Action To Help Households Through Recession
Swift action by the Scottish Government is helping households and house builders weather the economic recession, MSPs were told today. Housing Minister Alex Neil highlighted measures, backed by record investment, that are increasing the supply of good quality, energy efficient homes that people can afford. The Minister detailed steps taken to assist the housing sector and families facing financial hardship and an uncertain future as a result of the economic downturn.......

O'Neill Cold Water Classic surf Competition - Started Today

NHS Highland Statement On Swine Flu
Of the 24 new suspected cases announced today, only one is resident in Highland. Their clinical condition is not giving any cause for concern. They are being treated at home and their condition is being monitored daily. Samples have been taken and the results are awaited. We are monitoring the situation in relation to swine flu very closely and are liaising with colleagues in partner organisations. We are in close contact with the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland. Our pandemic influenza plan is in place and we are ready to take any action that is required.......
List of Swine Flu Cases - Guardian Blog
Disease Outbreak News - World Health Organisation
Scottish Government - Health & Community Care Web Site.......Swine Flu Pages

Speeding Up The Planning System
A new online system to enable people in all parts of Scotland to apply for developments, appeal against decisions and track progress of proposals has been launched. Finance Secretary John Swinney said that the £11.2 million ePlanning initiative will make Scotland's planning system simpler, faster and more accessible, providing a consistent level of service throughout the country. It is anticipated that ePlanning will save planning authorities £16.7 million over 10 years, and save users, including developers, a further £43.8 million.   ePlanning web site

Tales of the Sea - FREE Storytelling Sessions
with Andrew MacKintosh & Bob Pegg at Caithness Horizons
Saturday 2nd May at 7pm & Sunday 3rd May at 12.30pm &
Dunbeath Heritage Centre, Salmon Bothy, Dunbeath Harbour
Saturday 2nd May at 2pm & Sunday 3rd May at 2.30pm


Pace Quickening For Tidal Energy
International Power appoints SeaRoc for Pentland tidal project - New Energy Focus
Tidal power development ‘could replace nuclear’ - The Herald
New wave power device set to produce energy on commercial scale - The Herald
Simplifying Tidal Power to Drop Costs - Ecogeek
All-Energy 09 Conference and Exhibition - Aberdeen 20- 21st May

Stone calls for over the counter sales of Tamiflu

Moonwatch Week Report
"The north of Scotland recently joined the rest of the country celebrating the first MoonWatch week of the International Year of Astronomy Caithness Astronomy Group held 3 MoonWatch events on consecutive nights at 3 different venues across the north of Scotland. Good weather each night allowed people attending the events to enjoy spectacular telescopic views of the Moon and Saturn. Those that came along also got the chance to see and hold Moon rock brought back by the Apollo missions and meteorite samples from the Natural History Museum one of which was thought to have originated from Mars and another thought to be older than the Earth itself. Other content included talks on astronomical topics and a variety of hands-on activities for all ages. The next scheduled event is an astronomy fun day on Saturday 13th June  There will be a range of talks and activities on the day including the opportunity for attendees to safely view the sun through a solar telescope (weather permitting) courtesy of stargazer Bill Leslie from Moray Astronomical Society & Highland Astronomical Society.

Software Engineer Wanted In Caithness
More Jobs In Caithness

In The Baby Animals Gallery

The Papers
Highland MP unveils restored locomotive - Press & Journal
HIGHLAND Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso has rededicated a steam engine named after his grandfather. The Sir Archibald Sinclair, a Battle of Britain-class steam engine rescued from a South Wales scrap yard 30 years ago, is now back on track on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex......
Football clubs get MP’s help over wage rules - Press & Journal
High bids force out group in nuclear site sale - Financial Times

In Macbeth [5.2.27-29], how does Caithness describe what  Malcolm's army intends to do, and what medicine will purge the land?

Caron's Musings - Ex Caithnessian Blogger

Wick Marina Progress - Latest Photos

North Highlands Premier Brand Hosted Premier London Chefs
Organised and hosted by Mey Selections, and with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a group of ten top London chefs have, over the past few days, experienced for themselves just what it is about the North Highlands that produces award winning food and drink. Philip Corrick, Head Chef of the Royal Automobile Club, commented, "I am certain I speak for the rest of the group when I say that the North Highlands is unique in the UK in being able to deliver time after time, such a variety of quality produce - be it beef, lamb, mutton, seafood, cheese or bakery products, and much more."       Close-up Photo      Mey Selections Web Site

Four arrests over restaurant fire - BBC
Four men appeared in Wick Sherfif Court following a fire at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Castletown last week.

Thanks From A Wick Cat Owner
Murray Banks would like to thank the person who took his cat to the vet on Friday. Also for the kind message which was passed on to me. He was indeed a beloved pet.

Caithness County Snooker Singles Open
Starts: 10:00 Ends: 22:30
Anyone wishing to take part in this year's County Snooker Championships please contact Derek on 0790 77 55 777. No later than Friday 1st of May 8pm. Draw to be made in the R.B.L @ 9pm
Location: Royal British Legion Thurso Price: £5 E-Mail:

Duncraig Educational Trust Open For Applications - Closing Date 12 June  Application Form Online
The Duncraig Educational Trust Scheme offers scholarships, grants and assistance for young Highland people who have a particular, unique or exceptional talent.  The funds are almost exclusively for pupils and former pupils of secondary schools in the Highland Council area.  For young people between ages of 16 and 25 (see the web site for full details).  Approximately £25,000 is available each year for the following specific purposes:- 

  • To help with the cost of attending a specialist course of study in arts, language and  heritage, science and environment
  • To help with the cost of purchasing equipment to follow a specialist course of study in  arts, language and heritage, science and environment
  • To help with the cost of participating in sporting events at national or international level
  • To help with the costs of specialist sport coaching

Nature Photo Contest To Show Off The Vibrant Colours Of Caithness
The third annual Scottish Natural Heritage-run nature photography competition is underway with a request for people to showcase the amazing colours of nature in Caithness and throughout Scotland. This free contest celebrates Scottish Biodiversity Week which runs from 16-24 May 2009 and aims to show in vivid ways how biodiversity surrounds us. Biodiversity is the variety of life from the earthworm to the gracious golden eagle, the smallest blade of grass to the tallest tree. The first prize is a day with professional photographer, Peter J. Clarke; the second is a trip with Seaprobe Atlantis on Scotland's only semi-submersible glass bottom boat on the Kyle of Lochalsh; and the third prize is the National Geographic book, Visions of Paradise..... Get inspiration at Caithness Biodiversity Photo Collection

Caithness Biodiversity Group is a collection of people who work with or care about our countryside.
Members include the Highland Council countryside rangers, representatives from:- Scottish Natural Heritage, R.S.P.B., Forestry Commission Scotland, The Environmental Research Institute, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency...........For more information Click HERE
Biodiversity week 16th - 24th May 2009 - FOCUS ON BUMBLEBEES
The very rare Great Yellow Bumblebee has been seen along the coast of Caithness and this year we want to learn more about this bee and we need your help! We need volunteers who can spend a few days in June, July , and August looking for and identifying bumblebees along the coast from Reay to Dunnet head. If you are interested in helping with this important project, there will be two training days. The first day is May 2nd when Tony Bradford has agreed to lead a basic session . The second day is Sunday May 17th at the start of Biodiversity week when Bob Dawson from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust will lead a training walk for volunteers......more and contact details

Climate Change Group Taking On The Oil Companies With Own Spoof Ad From Avaaz is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva.

Does Anyone Have Information About Mountain Indicators In Caithness?
We have been contacted by a researcher asking for information about viewpoints at -
1. Warth Hill lookout point (grid reference ND 372 702) a few miles south of John O'Groats on the A99.
2. Duncansby Head (ND 404 734).
3. Viewpoint near the meeting house at Halsary on the A9 (ND 173 405)
4. Viewpoint near the beach at Thurso (ND 114 689)

Highland Population Rising Due Mainly To Inward Migration
The General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) has today published their mid year estimates for 2008. They show that the population of Highland rose from 217,440 in 2007 to 219,400 in 2008, an increase of 1,960 or 0.9%. There was a slight rise in the birth rate over the death rate giving a change of +36 but the main reason for the increase was high levels of inward migration since 2002. The population increase is mainly the result of continuing high levels of inward migration to Highland since 2002, and the net inflow was +1,924 people. This was the fifth successive year in which inward migration was around 2,000 people......The figures show that inward migration to Highland remained strong during the early part of the recession. However, the volume of house sales is a good barometer of migration and the number of sales per month fell from 300 to 400 per month during the first part of 2008 to under 200 per month during the first two months of 2009. This compares with a peak of 500 per month during much of 2007. It is likely that the high rate of net inward migration will not continue in the short term......

Caithness Bloggers
Caithness Moto Cross Report Sunday 26 April - Dode Fraser

Caithness Chamber Of Commerce Means Business
Networking Lunches - Open To Members and Non-Members
Small Business Finance Seminar Led By John Thurso MP
Friday 8th May - The Weigh Inn, Thurso at 1pm - buffet lunch included
The Chamber is hosting a Small Business Finance Seminar led by John Thurso MP. The event will give businesses vital information on what is available and where to source it. Presentations by banks, business support organisations, ministers. For more information and booking form download  More Details (Pdf)
Keeping One Step Ahead In the Recession
Tuesday 12th May - Station Hotel, Thurso 12.00 - 12.00pm
Come & hear how to keep one step ahead in the recession with practical help & advice from leading professionals Eric Baijal from Drever & Heddle, Stuart Walker from Reid & Fraser and John Cormack from Victor T Fraser on subjects such as CREDIT CONTROL, CASH & DEBT MANAGEMENT, BANK NEGOTIATIONS & TAX.  More Details (Pdf)
Harbour Regeneration
Wednesday 27th May -
Mackays Hotel, Wick 12 - 2pm Chamber networking lunch with presentations on `Harbour Regeneration`.  Speaker - Celia Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners in Cumbria. Come along & hear how a Cumbrian harbour has successfully embarked on a regeneration programme and made the harbour the focal point of the town. More Details (Pdf)

Notice Of European Parliamentary Election - 4 June 2009 Scottish Region (Pdf)

Swine Flu In Mexico and United States - UK Government Latest Advice
List of Swine Flu Cases - Guardian Blog
Disease Outbreak News - World Health Organisation

Moves To End Right To Buy Houses In Scotland
Moves to end the Right to Buy for new build social housing in Scotland were formally published today. The reforms, part of the consultation on the Draft Housing (Scotland) Bill, are aimed at safeguarding social rented housing for future generations. It is estimated that between 2012 and 2022 these reforms will retain between 10,000 and 18,000 homes for low cost rent that would otherwise be lost through Right to Buy sales.
The consultation also seeks views on other possible Right to Buy reforms, including:
* ending the Right to Buy for new tenants in all social housing property;
* devolving and extending the pressured-area designation process, which can suspend Right to Buy in certain areas
* revising guidance to encourage landlords to give ex-service personnel the opportunity to count the time they spend in armed forces tenancies towards their Right to Buy qualifying period

Former Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach In Caithness
Caithness Gymnastics Club’s Rhythmic Gymnastics Section has 4 new Assistant Coaches! Gemma Wares, Sine Hamilton, Hanna Lalmahamode and Julie Simpson all undertook and passed the 1.5 hour practical exam in Thurso High School on Saturday morning. All 4 attended a coaching course in West Lothian last year which was funded jointly by the club and a Caithness Sports Council Grant. Club gymnasts Ailidh Mackie, Hollie Mackintosh, Catriona McMillan, Laura Davidson, Chloe Sinclair and Alisha Lalmahamode were all put through their paces by the prospective assistant coaches. They were examined by Marion Sands -Scottish Gymnastics Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Director, Examiner/Tutor for British Gymnastics, Coach to the 2004 British National Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Team and also coached the 1990 and 2006 British Commonwealth Games Rhythmic Gymnastics Teams.

Bremner's Walk, Wick - Street Sculptures Stand Out

Wick Streets - Photo Index  For other parts of Caithness go to A to Z Caithness

O'Neill Cold Water Classic surf Competition Begins in Caithness On Wednesday 29th April
The Highland Open section of the Cold Water Classic surf competition runs from 29th April to 7th May and some of the world's top surfers will be doing there stuff in Thurso Bay usually from Thurso East or if the weather is blowing the wrong way at Brims.  Surfing In Caithness Index

Best Bike Video Ever From Edinburgh
This video went on YouTube on 19 April and is getting massive hits and if you take look you will see what can be done on a bike - with lots of is pretty good too. Danny Macaskill has several other videos showing his superb cycling skills.  Email and forums (including the one on are spreading his fame....

Congratulations To Keith Dunnet and Maricel  Calvo On Their First Wedding Anniversary
Congratulations to Keith Dunnet and his wife Maricel on their first wedding anniversary. The couple were married on 26 April 2008. Keith Dunnet is originally from Keiss and now lives in Argentina.  Keith married Maricel Noemi Calvo in her home town of Rosario in Argentina.


Bill Aspins - A Birdin Blogger Makes It To Dunnet Bay
He failed to find the White Billed Diver he came to Caithness looking for so far but has posted a nice photo of a Surf Scoter he spotted today.

Recession? - Employers Are Still Hiring In Caithness - Check Our Jobs Page Regularly

Orbital Welder For Dounreay Tested In New Facility At Bower
Dropping a large three metre stainless steel container from a great height might seem like a bizarre concept, but it's all in a days work for the PFR project team. Storage of the spent fuel from the former fast reactor needs to be safeguarded from all potentially hazardous conditions. In order to prove the robustness of the 100kg container a replica model was subjected to a computerised simulated drop followed by an actual six and a half metre drop in the new NES Engineering Ltd off-site test facility at Bower in Caithness.

Budget Comment From Caithness Chamber Of Commerce
Commenting on the Chancellor's Budget statement, Trudy Morris Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said: "Businesses had a need to see some positive news out of the Budget and we are fairly encouraged by some of the measures announced. The Chancellor appears to have taken notice of some of the recommendations put forward by both the British and Scottish Chambers of Commerce. We do however remain cautious on some of the detail where the Chancellor was not very specific. We particularly welcome the Chancellor's commitment to developing the renewables industry which is a key industry for Caithness and announcement that he will provide new incentives for the development of smaller North Sea oil fields, helping to boost production and maximise the lifespan of our oil and gas reserves.
Budget Analysis From KPMG

Four Men Arrested in Connection With Taj Mahal Restaurant Fire In Castletown
Following extensive police investigations, a number of addresses have been searched in the Wick and Thurso areas in connection with the fire at the Taj Mahal in Castletown near Thurso in Caithness on 22nd April 2009. Four men aged 17, 19, 21 and 35 have been arrested and will be appearing from custody at Wick Sheriff Court on Monday 27 April. Detective Inspector Mark Mackay who is leading the investigation into the cause of the fire said: Enquiries are continuing into the circumstances surrounding the fire, but early indications are that this is not in any way a racially motivated incident." - Northern Constabulary

A New Age Dawns For Wick As Harbour Marina Construction Begins

Wick Harbour entered a new era this week as the construction of the new marina began.  Since it was first announced Wick harbour has received many enquiries for the berths that will be available in the new facility.  The aim is to complete construction in time for the Wick Harbourfest 26th - 28th June.  For details and applications forms for berths at the marina go HERE
Montage Of the New Wick Marina
A £576,000 funding package (loan and grant) was secured to install a marina development in the town's harbour.  The deal required complex negotiations between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) which is providing the vital funding conduit. The Crown Estate has provided around half the total sum to the project's applicants, Wick Harbour Authority. Wick harbour is the largest harbour on the east coast of Caithness and in the face of declining fish landings, the Harbour Authority has a vision to rejuvenate its fortunes with a diverse portfolio of activities for its long-term future. Research has shown that the town will benefit from the increasing numbers of visiting yachts - particularly in light of the 40% increase in trade recorded since the opening of 12 seasonal pontoons at Wick last year.  Willie Watt, chairman of Wick Harbour Authority said: "This project is a major step forward in diversifying activities in the harbour and provides an important new income stream. We are very confident that we can build on our Phase I pontoon development success and attract a wide range of vessels to the town. The pontoons which will provide year round berthing offers 50 serviced and 20 non-serviced berths. Additionally our plan includes secure over-winter storage and provision of maintenance services for yachts which will bring in additional revenues.

Safety Record Earns Charity Windfall
Dounreay's industrial safety record during the last 12 months earned a £22,500 windfall for good causes locally. Every month the site goes without a lost-time accident earns a £2500 pay-out from UKAEA Ltd, parent company of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. Each month represents more than 300,000 man-hours of work. The site recorded a total of nine accident-free months during the last financial year, resulting in a payment of £22,500. The money is donated to the Dounreay Communities Fund, which supports charitable groups in Caithness and north Sutherland. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority gives £20,000 to the fund. Profits from a book published to mark the site's 50th anniversary are also donated.  Dounreay Communities Fund Information

Want Some Easy and Relaxed Walks?
Are you not as active as you would like to be?
If you would like to become more active why not come on our taster walk.
We plan to organise regular walks in the future.


Publication of New Radon Maps for Scotland
The Highland Council has promised to work with the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) and NHS Highland to develop a programme of action to help Highland residents, whose homes have been identified as having high levels of the naturally occurring radioactive gas, radon. The move follows the publication by the Scottish Parliament of new radon maps for Scotland produced by the HPA. Highland is one of 16 local authorities in Scotland which has areas with a presence of radon exceeding the level which requires action to remedy the problem. Helmsdale is identified as a location requiring specific action to reduce the presence of radon gas while settlements near Invergarry and between Tomatin and Aviemore also feature on the new map. In an earlier survey in 1993, Helmsdale was identified as a radon affected area. 
Full Report and Maps

Liberal Democrat Wins Inverness West By-Election
The by-election for a councillor to serve the Inverness West Ward (No 14) on The Highland Council has been won by Mr Alasdair Christie, Liberal Democrat Focus Team. Mr Christie was one of six candidates, who contested the vacancy, created by the death of Jimmy MacDonald (Independent).  No independent candidates stood in the election.

Thurso Library To Close For One Week From Monday 11th May
Thurso library will be closed for 1 week from Monday 11th May to allow the final Disability Discrimination Act work to be completed. The Highland council has a rolling programme of works for its buildings to gradually bring them up to the standards required regarding accessability.

Council Awards Contract for the Mall Footbridge, Thurso
The Highland Council has awarded a contract for construction of a new footbridge which forms an important pedestrian link over the River Thurso, at Thurso Cemetery. The new bridge will replace the structure which was destroyed by river flood flow, in the storms of October 2006, and will re-establish the river crossing which is part of a popular local walking route. Design of the new structure has been by consulting engineer Arch Henderson LLP and the contract for its construction has been awarded to McGregor Construction (Highlands) Ltd. The steel superstructure of the new bridge will be fabricated and galvanized off site, for erection on completion of abutment supports on either bank of the river....Valued at £250,000, the bridge will have a single span of over 36 metres.....
The Bridge Washed Away In October 2006

Other Flood Photos in the October 2006 Archive Pages


Souled Out Comes to Wick
Christian band Souled Out began running events at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre in 2004, bringing the church in Aberdeenshire and beyond together to worship. Since then thousands of people, of all ages and backgrounds, have joined them on the Souled Out journey. The bands music has also made it into hundreds of homes and cars through the Souled Out CD ministry. Having already released three CD recordings of earlier events, in 2006 Souled Out launched the Doxano Music Label, releasing its first official album, Glorify Thy Name. Samples of the bands music can be found at

Caithness Bloggers
Fire At Dunnet Head - Home In The Highlands
Maas Eggs On Midgarth Holm - Rain On My Window
The Photos that Bring Tourists To Britain - Northlight A few on 2009 - A Year In Photos 
Passengers On The Westland - Joanne B Kaar's Mary Ann's Cottage
Latest On the Paper Boat Blog - Joanne B Kaar

Council Acts Swiftly to Replace Postbus Withdrawals
The Highland Council has put in place interim arrangements in five Highland communities to replace postbus services withdrawn by Royal Mail on Thursday. These arrangements will continue until the Council has met with local communities to identify sustainable long term arrangements. The Council is disappointed that its representations to Royal Mail and the UK Government to continue the postbus services have been unsuccessful. The services withdrawn by Royal Mail are:-Thurso - Tongue; Bettyhill - Thurso; Diabaig - Achnasheen; Applecross - Torridon and Shieldaig - Strathcarron. Convener Sandy Park said: "I am very disappointed that Royal Mail have confirmed their withdrawal from the five routes. However, transport officers within TEC Services have moved promptly to put in place short-term replacement services in these rural communities. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of these interim arrangements before consulting with local communities about a sustainable way forward."

Ormlie Youngsters Raise Funds For Marie Curie
Young people aged between 7- 12 years who are all members of Ormlie Community Associations CPP groups (Community Partners Programme), recently took part in Marie Curies ‘Mini Pots of Care’ fundraising scheme. This was a fun and creative way for children to find out how daffodils grow while helping people affected by cancer in their local community. Each participant looked after a daffodil bulb and also designed a pot wrapper, the winning design from the CPP groups has now been entered into a nationwide art competition which will be judged later this month. The young people featured in the photograph raised the sum of £74 between them which was a tremendous effort and OCA are very proud of their achievement. To find out more about the CPP groups contact Sue on 01847 891789 or e-mail

Police Seeking Help With Vandalism Cases

More Photos From The Caithness Country Music Festival

The Northern Nashville Country Music Club's Caithness Country Music Festival last weekend was acknowledged to be one of the best yet.  Local photographer James Gunn was employed by the festival to take photos throughout the festival and many are now on the Northern Nashville Site and even more on James Gunn's web site

Difficulties in finding a new head teacher for the cluster schools of Melvich and Farr have led to the Melvich parents and children to create their own advert to try and get suitable candidates to apply to Highland Council for the job in the far north of Sutherland.  Melvich Primary  Farr Primary

Dunnet Head Heath Fire Burns for Days and Destroys Large Area

Local people and visitors to the area joined in to help firemen from John O'Groats, Thurso and Lybster deal with a huge heath fire that continued to burn over several days and nights.  The damage to the heath is very widespread and there are concerns that much wildlife may have perished.  Police in Caithness are continuing enquiries as to the possible cause of the fire.

Aprils Drama Week - North Highland Connections
Djupid (The Deep) based on a true event. - Written by Jon Atli Jonasson
Translated and directed by Graeme Maley - Starring by Liam Brennan.
Venues: Monday 20 April, Ross Institute, Halkirk - Tuesday 21 April, Village Hall, Skerray.
Wednesday 22 April, Village Hall, Durness. - Thursday 23 April, Village Hall, Rosehall. 

Caithness Motocross 2009 - Round One
A wet and miserable start to Caithness Motocross Round One at Ravenshill on Sunday the 5th of April. An excellent turn out with some adults travelling from the south. The event was kindly sponsored by Carol and Michael MacDonald, Halkirk, allowing the winners from each category to take home some well earned silverware............
Photos - 1. Jake Anderson and Mark Sutherland
2. Troy Anderson and Liam Mackay.

Firefighters tackle heath blaze - BBC
Officers from three fire crews spent 14 hours tackling a heath fire at Dunnet Head,....

Last Call For Entrepreneurs To Enter Britain's Biggest Start-up Awards
With just over a week to go until close of entries, HSBC Bank is making a last call to all new companies to enter this year's Start-Up Stars Awards - an annual search for the UK's most promising start-up businesses less than three years old and the inspirational entrepreneurs behind them. The HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards culminates with a glittering black-tie event at London's InterContinental on November 23, where the UK's top new businesses will hope to be crowned 'Start-Up Star 2009' and to walk away with a cheque for £25,000, courtesy of HSBC........There will also be £10,000 cheques for the best new Green business putting the environment at the top of its agenda, the best new business set up by a Graduate, and the best new business achieving Export Success.....Start-Up Stars supporter, Google, will be offering more than £40,000 worth of free services, to be split between the 10 National Finalists and each of the category Winners. And every entrant will also receive a Google voucher worth £75.........

The Gaelic Debate Continues In The Letters Page Of Press And Journal Today

Liquid Metal Fire Tenders Phased Out At Dounreay
The destruction of the liquid metal coolant in Dounreay's experimental fast reactors means that the site can say farewell to two of its firefighters, the graphex tenders. Specially built for Dounreay, the two graphex tenders are the only ones in the world. They were designed to fight large scale metal fires, and each vehicle carried one tonne of graphex powder - a graphite-based fire fighting agent - which would be sprayed onto the fire. The tenders arrived on site in 1984, and have now reached the end of their operational life. Dounreay's fire chief, Kenny Porteous, comments that the tenders have never been required to put out a metal fire.

Scallywags Nursery Easter Bunnies Had a Great Day
Easter bunnies l to r Fearne Macarthy, Beth Mackenzie, Sophie Jack and Erin Bonnieface. The Easter Fete at Scallywags Nursery had a great turnout at the new Mey Hall and raised £615.90. Thanks to everyone who turned out. Great feedback from folk and the kids especially enjoyed the craft table.
The new Mey Hall was only recently completed after nearly 10 years of fund- raising and a dance was held to celebrate.   Scallywags Nursery 

Wick Harbourfest

Everything is moving towards making Wick Harbourfest a great event. Any day now the new Marina will begin to be built within the main Wick Harbour area to be ready in time for the event. There is still time to get nominations in for the new Herring Queen.  Stallholders need to apply in plenty of time HERE
There will be plenty going on in Wick for three days as part of Harbourfest Homecoming 09
See the return of the heritage herring fleet under full sail
• Celebrate the Crowning of the Herring Queen and her Court
• Join the Royal procession around the harbour
• HarbourFest and RNLI Wick Lifeboat Day
• A day long celebration of our maritime heritage
• The New Wick Marina opens
• Displays of local school pupil heritage projects and artwork
• Heritage boats open to visitors
• Herring industry displays – barrel-making, blacksmithing, net making and mending
• Film shows of former Herring Queen ceremonies of fifty years ago
• Market stalls - local produce, handicrafts, art and crafts
• Vintage vehicles display
• Braehead Children's Funfair
• Evening licensed HarbourFest Ceilidh
• Wick Pipe Band & traditional busking
• HarbourFest Raffle - special HomeComing prizes

Gaelic Signage Still Stirring It In The Letters Page Of The Press and Journal Today

'Operation Easter' Crackdown On Wildlife Crime In Caithness
Operation Easter is an annual UK wide operation run by all Police forces and the RSPB targeting persons who commit offences against wild birds by disturbing their nests and stealing their eggs. The operation runs from Easter until the end of the nesting season.  The county of Caithness has a number of rare bird species which nests here, which are of importance both nationally and internationally in terms of their rarity. The RSPB has reserves in the county at Dunnet Head, Broubster Means and Forsinard which straddles the Sutherland / Caithness county line. The RSPB warden, Dave Jones stated: “The RSPB in Caithness with it’s two reserves fully support Operation Easter and ask the public to keep their eyes open during this important time for breeding wild birds.”

Sunday Papers
Budget will make or break renewable energy -
Sunday Times

Wrestling In Wick

Wrestling hit Wick a couple of weeks ago in the shape of Big Time Wrestling UK. Local Sports photographer James Gunn was allowed a ring side seat to take photos and he got some great shots as seemn here.  Head over to for even more. The stars of the night were SKY TV's Gladiator Goliath and "The Highlander" Drew MacDonald. Others included; British Champion Robbie Dynamite, The Metal Mask (from Mexico), Chad "Cry Baby" Collier, "Chippendale" Mikey Whiplash (World champion), BT Gunn (announced as born in Wick!) and the Nasty Boys from USA.

Wick Pipe Band Easter Parade

Wick Pipe Band was today joined by the Elise Lyall Highland Dancers for their first parade of the year in the Market Square, Wick.

Caithness Country Music Festival 2009 Looks To Be Best Yet

Northern Nashville Caithness Country Music Club looked to be well on the way to brining off the best Caithness Country Music Festival so far.  On Friday night 750 people enjoyed a non-stop flow of music. Tonight (Saturday 11 April)  has been sold out and 900 people will be arriving to pack the Halkirk Riding Centre unless that is they have been there already for the afternoon concert.  Country Music fans have arrived in the county from all over the UK.  The music continues on Sunday.  Last night the music was provided by Nickels & Dimes, Tony Kerr, Robert Mizzell and Heather Myles and her band all the way from USA.  The full programme shows the range of talent in this years festival.  If you want to check if there are any tickets left of the Sunday concerts Go HERE

New North Equestrian Business Defies Economic Downturn - Opens Saturday 2.00pm
Tamara and Charlie Inness are opening a newly built country clothing and equestrian shop adjoining their home at Borlum Farm, Reay in Caithness. The new business "Calluna Country and Equestrian" opens with a head start having taken over "Bits n Bobs" from Jean Gunn of Sibster. "Calluna Country and Equestrian" is based in a new purpose built country store and will open On Easter Saturday 11 April from 2.00pm - 8.00pm. There will be a SPECIAL 10% discount on Opening Day Saturday 11th April

Caithness Country Music Festival Starts On Friday 10th April - Sat Night Tickets Sold Out
The Caithness Country Music Festival starts tomorrow and looks like being the best yet with some big country music stars jetting in for the weekend.  The Festival runs from 10 - 12 April and various types of tickets are on offer.

Do You Need Help In The Credit Crunch?
If things are getting tight financially it pays to make sure you are getting all the help that you are entitled to from the state or local council.  Highland Council web site has a page Benefits, Grants and Allowances covering a wide range of topics from Free School meals to travel for carers.  The Scottish Government has set up web pages Help Through The Downturn divided in two sections.  Help for you covers help with home costs, help with money problems, help with jobs and skills while the other section Help for business covers Credit and finances, Managing your business and Investing in the future.  The Business Gateway network recently transferred from HIE to councils and Highland Council now runs this service locally.  Advice on the services of the Business Gateway can be obtained at the Wick Enterprise Centre which ispoart of Highland Opportunity
Money Advice and Debt Councelling are available from Highland Council and Citizens Advice Free of charge.  Check with them before signing up to any refinancing deals on offer - there may be better ways of getting out of a tight situation.
Highland Council's Draft Action Plan (Pdf) was agreed in December 2008.  Actions are ongoing and are at various stages of implementation from those already in place to others undergoing research and looking at costs to implement. In some cases expenditure has been brought forward and simple action such as paying invoices earlier to assist local businesses have already been put into action.

Scotland by Morris Minor - Telegraph

Calling Sports Groups  - Are You Aware Of 2014 Communities Grants?
The 2014 Communities fund has been established in the lead up to Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games. This provides small grants to encourage grassroots involvement in sport and physical activity. Grants of between £300 and £1k are available for sports clubs, voluntary and community organisations, community councils and schools. This is proving to be a very popular scheme so it is best to your application in quickly if you would like to apply. More information from: or 0870 240 2391.
Calling Other Voluntary Groups and Charities - Just Added 20 New Funding Sources To Look At
Click HERE 
Lots of money on offer for those groups willing to get the forms filled in.  Do you feel lucky?
It is not luck but hard work completing the forms with the right wording and ensuring that you can carry out a project but there are some quite sizeable sums on offer for the right projects amongst the funding sources suggested today.

Easter Egg Hunt Dunnet - Cancelled
We have been notified that the Easter Egg Hunt at Dunnet Forest organised by Scallywags Nursery on 13 April has been cancelled.

Everyone Welcome At Easter Fun Day - Friday 10th April - Forsinain Trail Opens
Locals and visitors are guaranteed a good time at a free Easter fun day at Forsinain hosted by SNH, RSPB Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland run under the Peatlands Partnership. The event starts at 10.30am sharp on Good Friday (10 April 2009) with the official opening of the Forsinain Trail, a four mile self-guided walk, by local Liberal Democrat MSP Jamie Stone. The RSPB and FCS are offering a guided walk on the day at 10.45am to which everyone is welcome. A reasonable level of fitness, strong footwear and suitable outdoor clothing are required. The trail starts at the Forsinain car park on the B897 road and continues through The Flows National Nature Reserve, part of the RSPB Forsinard Nature Reserve, Forsinain Forest and the River Halladale.

Get Fit Get Active Get High Life
All-inclusive access to all facilities: for just £21.60 family or £15.40 individual monthly direct debit (with the reduction in VAT).
Budget access to all facilities: for just 50p per activity if your household is on: Income Support, Pension Guarantee Credit, Job Seekers Allowance (income based), or individuals on Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.
Pay-as-you-go: It is no problem to turn up and pay at reception for any activity in the usual way. Don't forget that if you are under 18, or in full time education, or over 60, you get half price access.
Thurso Pool and Wick Pool like many other Highland council swimming pools also have modern fitness suites and a range of other facilities. Once you have your High Life card you can go as often as you like every week - great value - the more you go the cheaper it is.  And you can use Inverness Leisure facilities or the privately owned Highland Aviemore Macdonald Centre who recently joined the High Life scheme or any of the pools around Highland using the same card.  Complete a form and take it to your local centre (Pdf)

Education Culture and Sport Newsletter - Highland Council (Pdf)
A flavour of what has been happening around Highland in the past few months.

To Celebrate 40 Years - A Bigger Vintage Vehicle Rally for 2009 At John O'Groats
Saturday 13th For The  Rally From Tain
Sunday 14th June 2009 At John O'Groats
The Caithness and Sutherland Vintage Vehicles Club is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year with an even bigger vintage vehicle rally and display.  the annual vintage vehicle rally will be longer starting at the Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain starting the day before the big event at John O'Groats.  Vehicle owners have options to choose on what part of the rally they join or take part in the whole weekend which has a ceilidh on Saturday evening.  The public may see the vehicles as they travel through Sutherland and Caithness but the best place will be at John O'Groats on Sunday 14th June.  Entries for cars and passengers should be in by 5th June but the sooner the better to assist the organisers.  There are opportunities for Stallholders to set up at the event and applications should be sent in soon to be sure of getting a stance.  Previous events at John O'Groats have proved popular but this years 40th anniversary is on a much larger scale so there will be more to see than ever.  A special programme will be available on the day and there are advertising opportunities with great rates but applications should be in by 30th April.

Caithness Model Club 2009 Exhibition

Another successful model exhibition was held by Caithness Model Club at the Norseman Hotel, wick on Saturday and Sunday.

Daffodils In Full Bloom In Wick

Ormlie Drop In Centre
Nothing to do on a Friday night in Thurso?  If you are aged between 14 and 18 why not try the Drop-in Centre at Ormlie to se what is on offer.



Volunteering Highland - Caithness - Spring Newsletter (Pdf)
If you have some spare time and want to help any number of organisations then you will probably find something of interest if you contact the Caithness Volunteer Centre at Telford Street, Wick.

Caithness Volunteer Centre


Achreamie School 1961/62?  Achreamie School -Year Unknown
Photos sent by James Sutherland    Achreamie School Reunion 30 May 2009
Caithness Schools Old Class Photos  Old Caithness Schools

Mr Muscle Helps Dounreay Clean-up
Another legacy of Dounreay's commercial venture into nuclear reprocessing has been safely cleaned up and taken apart. A household proprietry cleaner "Mr Muscle" was found to be the most effective way of removing glue and fake snow use in the clean-up process. The pulsed column laboratory was part of Dounreay's attempt to create a commercial future in specialised nuclear services. It was built in the early 1980s to carry out realistic testing of commercial size pulsed columns with plutonium solutions. The pulsed column rig, constructed inside a four-storey glove-box, was a towering array of slim glass tubes up to 10m high. The six columns were constructed from borosilicate glass sections, each 2m long, and weighing approximately 30kg.

Next Deadline For Highland 2007 Legacy Applications
The revised guidelines and application form for the Highland 2007 Legacy Programme are now available on the home page of  Please note that the name of the programme has been changed to the Highland Culture Programme.
The next deadline for the fund will be August 7th 2009.
Please contact Area Cultural Officers in advance of submitting your application forms.

Sunbeam Crafts Closing Down Sale
After many years supplying local items for local craft people Sunbeam Crafts at Castletown is closing down.
Everything is being sold off and there are bargains on offer. The business website will go off line on 17th April  If locals phone with an order further discounts are on offer 01847 821218
The limited Stock available = Patchwork fabric, Knitting Yarn, Knitting Patterns, DMC threads, Cross Stitch Kits and Charts, Aida / Needlework fabric.

Peter Mandelson puts UKAEA clean-up crew up for sale - Guardian

Caithness Bloggers Latest
Mary Anne's Cottage -
Latest update 3 April
Mary Ann's Cottage Paper Boats - By Joanne B Kaar -
Latest 28 March - The Armada Grows
North Light -
Latest update 2 April and hop over to his Flickr site for all the latest Caithness Photos
Home In The Highlands - Latest update 31 March

Body denies ramming Gaelic down Caithness folks’ throats - Press & Journal
If you want to know where all this is flowing from then go to -
Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 Pdf
Section 3 (1) of the Act states "The Bòrd may give a notice in writing to any relevant public authority requiring the authority to prepare a Gaelic language plan."
Highland Council Gaelic Language Plan 2007 - 2011 Pdf
Bòrd na Gàidhlig web site  Annual Report 2007/08
Many public bodies are required to have a Gaelic Plan and this has been ongoing for a good number of years but are probably becoming more visible in the past two or three years.  See Scottish Natural Heritage response 6 January 2004 Pdf  SNH Corporate Plan 2008/11 (Pdf) states "Continue with our commitment to the Gaelic language, preparing a Gaelic plan as required by the Gaelic Act, and supporting Gaelic language text in leaflets and other interpretation where this is appropriate."  See Also "Putting Gaelic Back In It's Rightful Place" in Interpret Scotland (Pdf).  Official bodies are following instructions under the Gaelic Language Act to prepare Gaelic Language Plans See "Another Eight Organisations Preparing Gaelic Language Plans" 
Council confirms commitment to Gaelic Plan - Highland Life 6 March 2008
Encouraging the use of Gaelic - Scottish Government Web site 29 January 2009
As stated in the Gaelic Language Act (Scotland) 2005, Bòrd na Gàidhlig can ask public bodies to produce their own Gaelic Language Plans. The following have already published their own plans: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Parliament. Glasgow City Council has prepared and consulted on its plan and the following are currently preparing plans: Edinburgh City Council, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Learning and Teaching Scotland, and the Scottish Funding Council. The following bodies have recently been asked to produce plans: NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, Caledonian MacBrayne, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, the Crofters Commission, Scottish National Heritage, the Forestry Commission and Visit Scotland.

Seamless Transfer of Business Gateway to Highland Council
Today (1 April 2009) responsibility for providing business advice has transferred from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to local authorities. Advice will be provided through the Business Gateway service which already operates in the rest of Scotland. In The Highland Council area it will be managed by the Council's enterprise trust, Highland Opportunity and will be the first point of access for information and advice on all services to business and social enterprises in the Highlands. The new service can be accessed on-line: or by telephone: 0845 609 6611 or walk-in to the Business Gateway office, 81 Castle Street, Inverness, or if outwith Inverness, at one of the Council's network of 37 Service Points.

Revolutionary Power Idea Coming To Caithness - Everyone Can Make It
Caithness rocks discovered to have properties at the sub atomic level that will make it possible to make energy when it comes into contact with spit. Scientists believe that spit raises the temperature just enough when rubbed on to Caithness flagstone to create more friction than most other rocks. A large plant to create huge amounts of spit could be built on a coastal location to use seawater at a place where the flagstone is available. By dribbling millions of gallons of the spit down the rocks energy will be created and captured by storing the water whose temperature has been raised. Then heat exchangers will extract the energy and pass it on to the national grid. Developers will gain from selling renewable energy certificates. Local homes will gain from the ability of the producers to pass on some of the heat to the Caithness Heat and Power initially. A new company called SIAS will set to work shortly.

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