Thrumster Community Unites To Defend Nursery At Local School

The people of Thrumster rallied round to the village hall in greater than usual numbers to hear Councillor Bill Mowat promise to fight any moves to close the local nursery for the two years he had on the council if that should be necessary.  the audience breathed sigh of relief when area manger for education culture and leisure Graham Nicol said that today it had been announced that nothing would happen for at least a year and that full consultations would be undertaken with parents before any changes to the service were made.  Whilst parents were glad to hear this they were determined to keep the pressure up and would be keeping their newly formed group in existence to monitor the situation over coming months.

Nursery Groups Jubilant - Full Consultation With Parents Before Any Action
A large group of parents , children and supporters met in the Market Square in Wick and march from the council offices to the education offices in Rhind House today to make there feelings known about any possibility of closing nurseries in Caithness.  After a while an official came out to announce that a decision had been notified after local intervention that no decisions would be taken without full parent consultation which was unlikely to be until well into next year.  The Keiss and Thrumster nurseries were specifically mentioned (these being the ones principally concerned as being on council premises) but no others.  A briefing meeting is to be held in Inverness on Friday and is not open to the public as had been previously thought.  The reason for this is that this will be the first chance that councillors have had to hear about the current position.

Caithness Golf Week runs this year from 1st to 5th August
Lybster Golf Club  Wick Golf Club   Thurso Golf Club   Reay Golf Club

Thurso Bay - Smell The Fresh Air
A look at Thurso Bay in the sunshine and what you cannot see the wonderful fresh sea air off the Pentland Firth as the "Hamnavoe" ferry heads for Scrabster.  A breeze was coming in from the Pentland firth as the ferry Hamnavoe headed in to Scrabster from the Orkney Islands.  Take a look round the bay in this set of photos and and think why the vikings thought this area was a good place to settle in a thousand years ago and why many nowadays think likewise. The new waste water treatment pumps will soon have the water back to a cracking standard for all those surfers now heading to the area every year.

MSP Jamie McGrigor has given a cautious welcome to news of a replacement for the Livestock Improvement Scheme (LIS) which ended last year.  The Conservative MSP said it appeared that the Scottish Executive had listened to the pleas of the crofting community, but he warned against possible hidden costs which might be put onto crofters.  Mr McGrigor secured a debate in the Scottish Parliament in 2004 on the subject because of concerns over how the end of the scheme would effect cattle-keeping in Scotland's crofting communities. In the debate, he accused the Scottish Executive of hiding their real reasons for ending the LIS.

Have You Missed A Bargain In Items For Sale?
Buying or selling it makes sense to check it out as it is completely FREE.  It is less hassle for as soon as you have sold an item you can post another message saying the item is sold cutting down all those phone calls asking about the item after is is gone.  Your item can stay on for ages and at no cost.  Repost it again a few weeks later if the item is still available.  Change your prices or add more details about the item and all for free.  Go on spring clean the attic, garage or shed and turn your unwanted item into cash for the summer holidays.  Take a look at what is on offer now.  Or how about Cars and spares

Laidhay Croft Museum Fundraiser - Clothes From 1800 - 1900 Plus Cheese & Wine & Music
10 June 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Here is unique chance to see clothes from 1800 to 1900 worn as they would have been.  A unique collection of clothes from that period has been donated by a ladies family who originate from Scottag, Watten.  The family moved away from Caithness many years ago but the clothes have remained in the family and they have now been donated to Laidhay croft museum.  This unique show will be accompanied by music - singing and clarsach with cheese and wine in one of the older houses in the county Latheronwheel House by kind permission of the current owners.  Tickets are £10 and must be purchased in advance from Elizabeth Cameron Tel 01593 731244.  So why not step back nearly 200 years to see the clothes of the period with musical entertainment. Compere for the evening will be Margaret Viscountess Thurso. Numbers are limited so act fast.

Wicks Smallest Attraction - The Pilot House Made It On To TV
Hear the cheeky ploy of the offer to twin with the Empire State Building - the smallest to the largest tourist attraction. A quick look inside and around the Pilot House at the opening.  Compliments of North Tonight Grampian TV



Some problems with recipe for Scots’ health care - Letter In The Herald
Letter from John Sinclair, consultant surgeon, 7 Bridgegait, Milngavie on Prof Kerrs report on the NHS and mentioning NHS 24 and Caithness maternity.

Highland 2007 “Excellent Funding Opportunity For The Caithness Community”
The Highland 2007 Community Programme is an excellent opportunity for small Caithness groups and charities to fund projects that will take place in 2007, or that take place in 2005 and 2006 with a 2007 finale. A local Highland 2007 Management Group has already been set up to consider applications and now welcomes applications for projects from all walks of Caithness life: arts, sport, heritage, science, environment and language. There is room on the application to indicate a request for Revenue funding (projects and events) or Capital funding (building improvements).

Looking For A Job?  - Check Out The Latest Ones in the Jobs Section
There are lots of job opportunities in Caithness at the moment.  Our jobs section has just a few of them from engineering , teaching, social work, hotel work and more.  More jobs coming later today......
Road Worker   Teaching Jobs Thurso and Wick   Food Support Worker   Clerk Of Works   Mobile Library
Active Schools Co-ordinator (Primary)   Temp Part-time Learning Support Auxiliary   Clerical/Typist
Site Construction Manager- Wick   Job Vacancies   Chef vacancies   Teacher Of Technical Subjects
Teacher Of Physical Education   Teacher Modern Languages (French)   Teacher Of Mathematics

360˚ Views Of Caithness - Harbours
Here is something to let you look around some of the harbours in Caithness.  Thanks to Stuart Rollinson of Northern Imaging at Scarkskerry  for supplying the all round views of the harbours.  You browser will need to be able to view java applets to view the all round pictures.  You can move the photos back and forward and zoom in and out or just let it mover round on its own


Keiss Nursery Supporters Lobby Caithness Area Councillors At Thurso Town Hall Meeting
The Keiss Nursery supporters group comprising parents, children and other people from the local community turned out in numbers today to lobby councillors and make sure they knew how they felt about the need for a local nursery in Keiss.  Councillors met with the group in the main hall at Thurso town hall and heard convenor David Flear say that nothing had been decided yet and that councillors from all over Highland were to attend briefing on Friday at the council chambers in Inverness.  the Keiss parents were joined by folk from Thrumster and Dunnet who feel their nursery/play groups are under threat in any review where low numbers of children might be looked at adversely.

Wick High School Rugby - Another New Web
Tom Richard who has set up this web site would like to add photos and information about teams from the past. If anyone has any items they can email them to   If you would like them on at the same time email them to
Site added to the Caithness Sites Listing

Caithness Agricultural Society - Caithness County Show
Another new web site to let you have more details on the annual agricultural show that hsi year is at Riverside Wick on 16 July  163rd Caithness County Show 2004   County Show 2003
Caithness Sites Listing

Thrumster Nursery - Public Meeting 7.00pm Thrumster Hall
Parents and community members at Thrumster are holding a meeting to discuss the future of the nursery.

Ae Pilot Hoose - Isabel Salmon
Ae Pilot Hoose, id stan's in Week
Choost abeen ae Brae
Ids been wir famous landmark
For many a long long day

Sent in By Frieda Murray

North Airports Predict Growth in Coming Months
Almost 82,500 passengers travelled via the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited in April 2005, representing a 1% drop on April 2004’s total.  The airports at Barra, Benbecula, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick all recorded passenger growth in the month.  The 10 airports handled 7,484 aircraft movements, nearly 18% more than in April last year.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has questioned Transport Minister Nicol Stephen in the Scottish Parliament over the use of Public Service Obligations in the Highlands and Islands...... This is very good news for communities such as Orkney, Shetland and Wick. The routes will be 'bundled' prior to tendering and fares are likely to be cut by about a third. This will result in greater passenger usage, boosting the income available for re-investing."

Trinkie Volunteers Clean Out Pool for 2005
The volunteers came and did a very efficient job at the Trinkie outdoor swimming pool today.  they cleared out the debris and used a high pressure jet to wash away the weed and growth from the winter and spring.  Next Sunday they will finish the job by applying the whitewash to make the pool nice and clean for the summer bathers this year.  Anyone who would like to assist with the paint job is asked to go along at 9.30am.  The team expect to complete the job by about 12.30pm.   Well done to the volunteers for another great job.

North Action Group Supporters Badges Going Well
Members of the North Action Group fighting to retain consultant led maternity services once again took to the streets in Caithness today.  Members of the group that has now been inexistence for over 18 months are determined not to slacken off in their campaign to keep 24/7 cover at the maternity unit in Caithness General Hospital.  The new supporters lapel badge reflects this in its heart shape with 24/7 and the initials of Caithness General Hospital.  The first 2000 badges are well on their way to being a sell out and consideration is being given to reordering almost immediately.  Funds have continued to arrive from all over the county to the treasurer Thurso councillor Tom Jackson.  chairman George Bruce took a turn on the stall today with committee member Lynne Duncan and her daughter.  the cover price of 50p was almost immaterial as many people handed over sums well in excess of the cover price with comments such as " I'm expecting a new grandchild" being commonplace today.  Folk were often buying several badges for friends and relatives and that is why reordering will have to be done very soon.

Wick Rotary Club Book Sale Success
The Rotary Club of Wick held a fund raising book sale on Friday and Saturday.  Thanks are sent out to the many donors of books, videos and CD's that eventually counted in the thousands.  Funds raised will go to help local MS sufferers.  The books that remained at the end of the two day sale held in Bridge Street church Hall are to be split between the charity shops in Wick where they will bee used to continue the good work of those concerns.

Continental Market At Wick Wet And Cold But Folk Arrived From Far And Wide
The weather was not kind to the market folk from all over Europe over the past four days but folk still made their way to the stalls selling a wide range of goods from rugs, pottery, plants, and a wide range of food and drink.  German beers and French wine have not lost any of their attractions.  Small pancakes served hot were very popular with a big queue on Sunday.  

Pultenytown People's Project Showcase Day
The Pulteneytown People's Project held an information day at Back Bridge Street Club, Wick on Saturday.  Coffee and face painting were just a couple of things on offer while the main reason for the day was to highlight the varied projects to which the group are now committed.  This community group has expanded fast in the house turned into offices supplied by Highland Council at Murchison Street.  From that base it now runs several projects such as MAASK the after school club, A Breakfast Club for children who have to leave home early in the morning, a ladies group and a very important Housing Support project for young people between 16 and 25 all over Caithness.  The group are also looking forward for their community in developing a community centre an ambitious £2million project and to help the wider area of Wick through the Rosebank Park group looking to develop new sports facilities in the town and improve the whole of the Rosebank Park for locals and visitors to Wick.  The PPP in Wick like Ormlie group in Thurso are showing once again that if you give local people the right chances they can deliver outstanding results for themselves. PPP

Keiss Nursery Parents Set The Pace To Save Local Nursery
Parents with children at Keiss nursery have moved swiftly to combat the threat that the Keiss nursery might be closed down as part of a review of nurseries and play groups in Highland.  Although the matter has not as yet been discussed by councillors at either area level or at the main council the discussions at the Joint Committee For Children and Young People a committee combining a range of sectors involved with children but mainly the council and NHS have come to the attention of the parents.  A briefing for council members was in place for Friday 3 June at the council chambers in Inverness.  This is the first chance councillors will have to discuss the issue.  A group of parents hope to meet with local councillors on Monday at the area committee meeting in Thurso to let them know how they feel about the current threat to nursery provision.

Martin O'Neill applauded for appeal over 'antiquated' scanner Scotland On Sunday
With the debate over the scanner for Caithness General still ongoing this item today makes interesting reading - "
The consequences for patients are potentially catastrophic. Speed and accuracy are essential in combating the cancer menace"...."As well as giving faster and more accurate diagnosis, modern machines minimise the need for extra tests such as cystoscopy, which involves sticking a tube into the bladder, and allow for better targeting of radiotherapy."......"the newer ones will allow us a much more detailed image of the tumours, meaning we can make a much better diagnosis much more quickly."......

Playbox Play Group, Wick - Sponsored Toddle To See The Ducks

UKAEA Prepares Biggest Contracts For Many Years

UKAEA today set out its plans to make safe for future generations one of the most hazardous legacies of the fast reactor experiment at Dounreay.  Following public participation in the options, UKAEA has confirmed its intention to solidify liquid waste from the reprocessing of fast reactor fuel using cement instead of glass. Almost half the radioactive waste hazard at Dounreay is concentrated in this liquor and its conversion to a form suitable for long-term storage or disposal as solid intermediate-level waste is one of the highest priorities of the site restoration plan. The waste will be transferred from underground storage tanks to a new plant where it will be mixed with cement and set inside 500-litre drums that can be stored safely above-ground pending a national policy for the long-term management of intermediate-level waste.

Trinkie Cleanup This Sunday From 8.00am
If you would like to help with the annual Trinkie Clean Up then turn up with a shovel.  Other equipment will be provided.

Volunteers needed on Wednesday 1st June 2005
Volunteering Highland in conjunction with the Highland Councils Roads and Community Works dept and senior pupils from Wick High school, are undertaking an environmental project this Wednesday 1st June from 10AM.-5PM. It has been identified as in need of upgrade particularly during winter months when the path becomes waterlogged.  As part of Volunteers Week Catherine Patterson of Volunteering Highland has organised a tidy-up of the path located directly parallel and to the rear of the caravan site Wick from the railway tunnel ending at Riverside Drive.

“High Hope” As part of Highland Wild Encounters - Saturday 4th June - Highland Rangers
Climb to the summit of Ben Hope, the most northerly Munro. See plants and wildlife associated with mountain habitats. Allow 7 hours approx.  Reasonable level of fitness required. For further details and booking, tel: 01847821531 or 01641 521884

Mary Scanlon Asks If Caithness General Will Gain New Designation
Following the publication of Professor David Kerr's National Framework for Service Change in the NHS in Scotland: Building a Better Health Service Fit for the Future, Highland MSP Mary Scanlon asked the Health Minister to confirm that the Belford, Oban and Caithness hospitals, as well as the three island hospitals, will be designated rural general hospitals, or will alternatively have to meet some set of criteria.  The Minister did not confirm the status of these hospitals in future, saying that the framework does not determine what should happen in every community.  Mary commented; "It is crucial that these facilities are designated as rural general hospitals providing care services to a community, in order to ensure that they remain open, and ensure that NHS care and treatment is provided as locally as possible."  The North of Scotland Planning Group will lead in agreeing a list of core services for rural general hospitals to include emergency medical care, local routine elective care and care for chronic illness.  Mary continued; "No mention is made of maternity services but I hope that where appropriate, and particularly in Caithness, these services will be maintained."

MSP Mary Scanlon Challenges Figures On Hospital Waiting Times
NHS Highland Median waiting time for both Inpatients and Outpatients has risen to the highest levels since 2001, according to NHS Scotland figures released yesterday.  The Scottish Health Statistics for Acute Activity, Waiting Times and Waiting Lists show that the median wait for Inpatients and day cases discharge has risen to 54 days in the last quarter ending in March 2005. This figure represented an increase of 11 days on the previous quarter's figure, and was the highest total since 2001.

Tongue School, Sutherland - Set In A Wonderful Place Overlooking The Kyle Of Tongue
A small primary school in North Sutherland in the village of Tongue.  A colourful school with fantastic countryside and views in every direction.  Stand in the grounds of the school and see the mountains to the left, Castle Varrich ahead and the Kyle of Tongue to the right.  Many schools in the Highlands of Scotland have beautiful countryside around them but few are as lucky as Tongue primary to have deer countryside and fabulous beaches within minutes from the front door.  We look forward to seeing much more of Tongue school on the web site in coming months.  Sutherland Index

The Queen Mother's Castle of Mey Trust opening hours 2005
Opening hours for the Castle and Gardens of Mey have been changed for 2005 and are as follows:
From Monday, 2nd May 2005 to Thursday, 28th July  and from Wednesday 10th August to Thursday 29th September. The Castle and gardens are open from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm every day except Friday when they are closed. Also closed from 29th July to 9th August inclusive.

Proposed Breast Care Support Group
Meeting 9 June 10.45am Pentland Hotel, Thurso

Have you had or been diagnosed with Breast Cancer?  A group of ladies are trying to set up a support group in Caithness. If you are interested come along to the initial meeting for more information and listen to the speakers.  For more information contacts are - Jean Dunnet 01847 893765 - Louise Shakespeare 01955 880397 - Freda Blagdon 01847 892496

Boat Pullers Raise Cash For Life Boats And MacMillan Cancer Relief
The Applecross Boat pulling team have completed a boat pull every year for the past 3 years, check their website, Applecrossboatpull, this year they are pulling the boat from Brora to Wick and are donating the money collected between Wick and Portree RNLI lifeboats and the Macmillan cancer relief.


Don't forget to support a local event on Saturday !!  Wick North School Annual May Fair
Sat 28th May at 2 pm. at the school. There is also a Pet Show starting at 1:30 , which is being run by the School 's Pupil Council.  The fair has all the usual stalls run by parents and teachers, plus stalls run by some of the pupils. There will be face painting and a Bouncy Castle. Tea and baking will be served in the School Canteen.

Do You Need Out Of School Hours Child Minding In Thurso? - Then Check Out TREATS
TREATS provides a pick-up service for children of local schools and during term holidays schedule educational and fun activities for the children.  To many parents they are key to their continued availability for work and provide a much needed service in the local area.  Term time opening hours are 3pm – 5:30pm Monday-Friday. Holiday opening hours are 7:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday.

NHS Highland is continuing to reduce the number of people on NHS Waiting Lists. The publication today by the Scottish Executive of National figures on waiting times, showed that the number of people waiting over six months - on the waiting list for admission in Highland - has now fallen by almost 76%, from 360 at the end of March 2004 to 87 at 31st March 2005.  Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has welcomed the latest waiting time figures released by NHS Highland.

HIE Network Announces Results For 2004 - 05
The economy of the Highlands and Islands is continuing to improve, with unemployment showing a steady downward trend while population levels are rising.  That was the message today (Thursday 26 May) from William Roe, chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  Announcing the agency's results for the year from April 2004 to March 2005, Mr Roe said that, despite setbacks, the area's economy was in good health and there were strong grounds to be optimistic about the future.  "If you look at key indicators of prosperity, things like unemployment levels and population growth, the Highlands and Islands as a whole is continuing to punch above its weight and out-perform other parts of Scotland," said Mr Roe.

A National report into the future of the NHS is "just what the doctor ordered" according NHS Highland chairman Garry Coutts.  Welcoming Professor David Kerr's report he explained, "This report is exactly the shot in the arm we were hoping for. It gives the strongest possible endorsement for keeping health services as local as possible.  It challenges the view that to get good health care everything should be centralised into huge hospitals in our major cities and maps out a bright future for GP's, nurses, other health professionals and local hospitals. I hope everyone in the Highlands from patients to surgeons and district nurses to hospital porters can get behind this vision for the future and help us make sure it is delivered".

Media Comment On Kerr Report On Scottish Health Services
North Tonight Grampian TV

A Vision For the NHS - The Herald
Centralised hospital services trend set to be reversed - Scotsman
Report reveals NHS overhaul plans - BBC

Wick Harbour Trust - End Of An Era - A New Dawn Begins On 1 July
On Tuesday the Scottish Executive signed the revision order that effectively brings to an end Wiick Harbour Trust as it has been since 1879.  A new constitution will now take effect from 1 July and the Trust will be renamed the Wick Harbour Authority.  Board members will be appointed by a panel that has been set up and advertisements will be published shortly asking for people with certain skills to apply to be board members.  The trustees have had a long and arduous task in reaching the new constitution and revision order but they hope it will herald a new future for the harbour opening the way for new plans and modernisation.  Wick Harbour   Wick Harbour Trust Web Site

North Action Group Launch Supporters Badge
North Action Group have produced a supporters badge to both promote the ongoing campaign for maternity services in Caithness General Hospital and to help raise funds for the campaign. Badges will be on sale in various shops and at the Continental Market on Saturday and Sunday in Wick.  Local groups are continuing to send in donations and fundraising will continue as it is planned to prepare more leaflets setting out the latest position to every household in Caithness and Sutherland.

North Action Group Welcomes Caithness General Obstericians Offer To Stay On
At their meeting on Tuesday evening members of the North Action Group Committee were pleased to hear that all three locum consultants in the maternity department at Caithness General Hospital now had contracts until the end of September 2005.

Gibson comments on Kerr Report
Highlands and Islands MSP Rob Gibson has commented on the publication on the Kerr Report.   Mr Gibson said..... "Long suffering staff in remote and rural areas have known for years that there is a need for a specilised faculty for professional support. The final report of RARRAI (published last year) confirmed this. I wonder whether the minister agrees with Professor Kerr's proposals on page 43 of his report for a 'virtual school for rural health care' and how long will it be until such a school is opened."  Mr Gibson continued..."It is frustrating that given the amount of evidence collected and the amount of consultation that went on in preparation of this report that we will have to wait until the Autumn to debate on this report . The people of Scotland deserve to have these issues debated as soon as possible I see no reason why we should have to wait."

The Kerr Report On Scottish Health Services
Watch A video about the Report     The Full Report     National Framework For Service Change

The Maternity section from the report (on for ease of reference as the whole report ina Pdf file may take along time to download unless you are using broadband)

Latest Unemployment Figures Show Downward Trend Continues in Highland
Unemployment in the HIE area also fell during the month, falling 9.7% from 6,780 to 6,128 claimants. As with Great Britain & Scotland, the figure is lower than the same period last year, a decrease of 14.5% (1,037 claimants).  Over the year to April 2005, unemployment decreased in 19 Travel To Work Areas, and was static in the remaining 1 – Keith & Buckie.  Wick had the greatest decrease over the month, falling 1% from from 5% to 4%.  On long term unemployed Caithness and Sutherland remains static whereas two LECS increased and seven others decreased.  Despite some bad news recently unemployment in Caithness and Sutherland appears to be still following a downward trend even if only marginally.  It remains to be seen how the Norfrost announcement of redundancies will affect the May figures.  Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise , Highland Council and other agencies are running advice clinics this week to advise those affected of possibilities  in employment, training and business start-up.

Extra flight Wick To Aberdeen But Wick To Inverness Axed
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited welcomed Eastern Airways' decision to add an additional weekday flight to its Aberdeen-Wick service and introduce a larger aircraft to its Birmingham and Manchester services from Inverness.  From Tuesday 7 June the regional airline will operate four return flights a day between Caithness and Aberdeen and introduce a larger Jetstream 41 aircraft on some of its cross-border Inverness flights.  Meanwhile the Wick Inverness flight introduced last year is being axed due to lack of demand.

Inverness College Financial Shortfall
Reacting to today's announcement that Inverness College is looking to reduce its staff by thirteen, Mary Scanlon MSP has commented; "This is the third time in ten years that staff at Inverness College has been offered voluntary redundancy, yet the financial deficit continues. "It is of concern that the priority for redundancy will go to staff in the School of Forestry, Hospitality and Tourism, given that forestry is one of the main industries in the Highlands along with tourism.  "A reduction in academic staff reduces potential income generation, and will sadly lead to a reduction in training and education opportunities for people of all ages in the Inverness area."

Gibson Calls For Infrastructure Revolution On The Far North Rail Line
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has questioned what First Scotrail will do to back calls for an infrastructure revolution on the Far north rail line.  At the Rail Passenger Committee meeting in Dingwall last night he welcomed news that Highlands and Islands Enterprise, HITRANS and Highland rail partnership are to fund the Highland part of the engineering study into Scottish railways commissioned by the Scottish Executive by Arup Consultants. The announcement came during the evening question time at the last statutory rail passenger committee meeting in Dingwall which ended on Tuesday.

Photos Found On Stroma - Who Are They? Do You Know?
The island of Stroma off the Caithness coast can still throw up a few surprises.  Catherine Byrne found these photos on the island.  Can anyone help identify the people from the baby who may be Agnes Elizabeth or Uncle George to the much older photo of a man in a suit with waistcoat to the family picnic outing. email and if you can help.

Northern Puffins and Plants Evening Walk - Thursday 26th May 7.00pm
Pass this busy puffinry and follow a stretch of coastal grassland clothed in specialised plants ending in Sandside bay. Drivers returned to start. Meet at layby,7pm, Caithness/ Sutherland border ( NC921 654). Walk lasts approx 3 hours

Thurso Auction Market - Wednesday 25th May - 7.30pm
Try your hand at stock judging or treat yourself to a slave!  For more information contact Ellen on 07849 191178.

HomeAid Goes From Strength To Strength
HomeAid held their AGM last Friday evening at the Pentland hotel.  Reporting another highly successful year the outgoing chairwoman Donnett Calder was able to report substantial progress and continuing success for the organisation that helps low income people with furniture and appliances and manages to encompass recycling in its work.  The numbers are impressive - 427 referrals for assistance - Delivered 3035 essential items to those in need in 733 deliveries - 1379 households in Caithness donated items - collected 4249 items - redistributed 71% of items.  Their effort have been recognised by funders and the group are currently awaiting the completion of new completely renovated premises in the former McKenzie's furniture shop in Prince's Street. Fund raised to buy and renovate the property extend only to the ground floor.  The group are still pushing on with their efforts to secure money to fit out the upper floor.  Funders include Transforming Waste Scotland, Community Land Unit, CASE, Highland Council and Community Economic Development.  in addition the group carry out many fund raising activities.  Tribute was paid to the volunteers, trainees and committee members for their work over the year.  So remember HomeAid if you are getting rid of unwanted items in Caithness.  HomeAid Web Site

Continental Market In Wick Extends To Four Days This Year
Thursday 26 - Sunday 29 May
Following the huge success of the Continental Market in Wick last year the market will once again set up in Market Square, Wick from Thursday to Sunday.  People flocked to the market last year to try out many new products especially in the food lines from several European countries.  And it was not just Wickers who were there.  People arrived from all over Sutherland as well as Caithness.  Orkney folk were also in evidence as a number made a day of it.  Despite the first day being blasted out by high winds the other two days were extremely busy.  So much so that this time round they are making it four days.  So whether it is French wine or Belgian pancakes, unusual rugs or any one of many other stalls why not make a trip to Wick during the event.  If you are coming for the day check out Wick Heritage Museum open Mon - Sat.

UKAEA as a whole and the UKAEA Dounreay site have both been awarded the prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Medal for best practice in health and safety for five years running. This is the second year that both have received this coveted award, reflecting the importance placed on continually improving safety practices across UKAEA.

Twister At Murkle On Sunday
Thanks to Ronald Gunn from Thurso for sending these photos of the unusual twister seen by many people near Murkle on Sunday.  for more on the twister go to the Scrabster Weather station web site for more photos of the event or add your comments to the Twister thread on the Message Board.

Highland Wild Encounters
If you are looking for more outdoor activities and at the same time finding out more about our wildlife then check out the events on here until 5 June.  Several are in Caithness.

Caithness Coast - Creatures and Castles - Wednesday 25 May 7.00pm
Mowat Room, Assembly Rooms, Wick
An illustrated talk on wildlife found around castles sites on the Caithness coast.  Learn about the amazing wealth of special wildlife including puffins, whales & Scottish Primrose.  the event is FREE.  More information from Marina Swanson, Highland Ranger 01955 607758

The Final Chapter - 1976 - 2003
A History Of The London Caithness Association 1856 - 2003

This section is the work of Isobel Stanmore and completed by Edward Reeve before shortly his death.  Bill Fernie met Edward and his wife Janet on a couple of occasions following the start of the section for the London Caithness on the web site.  Edward Reeves dedication to completing the work of many years by Nancy Roloff is testament to the affection that members had for the association.  The history is a fascinating glimpse of what happened to some people who left Caithness and similar to many other Scottish places set up associations to get together for entertainment and for many years offer help and support to people who had hit on hard times when arriving in London.  Main Index To The History

Save Our Spuds By Mike Clark
Old varieties of potato are one of Mike's passions and here he extols the qualities of Highland Burgundy Reds and Shetland Blacks.  Why not try some in the garden and add a splash of colour to your dinners next winter.
Gardening With Attitude Index

Coutts denies hospital claim - Caithness Courier
The maternity issues continue to roll on in Caithness.  Gary Coutts chairman of NHS Highland is shortly to come to Caithness to speak to the Maternity Action Team and North Action Group to try to iron out some areas of difficulty and to try to ensure the process of finding a solution to the maternity question stays on track.

Nordkap Boat  - You Can Win This Boat In Crossroads Raffle
This boat was built by Mr Bob Thorne (Thurso) and was donated to Crossroads Caithness Care Attendant Scheme in appreciation of the care and support he and Mrs Thorne received from the Scheme. In order to raise funds to enable Crossroads Caithness to provide more care hours in the community, Crossroads are running a raffle for this boat (£1 ticket) - draw to take place on Saturday 11 June 2005. Tickets can be purchased from the Crossroads Caithness office down at Scrabster - telephone number 01847 895483.  The boat was on display at the model boat show in Thurso on Saturday.

Robert More Son Of A Pilot Reopens The Pilot House
On Saturday 21 May Robert More - son of George More a former pilot at wick declared the Pilot House open again.  Robert's father Willie More had been a pilot at Wick and used the Pilot House while waiting on boats to require assistance to come into port.   George More and others in his family had been fishermen for many years and was glad to have the opportunity whilst still in his forties to become a pilot and be able to stay at home and no longer have to be away for several months with the fishing fleet following the herring around the coast.  The Pilot House reopening is due to the driving force of Iain Sutherland former chairman of the Wick society and who in association with "Freends" have steadily moved from one project after another - Trinkie & North Baths - to name but two.

Administrators seek buyer for freezer firm - Norfrost - TV Report From North Tonight Grampian TV
Watch the TV report - available in various formats.

Pentland Model Boat Club - 2005 Show
Another successful model boat show was held in the British Legion Club, Thurso on Saturday.  The standard was as high as ever with many new models on show and making the selections of winners difficult for the judges.

A Walk To Castle Varrich
From the main street in Tongue you can take walk to Castle Varrich where you can get magnificent views of the surrounding countryside including the Kyle of Tongue.  The building is thought to be 16th century but the site may have much earlier associations dating back to Norse times. and the bishops of Caithness in medieval times.  It takes about one hour or perhaps one and a half hours depending on your walking pace to get to the castle

Reopening Of The Pilot house, Wick - Or How To Run A Tourist Office On A Shoe String
The Pilot house will formally be opened to the public on Saturday 21 May 2005 at 2.00pm to 5.00pm and marks a return to use after many years.  There will be a small ceremony at which tea will be served and to begin with it will open every Saturday afternoon in the summer and every day during Gala Week.  As suitable volunteers become available the building will be open more often.  It will contain a small exhibition of piloting in Wick for 150 years, and the custodians are looking for copies of photographs showing the pilots carrying out their duties.  Get along and take a look at a small project being done on sheer volunteering and donations without grants and the dedication of Iain Sutherland and "Freends" to Wick.
What Have They Done? - Well everything - removed grafitti -  repainted and repaired - removed old weathercock and had new one made - added new steel shutters to protect windows - prepared materials for exhibition.  Well done to all concerned.  A small project but a another sign that there is life in the place yet.

Strathnaver Museum
Another Sutherland museum and this time one at the heart of the clearances.  Here in Mackay country you can find the history and the consequences of the clearances.  This museum has the clearances as a main topic but covers crofting and has a room dedicated to the clan Mackay and its many connections around the world.  Head out from Thurso along the north coast taking in the great coastal views and beaches and call in on the way along.  Sutherland Index

Linda Ferguson and Tony Sewart Got Married
On 26 February 2005, Linda Ferguson (whose parents Peter and Christine live at Broubster Cottage, Shebster) married Tony Sewart in Kitley House near Plymouth. Linda moved to Plymouth 5 years ago and is a Senior Nuclear Safety Engineer in Devonport Dockyard. Tony is a site manager with a demolition firm.  A dance was held in the Park Hotel, Thurso last month.

Help Wick Rotary Help Caithness MS Sufferers - Donate Books, Videos and CD's
On Friday and Saturday, 27/28th May, 2005, Wick Rotary Club will be organising a massive sale at the Wick Bridge Street Church Hall to raise cash for Caithness folk struck down with MS.  Everyone can help by donating books, CD's Vidoes or computer games.  Drop them into Georgesons, Solicitors, 22 Bridge Street, Wick or 19 Traill Street, Thurso, Reids the Chemists in High Street, Wick and MacGregors, Vets, Airport Industrial Estate, Wick.  We all have a few books we have read, CD's we have played for the last time and videos we will never watch again.  Turn them into help for MS sufferers by sending them along to the sale.

Brora Museum Open For The Summer
Brora's little museum is tucked away but worth a look.  It is free to get in although you can make a donation.   Plenty on the coal mine, brickworks and Hunters woollen Mill as well as local family history.  there is a children's activity area.  If you have not been before it is well worth a look.  Open May  - September and sign posted from the main street.

Can You Spare A Couple Of Hours To Whitewash the Trinkie?
Sunday 22nd May [and for the next three weekends] Friends of the Trinkie are busy whitewashing the Trinkie outdoor swimming pool. The project is being completed over a period of time to enable the whitewash to dry and this is of course related to the tides.  Volunteers are asked to wear old warm clothing, equipment and materials are provided. If anyone is interested in supporting this worthwhile project please contact Patty Coghill on 01955 602456 she will be able to advise on future details.
Friends Of The Trinkie And The North Baths

Norfrost To Continue To Trade As Administrators Brought In
The business was established in 1972 and is based in Thurso. Norfrost is a white goods manufacturer and also has divisions which operate in the haulage and engineering sectors. The administrators have taken the decision to close the haulage and engineering divisions and, along with redundancies to bring the manufacturing division's workforce into line with current work levels, this has resulted in the immediate loss of 74 jobs. The company therefore now employs 87 people.

Northern Knights Warhammer Club
Another club joins the pages of   If you like to play fantasy war games and get involved in all the detail then perhaps this is the club for you.

Caithness Classic Motorcycle Club Programme For 2005

Mort By Terry Pratchett
Thurso Player's latest amateur production is on tonight and Friday night The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets are £6.00 and £4.00 conc. (OAP's and School Age Children). Tickets can be booked via Betty Bradstreet on 01847-892019.

`Fishy Tales` Broubster Forest 7-9.30pm Monday 23rd May
The writer and angler Lesley Crawford will join the ranger to explain the life cycle of the trout and other fresh water animals that inhabit the lochs. We will also have the chance to see divers, harriers and Buzzards. Meet forest entrance Broubster (ND025613) Dress for the weather Contact 01847821531


Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee on  18 May 2005 agreed to take action to ease the shortage of affordable housing in many parts of the Highlands. They agreed to seek permission from the Scottish Executive to designate parts of Highland as "pressured area status" thus suspending the Right to Buy for 5 years of council tenants who have new tenancies which were started on or after 30th September, 2002. Designation of pressured area status helps to ensure that social rented housing continues to be available in areas where housing supply does not meet need and where the Right to Buy could otherwise lead to serious shortages.  Caithness & Sutherland are not included in these proposals.

People First And Thurso High Pupils Launch Anti Bullying Video
Members of the Caithness branch of People First the group for people with learning difficulties and pupils from Thurso High school launched their anit bullying video "Say No To Bullying" at Skinandi's In Thurso on Wednesday evening.  Members of the group relayed the message about bullying and its effects via the video they have been making over three months.  Copies will be circulated to schools across Highland to get the message out about how devastating calling names and bullying generally can be for people with learning difficulties both young and old.

Sustainable Development Roadshow 2005 - YOUR Views Are Wanted
Thurso Town Hall  - Thursday 9 June 4.00 - 6.00pm
The Scottish Executive is now preparing the Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy, which will sit alongside equivalent Strategies for Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Building on the 2004 roadshow, the Executive have once again identified a key role for the SSDF in stimulating public debate and presenting evidence to those responsible for preparing the strategy. The 2005 roadshow will visit 10 locations and will form a crucial part of the wider public, private and voluntary sector activity towards the formulation of the Scottish Strategy.
The Scottish Executive has been tasked to prepare a Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy, which will contribute to the shared challenge which sustainable development presents, setting its own priorities around the shared themes of:  - * Sustainable Production and Consumption - Climate Change and Energy -  Natural Resource Protection and Environmental Enhancement -  Sustainable Communities
The Scottish Executive is seeking views on:  What are the critical things that need to happen in Scotland to deliver a sustainable future? - What contribution can you make to deliver them? -  What help do you need from others?

E Rock Concert - Waterfront Wick 27 May
Crimson Tide, Boss Hogg and Kowalski are all lined up for E Rock Concert on 27 May at the Waterfront in Wick.  Tickets can be purchased in advance from the music shops in Thurso or Wick or you can take your chances at the door on the night.  NOTE The concert is for 18 and overs only. Proof of age may be required for entry


"Walk the Walk for Alison"
Alison died at the age of 45 in November 2003 as a result of breast cancer. During her four and a half year illness she had hoped to hold an event to raise funds for breast cancer research. Unfortunately time to do so was denied her. One of her great loves was country music, especially with an Irish flavour.  A local company, Top Country Holidays, are holding a country music short break in Letterkenny, County Donegal in May 2005. Alison's widower, George, and her sister, Dorothy, have pledged to walk the 400 miles form Letterkenny back to Thurso. George and Dorothy have started their "Walk the Walk for Alison" on Saturday. We are currently receiving daily photo and text updates by mobile phone and will be updating the Interactive Route Map, Daily Diary and Web Cam report on their website , on a daily basis.

Concrete Blocks From Wick Radio Station Masts Reused For Coastal Protection
In case anyone had not noticed the huge radio masts at Wick were taken down a few months ago.  The harbourmaster got his head together with a local contractor and rather than dumping the huge blocks they have used them to shore up and area coming in for potential damage due to wave action.  Just shows everything can be reused if you put your mind to it.  Wick Radio station had been in Wick since the First World War and is no more but some what eerily you can still hear the call sign still being put out in morse code HERE

So You Wanted To Get Into Alternative Energy But Thought You Could Not Afford It?
Head for Wick High School at 6.45pm on Tuesday 17 May To See If you can get a 50% grant.  Caithness Renewable energy Forum might be the answer to reducing your energy costs.  They are putting together a package and if enough folk come forward they may be able to get a substantial deal with a company installing systems in private homes and combine that with grants currently available of up to 50%.  This has to be worth a look to see what is on offer before the grants run out.  Solar Heating and Photovoltaic systems are what it is all about.

Caithness Bikers Rally 2005
The annual bikers rally set off round the county from Lybster on Sunday.  Taking in John O'Groats and a few other popular places and a spot of lunch on the way round.  Ah the open roads of Caithness must be one of the best places to ride around in.

Caithness Army Cadets Field Exercise and Camp At Rumster Forest
The spring is always a busy time for the Army Cadets. During the run up to their summer camp they take part in events as varied as shooting matches, sports meetings, D of E expeditions and cadet skills competitions.  This weekend they have just completed company camping and a fieldcraft exercise at Rumster Forest. Thirty seven cadets and nine adults took part. Activity was split into three grades by age and experience. The fair weather helped make it a success.
Army Cadet Force Index

Church Bargain Book Sale Raised £174
The sale at St John's Church Moray Street, Wick on Saturday raised the excellent sum of £174 for church funds. Thanks from the organisers to all who went along and bought books.  For those of you looking for second Hand Books, videos etc there will be Another Book Sale for charity by Rotary Club of Wick at the end of May

Bill Johns Tribute CD and DVD to Aid Local Charities
The family of the late Bill Johns who died recently are putting together some of the recordings that Bill made.  The Johns family have had a CD put together of Bill playing some of his favourite tunes (solo) and are planning on selling them for £3 each, and in the near future they hope to do a DVD of the Bill Johns Band playing in the Lounge at the Royal British Legion Thurso and The Leisure Centre (Grove Lounge) which will be on sale for £5. The proceeds from these sales will all go to Local Charities which Bill would have been very proud of, as he gave of his time free of charge on many occasions for lots of local organisations.

Summer Is Coming - Why Not Get Out In Caithness & Sutherland And See Nature
Yes summer is coming and if you need a reason to get out walking in the far north here are some ideas of what you might be lucky to see.  the varied countryside covers many different places from Mountains to coastal and bogs to beaches.  So take your pick when you come north and see what is on offer.  Many empty beaches and long quiet roads.  Leave all that traffic behind and head to the far north this summer.

Inspired By Artists  - Latest From Caithness Floral Art Club
Anne Buchan from Crieff gave the Caithness Floral Art Club a demonstration entitled Inspired by Artists. The Dutch Masters, Garden Designers, Modern seascape artist John Lowrie Morrison, Monet’s garden at Giverny, Floral Artists and Beatrix Potter were those she chose to illustrate. Anne encouraged members to advance their arranging skills by trying newer trends in Floral Art.


Blackstairs Progress - Only A Few More Stones To Go
Photos from the past couple of days show good progress is still being made on the rebuilding of the Blackstairs.  Looking down on the stairs rather than from below shows how near the colouring actually is once the dust and weather begin to make an impact.  The older set of stairs discovered a few days ago are rapidly disappearing once again.

Hospital chiefs attacked over hygiene checks - Scotsman
Hospitals in NHS Highland, Orkney and Shetland failed to meet the essential criteria of having a policy on hand washing.......................

Revealed: the safety ‘failures’ at Dounreay - Sunday Herald
Herald Reporter used the Freedom Of Information act to obtain details from SEPA.

Revealed: list of sites to take nuclear waste - Sunday Times
seems to be an awful lot of revealing going on today. However this relates toa list compiled in 1989 of sites to store nuclear waste now to be made public. Only Dounreay and Sellafield were made public at the time for fear of affecting property prices in the other areas on the list.  The list is being revealed now as part of a process to consult the public on long term storage issues.  The list will be published shortly and is not as the headline says revealed just yet.

The New Arts Index
The latest addition to the web site is a new Arts Index for everything connected to arts and music in Caithness.  This new section has been built in collaboration with Caithness Arts using information recently collected for the printed guide.  Shortly we will begin to transfer all of the existing contact details for any artist, band and so on to the new section.  Many of the existing pages such as the poetry and other information will gradually be transferred across.  Any one connected with arts or music can as usual get a free page by completing the online form.  Later we will begin to add photographs to the pages and we hope as many people as possible will email us an image for their page either of themselves or one that best represents their work.  Art and Music stories and features can be submitted via the new submission page for news items.  Before submitting any details make sure you are not already on the site in the old or new pages.  The new section has its own unique domain name    All you need to remember is and no www.

Caithness Walking Festival - First Walk Was Sent Off By Wick Pipe Band
The Caithness Walking Festival started today at Dwarwick Pier with Wick Pipe Band sending the walkers on their way after a few words from Councillor John Green.  The festival runs until 22 May with range of walks of varying degrees of difficulty


Caithness Walking Festival 14 - 22 May
If you want to get out in the fresh air and learn more about Caithness then why not join one of the walks during the coming days.  All walks have local experts leading and you might find out a lot along the way about the area.  Walks vary in length and difficulty.  With the weather improving it looks set for an interesting walking week.

St John's Church Hall,  Moray Street, Wick = 10.00am - 4.00pm

A sale of hundreds of used books in good condition.  All proceeds go to St. John's church funds, towards work associated with their 150th anniversary year.  A spokesman said "We will have every spare table covered with books - children's books, adult paperback novels, factual works on many subjects, and all are in pretty good condition. The prices are very low - all less than a pound - to help us sell as many as possible in the one day."  Anyone who wants to donate extra books for the sale can bring them along to the hall on Friday evening 7-8 pm.

Wick and District Darts League Presentation Night
Saturday 14 May 8.00pm - Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
Annual presentation of prizes - Mens and Ladies singles competition £100 prizes.  Followed by a disco.
Free bus from Francis Street, Wick - 7.00pm  bus will start at Smiddy Inn Thrumster and call at Keiss on the way to John O'Groats.  A highlight of the darts year and a great night out.

The Wedding Of Tracy Banks and Willie Miller
Just added to our wedding pages are a few photos of from the wedding of Tracy Banks and Willie Miller.   The wedding took place in Paphos, Cyprius and dance was held in the Wigh Inn, Thurso.  Tracy and Willie who both now live in Aberdeen, Tracy works for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as a midwife and Willie as a joiner.They both belong to Caithness, Tracy of Rowena, John O Groats, and Willie of Mansefield Cottages Canisbay.   Follow the link on the page to many more photos on the web site of Susan Mackenzie, JohnO'Groats.  If you would like photos of your wedding on just email them to or send us a link to any other web site where they can be found.

Caithness Multi-member Wards To Be Thurso 3 - Wick 3 - Landward Caithness 4
The Highland Council has asked the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland to reconsider the proposed boundaries for local government electoral divisions at the next local government election in 2007.  To accommodate the introduction of Proportional Representation and multi-member wards, using the Single Transferable Vote, the Commission has advised the Council it has redrawn the Council map to create 23 multi-member wards, distributing the 80 elected members into 12 three-member and 11 four-member wards. With only minor amendments, the Council accepted the configuration of wards in Caithness, where there would be two three-member wards and one four-member ward, and in Sutherland, where there would be two three-member wards.

South School - May Newsletter

Hillhead School, Wick - Spring Fair

Dounreay Ups Safety In Case Of Earthquake - DFR Seismic Modification Milestone
During the construction of the renowned Dounreay dome back in the 1950's, there was no requirement to make the giant sphere capable of withstanding an earthquake. But fifty years later, this unusual necessity has earned the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) facility its first key milestone under the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.  Modern standards for nuclear establishments now require ‘quake-proofing’ for all new and existing safety-related equipment and plant. This is tricky for facilities such as the DFR Nak Disposal Plant, which is a mixture of both old and new plant and is also contained inside the DFR sphere. The sphere itself has been computer modelled and proven to withstand the once-in-ten-thousand years chance of an earthquake. However, the plant contained within it needed a more detailed assessment.

Blackstairs Discovery - Another Older Set Of Stairs Found Beneath The Blackstairs
More photos of the Blackstairs progress over the past few days and the revelation that the Blackstairs were not the first set of steps.  As the Stairs were being removed in the top right section another set of steps was discovered underneath.  It looks as though the town fathers of an earlier era decided to upgrade the Blackstairs from a narrow set about 5 feet wide to what we came to see as a wide set of stairs.   It makes sense that as Pulteneytown grew to the bustling herring port that many folk would have been tramping up and down these steps and they decided to widen them to what we know.  so this is not the first time the steps have been upgraded.  Did they have the same arguments back then about keeping them as they were.  We don't think so.  Pulteneytown and Wick was modernising to accommodate the industrial fishing scene of the day and heading forwards making improvements to the area.  The current regeneration of Lower Pulteneytown is at least partly in a similar vein.

Caithness Junior Pipe Band  - New Web Site
Another new Caithness web site for the lists.  Bookmark it or find it later in the Caithness,org Pipe Band Pages or the Caithness non business web sites listing. 

Any Other New Caithness Web Sites For Listing?
If you have a Caithness web site let us know and we will add it to our growing lists.  If you are looking for a local business web site they are listed in the Business Index under Local Business Web Sites.  If you are not yet familiar with the web site and need to find something try the Site Map or our separate Business Index Site Map.  We also have a Sports Site Map.
Joining these handy lists shortly will be a new Caithness Arts Site Map as a guide to new section now under construction.  If you still cannot find the item or page you are looking for remember to use the newly installed Google search engine that now appears on most pages of the site mainly at the bottom of the page.  The Google search engine is configure to search this web site.  The one in the business Index searches only for business entries.  There are still some pages where the new search feature is not installed and we will be updating those pages in coming weeks.

Portland Hotel Lybster Just Misses Top Award Online
The Portland Hotel Lybster want to thank everyone who voted for them in the Scottish Hotel Of the Year Awards recently.  The hotel was 1st runner up in their category. They were pipped at the post by the Inn at Lathones by St. Andrews.  The Portland Hotel proves that the public will support well run and comfortable places.  To come second in a national poll is excellent and reflects well on what is on offer in Lybster.  Well done to the Portland and better luck next year.

Royal Seat Of Approval Awarded To George
When George Linekar retired from Dounreay at the end of April his colleagues presented him with a chair, or more correctly, a very special chair! In the late fifties, the late Queen Mother visited the site, and to ensure she had her customary post-lunch nap a club-style lounge chair was specially acquired.  Since then it has adorned a number of manager’s offices. Having looked after the chair for the last number of years, it was felt that both George and chair should remain together in retirement.  George, a metallurgist, commenced at Dounreay in 1965, and since then has held a number of senior posts on site.

The Highland Council has responded to public demand by placing all hygiene and health and safety inspection reports on its worldwide web site.  Although other Councils may follow, it is believed that the Council is the first local authority in the UK to place this information on the internet.  Recently, requests have been made for copies of food hygiene inspection reports in respect of all school kitchens and several individual restaurants/hotels etc. On each occasion, this information has had to be retrieved from records and forwarded to the applicant. In order to make the information freely available in the future, the first food safety and health and safety inspection reports were posted on the Council's website.
First Reports Published for - Caithness Establishments  - Sutherland Establishments - All Areas

Wind Farm Battles Increase Across the Country
Anti Wind Farm Lobby Grows As 900 Objections Received For Dunmaglas Wind Farm Plan
The Highland Council has received more than 900 objections to a proposed 36-turbine wind farm at Dunmaglass, near Strathnairn, and objections are still being received, despite the expiry of the objection period. To be treated as ~timeous~, objections had to be with the Council by 18 April, and 843 were received by this date. A further 77 ~non timeous~ objections have been received by the Council since then, and are still arriving in the Council's mailbag.       While On the other side......
The Co-operative Group and ScottishPower are teaming up to build a 16MW windfarm at Coldham in Cambridgeshire, which will provide enough green energy to power almost 10,000 homes.  The £17 million joint venture is a major first for both organisations - the Co-op's first ever windfarm and ScottishPower's first renewable energy project south of the border. Scottish Power aims to invest over £1 Billion in Wind Farms.

Clydesdale Bank To Close 60 Branches In Scotland - Caithness Branches Not Named So Far
The Clydesdale Bank which has branches in Thurso and Wick has announced plans to close 60 branches in Scotland. 
North Tonight Grampian TV Report TV Report Available
BBC On Clydesdale Closures
14 Branches have been selected in the first tranch with others to follow in the next 18 months.  The bank is selecting branches for closure where there is a local post office that can be used.

UKAEA is proposing to build additional storage space at Dounreay for solid low-level radioactive waste pending the availability of a new disposal facility at the site.  Extensive consultation carried out by UKAEA recently identified the construction of a new disposal facility at Dounreay as the Best Practicable Environmental Option for managing low-level waste from the site clean-up.  With any new disposal facility unlikely to be available until 2011 at the earliest, and current storage space due to reach capacity in 2006, UKAEA is seeking agreement from regulators and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to extend the existing store.  Dounreay Index

Forget The Sale in Your Local Hall To Raise Funds Try The Web Like Caithness Junior Pipe Band
Caithness Junior Pipe Band Take To Ebay For Fund Raising

Caithness Junior Pipe Band are taking their fund raising to the global market rather than the local hall.  Here is an interesting try out by Caithness Junior Pipe Band to raise funds to pay for their trip to take part in Pipefest 2005 in Edinburgh on August 21.  The hope is to break the world record for a massed pipe band, which presently stands at 8,800, and involves pipers and drummers from all over the world.  Good Luck in raising the cash and representing Caithness in Edinburgh.   Caithness Junior Pipe Band

A Miller Academy Photo From 1960 Gets Nearer To Having All The Names
Names lists continue to be sent in for old school photos from time to time.  Here another addition brings the listing nearer to completion with only two left to go.

Renewables Energy Show & Conference
In case you missed it the Renewables energy show in Aberdeen takes place on 25/26 May.  Looks like everyone and there granny is going to be there showing how renewable energy systems are fast becoming big business in Scotland.  We note Aberdeen is calling itself Energy City for this conference.  Maybe Wick will become the "Energy Toon" with our photovoltaic roofs and Heat and Power plant soon to begin development.

Now in its fourth year, Highland Wild Encounters - a wildlife watching festival - provides a very special opportunity to view some of northern Scotland's unique wildlife. Due to its success the organisers have doubled the length of the event to over two weeks, from 21st May to 5th June, 2005. Knowledgeable guides from The Highland Council Countryside Rangers, RSPB, and Scottish Natural Heritage will lead walks, minibus tours and boat trips to enable participants to get close to some rare and very beautiful wildlife.
Check the What's On For Caithness Events

Fast Reactor Development Programme - A Brief History
Another item telling the story of Dounreay but this time concentrating on the fast breeder reactor programme.  More photographs courtesy of UKAEA show some interesting features and one of the tight squeeze as the reactor crosses the Forss Bridge.  The photos have all been added to the Early Photos Gallery
See Also  The First 50 Years    Past Present Future
Dounreay Index   UKAEA Dounreay Web Site

Bettyhill Gala Now Included In Gala Section
Following a request we have added Bettyhill Gala to the Galas/Shows section.  We hope to include photos of the gala this year for the first time on the web site.  Including the Bettyhill Gala is no problem but it would be helpful if anyone taking digital photos of the gala this year was able to send in photos for the pages.  This may be the start of a new Bettyhill section and we will look at any other requests by groups or organisations in the Bettyhill area to have pages of information added to the web site.  We have been thinking about this for some time as some of you may have noted from the inclusion of a growing number of Sutherland photos

Wick Girls Pipe Band Reunion
The Wick Girls Pipe Band will have a reunion on Friday 17 June 2005 at 7.30pm in the Seaforth Club, Wick.  Interest in the reunion is already high and anyone wishing to should get in touch as soon as possible to assist the organisers in making arrangements.  It is intended to install a memorial plaque opposite the Parish church  - possibly on the Saturday morning following.  There will be photos on display on the night.  If you know of anyone who was in the band please let them know about the reunion and tell them to get in touch with the organisers.  Wick Girls Pipe Band Photo Section

Search On Now Using Google
We have now installed the Google search facility on the pages of  Most pages have it at the foot of the page so if you are stuck after checking the Site Map try the search engine to find things on the site.  The Business Index has its own separate Google search.

Storage Solution of Morning And After School Club Run By Pulteneytown People's Project
Morning and After School Klub (MAASK) run by Pultneytown Peoples Project now have the solution to their storage problem. The club which is based at South School, Wick received the donation of a storage container from UKAEA Dounreay to store their outdoor equipment. Katrina MacNab, PultneytownPeoples Project said "Pultneytown People's Project is very grateful to UKAEA for donating the storage container. This has allowed MAASK to buy new equipment for the children which has had a positive impact at the club with the children enjoying learning and joining in new activities."  Children and staff of MAASK are pictured here outside their store with Katrina MacNab (2nd right) and Lynn Stewart (right) of Pultneytown Peoples Project.

New Covenant Players At North School, Wick
North School Index



“Ship a Hoy” As part of Highland Wild Encounters
Sunday 22nd May - The John O Groats Ferry will take us to Hoy to meet the RSPB warden who will show us part of this amazing island and its birds. Good chances of seeing cetacean and seals from the boat. Meet John O Groat`s ferry Terminal.  Exact Time will be revealed on booking. 
Booking essential tel 01847 821531 Cost £25.00 per person.  Trip organised by Highland Ranger service.

To celebrate the announcement of a further 3 years of funding for Bookstart in Scotland from the Scottish Executive Education Department, Bookstart will hold the first ever "Bookstart in Scotland Day"  on Thursday 19th May 2005.
Please note: Both Caithness events will take place on Wednesday May 18th, 2005.
* Thurso - Thurso Library from 2:00pm - 2:45pm. Stories and more for pre-school age children.
* Wick - Wick Library from 10:30am - 11:30pm. Stories and more for pre-school age children.

In Wick – Friday June 10th to Sunday June 12th
To be held in Community Learning Centre, Ackergill St.,Wick

Dounreay Visit For Canisbay School
Canisbay Playgroup and Canisbay Primary School P2 had their school outing on Wednesday 4th May at Dounreay's Visitor Centre. The highlight of the children's trip was to meet the Civil Nuclear Constabulary's dog and sit in the police vehicles. Marie Mackay, Dounreay Communications said "This is the first of many nursery and school visits to the Visitor Centre this year. UKAEA Dounreay are delighted to host these trips for the local schools and playgroups. The children always leave with big smiles on their faces."

If The Gods Are Good - The Epic Sacrifice Of HMS Jervis Bay
This is the enthralling and, at times, harrowing account of one of the greatest and most heroic naval battles of World War II. On 28th October 1940 HMS Jervis Bay, an ancient cargo ship armed with a small number of obsolete guns, set out to escort 37 freighters and tankers across the North Sea.  Unexpectedly discovered by the Admiral Scheer, one of Germany’s most feared pocket battleships, the Jervis Bay captain immediately dispersed convoy HX84 to hide in the twilight of a rising winter storm. Outgunned and with no hope of survival, Captain Fegen and over 190 of the 256 Jervis Bay crew nevertheless then sacrificed themselves as they took the battle to the enemy in a one-sided duel with the Admiral Scheer, as they fought to secure the safe passage of the ships in their charge.  This was one of the worst times of the war for Caithness and particularly Wick as 9 of the 18 local men were killed.  This is the paperback edition now out.

Composters For Sale In Caithness Are A Bargain
The Highland Council is supporting International Compost Awareness Week which runs from and to help more people compost at home, the Council are providing compost bins in Caithness at a reduced price of £5.  The 'Compost Converter' bins, which are 330 litres and made from recycled plastic, come with a 20 year manufacturers guarantee.  Composting is easy to do at home and is full of benefits for you and the environment. Not only will you be able to reduce the amount of waste you throw away each week, you will be able to produce your own nutrient rich compost which will also save you money.

Duke Of Edinburgh Award - Do you hold an Award?
The Co-ordinating committee in Caithness are really keen to establish a record of everyone in the county who has achieved a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  The scheme has now been running for almost 50 years and in 2006 will celebrate its 50th birthday.  If you participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, have an Award, Bronze, Silver or Gold and would be interested in taking part in an event to celebrate this milestone and meet up with other Award holders in Caithness please do get in contact, we would really like to hear from you.  Please phone Diane Gibson or Brian Lavery on 01955 605423, write to The Community Learning Office, Ackergill Street, Wick, KW1 4DT or e-mail

Entertainment At Lyth Arts Centre In May
Lyth Arts Centre continues to keep up a high standard of varied entertainment with plays and music of various kinds.  This month you can hear Scottish music, Jazz and Classical Guitar.  The recently refurbished centre with its new lounge bar makes an excellent evening.  If you have not been out there for a while make the effort to go and you will be pleasantly surprised at the changes.

Pulteneytown Academy School - May Newsletter

Volunteering Highland - More Volunteer Opportunities In Caithness

More Improvements At Newtonhill Woodland
Another bout of improvement works at Newtonhill Community Woodland, Wick has recently been completed by The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service.   The woodland has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.  Last year the Highland Council under took major improvement works at the old local 'dump' by upgrading the paths to 'All Ability' standard, providing flagstone furniture and a wildlife interpretive trail.  "Anyone with an interest in the woodland who would like to join the community group should come along to the AGM on 18th May 7pm at MacKay's hotel, Wick."

Radio Remedy Gets A Page
Believe it or not there are still groups in Caithness that have not yet had a page set up on the web site.  Radio Remedy has been around for many years and still runs the Radio Station at the Caithness General Hospital.  Volunteers do all the work and many DJ's have started in Hospital Radio Stations.  So if you are interested in helping the station get in touch with them.  And if your group has not yet got page on the web site let us know and we will set one up.

Sea Angling Competitions For 2005 From Caithness Sea Angling Association
Plenty of competitions this year for keen sea anglers in Caithness.

Boys Brigade, Wick - Appeal To Ex Members To Help Restart The Group

Hillhead School Wick - Newsletters
May 2005 Newsletter   April 2005 Newsletter

Tucked Away In Lybster  - The Grave Of The Founder Of Lybster Village - General Patrick Sinclair
Hidden away out of site is the grave of General Patrick Sinclair regarded as the founder of Lybster village.  The grave is sited on what was his own land as he wished.  A path leads to the grave site where stone was erected by his ancestors in 1936.


Fund Raising For Bank Row Memorial Garden
A fundraising evening comprising of entertainment and displays of memorabilia from the war was held at the Pulteneytown church in Argyle Square. Elsie Cormack explained how they had started and where the project stands with an expected start date of May 2006.  Elsie Cormack's two sisters were killed in the bombing of Bank Row.  The memorial garden is in Bank Row once a bustling part of Pulteneytown busy with shops and small businesses since the herring days.  It is located in the central part of the regeneration project of Lower Pulteneytown that has already seen the renovation of Telford Street and next to the Black Stairs currently being rebuilt.  The Displays are open at the church in Argyle Square today where tea and coffee will be on sale in the new cafe.
Community Memorial Garden Index     Memories Of The Bank Row Bombing

Accounts error blows £3m hole in Highland health board budget - Scotsman
The error relates to double counting of income from Health Boards in England for treating tourists to the area.

Is Caithness Witnessing The End Of Lybster Fire Unit?
Marshall Bowman On Behalf Of Community Council Praises Convenor David Flear's Last Ditch Attempt To Allow The Local Unit To Continue Saving Lives In Fires
I fear this may be the last communication on the fire issue as the morale is rock bottom in the local crew and they are seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. The Community Council at the meeting of 5/5/05 publicly expressed its full sympathy with their sentiments but would like them to try to continue to serve the community in the much diminished and downgraded role in the hope that in a year's time things might pick up if the retained station plans for Dunbeath don't fully materialise and that the promised RTA vehicle is put on station....................More      Fire Action Group Main Index

Caithness Hospital Radio station based in Caithness General, Wick is holding a series of Open Evenings from Monday 16th to Friday 20th May inclusive and 7 - 10pm.  The station is run completely by volunteers and Radio Remedy is looking for more volunteers to allow us to return to broadcasting seven days a week.  Why not come and look round the studio and see if you could be the next Terry Wogan/Jimmy Saville (How's about that then guys and gals?)  Our Open Evenings are open to potential volunteers aged 16 and over and so if you would like to find out more why not pop in and find out more? Free training will be provided to all successful applicants.  Interested? Come along to any of the open evenings at around 7pm (or by prior arrangement at a different time) to the General Hospital reception area and you will be met and taken along to the studio.  For further information or to arrange to be met at reception at a time other than 7pm please contact Jean McLennan at

MS Group New Committee Members Following AGM

Dunnet Beach Clean Cancelled
the beach clean set for Saturday 7 May has had to be cancelled.  Rangers apologise for the short notice.

All Three Highland Constituency Election Results
All three Highland seats are now Liberal Democrat.

John Thurso Wins Easily With Over 50% Of The Vote In Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross
John Thurso (Lib Dem) 13957
Alan Jamieson (Lab) 5789
Karen Shirron (SNP) 3686
Angus Ross (Con) 2835
Gordon Campbell (Ind) 848
Luke Ivory (SSP) 548

Majority in 2005  - 8168

Majority in 2001 - 2744

2001 Result
John Thurso - Lib Dem -  9041    Majority 2,744
Michael Meighan Lab - 6297
John Macadam - SNP - 5273
Robbie Rowantree - Con - 3513
Karn Mabon - SSP - 544
Gordon Campbell - Independent - 199

Tide Turning On Swimming Pool Guidance
Update on meeting on the 5th April 2005 with Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State and 16 representatives of swimming organisations.  The meeting established that the Health and Safety Executive guidance on health and safety in swimming pools is the only guidance that pool operators need to use by law. This guidance will cover them in event of an accident in their pool provided they have carried out a risk assessment. The ISRM went on record at the meeting stating that their guidance was based only on anecdotal evidence provided by their members and was not based on any analysis of drowning trends or statistics. The Right to Swim Campaign requested that Professor Jo Sibert attend the meeting as he is an independent researcher into childhood drowning.

Have You Made Your Mind Up Yet For The Westminster Election 2005?
Angus Ross - Scottish Conservative Party - Karen Shirron Scottish National Party - Luke Ivory Scottish Socialist Party - John Thurso - Scottish Lib Dems - Alan Jamieson - Scottish Labour - Gordon Campbell - Independent
Polls Open 7.00am - 10.00pm Thursday 5 May
Eve Of Poll Hustings Tonight 4 May 7.00pm - Wick Old Parish Church and Thurso High School. 
Three candidates will begin speaking at each venue and then travel across to the other town.  the candidates will leave after their first speech and head for the other venue.  This is your last chance to hear all of the candidates talk about their policies.  Who will be the MP for the next term for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross?

A Look Round Lybster Harbour

Main Lybster Index

Musical Evening With Display Of Flowers and Memorabelia
In aid of the Pulteney Memorial Garden - Tickets from Lorna Bruce 01955 604121 - Polteny News, Dempster Street, Wick - Corner Newsagents, Bridge Street, Wick  £4.  the display will also be open on Saturday 7 May with refreshments available.

Old Wick Area On The Outskirts Of Wick Is Changing As New Houses Spread Out

Beach Clean - Dunnet - Saturday 7th May 10.30 am starting from both ends of the beach.
Everyone loves a day at the beach, but Dunnet beach doesn’t look so good at the moment after stormy seas have dumped our litter on its shores.  So please come along and help us tidy up. Its good exercise, fresh air and the reward is to see Dunnet Sands as beautiful as it should be.  Plus C.S.V. are providing us with sandwiches!!  Gloves and bags provided.

Peatlands - Caithness & Sutherland
A link page added to the A - Z to bring together pages and links about the Peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland about which there is growing interest. Nature & Environment

Tom Bryan & Scotia Review invite you to The Maple & The Thistle
Mill Theatre, Thurso - Tuesday 3 May - 7.30 - 10pm - £3 (£2 concession)
a night of music, poetry & song from Canada & Caithness - Featuring visiting Canadian poets Gary Geddes & Paul Sutherland - support from local Scotia Review Poets& an open invitation to contribute from the floor.

City's summer makeover will put Portobello streets ahead - Scotsman
More Caithness flagstone heads for Edinburgh

North Primary School Summer Term Newsletter

Glamis Road, Wick

Upper Lybster Heading Into Lybster

Passing Through Dingwall - Click Click Click

A few clicks do not do Dingwall justice and when time allows many more clicks will be added.
Highland Views On

Blackstairs, Wick Latest - Platform Step Now In View

CAITHNESS ARTS is keen to attract new members. Whether you're a practising artist, have a general interest in and love of the arts - or even if you're plain curious - go along and find out what they get up to.  The group has regular newsletter with a What's On section.  They are actively pursuing an Arts Strategy for Caithness and planning an Arts Week in August.   Meanwhile here at we are working on a completely new Arts section in co-operation with Caithness Arts.  We hope it will make it easier to find the contact details for anyone in the arts and music fields in Caithness.  Once the new section is up and running let us know if you want an entry in this FREE section.  All existing entries in the recently published Arts directory will be included as well as any listed on  The new section will have arts and music news stories coming in at the top and out at the bottom similar to this page.

Dunnet Beach At Sunset On Saturday Evening
Alan Moar took a stroll along the beautiful Dunnet Beach on Saturday evening and caught the sun going down over Dunnet Bay.  We have taken this opportunity to begin a tidy up of the Dunnet pages.  Formerly we had two Dunnet sections and now these are being combined into one to make life easier for you and us.  New Dunnet Index

'Make distance poverty history for far North' - Gibson
'A small but significant step to reducing Distance Poverty' was how SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson greeted news that the Scottish Executive has commission engineering firm ARUP to conduct a Scottish rail planning assessment, opening the possibility that improvements to the far North Line will be looked into.  Mr Gibson received the response from Transport Minister Nicol Stephen during a question regarding the far North Line on Thursday in Parliament.

Lybster House