A number of folks have indicated that they would like to have a re-union of all former devotees of the EIGHT O'CLOCK CLUB, a popular Interdenominational after-Church Christian Meeting for young people, held weekly in St Andrew's Church of Scotland (Now Pulteneytown Parish Church) Argyle Square, Wick, Caithness in the 60's/70's.  If you at one time attended these meetings and would like to share renewed fellowship with your former friends and if there turns out to be sufficient interest, we are looking to the possibility of arranging such an event in about a year's time (probably March 2006)

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors will be carrying out a blitz of construction sites across east Scotland and the Highlands & Islands in March as part of a UK-wide initiative to tackle serious work-related ill health.  Healthy Handling 2005 is aimed at clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors in the construction industry, and is targeting poor work practices that can cause long-term disability and could end careers.  The visits will cover from the Borders, through the Lothians, Fife and the central belt to Dundee, Aberdeen and the Highlands.

The Highland Council has welcomed the amendments to the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill put forward by the Minister for Education and Young People, Peter Peacock, for consideration at Stage 2 but believes that a further significant amendment is still required.  The Council believes the proposal for a National Gaelic Education Strategy was probably the single most important recommendation put forward in the Education Committee's Stage One Report on the Bill and is very disappointed by its absence in the Minister's amendments at Stage 2.

Scullomie, Sutherland

Another place along the north Sutherland coast.  These pictures were taken yester day and considering the weather recently it was surprisingly mild.  The old fisihng place is still there although battered by the sea over the years.  The causeway built to create the shelter behind a massive rock formation is battered in severe weather and you can easily see where the sea from time to time must flow right through the harbour area.

Wick Walkers Still Raising Money For Tsunami Appeal As UK Donations Total Passes £300 Million
As this picture shows almost everyone got involved in making donations to the Tsunami Appeal of of the Disaster Emergency Committee in the UK. Whether by donations in tins at supermarkets or organised events in schools and workplaces this has been the most money ever raised for one disaster in the UK in such a short space of time.  Donations go to thousands of charities every year but this one showed again that people will still dig deeper for those in real need.  But lets not forget that many children's charities still say 5 million children die every year in poverty so if you were planning an event why not think about diverting it to one of the other charities now.  The money is still needed and can still make a huge difference even if the TV cameras are not there.  And well done to the general public who donated and showed they were able to assess the situation better than the government right from the start.  The DEC web site shows only the end of January figures but even that states over 350,000 postal donations and over one million credit card donations and that is just the UK.   By now it must be very much higher.  Well done everyone.

364 Caithness Businesses Are Listed With Web Sites - Is Yours Missing?
If your business has web site make sure it is listed on your FREE business page in our Business Index
You  can update your page simply by completing the online Submission Form.  A few seconds to complete and your site is linked - easy.  No hassle and round the clock information about your business is found here.  If you want a higher profile then think about one of our circulating Banner Ads.   Either way make sure your business is listed as one day alone last week we had 7406 visitors with page views around three quarters of a million per month.  Caithness non-business web sites are listed HERE and again if you would like yours listed then email with details.  Remember Links and Business Entries are FREE

Lieurary School About 1955
Picture sent by Sheila Plowman. The school reunion organisation is underway.  If you went to Lieurary school then get in touch with the organisers.  If you know anyone who went to the school let them know that a reunion is being organised for all ages.  Check the Lieurary Reunion Section or add messages on the Lieurary Message thread.  The Lieurary School Photos can be found HERE.  If you have more from Lieurary school send them in for the section.

Lyth Arts Centre - The Caithness Cycle
Poetry and songs and featuring James Ross from Wick gaining a name for himself as a piano player with Celtic Connections  26 years old James has already travelled extensively abroad and will shortly play in a number of places around Caithness.  He is currently working on a CD.  He is also in demand for classes at RSAMD.

Highland Health Council Stops On 31 March 2005
From 31 March Health Council in Scotland cease to exist.  A new Scottish Health Council is being set up but will not deal with complaints in the same way as the former Health Councils.  Patients who need help with a complaint should refer to their nearest Citizen's Advice Bureau or their local MSP
The document setting out what the new Scottish Health Council will do is Here or go to the Scottish Health Council web site It would have been helpful if they had posted information about where to go with complaints as this was an important function of the Highland Health Council and other area health councils.

Shore Lane, Wick - One Month Later
The work to widen Shore Lane in Wick goes on.  Here are a couple of pictures one month after the first batch to let you see the progress so far.  The turn at the bottom is significantly better and with the new wall helps tidy up another corner of Wick.  Hopefully driving up and down this narrow street will be slightly easier with the extra couple of feet in width.

The List Keeps Getting Bigger In The Sudan 1 Dye Scare
Fresh fruit and vegetables from now on everyone......

Priest Born In Caithness Threatens To Disrupt Royal Wedding - Guardian
He says he's an ardent royalist but Father Paul Williamson is on a distinctly disloyal mission - to stop Charles and Camilla getting married. And, he tells James Meek, he's willing to stand up at the ceremony and shout his objections............... This story appeared in the Guardian newspaper today

The Changing Face Of Wick - Sinclairs - Formerly "The Yard" Originally "Carters"
This well known bar - restaurant -entertainment place change hands recently but we thought a photo of the place now that it is "Sinclairs" was overdue.  Over the past couple of years it has changed hands a few times but is now run once again by a local man Andrew Sinclair.  the place offers a wide range of food and drink as well as music, pool and Big Screens for football and other sports events. wicks watering holes are looking up as Ebenezers at Mackays Hotel has had complete make-over and with the Alexander Bain in Market Square still doing well there seems to have been a small revolution in places to eat and go for night out in Wick.  Maybe the arrival of the French restaurant sparked them off but the range of Chinese and Indian places on offer now seems to suggest Wickers are travelling a lot more these days.  Still the four chippies seem to be doing OK.  Are Wickers eating out more often? - Answers to the Message Board

Highland Council To Pilot Land Banking To Create More Affordable Houses
Highland Council Will Build £10 Million Fund
An innovative package to acquire land for affordable housing in the Highlands will help ease future housing pressures on rural communities, Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said today.  Communities Scotland and Highland Council will pilot a land bank fund for future affordable housing needs for the area. More than 3 million sterling pound will be provided through Communities Scotland to buy land, while Highland Council will contribute land and investment to be raised from the discount on second and holiday home council tax.

Community ownership has delivered the goods for Scottish Homes
Independent research for Communities Scotland has found that the stock transfer of 52,000 homes from its predecessor, Scottish Homes, to housing associations has largely delivered on promises and brought significant benefits to and greater involvement by the tenants involved.

Beware Bogus Emails Stating You Have Been Left Something In A Will
Currently doing the rounds are emails suggesting you might have been left money or share of something.  the emails purport to come from official sources such as solicitors winding up an estate.  Do not even be tempted to get back in touch in response to these if you receive one.  They ask for all sorts of identification to authorise payment.  If you reply with any of the details you may be a victim of identity theft.  Solicitors and banks do not contact people by email.  The email will not have a phone number and the address if there is one will be false or someone else's address.  The one we received used a genuine address of a solicitor in Bristol but had change the name of the firm (We checked).  A fax number was also shown but this was an American number possibly to a premium rated fax machine.  As ever if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. For any of you new to the Internet and not used to receiving these emails be wary of them all  and delete immediately.  All our checks were done via Google and took about three minutes for all of them.  Another angle is that you might get a percentage of a sum of money for helping to have payments of large sums made via your bank account.  Think again as you would be allowing someone access to your bank details.  Why the warning today.  Well we received several variations on these cons in our email today and perhaps you did also but had not seen them before.

NHS Highland is bucking the national trend by reducing the number of people on NHS Waiting Lists. The publication today by the Scottish Executive of National figures on waiting times, showed that numbers on waiting lists had risen to record levels.  Roger Gibbins, Chief Executive of NHS Highland says that it is a question of continuous improvement:  "We are running evening operating sessions in Orthopaedics, Saturday lists in Ophthalmology, and additional Outpatient clinics in a number of specialties to reduce the waiting list. This is now starting to pay off as the numbers of people on the inpatient waiting list in Highland has now fallen over 2004 by almost 6%, from 5420 to 5098 at the end of December 2004."
Mary Scanlon MSP was scathing on the Scottish Waiting list figures


Research into the role of the Gaelic language and culture in the development of the Highlands and Islands is to be undertaken in order to establish the potential for further integration of language development and socio-economic development. Marsaili MacLeod, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, is conducting the study, which is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in collaboration with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  HIE has recently invested in the creation of Ionad Nàiseanta na h-Imrich (Centre for Migration Studies), a joint venture between HIE, Aberdeen University and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, through which the agency has commissioned a three-year PhD entitled 'The Role of Gaelic Language and Culture in Promoting Socio-economic Development'.

Scottish Natural Heritage has awarded a grant of £850,750 to The Highland Council to support the continued employment of their countryside rangers for the next three years.  The rangers make a significant contribution to the delivery of SNH's functions for conserving, for promoting public enjoyment and fostering understanding of the natural heritage as well as playing a key role in encouraging and managing access and recreation. The SNH grant secures the 26 full time and four seasonal posts who provide a ranger service throughout the local authority area. Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Executive's statutory advisor in respect to the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage.

Alan Jamieson  - Comes In For Labour
Alan Jamieson is the labour party selection for the coming Westminster election for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.  A member of the Labour party since 2000,  he is still at university and has an intense interest in politics.  This can be seen by his rise to be chair of Scottish Young Labour.  Currently he is completing a Masters degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Stirling and enjoy participating in a wide range of interests including various sporting activities,  reading and with bent for playing the bagpipes.

Storm Damage Debate At The Scottish Parliament
The transcript of the debate in Parliament last night on Storm Damage in the Western Isles. Highland region got a good amount of coverage too, with many of our MSPs making the case for a review of the Bellwin scheme. Cathy Jamieson, Justice Minister,  indicated at the end of the debate that the scheme will be looked at again. Caithness suffered from the storms with many roofs and buildings suffering damage.  Caithness councillors have been informed that a flood control damage scheme for Thurso may be possible to prevent flooding from the Thurso river.  A report is expected at a later date.

Melvich School Thinks Out Of The Box
Melvich Primary School, classes P5 - P7 spent Tuesday morning (22nd February, 2005) constructing bird boxes with help from Paul Castle, Highland Council Planning and Development Service Ranger for North Sutherland.  The children undertook all the measuring and construction under close supervision from Ms Scott (head teacher) and Paul and they produced several boxes for the local bird life to benefit from.

Caithness Orchestra Wants More Violinists
Violinists and other budding musicians who would like to play in the Caithness orchestra are asked to get in touch with the group now.

Hillhead School, Wick Celebrates Chinese Style For Year Of The Rooster

Hillhead school has been studying China and when they tackle a subject they go all out.  Today their work reached food and Chinese meals were on offer replacing the usual school dinners.  Luckliy the school has had help from a local Chinese resident Mrs Lai who advised on the food which the school chef and staff prepared and served.  The atmosphere was lively with Chinese music playing as part of a film showing on the recently acquired large flat screen computer monitor hung in the dining area.  Chop stick, straw hats and place mats with the children's names in Chinese characters all helped.  Mrs Lai had kindly spend most of yesterday going round all the classes in the school to help the children get their names written in Chinese for the place mats.   It all looked wonderfully tasty and the superb aroma lent to the atmosphere.  And already they are thinking about a Mexican day with some not too spicy grub.   Mmm.. think we will be paying another visit for school dinners at Hillhead.

Yarrows In February - Mysterious As Ever
Yarrows is an unusual place at any time of year and in the cold clear days of winter there is another dimension added to this peaceful place packed with past generations.  They left there marks all around for seven thousand years.  The footprints are to be found all over the area in stones, brochs, cairns and hut circles.  The colours of winter are in place but not for long......

Combine Harvester At Yarrows
A CLAAS Matador Standard tractor spotted by Tom Richard at Yarrows.  This model of combine was first produced in 1963.  We are not sure what year this particular model is.


Coming To Caithness This Year? - Let The Locals Show You Round
Once you might have some to the far north and had to find your own way round and missed much of what there was to see or do.  These days there are a few people to help you find out what there is to see.  Examples include The Caithness Tour a small tour business to show you the sites of the area or if sea angling is something you would like to try get in touch with one of the boat hire folk such as Freedom Charters or Karen Sea Angling.  Or if you would like some thrills while seeing sea life and parts of the coast or the island of Stroma contact North Coast Marine Adventures for details of the high speed jet boat trips. So if you want others to do the driving contact a local Caithness business to get the most out of your visit.

North Pier At Wick Harbour Nearing Completion
The North Pier at Wick Harbour looks as if it will be able to take anything the sea can throw at it for the next 100 years.  With steel piles all round and massive amounts of concrete that have been poured into it in the past few months it must surely be ten times stronger than before.  Added to that heaps of rock armour are now in place on the sea side to help break up the power of the waves in heavy seas or high tides. 
The Pier and Damage Section that started in November 2002 when the huge seas began to cause big damage that really could be seen.  Repairs at Camps Car Park and to the Dry Dock area have also been carried out.  The final stage in the repair work will be on Shore Road and that is expected to commence shortly.

Maureen MacMillan MSP Congratulates Community Service Volunteers
1,640 years of full-time 'gap-year' volunteering showcased to Scottish Ministers and MSPs
The impact of full-time volunteers on public services and on the lives of the people they support is being showcased to MSPs and Ministers at the Scottish Parliament today Wednesday 23rd February.  It comes with the publication of a report by CSV, the UK's largest volunteering and training charity, that demonstrates how an army of full time volunteers support homeless young people, young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, and people with learning and physical disabilities.  1,500 young Scots have volunteered the equivalent of 1,640 years of their time on placements all over the UK over the last ten years. This year alone, full-time volunteers on CSV placements in Scotland will contribute the equivalent of 16 years of their time.

Lybster Country School Children Being Sent Home At 11.00am Due To Bad Weather
Country children will be sent home due to the snowy conditions today in Caithness.  The village children will remain at school.

Get Out And See Part Of The County With The Rangers This Sunday
Drum Holistan
to Beinn Ratha following the county March - Sunday 27th February
This walk covers rough ground for about 11km.with roughly 250 metres of gradient. Reasonable fitness is required.  Wear boots, waterproofs and bring packed lunches.  Meet lay by at county march NC 921645 10 am.  This walk is weather and number dependent. Further information 01847 821531.
Walks led by the Highland Rangers are FREE so why not get out and get some exercise, see the countryside and learn about birds, animals and plants along the way.  Walking is one of the best ways to get fit, lose weight, relax and in the fresh sea air of the north makes for some of the best days out.  So this coming weekend why not get to bed early and head out with the Rangers on Sunday.  You might be surprised how much better you feel in the following days.   Ranger Pages    More Walking
Take a look at the Caithness Biodiversity Collection to see what is out there in the Caithness countryside.

Row Flares Up Over Multi Media Gizmo Coming To Caithness General Hospital - Grampian TV

Despite bad weather causing a few transport difficulties, an exceptionally good turn-out was experienced for the clubs annual children's tournament on Saturday 19th February 2005. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded in a total number of 14 events. Senior members and Instructors also gave various demonstrations throughout the course of the day.


"Agility" Back In Wick With Another  Fuel Oil Cargo

Biggest Mobile Crane In Caithness Is An Awesome Beast
Hugh Simpson Contractors based at Wick Harbour can tackle huge lifting jobs with this mobile crane.  With its huge extensions it comes with some pretty massive accessories in the form of weights and other equipment complete with their own trailers.  From windmills to massive loads it can tackle almost anything that needs powerful lifts.

Dounreay Local Liaison Committee - The Last Meeting
At Dounreay, the committee met twice a year. New terms of reference were introduced in 1978 "to provide a forum for discussion and comment" and meetings were opened up to the media in 1987. Now, almost half a century after their inauguration, local liaison committees are being consigned to the history books.  The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) officially takes over the watchdog role in a few weeks and a new Stakeholders Group is being created.  It will have its own web site.

New Views Of The Clan Gunn Centre
The Clan Gunn centre near Latheron is in an old church surrounded by a grave yard.  Its location gives magnificent views of the coast and countryside.


This is a very important post, which was advertised internally within NHS Highland. After holding interviews today, the appointment panel felt it was appropriate to go to open advertisement and see a wider range of candidates. The existing candidates will be invited to re-apply.  The Caithness And Sutherland Maternity Action Team is a newly created group to look at finding a way forward in maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.  Representatives from management, staff and local groups including North Action Group form the committee and its sub groups.  The chairmanship is held jointly by Councillor David Alston who is also chairman of the recently formed North Highland Community Health Partnership one of the new structures within NHS Highland managing and running health services and George Bruce chairman of North Action Group - George is also chairman of the Caithness and Sutherland Health Forum and was formerly chairman of the Caithness And Sutherland NHS Trust.

A9 Upgrade North Of Helmsdale Making Big Impact
The scale of the road upgrade happening on the A9 north of Helmsdale is becoming much clearer by every day that passes.  The massive quantities of rock being removed from the hillside and crushed to make the foundations for the new sections along the route are quite remarkable.  The construction has a long way to go as the work is not due for completion until October.  There is a 30 mile an hour speed limit along the whole area but drivers appear to be still going very fast through the works and the police will at some point catch many drivers unless everyone slows down.  Remember in Highland the police use mobile units and have in some places been known to catch hundreds of motorists in one day driving over 30mph at roadworks.  Workers have been killed at roadwork operations so there is every justification for the police to stop this.  Once it is finished it will speed everyone's journey to and from the north.

Lieurary School Reunion - Photos Coming In
Another school reunion is underway.  If you went to Lieurary school then get in touch with the organisers.  If you know anyone who went to the school let them know that a reunion is being organised for all ages.
Check the Lieurary Reunion Section or add messages on the Lieurary Message thread.  The Lieurary School Photos can be found HERE.  Iff you have more from Lieurary school then send them in.

The annual cost to The Highland Council of imposing a ban on smoking in public places from the spring of 2006 is likely to exceed £200,000, members of Resources Committee were told. The main spending will be on the appointment of four environmental health officers, two covering the North and two covering the South, to ~police~ the areas 1,500 public houses, restaurants and hotels and also deal with complaints and queries from all types of premises. The environmental health officers will take the lead role in serving fixed penalty notices to individuals whom they find smoking in enclosed public places.  The cost of engaging four officers is estimated at £184,000 per year.

Big hearted pupils at Highland schools have been praised for their magnificent efforts in raising £58,000 for the Tsunami Earthquake Appeal.  A total of 163 schools have contacted The Highland Council to advise of their fund raising exploits on Big Heart Day Highland on Wednesday 9 February, and some more have still to get in touch.  A final total will be announced at the next Education Culture and Sport Committee on 17 March.  Bruce Robertson, Director of Education Culture and Sport, has written to head teachers to thank them for the great success of Big Heart Day Highland, when pupils were invited to donate £1 to the appeal.  Castletown School Big Heart   Hilhead School Big Heart Tsunam Wall

Caithness and Sutherland Maternity Action Team
The Caithness and Sutherland Maternity Action Team has been set up by NHS Highland to look at a way forward for Maternity Services at Caithness General Hospital.  The first meeting agreed on the method to take forward the review and set up a number of sub groups to look at specific areas.  The group has representatives from NHS Highland, GP's, Medical Staff (Consultants and Midwives), Councillors, North Action Group and the ambulance service.

Jacobite Quest
An event aimed at people who enjoy local history and the great outdoors has been organised in Fort Augustus area, taking place on Saturday 12th March starting at 12.30pm  Following a Jacobite theme, participants will go on a quest to make or gather supplies for the fleeing Prince Charles Edward Stewart. If they are successful and avoid capture by the Red Coats they will be rewarded by becoming custodians of certain parts of the Highland culture.  A joint collaboration between The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service Rangers, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Cill Chuimein Heritage Scociety, the event has been funded by the Partnership for Rural Inverness and Nairn (PRIN).

A package of improvements worth almost £1million is about to get underway which will bring huge environmental benefits to the communities of Papigoe, Broadhaven and Bower and people living in the Scalesburn and Victoria Place areas of Wick.  Approximately £212,000 is being invested in a new septic tank and reed bed at Thura Place in Bower.  At Papigoe and Broadhaven a project worth around £402,000 will see improved sewage treatment for the two villages.  And in Wick new screening is to be installed to help the storm overflows in Victoria Place and Scalesburn cope better during adverse weather. The work is worth approximately £295,000.

The second Caithness Country Music Festival follows a very successful show last year in Thurso.  This year the festival moves to the Indoor Riding Centre at Halkirk.  The festival runs over three days at the Easter Weekend 25th, 26th & 27th MARCH.  Tickets are available at £15 a show or £50 for 5 shows over the three days.

'The Caithness Cycle' Lyth Arts Centre, Sat. 26th February, 8pm
- an original poem set to new music written & performed by David Morrison, poet & narrator
James Ross, composer & piano virtuoso with singer Edna Morrison.  The evening includes a reading by poet George Gunn.   James will also play from his recent Celtic Connections triumph, 'An Cuan'
Tickets £5 (£3 concession) Tel. (01955) 641270   The Arts Pages

New  Steering Group Meeting Gets Down To Business For Initiative At The Edge
The first meeting of the steering group for the Initiative At The Edge on 15 February wasted no time in appointing office bearers.  The new committee covered a lot of ground for their first meeting including development plan, funding, constitution, recruitment of a development officer.  The group are still pulling ideas together so there is plenty of opportunity for local people to input to the process by contacting members of the steering group or Anna MacConnell on 01641 541326 or email  Anna will act as a contact until a development officer is employed. IaoE has been successful in a number of remote and rural areas of Scotland.  The initiative in Caithness cover the South East of the county covering the area from south of Wick to Berriedale.

Comedy Hypnotic Show Comes To Caithness
Adrian Knight Comedy Hypnotic Show
Saturday 19 March 2005
Wick Dounreay Club
Doors open 8.30pm
Members and guests all welcome
Tickets £8

Highland House Prices Increasing
Figures released today by Registers of Scotland show that the average price for a residential property has levelled off in the last quarter (October to December).  However, the highest year-on-year increase, at 24 per cent is in Highlands and Islands where the average house now sells for £114,953. Commenting, Mary Scanlon MSP said; "I am delighted to hear that prices have levelled off, but I am not surprised to hear this worrying rate of increase in the Highlands.  "This increase makes it very difficult for First time buyers and young families to start a new home in Inverness and the Highlands.

Thurso High Girls 1977
This picture has been sent By Ross Haygarth and is in connection with the Thurso High 1977 Reunion being organised for16 July 2005
See Also Thurso High 1977 Reunion A list of former pupils still not found is available in the reunion pages.  Anyone who has not already been contacted and wishes to attend should get in touch with the organisers as soon as possible.

Theft Of Equipment From Dunnet Forestry Trust on Monday Night - 14 February
From The Trust Secretary -

On Monday night/Tuesday morning this week, our secure container was broken into and most of our equipment was stolen. It was well planned and organised and must have needed at least two people with heavy croppers and bars or log shifters to break in, and a substantial trailer or lorry to transport away the goods.  We have lost a Honda quad bike and trailer, a brand new hydraulic log splitter, three chain saws, two of them belonging to the forest manager, a stainless steel spade and a graip, both orange, two blue Draper spades used by younger volunteers, an axe, a brand new splitting maul, and various other tools and PPE.  Without this equipment we are unable to keep the forest safe, and we will have to buy new equipment to do so. This means that funds for development of the forest for the continuing enjoyment of the public will be restricted, and our plans for development will be delayed.

The SNP candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has attacked the Scottish Executive after Scotland’s local authorities announced an average 3.9% increase in their Council Tax rates.  Ms Shirron added: “Since 1997 Council Tax in the Highlands has increased by 65%.  The average B and D Council Tax in the Highlands has risen from £659 in 1997 to £1086 in 2005; an increase of £427.  “English Councils have been given a £1 billion package from Gordon Brown to cut Council Tax rises.  The Lib-Lab coalition in Edinburgh has refused to give Scottish Councils their share of the cash. says Lets Check some English Council Tax Rates - Hammersmith & Fulham - Manchester - Newcastle.  Want more then try  and enter a place and then council tax rate

Highland Council Tax for 2004 - 05 at Band D was £1039 2005 - 06 Band D £1086
But will Highland see a reduction of water charges as suggested in This Article
Added to the bill is the Water Charge For a Band D house in 2004 - 05 the charge was £338.31 covering water and waste water.  1997 to 2005 is an eight year period.  What were your earnings in 1997? What was the value of a house in 1997?  Certainly council tax is unequal but there are reliefs available for those on lower incomes.  The bald statements on council tax increases need some clarification.

The Highland Schools Wind band is performing in concert at Thurso High School, on Sunday 20th February at 1.30pm.  Conductor for the concert, Susan Dingle, is a regular guest of the Highland Council's musical groups as conductor of the Regional Youth Orchestra. Susan also conducts Highland Chamber Orchestra and a number of groups in Central Scotland.  Highland Schools Wind Band comprises 38 pupils playing woodwind, brass and percussion from many of Highland's secondary schools. The Caithness and Sutherland representatives include Catriona Leighton (flute) from Wick High School; 8 pupils from Thurso High School playing oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon; Rachel Mellor (flute) from Dornoch Academy; and Fearn Bishop (trombone) from Golspie High School.

Episcopal first for Caithness
Graham Tyler, ordained as a deacon in Thurso in 1995, is to be ordained
priest at St. Peter's and the Holy Rood church, by the Rt. Revd. John Crook, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness on Saturday 19th February at 11.30 a.m.. Graham will serve in both local episcopal churches - St Peter & the Holy Rood, Thurso and St John the Evangelist, Wick. This is reckoned to be the first episcopal ordination of a priest in Caithness since the Reformation.

Motorists are being advised of the temporary closure of a section of the B 9176 Struie Road to allow the High Bridge, at the north of the road, to undergo a major inspection.  The road is being closed between 9 am and 5 pm on both Wednesday 23 February and Thursday 24 February between the north A836 junction at Wester Fearn (A836/B9176) and the junction at Mudh a Blair (B9176/ U2002 Mudh a Blair ~ Edderton Road, north of Aultnamain).  The High Bridge is to be inspected in detail in order to carry out an assessment of its load bearing capacity and general condition. Due to the size of the structure, an underbridge inspection vehicle will have to be used. This will be sited on the bridge.  Due to the narrow road, through traffic flow cannot be accommodated during operations.  Advance signing will be erected to inform the travelling public and diversion routes marked as appropriate.

Mount Pleasant School Thurso Latest Newsletter

Highland Councillors are eager to lobby the Scottish Executive for help with the £5 million cost of repairing damage caused to Council property during the storms of 11/12 January, this year and to urge the Executive to devise a mechanism for assistance with future incidence of severe weather. Members of the Resources Committee were advised on Wednesday 16 February 2005 that the Council would not be able to take advantage of the Bellwin Discretionary Grant Scheme, which dates from 1983.

HIAL’s Airports on Target for One Million Passengers
The January 2005 passenger figures from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that more than 66,000 passengers used the company’s 10 airports in the month, a 7.6% increase on January 2004.  Total passengers for the 10 months of the 2004/05 operating year stand at 868,339, a 10.1% increase on the same period in 2003/04.  Inverness continues to be the fastest developing airport in the region with passenger growth of 19.4% in the current year. The airports at Barra, Campbeltown, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Tiree have also increased their passenger numbers in the year compared to 2003/04.  Wick airport figures are down.

Caithness Model Club Show

The show was held in the Nethercliffe Hotel, Wick.   Caithness Model Club

Fire Expert Critical Of Proposals To Change Lybster Fire Unit
Dr Dennett a fire expert was on holiday when he read the Fire Action Group secretary's letter in the John O'Groat Journal and responded with some helpful comments/  Dr Dennett is an acknowledged fire expert and has written books with advice on fire services and what they should provide.  This includes a chapter in his latest book on units similar to Lybster.  He describes the Highland Fire Brigades proposals for Lybster as "Ill Conceived"
 Bill Fernie's Response To The Consultation   Fire Action Group

Bridge Wall Partly By Demolished By Car In Early Hours Of The Morning Today

The wall on the bridge at Bridge Street, Wick was demolished in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a vehicle crashed right through it.

New Waste Water Treatment Works At Lybster Under Construction

Ian Baddeley, Jinny Malcolm And Peter Nichol Retire From Dounreay

CASE Approvals List - January 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. The approval simply shows that funds have ...

Denis Mann - Glass Artist Of Mastermind Trophy Fame Creating More New Work Than Ever
Denis Mann may be famous for his work on the Mastermind competition prize of the engraved Caithness Glass bowls but his work has gained an international reputation.  His skills are in demand constantly for unique items in glass from many corners of the globe.  His work is in constant demand for awards and presentations as his creations  are individual and unique works of art.  He still lives and works in Wick


Blikur Leaving Scrabster On Sunday 13 February

Weather Warning For Highland On Sunday 13 February - Met Office
Severe Gales, Widespread Icy Roads, Blizzards, Drifting Snow & Heavy Snow

Snow showers will merge to give a prolonged period of snow across northern Scotland today. At low levels, accumulations are likely to be slight but more significant falls are expected above about 200m. At the same time, northerly or northwesterly winds will reach severe gale force with gusts of around 70mph for a time, especially in exposed coastal and high level regions, causing local blizzards and drifting. An additional hazard of widespread icy roads is expected due to rain or snow falling on very cold surfaces. This combination means driving conditions will become dangerous and drivers of high sided vehicles are advised to take particular care.  48 Hour Forecast

Winter Scenes From Above The Caithness Hills Today

Carn Mhor, Maiden Pap, Scaraben and Smean
these photographs were taken by Alan Moar and many more Caithness winter scenes can be found at his web site in Caithness Snow Scenes

Caithness Family Fun Day In Aid Of The Tsunami Appeal - Sunday 13 February 3.00pm Till late
Waterfront, Wick -
Admission £5 at the door - children under 12 free - admission includes free raffle entry
3.30pm Wick Pipe Band & Highland Dancers - 4.30pm Talent Contest - open to all.  5.30pm Salsa Dance Demonstration. 6.00pm It's Magic. 7.00pm Mr & Mrs Competition. 8.00pm Special Charity Auction - prizes donated by local businesses 9.30pm Dance to Remix and George Crawford (Outlander) and resident DJ.  Baking Stalls, Bottle Stalls, All Day Food and drink. Everyone involved is giving their services free so go along and enjoy yourselves and have fun in aid of the Tsunami disaster appeal.

Castletown School Raise Funds For Highland Big Heart Day Tsunami Appeal

Castletown school kids raised £600 for the Tsunami appeal. The pupils organised the day themselves, which consisted of games, cake stalls and a bring and buy sale, followed by a disco in the evening. The playgroup and nursery class also got involved and raised around £100. The primary one pupils celebrated the Chinese New year as part of their fun day, making dragons and enjoying a Chinese feast in the afternoon.

Mount Pleasant School, Thurso Raise £524 For Tsanami Appeal
Mount Pleasant school staff and pupils in Thurso after their fundraising efforts for Highland Council's Big Heart Day to raise funds for the Tsunami Appeal. They had a variety of activities ranging from a Burns lunch for staff to a mini fair for the children. In total we raised £524.88.


The Inaugural meeting of the Caithness & Sutherland Maternity Action Team was held today (Friday, 11 February, 2005).  The Team has agreed to appoint a Project Manager and has established groups for:
1. Midwifery  2. Obstetrics  3. Gynaecology  4. The role of General Surgeons, Anaesthetists and other hospital staff  5. Transport and accommodation.
The groups will involve user representation, NHS staff and key stakeholders ie North Action Group, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, Scottish Ambulance Service, Local Authority and Patients Council. The users representatives will be identified from the members of the public who had previously indicated their willingness to participate in finding a viable solution for Maternity/Gynaecology services in Caithness & Sutherland.

BBC Scotland News Bulletin - Twelve 2 Two Show & News Broadcast - Listen To The Programme
Argyle & Clyde Midwife Maternity Model Avoided By 75% Of Mums

Head to the BBC Scotland "Play It Again" page and select Friday on the Twelve 2 Two programme.
Andy Kerr the Health minister has rejected the claims that mothers are voting with their feet and going to Paisley or Glasgow as only 25% of birth are in the mid wife led units that have now been set up in that Health Board area.  You can click to the second half of the programme in 15 minute hops to get to the debate on maternity services.  Speakers talk about Caithness Maternity situation and the unique geography of the far north making it different from any other part of the country.  Eleanor Scott MSP highlights the European Working Time directive as a reason for change.  She also refers to the Orkney model where GP's are involved.  One caller refers to the poor advertising for staff in hospitals.  David Flear Caithness area convenor phoned in to the programme and debated with Professor Andrew Calder who wrote the report on Caithness maternity that started the process that has hit the headlines in the past 18 months.

Initiative At The Edge - First Meeting Had A Very Good Turnout
Organisers of the first Initiative At The Edge Meeting in the Portland Hotel were pleased by the response from local people to setting up the new project.  The Initiative has formed a steering group and it is still open to anyone from the area to come forward to join the steering group.  Funding is available to appoint co-ordinator if the group wishes to do so.  The audience were given an outline of what the Initiative is about and some examples of successful areas that have already used the scheme.  Nothing is fixed and communities are encourage to develop their own ideas for their area.  Initiatives in other areas have affected housing, amenities and businesses.  The first meeting of the Steering Group to be in Dunbeath Hall on Tuesday 15th February at 7.00pm.  The audience was told that although the Initiative does not come with stream of funding other than the coordinator and running costs it has been used in other areas to bring in funding for all manner of projects that people would like to see happen.  The geographic area in this Initiative is generally south of Wick to Berriedale.

New Scottish Health Council Recruiting Members
The Scottish Health Council will replace the current system of Health Councils.  Health Councils in the 15 Scottish Health Board Areas will disappear and be replaced by the new organisation.  15 local Advisory committees will be part of the new system.  Volunteers are asked to commit 2 - 3 days per month.   Information packs are available from the new web site or by telephone.  Closing date for applications is 2 March.

A rise of £47 at Band D, a 4.5 % increase, was agreed by The Highland Council when it met on Thursday (10 February) to set the Council Tax for 2005-2006. In setting a budget of £465 million, which shows a net increase in spending of almost £24 million, the Council agreed the following charges in 2005-2006: -
A £724; B £844.67; C £965.33; D £1086; E £1,327.33; F £1568.67; G £1,810; H £2,172
The Council also indicated that the rise at Band D in 2006-2007 would be £60 or 5.5%. This sum includes £10 to meet the estimated payment profile of the Education PPP2 project, which envisages the construction of 11 new schools.  Highland Council Minutes 10 February 05

Council House Rent Increases Agreed
The Council also confirmed that council house rent increases in the new financial year should be contained to the Retail Price Index plus 1 % ie 4.4%. The average rent increase in 2005-2006 will be £1.88 per week, increasing the current weekly average rent to £53.78.

A local Access to Europe information event will take place at 5.15pm on Tuesday the 15th February 2005 at the Thistle Hotel, Inverness.  More than 1500 European Union network organisations across Europe are involved in a European Commission initiative designed to introduce your local European Information points to you.  These contact points have been established to help citizen, community groups, volunteer groups and business access European related information on funding opportunities, business partner search in other European countries, Intellectual property rights, Rural co-operation and much more.

Band Of The Year Award Goes To Shogun
The committee of the Northern Nashville Country Music Club recently presented the Orkney based band "Shogun" with the "Band of the Year Award" on behalf of the club members and guests at their show held in the Royal British Legion, Thurso.


A major recruitment drive was launched in the Highlands this week for foster carers for young people.  The Highland Council's Fostering and Adoption Service is seeking people who have room in their lives as well as in their homes who could consider becoming foster carers and changing the lives of young people.  The Council's fostering campaign is appealing to a widespread audience in local adverts on TV, radio and newspapers. Although the campaign focuses upon fostering young people aged 13 and over, the Council would also like to hear from those interested in helping younger children and sibling groups.

This week Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service receives delivery of the first of four new mobile libraries that will soon be serving the communities of Nairn, Lochcarron, Invergordon and Caithness areas.  These specially commissioned mobiles have been designed largely by Highland Libraries' knowledgeable and experienced mobile library drivers and were built by Nu-track of Northern Ireland, on Mercedes chassis.  The purpose-built vehicles will replace existing mobiles that have serviced the communities of Nairn, Lochcarron, Invergordon and Caithness for over ten years covering many hundreds of thousands of miles. During this period, the retiring vans will have issued approximately 1.6million items and served nearly 2,000 people on a regular basis each year.

Angus Ross - Conservative Backs Nuclear Investment At Dounreay
Conservative Candidate Angus Ross welcomes the news that stalwart independent candidate Gordon Campbell has hit the campaign trail once more.  The Conservative campaign is well under way - with delivery of IN TOUCH to places all over the constituency during late 2004 and to the new area of mid-Ross during January of this year. Angus Ross was responsible for arranging the recent visit of Sir Bernard Ingham to Thurso and welcomes the great boost he gave to the case for 'commissioning as well as decommissioning' at Dounreay. We need to use the General Election campaign to ensure that the great groundswell of public opinion is heard as 'Caithness says YES' to new nuclear investment at Dounreay - to provide real hope for the future of the Caithness economy.

Jamie McGrigor MSP McGrigor hits out at "acts of barbarity"
Highland MSP Jamie McGrigor has hit out at the way the Deer Commission manages deer numbers in Scotland. Speaking in a debate in Parliament on Deer Management, the Conservative MSP, who is a member of the Inveraray and Tyndrum Deer Management Group, described recent culls on the Cobbler and at Glenfeshie as "acts of barbarity".   Said Mr McGrigor "There is no doubt that the herds of red deer which inhabit Scotland's Highland regions are a very important part of our national heritage. They must be managed in a way makes the most of this valuable asset rather than reducing the monarch of the glen to the status of vermin.
"Growth in Gaelic could help boost local tourism"
Conservative Gaelic Spokesman Jamie McGrigor has said a growth in interest in the Gaelic language could have major benefits to Scotland's tourism industry. 

Alan Hendry, editor of the Caithness Courier and John O'Groat Journal, has been named Journalist of the Year for the Highlands and Islands.  Alan received his award from the Right Honourable George Reid, MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball which was held at Nairn on Friday 4 February.  Alan received £300 from the sponsors of the awards, Diageo, the world's premium drinks company, to donate to a charity of his choice.  Alan also picked up the award of £100 for being Feature Writer of the Year.

Volunteering Highland Caithness Hot List - February 2005
We are looking for youth Leader/Assistants to help with uniformed and non-uniformed youth groups in your area.  For example, 1st Wick Scouts and Wick Boys Brigade are looking for Leaders to help. So, if you have a couple of hours available on either Monday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings you could help these groups continue.

SAC Single Farm Payment Meetings in HIE AREA - Urgent Deadline For Farmers - 16 May
SAC is organising a series of meetings throughout the Highlands and Islands which aim to help farmers and crofters understand how the new Single Farm Payment Scheme works. The meetings will take place over the next six weeks (see below for times and venues) prior to the deadline for IACS applications
Caithness Meeting - Tuesday 22nd February Park Hotel, Thurso - 7.30pm

For the first time people living in Caithness will have a real opportunity to benefit the environment by recycling significant amounts of waste with the opening of two new recycling centres in Wick and Thurso which will create 6 new jobs.  Work has already begun on the Wick site which is situated next to the existing refuse depot on the Airport Industrial Estate.  J Gunn and Sons from Lybster are the contractors for the work which should be completed by the beginning of April. The Thurso site, for which planning permission is currently being sought, is scheduled to open in the summer.

Graham Norton is leading the charge this year for Comic Reliif.  Let us know here at if you are doing anything for the day and send us photos of your outrageous stunts and teams out collecting around Caithness.  Also let us know where you will be on Friday night and we will see if we can come along to take pictures.

Can Anyone Help With A Request We Have Received?
What military presence there was at Loch Eribol between 1914 and 1960.  A brief note would be useful or pointer to web site with this information.  Email

Calling Gala, Games And Other Events Committees - When Are Your 2005 Events?
Can anyone on any committees for Galas, Highland Games and other annual events get in touch to let us know the dates of these events.  We are already getting requests for the dates from people coming to Caithness who want o make sure they arrive at the right time  for some of them.  The earlier we know the better and we will add the event to the what's On and the Galas/Games/ Shows page.  The entries are all FREE but we do need someone to let us know about your event.  It can be almost anything from a day to a week and we will add it to the section.  Caithness is a busy place in summer so don't keep you event secret - let everyone know on Email details to

Continental Market Returning To Wick After 2004 Success
26, 27, 28 and 29 May 2005 - Thursday to Sunday
Despite one day of terrible weather that forced the continental market to close due to high winds it was a huge success last August.  So much so that the market traders have agreed to come for four days instead of three in May this year.   See August 2004 and Pictures From the Market August 2004

Caithness County Show - In Wick For 2005
15 & 16 July  - County Show - Wick
Due to the proximity to the town for restaurants, shops and other facilities Wick is the most popular of the three year cycle for the Caithness County Show.  If anyone is planning to be in Caithness and has not been to a rural farming show then you could not do better than the one that will be in Wick in July.  The show site is at Westerseat Farm and is in walking distance of all the town amenities.  That means that having a dram is not a problem as no one needs to drive.  The county show has something for everyone from everything in farming - animals, machinery, competitions (sheep shearing etc) to the big tents with flower shows, baking competitions and places to eat and drink.  july is also A big month for Caithness Galas with at least one likely to be held

Karen Shirron SNP Says "Make Scotland Matter"  With A Citizens' Pension
While campaigning in Caithness, the SNP’s parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming Westminster general election, Karen Shirron, urged voters in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross to vote for the only party that puts Scotland first; the Scottish National Party.  Speaking from Wick Ms Shirron urged:  If Scotland matters to you then make it matter in May and vote for the Scottish National Party, the only party that puts Scotland first and always.  At the forthcoming election every vote for the SNP will be a vote for a Citizens’ Pension based on residency rights irrespective of savings accrued or contributions made over the years.  This non-means-tested Citizens’ Pension will bring at least £110 for a single person and £168 for couples.

Highland Council To Agree Council Tax Increases On Thursday 10 February
2005/06 Bands A £724.00 B £844.67 C £965.33 D £1,086.00 (
representing an increase of £47 or 4.5%.) E £1,327.33 F £1,568.67 G £1,810.00 H £2,172.00   A paper from the Budget Working Group sets out the information on the indicative budget and the increases required.  Council tax amounts to approximately 20% of of local authority money with most of the balance coming from the Scottish Executive.  Local Authorities find themselves squeezed between the money provided and the additional responsibilities passed down by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive.  The Council has previously agreed that in relation to council tax on second homes, the maximum 90% charge will be levied from 1 April.   Over £4 million is expected to be taken from the restriction of the rebate to second home owners and it will be spent on affordable housing in Highland.
In addition projections for the next two years are included.

Boiling A Frog
7:84 Theatre's latest production.  Nearest venue to Caithness is Inverness but this popular theatre group with many targeted political plays under its belt may be of interest as it tours Scotland.  They included North Action Group in their last play "Private Agenda".  Here they get to grips with the real "Holyrood" parliament.


Latest Pultenytown Academy Newsletter

Rabbie Burns Afternoon At Hillhead Primary, Wick

Royal British Legion Thurso Says Thanks To Everyone who Gave To Their Tsunami Appeal
The Royal British Legion Thurso Branch would like to thank all members, guests, local retailers, businesses and the community in general who have helped and contributed to their fundraising efforts towards the Tsunami Disaster Fund.  The total amount raised for all events was an overwhelming £6043 and we are so proud of our local community for this fantastic effort and appreciate the effort more so as January can be a difficult month to find money for anything other than bills.  The donation will be sent away immediately with the hope that it can bring some relief to the survivor’s plight.

Evidence Shows Lybster Fire Unit Needed To Fight House Fires
The Fire Action Group Are worried about the implications of being dependent on Dunbeath and Wick units and want to be allowed to attend fires in the area as previously.  Our organisation has been able to find out that in the last year the unit which is expected to respond quickest to a fire in Lybster, namely, Dunbeath is regularly experiencing problems in finding a crew.  In the last year Dunbeath was summoned on 30 call outs, over half, which were to attend incidents in the Lybster patch. Many, but not all of these, were for RTAs, which of course Lybster in the “wisdom” of the Fire Brigade are not allowed to attend. Only 6 call outs in the year were for their own patch. 8 call outs were false alarms.

Nursery Groups At Hillhead School, Wick Get Book Bags
Hillhead Primary School recently obtained almost £700 of funding from the Scottish Executive to purchase books for the nursery to support parents reading to their child at home. This scheme entitled "Home from Hillhead" will see parents receive a total of 9 books, one per week, over the next nine weeks to read to their child. Ratings for each book will be taken and a top-ten chart will be drawn up. It is also intended to publish a newsletter every two to three weeks informing the nursery parents about the books and attitudes to them so far.

Hillhead School , Wick  - Newsletter - February

Under the sea to Orkney at a cost of £100m - The Herald

Construction Of New Section of A9 Road Well Under Way
If you have not driven up past Helmsdale recently you will not have seen the huge amount of work already done on the new section of road.  Several bends are being straightened out or at least made into more gentle curves.  To achieve this masses of rock and in fact the entire hillside along the road is being broken out and crushed as the bottom material for the new road at different points.  Huge trucks are moving up and down very day as the rock is crushed.  The new section of road is due to be completed by October.

Caithness Arts Group Ceilidh At Mackays Hotel Last Night

4th Wick Guides Raise Funds For The Tsunami Appeal
4th Wick guides recently held a sale to raise funds for the DEC Tsunami Appeal.  The guides are seen here with their cheque for £272 at their weekly meeting in the Parish Church Hall in Wick.



Sales of council housing passes 100,000 mark in Scotland for the first time
According to new analysis from Shelter, sales of council homes under the controversial Right to Buy scheme have now reached 100,896 since Labour took office in May 1997.
Speed of Council House Sales slowing across Scotland - Mary Scanlon MSP Asks Why?

Highland Council is failing to complete more than half of its proposed Council House sales within 6 months, according to new figures published by Audit Scotland.  Highland Council admit that their applications are below the Scottish average in terms of time taken to handle them but improvement are evident in the past few months.

Request From Canada about Caithness Picture
Unknown Family Group - Can Anyone Identify Them?

When my mother-in-law died about twenty years ago we found among her possessions a number of photographs including the one we are sending now. We have no idea who these people are but they may be relatives. Our only clue was the wee notice at the bottom that the photographer was Humphrey of Wick.
We know that there are photos by Humphrey on display at your museum and we wondered if this one is among the collection, with perhaps some identification.

Footpath Needed At Portgower To Protect Walkers - Grampian TV

The Gaelic Village - Am Baile Web Site Is Much More Than A Gaelic Web Site
This relatively new web site is building fast.  It is being run by Highland Council Library Services and the title should not let you think it is purely about Gaelic culture.  It is now adding material from all over the Highlands and Caithness information, documents and old photographs are rising in number on the site.  The site is bi-lingual and you can go in Gaelic or English.  Put few Caithness places into the web site search engine or even Caithness itself and you will be taken to a growing list of items.   Well worth a browse and placing in your favourites as the staff are working hard to increase the items on the site.

The Birds and Mammals of Caithness
Robert Innes Shearer's contributions to the natural history of Caithness, 1859 - 1867 Compiled and edited by Hugh Clark & Robin M. Sellers
Hugh Clark and Robin Sellers have done an excellent service to bird and animal lovers by drawing together this wonderful set of articles by Robert Innes Shearer.   In addition they have added updates to the original articles that were written between 1859 and 1867 and mainly published in the John O'Groat Journal.  Four articles appeared in other publications - three in The Field and one in Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.  Letters by Shearer to the John O'Groat Journal are also included and are effectively beautiful pan pictures on particular birds and animals in Caithness. (248pp)
Note  - Only 500 copies of this book have been printed so if you want to add it to your bookshelf don't leave it too long in case it does not get reprinted.

Youngsters' poems are set in stone (Caithness Flagstone) at Holyrood - Scotsman
Caithness Flagstone continues to be chosen for prestigious sites and this latest position at the Scottish Parliament shows that if you want to have something last you should choose Caithness flagstone with its incredible density giving it strength and durability.  Caithness flagstone is also one of the materials chosen for the British section of the new memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack in New York.  The world is full of examples of the stone laid down over 100 years ago and still showing well today.  Modern cutting tools are ensuring it is now a stone of choice for many prestigious sites in the UK and around the world.

Public Meeting Wednesday 9 February 7.30pm - Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster

Communities in south east Caithness are set to benefit from an initiative aimed at tackling the problems which face many rural areas in the Highlands.  In October 2004 the areas covered by the community councils of Berriedale & Dunbeath, Latheron, Lybster & Clyth were designated Initiative at the Edge status.  Initiative at the Edge (IatE) was launched, in March 1998, to concentrate attention and effort on tackling the problems faced by the most fragile rural areas of northern Scotland.  The operating principle of IatE gives community groups the power to identify their needs, set their own priorities, outline the actions required and, with the assistance of their local partner bodies (Highland Council, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, Crofters Commission and Caithness Voluntary Groups) develop projects accordingly.  A public meeting will be held in the Portland Arms Hotel in Lybster at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9th February for those interested in more information more about the Initiative or in being part of a steering group to work with local agency staff to form a local development plan.  The group will also be given the option to appoint a Local Development Officer to work with them to develop projects and deal with issues identified in the local plan.

Family Quiz Night From PPP
PPP are having a family quiz night on Friday the 4th of February 2005 at the South School, cost £2 per team, with a maximum of five members in the team, each team must consist of at least one adult, prizes to be won

North Primary School, Wick January Newsletter

January 2005 Romps Away With The Record
Hits : 10, 789, 661  Visitors 146,699
Daily Average Hits 337,369  Visitors 4731
Visitor numbers kept up to the early prediction and romped into our record book with the highest ever visor numbers and hit rates.   Page Views were 760,359 for the month.
This compares with Jan 2004 visitors  - 126,051  and Jan 2003 108,256
Thanks to everyone who visited or contributed.