Bobby Coghill Tribute On BBC Radio Scotland
On Saturday 3/12/05 BBC Radio Scotland will be broadcasting a tribute to Bobby Coghill during "Take the Floor" which starts at 7.05pm   Play List for the Programme

The Great Feud - The Campbells And The MacDonalds    Win A FREE Copy On
Published to Coincide With St Andrews Day

You can win one of five copies of the book here on by entering our FREE competition (Closing date 10 December 2005)  This is the only book to give a readable account of the feud between two great clans.  It is a vivid account of the remarkable rivalry and sometimes bloody conflict between two great families which originated in the west coast of Scotland.  Starting with the violent death of the Campbell chief in 1297 the feud then went on for 450 years in Scotland and Northern Ireland with numerous cullings and clashes inflicted by both sides, amongst which the incident at Glencoe just happens to be the best publicised.

New Surf Club Meeting Friday 2 December 6.00pm Tempest Surf Shop
There will be a meeting to discuss the anticipated future surf club for Thurso and to elect a committee to govern the club. Those who have an interest are invited to come along to the meeting that will be held at Tempest Surf Shop, Thurso on Friday the 2nd December at 6.00pm.  The meeting is open to anyone interested in surfing of all ages and levels of surfing ability.

New Wick Town Centre CCTV System Now Up And Running
A new community safety measure is in place in Wick with the switch on of a £55,000 Public Space CCTV scheme. The scheme has been made possible by the Area's Community Planning partners coming together with the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and local businesses, including UKAEA, to raise the funding and provide the facilities to accommodate the new cameras.

World Community Grid Fighting Diseases - Join Folk Already Participating
Join the Scotland Team
In February 2004 Colin Manson persuaded some of us to join the World Community Grid helping some scientific projects aimed at speeding up the understanding of certain aspects of human biology that might speed up cures for various conditions.  On November 16, World Community Grid celebrated its one-year anniversary — and the significant contributions to humanitarian research made possible by our volunteers. 
Since its launch, more than 100,000 people from 157 countries have volunteered their unused computer time to World Community Grid, registering in excess of 170,000 PCs and laptops. This tremendous volunteer force donated more than 20,000 years of computer run time and returned nearly 19 million results — or one result every two seconds!  Join Here You can join the Scotland team or any of the others from all round the world or specific communities or set up one of your own - that's really just for fun.  You need to download small piece of software and then it runs on your PC anytime you are not using it.  Bill Fernie says "In over a year it has not caused me any problems".  The World Community Grid answers lots of questions on the research and how it all works.  See The Accomplishments   In the grid Colin Manson is highlander, Bill Fernie is wickwest and there are other Caithness folk such as champagnebaby, nightowl, maxxblade are a few more but you may recognise others.  So why not join us in this global volunteering using your PC to look for answers to some big questions.  You do not need to know anything about the science just donate your idle computer time.  You can sign up more than one PC if you have them to gain points faster.

Casper Club Set Out To Boost Traill Hall Restoration Funds With Charity Dance
Saturday 3rd Dec 2005 at 7.30pm - In the Castletown Drill Hall
With 'After Hours' & Friends Performing live including 'Steve Taylor' Ticket Prices are £5 per adult (1 Free Child Entry with every adult ticket purchased) Tickets are available from Casper Club, Castletown Primary School, the St. Clair Arms Hotel, Castletown and The Music Shop, Thurso. All proceeds are to go to the Professional Fees involved in the initial stages of the Restoration of Traill Hall.  The contact number for information or tickets is 01847 821500

Dr John Grant Smith Memorial, Esplanade, Thurso -  Refurbishment
Following countless years of neglect, Dr John Grant Smith's Memorial Fountain has at last seen a refurbishment due to the involvement of Thurso Community Council. Although not functioning as a fountain, the memorial has received a major face lift thanks to a generous donation from UKAEA Dounreay and the selfless efforts of Mr Robbie Maitland, painter and decorator. Using his artistic skills, Mr Maitland has brought the memorial back to prominence for both locals and tourists alike to enjoy, whilst also bringing a little part of the history to the fore. Interestingly Bill Fernie had taken a series of photos in September 2005 after noticing the newly painted statue but until now had no idea who had undertaken the work - Well done to all concerned.

North School Wick - November Newsletter

Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick - Latest Newsletter

£150,000 of work is underway which will stop sewage trickling down the cliffs next to the famous Whaligoe Steps in Caithness. Currently, waste water from households in the area collects in a septic tank near the top of the steps. It discharges liquid into a nearby burn which then trickles down the cliff-face.  The work getting underway involves a new outfall pipe constructed within the cliffs, taking the discharge out to sea. This will benefit the environment and hopefully boost the location’s reputation as a visitor attraction.  The pipe is being drilled through tough Caithness flagstone using a technique called Directional Drilling. This is a technique often used in the oil industry to find sub-sea pockets of fuel but is rarely used in the water industry. The work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Latest Pets

Orphan Baby Goat Nelly Is Mothered By Bull Mastiffs
Caithness baby goat Nelly, was one of triplets born by C section at Wick vets, sadly the mother and the other two babies didn't make it but little Nelly, although premature is very much with us. Nelly is living in the house with bullmastiff dogs who just love to mother her. Lucky the family who keep goats had frozen colostrum in the fridge to get her going.  In springtime they have more colostrum in case any local farmers need some.

"Changes needed to keep light's shining in Glens" - Gibson
New Crofts, increased emphasis on land economy and a more equal distribution of EU funding will help keep lights shining in the glens during the 21st century according to Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson.

Could the climate be changing for Britain’s nuclear option? - The Herald

£6000 bounty offered to attract Gaelic teachers - The Herald

New Caithness Volunteering Opportunities
Active Schools

Active Schools are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist with after schools activities in Caithness. These opportunities are not exclusively for sports activities but can cover any extra school activity i.e., Drama, dance or any event that requires active participation.
Caithness Young Archaeologists Group
Caithness Young Archaeologist's Group are looking for leaders to help with outdoor events around Caithness. The next meeting is scheduled for 28th January in Spittal Village Hall.

Young Farmers Speech Making Competition
The Scottish Association of Young Farmers' North Region held their 2006 Junior Speechmaking Elimination and Regional Quiz Finals on Sunday the 27th of November at the Thurso Town Hall, Caithness. The format for the Junior Speechmaking Elimination was Chairman, Opposer and Proposer with teams from the East Aberdeenshire District to Orkney District. The top honours, for the second year running, went to Harray YFC from Orkney District represented by Graham Tullock, Charles Copland, and Garry Hamilton. In second place was East Mainland YFC, also from Orkney District, with Peter Moss and sisters Laura and Kathryn Banks. Bower YFC from Caithness District took third place with Helen Ryrie, Laura Sandison, and Mey Erridge.

St. Andrew's Night Quiz
Wick High School PTA are holding a St. Andrew's Night Quiz in the School Crush Hall on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start. The entry fee is £1 per person and teams will consist of four members. This can be made up of adults or children. A finger buffet with refreshments will be served and there are prizes for the best team as well as a raffle.  Get a team together and have ago.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott today gave the go ahead for the final phase of the A9 upgrade between Helmsdale and Ord of Caithness.  The work, which is estimated to cost £4.5million will start next Summer and last 12 months.  The scheme will realign and widen over two kilometres of single carriageway and construct a climbing lane at the northern end of the road, providing a dedicated overtaking opportunity.  The scheme also includes a new roundabout, a new road junction, street lighting, relocation of snow gates and cycle/pedestrian links. Mr Scott said: "This devolved government is committed to upgrading our trunk road network. This important stretch of the A9 links Caithness with the rest of Scotland and provides access to the ferry ports serving Orkney.

CAITHNESS MONUMENTS -  Sir George Sinclair, Fountain - G. Watson
In Princes Street Thurso, opposite St. Peter's Church stands a fountain to the memory of Sir George Sinclair. Originally it was located on the lower side of Sir John's Square but was moved after the First World War to make room for the War Memorial.  First Published in the Caithness Field club bulletin April 1978.


Global warming scuppers Blair’s nuclear power plans - Sunday Herald
Article says Nirex report says low lying nuclear sites at risk from rising seas through global warming.  Many present sites such as Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Dounreay in Caithness, as well as nine in England and Wales that could be under threat from rising seas and that therefor new higher inland sites might be required for any new power stations.

The Glacial Tills Of Caithness
This article by well known local writer Donald Omand was first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin of April 1978. 

Rough Weather At Sea Yesterday

It is difficult to show in photos just how heavy the seas were yesterday around the Caithness Coast but these photos from Kas Munro will give you some idea. You will just have to imagine the gale and some rain and think about that boat heading out from Scrabster in the middle of it.

Library Joined In Wick Christmas Fun Day
Staff at Wick library joined in Fun Day yesterday and dressed up as various characters.  They took the opportunity to present the prizes for the recent competition "Underwater Wonders" run for younger children during Children's Book Week.  Denis the Menace (Shelagh Swanson) ran games for any children at the library giving out Beanos and Dandys to participants.

Caithness Area Committee Of Highland Council - Agenda For Monday 28 November
At their area committee meeting on Monday 28 November at Assembly Rooms, Wick councillors will be considering Integrated Inspection by the Care Commission and HM Inspectorate of Education reports on Bower Busy Bees Nursery Centre, Canisbay Rainbow Nursery, Lybster Primary Nursery Class, Miller Academy Primary School, Thurso.  Full Reports are on the HM Inspectors  web site - Busy Bees, Canisbay Rainbow Nursery, Lybster Primary Nursery Class, Miller Academy Primary School  Also on the agenda for discussion and decisions - Community Safety Action Team, Nuclear Decommissioning visit To Cumbria, Applications to purchase ground at MacRae Street, Wick and at Forss, Report on A Tree survey of trees on land dealt with be TEC Services   River Thurso Flood Study   Winter road Maintenance

East End Boys Club Submits Planning Application For Extension Of Premises
Amongst the latest planning applications to the Caithness Planning office is one for the extension of East End boys club's premises to provide more storage and disabled toilets.  the club have ben fundraising for some time and received a boost with a donation from the Liam Henderson Memorial Fund.

Rumster Outdoor Centre To Be Sold To Local Management Group For Token Payment
The Resources committee of Highland council will this week be asked to ratify a decision taken by councillors of the Caithness area committee to sell Rumster Outdoor Centre for a token payment to a local group known as Rumster Outdoor Centre Management Group.  the council estimates the value of the centre which has been unused in recent years to be £10,000.  Once popular with local youth groups for weekends and out door activities it had fallen into disrepair.  the new group are actively seeking funds to build anew centre on the ground. Full Agenda of Resources Committee 30 November 2005

Nuclear haze: Will new builds take us into the financial unknown again? - The Independent

Thurso Mall River Walk Flooding

Visiting Santa At Wick's Christmas Fun Day (52 photos)

Caithness Quilters Exhibition And Sale Next Saturday
Exhibition and Sale on 3rd Dec in the Back Bridge St Hall. Open from 10pm until 4pm. As well as our end of year exhibition, there will be a Christmas sale table and baking stall. We will also have a raffle for a hamper and various prizes. Teas with home baking as well. All the proceeds are for the charity 'Chest, Heart and Stroke' which uses funds locally to provide care for victims of stroke, or heart and lung disease.

Wick Christmas Fun Day
Pics 49 - 60                61 - 72

Pics 1 - 12                  13 - 24                                   25 - 36                    37 - 48

A Stormy Day At Ackergill Yesterday
As with most coastal places in the north yesterday the sea was boiling lashing huge amounts of foam at the beach and rocks.  It is not surprising ferries were cancelled in many places.  But even in the gales and rain a rainbow managed to peak through for few minutes.

Structural Damage To Mount Pleasant School In Thurso
All 23 schools in Caithness were closed today due to adverse weather, in particular strong winds which cancelled all school transport. There was some structural damage to Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso.  A further 40 schools were closed in other parts of Highland.  Sutherland Schools were: Altnaharra Primary; Farr High School and Primary; Kinlochbervie High; Melvich Primary; Reay Primary; Tongue Primary.

Mother Goose Panto Tickets On Sale On Saturday
Mother Goose is the panto being performed by Wick Players from 13 to 17 December and tickets will be on sale between 2.00 and 3.30pm at the club rooms n Moray Street, Wick.  Then tickets will be available from Poltney News in Dempster Street from Monday 28th

Caithness Family History Society
Caithness Family History Society Journal Number 21 is back from the printers and now winging its way around the world to the group's 351 members. This 32 page journal contains an interesting variety of local and family history topics with something of interest for everyone. The Society, soon to enter its seventh year, continues to grow and wishes to welcome all those with an interest in Caithness, wherever they may reside, to its ranks and for them to enjoy the services it offers. The annual fee is a modest £10 and members receive many benefits and access to resources including the regularly printed journal. If you want to know more about the society you may contact George McKain or Allan Lannon. Details can be found on the Society website at

School project promotes DVD about the sea
Melvich Primary School recently held a very successful open evening for children, parents and other interested members of the local community. The evening was used as a platform to launch the DVD produced as part of their “What lives in our seas and who needs it anyway?” school biodiversity project. The project proposed by the Sutherland Biodiversity Group was funded by the Highland Biodiversity Implementation Programme supported by SNH, LEADER+, The Highland Council and European funding.

Wind and Rain Battering Caithness Causing Power Cuts In Some Parts
The severe weather has lead to power cuts in parts of Caithness.  Ackergiill lost power for several hours in the morning but was restored about 1.15pm.  Papigoe area has experienced a series of cuts in supply.

Invitation to "Jackie's Story" - 1 Woman Play On Domestic Abuse
Town & County Club in Wick 5th December at 7.00pm
Community Learning Office in Golspie 6th December Midday.

To raise awareness of domestic abuse Caithness & Sutherland Women's Aid invite you to two performances of "Jackie's Story" - a one woman play about domestic abuse, performed and created by Naomi Breeze. Following the play, there will be refreshments and an opportunity to find out more about the work of Caithness & Sutherland Women's Aid.  Everyone is welcome, so please come along to the Town & County Club in Wick on the 5th December at 7pm or to the Community Learning Office in Golspie on the 6th December at midday.  This is a free event, supported by the Highland Wellbeing Alliance.  Wick councillors Katrina MacNab and Bill Fernie are both members of the Domestic Abuse Strategy Group for Caithness and Sutherland and are encouraging as many people to go along and find out more about this important issue.

Could you be "in the frame" for Kirk Photographer of the Year?
Church of Scotland in world-wide call to amateur photographers Could you be "in the frame" for Kirk Photographer of the Year? The Church of Scotland is looking for a winner in its Photographer of the Year competition. Could it be you? Capitalising on the success of the first-ever Photographer of the Year award, which was held last year, the Kirk is now looking for entries for the 2005 competition.  Also check out the children's poster colouring competition.  Children up to 12 can download one of four posters to colour in and enter by post or submit online.   The competitions are open to anyone to enter so maybe this is the time to test your digital camera skills.

Book Sale Success - Surplus Books Available For Another Charity
"The Book Sale at St. John's church hall on Saturday 19th Nov 2005. raised a total of £170.30 for church funds, so a big thank-you to all who purchased books, and also the several people who helped staff the sale on the day. We still had two carloads of books at the end, so any local charity wanting some books for their own sale, please contact Gordon Johnson  or 01955-603103

Wick Academy V Nairn County -  Football Cancelled On Saturday Due To Severe Weather
The match tomorrow at Harmsworth Park, Wick has been cancelled due to the severe weather.  As you can see from the photo the pitch is water logged and with torrential rain currently falling there is no chance of it recovering by Saturday.


Melvich Gaelic Choir-Ceilidh/Supper/Dance Saturday - CANCELLED

Brodie McHaggis and the Secret Of Loch Ness
Brodie McHaggis and the Secret of Loch Ness
Helen Campbell lives in Caithness and set up her own publishing company Chloe Publishing  Brodie McHaggis is the first book  in what will be series of adventures of a young haggis.  On the Brodie McHaggis web site there is a competition running with a free draw over coming months to win a copy of the book so head on over and add your email address.



All Schools In Caithness Were Closed Today Due To Weather Conditions

Refuse Collections In Caithness For today and Tomorrow Cancelled Due To High Winds
No Refuse lorry / Recylcing lorry Collection Today or Tomorrow in Caithness due to the high winds , Seater landfill site is closed also. Double collection next Friday in the areas not lifted today.

Weather for Caithness Today and Tomorrow From Met Check
Caithness is experiencing very high wind this morning and the temperature is still low with wind chill factor taking it below zero in many parts.

Dounreay Closed For The Day Due To Severe Weather
Due to severe weather conditions, with winds gusting to 90mph, decommissioning work at Dounreay has been suspended and the site closed, except for essential safety personnel.

Missing Cat Tigger From Thurso
Tigger is a 2 year old tabby cat who was last seen in Sigurd Road on the morning of 23 Nov. He was wearing a red collar with a tag with our phone number on it. If anyone sees him could they please phone Thurso 896446.



Caithness Band Crimson Tide Getting Ready For CD Launch on 10 December With a Gig
Caithness band Crimson Tide will launch their new CD on 10 December at the Redwood in Thurso. Making a night of it they have two other local bands Boss Hogg & Cyanide joining them for a gig.



Manpower Staff At BT, Thurso Raised £4270 For Children In Need

Dounreay director Norman Harrison travelled to Brussels at the invitation of the Nuclear Energy Agency's radioactive waste management committee, to discuss stakeholder involvement in decommissioning of nuclear sites. A working party consisted of delegates from Brussels, USA, France, Canada, Italy, Sweden and Germany as well as Scotland.  During the day-long meeting Norman Harrison presented the UKAEA's process for public participation and involvement. He described how, in 2002, UKAEA launched a process of consulting stakeholders on projects where there was a significant potential off-site environmental impact and where more than one feasible option for managing the issue existed.

Severe Weather Warning For The Highlands And Islands From The Met Office
With increasing warnings over the past few days it looks like the snow is almost here and more is forecast over the next few days.  Many parts of the UK will also have snow over the weekend.  Caithness has already been experiencing heavy rain and sleet in some parts.  Cold weather is moving south with the north in the front line to be hit first.  Make sure you have all your winter weather gear in the car if travelling.  Forecasts are for heavy snow over the next few days.  High winds are also forecast with gusts up to 70mph.  More Weather Links

Girnigoe Castle - The First to Sixth Earls of Caithness - D. B. Miller
This article on Girnigoe Castle was first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin in April 1978.  Packed with details on the families and the castle it is a testament to Mr Miller's powers of observation and deduction that almost 28 years ago he was certain that Sinclair and Girnigoe Castles as they had become known were in reality one castle.  Recent excavations and observations have proved him to have been correct.  Once again our thanks go to Janet Mackenzie for preparing this and the other articles of the bulletin for the web site.  Caithness Field Club Bulletins Main Index

Other April 1978 Caithness Field Club Bulletin Articles Published Today
THE COGHILLS OF COGHILL - The only Caithness Landholders "of that Ilk"

Maersk Fighter At Scrabster
Boats connected with the oil industry regularly arrive at Scrabster these days.  With new oil licences recently granted by the government the chances are we will see more and more in the next few years.



Careers Scotland Open Day Thursday 1st December
If you are aged 16 to 19 or are a parent or carer you might want to look in to see what is on offer from Careers Scotland at 2 Princes Street, Thurso from 10am - 4.00pm. This is an opportunity to show young people what services Careers Scotland can offer this age group, e.g. info on vacancies, details of skillseeker and modern apprenticeships, info on benefits, help with application forms, interview preparation and training programmes. Also workshops are available to support young people to gain employability skills.

Wick Still Tops The Unemployment Tables
The Wick travel to work area jobless total stands at 4.1 per cent  - a slight increase on the previous month.  In Caithness and Sutherland broken down by electoral wards Pulteneytown remains the highest unemployment area.  the highland council area as a whole has un unemployment rate of 2.1% which is lower than the Scottish average of 2.6% or the UK at 2.3%.


"The Game, The Grass and The Science: A History of The Sports Turf Research Institute"
Dr David Lawson - Sports Turf Research Institute
Long gone are the days when top class football was played on the January mudbath that we still see on the occasional TV sports programme. Many of the natural surfaces now used for sports including football, rugby, golf, bowls and horse racecourses are designed to withstand severe weather conditions along with heavy wear and tear. This has been done through the breeding of specially bred grass cultivars, the development of free draining soils along with developments in fertilisers and pesticides. The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) in West Yorkshire has been at the heart of many of these developments since its inception in 1929. It is now the principal European organisation in the fields of turfgrass research and consultancy. …ACCOMPANIED BY WINE AND NIBBLES….. ALL WELCOME…!!

Grant Street Home In Wick Has Been Completely Refurbished

A couple of years ago the Grant Street home to people with learning difficulties was under threat of closure.  Now after a complete refurbishment the home has been brought up to the most modern standard complying with all of the Care Commission requirements and the Disability Discrimination Act.  The cost was in excess of £300,000 but now has lift installed and all the aids needed by a disabled person including wet shower rooms.  All of the ceilings have been reinforced in case tracks are required at any time later for equipment to move people from room to room.  Staff rooms are available for use at night giving 24 hour cover.  Councillors and staff are delighted with the new facility which will commence to receive residents once again shortly.  Currently the council is also engaged in a full refurbishment of Bayview House In Thurso as part of an ongoing refurbishment programme care homes.

John Thurso MP Defending Rural Postal Services Yesterday In Parliament
Perhaps not the most important thing our MP does for the area but nevertheless got an airing for a tiny communities problems over the possible removal of postal deliveries as they were said to be over 15 minutes for a posty to get to them.  John Thurso seeing the threat to the postal services in many small places got an airing for the matter ensuing that at least the people in the Ardmore Peninsula, Sutherland are getting their case heard at the top level.  Everything now awaits a decision on that particular mail delivery service by Postcomm.  Does anyone know of any postal delivery services in Caithness that require more than a 15 minute walk to deliver the mail.  As John Thurso seems to think the universal mail service may be under more threat than has been apparent until now.  Will outlying areas survive if they have to collect their mail from Wick or Thurso.  We may not be asked that yet but it seems that someone may wish to change things to reflect actual costs of delivery.  Most folk will applaud the MP's robust defence of this tiny areas postal service and we all hope that this wake up call will make the Post Office reflect long and hard before changing the mail delivery services in rural areas.

Caithness FM Annual Christmas Toy Appeal
Caithness FM are once again running a toy appeal for less fortunate children in Caithness. New, unwrapped toys can be delivered to our studio in Neil Gunn Drive, Thurso any evening between 7-12pm. This year, toys can also be delivered to the Somerfield stores in both Wick and Thurso or if you'll be in Thurso on 3rd Dec for the fun day why not visit CFM outside McAllans shop and deliver your present in person - every little can make a big difference. Every toy donated will be distributed to a child in Caithness.


Support for Nathan Warmack's Right to Wear his Kilt
We thought some of our readers might be interested in signing this online petition from members of the Clan Gunn USA.  Jackson High School is in  Jackson, Missouri, a small city south of St. Louis.

Highlands and Islands Air Passengers Continue to Rise
The number of people flying via airports in the north and west of Scotland increased by 12.5% in October compared to a year ago, according to figures released by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. A total of 105,829 passengers used the 10 HIAL airports in the month, compared to 94,036 in October 2004. The seven month running total for the airports now stands at 718,569, 10.2% up on the same period in 2004/05. Nine of HIAL’s airports are showing year on year growth with Islay the only exception, having handled 142 fewer passengers since 1 April 2005 compared to last year.

North Schools Win £15,000 Prize Money In Dounreay's 50th Anniversary Competition

Far north pupils have been using their crystal ball-gazing skills to project what life will be like in their communities in 2055.  They looked into the future as part of a competition run by UK Atomic Energy Authority to mark its 50 year tenure at Dounreay.  Over £15,000 was put up in prize money for the event which involved schools from Wick to Durness. The idea came from Colin Gregory who has been co-ordinating the programme to celebrate UKAEA's 50 year stint at the Caithness site.  Mr Gregory, head of the director's support office, said: "Rather than looking back, we thought it would be better to look forward and ask the young people to imagine what life will be like in 50 years time."  Secondary pupils produced a Panorama-style programme on events in 2055 and designed a front page of a newspaper of that year.

Mike Steven Sends These Oil Related Photos
Mike Steven sends us these photos of the fabrication of the BP Angola block 18, Greater Plutonio Development Riser Buoyancy Tank which will be over 1 mile long when completed.  Fabrication is being complete by Tissot in St.Naizaire France.  The Greater Plutonio is a $4billion project off the coast of Angola for BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd.  Anyone checked the mineral rights on their house in Caithness yet?

Todays Caithness Pet Photos

Blair warned against 'own goal' in nuclear energy review - Scotsman
Any new reactors are likely to be built on existing sites, with Scotland's four plants first in the queue for regeneration. But the move is set to divide the country......the article mentions Dounreay....... John Thurso, the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP, said the site would be too remote from where the electricity would be used. "There is not the transmission capacity to take the electricity from Dounreay to the Central Belt. I would love it if it came to Dounreay because it would bring lots of jobs, but it won't."   

More Oil Related Photos From A Caithness Man - Andrew Thain In Port Fourchon, Louisiana
Andrew Thain's last photos were from up past the Arctic Circle in Norway.  This batch are from Port Fourchon in Louisiana and shows a jumper spool being put together.  Shows yet again that Caithness folk are getting around the globe especially in the oil industry.  We want to know when you are all coming back to drill in the back garden.

Prize Winning Photo By Ken Nicol of Pentland Canoe Club
A photograph taken by Ken Nicol, from the Pentland Canoe Club, during a recent sea kayaking expedition has taken second prize in the annual Scottish Canoe Association’s Touring Photo Competition. The photograph was taken near Frederiksdal in South Greenland and shows fellow Club paddler Simon Copsey dwarfed by an iceberg.
Congratulations To Ken.  Take a look at his earlier photos of the expedition sent in August  If you fancy taking up the paddle check their web site  And did some turn a switch on as we seem to getting lots of  great photos sent in today.

Wick Medical Centre Staff Thank Everyone who Helped Raise £521 For "Children In Need"
In the photo are some of the staff of Wick Medical Centre in fancy dress for Children In Need on Friday.  Donations were handed in during the day and a raffle was held of donated prizes. The sum of £521.00 was raised thanks to the generosity of all the patients.


From Sandside On A Frosty Morning
The temperatures may have plunged in the past few days but it has certainly made for some lovely days for taking photos.  These two were taken by Peter Stevens at about 7.30am on Saturday.  The frosty photos certainly makes the snow predictions for Thursday look more likely.  Have you all got the snow gear ready for any long trips.

Pets Today

Glen Affric  - Beautiful In the Clear And Frosty Weather

Glen Affric is looking superb in the frosty weather we have been having. As temperatures dived to minus 3 Douglas Gordon took the chance to capture some of the great views in the area where the last remnants of the great Caledonian Pine Forest can be seen.  For a number of years parts of the area have been fenced off to keep the deer out and the transformation is really amazing with new trees managing to get up as they are no longer browsed out.  Always worth a look before heading on up to Caithness.

Those Phone Calls Are Hitting Caithness Again
Think about it.  If someone phones you up and promises thousands of pounds worth of FREE anything.  There has to be a catch.  If you are getting these calls why get involved.  Our motto is always say no to cold calling emails, phone calls and at the door.  If you wanted whatever they are offering you would probably have gone looking for it.  No matter how great it sounds there are few thinks in life completely free.  They want your money, our money anyone's money.  We can all help each other by saying NO to cold calling on the phone.  And make sure your elderly or disabled relatives are aware to say NO to that nice man or lady on the phone.  Even if you are tempted do some checking first.  Prices do vary and you are unlikely to get the best deal from the person who phones you up out of the blue.  We have been here before but we will keep posting warnings any time we hear that the sales teams are heading your way.  See The Cons, Scams and Unethical Sales Techniques FAQ and for more see our Telephone Links Always be suspicious of cold calling - don't agree to let them come round, don't sign anything without taking advice, always get other quotes for work or goods.  It's your money so hang on to it.  And have a word in passing with any vulnerable neighbours or relatives.  Perhaps some of you can add more advice on the Message Board to help us all.  Yet more - Your Rights - Doorstep Selling  If they start on the phone by asking "Are You The Home Owner?" return the question and say "Who Are You?.  Take a note in case you require it later.  Think about it why tell a complete stranger about your financial position which is what they want to know by asking the question.  If you are a home owner they may be able to make a loan or credit arrangement if they can sell you something.  No doubt we will return to this subject as it keeps coming round again and again.  Protecting yourself is easy  - "SAY NO"

Mother Goose Panto by Wick Players
13, 14, 15, 16 & 17 December 7.30 each night
Tickets all reserved £8 & £7
Tickets will be on sale at Moray Street Wick Players Club Rooms on Saturday 26 Nov 2.00pm - 3.30pm and from Monday 28th at Polteney News.

Pets Corner Latest Photos

More lottery money for land buy-out plan - Scotsman

Can't Cook Won't Cook Fundraiser At Canisbay
Lat night saw Willie Mackay and John Green take on the roles of chefs in a fund raiser for the Canisbay and Dunnet Day Care Centre.  A glass of wine and taste of the dishes was on offer to the audience at the Castle Arms Hotel in Mey
Report from the Canisbay Daycare committee "Another great night and we made just over £600 after expenses"


Nostalgic Christmas  - November 2005
Patsy Millar from Monifieth shared a Nostalgic Christmas with the Caithness Floral Art Club. An Advent ring followed by an Alternative Christmas tree preceded a visit to Canada, memories of Christmas with a favourite aunt with the Finale a candlelit arrangement. Staged with lovely fabrics and containers to a musical accompaniment Patsy certainly got us in the mood to start our own Christmas preparations.

Cadets At Remembrance Last Weekend

Norscot Joinery Applies For Planning Permission To Build 16 New Houses In Castletown

Children In Need Photos
First in to our Children In need gallery is Liam Sutherland who went to Wick High school today dressed up and raised £139 - Well done Liam.  If anyone else has any fund raising photos send them in to add to the page.



Murphy Missing From Staxigoe Now Found
Donna Sutherland says - "I'm very glad to say he was found in a new bungalow being built in Staxigoe safe and sound but a bit hungry. Please can you update the missing pets gallery. Could you please put on a big, big thank you to everyone who checked sheds/ outbuildings in the area. We're very glad to have him home.


South School Wick - November Newsletter

Can't Cook Won't Cook
Don't forget on Saturday night, 19th November at 7.00pm in the Castle Arms Hotel, Mey, for just £4 the Can't Cook, Won't Cook night. You get a glass of wine and a taste of the Pampered Chef's recipes plus the fun of watching Willie Mackay and John Green doing their reluctant chef bit. Also, the following Saturday at 7.00 p.m., at John O'Groats Knitwear, a super fashion show is taking place, again for £4 which includes tea, sandwiches and cakes - both events in aid of the Canisbay & Dunnet Day Care Centre.

Christmas Lights Fun Day At Wick - Saturday 26 November 2005
Stalls in Market Square from 2.00pm - Christmas Parade at 3.00pm

Parade from Wick Police Station with children in Christmas theme hats, Santa's Sleigh, wick Youth Club Entertainers.  The parade will end at Market Square with a few carols sung by the children round the Christmas Tree along with the Salvation Army Band prior to the switching on of the Christmas lights in Wick.  Prizes will be presented for the best decorated hat and best decorated shop window.

North Action Group Web Site Moves To Message Board
The North Action Group web site was based on the same script that our server had problems with.  We have had to switch it off but Niall has done a great job moving the whole web site into the message board.  The url will now automatically transfer people to the new home in the message board.  North Action Group continues with its campaign after two years (can you believe it) and are as determined as ever that northern mothers, babies, their families and gynae patients should not be disadvantaged due to the 100 miles from Raigmore that might be required by more people if the consultant led services are reduced or removed.  The campaign goes on.  Feel free to add your own thoughts on the issue now that the new section in the Message Board has been set up.  Earlier news can also be found HERE

Snow White  - This years Pantomime By Thurso Players - Tickets On Sale Soon
This year Thurso Players are performing the panto "Snow White" in Thurso High School from Wednesday 14 December to Saturday 17 December at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.00pm. Tickets are priced at £7 and £5 and go on sale from Tuesday 22 November from McBeaths Jewellers, Thurso.
Christmas 2005

Change of Venue for HYFC's Annual Seed & Root Show
Halkirk YFC's annual Seed & Root show has been changed to a different venue this year. Halkirk Youth Club will now host this years competition, which is to be held on Saturday 26th November 2005. As in previous years this is an Open Competition which includes baking, dairy produce and vegetables. All entries are sold by auction and this is a perfect opportunity to purchase the best in home baking and fresh vegetables. Baking items on sale include Tablet, Carrot Cake, Cheese Scones and Gingerbread Men. Or for the perfect bowl of broth, come along and choose from an extensive range of vegetables.  All items have to be entered by 6pm and auction will start at 8pm. Seed and Root Item lists can be obtained by contacting the club secretary, Ellen Falconer on 01847 890180.

Caithness Pets Today

Perry hints at three regional hubs - Scotsman
This item in the Scotsman follows the visit of the Enterprise and Culture committee visit to Thurso (Photo below) commencing with Jack Perry the chief executive of Scottish enterprise hitting back at critics.  Hints of "sweeping changes" to the LEC's that have been around for some time were broadly looked at.  Highlands and Islands Enterprise pay back for every £1 invested is ahead of the national average.  The question for the north is "Will a centralisation of the LEC's help or hinder Caithness?"

Fresh delay to Eden Court expansion plans - Scotsman

Rainbow County - A Poem by Lynne Lewis-Saunders

BT Global At Thurso To Help "Children In Need" - Businesses Can Sponsor an Arrow
The staff of BT Global Services in Thurso are planning to hold a "Jail Break" to raise money for Children In Need. The idea is to have 2 people as "Robbers" and 2 people as "Police". The Robbers will leave Thurso and make their way to Glasgow with their SWAG,(a Presentation Cheque for Children In Need), with the Police following after them half hour to an hour, to try and catch them before they get to Glasgow.

Members of the Enterprise and Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament today visited Dounreay as part of their inquiry into business growth in Scotland. Their fact-finding visit was hosted by Simon Middlemas, deputy director of Dounreay, who was joined by representatives of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, North Highland College UHI and Caithness Contractors Consortium. The MSPs discussed the site clean-up programme and its economic implications, met trade union representatives and saw how the site is being decommissioned.

Todays Pets Going In

North Coast Jazz Band Back At The Redwood - Thurso
Starting from Saturday 26th November 2.00pm - 5.00pm.  Get along and hear them play.  It's FREE.  If you play go along and join in a few numbers.



John Thurso MP Asks About Wet Renewables Possibilities For Remoter Areas
John Thurso in a debate on Electricity asked the Secretary of State Alistair Darling if he was ware of the considerable socio-economic development potential afforded by wet renewables, especially in remoter parts of Scotland?

Are There Ongoing Problems with Disappearing Telephone Boxes
Film Makers Want Your Help To Make Short Documentary about Disappearing Telephone Boxes
Anna Jones and colleagues from the National Film and TV School are making a short documentary about disappearing telephone boxes.  They would be interested to hear from any local communities in Caithness where there are seen to be problems regarding the removal of a particular kiosk.  They intend to visit the area to shoot some film of phone boxes and would like to interview local people who have had problems or will have after removal.  If you would like to help contact Anna Jones email 



Well Known Caithness Band "Crimson Tide" To Release First Album On 10 December
Caithness band Crimson Tide will release their first album on the 10th December. The CD will feature 5 original tracks, produced by Isaac Sutherland, QPQ Productions. The band aim to hold a launch party around this date in Thurso, so keep a look out! The tracks range from modern rock arrangements to melodic sequences with vocal harmonies. The new Crimson Tide album will be available in Thurso & Wick Music shops. Further information will be available at the new CT website very soon.  Crimson Tide had changed their name to Curium but after some legal problems have returned to their former name.  What's on a name as long as the music is good.  Good Luck with the new album.

Bosses Risk Being Left In The Lurch By Job-hopping Employees
Scottish Businesses Struggling to Hold on to Staff
More than three-quarters of the Scottish workforce (78%) know or suspect that colleagues are on the lookout for a new job, according to new research. The statistics have prompted a warning to bosses to take steps now to improve employee motivation and safeguard productivity.

Training For Potential Local Food Producers
The Highlands and Islands Local Food Network (HILFN) is on the look-out for trainee food producers to help expand the availability of locally grown fruit and vegetables. HILFN is planning to run a one-year programme to provide in-depth training to help small agricultural producers in the Highlands and Islands establish successful new businesses based on the supply of fresh horticultural produce to local customers.

INVERNET – the answer to beating the Kessock queues
The Friends of the Far North Line (FoFNL) are delighted to welcome the introduction on 12 December of the Invernet series of extra train services between Easter Ross and Inverness. There will be five extra trains each way and the morning commuter train will now start from Lairg. FoFNL are also pushing to have one of the extra trains extended to Wick and for the new Free pensioner travel by bus to be made available for rail journeys.

Missing Cat From Staxigoe
Two year old male tabby cat has been missing from Elzy road, Staxigoe since Saturday 12th Nov '05. Any information would be gratefully received. - Donna Sutherland


Pets Down On The Caithness Farm - New Section In Pets Corner
Send your Caithness Pets photos for inclusion in the Pets Corner galleries to



"Cases only tip of Highlands and Islands heating problem iceberg" Says  MSP Jamie McGrigor
An MSP has been inundated with pleas for help from people in the Highlands and Islands waiting to get work done as part of a national heating scheme. Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor is now dealing with over 80 cases where work on heating systems under the Scottish Executive's Warm Deal and Central Heating programmes has not been carried out.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has hailed the announcement by Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald of a new centre for Telehealth and a Virtual School of Rural Healthcare for the Highlands. Both the new services were recommended by the Kerr Report into NHS provision.

Right To Buy Council Houses Suspended In Pressure Areas
Caithness and Sutherland Not Affected By This Decision

The right to buy a council or housing association rented house is being suspended in many Highland communities for five years to safeguard the bank of affordable housing in these "pressured" areas. Pressured area designation means that tenants who took up a tenancy with the Council, or with an affected housing association, on or after 30 September 2002 in these designated areas have, from today, their Right to Buy (RTB) suspended for five years, i.e. until November 2010, whilst the designation is in place.
We are victims of a plague on our vital rural houses - The Herald
Right to buy frozen to stem Highlands' housing drain - Times Online

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

More Mackay Family History From Helen Widener
I ran across The Caithness County Website and thought you might like another Mackay letter to add to your files. There is a considerable amount of genealogy in the letter written about 1821/22.  I also have a website for James Mackay at  The website contains the birth records of all his brothers and sisters born at Arichliney, Kildonan, Sutherland County, Scotland as well as the birth records for the children of James Mackay and Elizabeth Long. I would like to hear from anyone that might be a member of this family. The parents of James MacKay born May 1, 1761 were George MacKay and Elizabeth MacDonald of Clyth.

Hillhead School, Wick Gets Excellent Report In Health Promoting Schools Inspection

Hillhead School, Wick - November Newsletter
More news and updates including details of the headmasters trip to a school inTianjin, China


Fang In Pets Corner
If ever a dog looked likely to make himself comfortable it surely must be Fang.



Caithness Model Club - Exhibition Held In Wick


Many more cattle breeders in Caithness will benefit from the improved returns currently being enjoyed by cattle finishers north of Inverness who currently enter their stock into the Mey Selections branding scheme. In a move to increase the quantity of cattle available for supply to the growing list of outlets signing up to market the brand the project management team have established new finishing criteria in order to open up supply from across the region.

New Recycling Centre Opens in Dingwall
Scotland's Environment watchdog, SEPA, today welcomed the opening of another new Recycling Centre by Highland Council in Dingwall. The centre, set to open on Tuesday 15th November, brings the number of Recycling Centres in Highland to 21, with four new centres having been opened in 2005.

Second Hand Book Sale To Aid Church Repairs In Wick
This Saturday (19th November 2005) sees another sale of second-hand, good condition books, in St. John's church hall, Moray Street, Pulteneytown , Wick, from 10 am till 3 pm.

Wick Scouts Needs New Leaders
Without additional help, the 1st Caithness, 1st Wick Scout troop will not continue as they do at the moment. We may end up with a fortnightly meeting which may discourage the Scouts and eventually Scouts may stop altogether! This will be a great shame and a great loss to Wick and those Cubs and Beavers currently progressing through Scouting. It is with these thoughts that I ask if someone knows of anyone who may be interested in becoming a Scout Leader, Assistant Scout Leader, or Parent Helper or just simply lend a hand now and then.

Remembrance Day
Wick                         Corsback, Dunnet        Lybster

Staxigoe Hall Raise funds for children In Need
Staxigoe Hall held a whist drive tonight Saturday 12th November 2005 with all proceeds going to BBC Children in Need, we raised £64.65.

Misty In Pets Corner

Wendy Burns From Brora Has Made This Request
Can you help identify people in the photo

Another Great Surfing Competition At Thurso Last Weekend
Another successful surfing competition was held last weekend at Thurso.  Many photos of the competition are on display at the Tempest Surf shop at Thurso Harbour.  While there stop and have a sandwich or a coffee as the shop has cafe.  nice soup to go with a salad or a sandwich.  Next door in the surf shop you can buy gear or some cool clothes.

Towards a Transport Strategy for Scotland Consultation on Rail Priorities
The Scottish Executive have a consultation out on Railways in Scotland.  anyone can put in a response on any aspect of the railways and you will find the links here to make add your voice by post or email.  now is the time to put any views in on timetables, journey times to Wick, state of stations, lack of facilities or any other aspect of railways in the far north or other part of Scotland

McGrigor Calls For More Information On Undersea Power Lines Option
Jamie McGrigor has again hit out at the threat of giant pylons being sited in the Highlands.  The Conservative MSP has called for more information on whether the cables could be run subsea. Mr McGrigor also backed a call by his party's Deputy Leader Murdo Fraser for a public inquiry into the planning application for the 400kV Beauly to Denny power line.


Highland Hospice Shop Thurso - Window Display For Remembrance

Saturday's Pets

Pamela Campbell From Thurso Wins Nurses Award At  2005 Scottish Health Awards
Pamela Campbell, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Diabetes Centre, has won the 2005 Nurses Award in the Scottish Health Awards after being short listed a couple of weeks ago.  Well done Pamela and words spreads fast these days as we have already received congratulations from your friends down under - Alan, Jan and Matthew Pinkerton send there congratulations also.

Beautiful ginger and white cat found near Wick - Is It yours?

Portraits For Christmas By Caithness Photographic
Local award winning photographer John Baikie of Caithness Photographic is running a competition in conjunction with his Portrait days on 11,12,17,18 and 20th of November 2005.  If you want special family photo for Christmas contact him early to make an appointment at Castletown.  He was very busy last year so don't leave it too late to book.  Your portraits will be entered in his competition for the best photos with up to £400 of prizes.   Get your Christmas Events listed on the Christmas pages by sending details to or enter it in the Whats On.  Both are FREE.

In Case Anyone Has Not Heard - Last Day To Book A FREE Flights With Ryanair
Worth checking in case there are any FREE flights left and you are looking for wee break in the off season.  You still pay airport charges and taxes but that is just about £15.

UK Information - Handy Link In Left Column
This page in our links section takes you to all sorts of useful web sites to look up telephone numbers online, Postcodes, buses, ferries , trains and travel information and much more.  So if you need to look up a phone number and cannot remember the link just click on to our front page to find the links under UK Information.

A New Local Plan For Sutherland
This week sees the official start of work by Highland Council planners on a new Sutherland wide local plan. The Council is to leaflet every household and business address in the county to invite individual residents, community groups, local organisations, land owners and national agencies to make contributions to the preparation of the new plan.  The new Sutherland Local Plan will become a key part of the Council's corporate strategy for the county and will be the first single development plan for the whole of Sutherland in more than 30 years. It will provide a blueprint for future action and a statutory basis for important land use changes within the area over the next 5 to 10 years.
Note -  The Caithness Area Plan is likely to be reviewed commencing in 2008.  The whole process may taker up to three years.  changes in the new planning legislation currently going through the Scottish Executive will make it mandatory to review local area plans every five years. - Modernising The Planning System    The Planning System

Mount Pleasant School, Thurso - Latest Newsletter

Dopureay Alarm On Friday 11November Will Signal 2 Minutes Silence
The Dounreay Site Alert will be sounded at 1100 hours and again at 1102 hours to denote the beginning and end of the 2 minutes silence on Friday 11th of November 2005.

Caithness Rail Petition Backed by MSP Rob Gibson
At the Scottish Parliament petitions committee on Thursday 9 November 2005 Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson spoke on behalf of Caithness Community Council Associations petition for a better rail line in the far North. Mr Gibson who has been a strong proponent of a shorter rail journey from the North welcomed the opportunity to put the case for improvements in the Far North...

Ditch the dodgy nukes! - Greenpeace

A report to be considered by The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee on Wednesday 9 November recommends the closure of the Corsee Home in Nairn due to the high cost of service provision as the demand for places diminishes in the town and the availability locally of high quality care. At the same time, the Committee is asked to approve a timescale for seeking bids from the independent sector to run seven Council owned residential homes. Interested parties will be invited to bid to run all the homes or one of the four area "lots".

Making It Work Conference On Health In Rural Areas - September 2005 Norway
the conference held in Norway was attended by people from Scotland as well as many other countries.  Representatives from NHS Highland and two from the North Action Group attended as maternity was one of the topics.  For those of you interested in seeing the presentations they can be found n the conference web site as Pdf files.  The presentation slides give some facts and information used in the presentations for Scotland, New Zealand and Norway on the maternity issue and what is happening in each country.  Scottish delegates including the two from North Action Group George Bruce and Kerry Mackenzie can be seen HEREInteresting as the conference deliberations are no final decision has yet been reached on the maternity service in Caithness and North Action Group's campaign on maternity services continues.

Invernet Extension To Lairg Welcomed But MSP Asks About Further North
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed the announcement from First Scotrail that Stations as far as Lairg will be part of the new Invernet Service (the commuter service to Inverness) but has asked what is being done to improve the Far North Line in North Sutherland and Caithness. "This is undoubtedly great news for those stations between Lairg and Inverness. It is good to see that the Scotrail have extended the area of the Invernet service and hopefully it will encourage greater use of the Train in Central Sutherland." However he sounded a note of caution. "The track beyond Lairg remains a concern and there is at the moment little prospect of that journey time being slashed. It still takes over 4 hours from to get from Inverness to Wick, which is a disgrace and will not encourage rail use in the far North."

Eight pupils at Wick High School have received certificates from Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service that will count towards attaining their Service Section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.  At a presentation ceremony held on 7th November, 2005 in Wick Fire Station the S3-pupils' three months of activities and learning were acknowledged by Wick Station Officer, Gordon Cook, together with Sub Officer Kenny Swan, Leading Fire-fighter Richard Mackay, Fire-fighter Graham Doull, representatives of the Highlands & Islands Airport Ltd., Station Officer W Sutherland and Sub Officer D Cook.  Pupils, Christopher Ewing, Luke Graham, Andy Robertson, Kyle Mackay, Ryan Malcolm, Brian Munro, Nathan Lightley and Ross Stewart received their Fire Certificates and were commended on completing their sessions at Wick Fire Station and at Wick Airport.

NHS Argyle and Clyde Dissolution  - Deadline For Comments 11 November
What has this to do with Highland?  Well the Argyle and Clyde NHS is to be split between Glasgow and Highland following financial problems with that board.  Public meetings have been held in Argyle and Clyde and the deadline has been extended from 4 November to 11 November for comments.  MP3 files for the public meetings are online and yea can listen to what happened in each area.  Penny Taylor the journalist who led the maternity meetings in Caithness is also leading the public meetings in Argyle and Clyde. In a few weeks we will here from the Scottish Executive exactly what NHS highland will be taking over.  The MP3 files are large and may take minute or so to load even on broadband.

Businesses and organisations called to clear the air for a healthier Scotland
Detailed guidance, developed in consultation with the business community, is being sent out to businesses and organisations by the Scottish Executive, providing information on how they should prepare for the smoking ban.  On 26th March 2006 the law on smoking in Scotland will change, with smoking no longer allowed in the majority of enclosed public places, including workplaces. The law has been introduced to protect people from the harmful effects of passive smoking and has implications for employers and employees in workplaces, clubs, pubs, restaurants, hospitals and schools across Scotland, including vehicles. Passive smoking currently claims the lives of up to 1,000 lifelong non-smokers in Scotland every year and is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory conditions and strokes.  The aim of the guidance is to make sure that every business and other public place, classed as 'No Smoking' under the new law, is ready when the ban on smoking takes effect at 6am on Sunday 26th March 2006.

Learn To Canoe
Pentland Canoe Club are about to run classes in Thurso Swimming Pool teaching the techniques of canoeing.  Here is chance to learn the techniques over the next few weeks in the comfort of a warm swimming pool.  Classes start on 10 November and run 6.30pm - 8.00pm.  Check the Whats On for more details. 

Thurso Recycling Centre NOW OPEN At Janetstown
The new Recycling Centre at Janetstown near Thurso was officially opened today (Monday 7 November) by Area Chairman of TEC Services, Councillor John Green and Councillor Bill Fulton, The Highland Council's Depute Chairman of TEC Services with responsibility for waste management. Householders will now be able to take their cans, car batteries, cardboard, electrical appliances, engine oil, garden waste, glass bottles & jars, paper, rubble and soil, scrap metal, textiles, tyres, white goods and wood to the Recycling Centre. A special container will also be available for people to donate unwanted furniture and household goods to Homeaid Caithness for reuse.

Todays Latest Pets

More Moggies and Doggies and a Bunny

Oil Related Photos From Caithness Oil Folk
Colin Campbell is project engineer with Rotech Subsea Aberdeen and is currently in the USA.  He has sent us photos of from Norway and Mexico where he was working previously.  If you are from Caithness and work in the oil or related industries send us photos for the oil galleries to   Caithness folk certainly get around.

Two More Pets  - Tina and Tuuppence
Dogs and Cats as you might expect are the pets the predominate on the section.  the latest addition are Tina - A German Shepherd seen here at Scrabster beach and Tuppence a black cat.  If you would like to add you Caithness pet to the galleries send the photo by email to


Fireworks In Thurso On Saturday Night
Stuart Rollinson of Northern Imaging has put up photos of the fireworks in Thurso last night for all to see



The parable of the last sheep by Lesley Riddoch - Sunday Herald
The Cheviot was once the symbol of greedy landlords and the Highland clearances. Now the sheep that defined a way of life for rural communities face their own demise as hill farmers find the struggle to make ends meet too much and abandon their heritage.............. 
Islands aim to create new crofts as lust for good life keeps growing - Scotsman
A future for farming and crofting April 2004
Crofters Commission

CASPER After School Club
If you are in the Castletown area and are looking for After School Care for your children check out CASPER.
Did you know you might qualify for financial assistance with child care? Ask the club for details.

The Dounreay Visitor Centre, rated as a four-star attraction, has closed its doors for the 2005 season after enjoying yet another successful season with almost 9,000 people through its doors. The Visitor Centre opened in March this year to encompass the early Easter break and has received a steady flow of tourists from all over the world, as well as members of the local community throughout the season.

Halloween Party For  Boys Brigade Wick

Wick Traditional Music Workshop Concert
On Saturday Night this week there will be concert in Mackays Hotel at 8.00pm.  This follows the workshop being held during the day in Wick.  the concert brings together the students with their tutors all of whom have track record of their own in Scottish music.  Last years concert was well received and its another chance to hear all of these musicians at one time.

Emptyhouse Launched Not Just More Music In Caithness But Also A New Record Label Web Site
Now they are launching the web sites two at a time in Caithness and the launch In the Weigh Inn got things off to a flying start.  The Emptyhouse web site promoting the new CD shows a familiar aspect of the older croft buildings in the county somewhat like the one we featured below at Cruives but scattered all over the north.  Seumas B web site already has a small range of new CD's and will be adding steadily to the catalogue in coming years.  The Seumas B web site can be found linked in the Music shop business page if you are looking for it in the future.

Appeal for Government To Get Rail Freight Sorted Out
Sir - The growing number of cars on the road, and the Government's failure to provide road space to meet their needs, has led to regular criticism of the road transport industry and lorry operations with the call of, 'Why can't it all go by rail freight?' Certainly those responsible for the movement of goods are happy to use rail so long as it is economic and efficient, meets the need and arrives on time. And of course rail freight has the massive bonus of bypassing roads congestion.....

Caithness Guitarist Mike Mackenzie Now Plays with the "Iodines" -
Listen Here To How They Play

If you happen to be in Manchester on 11 November you can hear them live at the Dry Bar.

Scotland 'to lead the way in attracting wilderness tourists' - Scotsman
Caithness cited as an example for wilderness tourism.  Hands up anyone who thinks we live in the wilderness.  Comments to the Message Board

Council tax set to jump as efficiency drive stalls - The Herald

Plan to sell nuclear clean-up group hits opposition - Times Online
THE Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is thought to be trying to block the proposed £500million sale of British Nuclear Group, the company that was established to clean up Britain’s most toxic nuclear sites.

Cruives Croft Area

Cruives Croft is rarely visited these days despite the fact it lies close to Wick.  Situated between the railway and the Wick river it lies in a beautiful spot with views to the river, Wick and the surrounding countryside.  Surprisingly we managed to speak to a local man who remembered the husband and wife setting off to the shops in Wick about 70 years ago (He is 84 and still lives in the house he was born in) with a pony and trap down the little track that runs from the croft and over the narrow stone bridge.  The little croft house has excellent views from the windows and the garden is still lined by a fallen drystane wall.  We would be happy to add any information about the croft or its former inhabitants if anyone knows the details.

Scotland's Foremost Folk Band - Recently Been On TV and Gaining A Huge Reputation
The Unusual Suspects - At Wick Assembly Rooms  Friday 4 November 8.00pm

Eden Court is delighted to bring one of Scotland’s most incredible live acts, The Unusual Suspects, to Wick for a concert at the Assembly Rooms. The Unusual Suspects are a 22 piece “Folk Big Band” famed for their exciting performances: It's big, bold, brassy, and adventurous... Is this the best live folk orchestra Scotland ever saw? For further information on The Unusual Suspects please contact Eden Court Box Office on 01463 234234 or visit the websites  and
 Scotsman On Unusual Suspects "If you witnessed this extraordinary performance, you can look back years from now and say: "I was there." Unforgettable."

Latest Funding News
More news on possible funding sources for voluntary groups.  As ever deadlines are approaching. A link to the NCVO web site has much more useful information and tips on fund raising places and how to to about it.

A Look At Muir Of Ord - Ross-shire

Winston The Westie In Pets Corner
Another wee westie for pets corner.  If you would like your Caithness Pet in the gallery send a photo to



A Further Clydesdale Bank To Close 32 Branches
Closure announcements for individual branches will be made 12 weeks before each branch closure is announced.  Dornoch is one of the casualties.  This takes the total closure list to 64 for Clydesdale Bank branches. See this story also at This is Money

'Greenock incident shows dangers of downgrading' GIBSON
Highlands and islands SNP MSP has pointed to a tragic at incident at Inverclyde midwife led maternity unit as a reason why Caithness maternity services should be maintained with consultant back up.

North Action Group Says "We Do Not Want A Greenock Situation In Caithness Maternity Cases"
Mothers get 'second-class' service from maternity unit says sheriff - Scotsman
Maternity CutBacks Attacked - Daily Record
Sheriff attacks ‘second class maternity service’ - The Herald
Midwife units 'not second class'  - BBC  Nag's Lynne Duncan is quoted in this article "The midwives are fantastic, however, their licence only allows them to perform up to a certain level and anything after that requires consultant intervention and where we are that's two hours away."
Sheriff's worry after baby death
Proposed Cuts In Cambrian Maternity Services Echo Caithness Arguments
Hospital Maternity Unit Beds Facing A Cut -
News & Star
Other Attacks On Maternity Services
Aboyne Maternity Unit - Grampian
Communities protest at proposed maternity changes  Grampian TV
Maternity Situation Gets Crazier In Scotland
NHS may fly mothers-to-be to Belfast

Listen To  BBC "Good Morning Scotland" On the Maternity Issue.
Go to the Listen Again section of BBC Radio Scotland and then move forward to 2hrs and 10 minutes into the programme to hear this mornings interviews from Lynn Duncan and the Royal college of Midwives representative.  You can move forward in the programme in 5 or 15 minute jumps to get near to the item.  A wee bit complicated but the quickest way is to make 8 15 minute jumps andf then two five minute jumps.  At least you can now get to many BBC Radio programmes broadcast earlier in the day - a great service

McGrigor: "Don't ignore irresponsible fireworks use"
MSP Jamie McGrigor has called for the strict enforcement of rules regarding the sale and use of fireworks.  Around 1,000 people are hospitalised every year in Scotland, with 5% of cases leading to hospital stays of a night or more. The Conservative MSP urged the public to contact the police when fireworks were being used dangerously in their area.  Jamie McGrigor said "Fireworks can provide fantastic entertainment for families and children, providing exciting, and if properly organised, safe fun for all.
In Wick the PPP are organising a bonfire etc.  In Thurso Rotary have a display and if you happen to be in Inverness head for Bught Park at 6.30pm where pipe band and other entertainment will get things going.  The council has asked that sparklers are not taken to the event in Inverness.

Mary Scanlon Selected As Tory Candidate For 2007 Election
At a packed meeting on Friday 28 October Moray Conservatives selected Mary Scanlon MSP as their candidate for the next Scottish Parliamentary Election. Speaking after her selection Mary said, "The Moray seat is the first to be selected in the Highlands & Islands and I am honoured and delighted to be the candidate. I look forward to continuing to work with the people of Moray and to winning back this important seat for the Scottish Conservatives".

Highland agencies have reaffirmed their commitment to staging a major housing fair to showcase house building design and technology in the area. It had been considered that a Housing Fair might be held in 2007 to coincide with Highland 2007 - the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture - as a main feature of the Six Cities Festival of Creative Design. However, it has been agreed that more time is needed to do full justice to the event and that 2009, when the second Six Cities Festival is proposed, is a more realistic target date.

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP has backed striking farmers at the begging of their 3 day protest against the low prices paid to them by Supermarkets.  Mr Gibson also went onto say that the Government had a duty intervene to make sure that Scottish farmers and crofters are subject to fair trade.  "The farmers' action should be supported to expose a scandal of Government non-intervention."

Crofting minister raises more questions than answers
'More questions raised than resolved' was how Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson summed up this morning's meeting of the Environment and Rural Development Committee which cross-questioned Crofting Minister Rhona Brankin.

HIAL Sets Out Airport Land Development Agenda
Land at airports across the Highlands and Islands is to be made available for commercial and social uses as part of Highlands and Islands Airports' development strategy , it was revealed today.  HIAL, which operates 10 airports in the region, intends to free up non-operational land at its facilities for business and housing
development. The initiative forms part of the company's commitment to supporting economic development and sustainable communities.  Elements of the plan already underway include commercial uses for land at Wick, housing and business development at Stornoway, housing and tourism development at Tiree and the major Inverness Airport Business Park joint venture at the region's largest airport. Discussions with Orkney Islands Council and Orkney Enterprise are also underway regarding land at Kirkwall Airport.

Latest Newsletter From Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick 

People using fireworks are reminded not to fall foul of tough laws governing their use in the run-up to this year's bonfire night.
It is now an offence to: possess adult fireworks in a public place if under the age of 18; - sell fireworks to under 18s; - set fireworks off after 11 o'clock at night (except on certain dates); supply unsafe fireworks that do not comply with the British Standard BS7114; and - possess a category four firework if you are not a fireworks professional. Under the Explosives Act 1875, it is also an offence to let off fireworks in a public place. The new laws were introduced in time for last year's bonfire night to tackle the anti-social use of fireworks. Supplying unsafe fireworks and fireworks to under 18s carries a maximum penalty of £5000 and/or six months in prison. The other laws are subject to a Penalty Notice for Disorder of £80. The police also now have powers to stop and search young people suspected of carrying fireworks.
Firework Code
At family back-garden displays, sparklers cause more injuries than air-bombs, bangers, rockets and Roman candles combined. Half of all firework accidents happen to children under the age of 16 and more than 60 under-fives went to hospital in 1997 following firework accidents. Most firework accidents are caused at family back-garden displays closely followed by incidents in the street.  Why not attend a public firework display like the one in Thurso on Saturday 5th and keep your children safe.  Thurso Rotary uses the money collected this year to pay for next years display.  Get more for your money and attend a public display rather than endanger lives.

New Homes At Harrowhill Wick Going Up Fast Now
The first of the new houses for Pentland Housing At Harrowhill are going up fast.  There will be 28 houses in this new complex where the original Caithness Glass factory once stood.  the houses are being built for Pentland Housing by M M Miller who are also currently preparing a site just a bit further up the road at Old Wick for over 70 homes.  If you want to keep up with what is being planned n Caithness many projects appear in the weekly planning applications listing published At Highland Council

Homebase Shopping Complex At Wick - Progress
The new shopping complex on the outskirts of Wick goes on apace with an endless stream of items now arriving on site and roof and walls going up.


The Neil M Gunn Centenary Lecture by Joy Hendry
Joy Hendry gave us permission to publish her essay upon which her centenary lecture was based about two years ago but we never seem to have found time to get it on the web site.  With another weekend of Neil Gunn being celebrated at Dunbeath this weekend we thought it was about time to get this item on the site. Joy Hendry delivered her lecture over 20 years ago for the centenary of Neil Gunn's birth in 1891. Joy Hendry is a writer and edits the well known Scottish literary magazine "Chapman"  Chapman publishes small runs of Scottish writers and includes drama and poetry and is often outspoken.  A quarterly magazine with an annual subscription will bring you a few surprises every three months.

Mount Pleasant School, Thurso - Latest Newsletter

SCOTLAND UNITED - Tourism Conference
Scotland United will see hundreds of tourism businesses gather later this month (Monday 21st November 2005) for a lively debate on the vision for tourism. St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa will host the fifth annual industry conference, where Patricia Ferguson MSP will unveil the new draft strategy for tourism. The conference will be chaired by Gavin Ellis, owner of Knockomie Hotel in Forres. Mr Ellis has owned Knockomie since 1987 and is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the industry. He sees attendance at the conference as a must for anyone with an involvement in tourism.

A Light In The North - A Neil Gunn Celebration
In Dunbeath Heritage Centre Friday Evening 4th November -  all day Saturday 5th November
Join in all or part of this event.  Friday 4 November 2005 7.00pm Wine Reception 7.45pm George Gunn with Dunbeath and Lybster Primary Schools Performance 8.45pm Ian Stephen - Story Teller
Saturday 5 November 2005 10.00am an all day event but you can join in at any time - lunch and a ceilidh are all part of an interesting day.

SNH Announces New Approach To Grants
A new approach for protecting and raising awareness of the environment has been unveiled by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). In the future all grants will be awarded to projects on the basis of eight grant schemes to benefit the environment and its enjoyment throughout Scotland. SNH has written to community groups, voluntary organisations, local authorities and businesses throughout Caithness and Sutherland, as well as other parts of Scotland, to inform them of the changes to funding. The organisation is appealing for any future applications to be based on the new grant schemes. Around £15 million is awarded by SNH per year throughout Scotland for a variety of projects aimed at protecting the country's wildlife and landscapes and raising awareness and enjoyment of the outdoors.

Airport Rail Development Would Benefit Inner Moray Firth Economy
The development of new rail infrastructure between Inverness and Nairn will be crucial to delivering sustainable transport solutions and supporting economic development in the Inner Moray Firth area, according to Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. With significant growth planned for Inverness Airport, Inverness Airport Business Park and proposals for a new community to be developed near Croy, the airport operator believes detailed exploration of the feasibility of creating rail passenger and freight facilities should be explored as part of Scotland's strategic rail priorities. HIAL has raised the issue in its response to the Scottish Executive's current consultation on national rail priorities.

More Pets Coming In Today
Starting today's photos in the Pets Corner are Major and Tai - a St Bernard and a Springer Spaniel.  If you want a pet photo added to the growing galleries or have a missing pet you want to try to find send photos to   We are keeping it to Caithness pets for the moment otherwise we may not be able to keep up.  Categories at the moment are Pets, Missing Pets, Unusual Pets.


October 2005 Stats - Highest Yet Visitor Numbers
2005 Breaks 3 Million Visitors Barrier
October Hits 11,517,583  Visitors 447,692  Pages 5,212,800
Daily Average  Hits 371,533  Visitors 14,412  Pages 168,153
2005 January - October Hits 114,670,202  Visitors 3,111,930
2005 has seen visitor numbers rise dramatically.  The 2004 visitor total was 1,345,310.  It remains to be seen whether the 4 million barrier will be reached in 2005.  As ever thanks to you all for looking in.

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