Halloween At Blackstairs
Sorry we could not make it to any other events.  The BB do in Thurso ran longer than expected.  If anyone would like their halloween photos on the site just email them in.


Aerial Photographs Of Brims and Berriedale Castles

Council Hold Civic Reception For 150th Anniversary Of Boys Brigade Founder William Smith
Caithness councillors led by area convenor David Flear welcomed members of the Boys Brigade from around the UK to a civic reception in the Royal Hotel Thurso to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the movement's founder William Smith.  Over 200 people packed the Royal Hotel in Thurso and heard from BB Leaders and guest from Orkney carrying two BB headings to his name - Cameron Stout of Big Brother fame a long time member of the Boys Brigade.

Entertainment At the Boys Brigade Reception Was Provided By Two Local Groups
Young People were to the fore in the entertainment for the audience at the Bpys Brigade reception provided by the Highland council.  The Caithness and North Sutherland children's Choir and Caithness Junior Pipe Band performed after the speeches and talks before a dance completed the day for the many visitors to Thurso

Right To Swim Campaign Gains Politicians Support
the campaign in Caithness may have ended but it is rising once again all over the UK.  An online petition is now seeking signatures to bring the matter back on the agenda.  The national group have a web site where you can sign up to support if you want the rules changed back to what they used to be.

Sports Auction On 26 November - More Prizes Coming In
The staff of the Newton Wing, town & County Hospital are pushing forward with a project to raise funds to enhance the Palliative Care Facility.  They aim to raise enough money to build an extension to the current Palliative Care Rooms that will give patients and their families the ability to be together at what is often a difficult time. in a homely and private environment.  the latest additions to the prize list includes 2 x one days fishing on River Helmsdale in Feb for 2 rods donated by Andy Sutherland, date to be arranged, Wick Academy shirt, signed darts from Bobby George donated by Richard Branson.

Who's Pathetic Now?
After years lurking in the murky depths of various league tables, the famous Pathetic Sharks (as seen on tv) have finally surfaced and attacked.  A 6-2 win last night in the Caithness 7s, before dogged rivals Shadwell Town lost, means they now top the St Clair Hotel Division 2 table. The Sharks have been swimming rings round their opponents with recent 9-2 and 10-2 wins but didn't have to wait for next week's showdown with Shadwell to get their teeth into the top spot.  For information on the Pathetic Sharks see  and for Caithness 7s league tables, match reports and more, see   Remember you can find links to all the Caithness football web sites in the links section under Football News

Thurso Sea Cadets Preparing Haunted Ghost Ship for Halloween
For three nights the Haunted Ghost ship will be open for Frights and Fun.  Head for The Thurso Sea Cadets Hall in Sir Archibald Road, Thurso on 28th, 29th and 30th October between 7.00 and 9.00pm.  Admission is £1

Virtual Links For Green Watchdog At Thurso
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has installed new technology at its bases in the North of Scotland to help reduce its environmental impact. Video-conferencing units will enable staff in nine offices to 'meet' each other and connect to SEPA colleagues elsewhere in Scotland without the need for long journeys. The move will save time and travel costs as well as helping to reduce the agency's atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases'.

The Highland Council today (Thursday) agreed to apply to join the Scottish Executive Community Ownership Programme, which commits the Council to pursuing the option of transferring the ownership and management of its stock of 15,500 Council houses to a new Highland not-for-profit landlord. Convener Councillor Alison Magee was seconded by Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, in proposing the successful motion which will start a two year period of discussion before Council house tenants will be asked to vote on detailed proposals. In reaching their decision, the Council agreed to make Community Ownership a standing item on the agenda of the full council in the run up to the ballot; to consult very closely with tenants and to seek to ensure that the interests of Council staff are recognised during the transfer process.

Highland Councillors have agreed to play their part in developing a solution for the future provision of maternity services at Caithness General Hospital, Wick, which will enable as many babies as possible, including first births, to be born in Caithness and at the same time enhance other specialist services locally.  Meeting in Inverness on Thursday 28 October 2004, the Council welcomed news that, as the result of consultation, NHS Highland is considering a new model of service delivery, which could mean two-thirds of births can take place in Caithness General Hospital.

Wick Councillors Pleased To See Heating Scheme Reach Next Stage
The Highland Council gave the go ahead on Thursday 28 October 2004 for arrangements to be made to establish a not for profit company to implement and manage a biomass district heating system to serve Pulteneytown, Wick.  The Council will participate in the formation of the dedicated company which would deliver, own and manage the proposed system to ensure with compliance with appropriate legal, financial and contractual requirements.  Nominations for members to serve as Directors will be delegated to the Caithness Area committee of the Council.

Rally In Support Of Caithness Maternity Unit - Tonight Friday 29 October 7.00pm
Assembly Rooms, Wick
North Action Group are hoping for a big tuirn-out to hear from Five MSP's on the issue of maternity services in Caithness.  They will be joined by Dr Geroge Ventners chairman of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network.  The Five MSP's on the platform will be Jamie Stone, Rob Gibson, Mary Scanlon and Carolyn Leckie and Maureen MacMillan.  In addition NHS Highland will be represented by vice chairman David Alston and Dr Iain Johnstone.  George Bruce chairman of North Action Group will introduce the speakers.  George Bruce said, "Although everyone is cautiously optimistic about the board's recent offer of a further option which would retain two third of birth in Caithness their is almost no detail yet available and the public need to continue to convey their views on the topic strongly to both politicians and the board.  The Health board may be in a position to give more detailed proposals at their next meeting on 6 December but NAG want to ensure they are left in no doubt about feelings in Caithness and urge as many people as possible to come along to the Assembly Rooms Wick"

More Funding For Voluntary Groups
A few more sources to check out to see if you can gain funding for your projects, training or visits to European countries.

3 year old male Border Terrier on Friday the 22nd Oct near Ravens Rock Gorge by Altass, Rosehall, Lairg.
May be making his way back to last home, Durness. If seen please contact Darren on 07899 911020 or

GPs in legal move over on-call work - The Herald
Caithness GP's dispute with NHS Highland Health Board continues to escalate.

Wick High School  - 4th Year Class 1955
This latest picture to the growing schooldays section was supplied by Megan Wood (nee Henderson)  Wick High Schooldays Index
 Main School Days Index For other Caithness schools.
We would be happy to add a Sutherland Schools section if anyone has any photographs they would like to email to us.  If anyone has any Thurso High photos from a few years back get in touch as we have very few in that section.

A Wavy Wall For Ormlie Home Zone
The Ormlie 'wavy wall' (under construction) which is one of the environmental features being installed as part of the Home Zone project.  The Ormlie Home Zone project has been designed by Pentarq architects with input from the children and young people living on the estate.  The 'wavy wall' feature was based on designs undertaken by children and young people from the Community Partners Programme using model clay to show what features they would like to see in Ormlie.  The wall is being built by master drystone dyker, George Gunn and the workmanship and quality is excellent with the Caithness stone being hand picked by George from various Caithness stone quarries around the County.  Response from the community on the feature has been extremely positive and residents are keen to view the finished feature.

Woodland Volunteers Wanted For Newtonhill

Ormlie Looking At Energy Projects
Students and Professor from Flensburg University, Germany who undertook a consultation study on behalf of Ormlie Community Association with the Thurso community on renewable energy.  The students were based in Ormlie for approximately 2 weeks during Aug/September and presented their findings at an open meeting in Thurso Town Hall on Friday 17 September 2004.  OCA is currently working closely with a number of organisations and agencies on a community renewable energy project.  Brian Leonard, Chairperson OCA (back row, left) and Pauline Mathers, Vice-Chairperson OCA (front row, right)

Winter Activities With The Rangers
Here are a few outdoor activities for your diary organised by the Ranger service in Caithness.  The first takes place on Monday 1st November  - Stargazing At Dunnet  the second is Seal Watching outing at Skirza on Sunday 7 November.  See the list for more.

Caithness Fun Day Saturday 6th November 10.00am - 3.00pm At Wick High School
The Highland Children’s Forum (HCF) is holding a fun day for children with additional need and their families in Wick on Saturday November 6th. As well as offering both children and adults some leisure activities, there will be a range of stands sharing information about services and support available for children with additional need and their families.

TRAIL-BLAZER  - Looking Back To The first Apprentice At Dounreay
This year marks an important milestone in the history of UKAEA craft apprenticeship scheme at Dounreay; it appoints its 1000th apprentice. The identity of this person will be revealed at the annual apprenticeship and trainee certificate presentation awards, to be held insert as appropriate. This person will carry that honour as a badge of pride, and a symbol of a scheme, started in 1955, that gave young people from Caithness and Sutherland, and eventually from further afield, a first-class training in their chosen engineering career. Ten of the first eleven entrants were from Caithness, with Jim Macdonald from Sutherland, completing the number.

SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Mr Rob Gibson has today Monday 25 October 2004 welcomed the end of uncertainty over the smaller Safeway stores which will now be taken over by Somerfield. This following recent price hikes in rural stores and some smaller city centre stores.  Commenting, Mr Gibson said: "I welcome an end to uncertainty for users of smaller Safeway stores.  Morrisons sent an early signal of their lack of interest in their recent purchases by hiking prices for known valued items in the so-called compact stores.

North School Winning Football Teams
1960                                 1962                             1963 or 1964

These photographs of North School winning football teams have been supplied by Mr Ian Matheson who taught at North School.  The football match was played annually against Pulteneytown Academy.  Perhaps someone has some of the winning Academy games.  Mr Matheson tells us that the photographs were passed around a few former team members to get all of the names.

Thurso FC Swamp Bunillidh Thistle 12 - 0  - Report Brian Mackay
On Saturday afternoon Thurso continued their unbeaten start to their MSIS North Caledonian League campaign showing their championship credentials hammering Bunillidh Thistle 12-0 at The Dammies with six goals from top scorer Mark Nicholl taking his tally to 19 in ten games, four from Phil Makhouli (taking his total to six in three games) and singles from Jamie MacKenzie and Alan Murray (scoring his tenth in ten games). Next weekend sees the first silverware up for grabs this season as Thurso and Balintore meet at Dudgeon Park, Brora in The Final of The Port Services Cup. This will be the fourth cup final in a row for Balintore and the third in four finals between the two sides. Thurso will be looking for their eighth piece of silverware since formation in 1998. The Port Services Cup is the only trophy Thurso haven't won so far.

Shell Mex Staff At the Portland Arms, Lybster Around 1957
Another photographs from the collection of Frieda Murray.  Her father George Henderson, my father is sitting in the front, right hand side.   the picture is from the late 1950's and perhaps one of you was there and can give a n accurate date for it or supply a few more names.


What The Papers Are Saying About Highland Health Boar Offer On Maternity
Compromise on maternity service could end dispute - The Herald

Keiss School 1951
We have not had a Keiss school picture sent in for quite some time.  This one is from John Rosie who is in the picture.



Caithness Arts Asks Voluntary Arts Groups To Complete Scottish Online Survey
The Cultural Commission is looking for information from voluntary sector groups about the challenges they face and their developmental needs.  Caithness Arts is keen to get as many Caithness groups to complete the online survey to make the case for better provision in the far north.  Anyone involved in running such groups should take a look and it should only take a few minutes to complete the online form.

Wick High School Gets Asbestos All Clear Following Extensive Tests
The structural tests have been completed and the areas concerned are safe to be used. Air tests have been carried out and the areas are free of asbestos fibres. Scaffolding is being removed today and lights will
be re-installed.  The buildings will therefore be ready for use on Monday.  The Engineer is currently compiling a final report which will recommend that the monitoring system is replaced, and that an inspection and testing programme is put in place.

More Nuclear Jobs For Caithness
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Confirms Scottish Regional Base Will Be In Caithness

The Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness area Committee, Councillor David Flear has welcomed confirmation that the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) will establish its Scottish Regional Headquarters in Caithness.  The NDA, who will take over responsibility for decommissioning of the Dounreay site on 1 April next year, confirmed at a stakeholder workshop in Thurso today (Thursday) that they are currently looking at properties in the county for their new regional base. Between 6 - 15 management jobs will be based in the new office. The Council has suggested that Wick would particularly benefit from housing the new Scottish headquarters.

New Maternity Model Being Proposed By NHS Highland
A new model for Maternity services is being put together by NHS highland Health Board. NHS Highland Chairman, Garry Coutts said: ‘We know that the prospect of only a minority of mums being able to deliver in Caithness was one that the public could not support. In response, we have begun to look at a model of care that will increase the opportunity of having your baby in Caithness. I hope local people will work with us to develop this model fully. A full report detailing this proposal and a way forward will be put to the NHS Highland Board meeting on December 7th.
Workshops will be held in Caithness in the coming weeks to help inform the committee report.’
Highland Councillors have been advised that a new model is emerging which could enable not only low risk, but also medium risk births to take place safely at Caithness General Hospital, Wick, while offering other specialist service enhancements.
This could result in up to two-thirds of all births taking place locally.
Councillors are asked to welcome this move and to seek Highland NHS Board's agreement to pursue the development of such a model involving the clinical community, the Council and other partners as appropriate and with community involvement. Until the new model is introduced, the Council want the current level of services to be maintained.

Science Festival Winners At Culham Science Centre
This year’s Caithness Science O4 winners collected their prize in October.  Their UKAEA-sponsored reward for winning the children’s essay competition, as part of the Science 04 Festival held in Caithness in March, was an all-expenses paid trip to UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre. The two winners, 17 year old Louis Morril and 15 year old Alisdair Rankine, both of Thurso High School, were accompanied on their half day visit by their physics teacher, Andy Smith.  Culham education outreach manager Chris Warrick enjoyed meeting the students and said “I feel both Louis and Alisdair learnt a lot from the trip – on how the science they study in the classroom can be applied in a research environment”

Church Of Scotland Airs Concerns About Gambling Bill's Intention To Allow Many More Casinos
Gambling Bill causes 'great concern' for Kirk Speaking this afternoon, Mr Ian Manson, Director of the Church of Scotland's Board of Social Responsibility, said: "Like many individuals and organisations throughout the country, the Church of Scotland has significant concerns relating to the Gambling Bill. One of the consequences of this Bill will be to widen the availability of gambling and therefore increase the number of people involved in this activity. This in turn will inevitably lead to an increased number of people developing an addiction to gambling.

Reuse of vegetable wastes for the removal of metal ions from aqueous solutions
Several vegetable wastes including crushed olive stones from olive oil production and grape stalks from wine production have been used as alternative materials to polymeric resins for the removal of metal ions from aqueous solutions.  In her presentation, Dr Villaescusa will outline how these wastes may be used in either their natural form or encapsulated in calcium alginate beads for the decontamination of waters.  FREE

Preparing for Christmas?  Have you thought about family portraits? John Baikie at Caithness Photographic is getting ready to repeat last years successful sittings in Castletown Drill Hall.  John won the Highlands and Islands Photographer of the year and has been in constant demand since making his business full timeSo if you are thinking about a portrait for family and friends this year give him a call. Sittings on 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of November.  All sittings will receive a free 12x8 print of their choice.  For further details please call 01847 821261 / 07789 557586 or e-mail

Five Consortia Short-Listed For £100 Million Contract At Dounreay
Over 200 New Jobs To Be Involved In Construction Phase
Five consortia have been short-listed by UKAEA for the largest single construction project yet in the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan.  Subject to formal Ministerial approval, they will be invited to tender for the construction of a plant to condition and store a variety of liquid and solid intermediate-level wastes that are a legacy of Dounreay’s role as an experimental reactor establishment.


CASE Monthly Report for September 2004
Overall, the number of people unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 745 last month to 742. The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso 'Travel to Work Areas' respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month are in brackets): 3.1% (3.3%), 4.4% (4.3%)...

"E" Rock Concert - Saturday 23 October 7.00pm - Thurso Viewfirth
'E' Rock Concert has been set up to showcase young local rock bands in and around Caithness. There will be four bands taking place at this event. The four bands will be, Plastic Food, Fear-Of-Faith, Crimson Tide and Boss Hogg. Each band will play a 30 to 45 minute set, which will include their own material and a few covers. The doors open at 7pm with the first band onstage at 7:30pm. This will be a well put together event with professional lighting and sound. If you like rock music, this is well worth £3.
Details of all the bands can be found on

The Viewfirth Sports & social club may be redeveloped as part of joint venture being considered by UKAEA as indicated in the latest Dounreay Bulletin.  UKAEA has
part-funded a consultant to help the club firm up its plans for the future. The club has indicated it cannot afford the costs of acquiring and redeveloping the property, so UKAEA facilitated discussions with potential development partners. From this has emerged a joint venture company, Viewfirth Development Ltd, involving the club and two other organisations.  The property includes the existing club premises and the original garden ground, but does not include the main area of open green. This was transferred from UKAEA to Highland Council a decade ago.

The group behind the redevelopment of Thurso Town Hall into a multi-purpose community, visitor, information centre and museum, Caithness Horizons, have launched a new website to keep people informed of the projects progress and have formalised themselves by becoming a company limited by guarantee.  Preliminary sketches and plans of the proposed layout for the redevelopment are now available on the new website.  There is also a chance for people to complete an online survey form, which will provide information on what facilities people would like to see provided.  Plans are also available in Thurso Town Hall and both Wick and Thurso Libraries.  Under the plans Thurso Town Hall and the adjacent library which are owned by The Highland Council will be developed to improve the public spaces for meetings, talks and local groups, and to bring together information for visitors on Thurso, Caithness, and the decommissioning work at Dounreay. The project will ensure that the Victorian old building is maintained for public use in the future.

Wick High Class 1A - 1951 -52
Here is another old school photo sent in by John Rosie (Keiss) of his class at Wick High in 1951/52.  If you can help John out with a few missing names then get in touch.  



Obituary For Eric Voice By Tam Dalyell In the Independent Newspaper
This item has appeared in today's paper and on their web site.  Dr Eric Voice died on 11 September at Thurso.  He was well known for his work on the effects of plutonium on the human body and took part in in experiments to prove his theories by ingesting and inhaling it to show there were no ill effects.  He often debunked the many myths surrounding the material in the press.


North Action Group Heads  For Triple Action As Maternity Consultation Proceeds
As the maternity consultation progresses to its conclusion on 9 November North Action Group will see three distinct phases of action come together to ensure no one is any doubt that the population as whole wish to retain the consultant led maternity service in Caithness.  1. The Postcard response is already building with a reprint of a further 4000 cards having been undertaken as demand was so high.  2. A Petition to be handed to the Scottish Parliament is going well after several weeks of collecting signatures. 3. A RALLY in support of the campaign will be held in the Assembly Rooms, Wick at 7.30pm on Friday 29 October.  Several MSP's have been invited to speak at the Rally and those who have indicated they will attend are - Jamie Stone (Lib Dem), Rob Gibson (SNP), Mary Scanlon (Conservative) and Carolyn Leckie (SSP) who is herself a qualified midwife.  Dr George Ventners chairman of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network to which North Action Group belongs will also speak.  No tickets will be issued for this Rally and if necessary a secondary meeting will be held in the Car Park.  Maternity Campaign So Far

HM Customs Cutter Valiant At Scrabster
HMCC Valiant may be seen from time to time at Scrabster, Caithness as she patrols the coastal areas of the north of Scotland.  Valiant was named at a ceremony on 10th June 2004 at St Katherine's Dock, East London by Mrs Pamela Byrne, wife of Customs' Director General of Law Enforcement, Terry Byrne.  HMCC Valiant is part of our modern, intelligence-led Customs service and is the latest cutter to join the fleet. She and her crew will patrol and protect the UK coastline 24 hours a day, all year round, using up-to-date technology, intelligence and highly-skilled staff to combat smuggling and enforce Customs controls".  Valiant is a high-tech, 42 metre vessel built for HM Customs and Excise by Dutch shipbuilders Damen Shipyards and replaces a vessel of the same name. One of a highly successful class of fast patrol craft, she boasts sophisticated navigation, surveillance and communications equipment.

Health News Headlines Added To Eye On Maternity Section
With health related campaigns running all over Scotland and hitting the headlines almost every day now we have added an updating news feed from the Scotsman to the Maternity page.

Keiss Telephone Box - Not Being Removed - Only Days left to Make Representations

Kidney Dialysis Services Increase at Caithness General
Extra funding allocated recently will shortly allow the service to be expanded at Caithness General Hospital.   Training will initially take place in the Wick unit with further specialist training in Inverness Renal unit.  On completion of the training it is expected that the unit, which currently opens Monday Wednesday and Friday every week will open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Expansion of the service has been welcomed by The Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group as it will save more patients from travelling to Inverness for dialysis up to three times a week.

Landsend To John O'Groats To Raise Awareness And Cash For Prostate Cancer Charity
THREE loyal dogs will be tailing 70-year-old Alistair Standring on a 1,000 mile walk of a lifetime to raise awareness of prostate cancer.  Alistair Standring, a salesman from Oxfordshire, is walking from Land’s End to John o’Groats to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity after he lost a friend to the disease and discovered other friends who had been diagnosed with it.  Alistair will shortly be on part of the West highland Way and then over to Beauly before heading north to Caithness.  Donations can be made online.

National Recycling Week 18-24 October
Local Authorities have been given a new target to recycle waste at the start of National Recycling Week - Recycle for Scotland.  Across Scotland councils have been set a target to recycle and compost 25 per cent of municipal waste by 2006. This will now be extended to 30 per cent by 2008.  Deputy Environment Minister Lewis Macdonald also announced that around £350 million will be provided over the next three years to continue the work to improve recycling facilities and divert waste away from landfill.

Nuclear Development Agency Comes To Thurso - Thursday 21 October Petnland Hotel
The DTI has been running a series of events for stakeholders in the communities that will be affected by the setting up of the NDA. The next one here takes place in Thurso on Thursday.  If anyone would like to attend the update session they  should get in touch via the link above.

UKAEA Awards £3 Million Reactor Clean-up Contract
The UK Atomic Energy Authority has awarded a contract to ALSTEC Ltd for the construction of a new plant to clean up radioactive effluent that will arise during the next phase of decommissioning the Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay.  The effluent will be produced during cleaning of components and facilities that are coated with sodium liquid metal which was used as a reactor coolant. Already more than 500 of the 1500 tonnes of this metal has been destroyed in a £17 million plant built on site. The subsequent cleaning of residual sodium from components will generate effluent containing radioactive caesium-137 and cobalt-60 and this must be cleaned up before it can be discharged safely to sea.  The contract is valued in the region of £3 million.

You Did NOT Win Any Lottery Prize - SCAMS SCAMS SCAMS
Just another reminder that telling you about a prize win by email is just one of thousands of scams you might receive by email or fax.  Think about it !!  did you buy a ticket.  If not then you did not win any prize and they are after your cash either by sending in a fee or making an expensive premium rate telephone call.  The link above is just to one of many sites letting folk know about frauds.  No matter how tempting the offer is, forget about them all and you will save your own money.  We are also currently receiving emails purporting to be from banks asking you to go to the web site and confirm your details.  Definitely DO NOT do this as you will give away valuable personal details - its another scam and banks do not contact customers this way.  Here are a few more links to frauds and scams

New Park awards key electrical contract to local firm
Part of the final phase of re-development of Forss Business & Technology Park.
New Park Management recognises local expertise by awarding the contract for upgrading the Forss site electrical switchgear to JGC Engineering & Technical Services Ltd.  New Park Management are moving ahead with the final phase of the development of Forss Business Technology Park in light of the increasing demand for high quality office accommodation and workshop space ahead of the original timescales. Following a competitive tendering process JGC Engineering & Technical Services have been awarded the contract for the upgrading and increasing capacity of the main site electrical switchgear and supply in Lybster House (Building 3).

Highland Airports Set To Break Record One Million Passengers
More Than 558,000 Fly in Six Months
- Wick Airport Reverses Decline With Big Jump In Traffic
More than 558,000 passengers travelled through the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited in the past six months. This represents an 11% increase on the same period in 2003/04 with the operator on target to handle around one million passengers by the end of March 2005. The six-month total for 2004/05 now stands at 558,024, compared to 502,146 passengers in the same period in 2003/04. The largest year on year growth for the six months was recorded at Inverness with a rise in passengers of 21.2% to a total of 313,617. The six-month totals for Barra, Campbeltown, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick are also up on last year’s figures.

Improving Your Business Page  - Send In A Picture
Whether you have a web site or not you can make it easier for customers to find you by adding a picture of your premises to your FREE business page.  Just send a picture of your business premises to to improve the look of your FREE business page.  If your business has no premises then just send a picture that best shows your business.  This can be items you sell or your van or even yourself.


Buchollie Castle  - One Of The Castles Visited Yesterday
Yesterday a mini-bus tour organised by the Rangers as part of Archaeology Week took folk around some of the Caithness Castles.  Michael Draper sent in an excellent photograph of Buchollie and we have zoomed in on parts of it.

Eye In The Sky Over Girnigoe Castle Again Today

Vintage Tractor Ploughing Match - Results & Pictures Saturday 16 October 2004
The overall champion and Caithness champion was Graeme Mackay, Buldoo.  The day stayed dry although threatened from time to time to turn to rain as it had earlier in the week.  From those earlier downpours the ground was heavy but the competitors proved that these old tractors can still do the job when combined with skilled ploughmen.

Caithness Councillors Meet Salvation Army UK Commissioners And Local Members
A group of Caithness councillors met with Salvation Army members in Caithness who were receiving a visit from UK Commissioners Shaw and Helen Clifton.



Changing The Water At North Baths Swimming Pool, Wick - Yesterday
We all know how  the water is changed in the open air swimming pools like the Trinkie and the North Baths at Wick but standing watching it is something else.  Even this photograph does not quite capture the waves crashing over the place showing that perhaps two or three waves smashing over the pool will change the water not to mention throwing up rocks and other material to be emptied later.  Just check out the boiling water in the pool and you will see that it is all on the move.

Calling Caithness Businesses - Did You Know You Can Brighten Up Your Free Business Page
We will add a picture of your shop, hotel, bed and breakfast or whatever premises your business uses.  No Premises?  Then why not send a picture of something that clearly shows something of what you offer in your business.  We have just added a picture for Gail's Gift Box, a new shop in Bridge Street, Wick.   We will from time to time take the odd picture and add it to the business pages but it will be on much faster if you email one to us.  A picture can help customers locate your premises or just remind them to shop locally.  Its FREE so why not brighten up your page.  Of course if you would like a higher profile then perhaps you would like to consider a Banner Ad flying round our web sites.  Email pictures to

Health Campaigns Begin To Show They Can Move Politicians - Today's Latest Press
Speaker in rare outspoken move -
Commons Speaker to fight for Stobhill - Evening Times
56,000 stand against hospital plans - The Herald
Michael Martin MP makes plea for Stobhill Hospital - Scottish TV
Speaker breaks tradition to save hospital - The Herald

CD Factory At Wick Closes
The CD factory run by James Yorke Ltd has closed with the loss of seven jobs.  James Yorke Ltd took over the factory from Grampian Records that went into receivership with debts approaching £900,000.   James Yorke Lt also employed 25 people at their factory in Cheltenham and they have also lost their jobs.  Grampian Records ceased operations in January 2003.

Stormy Weather Hits North Pier And Wick Harbour Early This Year

The last few days were just the pre-cursor to today's storm that hit Wick Harbour.  The pile driving that was completed may have been just in time before the North Pier took the brunt of this latest storm.  There is still concrete laying going on at the pier and this has been held up with the weather.  No one could have stood on the pier today as the waves lashed over it.  The harbour up to the service bridge boiled as the wind piled the water into the funnel that is Wick Bay.  Cars once again risked getting hit by rocks as they chanced driving along Scalesburn.

UKAEA is inviting members of the public to participate in the choice of the Best Practicable Environmental Option for conditioning liquid wastes that are a legacy of reprocessing fast reactor fuel at Dounreay.  Fuel irradiated in the UK’s Prototype Fast Reactor was reprocessed at Dounreay until 1996 to separate the waste, or fission products, from the re-usable plutonium and uranium. The waste was extracted in the form of an acidic liquor, or raffinate, and approximately 200 m3 is stored safely and securely on the site today. If you would like information or to participate Click Here

More Vehicles In The Transport Pages

If you have any interesting or unusual pictures of vehicles in Caithness why not send them in to add to this growing section.  Please only send pictures of your own or that you have permission to have placed on the web site.  If you have details about a particular vehicle particularly vintage ones we will add that to the picture.

Vintage Tractor Ploughing Match
Saturday 16 October 2004 - Starts 9.30am
20 tractors will compete and all the tractors are pres 1965 with the oldest entry being from 1930.  A great chance to see that Caithness farmers still have the skills to plough using older machinery before the massive machines that do the job now came along.  The event lasts well into the afternoon for any late risers out there.

North Pier, Wick - Heavy Seas Threaten To Slow Down Work
Working on the pier must have been damp this week as the sea began to heave the waves at the North Pier.  Even at low tide when these pictures were taken the odd wave sent huge amounts of spray over the top.  Although work was going on when we looked there must have been times when it was not possible at high tide if the waves were still pounding the pier.

MSP Rob Gibson Sounds The Alarm For Air Ambulances
"Ambulances must be based in Northern and Western isles"
'The Scottish Executive must consider gale force weather conditions, basing air ambulance planes on islands, increasing cover and treating Caithness as an island for air ambulance purposes,' said Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands. ' I am increasingly alarmed that local opinion is being ignored in favour of cost cutting measures,'

Mandy Purves and Ann Cormack To Trek Costa Rica For SSPCA - Sponsor Online
The ladies have set up an online sponsorship form for anyone who would like to help them in their bid to trek Costa Rica to raise funds for the SSPCA.

Prestigious National Archaeology Awards Brought Back To Caithness
The Caithness Archaeological Trust (CAT) is celebrating this week after receiving awards at the British Archaeology Awards ceremony, which are the country’s most prestigious archaeological awards.  CAT won the Institute of Field Archaeologists Award for the best professional / voluntary archaeological project that demonstrates a commitment to professional standards and ethics in archaeology.  The premier award at the ceremony was the Silver Trowel Award; this is awarded for the greatest initiative in archaeology. CAT was the runner-up.   CAT Launch New Archaeology Web Site

Scottish Air Ambulance Service Headquarters May Move To England
The headquarters in Dundee may be closed if the section is privatised and the new company running the service is moved to England.  The current staff have many years of experience.  Will a new privatised set up have the same knowledge of Scottish Geography to direct planes and helicopters?

Post Watch Scotland
We have been asked to let everyone know about Post Watch Scotland part of the watchdog body looking at postal services.  They are there to help with any problems or concerns on postal matters so get in touch if you have suggestions.  They also offer a complaints service.  Post Watch and other watch dogs can be found in the Links Section under Government Watchdogs
Caithness Post Offices


An Old School At Oliclett
Another old building at Oliclett once used as a school but no doubt used as a farm building for many years after.  We have no information as yet but will add any that is sent in or we find at a later date.
Caithness Old Schools

The Old Mill At Oliclett, Yarrows
"Oliclett - Where Is that" we hear you say?  Not a well-known name even in Caithness but becoming more famous recently for the mesolithic discoveries including many flints and stones used to make arrow heads.  These pictures however are of a more recent period showing a rare under-fed mill.
Caithness Mills

Private Agenda At The Mill Theatre, Thurso Tuesday Night
7:84 Theatre Company acted out the words of real people interviewed over the summer months in a new play by Lorenzo Mele.  Using the words of real people from several campaigns including the maternity campaign in Caithness and the Skye Bridge it mixed the real experiences with the official reports and jargon to make the topics of health and education come alive with the disappointments of teachers, nurses, patients and others at the failures of the Public finance initiatives and PPP to deliver services.

Health Issues Continue In The Press
Kerr opens up health boards to public - The Herald
MSPs in protest at beds axe - Evening Times
Minister's vow on boards - Evening Times

Girnigoe Castle Scaffolding From The Air
More "Eye In The Sky" pictures from Alan Moar taken on Saturday as he checked out the scaffolding erected at Girnigoe Castle.  You can also see the buildings towards the sea and the walls on the cliff edge that you cannot see when you are on the site.

Pentland Model Boat Club AGM - 19 October 2004  7.30pm  Thurso Club
If you have ever wanted to find out about building model boats then why not go along and speak to the members who have years of experience and find out how to get started.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has queried the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace on what action the Scottish Executive is taking to encourage the development of wave power.  Speaking today Mrs Macmillan said, “I raised the question during Ministerial questions in the Scottish Parliament on Renewable Energy and was encouraged by the Minister’s response.  Mr Wallace highlighted a contribution of over £2 million of Executive funding which was used to construct the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney, where the Pelamis device is currently being tested."

Caithness Castles From The Air - A New Section

Thanks to Alan Moar for these pictures he has taken of the Caithness Castles whilst flying around Scotland.  We will add other aerial pictures from Alan as he takes them.  Meantime if anyone else has aerial photographs taken at any time we can add them to the new gallery.  Just email them to
Aerial Views Of Caithness
Alan Moar's Aerial Photos Scotland

'AB Alec Broon' - Caithness Artist Shelagh Swanson At St Fergus Gallery Until 30 October
Shelagh Swanson takes the visitor to the gallery on a trip down memory lane recreating friendship in the artefacts from a shed full of joiners tools and other material where she used to visit as a child. With glimpses of activities passed down from her childhood she fondly remembers the brother and sister who used to play cards with her.  An exhibition full of bold colour and energy.

Dounreay Job Cuts As Site Decommissioning Speeds Up
Between 200 and 300 Jobs of the 1280  current staff could go over the next two to three years with almost all gone by 2036 when the site should be back to a green site with only the famous dome and a few storage buildings  remaining.


Wick Players Go For Next Competition With Allo Allo Farce
"ALLO" ALLO - A Farce by David Croft & Jeremy Lloyd Based on the well known TV series
December 10th 11th & 13th - 7.30.p.m. - SCDA Adjudication on Friday
Tickets £7 & £5 (concessions 60 & over 14 & under)  Groups wishing to reserve block bookings (10 or more) should ring Jack Steele Booking Manager for a booking form by 14th November

Another Reduction In Decommissioning Takes Original 100 Years Down To 32 Years
UKAEA Slashes One £Billion From Costs In Advance OF Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

UKAEA today announced substantial reductions in the forecast timescale and cost of decommissioning its former experimental reactor establishment at Dounreay.  Completion of the programme has been accelerated to 2036 and the undiscounted cost reduced from £3.695 billion to £2.695 billion.  Across the UK, the UKAEA today is announcing it has cut the estimated cost of the clean-up of all its nuclear sites by almost a third.  The revised forecasts are contained in long-range plans submitted to the Government and regulators in preparation for the launch next April of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Noss Head On Saturday
This latest picture of Noss Head was sent in by Tom Richard who also took pictures of Girnigoe Castle (See below).  The light was automated some years ago and the buildings next to it house the Clan Sinclair library a growing collection of books and manuscripts and other material connected to the clan.   Out in a boat from where this picture was taken you can look around Sinclair Bay to see Noss Head, Girnigoe Castle, and Ackergill Tower and on clear days over to the Pentland Skerries and its lighthouse. 

From Lorraine Tait, Secretary, Thrumster WRI
On behalf of Thrumster WRI I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated to the recent whist drive we held, also thanks to everyone who came along and made the night such a success. The sum of 172.20 was raised for North Action Group.

Grinigoe Castle From The Sea Yesterday
Here are views of the castle and the scaffolding from the sea taken yesterday.



Caithness Castle Capers  - Saturday 16 October 11.00am
As part of Highland Archaeology Week a mini-bus tour of a few castles on the east Caithness coast,  £2 per person.  Booking is essential as places are limited. Contact Marina Finlayson 01955 607758.   Castles Pages

Your Local Forests - Drop In Sessions
Monday 11 October 4.00 - 8.00pm Ulbster Arms Hotel, Halkirk
Tuesday 12 October 4.00 - 8.00pm Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster
Informal drop in sessions organised by the Forestry Commission to let them know your thoughts and ideas for developing the forests in Caithness to meet the needs of the Caithness community. Tel 01862 810 359 if you require more information. Environment Groups   Forest & Tree Links

Health Tales Of woe In the Press just Keep Coming
Doctors decline as NHS opts for admin -
The Scotsman - Does this Apply To Caithness Maternity?

Hydraulic isolation of the waste shaft at Dounreay is to be carried out by Scottish-based Ritchies, the specialist geotechnical division of Edmund Nuttall Ltd.  Ritchies will insert a 10m-wide curtain of grout in the rock around the shaft to stop groundwater flowing into the column of waste. This will involve drilling between 350 and 400 boreholes in an oval-shaped ring around the shaft and injecting grout into the fissures in the rock.

Scam Hits Caithness Telephones - Put All Brains In Gear - Did You Really Win A Prize?
We just received a phone call telling us we had been guaranteed to have won one of four prizes.  Yeah Right!!.  All you have to do is reply to this phone number  - Its an 0905 number and if you call the chances are you will be paying a huge telephone charge.  This can be up to £1.49 per minute and who knows how long the call will last.  If you want to check call charges to this code Click HereLets face it if you had really won something would they really ask you to phone another number - think about it.  You have not won anything but you could help someone become a millionaire as they scam everyone to make extremely expensive phone calls.  Remember our motto - "Never buy anything at the door, by phone fax or email unless you initiated the calls."  You will may never know how much you saved but if followed it will not cost you anything.

Caithness Goes For Paper Recycling
4 new skips for paper recycling have been delivered to Caithness and Richard Guest, Caithness Area Roads & Community Works Manager has agreed with the managers of both the Co-op and Morrisons in both Wick and Thurso to place them in the supermarket car parks.  The skips need a minor alteration but they should all be in place shortly.

Highlands MSP Highlights Rural Case In Phone Debate
Mary Scanlon MSP highlighted the fact that of 1000 phone boxes facing removal under BT's review, 257 are in the Highlands, a region with some of the most remote areas in Scotland.  Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on Closure of Public Telephone Boxes by BT, Mary said; "British Telecom is said to be discussing an option with Highlands and Islands enterprise which would see kiosks being used as Tourist Information Points, a scheme which would involve BT and Local authority Funding, and would only cost £200 per year to fund.

A much improved Close Circuit TV System - serving Dingwall, Fort William, Inverness, Nairn, Tain and Thurso - should not only make the citizens of these communities feel safer but will help the police to secure convictions.  The Highland Council, as community safety leaders, has spent £200,000 on integrating the network and providing an efficient and consistently high standard of service across its area.  A total of 49 cameras in the six communities have been replaced with state of the art digital recording systems. Monitoring operates in both colour and black and white, the latter often required for sharper images during the hours of darkness in some locations.

Highland Councillors are among the first in Scotland to respond to the call from the Scottish Executive to establish a local Gaelic Language Plan.  Meeting in Portree on Thursday 7th October, the Council approved the draft of a four-pronged plan of action, which will be circulated to interested groups for consultation. In addition to ensuring that Highland is a lead authority in relation to Gaelic developments nationally, the Council's Gaelic Language and Culture Plan will have four key objectives...

Wick Academy Crucial Home Game On Tuesday
Academy have a game today V Deveronvale but they have a more important game on Tuesday night at 7.30pm home to Forres Mechanics FC in the semi -final of the North of Scotland Cup.  If they win that it will be their 1st senior cup final and will probably be played at Brora Rangers ground on the Sunday 31st October as the other semi -final is between Clach & Nairn county which is being played the same night as Wick's game.  Good Luck to Academy today and Tuesday

Health Matters In The Press

Gesture Maternity Politics?  Health Board Meetings In Caithness
They Sent A Full Team To Convince Caithness Folk Of Need To End Consultant Maternity Services

They were statutorily bound to hold public meetings for a major change in health services.  They came and did hold the meetings but as the Rev Bill Wallace said a few weeks ago the exercise was pointless.  The board already knew what people in Caithness wanted so they used the opportunity to tell everyone why they could not have what they wanted.  Was that consultation or was it a lecture in along the lines of "We Know What's Good For You"  Certainly plenty of finger jabbing and pointing at the audience did not seem to win many friends.  Councillors David Flear and Bill Fernie at different meetings asked to have a consultation group similar to the one that has now settled the Belford Hospital debacle in Fort William.  However Health Board chairman Gary Coutts refused to defer the decision beyond the date already set for the end of the consultation on 9 November with a board decision to follow in December.  The public have until 9 November to send their views to the Health Board.

Just when he thought he was out of the health frying pan he finds himself in the middle of the homeless fire!!  
New Communities Minister, Malcolm Chisholm, has been urged to ensure, as his first priority, that no homeless child in Scotland will spend this Christmas in Bed and Breakfast accommodation. The call comes as Shelter joins forces with the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to highlight the plight of over a million children in Britain suffering in bad housing. Former Minister Margaret Curran pledged, last December, to end the scandal of children living in B&Bs by this Christmas. But regulations to ban the use of B&Bs for families are still not in place.

Catching Up With Maternity Press Headlines
Maternity unit's downgrade 'could cost economy £3m'-
Key pledge to recruit 600 doctors is in disarray - The Herald
More Health New Also Hitting Caithness and The Highlands
GPs may be forced to work out of hours -
The Herald
To say the least according to the article in the John O'Groat Journal this is another problem in the making after GP's asked two NHS Highland Health Board members - Mr Alston vice-chair and Mr Gibbins chief executive - to leave a meeting held at Thurso Medical Practice after apparently being unable to answer the GP's questions.  GP's are asking for an apology following the heated exchanges that ensued.  Gary Coutts chairman of the Health Board had announced that they were ready for the ne out of hours service to commence on 1 December but the  GP's at the Thurso meeting but Dr Alison Brooks is quoted as saying "As far as we are concerned this is utter nonsense and we believe they are misleading the public.

A Poem Sent In For National Poetry Day
Sorry we were away on the day  - 7 October and still catching up with the backlog of email

The Ord of Caithness known as one of the most dangerous places to be caught in winter and still today a place to avoid in the snow due to the tendency for snow to pile up into drifts.  today drivers know it as the place they often get trapped behind slow moving lorries, vans and other heavy traffic.  Now the biggest improvement of the road  is finally underway.  The improvement work started in August and will last until September 2005.  Finally cars may be able to pass the larger vehicles and hopefully there will be less chance of drifting snow blocking the road in winter - time will tell.  For now the hillside is being cut away at the edges to make way for the new road and extra lane in places.

UKAEA Dounreay Donates Computers To Local Groups
UKAEA Dounreay have donated PC's to 6 local charites and organisations.  The PC's were presented recently at the Dounreay Visitor Centre by Marie Mackay, UKAEA Dounreay to representatives from St Andrew's Ambulance, Halkirk & Westerdale Parish Church, 1st Halkirk Boys' Brigade, Northland Creative Glass, Orkney Museum and Queen Elizabeth Assessment & Rehab Unit, Caithness General Hospital (not represented in the photo).

Prize Donations Increasing for Town & County Hospital
Staff organising a Sports Raffle  to build an extension to the current Palliative Care Rooms that will give patients and their families the ability to be together at what is often a difficult time have had a great response in their request for prizes.  Mr Al Fayed, Balnagown Estate heads the list with -1 days hind stalking for one person on Duchally/Invercassley Estate.  Prizes from local and in the USA have come forward to offfer prizes and the list is growing.  Fishing and football are currently topping the lists but other sports are coming on board.  Watch out for the auction and see if you can win a days fishing or a trip or some footy items.

Water Burst At Bridge Street, Wick
A water burst at Bridge Street, Wick gave drivers a quick car wash as they drove through Wick this morning.  Water to surrounding buildings was cut off for a period until water engineers and workmen got to grips with the problem


Expect To See More Pictures Like This - Telephone Boxes Being Taken Away From Wick
We can expect top see many more pictures like this as telephone boxes are removed in coming months following the consultation now extended until 22 October. thanks to Samuel de la Haye for this picture.  If anyone else snaps a few more send them in to add to the gallery.  One day your grand=children will look at them and say "You actually had telephones lying around the countryside"  This is the beginning of the end of another era in telecommunications.  Lets hope rural areas can survive without the ones to be removed.  Keep those batteries charged in the mobies.

Decommissioning engineers have looked inside Scotland’s first nuclear reactor for the first time since it was built almost half a century ago.  A remotely-operated video camera and radiation measurement probe was inserted inside the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor to explore its condition.


North Action Group To Hand In Over 1000 Reponses To NHS Highland Health Board
North Action Group representatives Aelex Miller, Bill Fernie and Frank Ward will be in Inverness on Tuesday to attend the Health Board meeting to hear for themselves the latest from officials and speakers about maternity services.  On the way down a final count of responses handed over to the North Action Group so far will be totalled up before being handed over to the board.  Responses are still flowing in and the first batch of cards distributed were snapped up and a reprint is now underway with delivery expected by Friday . distribution around the county will then take place.  There is still plenty of time to write letters in response to the consultation.

More Headlines As Health Issues Force Some Changes
Health Minister Sacked In Cabinet Reshuffle - Scottish TV
No Change In Health Policy - BBC
Same faces do different jobs in the lukewarm change - Scotsman
McConnell's NHS revolution... -
Chisholm pays price in Cabinet reshuffle -
200 join hospital cuts rally - Evening Times
Chisholm leaves Health post in Cabinet shuffle - Scotsman
McConnell reshuffles Scottish ministers -
Chisholm moved as McAveety is sacked - Evening Times

Wick High Rugby 1974
Sandy Bain Formerly of Kennedy Terrace and Weivon, Albert St, Wick Now Bedlington, Northumberland sends this photographs in and wonders what happened to the lads he played rugby and football with.  If anyone would like to get in touch or add a message to the photo then get in touch with us here at the web site.  Sandy said "Was going through some old photos and came up with this..30 years on!!, proud as punch we were.... Almost as proud as Bill Oliver our coach and mentor, but some odd statistics to relate.........."

Highlands and Islands MSPs Rob Gibson, Maureen Macmillan and Eleanor Scott have joined Shelter's red chair 'sit-in', to show their support for the charity's campaign to end the scandal of the over one million in children in Britain who are suffering in bad housing.

Thurso FC Powering Ahead With Latest Win
On Saturday afternoon Thurso F.C progressed to another cup Final beating Invergordon 6-1 away in Invergordon thanks to goals by Mark Nicholl (2), Phil Makhlouli (2), Alan Murray and Ross Sutherland. This will be Thurso's seventh cup final appearance since formation in 1998 and if they beat opponents Balintore, who beat Halkirk United 3-0 at home in their semi-final, it will be their eighth trophy in their short history which is a great achievement in such a short space of time. The final is sheduled to take place at Dudgeon Park in Brora on Saturday 30th of October 2004.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm Moved In Shake Up At Scottish Parliament
Chisholm Out       Kerr In       At Health
First Minister Jack McConnell made several changes of his ministers today and Malcolm Chisholm was one of those who was moved.  The new health minister is Andy Kerr moving from Finance and Public Services. With record spending on health services in Scotland the move comes amid huge outrage at threats of closures and down-grading of several hospitals in general and maternity services.  Health Board proposals all over Scotland have been met with resistance by local communities who have formed action groups culminating in the formation of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network under the leadership of Dr George Ventners.  North Action Group and other local campaign groups are fully committed to supporting the new body in selecting candidates to contest the next general election.   The new Health Minister Andy Kerr will have to get up to speed with the issues of downgrading and closures and in Caithness in particular the public meetings are likely to be fully in the public eye.

Scaffolding Takes On Epic Proportions At Castle Girnigoe
The scale of the task that the Sinclair Trust has taken on is beginning to emerge as the scaffolding being erected begins to take on epic proportions.  The men building it are lost in the ever growing mass of pieces being wrapped around one section of the castle.  With something to view the scale of the castle its size is easier to see as the scaffolding reaches almost nine storeys in height.  As the myriad of pieces is being put together it is easier to see that the job of restoration is of mammoth proportions.  A race is now on to get the scaffolding erection complete and for some initial work to be completed before winter arrives.  No one wants to be faced with a Caithness gale on the top of that tower and work will go on until winter weather forces a halt until the spring.  Seeing this tower being built it you can understand much better what a huge task faced the builders of the castle itself using wood and brute force to move the massive stones up the walls.

North Action Groups Heads for NHS Highland Board Meeting Once Again
With public meetings in Caithness on the future of maternity services this week North Action Group will once more go to Inverness to hear first hand the discussions regarding this matter on the Health Board agenda.  Items relating to the maternity issue include an interim report of Highland Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise Socio-Economic Study by Carron McDiarmid, 
NHS Highland Health board Agenda For 5 October Pdf file requiring Adobe Acrobat to be installed. A look at this months agenda shows the many changes that are underway in health services from the new Community Health Partnerships (CHP's commonly now referred to as Chips) to the new Scottish Health Council which will shortly replace highland Health Council and all of the other Scottish Health Councils. Report on nursing and Midwifery services to undergo a review and financial reports showing the current overspend position of the NHS Highland board but hoping to break even by the end of the financial year.  Interestingly a reference is made to patient travel expenses now running over budget.

Telephone Boxes
Rounding up three more telephone boxes.  Ackergill is one with a notice to be removed unless there are any valid reasons for keeping it. Argyle Square and Henrietta Street in Wick are both being retained.



BT Has Extended the Telephone Kiosk Consultation Period Until 22 October
After many representations from many individuals and politicians regarding the length of the consultation period BT has extended the final deadline to make representations until 22 October.  Bill Fernie has been mentioning the deadlines to as many people as possible and now some MSP's are also joining in as there has been an extension to the period.  MSP's Mary Scanlon and Rob Gibson have both raised the profile of this issue about people not politics.

Who Visited Wick between 1850 - 1923? - A Stone In Wick Tells Us Who A Few Were
In Station Road there is a stone with inscriptions bearing the names of "Distinguished Visitors To Wick" between 1850 and 1923.  Quite who this was to impress in the 1920's we are not sure.  Perhaps it was a small job creation or an attempt to increase people's pride in the town.  Thanks to the person who asked the question about this stone recently.


Todays Telephone Pest At
"Hello I am phoning on behalf of "?????"  We are conducting a survey on DVD's and Videos" blah blah blah.
" Are You Selling anything? 
"No we are conducting a survey" - Yeah Yeah Yeah.  Be like us and say No thanks and discourage these phone pests before you go on yet another database to get more junk mail or they turn out to be trying to offer you something after all..  If we all say no on the phone or to unwanted emails we might have half a chance of preventing ever more of this type of approach.  The alternative is your phone will ring all day every day with some call centre or another trying to sell you something.  Try the telephone preference service and it might help but not always as they have a habit of professing to have rung the wrong number.   Consumer Links for some help

Grants For Arts Events & Festivals
But You Better Be Quick To Apply Deadline 1 November 2004
The Highland Council has, last Thursday, agreed a new scheme to put additional funding towards local promotions, arts events and festivals for the period March 2005 to February 2006

Wick Airport Opening Hours
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited today confirmed that it had no plans to change Wick Airport's opening hours on Saturdays after 31 October 2004 when Loganair intends to drop its Saturday flight between Wick and Edinburgh from its schedules.

The Health Debate In The Press
Malcolm Chisholm scores a Pyrrhic victory  - Scotsman - Opinion Column Scathing On Chisholm
Chisholm bows to hospital campaigners - Scotsman The Queen Mothers Hospital Glasgow turnabout
Campaigners to hold rally over hospital closure plans - Scotsman - About today's Demo in Glasgow
Debate is a few decibels short of a health uproar
 - Scotsman
First-hand view of a health service at breaking point - The Herald
Only one Labour MSP rebels against executive - The Herald
Tough decision-maker leads advisory group - The Herald - Professor Calder Leads the Review Group
Cuts across the country - The Herald
Meantime on the Caithness Maternity Front     Public Meetings Dates & Times
North Action Group members are in action in Wick and Thurso today gathering signatures for the petition to the Scottish Parliament, handing out leaflets advising of the dates and times of next weeks public meetings called by the Health Board.  The postcard reply campaign is going so well that almost all the outlets for the cards are reporting they have run out.  North Action Group have ordered another batch that will be available by the end of next week.  Meantime anyone can still write a letter to the board.  NAG expects that the public response to the boards consultation to be one of the largest ever seen in the Highlands as the public have responded well to the postcard campaign.  Wherever possible NAG is collecting the cards in for transmission to the Health Board to save postage costs that will be charged to the group is sent via the post.

Caithness Field Club Winter Programme Of Walks And Talks
If you follow Caithness Field Club round Caithness over the years you probably have discovered more about the county than you ever imagined.  With regular outings in the summer and a mix of walks and talks in the wetter season.  Visitors are always welcome to come along to any of the events.  So if you have an interest in History, Archaeology or Natural History and like a few pleasant walks around Caithness then take a look at the winter programme.  The annual membership fee is only £6 and for that you also get a copy of the Field Club Bulletin each year full of articles about Caithness.  The winter programme starts on Sunday 10 October with a walk to the Wag Of Forse - yet another of the well kept secrets of Caithness.  The walks are not too strenuous and there are usually several stops to hear about the area or examine a feature, building or flora and fauna. 

Caithness Could Have A New Sport Soon - Archery - But Needs Interested Folk To Get In Touch
Have you ever wanted to take up archery.  This sport is popular in many part of the country but does not exist in Caithness - Yet.  Now there is the potential to start up but the budding venture needs people interested to register.  An application is being made to the Lottery and the more people who register  an interest might affect the level of grant available for new equipment.  No experience is required.  If you are interested in Archery in Caithness contact Ian Sinclair Tel 01955 606700 for more information.

Council Pays Tribute To Heritage Groups In Caithness
Caithness councillors paid tribute to the many groups in the county who have had outstanding success in recent years in highlighting heritage in Caithness.  amongst those present were Caithness field Club, Sinclair Trust, Waterlines, Caithness Archaeology Trust, Rangers, Wick Youth Club and many others.  Convenor David Flear and Councillor Graham Smith acknowledged their contributions over the years and particularly the strides being made in the past couple of years to make much more of the archaeology and history of Caithness accessible to the public and visitors.

North Action Group Prepares for Next Weeks Public Meetings On Maternity
North Action Group at their meeting on Thursday night restated the need for as many people as possible to go to the public meetings and state their case for retaining the consultant led 24/7 maternity service in the county.  The Health Board have already confirmed that tickets will guarantee a seat but if there is room other people will be allowed in.  NAG had originally feared that the Wick Assembly Rooms and Thurso Town Hall would be almost empty because of the low numbers of ticket available.  The board later stated that people would be allowed in if there was room and it was within safety limits.

Disability Discrimination Act Gets Teeth On 1 October 2004
Today the Disability Discrimination Act confers many new rights and responsibilities that are enforceable in the courts with unlimited fines depending on circumstances.  As always ignorance of the law will may be a defence against any cases brought top court.  Here are a few hints about how it might affect people.

NAG Postcard Campaign A Growing Success
NAG has been inundated with requests for more of the postcards it has placed around the county.  Orders for more have been coming in fast and more will be produced shortly and distributed.  Anyone who can distribute to larger groups is asked to contact a NAG committee member for cards.  Further supplies will shortly be distributed to shops and other places within the next few days.  NAG had taken a cautious approach in the initial print run but will now move to quickly get more out to the community.  Individuals can still write letters direct to the board in Inverness expressing their preferences in regard to the consultation.

The Health Debate Goes On In The Press
Chisholm Pulls Through in Health Reforms Debate - Scotsman
Minister survives confidence move - BBC
Queen Mum's will live on in £100m new joint hospital - Evening Times
Jubilation at hospital reprieve - BBC
Thousands set for city rally to protest at hospital closure plans - Scotsman  NAG will be there.