De Ja Vu Playing At Blackstairs On Saturday Night
Always worth listening to as these guys can really play a huge range of material and on Saturday night were on as good form as ever.


Free Stuff Booming On the Message Board
Freecycling is a boom that is spreading all over the web.  As folk now have way of getting rid of items they no longer want and do not wish to sell or they consider it would be too difficult to find a customer more and more folk are offering the items online.  All sorts of things have been given away for FREE since we set up our own version Free StuffFor those who do want to sell and item the FREE Classified Ads section gets bigger every week.  Local garages have joined in by paying for sections on the Message Board to let folk know about what used cars they have in stock.  Richards Garage and Dunnets now update their own listings of vehicles they have on offer.  The bargains are arriving daily and for non commercial advertisers its FREE and easy to use and once the item is gone all you need to do is update your entry and we will remove it.  So get your unwanted items out of the garage or attic and get some cash or get some space by giving things away in Free Stuff.

New Look  - The Latest New Shop To Open At Wick Retail Park
New Look opened its doors at Wick Retail Park following Homebase and Superdrug.  Argos opens on 4th May.  The crowds have been flocking to Wick to see the new shops and not just from Caithness.  People from Sutherland and even a trickle of folk from Orkney have begun to take the ferry over for a look at the new  shops in Wick. Some people have not been to Wick for several years have now made the trip and are surprised at all the activity suddenly going on in the old town.  And the snowball affect is likely to continue for a considerable time yet several other developments are underway or will start over the next two or three years.  Take a look at the growing list as at December 2005.  Tesco got the green light at a planning meeting last Monday and hope to open the new shop on the other side of Wick by Christmas. The new Tesco will be similar in size to the one in Dingwall with over 500 car park spaces.  Pentland Housing will redevelop the Robertson's of Tain building in Williamson Street creating more houses for renting.

Places In Between The A - Z Of Caithness
We have a fairly reasonable listing of Caithness places in the A - Z but what about all the rest we thought.  So here we go with anew section to fill in the the places in between the places in the A - Z.  In no particular order and whenever we get the chance photos along the roads of Caithness with the odd backward glance and to the side.  We start off with photos taken between Dunbeath and Latheron

The Sunday Papers
The Hawaii of the Highlands -
Sunday Times
The quiet town of Kirriemuir is finally celebrating the dirty deeds of its legendary rock son, AC/DC’s Bon Scott - Sunday Herald

Boss Hogg CD Launched In Thurso With Other Bands Out To Support
Boss Hogg launched their new CD on Friday night at the Weigh Inn, Thurso with support from other local bands.
Boss Hogg Photos
Crimson Tide Photos
Steve Taylor Band Photos

Nuclear energy still not safe - The Daily Star, Bangladesh
Better to be thrifty with our gas" and sets out the problems of the growth in energy us for Bangldesh and the growth in nuclear power plants around the world and evolving attitudes to building new facilities including the perennial question of what to do with the radio-active waste material.  An interesting article to think about with all of the recent and continuing speculation that Dounreay might be a possible site for a new nuclear power plant. Amongst other countries the UK is mentioned several times in relation to its energy use and spiralling prices.

"New Look" Offers More Choice In Clothing For The North Of Scotland
On Thursday 27th April 2006 "New Look" opened its doors at the new retail park at Wick. New Look believes that everyone can enjoy fashion, no matter what your age, shape or size and are committed to making you look cool, funky and trendy all at the same time. The 5,550 sq ft store in Wick will be showcasing the latest women's fashions, Inspire collection (size 16-24) giving customers who require larger sizes the option to dress exactly how they want to and the 915 Teenwear range, designed to give young teens the coolest looks.

Health plan puts 'lives at risk' - BBC
Maternity units all over the country are still under attack from local health boards.  This story by the BBC highlights Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital in Wales.  Everyone familiar with the Caithness maternity two year saga will see the same official reasoning being pushed against the wishes of local people and like the people of Caithness they have formed a local action group to fight the down grading.  A retired paediatrician has said lives could be lost if the changes are brought in.  In Caithness the North Action Group is still awaiting the appointment of consultants at Caithness General.

Race For Life Ladies Break £6000 Barrier
The Ladies team from Caithness General Hospital in the Race For Life Cancer fund raising effort have now passed £6000 to take them into second place in the league table on the Race for Life web site.  It looks as if Caithness is really piling in behind the team in their fund raising.  There is still plenty of time to support their efforts and you can donate online.
See the web site front page under Sheena Macleod for top fund raisers


Bill Fernie To Make Brief Appearance In Telephone Box Short Film
Following a contact regarding the removal of phone boxes Bill Fernie was asked to assist in finding a remote location to film a phone box and makes brief appearance in the final film in the series on Channel 4 being screened between 2 - 4 May 2006 at 7.50 pm.  On the 70th anniversary of the “Jubilee Kiosk”, the famous red phone-box, we bid farewell to the public telephone. A series of films about their decline in a mobile age and the changing ways Britain communicates.  Bill took Film directors Joanna Wright and Anna Jones to Braemore on a cold and sleaty day to do some filming in a remote location for the last in the series of four short films. 
Braemore Filming  Telephones Index

Topsy Missing From Main Street, Castletown
Topsy is a small, neutered, four-year-old cat who has been missing from his home in Main Street, Castletown, for the past few weeks. He is extremely friendly, and very fond of people, so is liable to make himself very much at home with anyone who might invite him in. On the other hand, he may have strayed too far from home, or be locked in a shed or outbuilding. He has a torn left ear as, being a bit of a wimp, he usually comes off worst in any feline fights. If you think you have seen him, please call 01847) 821608
Pets Corner

Do You Fancy A Coach Trip To Ayr?
Wick and District Gardening Club are hiring a coach to go to the Ayr Flower show leaving Wick on 4th August - flower show on 5th August and returning 6the August.  You do not need to attend the Flower show but may want o take the trip to see Ayr or just travel to see the countryside along the way. Get in touch with Mrs Marney Brims chair of the club on 01955 603054 for more information.

Young Female Cat Abandoned
A young female who is very friendly but timid was abandoned and is is a real mystery as she was in a brand new cat carrier and lying on a new blanket?
Does anyone recognised the cat?  If so contact Caithness Cats Protection

Pets Corner


CorWM Reaches Conclusions On Radioactive Waste After Three Years
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), which was commissioned three years ago to find a long-term disposal strategy, has concluded that the safest option is to store it in a concrete bunker at least 300m (985ft) underground in stable, solid rock.
Nuclear waste may be buried in caverns - Independent
Imagine enough nuclear waste to fill five Albert Halls ... Where will you store it? - Times
Dounreay News   CoRWM Web site

New Deputy Chief Fire Officer Appointed
The Highland and Islands Fire Board has appointed a new Deputy Chief Fire Officer.  He is Mr Tony Wood, a senior divisional officer with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.  Mr Wood is Director of Human Resources and Lead Officer on Integrated Risk Management Planning with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, being a member of their strategic corporate leadership team. He will take up his new duties in the early summer and will be joined by his family at the end of the school year. Councillor Drew McFarlane Slack, Convener of the Highland and Islands Fire Board, welcomed Mr Wood's appointment.


Another Towhead Arrives At Wick Heading For Wester

New Charity Regulator Takes Over In Scotland
A transition to a new landscape for the country's 20,000 charities as the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, takes on the responsibility for determining charitable status in Scotland. The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, the main provisions of which come into effect from today govern how Scotland's charities are regulated and run, placing new responsibilities on charity trustees and establishing a new legal definition of charity. All new charities must meet a new two-part Charity Test, showing that they have one or more charitable purposes, and provide public benefit. Charities must also seek consent from OSCR for proposed changes such as amendments to their charitable purposes or a proposed change of name.

Cruise Season Starts At Scrabster With Arrival Of MV Van Gogh
The 2006 cruise ship season began at Scrabster with the arrival yesterday of the Dutch owned MV Van Gogh.  This is the first of what is expected to be the biggest year yet for the arrival of cruise ships coming in to Scrabster.  The ship can accommodate up to 550 passengers.  Highland Council was offering mini bus trips for shopping etc into Thurso for anyone not participating in trips to places like the Castle of Mey.
See what Is on offer on the Van Gogh    Boats & Sea Index

White-tailed Eagle Spotted Near Reay
Nigel Fairney took this photo of a white-tailed Eagle out near Reay a few days ago so keep your eyes peeled in the skies above.  Nigel also spotted a Golden Eagle recently.  If you spot any unusual birds send an email to Julian Smith who is collating items for the Bird Watching News page here on and linking to the St John's Pool web site


Halkirk YFC gear up for 60th Anniversary Year
Halkirk Young Farmers Club are holding three events throughout 2006 to celebrate their 60 years in existence. The first event is an anniversary Quiz to be held on Friday 19th May at 7.30pm in the Ross Institute, Halkirk. Teams will comprise 4 people and Question Master for the evening will be Mr. James Campbell with Adjudicator, Mr. John Bremner. Question topics include Music,Sport, Agriculture and Questions on Halkirk YFC. Music and teas will follow the Quiz. Anyone interested in entering a team should contact Ellen on 01847 890180.  See Young Farmers page for other events  Farming Index

The Cutting Edge. Collected Poems 1966-2003 By David Morrison
Local poet from Wick David Morrison has published a book of his collected poetry.  Also known as an artist his latest collection has been described by a number of other writers as for example Norman MacCaig - "David Morrison takes a clear look at life and all who share it and writes about them (and himself) with admirable energy. His 'character poems', to take an example, are a joy to read."


Day Two & Three Of The O'Neill Highland Surf Open At Thurso
The waves lived up to their promise again today and their are more photos of today's heats and all the action and latest results over on  This is a world qualifying event and points go towards the world rankings.  With $100,000 dollars in prize money up for grabs and the first four ranked will be offered a place at a competition in Tahiti so there is a lot at stake for the world's top surfers at Thurso.  Organisers are already looking at coming back next year.

More From The Caithness Field Club Bus Trip

From Tongue Youth Hotel and on round Loch Eribol the views just keep on coming as you drive along the north coast.  Many of the photos were taken through the bus window while moving but still came out reasonably well.  The old lime kilns are still in good condition.  Many more photos to come later.

Caithness Firm "Ella's House" Celebrates Real Nappy Week
Real Nappy Week is being celebrated by local firm Ella's House with the 10th Anniversary in 2006. The growth of a global phenomenon is being celebrated during the 10th annual Real Nappy Week from 24-30 April 2006. This Caithness firm has gone from strength to strength as more people realise the damage being done to the environment by disposable nappies. In addition the cost of disposables is significant and real nappies have a very long life.  In just ten years the Week has become a firm fixture on the calendar and grown into an international event with hundreds of activities across the UK, Ireland and as far afield as New Zealand and Mexico.  Send for Real Nappies From Caithness At Ella's House

Community Comes Together At Newtonhill Community Woodland
An energetic bunch of volunteers headed to Newtonhill Community Woodland, Wick last Saturday to take part in a tree planting and clean up event. The day was organised though Highland Council's Planning and development Service local countryside ranger. The trees were funded through a grant scheme run by the Community Woodland Association and Trees for All Council. Refreshments for the volunteers were funded by the Community Service Volunteers Action Earth supported by Scottish Natural Heritage. Over 30 volunteers from the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland, Wick Rotary Club and Caithness Countryside Volunteers worked together on the day to plant 90 broadleaf trees including alder, white beam, birch, black thorn and bird cherry.

Police Target Speeders And People Not Wearing Seat Belts Again
NORTHERN Constabulary is warning those who continue to flout the laws governing speeding and the wearing of seatbelts that enforcement will continue.  Drivers in the Highlands and Islands were yesterday asked to belt up and slow down as part of a new national seatbelt and speeding enforcement day.  High visibility patrols took to the streets on Monday 24 April 2006 targeting drivers whom were either speeding or not wearing seatbelts.  Across the Force yesterday 28 drivers were detected not wearing seatbelts as well as four front seat passengers, one rear seat passenger and one child in a rear seat.  On the speeding front 30 drivers were detected breaking the speed limit in built-up areas with five in non-built up areas. These were all detected by officers.

Latest Birds Spotted
Amongst the latest birds spotted in Caithness is Hawkfinch.  The bird was photographed by Russ Hayley on his bird table at Reay.  With the weather warming up slightly the range of birds arriving is on the increase with sightings of Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Wheatear and a Hawfinch in Reay. Hawfinches are scarce migrants in Caithness. Gadwall, Sand Martin, Common Tern, White-tailed Eagle & Golden Eagle near Reay, Black-tailed Godwit, Slavonian Grebe, Meadow Pipit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Whimbre, Willow Warbler, Ring-necked Duck, Swallow and a Great Skua.  Check inside for the places spotted

Huge Success For Mr & Mrs Night At Dunnet
A packed audience at the Britannia Hall, Dunnet on 22nd April thoroughly enjoyed a programme of non-stop friendly banter from the contestants, interspersed with a sprinkling of up to date and locally relevant jokes by Willie Mackay, the Questionmaster and Host. Laughter was the order of the night and after a break for refreshments, the evening ended all too soon with a final play off between Miranda and David Thomson and John and Marion Thurso, culminating in a win for John and Marion.

Yet Another Fantastic Opportunity For Young Highland Women
Highland Walking Project Heads For New Heights

A Highland walking project has successfully secured a £200,000 grant from the Active Futures Big Lottery Fund to run an exciting health and personal development programme with groups of women aged between 16 and 25. The “Wild Walks” is an ambitious three year project which aims to take a group of young women from the Highlands to the foothills of Mount Everest. The young women involved will progress from local walks through to trans-Scotland expeditions and beyond, gaining confidence, learning new skills and improving their fitness as they go.  Find out more.

Great Opportunity For Young Women - Places Available For Dance Leadership Course
For young women aged 16 to 25 years old with an interest in physical activity and dance - from any area in Scotland (but particularly those from Orkney and the Highlands) - who don’t already hold a degree or coaching qualification to date. Participants will gain a nationally recognised qualification in Dance Leadership.  The cost is just £20 for two weekends (covers all accommodation, transport, food, dance, tuition, and social events) and will provide personal development, dance and leadership opportunities along with follow-up support to young women who might not otherwise have the opportunity.  Course will be held in Stromness Community Centre (and local hotel) and Thurso Youth Club (and local school).  Click through for more details and application form.

Latest Photos From todays O'Neill Europe Surf Comp at Thurso

Former Arion Choir Leader Aline Mowat Has Died - Changes in Time of Arrangements
The family of Aline Mowat MA, Coronation Street, Wick  invites anyone who knew Aline to a funeral service at the Old Parish Church, Wick 11.45am Thursday 27 April - thereafter to Latheron cemetery.  Ex members of the Arion choir are requested to join in singing of the final song at the end of the service - "The Iona Boat Song" Family and friends are invited to Mackays hotel for tea at 2.00pm
Arion Choir  Bill & Ailne Mowat 's Golden Wedding Celebrations in 2002

Return To Offender - Address Unknown
A surfer inspired new anti-beach litter campaign launched at the O'Neill Highland Open WQS Surf Contest.  Return To Offender is a radical new Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) anti-beach litter campaign, supported by O'Neill. The Return To Offender campaign will be launched on the opening day of the O'Neill Highland Open international surf contest in Thurso - the first truly international surf contest to be held in Scotland.

BossHogg Mount Takover Bid
Caithness rock band BossHogg are set to release their debut EP '' with a party at The Redwood in Thurso on Friday the 28th of April at 8pm. The launch was originally scheduled for Saturday the 22nd of April but has had to be postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. The EP was recorded with local musician/studio engineer Mark Wright at his home studio in Thurso and features 5 self-penned tracks.

Race for Life - Caithness General Team Sets New Target £6000
With support for the Caithness Team flowing fast the ladies have set themselves an even higher target. The last couple of days events have taken the total to over £5307 as they move up the league table of fund raisers for this cancer campaign.  Well done to all concerned.  Anyone can donate online and the deadline is 7 May for the Big Race.


Bus Trip To Durness With Caithness Field Club

Trips along the north coast are always interesting and Sunday 23 April was a beautiful fresh day with sunshine almost all the way.  George Watson led the trip commentating on many features along the way.  These photos were mainly taken from the moving bus or at one or two stops along the way.  First 24 starting at Bettyhill and on to the Kyle of Tongue.  Many photos more from this trip to follow over the next day or two.

Surf Competition Today
Stuart Rollinson of Northern Imaging has posted photos of today's surfing competition at Thurso.  Great weathers and waves today set the scene for O'Neill Europe and the Association of Surfing Professionals, Europe between the 25th April - 2nd May also at Thurso.


Let Paintball Battle Commence
A new business in Wick is set to have everyone running for cover. For Paul Steven, whose family owns AMS Motorcycles in Wick, has started up a paintball business on a five-acre site at Bilbster Mains. It will allow groups of between eight and 20 people to have hours of fun staging fictional battles against one another using guns that fire balls of paint.  After securing financial assistance from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, Paul (31), opened Wick-ed Paintball for business this month.  Who Where When

Reay School About 1900
From the collection of Katrina Kirkpatrick

More Old Reay School Photos

More Old Caithness School Photos

Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines
The Highland Council's Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee this week agreed to recommend to Full Council on 4 May the Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines. Once endorsed by the Council the strategy will be instrumental in providing guidance when considering future renewable developments. Following a period of public consultation the Strategy was amended to take on board many of the comments including the reduction of proposed on-shore wind power output from 2000 to 1400 mega watts.

Miller Academy Celebrates Queen's 80th Birthday

Watten School Pupils Ring Church Bells For Queen's 80th Birthday

Continental Market Returns To Wick For Four Days In May
The Continental Market returns to Wick again for four days in May - 25th - 28th May.  As more of the shops at the new shopping complex on the outskirts of the town will be open as Argos and New look prepare to open their doors Wick looks set to be increasingly busy as shopping centre in the north.  the planning application for a new Tesco store on the other side of Wick is to be heard by the Caithness planning committee on Monday 24th April.  Continental Market In Wick 2005  Continental Market in 2004

Tesco Planning Application To Be Heard On Monday 24 April
Tesco Planning Application - there are 10 letters of objection including one from Green MSP Eleanor Scott and 93 letters of support. The meeting of the Caithness Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee will take place in FLAGSTONES ROOM, MORVEN BUILDING, NORTH HIGHLAND COLLEGE, ORMLIE ROAD, THURSO, on MONDAY 24TH APRIL, 2006, at 10am. All planning meetings are open to members of the public.

As the number of licensed motorcycle bikes in Scotland and the Highlands increases year by year, so does the number of accidents involving motorcyclists. Reducing casualties is the key concern of a motorcycling safety seminar to be held on Monday 24 April at Highland Council Headquarters in Inverness. Northern Constabulary and The Highland Council have jointly organised the day-long seminar to highlight the extent of the problem and to look at practical ways on how, by working in partnership, they can reduce the statistics. In Scotland, a total of 986 motorcyclists were injured in road accidents in 2004. This represents 5% of all casualties. Of these, 348 were seriously injured and 41 died. Three fifths of those killed or seriously injured occurred on non-built up/rural roads. In Highland, in 2004, there were 32 fatalities, 6 of these were motorcycle fatalities.

Gibson 'scunnered' by FoFNL stance on cyclists and walkers
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson says he is scunnered by the call from a rail lobby group that cyclists and walkers should not be represented on the new public transport forum in Scotland. His reaction comes after Friends of the Far North Line made a submission to the consultation about a new transport users committee for Scotland expressing worries that the institution should focus on improving the country's bus, rail, ferry and air services. Their rationale behind this call is that cyclist and walkers of themselves do not use public transport and therefore their views and concerns should not fall in the remit of such a committee.

Surf World Qualifying Round Comes To Thurso
O'Neill Europe and the Association of Surfing Professionals, Europe will be taking the World Qualifying Series (WQS) on the high road to Scotland this coming April for the 5-star O'Neill Highland Open. Between the 25th April - 2nd May 2006, 168 of the world's most up and coming surfers will make WQS history as they march towards mainland Scotland's northernmost coast to compete in this landmark event.  Area convenor David Flear and other councillors will welcome the surfers from around the world to Caithness at an event being staged by the organisers at the Royal Hotel in Thurso on Tuesday 25th April.

The Papers On Saturday
Dog's breakfast from another universe - it's the crofting bill -
Scotsman - Farming Index
Scottish health boards buck NHS debt trend -

Four Arts Exhibition At Northlands Creative Glass, Lybster
The depth of talented glass artists that now make their way to Lybster is astonishing. In a few short years Northlands Creative Glass has established a number of residency placements throughout the year in addition to series of master classes run by some of the world's most renowned glass artists and teachers. A group of four artists from widely different backgrounds have been together for six weeks soaking up the Caithness atmosphere and putting their thoughts and energies into creating a series of pieces culminating in the exhibition at Quaterbras Studio in Lybster.

The Papers
Drivers told: pay tolls to speed up key road projects - The Herald
A life in the public eye for the Queen of Scots - The Herald

Wick has been given a £1.5 million boost from Historic Scotland's Historic Environment Regeneration Fund (HERF).

Latest Birds Seen

Liam Henderson Memorial Football Match
This years memorial football match in memory of Liam Henderson will take place in Newmacher on 3rd June.  Anyone wishing to go to the football match and/or dance can obtain special rates at the Skean Dhu hotel on the evening of 3rd June should contact Janice Henderson for voucher.  If any individual or business would like to donate a prize for the raffle also contact Janice.  The last two years raffles have seen spectacular responses in both Wick and Newmacher.  Sums in excess of £21,000 and £18,000 have been raised over the past two years.

At This Time Of Year - April 2006
John Dalton travelled from Carlisle to give the Caithness Floral Art Club a demonstration called At This Time of Year. A stunning selection of flowers and foliage was used to make five beautiful arrangements that were raffled afterwards. John kept everyone entertained with his stories of triumphs and mishaps during his years as a flower arranger.
Caithness Floral Art Club Index
More Caithness Clubs
Other Groups, Hobbies and Activities

Sunday Papers
Ecosse: Poles apart -
Sunday Times
After 21 Years The Judge Gets The Hon Patrick To Pay Up -
Sunday Mail
Watchdog hits at Dounreay’s false reporting - Sunday Times
Nuclear Power, The Scary IF - Voice Of America 

Easter Fayre At Bridge Street Church, Wick - Coffee And Collections

Bridge Street Church Index

Heritage And Visitor Centres Open For Easter
Among several places open this weekend are Mary Ann's Cottage near Dunnet, Waterlines At Lybster, Wick Heritage Centre.  Check out the full list of centres in Caithness as they are all different reflecting different aspects of Caithness life.  Mary Ann's cottage is perhaps the smallest but offers an extremely interesting view of a croft house that remained almost unaltered for many years to Wick Heritage Centre on of the largest in the north of Scotland and packed with rooms and things to see that one visit will probably not allow time to see it all and take it all in.  Great for family days out and they all have places to eat nearby or at Waterlines they have their own food on offer. 

Corsback Near St John's Loch

Eight O'Clock Club Reunion, Wick
Photos from the Reunion held on 7 April.
Eight O' Clock Club Index

Reunions Index


The Night Sky From Caithness April 2006 (Pdf file)
This months newsletter is packed with information that will be useful to anyone new to looking at the night sky.  Lots of links to useful web sites and photos from the Caithness night sky. In May there is a visitor in night sky as Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 passes earth.  Gordon Mackie is now sending in a regular newsletter on the Night Sky as seen from Caithness but would be interested to hear from others with views or photos of the night sky in the north of Scotland.

First Salmon Of 2006 On The Wick River
The long awaited first Salmon of the 2006 season has been landed by Geoff Henstridge. The scale perfect beauty was taken from the bend at the tail of the "long shank" on a size 6 Orange Shrimp Fly on the 10th April and weighed in at a cracking 12 lbs 8 oz. The second of the season was landed less than an hour later by Neil Groat , again from the long shank and was taken on a 1 inch Pot Bellied Pig Tube Fly. Neils Salmon was 7 lbs 8oz.
See More Fishing Reports On Hugo Ross Web Site   Fishing Index 

Homebase Kept Doors Open until 10.00pm To Deal With All Customers Tonight
Homebase managers kept the new Wick store open until 10.00pm two hours longer than advertised in order not to disappoint customers who had turned out in huge numbers.  The new store is expecting another busy day on Friday as traditionally they do well at Easter Holiday time as folk get into adding to their homes over the long weekend.

£4.99 For A Mobile Phone Today At New Super Drug Store At Wick
The new Super Drug store had all the usual special offers, buy one get one free plus an unusual special deal on a mobile phone. The cost is £34.99 but that includes £30 towards the cost of calls.  It may be one off but is indicative of the type deals and offers customers are likely to find according to new manager Dave MacLeod.  Mr MacLeod is moving his family to Caithness as he has come from Livingstone to manage the new shop.  the store is currently looking for a new assistant manager so watch out for adverts to appear shortly on   Super Drug In Caithness Business Pages and link to the the web site
Super Drug in Wick will normally close at 6.00pm although tonight was expecting to stay open late to accommodate shoppers.  Next week the shop intends to be open until 8.00pm every night to test out what local shoppers are looking for regarding opening hours. Manager Dave MacLeod said they intended to be as flexible as their customers wanted and if numbers showed it was worthwhile he would consider opening late more often possibly on Thursday evenings.

Caithness Folk Went Shopping At Homebase In Wick Today In Huge Numbers

After months of speculation about the new shopping facilities at Wick the crowds were out in force as Homebase finally opened today.  With lots of offers and deals topped off with special 10% off everything for opening day there were plenty of eager customers.  Several folk commented that it was Inverness that would feel the draft as Caithness folk already did much of their shopping in Inverness.  Regular Homebase shoppers said they were glad they would no longer have to travel over 100 miles to find what they were looking for.  Shoppers arrived from all over as the car park quickly filled up and many parked in the Lidl car park next door and walked over.  Homebase Wick opening times and link to web site

Marine Mammals Medics Course
If you are interested in a training course on marine mammal rescue in Caithness then take look at this thread on our Message Board.

Pip Fine And Well After 70 Foot Cliff Fall
Pip a Jack Russell was rescued from the foot of the cliffs after falling over 70 feet into the sea.  Local coastguards managed to rescue the dog who was apparently OK after being stranded in the sea for over 40 minutes.
  - Daily Record

Pets Corner

Brother Nature
Nature Writing In Fact and Fiction - An Illustrated Talk by Jim Crumley.

Local company, Whittles Publishing, is delighted to announce this enjoyable evening with Jim Crumley at the Dunbeath Heritage Centre on Friday, 19th May 2006, at 7.30 pm.  FREE entry but booking advisable.  Jim Crumley has written many books and continues to tackle many nature projects in Scotland and elsewhere.  This is a chance to hear from a writer with huge experience and listen to his ideas on how nature is dealt with in a wide range of writing.

Dounreay Apprentices On the Ball For South School, Wick
Apprentices at Dounreay turned their skills to making football equipment when they learned that a primary school in Wick didn't have a proper set of goalposts on its pitch. They turned out a new set of goals using fabrication equipment in their workshop and then installed them at Wick's South School. The apprentices also manufactured a new set of gates to help improve security at the school. Dounreay became involved in the project when site director Norman Harrison spoke with community leaders about how the site could help the Pulteneytown regeneration project.  More Photos   South School Index

Highland Councillors Object To Application For Overhead Power Line
At a special meeting of The Highland Council's Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee held on Wednesday 12 April 2006 in Inverness, Councillors objected to an application from Scottish and Southern Energy plc for the erection of a 400 kV overhead transmission line between Beauly and Denny. The matter may now be subject to a Public Inquiry.  This Story In Glasgow Herald

Caithness Classic Mototcycle Club Rally 2006 - Entry Forms Available 

St Trothans Or the Old Kirk At Olrig
On the north-west gable of ruined Kirk are date (1633) and the initials of the then minister David Bruce. A medieval Kirk probably existed on the site before this date and may have been dedicated to St Trothan. Despite very strong influence of the Kirk, superstition and legends abound.  The old kirkyard at Olrig is the scene of the tale about the Selkie Woman.  Found as a baby swaddled in a sealskin, she was subsequently banished from the kirk as a devil worshipper and ultimately died giving birth to her first child.  A small hollow on the stone reputed to cover her grave is said to never dry out!

Thurso High 1978 Reunion - Latest Update
A list of names is now in the section with a request to get in touch with details of anyone missing from the listing.  As 29 July is already on the horizon organisers will be updating more regularly from now on.

Paintball Coming To Caithness
  Another action and fun activity........

Dounreay monitoring kit is tested  - BBC

Prize Bingo - Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group 5 May 2006
Prize Bingo in the Francis Street Club, Wick on Friday 5th May 2006. The Prize Bingo will start at 7 pm and they are planning a raffle along with bottle stall on the same night. Hundreds of pounds of prizes are to be won! We would also be grateful for any donations possible from local businesses and general public should they wish. Any Committee members would be happy to receive donations.

Flying Start To The New Year
Local Air Cadets, Sergeant David Struthers from Thurso and Corporal Christopher Bremner from Wick had a flying start to the year when they attended RAF Kinloss for their Gliding Scholarships. They arrived at Kinloss early on the 2nd January, and spent a week learning all the knowledge and skills required to successfully complete the course. Both cadets had previously undertaken Initial Glider Training, where they had gained the basics of handling a glider, during short flights. However, this was a much more intensive course with each day including the theory of aircraft handling, principles of flight, emergency procedures and around 2 hour’s practical gliding experience.

Dunnet Beach Still Making The Grade With Kites
The smooth sand at Dunnet combined with the opportunity for long runs on Buggies makes Dunnet one of the best places for kite flying.  The vast beach running along the edge of the bay combined with varying wind conditions and the fact that few people are on the beach at this time of year made for a great place to try out the new Flexifoil kite range for 2006.


Key Housing - Creating Opportunities in the Community
Key Housing has provided support to people with learning disabilities in Thurso for 15 years. Key has always listened carefully to what the people we support say is important to them. Over recent years people have increasingly been talking about trying to find work, and about the need to really feel included and to be seen as a valued member of their local community. As a result of this Key has set up a small Employment Development Team which supports Key’s services across Scotland. Can you help with opportunities in employment, volunteering or other activities.  Key Housing would like to hear from you.

Ring Any Bells Maternity Service Watchers?
Quality of patient care has to be at the heart of a progressive health service  -
IC Wales
This story might be of interest to anyone who followed the North Action Group campaign on maternity services at Caithness General..  NAG were aware of many places where similar actions were taking place and here is another one.  NAG has still not disbanded and will not do so until the obstetricians are finally in post and maybe even then might go into care and maintenance mode as the Health service seem to be on a never ending change scenario with down-grading of maternity services lurking somewhere on someone's agenda.

PFR Heat Exchangers Removed As Part Of Decommissioning Process
Five six tonne heat exchangers have been successfully and safely lifted and removed from the PFR reactor as part of the crucial decommissioning programme for the Dounreay plant. During the 20 year lifetime of the reactor the heat exchangers were used to cool the reactor roof gas. The work, carried out for UKAEA by JGC Engineering and Technical Services Ltd required removal of a Soft Patch on the north wall of the reactor building. This route was last used in 1965 to install the units. The heat exchangers have been placed in interim storage on the site

Did You Know Or Have You Forgotten Some Features Of The Caithness Business Index?
If you are looking up a page on the our Business Index and wonder where they are located remember you just need to click on the postcode to get straight on to a map.  If you are looking at business to contact them and they do not have email click on their fax number to allow you to send an email direct to their fax machine.  Same applies to the Sutherland Business Index

St Trostans Cemetery
Caithness has quite few old cemeteries some of which are not close to roads and you need to walk  to reach them.  St Trostans at Westfield is one of these.  An article on St Drostan is already on the web site.
Cemeteries Index

Last Nights Radio 4 Programme about Decommissioning At Dounreay Online
You can listen to earlier programmes you have missed by going to the Listen Again service of the BBC.  Last night a programme about Decommissioning at Dounreay may be of interest.  Amonst the speakers are Norman Harrison - Director, Geoffrey Minter - Landowner Sanside Estate, Mr Pottinger - Farmer and staff at the site.  Just select Dounreay from the list of programmes  - you must have Real Player installed to listen to the programme.

More Good News On Cheaper Flying For The North And Islands As 40% Discount Forms Go Out
Air Discount Flying Scheme For The North And Islands
Registration forms for a lower air fares scheme are dropping through letter boxes in the Highlands and islands now.  The Air Discount Scheme (ADS) will provide a 40 per cent reduction on air fares for people whose main residence is any of the following: Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Islay and Jura, Caithness and North-West Sutherland. It includes students from these areas who are studying away from home. A new web site will be ready shortly. Application forms are arriving now and if you think you might be flying from the north or the islands and are resident then you should apply right away for your discount card that will be valid until 31 March 2008.

Bingo Night A Massive Success For Race For Life Team - £1581
The bingo night on 4th April was such a fantastic success and so many prizes were donated they have decided to have another one.  The next Prize Bingo session is planned for Sunday 23rd April in the Francis St Club at 2pm. The reason they are having another one is that they had so much stuff donated to them and hope to make more money for Cancer Research UK this way. They made £1581 in total for the prize bingo event.  Donations can also be made online and the total for online and offline fundraising is already £2306 with the big Race still to come on 7th May and other events still in the pipeline.  Well done girls

A delegation representing local agencies from the Highlands visited the Celtic Film and Television Festival in Falmouth, Cornwall. Festival last week to invite, and warmly welcome the Festival to Skye and Lochalsh next year, which is the Year that Highland Culture will be celebrated throughout Scotland. "Next year there will be a Gaelic digital channel which will offer tremendous opportunities for the whole industry....."


Ryanair, Europe’s largest low fares airline, today (5th April 2006) announced a new daily service from Inverness to Liverpool. The new service will operate daily on a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft (189 seats) and Ryanair expects to carry 100,000 passengers in the first year of operation.  The new route from Inverness to Liverpool is part of a significant expansion in Merseyside by Ryanair also announced today. In addition to the new service to Inverness, Europe’s largest low fares airline will launch 10 new routes from its Liverpool base to Aberdeen, Alghero and Ancona in Italy, Kaunas in Lithuania, Krakow, Poznan and Wroclaw in Poland, Santander and Santiago in Spain and Tampere in Finland. The new routes will operate from the 3rd October bringing the total number of destinations served by Ryanair in Liverpool to 31.

More Marathon Dance Photos Just In
A Marathon Dance At Canisbay In The 1970's - Were You There?
See Early Pictures Index For some names



Thurso Scouts 1968 - In Orkney
Another set of photos from those far off days with Thurso Scouts in 1968 from Alan Macpherson.  More sets still to come in this 1968 collection.          Thurso Scouts 1968 Index
Early Photos Index
Rough Photo Guide

Report Shows That Transfers Benefit Tenants
Highland Housing Association today welcomed the publication of Audit Scotland's report showing the success of council housing transfers in Scotland. The independent report said that the transfer of council housing to not-for-profit associations has brought more investment into housing. It points to the £3.2 billion planned over the next thirty years, significantly higher than before transfer. Investment in Glasgow's housing had doubled. It also highlighted improved repairs and maintenance and the building of new homes. "The work by Audit Scotland shows that transfer is the best way of bringing more investment into housing in the Highlands. It also proves that tenants in homes that have transferred have seen lower rent rises", said Angus Maclean, Chairperson of Highland Housing Association.

SEPA Review Shows The Rivers Lochs and Waters  At Risk From Pollution
Caithness sites mentioned in the Report are the Achairn Burn, Murkle Burn, Loch More all in danger from nutrients from surrounding countryside through farming or forestry practices.
A new review, published a few days ago, of water quality in Scottish rivers and lochs shows 146 rivers and 17 lochs are at risk from pollution. The research, carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), identified waters which show evidence of being damaged by harmful nutrients from sewage effluent, agriculture, forestry, fish farming and urban drainage. SEPA is now responsible for making sure that steps are taken to remove the risks faces by these waters. On Coastal Waters the report states, "Data was not available for a number of the smaller qualifying discharges (e.g. Lerwick, North Berwick) and some larger industrial discharges (e.g. DEFCO and Dounreay)". The report does not make mention of the reason why data is not available from DEFCO Dounreay.  A map is available with the report on the SEPA web site showing all of the test sites.

Latest News Letter From Hillhead Primary School, Wick

Audit Scotland Report On Highland Council
The Highland Council praised for its 'significant strengths', but needs stronger corporate direction. In its report on The Highland Council published today (Wednesday 5 April 2006), the Accounts Commission says that whilst the council often delivers appropriate and effective solutions to residents' problems, there are areas in which it must make improvements if it is to be in a position to deliver Best Value. In particular there is a need for stronger corporate direction from councillors and for corporate strategic management in the senior management team to complement the chief executive. The report says that The Highland Council residents are increasingly satisfied with service delivery and the council engages well with its local communities and partner organisations such as the NHS. Another strength is that despite the high cost of service delivery, Band D council tax is below the Scottish average.

John Thurso, MP and wife Marion to take part in Mr & Mrs Competition
This event, in aid of the Canisbay & Dunnet Day Care Centre fund, is to be held in Britannia Hall Dunnet on Saturday, 22nd April at 7.0 pm. Compere is Mr Willie Mackay and contestants are John & Alanna Green, John O'Groats; Morris & Fiona Macleod, Dunnet; Keith & Rosemary Muir, Canisbay; David & Miranda Thomson, Mey; Morris & Margaret Weston, Scarfskerry and John Thurso, MP and his wife Marion. David & Jean Kennedy are reserves. Tickets cost £4 (£2 for children) and will include light refreshments. They are available from any committee member, Dunnet shop, The Castle Arms Hotel or ring 01955611402 or 01847851924.

Police forces across Scotland have united for a year-long anti-violence campaign. Under the banner of Safer Scotland, forces have given their commitment to tackling violence on our streets. The campaign is being co-ordinated by a small team of officers in the Violence Reduction Unit and is part of a two-strand approach to tackling violent behaviour in Scotland. This first strand will comprise of several key elements, including a five week knife amnesty. The campaign will also include enforcement operations tackling violent behaviour and weapon carrying, it will also tackle the links between alcohol and violence. The campaign kicks off today with a blitz on outstanding warrants. Forces will be encouraged to prioritise all warrants for violence from domestic abuse to attempted murder.

Funding for Community Play Areas and Skateboard Parks
The Highland Council is providing a one-off funding opportunity to help local community groups upgrade or develop a community play area or skateboard park. The funding is available to help projects improve the quality of community facilities, and provide good quality equipment which will reduce long term maintenance commitments. Unfortunately, funding is not available for the maintenance of existing facilities, or for play/skateboard areas attached to educational establishments such as schools and nurseries. Groups are invited to apply for funding from a total fund of £100,000 for Highland, from which the maximum award will be £25,000 in exceptional circumstances. Groups must have secured a minimum of 50% of the total value of the project from their own, or other sources.

Politicians Visiting Ormlie
Ormlie Community Association were delighted to receive Maureen MacMillan MSP and Peter Peacock, MSP, Minister for Education and Young People to Ormlie. Maureen MacMillan visited on 17 February 2006 and met with residents who gave her a tour of the estate and showed her all the awards that Ormlie had won over the last year including the Nancy Ovens Award, Dynamic Place Award (commended) and the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) Award - runner-up. Mrs MacMillan was keen to hear the views of the residents on the improvements that had been made and the impact they had had on the whole community.

Vulnerable Highland witnesses will now have the right to give evidence in court proceedings from behind a screen or by video link, thanks to new laws introduced this week. The measures, which cover witnesses with mental illness or those in a state of fear, have been made available as part of the phased introduction of the 2004 Vulnerable Witnesses Act. The protection improvements are aimed at witnesses involved in High Court and Sheriff Court jury cases, as well as Children's Hearings court proceedings. Measures also include the use of a "supporter" who can sit beside the witness to help reassure them, and the use of a prior statement as the witness's main evidence.

Barn Owl Boxes Helping Biodiversity
As part of the Local Biodiversity Action plan for Caithness barn owl boxes have been built with the objective of increasing the number of available sites for them to nest in.  Once regarded as a scarce visitor to this area the number of barn owls in Caithness has been steadily increasing over the past few years although we are probably at the northernmost part of their range. The last few milder winters have benefited them making hunting easier and prey more available. Many barn owls depend on man-made structures to nest in and in the past barns were made with a special hole on an end wall to encourage nesting and thereby helping to control the mice population.

Launch Of Highland Biodiversity Partnership Agreement Forum
The Highland Biodiversity Partnership Agreement, which is a commitment from over 20 organisations operating in Highland to work together to help understand, safeguard, restore and celebrate the biodiversity within the Highland Council area, was launched at the weekend at the 2006 Highland Biodiversity Forum held at the Town House Inverness. The Forum provided an opportunity for delegates to be updated on the 40 projects, which have been taken forward by local individuals or groups over the last two years.

Latest Birds Spotted In Bird Watching News
Snow Bunting Spotted By Beverly Chalmers
A snow bunting was spotted by Beverly Chalmers on 2 April 2006. 
An article on Snow Buntings in Caithness was written by local bird expert Hugh Clark and published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin in 1992

Nature Index  Biodiversity Pages

Weeboyagee Alias Raymond Bremner's Birthday Party Raised Nearly £600
Raymond has been in touch to let everyone know that The evening's festivities - raffle and charity auction raised nearly £600.  Raymond extends his thanks to  everyone for their generosity and for making the night so memorable. The auction was for Highland Hospice and the raffle split between the Hospice and Melvich Gaelic Choir.  Choirs theses days have often set up web sites and another choir in attendance on the night was  Argyll Ladies Choir  Another confirmation from Raymond following a night packed with gaelic music is that the Provincial Mod for Sutherland and Caithness will be hosted in Thurso next year 2007, the Highland Year of Culture.

Dounreay’s award-winning visitor centre has opened its doors for the 2006 season in time to catch the early tourists heading North for Easter.  The centre explains to visitors the remarkable story of the pioneers who developed the fast breeder programme at Dounreay over 50 years ago, and the major clean-up programme now underway to restore the environment. It describes how UKAEA is working with the local community to establish Caithness as a global centre of excellence in nuclear decommissioning, qualities that can sustain the skills and enterprise base of the north Highlands beyond the closure of Dounreay.  Nearly 9,000 people visited the centre during 2005, making it one of the most popular visitor attractions in the far North.

Surf School Open For The 2006 Season
The Thurso Surf School has opened for the new season. They run from April to October. They operate from Dunnet Beach but it is best to contact them online or by phone before heading out. This year the surf school will once again be heavily involved in organising some competitions and other events. To add something new they are also planning themed events and for the ladies a Girls Only series of surfing weekends. Keep an eye on their web site or here for further updates.

Caithness Field Club Bulletin  - October 1979
The New Index listing all of the Field Club Bulletins will hopefully make it easier to find an article from the editions.

The third Caithness & Sutherland Walking festival will take place from 13th to 21st May 2006 will be a bonanza of walks through forests and mountains and is one of the few walking festivals in Scotland which offers coastal walks. This year the festival is supplemented by Nordic Walking, a fast growing pastime in Europe,  Walking Pages

1968  - A Memorable Year For Thurso Scouts
Alan MacPherson has set about the task of digitising many of the Thurso scouts photos from earlier years.  We will be posting many more from the collection shortly.  Here is the first set from the Gang Show of February 1968.  If anyone else would like to contribute photos to the Thurso scout section please get in touch or wait until you have seen the whole collection from Alan.


A New Business Advice Service From Scottish Natural Heritage
The Business and Biodiversity Initiative provides businesses with free practical, on site advice on ways they can contribute towards the conservation and enhancement of habitats and species locally and nationally. Enhancing biodiversity can have a wide range of benefits to businesses, including improved employee satisfaction, improved image, reduced noise and visual complaints from neighbours and improved environmental credentials.

Count Down Till Friday 7th April For Eight O'Clock Club Reunion, Wick
Everything is now in place at Pulteneytown Parish Church for this Friday’s reunion as Hamish Gunn and David Topping host a “Get-To-Gether” of over sixty former associates of the one time highly popular Christian Youth Forum, the Eight O’Clock Club.


Raymond Bremner's 40th Birthday - The Most Musical Birthday In Caithness

You might have suspected that a Mod gold medal winner's birthday would have some gaelic music but last nights 40th birthday bash was packed with talent from all over the highlands and the Western Isles.  Ceilidh Dance Celebration to Glasgow Highland Ceilidh Band - Deoch 'n' Dorus kept the dancing going and the evening was filled with music from Massed Choirs, Singers, Instrumentalists, Pipers, Duets, Guitarists, Male Quartets and a ladies group with special song for Raymond.  An April Fool presented Raymond with a bride.  The evening was hosted by by BBC Radio Presenter Morag MacDonald.  The big choir saw the combined Melvich Gaelic Choir and Argyll Ladies Gaelic Choir join many singers from Caithness and the Western Isles in fantastic gaelic choral singing.  Address to the guests was by Bob MacLeod OBE who followed Raymond's father.  John Thurso also addressed the audience adding his own jokes to the evening.  Did we hear someone day they can't wait for Raymond's 50th.  It will be hard to beat such a musical birthday again.

Sunday Papers
Public pays to let stars' forests rot -
Sunday Herald
RSPB is chopping down the plantation forestry of the flow country to let it go back to peat bog.  Arguments now raging about using the felled timber for schemes like the heat and power scheme for Wick rather than leaving it to rot. Problem is it is not easy to get the wood out.
David Flear in Quotes Of The Week - Sunday Times
True price of UK's nuclear legacy: £160bn - The Independent
N-plant decommissioning cost may reach £70 billion - ABC Money

Calor Scottish Community Of the Year 2006
Search on for Scotland's top community
The search for Scotland's top community has begun in earnest with the launch of the Calor Scottish Community of the Year Awards 2006. The annual awards aim to recognise and reward communities in their efforts to improve their local area for the benefit of everyone.  Open to any properly constituted community group in Scotland, the awards carry a total prize fund of £5000 and cover every aspect of community life.  On entering their ninth year the awards have announced changes to the entry guidelines and will also introduce new categories for 'People' and 'Communications'.

Latest Pet In Pets Corner
This is Belle the latest moggie added to Pets Corner.  Due to recent email losses there may be the odd one that has not been resent.  If you ahve sent a photo of pet for Pets Corner and it has not appeared please resend it and we will try to get it on as soon as possible.  Other emails are also missing and we would be grateful if any sent something before 21 March if they send it again if it has not appeared on the site.  We have had many emails sent again  since the 21st and some are still awaiting attention.
Pets Corner

Caithness Model Club Show 2006

Photos from the Caithness Model Club Show that was held in the Royal Hotel, Thurso

Free NHS Eye Check Ups Return
Free NHS eye examinations will be introduced throughout Scotland from 1 April 2006 in a move hailed by Ministers as another major step forward in improving public health. Not only will all eye examinations now be free, but the testing process is being broadened to provide a health assessment of each patient's whole visual system.

Race For Life
Help Caithness General Staff Team Fund Raise For Cancer Research In Race For Life

Many of the staff at the Accident and Emergency and Outpatient departments in the Caithness General Hospital are taking part in this years Race for Life. All of them are involved in the fundraising for the event for Cancer Research.  It is a charity three mile run for cancer research. It takes place on May the 7th in Inverness. They are all training very hard as many of us have rarely broken walking pace before now!!  Watch out for their events or Donate Online

Cars, Motor Bikes, Commercial Vehicles Spares
If you are looking for a car, motor bike or want to sell one keep looking in to this ever changing section.

Highland Clearances Trail Winner Of The Free Competition
The winner of Highland Clearances Trail by Rob Gibson is Mrs M J Taylor from Thurso.  Mrs Taylor suggested Badbea which was the most popular answer in this competition.  Most entrants managed to find a Caithness place affected by the clearances although one or two misread the question and answered with places in Sutherland.   The book is handy guide to places affected by the clearances and is available from book shops or Luath Press. Watch out for our next FREE competition.   See Badbea Still On The Up In March
Hits : 13,471,831  Visitors : 585,400  Page Views : 3,505,968
1 Jan 06 - 31 Mar 06
Hits : 40,660,425   Visitors : 2,053,875  Page Views : 10,157,220
The early indications in March of new records being broken were proven to be correct.  Visitor numbers were the highest yet for one month taking the first three months of 2006 over the 2 million mark and individual page views to over 10 million.  The daily visitor rate averaged 21,487 in March - the highest yet for a single month.  The comparison with March 2005 is dramatic -
March 2005 - Visitors : 167,379 
Compared to March 2006 - The visitor rate has more than trebled - an increase of 249%.
Once again thanks to you for visiting and to our many contributors from all over the county and around the globe  - visitors last month to were from 129 countries including the UK.

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