News Archive - February 2002

Jet Ski - Turns Up the Heat At Seal Island
A Jet skier was churning up the water today at Seal Island in Thurso River today.  As he roared back and forward between the arches of the bridge it was not known if this was the latest scare tactic to try to move the seals away from the area they have been taking over from time to time over the last few months.  Recently the river workers erected a fence on the island to try to dissuade the seals from returning.  Maybe the jet skier was practising for the summer.  Must have been freezing today.

Caithness Utd Under 12's Team
They  recently beat Elgin 4-2  at  Thurso.  Caithness.Org new Sports Picture Galleries are under construction.  If you have a sports picture of a team past or present or an event send in the picture for inclusion.  There is no charge for this and all photographers will be acknowledged.  The pictures can be any sports event - action, presentations team pictures etc.

Jumpnshout Concert Inverness
Jumpnshout pop roadshows, takes place at the Eden Court Theatre on Tuesday 16 April 2002, and tickets go on sale from the Box Office on Saturday 2 March 2002.  Bands appearing at the pop concerts include chart-toppers Flip and Fill, featuring Kelly Llorenna, Darude, Daphne and Celeste, 3SL (the boy band managed by Lisa from Steps), and even Robbie Williams Massive Head. More and more bands are signing up all the time.

Census Sidelights On Victorian Caithness - Part Two
The previous article described some patterns of internal migration between sample sections of four Caithness parishes as revealed in the 1851 census. The sections studied comprised 40 households in Bower, 63 in the Brough area of Dunnet, 42 in the Achater-Forsie-Assery area of Halkirk and 43 households in the Auckingill area of Canisbay.

Extra Roads Repair Money
The campaign being mounted by The Highland Council to win more funding for roads maintenance has recorded an early success with news that the Scottish Executive is to allow the council to spend an extra £1.79 million on road repairs over the next few months.  At the present rate of progress, the Council is only able to resurface a road every 200 years.  Better keep those horses in training....more

New Act For More Women MP's
The Act amends the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) so that parts will not apply to measures adopted by a party to reduce inequality in the numbers of men and women elected as its candidates.  Britain has one of the lowest levels of women MPs in Europe, just 18 per cent, compared with 43 per cent in Sweden and 31 per cent in Germany.

People First Meetings And Speakers Organised For March & May

Miller Academy 1955-56 Class 1A
The latest picture in  Schooldays galleries is this one from David Farquhar who now lives in Houston, Texas.  David tells us "The names were a joint effort between myself (David Farquhar - now of Houston, Texas), Ian Sinclair (of I. & M. Sinclair, Electrical Contractors, Thurso), and Catherine Robertson (Nicolson) (of Nicolson Engineering, Bower), all of whom are in the photo."  Thanks to all of you for great global teamwork.

Northcote Street, Wick

Miller Academy - Castletown Section 1946 2A - 2B
Many thanks to Sheila Moir for sending us the names to go with this picture from 1946.  This was her class and she still lives in Scarfskerry

James Bremner 1784 - 1856 Shipbuilder
One of the most famous shipbuilders in Scotland - James Bremner born in Keiss in 1784.  He built over 50 ships and raised 236 shipwrecks and recovered the S.S. Great Britain after it was grounded on the coast of Ireland.  He built many harbours on the Moray Firth coast and was regarded as one of the foremost of his day in engineering and design.  He combined expertise with ingenuity in solving many problems.  He died in Wick in 1856.

Freswick - Looking Towards Freswick House
Freswick may be a tranquil rural place today but it has a very long history covering many periods smilar to the rest of Caithness.  From earliest times through the Bronze Age, Pcitish Brochs, Medieval Scottish Castles.  The Vikings lived here as has been shown by the excavations some years ago on the middens on the foreshore.  The recent re-excavation of the Everley Broch continuing this summer will possibly find more evidence.

A Little Egyptian Feature In Thurso - Do You Know What It Might Be?

Thurso Bay
If you are looking at the places round the end of the Thurso River you just have to keep walking along the coast to get this view of Thurso Bay that goes all the way round to Scrabster and Holborn Head with its   lighthouse.

The Wick Charter
The charter a copy of which still hangs in Wick Town Hall was published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin of March 1990 following the Quatercentenary of 1989 - Starts - James, by the Grace of God, King of the Scots, to all true men of his whole land, Clergy and Laity, Greeting. Know ye that we, understanding that not only are the revenues or income of our crown increased by the industry and increase of Free Burghs within our Kingdom; and ends At Edinburgh, the twenty fifth day of the month of September, in the year of our Lord, One thousand five hundred and eighty nine, and the twenty third of our reign.  Read The Wick Charter.

Some Folklore About Plants And Flowers
This article by the late Hettie Munro and published in the Caithness field Club bulletin of March 1990 draws together a range of information and tales that show how useful are many of the things that are still grown but have many uses beyond just a pretty plant in a border.  Hettie Munro added many other useful snippets of information and even some weather tips.

Wings Over Wick  - Glad To Land
Continuing the wartime experiences of the people who were involved at Wick compiled by Hillhead School in 1991.  Although not stationed at Wick some airmen were only too delighted to land there. We received two such replies - D Thomas, Eaton, Grantham. Frank Harper, Pathfinders, North Cornwall, Coming soon - Airfield & Aircraft Defence - accounts of the people  in the Seaforth regiment and later RAF regiments involved with the defence against attacking aircraft.

Bught O'Camm - Island Of Stroma
One of the latest entries in the castle section is this small entry on a fort on the island of Stroma.  Later in the summer we will try to get pictures of this fort.  If anyone has one then get in touch.

Introduction To Mestag Castle - Stroma
Robert Richmond draws together a little of what is known about the castle - robbers, pirates as well as the Sinclairs have had a hand in the place.  Almost a movie all on its own.

Latest Newsletter From E Accessibility Reproduced Here
All the latest news on the technology front for blind and visually impaired people and their families.  Contact information is on the page for you to get this free newsletter every month in your email.  Keeping you up to date with all the latest on the technology and information.

Singer Spearheads Song Initiative
The Highland Council has appointed award winning singer Fiona MacKenzie from
Dingwall as the first recipient of Caidreachas Rrain G`idhlig M`iri Mhrr - The Mary MacPherson Gaelic Song Fellowship which will be the first Fellowship in Scotland to be totally dedicated to the research and development of Gaelic Song.   Fiona is a well kent face in Caithness having been in the county many times as guest of the Caithness Gaelic Choir and at the Mod in Wick a few years ago.  She is often in the north in demand at ceilidhs and other gatherings.

New Chairman For UKAEA
Denis Tunnicliffe, CBE, the former Chief Executive of London Transport, has been appointed Chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority following the retirement of Sir Kenneth Eaton.....more

Clachnaharry Bridge, Inverness - Replacement
Planning permission has been granted by The Highland Council for Railtrack to proceed with the £750,000 replacement of the deck of the Clachnaharry Bridge, Inverness.  Weight restrictions will be imposed until October when work begins.

More boats At Scrabster Harbour

Company Car Tax And Excise Duty Changes
Businesses and individuals with company cars should by now be aware of the changes to company car tax that comes into effect from April 2002.  The changes for income tax mean that benefits will be calculated using the CO2 emissions.  Companies may pay more through the increased scale benefits and individuals might be paying more through the removal of the high mileage allowances and by running an inefficient car.

Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust Exhibition
Showing just what folk can do if given a chance The Highland Region of Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) is presenting a small exhibition of portraits featuring PSYBT clients past and present, from across our Region.  These near life-size photographs have been commissioned from Clive Grewcock, based in Sutherland himself an ex-PSYBT client, and will form the basis an awareness campaign this year.   Two of the featured businesses are run by people in Caithness - Beauty Within and Lanmara Glass.

Wick Bay As a Storm Gets Going On Monday Afternoon
The snow was on its way out but a storm was coming in with lots of rain behind it.  Washed away the snow tonight though.  Lots of flooding on roads and ion low lying ground all over the county tonight

Junior Exec - Scottish Parliament
The Young Persons Scottish Parliament Web Site.  Aiming to engage younger folk in the girations of how Scotland is being run.  Good Start but they will have to run fast if they are to maintain interest.  Check it out and let us have your comments on the Message Board

Benefits Agency Newsletter - 25 February 2002 Winter 2001/02  Issue 12
The latest Benefits Agency Newsletter For Highlands & Islands is reproduced here and includes the following information:- Income Support changes affecting people in Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes, Introduction of permitted work rules - From 8 April 2002 new rules will apply.  Updated Web Sites List & Local Highland Contacts Directory

Free Business Advice - In Wick
Ian Thomson Business Adviser with Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise will be in Wick every second Tuesday from Tuesday 5 March at 34A High Street.  No appointments necessary.

Other Boats Section
There is a wide variety of small boats around the Caithness coast and this new section will begin to show the wide range in coming months.  Her is the Karen at Scrabster available for hire for angling and other trips.  Also the pilot boat at wick used to guide large ships in and out of the harbour area still maintaining a long tradition and capable of nudging very big weights around the harbour.

Still Plenty Of Snow Around In Caithness Today

Banniskirk School 1947
This latest addition to our School Days section has been sent in by Jim Dunnet who now lives in Somerset.  Jim tells us it is a copy of a copy and hence the degraded quality of the picture.  If anyone has an original we would like to put up a better one.  The good thing about this picture that must have come from the John O'Groat Journal is that it has the names of everyone in the class.  Get in touch if you hold a better copy.

Boy Andrew And Opportune In Wick Harbour

Eider At Scrabster
Scrabster seemed to have an abundance of Eider when we walked round a few days ago.  But most harbours in Caithness provide opportunities to see a great many different birds.  Check out the Ranger notes today just below.

Ranger Notes From Keiss Beach Today

New Police Station, Wick - Not Much Change From Last Week

History Of Caithness - Chapter Two Completed
The second half of chapter two is now in place and covers  many interesting topics and includes old tales as well as stories of the viking connections in Caithness and Ireland, battles, legend, fairytales and more nearly 1000 years ago.

A Cargo Of Fertiliser Unloading From The "Alissa" At Wick Harbour

Fighter Squadrons - Wings Over Wick
Fighter squadrons were based in Wick for the early months of 1940 as protection for Scapa Flow. Later the fighter squadron were more likely to be based at the satellite station of Castletown.  Only one reply was received from a member of a fighter squadron based at Wick.
Mr C H Grace,  Southampton, Hants

George In February
George has been taking it easy though this snowy weather.  Not very fond of the snow despite the excellent fur coat.  All attempts to get some shots in the snow have failed.  She knows her own mind and sitting out in the cold is not on her agenda.

Snow Scenes From Very Early This Morning In Wick
Here was the scene at Henrietta Street at 3.30am today.  Inside another picture of Wick from the Room With A View to show how the snow looks today.  But that is nothing compared to the 16 feet we hear is at the Ord of Caithness over the road.  No Milk and papers in the county for a day or so until its all cleared.

Property Ads At Caithness.Org -  Only £20 - Why Pay More?
You only pay once for our property ads.  No repeat monthly charges.  A property stays on our web site until its sold and even if it takes a year you have only paid us £20.  Advertising on the Internet can be very cheap so why pay more.  Our web sites are now averaging 70,000 visits per month and our property section is now well established.  Wherever else you advertise don't miss this fantastic opportunity to get your land or property seen by this huge audience.  Rented property  - same deal.

Wings Over Wick - Torpedo Squadrons
After the German invasion of Norway, the Germans often used Norwegian fiords to hide their large battleships. Wick and the satellite station of Skitten often housed squadrons of torpedo bombers, which could be used to attack such shipping targets. The following letters were received from men involved in such activity - F S Holly, Deganwy, Gwynedd, J Blyth,  Musselburgh, J A Scorey, Walsall, West Midlands, F/Lt W D Barrett, Stratford on Avon, Gilbert White, Hartlepool, Cleveland, T A McGarry, Chichester, West Sussex, J Broombam, Walsall, West Midlands, Bill Newby, Sherburn Village, Durham, Charles M Tapper, Christchurch 6, New Zealand, Latest Nature Notes From The Rangers

Dounreay Seeking Public Participation In Site Restoration Plan
The UK Atomic Energy Authority today unveiled proposals to improve public understanding and participation in the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan.

Berit L Loading Barley At Wick Harbour Yesterday

Friends Of Newton Hill Woodland
The new group had their first meeting on Tuesday and we have set up new  pages for them in the Environment section in the Community Pages.

St Fergus Gallery, Wick & Swanson Gallery, Thurso
Both galleries now have their own pages to replace the combined page.  Remember new groups are currently being listed on the site map to help find them.  And don't forget the search engine at the foot of every page to help you locate an item you cannot find in the index pages.

South Primary School, Wick Has A New Sign
A nice new sign replaces the old battered one at South School, Wick.  We hope to have more photos of the school shortly

Police Warning On Stolen Credit Cards
Businesses in the Highlands are encouraged to be vigilant for persons attempting to purchase high value goods, over the phone, with stolen credit cards.

Dounreay And The Surrounding Area
You might be forgiven for thinking that all there is at Dounreay is the large nuclear facility.  But the surrounding area is one of outstanding beauty and has a long history.  We already have pictures of Dounreay Castle and now we will begin to show you the other features of this part of Caithness.

Snowdrops Have Been Out For Two Weeks At Forss
While TV stations are commenting on how early spring is this year in the south the snowdrops have been out in Caithness for a couple of weeks.  At the Forss Hotel the small wood was covered in them.  The river was in full flow  After all the rain and seemed the ideal angling spot.

SNH Urged To Be Cautious On GM Crops
Growing safety concerns have prompted the Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor David Green, to urge Scottish Natural Heritage to err on the side of caution in advising on the Genetically Modified Field Scale Evaluation programme and future commercial growing of GM crops.

Good Catch For The "Norlantean" K508 On Sunday
About 450 boxes being loaded from the Norlantean K508 the Kirkwall based boat.  Scrabster harbour keeping busy every day.

Caithness Businesses With Web Sites
There is more to getting noticed than just getting your web site up and running.  But one easy and FREE way is to get your web site in our listings.  181 businesses are already listed and one or two more will go in tomorrow.  If your business related web site is not listed just let us know and we will add it.  Just send an email to    Remember whether you get your web site from Scorrie Internet Services (That's Us) or another company we will list your web site in Caithness to make sure it can be found.  Sports web sites  have their own listings in our pages so get checking.  Other groups are listed In Other Caithness Web Sites

Loch Toftingall Walk
A small band completed the walk round Loch Toftingall with the Highland Rangers on Sunday 17 February.  This was on of their winter series of walks in addition to the bird watching walks also running this winter.  The next walks are on Sunday 17th March; coastal walk from Lybster/Latheron and Bird Walk Saturday 16th March bird walk along the Thurso River.  Check Ranger Pages or Walking Pages for more details later.

Scrabster New Pier Held Up Slightly But Work Goes On

Berriedale, Australia
Another Caithness name in Australia.  Well near enough.  It was enough to get these Caithness travellers out for a picture.

Fishing Boat BF74 "Seagull" Entering And Landing Fish At Scrabster Harbour
With its modern facilities and being a designated port for certain species ensures that Scrabster is active at any time.  Even on a Saturday afternoon as here when boats were still arriving with fish.  The major carrier at the port Stevens Transport never seems to close.

Carbon 14 Dating Confirms Mesolithic Man In Caithness 7770 Years Ago
Excitement is growing in the ranks of the newly formed Yarrows Heritage Trust with the news that Carbon Dating has confirmed that the finds made last year are likely to be from that early date.  The newly formed trust is forging ahead with plans for further studies and archaeological work in coming months.  The trust members are encouraged by the fact that several academic institutions are interested in carrying the work further.  Some work will begin in March and it is hoped that more will take place in July with funding being sought for later activity.  The history of Caithness just seems to get bigger.

Property Section Has Land And Industrial Plots For Sale
The property section currently has industrial plots and land for sale (23 Acres at Bower).  With over 70,000 visitors a month putting a property on the web site gets full particulars out to huge audience and all for only £20.  A once and for all price - no repeat charges - it's in until its sold.  If you have been checking you will have seen the properties moving off our pages as they sell.

Snow Dusts The North Again Over Night
Looks like a repeat of yesterday but this was taken at 8.15am with the sun getting going.  Sun was still  shining at 9.15 with clouds receding out to sea.  But as we all know that can all change in ten minutes.  Different sky though this morning with thick billowing clouds as opposed to the dark grey yesterday morning.   Hey ho what a great day in the far north  - land of the cat people.  Before you ask - think about it Caithness - Cait-ness Ca....well you get the idea its in the history somewhere.

Gordon Wilson Walks In The North
Gordon Wilson well known member of Caithness Field Club and leader of many a day walking round Caithness and elsewhere has kindly agreed to publish some of his notes written up for the web site.  Gordon has carried out a great many studies over the years of places n Caithness, Sutherland and other northern counties.  His interest in history and archaeology has enlightened many people when out on walks with the Field Club.   The section will contain walks and articles by Gordon and we start with "Early History Of Strathnaver"

Thurso In Bloom - Update On Group's Activities

Caithness Gay & Lesbian Group - Change Of Name
Caithness Gay & Lesbian Connection Has Changed to Caithness Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group.

Several Pictures Added To Mary Legg's "Taste Of Argentina" Pages

Voluntary Groups - Recruit Your Volunteers On Caithness.Org
If your group needs volunteers why not leave a permanent message on your FREE page on the web site.  Just a few lines or a couple of paragraphs setting out what the volunteers are expected to do and the rewards and benefits of working in your organisation.  We can also highlight any special recruitment drives for you here on the front page and in our volunteering section.  Remember it's FREE so you have nothing to lose.  Not sure how to word it? - just give us a call and we will assist.

Highland Council Mounts Roads Funding Awareness Campaign
The Highland Council is to write to every householder in the Highlands to raise awareness of the campaign it has launched to win more funds for roads.  An information leaflet is being enclosed in Council Tax bill (ouch) leaflets, which will be arriving on 100,000 doorsteps from the week beginning Monday 25 February.

Mestag Castle - Island Of Stroma
Another of the less well known castles of Caithness.  The fact that it is on an island and not regularly visited makes it all the more interesting.  We do not know as much about this much older castle.  Little remains of it today except the lower courses of stonework on the cliffs.  We hope to put up pictures of the site in the summer when we will be over on visits to that spot.

Sports Pages Upgrades
A New Photo Gallery allowing you to go to specific photo sections or browse through the pictures without going through the sections is now in place.  A Site Map specifically for the sports pages is also now in to help find organisations.

Light Covering Of Snow In Wick At 9.00am
A light covering of snow over a large part of the county as shown by this picture of Wick today.  Later it has begun to melt under a mix of sunshine and approaching cloud.  At 11.20am the snow was once again falling.  So its pretty cold in the county today.

Wick High 1978 Reunion Updated List

A Few Notable Birds Seen By The Rangers Recently

Looking To Holborn Head Lighthouse From Thurso River Mouth

Holborn Head From Thurso River Mouth

Nine New Wick Girls Pipe Band Pictures

The Sea At Thurso
Just turn round at Thurso's river mouth for spectacular views of the coast.  the bay in one direction and the waves gently tumbling in yesterday onto the shore with the cliffs in the distance.  Turn again to see the entrance to the Thurso river.  More coming in both sections.

At The Mouth Of  River Thurso

Canadian Artist Monique Sliedrecht Exhibition Success At Freswick
The three day exhibition running over Friday, Saturday and last day Monday 18 February is already a big hit with Caithness folk.  On Saturday afternoon the hall was full for most of the afternoon as people arrived to view and in some case buy the works on display.  Freswick Community Hall showed a real flair for organising the exhibition.  The old hall is what used to be a country school until 1948.  Now refurbished a few years ago with a log fire kept in place.  Monique spoke to the some of the visitors about her work and hopes to continue to work in the county for a while.

Seal Problems At Thurso As Island Fenced Off
The seals that have over the last few months have taken up residence on the island on the river Thurso faced another attempt to get them to move on today.  A fence has been erected to prevent access to the island.  The debate about the seals has gone on  in the letters page of the John O'Groat Journal in recent weeks.  The river workers and fishermen fearing the season could be wiped out threatening their jobs and people who are concerned for the animals.  Scare tactics have so far failed to deter the seals. The fence is the latest attempt to do something without harming them.

Newton Hill Woodland - Community Meeting
Newton Hill Woodland is a COMMUNITY woodland but at the moment suffers from lack of community involvement.  The Ranger Service would like to form a group to help with the future management of the wood.  If you have an interest in woodland then the rangers would like to hear your views and suggestions at the meeting.

Caithness Names Round The World
And reflecting the above - just in an entry on Halkirk, Alberta, Canada.   Robert Lockwood over at This is Halkirk web site tells us he has had several emails from Halkirk, Canada since he set up the web site.

Pentland Venture - Orkney Ferry  - On The Slip At Wick For Her Annual Paint Job

New Police Station , Wick Today

Disability Rights Commission Monthly Newsletter
The DRC now produces a monthly newsletter with information on rights and issues surrounding disability.  We reproduce here the February issue for to have a look.  If you would like to get it every month sign up at the DRC web site linked on the page.  Of interest to anyone dealing with disability and employers and businesses whether on employment,  access and other issues.

Wings Over Wick
Canadian Squadrons.  A number of Canadian Squadrons involved in anti U-boat activity and shipping strikes used Wick as a base in 1943 and 1944. Through the Canadian Air Crew Association several of these men were contacted by Hillhead School in the course of this project first published in 1993.  C E Walker, Vancouver, B.C.  F/L  Hornell, Canada - Awarded The Victoria Cross  M A Botham, Winnipeg, Manitoba  Harry F Brant, Toronto, Ontario.  D M Asp, Calgary, Alberta.  W D (Wally) Thomsett, North Vancouver, BCLloyd M. Goring, Mississauga, Ontario.

Caithness Place Names Worldwide
John Page In Australia has sent us these pictures of places with Caithness names.  check out Castlehill and Castletown, Australia and then let us know of any other places you have found.

Thurso River Opened In Traditional Style
Every year the Thurso river opens in style with pipes and a dram.  Here at Halkirk the tradition is always kept up.  This picture from a couple of years ago follows the now traditional route.  The piper is the owner of the Forss House Hotel at Forss another popular angling place

Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise - January Report
The number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 1,014 last month to 1,080.  The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso ‘Travel to Work Areas’ respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month are shown in brackets) 8.4% (8.2%), 7.0% (7.0%) and 3.4% (3.3%).   Caithness Voluntary Group Receives £10,000 towards its Rural Transport project, Thurso Golf Club receives £4800 towards specialist equipment.  Sonya Adamson, Lybster was awarded assistance towards setting up a business producing cross-stitch kits. In addition to a range consisting of mainly Caithness and Scottish themes.  Many of her Caithness themes are based on pictures from Caithness.Org such as castles, lighthouses, harbours etc.

New Higher Council Tax Rates For 2002
The new rates for the various bands of council tax for 2002 are - Band A, £626; B, £730; C, £835; D, £939; E, £1,148; F, £1,356; G, £1,565; H, £1,878.  Highland Councillors have agreed to contain a Council Tax increase in 2002-2003 to less than £1 per week. The tax will increase by 5.6% or £50 per year.

New Water Mains Stretching Round Caithness
A new water news section has been set up to index future water stories as work progresses and work starts on the new pumping stations and the water treatment works at Wick.

Caithness Dialectiser
Want to have some fun with Caithness Words?  Why not try our latest feature and translate English into Caithness dialect or vice versa.  Vocabulary is being added and will grow in coming weeks.  If you want to send in a few Caithness words with meanings for early entry email them to  Now why not try translating your valentines day poem into Caithness dialect.  Try it - it's easy.

Miller Avenue In The Twenties
 These pictures sparked off by the series earlier of Miller Avenue.  Here playing tennis and inside a picture of the same house in perhaps the 1940's

History Of Caithness - Chapter Two -  Page One
The Original Inhabitants of the County - Standing Stones in Latheron - Subdued by Sigurd, the Norwegian Earl of Orkney.

Road Into Forss
Forss like the rest of Caithness has a diverse number of places to see.  From round the coast to the Forss river and inland it is typical farming country.  With some excellent views at St Mary's Chapel.  The old American base is to be seen more clearly from the chapel site.  This will soon be taken over by a company involved in the decommissioning work at Dounreay.

Forss Village Hall
We visited the hall recently for the Burns supper.  Passing again yesterday during the day it seemed a good chance to get a picture of the hall in daylight.

Trudi Mann Retires
Trudi Mann who has worked at the North Highland Archive in recent years and formerly at the wick library in the same building has retired.  Last night was her farewell from staff, friends volunteers and others who have worked with Trudi over the years.  Many cards and good wishes have been flowing in from round the world from the many people Trudi has had contact with in the course of her work.  Many tributes and thanks were made for her help and dedication in assisting them to track down ancestors and relatives both in Caithness and elsewhere.  A song written for the occasion was sung to the tune "Over The Ord".

Caithness Longhorns
Not so common nowadays are cattle in Caithness with their horns.  David Steele of North Coast Marine Adventures sent in this picture he took last weekend between Duncanshill and Weydale.

Forss Mill Yesterday Afternoon
This picture taken yesterday from the garden of Forss House Hotel showing that the Forss river has plenty of water in it.  Certainly one of the most picturesque buildings in Caithness.  With the restorations completed the mill is now turned into homes and the new residents have been moving  in.

1901 Census For Caithness, Sutherland & Orkney
The 1901 Census is now available on film readers at North Highland Archive , Wick.  To book time on a film reader contact Brenda Lees, Archivist 01955 606432.  You can also call in on the off chance to use an unreserved machine but these are allocated on a first come first served basis.

UKAEA Announced Decommissioning Alliance Members & Contracts
Today was a historic day for the nuclear industry in Caithness when the Alliance partners were announced and contracts signed for the decommissioning of the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR).  It may take until the year 2013 and cost up to £30 million.  Approximately £10 of the contract value is expected to go to local companies.  Crucially the alliance will be expected to transfer specialist skills to the local workforce.  One key area highlighted was in the use of robotics that will feature in the removal of much of the pipework inside the main structure - the famous dome.   Buildings around the dome will be removed and new specialist buildings constructed.

Sux - A New Band Came Alive In Lybster
The boys played the under 18 gig in Lybster  to help raise funds for the local youth club.  A great turnout heard the guys play a range of numbers from Lennard Skinner to Jimmy Eat World.  They gave it their all for two and a half hours and were so well received they have already been asked to play again in Lybster and are already booked for a further two gigs in Dunbeath.

Temporary Music Section
You will see that we have put the SUX guys into a temporary music section.  Much of the section was broken when we lost the site for a couple of days recently at our server.  Rather than repair it all we have decided to ditch it and start again.  It was getting out of date anyway.  Any new items will go to this temporary home and any bands can get their information or pictures in by sending them to   The guest book is still working for those of you using that.  We will switch it all over once the new section is built.  Meantime on with the show.

A Sonnet Fae Dannie
As its getting near Valentine's Day here is a poem gleaned from the Edinburgh John O'Groat Literary Society 1959 magazine.

More Miller Avenue

Miller Avenue, Wick
First part in and more coming later.

Complaints Procedure Online - Highland Council
Highland Council have now made it possible for anyone to register complaints about their services online.  A leaflet is also available.  Caithness.Org has put a link to the our Highland Council section.

Wick Harbour Today
Looking across the harbour about 4.00pm today.  Weather was calm but cold.

Pulteneytown Parish Church Work Progressing

Police Station, Wick - Putting The Meccano Together
The parts are being put together as the steel rises.

A Sunday Walk  - Four Legged Kind
A quiet Sunday in Wick.  These girls were getting out for some fresh air and making sure their ponies got some exercise.  Here they were taking it easy riding down Harrowhill at the top of Bignold Park in Wick.

Francis Street Club Football Team Getting In Sunday Practice
On a cold Sunday afternoon at the Bignold Park, Wick the boys were out getting themselves in shape for coming games.  Other teams better be doing likewise as this lot looked as if they mean business.

Frank Robb Songs and Humour On Saturday Night At Blackstairs
 Frank Robb belting out a combination of Rock, and tunes from several periods mixed with Irish, Scottish and other belting music.  In between was a non stop repertoire of ongoing commentary on the audience, life and anything that came to mind as he picked his way through a made up on the spot monologue packed with humour.  Make a move during his commentary and you immediately became part of the plot with rhymes and jokes firing out of his quick mind.

More South Road, Wick

Hosting Packages From Caithness.Org And Scorrie
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History Of Caithness - End Of Chapter One
The final part of chapter one describes a range of matters from the military prowess of the Caithness men and the units they joined, tinkers, outsiders views of Caithness and representation at the original Scottish Parliament.  If you have not seen the history yet Start Here.

Sports Section Gets Another New Set Up
The Sports pages have had another change bringing it into line with the new navigation system being introduced on the web sites.  It has its own unique navigation bar that will follow wherever you go in the Sports section and works in the same way with a drop down menu.  Links to the other main section of Caithness.Org are via the little Caithness map.  Still some some going on to link everything up.  If you run a sports group or would like to contribute anything about particular sports or events just get in touch.  Regular reports are always welcome.

Barrogill Castle In 1600 - Now The Castle Of Mey - Reconstruction By Andrew Spratt
The Castle Of Mey probably dates from the lat 16th century with later additions. It later became Barrogill Castle and had its named changed back to the original in 1953 when it was purchased by HM Queen Mother.   Further alterations including central heating were added.  The William Daniel print of about 1825 shows a stairway leading to a door and this was completely enclosed in an entrance porch in the nineteenth century. That is still to be seen there today.

£50 Rise In Council Tax For Band D In Highland
The Highland Council has fixed its budget for the new financial year at £374.7 million, which allows for a growth in many key services and contains a Council Tax increase in 2002-2003 to £50 per year at Band D.  With UK inflation at record low levels the council may have questions to answer to justify the increase of over 5% with national inflation rates at an all time low.

Attention Bed & Breakfast Owners In Caithness
Make sure your house is listed in our FREE Caithness Business Pages.  If your house is not listed then complete the Submission Form to get your contact details entered.  You can also get us to build you a web site to enable your business to show more information and photographs.  Interested?  Then contact us at Scorrie Internet Services.   Getting listed in the Caithness Business Pages gets you a free page and if you have a web site it is also entered in our list of Local Business Web Sites.  If you get a web site from Scorrie you will also get a free banner ad for one year circulating round our expanding network of web sites.  Banner Ad Price List.  Remember this is for a whole year not a week or a month.

High Street, Keiss

Sinclair Bay Hotel, Keiss
Caithness has a wide range of hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  From small family run hotels to country houses they are located in every part of the county.  Thurso and Wick have the biggest concentrations but as with Sinclair Bay Hotel, Keiss a small hotel is within 10 minutes of almost anywhere in Caithness.  Some hotels are within easy reach of rivers and lochs for fishing and they can advise on shooting and stalking breaks.

More Pictures From Keiss School's Drama Day

James Harris Knows How To Catch Trout
James Harris recently proved his fishing skill when after more than 20 minutes of tussle he finally landed this whopper that weighed in at 12lb 2oz.  James from Keiss was fishing at Harpsdale Fisheries and only learned fly fishing last year.  He has had plenty of other fishing experience out with his Dad since he was three years old but mostly had fished at the harbour at Keiss before this.  Well done James.

Castle Section Gets New Photo Galleries
The pictures in the castles section are being reorganised into new galleries.  The new set up will allow for easier browsing of the collections with PREVIOUS and NEXT PHOTO option as well as a return to index button.  The new format will gradually be spread round other galleries of pictures on the site. The castles section is underway and will be completed shortly.

Ormlie Road - New Page
Here we see Hamilton's Auction Mart in Thurso as the start of a new page for Ormlie road in Thurso

Press & Journal Offer The chance For A Community Group To Get Minibus
The Press and Journal is to launch a new promotion which will see a community group from within its circulation area receiving the keys to a brand new, £25,000 minibus.  Just collect the tokens and your community group might be in with a chance.

New Page On Nature Notes From Highland Rangers In Caithness
A new page to carry brief notes on what the Highland Rangers in Caithness may be seeing whilst out and about.  Remember you can always get the benefit of their expertise by joining them on the many walks they organise throughout the year.

Boundary Commission Proposals For Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross
Changes are proposed to the three Highland parliamentary constituencies to create the following three county constituencies: Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross (46,533 voters); Ross Skye and Lochaber (49,544) and Inverness and Badenoch (67,790).

Join The Rangers On A Walk Round Loch Toftingall
Sunday 17th February 2002 Walk around Loch Toftingall. Meet 10am Georgemas Train Station to share transport.  This walk may be wet so wellies or gaiters would be advisable.

Bird Watch Walk With The Rangers
Saturday 16th February 2002 - 10.30am
Bird walk along Wick River. Meet Wick riverside car park 10.30am.

Highland Roads Campaign
The Highland Council is to mount a campaign to win more spending on roads.  Councillors are concerned at the level of spending allowed by the Scottish Executive on gritting and snow clearing as well as repairing and upgrading road and bridge structures and want the Executive to place more emphasis on road infrastructure.

Murky Day At Scrabster's New Pier But Works Goes On

Police Station Wick - Making Progress Despite The Rainy Weather
Despite seeing one of the wettest winters for a very long time the police station in Wick is now underway with foundations going in.  This modern building will replace the current police station located in Bridge Street.  Wonder if Robocop is part of the deal?

Young Kids links
Here are a few links to keep the very young happy for while.  Story books are getting ever more interactive and the animation is increasingly evident in many of the new web sites appearing to amuse and educate younger surfers.

Kidney Dialysis Group Open Public Meeting - Possible Renal Unit For Caithness
An Open meeting is going to be held on Thursday 21st February 2002 in the Main Hall, Wick Youth Club at 7:30pm. The Committee would be grateful for any support that can be given. The meeting is to keep the public up-to-date with the campaign so far.

Mairi Nicolson's February Report From The Antarctic

Dwarwick Pier On A Stormy Day Last January
Dwarwick Pier near Dunnet got battered last year like many other parts.  This picture from North Coast Marine Adventures shows the ferocity of the sea even in the bays that look so tranquil at other times.

Yarrows Archaeology Group To Be Known As "Yarrows Heritage Trust"
The minutes of the meeting held on 29 January took some crucial decisions in setting up the new organisation.  From appointing office bearers, looking at finance and project plans things are now moving forward.  Next meeting of the new trust will be in the Thrumster Inn on Wednesday 13 February at 7.30pm.

Mary Legg's "Taste Of Argentina"
Mary Legg is a Highland Ranger based at Dunnet in Caithness.  Mary is well used to leading people around the north but this time she ventured around Argentina often on her own after being selected as a volunteer by Earthwatch who made millennium grants available for volunteers who would be willing to take part in environmental projects across the world.   This is Mary's report of her interesting journey.

Results Of The Whale & Dolphin Survey 2000/2001 North Scotland
The organisers are very pleased with the response to the survey. The number of record sheets returned was 56 and this covered 275 sightings totalling in 1470 cetaceans.  Twelve different species were recorded plus basking shark.   The majority of those were porpoises at 65% peaking in August with high counts on either side in July and September. This compares with the NW coast survey which peaks in April and May although they also had a small peak in September.

Another Stack At Duncansby
Caithness has a great many of these huge chunks of rock standing around its coastline.  Some like the stacks at Duncansby often look smaller than they really are when viewed from the cliff tops.  The cliffs they stand beside are also very high in places and somehow dwarf them.  However if viewed close up from a nearby beach or a boat the full scale of them can be seen.  The hardness of the rocks can be noted in the time that many of the stacks have been around.  Many are mentioned in old history books and still stand today as if little has changed.  But of course they are changing as ever so gradually another piece becomes detached. Views Of Young Stack.  We are building up the views of stacks and the coast and there are also many views in the Castles Section.

Brims Castle Reconstruction
Another reconstruction by Andrew Spratt about 1600.  There can be little doubt that this castle was built in response to the aggressive policies pursued by George, 5th Earl of Caithness, against neighbouring landowners. His appointment as Justiciary of the North of Scotland, in 1556, made him the final legal arbiter of all crimes, except treason, in Caithness and Sutherland.

Next Section Of Caithness History
More descriptions of the county, famous names, an old story of a death defying horse jump at Old Wick Castle, huge salmon runs on the Thurso river, the people of the county, the organising ability of Caithnessians and much more.

Business Pages Gets A Site Map
Added to the navigation bar that follows you throughout the Caithness Business Pages is a new site map to make it easier to see all the categories on one page.  The site map for is also still growing.  The Business Pages also has a listing of local business web sites.  If your business web site is in Caithness and is not listed just email us the web site address for inclusion.

Scorrie Internet Hosting Services And Banner Advertising
Get your site hosted by the Scorrie Internet/Caithness.Org/Caithness Business Pages set up to make sure your site is found easily. 

More Updating News Services On Caithness.Org
Latest additions to the continually updating news section are Banking News and Equities News.  The sections also have a range of links.  The updating Newsfeeds are found in the Newsfeeds section or in the Links Section.

Caithness Model Aero Club
We welcome the latest club to our pages.  This group build and fly model aeroplanes at the airfield at Castletown.  One of their members is also setting up their own web site with photographs of some of the planes and aerial pictures taken from the one or two of the planes.  Some of the pictures on Caithness.Org were taken by one of the club members.

Off The Knee


Off Stroma Lighthouse

Seals In And Out Of The Water

More From North Coast Marine Adventures
One outing decides to send a letter in a champagne bottle after its empty of course whilst another group are seen here in the cave at Barney's Geo.

1978 Reunion Committee Wick High Send List In To Let You Check If You Are On It
Get In Touch with the organisers indicating if you are interested in the Gala Week Reunion.  Get in touch also if your name is missing.

Looking For A Well Paid Job In the Highlands - Could One Of These Be The One?
The Council is seeking to fill three new posts.  They are Head of E-Government (50K); Customer Services Manager (40K); and Procurement Manager (40K).  The first two post holders will report to the Chief Executive and the Procurement Manager to the Director of Finance.  Click here for details of the posts. 2 February

See The Gloup On Stroma From The Sea And Inside

Duncansby Stacks - Just One Of the Many Sites Seen By North Coast Marine

Reunion For Anyone who Started Wick High In 1978
Just the first enquiry to see if there is enough interest.  Get in touch with the organisers soon as they would like to run it in Gala Week this year.

North Marine Adventures Photo Gallery
Thanks to our friends over at North Marine Adventures who run exciting sea trips round the coast and Stroma for sharing some of their pictures that we will sprinkle round the web site and gather in their own gallery for easy reference.  Here they come as fast as we can...

Nesting Season Seen From North Coast Adventure's Boat "North Coast Explorer"
Caithness has huge populations of seabirds and although they can be seen from several places a trip round the cliffs in the season that is nearly upon us is unbeatable.

The "Bettina Danica" Ran Aground In 1994 On Stroma
This was the boat shortly after it ran aground on the island of Stroma.  There is not much left to see as the sea has smashed it to pieces on the rocks over the years.

Common Seals Rest At Several Places In Caithness And On Stroma
Common Seals are to be seen often around the Caithness coast.  They lie for many hours on rocky foreshores and even recently along the banks of the river Thurso much to the annoyance of the fishermen and the people who look after the salmon stocks.  They are to be seen in harbours, the mouths of rivers and around the island of Stroma.

Cliffs Seen By North Coast Marine Adventures
Undoubtedly cliffs are a major feature of the Caithness coast.  Most people view them from the top or a nearby beach in some places. But the fastest way round some of them is by boat especially a high speed one.  The cliffs provide a barrier to the sea and a home to the masses of birds that arrive every year in Caithness to swell the numbers of those that remain all year.

Here We Go Again
January Broke All Records
Hits 2,650118, Pages 393,338  Visitors 70,108
Was it the Christmas computers logging on for the first time or the increasing chance that we are found in search engines.  Thanks to all our surfers and to all of you who send us items for the pages.

Looking For Property - Houses or Premises?
If you are looking for property in Caithness keep an eye on The Caithness Business Pages Property Section.  If you are selling property then you will find it hard to beat a price of £15 for advertising a property with full particulars and a photograph.  And remember it's one payment for the ad to last until its sold.  No weekly repeat fees.  There are currently over 2000 separate visits to the web sites every day.

Keiss Harbour
Very high tides and gales throughout January have meant few days when the local creel boats could put to sea.

The Boatman's House, Keiss
Starting with the Boatman's house near Keiss harbour we bring a run of Keiss Streets and houses over the next few days.  The boatman's House overlooks the harbour and Sinclair's Bay.  This house is built of stone and is still in excellent condition.  We will take you up though the village streets later.

Church of Scotland, Keiss
As were in the village for the Grey coast theatre visit to Keiss school a stroll round the village seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  So here we go with a run of Keiss pictures over the next day or two.  This first is one of the local churches in Keiss.  It has a fine view of the village and the sea.  If anyone has details of times of services etc please drop us an email

Keiss Primary School On Thursday

Two More Poems Unearthed About Wick Girls Pipe Band
Wick Girls Pipe Band - Author Unknown, Untitled - Possibly By Jim Christie Himself


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