News Archive - January 2012

Roof Repairs At Wick St Fergus Church After Stormy Weather
Roof Repairs At Wick St Fergus Church Roof Repairs At wick St Fergus Church

Evening Classes                       Hatching Out                                  Basketry Workshops
Evening Classes Hatching Out - Art Exhibition Basketry Workshops

Stormy Views From Wick Bay
Storms At Wick Bay Storms At Wick Bay Storms At Wick Bay

WICK BAY always looks spectacular when winter storms hit the bay and the waves crash against the pier.

Storms In Earlier Years - [January 2001] [January 2001] [December 2002] [November 2003
Across Caithness in January 2005
2011 - Noel Donaldson's Prize Winning Photo
It has always been Stormy at Wick
1873 - Harbour extension work was so badly damaged that the scheme is abandoned after 150,000 had been spent on it.
Helen Mowat in her article on Caithness Lighthouses wrote -
From 1780 onwards, lighthouses and lightships were built. In the days of sail the tidal streams flowing through the Pentland Firth earned the title "Hell's Mouth", and following an uninterrupted succession of storms in 1782 reports on the need for lighthouses in the Pentland Firth area were considered by a Parliamentary committee appointed to into the state of British Fisheries. This led to the establishment, in 1786, of the Commission on Northern Lights.
If its not stormy its snowy
December 2011
December 2010
Big Freeze - February 2009
Beautiful Winter Scenes in 2007
Lybster March 2005
December 2001
For many other weather scnenes on just type winter or snow or storm into the Google search box on the left.

New Pulteney Centre Opens Its Doors In Wick
Pultney Centre Opens In Wick Pulteney Centrte Opens In Wick Pulteney Centre opens In Wick Pulteney Centre Opens In Wick
The new Pulteney Centre opened in Wick today and many locals took the opportunity to drop in for alook around and sample the cafeteria.  The facilities place Wick at the forefront in Highland for local community services run by a voluntary group.  State of the art computer rooms and music practice sound proofed room and childrens nursery and creche rooms, training kitchen, meeting rooms, sports hall, cafeteria and much much more mean that in very comfortable surrounding many activities can take place.  The building is all hi-tech with security using fob keys to access rooms.  The latest in wood chip heating means running costs for the under floor heating are kept down.  This is a must see place for anyone interested in what a local community can achieve and many people will be coming to Wick to find out how it's done.  Well done once again to all involved - funders, committee, staff and volunteers.

Public Meeting  - Street Party For Thurso
Street Party For Thurso Public Meeting

Half million pound boost for Wick's Pulteneytown's Area
With the Wick, Pulteneytown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) drawing to an end, The Highland Council's Planning , Environment and Development Committee has awarded two grants and agreed to submit a third to Historic Scotland for approval, worth a total of 486,585.  The Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), funded by Historic Scotland and the Highland Council, was launched in 2007 to regenerate the Pulteneytown Conservation Area in Wick through the reuse and repair of its historic buildings.

Surfing Film At Caithness Horizons, Thurso
Surfing Film At Caithness Horizons

Wick Harbourfest 2012 For The Diamond Jubilee
Harbourfest 2012 at Wick
The Wick Diamond Jubilee HarbourFest will be a far north community celebration of the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla and will be held at Wick Harbour on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June 2012.  The Diamond Jubilee HarbourFest Queen and Royal Court will be chosen from local school children and the harbour will be filled with local and visiting vessels specially decorated for the Diamond Jubilee Harbourfest.
Search begins for Wick Diamond Jubilee HarbourFest Queen
The search has begun for the 2012 Wick Diamond Jubilee HarbourFest Queen and Ladies-in-Waiting.  Wick Harbourfest Committee hope to attract aspiring HarbourFest Queen applicants from the senior girls attending Wick High School.  In addition to the Wick Diamond Jubilee HarbourFest Queen, the Committee is also seeking two Ladies-in-Waiting to escort the Queen on her regal duties during the Diamond Jubilee Harbourfest Weekend on 16th & 17th June 2012.
Photos from Previous Harbourfests
Harbourfest 2009 Saturday
Harbourfest 2009 - Herring Queen Ceremonies
Harbourfest 2007
MV Hamnavoe Took Short Crossing In Severe Weather
Hamnavoe Ferry
The 'short sea route' came into its own early last Saturday (21.01.12) afternoon in an unusual manner as storm-force Westerly severe gales swept huge Atlantic Ocean breakers into the Pentland Firth …  And the crossing of the narrowest Eastern End of the Firth between Canisbay Parish and South Ronaldsay enabled Orkney to maintain its sea-link with Caithness on one of the wildest sea-days of the 2011/12 winter so far, a season where weather patterns have been dominated by a series of deep atmospheric depressions sweeping in from the West in quick succession.  The trip was not done by Pentland Ferries' Pentalina, which normally plies the route thrice-daily, but by NorthLink Ferries' Hamnavoe which made an exceptionally-circuitous crossing from Scrabster to Stromness, adding just an hour to her scheduled 90 minutes' of sailing time.

Impressions Of The New Council Offices For Wick
 New Wick Council Offices New Wick Council Offices

New 8.5 Million Council Offices For Wick Will Boost Town Centre
New Wick Council Offices Location of New Council Offices in Wick
The centre of Wick will see regeneration come to life when work on the new council office bgins later this year.  Most of the existing council offices at Market Square will be demolished to make way for a modern building whilst retaining Stafford Place - the curved building that is part of High Street.  The building of the new Pulteney community centre soon to open and over the  next few years new High School, swimming pool, library and two new primary schools are seen as putting a massive economic boost into the area whilst at the the same time giving Wick amongst the best facitlties of any comparable town in Scotland.  The new schools with all the infrastructure and facilities is expected to be around 57 million.  These come on top of a new marins at Wick harbour and significant investment in the Lower Pulteney area from rennovations to new homes funded by a number of grant schemes. Ducks Love The River Wick
Ducks on River Wick Ducks Onn River Wick
BIRDS of a feather flock together, they say and it's certainly true for these ducks when there's food on the go.  Passing walkers, heading up-river prompted the mallards to take refuge in Wick River, but once the "danger" was over,, they fluttered back onto the grassy bank to resume feeding.

Dunnet Beach Clean - Sunday 29th January 2012 - 11am - 3pm
Following the winter storms there is a lot of litter spoiling our beautiful beach!
We need your help to get it looking great once more. Why not come along after 11am for as long as you can manage and help us to clean it.  There will be tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks available at The Seadrift Centre to keep your strength up.  Bags and gloves provided we just need your help and enthusiasm!
Come along and make a difference! Wick Pensioners ‘do’ was a reel treat - Noel Donaldson
Wick Pensioners TreatWick Pensioners Treat
MARGE and I joined that exclusive club of Wick’s OAPs for the very first time, at their annual treat and what a night it was!  The scene was set for a grand party at the Assembly Rooms, with the tables laid and the main hall decorated with balloons and bunting. The treat has been going for several decades now and the committee and their army of volunteers have the organisation down to a fine art.  We sat down to a meal of ham and two veg accompanied by drinks, alcoholic and non alcoholic. The continuing generosity of the local community in donating prizes for gifts and spot dances was evident and greatly appreciated, given the difficult times it is facing in the current economic climate.  The gifts were by no means nominal.  I got a voucher for a cut and blow dry and a pack of quality buttermilk soaps which raised a titter or two.  I’ll certainly be a clean Weeker now!  Marge received a weekend bag and a bumper box of chocolates.  In addition we won one of the lucky spot waltzs and received two vouchers. The Wick RBLS Pipe Band got the entertainment part of the programme off to a stirring start.  Dance music was in the capable hands of the Adie Harper Band and a group of his pupils.  No fear of our traditional music heritage being lost with such talented youngsters coming up. The night simply flew in, and suddenly it was time for the grand finale and Auld Lang Syne and we all filed out of the main hall each with a weighty bag of goodies. I’m not sure if anyone proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of the guests, but if it was overlooked amid the enjoyment of the evening, allow me to tender it now.  Well done, treat committee and did us senior citizens proud!

Interested In A Career In Renewable energy? - OPEN EVENING
ERI Careers - Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy Is Taking Off In The North - Are You Ready For An Exciting Career?
The ERI invites you to a buffet and drinks evening. Come and chat with us about what we can offer to help you make your transition to the Renewable Energy industry.   Advice on funding your studies will be available on the evening.
When? Monday January 23rd, 2012. Pop in any time between 4 - 8pm
Where? ERI Centre for Energy and Environment, North Highland College, Ormlie Road, Thurso.
Doanalsin's Diary
Noel Donaldson writes Doanalsin's Dairy

A day of dramas at the sheriff court

THREE Brora men are to stand trial at Wick Sheriff Court

Cases from sheriff court session

Changes to entertainment licences

Fit's in 'e' Groat last week?

World's Largest Wave Farm Agreement Signed For Orkney
Alstom and SSE Renewables create joint venture to co-develop world's largest wave farm off the coast of Orkney, Scotland.  Alstom and the leading Scottish marine developer SSE Renewables have signed a new joint venture agreement to develop the Costa Head Wave Project, an up to 200 Megawatts (MW) wave energy site located north of mainland Orkney, in The Crown Estate's Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Strategic Area.  Alstom and SSE Renewables will work together to obtain the necessary permits and intend to populate the site with AWS-III wave energy converters, a technology currently under development by AWS Ocean Energy Ltd, in which Alstom acquired a 40% equity share in June 2011. 
The Costa Head site is located in water depths of 60 - 75m approximately 5km to the north of Orkney Mainland. SSE Renewables and Alstom propose to carry out detailed site surveys and an environmental impact assessment (EIA),to develop the site with an initial phase of around 10MW, before moving on to install the full site capacity.
Established in 2004, AWS Ocean Energy is focused on the development and delivery of its AWS-III wave energy converter, a floating device with a rated power output of 2.5 MW. A 1:9 scale model of the AWS-III was tested in Loch Ness in 2010. Full scale component testing will commence in 2012 with the support of the Scottish Enterprise-administered WATERS fund (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support), with a full-scale prototype planned for deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre in 2014.

Scrabster Selected To Be One of 14 Scottish Enterprise Areas
The Scottish Government today announced that Scrabster will be 1 of 14 sites in Scotland's New Enterprise Areas.

Events At Whaligoe Steps Cafe - Tea Or Poker
Thursday 19th January - Tea Tasting Evening at the Whaligoe Steps Cafe
Come to the Whaligoe Steps Cafe in Ulbster for an evening of tea specialities.  Taste some of our 40 different varieties of tea, and eat tea scented; savoury, sweet and iced goodies.   
26th January 2012 - Poker Tournament Night at Whaligoe Steps Cafe
Calling all of you who enjoy a bit of on-line poker, but would like to play a 'real' game.  We are happy to host a poker tournament - to comply with regulations, this would be a 5.00 single buy-in, with 50% of entrance monies going to the winner / final table, and 50% to the Lifeboat Service.
Castlehill Heritage Society have been shortlisted in the Epic awards - They Need Your Vote To Win
Deadline for Votes is Monday at 9.ooam - KEEP Voting
They need our votes for the people's choice.  You can vote on-line here:

Reflections On Caithness
Reflections on Caithness Reflections on Caithness
We will leave it to you to think about where these photos from Noel Donaldson were taken in Caithness.  If you have some reflections photos of Caithness you would like added to this gallery send them to

Lybster Outdoor Bowling Hall - Main Street, Lybster, Caithness, KW3 6AP
Saturday 11th February 2012 - 9.30/10.00am – 4.00pm
This event is free
Getting the maximum from your garden /Community greenspace – plots, planters, raised beds, edible woods / hedges, etc. …soil fertility – the key to quantity, quality and value of your crops…. Nature’s way
Fertile soil , Wormcast Production – WormBox design, construction and operation.
Compost production – HotBox design, construction and operation .
Growing for health - getting the essential trace elements back into the food chainThe 3D gardening model - copying prolific woodland growth
Community benefits  – eat tastier & more nutritious food … and save money
Delivered by:  Ronald Gilchrist BSc,MSc,MIBiol,ACIWM,FLS, Greenway Consulting (Scotland) CIC
Anyine attending the day is asked to wach a film called A Farm For the Future By Rebecca Hosking
Harking Back To Summer
Ducks At Dornoch Flower Garden At Dornoch At Embo Beach
Noel Donaldon's photos remind us that summer will come back eventually.
The Mill House At Forss, Caithness On A Crisp December Day
The Mill House At Forss, Caithness, Scotland
Thanks to Emma Kelly for this fines view of the Mill House At Forss.  There are two mills at Forss with one on each side of the river.  The mills are situated beside the Forss House Hotel. The one in this photograph is the larger of the two.  It has a roof made with local Caithness slate and both mills were built in the early nineteenth century.  For more photos of Forss go HERE

Dynamic Perceptions Film From Barry Stewart -  A Great Way To Show Caithness

His other great films on Youtube include one on Castle Girnigoe and another on Wick
Thanks to Barry for this superb way to show Caithness.
If you are looking for more short films of Caithness and the north we have gathered a few links HERE

If you are looking for Caithness information or Photos Remember to use the Google Search box
Thurso Karate Club Achievement - FAMILY GETTING A KICK OUT OF LIFE
Ritchie family gain blackbelts 2nd Dan
Pictured with John Hilton (2nd right) are Mike Ritchie (2nd left), Mike's son Michael & his daughter Kimberley. This family trio have all achieved the grade of 2nd Dan black belt in Shotokan karate.
Michael passed his cadet 2nd Dan grading in 2009 (aged 17). Mike & Kimberley passed their senior 2nd Dan grading in September 2011. All three of them attended an international karate course hosted by Sensei Kawasoe (head of the United Kingdom Traditional Karate Federation) in Edinburgh in September where Mike & Kim passed a three part examination that tests their basic karate techniques (Kihon), their performance of a predetermined set of moves (Kata) and (under strict control) free sparing (Kumite). They are all members of the Thurso Tora-kai Karate club, although Kim also trains in Edinburgh where she is studying at University. AUDITION OPPORTUNITIES THIS SATURDAY AT CAITHNESS HORIZONS
Blue Chelle Productions To Hold Auditions At Caithness Horizons For Sci-Fi TV Pilot

Blue Chelle Productions film company based in Thurso is getting ready to shoot a Sci-Fi TV series pilot.   Chelle Laing the managing director said,"We have begun the casting in preparation already, but still need more peopel. We need extras as well as actors with dialogue.  We can still use the people that turn up at the auditions for future projects as well.   We want all types of people - old, young, skinny fat, black, white everyone. And those interested in helping meet production needs, ie; catering, seamstresses for costumes, costumers, designers, hair dressers, make up artists, housing, you name it. There are a wide range of opportunities for anyone interested in getting involved in a film production."
Saturday 7th January 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Earlier Forum Info
Blue Chelle Productions - Blue Chelle Productions - Blue Chelle Productions info at Linkedin
Managing Directors info

First Crofting Commission Elections - Date Announced
First Crofting Commission elections begin as Minister names appointed members.
The starting gun for the first ever crofting elections was fired today with the official publication of the Notice of Elections. For the first time, six people will be democratically elected by Scotland's crofting community to represent their interests. The remaining three spaces are to be filled by Ministerial appointment, today announced as Susan Walker, William Swann and Sandy Cross.  The postal ballot for the further six members will take place in March 2012 with the count on March 16. The official change from the current Crofters Commission to the Crofting Commission will then come into effect on April 1, 2012.

Highland Council and Fujitsu To Distribute 3500 Computers
Another Chance For Voluntary Groups To Get a Computer - Get Your Group Listed

A survey to assess the need for equipment was circulated to a wide range of community groups by the Highland Council working in partnership with Voluntary Action Highland. A further survey will follow later in 2012, to pick up new requests once distribution of the first devices is well under way. Groups wishing to put their electronic contact details on the circulation list can do so by emailing policy6[AT]

Pulteney Centre In Wick To Have Great Snacks and Meals
Puletney Centre In Wick Opening 23 January 2012
Pulteney Centre will bring a new high quality and friendly restaurant/bistro to Wick which will be perfect for a hearty breakfast, a quick snack at lunch time or a more substantial meal towards dinner. Able to seat approximately 50 people, the restaurant/bistro will be open to everyone.

New Pulteney Centre Opening Soon In Wick - Take a Look At The Classes
Pultney Centre, Wick - Opens 23 January 2012
When Pulteney Centre opens to the public on January 23 there will be plenty of new classes and groups to join, running both during the day and evening. Why not make it your New Year's Resolution to try something different this year.   There are a range of FREE course and low cost courses to choose from.

Youth Activities At  The Pulteney Centre In Wick Soon
Pultney Centre for youth activities
Youth Activities in Pulteney Centre
There will be lots of fun and exciting activities for local youths to take part in when Pulteney Centre opens to the public on January 23.
MONDAYS For Music - TUESDAYS For Footy Skills - THURSDAYS To Relax

What The New Pulteney Centre In Wick Will Bring to the Community
Pulteney Centre
Pulteney Centre will be a "one-stop-shop" for the community's needs, offering a unique package of social groups, training and facility hiring opportunities all within the same building.  Click through to see a few of the  facitlties and services that will be on offer at the new centre.  Apart from all of the rooms and halls the Pultney Centre has acquire top of the range cinema projection and sound equipment to turn the place into small Cinema/Theatre from time to time - anyone ready to go back to the "pictures".
To see more about the Pultney Centre and Pultenywtown People's Project see the web site HERE

Caithness Volunteers Build Homes For Local Birds
Caithness Volunteers Build Bird boxes Caithness Volunteers Build Bird Boxes
THE last event of 2011 for Caithness Countryside Volunteers was spent building bird boxes on Sunday morning Sunday (11 December). A total of 16 standard bird boxes were built at The Highland Council Planning and Development Service’s wildlife centre at Dunnet Bay, Seadrift.   This event was the second phase of a larger project funded by the Caithness Partnership Environmental Fund Programme, sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Leader.  Marina Swanson, Highland Council Countryside Ranger and event organiser said: “Our volunteers are getting very good at wood work and have produced 16 solid bird boxes. The boxes will be distributed around the county to provide nesting sites for some of the smaller bird species. We are very grateful to the volunteers who regularly give up their time to help with environmental projects and to our funders who make these events possible.”   Anyone wishing to find out more about the work of the Caithness Countryside Volunteers can contact Marina Swanson on 01955 607758 or e-mail
University Of The Third Age  - Caithness (U3A)
If you are interested in learning with no pressure but just for the interest and enjoyment of the topics then take alook at the new web site launched for the Caithness branch of University of the Third Age.  Apart from talks and discussions set out in their calndar for the year there are also informal meetings on a range of subjects including French, Italian, Local History, Philosophy and Books.
Wick Cemetery Flooding Wick Academy Ground flooding
Wick Cemetery and Wick Academy football ground showed the extent of the relentless rain in the past couple of days.

Caithness Astronomy Group - Star Gazing Live Event
Caithness Astronomy Group - Star Gazing Live Event

PLAYDEN NURSERY, Thurso -  Is your child 2 years old? 
They could come and join the fun from Monday 9 January 2012. Sessions are on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 1.00pm-3.00pm and cost 6.00 per session with a snack included. (You can choose to attend 1, 2 or 3 sessions). 
Contact: Kirsty or Janet, Barrock Street, THURSO, KW14 7DG
Tel/Fax:  01847 896430, Email:
Royal Yacht ‘Museum’ didn’t fully acknowledge the Caithness Connection
NOEL DONALDSON muses on the Royal Yacht "Britannia"
Britannia Britannia Britannia britannia
See the Britannia Photo Gallery HERE
Read Noel Donaldson on Britannia HERE

Northern Constabulary Roads Report - 1300hrs 2/1/12
The A82 snow gates are closed south of Glencoe.
The A890 road in the Lochcarron area remains closed at Stromeferry due to a landslide.
All other roads in the Northern force area are open but many are affected by snow.
Up to date information on the condition of roads throughout the Highlands and the rest of Scotland can be obtained from -
1.Traffic Scotland Helpline:- 0800 028 1414
2.Traffic Scotland Website:-

More Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights in Caithness Christmas Lights in Caithness
Happy New Year To Everyone From


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