2003] [February 2004]
31st January 2004
More Snow - Coghill Bridge, Wick and Sheep
to everyone sending in pictures for this
snowy Collection of Caithness
Thurso Snow Scenes
In Caithness were very low last night with
some place getting a light shower of snow.
At Noon today temperature at the web site
was Minus 4C.
More Caithness Whispers
30th January 2004
James Ross - Pianist From Wick Was Heard On
BBC Radio Celtic Connections
Ross from Wick whose career in music is
still expanding was heard on Celtic
Connections on BBc Radio Scotland a few days
ago. You can still catch the programme
by following the link and Play Again.
James and his trio play four sets in the
second half f of the programme. You
can jump through the programme in five
minute jumps to reach James or paly the
New Lambs Get Their First Taste Of Winter At
Episcopal Church In Wick - Can You Help?
Gordon Johnson and Dr. Richard Stanley are
working on a history of the St. John's
Episcopal Church of Scotland, Wick, which
was formed as a congregation in 1855 and is
still going strong. Gordon has
access to the early minutes and accounts of
the congregation, and are concentrating on
information about the members of the
congregation, as well as the clergy who
Thurso FC V Alness United - Saturday 31
on from last week's progression to their
second cup final of the season having
defeated league leaders Golspie 5-0 in The
PCT Cup Semi on Saturday, Thurso F.C now
concentrate back on to league duties as they
face a tough away trip to Alness to take on
Alness United. The game kicks off at 2 p.m
and the bus leaves The Dammies at 10.45,
weather permitting of course.
News from SCRAP ( Sutherland & Caithness
Recycling Action Partnership)
SCRAP held its third AGM on 21st January
2004, at which it was decided that it was
time to offer thanks to various garden
centres and individuals who have helped with
the distribution of compost bins. A
total of 1,231 bins have been sold so far,
going to 818 households
School Closures Today In Caithness
Cansibay Primary and Keiss Nursery closed.
Canisbay opened but as the school transport
arrived the decision was taken to send the
children hope as further very heavy snow
showers had commenced. Bower Primary -
school transport not operating as Contractor
decided that back roads dangerous.
Makes Broadband Trigger Figure - Sign
Ups For Wick Reach 502
Plenty of happy folk around now in the Wick
exchange area as we wait to hear if BT
accept the figures and announce a date for
Broadband to be made available in the area.
If anyone else has not yet signed up please
do so as there is still a possibility that
BT might reject any bogus sign-ups. A
few more folk signing up will ensure that it
goes ahead. Well done to all of you
for getting involved and all the folk
organising sign-ups from what ever sector
around the county. The graphs on this
site and others will not have caught up yet.
HIGHLAND COUNCIL WELCOMES LOCAL
MANAGEMENT ORDER FOR SHELLFISH MANAGEMENT
The Highland Council has welcomed the
Scottish Executive’s decision to go to
public consultation on local management
proposals developed by Highland Shellfish
Management Organisation (HSMO). HSMO has
prepared local management proposals it seeks
to implement via a Regulating Order under
the Sea Fisheries Shellfish Act.
Energy Awareness Seminar At Wick
Cancelled Due To Weather Conditions
The seminar that was meant to be held in
Mackays Hotel, Wick today has been
rescheduled for 13 February 11.00am -
1.00pm. Places can be booked by
contacting the office of MSP Maureen
MacMillan 01463 716299 or email
29th January 2004
Come It Is Really Easy To Sing Up For
Broadband - Complete All The Sections On
Wick is nearly there so just get a few more
of your friends to sign up.
And Halkirk Moving Up in the Broadband Sign
Just as Wick moved up with higher sign-up
figures today so did Barrock and Halkirk.
With lower trigger figures they might not be
too far behind.
More Snow Scenes From Thrumster And Wick
Met Office Weather Forecast - Friday
- Outbreaks of sleet and rain with snow
on high ground. Becoming brighter from North
later. Maximum temperature 4 deg C (39 deg
Outlook for Saturday Bright with further
outbreaks of rain and sleet.
TWO CAITHNESS PROJECTS SECURE HIGHLAND
Urgent works required at Thurso Burial
Ground and Scalesburn Road in Wick have been
given the go-ahead with funding of £300,000
assured from The Highland Council's central
capital budget of the Transport,
Environmental and Community (TEC) Services.
Highland Council members at the TEC Services
committee today approved £150,000 funding
for Thurso Burial ground and a further
£150,000 for works at Scalesburn Road to be
carried out in the current financial year.
New Uniforms For Caithness And North
Dounreay have sponsored uniforms for Caithness & North Sutherland
Children's Choir, which is run for children from Primary 4 age to
Secondary 2. Throughout the year the choir sings at local events
entertaining all ages of the community. Heather Lewry, conductor and
chairperson of the choir said " Caithness & North Sutherland Children's
Choir would like to thank UKAEA for their sponsorship of new uniforms.
Folk Making Surge In Sign Ups As Total
Reaches 422 Towards Broadband Future
Nearly there - only 78 to go.
Keep going folks and find those last few to
take us to the magic 500.
Tomorrows House Today - Seminar At
Portland Hotel For Friday - Postponed
The seminar organised for Friday at the
Portland Hotel has been cancelled due to the
weather. The organisers will set it up
again at a later date.
No Newspapers Today In Caithness
Newspapers did not make it into Caithness
today due to snow blocking roads.
UPDATE ON SECOND DAY OF ADVERSE WEATHER
HIGHLAND SCHOOLING AND TRAVEL
The Highland Council's Director of
Education Culture and Sport Bruce Robertson
has taken advice regarding weather and road
conditions and advised head teachers that
school transport should run as normal
tomorrow (Friday) 30 January 04. He
expects all schools to be open unless there
are good local reasons for a partial or full
Snow Scenes In Caithness
Sutherland has already been out with her
camera and send us a picture of Wick last
night and a few of Thrumster today
SECOND DAY OF ADVERSE WEATHER DISRUPTS
HIGHLAND SCHOOLING AND TRAVEL
Due to a continued deterioration in weather
conditions and a concern for pupil safety,
The Highland Council's Education Culture and
Sport Service decided there would be no
school transport operating today (Thursday)
in Caithness. Sutherland and other Highland
counties. The A9 was closed at
Winter In Sutherland
few seasonal scenes from the Sutherland
Collection. these pictures are from an
earlier winter but no doubt the pictures
will be very similar with today's weather in
the north of Scotland
All Schools In Caithness Closed Today
With more snow forecast for today and
school transport already cancelled all
Caithness schools have taken the decision
not to open to prevent the problems of
trying to get pupils home again in worsening
conditions. Snow was falling heavily
in Caithness and across various parts of the
Highlands this morning.
Caithness Takes Two Highlands And Islands
Journalist of the Year is Ally McGilvray of
the John O'Groat Journal, Wick, whose
colleague Corrina Thomson, was highly
commended in the Features' section.
Photographer of the Year is John Baikie
(left), a freelance from Castletown.
Wick Broadband Sign-Ups Still Moving Up
We first made an entry in the Broadband
section in March 2002 following the debate
running on the message board at that time.
It seems unbelievable it has taken so long
to reach 395 sign ups where we stand
as of 27 January. Thurso has passed
the magic 500 and Broadband is now available
leaving other parts of Caithness trailing in
the seeming stone age of slow connections.
Will we reach the magic 500 before we reach
two years of trying to get sign-ups.
Encourage anyone who has not yet signed up
to do so. Only 105 need in Wick, 121
in Halkirk or see the section for other
exchanges including Castletown.
28th January 2004
Weather Conditions Deteriorating In The
picture taken about 3.30pm showed only light
snow but the area has drifting snow on
several roads being kept open by snow
ploughs and gritter lorries.
Weather Forecast From Met Office
Tonight Snow showers continuing with
further blizzards and bitterly cold winds
expected. Minimum temperature -4 deg C (25
Outlook for Thursday - Fewer snow
showers giving way to sleet and rain.
MURKLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT GETS GO-AHEAD
FROM HIGHLAND COUNCILLORS
Members of The Highland Council’s Planning,
Development, Europe and Tourism Committee at
Council headquarters in Inverness today
upheld a decision made by the Caithness Area
Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism
Committee on 8 December 2003 to remove the
condition of agricultural occupancy on a
dwelling house which was earlier granted
planning permission with the agricultural
occupancy condition attached to it in
December 2002 by Caithness councillors.
Maternity Public Meeting
Cancelled Due To Weather Conditions
Due toe severity of
the weather conditions in Caithness the
meeting planned for tonight in the Assembly
Rooms, Wick has been cancelled until a later
ADVERSE WEATHER DISRUPTS SCHOOLING AND
TRAVEL FOR THURSDAY
Due to deteriorating weather conditions and
a concern for pupil safety, The Highland
Council's Education Culture and Sport
Service has decided there will be no school
transport operating tomorrow 29 January
2004 (Thursday) in Caithness, Sutherland
Sutherland and other counties
Most Caithness Schools Closed By
Due to deteriorating weather conditions
across Caithness and the north today most
schools had closed for the day by lunchtime.
Highland Council Deploys Entire Fleet To
Keep Roads Open
Drifting snow and icy patches affected
regional roads throughout the Highlands,
with poor visibility making travel
difficult. On the A9 in Caithness, the
Council responded to request from BEAR
Scotland to help keep the trunk road open.
The Council deployed its entire fleet of
140 gritters, 21 towable salt spreaders,
nine snowblowers and 62 pavement clearing
vehicles to treat roads and pavements and
clear them of snow.
of the old schools in Caithness right near
the boundary with Sutherland. The
school has been closed for many years but is
still used today as a private home saving it
from deteriorating into a ruin. This
was the most isolated primary school in the
county with no made up roads (Still the same
today) and only the railway station nearby.
Under 17 Caithness County Badminton
Championships of which there was an entry of
16 boys and 12 girls played on Wednesday
22nd January in Wick (boys singles and
doubles) and Thursday 23rd January (girls
singles, doubles & mixed) In Thurso
A number of schools in Caithness were
closed today due to snow. the schools
affected up to 10.00am were Bower,
Crossroads, Dunbeath , Keiss, Lybster,
Thrumster and Watten. Other schools
may close later in the day depending on
local weather conditions
Severe Weather Warning
AFFECTING Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City,
Angus, Fife, Perth and Kinross, Highlands,
The Western Isles, Orkney Isles, Shetland
Islands and Moray.
Snow showers will continue to affect many
parts of Northern Scotland today. The
showers will be heavy at times and giving
further accumulations of 5 to 10cm. In
addition, gale to severe gale northerly
winds will cause severe drifting of the
lying snow. There will be gusts to 70mph
over exposed parts of the Northern Isles,
the North Highlands and Aberdeenshire. This
will result in blizzard conditions. Driving
conditions will be very hazardous.
Issued by the Met Office, Aberdeen. Issued
on: Wednesday 28 January, 2004 at 07:56
Expires on: Wednesday 28 January, 2004 at
Winter Emergency Numbers -
This page can always be found via the
Helplines page in the community index
27th January 2004
A Fun Night Out For
“Women Only” - Rugby Come & Try Night
Wick High School Gym - Monday 2nd February
7pm - 8pm -
Thurso High School Gym - Monday 9th February
7pm - 8pm - You must be over 15yrs to attend
anyone tells you there are not many trees in
Caithness just ask them if they have been to
the forests at Strathmore. With
hundreds of thousands of trees the forest
stretches for many miles with plenty of
roads and walks and a nice one round Loch
views around Scotscalder and Loch Calder -
another of the larger lochs in the county.
Scotscalder Village Hall
picture was taken when we were out visiting
the Scotscalder area on Sunday
Question About Broadband Access At Scottish
Parliament On 21 January
BROADBAND: Nora Radcliffe (Gordon) (LD):
To ask the Scottish Executive what
percentage of households currently has
access to a broadband internet connection.
Mr Jim Wallace: Around 70% of Scottish
households can now access a broadband
Business Club Takes To Streets Of Wick To
Encourage Broadband Sign-ups
Members of the Caithness Business Club
will be out in the Market Square, Wick on
Saturday to encourage more folk to sing up
to show an interest in getting Broadband in
the Wick area. Currently there are 390
folk who have signed up and a further 110
are needed to reach the 500 trigger figure
for BT to have the local exchange upgraded.
Caithness Committee Of Highland Council
Full agendas and minutes are posted on the
Highland council web site once prepared.
Here are a few notes on the Caithness
Committee meeting from Monday 26 January.
This week's meeting covered a range of
topics from Castle Girnigoe, South School
wick Pedestrian Crossing, Help for a new web
site for Caithness Mental Health Support
Group, Assistance for Wick Players for their
new premises, A special extension of opening
for Thurso Caravan site during the Caithness
Country Music Festival, Transfer of land for
the new Women's Refuge, Replacement of
fitness equipment at Wick and Thurso
swimming pools in the next few weeks.
26th January 2004
Station is owned privately but trains still
stop there. Like many small Highland
stations there is no ticket office and
tickets are purchased once on board.
School joins our growing list of old schools
closed many years ago. Like many
others the school house is still used today
and here the old outside toilet blocks are
in good condition as the owners have
maintained the roofs.
JOINT WORKING AGREED OVER REVIEW OF SHIPPING
SAFETY IN MINCH
The Government has agreed to work in
partnership with The Highland Council and
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar over a review of
shipping safety in the Minches. The Councils
won this assurance at a meeting with
Shipping Minister, David Jamieson MP, in
London today (Monday) when they highlighted
their safety concerns and their misgivings
about the sinking and subsequent
unsuccessful salvage of the freighter, MV
Jambo, and its cargo last summer.
25th January 2004
COUNCIL SEEK TO WIDEN ELIGIBILITY FOR SCHOOL
The Highland Council is to urge the
Scottish Executive to modernise outdated
legislation surrounding school transport to
significantly increase the number of pupils
qualifying for free travel to and from
school. Members of the Education
Culture and Sport Committee want the
Executive to change the rules governing
eligibility so that children under eight
years qualify if they live one mile or more
from school and children 8 years and over
qualify if the live two miles or more from
school. The current thresholds are two miles
and three miles respectively.
HIGHLAND COUNCIL HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE STAY ON
A new scheme aimed at encouraging young
people from low-income households to remain
in full-time education between the ages of
16 to 19 will be introduced into Highland
Schools from August 2004 and is expected to
be fully operational by 2006. Funded by the
Scottish Executive, the new 'Education
Maintenance Allowances' will be administered
by The Highland Council's Education, Culture
and Sport Service and will replace the
existing system of Higher School Bursaries.
DECOMMISSIONING ENTERPRISE CAN SUSTAIN
GROWTH IN RENEWABLES
Iain Todd, Director of Oil and Gas Industry
Development at the Department of Trade and
Industry, visited UKAEA Dounreay where he
met senior staff to discuss how the
decommissioning skills being developed at
Dounreay could be used to support other
sectors. Accompanied by Carol Gunn of the
HIE decommissioning task force, Mr Todd was
keen to learn how the skills and experience
could be used to support the Government's
long-term renewable energy policies
Maternity Public Meeting - Assembly Rooms
Wednesday 28 January 7.30pm
The Friends of Caithness General who have
been spear heading the campaign to preserve
Consultant led maternity services. Rather
than wait for the next turn of events they
are now to set up an action group to include
other sectors of the community. Everyone is
invited to contribute their ideas as to how
this can be carried forward.
Thurso FC Triumph
Thurso won their PCT Cup semi-final 5-0 on
Saturday afternoon with goals in the first
half by Brian Gray (pen), Jamie MacKenzie,
Allan Sutherland, followed by two more in
the second half from Nigel MacKenzie and
Phil Makhouli. Ross Sutherland
was awarded man of the match and received a
bottle of champagne by matchball sponsor
Steve Webster of BT Global Services in
Thurso (picture to follow). Thurso now play
Balintore in The final at Dudgeon Park in
Brora on Saturday the 21st of February.
Next match for Thurso is a tough away trip
to Alness United this Saturday afternoon.
lodge dates from around 1895 and once
belonged to the Sinclair family. The house
was built some twenty years after the nearby
Altnabreac Station where the building
materials were transported to as there were
no suitable roads. The house was for while a
hotel but this closed in 1975 and the house
reverted to a private residence.
AEA Batteries On Mars The Best By Millions
As science enthusiasts celebrate the initial
success of Mars Express's mission,
scientists at AEA Battery Systems are also
celebrating their role in the mission... the
power behind the science. As European space
science takes a great leap forward with the
broadcasting today of the first video
sequence featuring famous Martian landmarks
and other initial results of the Mars
Express orbiter's mission, British
scientists from AEA Battery Systems, who
provide the power to the Mars Express, are
among many raising their hopes of
discovering the lost Beagle 2 Lander.
24th January 2004
Continuing The Sutherland Collection
two birds take us back into the Sutherland
Photo Collection with a mix of birds of prey
and more views of that part of the county
Junction the place where the trains from the
south have traditionally split for
Wick or Thurso. The name comes from
the old fair held on St George's Day.
In recent years the junction has had a new
lease of life with trains being used to
deliver for Safeways, Norfrost and road
Last Week To Sign Broadband Petition At
Caithness Calm And Stormy
last few pictures of this set of from the
biodiversity collection show some contrasts
in Caithness weather and another one
of a deer in the snow.
From Colourful Birds To Fighting Deer
on from more fantastic bird shots are a few
of other animals including deer and one
superb picture of deer fighting.
Caithness has like many parts of the
Highlands a large deer population but you
often need to go out into the hillls and
moors to see them. Herds of smaller
Roe Deer may be seen at many forest sites
and the Red and Sika deer nearer the slopes
of higher ground.
More Birds In the Biodiversity Set
the huge variety of habitats in Caithness
from coastal and cliffs to inland meadows
and bogland there is a great deal to see for
anyone interested in nature. From the
static population to migrating populations
and many one off visitors taking a rest on
their journeys north and south.
More Fungi In The Biodivestiy Collection
is a wide variety of fungi in Caithness and
if you are interested in this the Rangers
have walks from time to time going out
especially to look at this aspect of the
county. Just watch out for their
TIREE AND PORT CHARLOTTE HIT BROADBAND
People living on the Island of Tiree and in
Port Charlotte on Islay are celebrating
reaching their BT set trigger levels for
Broadband. Locals in both communities
have carried out a rigorous campaign to
ensure the magic number of 100 registrations
was reached. In less than three weeks, both
exchanges went from having amongst the
lowest level of registrations across Argyll
to leading the field.
If Tiree can do it can Wick?
Signing up now is probably the biggest thing
Wickers can do for the area right now to
ensure the town gets on the Broadband map.
Patriotic Pulteneytown Family From World War
latest item sent to us by Maureen Materi in
Canada is this article in her continuing
quest into the Miller family from the John
O'Groat Journal Friday 7th April 1916.
It shows men all relatives of one couple in
Wellington Street, Wick - sons and
sons-in-law. anyone watching a series
on BBC 2 television at the moment called
"Scotland's Empire" may see in this family
history in part just how widespread Scots
became and yet retained massive connections
back home like this Miller family from
NORTHERN CONSTABULARY WITH GRAMPIAN POLICE
IN MAJOR SHETLAND DRUGS SWOOP
A JOINT Police operation in Shetland has
resulted in the seizure of controlled drugs
with a street value of £25,000. Around 25
officers, mainly from Northern Constabulary
but including officers from Grampian, took
part in the raids which all came under the
banner of Operation Lapel. Also used during
the searches were drug detection dogs from
the Shetland-based charity Dogs Against
Drugs. Large quantities of Heroin, Ecstasy
tablets and Cannabis resin were recovered
from various addresses in Lerwick at the end
of a lengthy operation which spanned several
23rd January 2004
More Caithness Biodiversity Photographs - Set Nine
begin this last set in this series of pictures. So successful
have the pictures been that some folk have been in touch wishing to
contribute their own pictures. We will shortly set up an
additional section for anyone who wants to add to the Biodiversity
Collection as we cover ever more of what is to be found in
LOCAL MAN KEVIN IMLACH
KEEPS TRADITIONAL SKILLS GOING IN CAITHNESS
businessman Kevin Imlach (23) has drawn on the assistance available
in his area from a Royal source to help develop his business as
fencer and drystane dyker. The Prince's Scottish Youth Business
Trust (PSYBT) gave help at the outset of Kevin's enterprise at the
end of last year with a funding package of £2000 as well as
professional business support to guide the transition to self
employment. Mr Imlach said; "It has been a long process in getting
my business off the ground but making contact with the PSYBT has
been invaluable with their understanding of my circumstances and
Thurso F C Tackle Golspie On Saturday
Saturday afternoon Thurso F.C have the chance to take part in their
second cup final of the season when they play Golspie in The PCT Cup
Semi-Final at The Dammies (1.30 p.m kick-off). If they win they will
play Balintore in The Final on February 7th, probably at Golspie.
This match will be sponsored by BT Global Services in Thurso -
http://www.btglobalservices.com/en/global/ and Senior BT
operations Manager Steve Webster will be in attendance to present
the man of the match prize.
22nd January 2004
Dawn Breaking Over Dunnet
Draper has sent us this picture of dawn breaking over Dunnet last
week proving that Caithness can be beautiful at any time of the year
even if you have to be up early to see some of it. Later this
year a few more folk may see it in Dunnet when the Caithness Walking
Festival gets going based at Dunnet. Plans are well underway
for many activities during the week of the festival. You can
keep up to date with it at the
Walking Festival web site and find the link in our Walking Pages
and the What's On
Highlands & Islands Could Be
At Forefront Of New Arts Movement Says Rob Gibson MSP
Highlands and Islands could be at the forefront of a new arts
movement’ according to Highlands and Islands MSP Rob Gibson.
The SNP MSP comments come in the wake of a system 3 poll carried out
by The Herald newspaper that shows that 31% of the people believe
that Scottish Traditional Music should receive more funding than any
other type of performing art in Scotland excluding the theatre.
Mr Gibson (who ran the Highland Traditional Music Festival in
Dingwall for 20 years) said - "This poll is a real fillip to the
Highlands and Islands as it supports what we’ve been doing
NEW TREATMENT PLANT IS GOOD
NEWS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY
standards of environmental protection and lower levels of
radioactive emissions mean the clean-up of Dounreay is being carried
out with minimal impact on the environment. So said Dipesh Shah,
chief executive of UKAEA, when he officially opened a £7.5 million
plant that is setting new standards for the control and disposal of
low-level effluent from the decommissioning of Britain's fast
reactor experiment. The Low Level Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant,
which took three years to build, is an important part of UKAEA's
strategy to clean up effluent
South School, Wick - January Newsletter
Lots of information and updates for south school folk.
Passenger Figures Rise to Over 700,000
More than 700,000 passengers flew via airports in the North of
Scotland in the past nine months. Figures for the third quarter of
2003/04 issued by Highlands and Islands Airports today (22nd January
04) show that 726,751 travellers used the company’s 10 airports in
the nine months to end of December. This is an increase of more than
50,000 passengers on the previous year’s running total.
Particle Number 47 Found
At Sandside Beach
married DEIDRE STEVEN, of Miller Avenue Wick, daughter of former
Convenor of Caithness Area Committee John Rosie and KEVIN MACKAY of
Muirfield Road, Brora. They were married and had a reception
at Ackergill Tower
DELEGATION TO MEET
Senior representatives of The Highland Council and Comhairle nan
Eilean Siar are to meet Shipping Minster, David Jamieson, in London
on Monday to explore options for safety measures to be brought in to
regulate the transportation of hazardous cargo through the Minches.
The Councils will highlight their misgivings about the sinking and
subsequent unsuccessful salvage of the freighter, MV Jambo, and its
cargo last summer and speak more generally about the need for
measures to minimise the risk of accidents in the stretch of water
which separates the two council areas.
21st January 2004
And Local People Asked To Look Out For Rare Underwater Plant
inshore fishermen and local people from West Sutherland and North
West Ross are being asked to report sightings of a rare underwater
plant. Common Eelgrass, (Zostera marina) is a species of seagrass
with leaves that are said to look like green eels when they move
with the current of the sea. It is the subject of a survey being
carried out this year by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to find out
where it occurs around the north coast. Common eelgrass likes a
sheltered sand or mud substrate to grow in and does not like to grow
deeper than 10m. There are three different species of eelgrass in
the UK and all are considered scarce. It is an important species for
the biodiversity of Scotland's marine environment by providing
shelter for flatfish and, in some areas, for cephalopods such as
squid and octopus.
UKAEA Support For Salvation
Army White Water Rafting Event
has recently donated money to the Salvation Army in support of their
highly successful sponsored white water rafting fund-raising event
that was held in John O'Groats last year. Margaret Shortreed,
Salvation Army Songster Leader, said 'We are very grateful to all
the organisations who have contributed towards the white water
rafting and to Dounreay for their additional donation and also to
the Dounreay Firefighters who took part. The monies raised will
assist with the wide variety of ongoing work of the Salvation Army
within the local community in the Thurso area'.
Starve The Cameras Campaign
Here is an interesting twist at this web site to reduced the number
of speeding fines in February. Aimed at drawing what they see
as attention to taking cash from motorists rather that just slowing
drivers down. Are speed cameras aimed at raising cash from 3
million fines. Take a look and you decide and er slow down
anyway - it makes sense.
20th January 2004
Reaches 376 Sign Ups For Broadband Today
the number of folk signed up for Broadband has gone up but only very
slowly in recent weeks. Another 124 folk in the Wick area are
required to hit the magic 500 trigger figure to have the exchange
upgraded to allow Broadband to be enabled. Thurso has already
been switched on having passed the trigger figure a few weeks ago.
It is unfortunate that Wick has the same trigger figure but there is
little that can be done about that other than everyone who has
singed up already tries to make sure anyone else using the Internet
signs up to express and interest (It is not a commitment)
Remember any business people can sign up at the office and at home
if you have a different telephone number.
Rob Gibson MSP
Retains Stance On GM Crops
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has voiced his
support for SNP MP Mike Weir’s early day motion in the House of
Commons urging caution on Genetically Modified Crops. The motion was
introduced following findings from the United States Department of
Agriculture that showed that some GM crops which were supposedly
herbicide resistant actually required greater use of herbicides in
ARCHIVE INVESTMENT PRESERVES
DOUNREAY'S PIONEERING HISTORY
of the most important collections in the history of nuclear energy
has been preserved for future generations after a £400,000
investment in a new archive facility at Dounreay. The archive is
home to some 10 million pages of paper records contained in 21,000
boxes that would stretch for three kilometres if laid end to end.
The records chart the history of Dounreay from its earliest
construction through the pioneering days of research and development
of Britain's fast reactor experiment to the modern-day
decommissioning of the site.
19th January 2004
Charity Triples - Bowlers
Competitors Raise £585 for Crossroads Care
Town & County Bowls Club held its annual Billy Bain Memorial Charity
Triples Competition on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th January, which
is sponsored by UKAEA. There were a total of 28 teams entered with
each team being made up with members from different clubs around the
county. The total raised over the weekend for Crossroads Care was
Seasonal Rise In December
Overall, the number of people unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland
rose from 738 last month to 839. The revised unemployment rates in the
Sutherland, Wick and Thurso 'Travel to Work Areas' respectively are as
follows: 4.9% (3.9%), 3.8% (3.6%) and 2.6% (2.4%).
Hotel, Wick To Upgrade To Four Star
Mackay’s Hotel, Wick has been awarded assistance by Caithness and
Sutherland Enterprise of up to £85,500
towards the costs of upgrading the hotel to achieve a 4 Star grading.
Also assisted under the Finace For Business programme were D & A Reid is to receive up to
£5,475 to contribute towards the cost of purchasing specialist packaging
equipment for their bakery business, while Rogart Vets has been awarded
assistance of up to £1,900 towards the purchase of specialised
scanning equipment. Also assisted was Wick Golf Club, who
received approval of up to £11,000 towards the costs of a new
maintenance and storage building,
Assistance Grants From CASE
Pulteneytown People’s Project (PPP) has received approval of £5,663
towards the establishment and running of a Breakfast Club and After School
Club based at the South School. The environmental body Plantlife
Scotland manages a reserve at Munsary in Caithness. Assistance of £707
will enable the body’s local management group to undertake a full site
access plan for visitors.
Plantlife Scotland also received £2,119 under Community Economic
Development for its access plan. Clan Sinclair Trust are to receive
£2,056 towards their work on a business plan for the re-development of the
Castle Girnigoe complex at Noss Head, Wick.
Creative Glass To Offer Student Accommodation
The internationally-acclaimed North
Lands Creative Glass glass studio in Lybster is to receive £12,246 towards
converting the former school-house, which is attached to its studio
complex, into an accommodation unit for glass students and tutors.
ROAD CLOSURES - SUTHERLAND AREA
Please note the following roads are closed due to flooding.
Diversions are in place and roads will reopen when safe to do so.
A837 Invershin to Rosehall - flooded at Linsidemore - U224 Strath
Oykel - flooded at the Oykel Bailey Bridge C6 Brora to Rogart
Rangers Winter Programme February - April 2004
A variety of walks and activities in the countryside of Caithness to get
you out and about. Apart from some interesting Walks the programme
also include Bird Watching suitable beginners on the Wick and Thurso
rivers and Star Watching with an astrologer
18th January 2004
Achreamie School - Around
Gibson has sent in this picture of her class at Achreamie school near
Dounreay. This is the first class photograph we have been sent of
Achreamie so if anyone would like to add a few more then get in touch.
St Johns Loch
a meeting of the Executive held on Wednesday 14th January the Committee
took the opportunity to make an award to its longest serving member. Jim
Calder joined the Association in 1968 and he has been a Committee member
for over 25 years with particular responsibility for the harbour area. He
is to retire effectively from the date of our February AGM. To mark the
occasion and honour his contribution to the Association, he was presented
with a decanter and six glasses.
17th January 2004
Fur And Feather Show - Another Successful Day
was a good entry at the Fur and Feather Show in Wick on Saturday.
there were over 200 entries in the Pigeon sections alone. Plenty of
colour in the other caged birds sections and an interesting budgie half
green and half blue.
Caithness Whispers - Items Mentioning
Caithness Found On The Web
We get masses of information flowing into the web site and could not
possible put all of it up on our pages. However we thought you might
be interested in some of the constant chatter on all sorts of topics where
Caithness is mentioned. In Caithness Whi8spers we will
add links to a little of what comes our way that you might find
interesting or amusing.
16th January 2004
Telford Street, Wick - Details Being Added
Highland Coaching Conference 27 & 28 February
Gael Force Ten have organised this conference which is split into
sections so you can choose to attend parts or all of the days. Full
details are in the brochure that can be downloaded from their temporary
web page. If you are involved or interested in coaching take a look
at what is on offer.
E-petition At Scottish Parliament For Broadband
Alan Kennedy has raised an e-petition on the
Scottish Parliament web site. If you agree that the whole of
Scotland should get Broadband then get on over and sign it.
Club - Make Or Break Game On Saturday At Alness
Thurso F.C's next game is an important away trip to Alness United this
Saturday in an afternoon which will go a long way to deciding the way the
title goes because along with Alness (3rd) V Thurso, there will also be
Balintore (2nd) V Golspie Sutherland (1st).
Vanishing Point - Studies Of Sea And Sky
Artist Monique Sliedrecht who has lived at Freswick for the past couple of
years is mounting another exhibition - this time in Wick. The
exhibition will be in Bridge Street church, Wick and opens tonight 7.00 -
9.00pm. It will then run for two days on Saturday and Monday
10.00am - 5.30pm
Health Motion - Debate In Scottish Parliament - Thursday 15 January 5.10pm
The Scottish Parliament debated a motion concerning health services in the
West Highlands and Caithness was mentioned in the course of the debate due
to the similar issues involved. The full transcript of the debate is
reproduced here for anyone interested in reading what was said by the
15th January 2004
News Site to Look At
Setting Up Scottish Section After Caithness.org Contact
Topix.net is a news web site with thousands of newfeeds and is in Beta
at the moment. We had a quick look today and noticed there was no
listing for Scotland in the listings. We got in touch and they have
already agreed to look at putting one in for Scotland once they get to
grips with everything following the testing of the new site. All you
newshounds might want to add it to your favourites to see how it develops.
We are adding a few links in our news feeds sections.
Some Great Views Wind Up Section Eight
is often the case some of the best are last and we wind up the latest
section of the biodiversity collection with great pictures of farm views
and the last page with views of and from the highest points in the county.
If you have never been to the top of Morven or the surrounding hills then
it is well worth the effort especially on days like these pictures were
taken. If anyone intends to tackle these area remember they are
remote even in Caithness and take the correct gear for cold weather no
matter when you go.
COUNCIL TAX COLLECTION
IMPROVEMENT IN HIGHLAND
For the seventh year in a row The Highland Council has achieved continuous
improvement in its In-Year Collection Rate for Council Tax. In 2002/2003,
the Council collected 92.6%, or £62.4 million. This was above the Scottish
average of 91.5%. For all years from 1996 to 2003, the Council has
achieved an overall collection rate so far of 95.1%. The Scottish average
14th January 2004
More Old Caithness Postcards
postcards showing Caithness nearly a hundred years ago from Maureen
Materi's collection in Canada.
English Postcards Section Begins
postcards all have one thing in common - they are all connected with
the Miller family many of whom left Caithness to live in Canada. The
family members travelled a great deal and sent many postcards back and
forth. More yet to come of Caithness, Canada, England.
Drama Groups Gearing Up For Festivals
The SCDA Caithness District Festival will be held on 27 and 28 February
2004 at 7.30 pm. Each evening there will be one play produced by
Thurso Players and one by Wick Players. The Youth Festival will be
held on 8 March 2004 at 7 pm. The 2 plays will be produced by 2 Junior
members of Thurso Players. Tickets can again be bought from Poltney News
and McBeaths the Jewellers.
The Colours Of Caithness
county of Caithness can be very colourful at different times of the year
and certainly these next few pictures show that to good effect.
Latest Listing Of Wind Farms
Developments In Highland
Several changes have taken place since the last list was posted in July
2003. There have been some refusals of planning permission and new schemes
coming forward. Although this section has not covered the topic in detail
it may be well to point out that in addition to wind power there are
several new hydro schemes already approved and more at various stages.
None of these are in Caithness and only one is in Assynt, Sutherland
13th January 2004
Mainly Plants In Next Biodiversity Set
are awaiting the titles for the pictures and will add these as soon as
they come in. Meantime work goes on to complete the collection.
New Emergency Dental
Service for Caithness
NHS Highland’s has secured approval from the Scottish Executive's Health
Department for its proposals to establish a Caithness Emergency Dental
Service. A spokesman said today: “We are delighted that
the Scottish Executive has agreed to this proposal. The Caithness
Emergency Dental Service (EDS) will be operational by the 26th January
2004. It will have the capacity for a total of 12 patients per day from
Mondays to Fridays. This service will be provided by a dentist in Thurso
and a dentist in Wick.
A Skirza Garden Starts This Page
quick tour of the county and the seasons in this next selection of
Caithness pictures continuing the Caithness biodiversity Collection.
Minister Jack McConnell To Answer Questions From The Public Live Online
The First Minister
will be answering questions live online between 1pm and 2pm on Wednesday,
January 14. Questions can be posted at anytime from 8am on
Wednesday morning until the end of the interview at 2pm. Questions and answers may appear on the Scottish Executive web site
after the session is finished. This is s one off but may be
Scroll down the page at the Questions and answer page to see what
questions were asked on 14 January.
Caithness Birdlife Show Continues In the Biodiversity Collection
section really is beginning to show the amazing wildlife all around us in
Caithness. This section will be the largest yet in the collection
and with 90 pictures we are not even half way.
Nuclear Dumping Question
Gets Politicians Going
An article in the Northern Times last week has sparked a round of argument
and comment amongst politicians at national and local level, Comments by
John Thurso alluding to Greenpeace activist as scare-mongering have now
brought comment from MSP Rob Gibson and a reiteration of SNP policy.
Getting in on the act are Jamie Stone and local councillor for Golspie &
Rogart Ian Ross as questions again arise about sites proposed in the
1970's at Strathy, Altnabreac, the Ben Armine area, Rogart, Shin Forest,
Scourie, and Loch Laxford to Enard Bay.
12th January 2004
More Caithness Weather Pictures
continue to flow in from the recent cold snap in Caithness. A few
more have been sent in by Phil Rawlins who has even more on his own web
site linked from the pictures shown here.
Kempton has sent in a few views of Sutherland to add to our growing
The View From Above As Lybster Takes Down The Christmas Decorations
Bowman has sent in a few pictures taken from the platform used to help
take down the Christmas decorations in Main Street, Lybster on Sunday.
Scottish Socialists Call For Councillors To Resign From Health Posts
The Scottish Socialist Party is calling on Highland councillors to follow
the example of council Convenor Alison Magee and resign their consultative
positions on the Health Trusts Quangos, and begin the process to
democratise the new unitary authority. These include David Alston
(Black Isle North) and Garry Coutts (Beauly & Strathglass)
Councillor Gary Coutts has commented on the different positions of himself
and Councillor David Alston compared to the convenor Alison Magee.
11th January 2004
Thrumster 1947 - 48
Menzies nee Bremner who is in the photograph has sent in a list of
almost all the names. The photograph was sent in by Gordon
Miller in Vancouver a few weeks ago.
More Birds In This Section Of Pictures
has a great diversity of bird-life as the Biodiversity Collection is
beginning to show so well. with many different habitats inland
and on the coast as well as being a stop-over for many migrating
birds the county plays host several rare birds as well as large
colonies of many more common seabirds. Many more to
Highland Council Convenor Resigns From Highland Acute Hospitals NHS
Magee convenor of Highland council has resigned from the post she
also held on the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Mrs Magee
said that in view of the council stance on retaining services in the
Highlands and the current reviews into services such as Maternity
going on there was a potential conflict of interests.
Mrs Magee has been widely praised for her decision in advance of
Professor Calder and his team publishing the report into Maternity
services. Meantime more people are continuing to write letters
supporting the retention of consultant led services around the
Poetry And Music Afternoon Sees New Band "Harvest"
Review the local Caithness literary group held an afternoon of
poetry and music on Saturday in Wick featuring Orkney poet Fiona
MacInnes and a new band "Harvest". Supporting performers included poetry from George Gunn
director of Grey Coast Theatre, Johnny MacLeod, poet, Tom Bryan and
More Wild Places From The Biodiversity Collection
10th January 2004
Dolphins And Whales In The Biodiversity Collection
CALLS FOR VIKING HOUSING INVASION
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has warned the
Scottish Executive that Highlanders who can’t find suitable housing
may be forced to leave the area. Speaking in the debate on
improving Scotland’s housing in Parliament on Thursday 8th January
Mr Gibson said - “In the Highlands affordable, warm and available
housing can make the difference between families and single persons
staying to contribute to community life and our local economy or
9th January 2004
Norlin Playgroup Sends Thanks After Successful Bag Packing
Norlin Playgroup secretary sends thank to all the contributors to
their hgihgly successful bag packing Christmas Fundraiser. The
group bag-packed in the Wick Co-op on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th
December, we are delighted to announce that raised a whopping
£454.64. Julia Budge, Secretary sends sincere thanks to all the
Staff and Customers of the Co-op.
Want To Know How To Build A Peat Stack? Well Check this Out
Compliments of our friends in the Western Isles
Land and Sea - Man And Nature - Biodiversity Collection
plants, birds and animals with a couple of shots of water sports and
a wind turbine showing one of the changes that is happening in the
New Volunteering Opportunities FREE ADS Section
Here is a way for all voluntary groups to let potential volunteers
find out about opportunities for voluntary work in Caithness.
Any group can place ads in the new section and its FREE. Any
group interested can contact us to be set up to post ads in the new
section. Once set up a group can post ads for as many ads for
vacancies or opportunities for volunteers as required anytime.
Ads will remain in the section for 30 days when they will
automatically disappear or they can be renewed by the group adding
something to the ad to make it remain for another 30 days or it can
be removed anytime.
Economics of Renewable Energy
A report by IPA Energy Consulting, in association with Brodies, has
been commissioned by Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and The Highland
Council, to provide the two councils with an economic evaluation of
a range of alternative renewable energy developments – onshore wind,
offshore wind, hydro electric and wave/tidal technologies. It is
designed to provide the councils with an understanding of the
potential financial value of such projects
Commission Turns Down Wind Farm Developer
Charles Sutherland has had an application to decroft land at
Shebster turned down by the Crofters Commission. Mr Sutherland
who runs a garage business in Reay wants to build 25 wind-turbines
on rough land.
GAELIC WILL BOOST LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
Gaelic plays a central role in creating the special identify of the
Highland area but for the language and culture to prosper Gaelic
must be given legal status on a par with English and must be
This is the view of The Highland Council, who welcome the Scottish
Executive's consultation on the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill. In
its response to the consultation, the Council states: "Gaelic - one
of the world's most ancient languages - should be recognised in
statute as a national and official language of Scotland.
Annual General Meeting = TUESDAY 13TH JANUARY, 7.30PM AT QUEENS
you enjoy the outdoors & have a spare hour or two? Join
the CCV & take part in environmental projects around Caithness.
From habitat enhancement schemes to improving countryside
facilities - there may be something which interests you.
To find out what the group is about, why not come along to our
friendly & informal meeting? Everyone Welcome
Any Caithness Groups Got Projects Ready To
COMMUNITY FUND - EASIER, QUICKER ACCESS TO
LOTTERY FUNDS IN SCOTLAND PILOT!
Potential applicants in Scotland can take part in a pilot
scheme to shorten assessment times, boost success rates and
reduce disappointment. Applicants (for the moment in Scotland
only) are asked to send in a short Outline proposal form giving
us some information about the project they would like us to
8th January 2004
SUBMARINE BERTHS IN LOCH EWE AND BROADFORD BAY
Two public meetings are being held later this month in the Highlands
to explain the health and safety reasons for the decision to
pre-distribute stable iodine tablets to occupied premises within a two
kilometre radius of the Ministry of Defence nuclear submarine moorings in
Loch Ewe, West Ross, and Broadford Bay, Skye. The pre-distribution of
tablets has already been introduced near the nuclear establishment RNTE
Vulcan on the Dounreay site in Caithness.
Life - Can You Spare Two Hours
is just around the corner and with it brings the golden bloom of daffodils
and the annual Marie Curie Cancer Care Daffodil Campaign!. Marie Curie
Cancer Care has over 80 nurses providing care for patients who are
seriously ill with cancer, enabling them the ability to remain in the
comfort and familiarity of their own home. These specialist nurses also
offer invaluable practical and emotional support to the patient’s family.
More Pictures Showing Caithness In The Wild
The range and diversity of places,
plants and wildlife is beginning to be seen
in all its glory as we continue with this
biodiversity tour which will ultimately we
think be one of the largest single photo
collections on Caithness on the net.
Still a long way to go before all of the
photographs have been added.
7th January 2004
Level 1 Coaching Award
This course is for the beginner basketball
coach that is looking to develop their
coaching skills. Sat/Sun 17th & 18th
January 2004 - Wick High School.
TOMORROWS HOUSE TODAY
On Friday 30th January, at the Portland Arms
Hotel, Lybster, Caithness, from 9.00am until
4.00pm The Local Economic forum for
Caithness and Sutherland has identified the
lack of available good quality affordable
housing as a major constraint to
development. To help remedy this problem
members of the Forum decided to organise a
Seminar for the wider Community to consider
options. All interested parties,
whether community housing association or
groups, professional architects, builders or
private developers as well as those with an
interest in the latest low cost technologies
for energy efficient housing for their own
use, are invited to this Seminar with
national and international speakers.
6th January 2004
Boats And Birds In the Biodiversity
is certainly being shown in this amazing
collection of photographs. Check
this male Hen Harrier flying back home with
his latest catch. And where could you
find a better backdrop to try your fishing
skills in some of the best lochs in
Biodiversity Collection Continues
set of pictures begins. This batch
from Ken Crossan have some superb pictures
showing fine details of plants and insects
Look really closely at the camouflage of the
Brindled Beauty Larva. More soon.
Selling Property In 2004? - Then Get your Ad
On Our Pages - Still Only £20 - No
Wherever else you advertise your property we
think our ads are amongst the best value you
can get. With a one time payment of
£20 for the ad and one photograph or £25 for
up to four photos your ad will stay on as
long as it takes to sell the property and no
DRINK DRIVE RISE DUE TO PUBLIC CONTACT
Northern Constabulary's festive drink drive
figures are up on last years figures by 50%,
however positive public feedback is the
reason for the rise. Last year
271 people were breathalysed with 62 people
positive however of the 349 people
breathalysed this year, 95 people proved to
be over the limit. The figures show
that male drivers are still the highest with
86 men detected drinking and driving
compared with last year's figure of 55 men
being caught. Nine women have been
detected during the 3 week campaign compared
to 7 females in 2002/3.
Benefit Leaflet - Will Your Community
Benefit From Alternative Energy?
Highland council has produce a new leaflet
packed with information on how communities
might benefit from alternative energy
schemes in their area. The
leaflet has explanations about potential
schemes and how they might operate as well
as lots of useful information and contacts
on the topic. the link to the leaflet
is in out wind farm section.
A new section drawing together the many
aspects of sport, culture and leisure
activities organised by Highland Council in
Caithness and Sutherland. Over coming
months events and activities set up by the
department will be linked via this section.
Main contact telephone numbers are already
entered on the index page. The first
announcement is for the Neil Gunn Writing
Competition 2004 below.
Writing Competition 2004
A writing competition with money prizes has
been announced by Education Culture and Sport department of Highland
Council. Arts Officer Tom Bryan will co-ordinate the competition and
all entries should be sent to him by post or email. Potential
entrants should read the rules carefully. Primary and Secondary
school children from Highland only may enter. Adults resident
anywhere in Scotland of any nationality are eligible to enter and they may
be in Scotland residing , studying or working.
A High Life
Card - Gets You Fit and Saves You Money
2004 is here and you may be thinking about getting fit - again!!
Exercise can be fun and with a High Life card you can get access to all of
the Highland council Swimming Pools, Fitness Rooms and more.
For individuals and families there are great savings to be made on normal
entrance charges. So have some fun and get back to fitness with a
swim or workout at your own pace.
Around Lybster Harbour In The Snow
Taylor has sent in these pictures from Lybster Harbour. The
one of Reisgill burn contrasts vividly with the one we put on a few days
ago from the Caithness Biodiversity Collection taken in the summer.
Compare the snowy one with the picture by
And Over In Thurso
it was cold all over and these pictures from Lorna Mascall prove that
Thurso did not miss out on the snow. Not quite finished yet with the
snowy scenes and Lybster Harbour will be next.
Banniskirk - Spectacular In The Recent Cold Weather
Clark has sent in this picture taken in the recent cold weather that hit
Caithness and the Highlands.
Buying Cars - Could Not Be Easier In 2004
Whether you are buying or selling cars in the north it is easy on our
message board and best of all it's still FREE in 2004.
Young Culture Vultures Encouraged
To Enter Website Competition
Primary 4 to 7 children in the Highland Council area are being invited
by Highland Libraries to take part in the Am Baile Children's Competition.
The competition consists of 10 questions and has been designed to
encourage children to find out more about the Scottish Highlands and
Islands and what has gone on in its past. All the answers can be found in
the Am Baile website which can be accessed at
www.ambaile.org.uk, and up to 18 lucky winners will receive a £10 book
Final Tribute For Alex Steven
final tribute was paid to Alex Steven whose
funeral took place in Wick on Saturday 3
January. Some of the trucks from the
firm D Steven and son were lined up at Wick
harbour for the funeral procession which
went via the harbour where Mr Steven had
operated the firm his father had started for
many years. The business has
been run by his sons for several years.
Broadband Numbers Still Increasing
Will more areas in
Caithness reach the trigger figures for
Broadband in 2004? By 23 December
Wick stood at 368 showing that there are
still folk deciding to register their
interest. Perhaps new computer
owners will also add their names shortly
to the growing list.
3rd January 2004
What's On In 2004
There are already over 130 events
entered in the Caithness.org what's On
for 2004. Wick Gala, talks, walks,
musical dates and much more. If
you are running a n event in Caithness
why not get it advertised a long time in
advance to ensure everyone knows about
and make sure it is a success. Not
only can you benefit from advertising
for months on end but your event will
automatically hit our front page at
midnight on the day as a final reminder
to everyone in case they forgot.
We are expecting 2004 to have double the
number of events entered as it is so
easy and best of all it is still FREE.
Get your Caithness event in soon and let
everyone know about it.
Morven And Scaraben From Watten
picture for our recent snow gallery.
This one from Shona Brown looking over
to Morven and the Scarabens from the top
of Watten just round the corner from the
cemetery. Although 30th
December was a snowy day the following
days were extremely cold with
temperatures very low including Halkirk
where reports suggest minus 11°C