Wick High 1965 Reunion - Organisers Need To Know Final Numbers
The Wick High 1965 Reunion is set for 30 July in Mackays hotel.  The photo is from the Pulteneytown Academy class of 1961.  If you have not already been in touch about the reunion there is just about still time to get tickets.  But do it now to help the organisers get the numbers right.


Another Holiday Activity Just In - Join The Children's Nature Club For The Holidays
Are you 8-12 & interested in nature & the outdoors? Why not join the nature holiday club this summer?

Summer Visitors Entertain Summer Visitors!
Visitors to Caithness Candles at John O'Groats are being entertained by three pairs of House Martins who have built their nest under the eaves of the building, close to the showroom entrance.  The birds swoop around the front of the building catching insects. We think that they are still sitting on eggs. Judging by last year when there were two nests, they become frantic in their efforts to keep up with their youngsters' growth.  Some people enjoyed watching the young learning to fly last year so much that they have asked to be informed when 'flying lessons' start so that they can witness the few days training the young get before their long trip South.

Another Sunset
Another sunset photo from Caithness.  This one was taken in Thurso by S Millard on 14 June proving there ar plenty of days to capture great photos.  You just need to be out there with a camera in your hand to capture these moments.  Caithness has such an open landscape that it is easy to be in a positions ready to see a fantastic sunset whether you photograph it or not.  Just head out for a late evening walk and see for yourself.  Sometimes you will hit lucky and hey even if you don't walking is good for you.  Switch that telly off and get out.

Summer Holiday Fun In Ormlie
Ormlie Community Association has organised a jam-packed programme of summer workshops for children and young people, throughout the school holiday period. The scheme will run for six weeks and will include video/new media work, mosaics, mask making, mural design, banner making, circus skills, African drumming, T-shirt design, puppet making, football coaching and sports activities and games. A trip to Achvarasdal Forest and Melvich beach has been organised for the under 9 age group, whilst the older children will be given the opportunity to try their hand at indoor bowling.  For Lots more Across Caithness go to Kids On Holiday page.   If your group, village hall or church are running holiday activities for children and young people this summer send in your details and we will add them to the page.  It's a FREE page so send in details to

New SNH Promotion For Caithness Landscapes
A new range of promotional material, featuring the landscapes of Caithness, was launched at a special event hosted by the Highland Council at the Weigh Inn,  Thurso on Tuesday. The full colour posters and postcards have been produced by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to raise awareness of the different types of landscapes in the county. An accompanying Landscape schools activity pack prepared by the Highland Environmental Network will also be available for all schools in Caithness.  John Bain from Dunbeath Primary School is quoted on the poster and launched the poster.  The poster and postcards include quotes from local people on how they feel about their landscapes. The schools activity pack provides guidance on fieldwork relating to landscape, and pointers on how to identify key landscape features. It also invites feedback from children on what they think about their landscapes.

Wick Business Licensed To Deal With Asbestos
A Wick based business is now able to provide a service for dealing with the removal, storage and transportation of low-level asbestos waste following a significant investment in equipment, training and premises.  Wick Blast Ltd has successfully been providing a power washing service for householders, businesses and a range of clients, including a local housing association and the Highland Council, since 2001.  However, since the 1st of April 2005, the Highland Council run landfill site at Seater can no longer accept commercial low-level asbestos waste, which runs to an average of 70 or more tonnes each year. Wick Blast Ltd director, Graeme Bain, identified an opportunity for a local business to become a licensed asbestos operator to remove, store and transport the bagged waste material to the nearest licensed tip in Perth.  Full Story

Major Repair Work At Shore Road, Wick
The seafront in the harbour area along shore Road is now being upgraded with major repair works underway to build  a new defensive wall of granite blocks in the water to break the force of the waves that have caused so much damage in the past few years.  The land adjoining the works is privately owned so Highland Council will not be doing work on that.  Our pictures in October last year showed how the damage was being done.  A wall built with large blocks of Caithness Flagstone will complete the works in a few weeks. What's On Has Almost 300 Entries - Is Your Event Listed Yet? - FREE FREE FREE
The What's On section continues to grow with more and more people checking it all the time.  Events can be placed FREE of charge by completing the submission form in the section.  Multiple dates can be entered quickly by hitting the back button after each submission and changing the date or time.  You can rattle through the dates very fast once you have started.  Get a whole years dates in all at once and let everyone know about your organisations events from coffee morning, dance, or entertainment.  Let everyone know about your event and make it available 24 ours a day anywhere in the world for folk planning trips to the county. is still experiencing ever growing visitors numbers so let them all have the chance to know about your event.

Street Party Fun Day  - Saturday 2 July 2.00pm - British Legion, Thurso  - Busy Busy Caithness
John Thurso MP will open the fun day at British Legion to be held outside their building  along the riverside in Thurso.  the fun starts at 2.00pm and the afternoon is packed with items - Big Ban, Pop Idol Competition, Bottle Stalls, Tombola, Duck Race, Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Beat the Goalie, Crazy Golf, Splat the Rat, Old Thurso Display, Buzzer challenge, Play Your Cards Right, Bric-a-brac and much more.  At night entertainment from 8.30pm is from Dave Allen plus a disco and Karaoke.

What Are You Going To Do this Summer?
Kids and Young Folk In Caithness Have Plenty Of Choice

In this new page we are listing some of the events and activities aimed at children and young folk over the summer holidays.  There is plenty to choose from and they can go along with friends for great days of activities.  If you are visiting Caithness with children why not take a look to see if your children can take part.  Some activities require booking.  Some are FREE and others have a small charge.   If you are organising activities get them on this page FREE of charge by emailing details to

Caithness Is Gonna Be Busy This Weekend
Apart from one of the country's most prestigious shooting competitions starting at Castletown bowlers will be here in large numbers for the St Fergus Open Triples competitions taking place over three clubs at St Fergus and Rosebank Wick and Thurso.  64 teams comprising 192 players will arrive with families and over 400 people are expected to be mainly based in Wick.  The competition last year was the first but was so successful that entries for 2005 were made almost immediately after the competition ensuring 2005 was a sell out.  also starting on Saturday are Castletown and Lybster Galas.  Whilst back in Wick, Pipe Band Week kicks off with a parade on Saturday night .  Canisbay show is also on this Saturday.  In fact the whole of July is packed with events in Caithness.

Homebase Shopping Complex Work Begins At Wick
Work began this week on the new shopping complex situated n the outskirts of Wick.  The new complex that will have seven units with the two main shops being Homebase and Argos.  With Tescos planning application about to begin the process Wick will in a very short time have some of the most modern shopping facilities outside Inverness.  Suddenly the tide is changing in Wick's favour.  It has been recognised for some time that a town with an airport, harbour and railhead is ideally situated to make an economic come back.  Few other small towns have all three forms of transport facilities on their doorstep.

Charles in Songs of Praise Tribute to Queen Mother - The Scotsman
The programme that will be filmed in Caithness will go out on the BBC on 11 September.
It will come from John O’Groats, a Christian retreat at Freswick Castle and will feature a service at Pulteney Parish Church.

Caithness Primary Schools Netball Competition 2005 - Halkirk 20  - South School 3
Whilst the final of the football was going on the Caithness primary school girls were battling it out in the final of the county competition.  Halkirk won the final in great style with a 20 - 3 win over South School. The South School girls never gave up but had to admit defeat.  The game was played at Hillhead school with plenty of supporters on both sides.

Caithness Primary Schools Football Competition 2005 - South School 6 - Castletown 4
South School Primary Football Team continued their winning run taking the county schools cup in the final today against Castletown.  The final was played on neutral territory at Hillhead school, Wick.  Castletown dominated the opening few minutes quickly notching up a 3 - 0 lead.  South School obviously settled back on their training and began to open up the game and drew level before taking the score in the second half to 6 - 3.  Castletown managed to take the initiative a few times and score one more goal but could not quite overcome the confidence of the South School players who held off all later attacks to win in the end 6 - 4.  Well done to both teams for an exciting game throughout.

Latheron Show Announces New Highland Dancing Competitions
A new series of Highland Dancing competitions open to entrants on the day will be feature of this years Latheron Show.  New cups have been acquired for the competitions.  All the usual events and dog agility competition. 

Time To Slow Down Near Schools Even Though the Signs Are Not All Up Yet
All Highland schools are part of an ongoing programme for the next four years, which will see all schools in the Highlands with 20mph speed limits.  Roads outside schools can be notoriously dangerous places for children travelling to and from the classroom. Injury accidents have fallen by 60%, child pedestrian accidents by 70% and child cyclist accidents by 48% where these 20mph designated measures are put in place.  School Holidays start at the end of this week so drivers should take every care where children might be about.  With research showing that 20 mph speed limits are an effective vehicle for reducing the number of accidents and severity of casualties on our roads, it is clear to see why all drivers including parents must abide by them. The Highland Council hopes that the new 20 mph signs will raise awareness of the 20 mph speed limit outside Highland schools and encourage drivers to slow down.  Remember these are legally enforceable speed limits and motorists may be charged for speeding within the limits of the signs at certain times.  But the main point is saving children's lives - Slow down and have a nice summer holiday.

South School Wins Wick Town Cup After 10 Years
They won 1-0 on Mon 27/06/05 after a play-off at Hillhead School against North School after both teams had won 3 games and lost 1 game. It has been 10 years since they won this particular cup. South School have also won the Wick Town Netball Cup.  the county finals are at Hillhead School on today.


Caithness Rugby Club  - Another New Caithness Web Site
Caithness Rugby Club is a huge success story having made the move up the leagues to reach National Division 3.  From the new season they will be facing the competition in Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders.  They really are taking rugby to a new level for Caithness and deserve congratulations for their achievements.  Support for the team has been growing steadily and crowds for bigger games now reach up to 500.  The club have another team and support young rugby in the county.  Local businesses are supportive but they can always use more help as travelling costs in the new league are a major factor.  Good Luck for the future in the new league to everyone concerned.
Photo is from the 87 - 7 Defeat by Caithness against Orkney on their way up in September 2003

National Shooting Event Starts In Caithness On Saturday
Thurdistoft Airfield, Castletown from Sat 2nd July - Friday 9th July 2005.
The Caithness Small Bore Rifle Association hosts a national event next week.  NSRA 2005 Scottish Meeting for all small-bore rifle shooters around the country. Caithness Small-bore Rifle Associates is delighted to host this years event at Thurdistoft which is expected to attract over 300 competitors from all over the country.  Many competitors will be arriving with friends and families and the county can expect to see up to a thousand people arrive for this major national competition.  The facilities at Thurdistoft Airport have been substantially upgraded to meet the competition requirements.

Mary Scanlon Highlights W8 Conference In Edinburgh
Mary Scanlon was one of eight MSP's who attended the W8 Summit in Edinburgh on June 23rd, to hear eight inspiring and thriving African women address the conference in a celebration of the significant contributions they have made across Africa.  Mary was honoured to represent Alivera Kiiza, a member of the W8 group of African women, in the Scottish Parliament.  Commenting, Mary said; "It was very pleased to attend the W8 conference, to hear the interesting and moving stories of these women, and to meet Alivera Kiiza, a woman who has shown great courage and entrepreneurial spirit in leading a coffee co-operative in her home land of Tanzania.

Summer holiday fun with the Caithness Rangers! - 2005
The Caithness Rangers have devised a number of events for children and young people over the summer holidays.  Some of the events will be very popular so it is advisable to book a lace for them as soon as possible and mark your calendar.  The events can be found listed in the Ranger Pages and in the Galas - Shows Events Pages as well as in the What's On

Caithness Waybaggers 2005 - 06 Walks
If you would like to see some of the most beautiful parts of Caithness and Sutherland why not join the Caithness Waybaggers on one of their outings.  Look HERE to see a few of their previous outings.  You do not have to be fanatically fit to head out on these walks and you will see some great places in the north of Scotland.

Latest Newsletter From North Primary School Wick With Sports and Ceilidh Photos
As end of term approaches North School. Wick has been making sure the youngsters are fit and active ready for the summer holidays at the end of this week


Wick Dounreay Social Club - New Web Site Under Construction
Another new Caithness web site almost completed.  The new site is now listed in the Business Index and in the Caithness sites page to make it easy to find at a later date.

Wick Banger Derby Attracts Almost 100 Drivers 60 Photos Now In
The First Wick Banger Derby saw around 100 drivers race in front of a big crowd on Sunday.  The day remained dry and conditions were excellent for the cars.  The organisation was excellent although cars were a bit far from the audience to really see what was happening at the far side of the track.  Broken down vehicles were cleared away fast and races continued throughout the afternoon.

Ormlie Young Folk Create Biggest Art Project Ever In Caithness In The Early Hours
In the early hours from midnight onwards young people from Ormlie Community Association visited a number of large structures to create the biggest art show ever devised in the county.  Taking video footage made earlier they then used it to beam pictures on to large structures and filmed the results.  Earlier they had captured digital images on DVD and then later beamed them out in the dark on to the largest structures they could find in the county.  We managed to be there for two of them - the dome at Dounreay and the JGC building at Janetstown.  Unfortunately most of our photos are not too great but here are three to give you the idea.  If you happened to have been passing Janetstown at 2.00am it may have looked like the biggest picture show ever from the main road.  Images included goldfish, trees, Windmills and a butterfly that hatched on Saturday, play park, and water.
Ormlie Community Association

Subsidy scheme aims to bring down cost of Scots air travel - Scotland On Sunday

The Highland Council has made a short and long term commitment to fostering community projects.  It is to allocate £900,000 over the next two years to deal with the backlog of replacing play equipment and upgrading surfaces in Council-owned play areas as well as providing matching capital funding for appropriate community play and skateboard projects.  It is also to spend £150,000 annually to support the maintenance and ongoing costs of community projects, supplementing existing Council funding streams, and to examine how best to provide insurance cover for community projects, which are supported or endorsed by the Council.

Highland Councillors sent out a very clear message today (Thursday) that they will strongly oppose consideration of any site in Highland for a national nuclear waste repository.  They were responding to a report by John Rennilson, Director of Planning and Development, advising them of recent developments regarding radioactive waste management.  Mr Rennilson reported that, in response to a Freedom of Information request, UK Nirex Ltd had confirmed recently that their short-list of sites for a deep radioactive waste repository compiled in the 1980s had included Dounreay and Altnabreac in Caithness. This site selection exercise was subsequently abandoned in 1997.

The Night Sky Light Show In Caithness Continues - This One Over Thurso - More Inside
The stunning photos continue to come in showing more of the fabulous night sky over Caithness recently.  Thanks to Martina Cross for the latest additions.


Mackays Dance Band - A Few Years Back
This photos has been sent in by Sheila Moir showing Mackays Dance Band.  We will be happy to add some information if anyone can send in details about the band.

More Early Photos


Wildcat Traditional Music Association Newsletter 33
The last Wildcat night attracted a relatively small but very appreciative audience to the Pentland Hotel on a Friday evening to hear a bunch of local artists performing. Alison Birnie and Fraser Bain gave us some of the best singing and accompaniment I've heard for many a year.

Is Your Caithness Event In The What's On?
There are currently over 250 entries in our What's On.  Yes Caithness is a busy place and your event might not get noticed.  But you can make sure it gets to more people and is available for months or even years ahead by placing it in the what's On listings.  It is really simple and FREE.  Just complete the Submission Form in the section and your event can have days, weeks , months or even years of FREE advertising letting both locals and visitors know about your event.  Wondering how many folk might see your event placed on the web site.  Hard to say exactly but many thousands pass through here every day - the numbers can be checked here  They may not all check the What's On every day but it is FREE and online 24 hours a day.  Handy for visitors wanting to plan what to see when they get here as well as locals who forgot the time and date of your event.  Takes seconds to fill out the form for months and months of FREE advertising if you get it on well in advance.

Wick Banger Derby Tomorrow Sunday 26 June

The People Of St John's Wick
Newly published this week is "The People of St. John's, Wick", by Gordon Johnson, which is a history of people in Wick who have been actively involved with St. John's episcopal church, Moray St., since the congregation was founded in 1855.  Many local personalities appear, especially people originally from England who attended St. John's as the nearest in worship to their churches back home.  Successive harbour masters, some landowners, a chief constable, a sheriff, an admiral, and a local solicitor feature, as well as more ordinary folk such as a dyer, a cafe owner, a shoemaker, a governess, a plumber - people from all walks of life. Available from the church or in local shops.

A Ladies Day Out From Wick - Book Your Tickets Now
Pulteneytown People's Project is running a ladies outing to Cawdor Castle on Wednesday 6/7/05. 
Contact 01955 606950, to book a seat.  The cost of the trip is £17.00 which includes, entry into the castle and grounds and a three course dinner in the Trentham Hotel on the way home.  Pick up at South School or Pulteneytown Post Office at 8.30am.

Wick High 65 Reunion 30 July  - A Few Photos Have Arrived In the Reunion Pages
Send yours in to Got your tickets yet.  Don't leave it to the last minute contact the organisers right now.  Help them out and get in touch now to meet all your old classmates.

Caithness Arts Publicity For Arts Week - Advertise Your Event In Free Leaflet
Caithness Arts Week - 30th July - 7th August.  We're about to organise publicity materials for this week of events. Could everyone who has an event planned - however modest - please make sure details are sent for inclusion in leaflets/posters, etc. to  by Mon.4th July

Caithness Sky - What Can We Say But "Wow" - They Just Keep Getting Better and Better
Thanks to everyone who has sent us in photos of the fabulous Caithness Midsummer Sky.  It has been great seeing these photos arrive in the email and we hope everyone is enjoying them as much as we are as they come in.  Was half the county out that night watching the sky?  Keep those digi cameras handy.  You never know and as we can see the light show changes minute by minute.

What Caithness Beaches Will You Visit This Summer?
Make sure you get out to a few Caithness beaches this summer.  To be sure the north does not have the hot climates but a walk along a quiet shoreline with a number of different backdrops is a great way to recharge the batteries.  There are many different beaches to choose from  - sandy, rocky, shingle and ones with lost of shells.  One or two stinky  ones where the seaweed might be a nuisance but mostly just great places to relax, take a picnic or take the kids out for the day.  A few feature regularly in Highland Ranger walks so keep an eye out for these then go along and find out some interesting facts about the area.  There are many small beaches not listed on the web site.  Why not get out and explore some.

North School, Wick Does Well In Health Promoting Schools Report
North School got great write up in a report on Health Promoting Schools following an inspection. The Health Promoting Schools initiative in Highland is delivered in partnership between The Highland Council and NHS Highland through guidelines, and advice in the form of a Health Promoting Schools Toolkit which is adopted by each school.  In Highland a health promoting award is based on school self evaluation, confirmed by quality assurance by the Quality Development Team of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service and its partner agencies.

Another Set Of Photos  - 11.00pm Midsummer Night
More photos of the colourful skies on Midsummer night.  This time from Marshall Bowman who took his from the back of Portlands Hotel, Lybster at11.00pm.
If you want more of the Caithness skies in earlier years head over to the Weather In Caithness section


Lybster Did Not Miss Out On the Colourful Sky
To show that Lybster was included in the brilliant midsummer displays in the skies over Caithness Rachael Taylor has sent us her photos to add to the collection.  Keep those digital cameras ready folks.  You never know which night will produce fantastic pictures above your head.


Another View Of Midsummer From Scrabster and 4.00am This Morning
These photos were sent in by Karen Munro taken from her house at Scrabster.  The Pentland firth can certainly look fantastic at this time of year.



Another Great Sunset View
Pick your spot and wait for the sun to set and have that camera ready. James McLean sends this one from another spot and showing the rapid changes in colours that were on show for midsummers night.



Young People From Caithness Attend Highland Youth Parliament
Young people from Caithness travelled to Sabhal Mor Ostaig, gaelic college in Skye, to attend the Youth Voice Bi annual conference.  The event was opened by Gary Coutts, Chair of Highland NHS Board.  The main theme of the weekend was health. The young people were given the opportunity to have their say on health issues affecting them and identified best practice for addressing these issues.  The weekend programme also included workshops on Youth Voice web development, production of Highland Youth Voice magazine and new media. Presentations were given on domestic abuse, Youth Bank UK and Duke of Edinburgh award.  While the young people had a weekend of hard work, the young people who attended found it a worthwhile experience and enjoyed meeting up with other young people from across the Highlands and enjoyed the evening entertainment.

Another Day Another Sunset In Caithness
Keep looking if you miss one great sunset and another one will be along any night at this time of year.  Graeme Allan who now lives in Melbourne just happened to be back in Wick on holiday and caught this one.  Keep your camera handy and see if you can capture some sky shots over the next few weeks.


More Photos Of The Queen Mary 2 At Invergordon
A few more photos of the magnificent Queen Mary 2 at Invergordon last Sunday.  The latest ones are from photographer Mike Brunton who used to live until recently in Caithness.


Learning Abut Spinning In Technology Project At North School, Wick
Mrs Manson and Mrs Johnson visit the North School to show P 4 how to spin wool as the conclusion of their Technology Project, conducted by their Technology teacher Mrs Belford. During their project they learned to wash, card and dye (with natural dyes) the fleece of local sheep.
North School Index


Heading Over Gillock
This photo taken over Gillock shows the well known farm and building supplies form of Allan's of Gillock.  Better watch out you never know who is flying overhead these days.

More Caithness From Above


Midnight Sun At Holborn Head
Actually slightly earlier at between 10.30 and 11.00pm last night.  These colourful photos take over Holborn Head last night were sent in by Douglas Gordon.  Did anyone else get any nice photos from around Caithness of the great skies last night.

Scrufts Dog Show  - Balmore Fun Day
If you have dog then you might want to take the family out for the fun day at the SSPCA centre at Balmore to enter this fun competition helping to raise funds for the animal centre.

Gibson questions Exec over future of Crofting and farming in the Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has questioned the Scottish Executive on the effects a renegotiated European CAP policy would have for the crofters and farmers in the Highlands and Islands.  His question comes in the wake of recent comments from Tony Blair that the CAP is outdated and that less European money should go to farmers.  MSP and other related items now in our MSP News section

Crossroads (Caithness) Care Attendant Scheme Annual Report 2004 - 05
the annual report of the Crossroads (Caithness) Care Attendant Scheme delivered an increased total of respite care hours provided by Care Attendants of 8248 hours against 7963 hours in 2003/04 – an increase of 3.5%.  Nevertheless the local charity pointed out the increased costs such as a 300% increase in insurance premiums and the large fees now required by the Care Commission for registration.  the report points out  - "Our application (two 21 page documents) to the Care Commission to register as a care delivery organisation – a statutory requirement - was approved in January 2005 on the payment of £2,000 made in July 2004.  The annual renewal/inspection fee of £1,400 – the proceeds of four to five coffee mornings – will also have to be paid before any carer support is delivered."

The beautiful weather attracted a great crowd to the 'Wheels and Hooves Challenge' at Rumster Forest last weekend.  Almost 80 horse riders, cyclists, runners and walkers took part in the joint event organised by the Highland Council Countryside Rangers and Forestry Commission Scotland.  Participants were invited to the 'Enchanted Forest' to find clues hidden around the trails and discover magical properties of plants along the way. Afterwards, energy levels were re-boosted with a sizzling barbecue of tasty venison and vegetarian burgers.

Unemployment Still Heading Downwards In The Highlands
The total number claiming unemployment benefit dropped to 2831 continuing the downward trend of recent months.  In the past month there was a 6.6% drop in the rate and over the 12 months to May 2005 a drop of 12.1%.  Wick remains one of the highest unemployment areas but even there the rate dipped to 3.8%.  the average rate for the Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise area is 3%.  Scotland's number of registered unemployed fell faster than the UK as a whole and Highland reflected that with a decrease of 10.9% (705 claimants) compared to a year ago.  Pulteneytown ward remains the place with the highest number of claimants in the CASE area.   Caithness south East also has a high percentage of claimants.  Thurso figures are almost static.

Have You Got A Day Off On Wednesday 22 June? - Why Not Take a Walk
Dunnet Head. Guided walk (as part of healthy living week) Wednesday 22nd June
A clifftop walk from the most northerly point of the Scottish mainland west to Dwarick pier.
Meet at Dunnet Head lighthouse car park at 10.30am.  Allow 4-5 hours, bring lunch.  Boots essential.
HC Ranger North Caithness 01847821531

Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise Grant Approvals For May 2005

Pulteneytown Academy School Latest Newsletter

Clock Ticking For Wick High 65 Reunion 30 July  - Get Your Tickets Now

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant School

Queen Mary 2 At Invergordon
The arrival of the Queen Mary 2 at Invergordon attracted folk for look from all over the highlands on Sunday.  Ted Miller from Thurso sent us this photo of the ship at anchor



Silver Darlings Day At Lybster Sat 25 June 2005 - 11a.m.- 6p.m.
Just one of many events for the family on Silver Darlings Day is this from Scotia Review. Scotia Review has invited Lewis poet, storyteller & artist Ian Stephen to contribute to the programme of activities planned for this family day out at Lybster Harbour.  Given that the theme of this event is to commemorate Dunbeath writer, Neil Gunn and the heyday of the local fishing community, Ian Stephen was the obvious choice of writer and artist to bring a tang of the sea with his storytelling and poetry reading throughout the day. 
An ex-coastguard, Ian’s marine connections form the main thread of his artistic life, in which photography and sculpture also feature.  Check Waterlines page for more information

Four Cadets On Their Gold Duke Of Edinburgh Award Expedition
The photographs show C/Sgt Macdonald, Sgt Perry, Cpl Sutherland and L/Cpl Napier. They are seen at Forsinain climbing up through the forest towards the county march, on the third day of their Duke of Edinburgh gold award expedition.



Gail MacDonald Raises £560 For Cancer Charity In Dad's Memory
Gail MacDonald and her friend Suzanne Robertson from Edinburgh ran the 5k Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research on Sunday the 5th June. The route was around Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh and they ran it in 35 minutes. Gail raised a total of £560 in memory of her dad who died of cancer in 2001


Wick Girls Pipe Band Reunion

Wick Girls Pipe Band pages

Halkirk Gala

Wick Harbour Night

Former Members Of Wick Girls Pipe Band Unveil Plaque To Founder

A plaque in memory of Jim Christie the founder of the Wick Girls Pipe Band and his wife Lily was unveiled today by former members of the a much loved pipe band.  The plaque is on the wall opposite the parish church and not far from the bake house where many girls had their piping lessons from Jim.  the Wick Girls Pipe Band became famous and travelled all over the UK entering many competitions and surprising many male pipe bands when winning the Scottish championships in 1958 and 1962.  Former members of the band held a reunion on Friday evening at the Seaforth Club and photos from the night will be here shortly.
Wick Girls Pipe Band pages



A report on the most far-reaching examination of child protection services in a Scottish local authority area concludes that children and young people in Highland are well protected. Highland was chosen to pilot the inspection by HMIE in recognition of the progress being made in integrating children’s services and agencies and members of the Highland Child Protection Committee are pleased with the findings of the report, published today (Friday 17 June 2005).  The inter-agency Highland Child Protection Committee will incorporate recommendations from the report into an action plan and agree timescales to further improve child protection services across the Highlands.

At the end of last week OFCOM announced their plans for Gaelic broadcasting. They have given ITV permission to cut its commitments to regional TV programming. This means that Scottish Media Group will be broadcasting only 6 hrs of Gaelic programmes per year in peak viewing times instead of the present 26 hours. OFCOM say that the best way to serve the Gaelic audience is through a dedicated Gaelic digital channel, instead of Gaelic programming on the standard channels. They agree that a new Gaelic channel should be set up by a partnership of the BBC and the Gaelic Media Service.

Recycling Centres In Caithness & Highland - Times Of Opening
if you need to check the times of opening of the Recycling Centre at Wick or any other highland centre we now have page with the times on in the environment section. The page also links to other Highland council recycling information and other services.   The Recycling Centre is free for householders only and commercial operators need to check with Highland council regarding payments for disposal of items.

After intensive talks between The Highland Council and the Joint Trade Unions regarding the proposed harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment for manual workers in Transport, Environmental and Community (TEC) Services, workers have agreed to return to normal working with immediate effect. A joint statement issued today (Friday, 17 June 2005) said: "The current proposals for TEC Services harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment have been withdrawn. Further discussions will continue to identify those issues causing particular concern, including the link to job evaluation."  In light of today's positive developments, normal working will resume.  Meanwhile, there is still a 1-2 day backlog in domestic waste collection in the Inverness and Nairn Areas. This backlog will be cleared as soon as possible.
Caithness has not been affected by the dispute to date.

Check Out The Latest Jobs - More Just In Today
Employers check out the Free jobs ads section.  Just get registered and you can add as many job ads as often as you like for FREE.  Set a closing date and we will remove the ads when done or go in an remove them yourself as soon as the vacancy is filled to save further calls.  You can also add more information any time at no cost.  How is this all possible for FREE? Well is is just part of the Message Board system and essentially you do the work by adding the ads.  Take minutes and seen everywhere.  You never know where your next employee might come from.  The person may be down the road or watching for your job to come back to the area.  Let them all know FAST and FREE.
One week FREE - Two Week FREE - Three Weeks FREE - Six Weeks FREE - No charges at all.
Caithness and Sutherland employers only.

Dounreay Volunteers Tackle Two Environmental Projects
More than 22 volunteers from Dounreay joined forces with British Trust for Conservation Volunteers to relay a path to a bird hide at Loch of Mey on Tuesday & Wednesday.  Running simultaneously with the BTCV project, was a beach clean at Dunnet Beach. Enough rubbish to fill a 16-tonne tipper truck was removed from Dunnet Beach on Wednesday during the clean-up by volunteers from Dounreay.

Highlands And Islands Enterprise Launch New Strategy
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE), today, launched its new strategy 'A Smart Successful Highlands and Islands'.  The document, which spells out HIE's objectives over the coming three to five years, is published in both English and Gaelic and is available online (Pdf docs).  HIE views the start of the 21st century as a vitally important stage in the economic and community development of the Highlands and Islands. As huge economic, political, environmental and technological changes sweep across the world, the Highlands and Islands need to meet the new challenges and seize the new opportunities in the global economy over the coming years.

Halkirk Gala Week - Duck Race Postponed Due To High Water
the Halkirk Gala Week Duck Race was cancelled for second time due to high water in the river Thurso.
Duck Race and Model Boat Race will now take place on Monday 20th June.

Reunions News
Wick Girls Pipe Band have their reunion tonight in the Seaforth Club, Wick.  At least 50 former member of this famous girls only Pipe Band from Wick that at the time was one of the few pipe bands in the world for only girls and travelled to many places including London and New York.  the Wick Girls Pipe Band was started by Pipe Major Jim Christie in 1939 when most of the members of the Pipe Band were called up for war service and the fear was that the piping tradition of Wick could be wiped out.
The Eight O'Clock Club have chosen 7 April 2006 as the date for their reunion in Pulteneytown Parish church.  Three Reunions Take Place in July this year - Wick High 1965, Thurso High 1977 and Lieurary School - all years.  If you are planning a reunion let us know and we will set up a section on the web site to let former pupils or members of a group know about the reunion.  The longer notice you can give the better especially for folk who may live abroad but are planning trips back to the UK and may be able to arrange for visits to coincide.  Many folk now check the reunion section to see if there is one for them so get yours in as early as possible to get maximum coverage.

Guys And Dolls  - A Musical At Thurso High
21st, 22nd, 24th and 25th June, Tickets £5 and £4 from MacBeath’s Jewellers, Traill Street Thurso.
When Thurso High School show director, John Glen decided that this year's production would be the junior version of 'Guys and Dolls', he had no idea that Scots star Ewan McGregor was about to star in the West End version of the same show earlier in the same month. The London production is playing to full houses and rave reviews. Thurso High School's version will bring the same level of energy and enthusiasm as last year's acclaimed production of 'Annie'.

Lyth Arts Centre Summer Exhibitions 2005 - Make A Note To Visit In July And August
This year sees the return of the summer Exhibitions at Lyth Arts Centre following the completion of the refurbishment last year.  Lyth Arts Centre offers a year round programme of events in it small theatre from plays, various types of music and on 30 July for one week will be taking part in Caithness Arts Week.  the summer exhibition features a number of artists and well worth a browse.  If you are out and about for the day take a stop over for the coffee and home baking available from 12.00 - 5.00pm daily.  Local and visitors to the county will find a stop at Lyth interesting and relaxing as it is set in a lovely part of Caithness in the former primary school now completely upgraded to a modern and unique facility in Caithness.  check out the programme of events but book early as the small theatre can quickly sell out for popular plays.  Think about becoming a member and get members discounts on tickets.  For only £15 a year you can help this small theatre group survive.

Rainbow Last Night
The wet weather was just right for Rainbows last night and this one was at Wick.  There would almost certainly have been a few or the same one to see from different angles last night as the sun was out at the same time as the showers.  On end seen here out past Wick Harbour and the other end looking south from March Road, Wick.

Summer Sees Inverness-Luton Air Links Doubled
Double daily weekend flights between Inverness and Luton took off at the weekend as part of easyJet's summer timetable for the Highland's hub airport.  easyJet is operating two return flights on the route on Saturdays and Sundays from now until the end of its summer timetable. The move doubles the capacity on the route and will bring thousands of additional visitors into the Highlands over the coming months.

Far North Line Should Be Top Priority
'A chance to make rail a top priority and the Far North Line at the top of the list' - Gibson

'A chance to make rail a top priority and the Far North Line at the top of the list' was how Highlands and Islands SNP MSP greeted remarks made by HIE Chief Willie Rowe in the Sunday papers.  Mr Rowe said that the Highlands and Islands needed a £300 million spent on it's transport infrastructure over the next ten years to meet the economic potential of the region.  MR Gibson welcomed the comments and said that it was an excellent opportunity for councillors and community groups to start lobbying the Government and HIE to make sure that improvements are made to the Far North Line....

Dunnet Play Group States Cases For Retention On Move To Crossroads
The Dunnet Play Group parents have not until now entered the public debate regarding the future of the nurseries and play groups under review by Highland Council.  They have decided however that they should put some information in the public domain in order that their positions is made clear to all interested parties.  they wish to ensure that everyone is clear that they are trying to make it possible to improve the education for young children by moving from their current location at the Britannia Hall to Crossroads school where most of the children will eventually be enrolled.  Highland council will bring forward proposals for the future of the nurseries and play groups in the Autumn.  Dunnet Play Group parents along with those of Keiss and Thrumster now have interlinked pages on the web site to let everyone know their position and how they view future proposals of the council.

Thurso High 1977 Reunion
This Thurso High reunion takes place on 16 July and folk attending are now on the updated listing in the section.  More photos have been sent in for the reunion and are now in place in the various Schooldays sections. 
Reunions Index   Schooldays Index


Wick To Lybster Coast - Next Section - Sarclet to Whaligoe
The next part of the coast as seen by Caithness Field Club members on Sunday.  the last part of this section shows Whaligoe Steps and we were asked to imagine arriving at this rocky inlet in a fishing boat under sail and the expertise that would have been needed in rough or even not so rough weather to control a small sailing craft into Whaligoe without being smashed to bits.  An anchor may have had to be used to gradually pull boats slowly into harbour to prevent being thrown onto the rocks.  Whaligoe Steps From Opposite Cliff

Caithness Glassblower Heads For USA Symposium
Chicago, where reputedly the wind constantly blows, should prepare to batten down the hatches at the end of this month; it has been chosen as the venue for this years  50th Symposium of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society!  Ian Pearson, scientific glassblower with UKAEA at Dounreay, has been invited to attend and present a paper at the event, which will be attended by some 200 fellow professionals from all over the world. Ian, who is chairman of the British Society of Scientific Glassblowers, said it was an honour for both him, and his employer, to receive this invitation. “It will be an opportunity for me to experience the many different aspects of working with glass, which in these times might be reducing in the amount used, but the requirements are becoming more specialised,” said Ian.

Hillhead Primary School have returned to the traditional, oranges at full time for football and netball players in the local inter school matches. A traditional snack in the past they appear to have been overlookied in more recent years. However their return has been welcomed by pupils. They have gone down extremely well with the players from all teams. The pictures show football players Stephen Crawford, Richard Budge, Daniel budge and William Loughlin enjoying an after match orange. It looks like oranges are here to stay.  Hillhead Primary School, Wick June Newsletter 2    Hillhead School Index

Kaithness Kickers Line Dance For Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme
“Kaithness Kickers” held a 12 hour sponsored Marathon Line Dancing event in the Royal British Legion, Thurso, on Saturday in aid of Crossroads (Caithness) Care Attendant Scheme. They were supported by other line dancers throughout the day. Donations had been received from businesses and organisation in Thurso. Sponsorship money still has to be counted! Crossroads Management Committee served Cream Teas from 2 – 4 pm which raised £170 for the scheme.

Trinkie Annual Painting and Appeal
The annual clean-up of the TRINKIE outdoor swimming pool is well underway due to the efforts of a few dedicated volunteers. The pool has been drained, cleared of seaweed and power hosed in preparation for the whitewashing process. Painting has to be done in small sections when the tide is out to allow time for it to dry therefore volunteers are required at short notice. The next scheduled painting is tonight 14.06.2005 at 6PM [weather permitting] wear old clothes and shoes.

One of the most famous cruise liners in the world, the Queen Mary 2 will visit Invergordon on Sunday when between 20,000 - 30,000 people are expected to converge to admire Cunard's new flagship which is the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive passenger liner ever built.  Her maiden visit to Invergordon will be the only stop in Scotland she makes so to mark the occasion the local Community have organised a Gala Day with live music, exhibitions and a craft fair to entertain passengers and the crowds of people who plan to welcome the world's largest cruise ship.  Queen Mary 2 Facts  Will she arrive in Scrabster one day?

Halkirk Gala Week - Full Programme
Bicycle Race and Quiz night tonight

The Coast From Wick To Lybster - A Fantastic Trip At This Time Of Year

The Caithness Field Club hired the boat Freedom from Freedom Charters on Sunday and went along the coast from Wick to Lybster.  the group split into to groups and one lot travelled to Lybster and the group organised folk to drive cars back to wick for the folk coming the other way on the return.  What a fabulous trip it is at this time of year with hundreds of thousands of sea birds nesting along the coast.  Here is the first section of photos from Wick to Sarclet near Thrumster and the rest coming later.  What you cannot get is the sounds of the colonies of birds as we passed each new cliff face and saw them nesting on every ledge and cave.  Many thousands were in various rafts of birds fishing for sandeels and they seemed to be getting plenty that day.  It is impossible to imagine the numbers from a walk along the cliff tops as the birds are mainly hidden below.  But from the sea it all becomes visible.  Well worth organising day out for a group to see this magnificent site - another mostly unseen part of Caithness.  Get a group of eight to a dozen for a short two hour trip or do as we did and get two groups so that you get the longer run to Lybster.  Phone Colin Richard on 01955 602558 or check the Freedom Charters web site for more information on trips, angling and diving.  If you want to see the birds in huge numbers do it soon before the nesting season is over.  Absolutely one of the best trips and well worth seeing a side of Caithness that is spectacular right now. More photos of the Sarclet to Lybster section coming later.

The Highland Council has allocated £160,000 in this year's budget to tackle the repair of unsafe headstones and memorials in its burial grounds.  The funding is being distributed throughout the Highlands and it will enable the Council to make a start to repair the unsafe headstones throughout Highland. The repair programme is likely to take several years.  Responsibility for repairs rests with the lair owner, but, due to the age of many gravestones, the Council has no prospect of tracing the owner in a large number of cases. The monies have been set aside to repair these ageing memorials.

The Highland Council is about to undertake its annual public performance survey.  Questionnaires are being sent out this week to 9,000 homes, chosen at random by independent consultants. Residents will be asked how they value the wide network of services provided by the Council, such as schooling, caring for older people and children, refuse collection, waste management, recycling, housing, planning and development, roads maintenance and winter maintenance.  The Council has conducted this survey over a number of years and uses it is a key part of its improvement planning.  Carron McDiarmid, Head of Policy and Performance, said: "The information the public give us about our performance is really important to us. We use it to plan the improvement of services over the coming years."  The Council is also offering an incentive to fill in the form as there will be a prize draw with £100 of leisure vouchers being given to the person whose name is drawn from a hat.

The Highland Council is moving ahead with innovative provision of musical skills in all of its 187 primary schools.  Under the auspices of the Youth Music Initiative (YMI), next session will see an increase in the provision of music tuition to a large number of primary pupils with the introduction of two additional YMI initiatives.  Five vocal Tutors will visit all Highland primaries on a rotational basis, to work with Primary 3 pupils. The tutors will use materials supplied by the National Youth Choir of Scotland, which are based on the tried and tested musical techniques of the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly. The materials allow pupils, and staff to build vocal confidence and gather other musical skills in an active and enjoyable way.  It is hoped that through time, these visits will lead to a surge of enthusiasm for singing and the formation of area choirs.

Halkirk Gala Week
Halkirk Gala Week Duck Race and Model Boat Race due to be held tonight has been postponed until
Thursday night.

Hotels and Bed & Breakfast Owners Be On Your Guard
Fraud Warning from Northern Constabulary
& Warning From Glencoe Hotal

Items For Sale - Get them In Here - Its FREE
The numbers of items for sale continues to grow so if you are looking to buy or sell then check out this section regularly.  It really works and the service is free because you do most of the work placing the items and then telling everyone when it is sold by updating your add.  Interested buyers can send you messages to ask questions about the item or post questions on the board for more information.  Items often sell extremely fast so be quick if you are looking to buy something.

Three pupils at Wick High School have received certificates from Highland and Islands Fire Brigade that will count towards attaining their Service Section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  Acknowledging the S3-pupil’s three months of activities and learning with the Fire Brigade, Wick Station Officer, Gordon Cook yesterday presented Adam Hope, Liam Sutherland, and Liam Miller with their Fire Certificates and commended them on completing their sessions at Wick Fire Station, the Ambulance Service and at Wick Airport Fire Service.

Particles Research Published
SEPA has published the latest research on fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel in the marine environment today.  The research from the former National Radiological Protection Board (now the Radiation Protection Division of the Health Protection Agency (HPA-RPD)) and University of Birmingham provides information on the potential dose that a person may receive should they encounter a particle.  SEPA has commissioned and recently published other research that assesses the possibility that the public may encounter a particle in the environment around UKAEA Dounreay and this indicates that the probability of encountering a fuel fragment on Sandside beach is less than 1 in a million per year.  Should a member of the public encounter a particle the potential effects vary according to the radioactive properties of the fragment and whether the particle is located on the skin or ingested.  SEPA requires UKAEA to monitor beaches around Dounreay for radioactive particles. The diverse range of work commissioned by SEPA on 'particles' is not yet complete. SEPA will await the work being undertaken by the HPA-RPD which will consider the potential health effects and the likelihood of occurrence.  This work is expected to be complete in autumn 2005. 

Caithness Horizons held another board meeting last week as the project gains momentum during this crucial time. New Directors Tina Wrighton and Paul Cariss were welcomed to their first Board meeting. The project to redevelop Thurso Town Hall recently achieved a key milestone when the application for funding was submitted to the Heritage Lottery. The company is currently working towards obtaining all other funding in order to meet the capital costs. The critical decision on the Heritage Lottery application is expected in early September.  The company is keen to raise the profile of the project within the local community, which has begun with a presentation to students at Thurso High School. Community briefings are also to be arranged and users of the Town Hall will be invited to attend.

Caithness Floral Art Club 36th Birthday - Demonstration by Mr John Thexton from Cumbria
In June the Floral Art Club celebrated its 36th birthday with a demonstration by Mr John Thexton from Cumbria. In June the Floral Art Club celebrated its 36th birthday with a demonstration by Mr John Thexton from Cumbria.  While creating large and varied arrangements, in both traditional and modern styles, he kept the audience entertained with a continuous flow of stories and helpful tips.  At seven feet tall, his final design brought a touch of summer and a taste of an English country garden to a rather grey Caithness evening.

Caithness Music Festival - Full Trophy Winners List

Many More Photos Of Massed Bands At Wick On Saturday

Massed Pipe Bands In Wick

New Microlight Flying Record - John O'Groats To Land's End And Back
Mark Jackson and Chris Copple, two flying instructors from Manchester set a new record on Tuesday by flying from John O'Groats to Lands End and back again in the same day, the first to achieve such a journey by Microlight.  the pair landed back at Wick airport via John'Groats at 8.00pm after their sixteen hours flying time.

Killer Whales Around Caithness
If you are out around the Caithness coast over the next few weeks keep your eyes open for whales.  A small pod of killer whales was spotted a few days ago very close in.  This photo was taken by local photographer Keith Parkes.


Adult Choirs At The Caithness Music Festival On Friday Night

The photos show only a tiny fraction of the competitors in the Caithness Music Festival.  Many hundreds of competitors have competed throughout the week and the music festival convenor Trevor Williams paid tribute to them all and added his thanks to the many volunteers, teachers and adjudicators who made it all possible.  Jeffrey Wynn Davies one of the adjudicators on the last night also thanked everyone involved for the excellent organisation throughout the week with particular reference to the logistics of transporting all the competitors across the county for all the events.  All that remains are the two concerts in Wick and Thurso on Monday evening where all the winners perform in simultaneous shows.  Well done to everyone for the 51st Caithness Music Festival.

Thurso West Ladies Choir Leader Retires After 30 Years
Friday Evening as well as the normal competitions saw the Thurso West Ladies Choir making their 'Final Appearance'.  Shirley Lobban the conductress and Betty Maxwell the Pianist have both decided to call it a day after nearly 30 years. Over the years the choir has had many members. At full capacity there are around 40 ladies of varying ages from all around Caithness.

Caithness Music Festival Friday Night Thurso
Final competitions for the young performers as the Caithness Music Festival reached its climax at Thurso High School



More From Caithness Music Festival

Online Petition At The Scottish Parliament To Keep Rural Schools Open
With the recent controvery over small nurseries we thought some of you might be interested in signing this online petition at the Scottish Parliament web site -
Petition by Alexander Longmuir, on behalf of the Arbirlot Parents Group, calling for the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Executive to introduce a legislative presumption against closure of rural schools unless there is an undeniable educational and social benefit to the children and communities effected.   Closing Date for signatures - 15 June 2005

It's Muddy Marvellous for Halkirk Young Farmers Girls Tug O' War Team
Months of training paid off for the Halkirk Young Farmers Girls' Tug of War team on Saturday 4th June. For the third year in a row the girls won the North Regional Elimination at Cornhill and will now represent the North at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh on 25th June. In extremely muddy conditions which caused the Cornhill games to be postponed the girls beat Kinneff, Strichen and Keith to win the competition.

Record Slave Price as Mart Man takes Open Stock Judging Title
Halkirk Young Farmers held their Annual Open Stock Judging and Slave Auction on Wednesday 25th May in Thurso Auction Market by kind permission of Thurso & UA.  The night was again a great success with 22 slaves being sold to a top bid of £100 for Michelle Sutherland, a record price. The average for the 22 was £42.59.  Entrants in the Stock Judging competition had their abilities tested amongst other animals on Alpacas.

Massed Pipe Bands In Market Square, Wick On Friday Night
Nine Pipe Bands in a feast of piping  - Friday Saturday Sunday

The event, which will run over three days, will see some 9 bands perform in the Market Square, Wick on the evening of Friday 10th June, at the Riverside in Wick on Saturday 11th June and a smaller parade at John O'Groats on Sunday 12th June. Saturday's performance will be the most spectacular. In the afternoon, the bands will march through the town as a Massed Band, from the Railway Station to the Riverside. In the evening each band will parade individually through the town to the Riverside park and then form up as a massed band for the evening performance.  Click Here For Times Of Events

Winners Of The Popular song Class At The Caithness Music Festival
Mount Pleasant Primary P6/P7 Class won the Popular Song Class at this years Caithness Music Festival.  Well done kids.



Thurso Bikers Get A Web Site
Head here if you want to see where they are doing the stunts in Thurso

John O'Groats From The Air In May

NHS Highland is being commended - in a national report published on 9 June 2005 - for its work in involving staff, patients, carers and the public in decisions about the future of healthcare in the Highlands.

Music Festival Continues Its Hectic Pace
Joanna Harper of Miller Academy won the girls vocal solo P6 class today in the Caithness Music Festival  Congratulations to her and A special Happy Birthday to her as she is 11 today.  Unfortunately as Bill Fernie was busy on council business yesterday and today he was to able to attend to take more photos.  Hannah's Dad sent this one in to add to the gallery.  If any schools or individuals have photos they wish to add to the section just email them in and we will set them up.

Zooming In On A Broken Wind Turbine In Orkney
Recently a wind turbine in Orkney was broken and here is the evidence from tour eye in the sky



No More Requests For Blackstairs Being Accepted At Present
Lots of requests to buy piece of the Blackstairs have come in.  At present Bill Fernie has been unable to open them all due to other commitments - music festival and council work etc.  It may be the weekend before replies are sent back to all who have made requests.  Meantime no more orders will be taken as it will be necessary to check the availability of the stones.  If there are enough then more orders may be taken later.  The idea has proved to be very popular. 

Thurso Gala Programme Out Now 9 - 17 July
Mark your calendar for all the family and kids events in this years Thurso Gala

Ormlie Summer Gardening/Clean Up Day - Can You Spare Some Time
Ormlie Community Association Ltd are holding a summer gardening/clean up day on Sunday 12 June 2005 from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm. A skip will be available at the Ormlie Centre for garden refuse only, which will give residents the opportunity of tidying up their gardens. We will be planting flowers and shrubs, painting pots and generally tidying up the area, which will include High Ormlie, Low Ormlie and the Moorside estate. Children will be invited to paint a pot and plant sunflower seed and a competition will be held during our Fun Day on Saturday 13 August 2005 to see who has grown the biggest flower. We are also inviting people to 'Adopt a Pot' as we intend putting some planters in all three areas of the estate and would like residents to look after them, by watering and caring for them.

Launch Of The Raven Banner
St Fergus Gallery, Wick Friday 10th June, 7.30pm
Scotia Review is about to launch its latest publication at a public event in the St Fergus Gallery, Wick this Friday (10th June). The Raven Banner is a series of poems by Caithness poet, Donald Mackay, published as a Scotia Now poetry pamphlet with illustrations by local artist, Pete Hodgson.  Probably best known locally as a teacher at Wick High school, Donald has already been published by Scotia Review and other imprints, and was recently recipient of a Scottish Arts Council Writers Bursary – a rare achievement. This allowed him to concentrate on producing a considerable body of work, of which the poems in The Raven Banner are a small sample.

Eye In The Sky Over Thurso - Photos Taken May 2005

Behind The Scenes At The Caithness Music Festival - An Efficient Machine Ticks Away

The Caithness Music Festival is one of the few county wide music festivals still running in the old traditional way.  It runs on the experience and dedication of a huge number of people from all over Caithness backed up by adjudicators brought in from across Scotland to bring their musical expertise to bear on the mainly young competitors.  Many hundreds of competitors arrive in buses, mini-buses and cars from all over the county descending on the Assembly Rooms from the various schools both town and rural.  the bus firms run a shuttle service around the county and timing is of the essence to keep the whole show on the road. Competitors are moved around the various events and often run from a solo to join a music group or choir.
Hundreds of certificates are prepared by a young team of folk just leaving sixth year at Thurso High School.  All results are recorded on computers and press information prepared as the day goes on.  the next days music is already on the tables along with medals, cups and all the information for the adjudicators.  The whole team at the Caithness Music Festival deserve a great vote of thanks for this the 51st music festival arrangements.  It is not over yet but it is for us as we have other things to take us away from the festival.  More photos will probably appear as some of the schools will be sending us their own to add to the galleries.  We will be in Thurso on Friday evening for the last appearance of an adult choir that is ceasing after 31 years. On Monday evening the winners concerts take place in Wick and Thurso.  2002 and 2003 Music Festival Photos

Caithness Music Festival  - Last Entrants Today

Caithness Music Festival

Follow The Money If You Want To Know What The Council Does
The Resources Committee of highland Council may not sound the most glamorous of committees but if you want to find out what the council does a read through these lengthy paper will tell a lot about what is going on.  A whole host of reports are presented to councillors tomorrow for approval including Service plans and a review of service plans 2004 - 07.  These papers include information on many of the council services and details of the many projects underway and if you read carefully mentions of some new ones on the horizon some of which may be far reaching in the affects they will have on communities across the Highlands and in Caithness.  The papers for debate and approval at tomorrows committee meeting by councillors are comprehensive and worth noting if you are interested in what exactly the council does.

Still More From The Caithness Music Festival

More From The Caithness Music Festival

Todays Photos From The Caithness Music Festival Starting Here

Caithness Music Festival  - More Photos From Yesterday

The Scottish Co-op Community Dividend Fund has contributed £500 as sponsorship of the International Massed Band Festival being organised by the Wick RBLS Pipe Band.  The three day Festival, which runs from Friday 10th June to Sunday 12th June will comprise nine pipe bands, including bands from Switzerland and Germany as well as bands from the Borders and Highlands & Islands. Events will be staged in Wick and John O’Groats. David Richard-Jones, Caithness member of the Co-op Northern Area Committee recently presented the cheque for the £500 donation to John Bogle, Secretary of the Wick Pipe band, during their rehearsals for the festival.

Music Festival Continues

More Music Festival Photos Now In

We are taking photos of anyone participating and not necessarily the winners of section.  There are events going on in several halls at once and unfortunately we cannot be at them all.  The photos are taken of whoever is still around at the time when the photo is taken and if we are there.  We will publish all of the photos we take and they are free to copy if anyone wishes.  Due to other commitments we will not be able to attend all of the days of the festival.

First Photos From the Caithness Music Festival 2005

More to come later....  the photos are not necessarily of the winners of the various events.

Shiny Army Car At Scrabster Fayre On Saturday

As part of a celebration of the life of the fishing community in Lybster and of Neil Gunn, the well-known Caithness author, Lybster Heritage Trust and Lybster Harbour Society are inviting everyone to come and join in the fun on Saturday, 25th June.  There will be demonstrations of creel and net-making, spinning and rag rug-making; there will be a story-teller and traditional music; there will be stalls, including one where you can buy Cullen Skink and another selling crab. The old film “The Silver Darlings”, which was partly made at Lybster harbour will be shown at 12 noon and at 3.30 p.m.

Cocktail Party at the Castle of Mey
There is to be a cocktail party and auction at the Castle of Mey On Friday, September 2nd 2005 in aid of the Canisbay & Dunnet Day Care Centre.  Local businesses and individuals are invited to donate items for the auction, proceeds from which will be used towards the building of a custom built centre for the elderly and/or disabled.  Tickets for the party (which are limited to 100), cost £10. Please contact Mrs J Miller on 01847851364 or Email  to donate auction items or book tickets.

Highland Council Finances
Budget Briefing 2005/06 -
A Pdf file  £375.7million an increase of 3.8%.  80% of money available comes from Scottish Executive grant and the balance from council tax.
Highland Councillor -  Expenses 2004/05 - A Pdf file

51st Caithness Music Festival 6 - 10 June
A welcome return of the music festival following last years cancellation due to he European Elections.  The Caithness Music Festival is well known to most children who attended schools in the county in the last 50 odd years and is a credit to everyone involved in this huge logistical operation moving hundreds of entrants from the schools to venues in Wick and Thurso.  A fleet of buses takes choirs, soloists and young musicians for the many contests to the events on time.  The halls are run like clockwork as everyone knows from long experience the need to keep everyone moving and exactly where they go and how they move around the seats in the various places.  Adjudicators have their timetables and the work of the past few months all comes together over the next few days.  So piano solos, piano duets, choirs, Scots songs, dramatised songs, Caithness Dialect poems, guitar, recorder solo, recorder groups, adult choirs and much much more.  Post Festival concerts take place on Monday 13 June at 7.00pm in both High School, Thurso and Assembly Rooms, Wick  This year weekly ticket is available to allow entrance to all sessions at £7.50 or payment is Evening £2 for adults and £1 for children and morning or afternoon £1 and child 50p.  No photos or video recording will be allowed and photographs will only be allowed by press photographers in certain designated areas.  Good Luck to all the entrants.

Hillhead Primary School, Wick  - June Newsletter
A busy time at Hillhead school and news of some new brothers and sisters for some lucky pupils.  Hillhead 's roll is keeping up well as 28 Primary 7's leave for Wick High after the summer but are replaced by 27 new children enrolled at the nursery.  And Hillhead will be well represented at this years Music Festival starting on Monday and running all week.

Wick Fire Brigade Won The Raft Race For Scrabster Mission
Dounreay Apprentices In Last But Raised Colossal Sum of £2400 Sponsorship For The Charity

Files reveal nuclear waste dumping ‘shambles’ Sunday Herald    More Sunday Papers

Cò i an fhìor Comhairle Gaidhealach? - Latest Gaelic News In Highland

Scrabster Fayre Had Plenty To See
Vintage Cars, Coastal Protection Vessel "Sulisker" And The Last Fifie At Sea "Isabella Fortuna"

If you missed it this year check it out in 2006 as the Fayre comes along every June.

Scrabster Mission Fayre - Great Turnout On Saturday Afternoon

A great turnout today for the Scrabster Mission Fayre with the crowds packing into the Fish Market.  A few things were outside but all the stalls managed to squeeze inside in case of rain.  The rain stayed away.

An recent event was held to celebrate a major milestone for Caithness Horizons, a £3.6 million project to create an outstanding facility in the centre of Thurso, for the benefit of the local community and visitors alike. Representatives of the many organisations who have supported the project were invited to view a presentation to show the proposed interior and interpretation design proposals for the renovations of Thurso Town Hall and adjacent Carnegie Library. To complement the museum and community functions, the main permanent exhibition will include an interactive display to promote the tourism attractions and places of interest to visit throughout the area, and is expected to substantially increase visitor numbers to Caithness and the North Highlands. Last month when the application for funding was submitted to the Heritage Lottery.

Rush Is On To Buy Old Blackstairs
16 Folk Sign Up For A Piece Of Historic Stairs To Aid Memorial Garden and Wick Heritage £400

Would You Like To Buy A Piece Of The Old Blackstairs?   A Bit Of Wick's Past For Your Garden
If you would like to buy a length of one of the old Blackstairs recently taken out get in touch with Bill Fernie Lengths of stone from the Blackstairs will be delivered to your house for a donation of £25 to be split between the Memorial Garden committee and the Wick Heritage Museum.  Bill Fernie will co-ordinate the list of people interested and A & W Sinclair the firm working on the stairs have kindly agreed to drop off lengths of stair to addresses from Thurso over to Wick and as far as Lybster.  The larger stairs are over 5cwt so may be cut to make them manageable.  For years to come you will have talking point in your garden pointing to one of the original Blackstairs.  If you would like to have a piece delivered contact Bill Fernie in the next few days.  Smaller pieces may be available if folk would like a piece kept for uplifting at a later date by own transport - send your details to Bill.

Next Time You Are In Dornoch Check Out The Museum

A small museum packed with interesting things to see.  Golf features which is no surprise given the reputation of the Dornoch Golf Course and the many famous people who have played there.  But there is a lot more to see about the history of the area and well worth a look round.
Sutherland Index

Fresh from winning the Caithness District elimination of the Agri-Skills Competition, a team from Forss Young Farmers Club represented Caithness at the National Finals in Perth on Sunday. The events included Welding, Bale Stacking and Vehicle handling as well as a First Aid/Health and Safety Quiz. Winners were Ayrshire District with Forss a close second. The team are pictured after winning the Caithness event which was held at Quarryside Farm, by kind permission of Messrs George Swanson.  Pictured l/r are Andrew Swanson, Judge, Greame Mackay, Buldoo, George Williamson, Judge, John Swanson, Clatequoy and Kevin Ross, Golval. Runners-up in the Caithness elimination were a team from Halkirk, Alan Gow, Shaun Macleod and Jamie Henderson.

Blackstairs Nearing Completion

Old Owl - A Poem By Lynne Lewis-Saunders
We welcome another contributor to our growing poetry pages.

Excavations at Battle Moss Ring Cairn    4th – 22nd July 2005
A Chance For Anyone With An Interest In Archaeology To Volunteer To Join A Dig In July

In 2003, excavation was carried out at Battle Moss stone row by Cardiff and Glasgow Universities, under the direction of Drs Kenneth Brophy, Amelia Pannett and Andrew Baines. This excavation concentrated on the stone rows, but also revealed a previously unrecorded ring cairn, 50m to the north, dated to the Early to middle Bronze Age (c. 2300 – 1500 BC). This was a highly exciting and significant discovery, providing an opportunity for the first modern-day, scientific excavation of a Bronze Age cairn in Caithness.  The cairn discovered in 2003 will be excavated.  If you are interested the site is near Yarrows about 4 miles south of Wick.  A rare chance to take part in a dig in Caithness.

Assynt Community In Sutherland Buy Back Their Land - 44,400 Acres
Assynt Foundation is set to take over the Glencanisp and Drumrunie estates from the Vestey family, bringing the land into community ownership. The 44,400 acre estates, in Sutherland and Wester Ross, include the iconic mountains of Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor and Cul Beg and many beautiful lochs.  In December 2004, the Assynt Foundation was granted the right to buy the Glencanisp and Drumrunie estates, together with the 14-bedroom Glencanisp Lodge, under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act. They have successfully raised the £2.9 million needed to buy the land within the timescale of the act - with 24 hours to spare.  See Sutherland Biodiversity Plan for an idea of what they are buying - Truly Priceless.
Sutherland Index   Lochinver On The Edge Of Assynt

The Highland Council has made it clear that it will not entertain plans to scrap toxic "ghost ships" from America at the disused oil fabrication yard at Nigg, East Ross.  Convener Alison Magee said the Council could not possibly support the breaking up four decaying and ageing ships at the prime location in the Highlands.  She said: "The Highlands is renowned for its clean image and wonderful environment. Breaking up rusting and toxic ships from the United States is not compatible with our aspirations for the Highland - nor our expectations for the reactivation of the Nigg oil yard."
Toxic ships threat to Scotland - Herald    'Ghost Ships' Claim Denied by Company - Scotsman

The Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Alison Magee, has made it clear that in reviewing pre-school education, the Council intends to continue the very successful development of nursery classes and playgroups across the Highlands.  She said: “This is one of the most important services the Council provides for its communities and I have asked for a full report on nursery and playgroup provision to come to the Council in the autumn. We will then ask our Area Committees to take the matter forward.”  Councillor Magee was speaking ahead of a briefing of all councillors on Friday on the Council’s Early Years Review and in the wake of concerns in some areas of the Highlands, notably Caithness, about future provision.  She gave an assurance that, other than in very exceptional circumstances outwith the control of the Council, such as the unit failing to meet health and safety or other standards, the current network of pre-school provision in Highland, involving 150 nursery classes and 100 playgroups, will operate at the current level of service following the summer holiday break in August.

Inverness Economic Expansion Set To Continue A 96 CORRIDOR MASTERPLAN
10,000 New Homes And Thousands Of New Jobs To Keep Highland Economy Moving
A new community, serving a population of 10,000-plus, should be created on the A 96 Inverness ~ Nairn road at Dalcross South - between Tornagrain and Drumine Farm, near Gollanfield - to meet the long term needs of the growing Inverness city region.  This is the main recommendation of the first phase of the A 96 Corridor Masterplan, which will be considered on Monday 6 June by members of The Highland Council's City of Inverness and Area Committee and the Nairnshire Area Committee at a joint briefing in the Town House, Inverness, by consultants FG Burnett and Council planning officials.

Caithness Young Farmers Sheep Shearing Competition 2005
Trip Down Under Pays Off For Sinclair

A six month sheep shearing stint in New Zealand paid off for Andrew Sinclair at the Caithness District Young Farmers Sheep shearing competition. The event was held on Wednesday 1st June at Clatequoy Farm. Andrew lifted the individual title clipping his three hoggs in 8 minutes, 37 seconds. He plans to shear sheep in Caithness during the summer before heading back to New Zealand in the autumn for a further six months.   Anyone interested in a sheep shearing course should contact Linda Levack on 01847 841 261 as courses are being run soon, free of charge.  Farming News

CELEBRATING SCOTLAND'S LARDER - 17 September – 2 October 2005
Scotland's amazing array of food and drink will be celebrated during two weeks of events this autumn.  Scottish Food Fortnight will highlight the best of Scotland's produce - from meat, fish and game to fruit and vegetables, dairy products, beer and whisky. The event also aims to bring out the best in Scotland's larder with exciting recipes from some of the country's best chefs.  And Scottish consumers will be urged to get in on the act and support their local retailers and producers. By buying local we can give a boost to our economy and support our vital rural communities.  There are more than 40 events across Scotland confirmed so far and more than 90 food businesses taking part in the event now recognised as the highlight in the Scottish food calendar.  So far only one Caithness business has signed up - Captains Galley restaurant.  Could Your food or drink business in Caithness get involved?  Scottish Food Fortnight

Volunteers Week Gets Going In Caithness
Volunteers week got off to a nice start yesterday with the help of local young people. The development officer for Volunteering Highland, Catherine Patterson, organised for Wicks Riverside path to be upgraded with the help of young volunteers and the support of Mr Hargrave and Mr Guest of the Highland Council.  The path had been identified as in need of upgrading as it becomes waterlogged and extremely muddy in places. The group managed to fill in the potholes and tidy it up as much as possible before the weather took a turn for the worse.
Volunteering In Caithness With Volunteering Highland

Report And Latest Action From Keiss Nursery Action Group (KNAG)
On Monday, 30 May 2005, around 40 local parents from the communities of Keiss and Thrumster gathered outside the Thurso Town Hall to convey a message of support for their nurseries. Local councillors were given a clear indication of community feeling, as protesters carried placards and banners decrying the closure of the Keiss and Thrumster nurseries, along with Dunnet Playgroup. Councillor David Flear spoke to protesters in the town hall and confirmed that, whilst a final decision on the future of the nurseries had not been made, he and other local councillors shared the view that nurseries needed to be kept open.

RV Triton At Scrabster Yesterday - The World's Largest Motor Powered Trimaran
The Triton was in Scrabster yesterday for a few hours. The Triton Trimaran Research Ship is a technology demonstrator ship for the Royal Navy's Future Surface Combatant (FSC) frigate requirement, due to enter service from 2013 and replace the Type 23 frigates. Triton is the world's largest motor powered trimaran (triple-hulled) vessel, with a length of 90m and beam of 22m. Triton is owned by QinetiQ (formerly DERA, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency).  More Information at Naval Technology
More photos at Scrabster Weather Station   Fishing News, Boats & Sea Related Items

North Baths At Wick Emptied For 2005 Clean Up
On Saturday 4 June 2005 starting at 10.00am volunteers will once again clear out the winter debris and whitewash the pool ready for the summer season.  Anyone can join in by just turning up dressed in old clothing.  North Baths is one of two outdoor swimming pools that were used by wick folk in the past and recently brought back to life by a local volunteers -
The Friends Of the Trinkie and the North Baths

New Social Group for Women
A new social group, called GirlZone, is being set-up for lesbian and bi-sexual women, and any women questioning their sexuality, in Caithness (and Sutherland). If you are interested in joining the group for lunch (and/or other social events), then feel free to get in touch. More Details

Marriage Councelling Highland Page Updated with Latest Contact Details
The service offers advice and appointments can be made in Wick, Thurso, Inverness, Nairn and Fort William.

KOWALSKI - Another Local Band Added To the ARTS  Index - Music Section
If you are in the Caithness music scene make sure you are entered in the Arts section

RV Triton - The World's Largest Trimaran in Scrabster Till About 8.00pm Tonight
Pictures may be available later on the Scrabster weather site

Hillhead School Trip To York
Pupils from Hillhead's Primary 7 enjoyed a week long visit to York in May.  The party of 22 pupils accompanied by Mr Henderson, Mr Budge and Mrs Harper travelled to the ancient city by bus. Throughout the week they made a variety of educational and fun visits to attractions in the area. These included The York Minster Cathedral, the Jorvik Centre, the cinema, York Dungeon, a York Ghost Walk, The Deep Aquarium in Hull and a day at the Flamingo theme park. All concerned had a fantastic trip.

Thrumster School Last Night After Community Meeting On Nursery School

Thrumster in its idyllic rural setting three miles south of Wick returned to normality after the packed public meeting to debate the threat to the nursery section.  The whole area has rallied round the concerned families to help defend this service.  After the meeting kids returned to their normal summer evening activities of football and games.  Others played on the all weather tennis court opposite the school whilst groups of adults lingered or strolled to discuss what further action they might take in the future if needed.  Mainly folk thought that the problem lies partly with the lack of housing in the Thrumster area with more folk wanting to come in with families than there are houses available.  A few strolled back for a pint in the local Smiddy Inn to carry on the discussions.  One thing is for sure this village is not going to lie down to any decision suggesting closure of their nursery.  Caithness villages are alive and kicking.  Good for them...

Records Broken Yet Again On - Hits, Visitor Numbers and Page Views
May TotalsHits 10,771,616   Visitors 335,782
Daily Average Hits 347,469   Visitors 10,830 
The surge of visitors in May has once again been amazing.  It seems that the ripples are still going out across the web.  The Business Index has seen big rises in visitor numbers and the new Arts Index section is likely to increase the numbers in later months as it only started part in the latter half of May.  Page view numbers also make incredible reading - in May a fantastic 5,008,969 pages were viewed on and the Business Index.   These stats do not include any of our other web sites such as the Sutherland Business Index. Thanks again to everyone for your continuing support and to our increasing numbers of contributors for items, photos and updates to the community pages.

NHS highland Director Of Public Health Hammers Home Anti Smoking Message
"500 Highlanders Die Early Every Year From Smoking"
Dr Eric Baijal, the Director of Public Health for NHS Highland, is disappointed that the widow, whose husband died of lung cancer, has lost her landmark court battle against the cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco.  He thinks it is interesting that it comes on World No Tobacco Day but hopes that it will wake people up to the fact that smoking kills you.  Dr Baijal said, "Smoking is far more than just unpleasant. It is time people woke up to the facts - about 500 Highlanders die early every year from smoking. In the US, Big Tobacco have all but admitted the effects of smoking, but quibble over the detail and who is responsible."  "All credit to ASH Scotland, Mrs McTear and her Legal Team who have followed this case through at great cost to themselves." "It is really time to stop pussy-footing about.  It is very simple - if you smoke you'll shorten your own life. The same will happen if you inhale the smoke of others."