Anglers and Canoeists Unite to Fight Salmon Parasite Threat
The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) have made a joint call for tighter measures to prevent a deadly salmon parasite entering Scottish waters. The two organisations hope that their unprecedented combined effort will lead to the introduction of a high profile campaign at ports and airports to raise awareness of the threat from the Gyrodactylus salaris (Gs) parasite. The Gs parasite, which has devastated stocks of Atlantic salmon in a number of Norwegian rivers, has the potential to cause massive problems for the Scottish economy. As well as devastating irrevocably Scotland's salmon stocks, it would impact heavily on activities like angling and canoeing. Furthermore, it would seriously affect the image and operation of Scotland's whisky, paper and bottled water industries, as well as every other recreational and business activity that relies on fresh water.

Killer Whales At Sinclair Bay Today
Thanks to Louise Sinclair for letting us know that killer whales arrived in Sinclair Bay at Stain this morning

Earlier sightings Of Whales in Caithness


McBeath's Jeweller's County Snooker Doubles
The McBeath's Jeweller's County Snooker Doubles got under way a week Saturday past, James and Victor Risbridger looking to regain the title they won last March in the Viewfirth. This year's championship was played in the Royal British Legion with 7 pairings to battle it out. In the first round James and Victor overcame County Singles Champion Derek Johnston and Mark Mackay in a 3 hour battle with the Risbridger brothers prevailing 3 - 1.

Thurso High School Team In Final Of Big Green Challenge
BBC Newsround presenter Laura Jones visits Inverness next month (June) to host the final of the Big Green Challenge where four schools will battle it out before a panel of top judges. The Big Green Challenge, sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is the first debate of its kind to tackle head-on one of Scotland's most pressing issues - renewable energy. After a series of local heats involving 35 teams from 20 schools and nearly 100 young people, the competition reaches its climax at the new £23m Centre for Health Science on Tuesday 19th June. The four schools to have made it through to the final are Keith Grammar, Lochaber High School, the Nicolson Institute and Thurso High School.

The Papers
And you thought New York drinking ban was tough -
Craig Brown, Scotsman
PROHIBITION. The word conjures images of 1920s New York, gangsters, jazz bands and speakeasies serving illicit hooch and bathtub gin to flappers and dandies. It is certainly not associated with small towns in Caithness. But for a quarter of a century, or 12 years longer than in the United States, the parish of Wick voted consistently to ban the sale of alcohol. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the end of prohibition in the Highland town. Under the Temperance (Scotland) Act of 1913, parishes were able to carry out local votes to decide whether or not the sale of alcohol could be banned. The legislation was a success for campaigners who believed that alcohol was one of society's greatest evils and the ruin of the working classes...........................

More Exploration Activity On East Coast Of Caithness As Seismic Survey Ship Arrives
A seismic survey is taking place off the East Coast of Caithness.  The "Cog Venturer" is towing seismic equipment about a mile behind the vessel.  A guard boat  is accompanying the ship as there is line with buoys stretching out behind with a a seismic mat at the end.  CGGVeritas have confirmed that due to the time of year a Marine Mammal observer is on board to advise on lessening damage to whales and dolphins that might be around at this time of year.  The seismic mat carries pneumatic guns that fire in sequences to create small underwater explosions and give information about what lies beneath the sea-bed. Could an oil rig be next on the scene close to shore? with drilling on shore near Lybster due to commence shortly activity in Caithness seems to be stepping up.  Did Tesco, Homebase etc really know something as the rumour mills keep suggesting? "Wick - Oil capital of the north" or Lybster's new logo - "Who needs fish we've got oil".  Ah well we can only dream......

Finishing Touches To Halkirk School's Garden
The final touches to Halkirk Schools new garden were made recently with the erection of an otter holt, flagstones with carvings by the children, a pergola built by Mr Andrew Crawford, benches painted and decorated by the children, and the planting of various shrubs and plants, many of which were donated by parents and friends in the community.........

Caitlin Carter of Primary 4 of Lybster Primary School won the competition for the best logo for the newly formed Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company set up by the South East Caithness Development Group under the Initiative at the Edge scheme to manage community land and associated assets for the benefit of the local community. The runner-up in the competition was Eilidh Sutherland. Over 60 children from primary 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Lybster Primary School submitted entries, which were judged on the basis of artistic merit and appropriateness for reduction into a logo. The winners received their certificates and prizes from Iain Gunn and Neil Buchanan directors of the Development Company at Lybster School. The new logo will be first used on application forms for membership of the Development Company, which will be open to all adult residents in the KW3 and KW5 post code areas.  Flying index

More Planes Coming And Going At Wick Today

Popular Flying Association Members Fly Into Wick
Members and friends of the Popular Flying Association flew into Wick on Saturday.  This was one of their annual events and the first time the club had chosen Wick as their destination.  Not all of the fliers were from Scotland as a group of Irish pilots had come over to make the trip north and they stayed at the Loch Watten Bed and Breakfast  Up to 100 light aircraft were expected to make the trip some flying solo and others carrying friends and relatives as passenger.

The Sunday Papers
Cape Wrath casts its spell on Harry Potter film-makers - Scotsman
Whaligoe Steps in Caithness is a possible candidate for part of the new Harry Potter movie.  Warner Bros, which is preparing to shoot "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince" has sent people out to look at possible locations in Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand.

Caithness Scouts Celebrate 100 Years Of Scouting 1907 - 2007 At Rumster Camp Weekend

This weekend Scouts, Cubs and Beavers from all over Caithness gathered at Rumster forest to celebrate 100 years of scouting.  A camp has been going on since Friday evening with Scouts and Cubs. They were joined on Saturday by the younger Beaver groups. Beavers were piped into camp by memebrs of the Caithness Scout Pipe Band. The camp finishes on Sunday but there are other events taking place later in the year in June and August.  This weekend there are scouts at camps all over Scotland and the UK and in many other countries.  At Rumster 225 were out on Saturday whilst across Scotland 20,000 attended different camp sites.  Estimates for the UK are around 200,000 at camp sites for the weekend or for the day.  The weekend had all the usual elements of camping with plenty to eat after walks and games.  On Saturday plenty of activities were laid on for the Beavers.  The camp is being held near the outdoor centre that was burnt down last year.  The immediate forest around the camp site has been felled bu there are still plenty of trees around and new planting is going on.  Work is still heading towards building a new centre for young people in Caithness.  Numbers attending scouts in Caithness are beginning to rise once again after some years of decline.  If you would like to join or help with a local group get in touch with  - its great fun and you will always learn something new. The History Of Scouting  Caithness Scouts

Thurso Fire Brigade Called To Fire On Board FR147 "Alert"
Thurso Fire Brigade were called out to a fire on board the fishing vessel FR147 "Alert" today at Scrabster harbour.  The fishing boat was at the fuel station.  The fire was soon dealt with and no one was injured


Black Prince Cruise Ship At Scrabster Today
The Black Prince cruise ship from the Fred Olsen line arrived today at Scrabster.  The ship  has been arriving at Scrabster since 2004 making use of the much larger new pier.


Flotilla Event Just Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger 23rd – 29th June 07
The Flotilla event Wick to Portsoy is still growing as more and more boats join in for wee sail doon the coast. The Moray Firth flotilla at Wick will be one of the biggest highlights of the year at each of the ports it arrives at.  Wick is the starting point and the Wick Harbourfest Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24th June.  After Wick the flotilla heads for Lybster on Sunday 25th where the village is also preparing for an invasion of boats and visitors. Media interest is building as TV crews and newspaper people want to report and get photos of this unique event.  Both Caithness harbours have seen nothing like it for many decades with so many boats arriving - a mix of the old sailing fishing boats accompanied by an armada of modern yachts.

Lybster Programme For Flotilla 24th & 25th June
Lybster is getting ready for what will be the biggest invasion of boats seen at the harbour since the days of the Herring.  The flotilla leaves Wick and is expected to arrive about 1.30pm.  A full programme of events for the day has been organised with music in the village hall and a buffet. Parking will be restricted with a bus service to and from the harbour if you cannot walk down the hill. Every facility will be open and in use from the village hall, bowling club hall, Waterlines visitor centre and the Portland Arms Hotel. Caithness Junior Pipe band will greet the boats arrival and there will be a running commentary about the boats as they arrive. the boats leave Lybster on Monday 25th at 11.00am to head for Helmsdale. Full Lybster Flotilla Programme  Full Wick Flotilla Programme

Vintage Longhope Lifeboat To Arrive At Wick Harbourfest
The vintage Longhope lifeboat Thomas McCunn will sail from Lonhope, Orkney and be on display at the Wick Harbour fest on Saturday 23rd June.  The Thomas McCunn is a Watson-class lifeboat and was built in 1932.  She was at Longhope as the lifeboat from 1933 - 1962 and was launched 101 times and saved 304 lives.  The boat will be open for the public to go onboard to see what conditions were like.

Its A Knockout Competition - Enter A Team - Thurso Gala 4 - 12 August 2007
As part of Thurso Gala week, Thurso Town Improvement Association are organising an 'It's a knock out' event on Sunday the 5th of August 2007 at the Dammies, Thurso.  We are inviting local organisations and businesses to enter teams to take part in this excellent funday event, along with raising funds for 3 local charities - TTIA, Thurso Football Club and Scallywags Nursery, Dunnet. The winning team will also have the opportunity to nominate £100 prize money to their chosen charity.

Caithness Men All Home From Basra Safely
Captain Kevin Mackay sends his thanks to all the Caithness folk who have supported them over the past seven month on their tour of duty in Basra, Iraq.  The photo shows the men a few days before they left Basra to return to Scotland.  This photo was only the second time they had been together in the seven month tour of duty with Alamein Company.  Great to see them all back with their families.  TA in Caithness Index

Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 26
Items in this issue include -

Sphere's Polar Crane Ready to Decommission Reactor - Staff Take Part in Emergency Drill
Final Strip-Out of Fuel Fabrication Plant - Innovation by the Shaft Isolation Project Team
Off-Shore Monitoring for Particles - Strategy Produced for Dealing with Radiological Inventory
Final Drums of Historical Waste Supercompacted - In the Dock over Lead Bricks
Dounreay at a Glance 2007 - Dounreay Showcases Nuclear Decommissioning Trade Show
A Pdf version of the Site Staff Dounreay News for May is available HERE

In Case of Emergency (ICE) - Set Up An ICE On Your Mobile Phone
We all carry our mobile phones with hundreds of names/ numbers stored in its memory but yet nobody, other than ourselves, know which of these numbers belong to our near and dear ones? In case we are involved in an accident or had a heart attack and the people attending us get hold of our mobile phone but don't know which number to call to inform our family members. Yes, there are many numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? For this reason, we must have one or more telephone numbers stored under the name ICE (In case of Emergency) in our mobile phones. Recently, the concept of "ICE" is catching up quickly. It is simple, an important method of contact during emergency situations. As cell phones are carried by majority of the population, just store the number of a contact person or person who should be contacted at during emergency as ICE" (meaning In Case of Emergency). 

Wave power centre secures funding - BBC
UHI Millennium Institute and Heriot-Watt University are project partners in the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) in Thurso.

Caithness Creels Expecting Surge In Orders For New Plastic Creels
A revolution in the traditional creel used for hundreds of years by fishermen is underway and being led by a local firm Caithness Creels working closely with a plastics firm - Stornoway Plastics on the Isle of Lewis. Fishermen and others in the industry got a chance to see the new creels and parts for themselves at a trade exhibition n Glasgow today Caithness Creels has been working in collaboration with Stornoway Plastics to come up with a new way of manufacturing creels that will have much longer life. The new creels went on show at a fishing exhibition in Glasgow today.

Caithness Regeneration Partnership Advertises For Staff
The partnership set up by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to tackle issue surrounding the long-term issues facing the north as decommissioning of Dounreay moves on are advertising for key executives.  The partners are all fully committed to dealing with matters outlined in the recent Socio Economic Strategy.  At a meeting in Thurso the heads of each of the bodies agreed to form an executive group to take matter forward and the adverts for new senior staff are a sign that they mean business. the jobs being advertised are for a Regeneration Programme Manager and an inward Investment Executive with salaries dependant on experience.
The adverts being placed in newspapers and on web sites describes the position in these terms
The communities of Caithness and North Sutherland urgently need to regenerate their local economy to mitigate the impact of job losses caused by the progressive closure of the Dounreay nuclear site. To address this challenge the Caithness Regeneration Partnership (CRP) has been formed between the Nuclear Decommissioning authority (NDA), Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Highland Council (HC) with the aim of ensuring the per capita income of the area does not fall below the present level whilst maintaining or increasing the population. At the heart of the CRP will be a dynamic team focused on inward investment and business development. As a result the CRP is seeking to recruit to two key positions.
The closing date for applications for the two posts is 8th June 2007.

Council Urges Young People To Apply For Allowance.
Young people staying on at Secondary schools in the Highlands are being urged by Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service "not to miss out" and to apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which could be worth up to £1,500 to each pupil.  An EMA is a weekly payment of up to £30, paid directly to eligible young people who stay on in school after they reach statutory leaving age. Young people may also be eligible for two bonuses of £150 if they remain on their course and make the necessary progress with their learning.  EMAs were introduced nationally by the Scottish Executive in August 2004 to provide financial support to young people from low income families staying on at school.

Free Wildflower Seeds To Help Save Scottish Native Butterfly
Scots everywhere are being asked to help conserve native species of butterfly by planting butterfly-friendly wild flowers around their neighbourhoods. As part of Scottish Biodiversity Week (19th - 27th May) to encourage people's involvement in conservation Scottish Biodiversity Forum (SBF) is giving away 15,000 free packs of specially selected wild flower seeds to create new habitats for many species of butterfly including the orange-tip.  Packets of seeds are available to groups, schools, guides scouts etc
Nature Index

Dounreay Not Listed As Possible Site For New Nuclear Power Station
Siting New Nuclear Power Stations -
Availability and Options for Government' by Jackson Consulting

The UK Government has set out, as part of its May 2007 consultation on nuclear energy, a proposed process for a Strategic Siting Assessment (SSA) of potential locations for new nuclear power stations. This would be carried out only if the Government concludes following this consultation that nuclear should continue to be part of our energy mix.  The report says that Dounreay is not an existing site of a power station and is not considered to be a potential site for new power station and that there are significant savings to be made if existing sites are usedAlso building plants near to the point of use show big savings in transmission losses that private companies would want to reduce overheads. An article in New Scientist - "UK backs new generation of nuclear reactors" summarises the latest thinking as set out in the paper linked above.  It would appear that Caithness cannot look to see a power station to replace any of the jobs currently due to disappear due to the decommissioning of the Dounreay site and other solutions will be required. Energy White Paper DTI UKAEA NDA  Take part in consultation on the Future of Nuclear Power
Caithness Socio Economic Strategy Group   Dounreay Stakeholder Group

Ormlie Community Association held its annual clean up day on Sunday 20th May 2007 when members of the community got together to collect litter and re-pot some of the flower tubs that brighten up the estate. The event gave residents the opportunity to get rid of all their garden rubbish. The Highland Council supported the clean up by providing rubbish bags, gloves and a skip for garden waste for which we would like to thank them.

Scottish Outdoor Access Guides For Young People
Scotland's Young People Map Out The Route To responsible Outdoor Access
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has launched a new initiative to ensure the country's young people develop a responsible attitude to enjoying Scotland's outdoors. SNH has produced two specially developed Activity Guides based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which will be arriving through letterboxes this week. SNH is sending out the guides to support schools and youth organisations and raise awareness and understanding of access rights and responsibilities with 8 - 14 year olds in a fun and entertaining way. The innovative resources include fun and colourful teaching aids such as a 'Crack the Code' dial, posters, photo cards and interactive video to help youngsters understand their rights and responsibilities.

Still Time To Enter The Online Biodiversity Photo Competition
Scottish Biodiversity Week 19- 27 May 2007
Online photo competition offers worldwide exposure to budding Scottish nature photographers.



Castletown Play Group and Toddlers Sponsored Wheelie
Castletown Playgroup and Toddlers took part in a sponsored Wheelie last Wednesday and around 30 children took part using bikes, scooters, prams etc anything as log as it had wheels. So far over £900 has been raised for an outdoor play area. The group are also holding a fashion show on Friday 1st of June with Tescos clothing in the Drill Hall Castletown at 6.30pm Tickets available from Tesco Wick or at the door.
     Castletown Play Group and Toddlers     Nurseries & Play Groups

New Kayaks For Pentland Canoe Club
Following a grant from the Awards For All Scotland programme, the Thurso based Pentland Canoe Club has taken delivery of 3 sea kayaks, 3 river kayaks and a double kayak. The equipment was handed over to the Club by Tom Jackson, the Chairman of the Caithness Sports Council and a Director of Coaching Highland. The photograph attached shows Tom Jackson (right) handing the kayaks over to Simon Copsey (left). Simon Copsey is the Chairman of the Pentland Canoe Club. In the background are some members of the club.

Bridge Street, Wick - Closed Overnight To Allow Safe Re-construction of Lanes
Bridge Street, Wick has been completely closed tonight to allow progress to be made faster at the lane junctions.  Shift working through the night will allow the work to continue safely with less disruption during the day.  the work in relaying Bridge Street is approximately half way.  Other nights will have work ongoing throughout the night as other lanes are done and therefor all motorists must follow the diversion signs.

Puffins and More - Evening Walk - Thurday 24th May 7.00pm to 9.00 pm
Highland Ranger led walk. Meet lay by on the northern Caithness. Sutherland border NC 921 645 Walk to see this busy puffinry situated in some beautiful scenery. And who knows what else we will track down on the way? Rough walking so boots and stout footwear advised.

Parents and Pupils Flock To See New Wick High Uniform
A big turnout of pupils, parents and others went along to Wick High school on Tuesday evening to see the new uniforms being proposed for after the summer holidays.  Wick High PTA had organised the event following a survey of pupils and parents where the vast majority opted for the traditional school uniform to be brought in. The pupils themselves were particularly in favour of full uniforms including blazers and ties and other options including sweatshirts.  Items to make up the uniform will be sourced from a variety of outlets to ensure prices are competitive. It seems that it is not just the town of Wick that is getting a make-over but that Wick High School is making more changes with pupils and parents leading the way.
Wick High School Uniform Debate

Invitation To Surprise Celebration For Irene Mackay - Don't Tell Irene!  But Can You Help?
1st Keiss/Canisbay Brownies: Celebration for Irene Mackay Dedication 1967 - 2007

If you were a brownie in the 1st Keiss/Canisbay we want to invite you to a SURPRISE presentation for Irene Mackay for her dedication to the Brownies since 1967. It will be held in the Keiss Primary school on the 13th June 2007 at 7- 9pm. We are hoping to make a scrapbook of the memories and photos over the years (photos will be returned) so your contribution will be appreciated. There will be tea, coffee and home baking and a great chance for everyone to reminisce the good times at the brownies. There is also a collection if anyone wants to contribute. Please speak to other brownies that you know that was at 1st Keiss/Canisbay Brownies and get them to come along too. But remember it is a surprise
Any questions and R.S.V.P either Joanna 611448 or Patsy Campbell 631321.  From  - We are assured Irene will not see this message until after the event.

Arrangements for the Wick HarbourFest are well in hand and the organisers are anticipating a massive turnout. In order to manage the large number of vehicles and visitors expected at the Harbour over the weekend, (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June), the Wick HarbourFest’07 Committee are looking for volunteers to help with stewarding and marshalling duties. If you are a member of an organisation which may be able to assist in any way, or an individual wishing to help, please contact Liz Richard-Jones (01955:603821) email


Courtyard Entrances For New Williamson Street Homes In Wick
You might think half of Wick is under reconstruction at the moment from roads to Heat and Power to old buildings to new houses but 50 years of decline take along time to rectify.  Here at Williamson Street a nice feature is the opening up of the former courtyard for the entrances to the new homes being formed within the old building.
As at 12 April

HarbourFest Stall Applications – Last Call - Book your stance now
More Than 10,000 People May Visit Wick To See The Boats In Wick Harbour
All weekend there are events on in Wick and on Sunday 24th the Flotilla Leaves

Any organisations wishing to apply for a stance at the Wick HarbourFest’07 Market on Saturday 23 June are urged to book early since reservations close on Friday 25 May. The HarbourFest organisers will endeavour to ensure that all applicants are allocated a stance for their stall but late applications may not be accommodated. Application forms are now available from the Wick Harbour Office, 13 Harbour Terrace Wick Telephone 01955:602030 or forms can be downloaded from the HarbourFest website . Advice on completing the risk assessment form which accompanies the application form can be obtained by calling the HarbourFest Co-ordinator, David Richard-Jones on 01955 603821 Completed application forms should be lodged with the HarbourFest Office, 50 High Street, Wick, by Friday 25 May. Successful applicants will be advised by Monday 4 June.

Study Orkney Cultural Traditions At Summer School
Five Days - 9th to 13th July 2007 - £120
This course will involve five mornings of lectures in various aspects of Orkney's culture - from literature and language through folklore and history to archaeology. Field trips will take place every afternoon, accompanied by expert guides, and there will be a musical evening on the last night.

North Highland College Open Day - 30th May
30th May - Open Day at The NHC-Thurso (for prospective students)
Join us for fun, games, competitions and information.
31st May - Open Day for Employers at The NHc-Thurso Come along to find out what the College can do for you.
11th June - Taster Week Experience College life - Find out about student support


Add Your Event To The Highland 2007 Programme!
Event organisers are being encouraged to make the most of Highland 2007, Scotland's year of Highland culture, by adding their events to the programme. Events celebrating the rich culture of the Highlands and Islands will be added to the many hundreds of events already shown on the Highland 2007 website - Where possible, events shown on the website will be added to the printed programme for Highland 2007. To be considered for inclusion in the final edition of the Highland 2007 programme, covering events between 1 September and 31 December, full details of events must be entered using the online form by 1 June 2007.  Make sure your Caithness, Sutherland or other Highland event gets this FREE publicity in a Highland wide brochure and on the web site by signing up and adding your events.

Wick's Heating Scheme Moves On Into More Streets
The flagship district heating scheme for Wick by Caithness Heat and Power keeps moving on with pipe laying work moving on heading towards Caithness General Hospital.  these photos show the work in Beaufuoy Street, Dempster Street and Malcolm Street.  Caithness Heat And Power

Wick High School To Introduce New Uniform TONIGHT Tuesday 22nd May 7.00pm
After a pupil, parent and staff consultation Wick High School have opted to introduce school uniform as the dress code in August. The basics of the uniform are black trousers/skirt, white shirt/girls fitted shirt with blazer and tie. These will then be accessorised with items in the school colours of blue, black and gold. Waistcoats and tank tops can also be added.. To try and keep up to date and make the blazer more appealing the badge will be worn on the cuff designer style It will also be available on the pocket should people prefer the more traditional style. The PSA have organised an open evening on Tuesday 22nd May to allow pupils, parents and others the chance to choose what they would like to wear. The event will take place in the Main Hall of the school at 7 pm where various suppliers will show what is available. Pupils will model the uniform and items can be tried on if necessary. Tea etc will be served.

More Wind Turbines For Forss Arrived Today
Thanks to Tugmistress (one of our forum members) for posting photos of the arrival of the latest turbines bound for Forss today.  Two turbines already operate at Forss and permission was granted for a further four.



Two Highland teachers embark on experience of a life time in Malawi
Maureen Miller, headteacher at Keiss and Cansibay Primary schools and Roger Bamfield an advisory teacher with Highland Council’s Autism Outreach Education Service, will be leaving Edinburgh on Friday 29 June, giving up their summer holiday to help improve education in the African country of Malawi. They are the only teachers from the north of Scotland, going with sixteen other teachers from central Scotland as part of the Global Teachers Programme (GTP), run by international agency Link Community Development. The programme provides Scottish teachers and headteachers with a challenging, rewarding and motivating professional and personal development experience. Maureen and Roger will live and work in two different village communities, where there isn’t any running water or electricity. If you would like to donate to help the teachers in their work check the links - Maureen Miller Donations   Roger Bamfield Donations

Another Successful Drystone Walling Weekend At Castlehill Heritage Centre
The popular two day course was run as part of a programme of events organised by Castletown Heritage in support of Highland 2007 Year of Culture. The walls and features constructed by the trainees over the course of the two days will remain in place at the end of the course to support the formation a themed heritage garden within the inner courtyard at Castlehill Heritage Centre. Further work will be undertaken over the summer to create a new access gate and walkway through the courtyard leading to the new visitor entrance to the Heritage Centre. Castletown Heritage is turning the buildings at Castlehill into a a visitor and education centre to tell the story of Casteltown.  Achievements already in the area near the buildings are the Flagstone Trail, a community woodland and a sculpture trailMore Castletown  Aerial View Of Castlehill Buildings Before

Caithness Motor Bike Rally Started In Lybster
The annual motor bike rally got underway yesterday starting at Lybster. They travelled the byeways and highways via Smerral, Westerdale and Broubster to Thurso then onto John O'Groats and finally to Wick and Mackay's Hotel for lunch.


Rhythm 07
Thurso High School on Friday 15th June at 7.30pm
Assembly Rooms, Wick on Thursday 28th June and Friday 29th June at 7.30pm
Tickets £4 from J Gunn, Shoe Shop, Wick and Thurso

Elise Lyall School of Dance presents Rhythm 07 featuring 100 Highland dancers accompanied by live music directed by Addie Harper.


Shorelands Farm, Ackergill

Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium - 25th - 28th May 2007
The weekend of 25 – 28 May 2007 will see around 250 sea kayakers from around the UK, America; Holland; Jersey; Ireland and France heading to the Isle of Skye to attend the 8th Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium. The Symposium will be based at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College on the Sleat peninsula. The 2007 Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium has been supported by the Highland 2007 Regional Events Programme which is funded by EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Highland Culture. Caithness will be represented by 7 members of the Thurso based Pentland Canoe Club who will be attending the event. Ken Nicol, from the Pentland Canoe Club, is a member and Treasurer of the organising Committee for the event. Sea kayaking is one of the fastest growing outdoor pursuits in the UK with participants discovering how to visit the hidden treasures of the coastline or accessing areas normally not readily accessible.

The Road To Hilliclay, Caithness

Hilliclay is only a few miles from Thurso and by turning up to the left on the A9 or to the right if you are heading for Murkle.  As you head up the gently rising road it is well worth stopping to look back and see the panoramic views over Caithness.  At this time of year the vivid green and ever changing Caithness sky are well worth looking at.  A large herd of Highland cattle are to be found along the single track road.  New houses as well as older farm houses are dotted around but they are well spread out. Older croft buildings are still around and contrast with the modern bungalows. Map

Mary Ann's Cottage Looking For Volunteers
Mary Ann's Cottage will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (not Monday) - 25, 26 and 27 May - for the Bank Holiday weekend and will then re-open for the summer season on Friday 1 June until mid September. Hours of opening 2.0 - 4.30 pm daily except Mondays. If you enjoyed your last visit to Mary Ann's Cottage - it is on your doorstep - it is not too late to consider joining the small band of volunteers who keep this unique croft experience alive for the general public to enjoy. This is our local heritage - help us to maintain it by volunteering a few hours a week - for further details contact Chris Cariss on 01847 851765.

You Can Join The Sponsored Walk Up Ben Hope, Sutherland
Annual sponsored walk in aid of the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team and Alzheimer's Scotland
This years walk (2007) will be the tenth walk held on behalf of both charities and we are looking for more participants looking to help fund raise for these two reputable charities. This years walk is to take place on Saturday 16th June 2007 on Ben Hope. Ben Hope is Scotland's most northerly Munro (3041 feet, 927m). It will be ascended by the route shown in the attached map. Ben Hope is located some sixty miles west of Thurso and is readily accessible.

Six Cities Design Festival
The Six Cities Design Festival, is Scotland's biggest ever celebration of design. Taking place in each of the country's cities, the Festival consists of hundreds of exhibitions and events which prove how design can make an enormous difference to our lives. Design isn't just a luxury; it is the careful appliance of creative thinking. Design is a fundamental part of how we organise the world around us and this Festival brings together everything, from ideas that can save your life, to those simple, clever inventions which just make you smile. Whether it's a fashion show in Inverness or the chic thrills of an exhibition about design for air travel in Glasgow, this Festival ranges from the highly personal to the truly global. Every Scottish city has its own character and that's reflected in the particular events and activities in the Six Cities Design Festival. 17th May  - 2nd June

MacMillan Cancer Support - Wick Committee Annual Walk - all Welcome
The Wick Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support are having a "Walk Wonders" walk around Newton Hill on Tuesday 22nd May 2007. Meet at 7pm at the rear hospital car park. Everyone welcome just turn up on the night and if you want sponsor forms contact Kay Oswald on 01955 604803

Viewfirth Diary Room At Miller Academy School, Thurso
The Viewfirth Diary Room has been collecting ideas for new community facilities at the site of the former social club in Thurso.  This week the Diary Room arrived in Miller Academy school where the children were invited to have their say.


Another Drug Seizure As Highland Police Step Up Action
NORTHERN Constabulary officers in Ross-shire have seized Heroin with an estimated street value of more than £70,000. The seizure was made in the Muir of Ord area on Thursday, 17th May, 2007. Detective Inspector Gus MacPherson, based in Dingwall, described the seizure as "hugely significant." A 38-year-old female is expected to appear at Dingwall Sheriff Court today.

Top Two Elected To Lead Highland Council
The new Convener of The Highland Council is Independent Councillor Sandy Park, one of four members representing Nairn. Vice-Convener is Scottish National Party Councillor Jean Urquhart, one of four members serving Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh. They were elected today (Thursday) at the first meeting of the 80-strong Council following the elections on 3 May. They will serve for four years. Other office-bearers will be elected at the next Council meeting on Thursday 31 May, when the committee structure is agreed. Councillors Park and Urquhart will lead an Independent/Scottish National Party Administration. The Opposition will be formed by Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors. The make-up of the Council in 2007 is:  34 Independent; 22 Liberal Democrat; 17 Scottish National Party; 7 Labour.
In 2003 the council line up started at 57 Independent; 9 Liberal Democrats; 8 Labour; 6 SNP

A Brief History Of Scotland Mill Theatre, Thurso - Saturday 26th May
'A Brief History of Scotland', is a look at one small nation¹s past and present, who we are, how we got here and the struggles we have confronted on that journey. In particular, the continuing struggle we have had with our much larger and more powerful neighbour. Ironically, given our current low self-esteem as a nation, the early years of the new millennium are some of the most significant in Scotland¹s history. Yet the achievement of devolution and the establishment of our own parliament have left many Scots underwhelmed. Was it always this way ? Has Bannockburn merely been hyped-up by the passage of time ? 'A Brief History of Scotland', is a tongue-in-cheek debunking of the "glorious" past and a wryly satirical look at the less-than-glorious present of this nation of contradictions.

Caithness Floral Art Club - May 2007
Maureen Phimister, an Area Demonstrator from Edinburgh, brought a contemporary style of flower arranging to the May meeting of the Caithness Floral Art Club. Her enthusiasm and enjoyment in sharing her love of flowers with her audience shone through. As a prize-winning flower arranger at national level she shared tips to help those who enjoy the competitive side of flower arranging. Maureen took as her theme the song “What a Wonderful World.” Each arrangement reflected a segment of the song.

MINI MOTOS/QUAD BIKES - Police Confirm Legal Requirements
Northern Constabulary is once again reminding owners/users of mini motos/quad bikes that they are mechanically propelled vehicles and as such fall under the same conditions of any other motor vehicle if used on a public road. If you have a mini-moto, and are using it in an area where the public have access to, you are required to wear a crash helmet, have a driving licence, a valid certificate of insurance covering third parties, road tax and a valid MOT where applicable. Apart from the wearing of a crash helmet all of the requirements apply to the use of quad bikes.

UKAEA Sponsorship Helped Five New Young Engineers
Five young men who were sponsored by UKAEA in 2006 to study for engineering qualifications are now reaching the end of their courses at the North Highland College. Andy Bain, Robert Begg, and Ewan Scott have all studied for HNCs in Mechanical Engineering, Richard Sutherland for an HNC in Engineering, and James Cooper for his BSc in Mechanical Engineering. They have been assisted in their studies by sponsorship from UKAEA in the form of a grant, paid monthly, to help with living and travel expenses. The Sponsorship scheme allows NHC to attract appropriately qualified students into higher engineering education and help further UHI’s bid for full University status.

Playbox Play Group, Wick Still Has Places For New Session Starting August 2007

Papers made by hand in Caithness to be sent around the globe
Joanne B Kaar has been busy recycling linen waste from the Scalpay weaving shed in the Western Isles into handmade papers. This is a special commission by the IAPMA (International Association of Papermakers and Artists) for 400 sheets each measuring 16cm X 65cm. To complete the work, Joanne had a papermakers mould and deckle specially made by Tony King in Edinburgh. The papers are to be sent to the Editor of the IAPMA in Australia, where they will be used to cover their magazine. The magazine is then distributed to members of the IAPMA in 41 different countries.

Sainsbury's popular Taste the Difference Meatballs, made from Mey Selections beef in an authentic tomato and smoky bacon sauce with added Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, beat off four other finalists to win the meat and poultry category of the Grocer Own Label Award Excellence Awards for 2007 at the Savoy Hotel, London yesterday. The award follows the product's success as the Best New Meat Product in the Meat Industry Awards in London last year.

Online Biodiversity Photo Competition - Scottish Biodiversity Week 19- 27 May 2007
Online photo competition offers worldwide exposure to budding Scottish nature photographers. An innovative nature photography competition launched today is giving Scots the chance to reach a worldwide audience with their own images of nature and wildlife. The competition has been organised by Scottish Biodiversity Forum (SBF) as part of this year's Scottish Biodiversity Week programme of events. Organisers want budding nature photographers of all ages and abilities to take part by simply sending their best photo entries by email as an attachment to The photo competition is promoting the theme of "'Earth, nature and you - connected" by inviting people to capture an inspiring image of their natural local surroundings and win some fantastic prizes using their camera phones or digital cameras.  OK Caithness Snappers Go Show them Caithness with YOUR Digital photos and try to win a prize.  Let us know if your photos get posted on the SNH Biodiversity web site and we will make links to let everyone see your entry.

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week - 14 - 19 May 2007
Since 1993, the Department of Health has coordinated the annual campaign, National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, aiming to highlight that breastfeeding is good for the health of mother and baby. We would like women to recognise their right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere and for friends, family and health professionals to provide support for breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mum and baby are not just measured in health terms, but in the pride a mum feels when she looks at her healthy, growing breastfed baby. Once established, breastfeeding is easy and for most mothers and babies a very enjoyable experience. However in the first few days you both need to learn what to do. You will therefore need to practise and if necessary, get help and advice from your midwife. Advice is available in Thurso, Wick and Inverness..........................more

Delivery charge dropped for referral clients of HomeAid until 31st July 2007
Due to the overwhelming response and goodwill of the local community, HomeAid have successfully reached their yearly tonnage target in respect of The Strategic Waste Funding. The funding has given HomeAid the opportunity to appoint three new members of staff on a part time basis. Ian Murray, Margaret Mackay and David Spoors all from Caithness, have been appointed and are now playing an active role in HomeAid’s operation. With the recent acquisition of a new vehicle funded by INCREASE, HomeAid can now offer a quicker FREE collection service to the local community. Waiting time for the delivery of items to low income individuals and families is now down to five days and with the removal of the £10 delivery charge, HomeAid are confident that this will encourage and help those in greater need to come forward who currently cannot afford the £10.

Birthday Bash BBQ for Tommy Bean In Wick
Well known popular retired Wick slaughterhouse man Tommy Bean, Leith Walk, Wick got the surprise of his life when Kay, with the help from friends, organsied a surprise BBQ Bash at buildings near the back of the Waterfront Nightclub! Tommy's good friend Barry was Head Chef at the BBQ offering family and friends a scrumptious grilled meal. Kay also organised a piper to pipe in the special birthday cake which left Tommy speechless.

Hi-viz Waistcoats For Miller Academy School, Thurso
UKAEA Dounreay has donated £300 to Miller Academy PTA towards the cost of supplying the children of Miller Academy School with hi-viz waistcoats. Pictured here is Gary Strachan of UKAEA and the PTA presenting the cheque to head teacher Ann Warren. Looking on is Susan Gerrard, PTA (centre) and some of the children modelling the hi-viz waistcoats, on left from top: Freya Strachan, Kerri Rosie, Jordan Bruce, Amber Sim, Freya Sinclair, Corin Murphy and Jan Mckenzie, on right from top: Robbie Mccoustra, Megan Wright, Craig Williamson, Megan Jackson, Ian Watt, Lyall Cormack and Molly Buchan.

The Highland Constellation Co-reult na G'idhealtachd
A group of three artists have been chosen to work with The Royal Observatory Edinburgh and local schools to identify a new constellation in the skies above the region in a project run by The Highland Council's Exhibitions Unit to celebrate 2007, Scotland's Year of Highland Culture. The project will bring together astronomy, digital art, craft and literature. The project, supported by the Scottish Arts Council's National Lottery partner's programme, began on the 23rd March when The Royal Observatory ran a weekend event at Carbisdale Castle in Sutherland at which the newly selected artists met with teachers and the project organizers to learn about the night sky and the Dark Sky Speuran Dorcha project. For the Highland Constellation Co-reult na Gaidhealtachd project pupils will select dates significant to them from Highland history and will learn how to plot them in light years from the earth. They will then select a star for their area. Once each area has a star they will be joined up to identify the Highland Constellation and a competition will be held to name it.

Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 25
Included in the latest bulletin
Workers Rewarded for Zero Accident Rate - Improved Organisation to Decommission the Site - Plant Installed for Removal of Breeder from Reactor - Apprenticeships Attract 54 Applications - Making Good Progress on Shaft Isolation Project - Plans Proceed for Dounreay Office in the Community - NDA Publishes Annual Plan - Beach Monitoring - Spotlight on Shift Teams - Caithness Energy Alliance Formed - UKAEA Records to be Made Available to Inquiry

UKAEA Donates £300 To Prince's Trust
UKAEA Dounreay has made a donation of £300 towards the Prince's Trust in support of the young people of Caithness who the Trust works with. UKAEA's donation will help to fund young Caithness people who are struggling with life attend a Highland Recharge residential course which will give them the skills and confidence to re-engage with their community and seek employment. UKAEA's Tina Wrighton is pictured here presenting the cheque to Cailean Macleod, Development Coordinator of the Prince's Trust Highlands & Islands.

Visit by Lithuanian Delegates
Dounreay has hosted a visit by delegates from the Ministry of Economy & Central Project Management Agency in Lithuania from 7th-10th May. During their time on site, the group toured a number of facilities being decommissioned, including the Prototype Fast Reactor and former Fuel Cycle Area, and saw how the site manages the waste produced. Under a consultancy contract won by UKAEA, the visit focused on training of programme management, concentrating on earned value management principles. The UKAEA assistance to the Lithuania Ministry of Economy on decommissioning management has been a great opportunity for UKAEA to showcase to new clients its world class decommissioning skills and experience.

Forthcoming Seminar at the Environmental Research Institute Thursday 17 May 2007, 5pm
The FerryBox project: recruiting ferries to monitor the impact of climate change
Charlie Bargeron. National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Ocean scientists have collaborated with the Admiralty and the Merchant Navy for hundreds of years. HMS Challenger, perhaps the most famous oceanographic ship, was a Navy Corvette on secondment, while cable ships sometimes carried scientists and merchant ships have been used to record meteorological information for 200 years. Although dedicated research ships are now used for marine investigations they have limitations of reach and timing, with the result that the use of commercial ships to collect data is again expanding. This is because such ships run regular route and can therefore provide the systematic data needed to understanding cyclic and seasonal processes in the surface ocean. Ocean prediction models tell us that the ocean is going to become warmer and more acidic over the next decades. A ‘box’ of autonomous scientific instruments onboard a commercial ferry route can provide the time series of measurements required to calibrate such models and help us plan for climate change. This presentation will first explore the history of cooperation between the oceanographic community and the Navy and Merchant fleet. It will then focus on the European FerryBox Project that recently led to the development of a monitoring system operating continuously along the ship route between Portsmouth and Bilbao.
All Welcome......

UKAEA Makes Donation To September Pipe Band Festival In Wick
UKAEA are once again sponsoring the Wick RBLS Pipe Band's Massed Pipe Bands event which will be held on 8th September 2007 in Market Square, Wick. This year in addition to the five bands which took part last year; Caithness Juveniles, Sutherland Caledonia, Tain, Thurso and Wick, this year the Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be heading the bill. UKAEA's Phineas Miller is pictured here presenting the cheque to the pipe band during a recent show in the Pipe Band Hall, Wick.

Highland 100 Meters Winner Grace Mackay
Grace Mackay, from Mount Pleasant School in Thurso, is proudly showing off the gold medal, which she won in the 100m race, when she took part in the Highland Disability Sport Junior Athletic Championships at Queens Park Athletic Stadium in Inverness on Wednesday 9th May 2007. The Championships involved children from all over the Highlands, who had a brilliant day, despite the weather.
Well done Grace....

Derek Johnston Wins 2007 McBeath’s Jeweller’s County Snooker Singles
The McBeath’s Jeweller’s County Snooker Singles got under way on Saturday, Mark Mackay looking to regain the title he won last March in the Viewfirth against James Risbridger. This year’s championship was played in the Royal British Legion and the Thurso Club. Mark got off to a good start making short work of Brian Malley beating him 3 – 0.......................


Helicopter Lands At Weigh Inn Thurso
Just sent in a photo of a helicopter landing at the Weigh Inn, Thurso.  Ah the wonders of digital cameras and the web.  any jet setters in Thurso at the moment?



Caithness Blood Bank Reopens
The Blood Bank at Caithness General Hospital reopened on Monday 14th May 2007. NHS Highland voluntarily suspended the service in October 2006. after an inspection by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) identified a number of deficiencies. Since then staff at the Caithness General Hospital laboratory in conjunction with colleagues from NHS Highland and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have worked together to rectify the deficiencies. A full re-inspection of the blood bank was carried out by the MHRA inspectors on the 12th April.

Sexual Assault Thurso - Three Men Charged
THREE men, aged 32, 24 and 25 are expected to appear at Wick Sheriff Court in the morning......

Kits For Kids Tokens - To Be Handed To Local Football Clubs Right Away
Local football clubs have been saving hard to get as many tokens as they from the Daily Record and Sunday Mail for free kit in the past few weeks.  They need to collect all of the tokens to get the most from the offer and one or two  may not have quite enough.  If you have some old Daily Records or Sunday Mails with tokens still inside then cut them out and pass them right away to your local football club if they are collecting.  Some newsagents are collecting on behalf of clubs so check there if you do not have a direct contact.  Help the teams to maximise the offer - the more tokens the more kit they can claim and it's FREE

Maurice Lynch Showband Once Big In Wick  - Midge Ure on 60's Rock "Wick didn't rock" - Wrong
Isabelle Thurley has sent in this link to an old photo of the Maurice Lynch Showband that played in Wick several times in the 60's.  Do you remember them playing in Wick or have any old photos of them and folk at their gigs that we could place on the web site. If so email them with any information to  The band is mentioned in a piece by Steven Cashmore (para10) on the music scene in Caithness on the Highland Archives web site.  Isabelle said, "The reason I looked this up is that I was listening to Scotland Rocks on BBC4 on Saturday morning with Midge Ure when I heard him say "not all of Scotland rocked in the 60's - Wick didn't rock". Well, as you can imagine, I was very surprised, because I was in Wick in the 60's and it really rocked. There were a lot of bands around - local bands, rock and pop bands (admittedly on their way out, i.e. Wayne Fontanna, Pinkerton's Assorted Colours etc), but nobody could touch Maurice Lynch. When he was in Wick the Assembly Rooms were always packed out - you could hardly move. If you listen to next weeks episode of Scotland Rocks they may well read out my email as I felt I had to put him right on whether or not Wick "rocked".

Biggest Event In The North Of Scotland In 2007 - Wick Harbour Fest   22nd - 24th June
HarbourFest Saturday Market – Applications now Open! - Deadline For Forms 25th May

Arrangements for the HarbourFest Market to be held on Saturday, 23 June, have now been completed and the organisers have announced that applications are being taken from organisations wishing to rent a stance at the event. The application form can be downloaded from the HarbourFest website .  As part of the safety arrangements for the event, applicants are required to complete a Risk Assessment for their stall.  HarbourFest Chairman, Gordon Doull, said “As part of our commitment to a safe and successful HarbourFest, we are asking stall-holders to complete a simple form to show that they support our objectives.  It is now a requirement for all such events.  With so much keen interest in the HarbourFest, we expect a large number of visitors, and we can assure stall-holders of a successful day.”
Programme of Events   Boat numbers to accompany the flotilla continues to rise as yachtsmen from various countries notify their intention to join the growing numbers wanting to accompany the flotilla of early fishing vessels. The biggest number of boats to leave Wick at the same time since the days of the Herring Boom - Sunday 24th June and then to arrive at Lybster then calling at harbours on the way to Portsoy over the following few days.  The Wick Harbourfest is the start of the Moray Firth Flotilla

Wick High School To Introduce New Uniform
After a pupil, parent and staff consultation Wick High School have opted to introduce school uniform as the dress code in August. The basics of the uniform are black trousers/skirt, white shirt/girls fitted shirt with blazer and tie. These will then be accessorised with items in the school colours of blue, black and gold. Waistcoats and tank tops can also be added.. To try and keep up to date and make the blazer more appealing the badge will be worn on the cuff designer style It will also be available on the pocket should people prefer the more traditional style. The PSA have organised an open evening on Tuesday 22nd May to allow pupils, parents and others the chance to choose what they would like to wear. The event will take place in the Main Hall of the school at 7 pm where various suppliers will show what is available. Pupils will model the uniform and items can be tried on if necessary. Tea etc will be served.

Photos From The Walk At Burifa Hill, Dunnet

Andrew Gutteridge led the walkers round some of the World War Two buildings at Burifa Hill, Dunnet.
WW2 Defences In Caithness Part One
WW2 Defences In Caithness Part Two

Caithness Arts Newsletter Editor Wants News Items For Next Edition
Get Your Arts Events In For FREE In the Caithness Arts Newsletter

We are currently preparing our *June/July edition of the Caithness Arts Newsletter and What's On Guide* and, as usual, we are requesting contributions from all sectors of the Arts. Please submit your *NEWS *and *EVENT INFORMATION* to me by email as soon as possible - *the deadline is TUESDAY 29TH MAY.

Walking And Shooting At Brough Today
As part of the Caithness and Sutherland walking festival an activities weekend at Brough, Dunnet included a couple of walks and chance to try clay pigeon shooting. While the walkers headed off to see some of the buildings on Burifa Hill at Dunnet head others had go at Clay pigeon shooting with instruction from Ian Sinclair of Noss Head. Caithness And Sutherland Walking Festival Programme  Pdf Programme

Opening Of Thrumster Station Garden
After much planning and fund raising the combined efforts of local Thrumster groups and individuals has culminated in the opening of Thrumster Station garden. Arras MacKay and Jim Rosie cutting the ribbon. Arras worked there as a young man, and continued on the railway in Wick after the little Wick/Lybster line closed, as did Jim's father. Jim and his brother and sister were born in the station-master's house next door.

Viewfirth Diary Room Got Mount Pleasant School Kids Ideas
The Viewfirth Diary Room has been collecting ideas for new community facilities at the site of the former social club in Thurso.  This week the Diary Room arrived in Mount Pleasant school where the children were invited to have their say in the Diary Room.
Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso

Ewan McGregor "The Long Way Down" Started At John O'Groats On Saturday
One of the message board contributors "Elenna" has posted photos of Ewan McGregor, his brother and the team making the trip on motor bikes that started yesterday at John O'Groats.  They will be heading for Cape Town at the southern end of Africa.  The trip will take a few months with a film being made similar to the one they made a couple of years back "The Long Way Round"  Ewan Mcgregor/ charlie boorman in the forum.

Sponsored Abseil For Caithness Early Years Autism Centre
Mark Norton from Barrock, Caithness, and his father Hugh Norton braved the pouring rain on Saturday (12th May 2007) to participate in a sponsored abseil event. The fund raising initiative was Mark's idea to try to help the Caithness Early Years Autism Centre (CEYAC) raise funds for a Smart Interactive Whiteboard.  Wondering what a Smart Interactive White Board is then Click Here to see one product.  These boards are replacing the traditional blackboards in many schools making lessons more interesting. 

Sandside Beach Debated In House Of Commons Yesterday
In the debate kicked off by Iain Duncan Smith, MP (Chingford & Woodford Green, Conservative) John Thurso MP (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) set out the problems for Caithness as well as some of the work ongoing regarding the future, Mr Minter, UKAEA and the public highlighting his own involvement along with others in trying to help the parties - Mr Minter and UKAEA to reach a settlement.  John Thurso also obtained an assurance that the Secretary of State previously sent an invitation to visit Caithness would have this reinforced by Jim Fitzpatrick (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry).     John Thurso, MP is member of the steering group for the public consultation to find the best practicable environmental option for dealing with the particles.  Are we nearly there yet?????

Inverness Features Six Cities Design Festival Exhibitions
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery is presenting two exhibitions during May and June which are part of the Scottish Executive £3million funded Six Cities Design Festival. Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness are participating in the Festival which is aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the value of design and creativity. The exhibitions will be on show at the newly refurbished Inverness Museum and Art Gallery from 12th May till the 2nd June.  Can we learn something for our towns and villages in Caithness from some of what is happening in this design festival?

Council cracks down on litter louts in Inverness £50 Fixed Penalty - Will Caithness Be Next?
The Highland Council is actively pursuing people who drop litter in the centre of Inverness in a campaign to keep the Capital of the Highlands clean and tidy. People who carelessly discard litter in any open place are committing a criminal offence under the Environment Protection Act 1990, Throwing litter from vehicles onto public land is also a littering offence under section 87 of the same act. The term "litter" includes: wrappers, cans, bottles or packaging, food remains, receipts and tickets, sweet wrappings, chewing gum and all smoking related materials. In Inverness, The Highland Council has officers who have been given the powers to issue fixed penalty notices and they are patrolling all the streets within Inverness City Centre supported by Northern Constabulary.

Local Firm Thwarts School Book Scam
A local Caithness firm has been in touch with us to say they thwarted the book scam being tried on them. They requested a tape of the conversation where they were alleged to have agreed to the payment for the books. The Caithness firm asked for tape of the conversation. that was not forthcoming.  However a bill for £300 arrived which had to be paid before the books would be delivered to the school.  the firm alluded to another mythical conversation claiming it was a verbal contract.  The Caithness firm demanded a copy of the tape of the conversation once again.  It has never arrived.  In all this the name of local head teacher was used without her permission.  All businesses should be on the alert for this scam and for bills that may appear shortly afterwards.  Don't Get Caught  - Warn All Caithness Businesses and elsewhere if you have contacts.  We recommend all businesses send all details to Trading Standards as soon as possible if you are contacted by a firm doing this.

Ranger Guided Walks In North Sutherland in May 2007
Thursday 10th May 7 – 9.30pm. Cnoc an Fhreiceadain (Watch Hill) and Ben Tongue
Thursday 17th May 7 – 10pm. Strathy Pools and the Priest Stone.
Sunday 27th May 10.30am – 4.30pm. Ben Hutig.
More Walks With Caithness And Sutherland Walking Festival

Police News
Suspicious persons and vehicle

Between 0145 hours and 0200 hours, on 02/05/2007 within Helmsdale, two males were disturbed in suspicious circumstances apparently attempting to remove a generator. The males are described as both early 20's, between 5'8" and 5'10", and slim build. Under the street light they appeared to have either fair or bleached hair, short but not cropped...........................more

Businesses Asked To be Wary Of Book Sellling Scam For Local Schools
Head Teachers in Caithness are concerned that local businesses may be approached to sponsor books. The schools know nothing about these approaches by a company selling the books. Local businesses are approached and asked to sponsor books on a certain subject - often road safety or drug education or health related matters. They are asked for money and specific schools are mentioned BUT the schools are completely ignorant of this. In most cases the material is of no use as it is not suitable and even if it is suitable, very little use is made of it as the schools already have programmes for most health topics which have resources which they like.

Naver Fun Day In Thurso Raised £2000 For Maggie Cancer Care Centre Inverness

The organisers would like to say thankyou to everyone who participated in any way in helping to raise the magnificent sum of £2000 for the Maggie Cancer Centre in Inverness.  They will try to organise a slightly warmer day next time.

Thurso High School In Green Awards Final
Thurso High School is one of eight schools to make it through to the final of the Big Green Challenge. Eight schools from the Highlands and Islands are to battle it out for a coveted place in the final of the region's first debating competition tackling one of the most talked-about subjects of the 21st century - renewable energy. The teams take to the floor in the main conference suite at Ross County Football Club on Tuesday 22nd May for the regional heats of The Big Green Challenge sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Halkirk Ladies Tug Of War Team Looking For New Recruits
Halkirk ladies Tug of War team are on the look out for new recruits to boost their squad for the Scottish Championships to be held this summer in Stirling. A "Come and Try" night has been organised for Wednesday 16th May, at Gerston Farm, Halkirk at 7.30pm where expert coaching will be given. Team Captain Catherine Murray explained that Tug of War training can be a useful way to get fit and keep fit. She also stressed that TOW is not all about strength and that technique is very bit as important if not more so. No previous experience is necessary. Anyone interested should either turn up at Gerston or for more information, Catherine can be contacted on 07712649642 or email
The Halkirk Ladies TOW Team has been very successful in competitions - See Here

Wick High Media Studies Group Produce Charity CD
Students of Grant Mackenzie's 6th year Media Studies class have produced a 5 track EP intended to raise funds for the School's Special Education Unit. The EP contains all original material from three groups. 'The Yigadee Sessions' (The Media Studies group charged with writing the recording material) 'Unholy Confessions' (formerly WhiteNoize), a local Heavy Metal quintet, and 'Liquid Blue'. a local rock quartet. These bands went out to record their album at the recording studio of renowned local producer Isaac Sutherland based at Dunnet Head. Isaac Sutherland is the son of John Sutherland of the J Fats band. The CD is on sale at the school at only £5. The CD will also be available at newsagents D R Simpsons.

Caithness And Sutherland Walking Festival Had Good Day To Get Started

The fourth Caithness & Sutherland Walking Festival got off to a good start on Saturday with five walkers enjoying the delights of Dorrery with the RSPB and 24 on the Gartymore walk. There was a good turn out to watch and listen to the Wick Pipe Band, and the weather was kind to us.The backdrop of the river and hills with the pipers in the foreground was a real picture. Writer and journalist Bruce Sandison extolled the virtues of walking in Caithness and Sutherland, then the band led the walkers off across the Telford Bridge led by Jacquie Aitken of Timespan. Caithness And Sutherland Walking Festival Programme
Slide Shows Of Walking Festival Opening With Wick Pipe Band Music                             Pdf Programme

Ackergill Mains
The mid nineteenth century farm buildings at Ackergill Mains are amongst the best preserved in the county.  The buildings were erected by Sir George Sutherland Dunbar who carried out farming improvements that became famous all over the UK.  The surrounding cottages are also in excellent condition.  The farm buildings are still in use today.  Two chimney stacks built at different times were used as part of the furnaces for powering machinery.  A piece of farming building history still in use and perhaps should be better known than they are.

Looking Over Milton

Milton lies just outside Wick on the road to Thurso.  Click through for larger images  Milton Index

New Heating System Spreading Out Underground In Wick
Slowly but surely a revolution in home heating is spreading out in Wick.  The laying of pipe work reached Macrae Street and Brown Place.  Caithness Heat and Power now has it new wood chip furnace being installed and contracts for the wood chip are in place.  The new heating system for homes gives unlimited heating and hot water for fixed weekly price. 
Caithness Heat and Power Index

Give Blood At Wick Assembly Rooms - Tuesday 8th May
2.00pm - 4.00pm and  5.00pm 8.00pm


Miller Academy 1950s  Thurso West Public School
Photos supplied by David William Bridge  Main Schooldays Index

Crossroads School Early Photos

Photos supplied by Katherine Robertson-Wilson - Main School Days Index

Unemployment Update - March 2007
The March 2007 unemployment figures were released on 14th March 2007. During the month, February 2007 to March 2007, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Great Britain fell by 1.9%, from 948,577 to 930,094 (18,483 claimants). Caithness and Sutherland unemployment fell as at March 2007 to 722 claimants for benefit with the percentage dropping for unemployment benefit claimants by 3% between Feb 07 and March 07. The percentage drop between March 06 and March 07 was 11.6%.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board Heads To Thurso
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will be holding its next public board meeting at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso on Tuesday May 15, 2007. Chair for HIE Caithness and Sutherland Pat Buchanan will begin proceedings by welcoming the board to Caithness. HIE chair William Roe said: "Growing businesses, making global connections, developing skills and strengthening communities are key objectives for the HIE network and particularly relevant to Caithness and Sutherland. Our goal is to enable local communities and businesses to diversify and strengthen the economic base, which will in turn boost confidence and help attract more people to the area.

Local Man With Extensive Genealogy Research Experience Upgrades Web Site
Gordon Johnson who lives at Papigoe has recently upgraded his website which features help for genealogists, new and experienced. Popular is a series of genealogical indexes to Scottish source books; and he has various hints and tips; a directory of libraries and archives; and a collection of news items dredged up from past centuries, under the heading "Oldnews"!

Kayaks Rounding Duncansby Head

Kayaks were recently seen rounding Duncansby Head.  Also a nice photo of the Stacs Of Duncansby during some of our great weather recently.  Duncansby Head is a very popular place to see Seabirds due to the cliffs being opposite each other and clear views of the nesting birds can be had looking from one cliff to another.  Take your binoculars from some close-ups of the thousands of nests of many different types of seabird to be seen at this time of year.  More Duncansby  Seabird City

Castle Of Mey Tearoom - Just Right For A Snack After Looking Round
The recently opened tea room at Castle of Mey is likely to be a hit with visitors.  Castle of Mey is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in the north of Scotland with many visitors arriving by road and by sea via boats calling at Scrabster.  Now they can get a drink and something to eat after their visit to the castle and gardens.  Castle Of Mey Index  Caithness Castles Index

Thurso Folk Gave Ideas At Viewfirth Steering Group Big Brother Diary Room
In Thurso precinct on 28th April community views were obtained by using the Big Brother Diary Room approach.  The needs of Thurso in respect of community facilities and the possibility of a new facility at the Viewfirth site were discussed. The 'diary tent' had been designed by Shelagh Swanson and participants went inside the 'tent' and made a video of themselves saying what they thought Thurso needs re community facilities. All the video recordings will be compiled into a DVD at the end, by local Skerray artist Gavin Lockhart and be used as part of the Viewfirth consultation. Ormlie Community Association is one of the partners in the Viewfirth Steering Group Initiative.

Thrumster Station And Garden Opening Ceremony
Tuesday 8 May at 2.30pm

There is to be an opening ceremony at Thrumster Station and Garden with Arras MacKay, who once worked there, and Jim Rosie, whose father worked there.  Any interested folk are invited to come along.  Thrumster Station was once on the Wick Lybster Railway that disappeared many years ago. 

Clear Out Your Old Books To Help A Wick Church Building Repair Fund
Cheap second-hand books will be on sale at St. John's church hall, Moray Street, Pultenytown, Wick on Saturday May 19th, 10 am till 3 pm. The books, all in good condition, are almost all priced between 20p and 50p each, so there will be plenty of real bargains to be found. All proceeds go to the building and repair fund of St. John's church down at the corner of the road. We have many hundreds of books, all donated - which is why they are so cheap! Categories are Children's (20p); adult non-fiction (mostly 50p);
adult fiction (paperback 30p, hardback 30p). There may be a few cds and videos, and probably a few Large Print Books - all at 50p each. Donations of books for the sale will be accepted on the day at the hall, but if you want to donate books at any other time, contact Gordon Johnson (01955-603103)

Bees Butterflies and Bugs 2007
A new Bees Butterflies and Bugs section has now been set up for 2007 so if anyone would like to add to this section just email photos to  We recently mentioned a Bumble Bee Survey being carried out by the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust and Gordon Mackie has sent in a photo he has had confirmed by the trust as a White Tailed Bumble Bee Queen (Bombus locorum).  They have asked folk to look out for any Great Yellow Bumble Bees (Bombus distinguendus) and to send in photos.  These can be found on the far north coast of Caithness and Sutherland.  In 2003 Caithness Field Club had an interesting outing looking at Bumble Bees In Caithness.  However the main thing for the web site is to gather any nice photos of Bees Butterflies, Moths etc and we will add them to the gallery.  If you can identify them so much the better.  Nature Index

Election Campaign Comments From Bill
Bill walked about 250,000 steps in his election campaign.  He wore a pedometer throughout and was in every street, lane, stair etc during the past three weeks. Bill noted that Wick has a huge number of trampolines in gardens these days and he expects some child to become a future Olympic star. If trampoline numbers keep increasing Bill will consider bouncing round for his next campaign.
Election Over - Resuming Normal Service............. 

Volunteer With Home-Start Caithness
A Volunteer Preparation Course will be held within the Ormlie Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso, on Fridays 11th and 18th May from 9.30am – 2.30pm. If you are interested, please come along, or contact Home-Start Caithness.........................................more

Election Results At Highland Council
Caithness Results - Councillors elected showing the Single Transferable Vote  - First Preferences
To see the full result with additional votes transferred click the ward link.
Landward Caithness (4 Elected)

Turn out = 57.26%   Valid votes = 4,631  Quota = 927 
David Bremner (SNP) 871, Willie Mackay (Independent) 845, David Flear (LibDem) 805, Robert Coghill (Independent) 657
Thurso (3 Elected)

Turn out  52.97%  Valid votes = 3,324 Quota = 832
Donnie Mackay (Independent) 1001,  John Rosie (Independent) 704,  Marion Thurso (Lib Dem) 541
Wick (3 Elected)

Turn out 46.35%  Valid votes = 2,621 Quota = 656
Bill Fernie (Independent) 793, Katrina MacNab (Independent) 451, Graeme Smith (LibDem) 407

Scottish Parliament Results For Highland And Islands
Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross
Jamie Stone (Lib Dem) wins with increased majority of 2323 (turnout 55.52%



Regional List Results For Highlands and Islands
Peter Peacock
Scottish Labour Party
Mary Scanlon
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Rhoda Grant
Scottish Labour Party
Rob Gibson
Scottish National Party (SNP)
Jamie McGrigor
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
David Stewart
Scottish Labour Party
David Thompson
Scottish National Party (SNP)

Election 2007      Council Candidates In Caithness      Scottish Parliament Candidates

Election News Highland Council Web Site        Scottish Elections News - BBC

HERONS  - The 2007 Census - Can You Help?
As a predator at the top of the freshwater food chain, Grey Herons are excellent indicators of environmental health in the countryside.  The British Trust for Ornithology's Heronries Census began in 1928 and is the longest-running breeding-season monitoring scheme in the world. The aim of this census is to collect annual nest counts of Grey Herons Ardea cinerea from as many sites as possible in the United Kingdom. Historically, there are records of 16 Heronries in Caithness, but in 2005 only one colony was reported. If you know of any Heron nesting sites in Caithness, please report this to , including the date you visited, the estimated/actual number of nests, and where the colony is located. Ideally, give an Ordnance Survey grid reference.

Full Programme

New Craft Business For Wick - "Made In Caithness" - Opens Thursday 3 May

An exciting new business venture is set to open up opportunities for craft people in High Street, Wick. "Made In Caithness" is a new shop given entirely over to high quality craft items. Based in the former music shop the new business will offer the chance for people in the Caithness craft industries to sell their products right in the main street. Julie Bolton who has set up the new venture is offering people who make high quality products the chance to sell them by renting shelves in the shop that has been newly refitted. There has been significant interest from crafters and the shop is filling up with merchandise in advance of the opening on 3 May 2007. The product range is wide ranging from Caithness chairs, jewellery, prints, ladies hats, candles and much more.

May Newsletter - North Primary School, Wick

HMIE report on Thrumster Primary School, Caithness
A recently published HMI report on two-teacher Thrumster Primary School in Caithness, has praised the very good standards of attainment in English language and mathematics, together with teachers' high expectations of pupils' overall achievements. Also highlighted are the pupils' positive attitude to learning, the high quality of teaching and the very good leadership of the head teacher. The good quality of relationships between the school, home and the wider community is praised as was the warm caring climate fostered by the staff. They recommended that the head teacher should develop the role of parents in monitoring and evaluating the life and work of the school.  Education Index

Wick High School Production "Grease" Needs Clothes Donations Or Loans - Can You Help?
We are doing a production of Grease this June and the 'wardobe wifies' are looking for some help from the community in sourcing some old black or dark coloured blouson style leather jackets. We need these to be donations as we have to put tape for the T-Birds logo on the back and this might mark the jackets. We are also looking for donations or loans of the following:
Sixties style dresses or modern prom dresses with flared skirts.
Coloured men's jackets - Circular skirts - Man's white suit or jacket in small size
Gold lame or silver jackets or the type of coloured jackets the Showbands wore in the sixties
Neon and bright coloured ankle socks
Any other Grease-type clothing which folks might have lurking in their wardrobes post Gala night.
Contact Kathy Wares at Wick High 603333 if you can help or hand in items to school office. (Please state whether a donation or loan) Loans should have the lender's name and address.

Mock Election At Mount Pleasant School
P6 & P7 at Mount Pleasant School in Thurso held a mock election on Tuesday 1st May. Two classes were involved with 7 candidates making speeches to outline their policies. The SNP were the winners.



Citizen Tube - Is This The Future  For Elections
Here is way for almost anyone to get their views over and it's not just the politicians but ordinary people expressing their views about elections and all things political.  Politicians probably won't like it - the rest of us probably will.  Check out Alan Smart on Citizen Tube.  Fish around and you will find plenty more on youtube.   Or another Happy Birthday Tony Blair

Rob Gibson's Election Leaflet

Rob Gibson has emailed in his leaflet. We are not searching leaflets out.  Any that are emailed will be published if time allows. 

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