Westminster Election 2005 - Three Candidates Hit Wick
Alan Jamieson Labour, John Thurso Lib Dem And Luke Ivory Scottish Socialist Candidates

As the days tick by to election day on 5 May candidates are all out trying to pull in a few more votes.  On the last Saturday three candidates were in Wick.  A final round next week will see the candidates all in Thurso and Wick for eve of poll  hustings meetings.

Caithness Big Band & North Coast Jazz Band Would Like To Play At Any VE Day Celebrations
Are you running a VE celebration  or anniversary day then perhaps you would like to have a big band to set the scene playing music from those days 60 years ago.  They are very versatile and can play Glen Miller type music and a whole range of popular music from then and since.  They even have military uniforms from the era to take you back to those war time memories.  Get in touch with the band or email us here at if you need to contact the band for dance or other event.

Tiny school reopens to attract families - Scotsman
the school to be re-opened by highland Council is at Altnaharra in Sutherland.

More Progress At Blackstairs, Wick - From Thursday 28 April

Of course there is debate about the rebuilding of the Blackstairs.  Should the new stones be mixed with the remaining old stones still in good condition?  Should they have inscriptions on them?  Should there be small platform halfway up? - soon to be added for safety reasons next to the entrance to the building.  Why is the stone a different colour? (see the message board).  One thing is for sure the area of Pulteneytown cold not have been left for much longer before some of it was fit only for demolition.  the project has some way to go and has already created houses in Telford Street out of derelict buildings, is repaving along Bank Row, assisting with the Memorial Garden on the bomb site in Bank Row at the foot of the Black Stairs (yet to start).  New Flagstone at the bottom of the Blackstairs will join with the paving now being put in at the salt cellars. Assisted the development of the building now occupied by Caithness Voluntary Group.  The project still has funds to assist businesses rejuvenate buildings in the area and they are working hard to ensure that the funds can be used up and allocated by the 31 December 2005 and used in the following year.  The total target spend is £2.5 million - matched making it £5m.  Love them or hate them the new Blackstairs are only one part of a much larger picture which is far from complete.  As the project moves on and the new street lighting is installed and other parts finished we are at last beginning to see what many local folk had been asking for over the past 20 years  - the rejuvenation of Pulteneytown and Wick.  Wick is moving  - New Pier almost completed at a cost of £3.5 million - Harbour Trust about to evolve into a new organisation - Market Square re-paved - Wetherspoon's new pub in the old Post Office - Shore Lane widened - Shore Road works starting shortly - New water systems in various parts of the town - New waste water treatment works at North Head - £3.5 million committed to the Caithness Heat And Power company for new heating system for up to 500 houses in Wick (hopefully to spread across the whole of Wick and if successful to develop in Thurso Halkirk and Lybster) - looking to acquire forestry for the town of Wick - New Recycling Centre near Wick airport - Wick Airport Terminal £800,000 upgrade - New Housing development at Harrowhill starting shortly - New Offices for M M Miller construction - Dental Training unit at New business park - New Retail Park (seven shops) next to Lidl starting soon - Potential second Retail Park near Wick airport (Major retailer Tesco looking to open a new store) - Other developers looking at Wick with a variety of ideas and plans) Highland Council trying to stimulate more developments and negotiating with a range of people. New Family Centre At the back of Telford Street (work staring shortly).  Pulteneytown People's Project is moving forward with several projects rebuilding the community and aiming to build a new community centre/skateboard park starting shortly.  New Arts Centre for Barrock Hall being planned by North Highland College to run drama courses - New all-weather football pitch starting shortly. CASE looking to stimulate developments in Wick with full backing of HIE to make it happen in Wick.  Wick currently has 5% unemployment second highest in the Highlands but compared to northern Finland (Karelia 15%) that is very low and a few years ago unemployment levels in Wick were higher.  And there is more if you want to add to the list - Girnigoe Castle (huge development near Wick by Clan Sinclair Trust preserving the castle/archaeology works and a visitor centre.  There is still a lot to do but the Blackstairs might just be a symbol of all that is happening in Wick - it is being rebuilt slowly but surely.  There is likely to be much much more to come and no doubt it will cause as much controversy with differing views on all sides as the rebuilding of the Blackstairs is doing - "thank goodness we're no deid yet" - and er has anyone heard the birth rate is up in Caithness.............. We may take a look at Thurso next week and and rest of the county later in a similar vein after that. Is your glass half full or half empty?......... More photos coming as the Blackstairs job moves on......Long live the Blackstairs!!!

Fed Up With The Election - Try the Uncredibles
A spoof cartoon we saw via Channel 4 News tonight

North School Pupils Complete the Kelloggs Great Walk 2005
The older pupils at north School, Wick joined Karen Churches to walk 10 kilometres from John O'Groats to Duncansby Head. Karen Churches is professional marathon runner and is setting out to raise money for charity in a series of 10k walks with groups all over the UK.

Breadalbane Cresent, Wick

The elegant houses in Breadalbane Cresent can be reached from the Blackstairs.  These pictures are only one section on one side of the crescent and we will add the others at a later date.  An interesting feature of this section of the crescent are the large courtyards at the back now used as garages and workshops.

Wick Banger Derby 26 June 2005

Landscapes Of Sutherland Launch - Wednesday 4 May 2005 SNH Golspie
A new range of promotional material, featuring the landscapes of Sutherland, will be launched in Golspie next Wednesday (4th May). The full colour posters, postcards and schools activity packs have been produced by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to raise awareness of the different types of landscapes in the county. The poster and postcards include quotes from people, including a prominent councillor and a young schoolgirl, on how they feel about their landscapes. The schools activity pack provides guidance on fieldwork relating to landscape, and pointers on how to identify key landscape features.


As a single department, HMRC will have the added benefit of producing greater efficiencies, reducing the tax gap and providing a greater customer focus. HMRC is responsible for collecting the bulk of tax revenue as well as paying tax credits and child benefit, and strengthening the UK's frontiers. It manages: Income, Corporation, Capital Gains, Inheritance, Insurance Premium, Stamp, Land and Petroleum Revenue Taxes; Environmental taxes: climate change and aggregates levy and landfill tax; VAT; Customs Duties and frontier protection; Excise Duties; National Insurance; Tax Credits; Child Benefit and the Child Trust Fund; Enforcement of the National Minimum Wage; Recovery of Student Loan repayments; Developing Lorry Road user Charging.

Northern Nashville Say Thanks To Everyone For Successful Country Festival
The Northern Nashville would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been checking our website to see the photographs from the festival. However, just after the festival weekend they were set back with technical problems on the web site. The site is now back on with all the photos. Festival Photos


Boys Brigade In Wick To Restart
The BB meeting was held  and 9 adults and 3 Boys attended. 15 people offered to help us they were all parents of the Boys. There was good feedback from these people and the Company can restart but not until they are all trained. It will restart with only 1 section being run at the start - probably Anchor Boys.  If anyone would like to call Marc MacDonald on 07740 341 399.

Faith communities, voluntary groups and key agencies have given their support to the holding of vigils throughout the United Kingdom during the last days of the General Election campaign.

Queen Mother Christmas Cards Go on Display  - Scotsman
The Castle of Mey Trust has created a new display of Christmas Cards sent by the late Queen mother.

Electoral Information For The Highlands
The election will cost £250,000 to run in Highland



Postal Voting More Than Doubles In Highland
12,098 in 2005 from 5684 in 2001
The deadline for postal voting, postal-proxy voting and voting by proxy was 5 pm on 26 April. 
The number of applications accepted by the Electoral Registration Officer across the three constituencies are:  Postal – 12,098; postal-proxy – 76; proxy – 616
The breakdown is: Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, 2,878 postal; 6 postal-proxy and 142 proxy;
Ross, Skye and Lochaber, 3,262 postal; 15 postal-proxy and 201 proxy;   Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, 5,958 postal; 55 postal-proxy and 273 proxy. The total number of postal applications across the three constituencies at the General Election in 2001 was 5,684.  The number of valid postal votes cast was 4,625.  The postal votes must be cast by 10 pm on Thursday 5 May, when the polls close.

Caithness Junior Pipe Band  - New Pages
Caithness Junior Pipe Band is moving from strength to strength and now have 20 members are from all over Caithness.  The band hope to take part in the massed pipe band fest which will be held in Edinburgh on 21st August 2005. The band are currently raising funds to enable the trip and are holding a ceilidh dance in the British Legion in Thurso on  Saturday 7th May 2005.  the band is undertaking a range of fund raisers and is looking for business sponsorship.  If any local business would like to help sponsor the band get in touch with the chair Jennifer Harvey

Rebuilding Blackstairs, Wick Over The Past Two Days

New TV Campaign Promoting Inverness Air Services
Inverness Airport Now the Fastest Growing Airport In Scotland

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has launched a new television advertising campaign to promote the expanding range of scheduled air services available from its largest airport at Inverness. The advert, which is running on Grampian Television throughout the region, features birds representing airlines taking off and landing on the branches of a tree and includes the slogan "Inverness Airport, we're branching out". The airport handled a record 565,000 passengers in the year ending 31 March and easyJet is set to launch two new daily flights, to Belfast and Bristol, at the beginning of July.  Figures released earlier this week by the Civil Aviation Authority show that Inverness was the fastest growing Scottish airport in the calendar year 2004 with growth of 20% from 1 January to 31 December.  Inverness Airport Information

HUGH ROSS - Longest Serving Employee Retires From UKAEA
When Hugh Ross retires from UKAEA, Dounreay, 28 April 2005, he will have spent just four months short of forty-nine years on site, its longest serving employee.  It is a proud record, and one of which his late parents would have been equally proud. Hugh grew up in Reay, where he received his primary education. His father was gamekeeper on Sandside estate. His mother’s ancestors can be traced back to having worked in the early 1900s on Lower Dounreay farm, the site of the future fast reactor project.

SSP Attack Lib Dems over Iraq
Scottish Socialist Party candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Luke Ivory has joined his Party leader Colin Fox and attacked the Liberal Democrats over the Iraq war as another example of their "two-faced" politics; saying one thing on a UK wide basis and doing another in the Scottish Parliament.  Luke Ivory is critical that the government has found the money to fight the war in Iraq and compares the money spent on the war to the fact that Caithness General Hospital has not had the money for a CT scanner.

Cat Missing From Pulteneytown Area Of Wick - Let Us Know If You See Her
This tortoiseshell cat called "Izzy" is missing from the Pulteneytown area.  The family she lived with are keen to find her.  If anyone has seen her or she has arrived at a another house please let us know and we will pass on the details.



Finnish Forestry Visit To Caithness
Councillor Bill Fernie and economic development manager Elizabeth Marshall met up with a delegation of forestry people from Finland  on Sunday.  The visit was organised under the Northern Periphery Programme of the EU.  The visitors took the opportunity to see where the Heat and Power project will be located in Wick as well as visits to forests in in the county and in Sutherland.  They were accompanied by representatives from the Forestry Commission.  The team are interested in exchanges of information and this could prove very useful to the new scheme starting shortly in Wick. Listed Top On Google For "Westminster Elections 2005"
We are currently being listed as the number one site by Google search engine for Westminster Elections 2005.   Type "Westminster elections 2005" into Google and tops the listing.  We were surprised a few weeks ago when we discovered this but we still are rated at the top of the search listing for that category.  Try it yourselves and see if it still works.  We think it is due to the fact we set up the section way back in 2004.  Only Number 5 on Dog Pile.  Let us know if you find us highly rated on any other search engines you are using.  Number One On Ask Jeeves 

Latest Unemployment Statistics For Highlands & Islands
The listing for this new section is in the Site Map.  Additional links may be added later.

When Pat McVey retired from UKAEA, Dounreay, in mid-April, he brought the curtain down on a remarkable family contribution to UKAEA, an aggregate total of almost one hundred and three years service. Pat served UKAEA for forty-one years, having commenced in 1964, after spending three years in the merchant navy. In October last year, his brother George retired having completed forty-seven years service at Dounreay.  During their early days on site, the brothers were accompanied by their late father Jim, who arrived at Dounreay in 1956 from his native Glasgow, and who retired in 1971.

Thurso Business Takes Whisky Range Online 
A small family owned and run grocers in Thurso, J A Mackay, has recently launched a new e-commerce website to market their products.  As the domain name of the website suggests -  the emphasis is on their amazing selection of whisky, ranging from highly sought after Scottish malts to unusual brands from faraway places like New Zealand.


“The Maple Leaf and  the Thistle”  Canada and Caithness
A night of music, poetry and song.  Featuring leading visiting Canadian poets Gary Geddes and Paul Sutherland (plus local support from Scotia Review poets)
Open mic.
The Mill Theatre, Thurso Tuesday 3 May, 2005 7:30-10:00 p.m.
Admission: £3 and £2 concessions Raffle, bar open, signed books for sale

Report on the beach monitoring in the period up to 22 April 05.

Beckett On Tour - Mill Theatre, Thurso - Thursday 28th April 2005
Arches Theatre Company - Beckett on Tour
Two short Samuel Beckett plays in one evening.
Rockaby A lonely old woman, enshrouded in a black dress and surrounded by darkness, lurches back and forth in a rocking chair as a disembodied narrative speaks over her.
Krapp's Last Tape Resonating and pulsing with sound - keys jingle, corks pop, hands rub, feet shuffle, a banana peel slithers to the floor and an old man remembers.

Rumster Roads

The new road in Rumster known as the Loop and is a worthwhile walk or cycle of around 3 miles.

A mixture of young and older local volunteers turned out in force on Sunday to assist with a habitat enhancement scheme at South Head Quarries, Wick harbour. The project was organised by The Highland Council Planning and Development Service local countryside ranger and was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and Community Service Volunteer Action Earth Awards. Kind permission for the project was granted by Malcolm Bremner on behalf of the Wick Harbour Trust. The youngest volunteers, members of the Caithness Critters, planted a mixture of wildflower plugs around the recently created picnic areas. The attractive range of coastal plants such as birds foot trefoil, harebell and kidney vetch will produce bright colours over the summer months and attract insects into the area.

Collaborators Theatre Company Visit Hillhead School
Last week Hillhead saw a visit by the Collaborators Theatre Company and their "Shadowland Production". Their show consisted of two short plays; Icarus was told entirely using very imaginative shadow techniques. The second show The Snow Queen made more use of conventional puppets. as well as visiting Hillhead, the company also visited Keiss and played at Lyth Arts centre. Pupils at Hillhead had a great time making shadow puppets from throw away items such as cereal boxes. The primary 5 class had an opportunity to create the puppets for a version of Little Red Riding hood.

Caithness Councillors Approve New Retail Park At Wick
At the planning meeting held today at Assembly Rooms, Wick the Caithness councillors approved the application to build a new retail park next to Lidl at the South Road.  the development consists of 7027 sq metres to make seven shops including one for Homebase and one for Argos.  The Homebase shop has space for a garden centre.  the planning report placed before the Caithness Councillors can be seen here (A Pdf file).  the existing road into Lidl's was built to accommodate cars going into the new site which is adjacent.  Councillors welcomed the development as showing the growing confidence that Wick was being seen as an attractive place to develop new businesses.

Inverness At Dusk

Other Highland Views

East End Boys Club Get 2005 Football Season Going

Thurso Bowling Club Starts 2005 Season In Glorious Sunshine
Members and guests of Thurso Bowling Club welcomed the new bowling season on Saturday 23rd April at the Millbank Road club amidst glorious Opening Day sunshine.  Club President Vic Dable in his opening speech thanked the excellent work of the green keeping staff and the dedication given by the few volunteers that gave their time to the maintenance of the club over the closed season. The President's wife Carmen Dable was then presented with a bouquet of flowers donated by Noble's of Thurso before throwing the opening jack of the 2005 season. The afternoon Helter Skelter was keenly contested over 5 rinks but the 6th rink of Harry Cormack, Bob Campbell, Judy Mowat and Colin Mackintosh won easily and received a bottle of wine each. Liz Rhodes picked up a bottle of Bucks Fizz after getting the first toucher of the afternoon.

And Around The Corner At The Salt Cellars

Progress At Rebuilding Of The Black Stairs , Wick
The work at the Blackstairs, Wick is progressing with drainage pipes and concrete sections being added to strengthen the steps.  Part of the work also includes making the link back to the harbour and new Caithness flagstone is already being laid at the front of the old salt cellars.  With the new flagstone pavement moving along past the Heritage Centre in Bank row and the bomb site due to become a memorial garden this area old Wick is gradually being transformed to its former glory.  the area at the foot of the Blackstairs will also be laid out in flagstone getting rid of the patches of concrete and tar macadam that have been used to patch it over the years.  Later when new lighting is added this corner of wick harbour will once again be an attractive place to visit.

Miller Academy 1977 P7/1
Photo sent by Lynn Davie re
Thurso High 1977 Reunion



Thurso High From Around 1980
Photo sent by Lynn Davie re
Thurso High 1977 Reunion



UKAEA’s Pensions Administration Service, based at Thurso, Caithness, has been awarded a five-year contract by the Trustees of the RWE NUKEM Limited Employees Pension Scheme to carry out the administration of the Scheme. The RWE NUKEM Scheme has a membership of around 800 with 650 active members based at Dounreay, Risley, Windscale, Winfrith and Harwell.  UKAEA’s pension service currently administers nuclear sector pension schemes which cover 47,000 members across a number of employers – BNFL, UKAEA, the Radiation Division of the Health Protection Agency (formerly the National Radiological Protection Board), the Ministry of Defence, and some research councils.

Latest Newsletter From Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick
Highlighting shortage of supply teachers.  A Class newsletter is also included giving details of the latest going on in each class.

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso
All go at Mount Pleasant this term

The proposed road route linking the ex US Navy Base at Forss, Caithness and the UKAEA site at Dounreay, has had a planning application lodged with the Highland Council by Abbey Group Cambridgeshire Ltd. This brown field site next to the technology park owned by Newpark is classified as suitable for commercial development.  The base had been unused since decommissioning in 1992. Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise have stated ³From the point of view of the local economy it is important that this site is brought into economic use.  The owners, Abbey Properties, are keen to encourage firms requiring sites to bring business to the area.  Abbey Group are confident that the new road will make the site even more attractive to developers and bring more development and jobs to the area.

The Highland Council's New Recycling Initiatives for Caithness
The new Recycling Centre at the Airport Industrial Estate in Wick opened earlier this week. Local firm, John Gunn and Sons were contracted by The Highland Council to build the new facility which took twelve weeks to complete and cost in excess of a £¼ million which came from the Scottish Strategic Waste Fund.  Householders will now be able to take their cans, car batteries, cardboard, electrical appliances, engine oil, garden waste, paper, rubble and soil, scrap metal, textiles, tyres and white goods to the Recycling Centre where separate skips and containers will be available for the material to be recycled. There will also be an area in the site for residents to take furniture and household goods (bric-a-brac) which will be passed on to Homeaid Caithness for reuse. Residents will be met at the site entrance by an operative who will direct them to the correct containers and are advised to separate their waste before they go the site.

More Pictures for Thurso High 1977 Renuion
Mount Pleasant P1       
Thurso High 1977 Girls
Picture sent by Ross Haygarth in connection with the Thurso High 1977 Reunion



A Mount Pleasant Primary 3 Class
This picture has been sent in for the Thurso High 1977 Reunion
If you know all the names send in a list to add to the photo.



Springtime In The Woods - Walk With The Rangers - Sunday 24th April 2.00pm
Spring is here, so enjoy a lovely walk amongst the trees. Search for signs of spring life and listen to bird song.  This walk suits all ages and abilities but wrap up well. Meet at Achvarasdal woodland. Entrance by Reay at . Lasts approx 2 hours.
Achvarasdal House is set in the woodlands


John Thurso, Scottish Liberal Democrat Westminster candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, speaking at meetings on Saturday underlined the importance of the UK Presidency of the G8 which meets later this year in Scotland.  “9/11 changed the world.  The immense sympathy felt for the American people throughout the world in their grief has largely been squandered in an ill-judged war in Iraq – probably illegal – against which I voted.  “This is now history and our efforts must be to work for democracy and justice in Iraq as well as to press for a just settlement to the problems of the Middle East, in particular to achieving a resolution between Israel and Palestine.

UKAEA Helps Dress Caithness Junior Pipe Band For Pipefest
The members of Caithness Junior Pipe Band are very grateful to UKAEA Dounreay for supplementing their uniform with fleece jackets. Since its formation in 2002, the band is appearing more often in public events and the provision of a suitable uniform is essential especially in the winter months and cool summer evenings. The band relies heavily on fundraising to buy uniforms and equipment. The highlight for the band in 2005 is playing in Pipefest in Edinburgh on Sunday 21st August.

Joe's Music Garage - Another New Web Site Based At John O'Groats
Joe's Music Garage, a new record label based in John o Groats.  First CD release is 'Now there's a thing..' an album of non traditional instrumental music by Geoffrey Fulton inspired by the Caithness countryside and the first album to be recorded in John o' Groats.  The album is available for sale on line through Paypal and some tracks are available as MP3s.


Taste Of Tartan Ready For Ceilidhs In July and August
The local group Taste Of Tartan will run ceilidhs in July and august with tickets costing £3.  If you enjoy traditional Scottish Dancing then put the dates in your diary.

This Is Halkirk Web Site Gets a Makeover
the This Is Halkirk web site has had a complete upgrade and has relaunched with lots of new information, photos and history.

Olrig And District Beekeepers Association 70th Anniversary
Members of the Olrig and district Beekeepers Association recently held their 70th anniversary dinner



Meeting Of New Tourism Operators Group At Dunrobin Castle
The North Highland Tourism Operators Group held a successful meeting at Dunrobin Castle on Tuesday 12 April 2005 which followed on from the inaugural conference held in Mackay's Hotel, Wick at the end of January this year. Over 90 delegates attended the meeting which was opened by John Thurso who supported the need for a strong voice from the North Highlands representing tourism operators following on from the re-organisation of HOST and VisitScotland.  If you are a business in the tourist industry in the north and want to join the new grouping get in touch with Robert Gray.

A total of 21 candidates are seeking election on 5 May in the three Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies.   Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Constituency has attracted six candidates; Ross Skye and Lochaber Constituency, eight candidates; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Constituency, seven candidates.  Voting takes place between 7.00 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday 5 May at 283 polling stations -  76 in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross 108 Ross Skye and Lochaber  99 in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Full Details of Nominated Candidates

Scam Invoices and Advice Notes - Send Them To Trading Standards
We have received an Advice Note regarding a book we did not order.  You might have received an invoice for an entry in a Business Index or or for goods you did not order.  If so send copies to Trading Standards 38 Harbour Road, Inverness, IV1 1UK.  Do NOT contact the senders of these invoices or other material as they may use your contact as way of implying you are confirming the order by sneaky use of questions that they apparently record as evidence of your order.  Just send the of the items to Trading Standards and let us see if we can stop a few of them.

Thurso Skaters And Freerunners - another New Caithness Web Site
Go for it folks - soon everyone in Caithness will have a web site.



Identity Crisis - A Wick Band - New Web Page
Another new web site for a Wick Band.  Well known locally the boys play covers and have a typical list of songs on their site.  the band are now listed in the Music pages and Caithness sites if you are looking for them later.

Biggest Salmon Caught On The Wick River In Recent Years
Wick Angler William Newlands landed this 24lbs 5oz Salmon on Monday 11th April 2005 from the Taroull Pool on the River Wick.  It is the biggest Salmon landed from the river in recent years. The last one over 20lbs was caught by Willie More back in 1979 and this weighed in at 22lbs 2oz, but the record for the Wick is held by Mr Jaspair Mckain at a whopping 30lbs 8ozs. He caught this from the corner pool in August 1958.

North Highland Forest Trust Annual Forum - Huts, Hides and Homes
Lyth Arts Centre, by Wick - Saturday 23rd April 2005

The North Highland Forest Trust is organising a free Community Forestry event, to be held this year in and around the wonderful setting of the Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness. The aim of our Annual Forum is to provide an opportunity for those interested in Community Forestry from across the North of Scotland to meet up, exchange ideas and to celebrate some of the tremendous achievements happening within this area of community and woodland development. In an informal setting we hope to attract a wide range of individuals from both established Community Woodland Groups and other groups/individuals interested in finding out more about how Community Woods might work for them. We also hope to attract many individuals representing organisations working across the field of Community Forestry.

Massive Sale for Caithness MS Sufferers
On Friday and Saturday, 27/28th May, 2005, Wick Rotary Club will be organising a massive sale at the Wick Bridge Street Church Hall to raise cash for Caithness folk struck down with MS.  MS can strike anyone. Around 50 people are diagnosed every week. It tends to happen in the prime of life when job and family responsibilities are at their most demanding, so the impact of what is usually a lifelong condition goes far beyond the individual. Many MS sufferers, here in Caithness, are housebound and Caithness MS provides treatments and therapies for them at their home and at premises in Wick and Thurso, free of charge. The NHS does not help with this care and the Society is entirely dependent on private fundraising. So if you would like to support Wick Rotary Club and help them raise hundreds for Caithness folk struck down with this condition, please donate your books, video tapes and CD’s.

Following a strategic review, undertaken jointly with government, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has received the go-ahead from Government for its plans to develop a vibrant British company to compete for nuclear and non-nuclear business in the UK and overseas.  Welcoming the decision, Chief Executive, Dipesh Shah, said, "I am delighted that we have received the Government's blessing for our plans to go for growth and income. We can now press ahead with renewed confidence with our business ambitions to grow beyond our existing UK sites and expand internationally.  "Over the past two years we have made great strides in preparing for the introduction of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Blackstairs, Wick -  Reconstruction Underway
The reconstruction of the Blackstairs - part of the Pultenytown Heritage Project is finally underway.  More information about the Pulteneytown Heritage project can be found on the Telford's Pulteneytown web site.



Highland Council Countryside Ranger Spring 2005 Guided Walks/Events in North Sutherland
If you have seen it all in Caithness then perhaps you would like to go slightly further along the north coast and take part in one of the FREE guided walks that the Highland Ranger service offers. The walks and events listed are for the period until the end of May. From now until September the Rangers in the highlands offer many different walks and they are a great way to get to know more about an area. Also don't forget the Caithness Walking Festival 14 - 22 May

Broadband offers new opportunities for work in Caithness and Sutherland
Are You Interested In Working Online From Home?

As the availability of broadband spreads across Caithness & Sutherland more and more people will be wondering how to use this new resource for personal gain. How about being able to do a proper job working from home?  In 2005, you will be able to begin to make good use of your broadband and internet service by joining the new ki work networked project team. Using suitable IT and broadband connections ki workers will form teams to fulfil projects for clients by operating from their own homes, their home-offices or from a nearby small office.

Labour Candidate's New York Visit
Labour's Alan Jamieson flew in from an international speaking engagement in New York to hit the ground running in his bid to become the next MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.  He spent  7 days representing Scottish Young Labour at a Young Democrat conference in New York and various other events held as part of Tartan week in New York. One of the key speakers, he addressed the 80 delegates from around New York state on “Engaging Young People in Politics”.

Volunteers of the Future
Despite windy conditions on Sunday Milton Residents Association had an excellent response to its environmental project entitled 'Safer Play'.  The Association are keen to maintain and develop the area which is popular with the children of the village. Mr Sandy Coghill the oldest participant who will be 93 this year was also there.  He has been an active volunteer for many years.

UKAEA Assists Caithness Badminton Tournament
UKAEA Dounreay have recently made a donation towards the Caithness Badminton Tournament. Pictured are the winners and runners-up receiving their trophies and sponsorship at a presentation held in the Royal Hotel on Saturday 9th April:


Friends Of Newtonhill Woodland AGM
AGM will take place on Wednesday 18th May, 7pm in the cocktail bar at MacKay's Hotel, Wick.  New members welcome.

"Meanderings"  - Latest From Caithness Floral Art Club
Annette Stoker, now chair person of the Inverness Club, made a welcome return to Thurso for the April meeting of the Caithness Floral Art Club. Her demonstration entitled Meanderings was a series of Contemporary Designs that took us from Scotland to Italy, Malaysia, South Africa and Yorkshire. Mrs Stoker arranged a colourful assortment of flowers and foliage, which reflected the countries she was portraying, using accessories gathered during her travels.
Caithness Floral Art Club

Highland Council Meetings
There is plenty of information around on the web these days about what your local council and councillors are doing.  One of the committees where you can get a broad view of what is going on over all is the Resources Committee.  That is where some of the nitty gritty budget and spending decisions are scrutinised.  For example you might look at the agenda for the meeting of the Resources Committee on 20 April . Agendas and minutes are publishes regularly and although they may be dull to read you will find out much more about what exactly your local council is doing and not just wait for headlines in the papers.  Audit & Standards next meeting is on 21 April and that committee and its staff continually scrutinises the spending of the council and its work methods.  All of the committees minutes and agendas can be found HERE  Caithness Area Committees HERE  It is always worth remembering that much more work is going on all the time than ever hits the headlines.

The importance of small towns to the well-being of the Highlands was highlighted at a European conference which opened at Dornoch today (Monday 18 April 2005). Delegates, 60 of whom come from Iceland, Sweden and Finland, were told that membership of the Highland Small Towns Network had grown from 7 to 12 in recognition of the benefits being enjoyed by communities as they deliver local projects which contribute to the development and well-being of their towns. Formed as part of a European Northern Periphery Programme Project, the network comprises members from Nairn, Dingwall, Alness, Invergordon, Tain, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Lairg, Rogart, Dornoch and Golspie, as well as Inverness. Groups have already promoted 90 local projects at a cost of £500,000. Funding from a Community Chest, has been particularly helpful in enabling community groups to lever in other funding.

For the ninth year in a row, Council Tax "in year" collections in Highland have shown an improvement. Figures just released by The Highland Council reveal that 94.14% of the tax that was billed for the year 2004/2005 was received by 31 March 2005. This generated almost £500,000 of additional income within the year.

North Action Group Web Site Back In Action
The site run by for the maternity campaign had some problems pointed out by one of the visitors.  This has now been resolved and the site is back in action.  North action Group has been quiet of late due to the formation of the Maternity Action Team by NHS highland and now being run via the Community Health Partnership.  this has taken longer to get going but a member of staff has now been appointed to do the work required to move things forward.  North Action Group committee has another meeting tonight and is still looking at fund raising and publicity issues as the process moves forward.  North Action Groups stance is still to maintain the 24/7 consultant led cover at the maternity unit in Wick.

Give Blood In Caithness and Sutherland - Dates April 2005 - March 2006
If you are a regular blood donor you may want to note the dates in your diary or calendar.  The summer months are often when there are potential shortages of blood as folk go on holiday and are not available for donor sessions.  The Blood Transfusion Service is always looking for more donors.  In the north you can attend sessions at Wick, Thurso Brora or Golspie.

Caithness Model Club Show - Thurso 9 & 10 April

Wick Boys Brigade - Public Meeting -  Monday 25th April 7.30pm
BB Hall - Henrietta Street, Wick
The BB's in Wick are unable to continue due to the lack of helpers and training.  The public meeting is to find out if there is sufficient public support to get the unit going again.  Former Captain Thomas Mackay has written a letter explaining what has happened...............

Spring At John O'Groats

Abseilers Raise Over £10,000 For Anthony Nolan Trust

Anthony Nolan Trust  The Anthony Nolan Trust has many fund raising events and one that is growing each year is one helped by the cast of the TV show Emmerdale - See Emmerdale Events for details.  It all takes place at Aberdeen.

A Snapshot Of Main Street, Golspie

Almost all the buildings along Main Street, Golspie in this latest batch

Highland Society for Blind People Open Day
MacKays Hotel Wick on Monday 25th April from 10am to 4pm

An Open Day In Caithness To Raise Awareness Of Issues And Support For Visually Impaired People.  The Highland Society for Blind People and the Karten Technology Centre are holding the day which is open to all to find out what support and aids are available to help improve the day to day activities of visually impaired adults and children. There will be a range of staff available to discuss any issues and demonstrate ways in which you can help support a visually impaired person. You don't have to be registered as blind, it might be that you are finding that you or a neighbour or friend is no longer seeing quite as well and you want to find out if there are any low vision aids that could help. Would you like to know more about how eye conditions affect vision?  Get a demonstration of "Sim Spec's".

Caithness Field Club Bulletins Additions and New Index
Just to show we have not been completely idle over the past few days without access to the web we have carried out some updating of the Filed Club Bulletins section and added many new items.  A new index is under construction to make it easier to see all of the articles and get to them faster.  The bulletins added to the listings are April 1975, October 1982, October 1983 and April 1988.  Some of the items have appeared in other parts of the web site but are now consolidated in their original bulletins.  We hope to complete all of the years in coming months.  

Caithness Field Club Summer Programme
The latest programme of outings of Caithness field Club is now available.  Non members are welcome to most of the club's outings.  Over the summer why not take part in one of the visits to places around the area.

We Are Back Online
After a couple of frustrating weeks waiting on our broadband connection to be changed over we are now back online.  Apologies to all whose items we have missed over the past days and we will now be catching up over the next few days.

Abseil Caithness General Hospital Chimney In Aid Of Anthony Nolan Trust
Saturday 16 April 2005
Entry forms from Kay Oswald at Caithness General Hospital or email
A growing number of people have Abseil the chimney in the last couple of years for the Anthony Nolan Trust.  You need to try to get as many sponsors as possible so you need to get cracking if you want to have a go.  Anthony Nolan Trust   2001 Abseil   2001 Abseil    2002  Abseil    2003 Abseil
A few views from the top of the chimney    2003 Views From the Chimney

Wick Triathlon Club "May Mini"  The perfect beginners triathlon - why not give it ago?
Sunday 1st May  - Starting From Wick Swimming Pool

Distances Swim 400m  Bike 10km  Run 3km - Cost Individuals £5  Team £9  (Cheques payable to W.T.C.  Times Register 10.30 - 11.30am  Briefing 11.30am  Start 12 noon
Entry forms from Wick Swimming Pool - Competitors must be14 years or older by 31 December 2005  Further information from Fiona Bremner Tel 01955 605624


QUESTIONS FOR ALL ARTISTS -  do I enjoy producing my artwork?
do I need to sell it?  do I need to increase my income?
If you answer "YES" Where? WICK - Norseman Hotel, Riverside, Caithness KW1 4NL
When?  Thurs/Fri 7/8th April 9.30 to 4.30 p.m.

Laboratory tests carried out on a stone removed from the beach at Dunnet yesterday have shown its radioactivity is naturally-occurring. The radioactivity has been identified as radium and other daughter products of uranium, which occur naturally in the environment.  No man-made radioactivity was detectable.
The 1.8kg piece of sandstone was detected during an ongoing survey of Dunnet for the presence of particles. The level of natural radioactivity in the stone is approximately 30,000 becquerels. This compares to 8900 becquerels of man-made Caesium-137 emitted from a particle detected at Dunnet Beach on March 26, and 20,000 becquerels of man-made Caesium-137 emitted from a pebble detected at Dunnet Beach on March 2.

Earl Of Caithness Carries Two Blocks Of Caithness Stone To New York
For Nine Eleven British Memorial Garden

Malcolm Sinclair, Earl of Caithness is in USA preparing for Tartan Week.  He has taken two small bricks of Caithness stone to present as a token of the larger shipment of Caithness stone to be used in the British Nine Eleven Memorial Garden.  The Caithness flagstone is being supplied for the memorial garden by Caithness Stone Ltd    Tartan Day Links  Tartan Day Site  - Although this event is rapidly becoming a week as Scots from both sides of the Atlantic head for New York in increasing numbers each year and helped this year for Scots going by the exchange rate favouring folk from the UK heading over.  This year the main parade of Tartan Week will take place on Saturday 2 April.  Amongst the attractions this year is the sword of William Wallace in Grand Central Station having been taken over from Stirling a few days ago.
New York Web Cams  If you want to try your luck watching the New York web cams the parade route starts from - W45th Street and 6th Avenue. The parade begins at 2:00pm and marches north on 6th Avenue ending at 58th Street.  Line up starts at 1.00pm New York time.

Road To Noss Head
If you like driving without hassle then Caithness roads must be a dream to folk from busier parts.  As this single track road to Noss head helps to show the Highlands has more road miles per head of population than any other part of the UK.  At the end of this single track road of course lies the lighthouse and Girnigoe Castle where work has once again started on the restoration work with the return of the firm of steeplejacks working on the stabilising parts of the structure.  In a few weeks the team of archaeologists will return.  Noss Head Lighthouse is of course the home now of the Clan Sinclair library that is fast outgrowing its space as the books continue to flow in.  Clan Sinclair are expecting over 250 visitors for the gathering in July.  Noss Head Lairds Retreat is an increasingly popular place to stay
Road To Noss   Noss Head

March 2005  - Continues Record Breaking Run
Hits 9,400,041  Visitors 167,379    Daily Average Hits 303,205  Visitors 5398

The first three months of 2005 have shown continual growth in visitor numbers.  The first quarter of 2005 puts the visitor numbers at 451,062 and the hit rate at 28,296,118.  In March a total of 622,598 pages were called from the server by visitors.  Registered users of the message board increased to 1612 (last month 1517).  Castles continue to be hugely popular with visitors to the site.  The message board is increasingly busy with over 2000 messages having been posted in March.  Thanks to everyone who looked in and to all contributors.

SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has called for an urgent review of the capacity of the Far North rail line to ensure it can cope with expected increased freight traffic in the very near future.  His call comes after he conducted a series of meetings with stakeholders in recent week. He has called public meetings in Wick and Lairg. A second meeting of which is planned (in Lairg) for May.  He also met with the Cromarty Firth Port Authority, and developers that include; Forestry company Forscot and housing manufactures Robert Marshall Associates, who wish to use the line to transport raw materials and products.