Another First Timer In Luck With The Salmon On Wick River
This is another "first" This time the lucky angler is Dr Borja Echavarren from Lybster. He landed this 7 1/2 lbs springer from the Tarroul Pool at Watten. This is his first Salmon on the Wick.  When not away fishing he can some times be seen at the Caithness General Hospital.  Looks like all you anglers should be heading for Caithness pretty quick before these guys catch them all.
Fishing Pages

Figures published by the Scottish Executive today show that Highland has done better than average in reducing the numbers of delayed discharges. The reduction in Highland is 20% compared to a national reduction of 14.5%.  Jan Baird, Director of Community Care for NHS Highland, said: "We have achieved our target of reducing the numbers of delayed discharges by 20% since the same time last year. However, we are not complacent. Our ambition is to eradicate it completely. Delayed discharges are a difficult area, which we are continuing to actively address. We are following an action plan that has been developed over the last few years. Our current focus is on the length of delay which, for individual patients, is the most important thing. We are working closely with colleagues in The Highland Council. "
According to the latest figures published today by the Scottish Executive:
The total number people in Highland waiting to be discharged from hospital fell by 20 per cent from 90 in January 2004 to 72 in January 2005  The total number of people in Scotland waiting to be discharged from hospital fell by 14.5 per cent from 2088 in January 2004 to 1785 in January 2005.
Patients Ready For Discharge In NHS Scotland - January 2005 Census - Pdf file

A piece of sandstone emitting low-level radioactivity was detected during monitoring of the beach at Dunnet today. The stone was removed from the beach and taken to Dounreay for laboratory analysis. The radioactivity will be measured overnight in the laboratory to identify its nature.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and other interested parties have been informed. Monitoring of the beach is continuing.

Coghill Street, Wick - As Town Expands Out Along Broadhaven Road

A Beautiful Spring Day At Staxigoe
The weather was breezy and the temperature low.  But the air was certainly bracing and if you kept on the move well worth a walk round Staxigoe.  The daffodils are once again out in the gardens and out along the farm road.  The waves were breaking and crashing into the rocks.  The new house where once one of the old barns stood is beginning to look established.  The last of the three old barns still stands but who knows for how much longer. The famous Pole used by sailors making for Staxigoe looks fresh and someone has kindly added small barometer.  Staxigoe Pages

More Waste Water Works - New Pumping Station At Papigoe To Replace Septic Tanks
The two septic tanks in the village of Papigoe are being got rid of and replaced with new pumping stations to take waste water round to the new Waste Water works at North Head, Wick.  the outfall from the septic tanks has always drained into the sea but shortly this will stop.  M M Miller Ltd, Wick have the contract from Scottish Water to carry out the work.

Over 500 Web Sites Now In Caithness
We cannot be sure of the exact number of web sites in Caithness but we now have links to over 500 of them in our Business Index web sites listing and Caithness sites for the non-business sites.  Make sure your business web site is listed with us as soon as you get one to help visitors find it.  Hotels and Bed and Breakfast businesses especially should ensure they are listed as more and more of their customers are finding the businesses via the Internet.  Quayside Bed and Breakfast has had a single page web site up for the last couple of years and it has been so successful they will shortly launch a larger site with photographs of the rooms and the building.  The web the cheapest form of advertising for a tourist related business. Most hotels in Caithness now have a web site.  Bed and Breakfast places are following but have some way to go.  Once the web site is up and running the annual cost of maintaining is low compared to advertising in other media.  There are several web businesses in Caithness and a web site should be part of any business that needs to attract customers.  Write out what you want on your web site and then get quotes.  Whoever you get your web site from make sure you get it linked in your FREE business page.  For a higher profile you can think about one of our banner ads.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has called on those with access to a computer to submit a response to a web forum on the Licensing (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Transport Committee launched the forum recently so that members of the public can help inform the Committee's consideration of the Bill.  Mrs Macmillan, who sits on the Justice 2 Committee, which is also considering evidence on liquor licensing, said, "The new Bill aims to create a more modern, simple and flexible system for Scotland and also to create a legislative framework to help reduce underage and binge drinking.
Closing date for views at this forum is 22 April.

More Funding Ideas
The number of places making funding available in the UK is huge and quite daunting to research.  The page we run includes only the tip of the iceberg on funding and where to find it.  Local Voluntary Group offices have lots of books and information on how and where to apply.  Access to Funder-finder can be had at Caithness Voluntary Groups office in Telford Street Wick.  Funder-finder asks a series of questions and depending on your answers will suggest a range of funders to try for your project.  Mainly registered charities can apply but there are some sources where non-registered groups might apply but in the main the bulk of trusts and companies will give to registered charities.  Most areas in Scotland have a Council of Voluntary Service where you can access more advice on funding.

Stone UK Map to Commemorate September 11 Terror Attack - Scotsman
Caithness flagstone is  one of the materials being used to create the memorial to UK victims of the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers, New York. 

Final Call For Thurso High 1960 Reunion
Thurso High Reunion - those who started S1 in 1960. The Reunion is on 9 April 2005, and final numbers are needed. If you can't come but would like to leave your contact details for another time, or for tickets/info for this one, please email Rhona Mackenzie (Murray) on  ASAP. Should be an excellent night!

Initiative At The Edge Team In Dunbeath Keep the Pace Cracking Along
Sorting out the new organisation's constitution, the finances, and accommodation.  Also getting ready to take on a co-ordinator.

Engage a New Magazine Style Web Site Form The Scottish Executive’s Children, Young People and Social Care Group
If you and or your organisation provide services and support to, or work, with children, young people and their families, then this new Ezine could be useful.  We have linked to it in our Children's section that can be found via the Site Map or the Education section

The Music Just Keeps coming In Caithness
Second "E" Rock Concert  - Viewfirth - 2 April 2005
The 2nd 'E' Rock Concert takes place this Saturday night at the Thurso Viewfirth and looks set to be a cracking night of live rock music. Six rock bands will take to the stage over the course of the evening, each with their own distinctly different style. Headlining the event will be hotly tipped Inverness band Findo Gask, who have enjoyed success over the last year supporting the likes of InMe and Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. If you like your music fast, energetic and loud then this is the band to see.  Also lined up are local bands Boss Hogg, Crimson Tide, All Stitched Up, Stevie Taylor Band and Estrella.

Dunnet Beach Particle Issue Highlighted On North Tonight
The item focuses on how the issue might affect tourists using the beach but interviews seem mixed.
You can see the clip by clicking a link at the foot of the page

The world at your doorstep - Times Online
Thurso man Bob Anderson, who runs his own management consultancy in Thurso is quoted in this item on air travel praising the new flight times by Eastern Airways from Wick airport.  Flying news

Managers of the project to construct a new waste water treatment works for Thurso are reporting that work on the £13million scheme is on schedule and due for completion by the end of the year.  All the major structures are well underway and drilling work for the sea outfall has been completed.  The new works will improve the quality of waste water going into the Pentland Firth ten-fold. This improvement to the environment will boost Thurso’s reputation as a top surfing destination.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
A landmark study released today reveals that approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth – such as fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water regulation, and the regulation of regional climate, natural hazards and pests – are being degraded or used unsustainably. Scientists warn that the harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years.
Biodiversity Pages
   Biodiversity Photo Collection    Caithness Biodiversity Plan
Sutherland Biodiversity Plan

Latest Hillhead School, Wick Newsletter
Hillhead anticipates being the largest Wick primary school after the summer as a total of 22 pupils have enrolled for Primary 1 next session. A total of 25 pupils have been enrolled for nursery classes next session. The school roll has held up well in Hillhead.  Next session the roll could be at least 214 (189 in the school, 25 in the nursery). This will probably make Hillhead the largest primary school in Wick.  With new houses still being built in the school catchment area this trend looks set to continue for some time.

Scrabster Thurso Bay Raft Race - 4 June 1.00pm Get Your Raft Ready To Enter Soon
Great fun for a good cause, enter a raft or cheer on the crews. Rafts of all shapes row/paddle around a course in Scrabster Bay. This year a new timing system will make it even more exciting. Plenty for spectators to do - stalls, food and see around the Coastguard Tug. Scrabster Fayre starts at 2.00pm


Arguable this latest consultation bill from the Scottish Parliament could have a huge impact on the future of crofting in Caithness and the other crofting counties.  A recent article in the Scotsman Help at hand for crofters' unique way of life discusses some of the issues. The closing date for responses is 13 June 2005.  A response form can be found on the web site at the end of the paper.  If you have no time to read it and send the response now you will find the link in our Farming section

New Statesman New Media Awards 2005
This year's award categories aim to highlight the benefits that are being brought to all aspects of society from local communities to national government by information communication technology.  This year there are seven award categories. Websites, internet technology, mobile phone and wireless services, digital television and intranet sites are all eligible to be entered. Closing date for nominations is 31 May.

Mobile Driving Theory Test Centre
This vehicle travels around the Highlands to allow would be drivers to sit the theory test.  No more actual papers as the vehicle is set up with computers.  In Wick the test centre sets up outside the Assembly Rooms.  This picture has been added to the Transport section  These test centres can be used for many other tests and exams apart from Driving theory tests and can save candidates travelling long distances to sit them.

North Action Group May Not Attend NHS Highland Board Meeting On 5 April
Correction from earlier.  There is an item at point 14 on the NHS highland Agenda but it may not warrant NASG members attending

Cairngorms National Park - Jobs
Unfortunately not in Caithness but we have been asked to let more people know about these jobs on offer in one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland.  Closing Date is 4 April so you need to be quick.
Senior Outdoor Access Officer Grantown-on-Spey Salary scale: £31,073 - £35,751
GIS Officer Grantown-on-Spey or Ballater Salary scale: £16,500 - £22,610
Senior Natural Heritage Officer Grantown-on-Spey Salary scale: £31,073 - £35,751
Senior Land Management Officer Grantown-on-Spey Salary scale: £31,073 - £35,751
Visitor Information and Interpretation Officer Grantown-on-Spey Salary scale: £21,751 - £29,579

Halkirk Young Farmers Club Launch New Web Site

Another new web site joins a fast growing list on  Good Luck with the site folks.  If your group has a web site not listed then get in touch with us to be added to the Caithness Web Sites list.  Businesses get linked in our Business Index and your web site will automatically be added to the Business web site listing

From Graham Brodie
David More was born in Wick on 28.01.1890, son of David More, fisherman and Catherine More (nee Miller). The family lived at 29 Macrae Street, Wick. David's sister Catherine (Katie) More was my grandmother and married Henry Lyall in 1906.  Does anyone know who the lady in the photo is or have more information for Graham.


Spring Is Here And Property Is On The Move - Mybster Croft, Spittal
Private sellers can now advertise a property completely FREE on in our property section.  All you have to do is complete the Submission Form with a photograph no larger than 200k.  If you wish us to do it for you we will still charge our low price of £20. now has a very large audience so your property can be seen across the world in minutes.  If you require a property placed on the section for you submit all details and a photo to
But have a go yourself and get it on for FREE.  Why is it free?  Well if you do the work then we spend no time on it.  Our traffic is still going up and this enables us to sell more business advertising which in turn supports  March stats show is about to break records for another month.

New Highland boom forces out first-time house buyers - The Herald

A Great Deal Of Swimming And More With the Hi-Life Card
It has been one of the success stories of the past year.  The Hi-life card that gives individuals or families cheaper access to swimming pools and other facilities in Highland has had many new folk signing up.  The savings are great if you go regularly and many folk have found that having the card encourages more regular visits to the swimming pool.  For families the savings can be significant.  Check the information and add it up for yourself.

Does Anyone Have Spare Mannequin Or Tailors Dummy Hiding In The Attic?
Wick Heritage Museum are looking for another mannequin or two to display more if the clothes they have in store.  If anyone has one they no longer need give the heritage museum a call.

Country Festival At Halkirk  - Photos From Sunday

Caithness Ganseys - A New Section
Following a note on an item in the Caithness Field Club Bulletins on Traditional Knitting Patterns we have received some items and information on this subject and as it looks set to grow we have set up a new section to contain it.  We hope to add some patterns for anyone interested in knitting one.  Meantime here is photo of one recently knitted up by Judy Harper, Wick who has also supplied a photo of a Wick crew at Yarmouth in their ganseys.  Her great grandfather and grandfather are in the photo.  If anyone know the names of any of the rest of the crew get in touch and we will add the names. The gansey is currently on display at Wick Heritage Museum now open for the season.

Glass Centre Gives Kids A Chance - Grampian TV
Check out a short clip at Grampian TV web site of kids from Golspie high school at Northlands Creative Glass in Lybster being supervised by glass artist Denis Mann who lives in Wick. An Earlier Course
Prince Charles Officially opened Northlands Creative Glass in 2002

Bright sparks are thinking nuclear at last - Sunday Times

A suspected radioactive particle was detected during monitoring of Dunnet Beach today. It was removed and taken to Dounreay for laboratory analysis. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and other parties have been informed.
Dounreay waste spreads further afield - Sunday Herald
Nuclear particle' find on beach - BBC

Carnaby Place, Thurso  Wilson Lane, Thurso

M M Miller Building Contractors New Offices At Harrowhill
One of Wick's most successful building contractors M M Miller (Wick) Ltd has now moved into a new office complex that they built themselves at Harrowhill in Wick.  With a view over the Bignold Park the new offices show the confidence that local firms have in some sectors.

New Paths At South Head, Wick

What was once a pretty derelict area out past the Lifeboat shed At Wick is being transformed.  New footpaths and steps up the cliff are being put back in order.  The road has been partly surfaced and more paths will be laid shortly.  The old engine shed has been cleaned up to leave the last of the walls in good order and small standing stones erected to give better view out along the path.  The Cairndhuna well has been uncovered and steps built up to it.  An area that was until recently covered in a variety of rubbish, old building material, pipes and more is being changed into an attractive coastal walk.

Wick and Thurso To Get More New Housing
28 Houses At Harrowhill, Wick and 25 Houses at Manson's Lane, Thurso
Communities Scotland has announced a series of developments across the Highlands and Islands with funding package of £37 million.  £1.6 million has been allocated to Pentland Housing for the Caithness schemes. £1 million will go on the Wick development for 24 semi-detached houses and four flats.  £600,000 will be spent on the Thurso houses.  In total the new scheme will help to build 711 new houses.  In Caithness the homes will be for rent or low-cast home ownership.

Trying To Sell A Property Just Got Cheaper On - FREE FREE FREE
We have just set up a new format for the property section and you can now advertise properties for sale FREE of charge.  The reason is that you now do the work.  Just complete the online form for yourself and add one photograph (jpeg only of no more than 200k) and your property can be on the property section.  If you want us to do the work it will still cost you £20.  The internet is allowing more and more people to become their own estate agent and save thousands of pounds in estate agents fees, vat and advertising.  Just look at the Channel 4 web pages DIY House SellingOur new property section allows anyone to get their property in Caithness on the internet free of charge and very fast.  More links to the new submission page will be in place shortly. visitor numbers continue to grow so make sure your property can be found here - your buyer could come from almost anywhere.  Why Pay More?

Over At Halkirk For The Northern Nashville Country Music Festival 2005

The three day Northern Nashville Country Festival continues today over at the Disabled Riding Centre at Halkirk.   The concerts have been well attended with 700 people on Friday night and 900 on Saturday night.  The Northern Nashville Country Music Festival in Caithness looks set to grow and grow.  Final concert is today.

Final Call for Traditional Music Workshop - 16 April 2005
The closing date to apply for the popular workshops in Traditional music at Wick is 6 April.  Fees include soup and sandwich lunch and coffee and biscuits etc to keep everyone going throughout the day.  As in previous workshops a concert will be held at Mackays hotel in the evening.

Bridge Street Church, Wick - Easter Fayre Celebrating 50 Years Of Alistair Roy As Minister

The Easter Fayre at Bridge Street church, Wick this year took the 1950's as its theme to celebrate the 50 years that minister Alistair Roy has served the local congregation.  The organisers were taken aback by the large number of items supplied for the day.  A huge range of items from and in use in the 50's was on display.  There was so much that it would have needed quite a while if you wanted to go through some of the photo albums amongst the tables.  Someone was hear to remark that one day we are going to need another Wick Heritage museum as Caithness homes seem to contain a treasure trove of memorabilia.  Congratulations to the group for a great display.

Easter Eggstravaganza At Market Square, Wick

Back In Beauly                     Beauly Priory
As the A9 north of the Bridge at Inverness is very slow due to the major road works a detour back on the old A862 road north via Beauly seemed a good idea.  On a lovely sunny day a quick stop for a few photos and look around the main street.  A visit to the Priory made a welcome break.  The Priory hotel is still serving lunches and it seems years since we went that way.  Seems crazy not to go that way from time to time as all the traffic is rushing up the A9.

More Funding Ideas For Your Group
Remember that these items we post are only a small fraction of the funding places available in the UK.  New sources are coming along all the time and deadlines pass very fast.  If anyone has an idea for an alternative energy scheme then there is a funding chance in this batch today. amongst other topics are grants for the arts and sports.  Take a look and get applying soon. 

Pulteneytown Academy Last March Newsletter - Spring Fayre Made £893.36
They have learned so much about enterprise, including how to make a profit, the work involved in purchasing, production, management, sales and banking. Everyone will go away having learned a variety of things at their own level, including the staff. The children themselves will decide what to do with any profit and this will be passed on to you next term as while some classes have already decided others still have to make up their minds.

Scottish Traditional Music Exams To Be Discussed On Radio Scotland
The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama's Scottish Traditional Music Grade Exams will be the subject of BBC Radio Scotland's 'The Reel Blend' programme on Sunday 27 March at 1 o'clock. Please tune in to hear more about this initiative. If you ,miss the programme you can Listen Again on the web site for a week after the programme.  For anyone interested in Scottish music there are now courses at the Academy in Glasgow.  James Ross from Wick was one of the first students to obtain the new qualification and his career is taking off.  Anyone interested in pursuing a career in any aspect of Scottish music might want to listen in.

Fish With Finn  - Another New Caithness Web Site
The new site will promote a range of coaching and fishing holidays in Caithness.  Budding anglers can come to Caithness and get tuition from a prize winning instructor.  Graham and Pat Finn hope to be welcoming lots of anglers to Caithness in coming months.
Fishing Pages


Geddes Windows Lands £6million Contract For 24,000 Windows
Geddes Window Systems Ltd, part of the D M Geddes Group based in Halkirk, Caithness has secured a substantial contract for the supply of timber windows to Your Homes Newcastle. The organisation employs 100 workers between its factory and construction interests. The contract is worth £3m per annum initially for the next two years, providing up to 24,000 windows during the contract period. The contract is part of a government regeneration scheme to improve housing in the Newcastle Council area.
Geddes Web Site

Spring Fayre At Pulteneytown Academy

Salmon Season Gets Off To A Good Start On The Wick River
The first Salmon to be landed from the Wick River this year was caught by Wick Angler Mike Henstridge on Tuesday 22nd March in the Flag Pool. The Killer fly was a 1 1/2inch Willie Gunn Waddington and weighed in at 7 1/2 lbs. This was Mikes first day ever fishing the Wick as he just joined the Wick Angling Association on Saturday. It's been a good season so far for Mike as he caught a 9lb Salmon on Monday from beat 9 on the River Thurso.
Fishing Pages

Caithness Company Receives Investors in People 10 Year Achievement Award
A Caithness-based organisation has received an award in recognition of its 10 year commitment to using the business improvement tool, the Investors in People Standard.  Ackergill Tower picked up the accolade at a gala dinner at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday evening (23 March 2005). Over 40 Scottish companies were presented with their award by four times Olympic gold medallist, Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE.
Ackergill Tower Web Site -  Ackergill Tower Photo Gallery - Ackergill TreeHouse
Ackergill Tower From The Air
- Ackergill Tower Castle Section  - The Duck Decoy

Date And Place  Set for Lieurary Reunion
Date:- Saturday 23rd July 2005 - Lieurary School Community Centre - Cost will be set once numbers are clear so get in touch if you can attend.

Wick Heritage Centre Opens For Easter Weekend
The folk over at Wick Heritage have been dusting down and getting ready to open early this year and they will be open over the Easter weekend.  with a huge range of items and rooms set out reflecting Caithness in earlier times it may take more than one visit to see it all.  the centre boasts a huge archive of photographs many from the Johnson Collection and a unique photo from Caithness can be purchased in a variety of sizes.

Triathalon Club 10K Run Open To All - Plus Easter Fun Run For The Kids
The Triathlon Club are holding their annual 10K run on Sun 27th March, at 2.00pm (registration 1.30pm) from the Community Education Rooms at the North School, Wick. There is also a fun run for children. All finishers will receive a cream egg and there is Easter Eggs for the winners. Refreshments will be served and there will be a raffle.  £2 for the 10K and £1 for the fun run. All Welcome.

Dounreay’s award-winning visitor centre opens its doors for the 2005 season today in time for the early Easter weekend.  The centre explains to visitors the remarkable story of the pioneers who developed the fast breeder programme at Dounreay 50 years ago, and the major clean-up programme now underway to restore the environment.  It describes how UKAEA is working with the local community to establish the north Highlands as an international centre of excellence in nuclear decommissioning - qualities that can sustain the skills and enterprise base of the north Highlands beyond the closure of Dounreay and so ensure the ultimate legacy of Scotland’s first “atomic factory” is one everyone can be proud of.

Brothers Looking For A Home Together - Nine Months Old
Caithness Cats Protection have two two cats they would like to rehome. The black one is called Ebony and is very friendly whilst Sky, the grey one is very timid though in the right home he may 'come out of himself'. They are nine month old brothers (neutered)and we want to home them together. We also need homes for cats which aren't suitable as pets so need someone with outbuildings, croft or farm to take them.
Caithness Cats Protection

Caithness Rythmic Gymnasts Gain Valuable Experience At Scottish Novice Competitions
7 Rhythmic Gymnasts from Caithness Gymnastics Club competed in the Rhythmic Gymnastics Scottish Novice Competition held at Bellsquarry, Livingston last weekend. Some parents and their club coaches Diane & Julia Gibson accompanied them to the competition.


Portland Arms Hoping For Awards In Online Poll  - Give Them A Boost With Your Vote
The Portland Arms Hotel in Lybster has been nominated for the above awards in the Scottish Inns category.  Winning this would be a great honour for the hotel and the staff and get Caithness noticed far and wide.  the awards will be made in the Balmoral Hotel in front of the top people in the tourist and catering industry and make great coverage for the area.  If you like the services at the Portland Arms head over to to and give them a vote.

Spring Has Sprung So Turn Down And Turn Off
Clocks are not the only thing that should be changed when workers return after Easter, according to leading energy company Powergen.  With the start of British Summer Time (BST) on Sunday (March 27), Powergen says remembering to lower thermostats and adjust lighting timers after the Bank Holiday could lower small- and medium-sized businesses’ (SMEs) energy consumption and bills.  Forward-thinking businesses can also use the opportunity to make even greater savings by encouraging all employees to be smarter about how and where they use energy at work.  According to the Government-backed Carbon Trust, businesses can save as much as 20% on their energy costs simply by being more energy efficient. That is equivalent to a 5% increase in sales.

UKAEA Anniversary Fund Makes Seven Donations To Local Charities
To celebrate UKAEA's 50th anniversary, an anniversary fund was created to underline UKAEA's commitment to charitable causes. For every pound that volunteers raised for selected charities, UKAEA contributed a pound from its anniversary fund. During the year UKAEA Dounreay made donations to 7 groups: Caithness Kidney Dialysis Support Group, 1st Dunnet Bay Scout Group, Crossroads Care Caithness, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Newton Palliative Care Fund, Caithness MacMillan Nurses and Thurso High School PTA Minibus Fund.

Labour Candidate Looks In At Dounreay
NEW GENERATION: Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Alan Jamieson meets UKAEA's Celestine Cheong and Gavin Coppins, who are among a new era of graduates in environmental sciences drawn to Dounreay by the challenge of cleaning up the fast reactor experiment. They are pictured here explaining the ground-breaking research being carried out to ensure environmental data for Doureay, including that associated with the legacy of particles in the marine environment, is available for analysis and communication to site regulators and the public.
Westminster 2005 Election

Graduate Fair For Caithness And Sutherland At Thurso - 7 April
Following the success of a pilot event last year, graduates and employers in Caithness and Sutherland are once again to be given the opportunity to meet and discuss mutual benefits. The second Graduate Fair will take place in Thurso Town Hall, on Thursday 7th April, from 4pm - 7pm. The event is organised by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE). The date has been chosen to coincide with students returning to the area for the Easter holidays, and for local employers planning recruitment for summer starting dates.  HIE Graduate Placements

Caithness Councillors Decide To Opt Out Of Gaelic Signs
Caithness councillors decided on Tuesday 22 March to exercise their opt out in respect of Gaelic signage being adopted in parts of Highland.  The main argument against having Gaelic names on road, schools and other signs was that Caithness had not been in the recent past a Gaelic speaking area.  Generally Highland Council had decided to adopt the addition of Gaelic names and language to signage unless area committees opted out.

New Waste Water Treatment Works For Thurso - Work At The Harbour End

Another Van In Caithness

Lybster Fire Unit - Training

Lybster Fire Unit are seen here at one of their regular training exercises.  They are promised some new equipment under the recent review.  The Fire Action Group are fighting to ensure they are allowed to continue to attend house fires following a recommendation that this be stopped as the unit do not have Breathing Apparatus or the necessary training to use it.  The Lybster fire crew want to be able to continue to attend local fires as they have done for many years and not be relegated to dealing only with heath fires and car accidents whilst the local house fire wait on a unit from Dunbeath or Wick.

Young Farmer Of The Year Competition
A new National farming competition run by Eilidh MacPherson, Editor of   magazine will take place in Thurso mart on Wed 30th March at 7pm. Anyone involved in the farming industry aged 16-35 is welcome to take part. The competition has received backing from SAC, ABP and Tulloch and so far a quad bike is up for grabs as the main prize for the National winner.

Community Councils are being asked to respond by 3 June this year to a second wave of consultation by BT Payphones on the future of payphones in the Highlands.  Having received no objection to the removal of more than 100 payphones in an earlier consultation, BT now wishes to remove a further 44 phones and convert 126 phones to cashless kiosks. It aims to retain a network of 371 payphones currently in use.  BT is posting signs on targeted kiosks to highlight those planned for removal or conversion. It has provided The Highland Council with a list of all payphones in support of the proposal and has included revenue band information.

SNP Ready For Westminster Election Campaign After AGM
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross SNP Constituency meeting held a successful Annual General meeting on Saturday in Helmsdale Community Centre.  Niall Smith was elected as Convenor and Ken Mackay elected as Vice Convenor. Lily Byron continues for another year as Secretary with Ian Clark as the Minute Secretary. Bill Brown was re-elected as the Treasurer.  Speaking after the meeting from Helmsdale, Karen Shirron, SNP candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross for the forthcoming Westminster elections said: "The meeting was very well attended and its great to hear that our membership in the area continues to grow.

More Caithness Businesses Added Today Takes It Up To 1091.   Come on its Easy and we know there are more of you out there.  Tell the world about your business if you are in Caithness - Its FREE Caithness Businesses Submit Here          Or if you are in Sutherland Here
1088 Caithness Businesses Are Listed In Our Business Index - Is Yours

If not get it in right now for FREE.  If you would like more coverage to draw attention to your business page or web site check out our banner advertising - 365 days for one payment. 

Open Meeting Of Ormlie Community Association
Wednesday 23 March 7.30pm Ormlie Centre Henderson Street, Thurso

The next open meeting of Ormlie Community Association will be held on Wednesday 23 March 2005 at 7.00 pm in the Ormlie Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso. Caroline Swan, THC Money Advice Officer will be guest speaker and residents will be given the opportunity of raising any issues relating to the estate with Lorna Simpson, OCA Manager and Brian Leonard, OCA Chairman. All residents and interested parties are invited to attend.

Lybster Bowling Club Upgrading The Green To Competition Standard
Renovations are being carried out at at the Lybster Bowling Green to get it up to the standards required for competitive matches.  Rules require that the ditches and surrounds meet certain specifications and often older greens do not meet the modern standards.  Lybster is setting out to ensure they comply and that competitions can take place there.  The club is also striving to attract new members and welcome any one who is interested in trying out the game, or who wants to join the club should get in touch.   Caithness Bowling Clubs

Public Sector Strike Called Off - Latest 3.40pm 21 March
The Highland Council, in association with Unison, AMICUS and UCATT, has confirmed that the day of strike action planned for Wednesday, 23 March, has been called off and employees should report to work as normal on Wednesday.  A teachers strike may now be called in April over the pensions argument

Latheron Lybster and Clyth Fire Action Group Demand Answers On No Call Out
Fire Action Group Questions On No Call Out To Local Fire Incident
The fire Action Group  have written to the fire master asking why they were a called out to one incident where they dealt with the situation within minutes and yet for another incident the Dunbeath unit were called when Lybster fire unit could have been on the spot much sooner.  In the event the incident could have been much worse with the possibility of building going on fire from a car on fire.  the unit thinks only the fact that there was no wind prevented a house fire - "In the time the occupants waited, the fire was so fierce that the plastic barge boards and gutter of the house, close to the car on fire, had started to melt and buckle. The other car in front by 5 feet, or so, was also fire damaged and in danger of exploding if the tank caught fire. The occupants had fully expected to see the local crew arrive and promptly deal with the situation. This was not the case."...........  the Fire Action Group are asking that the local unit be allowed to attend house fires which under new rules they would be prevented from doing.

Latest Cooncil Minutes - Caithness Area Committee Just Published 31 January 2005
Agenda for meeting 22 March 2005 to be held in Thurso Town Hall

Tory Leader Michael Howard looked In At The Dounreay Stand At Tory The Conference
Conservative leader Michael Howard was among senior party figures briefed by the Dounreay team at the Dumfries conference. Mr Howard is seen here with, from left, June Love, who is spearheading public participation in the options for managing particles in the marine environment, John Deighan of the T & G union at Dounreay, and Scottish Tory Party chairman and shadow Scotland Secretary Peter Duncan.

Dounreay's award-winning visitor centre will open this year on Thursday, 24 March 2005. The centre, which last year attracted over 9,000 visitors, tells the story of Dounreay's role over the past fifty years, how it was developed as the centre for Britain's fast reactor development programme, its operational years, and how the site is now focussed on decommissioning. Dounreay Visitor Centre Web

Blues N Trouble At Skinandis, Thurso Last Saturday Night

Blues fans were treated to some great music on Saturday.  The 9.30pm session was relatively quiet but those who were there were treated to a high quality night.  The second set that started at midnight was packed out and the band certainly increased the average age of the 'clubbers'.   blues n trouble web site

Pultenytown Academy School Wick - Latest Newsletter
Highlighting the Spring Fayre on Wednesday, Football courses with Ross county during the Easter Holidays and the changes proposed in abolishing school boards and replacing them with school forums.  The consultation document has been distributed from the school to PSA members but other parents may want to take a look and respond to the consultation.  We have added a link in the newsletter but anyone can take look and respond via the Parentzone web site

7pm on Monday, March 21, at the Pentland Hotel, Thurso

The meeting is open to anyone to attend
Dounreay is changing - and so is its communication with the local community.  From April 1, UKAEA will become a contractor of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which has strategic responsibility for the decommissioning and clean-up of all UK public sector civil nuclear sites. The decommissioning work at Dounreay will be carried out by UKAEA as the site licensee company in accordance with work plans developed by the contractor and agreed with the NDA.  A new forum is being set up to give the community a greater say in these decisions.

An Even Closer Look Round Scrabster Harbour

Saturday is a quiet day at Scrabster Harbour at this time of year but it does make it easy to take pictures.  Here we go right round the harbour looking at the older buildings and the new ones covering a large part of the harbour.  Much of the fish market area is dominated by D Steven Ltd who have lorries constantly on the road transporting fish from Scrabster consigned south.  Anyone who travels the road south will always see Stevens lorries going north and south at almost any time of the day or night. The port is always changing and the new fishery office is now in use. Some things remain the same and the wee gargoyles still look out over the comings and goings of the harbour.   The Orcadians are talking about a tunnel to Orkney so perhaps the port will have a different look in years to come ( For the sceptics they are deadly serious and have looked at the fact that Norway already has the know how and has built a number of long range road tunnels connecting remote areas.

Daffodils About To Burst Out At Union Street - Wick

Shore Lane, Wick - Work Almost Completed

Work continued even on a Saturday to complete the work in Shore Lane.  The same company is due to start work shortly on the renovation of the Black Stairs.  The two boys just happened to be passing with their pokes of chips.

The New Waste Water Treatment Works (Sewage) At Thurso

A new road heads up the hill towards Harald's Tower and then turns left towards the coast.  There the new Waste Water Treatment works for Thurso is being constructed.  Here are a few photos of the site and of the surrounding countryside and back to Thurso from up the hill.

The Split Stane - Sutherland
Since we were along the north coast it seemed a good idea to take a photo of this legendary stone.  Once marking the boundary of Mackay country on the north road.  There are several legends attached to the "Split Stane" one of the more popular one being that the devil split the stane with his tale as he hurried past in a temper.  One thing is for sure it marks the start today of a journey into one of the most spectacular trips along the northerly coast of Sutherland and the Highlands.  If you have dipped into our Sutherland photos you will already know there is fabulous view around every bend in the road.  If you want to drive on almost empty roads , have beach to yourself and breath clean air with a tang of salt head to the far north of Scotland.

Bettyhill - Sutherland

There is still a phone box at Bettyhill - opposite the post office.  The question is will either of them still be there in a few years.  With phone boxes now the subject of another consultation and post office incomes being hammered these vital services are fast disappearing.  So next time you are out think about using a call box instead of the mobile phone (it's cheaper) and buy a few stamps etc from a country post office or they will soon be gone for ever.

1983 Caithness Field Club Bulletin
Most of the items have appeared previously on the web site but are now gathered together in the Bulletins section as we move forward to publish all of the outstanding bulletins

NHS Highland Smoking Cessation Service
New smoking cessation service. The service provides smokers with free confidential advice and support to stop smoking. Specialist smoking cessation advisers based in Caithness, Ross-shire, Inverness and Lochaber will be providing smokers with one to one and in some areas group support to quit, including the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. For more information about the help on offer in Highland, call NHS Highland Health Information Service on Lo-call 0845 757 3077

Thurso High School Fun Day Postponed
The Fun Day planned for this coming Sunday has been postponed.  The rugby planned for the day will go ahead but will now be played at Mill Bank.  the stalls that would have been on Sunday will now form part of the PTA day on 23 April.

Highland Council Boundary Changes  - Single Transferrable Vote
Here are the details proposed for the new boundaries associated with the new voting system for the council from 2007

HIGHLAND 2007 - COMMUNITY PROGRAMME  - Local Groups Should Think About This Funding
A funding formula for the distribution of community grants for promoting Highland 2007, the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture, has been agreed by The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sport Committee. A total of £1 million is available for distribution in 2005-2006 for both running events and for embarking on projects, such as hall upgrades. A further £1 million will be available in each of the following two financial years.  The allocation for 2005-2006 is: -
Badenoch and Strathspey, £92,600; Caithness, £110,000; Inverness, £197,000; Lochaber, £123,200; Nairn, £75,200; Ross and Cromarty, £185,000; Skye and Lochalsh, £95,000; Sutherland, £122,000.

Flurry Of UKAEA Items
DUNNET BEACH Update On Contaminated Stone Find

UKAEA has published the results of tests carried out on a contaminated stone discovered during monitoring of the beach at Dunnet on March 2. The tests are inconclusive about the origin of the caesium, but eliminate radioactive deposition from the Chernobyl accident as a source of the contamination. The tests indicate the contamination it is not a particle of the kind found near Dounreay.

UKAEA Will Assist Highland Council To Remove Storm Rubbish At Dunnet
UKAEA has responded to a request for assistance from Highland Council to help repair storm damage and has agreed to provide mechanical assistance to remove large quantities of flotsam and jetsam from the area.

UKAEA MEDIATION Moves To Reach Settlement With Sandside
UKAEA has begun a process of mediation with Magnohard Ltd, owner of the estate at Sandside, with a view to reaching a positive settlement of issues arising from the detection and retrieval of radioactive particles at Sandside beach. UKAEA regrets the occurrence of particles at Sandside and the historical practices that gave rise to their release onto the seabed off Dounreay.

‘NEW’ COURT CASE Against Dounreay Untrue
A number of newspapers this week reported that a new court case has been launched against UKAEA Dounreay as a result of historical waste management practices.  UKAEA understands that these reports stemmed from Media Intelligence Partners Ltd, a London-based lobby firm with strong links to political organisations in the USA. Enquiries by UKAEA have established that no new, fresh proceedings have been brought against UKAEA.

Next Wednesday's Strike
Highland Schools Head teachers will advise parents on Monday of possible disruption or closures, basing their decisions on health and safety considerations. Head teachers will also use the emergency closure phone line to keep parents appraised of local situations.  Make sure you have the school emergency number handy to phone in and check current situation.  Use that and not the main school numbers to check. will update with the latest information as it comes in.

Council Offices Across Scotland May Be Closed On Wednesday 23 March Due To Strike Action
Members of the unions Unison, Amicus and UCATT will be involved in strike action on Wednesday 23 March 2005.  Many council and other services may be affected depending on the support for the action.  More details on possible Caithness or Highland affects will be published when we know more.  The strike is over the threat to alter pension conditions of public service workers.

Mary Scanlon MSP Attacks Cut In Highland Council Funding For Supporting People
Mary Scanlon MSP The Scottish Conservative's spokesman for Communities, used today debate on Housing to acknowledge the 400,000 families in Scotland who own their own homes as a direct result of the Tory Right to Buy, saying; "These were mainly first time buyers, achieving their aspiration of home own ownership.  "The Scottish Conservatives would welcome policies building on the fundamental principles of the Right to Buy scheme to maximise opportunities for tenants to become homeowners, and which propose to make shared ownership more flexible and affordable to more people....... Mary further commented; "The cuts in the Supporting People funding for Highland over the next 3 years will be £2 million, making it very difficult for them to provide housing support and indeed to increase services, particularly following new homelessness legislative requirements. Highland Council has asked for a commitment that the funding available to support the introduction of homelessness legislation will be continued."

Maureen Macmillan MSP Backing Action on Solvent Abuse
Maureen Macmillan MSP has added her support to a new campaign to stop solvent abuse in Scotland.  The National Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) campaign is hoping to raise awareness amongst shop workers about the laws surrounding the sale of lighter fuel and other solvents that can be abused by children. Mrs Macmillan is calling on retailers to operate on a 'no proof, no sale' basis on age restricted products and is encouraging all shop workers to support the campaign and help stop the sale of volatile substances to under 18s. Backing the campaign Mrs Macmillan said, "Solvent abuse can kill. That is why lighter fuel is an age restricted product, and it is illegal to sell it to under -18s.

UKAEA Dounreay Beating The Drum As Party Conference Season Gets Into Full Swing
Dundee To Dumfries
- Some of Scotland's most senior politicians were briefed on progress with decommissioning Dounreay when they met up with a UKAEA and trade union team from Dounreay at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Dundee recently.  First minister Jack McConnell and other Labour MSP's called at the stand for a few words.  The Dounreay team next headed for the Conservative conference  in Dumfries

Volunteering Opportunities From Volunteering Highland - Hot List
Are you interested in the environment and gardening?..If so, Wick Flower Basket Committee are looking for volunteers.  Wick Town Improvements [Gala committee] are looking for a treasurer to help run the extremely popular Gala. If you think you would like to contribute to the continued success of the Gala call Catherine at Volunteering Highland.  Volunteering Highland office is located at Telford House Williamson Street, Wick, and they have information on volunteering across Caithness.

Mary Scanlon MSP About Energy Efficiency Targets
Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon has been told that the Scottish Executive currently has no separate energy efficiency targets for Scotland.  Commenting, Mary said; "It is interesting that the Scottish Executive have set targets for the construction of wind farms all across Scotland in their attempts to achieve renewable energy targets, yet they do not place the same emphasis on energy efficiency.


North MSP's Welcome Higher Spending To Tackle Shortage Of Dentists
Local highland MSP's Maureen MacMillan and Jamie Stone were united in welcoming the extra £150 million to be spent on recruiting more dentists.  Highland like most parts of Scotland has over the past few years had a growing shortage of dentists and particularly any who wished to remain working in the National Health Service. A new remote area allowance of £9000 per annum may make the thought of working in the Highlands more attractive.

Caithness Canine Club Has A New Web Site
The local club now has a web site to enable everyone to finds out about the club and what it offers to dog owners.  The main features of the club are To promote responsible dog ownership in the Caithness district - To hold dog training, ringcraft and agility classes - To hold lectures and discussions on the care and welfare of dogs - To hold licensed shows under Kennel Club rules and regulations and also to meet other folk interested in dogs.  The canine club web site has now been added to our Caithness sites listing where you can find a growing listing of Caithness web sites.  The link for this growing page is now in the left hand column of this page and in various other pages such as the Site Map as we try to keep with the hectic pace that Caithness is now fast moving into the digital age.  If your web site is in Caithness and not listed get in touch with us and make it easier for everyone to find. the Canine Club web site can also be found via the Canine Club page in the Animal Welfare section and that is found in the main Community Index.

Ken Butler in this Caithness Field Club Bulletin describes the 1975 conservation act and the offences created for the removal of plants and animals from the countryside.  The wildlife and countryside Act has been updated several times and there have been many amendments but this item may remind people that removal of plants and other items from the countryside is a criminal offence.

Interminable Acanthodians - Field Exposure On The A9
Jack Saxon describes the finds on the A9 after blasting at road works and two visiting German geologists collected fish fossils from the cutting.  It had been found necessary to blast the country rock revealing, on the south west face, about 4m of country rock.   This article is another from the 1975 Caithness Field Club Bulletin.  1975 Bulletins Index    Main Bulletins Index

Another article from the 1975 Caithness Field Club Bulletin in which Donald Omand discusses raised beaches in Caithness.  1975 Bulletins Index    Main Bulletins Index

Green Light for New Inverness Airport Access Road
Plans for the construction of a new access road linking Inverness Airport and the A96 are set to go ahead following the successful outcome of negotiations with Network Rail.  Work is expected to start on the construction of the road shortly. The new road will improve the integration of transport within the Highlands by linking Inverness Airport to the trunk road network and thus enhancing the links from air services to the bus and rail services in Inverness. The Highland Council expects to let the contract for the construction of the road soon.  The £4 million road and associated access infrastructure is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme 2000-2006, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited and The Highland Council.

Highland Teacher Training INITIATIVE Extends to Secondary
A pioneering teacher training programme run by The Highland Council and Aberdeen University today received support to be extended to offer part-time, distance learning training for secondary teacher training.  The popular Primary course will see 25 teachers graduate this summer and will continue with an other 20 places from august, in English and Gaelic medium. Today, members of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee agreed to extend into secondary education with Aberdeen by creating another course aimed at producing new secondary teachers for Highland. No limit to numbers is being placed on this, recognising the need to recruit as many new teachers as possible.   If you would like to teach in Caithness there are currently vacancies in Wick and Thurso High schools in several subjects.  Contact Highland council for full details.

Gordon Campbell Independent Candidate For Westminster Checks Out East Caithness

Gordon Campbell is well underway with his canvassing around Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.  On Thursday he set out to see East Caithness and meet people along the way.  He checked out many aspects from businesses, harbours, museums and even public toilets at Dunbeath.  He chatted with ladies at Laidhay croft and Latheron Post Office and other people he met along the way.  He has been round before and has stood in several elections without success but this has not dampened his enthusiasm for campaigning.  He lives in Dornoch but often lives for few days locally when campaigning.  He based himself at the Portland Arms Hotel for his East Caithness days. Westminster Election

Mike O'Brien today announced the first members of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA) which will take over responsibility for policing civil nuclear sites and nuclear materials from UKAEA on 1 April 2005.  The current UKAEA Constabulary, will transfer to the CNPA and will be renamed the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. The Constabulary's role in providing a specialised policing and guarding service for nuclear sites and materials will not change.

Reacting to the reports that BSE infected meat may have entered the food chain through the former Wick abattoir, Far North MSP Jamie Stone said:  "This is very concerning news. It is vital that consumers are confident that Scottish beef is safe.  "Along with many others, I raised strong concerns three years ago following the award of the vet service contract to a firm in Leeds. "This decision ended the contract with local vets who had provided and excellent service, on site, for many years.  "It is important that any investigation into this incident considers whether the vet tendering process should shoulder some of the blame for this unfortunate event.  "I will be raising this matter with Scottish ministers as a matter of urgency."
The Wick BSE Story In The Scotsman - 17 March 2005 comment - This incident happened in August 2004 and most of the carcases were withdrawn with only one unable to be traced so it is not known if it was infected.  We wonder if this really warrants the tag scare.  The news if it is that is only being released now but it hardly seems like a scare more like a Don't Know.  Any comments to the Message Board

A series of workshops relating to community land ownership is to be launched on 25th March when the first seminar, Youth on Board, is to be held. The event will focus on involving young people in the practical management of community owned land.  The Youth on Board seminar, to be hosted by the Abriachan Forest Trust, will explore ways to involve young people at all stages of land management and also celebrate the Trust's success in stimulating collaboration across the generations.  This is the first seminar in a programme of 30 training events being provided by the Community Land Unit of Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), with financial assistance from a trans-regional partnership of North Highland, Western Isles, Skye and Lochalsh and West Highland European LEADER Kist (WHELK) LEADER+ programmes.

New proposed boundaries for local government electoral divisions in the Highlands have been published.  As the result of the decision by the Scottish Executive to move to Proportional Representation and multi-member wards at the next local government election in 2007, using the Single Transferable Vote, the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has re-shaped The Highland Council map to produce 23 multi-member wards. At present there are 80 single-member wards. From 2007, there will still be 80 elected members but the Boundary Commission proposes to create 12 three-member and 11 four-member wards. In Caithness the new multi-member wards will be Wick - three councillors, Thurso three councillors and Rural Caithness four councillors

Telephone Boxes Get Stay Of Execution
After much lobbying and letter writing BT has decided to carry out a further consultation before axing telephone boxes around the country.  The new deadline for sending in objections to a removal of a box will be 3 June 2005.
Ken McCorquodale of Highland council will co-ordinate responses from Highland.  Community Councils will again be consulted with maps showing exactly where boxes within their area are to be removed/changed to cashless together with a further map showing the situation within their particular area.
Objections to particular Kiosks being removed should be sent in writing to -
BT Telephone Kiosk Review, Ken McCorkindale, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX

More Lybster Snow Scenes From Monday

Answers to Parliamentary Questions about the steps being taken to address radioactive particles detected and retrieved from the beach at Sandside and their potential health effects have been published.  The answers by Energy Minister Mike O'Brien reiterate previously-published advice from a committee of independent experts that the chances of a member of the public coming into contact with a radioactive particle on the beach at Sandside Bay continue to be "extremely small".  In the unlikely event of someone swallowing a particle typical of those detected and retrieved at Sandside beach, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment says the radiation dose would be "roughly equivalent to the average UK annual background radiation dose".

Back To Caithness Field Club Bulletins - 1975 Bulletin Now Going On
We are grateful to Janet Mackenzie who has once again offered to help us get more of the articles that were published in early Caithness Field Club Bulletins.  These Bulletins continue to be published once a year and are available to all Field Club Members - well worth the annual membership fee alone.
We begin with October 1975 articles -
Editorial and Notes - Interesting to see where they went in 1975 and Nature observations
Castles Gunn and Halberry - The Gunns,  D B Miller - Previously published in the Castles section
Early Ecclesiastical Remains Of Wick Parish,
Traditional Knitting Patterns  J.I. Bramman   Does anyone have anyone have a knitted Caithness jumper?
Tales Of A Caithness Harbour  R S Stephen
More To Come Soon

Angus Ross Conservative Candidate Visit
Angus Ross, Westminster Conservative Party Representative for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross recently visited Dounreay. This was Mr Ross's first visit to Dounreay during which he received a presentation on the decommissioning of Dounreay followed by a tour of the site. He is pictured here outside Dounreay Fast Reactor with his assistant David Peach (left).


Views Being Sought On Management Of North Peatlands
People who live and work in and around the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland are being asked their views on a draft management strategy for the area, in a public consultation starting this week.  The draft document has been developed by a host of organisations and individuals through the LIFE Peatlands Project, and seeks to take account of the conservation, community and economic needs of the area.  Caithness and Sutherland have the biggest extent of blanket bog in the UK and possibly the world. Large parts of the area are formally recognised under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act and the EC Wild Birds and Habitats Directives, and have also been proposed as a World Heritage Site.  NOTE - The draft strategy will be on the LIFE Peatlands web site later on today (Wednesday 16th March).

Most tickets gone as at 9.00am 17 March.  Phone 01955 604648 for last one.
Our electricity is off for most of today for essential work  and we will not be able to check emails until the evening and it may be too late to post them out.

Free Movie Family Tickets For Barbie "Fairytopia"  - Warner Brothers Cinema Inverness has ten family tickets (Two Adults & Two Children) to give away Free

Screenings start at 10.30am.  Sorry there is only one screening of the film but if you happen to be going to Inverness on Saturday get going early and you can take your little girls to see Fairytopia. has10 x family tickets (two adults, two children) to the special screening of Barbie's new film Fairytopia at the Vue cinema (old Warner Bros) in Inverness on Saturday 19th March.  To get a Family ticket for four just email with your name and address.  First ten out will get the tickets by return of post absolutely FREE.  Barbie plays the beautiful fairy Elina in her latest movie role in the film Barbie "Fairytopia" (certificate U). Elina lives in the magical land of "Fairytopia" where glittery fairies and pixies flutter in and out of flower castles, and enchanted creatures roam the endless meadows and forests.   If we do not get enough folk we will pass them onto an Inverness school.

No You Did Not Win The Readers Digest Lottery Prize - No Matter What Your Email Says!!!
Readers Digest scam is on the go in email again.  Think about it would they contact you by email about a huge prize - NO.  Before you are even tempted to respond to any of these and other scams designed to get you to send money, make phone call at premium rate or give your personal bank details etc READ ThisJust keep brain in gear when receiving email and you will be fine but please warn elderly relatives or anyone you know who might be likely to be deceived.

Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise Latest Grants To Businesses
AEAT Battery Systems Ltd Thurso, commercialisation of lithium-ion cell technology research and development project, £2,600,000; Eastern Airways (UK) Ltd, Wick, marketing campaign to promote new services from Wick Airport to Inverness and Aberdeen, £10,000; Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, Wick, 'Wick Gateway' project at Wick Airport, £3,000; Dunbeath Engineering Ltd, Dunbeath, purchase of specialist equipment, £30,000; J Waters, Thurso, e-commerce website development, £1,190; Homeaid, Thurso, e-commerce website development, £1,108; Blackstairs Fish Ltd, Wick, e-commerce website development, £1,783; Really Nice Cards Ltd, Ardgay, e-commerce website development, £2,713.

International Card Exchange
Hillhead set up a new year card exchange with six other schools from all over the world. Schools from Italy, Rumania, India, Brazil, Singapore, Norway and of course Hillhead School in Wick all exchanged cards with all the others.  Displays of the cards received were set up in the school for everyone to see.


Dunbeath Engineering To Supply Components For Decommissioning
A local Caithness firm, Dunbeath Engineering Limited (DEL), is investing in new equipment which will allow them to provide another local firm, Orion/D Gow and Son Ltd, with components for a decommissioning-related contract for UKAEA at Dounreay. DEL manufactures a range of machine tool accessories which are sold throughout the world. They have been approached by Orion/D Gow and Son Ltd, based in Lybster, to manufacture steel components for waste drums, which Gow's are supplying to UKAEA at Dounreay. 
Dunbeath Engineering Limited is receiving investment of £30,000 from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) to buy the necessary equipment to manufacture the components to be used in the steel waste drums.

Young people from Thurso and the North Coast of Sutherland took part in Careers Scotland's "Limelight Event" on Saturday 12th March in North Highland College.  The event consisted of traditional / folk and rock music workshops and was aimed at 14 - 18 year olds with a growing interest in the world of music and in need of some direction, guidance and input to encourage their talent.  Denise Holden -Careers Scotland's Locality Manager-said," This was an example of one of the many experiences for young people which help them to plan their careers more effectively. The majority of the students who took part had never performed in a band or group before, but by the end of the day had the confidence and ability to perform on stage in front of a live audience. It was a very valuable experience for all concerned and most importantly - a lot of fun!"

Snow Scenes From Lybster After The Blizzard

Cold and windy weather covered Caithness in snow as temperatures fell.

Housing crisis may prompt suspension of right to buy - Scotsman
This story in the Scotsman reflects and increasing view that the growing waiting lists for houses both council and housing associations are being made worse by the right to buy.  Another rush of people to exercise their right to buy will probably result as folk try to beat any suspension of the right to buy which is very attractive for anyone who qualifies for the generous discounts.  Highland waiting lists are growing longer and longer which is why the council is moving to Stock Transfer in order to take up the Scottish Executive offer to invest in Highland Housing and have the outstanding debts written off  Highland has one of the highest housing debts on council housing in Scotland made worse by the rate at which houses have been bought by tenants.  This latest threat is likely to see another rush to buy.

Highland Council Launch Major Funding For Arts & Festivals
Scotland's Year Of Highland Culture 2007
Local groups and committees planning events and festivals over the next three years should take a close look at this new funding being made available by Highland council in the run up to Highland Year Of Culture 2007.  Grants are available for 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Caithness groups in music and the arts should be well placed to take advantage of this significant funding.  Take a look and ask for more information soon........This is significant funding with a total budget expected to reach £30million over the three years and backed by the Scottish Executive and other agencies.  The three years will build towards 2007 with significant projects  - music, sports, clan gatherings and much more.  Get your ideas together and apply for this money in the north.

BTCV Green Gym - Open Meeting
Monday, 21st March 2005nn  10am – 12am
Venue: Wick Health Centre

Following an initial meeting in January 2005, BTCV Scotland would like to invite you to attend an Open meeting to discuss the potential for a Caithness and Sutherland Green Gym network. Green Gym works! Green Gyms got off the ground in Scotland in June 2002, and within 2 years, 14 groups have contributed 880 healthier people within healthy places. For more information on this success story see Your local knowledge and support is being sought to explore these opportunities further. Please come along to this open meeting to find out more and share your thoughts and ideas.

do I enjoy producing my artwork?  do I need to sell it?  do I need to increase my income?
If you answer "YES" to all three then you'll find forthcoming seminars most beneficial.  A Two Day course in Wick.  Seminars supported by CASE to help artists build your confidence,  set fees, cost and price work, market and promote, design your brochure, form workable agreements, understand copyright and help you to maintain a professional profile.  More details......

UKAEA Refutes Latest Particles Stories In The Media Today
UKAEA has not been informed of any "new" court action, other than from journalists today seeking comment on a press release issued on behalf of Mr Geoffrey Minter by Media Intelligence Partners Ltd. UKAEA had agreed to seek mediation with Magnohard Ltd, owner of Sandside Estate, to settle issues arising from the detection and retrieval of radioactive particles from the beach at Sandside Bay, and is therefore disappointed by today's news. The Media Intelligence Partners' statement contains a number of misleading and inaccurate assertions:

CASE Invests £2.6 Million In AEAT Battery Systems Ltd (ABSL) At Thurso
AEAT Battery Systems Limited (ABSL) in Thurso has embarked on an ambitious development project, with help from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) and supported by the Scottish Executive - which could ultimately result in additional jobs at the company's Thurso plant, Denchi House.  The new development will safeguard ABSL's existing 150 employees in Thurso and once technology from the latest research and development projects is proven and commercialised, the company expect the workforce to increase significantly.  CASE is investing £2.6 million towards total project costs of £10.742 million over three years. This level of investment has been made possible through additional support to Highlands and Islands Enterprise from the Scottish Executive.

Caithness and North Sutherland Childrens Choir and Karens Ballet School Show 2005
The performers of the Caithness and North  Sutherland Children's Choir and Karen's Ballet School Show 2005 were putting in the final rehearsal on Sunday. The show is at Pennyland School, Thurso on 14 March 6.30pm.


The North Railway Line - A New Section To Bring Together Ideas For Improvements
We all know the problems of the long journey to the far north by rail.  A beautiful journey for tourists and visitors by highly impractical for the residents in the far north particularly in Caithness.  A trip that takes over four hours by train and nearly half that by car is unlikely to get regular users moving to rail.  Campaigners have been trying for many years to persuade government to improve the route, speed up the trains and generally put the infrastructure in place for a modern transport system.  the failure to add a rail bridge at the Dornoch Firth needs addressing but also the Lairg loop that takes the train away into Sutherland.  These and other problems will be looked at as the new section builds.  We kick it off with two items.  First James Henderson's article printed recently in the Northern Times The Case For Speeding Up The Railway In The North and Second A proposal for a Strategic Assessment Study of the Far North Railway by Corus - railway specialists.  The Friends of the Far North Line will be contributing more information on this subject over coming months.  It is well past time that a the Far North Line was modernised and made fit for the 21st Century.

USA Has Similar Problems As UK With Nuclear Waste
Scientists say removing all radioactive waste from defense sites impractical
Seattle Post  Intelligencer

Dounreay Decommissioning In Jeopardy - Grampian TV

Severe Weather Warning For The Far North - Met Office
Winds are likely to reach severe gale force in places. Across Orkney and Shetland, snow may turn to rain or sleet Sunday night with winds decreasing, although across Caithness and Sutherland, further periods of snow are expected with considerable drifting. In areas affected, driving conditions will become extremely dangerous and the public are advised not to venture outdoors unless really necessary.

Science Festival Gets Going - John Thurso MP Looked In

The Science Festival got going today at Wick High School.  John Thurso MP looked in and stayed for one of the Urrgh Shows (Chemistry with plenty of catalysts and fast yucky results).   All the primary schools in Caithness will have children looking in either at Wick High or when it moves over to Thurso High.  There were plenty of hands on experiments to try out from checking out your knowledge of electricity, magnetism or anatomy and much more.  This is science with FUN but the principles are all hard facts and a great way for young folk to learn about what is around them and make them think.  In addition during the week there are maths talks at the schools designed to show that you can get a lot out of this subject and show enjoyable the subject can be. Now where's that chemistry set..............

More Funding Ideas For Your Group
Performing Arts for children. Making Films £40,000 for three lucky people if you can make a short film for children aged 6 - 13.  Also a new fund - The fund is now open for application and grants can be awarded to organisations run by and for women and organisations which seek to support and empower women.  Watch those applications deadlines.

Science O3 Festival 2005 - Today From 11.00am - Shows at 12.00pm - 1.00pm and 2.00pm
Yes its the third Science 03 Festival once again.  Starting with a hands on Exhibition at Wick High School on Sunday 13 March and running from 11.00am - 3.00pm.  Just drop in anytime.  The Urrgghh Show starts at 12.00pm, 1.00pm and 2.00pm.  Snacks are available.  So kids if you have any science questions here is the chance to ask them and try out some of the equipment demonstrating a few principles.  Try a quiz or a puzzle.  The Urrgghh Show appears at Wick high school again on Tuesday and Thurso High School on Wednesday when Dr Martin Hendry will deliver a lecture entitled "Did men land on the Moon?"  The Science 03 Festival is sponsored by K P Technology Ltd, Wick and UKAEA, RW NUKEM, Rolls Royce, Society of Chemical Industry.

There has been extensive media interest at a local, Scottish and UK level in historical practices at Dounreay following allegations that the discovery of a second metallic particle at Sandside Beach in 1984 was covered up by the then management.  A former employee, Mr Herbie Lyall, supported by the land-owner at Sandside, has alleged that a large particle found by he and two colleagues on the beach at Sandside Bay was not reported. Any suggestion that he had confused similar particles found on the foreshore at Dounreay would be untrue because Mr Lyall was “emphatic” he had never been allowed access to monitor the foreshore at Dounreay.

UKAEA is aware of a number of allegations being made about historical practices at Dounreay.  The latest of these involves a third party who has been hawking claims around a number of newspapers regarding the whereabouts of a radioactive source reported missing at Dounreay in 1989.
At the time, the then site management appealed publicly for information about this source and carried out extensive searches, on-site and off-site. The disappearance of the source was reported by the media in 1989.  Today's media report is a blatant reheat of an old story published in the1980s. It beggars belief that, 16 years later, the Sunday Herald has chosen to present this as "news", or that an anonymous third party who claims to have information regarding the whereabouts of this item approached newspapers rather than the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority or UKAEA.

West Caithness SWRI Bulb Show 2005

Another fantastic show of bulbs in Thurso today showed that Caithness homes are full of colour and perfume.  The Lord Lieutenant Ann Dunnet presented the cups and prizes.  All that colour and tea or coffee with a superb range of home baked cakes and biscuits.   How do you get bulbs flowering at this time of year.  Ask the SWRI ladies - experts in getting them to flower for the day of the show each year.

East End Boys Club Gets A Web Site
The well known Wick boys football club now has anew web site up and running.  A link has been place on the East Boys Club Page on this site and in the Caithness sites page  There are now so many Caithness web sites we have added al link on our front page to help you find the one you are looking for.  Just look down on the bottom left of this page.  Business Web Sites are also linked via that page and on dedicated page in our Business Index.  If you have a web site about any aspect of Caithness life or for a local group you can have it listed by emailing   Businesses can merely complete a submission form with amended details including the web site URL.  East End Boys Club Pages will remain on the web site and we will continue to add photographs sent in.  Copies of the web site will eventually be placed in the Archives of the local library and Wick Heritage for posterity.

Wick High 1965 Reunion Planning Gets Underway
Is this your year at Wick High School.  A list is now in place of names of folk who were in the year.  Get in touch with the organisers if you might be interested or want to be kept posted on the details.  The Reunion will be held on 30 July 2005 in Mackays Hotel, Wick

Battle Of The Bands Rolls Again For Ard Rock
Thursday 17 March 7.30pm Wick High School
The Caithness Drug & Alcohol Forum is sponsoring the Battle of the Bands in Wick High School on Thursday 17th March 2005, concert starts starting at 7.30pm. - stalls will be up before then.  As part of drug awareness CDAF will set up stalls in the Crush Hall.  This will include information on drug and alcohol; interactive games and displays. There will be a quiz you can enter with substantial prizes.

Far North MSP Jamie Stone has called for more creative thinking from political quarters to address the problems with NHS dental services in rural areas.  Speaking in a debate on dentistry in the Scottish Parliament, he suggested that the NHS look to the example of the armed forces and consider sponsoring dental students through their training, in return for an agreed number of years service to the NHS once qualified.  Commenting on the matter, Mr Stone said: " I believe that in dentistry we could emulate what the armed forces do. They pay students a salary while they are at university on condition that they sign up to the colours for five years.

Telford St, Wick -  Development Wins Award for Outstanding Performance & Quality
The Telford St Development Lower Pulteneytown, won the Award for Outstanding Performance and Quality in Development on the Ground.  The awards are sponsored by the Scottish Executive and the Royal Town Planning Institution. This is a tremendous achievement and reflects the level of community involvement in the whole project from the workings of the Wick Project to the involvement of the Wick Youth club. The judges comments were, "We visited Lower Pulteneytown and were extremely impressed with the design quality of this project".

Digital Links International, a not for profit organisation that aims to improve the lives of people in the developing world by providing them with access to refurbished computer equipment, is urging businesses to be prepared for a new EU Directive that carries harsh penalties for non-compliance.  WEEE is the European Union Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. It states that companies must no longer simply dispose of obsolete, redundant and surplus electrical equipment in landfill. Any products, such as PCs, monitors and laptops, sold after 13 August 2005 will be affected by the new legislation.

UKAEA Hits Back On Rehashed Old News Story
UKAEA is aware that a number of allegations connected with Dounreay have suddenly been raised in the Scottish and English media. All relate to events dating from the 1980s or much earlier. Many were covered widely in the media at that time. Others have proved impossible to substantiate, either from site records or the memory of people who worked at Dounreay at the time.  Whatever the motivation behind this spate of old news stories, it cannot be right to raise public fears about safety at the site today. UKAEA regrets any practices in the past which failed to meet the safety standards of the time, but the public should be clear that they are absolutely not a reflection of current practice.

Peruvian Entertainer Edwardo Sanchez Visited Hillhead & South Schools In Wick
Two Wick schools enjoyed a visit by a Peruvian entertainer this week.  Eduardo Sanchez, who performs under his name "Eduardo" entertained  pupils at Wick Hillhead School and South School with a performance which included mime, agility contortions, balloon model making and juggling.  The pictures show Eduardo and pupils at Hillhead.


Focus On Fun - Caithness Floral Art Club
Caithness Floral Art Club began its 2005 programme on Thursday when Kate Kerr, a National Demonstrator, from Dumfries gave a demonstration called "Focus on Fun". Her contemporary floral designs used a variety of flowers, colours and foliages in each arrangement. Whether a novice or experienced flower arranger, everyone spent a most enjoyable evening watching Kate work and listening to her entertaining stories.  Floral Art Club Index

North School, Wick March Newsletter
This months newsletter from North School, Wick with some photographs of the new library now being used by children from nursery to primary seven.  Primary Seven class are off to Edinburgh shortly and have a packed schedule including Dynamic Earth, the new Parliament building, Coatbridge Leisure Pool, New Lanark Heritage Village, Edinburgh Castle, a Dinosaur Exhibition in the Chambers’ Street Museum, the Edinburgh Crystal Factory, Insect World, Edinburgh Zoo and Deep Sea World. And in between all that having a game of bowling, taking part in a ghost walk and visiting the cinema.  Phew..... back to Wick for a rest.  Enjoy the trip everyone.

Comedy Hypnotic Show Comes To Caithness - Tickets Selling Fast
Adrian Knight Comedy Hypnotic Show
Saturday 19 March 2005
Wick Dounreay Club
Doors open 8.30pm
Members and guests all welcome
Tickets £8

Surfin Caithness Competition
Tempest Surf Shop and Thurso Surf School are holding a surf competition scheduled for the 26th and 27th March 2005. The location is at the Thurso Harbour wall. If the competition is cancelled due to conditions then it will be forwarded onto the following weekend.  Thurso is gaining a reputation as one of the best surfing places in the UK. 


Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick - Extra Newsletter
This extra newsletter gives details of the Spring Fayre at the school on Wednesday 23 March and arrangements for children on that day. Also some changes to school meals menus

An energetic bunch of volunteers turned Dunnet Forest into a busy work site last Saturday morning. Members of the Caithness Countryside Volunteers (CCV) planted, staked and guarded a range of broadleaf trees in small open areas in the forest.  The event was sponsored by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) Action Earth 2005 (supported by Scottish Natural Heritage) and led by Jon Hollingdale from the Dunnet Forestry Trust.

Lybster Fire Unit To Be On Grampian News "North Tonight" On Thursday 10 March
Fire Action Group Lybster  The videos of main stories on North Tonight usually feature on their web site.

The Chairman of NHS Highland – Garry Coutts - is encouraging Highlanders from the West, North and South, to come forward to play their part in the NHS in the Highlands. The Scottish Executive are about to advertise for the posts of two additional Non-Executive Members for NHS Highland, following successful lobbying by Mr Coutts.  He said: "I am delighted that the Minister has agreed to create another two non-executive members for NHS Highland, to ensure that the unique geography of the area we serve is fully covered. Although Non-executives do not represent a particular area, it is helpful to have Board members who understand the real issues facing people throughout the Highlands."  "Just now we don’t have any members from Skye and Lochalsh, Sutherland, or Badenoch and Strathspey. Although we do have members who live in Lochaber and Caithness, they are appointed because of other positions they hold, so I would particularly want to encourage people from all these areas to come forward. Largely we are also white, middle-aged, and able-bodied, so would be keen to recruit members who can bring a different perspective to our discussions."

North Action Group Still Fighting For Maternity Services as Unit Sees 18th Mothers Day
On the first anniversary of the 2004 Mother's Day March the North Action Group were delighted that consultant led maternity & gynaecology services are still being provided in Caithness on a 24hr basis as they have been for many years.

David Masters The Music
A new mastering engineering business based in Wick is hitting all the right notes since opening at the start of the year.  Norwick Mastering was set up by David Shearer who spent over 12 years as a mastering engineer with Grampian Records Ltd. Prior to that he spent six years as a professional musician, working in recording studios in Northern and Southern Ireland, Nashville Tennessee, England and Scotland.  Mastering engineering is the process of taking an audio recording and turning it into a production master by putting the final professional polish to the mix, and bringing out its full potential. It takes the recording up to a commercial standard, using very high quality specialist equipment, providing a final production CD ready to replicate, enabling the recording to compete more effectively with other commercially produced CD's.

The Highland Council is gearing up to launch a new kerbside collection of paper, cans and garden waste in Caithness which will make it much easier for 8,000 households in Thurso, Wick and Scrabster to recycle their household waste from their own front door.   Two new vehicles have been purchased to allow collections on a fortnightly basis.  One week, homes will receive a collection of garden waste and the following week a collection of paper and cans.  Each household will be supplied with an additional brown wheelie bin for their garden waste and a blue box for their paper and cans.    The normal refuse collection will be unaffected.

National No Smoking Day Today
No sermons - just  a few links that might help.

More Thurso Streets
High Street                 Shore Street              Kirk View

Caithness Family History Society - Talk By Margaret Viscountess Thurso
Thurso Miller Academy Arts Room Wednesday 9 March 7.00pm.  Lady Thurso will give a talk on "My Robertson Family Tree".  All Welcome.  Caithness Family History Web Site

Lybster Gala 2005
Will run from Saturday the 2nd - 9th of July 2005 a week later than normal.
Is Your Gala, Games, Show for this year in the section yet.  Have you posted it to the What's On Calendar for maximum FREE publicity

do I enjoy producing my artwork?  do I need to sell it?  do I need to increase my income?
If you answer "YES" to all three then you'll find forthcoming seminars most beneficial.  A Two Day course in Wick.  Seminars supported by CASE to help artists build your confidence,  set fees, cost and price work, market and promote, design your brochure, form workable agreements, understand copyright and help you to maintain a professional profile.  More details......

Return To Shebster

Heading out from Thurso and past Westfield lies Shebster.  Featuring in this group of photos is the derelict Reay Free Church built in 1844.  Farming country with some recent forestry and the threat depending on your point of view of at least two wind farms in the area.  The district was once much more heavily populated with the church once having over 700 attenders.  As you can see from the roads driving is a joy as cars are few and far between.

Shore Lane,  Wick - Work Moving On Steadily
The work to widen and upgrade the road at Shore Lane, Wick is progressing day by day.  Several parts of  of Wick are currently being upgraded - Bank Row near the heritage museum is getting new a Caithness flagstone pavement.  shortly work will commence on rebuilding the Black Stairs and shore Road should start very soon.

Caithness Youth Forum are presenting "T Total" Caithness’ answer to the – X-Factor
Sunday 17th April 2005 at the Assembly Rooms, Wick.
There are 3 categories  - 1. Bands - 2. Individual Performers - 3. Entertainers
Entrants should be aged between 14 & 20.  There is an overall prize for the winner of £250 in vouchers of choice and £100 voucher for each category winner!  If you are in a band, are solo singers, dancers, comedian or even play the accordion or fiddle etc etc we want to hear from you!  You can pick up an application form from the Community Learning Offices in Thurso or Wick, the reception of the High School in both Thurso & Wick or from the College. Or phone Angela Alexander or Diane Gibson on 01847 895782.

Ranger Walks Are FREE And Great Way To See The Caithness Countryside And Coastline
This picture was taken on Sunday 6 March on the Ranger led walk from Staxigoe to Keiss.  The walks are organised throughout the year but there are many more in the summer months than the winter.  The rangers research their walks and can point out not only interesting aspects on wildlife and plant life but also can give some information on some of the history or archaeology along the way.  Walks vary in distance, time and difficulty but all details are usually advertised or can be checked by a quick call to the ranger office.  Visitors to the county are very welcome to go along on these walks and all of the walking groups in the area welcome new faces for one or more walks.

"Horizon" Art And Craft Work Exhibition Now Running At St Fergus Gallery Wick

All the art and craft work in the exhibition currently running in the St Fergus gallery is by people based in or connected with Caithness.  Much of it is for sale and several works have already been purchased.  The work is of an extremely high standard and the sheer variety will leave you in no doubt about the quality being produced in Caithness these days.  The organisers had a very difficult set of choices to make as much had to be left out of this exhibition due to lack of space.  Take a look while it lasts until 26 March.

Traditional Music Workshops in Wick High School
Saturday 16th April 2005 - Evening Concert In MacKay’s Hotel Wick at 8pm
Tutors - Duncan Chisholm – Fiddle - Wolfstone / Session A9 - Ruby Rendall – Groupwork - Ruby Rendall Band - Kevin Henderson – Fiddle - Fiddlers Bid - Iain MacFarlane – Fiddle - Blazin Fiddles - -Louise MacKenzie – fiddle - Feis Tutor - David Bowen – Accordion - Inverness Band Leader - Brian McAlpine – Groupwork - Session A9 - More Details from Gordon Gunn   Gordon Gunn's Earlier Workshops have been very successful

Remember The Caithness Careers Convention In Thurso On Wednesday 6.00 - 8.30pm
The Careers Convention offers people of all ages comprehensive guidance on careers, training and education. More than fifty organisations/businesses: including universities, colleges, training providers and employers will be at the event, organised by Careers Scotland in Thurso.

Caithness Cultural Trust
Let Them Know If You Would Be Interested In Renting Space

The Caithness Cultural Trust was formed from a cross section of the community to turn this atmospheric old building, originally part of Thomas Telford’s harbour development in Pulteneytown, Wick, Caithness, into a multi-functional arts centre.

Scottish Socialists Select Luke Ivory As Candidate For North
Luke Ivory is the Scottish Socialist Party candidate for Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross in the coming Westminster elections.  Mr Ivory has strongly supported the retention of the consultant led maternity services at Caithness General, community ownership of various publicly owned assets and suggested that even certain businesses should go into public ownership.  Socialists join condemnation of Dounreay privatisation proposal Plans to introduce privatisation at Dounreay were this week condemned by the Scottish Socialists for risking the safety of workers in order to save more money, as revealed by local trade unionists at the plant.

Six Westminster Election Candidates Announced So Far

Angus Ross (Con) Karen Shirron (SNP) Alan Jamieson (Lab) Luke Ivory (SSP) John Thurso (Lib Dem) Gordon Campbell (Ind)

Thurso Scottish Country Dance Club Offers Chance To Learn Ready For Annual Dance
Thurso Scottish Country Dance Club will be holding their Annual Dance for members and friends on Saturday 9th April in the Royal British Legion Hall, Thurso. They would be delighted if any country dancers - or perhaps "lapsed" country dancers - from the east of the county could join them. They'd be very welcome. The detailed programme can be seen HERE  Rehearsals of the dances are about to begin. For more information phone 01847-821341

Everyone Will Have Chance To Vote SSP - say Highlands and Islands Socialists
The Scottish Socialist Party this week announced that they will contest every seat in the Highlands and Islands in the forthcoming General Election. The party's Regional Council, consisting of delegates from branches across the region, confirmed the decision this Sunday at a planning meeting held in Inverness. The party will contest the election in the Moray, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Ross, Skye and Lochaber, the Western Isles, Argyll & Bute, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, and Orkney and Shetland. Candidates are in place in six out of seven of the seats with Orkney and Shetland expected to announce their candidate in the next couple of weeks.

NHS24 Understaffed And Underperforming
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson says that the Scottish Executive review of NHS 24 will have to be extremely detailed and changes made if lives are not to be put at risk.  His comments come after news of a petition from Killin is being lodged in Parliament and Fort William GP and councillor Michael Foxley has shown very poor slow service from the NHS 24 phone lines. Michael Foxley, Highland Council vice-convener and a doctor based in Lochaber, said the health of people living in remote areas was under threat because the controversial out-of-hours telephone service was not coping with the volume of calls being made.

New Section For Caithness Army Cadets Groups
A new section brining together the pages of the separate Army Cadet groups in Caithness will make it easier to find the sections.  A new photo gallery has been set up as a place to group cadet photos and the first few are in to let everyone see what this youth sector gets up to.


Dounreay Under Fire All Over The Press As Particles Story Goes Worldwide
Here are just a few of the items on the web on this topic
Demand for Dounreay to face 'cowboy bosses' probe Scotsman
Ex-safety officer at Dounreay claims cover-up The Herald
'Regret' over Dounreay Radioactive Discharge Scotsman
The Mercury - South Africa
Radio active waste washed into sea in Britain: report: New Kerala - India
Nuclear waste 'dumped' Gulf Daily News
Reckless nuclear Plant dumps Waste on beaches - The Sunday Times
Contaminated stone found on beach 15 miles from nuclear plant  - the Herald
Dounreay waste claims dismissed BBC News
Demand for Dounreay to face 'cowboy bosses' probe - Scotsman
Many eyes have turned on Dounreay following the SEPA report to the procurator fiscals office last month as in this BBC report

Hillhead School, Wick - March Newsletter
Included with the Hillhead school March newsletter is photo of the winners of the Chinese bookmark competition which was part of the highly successful Chinese week at the school.  Featured in this months newsletter are items on the new plasma screen in the dining room showing things that have been happening in the school.  It was also used during the Chinese meal one day to show an amusing Chinese film with sketches and music.  The Book Fair, Tsunami fund raising results , Bag Packing and the forthcoming Spring Fair all get a mention along with other topics.
In addition the next newsletter for March in the Home From Hillhead reading project is also out.  this programme is designed to encourage parents to read with their children and the newsletter has lot of suggestions for parents.  Included in this months newsletter are some of the younger children's drawings.
Hillhead School Main Index

Youth Concert In Wick Showcases High Standards Of Music Around The Highlands

The youth concert on Saturday night organised by Wick Accordion and Fiddle Club showed the amazingly high standards that young folk are reaching musically in the far north.  The show featured two groups from the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton High School - "Dolly Mixtures" and "Shenanigans".  They were indeed excellent with one of them already having produced their first CD which was on sale.  Local musical talent was no less amazing with the show kicked off by the "Occasionals" who often play with the club.  This talented young bunch based in Wick has all the foot tapping needed to get the applause going easily.  The "North Highland Juvenile Pipe Band" based in Wick made their first appearance since the death of their instructor Bobby Coghill.  They were an amazing testament to his work dealing professionally with a range of tunes.  If you had not seen them you would have been hard put to distinguish their sound from many excellent highly experienced pipe bands.  Take a look next time they have an outing and you will be pleasantly surprised at the high standard.  "North School Choir" from Wick also showed they had been practicing hard and showed they will be a force to be reckoned with at the Music Festival in June.  For variety "The Violet Leitch School of Dancing" had four young dancers showing Highland Dancing.  This was a thoroughly good show and if they hold another don't miss it.

Thurso Cemetery Extension Well Underway

Borrowston Wind Farm Proposal Rejected On Appeal
Protestors against the Wind Farm proposals of CRE energy owned by Scottish Power were jubilant last yesterday as the news was released that Bill Paterson the Scottish Inquiry reporter had rejected the appeal by the company against the decision in September 2003 of Highland Council  not to allow the project to build the 10 wind turbines at Borrowston near Dounreay.  Local objectors who had formed the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum were delighted.  Their initial battle had been won when Highland Council had rejected the scheme after many local residents had objected.  The victory had been short lived as the company had then appealed against the decision.  Local people had then formed an action group and raised the money to hire a QC to fight their case at the appeal.

Renting A House Or A Room - Advertise With
Ads cost £10 without a photo and £15 with a photo.  Your ad stays on until the property is let.  No repeat fees.  Compare this price to anything else locally and check how many folk see the web site  If they are looking for property they probably start here.

More Work Vehicles for The Gallery

Latest Newsletter From Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick
Reminder that enrolment for the nursery class for children born between 01.03.01 – 28.02.02 will be held Mon, Tues and Wed 7 - 9 March from 9.30 a.m. – 12 noon.

Maureen MacMillan MSP Supports New Bill to 'Call Time' on Binge Drinking
A new Licensing Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament designed to tackle binge drinking and give communities more of say on the granting of alcohol licences.   Maureen Macmillan MSP is backing the Bill, which also sets a requirement for all licensees to operate on a 'no-proof, no-sale' basis to stop under age drinking.  Welcoming the publication of the Bill Mrs Macmillan said, "I am delighted that this Bill has been introduced to Parliament. These are the first major changes to Scotland's licensing laws for over 25 years and it is critical that we respond to the needs of our local communities and tackle the antisocial behaviour that is often associated with alcohol.


Westfield lies just a couple of miles out from Thurso on the way to Reay

Royal Navy Engineering Students Visit Dounreay
Dounreay recently played host to a group of Royal Navy Officers who were visiting NRTE Vulcan as part of their training course based at HMS Sultan, Gosport.  HMS Sultan is the Defence College of Electro and Mechanical Engineering, and its primary function is to supply the RN with engineering officers and ratings of the highest quality.  During their half-day visit to Dounreay they were given a guided tour of the site and around PFR where they were shown the on-going decommissioning work and its record breaking sodium disposal plant.

Latest Newsletter From Mount Pleasant Primary School - Thurso
4 March 2005

HIE's Biggest Public Consultation Exercise Nears Completion
A huge public consultation exercise to help determine the future activities of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is drawing to a close.  Since January the economic and community development agency has been seeking the views of its staff, stakeholders, partner organisations, businesses, communities and individuals as part of the process of identifying its strategic priorities for the coming years. 
Market and public opinion research agency MORI, which was commissioned by HIE to conduct the consultation, is close to its target of obtaining the views of nearly 2,000 residents, 1,200 businesses and 100 community and voluntary organisations.  Have Your Say Here.

Information Notice for Visitors to Dunnet Bay
The following notice is being erected this afternoon at Dunnet Beach

A small item of radioactive material has been detected on the beach in this bay during an ongoing survey being carried out on behalf of the UKAEA. The stone-like item has been removed for detailed analysis.  Monitoring of this beach will continue until sometime during week commencing 14th March (weather permitting). The public is advised not to remove sand or other materials from the beach until this survey is

National Tourism Strategy For Scotland
If You are Involved In Tourism Complete the Online Form

The Scottish Executive has now embarked on a Refresh of the National Tourism Strategy and as part of that exercise Scottish Tourism Forum (STF) have been approached to gather industry views and comment on the strategy that drives the way in which Scotland is promoted. Just to remind you STF are the nationally recognised independent trade body for Scotland.

JGC Engineering & Technical Services Building Comleted
The new building for JGC Engineering & Technical Services now has its cladding completely on.  The large building will shortly be ready for work inside.  Caithness can now has one of the most modern engineering test facilities in Scotland.


No Excuse for Domestic Abuse - Wellbeing Alliance Raises Domestic Abuse Awareness
In Highland last year 1417 domestic abuse incidents came to the attention of the police – that is almost four each day.   The Highland Wellbeing Alliance campaign to raise awareness about the unacceptability of such shocking statistics picked up momentum again this week. The second poster will be published and distributed to coincide with International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. This date, commemorated by the United Nations (and a national holiday in many countries), is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is embedded in the centuries old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal parallel with men.

Walk At Bettyhill - 19 March
The BBC are looking for volunteers to take part in a walk on Saturday 19 March 2005 at 10.00am, from Anchanlochy Quarry on the Skelpick Road to the pier in Bettyhill, Sutherland.  The idea is to commemorate the journey taken by the people of Strathnaver from various parts of the valley to the sea during the Clearances of the early 19th Century.  They will be filming along the route and also talking to some of the
walkers.  All walkers will be asked to make a donation or they can be sponsored the money raised will be used equally between the Strathnaver Museum which commemorates the Clearances and the project to replace the Mackay County Stone on Drumholiston which was destroyed by vandals. Sponsor forms can be obtained from Jim A Johnston Farr High School Headteacher or the Strathnaver Museum.  The BBC is keen to get as many people as possible to attend, and there are no restrictions on where you come from or whether you linked to the Clearances in any way. There will be refreshments provided at the end of the walk.  Skerray To Slettel Walk 13 March

More Thurso Places - Miller Terrace

Marie Curie Cancer Daffodil Day - Saturday 5 March in Wick and Thurso
Bill will be doing the annual Daffodil collection in the Coop and Somerfields.  We are a bit short of collectors this year so if anyone can spare a couple of hours give Bill A phone on 01955 604648.  Thurso are also looking for more collectors so again if you can spare some time on Saturday get in touch or contact Elma on 01463 238328 or 07771 963 623 or

Initiative At the Edge - South East Caithness Meeting 1 March
The latest meeting of the recently formed Initiative At The Edge Committee is moving swiftly to get the organisation established with a constitution,  office and a staff member.  The organisation looks to be off to a vigorous start and are keeping the momentum going with regular meetings.  The committee also agreed that all meetings will be open to the public and the next meeting will be on 22 March in the Village Hall, Dunbeath.

Burnett Place, Thurso - A Closer Look

February 2005  - Another Record Breaking Month - Hits 8,106,416  Visitors 136,984
Daily Average Hits 289,513   Visitors 4891

The totals are down compared to January but February only has 28 days so for comparison you have to look at the daily rates. The daily number of visitors was up.  Visitors to in 2005 have already passed a quarter of a million standing at 283,683.  For comparison with last year Feb 2004 visitors were 121,317. In addition to local traffic visitors came from 121 countries. The most popular search terms before arriving at is still castles and variations on phrases including the word castle.  The Message Board again broke records itself with 96 of its 1517 registered users being online at the same time on 7 February.  The boards which include items for sale have over 17,000 separate messages showing.  If you have question about Caithness you might be surprised how fast the answers come back on the boards from the collective brain.  But it is the debates, arguments or tips and hints about almost anything that seem to be most popular.  Thanks again to everyone who dropped in or who sent in photos and information for the pages.

Chris Moyles DJ From BBC Radio 1 Will Start In Caithness For Red Nose Day
As well as touring the country and collecting prizes, he is going to be offering ourselves to do anything you want! The team turn up at your school to DJ at your disco, open your new shop, or even come and serve in your canteen - anything...  all you need to do is offer a sum of money for him to turn up and perform.  Check out the Radio 1 web site for more details.