Highland Open Underway Off Caithness Coast - STV
Tonight's video report from STV on the O'Neill Highland Open surf competition. O'Neill Web site.

BT Call Centre Home Working Trial At Thurso
BT call centre workers are set to work from home in a trial which could create new jobs and revolutionise the way the offices are run, the telecoms giant has announced. Around 15 volunteers at the centre in Thurso, Caithness, will operate online from their homes, using high speed broadband links in a practice known as "homeshoring". Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: "The pilot could herald major changes in work practices for BT and the wider contact centre industry."

Coco Missing for Two Weeks
Coco has been missing for two weeks now, he was last seen around the Thurso Road area. He is a 11 month old black male with one or two white bits in his fur. We would be very grateful to hear from anybody with any helpful information. Telephone us on 01955 603054

Pets Corner

A New Future For East Caithness
Residents Of Latheron, Lybster And Clyth Return Your Voting Paper 5th to 12th May

It is the intention of Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company on behalf of the local community in KW3 and KW5 post code areas to purchase 40 hectares of land at the north west edge of Rumster Forest at a cost of £80,000 from the Forestry Commission Scotland under the National Forest Land Scheme for the purpose of building a community owned wind farm not exceeding 3 turbines or 5 mega watts. It is estimated that a 5 mega watt wind farm will provide an average net income of £200,000 per annum for 20 years which would be invested in local community employment and infrastructure initiatives.

Guided Walk - Scullomie to Skerray - Thursday 1st May 2008 - 11am – 2.30pm
Join the local ranger for a wonderful coastal walk. Enjoy great views of the Rabbit Islands and Island Roan. We shall stop for packed lunch at the abandoned settlement of Sletell. Return via same route.
Meet at Coldbackie Beach A836 roadside car park (grid ref: NC 612600) at 11am. Bring packed lunch. Donations welcome. All walks are weather/numbers dependent please wear warm waterproof clothing and walking boots. An adult must accompany all children under 16 years of age. Sorry but dogs are not welcome on guided walks. Further Details Tel: Paul Castle, North Sutherland Countryside Ranger 01641 521884

Pulteney Distillery Announces Its 2008 "Old Pulteney Prohibition Ball"
Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky is delighted to announce details of this year's charity ball, which will take place on Friday 30 May at Pulteney Distillery in Wick - the ball, which is held to mark the anniversary of the repeal of prohibition in Wick, is the second to take place since the prestigious annual event kicked off last year. Tickets are on sale now and demand is expected to be high. The Old Pulteney Prohibition Ball is fast becoming one of the local community's most anticipated events and will be hosted by Tom Morton, an acclaimed Scottish writer, broadcaster, musician comedian and whisky connoisseur. Revellers will be able to enjoy great live music by local band KW1, indulge in an excellent three course menu, sip on delicious drams of whisky and jig on the dancefloor until the small hours of the morning.

Another Day another Bog With Caithness In View
It’s Not All About Glass
This blog caught our attention today as Bullseye Glass has been a generous donor at Northlands Creative Glass in Lybster.

Tesco Wick Employees Walk To Fund Raise For Marie Curie Cancer Care
A group of intrepid Tesco Wick employees are walking from Tesco Thurso to Tesco Wick on Sunday 4th May. We hope it will be a sunny day. This walk is to raise vital funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, Tesco's charity of the year 2008. A few members of the group are planning to walk the whole way, the rest will just do what they can. If anyone wishes to support this important cause visit the Wick store's customer service desk, or look out for their yellow t-shirts along the road on Sunday.

As part of a Northern Constabulary Drug Squad operation a large quantity of class A drugs and money have been seized over the weekend. Cocaine with the estimated street value of £50,000 was recovered along with approximately £50,000 in cash from various properties around the Inverness area. A total of eight arrests were made following the search of a number of properties as part of Operation Amuse which has been a long term operation aimed to clamp down on the large scale supply of cocaine and other class A drugs in the Highlands and Islands.Those arrested are appearing in Inverness Sheriff Court today, which included three women aged 23, 31 and 48 and five men aged 23, 29, 31, 33 and 39 in relation to drug supply and money laundering offences.

CCTV Spreads Its Watch In Highland
A paper was presented at the Inverness City Committee on Monday 28th April giving members an update on the CCTV system in the city and advising them that a comprehensive review of the city system will be undertaken as part of a Highland review. The review will look at improvements needs to increase the effectiveness of CCTV cameras, and a strategic improvement plan will be drafted. Members comments on this plan will be sought after it is presented at a future city committee. City members have already approved the installation of CCTV cameras for Ness Islands and a further report on the technical options and costs for the installation will also be prepared. The Highland wide review will involve looking at the technical options and investigating the investment required to meet the needs of Highland communities. Currently there are 9 separate CCTV systems in Highland, incorporating 96 cameras in Thurso, Wick, Tain, Invergordon, Dingwall, Muir of Ord, Inverness, Nairn and Fort William. Most of these systems were originally installed through local initiatives and fund-raising by local CCTV Partnerships involving public and business interests. They are all separate systems, installed by different suppliers. In 2002 The Highland Council adopted these separate systems and has already invested in improvements and upgrades. 

Radio Nowhere - Great Big Sky Blog - Featuring Cycling In Caithness
Featuring some photos of cycling on Sunday 27th around Caithness.

Castlehill Archaeological Research Facility - Official Opening
Castletown Heritage Society have been extremely busy in the past year.  Last Thursday their hard work culminated in the official opening of the centre at Castlehill after extensive work by the group.  The new facility in the old buildings will become a research centre for archaeology.  Investment by CASE (now HIE) and EU Funding in the project has been encouraged by AOC’s leasing of the facilities from Castletown Heritage Society for a minimum five year period. From the outset AOC will employ two archaeological technicians at Castlehill supported by a part time manager, all employed locally. As works progress further works opportunities will emerge. AOC is committed to a spend of £250k - £300k over the five year period. During that time further archaeological projects will be undertaken in Caithness, which will multiply the investment many times over. Next steps include the creation of an IT hub, an archiving facility and field research facilities in Caithness to provide a comprehensive infrastructural base that will allow the execution of the interesting and exciting projects within the River of Stone Programme.

What is the alternative to oil’s alternatives? - The Herald
Ian Bell's essay in Saturday's Herald ponders on the question of oil, wind farms and on energy generally in the light of the Grangemouth debacle.  He says, "As blots on the landscape go, wind farms are not the worst. I would really like to pretend to think differently, but I don't, and can't. Beyond the pale I may be, but to my eye these things are pretty enough, in a good light. So there."

Petrol challenge: Whitstable to Wick  - BBC
But concerns over fuel availability haven't daunted the travel plans of Simon Stone, 24, and his girlfriend Katherine Mackay, 22. The pair left their home in Whitstable, Kent on Saturday morning to make the 730-mile journey to Katherine's parents' house in Wick


Highland Schools Music Going From Strength To Strength
At a showcase event in the Averon Centre in Alness on Saturday evening 26th April young people from across Highland schools showed that they have an immense amount of talent and dedication to creating great music. The years of practice and recent rehearsals all came together as four different groupings went through their programme. The four groupings on who last night were - Highland Youth String Orchestra - Highland Schools Wind Band - Highland Youth Big Band - SNAS - a Scottish Ceilidh Band.  In addition many of the members of the above groups are members of the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra. Membership of all of the Highland musical groups is open to any young person attending a Highland school selected after audition. More Photos

Is Scotland Becoming The New Canada? - Guardian
If Boris Johnson wins next week....... it might be time to leave England and move north, argues Ian Jack.  Ian Jack a Canadian living in England speculated in Saturday's Guardian newspaper that Scotland might be the new Canada with low population and many new things happening under the present government that folk down south want to see for themselves.

Consumers Warned to be on their Guard from Rogue Doorstep Traders
Trading Standards officers of The Highland Council are advising the public to show the door to itinerant traders, who offer to carry out a range of work on the home. And residents should not hesitate to report to the police any trader who is menacing and threatening in trying to secure a contract and cash payment. The guidance is being issued in response to complaints from the public, especially the vulnerable and elderly, who are being targeted by gangs of workmen travelling throughout the Highlands, offering to carry out work on roofs, building repairs, tarmac driveways and garden maintenance.

Yesterday At The O'Neill Highland Surf Championships 2008 In Caithness

For more photos got to our Forum where members are loading up even more photos of the action.  For yet more photos and videos of the action being added daily go to the O'Neill Highland Open web site
Surfing Weather At Thurso

Two Men Raise Funds For Pennyland School, Thurso By Completing the West Highland Way.

The feet are a bit sore but Kenny Mckay and Noel Finlayson completed walking the West Highland Way earlier this week raising funds for Pennyland school in Thurso. The West Highland Way was Scotland's first official long distance route. Originally conceived in the 1960s, it was completed in October 1980. The Way links Milngavie to Fort William - a distance of 152km (95 miles) - from the outskirts of Scotland's largest city of Glasgow to the foot of its highest mountain Ben Nevis, following the shores of its largest freshwater loch. It passes from the lowlands, across the Highland Boundary Fault and on into the Scottish Highlands.
West Highland Way Web Site                Why not practice some shorter walks in Caithness

Results, Photos From the O'Neill Highland Open Surf Competition At Thurso
Results of each days surfing competition are very soon on the O'Neill Highland Open along with lots of photos of the days action.



O'Neill Highland Surf Open 2008 Is Underway At Thurso

Camp 165 Watten - Radio Programme - Tuesday 29th April 11.30am
Find out about the prisoner of war camp at Watten in this BBC Radio programme.  If you miss it check out the play it again section

The O'Neill Highland Open from 23 to 30 April
Caithness is once again the place for the most northerly international surfing championship.  Thurso East beach and Brims are the settings for this fiercely contested competition with entrants from around the globe. If you cannot get to Thurso to see some of the competition then you can look at videos online as O'Neill puts out coverage on a daily basis on their web site.

Positive Parenting course starting in Wick and Thurso in May.  Targeted age: preschool, primary and teens
for more information contact Wendy on Thurso Community Health Centre 893442 or Wick Health Centre 60413422 April 2008

Wick High School Petition Passes 700 Signatures In Advance Of Open Night Tonight
As the focus of attention in the campaign for a new Wick High School turns attention on the Open Night tonight the petition has passed 700 signatures and numbers are increasing fast.  The Wick High Parents Council are inviting the whole community whether they have children at the school or not to go along and see for themselves the conditions in the school.  The Parents Council do not think the school is fit for purpose and want the whole community that is served by the school and beyond to get behind their campaign. The Parents Council hope that once more people have seen inside the school they will get behind coming activities in the campaign that will be happening in coming months.  The petition is just the start.  Following the open night the Parents Council will form a new action group and are asking for suggestions for a name for the new group in the forum  Open Night Tonight begins at 7.00pm

The Wick Branch of Macmillan Cancer Support are holding their annual fundraising walk on Tuesday 20 May 2008. The walk leaves from the rear car park of Caithness General Hospital at 7pm and takes you up over Newton Hill, down by Milton and along Thurso Road. Adults, accompanied children, prams and pets all welcome. You can either collect sponsorship for the event or make a donation instead. Sponsorship forms are available from Kay Oswald - Chairman (Tel: 01955-880246), Isobel Nicolson - Committee member (Tel: 01955-880406), Jennifer Gunn - Treasurer (Highland Council Service Point, Wick) or June Pollard - Secretary (Tel: 01955-880403). If you would prefer to walk another route please feel free to do so at a time to suit yourself that day or any day that week. All monies collected should be returned to Jennifer Gunn - Treasurer. Please come along and support this worthwhile fundraiser and kick-start your Spring/Summer walking at the same time.

Tenants Urged To Consider Home Contents Insurance Scheme
Tenants of The Highland Council are being urged to consider insuring the contents of their homes to avoid the cost of having to replace furnishings and equipment lost by a major incident, such as flooding, burglary or fire. With its insurance partner Allianz, the Council is providing low cost home contents insurance for tenants. In the last year, the scheme has helped more than 50 tenants replace items damaged as a result of fire, flood or burglary, with claims exceeding £22,000. While the Council insures the bricks and mortar of its housing stock of 14,000 homes, it does not insure tenants' personal possessions or furnishings against flood or storm damage or against other disasters such as fire or burglary. It is eager to increase awareness of the need for tenants to take out home contents insurance....... Council tenants can arrange home contents insurance through the Council at a special, low cost rate, and pay the premium along with their rent. This could cost as little as 46p per week for the over 60s, or 69p a week for everyone else....

Highland Youth Voice Launch New Web Site
There are Youth Forums across Highland and young people are encouraged to get involved via their local schools.  The Highland Youth Parliament and much more can be found on the new web site.  Highland also is one of the few local authorities to have appointed a paid Youth Convenor.  Gillian Slider currently represent the youth of Highland at Highland council and sits on the Education Culture and Sport committee with full voting rights along side councillors.  More about her can be found on the new web site.

Well Done For More Caithness Determination
Walking the West Highland Way to raise funds for playground equipment for Pennylands School

Noel McKay and Kenny Finlayson…Started 18th April - Finishing 22nd April (end date could vary!!)
The West Highland Way was Scotland's first official long distance route. Originally conceived in the 1960s, it was completed in October 1980. The Way links Milngavie to Fort William - a distance of 152km (95 miles) - from the outskirts of Scotland's largest city to the foot of its highest mountain, following the shores of its largest freshwater loch. It passes from the lowlands, across the Highland Boundary Fault and on into the Scottish Highlands.  They are still collecting cash, buckets at Pennyland Primary school, NHC reception in Thurso and the Newmarket bar in Thurso. Congratulations to both - we hope the feet are still in good condition.

KP Technology Ltd wins Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2008
KP Technology Ltd, a high-tech company, located in Wick in the far north of Scotland, has been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in Innovation for research, design and manufacture of specialist Scientific Equipment called 'Kelvin' Probes. The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is an awards programme for businesses and other organisations who excel at international trade, innovation or sustainable development. They are the highest official UK awards for British businesses.  Professor Iain Baikie returning to his roots set up his company in Wick a few years ago after many years working in universities. His unique ideas in developing measuring at the atomic level have seen his company rise rapidly in stature amongst companies around the globe looking for his specialist services. The business has gone from strength to strength and continues to expand as recognition for his products and research flows in.  Despite his extremely busy schedule Professor Baikie has retained his interest in education and promoted science to the youth of Caithness by creating and developing the Caithness Science Festival since 2004.  In addition he has become the Chairman of not one but two Parents Councils in Wick - Pultneytown Academy Primary School and Wick High School where he is leading the fight for a new high school building - See Below. Congratulations to K P Technology on their Queen's Award and for putting Wick and Caithness at the forefront of a leading edge technology.  What's a Kelvin Probe all about? - check K P Technology's Kelvin Probe web site  Or more Techy site
Photos of Kelvin Probes

Wick High School Campaign Begins To Move Up A Gear
Remember the NAG (North Action Group) campaign to save maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.  Well the Parents Council at Wick High school are setting out to run a high profile campaign with as much publicity as they can muster.  The ideas are beginning to flow as are MSP's beginning to visit in increasing numbers with three attending last week.  The campaign has barely started and already the gritty determination of the Caithness population is showing through.  In advance of forming a new and bigger action group the Parents Council are asking for ideas for a name for the new group.  Once everyone has had a chance to look round the school on Tuesday night the Parents Council will launch a new action group as it is anticipated that more people will be needed to help carry out the tasks required in running a high profile campaign, raising campaign funds, writing letters, issuing press releases, producing leaflets and other materials to keep everyone up to date as the campaign moves forward.  "Rosie The Riveter" may not be too far out as this group lay their battle plans for the coming months.  Add your ideas for a name for the new group in the forum. The group are asking for as many people as possible to get behind the campaign and at least take a look round for themselves on Tuesday night - 22 April.  School open from 7.00pm - Have you signed the petition yet?

Council to constitute Highland Schools Highland Games Association
People with an interest or expertise in Highland Games are being invited by The Highland Council to an open meeting on Monday 21st April to discuss developing a Highland Schools Highland Games Association.

Children encouraged to get creative with Highland Libraries ceramics competition
Youngsters throughout the Highlands are being invited to take part in a ‘Paint a Plate Competition’ starting on Monday 21st April in their local libraries. In a joint project between Kira Brown Ceramics and The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service, the competition has been organised to raise awareness of Highland Libraries ‘Team Read’ initiative. Linked to the Olympics, this year, Team Read is a national summer reading challenge aimed at children which Highland Libraries participate in. Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: “I am delighted that our Libraries are working with Kira Brown Ceramics in an imaginative way to get the attention of our young readers.”  The competition runs at all Highland libraries from Monday 21st April to Friday 16th May.

Caithness Flagstone Paves the Way At New Culloden Battlefield Memorial Site
A new visitor centre at Culloden Battlefield near Inverness was officially opened recently.  As part of the fund raising campaign by the National Trust For Scotland anyone can have a flagstone inscribed and laid at the centre.

Wick High Open Night - Tuesday 22nd April 7.00pm
Wick High Parents Council are inviting everyone to see inside Wick High school for themselves as part of their drive to get major improvements or even a new school.  The invitation is open to everyone. You don't have to live in Wick to attend or to even have children at the school. Come along and see just what the pupils and teachers have to put up with every day. All Welcome
Have you signed the petition yet?

Caithness Bloggers
Do You Come Here Often? and The North School Adventure

The above items are the latest blogs from a husband and wife living in Caithness.  One is a farmer brought up in Orkney and the other an American now resident here.  Great writing on both and plenty of stories and interesting observations.

Get Out This Summer With Caithness Field Club
The summer programme of walks and outings for Caithness Field Club is now on the web site.  Caithness Field Club has been around for a long time and is well known for its walks out and about in Caithness.  during the winter the club arranges a a series of talks and the odd outing.  During the summer its time to get the walking boots and shoes on and join in walks and talks with interesting and knowledgeable folk.  Most walks are on easy ground and cars are shared to save fuel and anyone is welcome to go along.

Caithness Countryside Volunteers Plant New Hedging At Guidebest
The Caithness Countryside Volunteers enjoyed a morning planting a holly, blackthorn and hawthorn hedge on some croft land last weekend, taking a short break to help feed the pet lambs. These species of tree were chosen to provide a biodiversity rich habitat as well as to withstand the Caithness weather. The hedge should also provide shelter for lambs in years to come.  Refreshments and some trees were funded by Community Service Volunteer Action Earth Awards. The event was organised by the Highland Council's Rangers in the Planning and Development Service as part of the Caithness Countryside Volunteers calendar.

New Community Company Aims To Purchase Land At Rumster Forest and Erect Wind Turbines
A new company has been formed to purchase 40 hectares of land at Rumster Forest and to erect a small wind farm to give the local community complete control over the income generated.  the Initiative At The Edge project known in Caithness as South East Caithness Development Group has formed a company  - Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company.  The are to hold a series of information events culminating in a public meeting as follows -
Latheron Community Hall - Information Event 22 April - 3.00 - 5.00pm 6.00 - 8.00pm
Clyth community Hall - Information Event - 23 April - 3.00 - 5.00pm  6.00 - 8.00pm
Lybster Community Hall - Information Event - 24 April - 10.00am - 12.00pm  3.00 - 5.30pm
Lybster Community Hall - PUBLIC MEETING - 24 April - 7.00 - 9.00pm
Further information can be obtained from Eric Larnach
Tel 01593 731455 Email

No Way Out for untaxed vehicles pledge Northern Constabulary
You might think the problem of untaxed vehicles is a minor one and that car tax evaders are just trying to 'get one over' on the Government. The truth is, as well as costing taxpayers an estimated £79 million per year, the blight of untaxed vehicles is also linked to the more significant issues of crime and road safety. This is why Northern Constabulary are working with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to crack down on untaxed vehicles, making the Highlands and Island's roads safer for the whole community.
Earlier police operations have revealed that up to 70% of the occupants of untaxed vehicles are involved in other criminal activity.

Young At Art - St Fergus Gallery, Wick Until 10th May
The St Fergus Gallery is currently exhibiting a wide range of local school children's artistic talent's. Thanks to Pulteneytown Academy and South Primary school the gallery has a vibrant exhibition show. With art pieces ranging from p1 through to p7 it is an excellent show of the local talent we have within our schools. There are still life drawings, accompanied by 3D models, the children's take on Andy Warhol and images of Thomas Telford. More photos

Taxi Fare Review
The public is to be asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to revise the scale of maximum taxi fares in the Highlands. The recommended increases will be advertised widely in the Highlands and the public will have a month in which to respond. The responses will be reported back to the Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee on 29 May, with a proposed implementation date of June of this year. In reviewing the fares, the Committee has taken into account increases in the costs of operating taxis, such as rising diesel, petrol and insurance premiums and that Highland taxi fares are amongst the lowest in Scotland.

Caithness Transport Infrastructure Study - Caithness & North Sutherland (69 Pages - Pdf)
The study carried out by the MVA Consultancy was commissioned by the Caithness Partnership.  The aim of the study was to identify which transport improvements best support the 20 year Vision for Caithness and North Sutherland. - Summary      Regeneration Of Caithness & North Sutherland

Council Director Issues Statement on Social Work Services
The Highland Council's Director of Social Work has issued a statement clarifying proposed changes to Social Work services following a letter issued to the media by Peter Peacock MSP. Director of Social Work, Harriet Dempster said: "The Council is seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies. Where there are changes in service all efforts will be made to redeploy staff and use their skills and expertise in new ways. I am confident that we will achieve this within social work services. It is important to see the reduction of some staff as being the impact of the service achieving benefits and efficiencies following the investment in a new IT system which has in fact resulted in more efficient business processes. This is linked mostly to the more effective way we have of recording information on the computer as opposed to paper records where things were transcribed and manual systems of information collection which were very time consuming.

Spring Clean Now and Get 10 Black Bags Uplifted Before This Service ends In July
If you use the 10 black bags uplift scheme then get on with the spring cleaning and order your 10 black bag uplift from the council before it comes to an end.  See comments from others in the forum.
New Policy for Bulky Uplift Service

Latest Additions To Bees Bugs and Butterflies
Thanks to Gordon Mackie for his latest addition and to David John Martin for his two photos taken on a window of The Magpie - Abraxas Grossulariata.  Gordon Mackie has also notified us that the Bee that started off this series has been re-identified as a much rarer been than originally thought and we have renamed it accordingly  - it was not the common white tailed bumblebee (Bombus locorum) but the much rarer Bombus cryptarum.  Gordon had sent in his photo to the Bumblebee project being run by The Bumble Bee Trust.  This was a huge success in 2007 as over 5000 photographs of Bumblebees were sent in and it to be re-run in 2008.   So long as the photo is accompanied by a location (grid reference or postcode), and the date, they are able to add a record to their bumblebee database. So anyone with a digital camera and a bit of patience could help the BBCT with their survey and possibly capture something rare! They can go to for more details.  If anyone is sending photos to the Bumble Bee Trust please send them to us at and we will include in the 2008 Bees Bugs and butterflies section once it starts.  Email photos to
For help in identifying moths go to

Further Items From The Caithness Field Club 2007 Bulletin
Birnie and the Early Bishopric of Moray (by Ian Keillar)
The Rodney Stone (by Ian Keillar)

The 2007 Bulletin Index   Field Club Bulletins All Years Index To Articles   Caithness Field Club Main Index

Sign the petition to support Wick High Parents Council demands to renew or seriously make building improvements at Wick High.

New Policy for Bulky Uplift Service - End Of 10 Black Bag Uplift - Items Should Go To Recycling
In a move to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites, The Highland Council has altered its free Bulky Uplift policy so that from the beginning of July 2008 black bag waste will be removed from the list of approved items for these pre-arranged collections. Currently the free uplifting service can be booked to remove any article of household waste which cannot fit into a normal domestic bin, any item which weighs over 25kg and up to 10 black bags. Council staff advised members of the TEC Services Committee that in the majority of cases the black bags collected contained waste which would be suitable for either composting or recycling.

Caithness Arts - Office Bearers/Board Members Required
As reported in the latest Caithness Arts Newsletter, the AGM of Caithness Arts will be held on Thursday, 8th May at the North Highland College, Thurso at 7pm. Unfortunately, seven of our board members are standing down – most are obliged to do so under the conditions contained within our Constitution which states that board members must stand down following six years on the Board. We would be keen to hear from any individuals who are highly motivated, have a strong interest in the arts and would like to be instrumental in the future direction of Caithness Arts.

Enrolment Week at Wick Family Centre 14-18 April
Wick Family Centre is enrolling children who will be 3 by August for their fabulous pre-school group, Little Nippers. Based in a beautiful, purpose built building in Bank Row, we offer children action-packed days, with messy play, arts and crafts, stories, games, outside activities, to name but a few! We can help busy parents by offering wraparound care, allowing them to work throughout the day. There are still funded places available, and hope that your ‘Little Nipper’ would like to join in the fun. For more information, please contact either Anne Beveridge on 01955 606065, or Irene Mackintosh 

Barrock Post Office Closure
Barrock post office closed its doors on the 9th April and as a thank you for all the many unpaid kindnesses she has performed over the years a presentation is to be made to Mrs Jenny Tait, postmistress for over 30 years. It will be at Dunnet Hall at 4.30 on Saturday, April 19th. Would anyone still wishing to make a contribution please hand it in at Castletown post office.

Volunteers Wanted For a Couple of Hours To Help With Boys Brigade Garden
1st Wick Company are holding a gardening day for volunteers to work at the back garden at the BB Hall, Henrietta Street, Wick. This is open for adults aged 18 or over who are good at gardening or brick work  If any children would like to attend, they must be accompanied by an adult who is also staying to help. The work begins at 10am on Saturday 12th April 2008 till 4pm the same day. If you are willing to help, meet at 10am on the 12th April.  Come along for part or the whole day.

New Caithness Cancer Support Group
The first meeting of a proposed new Caithness Cancer Support Group will be held on Wednesday 16th April at 8.00pm in Francis Street Club, Wick.  A guest speaker Mrs Carole Bridge head nurse consultant at the Maggie's Cancer Centre, Raigmore Hospital will be the guest speaker.  Refreshments will be served.  anyone with an interest or in helping with the new group is invited to go along.

Thurso In Bloom Mobilises Caithness For Huge Beach Clean Before O'Neill Surfing Competition
Thurso in Bloom is co-ordinating a beach clean ahead of the O'Neill Highland Open Surfing Competition later this month.   A number of companies and organisations are joining forces and all volunteers are welcome to help in ensuring Caithness welcomes the competition to clean beaches.  Thurso In Bloom is the overseeing organization working with volunteers from UKAEA/Dounreay, Vulcan, and Thurso Rotary. They have received donations or supplies from the COOP, the Highland Council, JGC Construction, Jacobs Engineering, NUKEM Ltd., Johnson Controls.  The clean is scheduled for Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 beginning at 9:00 am each day.  For information people can contact Teresa Smith, at 01847 891729.

Mey Selections Presents Royal Tweed To Duke and Duchess Of Rothesay
The Mey Selections brand has now been enhanced by a special range of tweeds designed and manufactured by world leading textiles and cashmere producers, Johnstons of Elgin, and developed in conjunction with HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. Mey Selections Castle of Mey Estate Tweed was launched at the new Johnstons £1.5million Heritage Centre yesterday where it was received by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay during their visit where they viewed the weaving of the tweed in one of the only traditional mills left in the country.  Royal Visit Video on STV News

Caithness FM 10th Anniversary To Celebrated With Hour Show On Air
Ex Presenters With Caithness FM Are Asked To Get In Touch For Party Night Live
Sunday 20th April is the 10th anniversary of Caithness FM going on air - yes they have been broadcasting to Caithness and North Sutherland for a whole 10 years with hardly a night missed! This is quite a record for a small group of volunteers so to mark the occasion the normal shows on the Sunday night will be cancelled for one week only and they will be having a party night in the studio with as many of the former presenters and receptionists taking part in the 5 hour show as possible. This will also include a short music quiz between presenters and a look at the headlines over the last 10 years. Any ex presenters who want to take part should contact the Caithness FM team at  or phone the studio on 01847 890000 for more information.

Four Ladies Complete Triathlon To Raise Funds For Diabetes Endowment Fund
Sandra Jones (podiatrist), Judy Shallcross (dietician), Lucinda Sutherland (dietician), Pamela Campbell (diabetes specialist Nurse) and Kiri Shallcross who all completed a Triathlon on Friday 28th March and raised over £750 in aid of Diabetes Endowment Fund (Caithness). The Triathlon was a 5km run, 12km cycle and a 750m swim.  Well done ladies.


Calling all Caithness arty folks! - Be inspired! - Sat 17th + Sun 18th May
Join us for a weekend of creativity in the newly refurbished Castlehill Centre. If you are interested in doing your own thing, sharing ideas, or simply being inspired by this wonderful harbour location, get in touch as numbers are limited.


News On The Web
Tour of 'run down' school offered - BBC - Wick High
ScotRail extension releases £70m for service upgrades  - Transport Briefing-Extra Trains Wick/Thurso
More NDA cost rises - Nuclear Engineering
MPs call for rise in funding for nuclear plants' clean-up - Scotsman
Funding for clean-up of nuclear sites is unsustainable, say MPs - Guardian

Yet Another Article On Tidal Power and the Holy Grail Of the Pentland Firth
Turbine technology is turning the tides into power of the future - Times Online

Get A Free Energy Advice Visit and You Could Win a Colour TV
Caithness Energy Advice has a 15” LCD television up for grabs in their summer raffle. If you are interested in having a home visit to get free energy advice on your home energy bills/systems you will automatically be entered into the raffle*.
CEA’s aim is to help people keep warm and pay less for their energy. To accomplish this, the team assesses the current level of energy efficiency in homes in the Caithness area, raises awareness of choices available to take charge of household energy bills, and partners with existing organisations for a coordinated, long range approach to reducing fuel poverty. The Energy Advice team can guide householders to energy savings by identifying issues such as poor insulation, problem door/ window seals, electrical equipment left on standby and incorrect use of heating systems.  This is a community project based in Ormlie and available across Caithness giving FREE unbiased advice on how to reduce your energy bills.  Competition runs up until 29th August 2008 but why wait - GIVE THEM A CALL SOON.
Why do it now? - Oil Price Reached over $109 a barrel today
Petrol Up, Gas Up, Electricity Up, Home Heating Fuels Up. Will they ever go down again?
Ormlie Renewables Index   Environment Index

South School Pupils Check Out Pavements For Safer Route To School
Pupils from South School, Wick recently went out to measure pavements or the lack of them near to their school.  The pupils concentrated on Old wick Road where there is pavement only on one side of the street due to the fact that until recent years there was only one house.  With the advent of new house building on Old Wick Road and at Old Wick where nearly 70 houses are being constructed it was felt the time was right to look at the pavement situation.  A programme administered by Highland Council called "Safer Routes To School" may provide some funding to improve the situation.  Highland Council TEC services has been working with the school to check measurements and hope to be in a position to carry out the work on new pavements later this year.  A few photos of the burn that runs through the area were also taken as this is a cause of concern due to the unsightly amount of rubbish accumulating in it.  South School Index

Cash Boost Ceiling Raised For Local Tourism Groups
Funding for local tourism projects in the Highlands has received a welcome boost from The Highland Council. The Council has revealed that it contributed over £84,000 to community tourism projects around the Highlands during 2007/08 and that it intends raising the upper limit on individual grants available in the new financial year. Twenty projects benefited from the Council's Tourism Development Grant Scheme in 2007/08, including: the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durness; Invergordon Tourism Alliance; Ardnamurchan Tourist Association; Lochaber Geopark; a "Best Practice" conference for B&B operators and the Strathpeffer 24 hour Mountain Bike Race.  Guidelines and Criteria For 2008 - 09 Grants

Comments From John O'Groats Open Day (Word doc)
The above document contains the comments from members of the public who attended the open day at the Seaview Hotel in John O'Groats on 10th January 2008.  The open day was organised by the Caithness Regeneration Partnership

Cost of Posting Letters Goes Up Today - Royal Mail
Workers who earn over £15,000 are set to benefit in tax changes - Times Online
Better off or worse off from this week with the new income tax changes.  This article spells it out
The result of all these changes is that those with modest incomes of £5,931 to £15,075 will be worse off"
Clean-up cost fear in rush to nuclear - This Is Money

Caithness Rythmic Gymnasts Compete In Aberdeen
Seven Caithness Rhythmic Gymnasts travelled to the Danestone Community Centre Aberdeen in March 2008 to compete in the Annual Scottish Novice Rhythmic Competition. They were accompanied by Rhythmic Coaches Diane Gibson and Gemma Wares and many of their parents. Although there are only 4 competing Rhythmic Clubs in Scotland, (Caithness is the only Gymnastics Club north of Aberdeen and the only club in Highland to offer Rhythmic Gymnastics) the competition was very fierce and the standard extremely high. With one of the largest number of competitors on record taking part, the Scottish Clubs were joined on this occasion by teams from Tenerife, England and Ireland.

Dounreay Communities Fund And Employees Charity Fund Awards

The Dounreay Employees Charity Fund donated new outdoor clothing to Bower Busy Bees nursery. Dounreay Communities Fund has donated £150 towards Reay Primary School trip. Fifteen pupils from primary 6 and 7 will spend four days at the Fairburn Activities Centre in May. Dounreay Communities Fund has donated new hi-visibility waistcoats to Playden Nursery.

Brian Friel's 'Lovers - Winners & Losers' At The Mill Theatre - Saturday 12th April
Edinburgh based Theatre Crave and The Emotional Tramps Theatre Co. come together to bring Brian Friel's 'Lover's - Winners & Losers', to Thurso's Mill Theatre later this month. Irish playwright Friel's masterpiece was first performed at Dublin's Gate Theatre in July 1967 and proved to be an instant success. The two one-act plays, Winners and Losers, are presented as a single play, though they share neither characters nor story. The lovers of the first act are a young couple whilst in the second they are well beyond their prime. Together, however, the plays complete each other, observing and commenting on two different kinds of love.

Blackstairs Kilt Hire - One Of the New Businesses Prospering In The Heart of Pultneytown
Operating from the famous and recently restored Blackstairs in Wick, Caithness, Scotland. Blackstairs Highland Wear kilt shop is building a fine reputation for providing a friendly professional service in both Highland dress and conventional occasion wear for men. Martin Gill has over 20 years experience in Highland dress and offers a range of packages second to none. Demand for Blackstairs Kilt hire has been growing fast and Martin now travels to the islands of Orkney to fit out whole families and groups.       Photos Inside Blackstairs Highland Wear
And you can stay at The Blackstairs when visiting Wick

Tartan Day Scotland -- NY Tartan Week -- Tartan Day Parade NY Yesterday

Fears for pilot after aircraft vanishes - Sunday Mail
......flying from Carlisle, in Cumbria, to Wick, in Caithness, when the weather worsened. An RAF Lossiemouth chopper was joined by another from Boulmer......

Proclamation by the President: National Tartan Day, 2008 - P R Inside
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 6, 2008, as National Tartan Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day by celebrating the continued friendship between the people of Scotland and the United States and by recognizing the contributions of Scottish Americans to our Nation.
From Christie Harrison, President, Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
"Happy National Tartan Day!"

Since the passing of Senate Resolution 155 in 1998 and House Resolution 41 in 2005, The Scottish Coalition and others have been actively asking the American-Scottish community to request the President of the United States to sign a Proclamation proclaiming April 6, in perpetuity, as National Tartan Day. Today's Presidential Proclamation makes National Tartan a National Holiday Observance on every April 6th, similar to Flag Day, thus placing National Tartan Day on the official United States of America calendar.
From to Americans Everywhere "Have A Great Day" On 6th April.
We hope to see you in 2009 Year Of Homecoming but why wait.

Chompy The Beaver From Nova Scotia, Canada Visited Beaver Scouts In Caithness

"Nearly one hundred Beaver Scouts in Caithness hosted a two week visit to the County from a very special and unique guest recently. Known as "Chompy" the soft toy Beaver arrived from his home in Nova Scota, Canada. His journey was interrupted with a stopover at Buckingham Palace, Houses of Westminster and Downing Street to name a few. He is travelling all around the UK before returning home and his time in Caithness is the only location in Scotland that he has had time to see so special events and tours were planned. Not only did he play games and take part in the handcrafts of the 1st and 2nd Thurso, Reay, Wick and 1st Dunnet Bay Beaver Colonies but he dropped into the Castle of Mey, Dunnet Head, John O'Groats, and Dounreay. He even took a flight to Aberdeen form Wick airport and as an added bonus deviated to Heathrow to free log jam at Terminal Five!!!!!  "Chompy's" visit climaxed on Saturday 29th March with bus trip to Inverness with the First Dunnet Bay Beavers and Cubs to see the Inverness Scout Gang Show at Eden Court Theatre. with his charm he managed to sneak backstage for a photo shoot.

Demolition Of Former Shops and Petrol Station At Francis Street, Wick
The building that once housed the Co-op in Wick and later a Chinese restaurant and a hairdressers and petrol pumps has been demolished with only a small part of the walls standing until work has been completed.  In recent years there has been concern that the roof was becoming dangerous due to slates falling.  That problem is no more and we await to see when work will commence on the new buildings.  Francis Street is part of South Road  A - Z of Streets In Wick  More Photos of Wick

Dredging Ongoing At Wick Harbour
MV Shearwater is 40 years old and is on hire from Moray council. the vessel is mainly used for dredging at the ports of Buckie and Burghead but is also hired out to other ports. A crew of five is employed. Wick requires dredging from time to time to remove silt that comes from the Wick river.

££££Millions Of New Grants On Offer - Is Your Group Looking for Funding? - Read The Latest
If your group is looking for funds for project take a look at our latest batch of funding possibilities.

Car Boot Sale - Sunday April 6th - 11am - 2pm - Lybster Community Association
Lybster Village Hall - Further details and Bookings: Tel 01593 721574

Would You Like To Appear On A Brand New Cookery TV Show?
Endemol UK have contacted as they are are looking for contributors for a brand new cookery show due to air on BBC Two later this year. they are looking for people from different parts of the country.  Hosted by Strictly Come Dancing's Anton De Beke in his first presenting role, So You Think You Can Cook pits a group of amateur cooks against Britain's best chefs. We all think we can do it but can you? We watch chefs on TV and it doesn't look that difficult- but is it?  If you can cook and want to take part you can get more information by emailing the organisers at

Caithness MotoX Club Gears Up for The New Season
Caithness MotoX Club are ready for the new season with the first race day on Saturday 5th April starting at 9.00am. The newly refurbished track at Ravenshill, Thurso is where all the action will be.  This race is  sponsored by Nicolsons Engineering, Bower. Other potential sponsor companies are asked to contact the group. New members are always welcome. Contact, Anne Kirk, Secretary on 01847 821 172.
web site - and  any enquiries to

SNP group expels youngest councillor - Press & Journal
The SNP’s only Caithness councillor has been expelled from the party’s Highland Council group, it emerged yesterday. Last night it led to fears among several of his far north colleagues that the move has seriously diminished the area’s influence on key decision-making....................


Paperworks Kicks Off New Season Of Craft Workshops At Castletown
Set in an inspirational location next to Castlehill harbour and Dunnet beach, the recently refurbished, all purpose venue, of Castletown Heritage Society, has proved to be a winning formula, as local artist, Joanne B Kaar, is making the most of the new facilities for her 2008 craft skills workshops 'Paper Scissors Stone'. These will include - silkpaper making, arty bookbinding, pulp papermaking and Chinese stone carving (personal stamp).

Scottish tidal power - the Engineer
The Dutch tidal device developer Tocardo has established a daughter company - Tocardo Tidal Energy - in Wick harbour

Press group’s profit margin up - The Herald
The growth occurred during a period in which Scottish Provincial Press managed a 4% increase in turnover, £15,017,210, from a stable of 12 titles, which includes the John O'Groats Journal and Caithness Courier.

UKAEA Today Evolved Into Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd
UKAEA Dounreay today evolved into a site licence company, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd.  The site is also changing how it communicates with the media, public and other stakeholders. A new website - - from today becomes the primary means of public communication for DSRL. News about progress to decommission the site and events will be posted here.
Telephone number and address remains the same as for UKAEA.

Let's Rock On To Bigger And Better Things This Summer
British summertime officially started last weekend and now is the time when we traditionally think about getting out there and seeing what this great area of ours has to offer. So why not take advantage of the wealth of fascinating geological features we have in the north of Scotland - with key sites Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve (NNR) near Elphin and the vast North West Highlands Geopark well worth a visit........... Finally, and still sticking to our geological theme, watch out for details of an open day SNH is planning at Achanarras in Caithness this summer to launch our new visitor facilities here. Achanarras Quarry is an internationally known site for fossil fish finds and SNH is currently investing in a range of improvements to make visits more interesting and enjoyable.

UK Atomic Energy Authority Restructures to Meet Decommissioning Strategy
With effect from 1 April, the UK Atomic Energy Authority has formed new subsidiaries to continue its leading role in nuclear decommissioning in the UK and overseas. A new wholly owned subsidiary, which will trade as UKAEA, formed with established expertise from the existing Business Division, will focus on nuclear decommissioning and environmental restoration management and consultancy in the UK and international markets. At the same time, a new company, formed out of the existing UK Atomic Energy Authority team at Dounreay and called Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), is being licensed by the HSE to operate the site and carry out its decommissioning under UKAEA's management.
The First Fifty Years  Dounreay Index  Dounreay Web Site  UKAEA Web Site

A Guide To Historic Thurso
A selection of Thurso’s landmark buildings and natural attractions are showcased in a new booklet produced in March 2008. The guide, written by local historian Alan McIvor, is the first of its kind to emerge for 30 years. Its centrepiece displays a map of the town and highlights three suggested walks, which take in the 22 featured locations. Mr McIvor gives a potted history of each of the sites, which are also illustrated by photos taken by him.

Team Led by URS Corporation to Manage Nuclear Waste Site in UK -
URS Corporation (NYSE: URS) today announced that an international consortium led by the Company's Washington Division (formerly Washington Group International) has reached agreement with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to operate the United Kingdom's national low-level-nuclear-waste repository in West Cumbria in northern England.

Dunnet Cliffs Makeover Begins To Brighten Up Tourist Season For 2008
The North Baths and the Trinkie outdoor swimming pools have been getting a white coat of paint over the years to make them look fresh but now a section of cliffs at Dunnet Head is getting a makeover. In a bid to make the cliffs stand out for passengers on boat trips and for people walking a huge section of the cliffs are being painted white.  The famous white cliffs of Dover are reckoned to attract huge numbers of tourists so officials thought it might do the trick if the white cliffs of Dunnet were made famous in Caithness. APRIL FOOL - Comments in the Forum

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