Companion Dog Show - Riverside Wick Saturday 3 September
Caithness Canine Club are holding a Companion Dog Show on Sat 3rd Sept Riverside, Wick at 2pm in association with Guide Dogs for the Blind - Pedigree, Cross Breed and Novelty Classes, Rosettes 1st - 4th place winners & Raffle. Caithness Canine Club

The Design Element - Northlands Creative Glass International Conference
For the ninth successive year it's the season when artists and professionals from all over the world converge on The Alastair Pilkington Studio in Lybster for a series of masterclasses and a weekend conference that is now a must in the contemporary glass calendar. This year the theme is 'The Design Element', a topic which features strongly in 21st century life everywhere from sports equipment to home decoration and of course glass.

North Primary School, Wick - August Newsletter What's On Section Gets More And More Popular
In the last 7 days 15,647 lookups were made to our What's On section.  If you are running an event make sure you take advantage of the free advertising the what's On section offers.  And it is open to everyone village halls, voluntary groups, nightclubs, musicians fact everyone in Caithness can get their events in.  Your event appears on the front page on the day it is on as a final reminder but the best part is you can have your event on for months or even years in advance helping visitors to organise trips connected to your event.  So make sure your vent is on.....

Launch Of The First Highlands & Islands Food And Drink Awards
The first Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards will be held in October 2005, and organisers are on the look-out for potential winners from any Highlands and Islands businesses linked to the food and drink sector. The awards will be given to businesses achieving excellence within the industry and will highlight those which are demonstrating innovative, forward thinking and collaborative work. The competition is open to businesses of any size, including food producers, retailers, catering establishments, restaurants and hotels that are operating in the Highlands and Islands.

North Highland College Prepares To Launch New Music Book
North Highland College Traditional Music Department are publishing a book of over 100 compositions. They are all composed by staff and students of the college and include a few guest contributors such as Brian MacNeill, Pete Clark, Angus Grant and Gregor Borland.

Motorists in Caithness are being warned that part time 20mph speed restrictions have been introduced at two more schools in Caithness, for children's safety.  The new speed limits came into force this week at Castletown Primary, Thurso and Watten Primary near Wick. These additions bring the total number of schools benefiting from part time speed limits in Caithness to 6 and in Highland to 31 at present. These part time speed limits at Castletown and Watten come at the same time that drivers in the Highlands are being warned that if they speed in the vicinity of Highland schools then the penalties will be tough.  Earlier Schools Added

Chris gets "In the mood!" As Scrabster Takes 85th Birthday Back To 1945
Scrabster Community Centre was transformed into a "tardis" last Saturday as it transported friends and family of Chris Paterson back to 1945, when Chris was a sprightly 25 year old and the wars in Europe and Japan had just come to an end. Looking for a topical theme to celebrate Chris's 85th birthday her children, Maureen, Harry and John arranged a surprise VJ party. The Scrabster hall was decked out as a 45 street party with everyone getting dressed up in 40's style. Chris's nephew Ronald Gunn arranged for two war time vintage cars to act as transport for the day.

Two Caithness Women Join New Housing Association Board
Councillor Katrina MacNab From Pulteneytown Ward and Andi Wakeman, Watten former director of Pentland Housing In Thurso are two of the 15 new board members. The Highland Council announced today (Tuesday 30 August) the make up of the 15-strong Board of a new landlord for the Highlands, to be developed to take over ownership of the current Council housing stock under its housing stock transfer proposals.  The Board of the new landlord will be made up of five Highland Councillors; five tenants; and five independent members.  The five Highland Council Board members were confirmed by the Council on 23 June 2005 as Councillors Katrina MacNab, (Pulteneytown, Wick), Brian Murphy (Fort William North), Drew Miller, (Portree), Helen Carmichael, (Beauly and Strathglass) and Stuart Black, (Strathspey North-East).

Work started last week on a new Recycling Centre in Thurso which will allow householders to recycle more of their household waste. Local firm, John Gunn & Sons, have been contracted by The Highland Council to build the new facility on a site in Janetstown. It is expected that up to 60% of the material that is taken to the new Recycling Centre will be recycled which will help towards reaching the Council's 18% recycling and composting target. Householders across the Highlands produce approximately 1 tonne of waste per year, of which only 9% was recycled last year.

Bat Walks
Two Free Bat Walks But Please Book In Advance
Thursday 1 September - 8.45pm Latheronwheel Harbour
Friday 2 September  - Meet Assembly Rooms, Wick 8.00pm Tel The Rangers office 01955 607758

Fraserburgh Maternity Unit Now Under Threat
Once again a health board is saying they must cut back on maternity services due to the falling birth rate.  This time it is Aberdeenshire.  A new action group has formed in that area to save the unit.  Meanwhile in Caithness North Action Group had its meeting to discuss the latest position and discuss what is happening with the Maternity Action Team set up by NHS Highland and prepare future parts to the ongoing campaign.  NAG members are as determined as ever to retain the 24/7 consultant led cover for maternity and gynae services for a whole host of reasons not least of which is the over 100 miles to Raigmore hospital in Inverness.

Bed Push Sees 21 Teams Take Part In Thurso To Wick Walk

The family and friends of Elaine Maddeford (nee Sinclair) who died recently continued their fund raising efforts with bed push from Thurso to Wick.  Organisers have been overwhelmed with the support from the people of Caithness as 21 teams of local folk came forward to take part in the bed push - each team taking one mile of the push.  Funds are being raised to buy special electrically controlled beds for the hospitals where Elaine was cared for.   On Sunday the first teams got a good soaking as heavy rain came down.  As the day progressed the rain disappeared and later teams had a dry day.  Many motorists stopped to donate.  The last few hundred yards of the march was headed by a piper as they walked into Caithness General Hospital and then headed for a well-deserved barbecue organised by Gerrie Henderson and his wife for the 120 or so walkers.

Marymas Fair At Dunnet - Wet Day Did Not Stop The Fun

Stretched Lincoln Now Being Spotted Around Wick
For special days out, Weddings and nights out a stretched Lincoln can now be seen around the streets of Wick



Ken Wood Walks To Raise Funds For Wick Academy Youth Teams
Wick Academy committee member Ken Wood setting out on a sponsored 50 mile walk to Brora. He is doing this in stages over this next week arriving at Dudgeon Park on Sat 3rd Sept in time for the local derby Brora Rangers FC v Wick Academy FC. 50% of his sponsorship will support away ravel costs of the clubs boys teams and 50% will be donated to local charity.. So if anyone see him on the road please give Ken every encouragement and even pledge some money. If anyone wishes to pledge some money for Ken you can do so by contacting Colin Stewart on Wick 605166.

Caithness Floral Art Club Members Creations August 2005
The August Meeting of the Caithness Floral Art Club saw committee members stepping up to arrange flowers with the title Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. 8 arrangements, in varying styles, were made during the evening with 3 others done earlier for inclusion in the raffle.


Free Phone Calls Between PC Users Just A "Skype" Away
With Google launching its free phone call system in the US but not yet available elsewhere perhaps it is time for you to try Skype which came out earlier.  the software is free and can be downloaded.  Just make sure you have someone else at the other end setting up at the same time so you can use it and save money.  For long distance international calls this may save a packet.

Maternity cuts add to labour pains The Sunday Times - Scotland
North Action Group and local mother Lynne Duncan highlight the maternity campaign for Caithness once again in this Sunday Times article today following the publication during the week of the Scottish Women's  Convention report on maternity services in Scotland -
We Just Cant Let these Things Happen

Two Canadians Say Hi To Everyone Back Home
Two Canadian girls start off another set of photos of Inverness.  Seen here outside Gellions pub as they spoke to this girl on stilts drumming up business for another Inverness nightspot.  The Canadians were enjoying their tour of Scotland and the music that night.

Kaithness Kickers Receive Donation From UKAEA
Kaithness Kickers Line Dancers received a donation for £200 from UKAEA Dounreay towards the cost of holding their recent 12 hour sponsored line dance in aid of Caithness Crossroads Carers. They received the cheque during their weekly practice in the Thurso Club. Wilma Wade, who runs the line dancing is pictured here with all her line dancers, receiving the cheque from Marie Mackay, UKAEA Dounreay.


Are you caring for a child with additional needs?
Do you need some support from others in a similar situation to you?
Whether your child has been diagnosed with an additional need or has not, we are here to help share information and help each other.
This is a new support group and the 1st meeting will be held in the Boys Brigade Hall in Couper Square Thurso at 7.30 pm on Monday 12th September 2005

Gibson Welcomes Slow Food Congress to Skye
Real lessons for day to day living can be learned from the growing number of food festivals that are held around the North of Scotland so says Highlands and islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson.
Mr Gibson's comments come before he attends the 1st UK Slow Food Congress which takes place at the Gaelic College, Sabhal Mór Ostaig on the Isle of Skye this weekend.

MSP Mary Scanlon Concerned At Inpatient Waiting Times
Reacting to the latest NHS Scotland waiting time statistics for June 2005, Mary Scanlon MSP said; "NHS Highland compares relatively favourably with Health Boards across Scotland."
Mary expressed concern at the Median waiting time for in-patients and day cases which has again increased in the last quarter, from 50 days to 52 days;

Jamie McGrigor MSP on Highlands and Islands Tour
Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor will travel the length and breadth of the region next week on his Summer Surgery Tour. Starting in Shetland, the Conservative MSP will hold surgeries in Lerwick, Kirkwall, Stromness, Thurso, Wick, Brora, Golspie, Dornoch, Tain, Dingwall, Grantown before finishing in Elgin on Friday.

Duck Race On Wick River Raises Funds For The Lifeboat

Despite the low level of water in the Wick river the duck race postponed for couple of days due to high winds finally got underway.  All £500 £1 tickets were sold long before the race.

Ormlie goes to Holland
Three members of Ormlie Community Association are attending the four day international Childstreet 2005 conference in Delft, Netherlands. Lorna Simpson, Company Manager; Charlotte Lowe, OCA Director and Diane Holmes, OCA volunteer are part of a Scottish contingent attending the conference. The other members of the Scottish party are from Stirling and will be lead by Sue Gutteridge, founder member of the Home Zones Scotland Network.

Marymas Fair At Dunnet On Saturday
This annual event starts at 1.00pm
Children's competitions, stalls, pipe band, line dancers and much more.

We Just Cant Let these Things Happen
Report From the Women and Health Maternity Service Provision Policy Group of the Scottish Women's Convention.  The report was launched yesterday and North Action Group's campaign in Caithness over the threatened downgrading of the maternity unit is highlighted.  The Scottish Women's Convention is a policy group funded by the Scottish Executive.  The report is in Pdf format.

Maternity Issue Gets More Publicity As Issue Rises Again Following the Report Yesterday
BBC   Evening Times   The Herald

Greenock Wants Maternity Unit Back As Still Birth Rate Rises 
People still unhappy following consultants move to Paisley
MP's Urged To Back Maternity Campaign - Cumbria
Protest Call On Maternity Unit Threat -
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust had looked at closing all of Shropshire's GP-led maternity units in a bid to save more than £500,000, it was revealed last month.


A new independent report criticises maternity services in Scotland, claiming they are failing to meet the needs of some of the country’s most vulnerable women. The year-long study, undertaken by the Scottish Women’s Convention (SWC) which was set up with funding from the Scottish Executive to help advise policy makers, examined the provision of antenatal and maternity care in Scotland. It focused on women living in poverty, women with social problems such as drink and drug addiction and women living in rural areas.  This new report is published today by Scottish Women's Convention who are holding a meeting in Glasgow at which North Action Group's Mollie Baikie will speak.  North Action Group have for nearly two years continued to contact and speak to politicians, policy makers and support groups across Scotland in an attempt to retain a 24/7 consultant led maternity and gynae service at Caithness General Hospital.   Despite the formation by NHS Highland of a Maternity Action Team to look at possible solutions to the problems of declining birth rates and maintaining consultants skills no solution has as yet been identified and the process of meetings is still underway.  This latest report by an independent body gives North Action Group increased hope that they are winning the arguments and that more women need to be involved in the decisions being made about their health services.  The Caithness situation is featured in this latest report.

New Workshop And Office Facilities At Forss Business & Technology Park
New Park welcomes Canberra Harwell to the Forss site with the opening of their new service support centre.  The development of the Forss Business & Technology Park continues with New Park Management welcoming Canberra Harwell Ltd, the provider of specialist radiation monitoring equipment, into their new facility at Dunbeath House on the Forss site. A purpose built customer service support workshop and offices has been constructed for Canberra allowing them to focus on their business with Dounreay.

Wick High Reunion Ages 54 - 56
Wow Here is a reunion coming round again on  By 2006 it will be five years since this group had their last big reunion.  Contact Janis Paterson to get your name down.  The last one was a huge success and once again they are holding it to coincide with Wick Gala Week.

Halkirk Tug O War Team At UK Championships
Halkirk Tug O'War team represented Scotland at the UK Outdoor Tug of War Championships at Bearsden, Glasgow on Saturday 20th August. Pulling as Scotland A, the lads came within a point of qualifying for the semi-finals.  The 680kg category also attracted two teams from england and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland and Jersey. A second Scotland team, from East Kilbride, completed the line-up of eight in this weight. Having won the Scottish Championshiup in Striling in July, this was the lads' first appearance at the Britsh Championships. After the weigh in the boys realised they were the lightest teamin the 680kg weighing in at 657kg. However after 14 ends against some expereienced opponents they were 1 pull short of qualification to the semi's.

Latest Newsletters From Pulteneytown Academy
Two newsletters are already out for Pulteneytown Academy after the summer holidays.

The Highlands of Scotland have broken new ground again in the delivery of training and education in nuclear clean-up.  Twelve people enrolled at North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands (NHC UHI) have become the first in Britain to be awarded a Higher National Certificate in Nuclear Decommissioning.  And the area will continue to lead the country later this year when it becomes the first to offer two new Higher National Diplomas in Decommissioning Management & Decommissioning Operations. A professional development award will also be available for experienced nuclear workers retraining for this work – ‘The Certificate in Decommissioning Operations with Safety’.

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant School, Thurso
First newsletter of the new term.

BAT HUNTS In North Sutherland With The Rangers
Join the local countryside ranger and have fun learning about the bats flying in North Sutherland. They will use bat detectors to discover where and what species of bats are hopefully present.
Tongue bat hunt – Monday 29th August. Time 8.30pm – 10.30pm.
Bettyhill bat hunt – Wednesday 31st August. Time 8.30pm – 10.30pm.
Skerray bat hunt – Thursday 1st September. Time 8.30pm – 10.30pm.  All weather dependent.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has written to Deputy Environment and Rural Development Minister Rhona Brankin, seeking a meeting to discuss the draft Crofting Bill.
Mrs Macmillan, who sit on the cross-party crofting group, commented, "I am well aware of the concerns within the crofting community over this proposed piece of legislation. In the West Highlands, it has been suggested that if implemented in its present form, the bill could result in the end of crofting as we know it.

Unique Family Gathering In Caithness - Grampian TV
the shearer Family has spread out across the world and they held a big family reunion

Sea Angling Competition Hotting Up
The latest sea angling competition of Caithness Sea Angling Club took place on Reiss Sands on Sunday 21st August the catches were made up with Flounders and small Turbot. Overall winner was ex England international Patricia Heath from Freswick with a catch of 118cm, in 2nd place was Graham Finn from Freswick with a catch of 113cm and in 3rd place was Jim McCrenk from Bower with 78cm. Pools winners were Patricia Heath with the longest flat fish and Dina Hilton for the longest round fish. Patricia Heath also caught this 13lb cod from the boat Karen in the last few days.

CASE - Approvals List - July 2005
The following are funds approved up to the last day of the month. Please note that the sums relate to approvals, not payments. While finance may be approved, for a business investment for example, it does not guarantee that the development will go ahead.

North Action Group's  Mollie Baikie To Address Scottish Womens Convention
Mollie Baikie will address the Scottish Women's Convention in Glasgow on Wednesday 24 August.  Mollie has been asked to address the conference and tell them about the threat to 24/7 cover for maternity and Gynae services at Caithness General Hospital/  the Scottish Women's Convention have also commissioned a report on women's Health Services and will feature the situation at Caithness General along with other hospitals in Scotland.  Mollie is being interviewed by BBC programme Reporting Scotland tomorrow morning for feature on Reporting Scotland to be shown on Tuesday evening.  The report is to be published on the web site of Scottish Women's Convention on Wednesday.  Meanwhile North Action Group will have its regular meeting next Monday night.  North Action Group chairman George Bruce said "We are as determined as ever to highlight the issues on maternity and gynae services at Caithness General Hospital and the the fight to retain 24/7 cover goes on".

National Surf Competition is back in Thurso for the O’Neill Scottish Open
The 4th leg of the BPSA tour resumes next week with the O’Neill Scottish Open at the legendary Thurso East. The O’Neill Scottish Open is a two-day event running from 3-4th September and has a 1 star rating with £2000 prize purse. Having suffered a long flat summer all the guys on tour will be frothing to get in the trademark stand-up barrels that Thurso and surrounding breaks have to offer.  The main contest break is Thurso East, where the peaty brown water breaks right over kelp covered slate reef offering 50 – 100 metre rides. Even when Thurso is not working there is always surf to be found. Brimms Ness Bowl, just around the corner, picks up any swell available and can be 4ft even when Thurso is flat.

Members of The Highland Council's Resources Committee are being asked this week to approve arrangements for Council staff to register Civil Partnerships between same-sex couples.  It is anticipated that around 40 Registration staff in Highland will be authorised to register civil partnerships when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 comes into force throughout the United Kingdom on 21 December this year.  In a report to the committee, which meets on Wednesday in Inverness, members are advised that the Registration Service has already received requests for registration of partnerships to take place immediately following implementation of the legislation in December.

Volunteering Highland In Caithness - Hot Opportunities
Are you a Parent?

Homestart Caithness are looking for volunteer home visitors/befrienders particularly for the Thurso area. The role of the volunteer will be to offer confidential support and friendship to families with at least one child under 5, who may be experiencing difficulties with the demands of family life at this time. Volunteer preparation Training course to begin on Thursday 25th august at 7PM in Community Education Office
Mentors required
Volunteering Highland are looking for volunteer Mentors to work with unemployed young people. This role involves offering support and guidance to the long term unemployed.

Prehistoric Physics - An Evening of Ancient Technology
Swanson Gallery, Thurso - 10 September 7.30 - 9.30pm
Come along to this Einstein Year event and find out about prehistoric skills from 6000 year old food production to ancient carpentry - then have go yourself!
Suitable for ages 7 - 107    Book Early To Ensure a Place

Raffle Prize Draw For Pugwash Lane Campaign
The draw for the Pugwash Lane Action Group Buggy raffle took place on Saturday 20th at the Round Table Summer Fayre at the High School in Thurso. The draw was made by Michael Dunnet, chairman of Thurso & District Round Table. The first ticket drawn out for the Buggy was bought by David Dunnet of Wick, who is now the proud owner of a Tiger Ninja offroad buggy. Campaign Index

Hearing Dogs For Deaf People - Online Charity Auction
Over half a million people in the UK experience severe or profound hearing loss - and could potentially benefit from a hearing dog. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People are planning to run an Online Charity  Auction on the . They are wondering if you can help their worthy cause in any way. They are looking for merchandise, products, services and signed memorabilia to auction as part of the charity fundraiser. Donations will also be very welcome. They offer publicity for companies who take part in local press, local radio and of course on the Internet.

Berriedale Cemetery

A9 Road Upgrade North Of Helmsdale Taking Shape
The sharp bends on at least one part of the A9 north of Helmsdale will soon be a thing of the past as the upgraded section begins to open in parts to traffic.  the wider road will have better visibility and potential for overtaking as the sharp bends are being replaced by long curves with a much wider view of the road.
Road Upgrade Index

Argyle Square, Wick - Fun Day

The folk in Argyle Square, Wick have for the past 18 months been setting about improving the place where they live.  They have been fund raising and enjoying themselves at the same time.  On Saturday they had another fun day with plenty for children to do from Races to African Drumming.

Ex Councillors Jim Oag's Boat Has Been Refloated After Sinking
An old boat owned by Ex councillor Jim Oag sunk on Wednesday and was refloated on Friday evening.  The boat Oceans Gift is registered in Orkney and has been lying almost derelict in Wick harbour for the past few years.  the boat was originally a fishing vessel but has lain in poor condition for several years with no sing that anyone was interested in buying her despite a for sale notice being attached.

Lindsey Miller and Stuart Anderson Married At Wick

On a beautiful sunny day in Wick a big crowd filled the Baptist church in Dempster Street for a wedding.

Bower Gala 2005

Blas - A New Highland Music Festival   2 - 10 September
A new Highland music festival begins this year with performances all over the Highlands. From the tradition bearers appearing in ‘An Tobar’, to the ‘young bright stars’ in the firmament of Gaelic music from Scotland and internationally, Blas represents and brings Highland-wide all that is beautiful and lasting in our traditional musical culture and Gaelic language.  Artists come from all areas and this new festival runs from 2 - 10 September 2005.  There are three events taking place in Caithness and eight in Sutherland. Full details can be found on the Blas web site

Argyle Square Group Fun Day - Saturday 20 August 2.00 - 4.00pm
The event will kick off with a piper leading children around the Green accompanied by the Gala Queen and Annie Rosie, who has lived in the Green for nearly 47 years. It will be a real community event with races - skipping, running, sack, 3 legged for children and young people, an assault course for young people, bouncy castle, beat the goalie, face painting, refreshments, baking, bottle stall, raffles and for the older age group 'tilt the bucket'. It will be great fun and if anybody wishes to donate to the stalls they can do so by contacting Lorna Simpson, 40 Argyle Square, Wick - 01955 603502. All proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the centre of the Green with new street furniture and lighting.

Realism at Lairg sale as Cheviot lamb prices clipped - The Herald
Joyce Campbell, from Armadale, Caithness, and Robert Howden the factor at Wellbeck Estate near Berriedale are quoted in this article about the Lairg  Lamb sales where prices were down on last year.

New Highland town a step closer - BBC
Highland Council yesterday agreed a number of actions of which the new town is only one.  The BBC story is perhaps best read after a peek at the paper put before the Planning, Development Europe and Tourism committee yesterday at its meeting in Inverness.  A96 Corridor Masterplan (Between Inverness and Nairn)  - A Pdf file.

Way Up At The Arctic Circle  - Another Caithness Man
Andrew Thain is currently working at the Arctic Circle on the Skandi Navica for Subsea 7 pipelaying vessel Skandi Navica.  They are laying an 8 inch carbon dioxide pipeline in the Arctic Circle from a Statoil refinery in Hammerfest Norway 150 kms out to sea to a manifold.  Send any more photos of places in the oil and gas  industry for the gallery to  We are all amazed at the places you have all reached in the course of your work.

Gas Tanker M V Lancashire Shows How Cold and Crisp It Is In The Barents Sea
We begin to wonder if there is any place you have not been with peak into the Barents sea between Korea and Alaska when Peter Ferguson was on the Gas Tanker  M V Lancashire heading from Korea  to Alaska.  the clear blue icy photo is when the ship was alongside at Kenai, Alaska.

Ocean Confidence - Known To Caithness Oil Workers By A Different Name
Here is a picture of a rig converted from an accommodation vessel a number of years ago. Danny Jack who is the Maintenance Superintendent with Diamond Offshore Drilling said " There will have been hundreds of Caithness people who have stayed on it while it was an accommodation barge in the North Sea and named the Poly Confidence".  The Ocean Confidence recently predrilled The Mad Dog field located in Western Atwater Foldbelt, Gulf of Mexico, approx. 190 miles south of New Orleans.

Traditional Scottish Variety Show In Wick Keeps Packing Them In
Scottish Variety Shows held each Wednesday night in the Pipe Band Hall continue on until 14th September.  The shows have been attended by good audiences from many different countries plus locals. Admission is £3 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

Dounreay’s latest investigation into offshore particles will see an improved Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) put to test off the North coast where a comparison will be made of its detection efficiency compared to divers, the use of which is being phased out on safety grounds.  The ROV, nicknamed “Trol”, is operated for UKAEA by Wick- based firm Fathoms Limited which has been awarded a two year contract. It is about the size of large washing machine, moves over the seabed at a speed of just under one mile per hour, and carries an ultrasound positioning system, two video cameras and a large sodium iodide gamma ray detector which can detect radioactive particles buried down to about 50 cm in depth.

A remote Highland primary school, which was mothballed in October 2002 following a drop in the school role to just one pupil, reopened on Tuesday 16th August.  Altnaharra Primary School, in Sutherland opened for the new school session with three pupils in the primary school - Tiegan Johnstone (4 years) – Primary 1; Chloe Murphy (7) – P3; and Etienne Murphy (10) – P 6; as well as two pupils in the nursery class – Christina Bakker (3) and Ryan Johnstone (3).  The decision to reopen the school followed a request from the community for the Council to re-assess educational provision. Altnaharra Index

Sutherland Index

Continental Market In Dornoch Thursday 25 - Saturday 27 August
If you happen to be passing Dornoch and missed the Continental Market when it was in Wick you can catch up with it at Dornoch when it is there for three days at the end of the month.

Pirates, Ship Wrecks, Giant Sea Snakes At Reiss Beach
Youngsters' imaginations ran riot last Thursday during the Reiss beach Sea Sculpture Competition. Art forms of all sorts were sculpted into the sand and decorated the length of the beach.  The competition was organised by the Highland Council Planning and Development Service's Countryside Rangers as part of the Children's Holiday Nature Club. The sculptures included jelly fish, ship wrecks, lizards, donuts, dolphins, castles, pyramids, turtles, star fish, dragons and many more interesting exhibits.

New Era For Globally Important Peatlands
A new strategy for the long term management of the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland was launched by Rhona Brankin, Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development on Tuesday 16 august 2005.  Caithness and Sutherland have the biggest extent of blanket bog in the UK and possibly the world. Large parts of the area are formally recognised under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act and the EC Wild Birds and Habitats Directives, and have also been proposed as a World Heritage Site.

Boys' Brigade In Wick is Re-starting
The Anchors (new national name, used to be called the Anchor Boys) is what they will start the Company with. This section is for boys aged 5-8 which includes gaining 3 badges. These can be gained by completing 5 subject which are Body (fit for fun), Mind (think and do), Spirit (God and me), Community (me and my world) and Creativity (make and do). There can only be a maximum of 25 boys in the Anchors so if you want the boy to become a member take him along to be enrolled at the BB Hall in Henrietta Street on 22nd August at 6pm. It is open until 8pm. There will be lots of boys willing to become members so come along to the BB Hall early!


A £2.5million project to improve the famous waters of Dunnet Bay in Caithness is getting underway.  A new waste water treatment system, involving a septic tank, is to be installed about 1km west of Dunnet bathing beach to serve the community of Castletown. This will replace the existing plant at Castlehill, providing an improved level of treatment with a final discharge further away from the bathing beach.  The work is being carried out by Morrison Construction and is due for completion in the spring.

Last Taste Of Tartan Ceilidh For The Summer
Friday, 19th August, in Thurso's Royal British Legion Hall, starting at 8.00pm

The Taste of Tartan summer series of Ceilidhs have been very successful and well supported. They have been enjoyed by visitors from other parts of the UK and various overseas countries, and of course by many locals. The final Ceilidh in the series is being held this Friday, 19th August, in Thurso's Royal British Legion Hall, starting at 8.00pm. Once again music will be provided by the Addie Harper Scottish Dance Band, with a different programme of entertainment by local artistes. Admission will be £3.00 with reductions for children, to be paid at the door. This is your last chance this year to support the Taste of Tartan Organisation. Do go along and help to make this final Ceilidh a night to remember!

All Schools Will Eventually Have the 20mph Limit  - Do It Now and Save Children's Lives
Part-time 20mph speed limits go into operation this week from Tuesday 16th August, 2005 at Thurso High School, Miller Academy and Halkirk Primary.  With the help of £2.157M funding from the Scottish Executive, The Highland Council aims to get the message across that slowing down near schools saves lives and that reducing the speed limit to 20 mph outside schools significantly improves the safety of children walking or cycling to school.  Mount Pleasant Primary school was the first to receive a 20mph part time speed limit in Caithness area earlier this year, and these additions bring the total number of schools benefiting from part time speed limits in Highland to 26 at present. These schools are part of an ongoing programme for the next four years, which will see all schools in the Highlands with 20mph speed limits.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code now available online in Gaelic
A Gaelic version of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, developed and launched last year by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is now available online.  The Code provides guidance on responsible behaviour for recreational users, and on the responsible management of land in relation to public access. Access Links

Ex Caithness Lad With Adventure In His Boots
Robert MacKenzie is a 14 year old Dingwall lad with Caithness roots. A third year pupil at Dingwall Academy, his dad started taking him out rock climbing when he was 3 years old. He has climbed all over the highlands and had some fantastic adventures. Climbing has been a reason for him to visit some of the wildest landscapes you could imagine from Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides to Sardinia in the Mediterranean, from the forests of France to the glens of Srathconon. Outdoor climbing has a real adventure about it that he loves.

Shearer Family Gathering 19 - 21 August 2005
August 2005 sees the gathering in Canisbay of descendants of two Shearer brothers – John and James. This international affair brings together Shearers from five nations. The weekends events will celebrate the Shearer family’s history, including their love of music. There will be 180 attendees, spanning four generations, with 44 travelling from abroad. The main events will be a formal dinner on Friday night in the New Weigh Inn, Thurso, and a Ceilidh & Supper in Canisbay Hall on Saturday evening.

Jack Bates Drilling Rig From Norway To Australia
Some rigs certainly do get around as these photos of the Jack Bates Drilling Rig show sent in by Donald Muffett


Bombay High Fire 27 July
The price of oil can be very high when it is paid in lives lost.  These recent photos from a fire that destroyed the rig show how bad it can be.  This oilfield fire occurred in the Bombay High oilfield approx 160klms off the coast of Mumbai...300 people were evacuated 8 died and 45 missing. The platform produced 14% of India's oil & gas. The fire was started when a service vessel lost its power and drifted & collided with the processing platform support legs, this intern ruptured the online oil wells 14 wells coming up form the seafloor to the platform. The platform produced 80,000barrels of oil/day. The platform and the Jack up rig behind the platform were both lost.  The destruction took approx 45 minutes to melt down and fall to the seafloor.

Caithness Celebrates The Of The End Of World War Two - 60th Anniversary

The four branches of the British Legion In Caithness combined to organise the commemoration of the end of the Second World War 60 years ago.

Say No To 0870 Telephone Numbers
We have added another useful information site to our Telephone links page where we list links to web sites with information that might save you from scams and pests.  this one on 0870 might alert you all to the fact that 0870 telephone numbers could cost you more than 0800 or 0845 numbers and the companies that ask you to contact them using  this prefix number could be making cash out of your enquiry call.  We just received a fax asking us to fax or call various 0870 telephone numbers.  Qucik as flash we checked on GOOGLE and there was web site with all the warning information.  As ever just be wary of unusual telephone numbers - they can be expensive.

Caithness Cultural Trust Harbour Fun Day
The Caithness Cultural Trust held a fun day last Saturday at the Fish Market in Wick.



Margaret Taylor From Thurso Has To Watch Her Step In Oil Country In Angola
If you thought Gareth Dunnet might have had few problems in the South American jungles then take a look at Margaret Taylor's friend from Luanda, Angola. Margaret says, "I work as a contract IT analyst with ExxonMobil, originally from Thurso. The oil industry has allowed me to experience a bit of Africa, I have been to Angola and Nigeria, but never actually offshore. The friendly chap in the attached photos was caught at the ExxonMobil staff camp in Luanda, Angola. Fortunately for the children living in the camp the fence is electrified!"

South American Oil Related Photos From Another Caithness Man
Gareth Dunnet whose folks had the shoe shop in Wick and attended Thurso High school has sent some land based oil related photos for our growing section.  First in are some of his Ecuador and North Peru pictures.  We have set up a new section for land based oil related photos where Caithness folk have worked or are based.  Gareth currently works as a drilling consultant for Halliburton Digital and Consulting Solutions Houston, Texas.

And Still They Come - More Oil Related Pictures From Around the Globe
Wow this is turning out to be a global gallery as we add another set of photos from Danny Jack that includes one from New Zealand and one of another ferocious wave scene.  Glad we were not on that boat that day.  Photos for inclusion in the Gallery where Caithness folk might work in the oil industry can be sent to

Balmoral In A Storm
Photos still coming for our Gallery of places where Caithness folk are working in the oil industry which is a huge industry for the UK and mostly out of site of most people here.  We are beginning to see some of the varied conditions and weather that some Caithnessians get used to in the course of their work.  This latest photos from Kenny Mackenzie out on the Balmoral FPV owned by CNR International.


Summer Fun Day in Ormlie - Saturday 13 August 2005
Saturday 13 August 2005 sees the finale of the summer activities in Ormlie with a Fun Day being organised by the volunteers who have organised and ran 6 weeks of games, crafts, sports, drama and media work for children and young people.   It has been an exhausting period for the volunteers but they were keen to end the summer with a jam packed day of fun for all the family.

Record Numbers Of New Teachers Opt For The Highlands

Minister for Education and Young People Peter Peacock MSP will today (Friday 12th August) meet more than 100 probationer teachers at Highland Council's headquarters in Inverness when they meet for an induction training day. One hundred and seven probationers will take up post next week in schools across the length and breadth of the Highland Council area, almost double the amount probationers in Highland Schools on last year.  This dramatic increase in probationer teacher numbers for Highland equates to 56 probationers in 2004/05 to 107 for session 2005/06, with 60 probationers going into primary schools and 47 going into secondary.

A Heritage Lottery Fund officer travelled from Edinburgh to visit Thurso Town Hall and the adjacent Carnegie Library last week, in preparation for a committee review of the Caithness Horizons application, which has been lodged with the organisation for the exciting and ambitious redevelopment project.  A strong and knowledgeable team including John Thurso MP, Rosemary Thompson of the UHI and Estelle Quick, a newly appointed highly experienced museum curator, were all present to support the Caithness Horizons board of directors to meet and discuss the project and reinforce the £1m application.

Record Month for Inverness Airport - Wick Shows Increase Compared To Last July
Inverness Airport recorded its busiest ever month in July with more than 70,000 passengers travelling through the air hub for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, according to passenger figures published today. The airport’s 70,102 passengers represented an 18% increase on July 2004 and a 52% increase on July 2003’s figures. The airport is on target to handle around 700,000 passengers in the year ending 31 March 2006, compared to 565,000 passengers in 2004/05, which will be 95% more passengers than it handled annually at the start of the decade.  A total of 117,960 passengers used the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports during July, a 16% increase on the previous year. The airports at Benbecula, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick all showed year on year growth.

Caithness Women Also Work In The Oil Industry
Kate Marshall (nee Barnet) has sent us more photos to add to the growing oil industry gallery where Caithness folk have been or are currently working.  Kate originally from Thurso is a mud engineer currently on the Dunbar Sedco 706 in the North Sea.  Her husband currently works on rigs in Azerbijan.  more photos can be added to the section by emailing them to

Regina Caelis At Wick
The Regina Caelis called at Wick yesterday. Recently she was in Buckie for repairs



International Challenges Overcome By 21 Teenagers - Led By Bob Kerr From Melvich
Twenty-one Reading teenagers, all aged 13 or 14, safely returned to their parents on Monday evening at Heathrow airport following a two week expedition to Poland. The teenagers had taken part in the “First Challenge” program that is run by “World Challenge Expeditions Ltd”. Bob Kerr (27) from Melvich, Sutherland, had been appointed as the “Expedition Leader” and had been tasked with delivering the First Challenge youth development program to them.

Get Up Early To See the Sun - 5.15 At Dunnet
The weather up north has not been spectacular unless you happen to get up early as Karen Munro did the other day.  These photos taken at 5.15 at Dunnet show that the sun is still shining if you are up early.  by 7.15 on Tuesday morning it had become grey and misty.  Compare these with the Sunset at Dunnet in April     Midsummer and other sunsets In Caithness 2005

Taste Of Tartan Ceilidh
The Taste of Tartan summer series of Ceilidhs continues Friday, 12th August, in Thurso's Royal British Legion Hall, starting at 8.00pm. Music will again be provided by the Addie Harper Scottish Dance Band, with a new programme of entertainment by various local artistes. Admission will be £3.00 with reductions for children, to be paid at the door.

More Photos Of Oil Installations that Caithness Men Have been To
Thanks to Paul Mowat, Mike Steven and Jamie Mathieson for these latest oil related photos from places they have worked.  These photos are beginning to show everyone that Caithness folk are up to a lot more than farming and fishing.

Community asked for views on NHS board changes - The Herald

Greenland: Close Encounters of a Whale Kind
Three kayakers from the Thurso based Pentland Canoe Club have returned from a sea kayaking expedition in Southern Greenland. The members of the team were Shona Comrie of Portskerra; Simon Copsey and Ken Nicol, both of Halkirk. During their 12 day expedition they explored the coastline of the Nanortalik District in Southwest Greenland. The group was self sufficient for the entire trip and carried all necessities in their kayaks which included food, water, clothing and camping equipment. During the trip, which covered over 110 miles of coastline, they explored areas such as the Tasermiut and Torssuqaatoq Fjords.

Postwatch Scotland, the consumer watchdog for postal services, is calling on residents of Reiss, Keiss, Mey, Auckengill and Thrumster to give their views on Post Office Ltd’s proposal to change post office services in their villages.  Post Office Ltd has proposed that a mobile post office will replace the static Post Offices currently serving the villages.  The mobile service will provide an extensive range of services, including car tax, bureau de change and travel insurance.  Full details of the availability of the mobile service will be announced upon the completion of the consultation. Postwatch Scotland will be distributing surveys throughout the villages to collect views on the proposed changes. We will also be conducting analysis to determine the suitability of the proposals to the needs of the local population.

Terrorist risk over nuclear waste ‘ignored’ - The Herald

A North Coast Adventure Trip - John O'Groats Past Duncansby Stacks  - Wildlife And Speed

Mey Highland Games - Chilly Weather  - Happy Games

On arrival at the games Charles and Camilla were presented with a specially commissioned wooden quaich inlaid with silver.  The quaich had been commissioned by the local branch of the British Legion and was made by Steven Cooper of Aurora Jewellery, Orkney.  A young girl Caitlen Cody from Melbourne presented flowers to the Duchess.   Caitlen's mum comes from Bower and emigrated a few years back.  This is Caitlen's third trip to Caithness from Australia  and she is still only 10 years old.

Latest Photos From Spitall Chambered Cairn Project

As the Chambered Cairn project drew to an end for this year we went out to get some final photos just as the roof of the cairn was being put in place.  The small half scale part of broch nearby was also looking good.  the archaeology team including many local folk who volunteered have learned a lot over the three weeks and showed what it is possible to achieve in a relatively short period of time even if they had to learn on the job.

Caithness Arts Week  - Today
Saturday 6 August 10.00am - 4.00pm Maritime Family Fun Day at the Fishmart, Wick Harbour. Entertainment, music, films, stalls, etc Organised by the Caithness Cultural Trust
Saturday 6 August 8pm - Lyth Arts Centre Teudan Binn (Musical Strings) with Mairi Macleod. Beautiful harp playing showing a range of musical styles from traditional, classical to modern. Something for everyone! This event is FREE of charge thanks to the Community Events Fund to celebrate Caithness Arts Week. Advance booking essential as numbers are limited. 01955 641 270

Wildcat Traditional Music Association Newsletter 35
News of forthcoming traditional music in Thurso from Wildcat who are bringing a range of traditional musicians to Caithness every month.

Mey Highland Games This Afternoon
Mey Highland Games is on today and will be attended by The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and The Duchess of Rothesay.  This a small Highland Games has been attended by a growing number of people in recent years with number boosted by locals and visitors looking for relaxing afternoon watching athletes test their strength and speed and the prospect of spotting members of the royal family and guests.

Conrad Sinclair Calls In From The Gulf Of Guinea With His Photos
Conrad Sinclair currently out in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria on the Bonga FSPO platform says he keeps up with what is going on in Caithness via and sometimes he thinks he knows more than his mum who is right here in the county.  Conrad says the Bonga is the largest FSPO built to date and the Edda Fjord the largest PSV support platform.  The project he is working on has over 1000 personnel from many countries and at least three more from Caithness. We are adding links to further information about the platforms at the foot of the photos if we can find a suitable web site.  Send any more photos for the section to

Wick Oil Worker's Photos Show That Caithness Folk Really Do Get To Hard To Reach Places
Caithness oil workers are all over the world and as these latest photos just in show they are in some out of the way places - North Caspian Sea, Siberia as well as in the UK.  Not only have many Caithness folk worked in the North Sea but they have taken their skills around the globe.  Many people living in Caithness continue to contribute to the the economy by travelling back and forth around the globe as well as to rigs in the North Sea.   The latest batch in are from Wicker - Anson Bartlett who used to go to school with Niall and Colin here at the web site.  This is lining up to be a great set of photos.  Any more for the section can be sent to  

Five Caithness Sub Post Offices To Be Replaced With A Mobile Unit
Changing times and lack of revenue from sub Post Offices has meant that there are mounting losses within the service.  To try to change and retain some form of local service the Post Office intend to replace five Caithness sub post offices with a mobile unit as an experiment before it might be rolled out in other parts of the country.

Highlands & Islands Airport Ltd Terminals to Become Smoke Free Zones
The phased programme of banning smoking in airport terminals in the Highlands and Islands will be completed at the end of August when Inverness Airport terminal becomes a smoke free zone.  Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, which operates 10 airports in the region, stopped smoking in its terminals at Benbecula and Stornoway in 2002 and since then the ban has rolled out to Barra, Campbletown, Islay, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.  The completion of the smoking ban in public areas of the terminals comes ahead of a Scotland-wide ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces from next March.

Room with a powerful view: new hotel plan for Dounreay - The Herald
Tulloch Dounreay Ltd has purchased 100 acres of Dounreay Farm from Geoffrey Minter to build a £20 million business park to include hotels and a swimming pool.  The outline planning application also includes a filling station, executive apartment block.  Up to 300 jobs may be created in the new development.

Oil Related Photos From Caithness Folk
Caithness folk are everywhere and not least work in the North Sea oil industry.  Although mostly hidden from sight apart from the Beatrice Field off the coast there are lots of oil rigs with folk from the county working at all sorts of jobs.  Some also work in the industry in other parts of the world.  Here are some photos sent by Neil Reid who works  on the Captain Platform which is 42 nautical miles straight east from Wick.  If anyone else from Caithness out on the platforms in the north sea or elsewhere would like to contribute some photos we will be pleased to add them to this new gallery.  Email photos to     Oil Links

Thurso Live Music Association Season Of Concerts 2005 - 2006
If you enjoy classical music but do not have the chance to get to live performances you can catch a few by joining Thurso Live Music Association. The annual membership for the coming year is £40 and for that you get eight concerts making bargain price of only £5 per concert. Tickets at the door are either £7 or £8 with children and students only £1 and family tickets £12.  Full programme on the page..........

Volunteers Needed for Homestart Caithness 
Volunteer Preparation Course to commence on Thursday 25th August at 7pm in the Community Education Office, Princes Street, Thurso. Further Details from Sandra Baxter Co-ordinator Home-Start Caithness
Community Education Office Ackergill Street, Wick. Tel 01955 606222

CRAG AGM Sat 13th August 2005 8pm Brown Trout at Watten

The Clan Gunn Society
The march of Caithness web sites goes on apace. This time the local Clan Gunn society based in Caithness has launched a new site with contact information and details about the heritage centre at Latheron.  Already a popular visitor attraction the small museum set in the former church is sure to be found by more folk planning trips to the north in search of their ancestors or even just an interest in Scottish history.  We will shortly be adding more links to make the site easy to find for anyone looking for it at a later date.  the site will also provide details of the Clan Gunn annual gathering that culminates with attendance at the Halkirk highland Games also attended by Clan Sinclair helping to make the games on of the largest in Scotland now as it grows year on year.

Caithness Cultural Trust A New Web Site
The Caithness Cultural Trust is forging ahead with it plans to develop an Arts Centre in the heart of Pulteneytown. As part off their quest to raise the profile of the group formed in December 2003 they have now launched a web site with information about the group and their ambitious plans for one of the buildings in Telford Street.

Harbour Horizons Family Fun Day Saturday 6 August 10.00am - 5.00pm
The Caithness Cultural Trust in association with the Wick Society boat committee are working hard to ensure the day has plenty of interest. The restored Fifie Isabella Fortuna will be at Wick Harbour and open to the public. The Wick Lifeboat will also be open to the public. The Fish Market will be open with film shows, craft demonstrations, raffles, stalls, teas carton artists and lots more. A fancy dress parade of "Sea People" will be open to adults and children to take part.

North Baths At Wick Get A Splash Of Colour
The Friends of the Trinkie and North Baths gave the north baths a splash of colour at their annual clean up.  After repairing walls and emptying out all the rubbish from the winter storms and whitewashing the walls once again they added some colours to the steps down into the shallow end.  Now all we need is some nice weather for the swimmers.

More Royal Engagements In Caithness This Week
A busy week for Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay who visited Saudi Arabia to carry the Queen's condolences on the death of King Fahd during his visit to Caithness.  On Thursday The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and The Duchess of Rothesay visit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Station, Thurso, Caithness and on Saturday they will both attend the annual Mey Highland Games.  Undoubtedly the attendance at the games of the Prince and the Duchess has seen the numbers of spectators increasing in recent years. Prince Charles Opens Pulteneytown People's Centre In Wick
Prince Of Wales Web Site  Royal Family Items And News On

The Quad Bike Centre At Reiss Where Anyone Can Have A Go - We Did!!
We headed over to the Quad Bike Centre At Reiss - just one of the way farmers have branched out - to try out this mode of transport now commonplace on farms everywhere.  Instead of rounding up sheep you get to roar round a specially laid out set of tracks.  The four wheel bikes are very stable and great fun.  Helmets are supplied but take a pair of gloves.  Bookings

Still time To Submit A Painting To The L S Lowrie Blackstairs Competition
This unusual competition inspired by L S Lowrry's picture of the Blackstairs in Wick closed on 15 August.
LS Lowry painted scenes of Wick in the 1930's, now the Highland Council would like local artists to do the same in 2005, using the famous artist's paintings as inspiration.  The work can be in any medium, but must include both people and places, using the setting of Lower Pulteneytown, Wick. There are three categories; Primary Children, Secondary Children and Adult. Prizes will be awarded in all categories.
Competition entries should be handed in to the St Fergus Gallery, Wick Library by 17.30pm on the 15th August 2005, with name and contact details clearly written on the back. This competition is open to residents of Caithness only. For further information contact Shelagh Swanson at the St Fergus Gallery on 01955 603489.

Ormlie Young People Give Presentation in Edinburgh
Three young people from Ormlie will make the long journey to Edinburgh On Wednesday 3 August 2005 to give a presentation on the new playpark in Provost Cormack Road to delegates from all Scotland attending the event organised by Save the Children in Scotland. Emma Mackenzie, Toni Easson and Naomi Begg will be accompanied by Lorna Simpson, OCA Manager, Pauline Mathers, Vice-Chairperson OCA and Helen Allan, The Highland Council.  The conference will mark the end of Save the Children in Scotland’s Community Partners Programme (CPP) in which Ormlie was one of four areas chosen in 2000 to pilot the initiative.  The Playpark opened in December 2002

Glass artists from seven countries yesterday concluded the first of a summer programme of master classes at North Lands Creative Glass in the village of Lybster led by Klaus Moje, one of the key figures in contemporary studio glass.
The class - "Finding New Horizons" - explored kilnforming with techniques such as fusing, bending and mold-making and also extensive use of cold-working methods. Moje is internationally renowned for his kilnformed glasswork. Such is the pioneering nature of his work that artists worldwide have adopted variations on his basic kiln forming methods.

Unemployment In Highlands and Islands Still Falling But Wick and Thurso Have Tiny Increases
Travel To Work Areas  - Thurso 2.9% Wick 4.9%  - Wick Still The Highest Unemployment Area

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Scotland also fell during the month, falling 1.6%, from 88,491 to 87,044 (1,447 claimants). This figure is lower than the same period last year, a decrease of 5.8% (5,362 claimants). As with GB & Scotland, unemployment in the HIE area fell during the month, falling 1.2% from 5,745 to 5,676 claimants. The figure is lower than the same period last year, a decrease of 6.0% (363 claimants).

A new "Mey Selections" brand to market beef, lamb and mutton from the North Highlands is launched today by The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay.  The brand is the result of fifteen months' work behind the scenes on a new initiative for the North Highlands which aims to promote and develop the North Highlands' economy in relation to agriculture, tourism and the built environment. The North Highland Initiative is a direct result of The Duke of Rothesay's involvement in bringing together the farming community, local businesses and the tourism industry to try to address some of the challenges facing rural communities in the far north of Scotland.
Royal Seal Of Approval - BBC   Castle Of Mey Open To the public but closed from 29th July to 9th August 2005 inclusive. Opening Times  Prince Of Wales Web Site

Andrew Jackson has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and a member of the Board. Mr Jackson joins from Alfred McAlpine plc where he is a senior financial executive. He succeeds Paul White who is retiring from UKAEA. Andrew will take up his post on 1 September 2005.

Aeriel Photos Of Reay
A series of photos recently added to the Message board have kindly been forwarded for us to add to the Aeriel Photos section and will be of interest to those of you who know the area well and are able to spot the changes to buildings as well as new ones that have appeared over the past 50 years or so.  Guess work puts the photos in the early 1950's but perhaps someone has more accurate dating.

Crofters Cattle Improvement Scheme  - Response Of Highland Council
The Land and Environment Select committee of highland council will tomorrow consider its response to the Scottish Executive consultation on the Crofters Cattle Improvement Scheme.  The consultation closes on 8 August and the councils draft response for approval is at the end of the paper to be considered on Wednesday 4 August.

Widening Access To Council Membership -
Renewing Democracy & Community Planning Committee Response To Scottish Executive
For anyone who has considered standing as a candidate in local elections and decided not to it might be time for a rethink.  Changes to the structure with multi-member wards and increased payments along with changes to support for candidates may mean more folk are able to stand at elections. the majority of councillors in Scotland are male and white, with an average age of 55 years. Less than 22% of councillors are women. In Highland 26% of elected members are women. Only 1% of councillors are under 30 years old while 34% are over 60 years old. Just over 1% are from minority ethnic backgrounds.  Councillors will consider the response to the Scottish Executive at their meeting on 4 August.

Highland Council To Consider Using Small Amounts Of Biodiesel
The sustainable Development committee of highland council will decide today whether to commission a study to look at the use of small amounts of biodiesel in council vehicles. Members are invited to note the conclusions and recommendations of the study and invite the Transport, Environment and Community Services Committee to consider the benefits of a biodiesel pilot, which will allow comparisons to be made with other fuels.  Summary  The committee will also look at a recent study into making biodiesel from oil seed rape.

Taste Of Tartan Caithness Ceilidhs Continue
Taste of Tartan have now had two very successful Ceilidhs in this year's summer series. The next Ceilidh will be this Thursday 4th August (not Friday), again in Thurso's Royal British Legion Hall, Once more music will be provided by the Addie Harper Scottish Dance Band, with a completely new programme of entertainment provided by local artistes. The Ceilidh will start at 8.00pm. Admission will be £3.00 with reductions for children, to be paid at the door. Dates for the rest of the series can be seen on the What's On calendar.

The number of households across the Highlands able to recycle at home has reached 48,000 as the result of the expansion of kerbside collections. This has enabled The Highland Council to almost double its recycling rate.  Initial results show 550 tonnes of paper, 20 tonnes of cans and 2140 tonnes of green waste have being collected across the Highlands since the new door-step collection schemes started this year.  The Kerbside Recycling collection started in Caithness on the 11th April and since then over 650 tonnes of material has been collected. After a slow start, the amount of garden waste collected each month is now around 100 tonnes but this figure is increasing. This waste is taken to Seater Landfill site where it is shredded on site and composted into a soil conditioner.

NEW ANTI-HEROIN CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR SCOTLAND "Smoking heroin leads to addiction"
A new hard hitting advertising campaign highlighting the dangers of smoking heroin is set to launch across Scotland on Monday 8 August 2005 by Know the Score, the Scottish Executive’s programme to reduce drugs misuse in Scotland.  The core campaign message ‘smoking heroin leads to addiction’ is communicated through a detailed TV advert, which shows the decline into addiction from smoking heroin and the associated deterioration of lifestyle and health.

Prince Charles Opens Pulteneytown People's Centre In Wick
Prince Charles arrived by helicopter at wick airport this morning and went to open the Pultneytown People's Centre in the former Old Man's Rest.  The centre is used for meetings and some of the overflow groups from the offices in Murchison Street.  Prince Charles was shown round by Councillor Katrina MacNab who is also the PPP manager.  she introduce the Prince to members of a ladies group that use the centre and others involved in the project.  At one point there were roars of laughter as the prince heard about some of the activities.  Prince Charles then headed to the Old Pulteney distillery. He is in Caithness for more than a week and will attend the Mey highland Games on Saturday amongst other events.  Pulteneytown People's Project

Despite the overcast and windy conditions, a grand total of fifty golfers competed in the Lybster Open last Saturday, however, the combination of fast greens and strong wind combined to make low scoring difficult.  The best gross scores of the day were posted by members of the host club, with Alistair Young and Eric Larnach both returning totals of 65.  As a result of taking one shot less than Alistair on the back nine, Eric won the Lybster Open 2005 courtesy of the Better Inward Half. Lybster will also be the venue for another open competition on Thursday 4th August. It will be a Stableford competition, open to ladies, gents and juniors, and the tee will be open from 8am - 4pm.

Suicide Figures Published
The latest figures on deaths classified as suicide ("intentional self-harm") have been published by the
General Register Office for Scotland (GROS). They show that the Highland figures (at 39 such deaths) are back to the levels they were in 2000.

Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd. Publishes 2004/05 Annual Report and Accounts
Growth in passenger numbers, increased revenue and ongoing investment in airport infrastructure are highlighted in the annual report and accounts for 2004/05 published by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.  In the year ending 31 March 2005 HIAL's 10 airports handled almost 1,016,000 passengers and more than 82,500 aircraft movements. Passenger numbers for the year ranged from 6,000 at Tiree to 565,000 at Inverness.

First Caithness Arts Festival Now Underway
The recently formed Caithness Arts group has organised the Caithness Arts Week and have started this year with small number of events over the week.  Some events were already established and new ones have been added to get the first year off to a running start with hopes that it will grow in future years.
Monday 1st - Saturday 6th August Kross Kounty Quilters Exhibition in Murkle Community Centre. 10-4 (10-3 Sat.) £2 adult, 50p child, in aid of Alzheimers and Autism.
Tuesday 2nd - Saturday 13th August (daily excluding Sunday 7th) The Annual Exhibition of the Society of Caithness Artists. Thurso Town Hall.

July Takes To New Records Again
Hits  17,932,901   Visitors 445,154   Pages 8,447,675

Daily Average  Hits 578,480   Visitors 14,359   Pages 272,505
2004 total figures now passed and 2005 on huge record breaking run
July broke all the records and continued the final week as we had noted earlier when the highest daily visitor numbers were reached on 25 July.  July in Caithness is packed with events and these have proved popular ever since we began to highlight them a few years ago.  The gala/show/games photos were more popular than ever and there seems no limit to visitor appetite for them.  During July we published almost 3000 new photographs mainly of the various events.  2005 visitor numbers in seven months have already passed the 2004 totals  
2004 - Twelve months to December Hits : 78,408,888  Visitors : 1,345,310
2005 - Seven months to July            Hits : 79,983,878  Visitors : 1,831,794
Thanks to you all for looking in and to our growing band of contributors for items and photos.

Thrumster Nursery Gets Glowing Report From Education Inspectorate
The Thrumster nursery report by the Inspectorate of Education based on a visit on 1 June has been published and the local Thrumster Nursery Action group are keen to publicise it as part of their campaign to defend the nursery against closure threats.  After an outcry in Caithness parents were given assurances by the Highland Council that nothing would happen this year and that further reports would be called for and the matter reviewed again in September - October.  The Thrumster nursery like others may be under threat as it does not have the recommended minimum number of 10 children.  Thurmster nursery was built only recently and whilst small has modern facilities and is part of the Thrumster primary school which parents feel would also come under threat if the nursery were to close.  To ensure this does not happen the parents formed an action group to lobby both local and national politicians and the highland council.  similar groups are also now in being at Keiss and Dunnet.

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