North Action Group Will Again Demonstrate At Health Board Inverness on Tuesday
As the NHS highland Health Board will be launching the official Public consultation regarding maternity services on Tuesday at Assynt House the committee and supporters will once again travel to Inverness to make a small protest outside the offices and then attend the meeting.  North Action Group are determined to attend every meeting of the Health Board until the matter is resolved but are gearing up for a long campaign if the NHS Highland Health Board choose to ignore the wishes of local people.  The NAG committee will be happy to see others at Assynt House on Tuesday  so if you happen to be in Inverness NAG members will be there from around 9.15am.

Wick Gala  - Lego Competition

Want To Hear the North Baths Opening Day then Click Here and Select "Out Of Doors"
The BBC programme "Out Of Doors" was at the North Baths opening and you can hear the programme until next Saturday on Listen Again.  You will need Real Player installed but you can download it for free if you do not already have it.  The programme last for an hour and covers a range of topics.  To find the North Baths section click the non-embedded player and you can move through the programme faster to find the section or you can listen to it all if you have time.

Caithness Taste Of Tartan Brings 50 Strong Folklore Group From The Netherlands
The recently reformed Caithness group Taste Of Tartan have got back into action with  bang.  After a break of several years the reformed group have organised for the 50 strong Netherland Folklore group to come to perform in Wick and Thurso.  They will be in Wick on Friday 6 August in the Market Square at 3.00pm and then attend a ceilidh in Mackays Hotel where tickets are £3.  On Saturday 7 August thr group will perform in Princes Street, Thurso at 8.00pm and then attend a ceilidh in the Royal Hotel where tickets are £3.  On Nonday 9 Asugust Taste Of Tartan will be running dance workshops at 10.00 in the British Legion, Thurso ands at 2.00pm in Mackays Hotel, Wick

Halkirk Highland Games Today
Yes we are off to Halkirk Highland Games today and pictures will be appearing on Sunday.  the competitors will be after a share of the £15,000 prize money and a new 10k running event is hoped to be the first event that will be on for the next few years.  Pipiing competition starts in the morning.  the march to the field at 12.15 Halkirk Main Street and events at 12.30pm.  The heavies will be competing team-wise as Scotland V USA V The Rest Of the World.

Wick Gala Cycle Races

Liam Henderson Tribute Football Match and Raffle Looks Likely To Be Massive Success
The raffle being run in connection with the tribute football match looks like being a massive success.  Prizes have continued to come in and raffle tickets have been running out regularly as people from many places have ordered tickets.  There is also a silent auction running and time is running out to enter bid if you are interested in the prizes in that section. Newsletter Is Ready To Restart
After a long absence and a few technical hitches now solved by our backroom techies the FREE monthly newsletter in your email is ready to start.  The newsletter will as before consist of a a brief run through what has happened in Caithness over the past few weeks and updates about the web site.  In case you have missed out on anything significant over the month a few links to section or pictures that might be of interest.  If anyone has suggestions or want to contribute the odd paragraph that might have a wide interest just contact Bill Fernie by email to consider items to send out.   The Newsletter is FREE and we will never pass on your email details etc to anyone else.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

Scottish    Conservative   leader   David   McLetchie   today   heard   how decommissioning  Dounreay is seeding Scottish companies with the skills and expertise to clean up other nuclear sites in the UK and abroad.  The value of work being won by firms involved in decommissioning the former experimental  reactor establishment is now worth almost £100 million a year and accounts for approximately 3000 jobs in Scotland.  During a fact-finding visit to Dounreay with Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon

David McLetchie - Scottish Conservative Leader 
Heard More From Councillors And CASE On Maternity

David McLetchie accompanied by MSP Marry Scanlon continued their fact finding on the Caithness General Maternity issue by speaking to Caithness councillors and representatives from CASE today at Wick Town Hall.  Area convenor David Flear outlined the position with councillors Graham Smith, Bill Fernie and Alastair MacDonald all adding comments on particular points.  Sandra McCaughey for CASE pointed out the likely attitude of businesses looking at the area.  Mr McLetchie once again reiterated that the Scottish Conservative party fully supported the local campaign to save the maternity services at Caithness General.  The topic had been mentioned by everyone he had met on his trip regardless of where he had gone in his travels round the county.  George Bruce the chairman of North Action Group had been invited by the area convenor to be present to answer questions relating to the background to maternity services.

Scottish Conservative Leader David McLetchie Gives Full Support To North Action Group
Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie met members of North Action Group to hear about the campaign to save consultant-led maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.  Mr McLetchie was accompanied by Highland MSP Mary Scanlon on a tour of Caithness visiting business, groups and workplaces.  North Action Group members gave the conservative leader a full account including their worst fears for mothers and babies and how such a move to downgrade would affect the future of the north of Scotland.  Mr McLetchie said he had met with a unanimous support for the campaign all over the county as almost everyone he spoke to had the maternity service at the top of their list to speak to him about it.  Mr McLetchie left North Action Group with the message that they had the full backing of the Scottish Conservatives in their campaign to save the services for the people in the north.

North Action Group To Hit Health Board With Another Demonstration In Inverness
As the Health Board prepares to announce the formal three month consultation period at its meeting on Tuesday 3 August North Action Group will once again be at its headquarters in Inverness with banners an placards.  NAG is to ask for public meetings to be held as part of the process and that health board representatives put the case for downgrading directly to the public.  NAG have seen the papers with all the suggestions and are not happy that the consultation will be fair given the cavaets that surround many of the options.  Papers relating to the suggested options can be found on the Health Board web site
David Flear the Caithness arwea convenor intends to ask to speak at the Health Board meeting as does NAG chairman George Bruce.  MSP Mary Scanlon has also indicated she will be attending this important meeting.

Scotland’s  newest  centre  for  teaching the skills needed to clean up the country’s nuclear heritage was officially opened today at Dounreay.  Deputy  Enterprise  and  Lifelong Learning Minister Lewis Macdonald visited the leading edge of Britain’s nuclear clean-up programme to set the seal on a £300,000 investment by UKAEA.  The Learning, Education and Development (LEAD) Centre provides high-quality training   and   skills  opportunities  for  employees  of  UKAEA  and  its contractors  at  Dounreay  and  other  nuclear  sites  in  the UK now being decommissioned.

Farquhar Fails Against Finn in Flounder Fishing
It wasn't a fluke that Graham Finn won the latest Caithness sea angling competition, he certainly showed the locals how to fish their own beach.  Way out in front with 19 Flounders for a total of 563cm in second place was local match angler Keith Farquhar with 5 flounders and in third place was Steve Nicholas with 4 flounders. With such a good surf running every one was surprised that no bass were caught. Unusual catch of the day was a small Turbot for Castletown angler Donnie McNicol.

Caithness Cairn Project - Latest Pictures

The unusual experiment to find out how a chambered cairn was built has been doing well and here are the latest pictures taken today by David Swanson.

Wick Gala  - Braehead Fancy Dress

Wick Gala Pictures Smash the Monthly Figures for Pictures Added To The Site
For the first month ever has added over 1000 pictures in a single month to the web site.  In fact the record was completely shattered as the pictures added to the web site in July have already reached 1207

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Maternity Issue Takes North Action Group Demonstrators Out Again

North Action Group once again organised a small demonstration at Caithness General Hospital over the maternity issue.  the demonstration was called to coincide with  the visit of Health Board chairman Gary Coutts and Chief Executive Roger Gibbins.  They had come to Caithness to give a range of groups and individuals including North Action Group, David Flear area convenor, CASE and John Thurso MP advance notification of the paper to go to the Health Board about the proposed three month public consultation.  the full paper will be available on the Health Board web site shortly.  Chairman of NAG George Bruce and Councillor Bill Fernie also the press officer for NAG met with the Health Board chairman and told him that the matter would be discussed at the North Action Group meeting on Wednesday night.  Advance copies of the consultation proposals were give to everyone the board met today.

Latest News Bulletin About Caithness Maternity Services On Radio Highland
You can hear the bulletin the Radio Highland News in the News Bulletins Round Scotland section of BBC Scotland.  NHS highland Health Board have issued a document to various groups, councillors and North Action Group ahead of their meeting on Tuesday in Inverness.  This document will be availbel on the Health Board web site later tonight.

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North Action Group Demonstrate Again
Today At Caithness General Hospital 12.00Noon - 2.00pm
North Action Group fighting to save consultant led maternity services will once again lead a demonstration at Caithness General Hospital to coincide with a visit to the county by Health Board chairman Gary Coutts and Health board staff.  Councillor Bill Fernie was interviewed by Radio highland for Today's morning News Broadcasts.    Just click Highlands and Islands on the page.  You require Real Player installed to listen to the broadcasts.  the player is free and can be downloaded from the News page.

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North Baths , Wick Re-0pened By Jessie Doull

The North Baths at Wick reopened on a very wet afternoon.  Jessie Doull whose late husband once ran a swimming club at the North Baths declared the North Baths reopened.  The local swimming club ran a few races and even "E Website Mannie" jumped in and had a swim in the cold water now captured once again after the work of the volunteers and contractors.  With little fuss or organisation but with determination this bunch of men and women have worked a small miracle on the North Baths  Well done to you all.

And these Young Wickers May Be Tougher Than We Thought

The young swimmers in the North Baths will undoubtedly remember the day they swam at the reopening of the North Baths and perhaps another generation is about to add happy times at the North Baths as earlier generations now scattered across the globe have done.  If you are back in Wick  and perhaps on a nicer day why not have a dip in the North Baths and say you have swum in one of the most northerly mainland open air swimming pools.

Thurso High 1976 Reunion - Final List Now In
The final list of those attending the Reunion is now in.  188 tickets have been sold so things are set for a great reunion in the Weigh Inn on Friday 30 July 2004

Watch Wick Gala Live Via The Web Cam - Tonight
On Saturday evening the web cam will be on early to allow everyone to see the Wick Gala floats and walker as they pass.  The webcam is linked to a Broadband connection so we are hoping it will pump out the pictures at short intervals. Gala Week Programme

North Action Group  - Maternity Demo
At Caithness General Hospital 12.00 Noon - 2.00pm Monday26 July

The chairman of NHS Highland Health Board and officials will be visiting Wick to meet representatives of various groups whilst board official will hold a meeting with staff in the hospital on Monday and North Action Group will hold a demonstration outside the hospital over lunchtime.  NAG members are not expecting this to be a big demo but hope that people will come over for a few minutes to show support in their lunch break.  North Action Representatives chairman George Bruce and councillor Bill Fernie will meet health board chairman Gary Counts and Chief Executive Roger Gibbins.

Prospective Conservative Parliamentary Candidate
Declares Support For North Action Group Campaign To Retain Consultant-led Maternity Services
Angus Ross the newly chosen conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the Westminster elections expected in 2005 declared he was fully behind the North Action Group campaign to retain consultant-led maternity services when he met representatives earlier this week.  NAG chairman George Bruce and committee members, Mollie Baikie councillors Tom Jackson and Bill Fernie outlined the position on maternity services as viewed by the public in the north.  The briefing session lasted 90 minutes and Mr Ross asked a series of questions to put himself fully in the picture whilst the NAG representatives went over the history of reviews of the maternity services and the current campaign to save it.

Old Pulteney Deals For Gala Week
Bin Ends Wine Shop In Wick is once again making a special offer on bottles of Old Pulteney selling it for the low price of £14.99.  Als0 on offer is Old Pulteney Liqueur at £9.99

Who Will Be Swimming In The North Baths On Re-opening Day Saturday 24 July  1.00pm
The North Baths  outside wick harbour were once the scene of swimming galas, events as well as a place to while away the school holidays in summertime.  Many an old photograph is tucked away in family albums of happy times spent at the North Baths.  We hope to see you there to be caught in some our photos at the opening celebrating the work of the volunteers and the contributions made by many individuals, contractors and local businesses - a truly great community effort.   Well done to everyone for their efforts.  See you Saturday  And then at.................

Wick Gala Starts Saturday 24 July
The Wick Gala will be opened this year by Aline Mowat the well-known actress and daughter of Bill Mowat the former provost of Wick. Aline Mowat has appeared in many productions and in recent years on a well known Tea Advert.  She has recently declared her full support for the North Action Group campaign to retain consultant-led maternity services at Caithness General.  A packed week of events ends with the traditional bonfire and fireworks on Saturday 31 July.  And surrounding the Gala Week are many other events in the evenings with music of various kinds and a big Wick High 1966 School reunion on 30 July at the Waterfront.  Wick Players have three short comedies on Monday night that are sure to be a success with the local audience.  But with A big Jazz night in the assembly rooms on Friday and Farmer Dan Irish Artist on Thursday there will be plenty of places to go.

North Pier Wick - Pictures From The Last Two weeks

Summer Is The New New Year For Unwanted Cats
Caithness Cats Protection urgently needs more kind-hearted people NOW to adopt the thousands of felines in the charity’s care.  Un-neutered cats + Kitten season + Human holiday time = current overcrowding crisis at Caithness Cats Protection.  It’s right now in summer, rather than at New Year, when Caithness Cats Protection, desperately needs the public’s help to deal with its overcrowding problems.

Caithness Scouts Head For The Balir Atholl Jamboree
A party of 12 Scouts left Caithness last Monday to take part in the 29th Blair Atholl International Patrol Jamborette. The party consisted of six Scouts from 1st Wick, four from 2nd Thurso and two from 1st Thurso. The are pictured beside the Sports Council minibus at Latheron which was the last pick-up point for the start of their journey South.  The Blair Atholl Jamboree lasts from the 19th July to Friday 30th July, when the Scouts will return to Caithness accompanied by some Foreign Scouts they have been camping with. During the Camp the Scouts will be able to take part in a variety of activities such as Canoeing, Sailing, Archery, Fishing, Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Pioneering, Hiking, Cycling, Nature Trails, Survival Skills, Mountain Rescue, Zorbing!

Royal Mail Size Based Pricing
Although up to three quarters of mail may not be affected by the new pricing structure to be introduced from September 2005 any business or individual who send larger packets or parcels will see a rise in prices.  Price will be determined according to size as well as weight of an item and business who regularly send large items by mail will need to evaluate the affect on their business prices.  This article gives some of the background to the proposed changes .  The consultation period if you want to make representations runs out in a few days.

Brethren Well Work Completed By The Volunteers
The Brethern Well near Lybster has now been completely rebuilt by the volunteers working on the project over the past few weeks.  The water believed to have once been used by monks in the area is still cold and crystal clear.  Further work to divert the flow of water is stilll to be carried out.  Well done to the team for preserving another little bit of Caithness history.

Local Conservatives Name Westminster Parliamentary Candidate For 2005
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Conservative Association have selected Angus Ross as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to contest the seat in the General Election – widely expected to be called early next year.  Angus Ross will be returning to his family roots in the Highlands. His grandfather came from Ardross and went south to work in the Bank of England: his grandmother came from Foulis Mains.  Angus Ross is looking for a plce to stay in the north where he intends to spend half his time over the summer and set up his campaign office in the Autumn

Someone Somewhere Is Always Talking About Caithness - A Few Caithness Whispers
Just a tiny fraction of what arrives at

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has welcomed the appointment of William Roe as the development agency's new chairman.  Mr Roe (57), who hails from Kinlochleven, is chairman and director of leading Scottish business consultancy Rocket Science UK and chairman of software solutions firm Mysterian, based in Stornoway and Glasgow.  He takes up his new post on 1st September 2004, succeeding historian, author and broadcaster Jim Hunter, who is stepping down after six years.  Dr Hunter was among the first to pay tribute to his successor.  "William Roe became a board member of HIE at the same time as I became chairman and he has been a valued colleague throughout that period," he said.  "I am delighted he has been selected as HIE's new chairman.  It's a great job in a great part of the world and William's vision and energy will, I'm sure, make a strong contribution to the area's future."

A John O'Groats woman is starting a new business which she hopes will add that special touch to a bride's big day.  Through her business - Tickety Boo Bridal Wear - Anne Baker will design and create bridal wear customised to the exact wishes of the bride to be.  She also plans to make dresses for other special occasions, such as high school 'prom' nights.  Anne said: "I am excited about this venture and recently made the Castletown Gala Queen and her attendant's dresses.

No Let Up As North Action Group Keeps The Pressure On For Maternity Services
The campaigners at North Action Group met in Wick on Monday evening and agreed another range of action for the coming days and weeks.  Everything from more demonstrations to ways lifting the profile of the campaign was agreed.  NAG are to ask Highland Health Council to hold a public meeting to directly get the views of the public on the maternity issue so that they can clearly pass this on as representing the views of the public.  At the same time the Health Council are to be asked what actions they have carried out in recent times on behalf of the public in the north. the public would then have a chance to hear directly from the Health council officials and representatives.  A letter is being issued this week.

Larry Six Wins Battle Of The Bands In Thurso
Larry Six won this years Battle of the Bands competition with an outstanding performance. Thurso High Schools' annual battle of the bands contest took place recently. A total of five bands took part in the competition with the prize of the Murkle Bay Studios Trophy and £150 up for grabs. The evening was opened with a set from All Stitch Up, which got the packed audience in the mood for the school bands.


Johnson Controls MX Beach Race 2004
The 2004 beach race held on Thurso beach was a great success with entries from as far as Fraserburgh. The racing started at 3:30 after all the hard work carried out by the Caithness MX Club and friends forming the track with Geddes and John Anderson’s JCB’s.  The afternoon’s events consisted of 4 junior races and 4 senior races and with Caithness FM, the tide and sun out and a barbecue in attendance every one was in good spirits.


Progress Pictures From the Spittal Cairn Project
There has bee lotso f interest in the long cairn project at Spittal Quarry.  50 people turned up for the lecture at Spittal village hall and many adults and children have been out to the site to join in the building under the guidance of the expert archaeologists on hand to explain what is going on.  Everyone is welcome to go along and have a look or join in.
Details Here

North Baths Ready For Saturday Opening
North Baths at Wick today was looking crisp and clear now that the FREENDS have let the water back in.  A huge amount of work has gone in over the past few days and tons of donated soil have been spread and grass seed planted to tidy up the area all around the baths.  The North Baths will be officially launched once again on Saturday at 1.00pm with a few races and other items to mark the day.

PASSENGER-FRIENDLY BUSES  - See One On The Thurso Scrabster Route
HITRANS, the strategic transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, is investing more than £800,000 on modern low-floor buses, which are wheelchair accessible and provide the general public with much easier access.  HITRANS is working in partnership with bus companies to contribute towards the cost of the new buses, using funds awarded by The Scottish Executive for public transport improvements. Since April 2003, HITRANS has received £2.7 million from the Executive to improve public transport in its area.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has welcomed the announcement that work is to start on upgrading the A9, between Allt Briste northwards to the north of the Ord of Caithness. The contract for Phase 1 of the scheme has now been awarded and work on the £6 million project will begin on 9 August 2004. Mrs Macmillan said, “This is excellent news for those who use this section of the A9 regularly.  Once the work to upgrade the 3 kilometres of this strategic route linking Caithness with the rest of Scotland has been completed, the local economy, business and tourism will all benefit.

On the 50th Anniversary of UKAEA Dipesh Shah the Chief Executive mulls over the achievements of the past 50 years.  Today the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority celebrates its 50th Anniversary.  On 19 July 1954 UKAEA came into being as the body responsible for taking forward the atomic energy research programme from the Ministry of Supply.  Over the following years UKAEA pioneered the development of an entire industry and went on to spearhead many other scientific and technological advances.  Today, its pioneering role continues in its equally challenging tasks of nuclear site restoration and leading the UK's contribution to the international fusion programme.

And There Was Music At The County Show
Amongst the musical items to be found at the Caithness County Show this year was the ever popular local band "Ccommunique" in the beer tent.  This picture was sent in by Allan Farquhar to add to the ones already on the site.  If anyone else has a special picture they feel would be good to add and that we missed email it to us and we will put it in the section.


Figures announced this week show that a total of £148,000 was awarded in grants to dozens of local environmental projects across Caithness, Sutherland and north-west Ross during last financial year by public body, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).  Other SNH grants awarded in Caithness last year include:  £288 to the Caithness Countryside Volunteers for the Nest Boxes for Birds Project; £1,750 for Bettyhill, Strathnaver and Altnahara Community Council for a viewpoint at Bettyhill; £2,014 for an outdoor educational play area at Ormlie Pre-School Centre; £3,110 to the Dunnet Millennium Committee for a sculptural dry stone dyke with wildlife illustrations; £3,116 to Plantlife for drain blocking at Munsary Peatlands; £3,580 towards the Keiss School Digg Project and £2,346 to ground improvements at North School (Wick).

SNH Grant Helps Brighten Up the Signs At Rosehall Forest In Sutherland
Other projects in Sutherland supported by SNH last year include: £3,850 to the Rosehall and District Action Group to help fund specially made nature signs at the Rosehall Forest Log Cabin Education Centre; £1,459 to the RSPB to help with the storm petrel survey project at Eilean Hoan; £1,805 towards a wildlife and nature garden for Kinlochbervie Pre-School Centre Association; £2,000 to the Bonar Bridge PTA for a community outdoor area; £3,849 to the Kincardine and Croick Community Council for the upgrade of the Culrain Footpath; and £5,000 to Balnagowan Castle Properties Ltd for a salmon exhibition interpretative plan at Shin Falls.

A childcare centre in Bettyhill, Farr Edge, has secured funding enabling it to undertake a three month trial to establish demand for increased opening hours.  Assistance of £3,250 from the European-funded Community Economic Development (CED) programme, which is managed by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE), has resulted in the centre extending its opening hours from 14 per week to 35.

Caithness Girl To Play At The BBC Proms On TV - 1 August
Carol Ella from Wick who studied music at St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh and graduated with a first class honours at the Royal College of Music will shortly play with London Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms (1 August).  Carol plays the Viola and is seen in the pictures here after a concert at the Thaxted Festival.  With a growing list of prizes to her credit she has also worked with some famous names and conductors including Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Lorin Maazel and the late Lord Yehudi Menuhin.

Recently within the Inverness area, individuals using counterfeit bank notes of various denominations have targeted retail premises.  The public, and in particular retail premises are asked to remain alert to the fact that counterfeit currency is currently in circulation in the Inverness area.  Shops, guesthouses and all retail premises are advised to be on their guard, and to contact the police should they have any suspicions or any information regarding the source of these notes.  Contact telephone numbers:- INVERNESS POLICE 01463 715555 CONFIDENTIAL LINE 01463 720367  CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555111

Tenants Asked For Their Views On Community Ownership Proposals

The Highland Council has opened a discussion forum on its website to give council house tenants and other interested members of the public the opportunity to comment on the proposal being examined by the Council to join the Scottish Executive’s Community Ownership Programme. The forum will remain active until the Council meets on 28 October this year when it will formally decide the way forward. The forum will supplement the information contained in a newsletter that has been delivered to the homes of all 15,000 tenants in the Highlands outlining the issues involved in joining the Programme and the possible transfer of the council house stock to a not-for-profit landlord.

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Wallpapers For Your Desktop Free From Local Man
Local photographer John Hay has set up a page where you can get free wallpapers for your desktop.  The main subject is planes but he has just posted one made up of various ships and boats that have used Scrabster Harbour.  John's web site makes royalty free photographs of mainly boats available on the internet.  He has supplied a number of pictures over the past couple of years o this web site.  John is often around the harbours taking photographs to add to his growing collection that he is now adding to those on his web site.

More Trinkie Cleanup Pictures From E Freends Currently Working On North Baths, Wick

Caithness County Show Is Already Set Up For The Big Day On Saturday At Scrabster is off to the county show on Saturday.  We hope to see you there.

Three One Act Comedies Monday 26 July 2004 7.00pm - Wick Players At Assembly Rooms, Wick
"Best Warm Beer in Brooklyn" was runner up in the Scottish final Festival recently. It has not been staged in Wick before and the cast have postponed their holidays to perform it for their Wick supporters. It will also give our visitors a flavour of the standards of the club.  The other two plays are comedies set in Caithness with some local dialect. "Blackmail" is an old favourite but has not been seen for about 20 years.  "That Old Black Magic" is a black comedy about the dire doings of a money lender from Miller Avenue and two 'ladies' who get the better of him.  Tickets £6 concs £5 from Dr Simpsons & Polteney News.

Could A Scottish Parliament Type Building Transform Wick?  Just A Thought
We may all groan at the cost of the Scottish Parliament but it has already made Edinburgh's economy boom - lots of jobs, lots of visitors and higher property prices.  Perhaps a radical approach like this (Without the high price tag) is needed for Wick.  Here we have pinched wee bit of the new Scottish Parliament and moved it to Wick Harbour to see how it might look.  A big new project might be one way of stimulating growth in the east of Caithness.  Lets hear your views on the Message Board.

Scottish Parliament From The Rear - Does It Look any Better From the Back?
We thought you might like to to see some pictures taken at the back of the Scottish Parliament as it nears completion.  Can you make a judgement on the back without thinking about the over £400million it is costing.  Go on try it and see what you think of Edinburgh's most expensive building.

Get Hooked on Fishing, a new initiative aimed at diverting children away from crime and onto the riverbanks, was officially launched today by Tony Andrews, Chairman of the Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust at Forbes of Kingennie Country House, by Arbroath.  Get Hooked on Fishing is an initiative that takes youngsters from urban backgrounds fishing with qualified instructors. These kids will hopefully learn to appreciate the environment as well as learn a skill.

The Highland Council and Northern Constabulary are urging householders to be on their guard against bogus workmen and itinerant traders known to operating in the Highlands. Trading Standards Officers within the Council’s TEC Services and Northern Constabulary are aware of itinerant traders seeking work or selling goods door-to-door and are advising householders to be particularly cautious when dealing with itinerant traders offering cut price tar laying, house maintenance or gardening services, as well as selling items including "cut-price" furniture, televisions and clothing. Other more unusual items being offered include power tools and dvd players.

Computer Scheme For Rural People Comes To Scotland
A successful initiative providing refurbished, ex-Government computers for rural people is expanding into Scotland.  The Warwickshire-based 'Arthur Rank Centre' charity entered into a partnership arrangement with the Government Disposal Services Agency to access high quality, fully refurbished and guaranteed ex-Government computer equipment two years ago.  Now 'Computers for Rural People', which brings IT to those who need it at very reasonable prices (an internet-ready laptop costs just £345 including vat and delivery) is coming to Scotland, after the scheme gained interest at the Royal Highland Show.

New £104 million Anti-poverty Fund
A new £104 million Community Regeneration Fund has been established to bring improvements to Scotland's most deprived areas and help individuals and families escape poverty.  The fund combines and replaces existing programmes like Social Inclusion Partnerships and will be targeted on the communities identified last month in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

More From The Wick Scouts Camp At Bettyhill

With all the activity Caithnessians seem to have at the moment you would think that they would be having a rest at the Wick Scouts.  But no way.  In a few days from now the scouts are off to Blair Atholl for another big Scout gathering to meet scouts from many other troops from around the country. 
Scouts From Wick and Thurso were at Blair Atholl in 2002     More About The Scout Jamborette
Click Here IF You Want To See What The Caithness Scouts Will Be Doing At Blair Atholl.  They might just be ready for a ready after 10 days of all that activity.  No wonder it is only every two years - a long rest is needed.

Unemployment Level  In Caithness And Sutherland Edges Lower In June
Overall, the number of people unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 879 last month to 808. The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso 'Travel to Work Areas' respectively are as follows: 3.7% (3.9%), 4.4% (5.0%) and 2.8% (2.9%). (May figures In Brackets)

INITIAL INVESTMENT AND JOB CREATION - Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise
Assistance of £20,000 will enable Wick-based K P Technology Ltd to develop the business, which manufactures scientific materials testing equipment and software, while Whittles Publishing Ltd, Latheronwheel, has been awarded assistance of up to £25,000 towards developing and expanding the business, which publishes a broad range of technical and specialist publications.

Wick Harbour Trust Grant For Technical Study - CASE
Assistance of £5,832 will enable Wick Harbour Trust to undertake technical studies relating to potential developments

Far North Sub Aqua Get Grant Towards Building A Dive Centre At Wick
The Far North Sub-aqua Club is to receive £17,750 towards the costs of constructing a Dive Centre at Wick Harbour.

ERI Thurso Will Look At Energy Extraction From The Pentland Firth
The University of the Highlands & Islands Environment Research Institute, based in Thurso, will receive £2,374 towards the cost of undertaking a 10-week study to gather and assess all information currently available relating to the potential of the Pentland Firth as a site for renewable energy extraction and generation.

Recently 15 teams of 3 took part in the Texas Scramble at Lybster Golf Club, which was once again very generously sponsored by Sandisons (Wick) Ltd.  The weather on the day proved to be much better than for the recent Open competition but most competitors were treated to a shower at some point in their round. The last 3 golfers to get back to the clubhouse were the most unfortunate and caught the worst of the weather, but a special prize for the highest score on the Hidden Hole was some compensation for Murray Smythe, Lorna MacMillan and Alison Stewart.

 Eleven cadets and 3 members of staff from the Thurso Squadron travelled over 1000 miles to attend an Adventure Training Camp in Staffordshire.  Cadets learned about  camouflage, concealment and stealth. Abseiling and rock climbing.  Cadets trained on and fired, both the Number 8 cadet rifle and the L98 rifle.  All the cadets attempted a demanding confidence course which entailed crawling under barbed wires, climbing over walls, crossing stagnant pools using rope swings and climbing over rope walls.  The final day was spent enjoying the thrills and spills of Alton Towers.

Wick Airport - Decline Continues In Passenger Numbers
Inverness Airport - Passengers Reach Record Level

More than 52,500 passengers used Inverness Airport in June, a record number for the gateway air hub for the Highlands and Islands.  Wick, Barra and Benbecula airports saw small decreases in passenger numbers compared to the monthly totals in June 2003.  Passenger numbers at the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited reached almost 95,000 in June, a 14.6% increase on the total of 82,781 for June 2003.

And The Trinkie Outdoor Swimming Pool At Wick Was Not Forgotten At By The Freends 

The Clan Sinclair At The Grand-father Mountain Games North Carolina
f you want to take a look at the Grandfather Mountain  Highland Games in North Carolina just past hop over to Mel Sinclair's web site to see lots of photographs of the events and gatherings.  Malcolm Sinclair chief of the clan features in several pictures.  Mel Sinclair's site is also listed in our Sinclair Connections links list if you want to find it at a later date.

1966 Wick High Reunion 31 July - Final Call For Ticket Money
The organisers need to finalise numbers for the buffet.  Can anyone who has not yet paid do so immediately to ensure enough food is ordered.

North Action Group  - Evening Clinic Tonight For Mothers To Tell Their Experiences
Assembly Rooms, Wick - 4.00 - 8.00pm Tonight Wednesday 14 July
Mothers are invited to a clinic this evening between 4.00pm and 8.00pm to add information about how they found the maternity services in Caithness and at Raigmore if they went there.  NAG would like to find out the actual problems in going to Raigmore for mothers and their families.  What mothers found the difficulties to be if they had their babies at Raigmore in Inverness and the problems of travelling over 100 miles.  Any experiences related will be treated in strictest confidence.  If anyone would like to add their experience o the database but cannot come along they can contact Lorna Mackenzie secretary of NAG on 01955 606206.  Only female representatives of NAG will be present at the clinic at the Assembly Rooms tonight between 4.00 and 8.00pm

Wick Scouts Camping Weekend With Fun And Forestry
On July 9th to 11th, 1st Caithness, 1st Wick Scouts enjoyed a busy weekend camp at Bettyhill, Sutherland. Two Cub Scouts and a Beaver Scout accompanied the 12 Scouts and four Explorer Scouts. The Scouts were responsible for setting up camp, camp maintenance and their own cooking. They still managed to find time to explore both local beaches where they played different wide games, enjoy a swim at the local pool, enjoy two entertaining campfires and explore Borgie Forest.

Work Goes On At North Baths, Wick
Work was going on all around the North Baths on Tuesday 13 July 2004.  Painting was in progress with Harry Gray painting the railing dividing the shallow end from the deep end.  Various repairs were still ongoing and several tons of sand were being spread by more volunteers.  The sand is being used to fill in between rocks near the shallow end.  A diving board is to be installed at the deep end and for opening day a greasy pole might also be in place.  The old lookout post above the baths may also have a large sign painted on it to let any one new to the area see exactly where the North Baths are located.

End Of Term Awards At Hillhead Primary School, Wick

Want To See Caithness Without Driving - Then Take A Caithness Tour
Caithness is a beautiful place to visit and many people come and explore the area, check out the historic castle sites, see the great coastal views or find isolated beaches.  Caithness is a bird watching paradise with birds of many species on the cliffs and inland on the bog or farming countrysideHowever it can be difficult in a short trip to find out exactly what is around or get to places and relax.  This is where the recently created business - The Caithness Tour - can help.

Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Plan - Launched
The Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Action Plan was launched on Tuesday 13th July 2004 in Alness.  It has been drawn together over the last year, following an initial workshop in May 2003.  At the workshop, 11 local people agreed to meet as the Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Group to oversee the drafting process.  The Group comprises representatives of local land users and conservationists, and the Plan was written with help and input from Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council.

Maggie Page Moves On After 16 Years With Crossroads Care
After 16 years, Maggie Page, Coordinator of Crossroads (Caithness) Care Attendant Scheme will leave on 20 August to take up further studies in nursing. She will be missed by both her colleagues and all those for whom she has organised respite care over the years. We all wish her well in her new venture.  This will give rise to a vacancy for a Scheme Care Manager. The post is advertised on this web site with a closing date for applications of 6 August 2004.

163rd Caithness County Show Saturday 17 July  - Thurso
Big Crowds were out from all over the north of Scotland at the County Show last year and this years event at Thurso will no doubt pull folk over to the other side of the county.   Always a grand day to meet friends and relax walking round looking at the stock and machinery or take part in the events, watch the horse jumping and lots more.  If you were not there last year take a look at the pictures of the show at Wick from last year.

Caithness Rebuilds Another Little Piece Of Its History
It is 50 years ago this year since the well was last used for a domestic supply. It had become overgrown and almost lost permanently until local historian/author Donald A Young decided action was needed to save it for future generations. With the assistance of volunteers from the Ranger Service who initially dug it out and then local contractors J Gunn & Sons who supplied materials the newly restored well is now beginning to take shape and looks to be secure for a very long future. It is reputed to have been used by monks who lived in the area as far back as the 6th century hence the name Brethren Well

Building a Chambered Cairn at Spittal  10 - 30 July 2004
by the Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) and Dr John Barber AOC Archaeology Group

Would You Like To Help Build the Chambered Cairn? 
Head For Spittal Quarry 9.30am Any Day Mon - Saturday
Other events and Special Children's Days 
17 &  24 between 10.00 and 4.00
A Talk On Monday 19th July 8.00pm at Spittal Village Hall
The Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) is delighted to announce that between 10th and 30th July (excluding Sundays) we will be building parts of a chambered cairn at Spittal.  The chambered cairn parts will be constructed at the quarry run by A & D Sutherland.  If you do not want to lift stones just come along for a look.

North Baths Gets The Whitewash Treatment
The volunteers carried on a a breakneck pace to whitewash the North Baths with hydrated lime. At a speed that many construction sites would envy they have also had a dozen lorry loads of topsoil delivered to be spread round the area to fill in holes and cover rocky parts and then they will plant grass seed with a view to making a nice picnic area.

Caithness Rip Curl Girls Get Surfing For July
The event is taking place throughout July. Thurso Surf School are operating the event 7 days a week. Lessons are £25 and each person who books will receive a goody bag full of rip curl goodies to the value of £30. Lessons are normally scheduled for Dunnet beach.  It is purely a girls only event and welcomes girls from the ages of 6 through to 60. Rip curl's focus from this project is to to seek broad based participation and encouraging girls to get involved and learn to surf at a fundamental level across the UK. The rip curl event in association with Davidoff cool water provides a fun, cool, vibrant and healthy way for girls to be introduced to surfing and the surfing lifestyle, but also in contributing to the development of ladies surfing.  Contact Thurso Surf for more details

The Liam Henderson Memorial; Football Match and Raffle Just Keeps Growing
The prize list continues to grow as more businesses and individuals send in donations.  Raffle ticket sales are going well as over £5000 has been banked already.  If you have not got tickets yet check the list of places selling tickets.  there are still a couple of weeks left to go and the draw will take place at the end of July.

Wick Pipe Band Week Ends with Fancy Dress Parade

Latest Whispers
Caithness talk from the web.

Thurso Gala Pictures    

Latheron Show 2004

Thurso Gala Pictures

Thurso Gala Pictures

Friends Of The Trinkie And the North Baths
Another new section in time to let everyone know about the reopening of the North Baths Wick on Saturday 24 July at 1.00pm.  Take a look at the photographs of some of the work that has been done over the past few months or read about how the North Baths came to be 100 years ago in the short History of the North Baths by Harry Gray who also helped with the repair work.  Some folk have asked about donations to help with the ongoing work and details are inside.

Not Much On Today As Was Making The Change Over To Broadband
Our opinion so far - fantastic.  Pictures snapping in and everything coming in at lightning speed compared to yesterday.  We had some fiddling about to do as we had Home Highway and now have a wireless system - yippee no cables and wires all over the place.  Service resumes on Saturday.

Thurso Gala Week Starts On Saturday
Thurso Gala starts at 5.00pm with the Kiddies Fancy Dress followed by the crowning of the Gala quen and the parade of floats.  But that is just the start as this year an evening of entertainment begins at 7.30pm at Thurso Town Hall with bands - Prolific, Pipe Band, Boss-Hogg, Estrella and the Nina Mackay Dancers.  This outdoor event will also have stalls and much more.

Latheron Show On Saturday Afternoon
The agricultural show at West Clyth, Occumster is always a popular event in the summer calendar.  this year all the usual tents and events plus one or two new features.

Wick Harbour All Action as 100th Anniversary Of North Baths Approaches
The first picture in this series shows three different signs that their is life in the old dog yet.  From the North Baths currently rising in the foreground being resurrected by a small band of volunteers to £3 million repair work to the North Pier and the dredging work at the South Pier.  It was in September 1904 that the North Baths first opened to swimmers turning itself from one of seven small harbours to a recreational outdoor swimming pool.  That year the hardy Wickers held their swimming gala in the Wick river.  For over 400 years Wick has reinvented itself over the years with the coming and going of the fishing.  A small band of volunteers may be proving that what other generations did can be done again.

Busy Two Weeks For Caithness Young Farmers
Caithness Young Farmers have had an eventful two weeks, starting with the County Clipping held at Quarryside, Castletown by kind permission of Andrew & George Swanson. Judges for the day were Alec Oliphant and Bruce Swanson. The Sir David Robertson, Bower Challenge Cup for the best team went to Halkirk, Bryan Sinclair & David MacCarthy. The Robert Coghill Trophy for best shearer went to Bryan Sinclair, Halkirk.

Wick ('IKA') R8 GCI ROTOR Radar Station - Have You ever Wondered About These Buildings?
The Wick Rotor station at Harland. Reiss was part of the UK early warning system started in 1949 following the Soviet Union first testing of an atomic bomb.  This picture of the Wick Rotor Radar Station was taken in June by Nick Catford and included with other information on the Wick Rotor Radar Station page.  It is part of the Research Study Group : Cold War web site.  We have included it in a new links page and will add other information on Caithness and Sutherland as it becomes available.

John Corbett Memorial Bird Hide & Art Gallery At St John's Loch
Unique visitors' attraction opens in Caithness

For people who enjoy art and bird-watching, Caithness now has a unique venue which manages to combine both interests in one beautiful setting.  Visitors can now see a range of original works and high quality prints by local wildlife and landscape artist Julian Smith at his exhibition on the north shores of St. John's Loch.  Following the highly successful 'Artsmith' show in May 2004 the gallery space is now open at selected times from July to September

The Highland Council has welcomed the news that £3 million of the £20 million announced by the Scottish Executive has been allocated to relieve the housing needs in the Highlands.  Convener of The Highland Council, Alison Magee said: "The Highland Council welcomes the additional funding targeted at relieving pressured housing areas and is pleased that that the executive has recognised that the Highlands is an area of particular housing stress as identified in the Councils Housing strategy.  "We understand that approximately £3million has been allocated to the Highland Council area to increase the existing programme and pilot a new form of low cost home ownership project.  We look forward to delivering new housing solutions as previously identified by the Council in partnership with Communities Scotland and the housing associations."

A revolutionary new product that takes much of the effort out of reaching from or propelling a wheelchair is officially launched on Friday 9th July 2004 at the Scottish Mobility Roadshow in Edinburgh.  The Bodypoint Hip Grip is an innovative and dynamic pelvic stabilisation device from the United States that helps the wheelchair user to maintain stability, whilst allowing the pelvis to move freely. The Hip Grip has taken over five years to develop and is the result of a 36-month, 23-user clinical trial.

Marelo Folklore Group From The Netherlands Coming To Caithness In August
The Taste of Tartan organisation are hosting a visit in August by the internationally renowned Folklore Group from Markelo in the Netherlands.  This will be a rare opportunity to see and hear the 50 strong group of dancers, singers and musicians who will be performing in traditional national dress at various venues.
A new section has been set up for the Caithness based Taste of Tartan group 

St Fergus Bowling Club Open Triple Competition - 64 Teams - 192 Competitors In Caithness
St Fergus Bowling Club, Wick saw a great entry from all over the Highlands and Islands with teams from as far south as Inverness and North To Orkney.  The 64 Triples teams played at three club greens in Caithness - Thurso, Rosebank and St Fergus in Wick. the competition ran over two days Saturday and Sunday with semi-finals and finals played at the St Fergus club.  Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts were full all over Wick for the two days with competitors also bringing other family members who either spectated, went site-seeing or shopping. Aberhirder beat the local Rosebank team in the final to win the £1000 prize and trophies.  The Rosebank triple team was awarded £300 second prize.  All of the competitors enjoyed the weekend despite the downpour in Wick on Saturday.  In fact over 20 triples have already completed application forms for the second triples competition to be held in 2005 and entries are expected to be oversubscribed due to this years success.  St Fergus Club Captain Malcolm Mackay congratulated the clubs for the presentation of their greens and thanked Highland Council for its support with special thanks to the businesses who had sponsored the event.  Boyce MacLeod the president of the Scottish Bowling Association also added his thanks as he presented the winner with their trophies and cheque.  Councillor Bill Fernie presented the runners up with their awards and cheque.

More Caithness Whispers Found On The Web

Do You Accept Credit Cards - Remember The Thumb Print Scheme And Use It
An earlier item we thought we would remind you all about.  This great little scheme can save you lots of money if you accept credit cards for payments.  It has been very successful in stopping fraud.  Genuine payers have no problem leaving their thumb print but no fraudster wants to leave evidence that can convict them in court.  Check with your local police and use the Thumbprint scheme to stop fraud.

Small Grants To Be Available To Become A Child Minder In Caithness
A recent survey of childcare in Caithness was declared a success by Niall Smith, chairman of the Caithness Childcare and Family Resource Partnership, who commissioned the work.  He said: “This has been a very useful exercise for the Partnership. Before, the survey, we had a lot of anecdotal evidence about what types of childcare people used and why.  Now we have some solid statistics on which to base our planning. The information will prove valuable in supporting grant applications for new provision in Caithness.”

Busiest Day Ever For Inverness Airport
Inverness Airport recorded its busiest day ever for passenger movements on Saturday 3rd July.  The airport, one of the UK's fastest developing regional air hubs, handled 2,500 passengers during the day.

Lybster Gala Fancy Dress

Quiz                                                               Pet Show

Lybster Gala Car Treasure Hunt                      Lybster Gala Children's Treasure Hunt

Racing starts at 4.00pm. depending on the tide.   Entry and licencing can be done on the day.  Track setting up from 10.00am.  Moto X, Enduro and Quad Bikes can all enter.

Fun Day At Pulteneytown People's Project
PULTENEYTOWN People's Project held its annual fun day on Saturday afternoon - and it all went thunderfully well after earlier fears that the event might be a washout. Torrential rain and a few rumbles of thunder around lunchtime threatened to undermine the efforts of the community regeneration group but the PPP staff and volunteers decided to carry on as planned.

Blue And White Blankets To Be Picked Up At Caithness General Hospital
Following a road traffic accident at Dunnet on Saturday some one kindly supplied two blankets for the people involved.  Unfortunately the name of the person at Dunnet is unknown.  The blankets are available at Caithness General Hospital for uplifting at reception.

Canisbay Show Pictures - All Done

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show Pictures

Canisbay Show

Castletown Gala - 86 Pictures

Castletown Gala

Castletown Gala

Fishing Boat Audacious Grounded At Canisbay
Banff registered trawler BF83 Audacious was grounded at about 11.00am on Saturday 3 July on the rocks at Canisbay and easily seen from Canisbay church.  It is hoped that she could be refloated at high tide around 10.00pm.  Thurso lifeboat was standing by and a tug was believed to be on the way to assist.

North Baths Will Soon Be Ready To Join the Trinkie As Wick's Second Outdoor Pool Once Again
Iain Sutherland and his team of volunteers have been working steadily towards the renovation of the North Baths another outdoor swimming pool at Wick which was abandoned to the sea by the former Caithness District Council.  With help from local contractors a new wall has been constructed where the old one was wrecked and anew valve put in place for emptying the pool each year.  Not only is the pool being put back but the team have also cleared the road leading up to it.  The sea had piled up the stones and other material over the last few years.  In fact the team have made it much easier to take stroll out past the North Baths and they are to be congratulated on their ongoing work.

Caithness Air Cadets Hit Success In Athletics Competitions
Cadets from the 1769 (THURSO) Squadron Air Cadets have been flying high over the last few weeks with great success in Athletics.  Seven cadets, representing their Squadron against the rest of Highland Wing achieved 9 Gold and 3 Silver medals. p, Long Jump and Discus.  Four cadets then went on to represent Highland Wing against the rest of Scotland and Northern Ireland in Grangemouth,

Hillhead Football Team Winners Of Wick and County Championships
This years winners of the Wick Primary Schools Football Trophy (Presented by Sir K.L. Harrmswoth. Bart. M.P.) was Hillhead Primary School. Currently Hillhead Primary School, Pulteneytown Academy, Wick North School, Wick South School and Lybster Primary School play for this trophy that was first presented in 1922.  On Friday June 25th Hillhead continued their unbeaten run by defeating Pennyland Primary School to become County Champions.

Castletown Gala 2004 Starts On Saturday
The Gala  and Show Season in Caithness is in full swing with Castletown starting on Saturday night with the floats, pipe band and crowning ceremony.

Canisbay Show 2004 On Saturday 3 July
Animal judging starts at 10.00am and the main show programme starts at 1.00pm.  A varied programme for all the family

Lybster Gala Week Still In Full Swing

Group Shot From Last Weeks Dog Show In Wick
A late addition to the gallery sent in by Mary Sinclair. The 2 old dogs on the left were clapped round the ring in the brace class as they sported 23 years between them. They are the parents of the young dog on the right. She won the not separately classified class and was 2nd in pastoral group.   If  you have pictures from the show that you would like added to the gallery just email them to

North Pier Wick Harbour - £3 million Repair Work Well Underway

UHI Can Help Transform Rural Health Services
NORTH MSP Mary Scanlon said she hopes the qualifications on rural health studies will help ease the burden on a struggling health service in the Highlands and Islands.  The Scottish Conservative communities’ spokesman wrote to the UHI Millennium Institute to ask whether it had any plans to develop a rural healthcare facility, in light of the health minister confirming to Mary that it is up to organisations such as UHI to develop.

Lyth Arts Centre Web Site
Lyth Arts Centre has now set up a a web site and will no longer run these pages as events and news will appear on their own web site.  Just click on the link to go to the Lyth Arts Centre web site.  Shows and other events will continue to appear in the What's On section of where links will also be made to the Lyth arts Centre web site.  Sunday 4 July  World Music with Talitha Mackenzie "Native Spirit" Tour  8.00pm Check Lyth Arts Centre to book