm   Prizes for It’s a Knock Out Competition!  - Bouncy Castle - Bottle Stall - Refreshments, Raffle, etc

HIAL Board Reviews Progress at Kirkwall Airport
Progress on developments at Kirkwall Airport were reviewed today (Friday 13 June 2003) by the directors of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited during their June board meeting in Orkney.  Board members toured the airport and met staff during their visit on Thursday prior to their formal meeting today. Airport staff members were also praised for their performance over the past year that saw passenger numbers at the airport increase by 15% to 111,445 for year ending 31 March 2003.

Scottish Parliamentary Committees Heading For Gender Balance
We are no where near it in Caithness with one woman against nine men on Highland Council and even at community council level there is one woman chair and nine men out of the ten.  Should this be an issue for Caithness.  Remember that there are many public bodies with a heavy male representation.  Should more women be learning the ropes on local committees and groups before going on to represent their communities both at local and national level.

Thurso Boy Gets Biggest Trout
12 year old, Scott Mackenzie, of 8 Shebster Court, Thurso caught last night (Wednesday 11th June) on the Thurso River, at the pool in front of the Royal British Legion.  It weighed in at just over 2.5lbs and it is believed to be one of the biggest trout to be caught in the Legion Pool.

Tatties With Attitude
Does the most commonly used vegetable in the UK get a second look in your garden..  Mike Clark is well on with his own trials aimed at getting the crop in early and with bags of flavour.  Do you just buy "Spuds" or can you remember when tatties had their own taste and texture.

Halkirk Gala - Busy Friday Night and Saturday
Lots of fun at Halkirk as the gala week races on.  why not go along and join in the fun tonight or tomorrow.  Saturday night has the crowning ceremony with entertainment from the "Big Band" and Thurso Pipe Band

Homeaid Has A New Web Site
Homeaid the local group recycling furniture for folk who need it have a new web site.  If you are disposing of any household goods that are still basically in good condition give them call and they will uplift the items.  If they cannot use something they may renovate it and sell it to raise funds..

Inverness Museum The ‘Age of Fishes’ until the 8th August  The opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm.  Inverness might have felt a little warm over the last few days, but during the Devonian Period the Highlands lay in the middle of a sandy desert as hot as North Africa is today.

The introduction of Highland Council’s new state of the art “Kerbsider” waste recycling vehicle is not only the first of its kind on the streets of Inverness and Badenoch & Strathspey it is, claims the Council’s Transport, Environmental and  Community Services, the first in operation in Scotland.  As part of the Council’s commitment to reach the Scottish Executive’s National Waste Plan 25% recycling targets by 2006, householders on pilot routes in Inverness and the Aviemore and Boat of Garten areas of Badenoch & Strathspey are being invited to participate in the “Kerbsider” pilot scheme.

The Caithness and Sutherland Vintage Vehicle Club
The Caithness and Sutherland Vintage Vehicle Club held their first run on Sunday.  Leaving from the harbour at Thurso at 2.30 and travelling to Georgemas then to Smerral and round by Houstry and Inver to a stop at Laidhay Museum.  The final part of the run was to the Portland Arms in Lybster for a meal.  Fortunately the weather stayed dry and everyone made it safely home.

This week 7,000 individuals throughout the Highlands, chosen at random from the edited electoral roll, will be asked to help the council plan for better delivery of services in the region.  They will be receiving copies of The Highland Council’s ‘Performance Survey 2003’, which invites them to complete and return a questionnaire on Council services.

The Highland Council has established a Gaelic Select Committee to recognise the significance of current developments to promote a Gaelic Language Bill and to reflect the importance which the Council attaches to Gaelic matters.  Elected Chairman of the Select Committee is Councillor Hamish Fraser, Skye Central, who is Depute Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, with responsibility for Gaelic.

Wick High 1965  - Two Reunions - Edinburgh and Wick
The class of 1965 who started Wick High School in that year are holding two reunions this month.  The first will be held in the Thistle Hotel, Edinburgh on Saturday 21st June, 2003 at 6.30 p.m. and the second for people who cannot travel to Edinburgh will be in the Norseman Hotel, Wick, on Friday 27th June at 7.30 p.m.

Winner Of the Painting By Richard Arrowsmith - New Competition For Prints
Yesterday was the closing date for my competition to win 'The Old Man of Wick' original framed acrylic painting.   Out of 160 entries the person who won is Eileen Willox, from Aberdeen.  Another competition is on the web site, this time to win limited edition prints of Thurso East and Wick Fountain & Bridge paintings.  The closing date is the 10th July.

Lyth Arts Centre Presents -Michael Marra in "Silence"
We are pleased to welcome Michael Marra back to the county. he has made a big reputation for himself over the years as one of Scotland's more individual singer-songwriters.

MADD Society Presents - "Back To The 80's"
Tuesday 10 June - Friday 13 June At Wick high School another smash hit show is almost ready to hit the boards. Tickets £5/£3 from Poltney News or D R Simpson newsagents. or Cards N Things.

Fifty one nursery classes across Highland will be affected by industrial action being taken on Wednesday 11th and Thursday12th by nursery auxiliaries and assistants.  The Highland Council has been advised that 61 nursery assistants and 48 auxiliaries intend taking industrial action, which will result in 1,200 pupils losing a pre-school session on these days.   Classes affected on both days are:-
Caithness: Hillhead, Mount Pleasant, North and Pennyland Nurseries.
Sutherland: Bonar Bridge, Bonar Bridge Gaelic Medium, Brora, Dornoch, Gledfield, Helmsdale, Melvich, and Rosehall Nurseries.

excavate : overlay
excavate : overlay is an artist-led project taking place in a number of locations on the east side of Caithness between 25 June and 2 July this year. It brings art, archaeology and anthropology together through the investigation of selected archaeological features at the Yarrows and at Dunbeath. A series of free events invites the public to view the project at various stages in its development - a chance to see some of the processes, knowledge and skills involved in contemporary art and archaeology up close. It also offers the opportunity for local people to contribute to the project by sharing their knowledge, images and memories of these sites.

East End V Swifts

Isabella Fortuna Back In The Water
A 44 foot long Fifie built in Arbroath in 1890, restored in Wick lifeboat shed in 1998 and now back in the water after more work.

Toil - Images Of Working Life &  Joan Eardley- Two Exhibitions In One
St Fergus Gallery, Wick -  Until 14 June

Walking, Walking, Walking
Keep Fit, Have Fun And See Caithness and Bits of Sutherland  
Locals or visitors are spoilt for choice once again with a whole host of walks in coming weeks and months.
Why not get out with folk who know the area and make sure you don't miss the interesting bits with Caithness Field Club, Caithness Waybaggers or the Highland Rangers In Caithness.   Three programmes to choose from and all are happy to see visitors. Depending on the walk you will encounter cliffs, castles, history, plants, seashore, hills, forests, stacks and much more in many parts of Caithness and Sutherland.  So why not make a point of noting a few dates on the calendar now and get out and about.  the telly will always be there in the winter.  It's summer so get "oot an aboot"

Latest Updates For Thurso High 79 - 85 Reunion
Updates to who is now attending and names on a photograph

Play Groups Visit Dounreay
Castletown Playgroup and Ormlie Pre-School Group recently visited the Dounreay Visitor Centre.  During their visit they saw a dog display by the UKAEA Constabulary's dog "Jack", and had rides in the fire engine, ambulance and police car.  They are pictured with members of the emergency services and Marie Mackay from Dounreay Communications who organised their visit.

During the recent Highland Wild Encounters week, organised by The Highland Council's Planning And Development's Countryside Ranger Service, over 250 people took part in 27 different events based around Highland wildlife.  As well as attracting local people, wildlife enthusiasts from throughout the UK made the long journey north to Caithness and Sutherland, some travelling from as far as Essex and Kent.

Wick To Whaligoe With Caithness Waybaggers

Thurso West Ladies Choir At The Caithness Music Festival
Thurso West Ladies Choir presented a cheque for £350 to Louise Shakespeare, towards the Macmillan Cancer Fund.  Accompanist Betty Maxwell handed over another £350 cheque, this time to Frances Purves of the Caithness Dialysis Support Group.  The cheques were from the proceeds of a highly successful concert hosted by the choir in March. The presentation took place following Thurso West Ladies Choir's win in the Caithness Music Festival at Thurso High School.

Halkirk Gala - Fun Run And Races - 71 Pictures
a lovely afternoon in Halkirk made it a fine day for the fun run and children's races at the start of Gala Week.   A full programme of events throughout the coming week leads up to the crowning of the Gala Queen on Saturday.

Artsmith Exhibition, Private View Night Is A Huge Success
The first night of the Artsmith 'moving images' exhibition in the Swanson Gallery Thurso, was widely acclaimed as a resounding success. The appreciative audience was treated to a selection of strong and colourful paintings as well as a sensitive and moving multi-media display which brought the whole show to life.

Wick High School Reunion 1977
Mandy Scudder (nee Miller) has set another reunion rolling.  The date is set for 21 August 2004 in Mackays Hotel.  Send in your old school photos for the new section in the run up to the date.  If you would like to send in a story about your school days we will add it to the section.  Keep up with old friends in the Message Board Reunion page set going by Mandy

Dunnet Gets Own Tourist Information Point
Dunnet got its own Tourist Information Point when a group gathered for the official opening in the old Dunnet Tearooms.  On a very sunny evening Bill Fernie cut the tape to declare the Information Point open during a cheese and wine party.   The centre will have a wide range of leaflets on Dunnet and Caithness.

Ex Castletown Jessie Page Celebrates 77th Birthday In Australia
Jessie Sutherland Page Nee' Campbell from Castletown.  Her husband,  seen with her is Alec Archie Page -  Roy to his friends.   John Page their son is also in Australia and works at Whyalla university.  Where They Went

Two Evening Walks Next Week At Holborn And Dunnet
Organised walks with the Highland Rangers are free so why not get out and see the countryside and see what is around the coastline.  Check the Rangers pages regularly as more walks are being added throughout the summer months.

Chanter Winners At The Music Festival

Halkirk Gala Week
Sunday 8 June - Saturday 14 June the gala in Halkirk kicks off with the Fun Run and children's races on Sunday with events happening every evening in the village until Saturday 14th when the day starts with a coffee morning, art competition and children's Fancy Dress.  the finale is the Pipe Band in Bridge Street followed by the Gala Queen Crowning, parade of floats and a "Big Band" performance.

A Quick Look At Timespan Heritage Centre
If you have not been at Timespan for a while it is well worth a visit to see new exhibits in the heritage centre and the garden is now coming into bloom.  the cafeteria is light and airy and provides a welcome seat for a snack or a drink.

New Helmsdale Picture Gallery
A few new pictures of Helmsdale in our picture gallery format that is still gradually spreading throughout the web site.  More pictures of Helmsdale and the surrounding area will be added here at a later date

HIAL Managing Director Addresses UK Aviation Industry on Regulatory Burden
The need to strike a reasonable balance between regulatory control, safety standards and airport operations was highlighted at the prestigious Aviation Club of the UK in London today (5 June 2003).   Bob Macleod, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited addressed the gathering of leading aviation industry figures on the subject of amelioration and compared the regulatory approach in the UK to other countries where regional airports are more cost effective to run.

Out of Freswick: Recent Work By Artists In Caithness
Several artists who have been working out of Freswick Castle over the past year have come together to create an extraordinary show at the Timespan Gallery in Helmsdale this month. Monique Sliedrecht, Trevor Wight, Angela McGahan and Rob and Marcia Hengeveld contribute recent work made at and inspired by the castle, supplemented by atmospheric photography by Murray Watts

North School About 1947/48

Pulteneytown Academy 1951

Businesses across the Highlands and Islands are being offered extra help this summer to carry out short-term projects which could produce lasting benefits.  The Shell Technology Enterprise Programme (STEP) matches skilled undergraduates with a wide range of businesses to address a specific need within each company. Students taking part in the programme are skilled in a variety of disciplines, from marketing and product development to IT and accountancy. Each placement lasts for eight weeks, beginning in July 2003. This is the first year that the scheme has been available throughout the Highlands and Islands. Applications to participate in the scheme are being taken now.

25 JUNE 2003  The Highland Council will host a one day seminar "Sustainable Forestry Biomass and Biodiversity" on Wednesday 25 June at the Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster, Caithness.  Expert speakers have been invited from Forward Scotland, Highland Birchwoods, Nordic Enterprise Trust, AMEC, Integrated Energy Utilities Limited, SVS Composting, Forest Enterprise, National Farmers Union, British Geological Survey, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, and the North Highland Leader+ Partnership.

Great Glen Challenge By Canoe
Several of the Rolls Royce Employees on the Vulcan site are shortly to undertake the Great Glen Challenge, a marathon 65-mile paddle in canoes from Inverness to Fort William through the Great Glen. The paddlers hope to raise several thousand pounds and local firms are being asked to sponsor the marathon. All monies raised will be split evenly between three local charities, the Thurso based Monday Club which aids local handicapped people, the Epilepsy Partnership in Caithness & Sutherland and the Caithness General Hospital League of Friends.

No one ever had a tree house like this as a child - larger than your average wooden house with all the latest hi-tech equipment! However, at Ackergill Tower near Wick they have just that.  The finishing touches to the Tree House, situated in the grounds of Ackergill Tower, are now complete and the facility looks set to attract even more business to the area from across the globe.

The Eclipse From Durness

Recorder Groups From Hillhead



North Recorders

South Recorders


Extra Practice

Dunbeath Recorders

Verse Speaking

More From The Music Festival


Halkirk P7

Castletown Duet

Halkirk P6

Keiss, Bower And Crossroads At The Music Festival

Caithness 50th Music Festival In Full Swing

Lyth Arts Centre Presents -Michael Marra in "Silence"
Pentland Hotel, Princes Street, Thurso.  We are pleased to welcome Michael Marra back to the county. he has made a big reputation for himself over the years as one of Scotland's more individual singer-songwriters.

East End Under 8's On Victory Trail
League season well under way. U8s have won both their games so far. 12 games to be be played in total.

The Round Britain Experience - 2500 Mile Yacht Training Course
In Wick harbour today was the 38 foot yacht with a crew on an experience of a lifetime, the chance to circumnavigate the British Isles whilst learning all the skills of yacht cruising.  Participants are learning all the skills needed to become skilled and qualified yachtsmen

Caithness United Football Club Web Site
Another Caithness football team joins our growing list of teams with a web site for all of their news and pictures.   The football teams web sites are to be found on our Football Links page, Caithness Web Sites and shortly in our Caithness Sports Pages

The Co-op community dividend Fund has contributed £2000 towards the cost of the new playground being created at the Bignold Park, wick by the Wick Play Areas Community Group.  David Richard-Jones Caithness member of the Co-op Northern Area committee presented a cheque for the £2000 donation to Allan Tait, Chairman of the Play Areas Group.

Pupils throughout Highland schools needing advice on drugs issues will soon find support at hand from their teachers who are receiving drugs-related awareness training.  This year, thirty staff from schools throughout the Highlands are being trained by a team funded by Scotland Against Drugs and the Education Culture and Sport Service to improve their knowledge and understanding of local drug issues, including signs and symptoms of drug use among young people.  Teachers from Caithness attending the drugs awareness training were Anne Macbeath, Wick High, John Glen Thurso High, and Elizabeth Wilson Wick High.


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