Voting begins in Housing Transfer Ballot
Voting starts on Tuesday 31 October in the ballot on the proposed transfer of council housing in the Highlands to the not-for profit Highland Housing Association. All Highland Council secure tenants, who reside in a council-owned property, are entitled to vote and completed ballot forms must be received by mid-day on Tuesday 21 November. A total of 16,398 ballot papers have been issued by Electoral Reform Services, who are running the ballot for the Council. The result is expected on Wednesday 22 November.  The Highland Council is recommending the transfer of housing to Highland Housing Association as the best way to improve homes and housing services while still keeping rents affordable. Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, urged as many tenants as possible to vote on this important issue.
Bill Fernie, Caithness area chairman of Housing and Social Work said, "This is about practicalities and not what is politically correct.  I would recommend that tenants look seriously at what is on offer - stable rents, a chance to raise the standards of the existing housing stock and a Housing Association able to move forward with desperately needed new houses for the Highlands.  The days of councils building houses ceased a long time ago and we cannot put the clock back even if we wanted to.  Use your vote for rent stability, improvements and more houses."

Wind and Rain Forecast For Caithness
Rain and more rain for the next day or two with very high winds on Tuesday is apparently coming at us.  And our local forecaster in the forum also agrees.  Keep those sandbags ready or if you think you might need some check with the council service points as to where you can get them - just in case.

Bruan Church Final Service Marks A New Chapter For The Long Parish
Another chapter in the continuing story of the church in the "Long Parish" has ended as the last of three churches closed on Sunday evening after the final service.  the last service was held under the paraffin lamps used in the days before electricity was available and made an atmospheric ending for the Bruan congregation and friends.  The Rev Kenneth Warner described the rationalisation brought about by reducing population of the east of Caithness and that anew chapter was beginning served by the churches at Lybster and Dunbeath. Latheron church Closed on 24 September   Berriedale church Closed 1 October

50 Years Show At Halkirk School
The show celebrating the 50 years from 1956 - 2006 was performed by the children that now form Halkirk Primary school.  The school was formerly Halkirk Junior High School and a reunion was held over the weekend.  The school was open for the former pupils who attended the show to look round the school and have a school dinner (mince, tatties and peas and custard and sponge or jelly and cream) specially laid on for them at Saturday lunch before the show. Parents saw the show on Friday evening which was faultless on Saturday and a credit to the children, teachers and all others who helped put it on. Halkirk 50 Year Reunion Photos  Halkirk School Days

Floods In The Papers
Big clean-up after flood and landslides hampered by fallen trees - Herald

Sunday Papers
A sleeper that only goes to the land of nod
- Sunday Times
To see Rogart and Sleeperzzz mentioned in the article see our photo gallery click the thumbnail. Badbea is also mentioned in the article.  other places mentioned can be seen in our A - Z. If you would like to stay at Sleeperzzz mentioned in the article then Click Here for contact details and a link to their web site. Great for families, angling parties , cyclists and more. Cheap comfortable and all facilities on a train that never moves.  Shops, pub restaurant nearby maker it a great haven in the last wilderness that is Sutherland. Rogart Community Web Site

‘Reactor waste is Jack’s nuclear nightmare’ - Sunday Herald
Britain to bury waste from nuclear plants - EDI News - 27 October 06

Stroma Gathering 2006

The annual Stroma Gathering took place at the Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats on Friday 27 October. Former residents and relatives hold their annual get together each year and they come from all over meet each other and often joined by relatives long since scattered around the world.  Stroma Index

Halkirk Teachers 1958
The reunion of former pupils of Halkirk Junior High prompted John Marwick, Edinburgh to send in this photos as his father was one of the teachers.  If anyone can supply more names we will add this to the page.



Bruan Church Holds Final Service At 6.30pm Sunday 29 October 2006

The last of three churches being closed by the church of Scotland closes on Sunday when Bruan church holds its final service.  Latheron and Berriedale held their final services and closed their doors earlier this month.  Now Bruan has its final service and all are welcome to join the congregation at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Halkirk School Reunion - Celebrating 50 Years 1956 - 2006

Halkirk school is now a primary school but was previously Halkirk Junior High.  Former pupils from the school started the day with march headed by the Caithness Junior Pipe Band to the school.  A concert was  held in the afternoon with performances from the present school pupils.  the children put on a great show that their parents had seen last night.  With songs and dances the whole show swung along and ended with a version of Div Ye Mind" Halkirk style and then a performance from the whole school of "Over The Ord".  Photos of the show will be here on Sunday.

Remember To Put The Clocks Back Tonight
Do you remember when all your parents had to do was change the alarm clock and maybe a watch. Well now it is not that easy as many will have to change several clocks, wall clocks, TV's, video, DVD recorders, micro-wave oven, electric cooker, central heating controls, car clocks, mobile phones and many more. At least your computer should update all by itself.  Some folk now do not change the clocks and just do the mental arithmetic for six months.  Has anyone calculated if that saves time? The extra hour in bed our parents used to get is now spent by many folk changing all the clocks..........yawn!

Watten Area Flooded

The Papers
Points Of View - Several Letters On Housing Stock Transfer Issues Today - The Herald
Halloween is hijacked by giant orange US vegetables - Scotsman
Hotel gets go-ahead for Scotland’s first Las Vegas-style casino - the Herald
The company who gained the license for this in Glasgow is applying for 19 more around the UK.  Is this a good thing or a disaster waiting for families who may have someone with a gambling problem?

Any Closet Fusion Plasma Theorists Out There? - This Could Be Your Opportunity
It's job with UKAEA at Culham and they might even take two if they are available.  Pay is pretty good too.  So all you young physics students at Wick and Thurso High keep studying and you might solve all of our energy problems and get well paid at the same time.

Tesco Web Cam  - To See Progress At The New Store In Wick
You will need to wait for daylight.  We have added a button in the left column.

Flooding In Caithness Video
Thanks to the Forum folk for supplying the link to this.  Also a link to Orkney flooding video  Who needs TV? when you are all doing it yourselves.

Thurso River At Halkirk And Surrounding Area Flooding

Railway Line To Wick Smashed By Floods At Bilbster
The Railway line To Wick will be out of action for some time as can be seen by these photos taken after the flooding had subsided. The track is bent and buckled. The embankment under the track has partially been washed away.

Footbridges At Castletown Hit By Flood Waters
The footpath at Castltown was made for better access to the beach and was opened on the 15th June 2000 by local man Jessan Mackay. Three bridges on the footpath allow people to cross streams but as the you can see the first two are now out of action.


Flood Stories In The Papers
40 rescued by RNLI as flood hits town - Scotsman

Flood At Westerdale

Highland Community Safety Partnership Scottish Executive - Local Action Fund 2006-2007
Area: Caithness - Closing Date: Monday 20th November - Maximum Grant available: £2000
Funds are available for small local based projects which will contribute to the reduction of youth crime in Caithness. All organisations and agencies working with the 14- 25 age group are eligible to apply. 

Emergency Numbers For Highland
This list might be handy to print out and keep inside your phone book

Flooding At Dingwall Photos On Highland Council Web Site

Caithness Roads Open But Still Sutherland Has Many Roads With Problems
Check this page of the Highland Council web site re closed roads or problem places.

A9 Now Reopened Along Entire Length At 4.00pm
Traffic Scotland web site can be used for road many updates but may be running behind what is happening on the ground. More From the BBC

Wartime Shells Washed Ashore Near Alness As Storm Raged
POLICE have confirmed that Army disposal experts carried out two seperate controlled explosions at the A9 Alness, near Catalina this morning. Police and Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service were called to secure the area this morning following reports that an ordinance device has been found in the area.  The A9 was then closed and traffic diverted via Alness.  Upon their arrival Army disposal experts found there were four war time shells and carried out two seperate controlled explosions, one at 11.40am and the second at midday. The A9 was then reopened at around 12.10

Thurso Cemetery Bridge Washed Away
The Thurso River  rose high enough to wash the bridge at the cemetery away.  One photo shows the gap where it used to be and the next shows the bridge washed up on the river bank down stream.


Thurso River Spreads Itself All The Way To The Youth Club
The Youth Club At the Old Mill saw the water rise to unprecedented levels. The footbridge that crosses at the cemetery has been washed away.



Bilbster Sees Wick River Rise To Very High Level
Here is another view of the Wick river with the flood ongoing Bilbster.



Take Care In Northern Forests for Next Few Days After Storms
Anyone walking in the forests for the next few days should take extra care.  Forestry workers are out clearing fallen trees and removing broken branches at roads and paths.  However with more high winds expected more damage may be caused.  Watch out for overhanging branches that might come down etc.
Foresty Commission offices at Dornoch have no power or telephones.

Milton Flooded
Report from Catherine Patterson - Milton Resident
The residents from No1-5 Weir Crescent Milton were once again the victims of severe flooding and damage to their property. Severe weather conditions caused flooding on the East side of the village, culminating in flooding onto the main Thurso Road. Traffic had to be diverted over Newton hill because of the road closure.
Local residents feel that the drainage issue is an ongoing problem which the council are aware of but no action has been taken to improve the situation. It is felt that the flooding situation has been worsened with the in-fill of ditches in the area. Winter weather and melting snow usually results in flooding on a regular basis causing damage to resident’s property and gardens. Today local resident Catherine Patterson, has seen her garden path been washed away for the second time together with the established shrubs and bulbs. With other residents have water flooding to their kitchens.

Newspapers Will Be Late In Caithness Shops Due To Road Closures in The South
Vehicles were still being stopped from heading north early today due to road conditions and items like newspapers were not in the shops this morning.

Somerfields Store In Wick Clearing Up After Flooding
Staff in Somerfields store in Wick are clearing up the water that got into the shop when the Wick river overflowed yesterday.  the store will not open until all water has been cleared away and they expect it will be later today but could not give time.  Last night men working on the Tesco supermarket and staying at the Norsemen helped fill sandbags to protect the Somerfield store from worse flooding damage.

Halloween Adventures In Rumster Forest Cancelled Due To Weather
The organisers have put out a statement cancelling the event due to weather and safety risks -
"The weather forecast in not good with more rain forecast, high winds again for tonight (Friday) and with the land already saturated conditions will not improve any. It would be to risky to go ahead with event with the amount of people expected and having to contend with fast flowing burns and fallen trees."

Watten Flood Photos In The Forum

Thurso Flood And Scrabster Landslide Photos On The Forum

Caithness Rugby Cancelled For Saturday
The game against Garnock due to be played n Sat 27 October has been postponed

Thurso River Floods As Heavy Rain Hits The North

School Closures
Two schools to be closed in Caithness: Castletown due to boiler problems and Miller Academy Primary due to flood damage. In Ross and Cromarty: Dingwall Primary will be closed due to flooding.  All Sutherland schools were expected to be open as at 5.00pm
Parents should listen to the local radio and check the Emergency school closure website for updates. 

Young Archaeologist Friday Event Cancelled Due to Weather Conditions
Please note the Archaeology Event on Friday 27th October in Dunbeath IS CANCELLED, see attached below. Due to severe weather conditions, that don't look like improving, tomorrow nights Young archaeology meeting at Dunbeath has been cancelled. The next YAC meeting is to take place on the afternoon of the 25th November at Mey Castle.

Somerfield, Wick and Riverside Car Park Flooding Tonight
This is a large photo. Click through to the full size image to see it properly



Sending Weather Photos.
Lots of bad weather photos are coming in but we are struggling to download the many large files being sent at the moment.  If sending large photos can you split them into more than one email please

Bad Weather At Wick

Thurso College Closed today at 3.00pm - All Evening Classes Cancelled due To Weather
 the main campus of The North Highland College in Thurso is closed at 3pm today. There will be no evening classes at any of the centres (Thurso and Wick in Caithness, Alness and Dornoch "down the line" this evening, Thursday 26th.

Wick Sea Cadets Get Going Again With A Special Recruitment Weekend
Sat 18 - Tues 21 November

Halkirk Junior Secondary School 50 Year Reunion
The 'ThisisHalkirk' website has been updated now to show the programme for the School Reunion on Saturday, 28th October 2006 and also a list of the people attending.  Looks like a great reunion day with lots of people attending.  Good luck for the day folks.

Shelligoe Archers Gain Certificates In Toxophily
Shelligoe Archery Centre celebrates its first group of archers to Caithness! After a course of six practical sessions and one of theory, the archers are the well-deserved holders of a certificate in Toxophily.  Joy finch who ran the course said, "Well done all you 'Robin Hoods and Maid Marions' - I am so proud of you! For anyone interested in having a go at archery see contact details HERE   A few archery links

Gibson Speaks on Caithness Future
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has called for a Scottish Executive Minister to oversee the socio-economic future of Caithness. His call came during a debate on the post Dounreay economy of Caithness in parliament. During the debate Mr Gibson said that he supported the broad outlines of the recently published strategy document for Caithness however he questioned how effective it would be. Unless a Minister could implement the changes necessary to allow the Far North to flourish..." The SNP sees this Strategy as one that is of far greater impact on Caithness than the closure of Ravenscraig had in Lanarkshire.    See below re the publication of the Socio-Economic Strategy

Socio Economic Strategy Published
The Caithness Socio Economic Strategy Group today completed its work with publication of "A strategy for Caithness & North Sutherland". The final document incorporates the responses received from consultation and is now being delivered to stakeholders and agencies.  John Thurso MP, who chaired the group said: "Our remit was to create a strategy. This work is complete. The task now is to turn strategy into action and we have made a number of recommendations as to how that should happen. I would also like to thank all the members of the group for all the work they have done."

Bill Fernie Responds To Thread On Affordable Homes And Housing Stock Transfer
A recent thread on "Affordable Homes Fraud" contained a link to the HAST 2006 web site on this topic - a web site that contains much rhetoric and rant about one of the biggest issues facing Highland and its population - the shortage of housing.  In his three part response to the initial entry in the thread Bill sets out the position as he sees it.  Tenants will shortly be asked to vote on this important issue. Bill said "I was brought up in a council house and am now a home owner and as an unpaid volunteer director of a body set up to build houses in Highland I am in favour of this transfer.  The Highland council and the people on the Highland Housing Association want to make life better for tenants and that is the only issue - not the politics - not the ranting over council ownership is the only way - not the ranting or raving of a small vocal minority.  Debates and discussion have gone on for almost two years and a better way to provide housing has not been found within the government guidelines and in view of the offer to write off the £166 million of council housing debt that tenants currently pay for. Added to that the guarantees by the new Housing Association on rents.  This is not privatisation - it is about improving lives and ensuring that more houses are built in Highland for rent and for ownership.  It is about improving tenants homes and keeping rents reasonable."  The latest issue of Tenant sets the issues out simply once again.  Bill Fernie as area chairman of the Caithness Housing and Social Work committee is firmly of the opinion that Housing Stock Transfer will benefit tenants in Caithness and the Highlands.  It is up to Tenants and it is not "all the same" whoever is the landlord.  This change is being offered for very sound reasons. Tenants should use their vote and bring in a Yes to ensure a better future for themselves and for more houses to be built.

Dounreay Bulletin Issue 13 - 25 October
Includes items on £12 Million for Economic Regeneration around Dounreay - Case Opens Office at Site
Update on Manpower Requirements - Scottish Parliament to Debate Closure - Pinhole Repair Will Aid Decommissioning of Fuel Plant - Update on Major New Waste Treatment Plant - Absorbers Returned to PFR
Dounreay Shares Safety Experience with Lithuanian Clean-Up Team

Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today issued a warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. As the cold weather approaches, it has urged homeowners and landlords to ensure that their gas appliances are safe to use. Geoffrey Podger, HSE Chief Executive, said: "Fuel gas is safe, but if appliances are not properly installed and adequately maintained by a competent CORGI-registered installer, the gas may not burn properly meaning CO fumes are released. Approximately 20 people die each year from CO poisoning associated with gas appliances, a figure that could be reduced if people understood the risks and took sensible precautions." You cannot see, smell or taste CO fumes leaving anyone exposed feeling unwell. In the worst situations, CO can kill without warning in just hours.

Smoking Litter Crackdown - Council Introduces £50 Fine For Dropping Cigarette Ends
Highland Council litter wardens are set to deal with smokers who throw cigarette litter on the ground. Six months into the smoking ban in public places, The Highland Council has reviewed its smoking enforcement role and has noted that whilst the smoking ban has been widely accepted by the public and businesses, there is evidence of a litter problem caused by smokers outside licensed premises discarding cigarette ends and other smoking litter on the ground. Now, the Council's smoking enforcement officers are to be authorised as litter wardens in addition to their normal duties to enable them to address the problem. The Council already has responsibility for controlling litter and powers available under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will now be extended to the Smoking Officers. This means that any person discarding smoking litter outside pubs etc. will be liable to a fixed penalty of £50.

Dounreay Particles : Extent of the Contamination and Human Health Implications
A Talk At The Environmental Research Institute, Thurso - FREE
Thursday 2 November 5.00pm

Philip Cartwright - United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
Paul Dale - Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
Fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel (particles) were released from the Dounreay site into the sea. Although most of the particles are believed to remain on the seabed in sediment, some of the particles have been detected on the Dounreay foreshore, on the beach at Sandside, and a single particle has been found on Dunnet beach. To date, all of the organisations involved with protecting human health, the environment and the site itself have invested a large amount of resources into the continuing issue of particles in the environment. The presentations by Philip Cartwright (UKAEA) and Paul Dale (SEPA) will give an introduction to this issue and present some of the recent work conducted by their respective organisations to understand the extent of the contamination and the hazard it presents to human health.

Housing transfer rejection ‘is tragic’ - The Herald
Residents vote 'yes' to takeover - IC South London
Author of a different kind of football book: Fighting back with the Gunns - Independent
Bryan Gunn's autobiography reviewed
BNFL and NDA agree way forward for British Nuclear Group  - Construction & Maintenance 

The Papers
Highland bid for university is delayed again - The Herald

Sounds Familiar
Hearings into nuclear waste -
Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre - Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Not So Familiar
Car theft, armed robberies, fatal chase Brockville man in custody
Brockville Recorder and Times - Ontario, Canada
Police told Sun Media the car was later involved in a robbery of a food store in Thurso, Quebec

The Retail Landscape Of Wick Is Being Changed Rapidly
Work is going on at opposite ends of Wick seven days week now as the new store "Pets At Home" is being outfitted.  At the other side of Wick the Tesco site is a frenzy of activity aiming for an opening at he end of November.  Apparently there are so many workmen in Wick now that some men are having to look for accommodation in Thurso.  In addition the new units at Wick Business Park are nearing completion.  what else is happening in Wick? Well the list is getting longer - road works, more in the spring as Bridge Street is to be renewed, Gas Pipe works, New Houses at several locations and works in Williamson Street to convert a building to more houses. Pontoons coming To Wick Harbour next year in time for the big yacht festival to start in Wick and with more on the way Wick has never been so busy for many years.

Wick Retail Park Sees Work Begin On Final Store
Work has begun on the last store at the wick Retail Park.  It looks like work is going on seven days a week to get the new store Pets At home ready for its opening in November.  Weekends are certainly seeing a busy car park at the retail park.  10 new jobs are being created in the new store.

Latest Tesco, Wick Photos

Whaligoe School 1951
Photo sent by Christina (Alison) Helliwell nee Sutherland



Wick High 2A 1955       Ben Loyal Trip For Seniors 1960
Photos sent by Christina (Alison) Helliwell nee Sutherland.  Christina will be happy to hear from any of her old schoolmates.

Old School Photos Index


Babies Get Healthy In Caithness
Babies are making a splash in Caithness thanks to forward thinking Community Midwife Pam McBeath. The tiny tots are keeping fit, healthy and happy through a popular new Baby Aquatics class. Pam is part of a small Community midwifery team in Wick. She also provides local babies and their mums, with Baby Massage and Baby yoga classes. Pam started Baby Massage some years ago after training with the International Association of Infant Massage. She then became interested in starting Baby Yoga for local babies and their mums, leading to her taking a diploma in the course three years ago.

Caroline Steven Midwife Of The Year
Community Midwife Caroline Steven, from Thurso, was the Scottish winner of Midwife of the year. She runs Parentcraft classes as part of her role and facilitates home deliveries, of which there have been three so far this year. The 9th annual Mamas & Papas Midwife of the Year awards were held at the Mamas & Papas Head Office in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, on September 13th 2006. Caroline Steven, a community midwife of Thurso, was announced as the Scotland Regional Finalist and was presented with a certificate and flowers. Caroline's nomination for the award was sent in by Kimberly Loomes, who also attended the ceremony along with husband Alan and sons Alasdair and Camron.This nomination was chosen from hundreds from the Scotland Region.

Catching Up With Old Items
Reay Horticultural Show - August
We will probably never catch up with all of the items that now flow into us but we are trying.  Here is one from August - a few photos from the show in Reay sent by Colin Gregory.

Wick Drama Group Auditions For Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Eden Court Theatre and Wick High School open auditions for Wick High pupils on Monday 30 October 7.00 - 9.00pm.

Wick High Street - Upgrade To Take Four Weeks
The second stage of the Wick High Street Road improvement programme got underway last week. Apart from a full relaying of the road the works include new a new pavement using Caithness Flagstone.  Out goes the the mix of tar, concrete and brick not to mention the patches and repairs from many years of digging.  Almost inevitably there has already been some pain for local traders with burst cables.  The next staqe in improvements to Wicks roads will be in the Spring 2007 when all of Bridge street will be relaid.  After many years of decline Wick is finally moving and seemingly all at once.  What everyone wants to know is when will the terrible South Road be relaid and make the trip between Tesco and the shopping complex on South Road be a smooth one rather than the the half mile of bumps.

A Significant Week For Oil In the UK As 10,000th Well is Drilled
Meanwhile The Wind Battles In The Highlands Continue
Oil is one of the UK success stories and it continues to develop despite being a mature industry.  Recent high prices have meant significant activity in the north sea with Aberdeen seeing the usual bustle of activity.  Significant this week was the announcement by Talisman Energy the Canadian oil and gas operator that they have made the biggest find for many years in the North Sea.  But as everyone knows oil will not last for ever and the UK government is embarked on the biggest expansion of an industry that could eventually reach the scale of development as big as the North Sea - Wind Power and this time it will not be out of site in the North Sea.  Work has begun last week on the largest wind farm yet in the UK at Eaglesham Moor South of Glasgow. Meanwhile the battles of the wind farms continues in the Highlands particularly in Caithness and Sutherland where many wind farms are at different stages in the planning process.  One of those battles reaches its next stage in Portree, Skye on 27th October when the Planning, Development Europe and Tourism Committee of the Highland Council arrives to determine at a Hearing whether or not to grant planning permission for 18 wind Turbines at Edinbane, Isle Of Skye.  654 objectors and a petition of 812 signatures are the opposition whilst there are 120 letters of support.  A majority of the objectors do not live in Skye but are from all over the UK and abroad. A large majority of the supporters live in Skye.  Scottish Natural Heritage has also objected.  For anyone on Skye there will be site visit leaving the Aros Centre, Portree about 9.15am and the hearing will begin at 1.00pm. For anyone looking for the agenda and papers they will be HERE later in the week.

The Sunday Papers
Family escapes 'suspicious' blaze  -
A fire at a house in Caithness is being treated as suspicious, police have confirmed.
Focus: Gael force -
Sunday Times
But the case that captures best the zealous swagger of the Gaelic lobby is surely that of Sleat primary school on the Isle of Skye, where a tiny community has been torn in two by parental demands that the school become Gaelic-speaking only, and sending its English-speaking pupils on a 30-mile round-trip along winding roads to be taught elsewhere. Highland Council is set to announce on Wednesday that, in a compromise certain to leave both parties dissatisfied, the school will become all-Gaelic but with an English-speaking unit.
It's a mad, mad, mad autumn - The Independent
Article on the unusual weather  - Triggerfish, Thurso: found washed up in the extreme north of Scotland. Not uncommon in the English Channel but extremely rare so far north.
The future's a no-snow zone - The Observer
Comment: Jenny Hjul: It’s not the house, Jack, it’s your policy - The Sunday Times
Brave hearts - Under a new law, 3,000 islanders are about to buy their corner of the Hebrides. But, wonders Fanny Johnson, will this spell the end of their centuries-old way of life?  - The Observer

More Oil Related Photos From Thurso Man
Euan Murdoch send these latest oil related photos from the Permian Basin, West Texas where he has been working as a wireline engineer for Baker Atlas.  Euan went to Thurso High school.  He left his home town last year to work in the oil industry.  Among the photos is one of brand new truck for logging data from oil wells.
See more photos from Caithness folk working in the oil industry worldwide.

As The Countdown To The Housing Stock Transfer Vote In Highland Approaches
Glasgow Housing Association’s track record is good
- The Herald
The city cannot be allowed to become frozen in a time warp - Scotsman
Residents agree to stock transfer - News Shopper
For Many More Stories on Housing Stock Transfer See This Google Link
Housing Index   Community ownership and Housing transfer In Highland

More Early Sand Yachting Photos

Thanks to Bob Levens for sending this latest batch of early sand yachting photos.  The photos are from 1967 - 1970 and show how popular the sport was in those early days.  With regular regattas and even a team from France entering the competition and as can be seen it pulled in the crowds from around Caithness to watch.  Were you one of the folk at the beach in those years?  Sand Yachting Index
For more about this club from earlier years go to Caithness Sand And Land Yacht Club

Wick Town Improvements Committee Fund Raising To Improve The Islands On Wick River
The Wick Town Improvements Committee are holding a Mackays Fashion Show in the Main Hall, Assembly Rooms, Wick at 7pm on Wednesday 25th October 2006. Price: Adults £3.50 / OAP's and Children £2. Wine and Shortbread included. Raffle - Black and White Drawing by Ian MacKenzie, Bottle of Old Pulteney Whisky, Grocery Basket and many other prizes. Tickets for sale at Poltney News, Dempster St, Mackays Store, D R Simpsons and also at the door on the night. Proceeds to go towards the Renovation of the Islands at Wick River.  The islands have been deteriorating for many years and the Wick Town Improvements are taking on the challenge to put them back in to shape. Forum & Message Board Visits Doubled In Last 12 Months
The Message Boards on continue to see amazing increases in numbers of visitors.  What was once a tiny part of the web site had over 800,000 visits in the past 12 months.  With its mix of sections covering a huge range of topics for discussion, debate and the odd moan and an increasingly busy FREE classified ads section it looks set to reach a million visitors a year in coming months.  With the web site as a whole increasing its total visitor numbers records are still being broken. In July saw two days with hit rates in excess of a million a day as everyone poured into the gala photos.  Over the six years we can see that July/August and December/January are when the big surges come.  We have already had to increase our bandwidth this year to double what it was last year and expect to have to do so again soon.
So thanks for looking in and to everyone who contributes to the site by sending in items and photos.  There are now about 50,000 photos on  and for the techies out there the web site is now approaching 4 Gigabytes (4000 megabytes) in size.

Growing Choice Of Cars, Bikes And Accessories On
J & G Sutherland - Richard's Garage - Wm Dunnet & Co Ltd
Cars For Sale - Motorbikes For Sale - Commercial Vehicles For Sale - Caravans, Campers & Accessories
Spares, Accessories & Sundries For Sale
Private Ads in these sections are FREE.

Catching Up With Some Earlier Photos of Visits To The Dounreay Visitor Centre
Pennyland School , Thurso   Hillhead School, Wick          Three Bears Nursery, Thurso

News Elsewhere
Council ponders tax rise of 2.5%  - BBC

Iomairt na Gaidhealtachd a' cur fàilte air Planaichean Gàidhlig Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Madainn an-diugh, dh'ainmich Bòrd na Gàidhlig Iomairt na Gaidhealtachd maraon de na ciad bhuidhnean poblach air a bhios uallach planaichean Gàidhlig ullachadh gus cumail ri Achd na Gàidhlig, a chaidh aontachadh bho chionn goirid.  Chuir Sandy Cumming, Àrd-Oifigear Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd, fàilte air an naidheachd, is e ag radh: "Tha sinn toilichte dha-rìreabh an naidheachd seo a chluinntinn, agus i ag innse mòran mu'n àite cudthromach a bhios aig Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ann a bhith cumail taic ri ath-nuadhachadh leantainneach a' chànain."
HIE 'fàilte' to Bòrd na Gàidhlig announcement on Gaelic plans
BÒRD na Gàidhlig this morning announced that Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will be one of the first public bodies invited to prepare a Gaelic language plan in compliance with the recently passed Gaelic Language Act. HIE chief executive, Sandy Cumming, said: "We are delighted by this news. It indicates the particularly important role the HIE network will play in the continued regeneration of the language.

Prize Bingo In Support of MacMillan Cancer
The Wick Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support invite you to their Prize Bingo on Friday 27th October 2006 at 8.00pm in the Francis Street Club, Wick. Prizes include £50 Argos/£20 Petrol/£10 Tesco vouchers, grocery hampers, slow cooker and lots more. There will be a bottle stall, a baking stall and raffles. Please come along and support this very worthwhile cause.

Updated Manpower Forecasts For Decommissioning
UKAEA Dounreay today published updated figures about employment at the site and projections of reducing manpower needs as more of the fast reactor experiment is cleaned out and demolished. Current employment levels of approximately 2000 are expected to reduce by 500 over the next five years. Upon completion of the decommissioning programme in 2033, employment will have reduced to 23.
UKAEA Index   UKAEA Dounreay Web Site

Spectacular Aerial Views From Bettyhill and Melvich
These great aerial views were sent in by Gary Shaw who was recently flying his paramotor around the Bettyhill and Melvich area.

      Sutherland Index

More Caithness Halloween Activities Now In - Send Your Own In  - It's FREE

Other Areas Feeling The Nuclear Pinch
Aid plan to follow Wylfa closure - BBC
Plans for the regeneration of Anglesey after the planned closure of Wylfa nuclear power station in 2010 are due to be unveiled. The power station, along with its main customer Anglesey Aluminium, is one of the biggest employers on the island. Both Anglesey and Gwynedd councils have called for a 10-year regeneration plan.

HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise (HIE) today announced it is to invest an extra £12million in Caithness and Sutherland. The extra funding, a 50 per cent increase on the current budget allocation for the area, will be used over the next three years to help address the considerable challenges posed to the area's economy by the decommissioning of Dounreay nuclear plant. Local enterprise company Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE), which is part of the HIE network, is also to be strengthened with the addition of four new senior staff. The announcement was made today by HIE chief executive Sandy Cumming and CASE chief executive Carroll Buxton.

Local Group Raising Awareness Of Grey Seal Pups
With the start of the new seal pupping season fast approaching the Caithness Branch of the BDMLR Marine Mammal Medics, are effecting a drive to improve public awareness of the problems associated with disturbing the animals at this time of year. The campaign started last week, with the group targeting beaches in the areas known to be visited by the seals while their pups are being born. Putting up signs and urging the public to avoid contact with the new born seals who stay shore bound while being weaned by their mothers.

Bower Boys Win Cattle Dressing Competition For Fourth Time
A team from Bower YFC chalked up their 4th win on the trot at the annual Caithness Young Farmers District Cattle Dressing competition. The Bower team, James Barnetson and Stuart Mackay now go forward to represent Caithness at the Regional eliminations to be held in Dingwall Mart on Saturday 21st October. Taking second place was the Bower C team of John Macaulay and Karen Oliphant with the Junior winners, Ranald Angus & Carrie Mcadie of Bower B taking third place overall......

Are you between ages 11 and 25 and have an idea on how to help young people or your community but have no money to carry forward your idea.  Now there is somewhere to apply for funds locally to help make your ideas happen. Caithness Youth Bank was designed and set up by young people in Caithness. The scheme has just been launched and we would welcome applications from young people aged 11-25. Grants will only be given if we are assured the project will benefit young people and/or the community.
Closing Date: 17th November 2006, next assessment date will be February
Minimum Grant: £100 Maximum grant: £1000  Apply to 
for more information and an application pack.
Click Here For More Funding Ideas For Charities

Add Your Event To The Highland 2007 Programme! For Even More Publicity - FREE
Attention all Galas, Highland Games, Shows, Drama, Music Events, Festivals Etc

Yes even Caithness events can get nationwide FREE publicity on several web sites by completing just one form at Highland 2007 With the countdown to Highland 2007 now well underway, event organisers are being encouraged to get on board with Scotland's year of Highland culture. Highland 2007 is calling on organisers planning events showcasing the Highlands and Islands as a great place to live and to visit to add these events to the programme for the year ahead. Events celebrating the rich culture of the Highlands will be integrated with many hundreds of events already shown on the Highland 2007 website to encourage visitors to the area next year. As a result of a partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and HI-Arts, all events entered via the Highland 2007 website will be included on both the Highland 2007 and the HI-Arts event database, meaning organisers need only enter their event on one or other site.  DO IT SOON as there will also be printed material being published in coming months for national and international distribution.  Don't miss this amazing opportunity to get your event massive publicity and all  FREE.  And make sure you have your event in the What's On - Also FREE

Caithness Minister On Short List For Moderator 2007
The names of nominees for the Office of Moderator of the 2007 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, announced today, are -
The Reverend William F Wallace, Minister, Pultneytown and Thrumster, Church, Wick
The Reverend Sheilagh M Kesting, Secretary, Committee on Ecumenical Relations
The Reverend Dr. Norman Shanks, Minister, Govan Old Parish Church, Glasgow
When they meet on October 31, members of the Committee to Nominate the Moderator will hear proposers and seconders speak to their nominations before voting to nominate the person who will be presented as Moderator Designate to the General Assembly on 19 May 2007.

New Homes At Harrowhill, Wick Nearing Completion
The new homes at Harrowhill, Wick are almost completed.  The 28 houses are being built by M M Miller, Wick for Pentland Housing Association.  Pentland are to make up to 14 of the houses available to families who would like to apply for Low Cost Home Ownership that can make it easier to get started into home ownership by making the payments split between part ownership and rent at the start.  The homes vary in size - two, three and four bedrooms. The first tenants/owners are expected to move in during November.  anyone who would like information should contact Pentland Housing.  See the Harrowhill site at the start. Meanwhile in Thurso Pentland has two other new housing developments at Spring Park and Manson's Lane nearing completion.

The Papers
Sellafield firm fined over leak - BBC
Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Twenty years after big bang, tax and red tape are still the things that get the City's goat - The Independent
The interesting part for nuclear and energy watchers in this article is British Energy: on the rack again -
So much for British Energy. Does yesterday's news also put the kibosh on government plans for a new generation of nuclear power plants to replace the old ones."
Cracks appear at British Energy plant as Blair opens gas pipeline - Times
British Energy slump hits shares sell-off plan - The Independent
Nuclear shutdowns sap British Energy - Times
Serious nuclear leaks spark £800m loss - This Is London
As much as £800m was wiped off the value of British Energy and wholesale electricity prices shot up yesterday after the company closed two nuclear reactors and revealed problems at others, writes the Times.
A titan that is running out of energy - Times
British Energy to shut plants after finding cracks - Reuters
53 articles At Google On Energy Slump and Shut Downs

Latest Weddings Added To The Gallery
Latest wedding photos added are for Laurence and Andrea Campbell at Forss Hotel and Donald McEwan and Josephine Matheson at Carbisdale Castle



New Health Web Site Aimed At Health Improvement Practitioners Might Help Us All
A recently launched web site Health Scotland aims to support all health improvement practitioners and partner organisations working to improve Scotland's health and reduce health inequalities.  Although aimed at practitioners the site is fully open with no need to register or log in to see what is available (We say Hurrah to that).  There is growing amount of health improvement information, surveys and programmes with links in each section to other relevant material and web sites.

Halkirk School Garden Project

The Garden Project is ongoing at Halkirk Primary School. Initially the school was given a grant of £3000 from Scottish Natural Heritage.  With this money trees were bought and planted, picnic benches and planters were bought, as were two bower domes, hedging and a selection of plants. An ornamental garden was planned with the help of Liz O'Donnell and work on it is underway with help from Caithness Ranger Mary Legg and Philip Wright and a willing team of volunteer parents, staff and pupil helpers. Parents and friends have also donated various equipment, plants, topsoil etc. to help us carry out the project.

Highland Common Housing Register
For the past two years the Highland Council and the Social Landlords - Albyn Housing Society, Pentland Housing Association, Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association, Cairn Housing Association, Link Housing Association, Key Housing Association, Hanover Housing Association, Trust Housing Association, Margaret Blackwood Housing Association have been working towards forming a Common Housing Register and Allocations Policy. A common housing register will make it easier for anyone looking for a house to rent with only one application form to complete rather than applying to each association separately. A draft allocations policy is also part of this process. Views on the proposals are being sought until 31 October 2006.  You can give your views by completion of the online form
Housing Index  Highland Council Housing  Housing Stock Transfer
Argyle and Bute Move To A Common Housing Regsiter
New housing allocation scheme makes it easier to find a home - The Herald    See Also HOME Argyle

More Caithness Fungi Photos

Thanks to Lee Kempton and Walter Smith for sending in the latest fungi photos to this fast growing collection showing the sheer variety of fungi to be found in Caithness.

The Papers
Exploring our rocky history
- The Herald
This item In today's Herald is very good description of some of what you can find on a visit to the East of Suthelrand.  The item uses that part of the country to show how a new approach to looking at walking at the coast around several countries of the North Sea is approached in North Sea Trail and Moray Firth Trail which of course includes Caithness and Sutherland.

Some October Bird Sightings
Pallas's warbler at Freswick was amongst the sightings and is still a rare vagrant in Caithness. This bird was found by visitors who had stopped to look for the Common crane they'd just seen flying over!
Bird Watching In Caithness

Caithness Natural History - Photographic Competition - The Results

The first Caithness Natural History Photographic Competition, attracted a diverse and stimulating collection of images from around the county, and was pronounced an unqualified success by its judge Ken Crossan. The subject matter which included landscapes, birds, flowers, fish and insects, graphically illustrated the driving principal behind the event ­ to uncover and promote the fascinating wildlife all around us, for the benefit of everybody.

First Minister in Highlands and Islands Holyrood Campaign boost
First Minister Jack McConnell MSP recently visited Inverness to meet with Labour activists ahead of the 2007 election. Jack McConnell met with over 50 local Labour candidates and activists from across the Highlands and Island region, and took the opportunity to meet activists and discuss strategy and policy ahead of Holyrood poll in May. Following the event, Jack McConnell: "Labour's team for the Highlands and Islands is stronger than ever.""Our experienced and hard working list and constituency candidates will take Scottish Labour's message to every household across the Highlands and Islands."

Plea to Householders to Assist with Electoral Registration
Householders in the Highlands and Western Isles are being urged to register everyone in their homes who qualifies in order to ensure that they can vote in the Scottish Parliament and local council elections in May of next year. The annual electoral canvass is in full swing and all households in the areas have received an initial postal canvass form and where this was not returned, a reminder.

Many New Funding Opportunities For Charities And Voluntary Groups, Schools Etc
We have just added links and information on many new funding opportunities with a variety of closing dates right into 2007.  There are many possibilities here for local charities and voluntary groups and other bodies to apply for funding for wide range of possible projects.  If you are involved with a local group to see if you think your group might qualify for some of the millions of pounds on offer.  Take copy along to your committee and see if you might be able to fund some new work, obtain equipment, start an environmental project large or small, plant some trees - the possibilities are endless when you look at the listing posted today......

Caithness Crane Turned Over South Of Golspie
A crane belonging to Hugh Simpson contractors Ltd was lying on its side after the banking it was standing on gave way.  The accident happened south of Golspie at the road works currently underway.  These photos were taken on Friday afternoon.

Sunday Papers
'Nuclear bosses must go' - union - The Independent
LibDems: we should not have to repay £2.4m gift - The Herald
Lord Thurso, LibDem MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "It has now been spent so it would be rather difficult to pay it back.".

Marine Inn, Thurso  - For Sale - Any Takers?  - A Chance To Rejuvenate A Pub - Only £130,000
The former Marine Inn is now on the market for £130,000.  The forum is discussing this former Thurso pub.  Its in an ideal position in the town and with its enclosed space could be great in the summer for outdoor meals and entertainment etc.  With hundreds of new houses now earmarked for Thurso could this be a chance for someone to make their mark with a new venture.  A few orgers would like to buy it but it will take more investment to bring it back into use as a pub/restaurant.  If you have a some thoughts on this building head for the Forum

Caithness Spinners and Knitters Win Caithness V Cornwall Challenge

for the second year running the Caithness team made up of spinners and knitters from the north of Scotland has won a challenge.  the challenge was made earlier this year when a few photos were taken at Dunnet where the wool for the squares was obtained.  The challenge to spin the wool and knit 63 squares was won by the north team at Timespan in Helmsdale.  The two teams were linked by video beamed across the internet.  Last year the challenge was to knit a jumper.

New Longhope Lifeboat "Helen Comrie" At Scrabster
The new Tamar class lifeboat came into Scrabster yesterday afternoon, on the final leg of her journey between Poole, Dorset and Longhope on Hoy. The Longhope lifeboat Station is one of the first in Britain to get the new Taymar Class lifeboat. The RNLB Helen Comrie (16-05) was escorted into Scrabster by The Thurso Lifeboat, relief boat RNLB Beth Sell (17-33). Both boats left Scrabster this morning of the final leg to meet the Longhope Lifeboat RNLB The Queen mother, the Stromness lifeboat RNLB Violet, Dorothy and Kathleen (17-16), and the old Longhope lifeboat RNLB Thomas McCunn which is stationed in the Longhope Lifeboat Museum. Along with the Shetland Coastguard helicopter Oscar Charlie, the 4 boats will escort the new boat into Longhope.  And A Lost Boot Is Held At Scrabster Lifeboat Station For Claiming
Must have been a good party last night boys........
To see larger images of many of the photos in the galleries remember to click "View full size here"

Gifts Of Silence - October 2006
Marion Chandler from Newton Stewart made a welcome return visit to Thurso to demonstrate to the Caithness Floral Art Club. Her title Gifts of Silence referred to the fact that flowers and foliage contribute to the visual sense and gave her scope to use shape, form and texture in a variety of colour combinations to make six very pleasing arrangements with most of the foliage coming from her own garden.

Looking for A Job?
Keep an eye on the Jobs section.  Currently there is wide variety of jobs on offer with Caithness employers.  Take look for yourself.

Altnabreac To Dunbeath - A Walk By Ian MacKillop
Here are some photos from a walk undertaken by Ian MacKillop from Thurso last year.

The Papers Etc
Sellafield Facing Fine Over Big Nuclear Leak -
News & Star Cumbria
SELLAFIELD operator British Nuclear Group (BNG) is due back in court on Monday to be fined for the massive radioactive leak which closed the Thorp plant 18 months ago. The £1.8 billion flagship reprocessing plant is still closed after the leak of 83,000 litres of highly radioactive liquor from a fractured pipe, which went undetected for nine months.
Dog team's assistance 'ignored' - BBC
Caithness And Sutherland Search Team (CASST) who train dogs to search for lost people in the countryside or mountain areas have been rejected yet again by the authorities who control search and rescue.
Owner/skipper prosecuted for carriage of passengers without certification - Polish Press Wire
At a hearing on 12 October in Wick, Caithness, Christopher Bennett was fined £1,000 for operating a vessel without the appropriate certification from the port of Scrabster. On 21st January 2006 a prohibition notice was served on the owner/skipper of the MV Hebridean Warrior, Mr Bennett, to prevent him going to sea with passengers until the boat either had a load line certificate, or was coded against the requirement of the code of practice for the safety of small motor vessels in commercial use. Mr Bennett ignored the prohibition notice and an investigation into his activities was undertaken by the enforcement unit. The Hebridean Warrior had been operating out of Scrabster in Northern Scotland since around 2001. Initial efforts to have the boat surveyed and certificated were not completed, but the boat continued to operate during most weekends of the year.

Erik Mackay From Wick High School Wins Prestigious Science Award 
Erik Mackay a sixteen year old student from Wick, Caithness, has scooped a top science and engineering prize for a series of enterprising experiments. Erik, who is a student at Wick High School, won the Flipside Magazine award for his experiments involving radio technology. Erik was presented with a laptop for his achievements by TV personality Adam Hart-Davies. Erik’s experiments ranged from calculating Earth-Moon distance by bouncing radio signals to ham radio contact with the International Space Station. Dickon Ross, editor of Flipside said “We have been extremely impressed with the standard of entries for this award. I am delighted to be presenting Erik with the Flipside award as he has demonstrated great enthusiasm and aptitude for science and technology and has made some outstanding achievements which are particularly impressive for his age.”

Tom McCabe has highlighted the important contribution councillors make to local communities, ahead of the introduction of a new form of voting for the local government election on May 3 2007. Councillors across Scotland will be elected using a system of proportional representation, Single Transferable Vote (STV). There is a dedicated website and phone number to ensure that voters and candidates are fully informed on how the new system works. 
Currently the political representation of Highland is mainly by Independent councillors - Independent 53 - Liberal Democrats 13  Labour 8 - SNP 6  See the Current Councillor Political Representation HERE
MSP Selections
Labour Goes for Seven List Candidates For Highland and Islands

A Tribute To A Local Community Activist By Bill Mowat
JOHN ROBERT MOWAT, VICTORIA HOUSE, JOHN O’GROATS, CAITHNESS KW1 4YR. Vegetable grower; joint-founder of a substantial locally-owned tourism business; finest exponent of Scotland’s most ancient craft and a community activist.  With the sudden death of John Mowat on Tuesday October 3rd, at the age of 66, the community of John O’Groats (popn. 250) lost its living link between the old ‘subsistence-style’ of crofting and modern consumer-conscious agriculture suitable to the soil and weather conditions on the Pentland Firth shoreline........

A Kirkular Tour Of Castletown

These photos are from a recent walk around churches past and present around the Castletown area.  Muriel Murray of Castletown Heritage led the walk and imparted a lot of information about the various sites and churches beginning at Olrig cemetery where St Trostans kirk of 1633 one of the early churches stands.  It is believed that the site was used in even earlier times.  An interesting look around the cemetery where many interesting gravestones are to be found and behind one a fabled site of a selkie burial.  In Castletown walkers were allowed in to see the present day Church of Scotland church on the main street.

The Papers
Amicus accuses BNFL of Magnox stitch-up - The Times
No sweetness and light as the decommissioning battles hot up then.......

Wick Couple Won Tickets To Premiere Of "The Devil Wears Prada In London's West End"
Kerry Smith from Wick recently headed to London with her husband Alan after winning tickets for the premiere of the film "the Devil Wears Prada".   It was held in the Odeon West End Cinema on Thursday 21st September & attended the after show Champagne & Cocktails Party in Sketch in Mayfair. The introduction to the gala screening was done by Beverly Knight. They saw lots of starts including Tara Palmer- Tomkinson, Graham Norton, the Sugababes, Duncan from Blue & Simon Webbe. At the end of the night they were given a goodie bag to take away. Kerry won the weekend away after she bought a limited edition bag on the internet which was used in the film. It had a code on it that you had to enter online for the chance to win tickets to the film premiere & after show party. It was designed by Patricia Field & profits went towards Breakthrough Breast Cancer (they were one of the films sponsors along with Nissan Micra CC).

Smokey - Missing From Port Dunbar
Smokey went missing from the Port Dunbar area a couple of weeks ago and the owner is really worried. He is a really timid cat and it is possible he is hiding somewhere.  If anyone sees him they can contact Cats Protection on 07050 073378.



The Salmon Farm Protest Group ACTION HOUR
On Saturday 14th October, from 11.00am until 12 noon, Salmon Farm Protest Group supporters will be distributing leaflets outside supermarkets in 50 UK cities and towns, including London, Bognor Regis, Bristol, Abergavenny, Newtonabbey, Edinburgh, Cumbernauld, Aberdeen Perth, Aviemore, Dingwall, Wick and Thurso.  Our message to consumers is: 'GO WILD FOR REAL SALMON - SAY 'NO' TO FARMED FISH. The leaflet lists ten reasons to think twice before buying factory-farmed salmon; including PCB and dioxin levels in both organic and standard farm salmon, untreated fish farm sewage excreted into coastal waters, the damage salmon farming is doing to wild fish.

Sutherland Local Access Forum Setting a Pace
A Local Access Forum in Sutherland is bringing together all parties with an interest in developing and managing access to the outdoors. It is an independent advisory body working to promote dialogue and understanding, developing a consensus and promoting a co-operative approach to access to the countryside and inland waters. The 14-strong Forum brings together the views and interests of users, land managers, community groups and public agencies to advise The Highland Council on meeting its statutory duties under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This forum is one of six newly created by the Council and has been meeting regularly for the past 10 months and getting to grips with their new role. The forum will particularly provide guidance to assist the Council in resolving access issues and problems such as locked gates, dogs and livestock etc.   Sutherland Local Access Forum    Caithness Local Access Forum

Have Your Say In The Future Of Sutherland
Anyone with an interest in the future planning of development for their community in Sutherland will be able to provide their opinions on the new Local Plan being prepared for the county. Planning officials of The Highland Council have produced a discussion document, entitled Sutherland Futures, and they are keen to get feedback from the public at a series of 17 public exhibitions/meetings, starting at Lairg on Monday 23 October and ending in Dornoch on Thursday 30 November. They will be on hand during the afternoon to record the public's views and meetings will held from 7 pm.

Princess Anne Visited Wick Harbour
Amongst the places Princess Anne visited in Caithness yesterday was the old Herring Market at Wick Harbour.  The former fish market currently houses an exhibition of items and photos about the Isabelle Fortuna.  Princess Anne went on board the Isabella Fortuna for look around.  Princess Anne opened the new JGC Engineering facility at Janetstown
Earlier Royal Visits To Caithness & Updating Royal News
Princess Anne Presents Save The Children Awards Tonight Wed 11 Oct In London

New Link On This Page To Planning Applications and Building Warrants
So you want to know who is building what in Caithness or other parts of Highland.  It is all published weekly on the Highland Council web site but can you find it quickly.  We have created a new link in the left hand column under Caithness Property to let you get there faster.

Making Progress On War On Waste In Highland
Highland Council achieved a dramatic expansion in recycling provision through the extension of kerbside collections to 48,000 households, the opening of five new Recycling Centres at Wick, Thurso, Dingwall, Fort William and Nairn and the development of a network of 175 Recycling Points. At March 2006, Highland had achieved a recycling rate of 19.9%.  Environment Index   Recycling Centres

Scotia Review Writers Group Restarts Tonight
Have you ever thought you might like to develop better writing skills.  Why not head over to the writing group starting back after the summer break at Ormlie.  Other Scotia Review News

More Views Near The Trinkie, Wick
A couple of views taken recently by Martin Bremner of the ever changing scene near the Trinkie outdoor swimming pool at Wick.



The Papers
Tidal power plan to blow up two islands - Scotsman
The islands are Stroma and Swona.  The plan is not really a plan - more a theory on how to maximise power from the tidal flow in the Pentland Firth.
Prison reform inspectorate vetoed  - Guardian
Lord Caithness, the former Tory prisons minister, supported Lord Ramsbotham while admitting in the debate that he had often asked "who will rid me of this troublesome inspectorate"
Rural arias - Scotsman
Describing the long trip by an American to see the opera "Die Fledermaus" in Thurso High school.

Latest Addition To The Fungi Collection
The latest addition to the Fungi Photo Collection has been sent in by Martin Bremner.  This specimen was found in Rumster Forest.  A few more links have been added to the main Fungi Index Page



More Haiku On Than Anyone Expected
The Message Boards seems to grow arms and legs by the day but who would have thought so many folk would have go at writing a Haiku.  The Haiku section is just one thread within the growing Literature section  If Haiku is too short at three lines then take look at some of the fourteen line sonnets following a challenge.  With almost 800 contributions this section started in August is growing rapidly.  If you have any thoughts on a literary topic why not post it for some new discussion and debate or ask a question about a book that you have always wanted to know more about.  You might be surprised at how many folk will join in.

MacMillan Biggest Coffee Morning Photos
Here are some photos from two of the venues that took part in the MacMillan Biggest Coffee morning In the world recently.  the photos are from South School, Wick and Clyth Village Hall. Plenty of home baking at these events so they are always worth a visit.

NORTHERN Constabulary has vowed to continue its crackdown on alcohol related violence as the latest phase of the Safer Scotland campaign to reduce violent behaviour across the country draws to a close. This phase, which followed the crackdown on knife crime, focused on the effects alcohol has on the safety of our communities. The aims of the campaign were to reduce the availability of alcohol to people under 18, provide reassurance to communities experiencing anti-social behaviour and raise awareness of the issue of the purchase of alcohol by others on behalf of youngsters. During the five-week campaign more than 285 litres of alcohol has been seized from youngsters and street drinkers and 449 visits have been made by Police to off-sales premises. Four alleged offences were detected at off-sales premises during the campaign.

There will be no hiding place for the Liberal Democrats on their disastrous plans to hike car taxes in the Highlands and Islands – Labour MSP Peter Peacock has pledged.
He said, “Lib Dem car tax is nothing less than a raid on the incomes of hardworking families and small businesses across the Highlands and Islands – dressed up as a green tax. The North MSP has attacked the plans as having their most damaging effect here within the Highlands and Islands, where the car is still essential for most families. He added, “The recently approved Liberal Democrat plans to raise car tax in the Highlands and Islands will have dire consequences for hardworking families and comes on top of their plans to raise the levels of income tax locally. They know their proposals will cause real hardship across the length and breadth of our region, yet they are determined to proceed. Their car tax hike on a 2 litre Mondeo will lift it from £190 to £1,500 and on many a working farm vehicle from £215 to £2,000. Even on a small Vauxhall Astra sized vehicle the hike would be from £150 to £850. In percentage terms this means rises from a huge 250% to an astonishing 1,200%.”

Staxigoe Hall Aims To Restart Its Christmas Fayre If Sufficient Interest Is Shown
Years ago Staxigoe hall held an annual Christmas Fayre that was organised by a local resident. The hall committee was planning on trying this idea out once again and was wondering if there are any local charities or sellers of new goods (this is not a boot sale) that would be interested in coming along. The night in question would be Thursday 30th November with a time to be arranged. Please contact Emma Munro at 01955 603301 if you would be interested. Tables would be priced at £5.

Today's Fungi Photos
The latest fungi photos show specimens found at Thrumster by Catherine MacLeod.

   Identifying A few


Meat Lorry Overturns At Castletown
A meat lorry belonging to JBT Jim Brackenridge (Transport) Ltd overturned near Castletown yesterday (9 October 2006).  The driver escaped unhurt.  The lorry was heading from Inverness having come from Orkney.


Caithness Samaritans Want Young People To Make Suggestions To Prevent Suicide
Each week in Scotland two people under the age of 25 commit suicide. Caithness Samaritans want to raise awareness amongst young people of the confidential support provided by Samaritans to those of all ages undergoing emotional stress. Caithness Samaritans are therefore inviting clubs or teams with members in the under 25 age bracket to suggest how they might assist Samaritans in achieving their aim. In return Samaritans are prepared to provide financial sponsorship to the teams/groups with the two best suggestions. Please contact Chairman, Caithness Samaritans, 7 Riverside Place, Thurso, KW14 8BZ.

Halloween In Caithness - Advertise Your Events Here
If you are organising a Halloween event in Caithness in coming weeks why not send in details for this new section.  It's completely FREE and events can range from children's halloween parties to adult events, discos and dances.  Staxigoe Hall is the first in with their children's halloween party open to all children.  To get your Caithness event added send details and posters to


New SNH Funding For Peatland Restoration
A new £135,000 funding package to restore an area of blanket bog in the Highlands which had been planted with conifers has been announced by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The money in the form of a grant to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will be used to restore the forest block to blanket bog in an area of Caithness west of Altnabreac, 23 miles west of Wick. The support is part of a special funding package granted to SNH by the Scottish Executive this year. The conifer plantation is being removed due to its damaging impacts on the underlying blanket bog and potential effects on adjacent peatlland which is of international importance.

Princess Anne is to officially open Britain's first purpose-built nuclear clean-up test, trials, training, research and development centre as part of a visit to Caithness on Tuesday, October 10. She will tour the £3.5 million facility at Janetstown, near Thurso and meet staff, guests and PhD researchers working there. The t3UK centre will support the UK's £70 billion nuclear clean-up programme. It provides state-of-the-art facilities for companies to train staff and test the equipment needed to dismantle hazardous facilities at nuclear sites. It is also being marketed to the oil and gas and environmental sectors as an equipment testing base.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published a draft socio-economic policy for consultation with communities around its sites, including dates. The closing date for comments is 19 January 2007.

Junk Mail To Your House May Be About To Increase - Go Here If You Want To Stop Receiving It
The Royal Mail is set to scrap the limit of three items per day of junk mail they will deliver to your address.  this may mean you will see an increase in the amount arriving through your letterbox.  You can have this stopped by applying to the Mail Preference Service.  You must decide for yourself that if you register to stop receiving items that you may miss being notified of a few things you would like to receive.  Anyway this is where you go if you want it to stop arriving at your address.

Over 260 Caithness Events Currently Listed In The What's On - Is Yours In Yet?
New events are being added all the time to our What's On section.  The section gets hundreds of visitors every day to see what is on.  Your event can get advance publicity as far ahead as you want and it's FREE.  Events appear on the day on this page from midnight as final reminder to anyone looking for something to do that day.  Get your event listed as soon as possible for maximum coverage.  As an example see the Moray Firth Flotilla that happens in June 2007  Several other groups already have their events in for the summer of 2007.

Sky Diving For Cancer Charity
Local man Ewan Scott and his girl friend Judith Mackenzie are setting out to raise funds for the Clic Sargent Cancer Fund by taking part in a Tandem Skydive.  Sponsor forms are available at the bar in Wetherspoons in Wick and other places.



Mey Selections Commended At Food And Drink Awards
Mey Selections - the premium product brand launched just over a year ago - was commended in the New Business Award category at the second Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Forum Awards, 2006, held at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness. The Award, sponsored by Aquascot Ltd, was presented for the contribution that Mey Selections has made to the North Highlands food and drink economy. North Highland Products Ltd, the company formed as part of the North Highland Initiative set up by His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, began trading in October 2005, selling only beef, lamb and other products produced within 100 miles of the Castle of Mey.

More Caithnes Fungi and Possible Identification for A Few
More fungi photos added today.  A few suggestions for identification have been received and these have been added on anew fungi page.  Identification of fungi can be very difficult and cross checking with other web sites might be worthwhile if you want to identify a particular specimen.  thanks to all concerned for the latest photos added today.  The photos are from a variety of places in Caithness and the collection is rapidly building into a guide to Caithness fungi and where they might be found.  More photos can be sent to   The Fungi section has now been added to the Nature section.

More Caithness Fungi
Latest additions sent in show fungi from Sarclet, Dunnet Forest, Dubeath Strath and Hastigrow.  A couple of folk have now sent in their suggestions for names and a page will be set up shortly for these.  If anyone has recently taken any more photos of fungi in Caithness and want to add to the growing collection email them to 

The Papers
Tenants set for housing switch vote -
Evening Times
Meanwhile a meeting will be held in BB Hall, Couper Street, Thurso at 7.30pm on 16 October to answer tenants questions on the stock transfer.
Phone con warning -
Highland News
Funding For Life After Dounreay -
MSPs’ expenses fall by 87.5% -
The Herald Highland Councillors Expenses 2004 - 05
Wind farm approval could be withdrawn
Northern Times
Invercassley Wind Farm Decision may be reversed.  Eight councillors including Caithness councillor John Green have singed a motion for amendment of the decision and will go to the full council on 26 October.
Risk played down after spin doctors step in - Sunday Herald
Hospital's blood bank suspended - Caithness General Hospital  - BBC
Blood service is suspended in lab probe - The Herald
West Highland walkers to go an extra mile - Daily Record

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is calling for nominations of carers for a Carers Awards ceremony to be held in Glasgow on 13 November. The Carers Awards will be presented by HRH The Princess Royal, President of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, at an awards ceremony attended by carers and those who support them in the world of politics and business. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is looking for nominations of individual carers to recognise the unpaid work that they do and the contribution that they make to Scottish society. Carers of any age can be nominated by family, friends, colleagues, teachers or carers themselves. Nominations end on 20 October.  The October Carers Network Bulletin for Highland is now out.

Did You Know About The Sunday Night Quiz On
for some years now a quiz has been running on many Sunday Evenings on This web site.  It is organised across the globe by users of the Forum/Chat rooms.  It is just for fun and runs in real time.  Another one kicks off at 8.30pm this evening and anyone can join in.  All you need to do is register and join the Forum and you can then go into the Flash Chat area to play in the quiz.  The quiz is just for fun and there are no prizes.  The questions are not too hard and its fraught with how fast you connection is but everyone enjoys the attempt to get the answer in first. Once you have registered and logged in Flash Chat will appear in your version of the Forum on your screen.  Registration also brings other benefits - FREE advertising for anything you want to sell, the chance to be greener and give away anything you no longer want in Free Stuff  In the Photography section you will find many thousands of photos added by the Forum users and will one day pass the numbers of photos already on the whole of (not yet but coming up fast).  So if you want to get the most out of the Forum register and join in the quiz tonight or add your comments to one of the thousands of threads.

Barclays Kit Boost For Lybster Junior Football Team
Barclays has come to the aid of Lybster Junior Football Club by donating a complete set of coaching kit and equipment to its football team. The award has been made as part of the £30m grassroots programme, Barclays Spaces for Sports. The donation is one of 1,200 packs being awarded each year to ensure teams across the UK will benefit from the three year scheme. Lybster Junior Football Club secretary Mark Hendry said “we would like to take this opportunity to thank Barclays for providing this kit and equipment that will benefit both our coaches and players. We now have 5 junior teams to run and as fund raising becomes more and more difficult it is very much appreciated. We would also like to thank Initiative at the Edge development officer for his support”  Larger Photo  Initiative At the Edge

Online Petition to Make Scottish Executive Look at An Upgrade Of The A9
A lobbying petition has been set up and starts "The A9 is the main trunk road connecting the Highlands of Scotland to the Central Belt and the Motorway System of Great Britain. Unfortunately the Scottish Executive has not committed to upgrade this road to Dual Carriageway between Perth and Inverness" Anyone who drives the A9 has seen the dangers of alternating dual carriageway and normal dual roads so if you are in favour of the petition head over and add you comments......  If you are not in favour head over to the Forum and say why.

New Tesco Store At Wick Building Full Speed Ahead - Latest Photos

The new Tesco store on the outskirts of Wick is racing ahead with everything going to plan.  In what looks like text book operation to build a supermarket the roof is on and the inside work is now underway.  Meanwhile has been approached by Tesco to ask Caithness people what they think about plastic bags.  A poll has been set up to gather views on whether plastic bags should be made available or only on request.  To give yyour views and help Tesco decide just head over to
Tesco Carrier Bags Conundrum 
You need to be a member of the Forum to vote.  Membership of the forum is FREE and instructions on how to join are in the section.

Wick Traditional Music Workshop - New Format
The latest workshop of Wick Traditional Music workshop will take place on 11 November. A new format is to be introduced. Instead of classes set up for one instrument at a time, they will now be trying out doing a groupwork performance workshop.

Slow Week on the Web Site As Bill Makes Trek Round To Meetings Far And Wide
For anyone wondering why there has been less activity than usual on it is due to Bill's other duties taking him away and unable to put in the evenings to add new items.  Monday began with the Caithness area planning committee and Councillor working group.  Tuesday was in Inverness for Business Awards. Wednesday was in Inverness for the Resources Committee meeting and then down to Edinburgh for a Particles Group meeting with Scottish Executive and others on Thursday (Bill is chairman of the Particles BPEO consultation group).  Then Friday was back up to Inverness for meeting of the Joint Committee on Children and Young People (Bill is the local children's representative on that committee). So its the weekend and on with a few items for the web site. Apologies for delays in replies to emails.  Ploughing through several hundred right now. 

More Caithness Fungi Sent In
Thanks to Jane Ponton and Walter smith for the latest contributions to the Caithness fungi collection.  We are open to the offer from any experts out there to identify the fungi. Send any more fungi photos to

ASDA Debate Continues With More Twists and Turns
Since the ASDA planning application was passed in Inverness the debate has continued in the forum with the renewed vigour.  Some folk still suggesting it might go elsewhere and others suggesting letters from a solicitor regarding views on the Mart site

Last Service At Berriedale Church - 1 October 2006

Latheron church Closed on 24 September 2006  Bruan church will close on 30 October and the final service will be held at 6.30pm.  All Welcome.

Persian Missing From MacLeay Street, Wick - From Moira Budge
Unfortunately our much loved persian cat has gone missing. He disappeared from the front of our house in Macleay St Wick at lunch time on Monday 24th September. He is pale ginger almost beige in colour with huge green eyes.

Donald Sage's "Memorabilia Domestica"
Iain MacKillop has published this work online and is likely to be of interest to many folk in Caithness and elsewhere.  Donald Sage describes a great many people and places in the north .  Dirlot in Caithness gets a mention in Chapter 4

Barley Stooks At Brough
Here is a photos of some Barley Stooks at Brough sent in by David Glass.  Once this would have been a common site all over the country including Caithness but with modern machinery tackling the job it is much rarer site now.  Has anyone else seen some unusual or older farming methods still being practiced around the county? For some information on early Caithness Farming practices see - Introduction and The Croft House - Food and Drink - Clothing and Footwear - The Landholding and Crofting System - Farm Stock - Crops and Manure  - Fences and Dykes Communications

Speckled Wood Butterfly Found At Dunnet Forest
Thanks to Robert Glass and has father David for sending in this photo of an unusual butterfly for Caithness.  David said "This Speckled Wood Butterfly was found at Dunnet Forest but is very uncommon this far north although a few have been seen in the last couple of years."
The collection of Caithness Butterflies Bees and Bugs is growing and if you have taken some photos this year in Caithness send them to for inclusion.  As ever thanks to everyone who has sent in items for this section - its already building into another interesting section on Caithness wildlife. Start Here
For more information see -
The Speckled Wood Butterfly at BBC
A Guide To Woodland Butterflies
RSPB A - Z of a Wildlife Garden  For many more and to help identify try Butterfly Garden

Caithness Field Club  - New Season Of Walks and Talks Begins Today
The winter programme of Caithness Field Club is now on.  the new season starts today with a walk around Dirlot including the castle and the area.  The walks are usually easy strolls and take in many points of interest.  anyone is welcome to attend one or all of the events.  They mostly begin from Wick or Thurso stations and today its Thurso. A great way to find out about Caithness history, archaeology and natural history and get out in the fresh Caithness at at the same time.  Today's outing starts from Thurso Railway station at 10.00am.  Take drinks and something to eat as they usually stop for few minutes along the way.

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