North Action Group Wind Up And Hand Over 2499 To Hospital
North Action Group (NAG)
formed by members of the Caithness community to fight the downgrading of the maternity unit at Caithness General Hospital finally wound up and handed over the balance of their funds 2499 to the League of Friends to spend on the maternity unit. The fight to save the unit from the loss of obstetricians took two and a half years and was finally won in June 2006. Members of North Action Group continued in existence to monitor the situation in view of several previous attempts by the health board to downgrade the Caithness maternity unit. Finally the group have stood down. The North Action Group pages

Wind Turbines Arrive At Wick Harbour Bound For Achairn

Wind Energy Index

'Fairways' Of Wick To Become 'The Linen Cupboard'
The shop Fairways previously run by Ernie Adams has been leased to 'The Linen Cupboard' from Orkney.  Trading under the new management will commence from the beginning of May keeping a supply of household goods and soft furnishings on the High Street in Wick.

Older People To Be Treated In the Community In Sutherland
NHS Highland is continuing to develop the range of services it provides in Sutherland so that more people can be treated and cared for in their own homes. The Cambusavie Unit, at the Lawson Memorial Hospital, in Golspie, was purpose built as a 30 bed long-term facility in 1989, when patients were transferred from the old Cambusavie Hospital. Since then, it has developed into a rehabilitation centre for older people from across Sutherland and there are now no long-term patients. The number of beds was reduced to 22 a few years ago for health and safety and staffing reasons. The unit, which is consultant-led from Caithness General Hospital, now provides stroke and other forms of rehabilitation. As patients' needs have changed, bed occupancy at the Cambusavie Unit has declined and, on average, only thirteen of the twenty two beds are used so eight will be removed.   Bed Reductions also at Broadford and Portree Hospitals  Also Here

Bees In Danger - Everyone Invited Is To Hear About The Problem
Wick Parish Church Hall - Monday 6th April - 7.30pm

Mr Robin Inglis will give a talk on bee keeping. Ruth Swanson of Wick and District Gardening Club said,"We are hosting this as an open meeting as there is growing concern about the parasitic invasion of bee colonies. As a gardening club we want to help spread the word about this problem & would welcome a wide attendance of both gardeners, bee keepers & anyone interested in the subject."
Honey bees 'wiped out in 10 years'    Another Article about The Problem
Olrig & District Beekeepers Association   Bumble Bees    Nature

Doorstep Sellers In Highland Capital - Be On Your Guard
Consumers warned Be on your guard by Highland Council Trading Standards
Highland Council Trading Standards are asking members of the public to be vigilant following recent report about a double glazing doorstep selling firm operating in the Inverness area. On Friday, last week, Highland Council Trading Standards and Northern Constabulary visited a concerned consumers home after receiving her call regarding selling practices of a double glazing firm.

Talented Musicians To Perform Evening of Music and Song
Young musicians from primary and secondary schools across the Highlands are busy preparing for a public concert which will take place in the Black Isle Leisure Centre, Fortrose on Saturday 18 April. The evening will feature performances by four of the Highland Regional Music Groups including the Highland Youth String Orchestra, 'snas (the Regional ceilidh band), the Highland Youth Pipe Band and the first public recital by the recently formed Gaelic choir, Cisir G which is directed by former MOD gold medallist Eilidh Mackenzie.

Deal reached over animal centre - BBC
An animal disease surveillance centre in Thurso run by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) is to continue using staff from a local vets. SAC said there had been "unsubstantiated rumours" about the future of the service following the death of its manager Sandy Clark. In the interim, college staff travelled from Inverness, Aberdeen and Perth to perform post mortems. An agreement has been reached with vets at D S McGregor and Partners.

Help For First Time Buyers
A 60 million scheme offering a route into home ownership for first time buyers starts today. The Open Market Shared Equity Pilot scheme is being expanded from 10 council areas to the whole of Scotland. A substantially increased budget of 60 million - up from 24 million - is expected to help around 1500 households to buy through the scheme this year. The scheme is part of the Scottish Government's Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers, to help people on low to moderate incomes buy an affordable home where that is sustainable for them.

New Stroke Services Developed At Caithness General
Caithness General Hospital in Wick has developed new services for Stroke patients in the north and is one of the first Rural General Hospital's in Scotland to be offering these treatments. The first of these services, the Novel Rapid Access Neurovascular (TIA) service will start up at the hospital on Thursday 2nd April. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA - often known as mini stroke) patients will be seen within 24 hours and treated, not only will this save lives but it will also prevent further strokes.

High Societies Community Website Goes Live
Clubs, groups, organisations and societies in the Highlands can now register on The Highland Council's new free community information website that was launched on Monday 30th March 2009 at Dingwall Library. Developed by the Council's library service, High-Societies is designed to signpost members of the public to essential contact information for not-for-profit organisations and to their existing websites where appropriate. Councillor Bill Fernie Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "This website brings together extremely useful contact information and gives a very positive picture of all that is happening in communities across the Highlands."

Caithness County Snooker Doubles Open

Saturday 18th of April 2009 in the Royal British Legion Thurso - 2.00pm start, may run through to the 19th depending on numbers - 10 entry per team
Names to be in by 7pm on Friday 17th April to Derek Johnston on 0790 77 55 777
Draw to be made at 8pm in the Legion

End of an Era for two Wick Churches by Moira Gunn

An overview of the history of Bridge Street church where the final service was held on Sunday 29th March 2009.   Final Service Photo Gallery    Bridge Street Church Index    Caithness Churches

Historical Churches In Caithness

Prize bingo and football tournament being held in memory of Scott Mackenzie
From Scott's Sister Claire
The prize bingo is being held in the Francis St Club on Tuesday 14th April with various fantastic prizes, bottle stall and raffles. If anyone wishes to donate anything to the raffle etc they can contact me on 07907 374 589 (please leave a message if I cant manage to answer and I will contact you back) We are also holding a tournament day in the Bignold Park in Wick on Sun 7th June. This is a junior tournament for all youngsters throughout Caithness. This tournament will also have refreshments and stalls etc. Details are still to be finalised. Monies raised will be donated back into all participating Caithness junior teams. Scott's life was football and we want to give some of the younger boys out there the chances Scott had to develop his talent.

Sunday Papers
Boost for huge Scots tide-power plan - The Observer
plan's to host the world's largest tidal energy project have moved a step closer after Norwegian renewables giant Statkraft joined the consortium backing the 250m scheme. The project, which will create over 700 jobs, is to build a large data centre powered by tidal energy, in a remote area on the north Scotland coast dubbed the "Saudi Arabia of tidal energy".......Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Atlantis Resources Corporation, the firm behind the 150MW project in the Pentland Firth, said tidal power for new data centres was the perfect solution.......The Observer has learnt that a 1bn public-private funding body, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), is allowing several multinationals to secure exclusive licences to British renewable developers' innovations in return for providing funding................

Wick HarbourFest HomeComing 26th 27th and 28th June 2009
We are seeking the Herring Queen & her four Ladies-in-Waiting
If you wish to play a part in this unique event, please email your contact details to the address below and we will contact you after the closing date for applications.
Email address:
Earlier Items and Photos About Wick Herring Queens

World War Two Tea Party At Halkirk School
Halkirk School's Primary 7 class rounded off the term with a very successful World War tea party on Thursday afternoon. Around 80 parents and friends attended and were treated to tea, coffee and a selection of home baking. They also had the opportunity to browse the children's work which was on display. The children then entertained them with a dance, which they choreographed themselves to Glen Miller's 'In the Mood'. This was followed by a play detailing the events of the war which included a short version of Ready Steady Cook to explain rationing and an accompanying slideshow. They finished off with a selection of wartime songs. The afternoon ended with the drawing of the class' Easter hamper raffle which they had organised to boost funds to pay for their residential trip to Fairburn in June. A total of 1200 has now been raised, well done to all the children for all their hard work.  Halkirk Primary School

Sinclair DNA - The First Comprehensive Report
St Clair Research Web Site

Switch Off For Earth Hour At 8.30pm Local Time
Millions of people around the world will be switching off their lights for one hour to vote for Earth.   Read more on the site....................

Easter Fun in Ormlie
Ormlie Community Association will be running an Easter Workshop event in Ormlie during the first week of the school holidays. On offer will be a range of fun and creative arts and crafts workshops over a 3 day period beginning on Tuesday 31st March through to Thursday 2nd April. The Easter workshops will be held in the Ormlie Community Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso. Morning sessions for the under nines will run from 11.30 1pm, whilst the over nine sessions will be held in the afternoon between 2pm 3.30pm, cost is 1 per session. As in the past Ormlie Community Association welcomes children and young people from outwith the Ormlie estate and under fives can also attend but must be accompanied by an adult. For more details contact Sue on 01847 891789 or e-mail

Last Service At Bridge Street Church, Wick on Sunday 29th March at 11.30am - All Invited
The final service before the Bridge Street congregation merges with the Old Parish to become Wick St Fergus.  The congregation hope that many of their friends from around the county will join them in their last service ending a tradition of services since 1843 - an end of a long era. The Rev Ronnie Johstone will conduct the final service to be held in the church.

Sound Revision For Fort William Pupils Now Open To All
Aimed At Pupils with Dyslexia But Revision Here May Help Anyone With Standard and Higher Grade Exams Coming Soon - Well Worth a Look  - All Lessons Are For Listening To

Lochaber High School and a local dyslexia charity have joined forces to create an on-line bank of audio revision materials for pupils. Believed to be a first for Scotland, this venture blends the latest technologies with traditional methods effectively delivering revision opportunities across the curriculum. The idea originated from a working group set up to identify the technologies that actively support children with specific learning difficulties. This led to the concept of creating audio revision material which pupils access to support their exam revision. This successful joint project between Dyslexia Lochaber and Lochaber High School highlights the value of positive collaboration between parents and school.
Straight to The New Lochaber High School Revision Web Site   Well Done To Lochaber High

Enrolment At Wick Family Centre For August 09
Wick Family Centre is now enrolling for August 09. We have funded places available for 3 year old children and non-funded places for children 2 years 9 months. We offer a full, all day childcare package (wraparound), which is a one of its kind provision, unique in Caithness................
Making Waves Easter Holiday Club at Wick Family Centre
Making Waves Easter Holiday Club at Wick Family Centre is open from Monday 30 March until Thursday 9 April, 8.30am to 5.30pm. Places are available for half day and full day sessions. All costs include outings, activities and snacks; please supply a packed lunch for each child.............

Caithness Astronomy Group Presents Events For National Spring MoonWatch Week
Borgie Forest Community Centre
1830-2130hrs, Thursday 2nd April '09
Wick Scout Hall
(observing at Riverside Park)1830-2130hrs, Friday 3rd April '09
Thurso High School
1400-1600hrs and 1830-2130hrs Saturday 4th April '09
Events will consist of astronomy talks (commencing 1915hrs), outdoor observing through telescopes (weather permitting), interactive workshops/exhibits and displays of astronomical material including the opportunity to see genuine Moon Rocks and Meteorites. Looking for something to do with the kids during the Holidays? Early evening (1830-1915hrs) and afternoon sessions are particularly suited to younger children why not take them along?

Arts Groups - Get Business Sponsorship And Double Your Money
On Thursday, 26 March, the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, celebrated successful arts and business partnerships at a reception at Edinburgh Castle, hosted by Arts & Business Scotland. The partnerships were supported by two Scottish Government match funding streams. New Arts Sponsorship Grants encourage new or returning business sponsors and the Cashback for Communities scheme which supports projects that tackle social exclusion and anti-social behaviour among young people.
See List Of Groups Who Obtained Business Sponsorship And Also The Grant

NHS Highland Looking For Volunteer Mums To Act As Peer Supporters
NHS Infant Feeding Advisors Karen Mackay and Janet Kellock are looking for mothers in Caithness who are enthusiastic about breastfeeding and would like to widen their knowledge and help others to breastfeed successfully. The volunteers will be given the same training on breastfeeding as NHS Highland midwives and health visitors. The 15 hour UNICEF training course will be offered over 5 weeks (3 hours a week) and crche facilities and travelling expenses will be provided. Please contact Karen or Janet on 01463 704842  or for further information if you would be interested in taking part.

Calling all Early Birds - Discounted Tickets - Global Impact Conference
Calling all Early Birds - get your discounted tickets for this unique event - the Scotland's Global Impact conference. Organisers of the flagship Homecoming Scotland event, Scotland's Global Impact - how one small nation changed the world! Buaidh Chruinneil na h-Alba - mar a dh'atharraich aon dthaich bheag an saoghal! are calling everyone interested in our nation's history to take advantage of the fantastic Early Bird discount announced today for this international conference celebrating Scotland's Year of Homecoming. Tickets purchased prior to 31 May will be eligible for a substantial discount of up to 50 on the standard cost of a three day ticket for this gathering taking place at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, from 22 - 24 October 2009.

LEADER Funds Start To Filter Through
Since the launch of the Highland LEADER Programme in excess of 400,000 of funding has already been allocated to 27 successful local projects and plans across the Highlands................In Caithness 33,348 has been allocated towards three projects including 13,198 to Dunbeath Heritage Centre for Dunbeath Fishings project exploring the local history of fishings in Dunbeath including the renovation of the oldest vernacular fishings building and new heritage displays. Leader is a European programme aimed at enhancing rural communities through helping those active in rural areas to consider the long term potential of their area. Local Communities can apply for 10 million of funding available to them over the next 5 years with a further 3 million available to assist strategic Highland-wide projects.

Council Offers Home Improvement Grants
The credit crunch may be biting but Highland Council has cash grants available to assist with home improvements. Home improvement and repairs grants are available to help people living in owner-occupied or privately rented housing to meet the costs of having their homes improved, repaired or adapted. Most grants are at the discretion of the Council and almost all are means-tested. A small number of grants are, under certain conditions, mandatory and the Council are obliged to approve these. Discretionary improvement grants can be awarded for improvements to existing houses to bring them up to the tolerable standard, e.g. by installing bathroom facilities, dealing with structural instability, or eradication of severe dampness. They may also be available to make houses suitable for occupants with disabilities, e.g. level access showers, ramps, stairlifts or purpose built extensions to accommodate a ground floor bedroom or bathroom.   More information from Environmental Health Officers - Contact List

Jumble Sale in the Ormlie Centre
Henderson Street, Thurso from 2 - 4 pm on Saturday 28 March 2009. There will be a wide range of clothing and bric-a-brac along with a rail of 'designer' label clothing for ladies.

Structural Survey On Dounreay Castle As Deterioration Noted
Consulting engineers Cruden Associates are carrying out a structural survey of the 16th century Dounreay Castle. The castle, which forms part of the estate inherited by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is in a ruinous condition. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd recently informed Historic Scotland, the Government body with responsibility for building heritage, of further deterioration in its condition.  Dounreay Castle Index   Caithness Castles
History Of Caithness By J T Calder - Work In Progress

2 Day Dry Stone Dying Course
A 2-day Dry Stone Dyking Course willbe held on a croft near Dunbeath. The possible dates are 16th/17th May and/or 27th/28th June at a cost of 70 per person. The instructor will be Master Craftsman, Dave Goulder. For more information and to book phone Augusta Hutt 01593 731459.

The National Theatre of Scotland in Caithness
National Theatre of Scotland returns to Caithness with two exciting projects over the coming months. Hosted by The Highland Council, the projects include the schools and community project 'Transform' and the professional Ensemble touring group which is performing two excellent productions. It is three years since the NToS kicked off with its various 'Home' projects, which included the 'Caithness Home' production, in conjunction with Grey Coast Theatre, performed in the old Caithness Glass Factory in Wick. Now in May and June the National Theatre Learn project will be rolling out its 'Transform' residency project, which has run successfully in other parts of the country, to Caithness. It will culminate in performances in special venues in Thurso from 24 to 26 June.

This years Northern Nashville Country Music festival, taking place in Caithness, will be broadcast on television for the first time ever, on BBC ALBA. The Northern Nashville Country Music Festival taking place in Halkirk, Caithness over the Easter weekend (10-12 April) will be recorded by MNE Media for future broadcast on BBC ALBA. The Caithness event, now in its 6th year will feature a wide range of International artists including Michelle Wright (Canada), Frank Jansen and his Band (Holland), Heather Myles (USA), Eamonn McCann (Ireland) as well as home-grown favourites including The Jacks and Manson Grant and The Dynamos. Halkirk Indoor Riding School is the venue for the Caithness event which will also include the Thurso High School Band and Wick Youth Band.   
Airson a' chiad uair riamh thid Fis Cel Dthchail Ghallaibh a' chraoladh air telebhisean am bliadhna sa. Tha BBC ALBA air dearbhadh gu bheil iad gu bhith a' clradh cel bhon Fhis a bhios a' dol air adhart ann an Halkirk thairis air m na Cisg (10mh-12mh Giblean). Thid an tachartas a' chlradh le MNE Media airson BBC ALBA. Se Club Cel Dthchail Nashville Ghallaibh a bhios a' ruith na Fise agus se seo an siathamh bliadhna den Fhis a tha a' tarruing luchd-coimhead, seinneadairean agus luchd-cuil as gach cernaidh den t-saoghal. Bidh cmhlain a Canada, Na Stitean Aonaichte, an laind, irinn agus Alba aig an Fhis a bhios cuideachd a' toirt cothrom dha luchd-cuil ionadail mar Na Jacks agus Manson Grant agus Na Dynamos. A bharrachd air na cmhlain ainmeil tha ite cuideachd ann airson sgoilearan bho rd Sgoil Inbhir Theorsa agus Cmhlan igridh Inbhir Uige.
2009 Festival Programme

Bayview Care Workers Champion Dementia and Palliative Care in Highland
Two senior social care workers at Highland Council's Bayview House Resource Centre in Thurso have recently successfully completed a training course to develop their skills in palliative care with older people and older people with dementia. The course which was titled 'Beyond Barriers' was a project funded by the Scottish Government, and run in partnership with the Care Commission and Alzheimer Scotland.

Wick Swimmers At Scottish Schools Swimming Championships
Following the Highland schools qualifying event in Inverness, 5 Wick swimmers had qualified for the Scottish finals held recently in the 50m pool at Tollcross Leisure centre in Glasgow. This will be the venue for the swimming events during the 2014 Commonwealth games and was a great experience for the young Wick swimmers. Unfortunately two of the swimmers Stephanie Webster and Cameron Tait were unable to attend due to illness. That left Shannon Mackenzie and Fraser Tait from Pulteneytown Academy and Jordan Munro representing Hillhead. All three were in the 12 and under age group where the top 20 swimmers at each stroke were drawn in two heats of 10. Both Shannon and Fraser qualified for the final in the girls and boys breaststroke respectively and then had to wait until the end of the morning session for their finals.....Well done to all Wick's young swimmers from

Last Ever Open Day At Bridge Street Church In Wick Today

An era is coming to an end as the Bridge Street church in Wick reaches the final events before the congregation closes their doors for the last time at the end of March.  An exhibition of documents about the people and events of the church since its opening in 1843.  In addition the usual teas and cakes were on offer on what was for many a sad day.  A film show was playing all day remembering past events at the church.  Music and singing provided entertainment but perhaps most it was the reminiscences of Wickers on a bright Saturday the brought it home that this really was the end of an era.  The church saw one of its busiest ever open days and in case anyone missed the exhibition it will be on show again on Tuesday 24th March 11.30am - 3.00pm.  The last Communion Service takes place on Sunday 22 March at 11.30am and the final service ever will take place on Sunday 29th at 11.30am.  The congregation have extended an invitation to everyone to the final service on Sunday 29th.  The Rev Ronnie Johstone will conduct the final service to be held in the church.  The Bridge Street church congregation will unite with Wick Old church to become Wick St Fergus - Church of Scotland

Door To Door Charity Clothing Collection Hits Caithness
Beware Of Leaflets Dropping Through Your Door
Leaflets are being delivered to homes in Caithness from a company well-known on the Internet for their activities.  One of our readers has pointed out that the company putting out leaflets has been outed on the web in other parts of the country.  See HERE and HERE and currently being debated in our ForumBetter take it to the local charity shop and locally organised thrift sales

High Life at Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort
Members of The Highland Councils High Life leisure access scheme will now have access to swimming and leisure facilities in Aviemore thanks to a partnership between the Council and Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort. From Wednesday 1st April, locals and people from throughout the Highlands who have High Life membership will be able to use the Resorts swimming pool with flume, sauna, steam room and spa pool. In addition, temporary access to the existing soft play area will be provided as part of High Life until the Resort develops new soft play facilities in its leisure facility foyer.     Join High Life

A Scottish Potato Breeders Harvest By Jack Dunnet BSc (Agric), Phd, MIBiol, FRAgS, MBE
Eight years ago Jack Dunnet published his first book on potato breeding -  'A Scottish Potato Breeder's Harvest' (Hardcover)  The update is being published as A Scottish Potato Breeders Harvest (Part Two) (Pdf).  Dr Dunnet has gathered some further thoughts and papers and kindly allowed to offer this freely on the web site. Many of you may not have thought that there might be another way of feeding the world's burgeoning population other than by grain based foods but Dr Dunnet offers another direction that may indeed prove very useful to many countries.  Dr Dunnet's contribution to world food production is well known in academic circles and more  about his work can be seen on the web site of Caithness Potato Breeders Ltd

Indoor 5-A-Side Football Youth Club Tournament
An indoor 5-A-side football Youth Club tournament last Saturday organised by Keiss Baptist Church Youth Club came to a dramatic conclusion with a 'Golden Goal' play-off to decide the winner. Primary school age teams from Keiss, Wick and Canisbay Youth clubs competed in the tournament which was played at the Wick High School Games Hall. The tournament was played in a league format with each team playing each other once. In the last game Keiss scored with virtually the last kick of the game to beat Wick 'A' 2 - 1 and force a 3 way play off between Keiss, Wick 'A' and Wick 'B' who were all tied on the same points.

Extension To Council Job Evaluation Appeals Deadline
The deadline for Highland Council staff to submit appeals against their job evaluation outcomes has been extended for one month until 8 May, 2009 by the Council's Modernising Employment Sub Committee. Members of the committee heard that there had been requests from some staff and the trade unions to extend the appeal date of 10 April 2009. At the latest regular meeting with the trade unions on 10 March 2009, the trade unions requested an extension of at least 4 weeks. The Sub-Committee agreed to this request to enable staff more time to complete their appeals, reflecting the fact that schools will be breaking for Easter holidays shortly.

The Highland Junior Golf Championships
The Highland Junior Golf Championships held at Spey Valley Golf Course, Aviemore will benefit from financial support from North Highland College - UHI for this years event on Thursday 15th October 2009. Willie MacKay, Highlands Junior Golf Development Officer, welcomed the agreement as the Golf Management college degree students, based at the North Highland College Dornoch campus, have been assisting with the running of the event for a few years. With entry to the championships being open to all under 18s from Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney & Shetland the link with North Highland College UHI provides benefits for both parties.  Previous participants in the event have entered the Golf Management programme with us in Dornoch and there are places available for 2009 entry. Entry forms for the competition will be issued to all Golf Clubs and Secondary Schools in the areas in August 2009.

Caithness May Get Energy From Waste Plant
Proposals for a joint waste management strategy between Highland and Moray Councils have been given the green light by members of The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee. embers approved a development option providing locally based solutions for dealing with waste. The chosen option comprises the development of three efficient recovery of energy from waste (EfW) plants in Highland, one in Moray and in-vessel composting (IVC). The Highland EfW plants would be located at Caithness, Skye and Inverness. In-vessel composting plants would be located in Lochaber, Caithness and Inverness.

Energy Saving Measures Could Light The Way For Council
Research by Highland Council lighting experts has shown that potential energy savings could be achieved over time by converting street lighting in the Highlands from existing sodium lanterns to white light lanterns with dimming facilities. A desk top exercise was carried out by the Council's TEC Services on a typical residential housing area with 160, 6 metre high lighting columns fitted with 100w high pressure sodium lanterns. Calculations showed that converting the 100w sodium lanterns to 60w white light units and introducing pre-timed dimming switches would allow the lanterns to be dimmed by 25% during 1am and 5am when traffic and pedestrian activity is low.

Wick Bridge Street Church Closes Shortly
Final Open Day Exhibition of Wick Bridge Street Church - Sat 21st March 10.30am - 4.00pm
Before the Bridge Street church closes they are holding their last ever exhibition devoted to the church itself covering the period 1843 - 2009.  There will also be flower display, Baking stall, Music and teas.  Get along and support them in their last ever open day before they merge with the Parish Church.

BDMLR Celebrates Its 21st Birthday and Over 3000 Call-outs
2009 sees the UKs leading and largest voluntary marine mammal rescue team celebrating it 21st Birthday this year and its achievement of responding to over 3000 call-outs. Over 1200 of these call-outs have been responded to since British Divers Marine Life Rescue was sprung into the media spot light in 2006 when a whale swan up the River Thames. BDMLR has responded to over 2460 seal call-outs and over 540 cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) call-outs as well as 8 sharks, 14 turtles and 35 call-outs involving seabirds. Many of these call-outs have involved multiple animals like the Sea Empress Oil Spill where BDMLR medics helped rescue over 250 oiled birds in just two weeks. This is an amazing response for a small charity which trains volunteer marine mammal medics.

Highland Council to support Team Highland at Special Olympics
Members of The Highland Councils Education, Culture and Sport Committee have approved a grant of 10,000 to Highland Disability Sport. The funding will support an 80-strong team of athletes to participate at the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Leicester 25th - 31st July 2009. Chairman of The Highland Councils Education, Culture and Sport Committee Councillor Bill Fernie said: This is an excellent opportunity to support our top athletes in the Highlands. I am delighted that we can provide funding towards their participation at the Special Olympics in Leicester. I wish them great success and hope to see some medals coming back home. Team Highland will be competing in 8 sports; swimming, football, athletics, bowls, golf, boccia, badminton and ten pin. Each sport has a head coach and support team and athletes come from throughout the Highland Council area.

Young Musicians Prepare For Celebratory Concert
Eighty Musicians with the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra are busy preparing for their performance in the Empire Theatre of Eden Court which takes place on Saturday 21 March. The concert, which is part of the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Regional Music Groups in the Highlands, will have an ambitious programme including Arnold's Tam O'Shanter Overture, Fantasia on Greensleeves composed by Vaughan Williams and Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kij Suite. Over the last two decades thousands of young musicians have trained and performed with the local authority's Regional Music Groups, continuing to provide entertainment and music-making of the highest standards.

Convener's Concern at Withdrawal of Highland Postbus
The Convener of The Highland Council Councillor Sandy Park has expressed his deep concerns at the recent decision by Royal Mail to withdraw five of the seven postbus services which serve some of the most remote and fragile areas within the Highlands. In a letter to Adam Crozier, Chief Executive, of the Royal Mail Group, Councillor Park says the post buses, which have served these areas for many years, are excellent examples of shared services, and provide a joint solution for mail delivery and local transport in some of our most remote areas......Royal Mail has given notice that the following five services will cease on 16 April. They are Thurso - Tongue; Bettyhill - Thurso; Diabeg - Achnasheen; Applecross - Torridon and Shieldaig - Strathcarron.

Significant fall in number of new Highland homes built in 2008
A report published by The Highland Council shows that a progressive fall in the number of housing completions in 2008 highlights the increasing impact of the current recession on the housing market. In 2008, 1,471 new houses were completed; a 19% decrease on the 2007 figure of 1,806 new homes. This is the first significant drop in the housing completions in the Highlands since 2001. The pattern of housing completions during 2008 shows a progressive reduction in the number of completions in each of the final three quarters of the year.

Local businesses to explore opportunities for Gaelic
Businesses will later this week have the chance to win up to 1,000 towards bilingual marketing and advertising when Inverness hosts a seminar on Gaelic and business. The seminar, 'Gaelic - an economic opportunity for the Highlands and Islands', will be held on Friday March 20 and will host businesses such as the Glen Coe Ski Centre, Highland Airways and Crown Vets (in Inverness) on how Gaelic has helped their business through its use on company signs, websites, marketing, and amongst staff. The day is free to attend and will be chaired by BBC broadcaster Mark Stephen and discussions will be conducted through English.
Companaidhean faighinn elas air buannachd na Gidhlig
Gheibh companaidhean aig deireadh na seachdainne cothrom suas gu 1,000 a choisinn mu choinneamh margaidheachd is sanasanchd aig seminar mu Ghidhlig ann an gnomhachas. Theid an t-seminar, 'Gidhlig - Na Buannachd Eaconomach don Ghidhealtachd?', a chumail Dihaoine an 20mh latha dhen Mhrt, le oraidean is eile bhon a leithid Ionad-Sgithidh Ghleann Comhann, Highland Airways agus Bheataichean a' Chruin (Inbhir Nis) mu dheidhinn mar a tha a' Ghidhlig a' cur ris na gnomhachasan aca le bhi ga cleachdach air soidhnichean, lraich-ln agus am measg luchd-obrach. Tha an latha an asgaidh agus se Mark Stephen, craoladair aig a' BhBC, neach-cathrach na co-labhairt.

Sprs Mr Event For Gaelic Medium Pupils
The Highland Council is working in partnership with Comunn na Gidhlig, to develop a national pilot event, Sprs Mr, for Primary 6 Gaelic Medium Education (GME) pupils. The event, which will take place in Stirling on the 11 and 12 May, aims to be fun, non-competitive and provide the opportunity for pupils to meet with other Gaelic Medium pupils from other schools throughout Scotland. A total of 80 young people are expected to attend. Sprs Mr will form part of the Curriculum for Excellence and is funded by Brd na Gidhlig - the National Gaelic Agency, Comunn na Gidhlig (CnaG), The Highland Council with support from Fisean nan Gidheal.
Sprs Mr Do Sgoilearan Tro Mheadhan Na Gidhlig

Tha Comhairle na Gidhealtachd ag obair cmhla ri Comann na Gidhlig gus pleat niseanta, Sprs Mr, a leasachadh do sgoilearan ann an Clas 6 ann am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gidhlig (FMG). Thid seo air adhart ann an Sruighle air 11mh is 12ra Citean, agus bidh e sprsail is gun cho-fharpaisean. Bheir e cothrom do sgoilearan coinneachadh ri sgoilearan eile tro Mheadhan na Gidhlig sgoiltean air feadh Alba. Tha dil gun cruinnich 80 neach g.

Caithness Diving Club Is Growing - Would You Like To Join Them?
Caithness Diving Club, based in Thurso, has been providing club facilities, equipment and a focus for recreational, scuba diving around the north of Scotland for approximately 40 years. The club has about 40 members who dive regularly throughout the year at various dive sites around Caithness and North Sutherland coasts. The club is expanding the use of its 6.5m fully equipped RIB, Hagar, by having it moored in the new Wick Harbour marina for the summer months. This will make evening boat dives more readily organized and will see the club reaching sites not accessible from the shore. The club is always looking for new members.

The Gunging By 1st Dunnet Cubs Raised Over 700 For Red Nose Day

Well done to 1st Dunnet Cubs in raising over 700 for Red Nose Day.  By the end of the telethon on Friday night the total had reached a record breaking 57,809,938 ($80,685,482) and this even in the current recession.  To see what they do with the money or to apply for a grant go to Comic Relief

Was Darwin Right? - Wick Baptist Church on Tuesday 17th March at 7.30pm
John Mackay the International director of Creation Research will be giving a talk at Wick Baptist Church, Dempster Street, Wick on Tuesday 17th March at 7.30pm. He covers many subjects under the heading "Was Darwin Right"? This year marks 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin and 150 years since Origin of the Species was published. Australian born John, whose family origins are from Tongue, is qualified as a school teacher and has further qualifications in geology and archaeology. He argues that the biblical perspective of creation holds up against modern scientific methods and will answer questions from any interested enquirers. All are welcome to this fascinating talk and question and answer time. Admission is free and a range of reading and other material will be on sale. For further details contact; Wick Baptist Church Secretary, Mr Willie Miller, 01955 605826.

Wick Harbourfest Stalls Applications Now Open!
Stall pitches at the Wick HarbourFest on Saturday 27th June are now available for reservation. The HarbourFest Committee are keen to encourage community groups, charities and local organisations to take advantage of this widely supported community event. The Harbourfest weekend in 2007 attracted over twenty community groups who raised over 20,000 selling a wide range of local products, arts and crafts, and food. Local baking, freshly baked scones and pancakes proved very popular, and local delicacies such as kippers met a keen demand throughout the day. 2007 Harbourfest Photos
The 2009 Wick Harbourfest is one of the Highland Homecoming events in Caithness.
Download Stall Pitch Application Form

Minisoft and TIC From Wick Aim To Impress Techno Judges
Minisoft and TIC from Wick are just two of 16 teams getting ready for the next stage of the annual Youth Challenge in the Highlands and Islands. The competition helps to encourage young people become entrepreneurial by focusing on ideas in the information, communications and technology sector. This year a record 156 teams entered, comprising 599 individual team members and judging started just before Christmas. Then 33 teams were invited to take part in a First Pitch at the end of January. The children used video conferencing (VC) links, demonstrating technology in action, to pitch their entries to a panel of judges.   Good Luck From to both teams........

Another Great Book Sale At St John's Church, Moray Street, Wick Sat 21st March
Due to continued requests, St. John's church, Moray St., Pulteneytown, Wick, is holding a book sale on Saturday 21st March from 10 am until 3 pm. The book sale will be in the church hall (half way up the south side of Moray Street from the main road), with signs outside on the pavement to direct you. Organiser Gordon Johnson said: We have recently had many donations of  excellent condition books, but we are keeping our prices low to sell  more books. People thus get a book bargain, and the church gets extra income. He said, Children's books are 20p each, adult novels (hardback and paperback) all 40p, and adult factual books at 60p. We can this time offer some old maps (UK & France) at 20p. each, and Mills & Boon
romances at a bargain 10p each. We also have an excellent stock of videos films and TV series in particular- plus cds and dvds, all at 50p. each. He concluded, All proceeds go to the church's building repair fund, with renovation of the stained glass windows our current funding target the work should start soon - so you can improve our windows by purchasing a bargain book. Once the window renovations are complete, we are considering opening the church for visits by the community to view them.

Crossroads Raffle and Coffee Morning
"Crossroads Caring Scotland - Caithness" is celebrating 21 years of "caring for carers in the local community".
To raise funds so that we can continue to provide respite to carers, we are running an Annual Raffle with 210 as first prize (sponsored by Dounreay Charities Fund). Other prizes include vouchers for Harpsdale Fisheries, Old Pulteney Whisky, Voucher for Pentland Hotel, Food Hamper, Porcelain Vase to name a few. Tickets cost 1, and are available from local shops, or from the office based at the Business Centre in Scrabster. The annual raffle will be drawn at a coffee morning to be held in the Royal British Legion, Thurso on 23 May 2009.

Jobs Still On Offer In Our Jobs Pages
Employers Advertise For FREE - Keep Your Costs Down In the Credit Crunch

End Of Plutonium Criticality Cell Marks Another Step In Decommissioning
A stump of concrete and steel is all that remains standing of one Britain's most historic nuclear research facilities from the 1950s. Demolition contractor John Gunn is in the final stages of clearing away the reinforced shield that once surrounded the plutonium criticality cell pressure vessel. It is the fourth and final cell to be demolished from the era of criticality research at Dounreay in the 1950s and 1960s.  Earlier At Dounreay
UKAEA History - The First Fifty Years

Disability Arts Arrives in Caithness
Lybster based visual artist Lydia Popowich is embarking on an ambitious new project supported by the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund which will introduce the concept of disability arts to Northern Scotland. Disability arts is defined as any arts activity that is about how disabled people see the world and how the world sees disabled people. It is essential to ensuring disabled people are equally represented in our culture and do not suffer from discrimination in everyday life.

Caithness Celtic Supporters' Club Bus availability for the next games
The next buses are:-
versus Hamilton (League) on 04/04/09 - 15.00pm kick-off. &;
versus Aberdeen (League) on 18/04/09 - 15.00pm kick-off.
Bus leaving Wick Safeways @ 05:00 and Thurso Skinandis @ 05:30. Senior = 30 and Junior = 20.
Contact, Stevie King =
Official website -
St Patrick's night Hooley on Saturday the 21st of March 2009 in the Weigh Inn Thurso
Live music by THE WAKES (Glasgow Irish folk'n roll band)
Band starts 8.00pm DJ & half time sports quiz
Tickets 10 available from the Weigh Inn or ring 07724411629 / 07793882967

7th Caithness International Science Festival
Yes its time for the 7th Caithness Science Festival and once again there is plenty to get young folk interested.  Three evening sessions are open to the public in addition to the events taking place for pupils via their schools.


Grand Mr & Mrs Competitions and Charity Auction
This Saturday 14th MARCH see another ongoing fundraising event to raise funds for the visit of the ROYAL NATIONAL MOD to CAITHNESS in 2010 with a GRAND MR and MRS COMPETITION in MACKAYS HOTEL WICK supported by a CHARITY AUCTION. The fun gets underway at 7.30pm compered by Willie Mackay, Oldhall assisted by his wife Glynis who will introduce the following WICK couples, well known business man JOCKY SUTHERLAND and his wife CATHY, retired librarian DAVID MORRISION and his wife EDNA, acting WICK GALA CHAIRPERSON LORNA ROSS and her husband ERNIE along with MoD representatives PAT KIERAN and his wife ANNE from REAY and vice convener of the MOD stewards committee PAULINE BAIN and her husband JOHN from Spittal There will also be a surprise couple appearing. Admission is only 4.Adults 2.50 Concession. There will be a Raffle on the night and an AUCTION during the interval of jewellery ,meal vouchers, malt whisky, sportswear, wine, etc... So come along and enjoy the fun this SATURDAY 14TH MARCH.

School Days Early Photos
Wick High 1958                Academy School Wick
Both photos sent in by Don Shearer who is in both of them.

Schooldays Index


Captured Moments - Slides Of Old Thurso For Diabetes UK Caithness Branch Charity Evening
Alan McIvor will be giving his first public slide show in over two years at the Royal British Legion, Thurso. The illustrated talk on Thursday 12th March, 7:30pm will feature various images of Thurso throughout the years from Alans collection. Admission is 3.00 and all proceeds go towards the Caithness Branch of Diabetes UK.

Cannot make the evening take a look at a few on Old Thirsa Piccies

Caithness Bloggers Latest
Northlight Wants A longer Lens - Northlight    See the Slide Show
Lifting The Tatties - Rain On My Window
World Book Day - Home In The Highlands
Latest Paper Boats At Mary Ann's Cottage Joanne B Kaar's Fund Raising blog for Mary Ann's cottage
Mad4patchwork - Elly D

Caithness Motox - Great Day At Ravenshill
A fantastic day to be had at Ravenshill on Sunday the 1st of March for Caithness Motocross Club annual Funday. Lots of new faces as well as the old faithfuls, beautiful sunshine and the track was surprisingly dry considering the weather. Twenty eight competitors took part in various categories providing the spectators with some exhilarating riding. Check out the website at
Photos   More Photos HERE

Volunteers wanted to help plant fruit and flowering bushes and to erect bird and bat boxes in the forest. If you would like to help, please come along on Saturday 28 March, 10.30am at the main car park. Please bring a spade if you can. PLEASE ring Jean Barnett on 01847 851353 nearer the time for more information as the planting will depend on the weather.

In The Photography Section
The photography section is where Forum members share their photos and new ones are entered every day.  This is one of the fastest growing section on the web site.  There are now over 1400 threads with thousands of photos of Caithness and the north and also many other topics and places.  If you have some great photos it is easy to share them and forum members are always willing to give advice on taking pictures.  If you live in Caithness you can join the Thurso Camera Club
The Moon From Caithness
Great photos of the moon and a link to let you know the names of craters etc
Seals Versus Seagulls
An unusual confrontation caught in pictures.

   The Forth Bridge   Gosforth House Estate, Longniddry

   Kinlochbervie Harbour  

Black and White Photos
Over the past few weeks forum members have been adding examples of their black and white photos and producing some stunning images.

Do you have any old Caithness photos.  If so why not scan them and them to the section.  Wick and Thurso have their own specific sections and they have grown into amazing collections of earlier times.

Thurkus Delivering Fertiliser At Wick
On a dreich day in Caithness the cargo ship Thurkus was delivering fertiliser.  Built in 1991, length 81m breadth 12m, Dead weight 3284MT, Registered in Poland,

Follow the Course Of Thurkus


Well Done To Red Nose Day Sponsored Dancers
Morag Mackay (7) and Arran Swan (8) organised a non stop sponsor dance for an hour. They were helped by Cameron Mackay (11) who acted as DJ for them. The girls organised the event themselves and have raised 45 for Red Nose Day. They send thanks to those who donated money to their event.  Red Nose Day this year takes place on 13 March.
Red Nose Day web site

Radio Remedy Lyrics Quiz 2009 - Answers and Winner
The winning entry to this years Radio Remedy Lyrics Quiz was drawn on 7 March in the Radio Remedy Studio at Caithness General Hospital by Jamie Stone MSP.  The winner was Bruce Cormack who receives a 20 shopping voucher.  Bruce also won the competition in 2007.  Radio Remedy is run by volunteers and supplies music and messages to patients in the hospital.  Organisers thank all who participated this year and those who continue to support Radio Remedy throughout the year by fundraising, getting proactive with them and those who act as vendors for their Annual Lyric Quiz. Roll on February 2010. Contact them via the Radio Remedy web site

Caithness In the Surf Frame Again As O'Neill Launches Cold Water Classic Series
O'Neill puts the spotlight on five classic surfing areas in cold water areas and Caithness is once again one of the places for surfers to gain points.  Caithness is included under the Highland Open banner along with Santa Cruz and new events in Tasmania, South Africa and Canada.  The first events kicks off in Tasmania later this month and then heads for Caithness for the Highland Open in May when Thurso will once again be taken over by the surfing world for a week or so.  Surf Section
Why Caithness? Well Take A Look At Guy Out Past Dunnet Recently
For a better view click Full Size

Surf Photos In The Forum

And More    And More

Careers Convention At Thurso High - Wednesday 4 March - 6.00pm - 8.00pm
People living in Caithness are being offered expert advice and information on taking the next step in their careers. The Careers Convention will be held on Wednesday 4th March 2009 in Thurso High School, and will offer people of all age's comprehensive information on careers, employment, training and education. The event, organised by Careers Scotland in Thurso, will bring universities, colleges, training providers and employers all under one roof. More than 40 organisations and businesses will be at the event which will run from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. Pupils from Wick, Thurso and Farr High Schools are expected to attend, and people from the wider community are invited to the event including parents/carers and adults who are looking for ideas and support.

Springtime Snowdrops At Academy Braes, Wick

Road closed after 'serious' crash - BBC (11.05am)
Emergency services have been dealing with what police described as a serious road crash on the A9 near Halkirk in Caithness. The collision happened between the junctions to the B874 and A882.

Working together for the North Highland water environment
Protecting and enhancing the natural waters of the North Highland area is a huge task involving many organisations and communities, and Scotland's environment watchdog is urging all those with an interest to get involved. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is asking interested local communities and businesses to read the draft River basin management plans (RBMP) and Local area management plans (AMP) and feed back whether they think the plans are comprehensive enough, how they can help to achieve the aims of the plans, and how we can all work together to achieve them.

Seater Landfill Site Closed For Two Weekends - End Of March
Please note that the above facility (and the access road thereto) will be closed on the following dates due to essential maintenance on the access road:-
2.00pm Friday 20th March to 8.00am Monday 23rd March
2.00pm Friday 27th March to 8.00am Monday 30th March
The recycling centres at Wick and Thurso will be open on all of these dates between 11am and 4.00pm for householders to deposit their waste and recyclate

As You Like It - At The Mill Theatre, Thurso
Thurso Players are busy gearing up for their latest production and, with an onstage cast of 21 along with an offstage support team of 20, it is proving to be a quite a considerable undertaking. Directed by Denise Imrie, 'As You Like It', is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare written between 1598 and1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The work was based upon the novel 'Rosalynde' by Thomas Lodge.  The performance runs at the Mill Theatre from Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th March at 7.30pm each evening.

Business promoting markets for far north foodstuffs folds - Press & Journal
The Wick-based social enterprise company Caithness Food and Horticulture Ltd has gone into liquidation with debts thought to be more than 40,000.

Surplus Tables and Chairs Free For Uplifting
A selection of tables and chairs for free collection from the Council Caravan Site in Smith Terrace, Thurso. Someone will be at the Site for them to be collected from 10am - 12 on Saturday 7th March.

Council Reinforces the Hazards of Dog Fouling
The Highland Council is continuing its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of dog fouling and is reminding owners that they can face a fixed penalty for not picking up their dogs mess. Education and Enforcement Officer Peter Taylor said: "Dog fouling is both unsightly, unpleasant and a potential health hazard. Dogs commonly carry a parasite worm called Toxacara whose eggs are passed out with the faeces in to the soil. These eggs can last in the ground for up to two years, long after any outward sign of the fouling has gone, with each infected deposit containing up too two million eggs. The most common form of Toxocariasis is the covert type which has mild symptoms or may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of this type of infection can be fever, cough, wheezing, headache and difficulty sleeping."

Deal Or No Deal-  Friday 6th March At Royal British Legion, Thurso
The Caithness Branch of ENABLE for people with a learning disability continue with their fund raising activities this coming Friday 6TH March when they stage a DEAL OR NO DEAL in the Royal British Legion THURSO, Cash prizes are to be won, Admission is 5, for Adults, 3.for Children which includes a light supper The event which is compered by Willie Mackay gets under way at 7.30pm

Caithness Amateur Radio Society AGM
AGM this Wednesday Night 4 March in The Nehercliffe hotel, Wick at 7.00pm and a good turnout of radio amateurs and anybody interested in radio is requested please to help support the club.

Videos From Caithness and The North
A selection of the many videos on the web now available from and about Caithness and the north gathered into one listing.  We add others as we find them.

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