River Helmsdale Flooding
Water Shortages?
Not in Caithness & Sutherland
Helmsdale Index
Sutherland Index


New Aberdeen-Amsterdam Route Takes Off
The number of international passengers jetting out of Aberdeen is set to increase following the launch of a new direct bmi regional route to Amsterdam.  This week saw the UK’s most punctual regional carrier commence a new service that departs for Amsterdam three times daily Monday to Friday, once on Saturday and twice on Sundays. Operated by bmi regional’s all jet fleet of Embraer aircraft, the flight schedule is conveniently timed to meet the needs of Aberdeen’s growing numbers of business passengers and is designed to allow for a full working day in Holland’s capital.  Flying Index

UKAEA Donate New Goal Posts and Gates To South School, Wick
UKAEA via their apprentices have donated two sets of goalposts and two new gates for the football field to South Primary School, Wick.  Some of the apprentices were on hand today to make a formal hand over of their handiwork with two of the school teams decked out in their strips.

Mad March Walk - South School, Wick

A sponsored walk to raise funds for the school and the money will definitely not be held in the school following this weeks break-in.  South Primary School Index    Schools & Education Index

Non-native Mink Removed From Uists  - Next Areas To Be Tackled Will Be Lewis and Harris
The removal of non-native American mink from the Uists has been successfully achieved by the Hebridean Mink Project, and trapping and control will officially end today.  The population of mink on South Uist, North Uist and Benbecula has been eradicated, thereby helping to ensure the future of internationally protected ground nesting birds. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has confirmed £30,000 has been approved for further work in Harris to halt the spread of the voracious predator which is alien to the Western Isles and the UK. This three month extension of Phase 1 of the Hebridean Mink Project will employ three trappers and will also prevent the spread of the mink back to Uist.

Mey and District Gardening Club Bulb Show 2006

Last Day To Enter Book Competition To Win Free copy of Highland Clearances Trail

Cost of Decommissioning Up Rises Again
The publication on 30 March 2006 of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) approved Strategy sets out for the first time how the UK will tackle the clean-up of its historic nuclear facilities including the UKAEA site at Dounreay in Caithness, and the Magnox Electric Ltd sites, Hunterston A in Ayrshire and Chapelcross near Dumfries.  The NDA will establish a Nuclear Skills Institute and a National Nuclear Skills Academy.  A delivery arm of the Academy will be located at Thurso.

Tackling nuclear legacy poses formidable challenge - Financial Times

TREATS Easter Activities Plan
Keep the kids interested during the Easter Holidays In Thurso
Note - We are currently transferring all nurseries , playgroups and out of school groups to their own new section.  If your group has more information or you would like changes or additions please get in touch.  the new section has it own index and news section where we will gradually being adding new material and linking in all of the existing groups as they are moved.  New Index 

Two Ambitious Thurso Teenagers Win Places On Youth Theatre Course
Two talented Thurso teenagers are on their first step of the ladder to becoming the next big screen legends. The girls have achieved a place with the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow, on the esteemed Summer Festival Foundation Course. Donna Douglas and Eilidh Williamson, both aged 14, have been awarded a placement, having successfully completed a gruelling audition in Inverness, beating off hundreds of other hopefuls for a place on the popular course. Donna, an active member of the Thurso Players for four years, said: “We are so excited and proud to have both been accepted.

MV Youth Volunteering Awards For Highland Hospice
Highland Hospice shops in Wick and Thurso honoured their young volunteers this week by hosting a reception in the Thurso shop. Five volunteers achieved the top award of a MV Gold certificate for completing more than 200 hours volunteering, while another achieved Silver for 100 hours, with another gaining the Bronze for 50 hours volunteering. The awards were presented by Catherine Patterson development officer for Volunteering Highland and in attendance were other volunteers and shop manager for Highland Hospice, Johanna Geddes.

Latest Volunteering Opportunities
Volunteering Highland is currently offering opportunities of various kinds in Caithness with the following groups - Thurso Beyond 2000 - Enablelink - Homestart Caithness - HomeAid Caithness

Halkirk Gets Kerbside Recycling
Following on from the success of the Kerbside recycling collections which began last April in Wick and Thurso, The Highland Council has decided to expand the service to include another 350 households in Halkirk on the garden waste collection service. Each household on the route in Halkirk has recently been supplied with an additional brown wheelie bin and a Kerbside recycling calendar giving the collection dates. The new recycling collections will start on Friday 14 April 2006 and will operate on a fortnightly basis. The normal refuse collection will be unaffected.  Recycling Centres  Environment Index

£134 Million Highland Schools Contract Is Biggest Ever In The North
The Highland Council today (Thursday 30 March 2006) signed an agreement confirming the biggest building programme to be undertaken by a local authority in the Highlands, including Scotland’s first purpose built Gaelic school. Alpha Schools (Highland) Ltd, a consortium of Morrison PLC and Noble Fund Managers, will begin work next month on the first three of 11 new rural and urban community schools to be built over the next three years under the second Highland Education Public Private Partnership as part of the Council's ambitious 21st Century School Improvement Programme. Turf cutting ceremonies will be held at the site of a new primary school to meet the rapidly growing population at Inshes, Inverness, Dingwall Academy and Portree High School over the next few weeks following the signing of the bond launch and financial close of the contract, which has a capital value of £134 million

Project Ability In Thurso
The Clyde and Pentland Firth have met in an arts project held in Ormlie Centre in Thurso. The event was organised by Jennifer Ironside of Key Housing and ran in conjunction with Project Ability who are a Glasgow based visual arts organisation. Three artists, accompanied by four artists who have learning disabilities travelled north to Thurso for three day workshop and to meet up with seven of the service users of Key Housing.
Photo Gallery From The Project

Balloon Race At Lybster School
Lybster Primary School finally got their 'Great Balloon Race' going today. It was postponed during the Easter Fayre on Saturday due to extremely wet weather! Today however the balloons took off into a clear blue sky and headed swiftly towards Camster and hopefully further afield. All the balloons carried a ticket which we would encourage anyone finding it to return, as the person who returns the ticket from the balloon that has travelled the furthest will win £20 in prize money!

Signs Of Spring 2006 On And Around St John's Pool
Latest bird sightings from this bird place in Caithness

Latest Update For Wick High 54-56 21 July 2006
Latest update from Janis Paterson - List growing for the reunion venue and band booked, see who is now confirmed and get your tickets ordered soon as date is start of gala week.
Reunions Main Index for all current and previous reunions.

Salt Cellars At Wick Harbour  - Art Project Involves Wick School Kids and Metal Gates

School children from all the Wick schools have been involved in a unique art project to create gates for the old Salt Cellars that have lain derelict for years.  The Wick Society have taken over the salt cellars and the art work of the children portraying parts of Wick's history has been drawn and is now being made into metal gates by Ian Sinclair.  The gates will be back lit to show up the designs on the gates.  They will be ready in and in place in June.

Youth Club Volunteers Wanted
All Youth Clubs in Caithness are currently struggling to attract adult helpers for both direct work with young people and management committee members.  Can you spare a few hours a week?

Highland Council Look Set To Oppose Giant Pylons - The Herald
The story in today's Herald focuses on the vast opposition to the proposal to build a line of giant pylons from the north of Scotland to Stirling. John Rennilson, Highland council's director of planning and development, has recommended to  councillors that they reject the proposal due to the visual impact, potential health issues.  More than 17,000 people have written to the Scottish Executive to object to the proposals. Highland Council alone has received 8100 objections to the scheme, and just one letter of support.

Council Welcomes Benefit Fraud Inspections As More Cases Referred For Prosecution
The Highland Council has renewed its commitment to tackling benefit fraud in the wake of two inspections from the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate.  "New claim processing meets the target set by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Council has stepped up its anti-fraud activity with a number of individuals having been referred to the Procurator Fiscal. A high priority is given to prevention and detection of benefit fraud."

Pipework Arrives For Wick's New Heating System And Digging Has Begun
Caithness Heat And Power company swung into action with the arrival of all of the pipework for the job.  the pipes currently sitting in Huddart street will soon be going into the ground as work has begun already digging the trenches in Nicolson Street.  At the same time the site for the new building to house the main plant and equipment has begun at the rear of the distillery.  Over the next few months the Pulteneytown area will see the pipework spread round all of the streets and begin to join all of the houses signed up for the new system ready to have constant heat at a fixed price next winter. the new plant will also produce electricity to be fed into the national grid.  Caithness Heat and Power Index

Org Records Set To Break Again In March
Message Board Alone Heading For One Million Page Downloads This Month
The forums on the Message Board are taking into new territory.  The numbers for the forums alone are heading towards a million page downloads for March.  The whole web site is equally on yet another upward surge as the visitor numbers are already over 600,000 with three days to go.  The hit rate for the past 12 months is a staggering 162,350,131 with three days yet to be added. As always thanks to you all for looking in.

Wick High Under 15's Football Team Launch Their Own Web Site
Flushed with success of an 11- 1 victory last week this powerhouse on the footy field have launched their own web site.  Go for it boys.  Here at we are all watching for great things in the Scottish Shield.  And congratulations again on an amazing game.  Mind the next one will not be as easy so keep training.  Links now added to the Under 15's football web site in Wick High and the Football Links page

New Face of Caithness Visual Arts
"FaceNorth" visual arts residency run by Northlands Glass and Lyth Arts Centre is now up and running and going from strength to strength. The residency, funded by the Scottish Arts Council and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise agency, offers the opportunity for local community groups with little or no arts skills to engage with professional artists Kate Williams, Shelagh Swanson and Alistair Pender over the coming months. Fused glass, time based artwork and mixed media assemblage are the three main areas the artists are concentrating on.

Campaigners In North Skye Look At Caithness & Belford Hospital Campaigns As Guide To Gesto
West highland Free Press is currently highlighting the feelings of people in North Skye to plans by  NHS highland to sell off a hospital gifted to the people of Skye.  Campaigners aim to register interest in buying Gesto Campaigners fighting NHS Highland plans to close and sell off Gesto Hospital in north Skye intend to register their interest in buying the building and surrounding land, the Free Press has learned.  The campaigners are looking to the success in Caithness and the Belford in Fort William as models for a potential increase in action to prevent the sale.  Skye And Lochalsh Links

Free Stuff - The Equivalent of Freecycling Is Taking Off
A range of items have already been recycled via the Free Stuff section of the message board and items passed on to new owners who have use for the them.  the idea is one of the fastest recycling ideas spreading across the Internet.  One of the biggest is and although we have not set up rules for ours so far we would tend to emulate their ideas.  For example when giving away animals owners may want to be careful about who potential owners of pets or other animals might be.  Safety is also something to be aware of if inviting people to pick up items from your home and we would advise having another person around when pick ups are arranged involving strangers.  It looks to be going well and several items have been removed after successful give aways.  Don't dump it - Give it away.  Charity shops will usually not accept electrical goods but you can give them away - even if broken as another person may fix it or use the parts keeping it out of landfill.

North Highland Forest Trust
NHFT publishes a newsletter packed with information and until they begin publishing on an upgraded web site at a later date we will publish it via  The March Newsletter is now online and is 18 pages of information on funding schemes and anything connected to forestry in Caithness and Sutherland including forestry walks and much more.

Wick Set To Be Retail Capital Of the North As New Shops Near To Opening
Wick Retail Park  - Seven Shops Nearly Ready
Work is racing ahead now as signs begin to go up and Homebase, Argos, Superdrug and New Look begin to get ready for an Easter opening.  Work inside and outside is moving on fast.  The old drystane wall along the edge is being rebuilt and new lay-by steps and ramps going in.

Work Started In June 2005   Structure Starts Going Up November 2005

Tescos Prepare To Race For Pre Christmas Opening In Wick A Meeting In Nethercliff Hears
Representatives From Tesco held a meeting today in the Nethercliff Hotel, Wick and spoke to local people to hear their views about shopping in Wick and how Tescos might affect the area.  As one of our message board people has reported they gave out the following information -
The new store is planned to open here in December and will be looking to employ between 175 - 300 new staff. The minimum wage being nearly £6 per hour.  There will be a drive-thru car wash and cafe at the new store as well as everything else Tesco usually offer including clothes, electrical items, fresh food deli's etc.. The store itself will be slightly bigger than the one in Dingwall and will probably be open from 6am - 12 midnight. Petrol will cost the same or less as the lowest price within a 3 mile radius. And the petrol station may well be open 24 hours.
See what they are saying on the Message Board and add your comments

Pension Strikers Were Also Out In Thurso Today
Strikers were out on the picket line at North Highland College today
joining with their co-workers up and down the UK.  With nearly 200,000 local authority employees in Scotland the strike will have had a substantial affect on may services..  Throughout the UK there are almost 2 million workers potentially affected by the proposed pension changes although  a much smaller number might actually be affected by the new rules.  Low paid workers and female workers in particular due to their higher numbers working for councils are perhaps more affected as they carry out many of the jobs in care homes, schools canteens, classroom assistants and many other categories.  Not all council workers have long years of service and may only be entitled to modest levels of pension often just a few hundreds or £3 - 4000 per annum.  Despite the problems facing the government most employees affected feel they are being unfairly treated compared to other public sector workers who are not facing the changes to reduce pension rights.

Caithness Orchestra and James Ross
The final concerts of our 25th anniversary season take place this week, on Wednesday 29 March in Wick Old Parish Church and on Thursday 30th March in Thurso High School Hall.  Both concerts start at 7.30 pm and should be finished by 9.15 pm. Prices are £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £7 for a 'family' ticket, ie an adult plus children. The programme includes Beethoven's 5th Symphony and pieces by the Russian composers Tchaikowsky and Borodin. For many, however, the highlight is the first performance of a new piece by Wick born composer and performer James Ross, written to a commission by the Orchestra under the auspices of Highland 2007.

Determination To Win Fight To Keep Pension Rights On Wick Picket Line
Strikers on the picket line were who members of both Unison and the TGWU at the main Caithness council offices in Wick today expressed their disappointment that their pension rights were under attack from a Labour government.  They felt that many of their members were low paid or women who mostly would not build up many years of service with average pension in many cases of less than £4000.  The feeling was that the government was hiding behind a smokescreen of European regulations and that if necessary they were determined to repeat the action.  Future action is yet to be decided by may well be more selective attacking in particular services like finance that brings in revenue to local authorities.  Inconvenience to today could well have other affects as people turned up today to pay rent or arrears and in some cases fines from court appearances where today was the final day for payment which might lead to other charges being incurred.

Scottish Infantry Regiments Consigned To History
As Royal Regiment Of Scotland (RSS) Appears
The end of an era happens to day as the six remaining  Scottish infantry regiments of the British army are merged into one.  The government has ignored all the campaigns to save them.  The six existing regiments being amalgamated as battalions of the super regiment are the Black Watch, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Highlanders.

Local Authority Strike Over Pensions Hits Caithness
The strike today by up to 200,000 local authority workers is hitting many services in Highland.  The strike is due to the decision to abolish Rule 85 whereby workers can retire early if their age and years of service are over 85  See Unison for a fuller explanation.  Other government workers such as civil servant and teachers are not affected as the government says the rules are different in their schemes.

What's Been Hit By the Strike? - There may be other services affected not on this listing.

Halkirk Young Farmers Won National 5-a-side title
A team from Halkirk YFC won the Scottish Association of Young Farmer's National 5-a-side football competition on Sunday 26th February at the National Competitions Weekend in Oban. A total of 15 teams took part. The format was two leagues of seven and eight with matches played for 7 minutes. Halkirk were joined in their group by Bell Baxter, Brechin, Inver Ross, Thornhill, Lanark, North Argyll and Bathgate. After finishing the group stages unbeaten with 24 goals scored and only 2 against, Halkirk played Dunlop in the semi-finals and won 4-1 to reach the final.

Free and Simple Job Ads - 29 Job Ads Currently in the Jobs Section
No CV's needed to be entered. No need to sign up for anything.  Just plain and simple job ads.  Employers can advertise for FREE and people seeking jobs can reads the ads - SIMPLE.    Why make it complicated?

Coaching Success For Kayakers
Three kayakers from the Thurso based Pentland Canoe Club have successfully passed their Scottish Canoe Association Coach Level 2 Award. Simon Copsey, Andy Ford and Martyn Sutherland were assessed by one of Scotland's leading kayak coaches, Jas Hepburn from Speyside.



Dounreay Bulletin Online - Issue 24
Demolition of Former Reactor Workshop - Dounreay to Seek New Authorisation from SEPA - Shaft Isolation Work Gets Underway - Dounreay's Old Boiler House is Decommissioned - Surveyor Detects Contamination
Dounreay Features in Radio 4 Programme - Sharing Knowledge with Kazakhstan - Tory Party Conference Hears of New Modern Apprenticeships in Engineering - and Decommissioning - PFR Plant Receives Commendation Following OGC Review - Awards for Dounreay Employee - Dounreay Trainees Win Award for Voluntary Work

Press and Journal Sale
Commenting on today's announcement that The Aberdeen Journals business, which includes The Press and Journal and Evening Express newspapers, is to be bought by DC Thomson owners of the Sunday Post and The Courier.  MSP Mary Scanlon said, "I am delighted that the ownership issue of The Press & Journal and the Aberdeen Evening Express has been settled, because I know that change can sometimes be difficult for staff.

First Photos Of New Music Link Media Project In Wick
The exciting new music tuition programme Music Link Media is now up and running with a programme of tuition already taking place. Lots of young people are already signed up to take part in lessons on all aspects of the music industry from playing through to sound and filming. The tuition is free and instruments and equipment of all sorts is available. Even music that is often expensive is available through the project. Caithness looks likely to keep on producing musicians for some time yet
The Music Link Media Project

Northern Constabulary’s Chief Constable gave a key note speech at a major conference today aimed at reducing violence in Scotland. Chief Constable Ian Latimer spoke of the devastating effect violence can have on communities across the country. The conference – ‘An Alliance for a Safer Future’ – was organised by the Violence Reduction Unit. Opened by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson MSP, the aim of the conference was to put violence reduction on everyone’s agenda.   The person who is statistically most likely to become a victim of violence will be a young man aged between 16 and 20, and the perpetrator is also likely be a young man in the same age group.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has written to Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry over the difficulty in accessing civil legal aid being experienced by women in parts of the Highland, who have been the victims of domestic abuse or are undergoing a marital break-up. Mrs Macmillan said, "I have been approached by local Women's Aid groups and Scottish Women's Aid who have raised their concerns at the lack of access to civil legal aid in Skye & Lochalsh and to a certain extent in Caithness and Sutherland.

Casper Out Of School Club Launches New Newsletter
The Casper Club in Castletown have launched a new newsletter and we have the first edition online.  Casper provide out of school activities and run a Breakfast Club and take care of children on those inconvenient days when the school is closed for teacher training and so on.  Their services have recently increased and they now have a number of staff in place offering their services.  Check them out if you live in the Castletown area.
Other Nurseries, Play Groups Out Of School Clubs.
We are in the process of improving the pages for these groups and moving them to a new section with a clearer lay out and will notify updates for all the groups on the new nursery index page We will be moving all of the groups to this new section so if your group has changes to make in contact details, times or other items about the group get in touch with

Viewfirth Photos Gallery
With Viewfirth Club, Thurso closing soon we have been asked to set up a Viewfirth photo gallery and following the request this is the first photo sent i for the new gallery.  If you have photos of Viewfirth you would like to share send them to


Caithness Country Music Festival - Have You Got Your Tickets Yet?
14 - 16 April - Halkirk - One of the fastest growing festivals in the north is right here in Caithness.  The Caithness country Music Festival is set for its third extravaganza of country music.  The line up is the biggest yet starting on Friday evening on 14th April carrying on until Sunday Night.  Day Tickets are £25 or single shows £15 or the best deal is a weekend ticket for everything at £60 with special rates for bus parties and children.  This is one of the success stories of the far north and looks like they are going for another one this year.

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 us 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!! We hope to raise money for this very worthwhile charity as most of us know someone who has been affected by this disease.  they have a number of fund raisers in the pipeline. Prize Bingo at the Francis St Club on 4th April at 8pm, all prizes generously donated by local proprietors. Baking and Bottle stall in the hospital canteen on 21st April at 10am Easter Raffle being drawn on Easter weekend. Tickets are available from the hospital reception...loads of great prizes. ways you can help - Sponsor them via Sponsor them via sponsor forms located at the hospital reception.  Fill their tins during the three legged pub crawl on April 22!!  Come along or donate to our fund raising events. All donations gratefully received...just hand in to the reception in Accident and Emergency or Outpatients...or to any of our staff.  The team send their thanks for joining them in funding research into cancer.

Old Hall Watten And The Chapel Of Dunn - A Caithness Field Club Outing
An extremely interesting morning looking at the Chapel of Dunn and the crypt below.  The chapel is near the Old Hall, Watten.  Geoff Leet noticed what appeared to be an early Mill Lade and a closer examination of the area did indeed reveal a dam and a reedy area that usually denotes a pond.  Following the likely route of the Mill lade did not help to find a mill although it seems likely to have been close to the bottom of the slope at Old Hall.  the main group went to look at the Standing Stone.  Moving on to the near the main road the group saw a Telford Bridge that lies near the present bridge that takes traffic today over the stream pretty well unnoticed by most folk passing through Old Hall near the caravan site.
Caithness Field Club

The Vault At Old Hall Church And Birds Of Watten
A Caithness Field Club outing in the morning of Sunday 26 March.  All Welcome.  Find out more about local history and nature on strolls through the Caithness countryside.  Meeting at Wick and Thurso stations at 9.40am and then at Brown Trout Watten at 10.00am.

Bingo Every Thursday Night In Thurso Starts On Thursday 13 April
Thurso Town Improvements Association are starting bingo in Skinandis nightclub every Thursday night at 7:30pm from Thursday 13th April.  There will be a 10 Card, 3 Card, LoFlyer and Hi Flyer Jackpot Rollover game every week plus a Free Flyer every week throughout April and May.  Admission will be open to anyone 18 years old or over. Beginners and experienced players are welcome.

Campbell throws down gauntlet to Labour by backing anti-nuclear stance - Scotsman
THE Liberal Democrats' uncompromising stance over the formation of another Holyrood coalition with Labour was bolstered last night when Sir Menzies Campbell wholeheartedly endorsed the Scottish leadership's tough anti-nuclear policy.

More Jobs Posted Today In The Jobs Section   Employers Cut Your Job Ad Costs
A wide range of posts from teaching, medical , office, stores, seasonal ranger, part-time, maternity cover and more.  Employers can place job ads completely FREE of charge. All that is required is to join the message board, reply to our automated email system and you can be up and running with your job ads any time 24 hours a day at no cost.  Nearly 3000 people a day now look into the Message Boards.  Quick- it takes about two minutes to post an ad once you are set up.  Good Response. Fix your own closing dates.  Change ads any time.  Repeat them if necessary.  Best of all you will receive no invoice to pay.  Its FREE as your job ads are worth more to us in building traffic to the web site - simple as that.

Radio Remedy's Quiz Answers
The Radio Remedy Music Quiz March 2006. – Winner of the Music Shop £15 Voucher: Fiona Campbell of Thurso.
Radio Remedy is a voluntary group that runs radio programmes in Caithness General Hospital for patients and staff.  If you are interested in trying out your DJ skills give them a call.


North Highland Will See New Winter Vehicles On Roads
New brightly coloured spreaders and ploughs will be appearing on our roads as Schmidt has won a major order for spreaders and ploughs to tackle Scottish winters.  Scotland TranServ, winners of the £27m a year highways maintenance contract for North-West Scotland, has chosen Schmidt to supply salt spreaders, snowploughs, snow blowers and road verge grass cutting equipment in one of the largest single orders for British highways products.  Whatever the weather, Scotland TranServ will be endeavouring to keep traffic moving throughout the North West Unit from Wick and John O'Groats through Skye, Fort William, Oban, Argyll, Perth and Loch Lomond. The area covers over 1300km of highways and 1300 structures, including the Skye bridge.

An Element Of Colour - Caithness Floral Art Club
Eileen Barraclough from Shipley braved the snow on her journey north to get Caithness Floral Art Club off to a flying start for 2006 with her demonstration entitled An Element of Colour. Using a wide variety of plant materials both in foliage and flowers she showed how colour can lift the spirits and enhance our lives. Eileen had plenty of useful tips about preparing plant materials for use, even showing how to plait a Kentia palm.


Wick Academy v Keith Match Is Postponed
"A 7am pitch inspection showed large areas of lying water on the lower half of the pitch. Attempts to fork the ground proved fruitless and the match was called off at 7.15am."


Spoilt For Choice In Great Egg Case Hunts In The Far North
Suddenly we have rash of egg case hunts and unfortunately for anyone interested the rangers have organised their own on the same dates as those already organised by another person and being advertised here.  You will just have to make your mind up which ones you prefer and which beach you would like to have day out on.  Great to have choice.  15th and 16th April are the dates

Some Notes On The History Of the Rabbit In the North
This item by George Watson was first published in the April 1979 edition of the Caithness Field Club Bulletin

Memories Of Lyth School
Written by Ann M P McLeod (Dunnet) in honour of the only Lyth School Reunion ever held. The reunion took place in the Lyth Community Hall on 23rd August 2003.

The Viewfirth Club Is Closing - Do You Have Photos Of The Club and Its Activities
One of the members of the Viewfirth Club has suggested we might set up a gallery of photos for the club as it gets ready to close its doors for the last time.  If you have some old photos of inside or outside the club house or events that took place there send them to   The Viewfirth Club in Thurso was set going by UKAEA when it first came to Caithness as a social club for the many new employees.  There is undoubtedly some bitterness that UKAEA is now selling off the ground with the building and the present club is not in a position to buy the land and building which is in need of serious renovations.  Although it may be unrelated it seems to many that the Viewfirth Club is being decommissioned well ahead of the NDA's push to decommission the actual Dounreay site.  It seems that the NDA has a socio-economic remit but not a social one.  Certainly membership had dropped over recent years but with all the new work involved in decommissioning perhaps a little investment might have saved it from its fate.  Thurso will shortly have one less place for recreation and all the activities that used to flow through its rooms - dances, children's Christmas parties, social evenings, meals and much more.  The building and its football ground look set to become another housing estate.  The local kids will have to wander further to kick that ball.

Dunbeath Castle  -The Sutherlands & Sinclairs of Dunbeath
An article by D B Miller first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin of April 1979

Bird Movements Through Caithness and North East Sutherland
This item by G Crittenden was first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin of April 1979

An item by the late Jack Saxon in the April 1979 Caithness Field Club Bulletin

The Cello Is alive And Kicking In The Highlands
During a unique music day, over 70 young musicians from Highland primary and secondary schools gathered together to play en-mass in celebration of the Cello.  Beginners, intermediate and advanced players from Thurso, Wick, Skye, Fort William, Ullapool, Tain, Fortrose and The Black Isle, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit and Inverness met up form the first time at Ness Bank Church Hall in Inverness. The day culminated with an afternoon concert involving all participants and featuring an arrangement of the Wallace and Gromit theme tune.

Wick High V Braeview Dundee - Bank of Scotland Scottish Shield Competition - Quarter Finals

In the quarter finals of the under15s played today the score was Wick High 11 Braehead Dundee 1.

Work Set To Start On Wick High School Synthetic All Weather Pitch
Work begins next week Monday 27th March, 2006 on a £584,000 floodlit synthetic sport pitch for Wick High School. Funding for the development has been provided by The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sports Service. Construction of the pitch will be carried out by Malcolm Construction Services Ltd. and it will be due completion by late summer 2006. The pitch will be developed as a multi-sports use playing surface for use by the school and the community by arrangement through the school

Strike By Highland Council Staff Will Close Many Services On Tuesday 28 March
Services provided by The Highland Council will be disrupted on Tuesday 28 March as the result of industrial action taken in protest at Government plans to change pension rights. Whilst main offices may be open many services will be closed ranging from libraries, swimming pools, rubbish collections, Recycling Centres closed, no bulky uplifts, day care services, nurseries, public toilets, certain ferries operated by the council.  There will be no burials or cremations. All primary and secondary schools are expected to be open. However, the industrial action taken by ancillary staff, such as janitors, catering and cleaning staff, and classroom assistants and drivers will impact on the level of service provided at schools.  Not all services are affected in every area and you need to check with the listings or the Highland Council web site for more up to date information in a changing situation.  20 out of 37 service points will be closed in including Thurso and Wick.

County Snooker Singles 2006  - Last Chance For Entries Today
When? : Saturday 25th March 2006 – 10.00am Sharp  Where? : Starts at 10.30am sharp after draw- In the Viewfirth. Entry Fee -: £4  Contact Derek Johnston on -: 0774 568 9630 to enter. Names to be in by Friday 24th of March  As Viewfirth club is closing at the end of the month this will be the last chance to play in a major local competition at that venue.  So if you want to involved in a historic match contact the organiser today to compete tomorrow.

Photo Phenomenum On Message Board
For those of you who have not yet ventured into the depths of the Forums a thread on photo sharing is now reaching massive proportions.  Started by one of the posters as place to share Caithness photos via another web site Photobucket you can now view what is fast becoming one of the great collections of Caithness photos with a few others thrown in.  This thread  has many photos linked to it and at time of this item 766 responses now stretching to 39 pages packed with photos.  This thread alone looks set to become easily the largest ever on the Forum and one of the best examples yet of sharing.  Take look - its interesting, amusing and will take you on yet another journey around Caithness from our Orgers perspective.

Scamp In Pets Corner
Scamp is another Caithness cat who was taken in by Balmore animal centre out past Thurso and rescued to end up in a good home.  Scamp is a Turkish Van but due to the lack of confirmed pedigree cannot be entered in shows as such. 
Pets Corner Index  
Pets corner has number of sections Pets Gallery  Unusual Pets Gallery  Doggies Gallery
Moggies Gallery  Farm Pets  Missing Pets Section  Missing Pets Gallery
Send photos for inclusion to   Missing Pets can be posted  - all FREE

The Radioactive Fishes Of The North Of Scotland
This article by the late Jack Saxon examines the radioactive fishes from the Devonian period.  This is yet another example of the huge knowledge he had on his favourite subject - fossils of Caithness and his ability to theorise and draw information together from a variety of sources.  the article was first published in the Caithness Field club Bulletin of April 1979.

Halkirk And Pennyland Kids Build Living Shelters
Halkirk and Pennyland primary schools have been busy building Willow bowers and domes as part of their school grounds projects.  The living willow structures use straight lengths of willows which act like cuttings and root to form trees thereby producing leafy shelters and play areas for the children.  The project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of their school grounds project. And Mike Ellis and the countryside rangers assisted the children in building the domes.

Gibson Presses Finnie Over HomeAid Short-term Funding Problem
Highlands & Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has written to the Environment Minister Ross Finnie, asking that he provide interim funding to keep a important Caithness and Sutherland scheme running. Mr Gibson has written to Mr Finne requesting that money be found for HomeAid based in Thurso.  HomeAid recycles essential goods such as electrical appliances and furniture and supplies them to low income and disadvantaged groups in the community.  However the service faces a cash short fall of around 8-6 weeks while it waits the outcome of it's bid for funding from the Highland Council.

Caithness Area Council Meeting To Cover Many Topics Next Monday In Wick
The agenda for next weeks meeting of the Caithness Area Committee shows a sample of the many topics that the local area committee is involved in.  Community Planning is at the hear of council work these days and if you are not familiar with the terminology a quick glance at three items on the agenda will give readers an idea of part of what it is all about - See items on  Community Regeneration Fund Initiative At The Edge - south East Caithness, Community Safety.  A report on the budget for Integrated Children's Services illustrates the activities being pursued to have more seemless services for children and young people.  A report on a new service Caithness Intensive Support & Vocational Training Unit based at the recently refurbished Airport House (Formerly the Pearl Assurance building) highlights how councillors and staff have developed a completely new service in the county to help address the needs of young people facing difficulties in the education system.  Rosebank Park, Wick will shortly have a major refurbishment with resurfacing of the tennis courts, major work on the bowling green and the crazy putting and other work.  This activity is being led by Pulteneytown People's Project in partnership with the council.

Live Music Now Brings James Ross Back To Caithness
Following three highly successful previous tours in Caithness community venues, Wick born accordionist, pianist and composer James Ross is back with more live music for Wick and Thurso audiences.  As part of the charitable scheme, founded by the late Yehudi Menuhin in 1977, James will present eleven performances between Monday 27 and Friday 31 March. The community performances also coincide with the premiere of James' new composition for The Caithness Orchestra, which takes place on Wednesday 29 March in Wick and Thursday 30 March in Thurso.  James had his first CD produced by Greentrax Records earlier this year.  Another is due out shortly.

More Snow Photos Prove Caithness Has Gone Digital With Cameras Everywhere

UPDATE 5.52pm - MISSING PERSONS - ULLAPOOL - Names Released - All Three Men Found
POLICE can confirm the details of the three men reported missing earlier today who have all been found safe and well.
David Radcliff, (66), Birchwood Drive, Paisley - retired
Robert Houston, (69), Broadwood Park, Alloway - retired
Campbell Pearson, (68), McInnes Gardens, St Andrews – retired
It is anticipated that after being seen by medical services to assess their general health that they will return to the Caledonian Hotel in Ullapool at some point this evening.

Young Caithness Footballers - A Chance Not To Be Missed
Young Footballers throughout the area are urged to lace up their boots in preparation for the SFA and Ross County FC’s Easter coaching programme that visits Wick and Thurso during the school holidays. Regardless of ability, both boys and girls have the opportunity to be coached by some of the most qualified and certified coaches in the North of Scotland who aim to develop the potential of all participants, whilst ensuring the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment.  Cost £20.  Head to the Sports Pages for more details or the What's On  An hour and half each day for three days in Wick and Thurso and open to boys and girls.

Farmers Unhappy With Chancellor  As "Chelsea Tractor" tax Attacked By Countryside Alliance
The Countryside Alliance has warned that higher taxes on high-emission cars and 4x4s will negatively impact rural Britain, and is likely to have a negligible effect in urban areas.  Under Gordon Brown's proposals, vehicles with high carbon emissions will be penalised with a higher tax. While many sports and estate cars will fall into this bracket, most four-wheel drive vehicles, which farmers and the rural population are dependent on in their daily lives, will also fall into this higher tax bracket.

Caithness Rocks Again As Crimson Tide Launch New Web Site
Caithness bands look as if they are taking the web by storm as another local band Crimson Tide ratchet up a gear with their own marketing via their new look web site Crimson Tide  Following hard on the heels of Estrella who launched a few days ago the local "Battle of the Bands" In Caithness is now heading ever upwards. The line up of talent in Caithness bands has always been strong and currently their is a huge range of musical ability and variety around.  Crimson Tide have also put four tracks online and these are to be found via their web site.  Following the CD release Crimson are definitely on the rise.

The Executive will reform the obscure and outdated system of allowances for councillors to reform local democracy, Tom McCabe said today. The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform was speaking as he responded to the report by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee. The Executive has accepted the vast majority of the the recommendations, including the new salary for basic councillors of £15,452 and a mandatory role description and personal development plan.  Political Info & News

There Will Be A Stamped For this Student Job -  Summer Ranger Post - 3 Months
Possibly one of the best student summer jobs in Caithness is working with the Rangers. So if you have a background with the environment or natural history as one of your subjects at college or university this could be the job for you.  You have until 31st March to get your CV in to Highland Council or contact Mary Legg one of the Rangers for more information.  Out and about in Caithness involved in all sorts of activities and getting paid for it - lucky for someone.  It could be YOU.  If you son or daughter is away at college or uni let them know about this job if they have the correct experience.  Ranger pages to see what they do.

Scottish Agricultural College Aberdeen 29th March 2006, 10am-12.00
Places will be limited - please let them know ASAP if you wish to attend.  In summary, the UTC Purecell 200 produces 200kW electrical power and 270 kWthermal.  It takes sewage from 8,000-1000 people to fuel it This equates to of 5mWe for a city the size of Aberdeen, 125MW for Scotland.  Sorry it is far away from Caithness but we thought perhaps there might someone in Aberdeen with time to spare to check it out.   Caithness Heat And Power

Cheaper Flights Opening Up The Highlands - £99 Return Inverness - Leeds Bradford
Strong Demand for New Inverness - Leeds Bradford Air Link

With one month to go until a new air link takes off between the capital of the Highlands and Yorkshire passenger demand is proving to be strong.  The level of advance bookings is high for Eastern Airways' Inverness - Leeds Bradford Airport service which starts operating on Monday 24 April. The service is Eastern's third route from Inverness, joining their well established Birmingham and Manchester operations, and will operate six days a week, Monday to Friday and Sundays.

The Big Snow In Caithness Of 1955
All of the snow photos flowing in recently prompted Gordon Doull to dig out these photos of what he describes as "Real Snow" from the big freeze in Caithness in 1955.  The photos show Reisgill Bridge and Main Street, Lybster.  Just reminds us to keep taking the flask and blankets in winter just in case you ever get caught in another one of these storms. 
More Early Caithness Photos   Snow Gallery Feb Mar 2006  If you have more photos of the Big snow in 1955 and would like to add them to this gallery send them to

Another Day Another Gecko
There may be more Geckos around than you thought and living in the north.  Another photo of a pet gecko sent in this time by Heather Holden - entitled "Gecko - The Face of Evil"   Looks pretty cute to us.
send pet photos for the galleries in Pets Corner to


Caithness Field Bulletin -  April 1979
With only a few years left to go in this great collection of articles we now bring you April 1979 thanks once again to Janet Mackenzie of the field club for preparing the information for the web site.
Editorial with an item on the Early History of Wick Heritage Museum
The Vegetation Of the Isle Of Stroma - by Ken Butler - Interestingly we have been able to link to a few photographs of plants supplied by Ken Butler himself over 20 years later for so thanks to Ken twice.

Budget Special - 22 March 2006
Chancellor Gordon Brown delivered his budget today.  although there was not anything dramatic there was as always lots of detail.  Here are all the points in the budget with tax and NI rates , details of a range of schemes with funding attached that might be of interest to the voluntary and youth sectors.  No change on the duty on spirits but beer and cigs get increases - 9 pence on 20 cigarettes.  Child Benefit rates marginally up.  Beer up 1p and wine 4p per bottle.  Petrol prices up but not until September.  Road Tax duties up if your car pumps out too much CO2 - larger vehicles will suffer worst.

Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat
This photo sent in by Hugh Macdonald has many of the people in P7.  This is the first photo for the section set up for the Thurso High 1978 Reunion being held on 29 July this year. Send other photos for the reunion to for inclusion here. Many reunions have now used our FREE Reunion pages to let folk know about a reunion and to keep folk posted on developments - much faster than writing to everyone all the time and making it more likely folk far away will find out about the event. Reunions Sections

Lunch Time for The Birds In Caithness
Another of the photos that almost got away in our big email crash this morning but quickly sent again by Brenda Herrick.  The photos are still coming in from the last snow early in the month.  It has been snowing again in Caithness and the north today but not as much as three weeks ago.  Snow Gallery Starts Here


Thurso Youth Club Football Section Visit To Inverness Caley
Thurso youth club football section under 11s and 13s were recently taken to Inverness Caley . The Inverness coaches did a training session with them before they headed to the game - Inverness v Kilmarnock with a score 3 - 3. A great time was had by all.


Hillhead Primary School, Wick - March Newsletter

One of the world’s most challenging nuclear clean-up jobs is underway with the hydraulic isolation of the Dounreay shaft. This follows the decision by Highland Council to grant planning permission to build a raised working platform, drill up to 400 boreholes and inject grout to rocks and effluent discharge tunnel all in the vicinity of the Dounreay shaft.  This major step in the project will allow the contents of the shaft to be isolated from the surrounding environment by physically restricting water movement to and from the shaft. Once complete, the grout curtain will provide reassurance against leakage, eliminate any lingering doubts about the shaft being a source of particles in the marine environment, and create a stable environment for waste retrieval in the future.  Dounreay News   UKAEA History

Photos Flooded In all Day After We Lost Our Emails For the last few Weeks Today
Wow   - What a response.  the photos have not stopped all day after we announced Bill had lost the last three months email. and asked for items to be resent.  Still flowing in but if an item not resent has not yet appeared please send it in again and we will try to catch up again.  The backlog is still building up but at least it is all in today's date.  It has been a revelation to the power of the web to see it all arrive back today after losing it this morning.  Thanks to you all for taking the time to resend.  You all make a superb team.

Stroma Church and Manse  Heatherbell Number 53
These two photos have been sent in by Sheila Moir to add to the growing Stroma collection.  Here is the Stroma church and Manse many years ago.  The house is Heatherbell number 53 on our map and the house where Andy Moir Sheila's husband was born.  More Stroma photos still coming in.

POLICE can confirm they have located missing father and son Colin and Douglas Payton. Officers received information that the 49-year-old father and his 11-year-old son may be in Switzerland and following inquiries they were traced to an address in the country earlier this afternoon. Liaison in currently taking place with Swiss authorities to ensure Douglas can be reunited with his mother as soon as possible.

Progress Report 21 March 2006
South East Caithness Development Group has made considerable progress since its inception in February 2005. The Development Group was set up following the area of South East Caithness, which encompasses the community councils of Berriedale and Dunbeath, Latheron, Lybster and Clyth being given Initiative at the Edge status in October 2004. Communities in South East Caithness are set to benefit from the initiative aimed at tackling the problems which face many rural areas in the Highlands. The South East Caithness Development Group is an Initiative At The Edge project and have progressed a number of ideas since it commenced including tennis courts at Dunbeath, Improvements to Lybster Hall, Footpath work, Investigating community ownership of forestry, a woodchip scheme, a wind turbine scheme, improved transport facilities and more.  They want more ideas from the local community.

In aid of CROSSROADS Caithness. Providing respite for carers. All funds raised goes to help people in Caithness.  Entries on the day from 2.00pm.  More details in Pets Corner

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan is welcoming the ban on smoking in enclosed public places in Scotland, which comes into force on Sunday 26th March. Mrs Macmillan said," This is a highly significant piece of legislation which will make a tremendous difference to the health of Scotland. The facts make for stark reading - over 13,000 Scots die every year from smoking related diseases - the equivalent of 250 a week or 35 a day; non-smokers exposed to passive smoking in the home have a 25% increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer; more than 17,000 children under five are admitted to hospital in the UK every year because of the effects of passive smoking. The human toll of these premature and avoidable deaths and illnesses is considerable.

And the winner of the first ever Scottish Food Scholarship is Caithness Chef Kevin Sutherland
After a gruelling day in the kitchen competing under the watchful eyes of Scotland's Michelin star chefs, the winner of the first ever Scottish Food Scholarship was announced last night as Kevin Sutherland of The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh. Presenter, Viv Lumsden, started the evening's proceedings introducing all of the eight finalists before announcing Kevin Sutherland, from Latheronwheel, Caithness as the winner following the Awards Dinner held at the Corinthian in Glasgow last night.  Kevin was runner up in the Young Chef Young Waiter competition in London in October 2005.

Council Appoints First Two Officers To "Police" SMOKING BAN
Two officers have been appointed by The Highland Council to "police" the ban on smoking in enclosed areas, which takes effect in the early hours of Sunday morning. Ian Wilson, Fort Augustus, and David Mackay, Fort William, who are former police officers, will be seen throughout the Highlands to assess compliance of the new smoking regulations; offer guidance and advice and if necessary; and, if necessary carry out enforcement action, including the service of fixed penalty notices.  Their efforts will be supported by existing environmental health staff, who will include smoking enforcement during other visits, e.g. food safety or health and safety inspections. The Scottish Executive has awarded the Council funding for the posts to allow appropriate support to be put in to place to enforce the smoking ban in public premises. The Council currently enforces health and safety at approximately 4,500 premises. Of these, approximately 1,500 are pubs and restaurants. In addition to these, the Council is responsible for enforcing the smoking ban in premises such as factories, where health and safety enforcement is currently the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive.  The smoking ban comes into force on Sunday.

The Munros & Muirs At Staxigoe Braes

Lost Photos Now Piling In After Email Losses - Lets Get Back To the Snow Again
Thanks to those of you have already responded to the request to resend items lost in our email today.  the photos are piling in and we will get on to as many as we can before any further troubles.  If any items not sent again have not appeared and were sent in the past weeks back to 4 January please send again.  Lots have arrived in already but there are more still lost.  Thanks

Articles Items Text Etc For Web Site - Send Again As Emails Lost Lost
If you have sent items for that have not as yet appeared please send the item again as all emails between 4 January and 20 March have been erased by a virus.  And be warned not open anything you are not sure about in your own email or get that email saved somewhere else in case it all gets erased.

Photos Sent To Between 4 January and 20 March All Lost
If anyone sent photos for in the period 4 January  - 20 March can you send them again as the emails have all apparently been deleted before Bill could get to them

Leopard Gecko In Pets Corner Today
One of the more unusual pets in the Corner today.  This Leopard Gecko lives in Wick with a few mates at Hilary Wilson's house.  Send your pet photo to for inclusion in the Pets Galleries.
We will post items with photos if available for Missing Pets FREE of charge
Pets Corner


Housing Stock Transfer Roadshow In Caithness Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday This Week
The potential transfer of the Highland council stock to a housing agency is perhaps the biggest thing to affect council house tenants for many years.  The council has organised road show to deliver information and have people on hand to answer questions about how the transfer might affect them.  In Caithness the road show will visit Castletown, Lybster , Wick and Thurso.  in Caithness the road show will first arrive in Thurso on 21 March.  See the list for full details of times and places.

It Was Exam Time Recently At Karen Cameron's Ballet School In Thurso

A special meeting of The Highland Council is being held on Wednesday to consider further its draft Highland Renewable Energy Strategy. Once Councillors consider the material already produced by a Working Group and hear from interested parties at the meeting, a report detailing proposed changes to the Strategy will be discussed at a special meeting of the Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee on 19 April. The minutes of this meeting will then be presented for Council approval at its meeting on 4 May, after which time the approved Strategy and Planning Guidelines will come into force as a material planning consideration.  Mrs Angela Craig of Caithness Windfarms Information Forum a campaigning group against wind farms is to speak to the councillors along with several others from a variety of organisations.

New Affordable Homes For Thurso At Mansons Lane
Work is underway on a development to bring 24 new affordable homes to Thurso, with support from Communities Scotland, the Scottish Executive’s housing and regeneration agency.  The £1.4 million development in the town’s Mansons Lane by Pentland Housing Association will bring a much-needed boost to affordable homes in the area. Sixteen of the properties will be for both social rent and eight will be for sale through the Executive’s new shared-equity scheme, Homestake, which aims to get those on a low income onto the property ladder. It is hoped the development of the brownfield site close to the town centre will help address the demand for affordable places to live.

Father And Son Colin and Douglas Payton Missing From Golspie
The father and son who have been reported missing from their home in Golspie remain outstanding at this time and Police inquiries continue to establish their whereabouts. Colin Payton (49) and his son Douglas (11) have not been seen since Thursday afternoon and Police would like to hear from anyone who may have information regarding their whereabouts. The man is described as 6ft, of medium to heavy build, with a moustache and cropped light brown hair. He has very distinctive, bulbous eyes.

More Properties For Sale On Than Ever and Adverts Are Still FREE
As more and more folk selling their property in Caithness head for the property pages and number of folk clicking on is rising fast.  In a couple of minutes you can add all your information and a photo of the property and it cost you £nil.   Currently over 90 houses and plots for sale and changing all the time.  Also rented properties always going in and that is also FREE.  Why pay more when so many folk looking at property are now scanning web pages from all over the world.  Almost 45000 visitors check the Business Index every day - almost 60,000 a month.  Whether you are looking to buy or sell a property check out our property pages.

Halkirk Man Found Dead In Thurso River
Northern Constabulary have confirmed a body recovered from a Caithness river is that of a missing pensioner.  James Cormack, 65, of Bridge Street, Halkirk, was reported missing on Sunday. His body was found in Thurso River 11.15am on Monday 20 March. Police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances. The coastguard and a helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth were involved in the search for Mr Cormack after he failed to return home from a walk.

Cultural Awareness In The Work Place - Free Workshop For Employers
Employers in Caithness and Sutherland are to be given an opportunity to raise their awareness of employing and working with overseas nationals or those from culturally diverse backgrounds.  The 'Cultural Awareness in the Workplace' workshop has been developed by 'Improve', the skills council for the food and drink sector, and will provide practical advice and guidance on topics ranging from legislation to a wider understanding of the growing number of religions and cultures and is relevant to all sectors of the business community. The workshop, which is free of charge, will take place in the New Weigh Inn on Thursday 30th March, from 10am – 1pm.

Snow Photo Gallery Starts Here - if you have not seen the earlier ones yet

The new Head Teacher of the 860 pupil Wick High School is Alister Traill, the current Depute Head Teacher at Thurso High School. He will take up his post after the Easter school holidays. Alister Traill began his career as a teacher of Geography at Fraserburgh Academy and then held the post of Principal Teacher of Geography at Wick High School for sixteen years before his present post in Thurso High School. His interests include sports and travel.

South Primary School, Wick Latest Newsletter
This months newsletter contains a reminder about nursery enrolment and details about the Science festival for the pupils.  School finishes on Friday 31 March for the Easter Holidays.   South School Main Index   Education and Schools Index



Science Festival Starts Tomorrow - Its FREE but Have You Booked Your Seats
The science festival gets underway in Caithness tomorrow with series of visits to local schools.  In the evenings there are talks and demonstrations that will be of interest to children, young people and adults.  Here is chance to meet a few scientists and ask questions.  The events are always interesting and fun so if you have not already booked give them a call and reserve a seat - its FREE so don't be disappointed.

Panoramic Views Of Sutherland

Loch Calder Opens For 2006
The 2006 season started at Loch Calder on 15 March and anglers looking for some of the best value fishing around should head over.  At £2.50per week or £5 for the whole season this is superb value.  Boats are available for hire separately and lessons can be booked.  If you live outwith Caithness why not spend a week in Caithness trying the various lochs or organise a party and hire a boat.  The far north has plenty to offer with a wide range of accommodation from comfortable Bed and Breakfast places to Hotels in town or countryside.  Leading angling and trout author Lesly Crawford lives in Caithness and you can contact her for lessons or check out her web site Highland Wild Trout Angling to see her range of trout books packed full of information and tips on how to get the best from fishing in the north.

Another Moggie For Pets Corner
This is snowy who lives at South Head, Wick.
Send Pet photos for the galleries to
Pets Corner for missing cats, pet photo galleries and links.



Caithness Girl Natalie Oag's Holiday In Madeira Ends In Modelling Assignments
Local girl Natalie Oag was enjoying dinner on the first night of a week long break in Madeira when her holiday plans were turned on their head. She was spotted by highly rated fashion photographer Hossain Mahdavi, part of the Photo Training Overseas group. Hoss was needing a model for his classes, and although he had someone lined up, he decided Natalie was exactly what he was looking for. After a few short discussions, Natalie had been signed up to do 4 sessions with Hoss, doing fashion shots indoors and on location.

Kirriemuir Memorial Stone For Bon Scott Former Singer With AC/DC
Latest information regarding the unveiling of the memorial stone to Bon Scott which is to take place in Kirriemuir on Saturday 6th May. The stone, which is a 3' x 2' Caithness slab, will be unveiled at 1pm in Cumberland Close (across the road from the museum). Open to all. Bon Scott Tribute Pages

Highland Labour MSP wins concessions in Animal Health & Welfare Bill
Highlands & Islands Labour MSP, Maureen Macmillan has persuaded Ministers to bring forward an amendment at Stage 3 of the Animal Health & Welfare Bill which will require the Executive, before exercising their power to slaughter animals to prevent the spread of disease, to publish a statement outlining the reasons for their decision.

The Sunday Papers
Dounreay nuclear store is leaking -
Sunday Herald
The town that was eaten by Tesco - Sunday Herald
As Caithness looks set to acquire a Tesco and an Asda in addition to Homebase, Argos, New look and others this article in today's Sunday Herald on a fourth - biggest yet Tesco for Inverness will no doubt create some debate.
Racing pigeons ‘face bird flu cull’ - Sunday Times
A damper on the local pigeon racing scene as the new season is about to get underway.
Earlier This Week
Jobs go in shake-up at Dounreay  -

Caithness Cultural Trust - Final Meeting To Wind Up
A decision was taken at the last meeting of the Caithness Cultural Trust to wind up the organisation.  the final meeting will present last accounts and confirm that all outstanding bills have been paid and formally end the trust.  The meeting will take place at the Amherst Centre in Malcolm Street, Wick at 7.00pm on Thursday 23rd March.

House Number 11 On Stroma
These photos were taken in 2001 and the number refers to the map numbering and not the number of the house if it had one.
Stroma Index


The Snow Gallery Still Getting Bigger

We still have a small backlog of snow photos to add and here are the latest ones

Links In Watervole Report Now Fixed
Apologies to anyone who tried to read report "The Distribution of the Water Vole in Caithness" a few weeks ago.  Some of the links to the report did not open the correct pages.  The links are now fixed and should open the correct sections of the report.

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso

Final Research Published on Radioactive Particles
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published the final report on research into the potential effects of fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel (particles) at Sandside Bay on human health. The research commissioned by SEPA and carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) provides information on the potential radiation dose that a person may receive, should they encounter a particle and the probability of this occurring. Particles found on Sandside Beach to date are relatively low in activity and any affect on human health is likely to be short term. Should a particle be detected on the beach with higher activity than those discovered, there is the potential for short-term visible effects to occur through skin contact. However, the report also reveals that the chance of coming into contact with a particle of activity greater is extremely low. The diverse range of work commissioned by SEPA on particles is now complete.

Nurse shortage forces closure of Glencoe Hospital - Scottish TV
Spiralling house prices in the Lochaber area of the Highlands has made it difficult to recruit nurses but what happened to local consultation?

Attention Poultry Keepers - You May wish To See This Consultation By The Scottish Executive
Consultation on the Avian Influenza (Scotland) Order and Regulations 2006
If you keep poultry you may wish to comment on this proposed legislation before it becomes law.

Edinburgh Chemist (Originally From Wick) Makes Her Mark At Westminster
From News & Events Edinburgh University

A University of Edinburgh scientist has contributed to an exhibition at the House of Commons which highlights some of Britain's leading edge technological research. Fiona Mackay, from the University's School of Chemistry, was one of 160 science, technology and engineering researchers who presented their work at the SET for Britain reception today.  Fiona, originally from Wick, presented research work recently published in Chemistry: A European Journal which deals with Photoactivated Chemotherapy. Fiona is a final year PhD student who is part of Professor Peter Sadler's research group which has developed light-activated platinum drugs which can kill cancer cells and minimise the unwanted side effects of chemotherapy.

Estrella Rocks  - Another New Web Site Launched
Still on the rise the guys  in rock band Estrella have launched a new web site.  Ever increasing gig commitments have forced them to relocate to Aberdeen  - at least for now.  The new web site looks to have all the ingredients  filling up pages with the usual photo gallery to a download section that will hopefully see the odd mp3 or two being added soon.  With a new EP in production they are keeping themselves busy.  It will hit the shops later in April.  Click Estrella Rocks into your favourites and see how things get moving in coming months.

The Highland Clearances Trail by Rob Gibson
The Highland Clearances Trail was originally published by Highland Heritage in 1981, when Inverness Tourist Office banned the booklet from its stock, stating that it was ‘unsuitable for tourists’. Today Luath Press has published a much enlarged version with five times as many entries as the original pamphlet. It is now an invaluable guide to the reality of the Clearances and their shattering effect on Gaelic culture. 
Win A FREE Copy In Competition
Closing date 31 March 2006

McGrigor Calls For Executive Rethink On Tail Docking
The Scottish Executive must rethink its planned ban on tail docking, according to Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor. Following a meeting at Parliament with Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg on Wednesday, the Conservative MSP, who has previously bred spaniels, has written to Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie urging an exemption for working dogs. Jamie McGrigor said "Many constituents across the Highlands and Islands have contacted me with their concerns over the possible banning of tail shortening for specialist breeds of working dogs such as spaniels, terriers and pointers.

Casino Night Fund Raiser - Saturday 22 April
Fund raising night organised by Thurso Round Table for local charities at the Weigh Inn, Thurso. Entrance is by ticket.  Tickets are £12 and include a finger buffet and £5 worth of chips.  Cash prizes based on the highest number of chips won.  See What's On for contact details to obtain tickets.


CAITHNESS HORIZONS PROJECT WORK STARTS - £3.5 Million Project Will Create New Jobs
With the Thurso Town Hall now closed to allow the refurbishment to begin, the enabling work for the Caithness Horizons project is scheduled to start very soon.  The contents of the main building and the artefacts from Thurso Museum have been safely packed up and transferred to an off-site store, and cataloguing the collection will begin shortly.

A New Bird Watching Web Site - St John's Pool and a New Bird Watching News Page
Julian Smith and Stan Laybourne have got together to create new birdwatching web site at St John's Pool. is collaborating with them and has set  up a new Birdwatching section to host the latest birdwatching news and to highlight additions to the new web site.  Anyone can send in items or contact Julian or Stan via the new web site.   If you would like to send in details of unusual birds then contact Julian or Stan at the email addresses provided. You can also add bird photos to the photo galleries by email them to

Could This Be Tesco Wick Next Year?
This photo sent to us might be Tesco near wick next year if we have more snow similar to the days we had last week.  In actual fact it is the 24 hour Tesco at Craigmarloch near Cumbernauld.



A senior Highland Councillor highlighted the Council's commitment to meeting the aspirations of parents, who want day care alongside pre-school education provided in the one centre. Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Highland Joint Committee on Children and Young People, told Committee members that the Council should set a target of August 2008 to implement a strategy that would serve the Highlands well for years to come.  Children's Services Information

Free Signs For Highland Land Managers!
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is offering 1000 free signs and information packs to farmers and other land managers to help make access part of their day-to-day operations. The signs are examples of how to provide information for the public that's consistent with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and are part of new help and advice on access for land managers. Activities covered on the 10 signs include lambing, young livestock, land management operations, woodland management operations, shooting, working farmyards, farm traffic, fire risk, field margins and wildlife breeding sites. Land managers can use the signs to advise visitors about activities and hazards and allow the public to decide what action they should take.

Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick - Latest Newsletter

Caithness Science Festival 2006 - Book Now As Places Limited
This is the fourth Science Festival organised by ‘Science 03’ a local group who re-started the Caithness Science Festival in 2003. In addition to the workshops and shows featured below a lecture programme will commence in September/October. The organisers expect upwards of 3000 to attend this year.  There is no activity in  Wick High School as in previous years.  This year all events are FREE but need to be booked in advance.  All events are open to pupils and parents of all ages.  the Science Festival will be in schools but also has public events.  All the shows and workshops feature professional presenters
Tuesday 21st March in Pulteneytown Academy Wick (7-9pm)
Mr Boom’s Polyhedral Workshop and The Body and Bones Show
Wednesday 22nd March in the Private Function Room Mackay’s Hotel, Wick (6.45 - 8.45 p.m.)
Earth Sciences Workshop and Fun Maths Workshop
Thursday 23rd March Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso
Mr Boom’s Polyhedral Workshop and The Body and Bones Show
Earth Sciences Workshop and Fun Maths Workshop

Wick Airport Firemen Win Top Aerodrome Award In UK
Members of the Airport Fire Service in the Highlands and Islands have come top of their class in the UK industry's prestigious annual awards. The performance of fire-fighters from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited at the Serco International Fire Training Centre at Teesside will be recognised at the college's annual awards ceremony in early April. Wick Airport in Caithness has landed the top aerodrome award for 2005 while Sub Officer Steve Fordyce from Sumburgh Airport has landed the title of top watch commander. Fire-fighters from across the UK and over 70 countries internationally attend practical and classroom-based training and revalidation courses at IFTC.

Asthma UK Wants Your Views On Asthma Services
Asthma UK is planning to come to Wick and needs some help to gather views on Asthma Services.

Murkle Bulb Show 2006

West Caithness Bulb Show 2006

Perseus and Cassiopeia 21 February 2006
Gordon Mackie has sent in a photo of the constellations of Perseus and Cassiopeia. The Milky Way runs through these constellations, so a sweep with binoculars will not disappoint. One particular area to check out with binoculars or a small telescope is marked on one version of the photo - this is where The Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884) can be found. In clear skies it can be spotted with the naked eye, but its true glory is only revealed with optical aid. Have a look.
Coming Up In the Night Sky  - Lunar Eclipse - 14th March 2006 - Solar Eclipse – March 29th 2006
Check inside the Caithness Night Sky for more details

Even More Cars Now In the Classifed Ads Section
The vehicles for sale section is growing fast and the selection continues to grow daily and with motor bikes, commercial vehicles and a spares section.  Check here for a vehicle.
Richards Garage has begun to add vehicles to the listings Wm Dunnet has more vehicles being added regularly

Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise Approvals - February 2006
Amongst the latest grants are -
Matthew Walsh, Thurso, RGIT Offshore Survival, £573
Dunbeath Community Centre, Dunbeath, redevelopment of tennis court, £11,390;
Wick Players, Wick, creation of drama centre at Moray Street, £4,941
Paul Steven, Wick, 'Wick Paintball Centre', £3,600;
Angela Levack, Wick, childminder, £3,600;
Elm Tree Filling Station, Wick, Rural Petrol Station Scheme assistance, £26,600

Prescription charges to increase by 15p
The cost of an NHS prescription will rise by 15p to £6.65 for a single prescription item from 1st April. The cost of prescription pre-payment certificates will also increase, rising by 75p to £34.65 for four months and by £2.10 to £95.30 for 12 months.

The Dounreay Stakeholder Group meeting will hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 15th March at 6.30pm in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso. Following the AGM the DSG meeting will commence at 7.00pm and will include reports from the admin & procedures, environment, socio-economic and site operations sub-groups including the proposals for consultation on the site end point. Members of the public and media are invited to attend and there will be an opportunity to raise any issues or questions.

Castletown Primary P5/6 Insect Art Project

See the sketches, check out the panels and the artists at work.  Local artist Joanne B Kaar well known for her paper making has worked with many groups and local children here and around the Highlands.  In this project the children of P5/P6 created panels showing a variety of insects after first drawing them.  The panels were displayed on the school walls.  Maybe they are still buzzing around if you are passing Castletown school.  Well done kids.    Castletown School Index     Education Index

Busy Wedding Fayre At Portland Arms, Lybster Today

Wedding bells were in the air today at the annual Wedding Fayre held in the Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster.  Many wedding related businesses were on hand to show what they can offer for anyone thinking of getting married.  From cars to cakes there was a stretched limo, rolls royce, mercedes and other vehicles for inspection.  Photographers were on hand to take books and John Baikie was filling his 2006 diary fast so if you want him you better contact him soon.  Beauty therapists Katrina Sutherland and Katie Polson were there showing what they can offer in the run up to the big day.  Wedding dresses, wedding cakes, stationery and jewellery were vying for attention with bits and bobs to video people.  Florists from Brora made the trip north along with picture framers.  The Wedding Fayre is going from strength to strength.
Send your wedding pictures to

Panoramic Views Of Caithness In The Recent Snow

DE SITU ALBANIE - G. Watson  - From the Caithness Field Club Bulletin - Oct 1978
This anonymous description of Scotland is one of the few early Scottish document to have survived the pillaging hands of Edward I when he rifled the Scottish archives in 1291. The author, thought to be Geraldus Cambrensis, obtained some of his information directly from Andrew, who was Bishop of Caithness from 1150 to 1185. This provides an approximate date for its composition.

The first mile of the Thurso riverside, stretching from the sea to the southern end of the Salmon Pool, is a fine recreation area for the town, and at the same time has the remnants of a very good northern river valley flora, which could be completely lost if it is not better appreciated. This detailed description will be useful to people who walk in the area, and may help others to realise its value.



Catching Up On The Snow Show
While some folk in the north were out building snowmen a few others were taking the chance for some serious hill walking training on Cnoc nan Cuilean south of Tongue.  Bob Kerr and John Cuthbert will be attempting Mount Elbrus, the highest summit on the European plateau.   John Cuthbert was testing out some new equipment that will be used on that expedition.

The Prospects For Beekeeping In Caithness - D. Furneaux
Another article in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin Series - Bulletin Articles List

Atlantic - FOREST? - Thursday 16th March at 7.30pm in Mackay’s Hotel, Wick
A unique collaboration in poetry & music between two sons of Caithness.  Gordon Gunn & George Gunn with Brian MacAlpine on keyboard will perform this new work - a 'love poem for the planet' - for the first time. Also John Aberdein reads from 'Amande's Bed' - 2005 Saltire Society/Royal Mail Scottish First Book of the Year Award.  Thought provoking and entertaining  - a combination of diverse Caithness talents live - Don't miss it.


Planning Applications  - Caithness Highlights
ASDA Planning Application Now In To Planning Office In Wick
Dental Training Unit At Wick A Step Closer As NHS Highland Apply For Building Warrant
Planning Application For A Wind Farm At Achairn Farm  -  Three Wind Turbines to be heard at the planning committee meeting on Monday 13 March.  This small project has several local supporters including the Tannach community council and three objections on the grounds of no national wind farm policy.

Householders in the Highlands are being warned to be on their guard against workmen and itinerant traders known to be operating door-to-door offering to carry out house maintenance and repairs.  Highland Council's Trading Standards Officers are aware itinerant traders are making cold calls in the Highlands, offering free estimates for roof repairs and roof cleaning and charging grossly inflated prices which are said to include large discounts.

Lost Cat At Durran
A stray black and white cat turned up at my house a couple of nights ago. He is fully house trained and I would say not a year old yet. He's very friendly and cute!. I think possibly he's been dumped, but maybe someone has lost him.................more

Housing Stock Transfer Roadshow Coming To A Place Near You
The potential transfer of the Highland council stock to a housing agency is perhaps the biggest thing to affect council house tenants for many years.  the council has organised road show to deliver information and have people on hand to answer questions about how the transfer might affect them.  In Caithness the road show will visit Castletown, Lybster , Wick and Thurso.  in Caithness the road show will first arrive in Thurso on 21 March.  See the list for full details of times and places.  Highland Council Caithness Area chairman of Housing and Social Work, Councillor Bill Fernie said "I would urge council tenants to go along to the road show and pick up information and ask questions on how the transfer might affect them.  Housing Stock Transfer opens up many opportunities not least of which is that the Scottish Executive will wipe out the debts on the Housing Account allowing for a renewed opportunity for the new Association to build badly needed homes in Highland."   Housing Index

Highland Councillors will be asked to consider three fall back options if there is insufficient interest from the independent sector in providing 160 bed spaces currently provided at seven Council-owned residential homes or if the costs are not affordable.  Caithness Care Homes are not affected by the current negotiations.  Bayview Care Home in Thurso was recently reopened after refurbishment

Newtonhill Community Woodland in Wick has seen dramatic improvements over the last couple of years thanks to the combined efforts of the Highland Council's Planning and Development Service and Friends of Newtonhill Woodland community group. The upgrading works have boosted the visitor numbers to the site and have been well used by school groups and community groups. Last year, the woodland attracted over 21,000 visitors. Efforts to keep improving the woodland are on-going and the latest project is to create a pond suitable for pond dipping with school groups and to enhance the habitat for wildlife.

A "missing" link in the riverside path in Wick has been completed and now locals and visitors can fully and safely enjoy walking along this popular route. The new short link, 35 metres long, joins the existing flagstone section of the path which leads down from the Bridge Street bridge before connecting up with the riverside path alongside the Riverside car park. The new section has been kerbed, lit and surfaced to match the existing path alongside the river.  Local councillor, Bill Fernie said: "This is another link in the ongoing efforts to improve the Riverside area of Wick. The link has also made the rough parking area to the side of the supermarket safer and more pleasant for pedestrians to use."

CASTLETOWN LANDFILL SITE  - Safety Checks To Commence Tuesday 14 March
Residents in Castletown are being advised that works on the former landfill site in the village will commence on Tuesday (14 March). The works are being carried out under The Highland Council’s duty to investigate land which may be contaminated and ensure that any necessary remediation is carried out. Works seek to measure the generation of gases (methane and carbon dioxide) within the landfill, and establish whether these gases are present at the southern boundary of the landfill site. From this information a risk assessment will be carried out by specialist consultants to establish whether there may be risks to neighbouring properties. The works will consist of the construction of approximately 30 gas monitoring boreholes across the landfill site. These will be constructed using a mechanical drill powered by a small generator.

BMA demands more pay to ease shortage of consultants - Herald
Caithness maternity unit gets a mention in this story about consultant recruitment in today's Herald but North Action Group still await sings of any advert for obstetricians to staff the maternity unit and replace the current locums in post.  NAG decided to remain in existence following NHS Highland decision to keep a consultant led maternity unit at Caithness General following over two years of protest by local people in the north.  Despite the months ticking away their has been no sign of any advertising of the posts as yet.  North Action Group took the view that until posts were filled the campaign to save the consultant led unit could not be completely over.  The group remains on stand-by with everything still in place for further action.  The local community were totally behind the campaign and the committee still retains a very healthy bank balance thanks to many local contributions.  The NAG watch continues.......

Careers Convention At Wick See Over 600 People
The careers convention at Assembly Rooms, Wick saw over 600 people go along to see what was on offer from colleges, universities and employers.

Gibson Welcomes Overwhelming Amount Of North Rail Petition Evidence
SNP MSP For the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has welcomed the huge response made by transport groups and others to the petition from Association of Caithness Community Councils for an upgrade of the Far North Rail Line. Holyrood's Public Petitions committee has continued its scrutiny of the North Rail Petition submitted by the Association of Caithness Community Councils since it was submitted by the Association of Caithness Community Council in November last year. Yesterday (Wednesday 8th March) the Committee announced that it was sending the seven commissioned pieces of evidence and 145 other submissions for comment by the original petitioners.

From Today's Papers
Greens say "ditch nuclear" - Shetland News
ELEANOR Scott, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has urged government ministers to heed calls from experts and the public to ditch nuclear and press on with developing renewable energy technologies.
Hospital drops fast food 'reward' - BBC
NHS Highland to stop awarding Macdonald's vouchers as awards to "Brave " children.
Er ....was no one in the NHS listening to the long running McLibel Case running since 1990 right into the European Court a few weeks ago - the case that made more folk question what they were eating than almost anything done by NHS, Government and more put together.

FReeCycling Beginning To Take Off On
Gradually spreading round the web is one of the latest innovations pointed out by one of the Orgers on our Message Board.  An easy and free way for folk to recycle items they no longer want or can use by offering them FREE on web sites.  In some places it has caught on in a big way.  Anyone who has no interest in selling an item they can advertise it for FREE on the boards on this and a growing number of other web sites around the globe.  Alternatively if you want some cash for items you have no further use for you can place it in the Items For Sale and once again it is FREE.  It's easy and all you need to do is register on the Message Board. Await you confirmation and reply to the email you will be sent to confirm your password etc and then place your ad using the New Thread button in the appropriate section.  Recycling could hardly be easier.   Give Items away or sell them its up to you.  Check It Out
You can also donate items to charity shops or in Caithness to Homeaid a recycling group with a highly practical philosophy.

Mary Ann's Cottage Near Dunnet - Another Great Winter Scene
The small croft house is in to the public in the summer months so this is a scene that not many people will see but would have been well known to Mary Ann, her family and other crofters and farmers in the area.  The house is not a museum but rather a snapshot of life in a croft as it was left pretty much as Mary Ann left it having spent her whole life there.  The croft house was built by her grandfather and you can check it out Here. Well worth a visit to soak in the atmosphere and see the full magnificent setting looking across to Dunnet sands

88 Properties for Sale Now Showing In Our Property Section
One of the busiest sections in our Business Index is the property section.  A no nonsense listing of properties with details, photos and contacts for further information.  For sellers of property the service is FREE and anyone can add a property at anytime via the submission form - we may call you back to check out the ad.  The beauty of our system is that once it is in the property can remain for as long as it takes to sell.  What's the catch.  None.   More and more property sellers are using because it works.  Check it via Google.  Enter the most obvious search terms "Caithness Property" and see what you get back.  Take down the details and then check out who is offering FREE advertising.  Then check out their web site stats - some of ours are listed HERE.

Is nuclear the answer?
The latest report by the Sustainable Development Commission has been published.
Carmichael pledges to fight nuclear - The Shetland News
Nuclear power: splitting the LibDems and Labour - Sunday Herald
Civil Nuclear Power - the debate at House of Commons on 17 January 2006

Highland Tenants Invited To Have Their Say
Tenants in Highland Council houses will this week receive copies of a newsletter "Highland Tenant Update" updating them on the proposed transfer of Council homes to a new 'not for profit' organisation called Highland Housing Association and informing them of a roadshow, which gets underway on Monday 13th March.  Bill Fernie Caithness area chairman of Housing and Social Work said "All tenants should try to take advantage of the roadshow that will give the chance to get information and ask questions on how a the transfer of housing to an association might affect them and what advantages there will be for the community as whole as well as to the individual."  Two separate vehicles will be touring the Highlands beginning simultaneously in Cromarty and Nairn on Monday 13 March and then touring round 47 Highland locations finishing in Dingwall on 30 March.

More Used Cars In The Wm Dunnet Section
The used car section of our forums is increasingly popular and now that we have opened it up to local car dealers anyone looking for a car can quickly see some of what is on offer. As Dunnets increase the range on the website the choices will grow.  So if you are looking for car is the place to keep checking.  Main Vehicles For Sale Index

Geese At March Road, Wick

Five years after it opened, the Waste Receipt Assay Characterisation & Supercompaction Facilty (WRACS), recently processed its 30,000th drum of solid low-level radioactive waste (LLW). The facility, built to the latest industry standards, takes steel drums containing LLW arisings from site operations, x-rays them to check their contents, and assays them for levels of radioactivity. It then compacts the drum and loads it into secure bulk containers for interim storage on site. WRACS processed it 20,000th drum in August 2004, shortly after re-starting operations, following the fitting of a new compaction unit.

And Still They Come Those Caithness Snow Scenes
What can we say.  Well the answer is "yes" we will keep adding all these wonderful photos until you all get fed up sending them.  A few more yet to come unless you know better?  Thanks to everyone who has sent them in so far.

MSP hopes new website will encourage people to "Get in Touch"
MSP Jamie McGrigor hopes his new website will mean more constituents will get in touch.  Launching , the Conservative MSP said the site would make it easier for him to update people across the Highlands and Islands with his latest news, as well as making it easier for them to raise issues with him.

Writing In The Snow - The Web Cam At Helmsdale
A couple of folk spotted the person writing in the snow in front of the webcam north of Helmsdale and sent in screen captures.  For all of you tempted to leave other messages etc watch your back as traffic comes down that road at high speed.  Remember the Orgers are watching


Whaligoe In Snow      Newtonhill, Wick         Tom At Lybster           The Odd Couple

More Snow photos inside

Wow - All This And FREE Beer At The Pentland Hotel
Following the success of their last themed evening, the Pentland Hotel are having a "Burger Night" at the "Princes Street Diner". With a selection of homemade American-style burgers, appetisers and desserts on offer.  Enjoy a complimentary Budweiser with every burger.



Manage a band - Make a CD - PA Rigging - Join A band - Design a CD Cover
Design Posters - Sound Engineering - Write your own songs
If you are in S3 onwards come along any time between 6pm & 10pm on a Thursday night -Beginning Thursday 9th March 2006 - Wick Youth Club
Lower Dunbar Street, Wick - Also Liquid Blue playing live! 

Skiing           Wick Airport

Georgemas Junction   Nethercliff Snowballs  Lifeboat Exercise       Snowplough A836

Clearing Roads Round Lybster                       Sledging At Newtonhill, Wick

Check Todays School Closures Here
Several Schools in Caithness are once again closed due to the problems caused by the weather.

Looking Across Caithness From Mayfield

Sunday Papers
Nuclear power: splitting the LibDems and Labour - Sunday Herald
US to clean up on UK nuclear mess  - Observer
Fears Grow For Caithness Club - This Is North Scotland

Abigail's Igloo        Scott's Igloo
Who would have guessed there were so many Eskimos in Caithness.  Well done kids - and Mums and Dads and sisters and brothers.  Maybe another day to go of the snow if it does not thaw overnight.


Brig O' Trams                Old Man Of Wick         Sledging At Waas        Hector In The Snow

Rounding Up Sheep Near Halkirk
Leanne Eyers took her camera and went out with her Grandad Jimmy Falconer and his dog Kyle rounding up the sheep in the snow near Halkirk


Igloo At Watten
A large igloo has been built in Watten and has taken the kids 4 days to complete and has 4 adjoining rooms and 3 exits. A small adult can stand up in the biggest room. The kids have been having lots of fun! The igloo was built by Cara & Jamie Mackenzie and Robert, Jack and Michael Beavan.


Snow Scenes Around Lybster

Rainbow Rascals Demo
Kids and parents from Rainbow Rascals took to the streets of Thurso on Saturday to show their determination not to be amalgamated into the school nursery mixing three and four year olds.  Rainbow Rascals has been greatly appreciated by parents who see it as vital resource in Thurso.  Councillors last week were presented with proposals by officials to consider amalgamations of several nurseries in order to save an estimated £33,000 per annum in face of a difficult financial position.  A special meeting of councillors will take place in Wick next Thursday to see if an answer to the problem can be found.  Parents and children put on a special "Don't Dip In Our Pot of Gold" show.  They performed songs and games on the back of a lorry and handed out flyers.  The kids enjoyed themselves even when it was snowing.

Cats and Kids Out In The Snow

Rapidly Changing Scenes Caught At Halkirk
Shannon and Stephanie Eyers managed to get out between the snow showers to build a snowman at Halkirk as can be seen by these photos sent in by their mum Phyllis


Apologies From Ross Taxi's
George Ross of Ross Taxis would like to apologise to his customers if he could not reach them.  As you can see from this photo he was snow bound and resorting to a tractor to get moving again.



East Caithness Bulb Show Went Ahead Despite The Weather

A smaller number of folk made it to the East Caithness Bulb show this year than usual due to the weather.  A good show of colour contrasted with the white all around outside.  Betty Coghill a long standing member of SWRI opened the show and handed out the prizes.

New Wick Harbour Authority Launches Revamped Web Site And Newsletter
Wick Harbour Authority is the new body that controls Wick Harbour.  The former Wick Harbour Trust was consigned to history last July and more modern set up came into being with a board of directors rather than trustees.  the more business orientated approach is reflected in the make-up of the new board with members being more from the business community than previously.  The makeover of the web site and the launch of a Newsletter is just the start pointing in the directions they mean to go.  The first issue of the newsletter Harbour News is now online.   Chairman Willie Watt has outlined some of what is happening to revive the fortunes of the harbour and acknowledges it will have to be a community effort involving everyone including the council and CASE.  There is definitely a spirit of optimism in the air in Wick now and the changes at Wick Harbour are certainly showing they are determined to play their part in the towns revival.

Snowman At Tannach Is Number 200 Into The Snowy Caithness Gallery
The snowy photos are still coming in for this gallery that is fast becoming one of the larger galleries on the web site.  thanks to everyone who have so far sent in photos.  If more of you want o see your photos in the gallery for posterity send them to  Send what ever you like  - views of your area of Caithness, the family out in the snow or the pets playing in the snow. Looks like you may have day or two yet to get your photos.

Boys At John O'Groats And Jack The Crow
Wow. whatever next.  Here is Callum playing with Jack a tame crow in the snow and Jack looks as if he is posing for the photo.  Great fun boys.  Lets see more of Jack in the snow if he is out today.


Thrumster - Can You Feel The Fresh Air?        St John's Loch - Mey And Dunnet

On With The Snow Show
Snow scenes from around Caithness are still coming in and we will be adding more to the gallery today.  Nothing from Thurso or Halkirk as yet so if anyone has a few sitting on their computer send some in.  We are receiving emails about them from around the world and Caithness expats are looking to see if their old place will be featured.

Stirkoke Snowman     Tain Near Castletown  Igloo At Hill Avenue   Ryan's Castle Janetstown

Sarclet In The Snow                                      Joe and Chip

Scalesburn And North Baths Area Of Wick                                       Bright For A While At Dunnet

Out At Barrock They Are Building Igloos For When The Lekky Gets Too Expensive

Happy Birthday John Briskham 70 Years Old Today
John Briskham celebrated his 70th birthday out playing with the grandchildren in the snow at Yarrows.  Happy Birthday John from  A day to remember - fantastic.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Hai Class On Sunday Cancelled Due To Weather
From Andrew Usher

Snow On and Off All Day - More Wick Photos - See The Heron Fishing

Bingo At Castle Arms. Mey Tonight CANCELLED Due to Weather

Caithness Junior Pipe Band In British Legion, Thurso Cancelled Tonight Due To Weather
Nancy Swanson has been in touch to say this event has been cancelled due to the threat of more snow. They hope to run it at a later date.

UPDATING YOU ON THE 8 O'clock Club Reunion
Everything is now in place, as the final touches are being put to the preparations to welcome back former members of the Eight O'Clock Club to Pulteneytown Parish Church for a reunion celebration on Friday April 7th at 7pm.  Caithness Reunions Index

Geese At Scarfskerry

Giraffe Snowman
Yet more snowy photos are still coming in.  Here these girls built a very tall snowman at Hiill Avenue, Wick.  Stephanie, Kloe, Kara and Stacey wil no doubt be out again today after more snow overnight and this morning and forecasts still saying yet more on the way.  Send you photos to add to this growing gallery to .  We will try to add them as soon as we can.


More Snow Overnight and More On The Way - Here Is Wick Early this Morning

Cancelled Events - Lets Us Know And We Will Post Messages Here
Email or phone 01955 604648 to let folk know about events cancelled tonight.

Jam Club In Wick Youth Club - Cancelled Again Tonight Due To Weather Conditions
Robert Doull has notified us that the Jam Club that usually runs from 7.00pm - 8.30pm in Wick Youth Club has been cancelled to save anyone travelling due to the threat of bad weather conditions

Brodie McHaggis Goes Under The Hammer For Local Charities AT Moray Firth Radio Now
Update on Brodie McHaggis. He is quickly capturing the hearts and minds of those who have followed him through his first adventure and they are asking when they can read his next adventure. He's turning into a right wee star! Brodie continues to create more mayhem in his second book, which is due out later this year. A copy of "Brodie McHaggis and the Secret of Loch Ness" will be auctioned at the MFR Charity Auction 2006 which runs from 3-5 March. The First Edition Book is number 299 of 300. All other copies have now been sold by Chloe Publishing Ltd. A unique framed copy of the book cover illustration will also be auctioned with the book. The picture has been signed by the Author, Helen Campbell, and has been dedicated to the MFR Charity Auction. It is the first of its kind and is the only one in existence.  Hundreds Of Items in the Auction For Charity

Castletown Quiz Cancelled Due To Weather - From Neil Buchan Castletown Heritage Society
The Castletown Heritage Society Inter-Club Quiz Night scheduled for Saturday 4 March has been postponed due to the snow forecast for the weekend. The event will be held later in the month on a date to be advised. We apologise for any inconvenience, but as many teams were to travel from outside Castletown we felt it was prudent to postpone the event.

A Few More Snow Scenes From Caithness

South School Wick Nursery Taster Day - NOW - Wednesday 8th March
(Postponed from 1st March 2006 due to bad weather) - 10.30am – 11.30am
Come and meet the staff and try out some of the exciting activities on offer!
Enrolments take place week beginning Monday 20th March 2006

Achvarasdal Woodland Near Reay
Snow scenes in Caithness are still coming in and the more the merrier
.  This latest batch are from local Ranger Mary Legg well known for the many walks she organises around Caithness and sometimes beyond.  Achvarasdal community woodland is well worth a visit at any time of the year so enjoy these glimpses or take look inside to see how it is in summer.
If you want to contribute a photo email to

Thurso Bay With A Sprinkling Of Snow

Snow Around Lybster Harbour

More Snow Scenes From Caithness Today Is Nominated As Site Of the Month At Rural Gateway

Pulteneytown Parent & Toddler Group - Cancelled This Afternoon due To Weather Warnings
Message received From Kerry Gunn - Secretary for the above group that they decided to cancel todays session due to the bad weather forecast. The group is held within the Church Hall, Argyle Square, Wick from 1330 - 1500 hours.  See blow for other cancellations notified to us today.

Records Still Being Broken And Bigger Than Ever In 2006
Caithness .org Breaks One Million Visitors In First Two months of 2006 Has More than 50,000 Visitors in First Two Days In March
February 2006 Keeping the Spiral Ever Upwards

Hits : 11,690,655  - Visitors : 553,304 - Page Views : 3,098,955
January 2006 Taking Records Ever Higher
Hits : 13,471,831 - Visitors : 585,400 - Page Views : 3,505,968 seems to be continuing it seemingly unending run of record breaking as yet again for the past two months the numbers climbed even higher than anything yet seen.  The totals are remarkable and beneath the totals lie some amazing statsFor example the new Arts section is getting over 70,000 visitors a month looking at 180,000 pages both news and look ups for contact information.

All Caithness Schools Closed From 12.00
Some closed earlier today and some were closed from first thing.  Further heavy snow forecast and all Highland schools closed apart from Lochaber area.

Jam Club In Wick Youth club - Cancelled Tonight Due To Weather Conditions
Robert Doull has notified us that the Jam Club that usually runs from 6.00pm - 9.00pm in Wick Youth Club has been cancelled to save anyone travelling due to the threat of bad weather conditions

Many More Winter Photos Via the Message Board As the Orgers Join In
One of the regulars has discovered a web site to post photos up and a few folk have already joined in to post their Caithness photos and link them to this thread on the message board.  Quite few snow scenes already in amongst other nice pictures. Great stuff folks keep them going in.  The Message Board broke another record yesterday when 232 people were browsing the boards all at the same time around 9.38pm.  The Message Board is soaring with nearly 3000 people a day now looking in on that section of alone each day.

Sophie Ramsøy Getting Some Skiing Practice At Clyth While School Is Closed
Another winter scene for the fast growing collection of winter scenes that more and more folk are sending in.  Sophie looks as if she knows what she is doing even though there are few chances to practice in Caithness.  Enjoy it while you can kids.  Send your photos for this gallery to


Staxigoe Hall Whist Drive Cancelled Tonight
Tonights whist drive in Staxigoe Village Hall has been cancelled due to the weather - from Emma Munro

Castletown Quiz Cancelled Due To Weather - From Neil Buchan Castletown Heritage Society
The Castletown Heritage Society Inter-Club Quiz Night scheduled for Saturday 4 March has been postponed due to the snow forecast for the weekend. The event will be held later in the month on a date to be advised. We apologise for any inconvenience, but as many teams were to travel from outside Castletown we felt it was prudent to postpone the event.

More Snowy Lybster Photos

Highland And Islands Enterprise Network Organisational Review
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) network is embarking on a programme of organisational change aimed at improving its service to customers and enhancing the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness. The changes have been expected since HIE launched its new strategy for the area, A Smart, Successful Highlands and Islands, in June last year. They represent the most significant review of the Network’s structures since the organisation was established 15 years ago. The most visible change will be a reduction in the number of HIE’s local enterprise companies (LECs) from 10 to nine. This will be achieved by merging three current LECs into two new ones. One new LEC will serve the area currently covered by Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise (INBSE), plus Easter Ross and the Black Isle. The second will serve the area currently covered by Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise (SALE) and include Wester Ross. The present Ross and Cromarty Enterprise (RACE) office in Invergordon will remain, under a new name, as part of the merged LEC arrangements.

Winter In Caithness Photos  - We Have Now Caught Up But Send More To

All Caithness Schools Were Closed Today By Lunchtime
The weather today once again gave all the children another wee holiday in Caithness.  Whilst main roads were opened snow ploughs were running back and forward to clear drifting snow being blown from the fields and higher ground.  Several Caithness Schools are already marked to remain closed on Friday with some closing at lunch time as more snow is forecast for tomorrow and the weekend.  Wick High will close at 12.00pm.  Keep an eye on the council special web page for more updates.

Hempriggs Estate To Close Scalesburn To North Baths Path, Wick On Safety Grounds
It is with regret that Hempriggs Estate is announcing the imminent but, hopefully, temporary, closure of the Wick pathway along the top of the brae from Scalesburn to a point east of the North Baths stairway where it meets the pathway from Lindsay Drive, along with the stairway itself.Bruce de Wert, Solicitor of Georgesons, Solicitors, Factor of Hempriggs Estate said: -- "There has been a succession of landslips affecting this area over the years. We have tried to keep the pathway open as long as possible but, in certain places, the next landslip will undermine the path. The safety of the public is the Estate's prime concern and, in that respect, there can be no half measures. The Trustees hope that the closure will only be temporary."The Highland Council is aware of the fears concerning this route and, with the Estate, are exploring ways to fund a formal survey. It is anticipated that such a survey could, itself, be an expensive project. The Estate understands that the costs of remedial measures would be extremely high and certainly beyond their budget.

As the schools were having a day off due to the weather conditions the kids were out everywhere playing in the snow.  This snowman photo has been sent in from Thrumster.
the weather forecast is for snow all the way into the weekend so check school closure page at Highland council tomorrow and Friday.
Adverse Weather Highland Schools Closures Web Site


Highland Coos Breakfast In Snow                 Thurso Gets High Tide And Big Waves

John O'Groats             A9 In Caithness          Thurso Bridge And River

More Snow Forecast for Next Few Days In the Highlands - Here Are Some Weather Links
Adverse Weather Highland Schools Closures Web Site - check for school closures here - all Highland
Many schools now closed in Caithness
Traffic Scotland 
Winter Emergency Numbers, Road Information etc
Live Eye Views Form Traffic Scotland    Northern Routes Affected By Weather 
Take Care as changes come fast in the Highlands.  Accidents yesterday blamed on driving too fast for conditions

Looking Grey At Upper Lybster Yesterday Afternoon
The snow is here for few days we are told.  It was sunny on and off yesterday between the snow showers that never really came to much in Caithness.  Today however there has been more snow overnight and the skies still run between sunshine and short flurries of snow.  Send you photos for this winter gallery to

Low Income Households And Reduced Water Charges - Scottish Executive
A new water and sewerage charge reduction scheme aimed at keeping down the water bills of low income households is now in operation. Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin confirmed today that from April 1 some households in receipt of Council Tax benefit will see a reduction of up to 25 per cent. Homes with two adults or more in receipt of Council Tax benefit will now be eligible for a reduction (similar to that currently available to single person households) as long as they are not in receipt of other reductions.

Public Asked For Ideas On A New Name For NHS Highland - Argyle and Bute
Argyle and Bute areas recently came under the control of NHS highland after the split of Argyle and Clyde after failure to balance their budget and the health minister decided to abolish the health board and put it partly to NHS highland and partly to Glasgow.  NHS highland are now seeking a new name and are asking members of the public for their opinions on such a change.  Suggestions must be received by 1 April 2006.

Block On Building Houses At Halkirk Due To Water Problem Appears To Be Over
Scottish Water has for the first time in a long time not objected to an application to build new house in Halkirk.  Hugh Lockhart became the first person to benefit fro the lifting of objections that Scottish Water had put in to all applications in recent times due to the lack of capacity at the waste water treatment plant.  this was due to the processing of septic tank waste that meant it operated at capacity.  The new treatment works at Thurso have now taken over that job freeing up the capacity at Halkirk

Ulbster Arms Hotel, Halkirk Goes On The Market
Rumours that the well known fishing hotel the Ulbster Arms was to be sold gained more credence when they appeared in the press yesterday.  The asking price is offers over £475,000.

"The Fraser Fifield Trio will play to a Sutherland based music loving audience in an intimate venue, Timespan Art Gallery in Helmsdale, on Sunday 5th March 2006 at 8 pm. This will be a family friendly event and Tickets will be available at the door (£5 adults, £3 concessions, £10 families max 4 people, Children & Young People still at School £1). Previous concerts promoted by The Highland Council in collaboration with Timespan have included Spanish Guitar by Eduardo Niebla, Contemporary Harp by Ruth Wall, Indian Classical Music... and they were all greatly enjoyed by the public. If you would like to reserve tickets please phone me, Roxana Meechan, Arts Development Officer for Sutherland on 01408 635211."

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