North Action Group Members Ready To Attend NHS Highland Board Meeting On 7 December
Members of the North Action Group continue on their quest to retain consultant led services by attending the NHS highland Health board meeting on 7 December.  The meeting will consider  updates on the formal consultation, professional responses to the consultation including the National Panel, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, the Area Clinical Forum and the Socio Economic Study, how the Board can move towards a model for Caithness and taking this forward.   The full agenda can be seen Here This is a Pdf file that require Adobe Acrobat Reader software to be installed.  If you do not already have it you can get it free Here

From 1st January 2005, there will be some changes to health services in the Caithness area when your GP Surgery is closed. Until that time, you should continue to contact your GP’s existing Out of Hours service.  Please note that these changes do not apply to patients of the GP in Dunbeath, who will continue to be covered by their own GP surgery. 

Wick Groats Football Club 1936-37
Another old sports picutre showing the Wick Groats Football teams of 1936-37.  The picture was sent in by John Marwick.  the only name he knows is hi grandfather Isaac Sinclair with the white hair in the middle of the back row in front of the doorway. He used to play for the Groats and he was a tailor with a shop in Union Street.  If anyone has other names please email them in for inclusion on the page.

North Baths  - The Sequel
Harry Gray kept a diary for the efforts to reopen the outdoor swimming pool known as "The North Baths" at Wick.  The record he kept shows just what a community can achieve working together and without any funding or grants from public bodies or trusts.  The direction of old fashioned community spirit shines through this report where a "can do" attitude and "just get on with it" approach typical of Weekers when the motivated can relaunch a large outdoor swimming pool with next to nothing in the kitty.  Well done to everyone who helped along with the original team and Freends O E Trinkie.

Gunn Castle Also Known As Clyth Castle From The Air

Set on a spectacular position for defence and views of the coastline.  Imagine this place connected by a small bridge as shown in Andrew Spratt's reconstruction
Gunn/Clyth Castle   Castles From The Air   Castles Index Page  Caithness From The Air   Gunn Connections

Off-road bikers face fines for ‘eco-vandalism’- Online Times
Mountain and quad bikers face fines of up to £40,000 under the new law that comes into force today if they damage wildlife in places such as Dunnet Forest or in sand dunes.

Latest Funding For Charities Ideas
More places to check if your voluntary group or charity is looking for money to help achieve your aims.

Christmas Lights In Thurso

Do You Have A Copy Of and an 18th Century Engraving Of Haimer Castle?
A Request From Michael Gunn

"Many years ago I was shown an engraving of Haimer Castle done in the 18th century. Unfortunately I never kept the name of the artist or engraver, nor do I remember who owned this particular print.   I have searched all the obvious repositories but to no avail."  If you can help please email a copy with as high resolution as possible to Michael Gunn  or Bill Fernie

Autism Book Launch At Wick Library
A successful launch of the Autism book collection took place at Wick Library on Saturday 20th November 2004.  A good number of families and friends attended showing a keen interest in the collection.  The books were bought by the Caithness Autism Parent's Support Group.  They had raised the money with a sponsored walk, coffee mornings, raffles and local donations.  The collection has been divided between Thurso and Wick Libraries to enable easy access to all in Caithness. Books, videos and board games can be borrowed from the libraries using a library card.

Putting Up Lybster Christmas Lights

Stroma Gathering 2004

Caithness Projects Great Success At The Community Awards
Thurso Community Council Wins Award For Environment At Calor Scottish Community of the Year Awards
Pulteneytown People's Project, Wick receives Three Commended Awards At Calor Scottish Community of the Year Awards

Thurso Community Council has won the Environment category of the Calor Scottish Community of the Year Awards 2004, at a ceremony in Edinburgh.  Representatives of the Community received the award from HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, at the event held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).  Commenting on Thurso's success, Gavin Tomlinson, Calor Scottish Community of the Year Manager said, "Thurso is a geographically remote community which has demonstrated tremendous self-reliance and community leadership.  Pulteneytown People's Project from Wick have been commended in the Business, Young People and Community Life categories of the Calor Scottish Community of the Year Awards 2004, at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

NHS Highland Waiting Times Increased - Use Caithness General Says MSP
The latest quarterly figures for NHS acute activity trends show that waiting times for inpatients and outpatients appointments are becoming longer in the Highlands  There has been an increase of 1694 people on the NHS Highland waiting list since 2000, and the number of people waiting over 6 months has more than doubled from 191 to 404.  Mary Scanlon MSP has said; "Greater utilisation of Caithness General, the Belford and Community Hospitals should be done as well as giving patients the choice of surgery elsewhere in Scotland and in private hospitals.
Major surgery needed if Scotland’s sickly NHS is to survive - Sunday Herald

Highland MSP Mary Scanlon Seeks Help For "trapped" victims of violence"
Mary Scanlon MSP has highlighted the figures in The Scottish Executive's National Strategy on Preventing Domestic Abuse which worryingly point out that in 50% of domestic abuse cases recorded, the victims had previously been the victim in another recorded incident.  Speaking in the Executive Debate to mark the International day to Eradicate Violence Against Women, 25th November, Mary commented that these figures indicate that victims are finding themselves trapped in abusive circumstances, and the abusers are not addressing their behaviour or, indeed, getting the support needed to change their behaviour and move away from physical abuse.

Highland MSP Maureen MacMillan Still Fighting To Retain Fire Control Centre In Inverness
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has questioned the Deputy Minister for Justice Hugh Henry on how the Scottish Executive will respond to the recent consultation on fire control rooms in Scotland. The report by consultants Mott MacDonald recommended that the existing eight fire brigade control rooms in Scotland be reduced in number to one, two or three.

easyJet Announces New Inverness-Belfast Route
Leading no-frills airline easyJet delivered a boost to the Highlands of Scotland by announcing its intention to introduce a new route between Inverness and Belfast International Airport.   Details of the start date, timetable and fares will be announced in the coming weeks. easyJet already operates services to the Highlands with 14 return flights each week between Inverness and Gatwick and Luton airports in London.

Wick Fun Day For Christmas

House Break In At March Road, Wick - Home Of
Did You See Anything Suspicious On Friday
Bill Fernie and his wife Maggie have had their house broken into whilst away in Inverness on council business.  Mainly there is someone at home but not that day.  If you saw anything in the area of March Road  - either car or persons then please get in touch with Wick Police Station.  Information about anything should be notified to Wick Police Station 01955 603551.  Entry was gained by breaking in through the back door forcing the hinges from their mountings and breaking part of the door.  The house was empty from 7.00am until 9.45pm

Send In Photos of Wick and Thurso Fun Days
Unfortunately as Bill was dealing with the results of the house break in he was unable to get out to both fun days and only made it to part of the Wick day.  If anyone has any digital photos of the events send them in for the web site.

Dirlot Castle From The Air

Latest Pultenytown Academy Newsletter

Stroma Houses - Number Three

UKAEA Student Takes Best Building Student Award
Mark Aitken, UKAEA reactor decommissioning, was recently awarded the 'Robert English' award for the best student on the Chartered Institute of Building, Direct Membership Course 2004, at Inverness College UHI. This is the second year in succession a member of reactor decommissioning has lifted this award. In 2003, the winner was Ken Tyrrell.


Arthritis Care Thurso -  EGM To Discuss Future Of the Group
EGM held on the 2nd December 2004 in the Royal Hotel at 1.45pm (members will be having lunch at 12.30 prior to the meeting). At this meeting Arthritis Care Thurso will probably be dissolved in favour of a new group called Arthritis Group Thurso.  If you are interested in helping the new group why not go along to the meeting.

Somerfield Opens 2 Stores In Caithness With Special Offers, Money Off Coupons, Saver Cards
Somerfield - Wick 
                                                   Somerfield - Thurso

It was goodbye to Safeways /Morrisons as Somerfield re-opened the stores in Wick and Thurso today after closing down on Saturday to spend several days of frenzied activity to be ready for today.  Staff are confident that Somerfield are committed to the stores after a period of months of uncertainty under Morrisons who took over the Safeway stores.  The shops have got new name signs and staff are all decked out in new uniforms.  The Somerfield brands are now making there way onto the shelves staring with fresh produce with other goods arriving as older stock is sold off.

David Bellamy and Bob Graham Tell Big Audience In Thurso Wind Turbines Do Not Stack Up
David Bellamy well known conservationist and botanist along with Bob Graham who has spent much of the last three years campaigning against wind farms or factories as the duo referred to them made the case against the turbines.  With more than 20 wind farms at one stage or another targeting Caithness and up to 600 in Scotland their arguments ranged from the destruction of the countryside, not replacing any power stations. making expensive electricity and the fraud of ROC's Renewable Obligation Certificates whereby companies stand to make a fortune on the resale of them.  The ROC set up was said to be extremely complex and they doubted if even MSP's understood how they will work.  MP John Thurso chaired a question and answer session after the speeches.  Whilst the audience asked a range of questions they often returned to the fact that local councillors and voters had little say in the process.  Companies were accused variously of bullying tactics using their financial muscle to make life difficult for objectors and councils who could find themselves enveloped in expensive enquiries.  No official representation from any wind turbine companies appeared to be present to refute any of the statements made.  Not all of the audience was anti-wind farm as John Thurso had to point out following a statement made by Bob Graham pointing to the turnout as evidence of feeling against them.  He withdrew the statement realising that many folk had come to gain information. ROCs First Year Facts And Figures

Stroma Houses - Number 2
The number relates to the map and not to the number of the house.  The photos were taken in 2001 and from all sides by walking round each house.  It was a drizzly murky day but a most interesting walk around the island and its now lost community.  Bill did not manage to get round all of the houses but more will come in the next few days and weeks.   The Map

Hi Folks Time To Put Brains In Gear As Telemarketers Hit Caithness Again - Counter Script
If you are being plagued by calls offering all sorts of things that sound too good to be true then they probably are.  A short trawl found a web page linked above with suggested counterscript that aims at stopping these calls by diverting the conversation to your own.  You should print a copy out and keep it near the phone or at least have the basics of the idea in your head.  If we all do it we might one day stop being plagued by unwanted sales calls.  You can try the telephone preference services but we think the that is often ignored.  If we all do nothing then get ready to see a huge increase in these calls to your phone in the next couple of years.  You ain't seen nuthin yet as more call centres go up.  Fight back by not buying anything from someone who phones you no matter how tempting the offer seems.  Ask anyone you know who has had an offer and were they happy with it before you commit yourself even if you are vaguely interested.  It's your cash after all.  We say keep it in the bank and look for your own bargains after looking around - not from an offer on the phone fax or email you have little time to check out.  You cannot so easily get caught out if you Say NO.  And please tell your friends and the elderly.

Johnson Controls Staff Raise £1404 For Children In Need appeal
Johnson Control's canten staff in colourful garb for Children in Need day. They raised £1404 through two raffles and a Guess the Babies competition



Still Time To Get Your Flu Vaccination If You Are Over 65
Over 65's and others in vulnerable categories can get FREE flu vaccinations.  People of all ages with long term illnesses can qualify.  Check with your GP.   Advice on flu, vaccination and what do to if you get flu is available from the NHS Helpline on 0800 22 44 88 and GP practices.  You can advise any elderly people not on the web of this campaign. The flu vaccine administered each year offers protection against three strains of flu virus (Two influenza A strains and one influenza B strain).

Queen's Speech And The Scottish Bits
The annual opening of parliament at Westminster saw a raft of announcements for legislation affecting the whole of the UK and over at the Scottish Executive web site you can find out what will affect Scotland particularly.

Calling Anyone Interested In New Music
We have put together a bunch of links to new and sometimes weird music and sounds.  Also on this new links page an item about Sound inventors especially of interest to budding young musicians and composers and may be a web site to book mark.
With leading Scottish composer Alasdair Nicolson as Creative Director, the award-winning young composer initiative Sound Inventors launched its first Scottish project in Inverness, October to December 2004 and the concert is on 4 December at The Townhouse, Inverness (7.30pm). .  The web site gives information about projects and summer schools for young people between 12 and 18. 

Halkirk Junior Secondary Photographs
1958                       1953                          1954
Pictures sent by Ian Sell



Stroupster Wind Farm - Public Exhibition - Wednesday 24 November 12.00 - 7.30pm
Auckengill Village Hall
A chance to see the proposals for the wind farm to be built at Stroupster Hill

Helmsdale Harbour Pier Work Well Underway
Highland has a big problem - its historic harbours are very old and some are crumbling.  Helmsdale like Wick has had its pier under threat for some years.  Corrosion of the metal supports needed urgent attention or the harbour might have had to close.  The Highland Council applied for a grant to the Scottish Executive for the  harbour and was granted up to £183,000 towards the full estimated cost of  £583,000. Highland Council will pay the balance up to £400,000.  Work  started just over two weeks ago. The old corroded metal piling is being  replace with new piling as part of the overall repairs.

Another Phone Scam Hitting The North - They Are After Your Money
The phone scam going on at the moment is where you get a call saying your phone number has been picked at random and has won £5000. You get a number to call and they ask you to confirm your phone number and then press hash.  BT have confirmed this is a scam but some folk are have already been fooled.  Please take note and warn you friends and any elderly relatives etc not to phone back these numbers.  You definitely will never have won anything that requires you to call back or send any cash.  We can only keep saying it - be very wary of approaches by phone, fax or email and ask someone else if you are unsure if it is genuine.  Unfortunately it pays to be suspicious.

County Bowls Singles Championships Success
Caithness Indoor Bowling Association held the County Singles Championship in Wick. 31 teams were entered for a good days bowling. The winner on the day was Brian Harcus for the Town and Country Club, Wick and runner up was Jamie Durrand from Francis Street Club, Wick


Review group set to clash with Executive over NHS elections - Sunday Herald
Would elections help the current problems in the NHS or make it more difficult to find satisfactory solutions.  Would you like to vote for health board members?  Board members are paid.  Should they also be made accountable at the ballot box?  Let's hear your views on the Message Board

Secrets From The Deep - Scotsman
An article by Kath Gourlay in yesterday's Scotsman on the lack of recognition of the huge amount of archaeological, geological and other sites in Caithness.  We can only but agree and our Archaeology section has barely scratched the surface of the potentially thousands of sites in the county

Quilters Exhibition and Sale Raises Over £1400
Dr Pat Robertson who is chairman of Diabetes UK opened the Exhibition and Sale which was to raise funds for the Caithness Branch.  The exhibition was a fantastic success with tea and coffee and home baking being served all day.  Many new examples of the members work was on show and plenty of high quality items were sold for Christmas presents this year.

Caithness Art Group - A New Group
The first meeting is on Tuesday 23rd November at 6.00pm in the St Fergus Gallery, Wick. This meeting is to guage interest in starting a group of this kind, and to allow other people to voice their opinion concerning what they would want from the group.  The group aims to allow people who are interested in the arts to meet up, discuss art and take part in art related workshops in a relaxed atmosphere.   The group is open to artists and non artists - anyone who is keen to learn more about art, and what kind of work people are creating in our community. Meeting organised by Shelagh Swanson , St Fergus Gallery

Caithness Schools Boost Children In Need Appeal
Two Caithness schools have had great results for the BBC Children In Need TV Appeal
Thrumster Primary raised approx £180 by having a fun morning with various stalls, pogo jumps, decorated biscuits etc.  What is exceptional is this school comprises of only 25 children and that includes the nursery class. So a big well done to them.
Lybster Primary school is a bigger school with the role just reaching around 100, they have been baking and the janitor Jack Sutherland was sponsored to have his head shaved, altogether raising approx £800, This again is amazing and well done to all.
Lets us know if any other schools or groups have had fund raisers for Children in Need and send in any photos of the vents for publication on the web site.

Site Of Haimer Castle From The Air

Applied Arts Scotland Exchange Event - Friday 26 November 2004
Lyth Arts Centre & Northlands Creative Glass

An invitation for Applied Artists to meet other makers for an interesting day of discussion on collaborative working practice. Exchange ideas, develop contacts and share experience.

The Emperor's New Kilt - 4, 6 ,7 , 8 December 2004 - Lyth Arts Centre
Based on Hans Christian Anderson's wonderful story of The Emperor's New Clothes.  Wee Stories present the Emperor's New Kilt, a festive musical comedy for all the family.  The story takes place on the extraordinary island of Kiltie, an island that lies far out on the horizon in the North of Scotland, an island that only clever people can see.  Kiltie is ruled by a very powerful man, and the entire island and everything on it is his empire (even the sheep and the wool on their backs): so he is the emperor, but because this is Scotland, everyone calls him the Laird!  The main day where seats are available is 4 December.  Other dates mostly have been pre-booked by local schools but it is worth checking for seats that may be available on other dates.  A sure seasonal hit.

Dounreay Takes A Look At Multiple Sclerosis
Recently, Linda Olverman, an M.S. specialist nurse, visited site, and gave a presentation titled, Overview of Multiple Sclerosis and Implications for the Workplace.  So what is this degenerating disease, how does it affect people, and how do they cope?   Ian Baddeley a MS sufferer who works at the Dounreay site describes how he copes whilst continuing to work.

Sand Yachting Revival In Caithness
This year has seen the resurgence of a traditional Caithness pastime on Dunnet Beach, the sport of land (or sand) yachting. Imagine racing across the sand with your backside a few centimetres from the stranded jellyfish, whilst avoiding the Dunnet burns, dogs and the occasional seaweed flying up from the land yacht in front of you, and you will have an idea of the sport. It is the most environmentally acceptable way of racing at speeds of up to, and over 40mph, as you are merely harnessing the power of the wind. This may not sound much compared to vehicles with engines, but it certainly feels fast!

UKAEA Police Now In New Building
Officers and staff of UKAEA Constabulary (UKAEAC), recently moved into a new police headquarters on site, officially titled the Police Command Control Building, having previously operated from a number of centres. The centralising of their functions makes sense to Chief Inspector Martin O’Kane: “Whilst I would claim the unit was a very efficient one in the past, the bringing together of all staff and all the operational requirements under one roof, greatly adds to that efficiency and good management.”

Bucholie Castle From The Air

Bucholie Castle Main Index

Our NHS is being quietly taken apart by Labour - Scotsman

Does Your Group Need Transport - NHS May Supply It

You may have read in the media recently that a national, independent group has been established to look at the future shape of the NHS in Scotland. In December, the ‘Kerr Group’ will be travelling round the country, holding a series of regional meetings, at which they want to meet with the public and professionals and take their views to help them draw up a national framework to guide future decisions on vital services. A newsletter from the National Planning Team is enclosed, which gives you some further information.   The meetings are being led by the Scottish Executive but, as a Board area, we have been asked to host such a meeting. Highland’s meeting is to take place on Thursday, 2nd December 2004 from 7:00 – 9:00pm at the Drumossie Hotel, Old Perth Road, Inverness.

Professor David Bellamy Talks Wind Farms
A Public Meeting Tuesday 23 November 2004 - 7.30pm - Thurso High School
Professor David Bellamy OBE looks set to have a big audience as he steps into the controversy surrounding wind farms in Caithness.  Professor Bellamy will be accompanied by advocate Bob Graham who will make a presentation.  A Question and Answer session will be chaired by John Thurso MP.  The session will pose questions for speakers across a spectrum of opinion.  The Caithness Wind Farms Information Forum believes this will be an excellent opportunity for for this widely debated subject to be addressed at a local level.

Rob Gibson SNP MSP Urges Caution
MSP Rob Gibson Takes Issue with David Bellamy's Views
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has warned people in Caithness to beware the words of botanist David Bellamy when he visits Thurso next week. Mr Gibson believes that appropriately sighted wind turbines that give community benefit and are integrated with greater use of biomass, solar, tidal and wave power are the best option for renewable power produced in the north of Scotland

Christmas Is Coming - Get Your Event Highlighted in the Christmas Pages
For great FREE coverage of your Christmas event send it to   But set it up also FREE in the what's On section by completing the submission form - Its FREE

Directors Of Britain's Most Complained About Company Disqualified - Businesses Read This
All Businesses Should Read This And Think about What Instructions Your Staff Have For Cold Calls.  This may be one of the worst cases dealt with in recent years by the government but if you run a business someone somewhere wants to get your details and access your money, bank account, credit card and other data.  Have you got a policy for dealing with callers and do all of your staff know about it.  large or small companies are as strong as their weakest link on the phone fax or email.  Don't get caught by scams make a policy and tell all of your employees and review it regularly to update for any new scams.

Response Of Mr Brian Valentine Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist To the Public Consultation on Maternity Services At Caithness General
Mr Valentine currently working as Consultant Obstetrician has put in a detailed response to the public consultation on maternity services in Caithness.  A summary of his points has been prepared by a volunteer and Mr Valentine has also now provided a summary of his report.  His full response is around 27 pages that we have reproduced on one web page.

1955 Dounreay Apprentices Reunion

The Big Sports Auction - Latest Prizes Donated
Prizes for the Big Sports auction to raise funds for a new The staff of the Newton Wing, Town & County Hospital are pushing forward to raise funds to enhance the Palliative Care Facility at the hospital. 

Pulteneytown Academy School Newsletter
The head teacher asks parents not to drive into the school grounds in order to reduce the danger to children in the grounds when picking up children.  Note from - some of you will be aware that gradually a new 20 mph speed restriction is to be brought in near all schools.  But we could all start right now and SLOW DOWN near schools and other places where kids are around.  Children are still the biggest group likely to have serious injuries in a road accident - and they are not drivers - you are.

Site Of Mestag Castle From The Air
Another castle site from Alan Moar.  The site of Mestag castle has only a few stones left in place to see but as it is over at the island of Stroma few people get there each year.  These aerial photographs show clearly how difficult it would have been to approach it let alone attack it.  Once there was probably a small bridge or walkway to let occupants cross. Main Mestag Page
Aerial Castles     More Aerial Photographs of Caithness

Trading Standards Officers from The Highland Council's Trading Standards Unit received an email from a well known High Street Bank this week - or at least that's what it first appeared to be. In fact the email was a "phishing" scam probably coming from the USA. Phishing is defined as the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.

Remembrance At Thrumster

Remembrance At Wick Cemetery

Do you need a shelter-belt?
The Highland Council Economic Development Service invites expressions of interest from willing individuals or groups who have land available suitable for planting native trees The trees, which will be given free of charge, will only be of a native species, and by agreement between the landowner/s and donor. The proposed sites must not be contained in a designated "flow country" area.

Remembrance At Lybster

Remembrance At Corsback Dunnet

Remembrance At Wick

Shore Angling Championship - Saturday 27 November - Scrabster
Caithness sea angling assoc. annual shore championship match is to be held on Saturday 27th November on the old Ola pier at Scrabster, meet at the pier head for the draw at 3pm fishing time will be 4pm-8pm.

Wick RBLS Pipe Band  - Piping and Chanter Competitions
Photos from the Wick RBLS Pipe Band Piping and chanter Competitions.  For many more head over to the Wick Pipe Band Web Site
Full Results Here


C Is For Christmas - Caithness Floral Art Club
Caithness Floral Art Club recently had a demonstration from Evelyn Young from Dundee on the theme C Is For Christmas.  Here are some photographs from the demonstration that might give you some ideas for your own displays this Christmas

Another Possible Connection In This Duchart Mystery Photo
This picture has been on the site for a couple of years but with little information forthcoming.  Now a possible connection is sent in by Frieda Murray.  Perhaps this links to something you know about.  the folk in the picture remain to be identified if anyone knows the family.  Peter Duchart is the only one the owner of the picture can identify.


WICK teenager Donna Majilton made a great impact in her first major squash competition outwith the county, winning the girls' under-15 title in emphatic fashion at the Inverness Junior Open last weekend.  She dominated all four matches against the best girls from the Inverness and Aberdeen areas, winning  3-0 in the final against Rosie Allan from Montrose.  Donna also received the trophy for best overall performance in the competition, which took place over Saturday and Sunday.

Wedding Fayre Sataturday 13 and Sunday 14 November 12.00 - 5.00pm
This weekend the Seaview Hotel in John O' Groats hosts a wedding fayre being put on by local woman Anne Baker, who's company Tickety Boo designs and makes customised bridal wear. She will have many of her creations on display and will be on hand to discuss details with brides to be.


Aerial Photographs Of Three More Caithness Castles
Bishops Palace            Brabster                      Loch More

Get Your Christmas Events In The What's On And the Christmas Section
We will soon be setting up this year's Christmas section so email your events for this page.  You can add them to the What's On yourself any time by completing the online submission form in the section.

North Action Group Raises New Maternity Banner Over Wick
North Action Group has now taken delivery of a set of new bigger banners to promote the maternity campaign to retain consultant led services at Caithness General's maternity unit.  the banners will appear in a number of places over coming months as the campaign has a long way to go.  Meantime NAG members will appear on a Frontline Scotland TV programme on BBC Scotland next Tuesday at 10.35pm

A Plug For The Poppy Appeal
Poppies are on sale in shops and from people in the streets but here is the Earl Haig web site if you want to donate online to help ex-servicemen and women.  Parades will take place in Wick and Thurso and other war memorials as in past years in Caithness on sunday.


Passenger Growth Continues at North Airports
The latest passenger figures from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that more than 94,000 people flew via the company’s 10 airports in October.  This represents an 11% increase on October 2004 and brings the running total for the 10 airports in the current operating year to 652,060, an 11% increase on the same seven months in 2003/04.  Inverness continues to be the fastest developing airport in the region with passenger growth of 21.5% in the current year. The airports at Barra, Campbeltown, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick have also increased their passenger numbers in the past seven months compared to 2003/04.

Fireworks At Thurso

Caithness Waybaggers Report On A Great Day Out At Stac Pollaidh
Ullapool is a very lively town with a busy harbour, numerous bed and breakfasts and plenty of cafes and restaurants to eat in. We wandered round the streets looking at the various menus outside the eating establishments. My stomach was growling with hunger by the time we found a place that suited everyone’s taste. Fed and watered we returned to our lodgings for a good nights sleep before facing the big hill the next day.  What a perfect day it was. The sun was shinning and it was pleasantly warm as we started up the track opposite the car park on the Drumrunie to Achiltibuie road. Stac Pollaidh is 613 metres high and attracts 30,000 people each year.

The recent phase of improvement works have been completed at Newtonhill Community Woodland and local people are invited to explore the upgraded path surfaces and new nature trail panels.   The improvement works were undertaken by The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service in partnership with the local community group, "Friends of Newtonhill Woodland" and have been on-going over the last two years.  The Community Environmental Renewable Scheme was the main funder but several partners including the Highland Access Project and the Highland Biodiversity Project contributed to the overall project.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has welcomed the £100,000 of Scottish Executive funding for Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, announced by First Minister Jack McConnell during a visit to Caithness this week. The funding will allow Eastern Airways to introduce an extra daily flight to their existing Wick/ Aberdeen service and begin daily return flights from Wick to Inverness and Inverness to Aberdeen.  Mrs Macmillan commented, “This is excellent news for Caithness. The ease of access to quick and sensibly scheduled air links to Inverness, Aberdeen and beyond is essential for business users travelling to and from Caithness.  When the new schedules are introduced early next year travellers from Caithness will have access to around thirty onward connections from Aberdeen and Inverness. The extra flights will also safeguard existing jobs at Wick airport and by having an aircraft based at Wick should create new jobs for necessary ground crew and cabin attendants.

Shaping The Future Of The NHS - Want Your Say? Book A Place At Inverness Meeting Soon
The independent expert group looking at the future of NHS Scotland is holding a series of regional meetings with patients and medical professionals round the country in December.
The Kerr Group, chaired by cancer specialist Professor David Kerr, will be taking views to help them draw up a national framework to guide future decisions on how the NHS is run.

UKAEA’s 1000th engineering apprentice at Dounreay was introduced to First Minister Jack McConnell today and told him: “The skills I’m learning can become Scotland’s newest export to the world.”  Gary Davidson (18) from Wick was speaking at the annual UKAEA apprentice-giving ceremony at the Pentland Hotel, Thurso, where the First Minister was the guest of honour. He visited Dounreay afterwards to see Scotland’s largest nuclear decommissioning project.
In addition to apprentices trainee scientific and clerical staff were given their certificates.  The First Minister was attending the Highlands and Islands Convention in Thurso along with the Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, Deputy Finance Minister Tavish Scott and Health Minister Andy Kerr. The main themes were health and decommissioning at Dounreay.

Have You Put In Your Views To NHS Highland On Maternity
The consultation on Caithness maternity officially closes today.  You can still email your views today to make the deadline.  Send emails to if you wish to send in your own views.  The consultation has been running for three months.

"Tell Me What You Want" Says Gary Coutts Chairman NHS Highland To People Of Caithness
In an interview on Radio Highland Gary Coutts chairman of NHS highland appealed to people in Caithness to let him know what they want to see in maternity health services in Caithness.  To hear the item in the Radio Highland News go to BBC Radio Scotland and then click on Highlands and Islands.  You need to click on the ssmall button beside the title

Thurso High 1977 Reunion - First Old School Photos Now In - Have You More?
Thurso High 1977 Reunion is in July 2005.  A couple of photos of a Pennyland Class have been sent in for this reunion.  If anyone is able to email more we will add them to the section.  If you intend going to the reunion get in touch with the organisers as early as possible.

Health And Community Care Minister Andy Kerr Met North Action Group On Maternity Issue
Andy Kerr MSP, Minister for Health And Community Care met North Action Group in one of a series of meetings he held today at Caithness General Hospital.  North Action once again reiterated its stance for 24/7 consultant led maternity services.  Mr Kerr was shown round the hospital and also met with managers, midwives and the ambulance staff.  Mr Kerr is in Caithness for the Convention of the Highlands and Islands which is taking place in Thurso.  Mr Kerr stayed with NAG members for an hour listening and taking notes.  Meeting

Some Mail Still Delivered By Bicycle In Caithness - More Transport Pictures

NHS Still Hitting The Headlines
Fatcat Fiasco - Sunday Mail
Debt debacle looms despite NHS billions - Scotsman
Health board faces £100m debt collapse - Sunday Herald

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan visited Inverness Fire Station to meet with the Firemaster and control room staff. A review of Fire Brigade control rooms in Scotland may result in the present eight being reduced to one, two or three. Mrs Macmillan is strongly in favour of the retention of the Inverness fire brigade control room, which could be achieved within the three control room option.

Highland MSP supports pensioners in older people debate.
Mary Scanlon MSP today said that any pensions debate is a far more complex issue than simply stating that there should be a rise in pensions.  Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Mary said; "Help the Aged state that 'means testing creates a complex and bureaucratic system with 145,000 pensioners in Scotland who are entitled to pension credit not receiving it.'  She further commented; 'many pensioners with moderate incomes still feel they are little better off than those who never saved, stating that means testing could also dis-incentivise saving for young people.

NEW TENANT FOR ARNISH YARD Could Caithness Wind Turbines Soon Come From Strnoway?
Manufacturing work for the renewable energy industry is to start again at Arnish yard at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, following the conclusion of negotiations for a new tenant to be based at the site. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Western Isles Enterprise (WIE) have agreed terms with Camcal to lease the facility as part of a multi-million pound project to establish an operation producing steel towers and other equipment for the wind turbine industry.  As part of a partnership funding package, HIE has approved assistance of up to £3.4 million for Camcal, comprising a £1.6 million share purchase and grants totalling up to £1.8 million, including £720,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.

Caithness Rugby Club - Race Night
Help Caithness Rugby club to keep playing.  The club spends around £10,000 on expenses to keep playing in the BT National Division 4 each year.  Come along and have a flutter on this fun racing night
SATURDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2004  THE THURSO CLUB at 8pm   ENTRY FREE - EVERYONE WELCOME! For further details contact: Pauline Mill – 01847 871335 or Lizzie Wright – 01847 891935

The tuition of traditional music in schools through the Youth Music Initiative should be available in the mainstream curriculum to every child in Scotland, says Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson.
The initiative is a scheme set up by the Scottish Executive with the aim by 2006 that every primary child in Scotland should have access to at least one year's free music tuition. The SNP MSP's comments follow his visit to Dunbeath Primary School in Caithness On Friday Morning (5/11/04), where piper and whistle player Ross Ainslie and guitarist/bassist Barry Reid led the second of four music sessions for the children there.

2004 Passes The One Million Visitor Mark
October 2004 - Hits : 6,398,189  Visitors : 108,087
Year To end October 2004 Hits : 65,094,003  Visitors : 1,124,276

End of October stats show has once again broken through the one million visitor barrier for another year.  Only the next few weeks will tell if the annual total will break last years record.  2001 saw the half million visitors level reached for one year with stats rising year on year since.  Its been amazing watching the numbers but more gratifying to know that people appreciate the information going in.  So thanks to everyone for looking in and for all of you who contribute items for the site.

Latheron Agricultural Society - Dinner Dance = Saturday 13 November - Latheron Hall
Cups and trophies won at the annual show will be presented.  Guest speaker Peter Stewart.  Music by Ian Ewart Band.  Next year the show intend to have a dancing competition but as it is 15 years since the last one the cups have been lost site of.  If anyone stil has the cups can they get in touch.  Or if anyone is interested in donating a new cup or sponsoring a dance for £20 also get in touch. with Helen Budge 01593 721467

Caithness Fun Day = For children with additional needs and their families
Saturday 6th November = At Wick High School   Drop in any time between 10.00am to 3.00pm
Free activities – art – music – games for kids (brothers and sisters too)  Free lunch
Lots of information about services and support groups – chance to chat  Learn about massage – reflexology – unwind!

National Strike Hits Government Offices In Wick
Civil servants were on strike in Caithness today joining in a national strike at the threat to up to 100,000 jobs .  In Wick that might mean 25 jobs going in the Department of Work and Pensions alone.  The benefits office in Thurso looks certain to close.  Some of the jobs might transfer to Inverness where a new call certain is being proposed to deal with much of the social security enquiries.

An award-winning community regeneration project in Wick is to benefit from a package of measures worth more than £50,000 in the same year that Dounreay celebrates its 50th birthday.  UKAEA is making available £50,000 through its partnership with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers to support local projects.  UKAEA will also provide a team of staff for a day to help carry out some of the work.  In addition, UKAEA has agreed to support a number of other initiatives being spearheaded by Pulteneytown Peoples Project. These include the donation of an outdoor storage facility, sports equipment for the local primary school and the services of a project manager to help bring plans for a skateboard park to fruition.

Wick Scouts Need A New Leader
Wick Scouts have a vacancy for a new leader as Rob Henderson is moving to Thurso.  If you are interested in helping to run the Scouts in Wick get in touch with the group.

Achvarasdal Woodland AGM and Children's Adventure Night
Winter may be coming on fast but you would hardly know it with the weather today starting with brilliant sunshine and unusually high temperatures.  The folk over at Achvarasdal Woodland are keeping busy with their AGM shortly and on 26 November an adventure night time experience organised by the Rangers.

Thurso FC V Balintore - Report On the Fantastic 6 - 0 Win by Thurso

Interested In Helping To Set Up A Caithness Credit Union?
Maybe you just want to find out more about it.  then come along to one of the two meetings in Thurso Town Hall at 7.00pm on Wednesday 3 November or Assembly rooms, Wick at 7.00pm on Thursday 4th November.  A small group in including councillors Bill Fernie, Katrina MacNab and Roger Saxon along with Citizens Advice Bureaux, Pentland Housing Pulteneytown People's Project, the council money adviser have over the last few months been discussing the Credit Union idea and now wish to test the wider interest and let people know how this type of organisation can help Caithness people.

Adventure Training With The TA

Gibson calls on underspend to be spent on relieving development constraints
Having visited the major Caithness water treatment plant Rob Gibson, SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands described the new plant at Halkirk as a shining example of what should be on offer to all Scottish Water customers.



More Phone Calls Hit Caithness - More Businesses Target Caithness
OK Folks Put Brains In Gear Once Again.  More companies are phoning to give you something for nothing.  The less people who accept anything offered on the phone the less we will all get pestered.  If it looks too good to be true it probably is.  Do they think people in rural areas are daft.  Apparently yes.  Don't let it be you no matter how good it sounds.  Remember its your cash they are after.

SNP MSP For the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has lodged a parliamentary motion calling for more eco-friendly homes and businesses to be built throughout Scotland.  His motion highlights the success of Danish artist Lotte Globes environmentally-friendly house (situated on the shore of Loch Eriboll Sutherland) that made the final shortlist of last weeks Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland competition for Scotland's best building.

Pulteneytown Academy November Newsletter
This month's newsletter carries an appeal from the head teacher to help catch the vandals who have smashed many windows in the school recently.  Lots of other updates including the book fair, winter concert, parentzone web site and much more.

Small Scale Renewable Energy Generation - Information Day
Drop in and meet the Energy Efficiency team and learn about small scale renewable energy generation and saving money on your electricity bills.  Free products, advice about grants and installation.

A Light In The North - A celebration of the work and life of Neil Gunn
On Friday 5th and Saturday 6th you have a chance to find out more about Neil Gunn and his writing.  Starting at 7.00pm on Friday with a wine reception and lectures in Dunbeath Heritage Centre.  The following day Saturday 6th November includes a readers group session at 10.30 with lunch (take your own) before a tour of Neil Gunn country.  At 12.45pm there is a showing of the film "Silver Darlings2 based on the authors most famous work.  For those on the tour there will be a second showing.  All that rounded of with a traditional ceilidh in the Dunbeath Hotel at 7.30pm.

People in the Highlands with an interest in public access rights to the countryside are being invited to stand as representatives on Local Access Forums.  Six forums are currently being established by The Highland Council in Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Inverness/Nairn/Badenoch and Strathspey, Lochaber, and Skye and Lochalsh.  The forums are being set up by the Council in order to meet the statutory duties of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Each forum, of up to 12 members, will operate in a local advisory capacity to the Council on matters relating to the exercise of public access rights in the countryside.

More Holiday Destinations From Inverness Airport in 2005
Holidaymakers will have the choice of 35 flights to sunshine destinations in the 2005 charter programme from Inverness Airport.  Direct charter flights from the airport to European holiday locations will be operated by Thomson, Transun and Newmarket Holidays between April and November next year. Thomson will operate 12 flights to Majorca and Turkey in 2005 while Transun are offering 19 flights to destinations including Madeira, Malta, Sardinia and Cyprus. Newmarket will operate four flights to Portugal, Sicily and Lake Garda.

The North West of the Highlands is the first area of Scotland to be awarded UNESCO-endorsed European Geopark status following an announcement made this morning in Sicily during the European Geoparks Networks annual meeting. Geopark status has been awarded to the area which encompasses parts of Wester Ross and the whole of North West Sutherland on the basis of its outstanding geology and landscape, the strength of its partnership approach to sustainable economic development and its existing geological interpretation facilities.  Stretching from Coigach in Wester Ross to Cape Wrath and Loch Eriboll in the north, this 2000 square km area takes in some of the finest mountain and coastal landscapes in Britain and contains a wealth of classic geological localities.

The Territorial Army In Caithness

As we move on relentlessly building sections to show more of life in Caithness we now turn an area that has been part of many people's lives for many years - the TA.  In peacetime and in war men and women from Caithness have been involved in the nation's defence and they still are today.  Members of the Wick Platoon have been in Iraq and we will shortly add some of their pictures to this new section along with other sections reflecting life in the TA in Caithness and other places they travel to.