8 Hour First Aid Course For Those Involved In Sport
Sunday 26 March 2006 9.00am - 5.00pm
The Caithness Sports Council is organising an 8 hour First Aid Course. The course is being run by Highland Leisure Training from Inverness. The course is aimed at people involved in sport. Places are limited to 12 individuals Cost: £20/individual (Caithness Sports Council Club Members) The Caithness Sports Council is subsidising the cost of this course, therefore grant aid applications from clubs will not be considered. £40/individual (non Caithness Sports Council Club members) See Whats On for contact details

Thurso High 1978 Reunion - Venue Chosen
The Thurso High School 1978 reunion will be held on Saturday 29th July 2006 at the Park Hotel, Thurso. Timings and price of tickets to follow.  Send any school photos to or let us know which photos on the site already apply to your year so that we can link them to the reunion page.

The Highland Council will be asked on Thursday (2 February) to confirm a savings package of £18.7 million in setting a budget of £489 million for 2006-7. A report by Alan Geddes, Director of Finance, described the budget outlook faced by the Council as the most challenging in recent years. The level of savings needed to balance the budget were of a level previously seen only in the early years of the Council in 1996. He forecast that the Council would face an even more difficult budget outlook in 2007/8, which highlighted the critical need to balance the budget in the new financial year with sustainable savings.
See Proposed Budget Savings to be debated on 2 February at Highland Council, Inverness on 2 February

Buying Or Selling A Car, Van - Looking For Parts Etc then Try the Classifieds on
Remember they are FREE so your spares may not be worth a lot but someone may be looking for them.  Give it a try you have nothing to lose.

Free Bus Travel In Scotland For Over 60's and Disabled People
Are you in the categories to get FREE bus travel in Scotland.  In 2004 the Scottish Executive announced that from Spring 2006 FREE bus travel would be available over the whole of Scotland for certain people.  the new scheme comes into force in April 2006 and now is the time top make sure you are registered for the new bus pass to take you anywhere in Scotland FREE of charge.  In Highland phone 0845 7090202 and in other places contact your local council offices.  So now you can visit us in Caithness or any other of the great Highland places completely FREE if you live in Scotland and qualify for FREE travel.  Get registered now.  Go on do it now -  its the best offer ever from the Scottish Parliament to the older people of Scotland.

MacNeil Presses London Treasury to Lower Island Fuel Tax - SNP

Sunset At Dunnet Tonight As The Caithness Light Show Goes On
Thanks to Michael Draper for this photo of the sunset once again dominating the skyline in the north and especially at Dunnet tonight.  The cold clear and crisp weather of the last few days seems to be creating the perfect conditions for these fantastic sky scenes.  With the frost hardly lifting in some parts today the sunshine made up and then followed by some fabulous views.

Wick Finally Bucks The Unemployment Trend
Figures released for December show that Wick was the only one out of 17 areas in Highland and Islands to show a decrease dipping below 4% for the first time in a very long time.  Wick still remains one of the highest unemployment areas in the region.  Pulteneytown area remains the highest percentage of ward areas in Caithness at 7.5% for males (63) whilst only 3.1% (23) for females.

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise - Approvals December 2005

Story Telling Feast For North Families
Families in Ross and Cromarty, Caithness, and Inverness will this February have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of storytelling events organised by Highland Council's Community Learning and Leisure Service.  Through funding from the Live Literature Scotland Scheme, Highland Libraries have organised five family storytelling sessions "Stories For All Ages" led by key Scottish poets, authors and storytellers.  At Thurso Library on Thursday, 9th February 9th at 2:00 pm, storyteller Bob Pegg will weave weave music and song into his tales.

Let's Do the Show Right Here
The show recorded a few weeks ago at the Assembly Rooms, Wick in connection with the memorial garden is to be broadcast on Friday 3 February at 11.30 AM on BBC Radio Scotland.  If you cannot tune at the time you cane use the Listen Again service online for up to a week.

Nice Yacht In Wick Bay
A new visitor to Wick was the ketch "Hetairos" pictured here in Wick Bay on Friday evening.  Certainly nice to be sailing around the coast in the beautiful weather we have been having recently.  If "Wick 21" gets their marina built in Wick harbour we may expect to see many more like this in future years.  Thanks to George Campbell for sending in the photo.


Sunset At Dunnet Tonight

Live Online Quiz in the Chartoom at 8.30pm Tonight
Not been one for long while but our chatters have now prepared for a quiz and anyone can join in.  Its all just for fun and the quiz master is thousands of miles away.

Piping Recital on Saturday 4th February at 7.30pm
Pipe Band Hall, High Street, Wick. Featuring James MacLean, College of Piping, Glasgow plus pupils of Wick RBLS Pipe Band. Admission costs £2 for adults, accompanied children are free. During the interval there will be a raffle, the admission price include tea/coffee and biscuits

Caithness Canine Club - Obedience Training Starts 7 February In Wick
Obedience and ring craft classes will be starting on Tuesday 7th Feb 2006 at 8pm - 9.30pm in the Wick
Assembly Rooms. 45 minutes for obedience followed by 45 minutes ring craft at a cost of £1.50 per class per week OR £2 for both (per week).

23 Early Postcards Added to The Caithness Gallery

Thanks again to Alex MacManus for sending another batch of early Caithness postcards.

EU fuel tax cut could help halt loss of struggling Highland petrol stations - Scotsman
Don't start cheering until you have read the article by John Ross - it is only suggestion from France but it might help Highland motorists if it was adopted.

Catching Up With Ormlie Awards
We are only now catching up with some of the recent ORMLIE Community Association awards.  Just a couple of weeks ago the group were at the BRA awards in London and shortly before that picked up an award at the Dynamic Place Awards in Edinburgh.  There can be no doubt about the fact that the challenges set by this local group have had tremendous results and they continue to thrive and bring more action into their part of Thurso

Enterprising Couple Rearing Buffalo In Caithness
Rebecca Winkle and Graham Maharg run a croft at Scarfskerry and have pooled their talents to operate a range of small enterprises under the name Lotions And Potions.  Beneath that title lies a varied list of small enterprises including animals most of which are often to be found in and around small farms and increasingly crofts in the Highlands. One animal, the buffalo is very unusual for Caithness and raised a few eyebrows but contrary to expectations is doing very well.  The buffalo line is originally from Bulgaria but these two have been born and raised in Scotland. The buffalo have been at the croft for a couple of years now and they are ready to mate and indeed have been in search of a mate on some dark nights.

Another Successful Bring And Buy At Hillhead School, Wick
The Bring and Buy sale at Hillhead is organised and run by the Primary 7 pupils each year. All proceeds go towards the cost of the Primary 7 trip to York. It is an important event in the diary of the pupils as for many it is one of the first times they are free to purchase an item without the guiding ideas of their parents. Bargains abound and you might always find that special something. Few things sell for more than 20p. Money is still trickling in but a final sum of around £340 is expected. Have a look at some happy customers including pupils, staff and students.  Hillhead School Pages

Dunnet Head Rainbow - Look No Further The Pot Of Gold Really Is Here
As this photo of a rainbow at Dunnet Head from Michael Draper this week shows Dunnet always has something going on in the sky.  The backdrop of the cliff, the bay, beaches and cliffs mixed with the ever changing weather means there is always something to see and to feel.  Standing on the headlands of Dunnet or Dwarwiick from where this photo was taken you certainly can feel like this is the place where riches are to be found and they are - fresh sea air, a beautiful rugged coastline, wonderful sweeping beach, fantastic bird life.  Never mind gold -  taking it all in you will never be richer.
Dunnet Pages    And Those Wind Folk Love It So Much They Are Back At Easter    Dunnet Rangers

Caithness to provide $139M in PILOT payments  Should Caithness Area Payments Be Higher?
Not here in Scotland folks but a power company in the USA which it to make PILOT payments to the local community  - PILOT Payments are Payment In Lieu Of Taxes.   YAPHANK – The Long Island Power Authority announced a plan today under which an energy company planning to build a power plant in Yaphank would provide $139 million in payments in lieu of taxes to several Suffolk jurisdictions.  The 326-megawatt plant proposed by Manhattan-based Caithness Long Island would be the first large, baseload power plant built on Long Island since the creation of the Long Island Power Authority, which so far has endorsed a series of smaller plants. The plan calls for $139 million in PILOT payments over 20 years to surrounding communities.  The question for Caithness is "Are Community Benefits in the Highlands set too low in this country and should they apply to all power generation as well as wind farms and also to water and other utilities that can have a significant effect on the communities they are beside? Although PILOT payments are different, would similar schemes be more beneficial to an area such as Caithness with a nuclear power plant, increasing windfarms and potentially power from the Pentland Firth to supply the rest of the UK.  Like North Sea oil on our doorstep will there be much more economic prosperity flowing away without sufficient recompense to the local area.  Any thoughts to the Message Board
For more on PILOT Payments try Google or this article PILOT payments: a potential revenue source for public libraries

Thurso Air Cadets Open Day
Thurso Air Cadets are holding an Open Day on Saturday 28th January, in the Drill Hall, Princes Street, Thurso from 12 noon to 5 pm. It is open to anyone who might be interested in becoming a cadet or an adult member of staff. There is an "Air Cadet Challenge" for 12 - 16 years olds, which includes 2 physical tasks, 2 dexterous tasks and 2 mental tasks, and the winner will receive £50.

50,000 Postings On The Forum Reached At 10.15pm UK Time
Message 50,000 Will Be Posted Very Soon In Our Forum 49,998  at 10.08pm

The Message Board is expanding fast and the 50,000th message will be posted any time now.  Whether you want to debate an issue, ask for local information or use the Classified Ads more and more folk are using this FREE service.

Playbox Playgroup, Wick Hekl A Wee Burns Supper Today

To-day Playbox playgroup, Wick held a burns supper for the 3 years morning group to celebrate "Burns", Piper David Sutherland came and played a few tunes on the pipes which all the children loved. Jane Hamilton took along her fiddle and played a selection of reels and highland dancer Bryony Munro danced the Pas de Basques. This was followed by a traditional Burns snack of Haggis, neeps and tatties washed down with Irn-Bru.  Playbox Playgroup

Better Ships Could Save £10m on Northern Isles Route, Says Napier Report
A report by Napier University's Maritime Research Group has branded the ferries plying the sailing routes between Aberdeen and the Northern Isles as "two of the most inefficient and environmentally-unfriendly ships built in recent years". The criticism is contained in the report, Future Options for Northern Isles Ferry Services, commissioned by the Northern Maritime Corridor (NMC), to establish if improvements can be made to the existing service.  In the report Dr Alf Baird, Head of the Maritime Research Group at Napier Transport Research Institute, recommends that the existing four ships - operated by Northlink Ferries - two passenger/car ships and two cargo ships - should be replaced by two larger car/passenger/cargo ships.

Highland Cares Project Exhibition of Photographs By Fin MacRae
Swanson Gallery, Thurso Friday 27 January - Wednesday 8 February
The Princess Royal Trust Highland Carers’ Project has put together an exhibition of portraits of carers with Fin Macrae, the highly regarded Highland photographer who has exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and The Victoria and Albert in London. The exhibition, which opened at Strathpeffer Community Centre in December, is now on tour around Highland region. It will be in the Swanson Gallery in Thurso from Friday 27th January to Wednesday 8th February.

Burns Day Lunch At South School, Wick

Lunch time at South School, Wick today got the full Burns Day treatment with haggis, shortbread and Burns songs.  There was even a dram although it was a glass of Irn Bru juice before the kids headed out to the playground where the new Active Schools coordinator was around to organise playground games.  with all that haggis the kids were raring to go.  There were two sittings for lunch with the younger children tucking in first followed by the older primary classes.  South School Index   Burns Links

Caithness Young Archaeologists
A new group for young folk between the ages of 8 and 16.  If you woudl like to find out more the first meeting for 2006 is this Saturday. Enjoy the return of the sun with a Yuletide celebration at Spittal Village Hall. Come, Join in and learn about the ways people celebrated this festival in the past, with the food they ate from prehistory to polytunnels. Meeting runs from 2pm - 3.30pm. Subs: £1 per member per meeting £1.50 per family.   Caithness Archaeology

Big Garden Bird Watch With RSPB
The survey is very simple. All you need to do is watch your garden or local park for an hour on either Saturday 28 or Sunday 29 January, note down the birds you see and count the highest number of each species you see at any one time in the hour (this avoids counting the same birds twice.)  You can submit your results via an easy online form.  This will be available from the RSPB web site from 28 January. A separate Bird Watch for schools is also being carried out and any school can join in and submit their results online.

Chloe Mackay, Keiss Primary A Winner In the Lyreco Calendar Competition
Chloe Mackay from Keiss primary school was one of the winners in the Lyreco Office supplies art competition to design a calendar for 2008. there were over 2500 entries.   Each winning pupil received an i-pod prize and their design will appear in one month of the calendar. Danielle Slater from Wick High was one of the runners up and received a DVD player.  Education Index for full list of winners


Supermarket Competition Hots Up As ASDA Put in Planning Application For  New Thurso Store
It was confirmed today that another new supermarket could be heading to Caithness.  This time ASDA have placed an outline planning application at Wick for a new store extending to 2890 square metres.  The new store application also includes a petrol filling station and two new roundabouts beside the Weigh Inn on the outskirts of Thurso.  further the application includes a new football pitch and pavilion for the use of local community.  the site is just past Pennyland Farm on the opposite side from the Weigh Inn.  A new access road in addition to the two roundabouts would be constructed by the company. Asda is subsidiiary of the American giant Wal-Mart.  Asda web site   Message Board Debate On New Store For Thurso

Freight Transport Association Say We Need A New Forth Bridge Now
As the Freight Transport Association representing transport operators prepares to lobby transport minister Tavish Scott to make an early decision on a second Forth Road Bridge operators in Caithness generally agreed that restrictions on the use of the Forth Bridge would inevitably affect their operating costs if they required to make longer journeys via Stirling for shipping goods and livestock south.  Effectively most of the operators north of the Forth Bridge would probably see and adverse rise in costs if the  Forth Bridge were to be restricted due to corrosion problems being highlighted.  Although it is still some years away according to experts the lead in time for a major new bridge means decision are required sooner rather than later according to the FTA.    Note - The Forth Road Bridge was opened on 4 September 1964 and Bill Fernie was there on that day and walked across and back with hundreds of others who had come to see the official opening by her majesty Queen Elizabeth.  Bill said "Even back then it was obvious even to us as teenagers that this was of massive economic importance to Scotland and since then its use has increased hugely.  We walked over and underneath on the North Queensferry side to gawp at the massive cables as where they entered huge concrete structures in the ground to take the strain of the bridge"  
Forth Bridges Web Cam   Forth Bridges Visitor Centre  Traffic Numbers  This could affect us all in the north.

Are you interested in the environment?
If you are interested in improving the environment then The Caithness Countryside Ranger, Marina Swanson invites you to their AGM on Thursday 2nd February at 7.30PM in the Nethercliff Hotel Wick. If you are unable to attend the AGM but are interested in future events and projects contact Marina on 01955 607758.

ANGRY campaigners last night begged ministers to sort out a Highland train service that's slower than a pushbike.  The train from Inverness to Thurso and Wick takes four hours to cover 175 miles. And on one stretch of the route, between Golspie and Tain, a group of cyclists once beat the train by 11 minutes. The train has to make its way around the Dornoch Firth, a distance of 45 miles, to reach Tain from Golspie. But because the firth is spanned by a road bridge, the cyclists only had to go 17 miles. The Association of Caithness Community Councils has now appealed to the Parliament's petitions committee, asking for a Dornoch Firth rail bridge and other major improvements.  Rail Future Scotland Campaign Issues
The Far North Line

Hamish Gunn From Wick Gallery

Green energy strategy 'could damage landscape of the Highlands' - Scotsman
A CONSERVATION charity has claimed that Highland Council's renewable energy strategy could harm the area's landscape. The John Muir Trust says the policy has a heavy bias towards onshore wind farms and prejudices moves to increase other green energy technologies that have less impact on the land. However, the charity praises the council for trying to co-ordinate the development of renewable energy and says the Scottish Executive should draw..........         Highland Council Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation
Wind Farms Etc

FREE Property Pages Given A Makeover
The property pages just got even better.  They work even faster and instead of one long page they are now in neat pages of 10 properties to a page.  Scroll through them using the next page or previous page buttons or choose a page number. Currently there are over 70 properties taking advantage of our FREE entries.  Selling property has probably never been cheaper than this unless you know someone who will pay you to advertise.   Now there's a thought!!!  You think we are joking!!!  Keep watching till we come up with how to make that one work.  Meantime if you are selling property in Caithness make sure its on here.  You can do it in minutes and reach a large and growing number of folk looking on
And don't forget Rented Property or Commercial Property To Rent         Submit Property For Sale Or Rent

A FREE Calendar For Any Month Any Time You Need It From
Something you might need from time to time - a calendar for any month of 2006.  You can print a plain no frills calendar with empty boxes and a large notes space either in portrait style or landscape - whichever suits your needs best.  If you just need it to scribble or plan something and throw away print on any A4 paper.  If you want something more sturdy try some thin card.  We have provided the full 12 months with a photo if you do not need the notes space and it's in black and white to save your printer ink.  We will think of something better for next year and have it ready sooner.  If you have any old scrap paper printed only on one side you can reuse it for the calendar and save money.  Find it in the Site Map listing any time or if you can remember its easy URL address

Give Blood Today In Wick
Tuesday 24th January 2006 WICK, Assembly Rooms
2.00pm – 4.00pm & 5.00pm – 8.00pm
More about giving blood at Scot Blood


Another Night - Another Record On The Message Board On Monday Night
Most users ever online at one time was 202 at 9:30 PM last night. 
Was it the mention of all the things that you can do  on the message board that took more people than ever flooding in.  If you have missed yesterdays message here is the listing again to see if you can use it - its still FREE.  Whether you want to debate, argue or get information as well all of these FREE services
Job Vacancies - Cars For Sale - Motorbikes For Sale - Commercial Vehicles For Sale
Spares, Accessories & Sundries For Sale - Computers & Game Consoles For Sale - Computers, Peripherals & Software - Game Consoles & Games - Audio / Video Equipment - Mobile Phones - Items Wanted - Births, Deaths & Marriages - Volunteering Opportunities 

A Letter From Sir Digby Jones, Director General Of The CBI
Dear Editor
I will be spending 24 March 2006 working in the post room. I am doing this because my staff has pulled together and are sponsoring me to spend the day sorting through their letters and packages. I will need to roll up my sleeves and get on with my postal duties in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care's brand new initiative, Back to the Shop Floor. As a supporter of Marie Curie Cancer Care, I am calling on you senior staff across the UK to take part in this fundraising initiative and to spend the day doing a job you don't normally do. You could work behind a till, be the tea girl or the post man... the opportunities are endless.

More Good News For Wick
Figures Show Busy December 2005 for North Airports
Wick Passengers December 2005 2352 compared to 1676 December 2004 a 40% increase.

The total number of passengers using airports in the Highlands and Islands increased by 20% in December compared to the previous year, according to figures released by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. A total of 87,795 passengers used the company’s 10 airports in the month compared to 73,038 in December 2004. The airports which showed the greatest gains in the month were: Inverness (+28%); Islay (+22.4%); Sumburgh (+24.3%) and Wick (+40.3%).  Angela Donaldson the Wick airport manager confirmed that December had been an excellent month with the increase in passenger traffic being due to increased flights available from Eastern Airways, a rise in the number of passengers in transit and increased refuelling and helicopter crew training for the oil industry.  the recently added early morning flight leaving at 7.00am had proved very popular with business passengers.  This means the first flight out is at 7.00am and the last flight in is at 8.30pm giving better timetable than previously.  Flying Index

Old Golspie Postcards Added

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has questioned Nicol Stephen, the Minister with responsibility for Communications, on what steps the Scottish Executive is taking to provide solutions to the clusters of households that are still out of reach of broadband. Mrs Macmillan said, "I have had regular contact from constituents who are still unable to access broadband technology and questioned the Minister, in parliament, on what solutions were being considered. In his response he pointed out that Scotland now has 99.7% access to broadband with broadband delivered to 378 remote and rural telephone exchanges. This is no consolation, however, for those still trying to receive the technology and I pressed the Minister on a timescale for delivering broadband to the remaining areas.
Sam Knows -  A web site to check coverage and more

A Walk With Burn's Poetry 2-4pm on Saturday 28th January at Reelig Glen, near Moniack

Highland Council and Forestry Commission Rangers are celebrating Burn's Night this year with a difference as they invite local people to join them on a Burns walk.  From 2-4pm on Saturday 28th January at Reelig Glen, near Moniack the Rangers will lead a guided walk in dramatic countryside while reciting some of Burn's finest poetry and participants are invited to bring along their favourite Burns poem. A bit far from Caithness but if you happen to be off to Inverness you might like to go before you come home.

Highland Schools Go For Big Heart Day  - 8 February 2006
Pupils at primary and secondary schools in the Highlands are gearing up to raise thousands of pounds to help communities and young people across the world who are trying to re-build their lives following the devastation caused by last year's Asian tsunami.  In February last year, all Highland schools were involved in raising money for the victims of the Asian tsunami. The successful Big Heart Day Highland 2005 raised a total of £65,301 for the appeal. However, one year on from the disaster, many of the tsunami affected areas still have a lot of work to be done to help people regain livelihoods, homes, health, education and community life.

Highland Cultural Pledge To Children  In £1.5 Million Initiative
Every school pupil in Highland will be given the chance to participate in a cultural activity during 2007 as part of a cultural pledge being made by The Highland Council in celebrating Highland 2007 - the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture. Teachers and Community Learning and Leisure staff will be working with Pupil Councils to identify a range of topics and potential activities which might form part of the Pledge to the 31,000 Highland pupils.  £1 million in-kind "mainstream" support has been allocated from the Council to the Pledge. In addition £500,000 has been allocated in cash from the Highland 2007 budget, allowing for an average of £17,500 to be allocated per community school cluster. Sponsorship is currently being sought to boost this figure.

What's On Ads - Please Note You Require To Enter Contact Details
To ensure an ad in the What's On is passed by us for entry we need to know that it is genuine. Therefor you should ensure a phone number or email address is available for contact.  This not required if you have made arrangements with us for ads.  An ad for Car Boot Sale recently was not entered as there were no contact details.  Great interaction - Update - Car Boot Sale Now On - cheers from the Team

Classified Ads Are FREE On - Expanding Fast
Take A Look And Then Start Raising Cash For Your Holidays

Job Vacancies - Cars For Sale - Motorbikes For Sale - Commercial Vehicles For Sale
Spares, Accessories & Sundries For Sale - Computers & Game Consoles For Sale - Computers, Peripherals & Software - Game Consoles & Games - Audio / Video Equipment - Mobile Phones - Items Wanted - Births, Deaths & Marriages - Volunteering Opportunities  You can read all the messages and ads without registering but to place and FREE all you need to do is register with normal email address (Not a web based email such as hotmail or yahoo, AOL)  Ads are placed instantly and can be added to, receive questions from potential purchasers and advise everyone when sold to stop further calls.  So clean out that attic, garage or shed.  Someone probably wants what you don't so why not turn it into cash now and for FREE.

Public Exhibition – Baillie Wind Farm - Thursday 26th January 2006 - Victoria Hall, Reay
Baillie Wind Farm Ltd will be holding a public exhibition in relation to their application to construct a wind farm at Bardnaheigh and Stempster Hill,on Thursday 26th January 2006 at  Victoria Hall, Reay from 3pm to 8pm.  An application was made to the Scottish Executive under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for consent to construct and operate a wind farm of 25 turbines at Baillie Farm in July 2004. An accompanying Environmental Statement was prepared by RPS Group PLC.  The proposal has now been amended to reduce the number of turbines to 21. 
Highland Wind Farm Applications As At December 2005

Inverness Airport Terminal PFI Buy Out
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has confirmed that a Scottish Executive funded deal had been concluded to buy out the Inverness Airport terminal Private Finance Initiative.

Message Board Broke The Record Again For Most Users Online At One Time
At 10:19pm last night the Message Board had 183 users on all at one time.  Throughout the day the number of visitors to the message board is huge.  Ask questions, sell almost anything, Debate issues or just have a laugh.  Its growing all the time and  with 2628 members and 5,743 topics to choose from with  posts now passing 49,021.  Never been in yet?  Then take look - It will soon be bigger than the rest of the web site at this rate.  Just read the Forum rules before you join.  How many clubs in Caithness do you know that have over 100 members turning up every night of the week.  Got an interesting topic to debate then put it in here and see what everyone else thinks.

Calling Local Caithness Artists, Sculptors, Photographers Etc
Get some samples of your work in our Galleries.  Just email as many samples as you want and we will add them to the Arts Galleries and these in turn can be linked to your free page in the Arts index.  We are now adding more features to the Arts Index pages so now is a good time to add more to the galleries for direct linking to your page for anyone browsing the galleries to see with a link back to you on every page with sample of your work.   Email samples to

Sketches By Graham Payne

These sketches are just  small sample of the work of Graham Payne who recently moved to Caithness.
Find Graham Payne In the Arts Section

Another 12 Old Caithness Postcards Just Added

Thanks to Alex MacManus for sending these in.  More Sutherland ones to come next.

A FREE Dram of Old Pulteney On Burns Day
The Park Hotel, Thurso is giving  a FREE dram of Old Pulteney on Burns Day 25th January to all customers ordering a two course meal from the special Scottish menu.

More Early Postcards - Bridge St Wick, Barrock Lodge and Early Auckingill

Wick High Reunion 54 - 56
Another reunion five years after the last one we ran on the web site for this group.  Janis Paterson has sent in the first list to update everyone as to who has said they are going on 21 July this year.

New Dog Warden For Caithness
If you have worries or complaints about dogs in Caithness a new dog warden is waiting to hear from you.  The dog warden is a service supplied by Highland Council and is based in Wick.  A link to the Dog Warden number can now be found in the Environment Index and the Pets Corner

The Sunday Papers - a few items from todays papers
AN ILL WIND - Sunday Herald
Scotland has pioneered renewable energy, but now faces being left behind. Matthew Magee reports
Wind Farms Etc
Sleaze probe into nuclear lobbying at Holyrood - Sunday Herald
Poles Apart - By Lesley Riddoch This article points to the need to do more for the 300o Poles now working in and around Inverness as the Highland economy booms and employers find difficulty getting labour.
Privatised nuclear clean-up ‘will cause accidents’ - Sunday Herald

Save Neuro-Surgery At Aberdeen - Petition Now At 8041 At 9.15am UK Time
People from all over Scotland may soon be expected to travel to Glasgow and for those in the north of Scotland extra travelling and expense not to mention the sheer inconvenience for patients and relatives.  Yet again a small group has set it itself to take on the health authorities and the Scottish Executive.  More details and a petition to sign at against the merger of the neurosurgical units in Scotland. The government are proposing a merger and it looks like the proposed closure of the unit in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with neurosurgery being centralised in Glasgow. Organisers for the campaign  said "It is vitally important for the sake of the geographical area which Aberdeen serves that we push to keep the service open." has been contacted by people who regard this service as having been vital to their families and once again geography is a factor.

North Action Group Maternity Campaign
The fight to save the consultant led service at Caithness General appears to have been won, however the committee of North Action group are still holding committee meetings.  At their latest meeting one of many after two years of campaigning the members heard from Chairman George Bruce that it was greed at the Maternity Action Team set up by NHS highland to cease the process of small groups looking for another solution now that a decision to retain 3 consultants had been taken.  The next meting of North Action Group will be in two months to reflect on how the recruitment process is going.  A section on the maternity unit can be found on the Message Board

Traditional Music Workshop - Halkirk - 18th February 2006
Gordon Gunn and Co are setting out to run another Traditional Music Day.  This time the venue is the Ross Institute at Halkirk.  At the end of the day a dance will be run at the hall to give the musicians a chance to try out their skills wtih dancer in front of them.  If you are interested in improving your techniques or just want the chance to join with professional musicians for the day then head over and get an application form sent off.  For the rest of you watch out for the ads for the dance at night on the 18 February - it should be a good one.

Latest Caithness Pets In Pets Corner
If you would like your Caithness pet's photo to appear in Pets Corner just email a photo to



Thurso Rotary Club Burns Supper

The Rotary Club of Thurso Burns Supper is one of the premier events on the west side of the county. It is always a sell out with over 100 attending this year in the Pentland Hotel. The speakers, and indeed the whole event, was up to usual high standard with some performance that can only be described as superb. Ken Murphy gave an enthralling note free immortal memory, one of the best ever heard by regular supper goers. Rotarian James Campbell toasted the lassies with his customary humour and Celia McDougall replied in similar fashion. The address to the haggis was performed with gusto and superb delivery by Alan Sparling. The singing of Mod Gold medalist Raymond Bremner was outstanding as was a contribution from Celia McDougall. Alan Plowman was piper for the evening and there cannot be many as skillful in the county. The Rotary Club always have Thurso Round Table members as their guests at this function and their Chairman has the duty of getting the evening off to a good start with the Selkirk Grace and Michael Dunnett certainly performed his task with confidence. The evening was rounded off with community singing and a fine vote of thanks by Rotarian John Hook. Finally a report would not be complete without mention of the significant contribution made to the evening by Rotary Vice-President Murray Campbell who chaired the supper. His chairmanship was excellent and humorous and interspersed with authoritative interjections, in keeping with his position as an top grade football referee, when the audience became more than enthusiastic as the evening wore on. Thurso Rotary Club   Robert Burns Links  Burns Style Jenny Stewart On Burns - Haggis Heuchs   E Moose & To A Mouse  Reply Till E Toast A Letter From Robert Burns To Sir John Sinclair - 1790  Burns Supper At Dale House A Couple Of Years Ago Burns At Hillhead 2005  Send in more Burns night photos for the galleries to  

Thurso Eateries Set Out To Serve A Feast Of Offers
Has anyone noticed the rush of special offers and new deals, entertainment while you eat breaking out in Thurso.  We have and the examples are piling up of what great deal might be had by eating out in Thurso in coming weeks - Here are some we have noted already - Pentland Hotel offering FREE glasses of wine with all pizzas tonight (Friday) - Royal Hotel offering buy one get one free bar meals and the Park has just announced that starting on Sunday 29th that the last Sunday of each month will be Easy SundaY with jazz bands laying on free music.  Billed as relaxing day encouraging you to read the Sunday papers and have your Sunday roast for the pretty good price of £7.95.

Dunnet Still Amazing In Winter
Dunnet Index



Wildlife Also Features In The Caithness Field Club Outings
We are on a roll today looking at chances to see wildlife in the far north.  the opportunities are many and varied.  The local Caithness field Club takes in wildlife on their walks that are usually fairly leisurely.  This year there are chances to visit a few new places to look at wildlife but also mixed with other features like archaeology.  The group are still in the middle of their winter programme and visitors are always welcome.

Highland Wild Encounters 2006 - A Chance To See Wildlife With Experts 21 May  - 4 June
The far north of Scotland has an incredible variety of wildlife but you may take while to find it.  what better way to see what is around than to take walk or a trip with an  expert.  The walks are all graded from easy to difficult on the web site.  Some need to be booked and paid for in advance and the days are getting more popular each year so book early.  If you are planning a trip to Caithness or Sutherland these days out will make a very relaxing and interesting way to spend some time in the north.  check it out and put the dates in your diary.

Watch Our Wildlife - Winter
Thanks to SNH and the Ranger service for this latest guide to wildlife in the north of Scotland.  There is more wildlife around than you might expect and you will probably see a different aspect of the area every time you go out.  But remember for all its spectacular scenery this is the north of Scotland and in winter you must make sure you carry the correct gear and wear warm and waterproof clothing and tell someone where you are going.   Nature

Campaign for a Scottish Internet Domain - dotSco
Here is an interesting campaign that you might like to lend support to.  Is it time for Scotland to have its own .SCO internet domain.  If you would like to support the campaign all you have to do is send supportive email to them.  Already many businesses and well known figures have sent their support.  As you might expect we here at have sent our support and hope one day to be linking to lots of Scottish web sites such as www.yeswehaveourowndomain.sco

Hillhead Primary School Wick - Latest Newsletter

Wick Senior Citizens Annual Treat- -This Year Had A World War Two Theme

The 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two was the theme this year for the annual Wick Senior Citizens Treat.  The dinner is followed by entertainment provided this year by Isobel and Addie Harper, Wick RBLS Pipe Band and the choir from Wick Old Parish church leading the singing of songs from WW2.  A huge array of volunteers help out including many individuals, sixth year girls from Wick high school and Wick Rotary club members who supply transport to and from the event for anyone who requires it.  The committee led by chairman Thomas Mackay do a sterling job in fund raising throughout the year and are well supported by a huge range of local Wick businesses and organisations.  The event is free to any senior citizen in the area.  A great night that shows the huge community spirit that still exists in Wick.  Well done to everyone for another great night.

Radical Plans To Transform Scotland's Cultural Landscape
With today's announcement about changes to the way in which the country is to deal with cultural matters it may be timely that Caithness Arts is shortly to launch a new strategy for Caithness   Another "£20million to be spent over the whole country  - we wonder where it will go?"

Gibson questions Lord Advocate over Skye Bridge Tolls
'An unsatisfactory response which will require more questions' was how Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson greeted the response to his question from the Scottish Executive on the Skye Bridge Tolls.  Mr Gibson (himself fined for non payment during the anti tolls campaign) asked Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC whether the legality of the Skye Bridge contract documents and subsequent prosecutions can be established beyond doubt, in light of recent comments by the former Procurator Fiscal at Dingwall.

First Minister Questioned on NHS Dentistry
Mary Scanlon MSP today questioned the First Minister on the future of NHS dentistry funding.  With almost a third of dental practices failing to qualify for a new allowances scheme, the First Minister failed to provide assurance that he would intervene in order to ensure a new contract negotiated in the best interests of patients, declaring; 'no group has a veto over the decisions of the Parliament or this Executive.'

The Commission on Boundary Differences and Voting Systems (the Arbuthnott Commission) today published its report, “Putting Citizens First: Boundaries, Voting and Representation in Scotland”. The report is a result of an 18 month inquiry by this independent commission, which was established by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Darling, to consider the consequences of having four separate voting systems for elections in Scotland and also different boundaries for Holyrood and Westminster constituencies.
Multi Member wards are due to replace the current system of local council representation from the next elections in May 2007.  Caithness will have three wards Wick, Thurso and Landward Central with 3 councillors for Wick and Thurso and 4 for Caithness Landward.  The Single Transferrable Voting system will apply and all voters will be able to vote for more than one candidate listing their choices in order of preference.  Basically this means that if your first choice of councillor does not get elected your vote will still count towards the second in your list and so on.  Clear?.... We thought so but it will be hopefully by the time it has been blasted all over the TV, leaflets and so on as we get nearer the elections next year.  Same number of councillors and voters will have a better say in who gets elected under the new set up.

Appeal Goes Out To Save Neuro-Surgery At Aberdeen As Closure Looms
People from all over Scotland may soon be expected to travel to Glasgow and for those in the north of Scotland extra travelling and expense not to mention the sheer inconvenience for patients and relatives.  Yet again a small group has set it itself to take on the health authorities and the Scottish Executive.  More details and a petition to sign at against the merger of the neurosurgical units in Scotland. The government are proposing a merger and it looks like the proposed closure of the unit in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with neurosurgery being centralised in Glasgow. Organisers for the campaign  said "It is vitally important for the sake of the geographical area which Aberdeen serves that we push to keep the service open."  On we recently ran a link for the Nathan Warmack kilt petition and numbers soared on that site.  Let's see what we can do for the Neuro-Surgery at Aberdeen that serves the whole of the north of Scotland and the islands.  Signatures stand at 7988 as at 2.48pm UK time.

Launch of ARTS STRATEGY for CAITHNESS - Thursday 2nd February 4pm Pentland Hotel, Thurso
Caithness Arts the group moving the arts forward in Caithness will launch the Arts Strategy for Caithness. Consultant Ian Brown will introduce the new action-plan for the arts, a summary of which will be sent to members later this week, along with Newsletter and What's on.


The first meeting of the year for the Caithness Critters took place last Sunday.  The wildlife loving youngsters turned out to brave the harsh winds and cold temperatures to take part in a bird watch at the Loch of Mey.  The children spotted and recorded a range of bird species and practiced their identification skills with pictures and bird sounds in the hide.   Bird Watching
Caithness Critters is run by the Ranger Service in Caithness

Orkney by Air  - a photographic journey through time - Guy Warner
Orkney by Air is a photographic record of aviation in the Orkney Islands from the first flights by Ted Fresson through to the twenty-first century. It is accompanied by historical narrative. A well written history of air travel in Orkney from the beginning in 1931 to the newest air terminal in 2002. Covering a range of information in a non technical form with enough detail to be interesting but not bogged down in it.  A high readable book that will be of interest to anyone whether in aviation or as part of the modern history of Orkney. Book Shop

Caithness Farmer In Line For Biodiversity Award
Danny Miller who farms at Bilbster is one of the five finalists in line to win the NFU Scotland Farmland Biodiversity Award.  The NFU Scotland Farmland Biodiversity Award, sponsored by RSPB Scotland, was established six years ago.   The Award aims to recognise and reward farmers or crofters whose contributions have benefited priority species or habitats as defined by RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. Danny farms almost 1300 hectares at Wick in Caithness.  The key achievement he cites since embarking on his work towards biodiversity is the return of grey partridge to the farm, as well as increasing numbers of brown hare and huge numbers of swallows and bats.  Biodiversity Pages

The Celtic Fringe - Guardian Online
There is a curious trend apparent in the history of the Lib Dem leadership.  Caithness gets a mention in the shape of Sir Archibald Sinclair as David McKie reflects on the Scottish and Welsh connections with the Liberals as the current Libdem leadership contest moves on.

Another Salvation Army Photo From Thurso about 1936
Thanks to Raymond Bryson for sending this second photo thought to be a year earlier than the one from yesterday.  Raymond's father is in this photo also in the back row far left.  Perhaps someone can identify the others and let a few Thurso folk see their grandfathers


The Caithness & Sutherland Maternity Action Team, meeting in Wick on Friday 13th January, unanimously welcomed NHS Highland’s decision to seek to appoint three substantive consultants to maintain and develop the service.  It was agreed that this brought the work of C&SMAT to an end and co-chairs David Alston and George Bruce thanked all who had participated in the process.

Next Meeting Of North Action Group
Thursday 19 January 2006 7.00pm at Assembly Rooms Wick
Although the maternity issue seems to be resolved the North Action Group who have fought for two years to retain a consultant led maternity service decided they would not dissolve until the obstetricians for the unit were actually in place.

The Dounreay Stakeholder Group meeting will be held on Wednesday 18th January at 7.00pm in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso when business will include a presentation on UKAEA's proposed new low level waste facility. Members of the public and media are invited to attend and there will be an opportunity to raise questions. The agenda and relevant paperwork can be found at  The establishment of the stakeholder groups reflects a founding principle of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to decommission sites in a way that it is open and transparent.

Renal Unit To Expand In Five Months At Caithness General Hospital In Wick
Training is expected to start over the next five months to enable an extra three members of staff at Caithness General to treat up to 16 patients who require renal dyalysis locally.   This will be of great benefit to the people in Caithness and Sutherland who are currently travelling to Raigmore three times a week for treatment.  Pauline Craw, Assistant General Manager at Caithness General said: “This new service will have a huge impact on the people and their families who at the moment have to travel the 240 mile journey to Inverness and back three times a week.   Many families have reported in the past that they worry about their loved ones travelling in all weather conditions when often they are not feeling in the best of health.
The extra three members of staff are undergoing a five month training programme, after which the Renal Dyalysis service will be operational locally to an extra four patients per week.” Renal Dyalysis is one of the treatments that can be safely delivered in smaller acute hospitals. 

Map Reading Weekend
The army Cadets carried out a map reading weekend on the 14th and 15th January. All the Cadets worked hard, and found some of the problems not only of navigating, but also simply moving, at night. Daytime navigation skills were also tested and all the cadets came away having learned and passed something. The picture shows Cdt JJ Munro, LCpl Gregor Maclean and LCpl Niall Hornidge working out bearings and grid references for the outdoor navigation exercise.
Army Cadet Force Index

Atomic Energy Agency signs deal with private firms to bid for nuclear clean-ups - Guardian
Guardian Unlimited speculating about UKAEA's chosen partners for new Alliiance - "But the choice of the two has raised some eyebrows. Amec has recently been the subject of takeover speculation while CH2M Hill was at the centre of a row in US Congress.  The American company and a partner were awarded a $28.5m (£16m) contract to oversee the US-led $1.7bn public works and water construction projects in Iraq, only for politicians to point out that some of the firms it was monitoring were partners in other schemes elsewhere."

Highland Council Aims To Get All Children Swimming Before They Start Secondary School
A report to the Education committee of Highland Council shows the number of children getting lessons and how many cannot swim at present.  Whilst the numbers are good the council is aiming rto get every child swimming by the time they leave primary school.  There is circulated Report No ECS15/06 by the Director of Education, Culture and Sport, concerning the request for a report made at the Committee’s meeting on 22 September 2005, providing information on schools providing swimming lessons and pupils who can swim by the end of Primary school. The report also recommends action that will ensure that almost all children in Highland start secondary school being able to swim.  Full Education Committee Agenda 19 January 2006

Roxburgh Road, Wick
Three new photos of Roxburgh Road, Wick taken on 31 December 2005.  Only when adding them to the web site did we notice that the two already on the site were taken exactly four years earlier on 31 December 2001.  Both days were bright and sunny but in 2001 it had been snowing.

The SS Jura - Stranded In Dunnet Bay 1926
1926 "JURA" a Glasgow steamer, dragged her anchors while lying in Dunnet Bay and stranded near  Murkle. The crew were landed safely but the vessel become a total wreck. - Photo supplied by Raymond Bryson from his fathers papers. the Caithness Field Club Bulletins have details of how frighteningly dangerous the Pentland Firth can be.  See Wrecks of the Pentland Firth series -
1830 - 1846   1847 - 1865   1866 - 1882   1883 - 1890   1891 - 1917
1918 - 1933   1934 - 1981

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant Primary School Thurso

Salvation Army Band - Thurso About 1937
Another early photo sent in by Raymond Bryson whose father is in the photo. Raymond said, "Salvation Army Band, Riverside, Thurso, and the year is estimated to be 1937 (+/-1 year). This is based on the fact that my father, Andrew Bryson, far left of picture, looks about 12-13 years old. He was born in 1922. I have no information on others in the picture apart from Captain and Mrs Raine who are standing either side of the doorway."

UKAEA Goes Into An Alliance To Prepare For Decommissioning Contracts In 2008
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), AMEC plc and CH2M HILL have formed an important new alliance to target opportunities in the UK’s £56 billion (£2bn a year) nuclear clean up market. The alliance heralds the start of an open and competitive market in UK civil nuclear decommissioning and responds to the government’s landmark decision to open this market to competition. The alliance will initially target selected sites among the UK’s 20 civil nuclear sites which are now being opened to competition by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Around half of these are expected to be bid by the end of 2008. Beyond this market, the partners will explore further international opportunities such as the multi-billion pound market in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, building on the alliance partners’ experience in these regions.

Dochgarroch - Caledonian Canal
Here are some photos of Dochgarroch about a mile from the lochs at Inverness.
Caledonian Canal    Highland Views



Reay School Photos 1933 - Names Now In
We never cease to be surprised at the information that eventually comes in even for an older photo such as this one from Reay sent in by Katrina Kirkpatrick on 29 October 2005.  James Sutherland has now sent in information from Jessie Mackay (nee Douglass and John Forbes both of whom are in the photo.  thanks to them for sending the details in.


ANOTHER school has scored double figures in the twins test. St Aloysius Primary in Chapelhall have trumped their Caithness rivals.  Just days after Mount Pleasant school in Thurso was reported as breaking the records of Liverpool school for number of twins another school has taken the record.  Ach weel there is always next year.

The Great Eggcase Hunt
There are more than 14 different species of Skate & Ray around the British Isles. Many of these cartilaginous fish, related to Sharks, are in decline. Orkney has reported to the Shark Trust that they have some very large eggcases and after a comparison of them with several museums, it is firmly believed that they belong to the Common Skate which is rare nowadays although years ago was a common site (they can grow up to 3m in length!) There are two Eggcase hunts being organised - Strathy beach on Saturday 15th April and then Sunday the 16th April I will be on Dunnet Beach.

Thurso Primary  - Early 1930's
Photos supplied by Liz Sinclair, Maryburgh



Inward Investment In Caithness Continues
Major New Commercial Development At Forss Looks To The Future

On 18 November 2005 Abbey Properties Cambridgeshire Limited gained an outline planning consent for development on the former mast site US naval base, Forss, Thurso. The brown field site comprises 126 acres (gross) and is located adjacent to Forss Technology Park and close to Dounreay which is due to undergo a £2.6 billion decommissioning programme in the future. The outline planning consent, applied on a significant part of the site, provides for the development of a mixed use scheme on the site as well as new roads and services that may be associated with any development.  The site will provide a mixed use of buildings including industrial and warehouse, office, and research and development buildings as well as accommodation. A spokesman for Abbey Properties Cambridgeshire Limited stated that “this planning consent is good news for the area as it will allow for future commercial development and increased employment. It is also in an excellent location to provide services to sites and buildings for companies that may be involved with the decommissioning of Dounreay.”

Full Funding Package Over £3.5 Million In Place For Caithness Horizons in Thurso
Caithness Horizons has been awarded the final phase of its crucial capital funding package allowing work to begin within the next few months.  The Highlands and Islands Partnership Programme (HIPP), which administers EU funds for the region, has announced its support for the redevelopment of Thurso Town Hall, with a contribution of £100,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Dennis Malone, Chief Executive of HIPP, said: “I am delighted that ERDF has been able to make a financial contribution to one of the most exciting projects in Caithness and I am confident that the investment will deliver significant benefits for the area.”  According to the business plan work is due to start in the next few months with completion of the building in late 2007 and opening in 2008. 

Message Board Breaks Another Record With 157 Folk Online at 8.13pm
With over 5,500 and over 46,000 messages posted by over 2500 members and many more folk reading them this is busy place most evenings.  There are now folk on Caithness .org at any time of the day or night from somewhere around the world.  Busiest times are in the evening UK time and less in the early hour of the morning.  If you have something to say or just want to read what others are saying then check out the Message Board.

Deputy First Minister Opens UK's Biggest Windfarm
Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen today (13 January 2006) officially opens the UK's largest wind project - ScottishPower's Black Law windfarm near Forth in South Lanarkshire. Black Law marks a major change in the scale of ScottishPower's renewable business with the project almost doubling the company's wind power capacity and making it the largest wind power generator in the UK. The £90 million windfarm delivers an output of 97MW from 42 turbines - enough clean green energy to power 70,000 homes. It will also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by a massive 200,000 tonnes each year.
Current Wind Farm Applications For Highland As At December 2005
Potential 259 turbines for Caithness with over 660MW of capacity enough for over 400,000 homes if they were all built.  Whilst not all of these wind farms may be built there are certainly others not listed but under consideration by a whole range of farmers, landowners and community groups.  The potential for carbon dioxide emissions being reduced is huge. News that the large companies want to use compulsory purchase orders for laying of cables and for acquiring land for building turbines is sure to keep the pot boiling.

A delegation from The Highland Council's Gaelic Select Committee will give evidence at a meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Regional and Minority Languages Charter. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was drawn up in 1992 by the Council of Europe to help promote Europe's lesser used languages. The UK Government signed the Charter in 2000 and ratified it in 2001 in respect of Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland and Welsh.

Children In Need Grants  - Closing Date For Applications 30 March 06

The Tree Council, a national charity that promotes the planting and conservation of trees in town and countryside has two grant schemes available for 2006. These are the Trees for Schools Fund and the Communities Tree Fund. Under these funds grants of up to £700 are available both to schools and community groups.

Calling Arts Groups To Check Out New Funding Source
Clore Duffield foundation Is offering grants of up to £10,000.   The programme aims to support performing arts education activities for young people (aged 0 - 18) across the UK.  The programme runs for five years until 2010.

Caravan Club Gets Permission To Extend Dunnet Caravan Site
The Caravan Club has been granted planning permission for Alterations and extension to reception area, erection of wardens toilet block and mains room, extend site from 40 pitches to 55 pitches, install new foul drainage connection

Planning Permission For Illuminated Signs At New Argos Store, Wick
As the new shopping complex to include Homebase and Argos moves on other steps are gradually being put in place towards the opening of the new stores. The current owners of the property A & R Properties, Avebury, Central Milton Keynes were the applicants.  See Latest Caithness Planning Applications Passed Here  See current and earlier applications Here

J D Wetherspoon, Wick Applies To Put Canopy Over Outdoor Decked Area
The application is for a "glazed canopy and walls with retractable awning" and should provide shelter from the rain but let folk sit outside in some comfort on wet days.

One More Day To Have Your Say On Highland Council's Renewable Energy Strategy
Anyone who wants to comment on the Highland's councils Energy Strategy has until 5.00pm on Friday 13 January (tomorrow) to do so.  Responses will be accepted by email.

More Early Caithness Views  - Postcards
SS Indian Beached 1910    Stirkoke House Destroyed By Fire
Another 12 old postcards from the MacManus collection.



A five-year plan to "green" the energy use of The Highland Council has set challenging targets for all staff and an ambitious programme of energy saving measures in the Council’s top 100 energy-consuming buildings. Before 2010, the Council wants to: - Reduce energy use by 15%; Avoid £3.8 million in energy costs; Reduce carbon emissions from Council buildings by a minimum of 15%; and Increase the installed capacity of renewable energy equipment by a minimum of 4,000 kilowatts.  Like householders the council has seen a huge increase in energy prices and is trying to take steps to tackle the problem.  Between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, the Council’s energy bill rose by 20% to £5.2 million and the expectation is that it will increase by a further £1.835 million in the current financial year and a further £1.858 million in 2006-2007.

Rural Sub Post Offices - John Thurso MP Involved In Yesterdays Debate In At Westminster
This link will take you to Hansard (the record of what is said in the house of Commons) the debate yesterday about Rural Sub Post offices where our MP John Thurso was adding some interesting points along with other MP's on this issue crucial to some of our local Caithness communities.  And if you wonder how we keep up with it all you can do it via a very helpful web site we use They Work For You  You can request updates on any MP so that any time they speak on a topic you can be notified by email.  Whilst most of it may not be of interest it does show the massive amounts of detail MP's etc have to cope with.

Learn to Canoe - Try It Tonight
Yes we know it's winter but lots of clubs are actively gearing for the better weather.  If the diving below the water is not for you as yesterdays ad how about on top of it. From 6.30pm - 8.00pm from tonight you can learn all about canoeing in the Thurso Swimming Pool.  Pentland Canoe Club will have people on hand to tell you all about it and let you have a go under supervision.  Getting ready over the next few weeks will prepare you for getting out on the water in coming months for fun and fitness not to mention seeing some of the countryside and coast from a different angle.

For Young Folk Interested In Nature - Caithness Critters
The Caithness Critters is a local children's nature group run by the Highland Council Ranger Service.  The club is open to children aged 8 to 14 with an interest in wildlife & the environment.  The club meets on a regular basis & aims to encourage greater appreciation for the environment and wildlife by raising awareness at an early age. The Critters Club membership is currently open as some of the older members have moved on.  the group is run by the Ranger service.  Contact Marina Swanson at the Ranger Office in Wick

Latest Newsletter From Pultentytown Academy Primary School, Wick 

Ever Wanted To Try Skuba Diving? - Now's Your Chance
Yes you can and all in the comfort of Thurso swimming pool next week under the expert eye of members of Caithness Diving Club.  If you have never been underwater for more than the length of one breath get along and try this out.  After the try out you can be getting more experience, training and certificates and enjoying this great sport.  Don't just watch it on TV try it out next week.

Birding For Beginners - Sunday 22nd January
Meet Somerfield car park, Wick, boating shed end at 11am
Join the countryside ranger on an introduction to bird watching up the Wick River. Spot wintering wildfowl including teal and wigeon along side the usual suspects such as red shank and heron. Telescope & binoculars available. Please wear outdoor clothing & stout footwear.  Beginners preferred!  THE EVENT IS FREE OF CHARGE

Mitzi  - Another Pet In Pets Corner
This hyperactive poodle is two years old and probably keeps the whole family fit when she takes them for walks.
Main Pets Index   Missing Pets



Nathan Warmack Receives Apology Over Kilt
The apology by Jackson High Has Flashed Around the World

The Petition gained almost 12,000 signatures asking that Nathan be allowed to wear his kilt at school events after a ban.  the story attracted worldwide attention after members of Clan Gunn started a petition to get the Jackson High school dress code changes to allow Nathan to wear his kilt.  Now it looks as if the school will allow all national dress to be worn at formal occasions.  Rob Gibson MSP Comments

ATC Late 1950's

More Early Caithness Photos
Another couple of early photos for the gallery.  A McEwans coal truck in a Wick Gala and William Gunn and a McEwans coal horse.  If you can help date these photos then let us know.  If you would like to add to the galleries with an old photo send it to

Latest Newsletter From North Primary School, Wick

Graham Maharg From Scarfskerry Launches First Album
Graham MacHarg and his family live on croft at Scarfskerry.  Graham has now produced his first album in cooperation with Addie Harper Jr on guitars. Graham sings and supplies the keyboard backing for his songs which have a haunting characteristic and make for easy listening curled up with a glass of wine or a wee dram on cold Caithness night.


Wanton Vandalism Of New Bench Seats At Lybster Condemned By Local People
Vandalism which occurred to newly erected seats in the playpark at the back of Mowat Place has been condemned by local people as wanton. These seats were donated to the community by the Community Council at the request of a number of young mothers and the cost came to £250. The seats were erected on Hogmanay and lasted until the following Saturday evening!  Enquiries are on-going with the police and there is a chance that the culprits will be apprehended. Anyone with information on this matter is urged to contact the Police either in the village or Wick.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of everyone living in the region The Highland Council is on course to reach its recycling target of 17.6% by April 2006.

Reward Offered For Cat Missing Brownhill, Road, Thurso

Members of The Highland Council’s Caithness Area Committee met on Monday with officials and voluntary sector partners to look at the vision for early years services in the County.  They considered the local concerns from some communities about the possible loss of local pre-school provision.  Caithness Children's Champion, Councillor Bill Fernie said: “This is about improving services, and ensuring that they are viable into the longer term. We face a number of challenges at a time of falling nursery populations, but we recognise the need to make sure our Caithness communities remain family-friendly.  We have some ideas that we wish to discuss with local parents, about how we can jointly make sure we sustain services that are at the heart of community life."

Highland Pupils to Benefit From Active Schools Coordinators
Twenty seven new “Active Schools Coordinators” were welcomed into their new active lifestyle promoting roles in Highland primary schools by the Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education Culture and Sport Committee and the Chief Executive of sportscotland.  Highland Councillor Andrew Anderson and Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland welcomed the new Active Schools Coordinators (Primary) today at Inverness Leisure along with Highland Council members and staff, NHS Highland health promotion and public health lead managers.  Funded by The Highland Council and sportscotland, the £975,000 programme will run to 2008.  Caithness will gain two coordinators - one in Wick and One in Thurso

Preferred Bidder For £100 Million Clean-up Announced
UKAEA has announced the preferred bidder for the largest single construction project yet during decommissioning Dounreay. Following a European-wide competitive tendering process, UKAEA has selected the BAND Alliance to deliver a plant to treat liquid and solid radioactive wastes that are a legacy of reprocessing fast reactor fuel at Dounreay. The Alliance consists of prime contractor AMEC and British Nuclear Group Project Services Ltd, NIS Ltd, DGP International and Weir Strachan & Henshaw.  Subject to obtaining the necessary regulatory, planning and other consents, the new plant is expected to cost in the region of £100 million to design and build.  Its primary role will be to condition wastes arising from the clean-out of underground tanks used to store liquids from the historical reprocessing of fast reactor fuel.  This waste accounts for almost 80% of the radioactive waste hazard at Dounreay and its treatment is the highest priority in the site restoration plan.

Major High At the End Of 2005 For Local Mountaineer
Bob Kerr From Melvich To The Summit Of Aconcagua - Highest Mountain In South America

Local mountaineer Bob Kerr (27), from Melvich, has just returned to northern Scotland following a successful ascent of “Cerro Aconcagua” on 30th December 2005.  Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America and it is also the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia. This mountain is almost 23000’ high (6962m) and is located in the Andes mountain chain in western Argentina. To put the height of Aconcagua into perspective, Eastern Airways’ Jetstream 41 aircraft fly from Wick at a cruising height of about 21000’ and these aircraft are pressurised to provide adequate oxygen to its passengers.
Well done Bob - A very different Hogmanay  Cheers From

Starts Today
Exhibition On Radioactive Particles In The Environment
Want To Have Your Say On Dealing With the Particles?  Find Out More and How You Can

Monday 9th January 2006 (10a.m. – 5p.m.)
Tuesday 10th January 2006 (1 – 8p.m.) (5 – 8p.m. BSL/English Interpreter available)
Wednesday 11th January 2006 (10a.m. – 5p.m.)
Thursday 12th January 2006 (1 – 8p.m.) (5 – 8p.m. BSL/English Interpreter available)
During 2006 UKAEA wants to consult the public on the options for dealing with the legacy of radioactive particles in the environment. These exhibitions are an opportunity for you to find out the work that has been carried out to date and how you can play your part in helping us choose the right option.
For more information see Particles In The Marine Environment
Can't make the exhibition or meetings then fill out the online questionnaire to make your points by 26 January 2006.
Dounreay Particles Plan Outlined - BBC
Dounreay In Big Clean Up Drive - Scotsman

Taking You To Places The Miller Family Members Visited in the Early 1900's
The Millers may have left Wick for Canada but they came back and visited not only Caithness but many other parts of Scotland and England.  As you will see from the postcards yet to come they put in a lot of miles in the early 1900's.


More Postcards - From Maureen Materi
Maureen Materi's collection of postcards reflects the travels of the Miller family who emigrated to Canada but who made many trips to places in the UK and abroad.  As was often the case they sent many postcards from the places they visited.  Coming soon are more of the places they visited from various parts of Scotland and the UK as well as places in their adopted homeland of Canada.  Can anyone pinpoint Scorrieclett for us?

Sutherland Postcard
This postcard shows Brora looking east. The Postcard is from the collection of Maureen Materi and is postmarked 3 April 1913.



Caithness Postcards - Latest Additions To the Maureen Materi Collection
Maureen Materi's Caithness postcards were mainly sent by members of the Miller family many of whom travelled and sent many postcards from the places they went.


Another Name For Miller Academy 1950 Photo  - Just In

More Wick Postcards - Hamish Gunn Collection
Two views of Wick and interestingly a coloured one of Francis Street that is the same view as an earlier one.  This one is in colour and the earlier in black and white.  The colour must have been applied by hand and the black and white card is postmarked 1908. If anyone wishes to contribute to this growing section send pictures to   Caithness Postcard Index   Main Postcard Index

Sutherland Postcards
This latest batch of postcards from Alex MacManus is of Sutherland views.  If anyone knows any details about the fire at the Brora Hotel in 1924 we would like to add this to the picture.
Main Post Card Index

‘Old’ New Year to bring in fresh Highland festival - Sunday Herald
Highland 2007 festival will be the culmination of a rolling programme of events that began in 2005 with more being added in 2006.  Community groups have been encouraged to apply for funding to run events in all years heading to a larger one in 2007.  There has been criticism in some quarters that the events would be too Inverness centred but more and more events are still being added and there is still time to apply for funds - See Highland 2007   Another interesting item in the Sunday Herald also - Does the Celtic heart still beat  - the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow has grown bigger each year and perhaps Highland 2007 might move on to greater things.

US student wins right to wear kilt at high school - Scotsman
It looks as if Nathan Warmack fight to win a change in the school dress policy and allow him to wear a kilt at formal events has been won.  Nothing has yet appeared on the Petition web site but no doubt something will appear in due course.  A victory for common sense.  This has been one of the few signs of a gathering of the clans where most folk were in agreement.  We wonder if we might see some other ventures in the future for this worldwide clan get together to aid causes whether with a Scottish clan issue or of wider importance.  We hope to see Nathan in his full outfit at some point in the future.  Cheers to all at Jackson High, Missouri.

More Early Photos Of Caithness Folk

Legal fund set up for US kilt-wearing student - Scotsman
Still catching up with items after the New Year this one Nathan Warmack and his kilt continues the growing saga as the legal eagles get involved.  whether the school in Jackson changes its dress code or not one thing is for sure the wee town is becoming more and more well known.  A few folk in Missouri may eventually make it to Scotland and perhaps some folk from here will go and take look at Missouri.  We may not have heard the last of how a kilt started an interest in each others places once again.
The Online Petition has slowed but is still adding new names.  Maybe a few more folk will be interested to take a look and sign up - stands at 11,834 at time of posting this item.3.08pm UK time.

Another Name Added - Scottish Country Dancers 1967
This photo came to the web site as one of a few sent in for a Wick High School Reunion in August 2001.  Dena Miller has just found the photo and spotted her mothers surname was missing.  Now we have yet another photo with the names almost all in.  Only one to go on this photo.



Final Name on 1962 North School Photo
This photo has been on the web site since 2001 and at last thanks to Andrew Mackay we have the last missing name.  It just shows that if you wait long enough the information might turn up.  Thanks Andrew for sending it in.  Maybe the fact that the boy won the top 20 records of the day made it stick in your mind.

Whiz Mania Etc - Don't Do It
Game shows, TV Quizes and any other times you are asked to phone  premium rate number.  We say don't do it.  Think about it the odds are against you and the profits are guaranteed for the company running the programme.  Aimed at the weak brained the gullible and anyone home after the pubs have closed they are after your cash.  with an endless talk talk of folk entering they try to include anyone who phones in.  But they are extracting cash from al entrants and most will never get through to the programme.  Think about it.... the temptation is you will win thousands.  You probably won't.  but you might give more money to the company running the comp.  End this con.  Do not reply to premium rate TV programmes. Do not be surprised that new shows have winners they will be few and far between as time goes on.  Don't be tricked out of your cash.

Exhibition On Radioactive Particles In The Environment
Want To Have Your Say On Dealing With the Particles?  Find Out More and How You Can

Monday 9th January 2006 (10a.m. – 5p.m.)
Tuesday 10th January 2006 (1 – 8p.m.) (5 – 8p.m. BSL/English Interpreter available)
Wednesday 11th January 2006 (10a.m. – 5p.m.)
Thursday 12th January 2006 (1 – 8p.m.) (5 – 8p.m. BSL/English Interpreter available)
During 2006 UKAEA wants to consult the public on the options for dealing with the legacy of radioactive particles in the environment. These exhibitions are an opportunity for you to find out the work that has been carried out to date and how you can play your part in helping us choose the right option.
For more information see Particles In The Marine Environment
Can't make the exhibition or meetings then fill out the online questionnaire to make your points by 26 January 2006. Breaks The Records Yet Again In 2005 - Breaks 4 Million Visitor Barrier
2005 smashed all previous totals for visitors and hit rates.
Totals for the 12 months to 31 December 2005 were -
Hits 140,009,910 Visitors 4,105,113

The increase in visitors and hit rates has been truly amazing in 2005 as a whole series of records have been smashed. 2005 trebled the visitor numbers and was over 4.1 million visitors. The hit rate passed the 100million hits to end the year on a whopping 140,105,910.  Some interesting figures for the year are -  Page Views in excess of 50 million - Average Daily Page views in December 146,221 - Average Daily Caithness Business Index look ups 17,893 - over half a million in December alone.  There were 58,963 visitors to the Arts pages in December checking out 119,535 pages.  There are over 1500 visitors per day to the Message Boards for discussions and big increases in the FREE classified ads where people in Caithness are selling almost anything.  The Message Boards are now getting in excess of half a million page views per month.  The new sports section saw over 4000 visitors in December.  The What's On had 230,708 pages looked at in December. advertisers will be happy as banners not only show on the web sites but on the Sutherland and other smaller web sites.  The stats for these are not included in the above stats meaning they get even higher shows.  Note - Revised from earlier today as a part of the stats had not been included.
As always thanks to all our visitors and to all of you who have contributed items for the site in 2005.

Should the Highlands break free...
This piece from Lesley Riddoch in today's Herald is as thought provoking and controversial as ever from this journalist who had some of her formative years in Caithness.  Seems like some great material for the Message Board......      About Lesley Riddoch

Another Collection Of Caithness Postcards

Thanks to David Sutherland for sending in this latest batch of postcards that he inherited from his mother Doris.  Three from Wick and one with views of Caithness.  Really interesting to see what Wick harbour was like as sail was about to disappear.

Well Maybe One More - Lindsay Place
Here is another Christmas Lights photo that we had lost in our email.  This was due to a virus problem we had to fix over the past few days.  In the process some emails were lost so if you sent one in recently and did not receive a reply or a photo was not acknowledged please resend it.


Wildlife Spotted In Caithness by You
2006 and another new section for the wildlife watchers and especially those of you out with a digital camera.  We know that Caithness abounds with animals and birds and now that so many folk have digital camera with them when out for walk we are sure that there will be many opportunities to capture some great photos.  If you get something of interest why not email it in for this section to build a records of what is seen across Caithness in 2006.  Email your Caithness wildlife photos to   We start off the new section with a couple of photos of a Waxwing from Sara Herrick's garden at Bower. 
About Waxwings

Kelsey Chalmers Heads For First Day At Nursery In Fallingbostel, Germany
This photos of Kelsey Chalmers ready for her first day at nursery has been sent in by her dad Chris Chalmers.  Chris and his wife Lorraine are both from Thurso and Kelsey aged 3 was born in Edinburgh.  Chris is currently serving in German with the British Army.  They keep a close eye on Caithness via the web site and sent in a wedding photo a few years back


Final Christmas Lights Photos - From Brora
Just before we say farewell to the Christmas And New Year Holidays here is final batch of lights from a house in Brora.  We hope you all enjoyed the Christmas section  - the biggest since we began.


Mairi Nicolson From Wick Returns To Antarctic
Once again Wicker Mairi Nicolson is back on the adventure trail in Antarctic.  This time she has a new job and is in  Port Lockroy on Goudier IslandYou can keep up with some of what is happening out there via the online diary at the Antarctic Expedition web site.
See Mairi Nicolson's Earlier Trips To Antarctic


More Pets
It looks like the Pets Corner is likely to grow in 2006 and as Caithness pets are still coming in.  If you would like your pet added to the growing galleries send a photos to
If your pet goes missing lets us know the details to post in the Missing Pets section.

More Old Wick Postcards
A few more postcards showing wick views in the 1920's and 30's.  Interestingly one shows a severe flood in 1931 - perhaps something we should take note of for the future considering last years high water.  Also another view of High Street, Wick that appears to clash with the one already entered yesterday.  Same view in different years but one says looking north while the latest one says looking west.  It is interesting to note the changes in the two photos but we are unable to say exactly what year each picture was taken.

Early Caithness Postcards

Another collection of early Caithness postcards sent in by Alex MacManus from his mothers collection.  See others from Maureen Materi Collection   Main Postcard Index

Attention All Gala Week, Highland Games, Shows etc Organisers  - Send in Dates
We are already being asked when various dates of events in the summer of 2006 are on.   Folk are planning trips to Caithness and want to know the dates in order to see if they can fit in a particular event.  Organisers or committee members can send in details to get them in included in the Galas, Games page and they can be entered in the What's On Calendar  This is all FREE but needs someone to let us know the dates of the events.  The sooner the event is posted the longer it is publicised.  Don't leave it to the week or month before.  People are asking now.

Army Cadet Force - Caithness - Early Years Photo Gallery

Rare Find On North Beach By Scarfskerry Resident - Northern Times 30 Dec 2005
Christine Cormack of Scarkskerry featured in a recent issue of Northern Times after the discovery of a Loggerehead Turtle when out with her dog at the harbour.  Sheila Moir from Scarkskerry sent us the item for inclusion so that Christine's son who is in the USA might see the item.


A Few More Photos From Wick's Hogmanay Street Party - Have You More To Add?

Fran Purves has sent in a few of her photos taken at the Wick Hogmanay Street Party.  If anyone would like to add more then send them in.  If you have photos of another party  - Thurso, Castletown, Watten Staxigoe or other places in Caithness that had Hogmanay celebrations then feel free to send them in to us for inclusion.

First Aid Course (8 hour)
The Caithness Sports Council is organising an 8 hour First Aid Course.  The course is being run by Highland Leisure Training from Inverness. The course is aimed at people involved in sport.  Date: 25 March 2006  Time: All day (9am to 5pm) Venue: Thurso or Wick (depending on venue availability) Places are limited to 12 individuals Cost: £20/individual (Caithness Sports Council Club Members) The Caithness Sports Council is subsidising the cost of this course, therefore grant aid applications from clubs will not be considered. £40/individual (non Caithness Sports Council Club members) To reserve a place, please contact Ken Nicol (tel: 01847 831508) or email  for an application form.

Cat Missing From Tansfield Castletown

Meanwhile At Bignold Park, Wick A Traditional Hogmanay Bonfire

Iain Sutherland former chairman of the Wick Society has for the past 15 years organised the bonfire at Bignold Park, Wick to bring in the New Year.  One the council organised this but after it was discontinued Iain took up yet another challenge to keep the tradition going.  It was a very successful night last night with up to 100 folk bringing in the New Year and many others arriving to say hello and have a dram by the blazing fire.

Huge Turnout For Wick's Hogmanay Street Party

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