News Archive - March 2002

Wick High School 1966 Reunion Plans Well Ahead
Those of you who started Wick High in 1966 may be amazed to hear that a group have already laid the plans for a reunion in the year you are all 50 years old.  The Date is 31 July 2004 and the place is the Waterfront.  For the next couple of years the web site will keep you up to date with all that is happening and who has been found.  The committee contact details are inside.  Get in touch , send in old school pictures or any anecdotes or memories as we get nearer the date or sooner if you want.

1962 North School
This latest addition to Schooldays has been sent in by Colin Richard who is helping to organise the Wick High 1966 Reunion mentioned above.

Bridge Street Church Easter Festival - A Few Faces

Wooden Crafts On Display - Bridge Street Church Festival On Saturday
These are just a couple of the many items of wood carving and turning etc that were on display at Bridge Street church yesterday showing the many and varied craft hobbies that the congregation does in their spare time.  If they ever need another job I do not think these folk will have any difficulty.

Edwardian Dolls Furniture
A collection of Edwardian Dolls house furniture at the Bridge Street church Festival. The furniture was made by Pat Weir.  Unfortunately the house that she made to hold the furniture was too large and fragile to transport to the church

More Bonar Bridge Pictures From Neil Macdonald

Tapestries On Show Yesterday
This detail is from a larger tapestry that was the very first one that Mrs Scott tackled in the 1930's.  She has been doing them ever since and just a selection of her work was on display at the Easter Festival.  Her work covers almost anything that can have a tapestry from pictures to seat covers, stools, tablecloths.  She continues to produce fine work to this day.

Wick Pipe Band Coffee Morning
Wick Pipe Band provides a lot more than coffee at their coffee mornings.  Its a whole show of Scottish fare.   The band plays although it s smaller group to fit on the stage.  But a whole host of Scottish music and dancing is on offer.  Or check out their weekly summer shows in the evenings if you are in Wick June - Sep.

Pentalina B Starts 2002 Season At Gills Pier
The Pentalina B Ferry service from Gills Pier To Orkney arrived for its second season.  Despite much speculation the new ferry service operated by Mr Banks from Orkney has proved a great success.  Taking over the ill-fated terminal at Gills the firm has built and extended the pier workings and put in the landing gear for the ferry.  The service operates all summer and surprised its owners by the volume of cars and passengers using it last summer.  The much cheaper prices might have had something to do with the success.  Looks like they are set for another successful season.

We Are Sad To Announce That The Queen Mother Has Died Peacefully In Her Sleep
She will be missed on her annual holiday in the county at the Castle Of Mey this year and in future.  The Queen Mother was presented with the freedom of Wick on 11 August 1956 the only lady ever to receive it.  Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother said the honour "was a symbol of the kindness which I have always found awaiting me in Caithness".

Daffodils In Union Street, Wick
The daffodils in union Street are slightly behind the ones at Wick River and other open places around the town and county.  The shade from the trees holds them back a day or two.

Looking Up Wick River
although the last few days have been dry and sunny there is still plenty of water in the Wick river and it looks likely to continue for some time yet as the ground is still very wet further up.

Latheron Castle C.1919
This photograph is owned by Mr And Mrs MacGregor of Latheron Mains Farm and is the earliest one we know of.  More of the walls can be seen in place than in the recent pictures put on the web site.   Rosie O'Hara scanned the picture and sent it in to us

Crows Busy At Old Parish, Wick
A large colony of crows lives in the tree tops at the Old Parish Church, Wick.  At this time of the year they are busy building and repairing their nests.   As it is early spring the nests are clearly visible in the trees and it seemed that yesterday every crow was transporting all the dead and fallen twigs back up to the treetops to secure their selected property.  In a few weeks the leaves will begin to hide the nests but the crows are easily seen around flying back and forward all year.  Plenty noise they were making too.

George's Spring Safari

Pulteneytown Church, Argyle Square, Wick - Work Progressing

Daffodils Along Wick Riverside Coming Into Bloom Fast

A Look At the New Accident & Emergency Ward of Caithness General Hospital
Here is a look inside at the new section of Accident and emergency at the Caithness General Hospital in Wick.  Opened recently it is kitted out with all new equipment.

Caithness.Org Goes To Bonar Bridge, Sutherland
Before the Dornoch Bridge was built a few years ago Bonar Bridge was the way to Caithness for most people.  It is still worth going the old route now and then as it is set in another beautiful part of Sutherland in the Highlands.  The salmon station that netted fish ceased just a a few years ago but angling is still very popular on the water here.  We will as ever be back with many more pictures of Bonar Bridge in next few days.

Inverness Opens A Major New Road And Land For Thousands Of New Houses
3.3 kilometres of new road from Old Edinburgh Road at Castle Heather to Stratherrick Road and allocation of land for 2,300 new houses and a new water system for up to 5000 houses in place makes it look like the prosperity in Inverness is set to keep rolling.   Whether the new city is successful in its City of Culture bid or not it looks like nothing can halt the pace of growth in the Highlands major town.

Calling Caithness Committees - Is Your Event, Show, Fundraiser In Our What's On?
Its FREE and you can fill in the form online in two minutes.  Its probably the cheapest and fastest publicity you can get.  Get your events in as soon as possible for maximum effect and we may also highlight them on this page nearer the time.  The What's On calendar can have your event on for up to 12 months in advance.  So let everyone know.  Think about how long it takes putting up all those posters and two minutes makes your event available world wide as well as locally.

Stars In Their Eyes Night At Blackstairs Lounge, Wick
Friday 5 April 8.00pm Are you a budding lookalike or soundalike.  You can get in on the act by contacting the Blackstairs Lounge soon to say who you want to be.  They will have make up and hairdressers to help you turn into your chosen star.  They can put you in touch with costume hire if you need it.  Music will be provided and you will be coming out of the smoke as on the TV show. Prizes for best singer, best lookalike and Most OTT.  £1 entry fee. Want to see the show then better get their early on Friday 5 April. Phone Valerie on 603911 for more details.

Silk Fish At the Blackstairs Lounge
Saturday 30 March  - High energy tunez with a rock 'n' roll edge, featuring top Orkney fiddler, Douglas Montgomery.

Family History

Tartan Day Web Site Launched In Scotland
National Tartan Day in America was inaugurated by the US Senate in 1998 as a recognition of the contribution generations of Scots-Americans have made to the development of the United States.  10,000 pipers from all over the world will march in New York.

New Pictures In Forse Castle Photo Gallery
Many new pictures of the castle have been added to the photo gallery.  They were taken on the same day as the Lybster to Forse Castle walk.  Anyone visiting the castle must do so with great care as it is on the cliff tops and no guard rails or warning signs are in place.  It is not necessary to venture onto the site for a good view of it from the footpath.

Calling All Gala Committees In Caithness
Caithness.Org is planning even more coverage of local Galas in 2002.  We are already getting enquires about dates of galas and fairs.  Let us know when yours is on and get your dates in our What's On section and the Gala section that will be getting updated as the programmes of events come in.  Get in touch if you have any special events coming up that you want to publicise on the web site.

Wick Girls Pipe Band - 10 New Pictures

Latheron Castle Pictures
A short piece of wall 7 feet thick on a bank of the Latheron burn, quite near the main road is all that is left of the castle. The castle ruins were apparently much larger in 1726. The New Caithness Book by Donald Omand says that there is very little information about the castle. He refers to "a legend the King William (the Lion) stayed there early in the 13th century when he came north with a large army to deal with Earl Harold who was in open rebellion"  Not much left but a lovely site looking down the Latheron strath.  More on this castle at a later date...meantime see the pictures of the site that is at the back of Latheron Mains farm.

Lybster to Forse Castle - Final Pictures 91 - 99

Dialect - A Poem On The Very Subject Of Caithness Dialect by W T Lyall
Another poem from W T Lyall whose books of poetry are still available from local booksellers in Caithness.

More New Homes At St Ola Drive, Scrabster (Just Outside Thurso)

Canisbay Horse Show - 15 June 2002
Get your entry in for the horse show at Canisbay and put it in your diary for a day out.

Health Information Point Opens In Inverness
The Health Information service has opened a new service point at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.  This is according to a spokesperson similar to the Best of Health shop in Inverness that was closed a couple of years ago after it was discovered that few people in the Highlands used the shop.  The new information point has the merit of being at a hospital that many people in Highland visit from time to time.  They also operate a telephone advice service.

AEA Technology Gains £47 Million Contract In Thurso
AEA Technology Battery Systems one of the companies at the forefront of modern technology based in Caithness has been appointed sole supplier of batteries to the MOD. The company has agreed a contract in the region of £47 million to advise on all portable power systems requirements as well as to supply the batteries and chargers for the Ministry of Defence's  programme.

Lybster - Forse Castle Walk - Pictures - 81 - 90

New Scottish Careers Information Service Launched
Enterprise Minister Wendy Alexander yesterday launched a new  national all-age guidance organisation which will help Scots win the jobs of tomorrow.  She officially launched Careers Scotland as a one stop shop to provide the highest quality career guidance to everyone in Scotland from the Borders to the Shetland Islands.

HIE Chairman Jim Hunter's Vision Of Prosperity
Jim Hunter Highland & Islands Enterprise chairman adopted a "Can Do" approach in his vision statement for the Future of Economic prosperity in the Highlands.

We Arrive At Forse Castle - Pictures 71 - 80
The end of the walk but we have another lot to come to show you what lies beneath the castle tomorrow.  Many new pictures of Forse castle will shortly be added to the Forse Castle section

Langley Park - A New Housing Area In Wick
The new houses at Langley Park are just off Thurso Road on the right before the Hydro electric stores.

Bilbster And Thuster Hall

Disco In Dunbeath Community Centre
Saturday 30 March 3.30pm - In aid of Dunbeath Christmas Lights Group - all Welcome.

Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group Latest News
The group has so far raised over £8000 and is gaining support from other groups now running fund raising events on their behalf.  With more groups and individuals joining the campaign to have a renal unit sited in the county it looks as if this recently formed group is going from strength to strength.  It is quite clear their is a real swell of grass roots support and it is hoped that the business plan being put forward by the Acute Hospitals NHS Trust gets the go ahead to allow a new unit to be set up.  Meantime we can all watch out for all the events and raffles coming round to give it that extra push.

Lybster To Forse Castle Walk Pictures 61 - 70
Are we nearly there yet?  Well its just round the next corner and maybe two sets to come.

History Of Caithness Continues With The Start Of Chapter Four
The latest chapter begins with war in Caithness.  A battle in 1196 at the hill of Clairdon two miles east of Thurso, assassination, retribution, fighting the Norwegians slaughter at Murkle Bay. More battles and the Pope and Bishops get involved.  And if that was not enough coming next is murder, mayhem, hangings , burnings and the Danish pirates routed and Haco of Norway passes in his Oak ship with the golden head on his way to the battle of Largs.  Enough for another ten movies.  If you have not yet started to read the History of Caithness Start Here Chapter Five was completed for the Castles Section.

Lybster To Forse Castle Walk Pictures 51 - 60

Ma Easter Bonnid by Jenny Stewart
Last Sunday bein Easter day an time for fancy gear,
Ah thocht ah'd rake "straw-basher" oot, announce at spring wiz here,
In mind a fancy blue affair, a gift fey ma pal Chinnad,
She took id homm fey Aiberdeen an ah looked fiar swell in id.

Clan Sinclair Trust Web Site Gets New Look For Spring
The Clan Sinclair Trust Site has a "new look" for Spring 2002!  There are a lot more photographs of the Castle, the Conservation Plan, Clan and Trust News, more links and a news "ticker-tape" on the home page. 

A Short History Of Latheron
This short history has been put together by Rosie O'Hara.  More pictures and information will be added to this section at later dates.

More Ballet Classes From Karen Cameron
Caithness children have many opportunities to be involved in drama, dancing from tap, ballet, modern, Highland and the very popular disco classes.  Caithness also has one of the biggest music festivals in Scotland for local children with a huge number of competitions and entrants.  If you run any organisations in the arts fields or have classes please help us build the list to assist parents in finding out about what is available.  Entry to this new section is FREE.  you can send in pictures of your groups or ask us to come along and take a few for your page.

Saturday Afternoon Junior Drama Class
There are many classes for children, young people and older age groups that we have never yet got round to listing.  We will set up listings for these and if any teachers want to send us details to add to the lists just email them into us.  Yes Caithness folks and especially their children are even busier than you have yet seen on the web site.  New Section in Arts

Castletown Heritage AGM - Illustrated Talk and Book Launch
Castletown Heritage are having their AGM on Monday 29th April in the small room of the Drill Hall. It is going to be an interesting one as we are offering a special reduced price of  £15 to those attending the AGM for the book on Castletown "Flagstone Village". The committee will be presenting an illustrated talk on the production of the book, which represents three years of work. We are sure that readers will find it fascinating. Tea and home -bakes will be served

Ballet Classes Going Strong In Wick
Saturday ballet class at the Assembly Rooms, Wick today

Junior Drama Class In Wick
Are theses the budding actors of the future or just kids have lots of fun.  Well they were certainly a happy lot today and enjoying their Saturday drama class at the Assembly Rooms in Wick

Another Miller Academy 1962 Centenary Picture
this is number 20 that we have received for this centenary year of 1962.  We keep thinking we will soon have the complete set when another one surfaces.  How many classes were in this school in 1962.  Does anyone remember?  If you have one that is not yet in send it on in.

"Seals Will Not Be Shot" says John Thurso MP
With at least two petitions supporting the "Leave The Seals Alone Camp" and a rising tide of spotlights n the problem on national TV and many local and national newspapers our local MP and owner of the river John Thurso has announced that the seals will definitely not be killed.

First Salmon of 2002 On The Wick River
From Hugo Ross - Fishing Tackle Shop Wick
The first salmon was caught on Friday 22 March by Wick angler James Ross.  It weighed in at 10lbs 12ozs and was caught on a Munro Killer Fly at the "Little Pot" just below Watten

Walk Lybster To Forse Pictures (41 - 50) To The Old Fishing Station At Achastle 23 March

FR233 Primrose
The Primrose from Fraserburgh called into Wick harbour today.

A Bonnie Day In Caithness - As Seen At Wick Harbour On Friday
John Hay took a stroll round the harbour in Wick today and sent us a few pictures to let everyone see that Spring is upon us.

The New Caithness Is Rising Fast  - New Houses
In case you thought Caithness was just a nice place to visit with "olde worlde" crofts and castles we thought you might like to see some of the modern homes being built in the county.  This project near Scrabster has a range of modern houses each one being built to a different design.  The quality of life combined with house prices often way below other parts of the UK and with an upsurge in employment in the Thurso area means there is strong demand for new homes.   This new estate is expanding rapidly to meet demand and it looks likely they will build many more in coming months.  We will let you see more of this development later.

Fish Market - Scrabster
Developments in recent years have made Scrabster one of the busiest fishing ports in the north of Scotland.  The new fish market and buildings in the harbour area have transformed the surroundings of the harbour.  Every day fish is shipped out all over the UK and to European destinations.

The Last House Museum - John O'Groats
This is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Caithness.  Once a family croft it has been for many years a small museum with many old implements from earlier days and a collection of pictures of wrecks in the Pentland Firth and wartime information.  Collections of old photographs are available to browse through.  At the back of the building is a small shop.  The house sits beside the harbour used by the short crossing ferry to Orkney and small creel boars.

WK30 Sheigra - Scrabster Harbour
There is a variety of boats using Scrabster harbour but one of the more common working boats are the creel boats.  These small boats work regularly for crab, lobster and other shellfish using traditional creels usually roped together and pulled from the seabed by small winches.  Still a hard days work.

Pre School Drama Group In Thurso Town Hall
There should be no shortage of future members for all the drama groups in Caithness with the successful pre-school classes now being run in Thurso Town Hall and Wick Assembly Rooms.  These youngsters were having a great time this week.

More Women At War In Wings Over Wick
Vi Mitchell, Dundee
lsobel Harvey, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Mrs Elizabeth Robertson,  Dundee
Mrs Frances Smith, Darlington, Co. Durham
Mrs M Young, Glasgow
Mrs Helen Rowan
Mrs N Watson, Stourbridge, West Midlands
Mrs C F Elkington, Braintree, Essex

Sir Cameron Mackintosh Backs City Of Culture Bid
Sir Cameron Mackintosh, one of the world’s most successful producers of musicals, is supporting the bid being made by invernesshighland2008 to become the European Capital of Culture.

Lybster - Forse Walk - More Pictures - (31 - 40)

Attention All Message Board Contributors - Major Upgrade Almost Here
An even better Message Board is about to arrive on the web site.  This will require registered users to confirm their details and valid email addresses.  Colin will be contacting all registered users by email.  Check the announcement.

Yarrows Archaeological Trust - A Whirlwind of Activity
The recently formed Yarrows Archaeological trust is in overdrive already with a flurry of activity and fund raising as can be seen from their latest minutes of a meeting held on 6 March.  Iain Sutherland announced a donation from the Wick society of £500 and that future money collected from the box at Whaligoe steps would go to the trust.  Other sources of funding have been pledged and identified but more will be needed.  Some of the field work starts on Saturday 23 March.

Gaelic Writer Kevin MacNeil Ends Iain Crichton Smith Fellowship With Two New Books
Writer Kevin MacNeil, who is nearing the end of his three-year tenure as The Highland Councils Iain Crichton Smith Writing Fellow, has brought out two new books paying tribute to the literary hero. Kevin presented The Red Door and The Black Halo to The Highland Councils Gaelic Working Group during their meeting last week. These books bring together for the first time all the short stories Iain Crichton Smith wrote before his untimely death in 1998.

Caithness Girl Starts Petition To Ensure Safety Of Thurso Seals
Michelle Davies fears that the seals will eventually be killed and wants to make sure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion on the topic.  She has started to collect signatures on a petition to get support for the seals from local people and is now circulating it initially in Castletown and Thurso.

Bay Trader At Wick Harbour -With a Cargo Of Er...Supergrass!!!
The cattle and sheep are going to get fatter this year as Bay Trader lands a cargo of fertiliser or at least that's what it appears to be in those "big plastic bags"   Did you know Caithness used so much fertiliser as has landed in the last few weeks.  We sure have learned something watching it all come in.

Wings Over Wick - Women At War
A great number of women were posted to Wick during the war to aid the work of the Royal Air Force. Many women wrote and told us of their wartime experiences in Wick.
Mrs Sue Best, Hartlepool, Cleveland
Wilma L Hall (nee Dewar), Belmont, Durham
Pam Dickson, Alloa, Clackmannanshire
Miss Barbara Guild, Blairgowrie
Sheila Thomson (nee Rankin), Edinburgh
Doris Jones, Long Whatton
Mrs W Vickerstaff,  Belper, Derbyshire
Mr & Mrs R Conner, Thornliebank, Glasgow

Lairg Willow Maze
The maze will be constructed from two-year-old 'willow wands' which will be driven into the ground and woven into arches. As spring progresses and the sap rises the willow will put out new leaves and the maze will start to have solid walls of greenery. A second layer of wands will be woven in next year to make the structure more robust.

Highland Youth Parliament Friday 22 March And New Web Site
The fourth meeting of the Highland Youth Voice, the young peoples parliament, will be opened on Friday, 22 March at the Badaguish Centre, near Aviemore.  A new web site will also be launched but you can have a look at it now.

The Highland Council has warmly welcomed the award of £3.27 million worth of funding from the New Opportunities Fund, which will help the council promote physical education and develop sports and community facilities at schools.

Comet Ikeya-Zhang - Good Views Expected In Caithness & Northern Scotland
Recently discovered by two astronomers in different part so the world Ikeya-Zhang promises to be the brightest comet visible in the UK since Hale-Bopp five years ago although this one will be nothing like as spectacular.  That was a great site in the Caithness sky for quite a while .  In the UK the farther north the better for this latest one.  After sunset and best from about 25 March. Check the horizon in the west and look for Mars.  Using binoculars the tail of dust and debris should be visible.

Highland Council E-Procurement First In Europe
Caithness Schools will soon be ordering all their books and supplies online as Highland Council becomes the first in Europe to go for total online ordering.  Portree Primary School in Skye sets the standard for UK Internet Purchasing The Highland Council is pioneering a new method of purchasing using the  internet, making it the first local authority in Europe to buy all its goods and services on-line.

New Highland Joint Community Care Plan
Major changes in the way in which Health and Social Work Community Care Services are organised and delivered are featured in a new joint Community Care Plan published today.

Next Ten Pictures(21 - 30) - Lybster - Forse Castle Walk

Scarfskerry Sunday School
An early picture from Sheila Moir with all the names and whereabouts of a few folk.

Sheep Saga - The North Ronaldsays
Here is an interesting article From the October 1988 Caithness field Club Bulletin on the famous North Ronaldsay Sheep.  They survive by eating the seaweed on the shore outside a dyke that goes right round the island.

Seals Still Coming Into Thurso River Today
The seals were back up the river today.  One or two were even finding a way under the netting and swimming on the inside and moving back and forward.  About 6 seals were swimming up and down the river at high tide today.

Scrabster New Pier Latest Pictures

St Ola Ferry At Scrabster
Sunny Day at Scrabster today as the St Ola was loading before leaving for the Orkney Islands.  In the background is the crane working on the new pier that will make huge increase in the harbour capabilities.

More South School World War Two Project Day Pictures

South School, Wick - World War Two Day
The culmination of the term's studies of World War Two for Primaries 6 and 7 today saw them invite older citizens for tea and to talk about their wartime experiences.  The children had been looking at the war and how it affected many groups and the affect on children and their lives.  More pictures coming soon...........

Lybster To Forse Walk - Next Pictures 11 - 20
You will see that this is going to be a very detailed set of pictures letting you see every view possible on this fantastic walk to Forse castle.  But the camera can only take in so much.  It cannot breathe the air, deliver the tang of the salt air, the new grass and flowers emerging, the sounds of the many birds, skylarks, gulls, and many others and believe it or not it was actually warm  - in March.

Disability Rights Commission Newsletter - March
Issue four is another packed with information,  encouragement and success stories.  We are publishing the newsletter in full to assist more people in finding out about this very useful source of information from the Disability Rights Commission.  You will always find it in our Disability Links Page.

Get Your Events In The What's On - It's FREE
Get your groups events in the free What's On pages. Use the Submission page in the section.

Lybster to Forse Castle Walk - First Pictures 1 - 10
Lots of coastal views coming in this walk along the cliff tops to Forse Castle.  Here is the start of the walk that the Rangers organised yesterday.

Wings Over Wick Continues With - Airfield And Aircraft Defence
Although at first, the Seaforth regiment carried out airfield defence in Wick, RAF regiments later replaced them.  A number of artillery units were also placed in the area to defend against attacking aircraft. Replies were received from a number of men involved with these activities.
Colin Campbell, Haywards Heath, West Sussex
D G Jubb, Norton, Near Doncaster, South Yorks
Roy Jack, Crosby, Liverpool
Alick George, Cross Heath, Newcastle, Staffs
Mr J Cowan,  Dalkeith, Midlothian
D E Reynolds,  Wolverhampton
J Thorpe, Farnworth, Bolton 
W H Newton, Wickford, Essex
Kenneth Williams, Newbridge, Newport

Thurso Folk - A Black & White Portrait Exhibition
Local Photographer Mike Brunton starts a portrait exhibition in the Swanson Gallery, Thurso on 22 March.  The exhibition that will run until 13 April is dedicated in part to the people of Thurso who over many years have given freely of their work, time and effort to the various organisations, clubs, charities etc. that have helped give us the community we have today.

Early Intervention Programme Brings Dramatic Improvements in Literacy Levels
An Early Intervention Programme has seen Highland Primary schools in deprived areas improve pupil performance in reading by double, and mathematics by seven times the Highland and national average. By the end of the programme pupils in the early intervention group showed an average gain of 22 months in reading age in one year – almost double the improvement expected in the past.

Thurso Seal Problem Hits National News On BBC
The seals in Thurso became the focus of national attention today in an item on the BBC lunchtime news.  The river superintendent said he was "at his wits end" as to know what to try next to move them on from the island home they have set up.  Despite their popularity with Thurso folk and visitors in the last few months the final solution of shooting them is apparently coming closer.  Check BBC1 News tonight for repeat of the item.

Lybster to Forse With The Rangers
Yesterdays walk from Lybster to Forse on the best day of the year so far as it turned out was a great opportunity to see this magnificent coastline at its best.  Her are a few of the group that set out.  Over the next day or two pictures from the day will be added.  More pictures of Forse castle taken will be added in the Castles section once we have them all ready.  Yesterday had it all. great weather, spring flowers, plenty of seabirds and others.  History - castles, old fishing stations, magnificent cliffs and sunshine.  Thanks to the rangers for a great day out.  You can do this walk yourself anytime and the pictures coming soon will follow what you can see on the way.

Attempted Armed Robbery - Wick
About 2210 hours on Saturday, 16th March, 2002, a Wick taxi operator picked up two men as a fare in his BMW taxi on River Street, Wick, near to the Bridge Street roundabout.

The A99 Latheron To Wick
A new section on the A99 the main East coast road from Latheron to Wick.  A few years ago the road authorities changed the route of the main A9 making it follow the Causewaymire heading to Thurso and Scrabster.  Many visitors now miss out on the magnificent views of the east of the county if they follow the signs for the main A9.  The coastal route of the now A99 to Wick has a huge amount of coastal scenery not to be missed.  this section will have more pictures added in coming months. 

Highland Beaches Win Awards
Six rural beaches in Sutherland and a resort beach at Nairn have won seaside awards issued by Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Tidy Britain Group which gives them the right to fly the coveted yellow flag.

Latheron Mains
This farm house sits nicely back from the main road at Latheron.  It is opposite the village hall with a screen of trees between it and the main road.  A wall at the back of the house is the remains of Latheron Castle that sits on at the top of a small gorge where a stream descends in its final drop a before making its way to the sea.  Pictures of the remaining wall will be in the Castles section at a later date.  

Thurso High 1984 Reunion - latest names in.

Looking Over Latheron Today
After the walk with the Rangers on a glorious day a few pictures at Latheron and here is the first.  More tomorrow along with Forse castle pictures in the next few days.  Tucked in here is the remains of Latheron Castle.

Latheronwheel Today

Forse Dovecote
Another fine dovecote still standing.  This one is mid 18th century and is divided into two sections.  There are nearly 400 nesting boxes and no doubt it provided a good source of pigeon pie for the big house.

Mid Nineteenth Century Pensioners In The North Of Scotland
This article by Angela Finalyson for the Caithness Field Club Bulletin of October 1988 examines the records held about pensioners some of whom fought in the Napoleonic wars and well over £2000 was being paid quarterly to pensioners in Caithness and Sutherland by bank agents in Dornoch and Thurso. Other sources have suggested that, because the pensions were paid quarterly in arrears, many Pensioners lived in debt at the mercy of loan sharks.

Clan Sinclair Canada - New Web Site
From Iain laird who received this announcement today - "William (Bill) Sinclair, President of the Clan Sinclair Canada is pleased to announce the launch of the Association's own web site at at 1500 GMT/1000 hrs EST Ontario today.  This is a dynamic project and will therefore move and change as it develops.  This is a site for our Members, Clansfolk, friends and many supporters and so welcome suggestions and contributions to the areas it addresses, and particularly photographs and accounts of Clan functions.  Please browse and enjoy!"  The link is also now in our Sinclair Connections    Good Luck To the Canadian Sinclairs from Caithness.

Lyth Arts Centre - An Evening Of Music & Song From The Gaelic Tradition
Saturday 30 March In The Lyth Village Hall - adjacent to the Lyth cross-roads.  Tickets Ordinary £6 Members £5 OAP £3 Under 18 unwaged £3 Tel 01955 641 270

John Thurso MP Opens A New Office In Thurso For R M Consultants
R M Consultants are at the forefront of risk management, health and safety and environmental advice. The company employs over 60 engineers and scientists.  With 12 staff at the new office in Thurso they will be continuing their involvement in decommissioning for the longer term.  The firm are also expanding in other directions and there will be increasing opportunities especially for graduates.

Dunnet School - About 1910 - 1911
Here is a great pictures with all the names from Sheila Moir.  Sheila's mum and uncles are in the picture and she got the names and many addresses from her aunt Mary Ann of Mary Ann's cottage.  As we are sure many of you will be examining this picture closely to identify people we have added two enlargements of the left and right sides.

Janetstown School 1964
Many thanks to Brian Forsyth, formerly of Oust and Janetstown, now living in Arbroath and to James Chalmers for helping to get this picture to us for the growing Schooldays section

Learning For Life Group Present Bird Pictures
Mary Legg, Highland Ranger was presented with pictures from the Learning For Life Group at North Highland College.  The pictures will be placed in the Bird Hide at Dunnet forest.

Rangers Nature Notes Latest
First sighting of a harbour porpoise swimming in Dunnet Bay on 4th March about 9.20am around Castlehill Harbour about 30 metres off shore heading towards Murkle Bay.  What birds are around and flowers appearing.

Slipknot - American Band Interviewed On Caithness FM Tonight
Get the latest news on Slipknot and and get the chance to win an autographed CD, tune in to Neil MacGregor tonight's Friday Night Rock Show Friday 15th March between 10 and 12 midnight on Caithness FM 102.5.

Second Suspect Radioactive Particle Found Today At Sandside
A second suspected radioactive particle this month resulting from historical operations at Dounreay was found during routine monitoring of Sandside Beach today.  Initial indications suggest that the particle is similar in type and characteristic to the other 18 that have been found on the beach since 1984.

Postal Service Competition Will Not Deliver In The Highlands
Is it then end of mail delivery services as we know it in Caithness and the Highlands. Highland council has expressed its fears that the introduction of free market competition will disadvantage the less well off in rural areas.  Other bodies are talking about the possibility of an end to mail delivery for certain areas and a system of collecting your own mail as some other countries already have.  Do you want competition or are you prepared to pay more for your service.

Dynamic Capital Of Culture Bid For Highland
Highland Councillors will be asked next week to endorse an "ambitious and dynamic" bid being made for Inverness and the wider Highlands to become the European Capital of Culture in 2008. At a special meeting of the full council on Thursday 21 March, they will consider a report from Bruce Robertson, Director of Education Culture and Sport.

The Write Place For Computer Problems - Computafix
Here is a new service from The Write Place sure to be in demand for fixing computers - hardware or software problems. Already available to deal with business health and safety documentation or a wide variety of printing solutions this is a new call-out service "Computafix"   It's a No Fix No Fee service -  call out charges apply.  Remember you will find The Write Place Computafix Service fast in our drop down menu at the bottom of this page and in the Business Pages.  Just Remember Write Place - Right Place - Computafix.

Second Gear - Improving Young Caithness Folk's Driving Skills
The First Ever Second Gear Driver Training day took place recently at Dounreay using the site's 'off road' area.

Spittal Quarry Still Quarrying To Pave The World With Caithness Flagstone 14 March
The Caithness flagstone Industry began in 1825 by James Trail of Rattar has had its ups and downs.  In recent times it has had a great revival.  With modern machinery, cutting tools and transport the world is once again seeing the famous flagstone being laid around the world.  Many new prestigious buildings in the UK and abroad are demanding a natural look that can also give a guarantee of log life and durability.  Caithness flagstone is top quality and has once again in recent years proved it has the power to create employment in the county.

Thurso Gardener's Hit Lucky On The National Lottery
"It could be you", and it certainly was on Saturday night for Thurso's Council Gardeners, for they struck it lucky with the National Lottery, winning £140,032.  The four council gardeners and one retired gardener got the shock of there lives when their numbers came up.  The winning team were Nicky Alderson, Campbell (Mackie) Dobbie, Head Gardener John Ross, Kenneth Maclpine and Kelvin Angus.

Emergency Repairs At Castle Sinclair
Ian Sinclair Of Noss has identified and supervised the emergency repairs to castle Sinclair following his discovery of a slippage problem.  Fortunately the Clan Sinclair Trust was able to step in immediately and cover the costs of the emergency work.  While we are on Clan Sinclair the Clan gathering is fast approaching  - 27 - 31 May.  Check the Clan Sinclair Events Page for details.  More pictures of the problem from Ian Sinclair on the clan site.

Did You Know It's World Book Day Today
The libraries in Thurso and Wick have exhibitions of books and pyjamas.  Well it's also Bedtime Reading Week.  Every child at school in the UK will get a book token to use for a World Book Day book or towards the cost of another book.  Why not stroll into the library today and take a look.  And if you want to debate the odd book the crowd in our message board are now reading a book world wide before they get going on a few arguments and debates about the book.  If the current book is not to your taste keep looking in or suggest the next one.

Mey School - About 1933
this picture has been sent in by Sheila Moir.  Most of the names and addresses are in but if you can confirm the ones with question marks then get in touch.  More School Days pictures are on the way from several of you and we will get them on as fast as we can.

Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise February Report
The number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 1,080 last month to 1,127.

Hospital News - Issue 4 - March
The newsletter is aimed at health professionals but may be of interest.  this one has details about the proposed new renal services in the Highlands and the new Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Caithness General as well as other Highland hospital news.  The plan is to run it on the Hospitals own web site and once they do so we will cease publication and make a link from the page to the new section on the Acute Hospitals web site.

Help Select A Caithness County Flower For The Queens Jubiliee
As part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee, the plant conservation charity Plantlife is setting out to encourage each county in the UK to adopt its own wild flower emblem.  Ken Butler the Botanical Recorder for Caithness suggests that Caithness takes part in this project and selects a flower that is worthy of the county.  Ken Butler holds and maintains all the information about wild plants and their distribution, on behalf of the Botanical Society of the British Isles.  Ken has suggested we all take part in selecting a county flower. You can add your own suggestions on the Plantlife web site.

Science Week At Raigmore Hospital, Inverness
The local branch of the Institute of Biomedical Science at Raigmore Hospital is participating in National Science Week 8th-17th March 2002.  Presentations will include a demonstration of new Haematology Analysers, which will provide a significantly improved level of service to patients across the Highlands and Western Isles.

Murkle School - Possibly 1951
Murkle Primary school thought to be about 1951.  Mrs Amelia Begg (nee Wylie) was the teacher at the school.  The picture was supplied by her daughter-in-law Alison Begg who was married to the late James Wylie Begg who was a pupil in his mother's class at Murkle.  If anyone can help with names then email them to us.

Sirius Unloading Fertiliser At Wick
Its definitely a busy time for farmers as we can see by the many fertiliser boats arriving at Wick in the last couple of weeks.

New Tactics In Thurso Seal Confrontation
The men were putting up two scarecrows, while the seals had taken up residence on the other island. Eventually they put up a scarecrow on the second island as well. While the pictures were being taken an otter came up and expressed his disgust taking pictures of the seals and not him and his mates!  Is this a seal tactic bringing in the otters to help them and are they not also partial to fish.  It never rains but it pours.

Suspect Particle Found Today At Sandside Beach
A suspected radioactive particle resulting from historical operations at Dounreay was found during routine monitoring of Sandside Beach today.

Wick Girls Pipe Band - Another 10 New Pictures
Here is another batch of the famous pipe band.  One or two have larger versions for anyone wanting close-ups and they may take longer to load depending on what your connection speeds.

Latest Patients Council Minutes - December 2001
The latest minutes made available to the public are now in the section.  The reason that the minutes take so long to get into the public domain is that they require to be approved at the next Patients Council Meeting before being released.  the meeting was in February and the minutes have only now been circulated to to other bodies.  A new list of Patients Council members is now also posted on the web site.

Take The Walk From John O'Groats To Duncansby Ness

Ranger Bird Raft Project Going Well
Day One yesterday of the Bird Raft building at St John's Loch being organised by Mary Legg as part of her Earthwatch project was on schedule.  The nine volunteers will be finishing the raft and floating it out next Saturday.  Anyone can help by contacting Mary Legg at the Ranger Station at Dunnet.
Note - Mary has asked us to point out that the raft will be on a pond beside the Loch and not on St John's Loch itself.

Prosecution Threat To Drivers At Clashnaharry
Police in Inverness are reminding road users that as of Monday, 11 March 2002, an emergency weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes is being imposed on the Clachnaharry Bridge on the A862 Inverness to Beauly road.   Drivers disobeying this restriction are warned they will be liable to prosecution.

Out And About With Bill - Views On A Day Out Around The County
Here are a few places visited today in no particular order.

Scrabster Pier Development - Today's Pictures

Wick Girls Pipe Band - Another 10 New Pictures Added
Many more pictures are yet to come of this famous band and we will now add them in groups of ten as they are prepared for the pages.  If anyone has information - dates, names etc then please send us details as we have none of this information at present to go with the pictures.

Miller Academy 1962
This photograph sent in by Maurice Boardman is number 19 for the centenary year 0f 1962.  Maurice has put in names but a few questions marks remain if anyone else can help out with the missing one.  And does anyone know if we have a full set for the school that year?  We must be getting close now.

Pennyland School 1963, Thurso
The latest school photograph sent in by Maurice Boardman is the first one for Pennyland School in Thurso.

Clachnaharry Bridge Weight Restrictions 11 March Till Autumn
An emergency weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes is being imposed at the Clachnaharry Bridge on the A 862 Inverness – Beauly road from Monday 11 March.  This will effectively ban all heavy vehicles from crossing the bridge until the deck of the 140-year-old bridge is replaced. The replacement is expected to take place in the autumn.

Wick Thistle Football Club Present Cheques To Three Groups
Wick Thistle Football Club presented three cheques totalling £1303 raised at a memorial match for the late Robert Munro.  Three organisations benefited from the effort and they were - Riding For The Disabled, Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group and the Caithness Maternity Unit.

Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group Receiving A cheque From Wick Thistle FC
Receiving the boost to their fund raising efforts some of the support group were glad to hear this week that it was the intention of the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to locate a new renal unit at the Caithness General Hospital.  Patients currently have to make a three hour trip up to three times per week in each direction for treatment.  the new unit when opened would alleviate all of that travelling for northern patients.   December is the target date to open the new unit.

Mary Legg Ranger Looking For Help To Build Bird Raft
Mary will be building a raft to give some protection to birds nesting at St Johns Loch.  If you would like to assist Mary contact her at the Ranger Station and meet 9.45 at the Pavilion at Dunnet.  The raft building will be on this Saturday 9th and next Saturday 16th with the raft being anchored in the middle of the loch once constructed.

League Of Friends Present New Ice Machine/Water Cooler To A & E
The League of Friends of Caithness General Hospital tonight presented the Accident and Emergency Department of the hospital with a new Ice and Water Cooler Machine costing £1600.  The ladies fund raise continually throughout the year and help the hospital in many ways.  Over the years they have helped to ensure that many extras as well as essential pieces of equipment have been donated to the hospital.  Well Done Ladies.

Train At Wick Yesterday

Webby Stuff For Non Profits
You can get your information on Caithness.Org for free if you are in Caithness.  But if you are ready to give it a try why not put your own web site up and then come and get it linked via Caithness.Org.  More groups are doing this all the time.  Here are a few links to help you get started on how to do it and what to consider.  Go looking and you will find plenty more out there and you can learn it all at home.

2002 Paralympics - Salt Lake City
Opening Ceremony Begins 7.00pm Thursday 2.00am Salt Lake City Time Friday Caithness Time.

Local Authorities Share £1.69 Million To Aid Disposal Of Ozone-Producing Fridges
The Scottish Executive Says- "Distribution of the grant takes into account the estimated number of appliances arising in each local authority area".   Highland Region will get £68,627.

Email Scam Hits The Highlands Yet Again
Hard to believe it but this scam being warned about by Highland Consumer Council has been around so long its a wonder that anyone on the planet does not know about it.  But just in case that person is on this planet we run the warning on this variation of the old "Wanna Get Rich Quick?" theme yet again.  You will also find a few links for a wider explanation if you need one as to why not to give your bank account, credit card details to anyone who asks.

Crossroads School App 1914
Thanks to Sheila Moir for this picture of Crossroads school and for the detailed information that goes with it.

Wick High School 1980 - 6th Year
Derek Douglas has sent this pictures of his class as part of the start of a new section for the year reunion for those who started 1st year at Wick High School in 1974. The reunion is to be held in the Mackays Hotel on Friday 26th July 2002.  Check the 74-80 Reunion Page regularly for updates

Caithness Riding Club
Another new Caithness web site.  It will be added to the Sports Pages shortly.  You will also find it in our listing of Caithness Non-Business web sites in the Links section.

Miller Academy 1948 - Third Year
Thanks to Willie Macdonald, Kirkwall for sending in this picture of his class in third Year at Miller Academy in 1948.  Send in any pictures for Schooldays pages by email  - preferably jpeg files.  If you live locally just phone and we will uplift and return after scanning.

Police Station In Wick - Today's Pictures
Despite the recent snow and rain work is going ahead on the new police station and materials are arriving all the time.  Concrete blocks and sand and other items were much in evidence today.   Wonder where the cells are located?

Bright And Sunny At Wick Harbour Today - If You Dodged The Odd Shower
A cold and blustery day with the an odd shower.  The harbour was once again busy with the Alissa back with yet another load of fertiliser.  Boy Andrew and Opportune in port again.

Pilot House, Wick
The Pilot house that overlooks Wick Harbour and the bay was presented in October 1908 by the MP - Sir Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque.  It is supported by cast iron columns in each corner and has benches all round for seating.  Great view point for the harbour and to watch boats coming in and out.

Foyers - A Brief Historical Account
Gordon Wilson has written this short history that helps to introduce another fascinating area of Scotland around Loch Ness. 

Top Award for Highland Rural Partnership Change Project
The Highland Council has won a top national award for co-ordinating an imaginative project to identify affordable housing in stressed rural areas.

Email To Fax Machines Via Caithness Business Pages
Another FREE upgrade for every business with a fax listed in our Caithness Business Pages.  Anyone with email can now click on the fax number and send an email direct to any of the fax numbers listed in our Business Pages.  Businesses without email facilities but who have a fax machine have just been improved at a stroke by our new service.  Check it out - it really works.

Chapter Three Of The History Of Caithness - Enter Sweyn The Pirate
Another short chapter but full of adventure and introducing the famous Caithness pirate Sweyn whose adventures and murderous deeds would make any film producer drool.  Read about his plundering round the coast of Scotland all the way to Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Wick Harbour On Monday - A Wider View

Vineta Unloading Coal At Wick On Monday

Roger Unloading Fertiliser At Wick On Monday

Snow In Wick From Folk Who Were Rescued On A9 Recently
Clare Miller and friends Colin and Rosemary Mitchell were among a group of folk rescued from the snowstorm recently that blocked the A9 at Berriedale.  Colin and Rosemary sent us these pictures from Edinburgh of their stay in Wick.

Wick River 2 March 2002 - Swollen With Rain And Melted Snow

Highland Council Take To The Road
The Highland Council has decided to hold up to four additional meetings of the full council outwith Inverness to focus more on local and policy issues. The first meeting will be held in the Assembly Rooms, Wick on Thursday 18 April.

Speed Restrictions On A9 For Six Weeks At Tomatin
Watch your speed going through the road works at Tomatin for 6 weeks.  A 30 mile an hour limit will be in force in both directions and speed cameras are in place.  Earlier road works in the past have resulted i many people getting fines for speeding through the road works area,  Remember its 30mph or a fine and penalty points on your license.

Two Poems On A Subject Known To Caithneesians Everywhere - Rain
The latest of Jenny Stewart's poems in Caithness dialect prepared by Isabelle Thurley.  both on a subject that we have had plenty of this year rain. Raindrop Blues Yin & Bloomin' Rain.

First Herring Queen Rachael "Retta" Sinclair Shearer 1937
We have to correct an earlier statement on the web site regarding the first Herring Queen in Wick.  It turns out that Isobel Cormack was the Herring Queen in 1939 we had wrongly thought she was the first.  Billy Mackay son of Rachael "Retta" Shearer has been in touch and sent us some photos.  Consequently we have now set up a new Herring Queens section and will add other information and pictures as any are sent to us.

Emergency Repairs At Castle Sinclair
Emergency Repairs have been carried out at Sinclair Castle following the slippage of the keystone in the arch of the main entrance. The Earl of Caithness said: “It is sad the slippage happened, and it underlines just how fragile the castles are, but we are pleased the trust has been able to rush in and carry out the work which required scheduled monument consent”. This illustrates just how vulnerable the whole site is, and the urgency to carry out full restoration work.

International Women's Day 8 March
There are no events as far as we know in Caithness to mark this day but you will find plenty of links to information on other parts of Scotland.  Given the often bad conditions that many women find themselves in both in the UK and abroad it may be that some of you are looking for more information to see what can be done to assist.  There are many web sites dealing with the problems but by all means use the Caithness.Org message board if you feel there are local issues that need aired.  There are plenty of issues around that maybe do not get much attention such as inequalities in pay, lack of services and problem drinking or drugs related issues.

First Fish Of Season Caught On Thurso River
John Bojda with the first fish of the season on the Thurso River. It was caught on Saturday in the Comlifoot pool on beat four and weighed nine pounds.   John also caught the first fish of the 2001 season which was caught by on 2 April and weighed in at nine and a half pounds.

Band News At Weegie Productions
If you are looking for some information on local bands then try this web site.

East Caithness SWRI 2002 Bulb Show Success
SWRI East Caithness had a very successful 2002 bulb show on Saturday proving the ladies had not forgotten how to compete even though last years show was cancelled due to Foot and Mouth.  Slightly less entries was more than made up for the brilliant display and what we cannot bring you incredible scents from many of the flowers on show.  If you missed the East of the county show then SWRI West Caithness hit the competition trail next Saturday 9 March in the British Legion Hall, Thurso.

Wick Scouts And Helpers Were In Safeways Wick for Marie Curie Cancer Care
Wick Scouts were joined by Bill from Caithness.Org, Margaret Sutherland and Charlotte Shearer seen here to raise funds during Daffodil Day.  As in previous years shoppers were very generous with their donations.  a count is not yet available - that's a job for Sunday.  We will post it up as soon as its known.
Thanks to the scouts and the two ladies who gave up part of their Saturday to help.

Wick Academy V Forres Mechanics Saturday
Forres Mechanics won against Academy 3 - 0.  Even this shot in the last couple of minutes did not come off for the home team.

Seals Defy Everything To Move Them In Thurso
Jet-ski scaring the seals?????? - well it didn't work they were pretty soon back on their 'island'! Some have mastered getting up on the narrow ledge between the water and the fence - other cleverer ones can get under the fence at the low channel you can see in the island. They were swimming in and out all morning!

February Visitors Break the Records Yet Again
Hits 2,924,065, Pages 373,287 Visitors 67,886
Yes this was the biggest month yet...again and we thank our many visitors for coming back.  Although it may not look like it right away remember that February only has 28 days.  The daily average visitor numbers to Caithness.Org rose by 5.4% over January and in the Business Pages by a whopping 11.9%.  The equivalent for a 31 day month to compare with January would have been -
Hits 3,237,330, Pages 413,261, 75,113
Current projections on this level would give us over 900,000 visitors looking at over 5,000,000 pages with a hit rate of 36 million plus for 2002

Thurso Thistle In Sports Pages
Several new pictures in the Sports Pages today.  Thurso Thistle and also the Ashes Team .  Action pictures from Caithness United Under12's.

South Street, Keiss

Traditional Boat Under Construction At Waterlines Museum, Lybster
The Waterlines museum opened last may in Lybster to show the heritage of the local fishing industry.  As part of bringing it to life a boat is being constructed within the centre to let everyone see how it was done.  If you are travelling up the road to Wick once the biggest herring port in Europe you could not do better than call into Lybster and take a look at Waterlines at the harbour.

Looking For Business Advice & Information Web Sites?
Forgotten the web site address for CASE, or where to find those reports for the county from last month or earlier and lots more.  Well just go to our growing business links for some ideas and help.


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