News Archive - September 2003

Eye On The Pump Returns
With petrol and diesel prices going up in price from 1 October we thought you might want to protest and one of the former protest sites has set up an e-petition for you to make your voice heard.  Just head on via our page and enter your email address.

"Boisterous" Unloading Pipes At Wick Today
the Nassau, Bahamas registered vessel "Boisterous" unloading her cargo of pipes at the harbour this morning.  Vessel details: Built: 1983.  GRT: 664  DWT: 1020  Length: 59.6m Beam: 9.3m  Draft: 3.2m Speed: 10 knots

New Big Issue E-social Business Launches
In a bold new online venture, the people behind the Big Issue have just launched a new breed of consumer self-help service. Aimed at getting us over life's sticky moments, around tight corners or through boring, stressful everyday tasks, Big Issue offers over a  hundred well researched, up-to-date and easy-to-use  checklists to make sure things get done and  we all are less stressed. Three years in the making, the new venture retains the Big Issue focus on homelessness by putting back 50% of sales to its vital, internationally recognised work.

Thrumster Primary School has won Scottish Natural Heritage's 2003 competition celebrating Scottish Schools Grounds Week.  The first prize is an expenses paid excursion for all from the two teacher Caithness Primary School to a wildlife site in the north with bus hire, picnic lunch, activities and expert guides.  Schools were asked to describe what their school's grounds were like at the moment and what could be done to improve them for nature, environmental education and their enjoyment.

Free Energy Efficient Light Bulbs For North Sutherland
Residents in the North Sutherland Iomairt aig an Oir (Initiative at the Edge) area are being encouraged to be more energy efficient by using energy efficient light bulbs, which are being given away free.  North Sutherland Community Development Forum has been working with John Marchbanks,  Energy Efficiency Commitment Manager for Scottish and Southern Energy, who have provided the free bulbs.  It is hoped that the free light bulbs - bayonet 20w Sylvanias - will encourage householders in the area to become more aware of energy efficiency practices whilst reducing their electricity bills.  These light bulbs use 70 per cent less energy and last ten times longer than ordinary bulbs.  Local post offices and service points are distributing the energy efficient light bulbs.

Achvarasdal Home and 6 Other Kirk Homes Secure
The Kirk's Board of Social Responsibility today said that it is delighted to have secured the future of a further 7 of its residential homes including Achvarasdal near Reay for older people which were earmarked for closure following its Strategic Review of services. A further announcement will be made on 2nd October about the future of the remaining 3 homes in Argyll and Bute.

Dounreay Local Liaison Committee Visit The Cementation Plant
Dounreay Local Liaison Committee took the opportunity to visit the Cementation Plant during their recent briefing session at Dounreay.  They are pictured with Tony Wratten (right) of UKAEA.   The local liaison committee is made up of a number of local people and councillors as part of UKAEA's open approach to the work being carried out at the site.

Another FREE Competition - Win A Copy Of "The Landscape Of Scotland"
Here is a chance to win this superb book with fantastic pictures of Scotland.  This FREE competition is easy to enter by email.   Just answer three questions about Scotland.  If you are stuck the answers are to be found on the web site.   This book shows the Scottish landscape in all its glory and The photographs and narratives include - The Landscape of the Gael; The Trossachs; Atholl and Breadalbane; Lorne; Mid-Argyll and Appin; Lochaber; The Great Glen, Glen Affric and Strathglass; Morvern to Moidart and Arisaig; Kintail to Loch Broom; Sutherland and The Cairngorms, Strathspey and Badenoch.  You can enter until 30 October.

East End Boys Club Picture Roundup - New Pictures

Free Flu Jab Programme Launched
Scotland's annual winter flu campaign was launched by the Health Minister today with the aim of achieving over 70 per cent uptake for a second year.  The Don't Let The Flu Bug Bite campaign encourages everyone aged 65 and over, and those under 65 with long term medical complaints, to come forward for their free jab to protect them from the influenza virus this winter.

Thurso Rotary Club Launches New Web Site
Thurso Rotary club have launched their new web site.  the new site is listed on the page within the Social Groups section in the community pages and listed in our Caithness Web Sites Page in the links section.  This page can be found via both the links page and the Site Map page if you are looking for it later.

Retirals At Pulteney House, Wick
Two ladies with many years working at Pulteney house care home in Wick have retired.  Rena  started in 1975 and Gilleen in 1983 and saw many changes in those years.  Bob Silverwood outlined their careers at the home whilst Councillor Bill Fernie was on hand to thank the ladies for their years of service and hand over tokens of appreciation. 

Caithness.Org FREE Jobs And Vacancies Section For Employers - Control Your Own Ads
It's Fast - It's the Future and It's FREE.  The Internet is changing the way we work and many services are on offer free of charge.  Caithness.Org is continually looking at ways to improve what is on offer from the web site.  Here is the chance for employers to save costs and potentially reach more people who might fill a vacancy.

Fire Emergency At Battery Factory Was Minor
The Battery Factory just outside Thurso had a small fire today in one of its experimental units testing a new battery.  A small flame set of the alarm systems and there was some smoke damage amount to about two square metres on a wall.

Wick Airport Fire Service Weekly Training Exercise

Cone Zone Challenge 2003 For Wick Girls Group
16 girls set out to complete the Cone Zone Challenge comprising six taks set by the Rangers at Dunnet forest

Wick Fifty Plus Group So Successful Its Membership Is Full
The group has been very successful in attracting new members for its winter programme of events and activities that they have announced that until further notice they cannot take new members.  A waiting list will be maintained for any one else interested in being notified at a later date if spaces become available.

Views From Caithness General Hospital Chimney - What the Abseilers Saw

Abseilers Raise Over £7000 For Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust
35 folk came out today to abseil down the Caithness General Hospital Chimney to raise a fantastic sum in excess of £7000 for the charity.  Although less people took part than in earlier years they collectively raised even more money than ever.  Everyone had raised over £100 and John Henderson aided by his wife Janice came in top raising over £1200 for his sponsored abseil.  On a lovely sunny day in Caithness the abseilers were all done by 2.00pm.  A few children took part and Matthew Thain the youngest changed his time to be first off and returned later having passed his Yellow Belt karate grading.   Well done to all participants most of whom have never done anything like this before.

Watoto Children's Choir At Keiss School
The Watoto choir from Uganda paid a visit to Keiss school this week.  The choir also visited Hillhead and Pulteneytown schools and sang to a packed Pulteneytown Parish church - in fact they had to give two performances as the church was filled twice over - about 1000 people turned out.

London Caithness Association Closes After 147 Years
The final meeting of the London Caithness Association was held on 5 September 2003 at the Royal Scottish Corporation Hall, Covent Garden, London.  28 members and associate members attended the final meeting with a meal laid on for the occasion.  President of the association Janet Reeve and the vice president had visited Caithness to present cheques to organisations they had supported over many years such as local lifeboats stations and homes.   This was way of disbursing the remaining funds of the association.  Various groups received a cheque for £1000 each.

Still Life with Monuments - Archaeology Month
Sunday 28th at 2pm  - walk through an ancient landscape with guides. Sturdy shoes and waterproofs recommended.  Meet Cairn O Get car park, off the A99, Opposite Whaligoe Steps.  south of Wick.
Run by Caithness Archaeology Trust.

THE SONG OF WICK - Grey Coast Theatre and Wick Schools - Another Epic
2nd October, 7.30p.m - 3rd October, 1.30 p.m and 7.30 p.m - in WICK HIGH SCHOOL 4 schools 250 children 10 songs 3 performances - BOOK EARLY  Grey Coast Theatre are now well into their second week with the P6's and P7's from North, South, Hillhead and Pulteneytown Primary schools rehearsing their ambitious brand new production, The Song Of Wick. 250 pupils are collaborating with Grey Coast's professional team to produce the show which is an epic ten song cycle charting Wick from its earliest times when the brochs were being built, through the often violent middle ages to the boom years of the herring fishing, the Second World War and up to the present time and beyond.

Nerve Centre Radio Show
Here are a few pictures from the sell-out Nerve Centre Radio Show.  John Baikie  has more pictures on his own web site.  The show was hosted by BBC reporter Jackie Bird with Alistair Macdonald singing a few songs and Cameron Stout making an appearance with lots of local talent joining in.

Caithness Goose Company Geared Up For Christmas
A new-comer to Caithness produce but with a traditional Christmas product - "Smoked Goose"  If you would like something different this Christmas check this out.

Consumers throughout the Highlands are being warned by The Highland Council’s Trading Standards Officers, not to fall foul of bogus lottery winning letters apparently from the legitimate Spanish lottery EL GORDO.   They have received a number of complaints about this scam within the last couple of days. 

Assipattle - A Review By Drew Macleod
“Assipattle” of the title is a local boy who bravely steps forward and declares he will slay the terrible dragon that has arrived to terrorise the Kingdom. The earlier arrival of an evil Sorcerer has already precipitated the sacrifice of seven fair maidens in an attempt to appease the beast. The sorcerer however is now demanding a further sacrifice, the Kings daughter, the Princess Gemdelovely and this is when Assipattle steps in. Needless to say all ends happily, Assipattle kills the dragon with a magic sword and is given the Princess’ hand in marriage.

Afternoon Tea
CAITHNESS DEAF CLUB is holding an Afternoon Teas with stalls in the British Legion Hall Thurso this Saturday 27/9/03 from 2 p.m. Admission is £1 for tea/coffee with home baking.  This event is to try to raise much needed funds for the Club. In the past an annual outing took place during the summer but this year due to shortage of funds no outing took place so this the Club's way of trying to self-sufficient. It is also a chance for the general public to try out their fingerspelling and signing skills or indeed learn more about how to gain these skills and the deaf community in general.

New Page For Caithness Quakers
This new page is just set up for the local group of Quakers with a link to the Quaker web site.  If you know of any other local groups that would like a page of information on the web site then get in touch.

Highland Airways Enhances Internal Scottish Air Routes
Highland Airways today (Wednesday 24 September) announced new weekday services linking Glasgow, Inverness and the Western Isles.  The airline will operate early morning and evening flights between Glasgow and Inverness and morning and evening flights between Glasgow and Benbecula with 18-seat Jetstream 31 aircraft from the beginning of November.

Assipattle Had More Than You Might Think
Assipattle had many dimensions and not least in the harbour.  Here John Hay local photographer caught the "Marantha" all dressed up earlier in the day.  the boat took part in the story taking characters to and from the action in this huge mythological story unfolding on the move and finally at the harbour area.  there were other bits of action on the Wick river with monsters eating folk and canoes acting out parts with lights etc decorating the middle of the river below Bridge Street.   Anyone with any more pictures of bits we missed can have them added to the collection already in - just email them in.

Voluntary and community groups are invited to apply for funding to support the development of their communities. The fund has £3.5 million available for projects throughout Scotland for next year. The Rural Challenge Fund (RCF) and the Rural Strategic Support Fund (RSSF) offer the two main strands of funding, with the RCF specifically encouraging innovative projects to provide a wider range of opportunities in rural areas, while the RSSF supports the establishment of local rural partnerships. Groups have until 3 October.

Air Passenger Figures Increase In The Highlands and Islands But Not At Wick
The month of August saw strong passenger growth continue at airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports limited.  Passengers across the company’s 10 airports were up 4.9% to 88,436, amounting to 4,111 extra air travellers compared to the same month last year.  The running total for the current year starting on 1 April 2003 now stands at 418,351, up by more than 32,000 on 2002-2003.

Under 15's Rugby Team Hit Strong Opposition At Gordonstoun
'Caithness Rugby Club under 15s faced up the their counterparts from Gordonstoun at the Wick High School park this afternoon.  Although the sun shone a strong wind blew down the park.  As did the smell from the slurry spreading in the adjoining field!.  Caithness lost the toss and faced into the wind for the first half.  The Gordonstoun boys showed to be a very mobile and compact unit who played to their obvious strengths.

The Highland Council Convener Alison Magee said news of the proposal to use the oil fabrication yard at Nigg, East Ross, as a potential location for dismantling laid-up nuclear powered submarines had come out of the blue and was a surprise to her as the site was not licensed to accommodate this kind of work.  Notification of an interest in using the site on the Cromarty Firth has come from Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd, one of five nuclear industry contractors bidding for the Ministry of Defence contract to manage the interim storage and disposal of Royal Navy de-commissioned nuclear submarines.

The results of a survey into smoking and the use of drugs and drinking in the Highlands among 13 and 15-year-olds should act as a wake up call for the Highland community.  They show that Highland children are as likely as their counterparts in urban areas to smoke, drink and take drugs.  And there is a higher likelihood of a 15-year-old in Highland being offered drugs than elsewhere in Scotland. 70% of 15-year-olds who responded said they had been offered drugs – 5% more than the Scottish average.  908 pupils from 22 secondary schools in Highland took part in the 2002 Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey. The final survey response rate in Highland was 76%. This compares favourably with the national rate of 65%.

An independent survey carried out for The Highland Council has revealed that 78% of participants are satisfied with services provided by the council.  This shows an 11% improvement on the results from the last performance survey carried out for the Council.  The majority (86%) of participants stated that, overall, they found it easy to contact the Council.  The most commonly used methods of contact were the telephone and the Service Point Network.  A total of 1,400 people (20%) responded to the Annual Performance Survey carried out in June/July of this year.

Safe Highlander Exhibition At Dounreay For Caithness Kids
One  of  Britain's  safest workplaces formed the backdrop today to a major  initiative  to  raise  awareness  of personal safety among children in the northern Highlands.  An  estimated 400 children from primary seven classes throughout Caithness  and  Sutherland  are  taking part in Safe Highlander, a three-day event at  Dounreay to promote important messages about their safety.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has commissioned a study into community transport provision in the region.  Preston-based TAS Partnership and the Derek Halden Consultancy, of Stirling, will assess the extent of community transport and demand-responsive transport schemes available throughout the HIE area.  The study will highlight examples of best practice and suggest ways in which support for this form of transport may be improved. 

Gold Panning and Fossil Hunting Keeps Caithness Critters Busy
Caithness Critters the local children's natural history group set out for a combined day of gold panning and searching for semi precious stones in the Strath of Kildodnan as part of Geology Week and then on to a fossil hunt at Loss Beach.

Jamie Stone MSP Looks In At Dounreay
The Dounreay site is big and Jamie Stone is seen here visiting another part of it he may not have seen on previous visits.  After a tour of the LLLETP (Low Level Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant) Mr Stone said "The degree of commitment - both financially and in terms of human resources at Dounreay is most impressive. Dounreay is at the cutting edge of de-commissioning technique and know-how. These are skills that we can be proud of - and also, most importantly, skills that we can export and sell on a world-wide basis."

Assipattle  - Questions For Anyone who Attended The Event
Caithness Community Projects are keen to run further events like Assipattle last Friday.  To do this they would like to canvass the views of people who attended the event to help them prove the case for future funding.  Follow the link and send an email with answers to the questions to Martin Danziger

Beach Watch 2003 - Cleans Up At North Baths, Wick
On Sunday 21st September, a team of 30 volunteers cleaned North Baths, Wick Harbour as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch 2003, the national beach litter survey and clean-up supported by the Crown Estate and DEFRA’s Environmental Action Fund.  The local event was organised by the Ranger Service, Highland Council Planning & Development Service. Volunteers included members of the community with help from the Caithness Critters (local children’s nature group) and Caithness Countryside Volunteers.

Macarthur Street, Wick

Millers Lane, Thurso

Harbour Court, Thurso

Riverside Street, Thurso
Take a stroll along Riverside Street to the Pentland Firth, Thurso East Castle and the surfers at Thurso East beach - see below.

Surf's Up At Thurso Getting Ready For Competition Time At End Of September
Surf at Thurso East has seen great conditions with waves rolling in the right direction in great sunny days - blue skies and Orkney and Dunnet standing out as the backdrop.

Nerve Centre Radio Show for Nerve Centre Selling Out Fast - Got Yours Yet?
Tickets for the BBC Radio Show as soon as possible, as they are selling out fast. Can't guarantee there will be tickets at the door!  The show will be hosted by BBC's Jackie Bird with appearance from Camerson Sout of Big Brother fame.  Ticket are available at the Music Shop, Thurso (tel 01847 892838) and G A Henderson, Optometrist, Thurso (tel 01847 896122) and cost £7 for adults, £3 for children.

The Night Caithness Came Together In One Big Carnival,  Epic,  Event - From Market Square Round the Centre Of Town To the Harbour with Something Happening All the Way. A Night with Bang Whizz Music - Well Done To Martin Danziger - The Crew - Teachers - Helpers and All the Kids - Fantastic - Do It Again Soon.

Assipattle Pics

Highland Council Refuses Planning Permission For Wind Farm At Borrowston
Planning permission to build 10 wind turbines at Borrowston (between Forss and Dounreay) was refused at a meeting in Thurso town hall.   The councillors who were members of the Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee came from various parts of the highlands by bus from Inverness and went on a site visit.

POLICE have responded swiftly to concerns expressed by the education authority regarding suspected drug-related activity in and around Fortrose Academy.   A team of uniformed and plain clothes officers from Ross Cromarty and Skye command area attended the school and other premises in the town earlier today.  A number of pupils were detained and a significant amount of cannabis resin was seized. Enquiries are ongoing, which will lead to reports being submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Let Battle Commence - Assipattle  - A Cast Of 400 On The Streets Of Wick 18 September
Friday 19 September 730pm  - All Over Central Wick But starting at Market Square.  400 participants from all over the county and much much more will line the streets of Wick on the 19th September.   Excitement grows as the myth of 'Assipattle' uncovers a piece of Caithness history.  Kids, Drama, Bands, Fireworks and much much more

Traill Street, Thurso

New Fire Fighting Foam For Highlands Airports
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is leading the UK airport industry in environmental compliance by pioneering the use of a new fire fighting foam to be used by its Airport Fire Service.  A commercial fire specialist and foam manufacturer, to aid them in developing a training foam that meets the latest environmental standards. A programme has begun to adapt its fire appliances so that they can operate dual systems to meet training and practical fire fighting demands.

What is Pension Credit?  The Clock Is Ticking.  Get Yours Fixed Up Now
Pension Credit is a new entitlement for people aged 60 or over that is being introduced from October 2003. This could mean extra money for you every week.  It guarantees everyone aged 60 and over an income of at least: £102.10 a week if you are single; or £155.80 a week if you have a partner.   For the first time, people aged 65 and over will be rewarded for some of their savings and income they have for their retirement. In the past, those who had managed to save a little were no better off than those who had not saved at all.

Businesses throughout Caithness and Sutherland are set to benefit from a range of short courses on offer from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).  The extensive variety of options in CASE's Business Skills Programme will provide businesses, both large and small, with the opportunity to enhance their skills in various business activities, from managing staff and managing projects to improving sales, customer service, marketing and promotion.  According to Anne Sutherland, head of skills development with CASE, "Many of the courses we are providing are as a direct result of feedback received from respondents to our quarterly business survey. This information has proved invaluable in terms of building up a picture of the skills business require."

Highland consumers are being warned not to fall for the latest telephone prize draws offers which claim that a guaranteed massive cash prize, luxury car or dream holiday is only a telephone call away.  Similar to the free scratch-card "prize draws" regularly found in magazines and newspapers, consumers are now being targeted by telephone.

Lupus Fund Raising In Caithness Reaches New Heights
The annual fund raising dance held in the hall of the Royal British Legion in aid of those suffering from Lupus in Caithness. Once again the evening was a huge success with everybody pulling together in a great sign of community spirit, the entertainment for the evening was the fantastic Kate Bain and Candy who kept the evening going in full swing.  Special guests for the evening were James Gunn, Camilla Elder and Peter and Ann Elder. James walked the West Highland Way a total of 96 miles supported on the last day by Peter raising a total of £2276, of which £500 came from the Royal Bank of Scotland's Community Cash Back Award which was a huge boost to the local charity. On the evening of the dance another £521.29 was raised, a great effort on a great night.

Alison Magee Highland Convenor and COSLA spokesperson on transport stated yesterday - COSLA fully agrees with Transport Minister Nicol Stephen's aim of an accessible Scotland, with a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable transport system, but does not believe there is any evidence in the consultation paper launched today that demonstrates there will be a guarantee of improvement through the creation of an Executive Agency.   "COSLA has long argued for an integrated Scottish Transport Plan, with priorities and commitments for all forms of transport for at least the next 10 years therefore I am disappointed that there is still a lack of integration in the proposals.  The paper is like re-arranging the deckchairs on the titanic, and is full of contradictions making it difficult to see how things can be improved through these proposals and alongside we have placed the transport ministers release for you to make your own mind up.

Options  for  the long-term management of solid low level radioactive waste from the decommissioning of Dounreay are  the  subject of a public consultation announced today by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.  Approximately  100,000  cubic  metres  of  solid  low  level waste (LLW) is expected to arise during the 50-60 year life of the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan.

Sweyn Road, Thurso

Funding To Fight Fuel Poverty
Tenants in nearly 5000 council properties will have their homes insulated and 500 houses with partial central heating systems will be upgraded to full systems by the end of March 2004, it was announced today.  The Deputy Communities Minister Mary Mulligan today announced the allocation of £3 million for 29 local authorities to help them tackle fuel poverty.   Highland gets £80,817 as its share in this particular round.

Environmental Health officers with The Highland Council are issuing a further warning that children should not eat mini cup jelly sweets containing Konjac after more of these illegal products were found on sale in the UK.  This type of sweet was banned across Europe last year following the deaths from choking of about 18 children worldwide.  On this occasion the products found are called ABC Mini Fruit Bites and Cocode Nut Jellies, both of which contain Konjac. Parents should be alert to the potential risk from these sweets and children should not buy or eat them.  The sweets contain the additive Konjac.  Jelly sweets made with this ingredient do not dissolve easily and can result in the sweets becoming stuck in a child's throat.

Partnership Promotes Sports Leadership In The Highlands
In a groundbreaking partnership between The Highland Council, Gael Force Ten, sport coaching project and the New Opportunities Fund, many hundreds of people in the Highlands and Islands will now be able to participate in the British Sports Trust, Sports Leader Awards bringing valuable benefits to themselves and their communities.   Over the next three years, the SCALP project (School and Community Activity Leaders Programme) will help over 400 pupils from 29 Scottish secondary schools and 360 community volunteers gain a Sports Leader Award, a nationally recognised qualification.

There’s no end to the number of pills, potions, and faddy diets that claim to have amazing effects on the body. But in reality one of the most efficacious foods with a multitude of health benefits has been right under our noses all the time.  Think of any part of the body and the omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish will improve how it looks, feels or works. For example, just two portions of an oily fish such as salmon will improve the look and feel of your skin and hair, help your brain to work at its optimum level, lubricate your joints, and keep your heart healthy. And that’s just the beginning – oily fish is important for all the family.

More Rumster Forest Routes For Horses And Others
Here is is some handy information for horse riders and others looking for access to the Rumster forest area and where to go.

North Unemployment Falls Marginally
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 793 last month to 781. 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): 5.1% (5.2%), 5.2% (5.4%) and 3.1% (2.9%).

Caithness Voluntary Group Gets Grants To Support  “Food for Thought” Project
Caithness Voluntary Group has been awarded funding under two separate programmes  - A community Assistance grant of £1,254 and an economic development grant of £6000.

Other Community ASSISTANCE Grants From CASE
Lyth Arts Society are to receive up to £33,333 towards the cost of the major re-development of the Lyth Arts Centre. This will include the installation of state-of-the-art sound and light equipment.  Assynt Crofters’ Trust received approval of £5,000 to assist with the staging of a 10th anniversary conference and arts event, held over 3 days, at Stoer, while Culag Community Woodland Trust are to receive £4,150 to assist with the costs of establishing a community office in Lochinver. Recent Class  North Lands Creative Glass received approval of £8,012, to assist with a series of Masterclasses and an International Conference at their centre in Lybster, while Wick Youth Club is to receive up to £2,687 to assist with the costs of a community arts project in Lower Pulteneytown.

Cameron Stout To Make Guest Appearance At Nerve Centre Show
Monday 22 September at 7.30pm.  Thurso High School.  Cameron Stout winner of the last Big Brother TV show in the UK is to make an appearance at the Radio show for the Nerve Centre being presented by Jackie Bird for the BBC Radio Scotland's Let's Do The Show Right Here!  The Nerve Centre is support group for people in Caithness and North Sutherland affected by neurological disorders.

Waybaggers Walk Stroma
It was even warm sitting on the boat sailing from Gills to Stroma. We walked up the middle of the island towards the lighthouse which sits at the north end. Hundreds of terns were nesting round it and we were constantly dive bombed by them until we left their territory. The cliffs behind the lighthouse are only 15-20 feet high with shoals of rocks reaching far out into the sea. Several dozen seals were either basking on the rocks or swimming in the shallow sea.

Need A Web Site with Low Annual Costs - Check Scorrie Internet Services
By integrating local information Scorrie internet Services can offer very low annual charges  - currently £50 a year for web space and domain name and a discount of 50% on our annual banner charges that help to get your web site seen.    Always check the annual running costs at the same time as the cost of setting up a web site.  Web sites set up by Scorrie Internet also get the advantage of a variety of links and mentions wherever appropriate around the web site at no extra cost.  With traffic to Caithness.Org in excess of 100,000 visitors per month this is a distinct advantage.

New Wick Play Area Vandalised - Reward Offered
Equipment at the recently opened £100,000 children’s play park at the Bignold Park has been vandalised only eight weeks after the play park opened.
  The toddlers’ swings have been systematically vandalised over a period of weeks and at the weekend, a flagstone picnic table was smashed with a concrete block. All the toddlers’ swings and the table have been removed for safety reasons.

Walking Culloden Battlefield
Another in the Highland Views series

Guide Dog Group Set Out To Raise More Funds
A small group set out on a sponsored walk on Sunday to raise more funds in aid of Guide Dogs For the Blind.  Setting out from the High School in Wick they headed up Newton Hill and then round to Milton with an assortment of dogs gaining some exercise for both the two legged and four legged walkers.

Old Bank Road, Golspie

A9 Speed Reduced Permanently to 50 MPH At North Kessock Junction
Start Earlier If You Have A Deadline To Avoid Speeding Fines!!!  A lower speed limit and smart signs will be introduced on the A9 at the North Kessock junction as part of a package of safety improvements, it was announced today.  Speed Restrictions to 50 MPH in both directions at North Kessock junction on the A9.

Further Up Princes Street, Thurso
And yes there is more to come.

Broadband Boost For Scottish Business
£1.5 million Business Broadband Incentive Fund To Encourage Up To 5000 Companies
Scottish businesses are being encouraged to get connected to broadband with a new incentive scheme.  Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace announced the new £1.5 million Business Broadband Incentive fund to encourage up to 5000 new companies to take advantage of the business benefits broadband offers.  Mr Wallace also announced that new independent research to be published later this week will back the Executive’s strategy of increasing broadband take–up through measures to stimulate demand.  Companies can check if they are eligible by clicking on to the Scottish enterprise web site.

Outdoor Education Activities In Caithness Consultation
A Public Meeting to discuss  the findings of the outdoor activities consultation with representatives of the Highland Council and the consultant will be held in the Portland Arms Lybster, on Tuesday 23 Sept 2003 - 7.30pm, in the Portland Arms, Lybster.  The Executive Summary of the report is included for information
The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the Summary and decide on the appropriate next steps.

International Conference Heralds A New Rural Health Network
Conference delegates attending the "Making it Work" Conference in St Andrews, last week, overwhelmingly called for permanent voice for rural health issues and a continuation of the work of the Remote and Rural Areas Resource Initiative (RARARI), with international dimensions.  Around 300 delegates from Norway, Australia, Russia, Canada, USA and Scotland gathered for the first International Conference in Scotland focussing on Remote and Rural Health. It was a joint venture between RARARI and the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord),  based on close links which have been forged over the past few years through sharing similar healthcare challenges.

Highland Council And Fujitsu Donate Over 900 Computers To Voluntary Sector In Highland.  Voluntary and community organisations throughout Highland are to receive donations of over 900 computers from The Highland Council and their information technology partner Fujitsu over the next two months.  As part of The Highland Council’s programme of modernising local government to meet Scottish Executive targets, the Council and Fujitsu are upgrading all computers used by staff.  This first phase of modernisation will create over 900 computers surplus to the Council’s requirements which are being recycled by the Mobius Project, donated by Fujitsu and distributed by the Council to community based organisations in the Highland area.

Traditional Music Workshop Places Filling Up Fast
Half the places for the Traditional Music Workshop in Wick on Saturday 1 November have been booked already.  If you are thinking about going you better get moving to book your place now before it is too late.  The workshops are being delivered by professional musicians and the workshop looks as if it will be filled before long.  

HIE Launches Wireless Broadband Company
Today sees the launch of HI-WIDE Ltd, a not-for-profit company that will bring broadband to the most rural and remote parts of the Highlands and Islands.  The company has been created by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in response to an increasing need for broadband in areas where ADSL broadband cannot be supplied.  Areas in Caithness on the list are - Reay, Barrock, John O'Groats, Berriedale, Dunbeath, Latheronwheel, Lybster, Thrumster, Watten.

Norman Harrison will lead the £4bn Site Restoration Programme at Dounreay.   The  Secretary  of  State  for  Trade  and Industry has appointed Mr Norman Harrison  as  Director,  Dounreay, and a Member of the UKAEA Board. He will succeed Mr Peter Welsh, who is retiring on 31 October 2003.  Manchester-born  Norman  Harrison, 51, is currently director of Sizewell B, British  Energy's Pressurised Water Reactor station in Suffolk. He has been in the power industry for 25 years, starting as an assistant chemist with a coal-fired power station in his home town and followed by appointments at a number  of  north-west  power  stations. Prior to Sizewell B he was station director at Heysham 1 in Lancashire.

Broadband Coming To Thurso - Exchange Upgrade Around 7 January 2004
Yes its another step closer for Thurso as the announcements have been made regarding the exchange upgrade work.  Remember you do not have to sign up with the first company that contacts you regarding Broadband.  Take your time and consider all the packages on offer or that may come along before January.  Get all the information together and chat to others thinking about it before you sign on the dotted line.

Caithness Heritage Fair Has Great Response From Local Groups
43 groups ranging from history groups, musicians, churches, youth and uniform, schools and many more will be exhibiting at the Caithness Heritage Fair on 4th and 5th October in Assembly Rooms, Wick.  Carrying on from the highly successful fair in 2001 the theme of Caithness Heritage this time runs under the slogan "Under The Sky".

Scottish Thistle Award Finalists 2003 - Ackergill Tower Makes Finalists List
Forty-nine of Scotland's tourism businesses have been selected to go forward to the final stage of judging for one of the industry's ultimate accolades.   The finalists for the Scottish Thistle Awards, created by VisitScotland and now in their twelfth year will hear by 24th October if they have won.   The awards reward excellence, professionalism and creative thinking across the tourism industry.

Musicians in the Highlands and Islands are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £500 through a new initiative launched today by HI~Arts.  The Musicians' Awards scheme has been devised by the arts development agency in a bid to help musicians develop their talents, and is being jointly funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Arts Council.  It is open to both performers and composers, and although only professional musicians are eligible to apply for a grant, those aspiring to professional status may also qualify for assistance.

Given the clear intention of Scottish Ministers to lay legislation before the Scottish Parliament introducing single transferable voting as the system of election for local government in 2007, The Highland Council is to explore with Scottish Ministers whether the sparsely populated nature of the more rural parts of the Highlands could be recognised by maintaining single member wards in exceptional cases within a system of Single Transferable Voting.

Caithness Bathing Waters Get Great Results From SEPA Checks
SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, has taken samples from the beginning of June until last week and they show that Caithness beaches have excellent results.  Dunnet Bay and Thurso Bay were amongst the beaches ion Scotland to have regular water samples taken for analysis.  Test showed  that the water was  on course to meet the highest standards at both beaches.  High levels of sunshine helped as bacteria is apparently killed off but the increasing levels of investment in treatment of outfalls is obviously having an effect.  Anyone for swimming before the long summer ends in Caithness.

More Main Street Lybster

Duke Street, Golspie

St Andrews Church, Golspie

A Look At Golspie, Sutherland
Here is the start of pictures of Golspie.  The first two new sets in are Main Street and Back Road.  Back Road has a number of features in Golspie that the traveller in a hurry may miss.  In that road with humps to slow traffic is the fire station, the back of the school a church and access to the path to get you to the statue on the top of the hill.  Take a look next time in the area.

Pentland End Of Season Regatta
UKAEA Dounreay sponsored the recent End of Season Regatta, held at the Pentland Firth Yacht Club over the weekend of 13 & 14 September. Weather forecasts for the weekend indicated winds of up to force 7 - 8, which would have meant cancellation of some races. Fortunately, these strong winds did not materialise, and 5 races were held in Thurso Bay for dinghies and keelboats.

Caithness Riders Access Group - New Routes
The group have added some new routes to their list that might be of interest to horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

excavate overlay
20 September-11 October 2003 St Fergus Gallery, Wick a project linking art, archaeology and landscape.  Continuing the project linking archaeology at Battlemoss and other places with art.  Jane Bailey, Sara Bowler and Jane Webb have created new pieces in response to the personal memories, archaeology and local history of selected sites in the county. The project was multidisciplinary in nature, involving artists, academics and archaeologists. The show represents a culmination of their parallel investigations and responses to the chosen locations.

Basking Shark Caught Off John O'Groats
Dave Simpson of Canisbay pulled in this 11 foot basking shark this evening when he was out in his creelboat 'Capricorn' off John O' Groats. The shark had become caught in a rope and was hauled aboard by Dave and crewman Mark Fraser. It was thought to be a young shark, as the adult can grow anything up to 12 metres and weigh up to seven tonnes - larger and heavier than a double-decker bus.

Junior Triathlon - Wick  - Swimming, Cycling, Running

The Highland Council is determined to ensure better management of coastal waters. Vice-Convener Dr Michael Foxley made the commitment in launching two new marine initiatives in Shieldaig, West Ross.  He said: “With more than 1,900 sq km of coastline – 49% of the Scottish mainland  coastline – we have a large area to safeguard and manage.  We have promoted and strongly supported regulatory orders to allow local fishermen to manage the inshore shellfish fishery and we continue to lead the campaign to control the passage of hazardous cargoes in our waters.”

Martin Cuffe and Band - Country Music From Triple C Country Club
Friday 19 September - Dounreay Club, Wick - Members and Non Members Welcome.  Tickets from Janis.

Thurso Police Station
Another addition to our emergency Services pages

Toddlers in Caithness will soon be getting an extra 1st birthday present from NHS Highland and The Highland Council.  As children born in the area from last August reach one year old, each family will receive a free copy of the play @ home toddler booklet.  The easy-to-use guide has hundreds of ideas for active games that are fun to play and help children's development.   The booklet also includes advice on infant massage techniques, recipes for play materials, songs and rhymes.

Causeymire Wind Farm - Work Starts
National Wind Power has announced that construction has begun on the Causeymire Wind Farm at Dale Moss near Spittal, Caithness.  The first phase of the project will comprise 21 out of the 24 consented wind turbines each rated at 2.3 megawatts, and will have a combined capacity of 48.3 MW. Once complete, it will generate enough clean electricity to meet the average annual needs of some 25,000 homes.   Wind Farm Index

Wind Farm Above Cromarty - Novar, Evanton
As more and more windfarm applications are coming in we thought you might like to see this one in Ross-shire above the Cromarty taken from the opposite side of the Cromarty.  On many days this one is shrouded in cloud but this year with the very clear weather could easily be seen  in the distance from the Cromarty Bridge area.  Novar is operated by National Wind Power the same company that have commenced work on the Causeymire in Caithness.

Looking Over Cromarty

A Kiln Casting Class At Northlands Glass
the glass centre in Lybster has quickly established itself with a variety of creative glass courses being attended by Art students and professionals in other art disciplines.  Under the expert eye of artistic director Jane Bruce a highly experienced and qualified glass artist this class were learning some of the techniques required to produce their own highly individual pieces.

Moving Up Princes Street, Thurso
More to come in this street.

Views From Wick Airport Control Tower

More Funding Ideas For Voluntary Groups
If you have some ideas on how to help your community then there are more places to apply for funding than you might imagine.  Our page just gives a few of the thousands of places to look.  some of the trusts like Llloyds/TSB run advice days or you can call on Caithness Voluntary Group in Wick for more information if you are a Caithness group.  If not in Caithness check you local Volunteering office - in Scotland these are often run by Council of Voluntary Service (CVS).

You've got less than three weeks. Valuing Volunteers is the easy access grant scheme run by the Unemployed Voluntary Action Fund, with awards up to £500, which funds volunteers expenses for new activities; training and recruiting volunteers; equipment to enable volunteering and interpreting and translating costs to assist with accessing volunteering.

Highland Councillors today (Thurs 11th Sept) confirmed a previous decision of the Council’s Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee (held on Wed 20th August) not to object to proposals for a hydro-power development at Shieldaig and Slattadale in Wester Ross.  Councillors today voted at full Council, 32 to 27 not to object to the hydro-power application but suggested headings for planning conditions which Scottish Ministers could consider in their assessment of the proposals.

Local Groups Get Computer Donations From UKAEA
UKAEA Dounreay have donated PCs to 5 local charities and schools, Reay Primary School, Caithness Spina Bifida Sufferers, Highland Hospice (Thurso Branch), Canisbay Ladies Guild and Special Needs Unit at Thurso High School.   All of the representatives expressed the huge difference the PCs would make to the running of their organisations.  Mrs Anne Tavern of the Special Needs Unit at Thurso High School said that the PC would be used by pupils in the unit to assist with their education as some of the pupils have writing difficulties.

Three young Modern Apprentices men have just returned from the adventure of a lifetime on the high seas.   Gordon Mackay (Watten), Liam More (Wick) and James MacDonald (Kinlochbervie) were fortunate enough to secure the three berths funded by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) in the latest of the Tall Ships Adventure 2003. They are all engineering Modern Apprentices, employed by UKAEA, Subsea 7 and Alstom Power UK Ltd respectively.  After flying out to join their shipmates in Travemunde, Germany, they set sail on the 'Prince William' bound for Aberdeen, via the ports of Friedrichschafen and Copenhagen.

Assipattle  - A Cast Of 400 On The Streets Of Wick  - 19 September
This event looks like being a big one.  We hear that apart from the hundreds of participants there will be be fireworks, stilt walkers, fire spinning and much more woven into the story.  And this event will straddle the centre of the town moving through the streets heading eventually to the harbour area for the finale.  Its only on for one night so don't miss it.

Brotchies Steading Excavation
2 weeks Mon 8th to Fri 19th Sept, 9am-5pm - Broachie's Steading Excavation - visit an excavation by Headland Archaeology Ltd. in progress. See how they investigate the development of cruck-frame buildings, the use of whalebone crucks and a monkeys grave. Meet Broachie's Steading, behind Dunnet Church, park in Northern Sands Hotel car park and go through the church-yard.

Princes Street, Thurso
Many more pictures to come on this street.

Vikings and Stinking Fish - An Archaeology Month Event
Sunday 14th at 2pm Vikings and Stinking Fish - Join us on a guided walk along the coast looking at ancient middens and settlements. Sturdy shoes and waterproofs recommended. Meet John O'Groats Tourist Info Centre. Run by Caithness Arxhaeology Trust.

North of Scotland Water Quality 1999 – 2002
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published the results for its water quality monitoring programme 1999 - 2002. The results over the three years show continued improvements in the quality of Scotland's rivers, estuaries and coastal waters.  Thousands of kilometers are now in the top classification with many areas improving the quality of water due to new treatment plants.  Coastal and river water have shown high levels of improvement although the Murkle burn is an area of concern due to poor reports in the years to 2001 and this is under investigation.

‘As a national Church with long links to Myanmar
[Burma], we are convinced that the time has come for the State Peace and Development Council to ensure that there is freedom of movement and of speech for Aung San Suu Kyi and all peace-loving democratic leaders.’

Nerve Centre Radio Show With Jackie Bird
The Nerve Centre, Thurso, is to be host to BBC Radio Scotland's Let's Do The Show Right Here! team, on Monday 22 September at 7.30pm.  Thurso High School is the venue for a fundraising Show in aid of the Nerve Centre, which provides support and activities for people affected by neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson's, ME/chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, stroke, Huntington's disease etc.  Jackie Bird will host the show and Alastair McDonald Scottish "musical minstrel", will appear at the Show

Twelve  young  people  from  Caithness  have  started  new  careers  in the decommissioning  of  Britain's  former  centre of fast reactor research and development.  The  latest batch of engineering apprentices and secretarial and scientific trainees  to  complete their skills training programmes at the site attended their indenture ceremony at the Park Hotel, Thurso last week.  Dounreay's  head  of  engineering Sandy Charter will tell them the skills and  experience  they  gain at the Caithness site will be in growing demand throughout  the  UK  and  abroad  as more nuclear plants reached the end of their operating lives.

Communication Support Service for Highland Deaf Community
The Deaf Society writes about a new service in Highland. This service provides, free of charge, a Sign Language Interpreting service for all NHS and Highland Council appointments, throughout Highland.  The Deaf Society has been commissioned by NHS Highland and Highland Council to develop a vital Communication Support Service in Highland. This service facilitates communication between deaf and hearing people, enabling deaf people to be as independent as possible.

A Closer Look At Brabster Street, Thurso

Lighthouse Exhibition 13 - 28
Dunbeath Heritage Centre - A small exhibition comprising a history of the Northern Lighthouse Board with memorabilia on display.  The display is in conjunction with the Doors Open Day at Noss Lighthouse on Saturday 13 September.

Putleneytown School Newsletter - Latest On Health And Education Initiatives
the latest newsletter from Pulteneytown school is packed with information on the school and new initiatives aimed at improving health and learning.  Details of new health and exercise initiatives taking place within the school to develop a healthier lifestyle for pupils.  New FREE school milk pilot and free fruit project all commencing in the school shortly.  Children are to be encouraged to drink more water and allowed to bring bottles of it into the class.   Lots of sport  and much more in this packed newsletter.

WITH reference to yesterday's bus crash on the B871 near Bettyhill police are now able to confirm the names of the most seriously injured persons.  The most serious is Howard Mundy who is in a critical, but stable condition at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.   Also seriously injured and all being treated at Raigmore Hospital are: Carol Batson (62), Helen Browning (61), John Farmer (60), Sandra Newell, Megane Young (60).

Australians In Road Traffic Accident Near Bettyhill - Latest
MEMBERS of the Australian High Commission, who are travelling to Inverness tonight, intend travelling tomorrow to Thurso to meet with their fellow nationals and discuss the events which unfolded.  NHS Highland has provided an update on the casualties as a result of the crash.  A spokesman said: "The accident involved a coach load of 46 Australian tourists travelling from the Lake District to Orkney. The accident happened near Bettyhill "Emergency services and local GP's attended the scene very promptly and assessed all the casualties and directed them appropriately."  One patient was airlifted to Caithness General Hospital in Wick and subsequently flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He is a 60-year-old man who was seriously injured with bilateral chest injuries.  Report sent to procurator fiscal in Tain.

Australians In Road Traffic Accident Near Bettyhill
A Tour Bus went off the road near to Bettyhill in Sutherland today Monday 8 September 2003  It is understood around 46 Australian tourists were on the coach which apparently went off the road (B871) and down a ditch 2-3 miles north of Syre which is 12 miles south of of Bettyhill.  A number of those on board were believed to be trapped within the bus.   A fleet of ambulances and four helicopters were in attendance.  the bus was heading for John O'Groats for the ferry to Orkney.  The road is believed to have subsided under the bus.  8 passengers were taken to Raigmore in Inverness and one man to Caithness General and then removed to Aberdeen.  A major incident procedure was put into action in Caithness General and Raigmore in Inverness    A special telephone number has been set up for anyone concerned about relatives. - Special Telephone Number 01463 717111.  The Bus Tour - The coach was on a "Celtic Fringe Tour," which consisted of 32 days, visiting sites of Celtic interest. The tour started on Sunday 31 August and had already visited the Lake District, Edinburgh and Inverness.  The coach was en-route to Orkney when the accident happened. The vehicle is a Neoplan Transliner, is 2 years old and is a "Y" plate, registered in Britain.  The bus driver is in his forties and is a very experienced driver  three years with the present company.

Caithness And Sutherland Search Team
The group have reorganised themselves and previously were known as the Disaster Dog Team.  On Sunday they were out on a typical training day for handlers and dogs.  Two dogs put up an impressive display of finding hidden volunteers bodies who were found after the dogs covered the rough terrain on Dunnet head.  If you have a dog and are interested in regular training outdoors with your dog then get in touch with the group to find out more.

Saxophone Workshop
Saturday 13 September Thurso High School.  Carol Sutherland will deliver a free workshop for players of all standards - 1.00pm.  No booking - just turn-up with your sax.

Saxophone Recital
Carol Sutherland and Scott Mitchell.  Saturday 13 September 8.00pm Thurso high School.  entry free  - donations welcome.

Junior Intertown Football Competition
The annual Intertown tournament took place at Bignold Park, Wick today. The tournament is played between a Thurso select, Wick select and a rural select (Castletown, Halkirk and Lybster). The under eights and under tens were won by Thurso, with Wick winning the under twelves section.

Final Bat Night In September
Tuesday 9 September  - THRUMSTER - Meet at Thrumster Estate house car park.
Learn about how the midge munchers catch prey & navigate through the dark.  September at various locations.

At 10.00am Leaving the Centre - Via Hill of Forss and back total of 7 miles - Do you know anyone who would do this walk or maybe you could walk to help funds for The Stepping Stones Riverside Road Thurso next to The Royal British Legion a centre for people suffering from mental health problems.

Broachies Steading Excavation
2 weeks Mon 8th to Fri 19th Sept, 9am-5pm - Broachie's Steading Excavation - visit an excavation by Headland Archaeology Ltd. in progress. See how they investigate the development of cruck-frame buildings, the use of whalebone crucks and a monkeys grave. Meet Broachie's Steading, behind Dunnet Church, park in Northern Sands Hotel car park and go through the church-yard.

Brough, Dunnet

New Cross-Border Flight For Highlands
The £6.8 million Route Development Fund will invest in a new direct flight from Inverness to Birmingham, Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said today.

Gordon Campbell - "The Independent Candidate" Has Hit The Campaign Trail Early
Gordon Campbell intends to stand once again at the next election and has started campaigning in the north.  He was in Wick on Friday and Thurso on Saturday.  He took time out to watch Caithness play Orkney at rugby.  His next opportunity to challenge will come in the Westminster elections nearly two years away.  But if unsuccessful in unseating John Thurso he aims to go up against Jamie Stone once again in the Scottish parliamentary elections next time round.
Undaunted by his previous defeats he will campaign on issues such as Iraq, Poverty and Education.

Dunnet Beach On Sunday - Summer Stretches On And On

Thurso FC Win
Thurso F.C went on top of the North Caledonian League on Saturday with a hard fought 3-0 win away in Dornoch. New Competition To Win Prints
Last months competition has been drawn and the winner is Valerie Miller from Wick.  A new competition this time to win 'The Stag' and 'Highland Cow' limited edition prints which is again open to everyone.  Go to for your chance to win.  Also a SPECIAL OFFER for this month only.  If you buy ANY 2 limited edition prints for £40 you receive FREE P&P.   Easy to enter - just add your email address.

Wick Pipe Band Final Summer Show
Wick RBLS Pipe Band will be holding their final Summer Show in the Pipe Band Hall, High Street, Wick at 8pm on Wednesday 10th September Admission costs £3 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits. This is a Scottish Variety Show and features a mini Pipe Band, Scottish Dance Band, Highland Dancers, Vocalists and a guest artist.   Another successful season of Scottish show - if you missed earlier ones then this is the last chance till next summer.

Rugby - Caithness 87 Orkney 7 as Caithness Team Unstoppable On Saturday
Caithness were in blistering form as they swept away with 3 tries in the first five minutes.  The first half ended with the score line looking like the finish at Caithness 47 Orkney 7 after Orkney went all out in the last couple of minutes to get a try.  But the highly organised Caithness side could not be stopped and the final score of 87 - 7 sets down a challenge to other teams after this opening match of the season.

Academy 1 Rothes 1
Academy scored in the first half but Rothes managed the equaliser in the last minute of the game following goalkeeper Macmillan being sent off .  He first got a yellow card and 30 seconds later got a red card for arguing with the referee.

House Break In At Sparras Near Skitten War Memorial - Reward Offered
Were you passing Skitten War Memorial On Friday Night?  Did you notice a vehicle parked at the memorial between 7.30 and 10.30pm.  Callous robbers have taken jewellery and mementoes from the house.  Many of the items were of sentimental value such as guide badges.  There was expensive jewellery in amongst the items stolen and a reward is being offered by Fiona Miller (nee Mackay) leading to the return of the stolen items.

Dancing Competitions In Wick

Highland Dancing Competitions In Wick

Castle Street, Thurso

Scottish Water Men At Work In Wick
The Scottish Water vehicles are quite a common sight on the streets and out in the countryside now.  With the demolition of the old NOSWA - North of Scotland Water Authority offices in Miller Street the old firm is being cast into history.  Scottish Water has been carrying out a huge amount of work in Caithness replacing the mains over the past year and currently on the new pumping station and works at Halkirk to improve water quality throughout the county.

Thurso Bay
Looking out across Thurso Bay recently it seems as if we have been transported to another world.  The long summer seemingly endless this year has meant clear views across bays  and the Pentland Firth.  This view over to Holborn Head, the lighthouse and the new pier at Scrabster from the end of Thurso Beach was shown to great effect.  Anyone who has driven round the coast in the past few weeks has been offered some fabulous views of the Orkney Islands with amazingly clear air allowing for details to be clearly seen across the firth.

Scotland's  first  operational  nuclear  reactor  is one step away from its complete decommissioning.  The  penultimate  stage  of  decommissioning  the  Dounreay  Materials Test Reactor  (DMTR)  has  been  completed,  leaving the reactor block ready for demolition  following a period of passive care and maintenance to allow for further radioactive decay.  DMTR was one of three reactors built and operated at UKAEA Dounreay between 1958 and 1994.  All three reactors are now in their decommissioning stages.

Wick River Levels Lowest for Many Years
We have not yet had our local weatherman statistics in but it does not take too much to realise that 2003 has been one of the longest warm spells with very low rainfall over the past few months.  River levels have been falling and despite a few showers appear to be going down fairly fast now.  Many smaller burns have dried up completely.  Light Rain is forecast for Saturday.

Wick Airport Fire Service
Highlands and Islands Airports  runs 10 airports and each of them has a highly trained fire team.  The team at Wick consists of 16 men working in two shifts of eight.  They work closely with other local emergency services and air traffic controllers in the tower.  Training goes on continuously week in week out all year round getting ready for emergencies they hope never happen.  In coming weeks further pictures about the airport and the fire service in particular will be added to the section.

National Continence Awareness Week
The week beginning 15th September- 19th September is National Continence Awareness Week which is run each year to highlight the various problems with control of bladder and/or  bowels. This year the focus is on male continence problems. There will be displays with information available, particularly for male problems but also for all aspects of incontinence and bladder and bowel control, in the foyers of Caithness General Hospital and the Dunbar Hospital throughout the week.

HELPING CHILDREN IS IMPORTANT - Men Wanted For Children's Panels
A plea has gone out from the chairman of the Highland Children’s Panel Advisory Committee for more men to get involved in the Panel’s work.

Britain's    first   modern   apprentices   in   nuclear   operations   and decommissioning have started a three-year training programme at the leading edge of Britain's nuclear clean-up.   Five  young  people from Caithness have joined a pilot initiative set up by the UK Atomic Energy Authority to teach them the skills needed to dismantle the former experimental reactor establishment at Dounreay.  They  are  among  21  young  people recruited this summer to UKAEA training schemes - the highest intake of young people at the Caithness site for over a decade.

The Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Committee, Councillor David Flear, has joined the call for health bosses to consider upgrading maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.  Councillor Flear intends raising the matter at the next Area Committee meeting on Monday 15 September and expects to send a firmly worded response to the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who are currently reviewing maternity services provided in Wick as part of a Scotland-wide review.  The Area Committee will also seek a meeting with Professor Andrew Calder, the man leading the review on behalf of the Executive, who is visiting Caithness later this month.

Highland Council Welcomes SNH Directive
The Highland Council has welcomed the formal directive issued by the Scottish Executive to Scottish Natural Heritage that the new headquarters of Scotland’s environment agency should be established in Inverness.  Convener Councillor Alison Magee said: “This clear direction is very welcome indeed and sets a clear target for achieving the move to Inverness.  We are working very closely with Highlands and Islands and Enterprise and the SNH relocation team to ensure that a suitable site is found for the new headquarters and that staff are given every support to move to the Highlands.  We would expect the first familiarisation visits to begin next month.”

Granville Street, Thurso

Granville Crescent, Thurso

Clarence Street, Thurso

ADSL Guide - Wick Registrations For Broadband So Far
Needs many more at the BT and Hydro sites if Wick is to get nearer.  Still no trigger figure set by BT.  If you know anyone in wick who might be interested in helping us all get Broadband ask them to register their interest as soon as possible at the BT and Hydro sites.

George Crescent, Thurso
Thurso Streets that have appeared earlier are in the growing Thurso Streets A - Z

Caithness Countryside Volunteers Restore Old Footpath At Reisgill Burn
The Caithness Countryside Volunteers met on Sunday morning to cut back gorse along an old pathway (LYBSTER OLD A9 BRIDGE PATH).  They discovered an old footbridge and stile which had previously been hidden by the thick gorse.  The work has allowed access along an old route which leads down to a beautiful old bridge crossing the Reisgill burn.

Beyond Broadway
The best of Broadway and the West End shows.  Music from Les Miserables, The Producers, Mamma Mia, Lion King and many more.  A professional cast backed by the London Stage Ensemble.  Tickets From Music Shops In Wick and Thurso Tel 01955 603553 and 01847 892838

Bat Nights In September
Learn about how the midge munchers catch prey & navigate through the dark.  September at various locations.

No Whales For Whale Watch Near Lybster
The ranger service organised a cetacean watch as part of the national whale and dolphin watch which was taking place all over Britain.  24 people turned out for the event on Sunday 31 August but unfortunately whales nor dolphins were spotted.  2 groups of porpoise were seen.  Marina Finlayson saw 2 minke whales very close to shore the previous Friday but they did not turn up for the event!

Time Trail Crash Motor Cyclist Expected Home From Hospital Today
William Brass who crashed at the Caithness Car Club Time Trials last Sunday at the old Dounreay runway is expected to be released from Raigmore hospital today.  He sustained a broken collar bone and broken shoulder.   William's father Norman Brass said that his son who is an experienced biker came off the bike at 110 mph when he hit a bump on the runway surface.  Norman has had a plate put in his shoulder blade.  He was wearing a full set of leathers which saved him from further injury and the suit has been badly damaged.

Wick River Has Tomato Plants Growing In Town Centre
No sooner have Tomatoes been found on Thurso beach but our surfers email in to tell us about the wick river plants.  They are growing at the high water mark.  Another email tells us that tomatoes often grow near sewage outfalls although not normally as far north as Caithness.  Rarely will the plants have borne fruit in Caithness outdoors.  Apparently sweet corn has similar capacity to pass though our digestive system and the sewage system and make it out to germinate and finally grow if conditions are right.

George Street, Thurso

Richard III by William Shakespeare
Saturday 6 September 8.00pm - Ross Institute, Halkirk.  Staged by Third Party Productions - A Lyth Arts Drama In Exile

Latheronwheel Strath Stones
Sunday 7th at 1.30pm Join us on a guided walk through Latheronwheel Strath to visit the stone circle, figure out the mysteries of where the shadows fall, are there any 'outmarkers'?  Is it of winter or summer solstice significance?

To celebrate the tenth Highland Archaeology Week (11th-19th October 2003), The Highland Council’s Archaeology Unit has issued a major challenge throughout the month of September to all archaeological enthusiasts in the area.   The challenge is to expand the wealth of public information on the Highland Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) held by the Council’s Planning and Development Service where it will be available for local and national researchers in the future.

Long Hot Summer Of 2003 Brings Tomatoes To Thurso Beach
Council gardeners recently got a shock to discover around one hundred tomato plants growing in the sands of Thurso beach. How they got there is unknown, but they are bearing fruit.   Head gardener, John Ross said "I've never seen anything like this before.   How they have survived in these conditions is unheard of."  He went on to say "The good weather this past year would have played a major factor in their progress, but I would think the salt water wouldn't of helped much."    Have you any unusual plants growing in Caithness this year due to the unusually high temperatures the year "Costa Caithness" came true?

5000th Visitor This Year To Dounreay Visitor Centre
Dounreay director Peter Welsh was on hand to welcome the 5,000th visitor to the Dounreay Visitor Centre since it opened in May. He presented Kent holiday-maker Elaine Yorwarth with a souvenir copy of the book "Dounreay - The Illustrated Story" to mark the milestone. Tina Wrighton, who runs the UKAEA visitor centre, said: "visitor numbers this season have been very high with a twenty percent increase on recent years and welcoming our 5000th visitor so early in the year has been a real pleasure and very rewarding for the staff who work so hard in centre.  The centre will be open until the end of October so anyone who hasn't come along this year still has plenty of time to call in".

Sponsored Walk 2003 - Canisbay & Dunnet Daycare Centre
A sponsored walk in aid of the Canisbay & Dunnet Daycare Centre building will take place on Saturday, 6th September at 11 am starting from Mey village hall and proceeding to the back road from Mey to Barrock, down the Barrock Brae and ending at Crossroads school. Walkers will then be taken back to Mey by car.
Anyone wishing to take part can obtain a sponsor form by ringing 01847 851364.

Caithness Kayak Club Web Site
Sessions start soon in the pool for folk interested in taking to the water with a paddle.  when the weather is fine the group gets out an about on the water.  Why not take a look.

Traditional Music Work Shops - Wick 1 November 2003
Some of the best exponents of traditional music are being lined up to run tuition and special classes in a day of workshops.  To see more and book a place head over to the Gordon Gunn Band web site.  Tutors include -  Charlie McKerron – fiddle (Capercaillie / Session A9) Ruby Rendall – guitar (Ruby Rendall Band / Chalmers MacKay Music Schools) Addie Harper jnr – accordion (Addie Harper Band).  Gordon Gunn – fiddle (Gordon Gunn Band / Session A9) Bruce Macgregor – fiddle (Blazin Fiddles).  Louise MacKenzie – fiddle (Experienced Feis Tutor) Marc Clement – guitar (Blazin Fiddles).  Adults £25 Children £20 - includes morning and afternoons sessions, lunch and evening concert

Scottish Archaeology Month In Caithness - September 2003
A number of events have been planned for Scottish Archaeology Month in Caithness.  Doors Open Day on 13 September also gives an opportunity to see some places in the county.

Survey Of Businesses Shows Massive Increase in Broadband Use
British Chambers Of Commerce commissioned the survey.  Business broadband take-up doubles to 40 per cent. as half of UK companies say broadband is critical to their success.  The British Chambers of Commerce today launches the largest independent survey of business broadband usage ever undertaken in the UK. Sponsored by Oracle and Cisco Systems ‘Business Broadband’ polled 4,000 businesses in the UK from all sectors and company sizes.  Have you signed up at the BT or Hydro site yet for Broadband?

Telford Street Work Progressing At Start Of Heritage Regeneration
Pentland Housing's project to regenerate Telford Street in Wick partly using Heritage Lottery funds is well underway.  The new housing development will be completely in keeping with Telford's original ideas with the exterior being original stonework whilst the interior will be completely renewed and modern.

Wildcat Traditional Music - John Spillane
1 September 8.00pm - Thurso

Operatic Cabaret From Thurso Live Music Association
Thursday 4 September 7.30pm - Puerto Rican soprano "Scheherezade"  - Thurso High School

Only one year after establishing an office in Thurso, RM Consultants has been given recognition as an Investor in People as a testimony to its commitment to support and develop its staff. The award has delighted directors, senior managers and staff alike who have all worked hard to implement development programmes.

Longhope Lifeboat Over To Wick From Orkney For Maintenance
The slip at Wick is well used to seeing Lifeboats with the Wick, Thurso, Stromness and Longhope boats all regularly in for repairs and maintenance.

More From Scrabster Harbour

Another Old Caithness School - Forss School
The old school has gone and a row of houses sits on the spot where the school used to be.  The schoolhouse built in 1906 remain as a private residence.  Does anyone have a picture of the old school?

August Hit Rate Continues Towards 7 Million
Hits 6.830,531 :: Visitors 103,767.  Caithness.Org is now well into over a million visitors a year with the monthly rate now in excess of 100,000 each month.  Thanks again to everyone for looking in from over 100 countries every month.

Hamnavoe Leaving Scrabster On Sunday
Now a well established feature at Scrabster - the Hamnavoe sails daily to Stromness.  In summer there are three different ferries to choose from to get to Orkney from Caithness.


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