News Archive - May 2003

Caithness Handyperson Scheme - What It Does And Does Not Do?
The Caithness Handyperson Scheme is run in partnership by Caithness Community Care Forum and Pentland Housing Association and is available to anyone over 60 or disabled to help with a range of tasks or offer advice on how to access further help.

Annular Eclipse From Strathy
As far as we know so far few if anyone in Caithness saw the eclipse due to the first fog in weeks.  Further along the coast in Sutherland it cleared late and just in time for Alan Mcivor from Thurso  to take a few shots.   We ourselves were at John O'Groats where a party went out in a fast boat but only to see the seabirds as the fog stayed right through the crucial time.  All along the coast there were folk out in lay-bys to see the vent but most were disappointed.  More Eclipse Pictures On BBC Scotland Web Site

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.

Are You Staying Up For the Annular Eclipse Early Saturday Morning?
With this once in a lifetime astronomical event only hours away many folk have their spot picked out on the Caithness and Sutherland north coast - one of the best places in the country to view the event  - weather permitting.  Photographers are lining up to get a unique picture with perhaps a castle, harbour or other structure in the foreground.  But most folk in the north will be prepared for it passing by behind the clouds and have a party or a dram in the wee small hours to have some fun. Good luck star gazers.

Dramatic improvements to NHS dental services must be delivered for people in the Far North.  This is the message that MSP Jamie Stone delivered to the Scottish Executive on the day it unveiled its new legislative programme for the second parliamentary term.  Mr Stone took the first opportunity available to press First Minister Jack McConnell for action to address the serious shortage of NHS dentists in the Highlands.  In a question and answer session after the Executive unveiled its programme for the year ahead, Mr Stone quizzed the First Minister on what proposals the new Scottish government has to tackle the problem.

North School May Fair

Rob Gibson MSP - First Speech At Scottish Parliament
In his first speech in Edinburgh Rob Gibson attacked the government for their failure to free up land for affordable housing in the Highlands.  He made comparisons with other small counties in Europe and added - "Fundamental to rebuilding population is the availability of land for affordable housing. How often do youngsters seek in vain for a house site in a crofting community, or a building plot around a small town? Landlords, planning law and water authorities are the problem. So is the only alternative for the enterprising to leave?.

RSPB Forsinard Walks 2003
Walks for June and July are now listed with more to be added later for August.  The RSPB Forsinard Visitor Centre is situated in the former railway station and has lots of information on wildlife in the area.

Wick Coast And Castle Of Old Wick
Monday 2 June - Rangers Guided Walk - See the plants, sea stacks, arches and sea birds.  Meet at Harbour Cafe, Wick 7.00pm  length 2.3 - 3 hours.

Caithness Heritage Fair 2003
Information for anyone wanting to have a stand at the Caithness Heritage Fair 4 - 5 October 2003.  the closing date for applications is 7 July 2003.

More than 31% of marriage notices received in the Inverness area so far this year involve couples from outwith Scotland, proving that weddings are becoming big business for the area. The statistic was revealed by The Highland Council Convener Alison Magee on Wednesday 28 May in welcoming 100 delegates to the annual general meeting of the Association of Registrars of Scotland, which was hosted by The Highland Council in Inverness.

Balmore Animal Centre - New Fund Raising Campaign Begins
The Branch Committee welcomed the statement from the Scottish SPCA headquarters that the position of the Balmore Centre together with the other centres in Scotland are being took at in detail and that the closure plans have been put back for six month while all options are being looked at.
In the mean time the local committee are continuing their fund raising activities starting with the DOG WALK on Sunday 15 June.  The walk will start at the Thurso-Dounreay road at the Janetstown turn off, registration starts at 12.30.

Local Contractors To Be Briefed On Enterprise Network's New Procurement Process
Businesses providing either property construction or advisory services in the Highlands and Islands are being urged to attend seminars across the region intended to highlight changes in the way Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will be buying and delivering some services.

Wind Turbine Development - Bridge of Westfield - Public Meeting
Scotrenewables the Stromness based wind turbine company are to hold a public meeting as part of the environmental Impact Assessment.  A presentation will outline the plans to build three 2.75MW wind turbines on hill of Lieurary followed by a discussion.

Trophy Presentation Following South  V Hillhead Chess Tournament 28 May
Councillor Katrina MacNab presented the King Prawn trophy to the South School team following their victory in the chess tournament on Monday

Broadband Balloons Could Do It For The Highlands
Could Broadband be here sooner than we thought.  Broadband Pages

Rumster Forest

Caithness Rural Schools Sports Challenge - A Great Success In Sunny Dunbeath
Watten came out top on points in the sports challenge day for Caithness rural schools but awards were also given to schools for sportsmanship, attitude and helpfulness to team mates and opponents.  The competitions were in Football, Indoor Hockey and Netball with boys and girls playing in all teams.  A beautiful day contributed to fun all round as the children moved from game to game over the day.

King Prawn Chess Tournament - South V Hillhead Schools
South School won the tournament with 71 - 61 points.  This was the first time the competition had been run.  Ian Mackenzie made the trophy and it is hoped the competition will be run annually from now on.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Consultation Deadline 30 June
If you have an interest in countryside access in Scotland you may wish to have your views noted in the consultation process.  There are a series of public meetings being held but none as yet in Caithness.  SNH have agreed to hold a meeting further north if there is demand.  If you are interested in attending a meeting in Caithness contact Ashleigh Tooth, Recreation and Access Advisor, Scottish Natural Heritage Tel 01463 667929 Email   A meeting will be arranged if there is sufficient demand

Gala & Show Organisers In Caithness & Sutherland - Free Pages
If you are on a committee organising a show or gala in Caithness or Sutherland in coming months just email the programme with dates and we will advertise it free of charge with pages and links.   Send in word documents rather than posters.  Send logos or pictures separately or as attachments.  Get your full programme online as soon as you can for longer coverage.  Send them to   We depend on you to send your programme in so check with your committee if anyone is sending it.

Paper And Bookbinding Workshops
A unique chance to learn a range of techniques in paper making and bookbinding.
Each of the courses cost £25.   Contact the gallery for more details.

Murkle Bowling Club - Junior Pairs
Murkle Indoor Bowling Club held a Junior Pair Competition on Saturday 24th May.  The final was contested by Alan Morrison and Keith Hossack representing Murkle and Daryl Thomson and Scott Mitchell representing Castletown.   The standard of bowls played by both teams was extremely high with all players playing some excellent shots.

Lybster Harbour - Early Sunday Morning
The rain was passing over and the early risers in Lybster were heading for their Sunday papers.  A few boats had headed out  to the creels and the harbour was silent.  A white cat chased mice and only the birds were making any sound until you reached the bridge where the heavy rains had swollen the burn to a temporary roar.

The Road To Achavanich

Thurso and Dounreay Strathspey & Reel Society - Brilon Trip Help From Round Table
Thurso and Dounreay Strathspey & Reel Society were helped on their way to Brilon in August with a cheque from Thurso & District Round Table on Tuesday night when they received a cheque for £250.00 from Chairman Graham Douglas and Fundraising Convenor Alan Simpson.   The Society have their 25th Annual Concert in the Thurso High School on the 7th June at 7.30 with guests Gavin Piper- Accordion, Raymond Bremner - singer from Wick and compere Andy Ross from Caithness FM.

4th Wick Guides Visit To Orkney
UKAEA Dounreay recently sponsored the 4th Wick Girl Guides trip to Orkney.  The girls crossed from John O'Groats on the Pentland Venture and during their day visited the Italian Chapel, St Magnus Cathedral, Bowling Alley and Pickaquoy Sports Centre.  They are pictured here at the end of their trip.

MADD Get A Web Site
The MADD - Music Art Drama and Dance group have their own web site up and running for all their latest shows and some stuff from the past.

Early Morning Training At Rumster Forsest With The Valuiki Sleddogs
Winning teams are not born they are made in the early hours in training sessions like today at 7.00am in Rumster Forest.  The start of the racing season my be months away but the dogs are being kept in trim by these early outings round forest tracks at a time when the temperature is low enough for dogs used to the bitter cold.

Crossroads Care - Annual Report 2002/03
The Scheme provided 8,627 hours of support to those caring for others in Caithness, an increase of 6% over the previous year.   The year saw a sound financial performance generating a £3,003 surplus against an operating expenditure of £113,693 – the first time expenditure has exceeded £100,000. Highland Council and Highland Health Board grants and Carer Strategy money provided 59% of the income with a further 8% through direct purchased care by the local Social Work Services.  The Scheme is very fortunate in the support it gets from individuals and local organisations in Caithness, who this year raised a staggering £19,000.

Rev Bill Wallace And Rev Sandy Gunn At Pulteneytown Church Re-opening
There was no hiding the delight of the two ministers at today's re-opening of the main building at Pultentytown church.  Rev Bill Wallace was joined by the former minister Rev. Sandy Gunn (1967 - Dec 1973).  After nearly 50 years of discussion by various kirk sessions on the problems of the vestibule and windy entrance work finally got underway about 18 months ago.  At a cost of over £250,000 a huge range of work has been carried out both inside and outside.  From the new glass door, heating system and complete refurbishment of the interior and contributions from a wide range of bodies, businesses and individuals.

Sponsored Walk For EPICS Started By Local MP John Thurso
EPICS (Epilepsy Partnership in Caithness and Sutherland) sponsored walk that took place today, started off officially by John Thurso, MP.  Pictures and report later over on the Nerve Centre web site.

Donald Grant Road, Thurso

Thurso Round Table Sportsman Evening
Thurso and District Round Table recently organised a Sports Dinner in aid of local charities on the 17 May held at the New Weigh Inn.  The event had a capacity attendance with 160 tickets being sold.  The Guest Speakers for the evening were ex-Scottish Football Internationalists, (King) Joe Harper and Alan Rough.  The evening was compared by Dave Edwards.  The Sponsors for the evening were UKAEA, C&W Motors and W&D Ross. A reception was held for the Sponsors and Guest Speakers prior to the Formal Proceedings.

Pulteneytown Church In Wick Ready For Another 100 Years
The finishing touches were being added ready for the first service in the main church since the renovations began.  The organ was being tuned and is now complemented by the latest hi-tech computers to enhance services.  A big turn out is expected on Sunday 25 May.

Gardens Open To The Public In Caithness & Sutherland
If you are looking for day out then you might like to know when some of the gardens are open to the public.  2003 dates are now in.  If we have missed any just get in touch to add more dates.

Caithness Society Of Artists
Annual Exhibition 2003 (67th) 5 - 16 August Artists Are You Ready To Enter Your Pictures

Thurso High 1983 - Yes It's another Reunion
The venue is the Weigh Inn in Thurso on 12th July 2003, buffet, price of tickets not yet decided, partners welcome to attend.

Volunteers' Week
The week from the 1st to the 7th of June is Volunteers’ Week, now in its 19th year.   If your voluntary group is looking to celebrate the week or say thanks to your volunteers and want some ideas click on....

Highland Festival 6 - 14 June 2003
If you are going to be in Inverness from 6 - 14 June you can take in a show or two at the highland Festival.  This one has a great mix of traditional and other music and comedy.  Getting bigger every year.

South School Science O3 Festival Winners Trip
P6 from South School, Wick won the Primary School section at the Science 03
Festival.  Their prize was a visit to the Dounreay Visitor Centre.  During their visit they had a tour of the Visitor Centre, a dog and vehicle display by the UKAEA Constabulary and rides in the fire engine and ambulance by Dounreay's Fire brigade. On their return journey to Wick they visited the new playpark at Ormlie, Thurso.

Kempo Jujitsu - Caithness Spring Grading Awards
Northern Martial Arts Spring Gradings took place last weekend once again showing the huge popularity in the county of martial arts.  There is no shortage of places in the county to get involved for self-defence, fitness and fun.

Sutherland Walkers Group In Caithness
Marina Finlayson, Highland Ranger in Caithness recently led the Sutherland Walking Group from Wick to Sarclet Haven.  The birds were truly amazing and the weather made a perfect walk.

Caithness Critters Group See The Puffins At Duncansby Stacks
the Caithness Critters group run by Highland Rangers in Caithness recently paid a visit to the Stacks of Duncansby to learn about breeding Seabirds.  The group were lucky to see puffins along with many other birds.  This very popular young naturalists group has a membership of 20 and is usually full but the rangers do operate a waiting list so it is always worthwhile checking with them.  Children are welcome on the many other seasonal walks and outings as long as they are with an adult.   Check out the Rangers Walking pages for details of walks.

North Highland College, Thurso Students Check Out Dounreay
A group from North Highland College, Thurso recently visited the Dounreay Visitor Centre.  During their visit they met "Max" the police dog and had the opportunity to sit in a police vehicle,  They are pictured here with Marie Mackay and Tina Wrighton from Dounreay Communications Department.

Wildlife Encounters 2003 Starts 26 May In Caithness
The Rangers will be leading many walks in Caithness and Sutherland so get your diary out to get to places with someone who knows the area.  You will see the wildlife and scenery at the same time.

On Wednesday 28th May 2003 there will be a feast of traditional music on offer in Wick when traditional music students from the North Highland College in Alness will put on a show in the Pipe Band Hall, High Street, Wick. The students are tutored by local Caithness musicians Bobby Coghill and Karen Steven.  The performances will include piping duets, fiddle and keyboard solos, tunes on the box and a 9 piece ceilidh band! There will be some songs – traditional Irish, contemporary Scottish and some country for good measure, there will also be a special guest appearance by the North Highland Juvenile Pipe Band whose piping tutor is again Bobby Coghill.

Wick Boys Brigade Get Kicking
Recently two men from the Karate Club did a demonstration in the Wick BB Hall for the boys of the Junior Section.  The leader of the Karate Club Michael Tait, and one of his students David Spencer came along and taught the boys a few karate moves.   After a warm-up, the boys were shown how to block kicks and punches.   After trying some karate, the Boys were shown some very advanced moves by the two Black Belts.

Disability Rights Commission Newsletter May 2003
In this month's DRC newsletter - Gaps in disability law leave 1000’s unprotected - Court of Appeal takes positive approach to individuals with cancer - DRC success stories - DRC Third Anniversary – analysis of services shows discrimination faced by 1000’s of disabled workers - DRC calls for tougher penalties to end “daily humiliation and discrimination” experienced by assistance dog users - DRC policy on voluntary euthanasia - Challenge for small businesses’ to make services more accessible - New report shows increased awareness of DDA = Possible Ryanair/BAA Group Litigation Order - Making sports facilities accessible for all
DRC speaks to the British Dental Association about service provision to disabled people.

Educational Resources - Government
A few links to learn about how government works in Scotland, UK and USA.

MacMillan Cancer Walk
A total of 53 supporters left at 7.00pm from Caithness General Hospital, up Newton Hill, down by Milton back to hospital

More Questions than Answers - Mike Clark
Saint Mary’s Chapel at Crosskirk is well photographed and documented.  Much less seems to be recorded of the Broch to the north of the Chapel. And what has been recorded is full of contradictions. Today, the site is marked by a mere cairn. Erosion over the years has lost the Broch to the sea – allegedly.

The youth parliament for the Highlands has new office-bearers following the second round of elections within secondary schools and youth organisations as well as a new youth development officer to co-ordinate its work. The new chairman of Highland Youth Voice is George Shannon from Grantown Grammar School. His Vice-Chairman is Sunny Moodie, Dingwall Academy. Secretary is Annie MacKay, Thurso High School, and treasurer is Tom Pennick, Tain Royal Academy.

Caithness Is Home To Champion Sleddog Team
Caithness is lucky to have a champion sleddog team now in the county.   Racing under the name Valuiki the dogs are trained and cared for by Adrian & Lynn Tilsed.   Valuiki are one of the most predominant and successful Sleddog kennels in the United Kingdom.  They currently have 12 sleddogs in full time work, 2 of these being Alaskan huskies the remainder being Siberian huskies.   Results over the last 3-4 years have been outstanding with 51 x 1st places 22 x 2nd places 11 x 3rd places.  Adrian and Lynn have only recently relocated to Caithness and are in the process of searching for new sponsors for the rapidly approaching race season, and with a long term view to supporting them in a bid to be chosen as Great Britain team members at the Winter Olympics in 2006.

Thurso High School was delighted to be informed recently that a group of its Sixth Year pupils have been chosen to receive the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for their outstanding contribution to the school community.  The six pupils – all elected by their peer group to serve on the Sixth Year Executive Committee – were chosen as representatives of the various committees and activities which have been in operation.

Lockers Donated To Thurso High
UKAEA Dounreay recently donated 90 surplus personal lockers to the Thurso High School PTA.  The lockers were refurbished where necessary by the Dounreay Apprentice Training Department. 

Sign Ups Still Increasing - Still No Word On When The Service Will Come To Caithness
Thurso 329 and Wick 202 - Register your interest at BT Broadband site

Next Meeting Of Caithness Quilters
Tuesday 27 May 2003 in the British Legion Club Rooms, Thurso.  Programme for the evening is Patchwork for beginners, Embroidering Charity Quilt, Assembling Crazy Quilts for Renal Unit.

Commercial Property To Rent In Caithness - Another New Section In The Business Pages
If you are looking for serviced office space then just keep checking Commercial Property to Rent pages the latest addition in our growing property section.  If you have commercial property to rent then check our our prices and our increasing traffic.  Your ad stays in until the property is let and no repeat fee.

Amenity In Wick Harbour Today
Making another delivery at Wick.
Cargo Boats Index
Boats And Sea Index

More New Sites For Sale In Caithness.Org Property Section
With the new road improvements making the time between Caithness and the south less and less how much longer will there be places like this to snap up.

“Wonderful introduction to the outstanding archaeological heritage of Caithness.”
Seventy-five of Scotland’s leading archaeological experts and enthusiasts, the largest number to attend a Council for Scottish Archaeology Summer School for many years, have just returned home from Caithness after an outstandingly successful weekend.  “The CSA Summer School has given all the participants a wonderful introduction to the outstanding archaeological heritage of Caithness” said Alan Saville, Curator of the Archaeology Department at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

North School Kids Test New Playground Equipment
North School in Wick got a new batch of playground equipment recently and the kids lost no time in testing it all out.  The school purchased items that could be used outside.  The equipment was bought using funds raised directly by the school.  The new items are aimed at getting children active at break times.

The New Highland Council
A look at the new line up for the next four years.  The Political pages are being updated with the new information as it becomes available

Dounreay Particles Advisory Group - Next Meeting
The next Dounreay Particle Advisory Group meeting is at 9:00am on Thursday 22 May at the Weigh Inn, Thurso. The group's main objective is to make recommendations to SEPA (and to UKAEA) about ways to improve the monitoring and research programmes for particles in local sediments. Most of the meetings are open to observers and minutes are posted on the web site once approved. Most meetings also have an informal question and answer session at the end for members of the public.  Agenda (Pdf)

New - Commercial Property For Sale Section
Our property section is expanding and to make more room we have set up a new commercial property for sale section.  Shortly a new Commercial Property for renting will also be available.  New properties are coming in regularly as vendors, landlords and agents have begun to see the great deals on offer with a one off payment getting an ad in until a property is sold or let.

Calling All Potential and Current Playworkers
Playworkers, Childminders, Youthworkers, and anyone with an interest in Playwork might be interested in a one day seminar aimed at raising the profile for play.  If you are thinking about a career in working with children then this day may help you.  This is a pilot project to promote Play and Playwork in four remote areas of the Highlands and Islands.

Priests Walk - Scaraben - Great Day - Great Walk
Caithness Field Club walked about seven miles over Scaraben from the Langwell side over to Braemore.  the walk is so called because it takes a route between to old ecclesiastical sites  - a chapel and a possible Abbey site.  Along the way taking in a souterrain, clearance sites, pipits nest, deer, plants and tremendous views under a sunny sky.

Stock Judging At Caithness District Young Farmers
Caithness District Young Farmers held their Summer Stock Judging, judging dairy classes at Westerseat by kind permission of Mr Morris Ronaldson followed by beef and sheep classes at Reiss Lodge by kind permission of Mr Harry Gunn.  Mr Ian Gunn, Whitefield and Mr David Campbell, Bullechach were judges for the evening with 24 competitors judging the 4 classes.

Caithness Area Committee Of Highland Council Appoints New Representatives
Caithness Councillors elected David Flear to be the new area convenor and Alistair Macdonald as vice-convenor at their first full meeting today In Thurso Town Hall. Representatives to the Highland core committees and local chairmen were also elected.

Wick Players Celebrate 70 Years
The assembly rooms had a big crowd in for a buffet dinner to celebrate 70 years of entertaining the people of the county.   With a number of readings, monologues, poems and a number of songs from Les Miserables to prove the wide range of talent they possess and show why over the years they have won so many competitions up and won the country.

Home Start Fun Day

The Classic Tour In Sutherland

The Priests Walk At Scaraben - Caithness Field Club
A stiff slow climb over Scaraben from Langwell to Berriedale (7 Miles)  Sunday 18 May.  Meet at Wick or Thurso Railway station at 9.30pm meeting up at the old Langwell Garden Centre at 10.15pm.  Non-members welcome.

Community Environmental Renewal Grants
Grant funding available to community groups.  Check this out if your group wants to take advantage of money coming from the aggregates levy.  Between £5000 and £50,000 may be available to help your project in Highland.  Closing dates 18 June and 10 September 2003.

Craft Fairs In Caithness - Venues for 2003
A full list of dates for Craft Fairs in Caithness is now available on the Crafts page

Blood Transfusion Service Visits Wick
The Blood Transfusion service will be in Wick on Tuesday 20 May At the Assembly Rooms for donations od blood.  Next Thurso visit is 17 June.  Caithness And Sutherland dates are all in up to February 2004.

More Pictures Of Oscar, Family And Friends - The Newest Mule In Caithness

Prize Winners Of The Rotary Open Golf Tournament At Reay
Andy Mowat, Bob Earnshaw (Rotary Club), James Henderson, D.C. Mowat (Mojo), Dougie Thorburn, Alan MacKenzie (Skins) and Graeme Dunnett

Unemployment Going Down In The North As Summer Kicks In
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 1,035 last month to 971. 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) 7.2% (7.8%), 6.2% (6.7%) and 3.3% (3.4%).

Wick Harbour Trust To Get Detailed Business Planning Underway
Wick Harbour Trust has received approval of assistance of up to £30,000 from Caithness And Sutherland enterprise (CASE) towards the cost of undertaking an in-depth strategic review and business planning exercise.

Lyth Arts Centre Gains £3000 From CASE For Outdoor Concerts
Lyth Arts Centre has been awarded £3000 from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise to assist with staging two open air concerts this summer.

Yarrows Heritage Trust Gains £7500 Towards Archaeological Dig
Archaeology continues to gain recognition as an important asset in Caithness with this latest award to help with the costs of a major dig this summer.  Around 80 archaeologists are currently in the county looking at a variety of sites as part of a summer school.  They are being shown round by members of Caithness Archaeological Trust, Caithness Field Club,  Yarrows Heritage Trust and Dunbeath Preservation Society.  By coincidence another group of around 30 people commence a few days summer school from Aberdeen University.  Is this an invasion of historians and archaeologists.   With several hundred sites in Caithness they may well be very busy.

North Highland Archive Newsletter 16 Spring 2003
All the latest news and acquisitions and some top family history research web sites.

Thirty nine Nursery classes across Highland will be affected when 65 Nursery workers intend withdrawing their labour on Wednesday 21st May.   Approximately 975 pupils will lose a pre-school session on this day.  These are the likely impacts of strike action on Wednesday 21st May by Unison members employed by The Highland Council as nursery assistants and auxiliaries.  Bruce Robertson, The Highland Council’s Director of Education, Culture and Sport said: “Headteachers will advise parents affected by the strike by letter over the next few days but overall the classes involved are: Caithness: Hillhead, Pulteneytown, Mount Pleasant and South Nurseries.

Captain's Galley Restaurant, Scrabster Gearing Up For Summer
From Monday 19 May the Captain's Galley Restaurant will be opening longer and adding to the variety of meals available.  Additions to the new wine list will also have some interesting choices.  Check out the new times and then visit Scrabster.

More Pictures From The Scottish Malts Tour At Pulteney Distillery

Tour Takes The Hairpin At Berriedale
Austin Healey 3000 followed by an Austin Healey 3000 Special at the hairpin at Berriedale.  Not too often that you get the chance to see these cars in such spectacular places like the bends at Berriedale.  The cars all headed out of Caithness this morning on the next stage of the tour.

Caithness Pony Club First Competition On New Cross Country Course
Caithness Branch of the Pony Club held its first competition at the new cross-country course built at Northfield Equestrian Centre, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs H Henderson, at the weekend. Competitors from Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland took part in a Hunter Pace which allows riders to choose which fences they wish to jump to build confidence to participate in One Day Events.

Highland Biodiversity Newsletter 2
The second newsletter of the highland Biodiversity group covers some of what is happening in Caithness but also other parts of the Highlands to let you see what other areas are doing

Highland Cross 2003 Coast To Coast Duathalon
Highland Cross, the unique coast to coast charity duathlon has announced that 660 folk have once again taken up the its challenge to cross Scotland in a day and raise money for charity!

Final Pictures Of Scottish Malts Classic Tour

More From The Scottish Malts Tour

Scottish Malts Classic and Vintage Car Trials And Tour Arrives In Wick
Over 130 classic and vintage cars arrived in Wick as part of a week long tour of Scotland.  The cars, drivers and passengers are staying in and around Wick overnight tonight before moving on to Thurso via John O'Groats early on Wednesday morning for for the next stage leaving from Thurso.   Cars will be leaving on  staggered times between 7.00am and 10.00am so get up early if you want to see them all.  More of the Wick pictures to come.

Highland Airports Buck Worldwide Trend
Record Passenger Growth at Inverness Airport And Improvements at Wick.  Inverness Airport had a record month in April with more than 37,000 passengers travelling via the Highland air hub.  April 2003 was one of the busiest months ever at Inverness, reflecting the continuing development of the airport as the principal air hub in the region. Passenger figures at the airport, operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, were 20% up on the same period in 2002 at a total of 37,424 for the month of April 2003. HIAL operates 10 airports and the number of overall aircraft movements at the airports increased slightly by 1.5% to 76,119, with the largest increases at Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick.  Wick had a 30% increase in the quarter to 31 March 2003 compared the to same period last year due mainly to training and charter flights.

Sunday Flights Are Now Available From Wick
The opening up of flights by Highland Airways on a Sunday now gives even more choice for flyiing from Wick.

Highland primary and secondary school pupils are being encouraged by The Highland Council to put their best foot forward and support ‘National Summer Walk to School Week’ from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd May.  Not just aimed at improving the health of pupils, the national campaign aims to improve the well-being of families, and communities who are both involved in and live around or on routes to schools.

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has committed a further £440,000 towards the creation of a hi-tech business park near Thurso.  In addition the project has secured £732,545 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  The former Forss US Naval Base - which has been idle for over a decade - is being transformed into a Business and Technology Park, which is set to attract tenants associated with the decommissioning of the nearby Dounreay nuclear plant.

Education in Highland continues to go from strength to strength, according to the findings of a team of inspectors whose report is published today - 13 May 2003.  The Education Service in Highland was the first in Scotland to be subject to the Local Authority-style inspection in 2000.  Although then, Highland's report card was good in every aspect, there were recommendations to be followed up.  HMIE have just completed a follow up visit and they have complimented the Authority for the progress made.

Arthur St Clair (Sinclair) 9th President Of The United States
A Caithness son comes back via the web with thanks to Donald Sinclair of Indianapolis for pictures of the final resting place of Arthur St Clair born in Thurso.  A link in the section takes you to a history of Arthur St Clair with full details of his life as a general and governor of a huge area of the early United States the North West Territory.  Arthur St Clair was credited with pushing through one of the  most important pieces of legislation  - the Northwest Ordnance which not only opened up an area covering several states but guaranteed rights such as freedom of religion, right to trial by jury, the banishment of slavery, and public education for people settling there.  He was made governor in 1787 of the territory at that time covering Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota whose lands, at that time, comprised more than one half of the United States.  He died at the age of 84 a relatively poor man but with many descendants.

Castletown Junior Football Club Plays Mid West From Orkney
Castletown Junior FC had a visit from Orcadian club, Mid West at the weekend. The clubs played matches at three age groups, under ten, under twelve and under fourteen, with Castletown emerging victorious from all three matches. The club hopes to go over for a return trip later in the season.

Screening Programme Continues to Save Lives
242 men in the Highlands will have a better chance of surviving in later years of life, thanks to a successful screening programme in Highland. Over 5000 men have so far been screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in the first large screening programme of this kind to take place in Scotland. The Remote and Rural Areas Resource Initiative (RARARI) has funded the three-year project which offers screening for (AAA) to men aged 65 to 74 in Highland over three years, at a cost of  around  £300 000.

Academy End Season With A 3 - 2 Win Against Forres

A Closer Look At Some Of The Model Boats From The 2003 Show In Thurso

Farm Skills Day For Young Farmers
If you think young farmers come into the world with all the skills and knowledge think again.  Modern machinery and cost cutting mean that many farms work with one one or two men.   This recent skills course at West Greenland is one way of ensuring that young farmers learn the techniques and safe practices needed today...  More Farming With Updating News Headlines

Wetherspoon's Newest Place "Alexander Bain" Open
The Market Square has returned to a more normal look after all the vans, lorries, machines etc left with the completion of work on the newest restaurant and bar in Caithness.  The whole place inside and out has been transformed and after three days of training at the beginning of the week with free meals and drinks for the public they got down to work.  Of course with another pub restaurant nearly finished  they will not be the newest for long.  Carters bar is being changed into "The Yard and opens soon.  Spoilt for choice in Wick now.  The new place is owned by the Belhaven group with a compete refurbishment and internal changes.

You Can Win An Original Work Of Art From A Caithness Artist
Richard Arrowsmith is offering a free competition to win an original framed painting from his web site.  All you have to do is enter your name and email address and the winner will be chosen at random at the end of this month.  You can also sign up for a newsletter to be kept up to date on new work, step by step guides through the artists painting process, and also free desktop wallpapers of some of his work.

Skraelings Second Year
Alexandria Patience of Grey coast Theatre will lead the second year of Skraelings.  Anyone over 16 who is interested in learning more about acting or writing for the theatre is welcome to come along.  The weekly classes are free and there is the opportunity to create performance works.
Thurso - Mondays from 12 May 7.30pm BB Hall, Couper Square
Wick - Tuesdays from 20 May 7.30pm Pulteneytown Acdemy, Wick
more Information from Alex Patience Tel 01847 891422

The Priests Walk At Scaraben - Caithness Field Club
A stiff slow climb over Scaraben from Langwell to Berriedale (7 Miles)  Sunday 18 May.  Meet at Wick or Thurso Railway station at 9.30pm meeting up at the old Langwell Garden Centre at 10.15pm.  Non-members welcome.

Pentland Model Boat Club 2003 Show
A truly magnificent display of model boats most of which are capable of sailing with power controls was on display in Thurso.  With several categories  of models on show the judges had a difficult task in picking winners.  Once they made their decisions there were four winners Ted Miller, Andrew Anderson, Brian Hughes and Des Marchant.  Ted Miller came out winner over all and carried off more than one section trophy.

The aim is to enable children across Caithness get the ‘best start to their day’ by ensuring that breakfast clubs are well supported.  This network will share ideas whilst also serving as a means of identifying what is necessary to enable new clubs to develop. Support and sustainability of current breakfast clubs is of equal significant. The Federation will act as a means to reduce duplication of effort across all breakfast clubs in Caithness.

Royal Trust helps North Artist
On returning to Caithness after studying in Dundee, Wick artist RICHARD ARROWSMITH has been given a £1000 boost from the Prince¹s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) in the form of a loan which has financed a equipment and a website to promote his work as he starts self employment.  The website at  showcases the 23 year old professional artist and his work.

Sixth year pupils at Thurso High School have inspired their contemporaries to achieve a major improvement in the school’s environment and secure a prize in the Keep Scotland Beautiful Awards sponsored by the OCS Group.  Designing a garden that would survive the prevailing harsh weather required the pupils to secure and adhere to expert advice in the creation of a neat, tidy and appealing garden, which incorporates large quantities of Caithness stone.

Over 70 Archaeologists Arriving In Caithness
Record number for Council of Scottish Archaeology Summer School visit to Caithness.   The annual Summer School of the Council of Scottish Archaeology starts next Thursday 15th May and finishes on Monday 19th.  Not only is it their first visit to Caithness but also, with over seventy attendees, the largest that has been organised.  As well as archaeologists from the private sector, there will be practitioners from Historic Scotland, the National Museums of Scotland and the several Universities that are working on sites in the County.  The Caithness Archaeological Trust, with support from the Dunbeath Preservation Trust, has organised the wide-ranging programme.

Are You Looking For Croft Or Farm Property With Development Potential?
Several properties in beautiful countryside are now showing in the Caithness.Org Property Pages

17 - 24 May 2003 Is Samaritan's Week
To promote the week the Caithness branch have produced a wee word search with small prizes.  Print it out and send it in.

Attention Anyone Coaching Children and Young People In Sports
Tina Robinson at Sports and Leisure of highland council has once again organised a series of coaching and good practice courses for anyone involved in dealing with children and young people including those with disabilities.   Check out the latest workshops available.

Bill Mowat, John O'Groats Remembers An Old Friend - A Caithness-born great-grandfather, who as an infant was one of the last pupils to be enrolled at Freswick Primary School, passed away suddenly late last month in his home in Inverness, the city where he spent all his working life.

A Quick Look At Castle Sinclair Girnigoe In Springtime
With the latest research commissioned by the Clan Sinclair Trust seemingly dispelling the myth that there were two castles and a lovely afternoon it seemed like the perfect time to get a few more pictures. 

Triple C Country Club - Sean Wilson and Tony Mac
Friday 23 May - Dounreay Club, Wick

Postcards - New Zealand Football Team 1905
Hope you are all paying attention as we will be putting up postcards in the Maureen Materi collection with questions about the origin.  Many of the postcards were sent by members of the Miller family.  Many Caithness folk went to New Zealand but does anyone know of any connections with this team.

Who Ate All The Trees?
Mike Clark opens our eyes to who or what damages our young trees.  The environment may be harsh in the north and it takes more effort to get trees off to a good start if they are not to be stunted or destroyed before they really get going.  Mike Clark works locally and is also a contributor to web sites and magazines such as Country Smallholding.  Mike's advice might just help you establish a few trees on your patch.


Ormlie Community Association Gain Youthlink Scotland Funding
Ormlie Community Association has been awarded funding of £11,849 from YouthLink Scotland through their Capital Venture Fund. The funding application was a joint initiative between Ormlie Community Association, Save the Children in Scotland and the Social Inclusion Partnership. The money will be used to enhance the multi-media project being undertaken by the CPP and SIP for children and young people aged between 9 - 25 years.

Gaelic Teacher John McLean Retires
John Maclean has been teaching Gaelic at evening classes in Wick for 15 years. To mark their appreciation, students (past and present) and some members of Caithness Gaelic Choir met at the Nethercliffe Hotel, Wick on Wed 30th April for a buffet supper and ceilidh.  The students had commissioned Denis Mann the renowned glass engraver, himself an ex-student, to make a piece of engraved glass as a memento.

North School 1985 Primary 5
Sent in by Susan Miller (nee Grant).  Only one name missing from the picture.

Bridge Street, Wick - Postcard With Postmark 1906
Another in the new postcard section from Maureen Materi.

Nicola Calder From Wick Married Recently
Nicola Calder recently married Michael Robinson Bonhill Church, Bonhill at Loch Lomond

Richard Arrowsmith - A Caithness Artist Born In Thurso Working In Wick
Richard has set up in business with help from the Prince's Trust and is producing a range of original paintings and prints from his base in Wick.  His recently launched web site has examples of his work and full contact details.

Full Report Of Darts Weekend With Phil Taylor And More Pictures

Cancer Research - Caithness - Elizabeth Angus Retires After 42 Years On The Committee
The Cancer Research folk held there annual meeting in the Orange Room, Park Hotel recently.  The West of Caithness branch handed over a cheque for £2000.  It is year since the merger and since then they have collected 12% more and are up to £270 million for last year.  Elizabeth Angus retired after 42 as collector, treasurer and chairperson as did Betty Sutherland who retired after 16 years as treasurer.  Over £300,000 has been collected in the County since collections started.

People First - Next Meeting
Next meeting is on 13th may at the office at - Ormlie Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso

The Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellowship, Highland Councils’ new initiative  to encourage participation in Gaelic Singing in the Higlands, is in the process of establishing a new singing group for talented and committed  teenagers between the ages of 14-18 who wish to explore and develop their Gaelic Song skills......... 

Baby Mule Born At Forse, Lybster Today
There was a new arrival at Forse Lybster this morning, a baby mule. The father is a donkey, either Paddy or Flynn and the mother a Shetland Pony called Fizz.

Election Statistics Highland Council
Membership (80):  Independents:  57; Liberal Democrats: 9; Labour: 8; SNP: 6

40% Women MSPs, But Only 22% Women Councillors
In stark contrast to their success in the Scottish parliament elections, women have failed to make any headway at local government level, according to provisional analysis from the 50/50 Campaign Group. Women comprise around 22% of Scotland's 1222 councillors which means there has been virtually no change in the proportion of female councillors for the last three local elections.  This compares with the new record at Holyrood of 39.5% women MSPs.

21.75lbs Salmon At Weedy Pool - Thurso River
This magnificent salmon was caught on the Thurso River on Monday 5 May and weighed in at 21.75 lbs it was caught by Gordon Hines from Inverness. It was caught in the Weedy Pool on Beat 13 on a Cascade Tube tied by Kenny MacDonald.  Kenny MacDonald was a writer for the North Star up to 18 months ago and now a columnist for the "Trout and Salmon".  Fishing Section
And whether you fish or not take a look at Westerdale where the river Thurso flows.  The setting with the two mills and steeped in Caithness history from the Pictish brochs and not far from Dirlot castle.

George Street, Wick
We are still building galleries of pictures of the streets in Caithness.  There are many pictures in the different sections in the Caithness A - Z.  Some of the larger street lists with pictures are  - 
A - Z Wick Streets    A - Z Thurso Streets   A - Z Lybster Streets

A Walk Round Wick Harbour On Sunday
Whitefish boats may be a thing of the past at Wick these days but there is still activity in the form of cargo boats and yesterday a tug ready to assist with the float out of the latest pipeline from Wester.  Shellfish boats still come and go with catches being uplifted often at weekends before heading to southern markets and on to European destinations.

Four Star Award for UKAEA Visitor Centre
The  Highlands' latest four-star visitor attraction has opened to the public for the 2003 season.  The  award  to the Dounreay Visitor Centre has been made under the Scottish Tourist Board Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Grading Scheme.

Model Yacht Competition At Sarclet Loch
The annual competition at Sarclet between Orkney and Wick of the Model Yacht Club took place at the weekend. The winning boat was called Firewood and belonged to Kevin and Michael Paterson from Wick.

Caithness and Orkney Could Get The Best Views Of Annular Eclipse
Some places are already booked up as more folk think about coming north for the eclipse that will not be seen for 90 years in Scotland.  Last one visible was 8 April 1921 so the folk heading for Dunnet and surrounding area will be hoping for a clear night.  In the northern latitudes of Scotland the Sun rises very early and this date is only 3 weeks away from midsummer. The eclipse starts at 2:51:42 am, the sun would rise at 3:24 am so the start of the eclipse would not be seen and the sun would rise with the moon already eating into the sun.

Tracking - Possible New Sport For Caithness
Currently there is no Sports Body for Tracking and Miles Greenford is trying to raise awareness of the Sport.  If you would like to know more about Tracking, or to form a Tracking Club (of Interest) then please contact Miles Greenford.

Frank Ward (SSP) Sends Thanks To The Voters For Their Support
I should like, through your columns, to thank those readers who voted for the Scottish Socialist Party in last week's elections.  We came close, our vote jumping up from 5000 to 9000 in the region, but fell about 1000 votes short of getting an MSP elected.   In this constituency - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross - our vote increased by 49.5%. Not bad for a party only four years old.

Remember You Can Get Your Sunday Papers News Here
The link is just up to the right on this page and it has Scotsman News feeding in every Sunday with links to Scottish and other Sunday newspapers.   And its just one of a growing range of updating news feeds in Other News also found near the top of the front page

Lots More From the Big Darts Weekend At John Baikie Photographer web site

Hamnavoe At Scrabster
The ferry Hamnavoe sailing out of Scrabster at 19:35 on Sat 26 April, passing the Bahamas registered Coastguard vessel Englishman operated by Specialist Marine Services.  There are now three ferry routes from Caithness to Orkney making it easier than ever to take a look round from a day trip to a few days.  Take the car - take the bike - take yourself.   Ask yourself.  Have you ever been to Westray, Shapinsay, Hoy Papa Westray, Rousay, and several other islands.  On the other hand have you ever been to the Castles of Caithness or any of the hundreds of northern Pictish sites.  You still need to explore but they are mainly easy to find with a wee map and well who would want to signpost them anyway and spoil the view.

Balmore Got Six Months Reprieve - What Can Be Done To Secure The Future?
The animal centre at Balmore, Caithness along with other SSPCA centres is embarking on a cost cutting and fund raising period.  Donations of pet food, and old blankets, jumpers etc that can be used as bedding would be appreciated.  The next thing is to increase the money available to the organisation by getting more folk to become a friend of the Scottish SPCA.  11,500 people signed the petition forms so perhaps some may now consider joining.  Contact the centre for a form.  A stay of execution is in place but the sand is still running down unless funds can be raised across Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney and for all the centres the whole of Scotland.  Across Scotland 77,000 people signed petitions.

Contrary to all expectations, women campaigners are celebrating the return of a record number of female MSPs to the Scottish Parliament, There had been widespread fears that the number of women parliamentarians would drop in this election, losing Scotland its place near the top of the world league tables. However, analysis shows an increase from 48 to 51 female MSPs - around 40%, up from 37.2% in 1999, and that this has been achieved by accident, rather than design.

Canadian Postcards
First Postcard In shows the Rush for Free Homesteads, Dominion Land Office, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada - 1908.  The Miller family from Caithness established themselves in Canada along with many other Caithness and Scottish people at this time.  Maureen Materi's great- grandmother and all her children went to Canada.  Donald Angus Miller and family returned to the UK but the main part of this Wick family stayed and prospered.   Many postcards of their travels yet to come.

Non Caithness Postcards
These pictures are the first ones in to the Non Caithness UK part of the new Postcards section.  They are to or from people in Caithness mainly connected to the Miller family.  The interconnections across the globe are going to build into a fascinating insight of the travels of Caithness folk in the early 20th century.  From Canada to New Zealand this adventurous family went to many other places and returned as they criss-crossed the globe via Wick.  The family connections have partly been shown in the Family History sent in by Maureen Materi.  Perhaps the arrival of these many postcards stimulated others in to make the journey to new places, start businesses, and create new families round the world.  The postcards are a graphic illustration of a tiny part of Caithnessian energy and curiosity a century ago.

Beavers And Scouts Planting At Newtonhill community Woodland
The Beavers and 1st Wick Scouts were involved in a planting day up at Newtonhill on Saturday 29th March.  Here is a photo showing many of the young helpers on the day.  The flagstone flower beds were funded through the Planning and Development Service of the Highland Council in an attempt to encourage safe community involvement at all levels at the woodland.

Owen Place, Wick

Caithness Office Supplies 2003 Darts Competitions Winners
Ten times world champion Phil Taylor presented the prizes at the Francis Street Club, Wick in the 2003 Caithness Office Supplies competitions.  the big name and prize money drew a big crowd from all over the UK to make Francis Street Club have one of its busiest days.  Competitions began on Friday night and continue on Sunday.  Check John Baikie Photographer Site for many more

Schools Penalty Shoot Out At Academy V Keith Game

New Postcard Section
This new section has been set up to begin to hold the postcard collection of Maureen Materi in Canada.  Many of the postcards in the collection were sent between Caithness and Canada.   These are just the first three in what will soon be added to becoming a significant collection of pictures of early Caithness.  but the collection is not confined to Caithness although cards may have been sent by folk from Caithness on their travels.  Maureen Materi has already contributed many details on Millers from Caithness

Thurso Bridge Lights Up
The wet weather on election night didn't do anything to dampen the enthusiasm of the Thurso Town Improvements Committee. A group, comprising of the Committee, Highland Council Street Lighting Department and invited guests, turned out at the Janet Street Club for a buffet.

Balmore Animal Centre Gets 6 Month Reprieve
The Animal Centre hass been given a six month reprieve while the organisation takes a closer look at what they might do with the centre.  The costs of transporting animals a long way to Inverness and other matters mean they will consider other areas for savings.  They have stopped some neutering schemes and identified savings that will allow them time to consider the future.

Full Highland Council Results (80 Seats)
More information on how the election broke down in other areas and the regional list numbers in Highland.  Links to all the other Scottish council web sites to see other area results are now in the Election Section - that's it folks - end of election coverage and on to other topics.

Highland Council - Caithness Winners - Assembly Rooms, Wick

Highlands & Islands Constituency Results Now In
Caithness, Sutherland & East Ross - Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat)
Ross, Skye & Inverness West -  John F Munro (Liberal Democrat)
Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber - Fergus Ewing (Scottish National Party)

Scottish Parliament Results
List Candidates Winners
1 James Angus McGrigor Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
2 Peter James Peacock Scottish Labour Party
3 Eleanor Roberta Scott Scottish Green Party
4 Mary Elizabeth Scanlon Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
5 James Stuart Mather Scottish National Party (SNP)
6 Maureen Mary MacMillan Scottish Labour Party
7 Robert McKay Gibson Scottish National Party (SNP)

Highland Council Results
Katrina MacNab (Independent) 599
Jim Oag (Labour) 301

Wick West
Bill Fernie (Independent) 469
James Sutherland (SNP) 355
Neil Macdonald (Labour) 225

Thurso Central
Donnie Mackay (Independent) 636
John Rosie (Labour) 527

Thurso West
Roger Saxon Labour) 543
Jim Fry (Independent) 425

Graeme Smith (Liberal Democrat) 536
Bill Mowat (Labour) 242
Niall Smith (SNP) 198

Alistair Macdonald - Caithness North West, Tom Jackson - Thurso East, David Flear - Caithness Central, John Green Caithness North East and William Mowat - Caithness South East are all returned unopposed.

Ranger Service 2003 East Coast Events And Walks
Events coming Up Include -
Seabird City - Monday 26th May
Corbiegoe Coast - Close Up - Thursday 29th May
A beautiful coastal walk to a natural stone bridge and seabird colony.
Dusk to Dawn - Friday 30th May
A nocturnal event with a difference! A bat talk/walk along Dunbeath Strath, followed by a local story telling session held in a traditional salmon bothy. Later you can experience the 'dawn chorus' with views of a rare solar eclipse.   And check out the regular East Caithness coastal walks calendar

More Pictures From The Count And Candidates Final Words

Scottish Parliament Result
Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat) 7742 -  Majority 2092
Deirdre Steven (Labour) 5650
Rob Gibson (SNP) 3692
Alan McLeod (Conservative) 2262
Gordon Campbell (Independent) 953
Frank Ward (SSP) 828
Turnout 21281 - 52.61%
Spoiled Papers 154


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