CAITHNESS.ORG HEADLINES ARCHIVE ::  February 2008

Quiz and Family Fun Night

Are you interested in art classes?
Professional tuition in painting, drawing and photography will be starting soon at Lybster Day Centre on Wednesday mornings. Beginners welcome. Please phone Lydia on 01593 721318 if you would like to join us.

 

 

Caithness Bands - Are You Signed Up For goNorth 2008 In Dundee?
Applying is easier than ever. You can apply free on line at this site. Simply attach a biog, picture and mp3s. You will be considered for all stages at goNORTH except the Sonic Bids stage. You will also be considered for Rockness. Remember, by applying you are giving us permission to use the info and tracks you send for promotional purposes (assuming you are offered a place at goNORTH or Rockness). Your track will also be considered for the sampler CD that goes out on the cover of MUSIC WEEK unless you tell us otherwise. Applications must be received by 28/03/08.

Only Two Weeks To Get Your Entries In To New Gaelic Song Competition
There are only two weeks left for minority language singers and song-writers to enter to Ns r - the first song contest to be held in Inverness as part of four regional finals held across Europe. The deadline for song applications is 14 March. Meaning 'New Style' in Gaelic, the Ns r competition is seeking songs entered from languages such as Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Ulster Scots, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. The winners of the West European competition will be entered into the final of the pan-European Liet Lavut competition which takes place in Lulea, Sweden in October.

Castle Of Mey Special Easter Four Day Opening
21st to 24th March inclusive
There will be a special four day opening of the Castle and Visitor Centre for Easter this year from 21st to 24th March inclusive from 10.30 am to last entries at 4.00 pm.


 

Brodie McHaggis Back On Moray Firth Radio Charity Auction In 2008
Brodie McHaggis returns to the Moray Firth Radio Charity Auction for a third year in a row. Up for auction is a set of his first two adventures - "Brodie McHaggis and the Secret of Loch Ness" (second edition), and "Brodie McHaggis and the Curse of the Scotch Mist" (first edition). The books are signed and dedicated to the Charity Auction 2008, and uniquely doodled by the Author, Helen Campbell. They are bound together with a green and blue tartan ribbon and finished with a light green label dedicated to the Charity Auction......Don't miss out on your chance to be get this one off set of doodled books. Tune into MFR on 7, 8 and 9 March to have a chance of placing a bid.

Old Bottle Found In A Caithness Garden
Local Artist and paper maker Joanne Kaar has contacted us to say her husband dug up an old bottle in their garden that used to be an old croft.  Joanne said "My husband Joe found an old glass bottle while digging in our garden in the ruins of an old croft. We would be interested to hear if anyone has information about it The inscriptions on the bottle is James Wilson, Reg, John O'Groats Mineral Waters Trade Mark Pultney Town Wick and underneath says Portobello Woods Ltd.
Joanne can be contacted via her web site at www.joannebkaar.com/
 

Is The Energy Tide Finally Turning Towards The Pentland Firth As Oil Prices Soar?
Tour to unlock the power of Pentland Firth - Scotsman
Energy firm chiefs seek Pentland potential - The Herald
Could This Be Why? - Oil prices rise near $100 a barrel - msnbc
Could Lord Bob MacLennan be right when he recently said "Tocardo's interest could be the start of a "California-style gold rush". - He was referring to a new project to be based at Wick Harbour to build a 10-megawatt prototype tidal energy plant in the firth when he spoke at recent marine energy conference in Edinburgh.

Warning over huge lost fish net - BBC
A large fishing net which is the length of about six football pitches has been lost overboard from fishing boat. It is so big that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a warning to vessels in the Pentland Firth to beware.

400 Events Listed Already For 2008 In Our What's On - Get Your Event In Now - It's FREE
More and more vents go into our what's On every year and the What's On section alone averages 4500 to 5000 visitors a day.  A listing gets you not only in the listing for as long as you like ahead of the vent but it also appears automatically on the daily listing on the front page as final reminder to everyone.  So if your group has an event planned in the next couple of years and you know the date and times etc get it on now for maximum publicity and to help everyone planning a trip to Caithness.

Local Action for Wildlife
The wildlife of the Highlands is set to benefit from 100,000 of funding for 24 local projects over the next three years. One of these projects is an innovative Rhododendron control method which will be trialled in the Highlands and monitored by Forestry Research. The "lever and mulch" method of Rhododendron control requires no power tools, no fires and no herbicides, just an understanding of the inherent strengths and weaknesses of Rhododendron ponticum and lots of elbow grease. This is just one of 24 local projects running from 2008 until 2010 that follow on from the Highland Biodiversity Action Plan Implementation Programme that ran from 2004 to 2007. During this time 90,000 of funding was provided to help 37 community led biodiversity projects. The funding is being provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and RSPB Scotland. The projects in Caithness include -
North Aspen Woods - Identification of Important Biodiversity Sites - Caithness Primary Schools Biodiversity Competition - School Marine Project - Wildflower Habitat enhancement - Moth Trapping and Monitoring
Water Vole Monitoring - Community Wildlife Boxes - Click the map at the top for all other areas projects

Get Your FREE Entry In A New Edition Of The Caithness Arts Directory
Caithness Arts are currently producing the second edition of the Caithness Arts Directory which provides a comprehensive guide to artistes (professional and amateur), venues, arts organisations, tutors, agencies etc. who contribute in some way to the arts in Caithness. For a free entry, please complete and return the form to adnil72@gmail.com or use the postal address on the form.  If you fit more than one category, please complete a separate form for each.  Open the form HERE - complete it - save it to your computer - then email it to adnil72@gmail.com

New Foot Bridge Improves Access At Girnigoe Castle

A new foot bridge is almost completed at Girnigoe Castle near Wick.  This will allow much improved access to the castle once it reopens to the public.  Much work has been done and archaeologists have been working over the past couple of years in the summer months to uncover more information about the castle.  The history of the castle has been rewritten based on many new discoveries.  This solid new footbridge will allow a much easier way into the castle than previously and is on the line where a drawbridge would have been.  Girnigoe Castle Main Index  Caithness Castles Index

Tapping The Source: The Power Of The Oceans - The Oil Drum
This web site talks about ideas for gaining energy from the sea around the globe and the Pentland Firth gets a mention.

Latest Dogs In Pets Corner

Do You Read the Daily Record? - Then Help Thurso Youth Club Get A Free Football Strip
The latest Kits for Kids promotion in the Daily Record offers free football strips to football clubs and youth organisations and Thurso Youth Club is up and running with a request that folk donate their tokens to the club.  The tokens when collected can be exchanged for a football strip for Thurso Youth Club FC Team.  the promotion runs from 23 February to 2 May 2008.  Put your tokens in the boxes provided at Frasers, Coop or Tesco and Pennyland Primary school in Thurso.  Read more about the Daily Record Strips for Kids  Even if you are not in Thurso start collecting the tokens as there are sure to be groups collecting in your town or village.  Caithness groups can let us know and we will mention you here.

STONE CALLS ON CHANCELLOR TO ABANDON 2p FUEL HIKE
The announcement last week that the Chancellor is to increase fuel charges has prompted a call by North MSP Jamie Stone to abandon his 2p hike in fuel duty, Jamie has repeated his call for the Chancellor to use his powers to vary taxation rates across the UK to bring the cost of fuel in the Highlands in line with the rest of the UK. Jamie Stone said: In the North we are already burdened with a huge annual fuel burden and thus the Chancellors extra 2p is going to hammer the rural motorist. The current Chancellor must realise that fuel in the North is already between 5 and 10 pence more than the UK average, and the higher the duty the greater the inequality.
Fuel Backlash Growing
Scrap 2p rise in fuel duty, Alistair Darling told - Telegraph 12 February 08
Chancellor should scrap his 2p fuel duty increase
- News Guardian 30 January 08
Farming joins the protests over 2p fuel duty
- Farmers Guardian 15 February 08
Call to scrap planned fuel duty rise
- Independent - Business News 11 February 08

MEETING TO CONSIDER NEW CAITHNESS RETAILERS GROUP
A public meeting is to be held in Thurso next week to discuss the formation of a Caithness-wide body to represent the retail sector. It follows the publication of a retail report carried out by Vector Research for HIE Caithness and Sutherland. One of the report's main recommendations is that local retail businesses join together to form a strong voice for the area, and to consider the wider tourism potential of town centre shopping in Wick, and Thurso in particular.........The meeting is to be held in the ballroom of the Pentland Hotel in Thurso at 7.30pm on Tuesday, February 26. To assist with arrangements, anyone interested in attending is asked to phone HIE Caithness and Sutherland on 01847 805221 or email  donna.bamford[AT]hient.co.uk

Careers Convention To Be Hosted At Wick On 12th March
People living in Caithness are being offered expert advice and information on taking the next step in their careers. The Careers Convention will be held on Wednesday 12th March 2008 in the Assembly Rooms in Wick, and will offer people of all ages comprehensive information on careers, employment, training and education. The event, organised by Careers Scotland in Thurso, will bring universities, colleges, training providers and employers all under one roof. More than 40 organisations and businesses will be at the event which will run from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. Pupils from Wick, Thurso and Farr High Schools are expected to attend, and people from the wider community are invited to the event including parents/carers and adults who are looking for ideas and support.

Wick Model Yacht Club
Sarclet loch near Thrumster  - Saturday 23rd February 2.00 - 4.30pm

Free Sailing And Radio Controlled Model Yachts.  Spectators welcome.

Biodiversity Requests
Scottish Wildcat Survey
One of the forum members has pointed out this survey now underway.  It would be interesting to know  if there are many in Caithness so if anyone is adding information about wild cats perhaps they could make mention in the Wild Cats section of the Biodiversity Forum
Wild Snowdrops In Caithness - Do You Know Where they Are Located?
Keep your eyes peeled and note the locations and then put details in the forum for onward transmission to the national database.

Caithness Girls At Gymfest Inverness Last September - Item Lost In The Email Jungle
Apologies to all concerned as this photo was left in the email pile from last September. Members of the Caithness Gymnastics Club took part in GymfestINverness held recently at the Bught Leisure Centre in Inverness. This Gymfest, which is unusual as it is the second to be held in one year, was hosted as part of Highland 2007 the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture. 48 gymnasts plus their coaches and parents from the club made the journey to Inverness, where they performed their MADONNA routine, the mix of artistic and rhythmic gymnastics made stunning and fast moving viewing to a packed and appreciative audience. A national competition to design a logo for the souvenir Polo Shirt was won by Caithness Gymnast Rosie Fidler who can be seen in the photo, second row from front, third from right.

Transport Questionnaire for Dunnet & Canisbay Residents
Residents of Canisbay and Dunnet are getting a chance to air their views on local public transport in a postal questionnaire sponsored by Caithness Partnership, Highland Council and the Carnegie UK Trust. In a letter to everyone in the Dunnet and Canisbay area whose name appears in the electoral register community council chairman John Green writes: During a recent consultation with some of the local residents the Community Council found that the public transport service is not always suitable for the people who live here. We need to find out more about this so that we can pinpoint any changes that might be required.

Highlanders Asked To Nominate All-time Favourite Rhyme
As part of an initiative to encourage literacy development among pre-school children, people in the Highlands are being asked by The Highland Council's Library Service to nominate their favourite nursery rhymes. The competition to find out the top ten nursery rhymes of all time is being co-ordinated as part of Bookstart in Scotland Day celebrations, with the results to be announced on 15th May 2008. Parents and children are invited to pick up an entry form at their local library, and nominate their favourite rhyme of all time. Free Bookstart Rhymetime sessions are also being organised, where parents come together with their babies and toddlers to sing rhymes and songs in an informal and fun setting. Details of Rhymetime sessions are available at local libraries throughout the Highlands.

North Air Passengers See 4% Rise But Wick Sees Fall
More than one million passengers used airports in the Highlands and Islands in the nine months to 31 December 2007. Passenger numbers at Highlands and Islands Airports increased by 4% to the end of December 2007, totalling 1,000,804, according to figures published.  The Scottish Government owned airport operator is on target to record its busiest ever year to the end of March 2008. Aircraft movements for the same period totalled 80,000 which is comparable to last years figure.

Can You Help Caithness Police?
Fences Broken At Oldfield Court, Thurso
Car Damaged In Castletown
Assault - Recreation Park Between Coach Road and Green Road, Wick
Spray Paint At Wick High School
Window Smashed At Glamis Road, Wick
Vandalism North Murchison Street, Wick
Glass Door Chipped - Macleod Road, Wick

Lunar Eclipse Can Be Seen Early Morning 21st February
Gordon Mackie has reminded us that there will be a Lunar Eclipse on the morning of 21st February. "Unfortunately the event occurs in the early hours of the morning in the UK when most people will be tucked up in bed. There isn't another total lunar eclipse until 2010, so this is the last chance to see one for a while."
If you would like to  comment on what you see then go to our Moon forum where you can also see some photos of the moon taken by our readers.  Gordon Mackie sends in items for the section Caithness Night Sky

Conquer A Corbett And Help MacMillan Cancer Support
Volunteers needed to climb 219 mountains for people affected by cancer.
Adventurers are being challenged to climb more than 200 mountains to raise cash for people affected by cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland want people to sign up to take part in its Conquer a Corbett challenge, which raised over 40,000 for the charity in 2007. Last year fundraisers climbed 129 of the Corbetts for Macmillan, but this year the charity want to have someone climb every single one of the country's 219 Corbetts - the name of all Scotland's hills and mountains between 2500ft and 2999ft high.  Conquer A Corbett Web Site
The views from Scotland's hills and mountains can be spectacular.  Here is a walker in last years Corbett Challenge on the top of Beinn na Caillich. One walker who will be taking part is Maurice Hickey. The 48-year-old conquered Quinag in the Highlands last year in memory of his father who died of bowel cancer in January 2006, aged 75. The pharmacist, from the Highlands, enjoyed the challenge so much that he decided to sign up to take part again this year. The dad-of-two, who has also climbed in the Himalayas and the Alps, said: "I decided to conquer a Corbett last year for a number of reasons. Obviously since my dad died from cancer, I really appreciate the work Macmillan do. My dad was also a supporter of Macmillan for a long time, and I've come into contact with some fantastic Macmillan nurses.
More photos of high places can be seen in the Caithness Waybaggers section  Corbetts At Wikipedia

Grassland Fungi in Caithness (by David Savage)
In a previous article (Caithness Field Club Bulletin Vol 7 No 1 (April 2005) ) we looked at the more obvious fungi to be found in Dunnet forest. This time we will look at some of the fungi to be found in the rough grazing areas of Caithness.  One of the best local places to find grassland fungi is at Crosskirk. We will start by following the sign for St. Mary's Chapel, through the gate and along the track past the cottage.
Taken from the 2007 Caithness Field Club Bulletin   Caithness Field Club Index
Earlier Years Bulletin articles

Dounreay News - February 2008
In many ways the Dounreay site newspaper aimed at employees working there is an easy way to keep up to date with what is happening and the many changes now and in the future.  It is an easy read and gives a short article on many topics that are the subject of copious papers and thick reports.  From history to an explanation of Socio -economics and how it might affect what is going in the regeneration of Caithness and North Sutherland.

 

Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 19
DOUNREAY TO RECRUIT MORE APPRENTICES
Dounreay is recruiting for its next batch of engineering apprenticeships. UKAEA is looking for 6 people interested in starting a four-year training scheme in August, in mechanical, instrumentation and electrical disciplines. Applicants should live within travelling distance of Dounreay, be interested in engineering and have attained school leaver age this summer. More information about the places can be obtained by contacting 01847 802678. Closing date for applications is 13th March 2008.  Other items in this edition include -
First phase of shaft clean-up nears completion - Latest clean-up plant begins processing waste
Removal of reactor hazard commences - New design alliance formed for key project
Old research labs are coming apart - Gone in 90 seconds - 8 million nuclear archive for Caithness

O'Neill Highland Open Surfing Competition Returns To Caithness In 2008
The world's coldest professional surfing contest returns to Scotland in spring 2008. O'Neill Europe has confirmed that the Highland Open, its signature event, will be staged on Scotland's frigid North Shore for the third year running. O'Neill Europe's first two pioneering contests have revolutionized European surfing, putting the icy barrels of Scotland on the world surfing map, but this April's event looks set to be even bigger and better than its predecessors. The O'Neill Highland Open by Swatch is the must-see surfing contest in Europe, and no wonder. It's a contest with a difference: it's run by surfers, for surfers, at the world-class breaks that lie along Scotland's North Shore. It's based at the legendary reef of Thurso East, where the water temperature is a mind-and-body numbing 4 degrees Celsius...............The O'Neill Highland Open runs from 23 to 30 April. It's not for the faint-heartedbut it is the place where you'll see the best surfing in Britain this year.  Earlier Surf Stuff

Another Heating Oil Theft At Harrowhill, Wick
Police in Wick are appealing for witnesses in connection with an incident of theft. Between 1645hrs on 7/2/08 and 0930hrs on 10/2/08 a large quantity of domestic heating oil was removed from an heating oil tank at an address in Harrowhill Wick.

Mey Selections Producers Of The Year 2007 Announced
The Wick office of North Highland Products hosted a ceremony to announce the winners of the 2007 Mey Selections Producer of the Year Awards. The winners in each of three categories - Aberdeen Angus, Commercial Cattle and Lamb, each received a silver cup and 100 prize. The respective winners in each category were W R Baillie & Co., R Mackay and James Sinclair & Co.

 

Young Volunteers Head For Young Quality Scot Awards
Julie Miller from Wick, Laura Steven from Evanton, Caroline Kristensen from North Kessock, Nicola Macrae from Kingussie, Miranda Macdonald from Kinlochbervie, Karen Mackay from Lairg, Monica Foster from Muir of Ord, Anna Dougan from Nairn, Front row - Lucy Laing from Kinlochbervie, Elisabeth Coles from Aviemore, Jenny Baird from Nairn, Eilidh Smith from Bonar Bridge. Sixteen young people from Highland will this year receive the accolade of Young Quality Scot for their contribution to their communities. Their achievements include involvement in pupil councils, youth forums and parliament, volunteering in the community, cultural, citizenship and awareness arising projects and sporting achievements. Twelve young women from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Nairn and Badenoch & Strathspey took part in a local training event held at Badaguish near Aviemore on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 February.

Wick Swimmers At School Swimming Championships In Glasgow
Four swimmers from Wick took part in the Scottish Schools Swimming Championships at Tollcross Park Leisure Centre in Glasgow on Saturday the 27th of January. The 50 metre pool at Tollcross will also be the venue for the swimming competition during the Commonwealth games to be held in Glasgow in 2014.

 

Pictured during a break at the training weeked are - Back row  The event was organised and led by The Highland Council's Youth Development Team. Over the two days, the participants they took part in interactive workshops on team building, learnt leadership and presentation skills and were coached on how to manage change. The Young Quality Scot Awards look to recognise and reward young volunteers in Scotland. The awards are a partnership between Quality Scotland and local councils across Scotland. The young people from Highland will be giving a presentation entitled BEING YOPUNG IN HIGHLAND at the national celebration event, hosted this year by West Lothian Council on 8th and 9th March 2008

Ceilidh To Be Held In Memory Of Bill Deans
From Jackie Johnson of Caithness FM

A small group of friends of the late Bill Deans of Dirlot Place, Thurso, are organising a ceilidh in his memory. We hope to hold this on Saturday 12th April and will confirm the venue in the next few days. The ceilidh will be open to anyone who wishes to attend and any donations given at the door will be donated to charity.  We know that Bill move to Thurso from Aberdeen in the late 50's and that he spent most of his working life at Dounreay where he was originally scientifically based then involved in training. In his fitter days he was involved in field walks, fishing and his love of music. In the later days of his life it was mainly his music that consumed his time being a member of the Melvich choir, Thurso Live Music Association, Thurso Players, the newspaper for the blind as well as presenting a show on Caithness FM. We are asking that anyone who knew Bill and who has any information or funny stories relating to him please contact us by emailing office@caithnessfm.co.uk  We would also be interested to see any photographs that people may have. We hope that as many of Bills friends and colleagues will be able to come along on 12th April and celebrate his life with us.

Wick High School 1983 Reunion
Reunion Date  - 25 July 2008
For anyone who started at Wick High School in 1983 - 25 years ago. Contact details inside for anyone who would like to attend.  Caithness Schools Reunions Index  If anyone is thinking of running a schools reunion in Caithness remember we will set up a free web section to advertise the reunion with full details, updates and photos if you send them in to bill@caithness.org

Jobs Jobs Jobs in Caithness - Get In Gear And Come To Caithness
Social Worker, Criminal Justice Service, Wick - The Highland Council
Principal, North Highland College
Royal Mail, Wick. Relief Cleaning Operative,16 hrs P/W
Catering Stewards (Wick)
Area Team Leader (Business Support), Social Work Services, The Highland Council
Aerial / Satellite Installer
Joiners required Thurso area
Electrical Engineer - Nuclear Decommissioning and Clean Up
Mechanical Engineer - Nuclear Decommissioning and Clean Up

Scottish Arts Council - New Arts Funding For Groups
SCOTTISH ARTS COUNCIL: INSPIRE

Inspire is an exciting new Lottery fund from the Scottish Arts Council launched on 12 February. Inspire is an 8 million fund that has been developed as part of the Scottish Arts Council's commitment to increasing participation and aims to provide more, wider, better engagement with the arts:
This could be a chance for a wide range of Caithness groups to get some finance for a project.  There is to be a series of road shows to promote this new fund.  One will be in Inverness on Thursday 6th March at Eden Court theatre 1.30 - 4.30pm and 5.30 - 7.30pm  Others can be found on the Inspire web site  

MEUR GHALLAIBH DEN CHOMUNN GHAIDHEALACH
CAITHNESS BRANCH OF AN COMUNN GAIDHEALACH

Following the setting up of the Royal National Mod Local Organising Committee who are charged with preparation for the County of Caithness' hosting of the Royal National Mod in 2010, please note that Meur Ghallaibh den Chomunn Ghaidhealach - Caithness Branch of An Comunn Gaidhealach is delighted to invite everyone to the inaugural Ceilidh Dance of the new branch to be held in the MacKay's Hotel in Wick on Saturday 1st March, 7.30 pm. - Tickets 5 - concs 3

Dealbh-chluich r - Fgarraich na Grine gu bhith air fhaicinn le sgoilearan Gidhlig
Tha Meanbh-chuileag, a' bhuidheann-drma aig Fisean nan Gidheal, air an rathad an-drsta le dealbh-chluich r bethail a bhios a tadhal air cha mhr gach sgoil Ghidhlig air feadh na dthcha thairis air na seachdainean a tha romhainn.  Tha an dealbh-chluiche ag amas air clasaichean 4 gu 7 sa bhun-sgoil Ghidhlig, ach tha e cuideachd freagarrach do chloinn nas ige.
A new play - Fgarraich na Grine (The Sun Refugees) - to be performed to Gaelic pupils
Meanbh-chuileag, Fisean nan Gidheal's theatre-in-education group, is on the road just now with an exciting new interactive play that will be visiting almost every Gaelic-medium school in Scotland over the next few weeks in a marathon tour funded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise and The Highland Council with financial assistance from Brd na Gidhlig. The play is aimed at years 4 to 7 in the primary school, although it is also suitable for younger children.

Holistic Medicine Workgroup Offers Opportunities To Learn And Gain Certification
This is a unique opportunity to learn a variety of areas within complementary medicine. This will be an ongoing weekly group and where possible and when people meet appropriate standards I will certify people in relevant areas, such as basic certification in hypnosis, hypnotherapy, stress management, reiki etc. This will be a free ongoing workshop.

Major Drugs Seizure In Shetland By Northern Constabulary
NORTHERN Constabulary officers in Shetland yesterday seized Class A drugs with an estimated street value of 100,000. This is one of the largest ever seizures of drugs in the Shetland Isles and underlines the Force's commitment to tackling the illegal drugs trade. The seizure included substances suspected to be heroin and cocaine. Paul Guy Thompson, 45, from Lerwick and Desiree Madia Hassan, 44, also from Lerwick appeared on petition in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court today in connection with allegations they were concerned in the supply of illegal drugs. Both made no plea or declaration and were committed for further examination. Thompson was released on bail and Hassan was remanded in custody.

News elsewhere
RSPB unveils its latest reserve - BBC
Broubster Leans on the floodplain of Forss Water, south-west of Thurso, provides habitat for wading birds, insects and water vole.......
Writer Makes Mark On City - Scotsman
The Rebus author is to unveil a Caithness stone slab engraved with his handprints outside the City Chambers on the Royal Mile on Monday.

Pets
Dusty - A Syrian Hamster     Miya The Husky  Max A Labradoodle

 

Kian - 12 Weeks     Wolfy & Harley        Bob                Tai

Sponsored Ride By Equestrian Students to Raise Cash For The Monday Club
Watch out for horses on the road on 5th March as students on the Equestrian Business NC course at the North Highland College will be riding from Halkirk to Thurso to raise funds for a charity "The Monday Club"

Far North NHS Staff Praised For Meeting Waiting Times
NHS staff in Caithness and across the Highlands, Argyll and Bute have been praised for meeting the national waiting times targets set for the 31st of December deadline. Patients are benefiting from quicker appointments for consultant-led clinics, diagnostic tests and surgical procedures. The news comes as the Scottish Government sets out a three year plan to speed up treatment even further. Chief Operating Officer Elaine Mead said: I am delighted that our internal figures show that at the end of December we were able to honour the 18 week waiting times guarantee for the patients of Highland. Every effort has been made to provide local sustainable solutions, due to the distances some patients already have to travel, with the vast majority of patients being able to see a local specialist within Highland..........Since March 2007 more than 70 patients have had their cataract surgery in Caithness General Hospital rather than having to travel to Inverness and, across Highland, patients no longer have to go for an outpatient appointment after they have had cataract surgery, they can be seen by their High Street Optometrist.

Heating Oil Theft At Hempriggs
Police in Wick are appealing for witnesses to a Theft at Brough Road, Hempriggs between 14/12/07 and 07/02/08 whereby a quantity of heating oil was stolen from within an outside storage tank.
Question - Would you know if you had oil stolen from your tank? Or would you only find out weeks later when your heating stopped working.  Measure your oil in the tank regularly to spot any sudden drops.  As home heating oil is now reaching record prices it has become a very valuable commodity and being targeted all over the country by thieves. Make sure your tank has lock on it and think about protecting your oil tank and any pipes on the outside. Tell neighbours when you are going away so that they report any suspicious vehicles in the area.  Write down the numbers of any vehicles you are not sure of - it might be useful later to trace vehicles being used for thefts.

Locals urged to have their say on future of Highland's only Local Nature Reserve
Members of the public are being invited by The Highland Council to have their say on the future of the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Inverness which is Highland's only LNR. As part of the development of a three-year management plan for the LNR, consultations are taking place to find out what locals and visitors think is special about the area and what their aspirations are for the site.
Bill Fernie says - OK its not about Caithness but we really like aerial photos and it tells you a lot about Inverness expansion as much as it does about the Nature Reserve - look at all those warehouses.   Another View

Highland Focus on Scams Awareness Month
Trading Standards Officers of The Highland Council are taking part in a national campaign ~ Scams Awareness Month - to crack down on the misery and heartache caused by unscrupulous scammers, whose sole aim is to persuade consumers to part with their money. Working jointly with the Office of Fair Trading, they are focusing on consumer education to help the public spot a scam and are encouraging the public to hand in to designated Council offices scam literature received this month. Alistair Thomson, Head of Environmental Health and Trading Standards, hopes the campaign gets the message across to consumers not to be conned.

From Today's Media
New breed of surgeon training to save rural hospitals - The Herald
Tolls removed from Scots bridges - BBC
Anyone travelling south and crossing bridges in Scotland including the Forth and Tay will now be able to make the trip without paying a toll to cross the bridge.
If you like your rhythms fast, beat it to John O'Groats - Yorkshire Post

Latest Police News
Vandalism At Willowbank, Wick

Police in Wick are appealing for witnesses to a Vandalism that occurred when the front living room window of a house at 56 Willowbank, Wick was broken about 1840 hours on the evening of Friday 8th February 2008. In particular officers would like to speak to a small group of teenage youths who were seen to run away from outside the house and into Leishman Avenue, Wick immediately following this incident.
Broken Window At Park Avenue, Thurso
Theft From Mybster, Spittal

Council sets out concerns on Post Office Closure Consultation
The Highland Council has highlighted a number of concerns in its draft response to Post Office Ltds consultation on post office closures across the UK (PDF 626Kb).  The response will be considered by councillors at a special meeting of the full Council on Thursday 14 February. Post Office Ltd intends to close 29 post offices across Highland.   It is proposed that two of these will be relocated at other businesses within the community and that at a further nine offices proposed for closure there will be replacement services provided.  The Council is extremely disappointed that the UK Government has set a target for the number of closures across the UK which means that if any post office in the region is saved, another will need to close. The responses from the public meeting to discuss the Pulteneytown Post Office at South school last Monday evening have still to be included in the report but will be before the council holds its meeting on Thursday 14th February

Interested In Traction Engines? Then Join Caithness Model Club On A Trip To Pickering
3 Day trip to Pickering for annual traction engine rally, then truck fest at Edinburgh on way home on Sunday. Dates -1st, 2nd, 3rd August 2008.  For details of price please phone Peter or Joan on Wick 605655 on behalf of Caithness Model and Collectors Club.  Photos from the 2007 Pickering Rally

Faroese Ferry Service Operators Get Familiar With The Highlands
Advance bookings for this summer's Smyril Line ferry service between the Faroe Islands and Scrabster are already three times higher than this time last year. The figures were revealed last week by the company's Product Manager whilst on a familiarisation visit to the Highlands. Ann Mari Wang was accompanied by two colleagues from the company's sales offices in Norway and Torshavn, together with journalist Heri Simonsen from the Faroe Islands national newspaper, Sosialurin. "A symphony of landscapes" was how journalist Heri Simonsen described the journey which started in Inverness and continued north to Wick and Thurso, along the coast to Durness and down the west coast before returning to Loch Ness, Inverness and Nairn.

Multi-Million Pound National Nuclear Archive To Be Based At Wick

The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency has announced that it will invest 8 million in plans to create the UKs National Nuclear Archive (NNA) at Wick, Caithness, Scotland. The NNA will potentially hold between 20 and 30 million digital records primarily concerning the history, development and decommissioning of the UKs civil nuclear industry since the 1940s. The money will be invested over three years and will help get the 17 million project off the ground. The NNA is being proposed in response to the NDAs statutory obligation to manage public records, keeping them safe and making them more accessible to the public. Around 20 specialist jobs will be created by the project and the building will also provide a new home for the Wick-based North Highland Archive, which is much in need of additional storage space.

Would You Like To Help Out At Mary Ann's Cottage This Summer
If you enjoyed your last visit to Mary Ann's Cottage - it is on your doorstep - how about considering 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. Opening hours are as follows:
30th May through til Mid September : 2.00pm - 4.30pm Tuesday through Sunday - Closed Mondays

Wick Heroin Dealer Sentenced To Five Years
NORTHERN Constabulary today welcomed the sentence handed out to an individual who was involved in the supply of heroin in the Caithness area of the Highlands. Today at Wick Sheriff Court, George McPhee Harper (25) was sentenced to five years in prison for his part in the supply of illegal drugs through an organised network.  This is viewed as a major success for the Caithness and Sutherland Command Area's "Operation Joker" which was set up to deal with the supply and misuse of heroin in the Caithness and Sutherland Area.

Council Set Out Concerns on Post Office Closure Consultation
The Highland Council has highlighted a number of concerns in its draft response to Post Office Ltd's consultation on post office closures across the UK. The response will be considered by councillors at a special meeting of the full Council on Thursday 14 February. Post Office Ltd intends to close 29 post offices across Highland. It is proposed that two of these will be relocated at other businesses within the community and that at a further nine offices proposed for closure there will be replacement services provided. The Council is extremely disappointed that the UK Government has set a target for the number of closures across the UK which means that if any post office in the region is saved, another will need to close.................................... The Council has set up a discussion forum on its website and will forward the comments received to Post Office Ltd. http://thc.highlandlife.net/post_office_consultation
Post Office Closure Discussion On Caithness.og Forum

Louise Smith Joins Project To Promote Pentland Firth Energy
Louise Smith has been appointed to progress an important marine project set to play a crucial role in revitalising the economy of Caithness following the de-commissioning of Dounreay. Civil engineer Louise Smith takes up the two-year post of project manager with the Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project next Tuesday (12 February 2008). She joins Duncan Mackay, from the Crown Estates, who is already in place. Louise's new post is funded by HIE and the NDA. The Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project is one of the key initiatives being promoted by the Caithness Regeneration Partnership, established early last year to help develop the economy during the run-down of the nuclear plant.

Northern towns tackle the Tesco effect - Scotsman
John Ross writing in the Scotsman on the recent report on retailing in Caithness and the Tesco/Homebase affect.

Clyth Crofters Ball
Clyth Crofters Ball In Clyth Hall 23rd February 2008 7.30pm Band REMIX It is the 20th anniversary of the opening of Clyth Hall and the committee thanks everyone who have supported them over the last 20 years by coming to the Ball which pays for the running costs of the hall for another year. This year the tickets are 12.00 per head and are available through the committee or Helen Budge Secretary 01593721467 email helenbudge[AT]aol.com

Night Tactical Leadership Course - Possible Increase In Aircraft Activity In Highland
(NTLT) 08 which will take place at RAF Kinloss from 11 to 22 February 2008. The NTLT Course aims to improve the tactical leadership skills of front line aircrew in combined Service air operations through training in a controlled, but realistic, tactical environment. This will be achieved by using a variety of RAF aircraft including, Tornado F3 and GR4s, Typhoons, Pumas, Chinooks, a single E3D and Falcons from FR Aviation. In all approximately 29 aircraft are expected to participate in this exercise, with the majority arriving at RAF Kinloss on 11 February 2008.  This is a key annual training course which will help ensure that RAF air crews are properly trained to meet the tactical demands of low flying. Flying hours involving the majority of aircraft will be between approximately 1945hrs and 2245 hrs each day. There will be no exercise flying between Friday 15 and Sunday 17 February.

Mey Selections Leads The Way In Carbon Footprinting And Labelling Initiative
Mey Selections, the brand name of North Highlands Products Ltd., is delighted to announce that they are the first Scottish SME (Small Medium Enterprise) to become involved with the Carbon Trust's product carbon footprinting and labelling initiative. "Not only are we the first Scottish SME, we are one of the first food and drink companies to become involved with the initiative. Mey Selections is committed to using sustainable standards of farming, fishing and food production, so it seems right that we look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment by minimising the lifecycle carbon emissions of our products from their supply chains." explains John Strak, Mey Selections' Managing Director.

Some Pets Love The Snow
Here is Benji getting his first experience of snow. If you would like to add a winter scene to the gallery just email your photos to bill@caithness.org
Winter In Caithness 2008 Index
Winter In Caithness 2007 Index
Winter In Caithness 2006 Index
Winter In Caithness 2005 Index
Winter In Caithness 2004 Index     More Weather In Caithness - All Seasons

Wintry Photos Being Added By Caithness.org Forum Members
Stags In the Snow  Animals In The Snow  View From Your Bedroom Window  Frozen In Time  Snow

Huge Turnout For Pulteneytown Post Office Consultation Meeting At South School, Wick

A packed South school hall in wick heard from Post Office representatives the reasons why a closure programme was underway.  One by one members of the audience from including councillors and people from businesses, churches and other walks of life put questions and points as to why it was necessary to retain a post office in Pulteneytown.  the audience was very polite to the visitors from the Post Office, the council's Post office committee and a representative of Post Watch.  Everyone took note to be forwarded to the people dealing with the matter.  It was revealed that Pulteneytown was still a loss making Post office despite having over 900 customers per week.  2500 Post offices in the UK will close.  Representation about why your post office should be retained need to be sent before 18th February See HERE for  details and contacts.  The Post Office people were left in no doubt about the feelings in the town and the potential consequences for people and other small businesses if the Post Office closes.  A film crew spent the day in Pulteneytown and filmed the whole meeting for Japanese television as similar things are happening to the Post offices in that country

Winter At Castle Of Old Wick

Some shots of the Castle of Old Wick in no doubt that it is winter from David Paterson. If you would like to add a winter scene to the gallery just email your photos to bill@caithness.org  They do not need to have snow in them to prove it is winter - perhaps leafless trees or even a sunny day or sunset as we tend to get all sorts of views around this time of year and even some sunshine.

Winter In Caithness

Some photos from Chris Gregory of wintry scenes in Caithness in the recent cold snap.  You can click through to larger versions.  If you would like to add a winter scene to the gallery just email your photos to bill@caithness.org

Farmers in the Highlands reap benefits of Carbon Footprinting
Wednesday 6 February 11.30pm to 2pm, at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso
An irresistible offer is being made to farmers in the North Highlands - an invitation to a free lunch and the opportunity to learn how they can both cut their carbon footprint and save money. All of this is courtesy of the Carbon Trust, SAOS, (the member organisation of agricultural and rural co-ops in Scotland), and Mey Selections, the award-winning food and drink producer. Together they have organised a special event on Wednesday 6 February, at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso. The lunchtime seminar, which is being hosted by North Highland Products, who promote the Mey Selections brand, will include speakers from SAOS and the Carbon Trust Scotland. Commenting on this exciting initiative, Danny Miller Chairman of North Highland Products, said, "After enjoying tremendous growth in 2007 we are kicking off the New Year with yet another initiative which is not only going to benefit the individual farmer, but will also prove that farmers and food producers in Scotland are way ahead of others around the country."

Will It Be the End For Pultneytown Post Office? - Public Meeting Monday 4th Feb 6.00pm
A big turn out is expected from all over wick to help defend the Post Office services at Pultneytown.  Pultneytown is an area recognised by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation as having problems.  Closing the post office used by pensioners and others on low incomes who have no transport of their own and forcing them to go across wick to the only other post office will hardly help them or the other small shops - a butchers, a bakers, a chemist, a pub, an undertaker and a motor spares shop.  The potential loss of the post office may impact on these other small fragile businesses.  The public meeting will take place at South School at 6.00pm on Monday 4th February to hear a representative from the Post Office. Councillors from Wick will be there to support the local effort.  Wickers are expected to turnout to help the Pultneytooners in this last ditch effort.

More Articles From the 2007 Caithness Field Club Bulletin
Telfords Mill Lade at Wick (by Jenny Bruce)
Spoked Wheel Stones (by Geoff Leet)
The Leodebeste Rocky Outcrop (by Ken Butler)
Hetty Munros War Diaries (by Elizabeth Rintoul)   
2007 Bulletin Index   Caithness Field Club Index

BBC Breathing Places Schools Launched
BBC Breathing Places is inviting all primary and middle schools in the UK to register with us and Do One Thing for nature each term. By registering on our website, schools will receive (absolutely free) all of the information, resources, and curricular links they need to complete a simple, entry-level activity each term - the first is seed planting to encourage wildlife. Each terms new activity (6 in total) will be sent to registered schools. They are designed to work whatever the school's location rural, urban or suburban and can work equally well during lessons or as part of an after school club. Interested teachers can sign up at www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces

Council Commitment to Keeping Highland Communities Cleaner
Caithness along with other areas is set o get a significant increase in spending on grounds maintenance and street cleanliness.  The Highland Council is set to spend an additional 1 million in the new financial year in keeping Highland communities cleaner and tidier. The commitment to community works is a priority of the Council Administration and, subject to confirmation by the full Council on 14 February.

Latest Update - Puppy Has Now Made It Back Home Again
Missing Puppy From Loch Street, Wick - Notified To The Forum
Our little black puppy has gone missing from Loch Street, he's only 4 months old, my little girl is distraught as he belongs to her. He is wearing a pale blue collar with white spots.
Please if you see him can you ring me on 07849 990151

Update Missing Girl - 3 February - Police Have Now Notified She Has Been Found.
Police Looking For Missing Thurso Girl

Future Options For John O'Groats
Saturday 9th February 2008 - Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats - 11.00am - 3.00pm
The Caithness and North Sutherland Partnership team invites members of the public to drop in for general discussion on options for the future of John O'Groats.  Views will contribute to a draft plan for further consultation.

GONE IN 90 SECONDS.....DOUNREAY CLEAN-UP ACCELERATED IN NEW VIDEO
It's already been cut from 100 years to 25 years. Now, the timescale for cleaning up and knocking down Dounreay has been accelerated to just 90 seconds in a new video showing how the site will look when decommissioning is complete. The animated flyover shows how the site will disappear over the coming years as more of the fast reactor experiment is cleaned out and demolished. Demolition of the site's fuel fabrication plant earlier this month took the total to 100 facilities to have been cleared so far. An intensive phase of work over the next decade or so will see major facilities such as reactor buildings and reprocessing plants also disappear from the skyline.

Latest Pets In Pets Corner
Bailey - A Labradoodle

Next Online Quiz In Caithness.org Flashchat
The online quiz organised by regulars in the forum has been running for some years and continues to be fun on a Sunday evening.  Only Forum members can get into Flashchat to play in the quiz.

Snow Photos Being Posted In the Caithness.org Photo Gallery - Add Yours

         Frozen In Time  Winter Waves

 

 

Another Post Office But the Sentiments The Same For Pultneytown Post Office Campaign 
Lets See As Many Folk On Monday At South School  - Monday 4th February 6.00pm -
You Don't Really Need To Live In Pulteneytown To Complain - It's a Busy PO!!!
We Did Not All Have Babies To Protest At The Maternity Downgrading At Caithness General


This film was made by protestors in 2005 but the problem and the sentiments are still the same
Is anyone going to make wee film and put it on Youtube to help Pultneytown? - Take your video cameras.

New Highland Housing Register Means Applicants Must Re-Register
The six main providers of rented accommodation in the Highlands have joined forces to make it easier for applicants on housing waiting lists to access housing. The Highland Council together with the five housing associations operating in the Highlands - Albyn; Cairn; Lochaber; Lochalsh & Skye; and Pentland - have produced a single housing register and this week 15,000 applicants on the waiting lists of the agencies will be sent a new housing application form to complete. The new application form means people who want to be housed by the Council or any of the housing associations with housing in the Highlands will only have to fill in a single form. Previously applicants had to complete separate Housing Application Forms for each landlord. However anyone who is on a housing list with any of the landlords just now will have to fill in a new form.

BT May Scrap More Telephone Boxes As Usage Falls As Mobile Phone Use Soars
Gibson calls for national plan for threatened phone boxes
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibso0n has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for a national plan to be drawn up by BT before any more phone boxes are removed in Scotland. Mr Gibson motion comes in the wake of an announcement from BT who wish to scrap many under used phone boxes.

Head to the hills for top class tuition - SCAET Bursary available
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Limited Grouse & Hillkeepers' Course is widely regarded as one of the best practical and participative upland management courses in the UK, and it returns to the Angus Glens this spring. Held every two years, the five-day course will take place on the Invermark Estate by kind permission of Lord Dalhousie on 21st to 25th April 2008. The course offers a superb programme of talks, demonstrations, discussions and practical participative training plus the opportunity to meet countryside management experts. The Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust will once again be offering a full bursary for one delegate to attend this excellent course which attracts participants from across the UK.

The Papers
Total cost of closing down nuclear sites rises to 73bn - The Herald

A Couple Of Films On Caithness Stone and Slates From Grandma Productions
A couple of films by local short film producer GrandmaDig Productions help add some colour to the Quarries page. The first film Waltzing the Stones was made for the BBC Highland Lives project where several other folk had a go at making films about Caithness and other parts of Highland. See more Caithness short films at GrandmaDig who also made the film of the Burns Supper at Auckengill below.

Highland Council Invests 431,000 In Home For Elderly At Pulteney House, Wick
Pulteney House, Wick, a care home for 18 older people, was officially reopened today (Friday 1st February) following a 431,000 refurbishment. This is the sixth Highland run care home to be refurbished under the Council's programme of improvements at a total cost so far of 2.3 million. Residents were delighted to be able to return to the building which has seen improvements to comply with fire regulations and improved access for disabled people as well as redecoration and renewal of the carpets.

Public Meeting Regarding Proposed Closure Of Pulteneytown Post Office
A public meeting will be held at South School, Wick on Monday 4th February at 6.00pm to discuss the proposed closure by the Post Office of the branch at Pulteneytown.  A representative from the Post Office will be there to answer questions.  Local councillors will also be there to try to gauge public opinion on this important matter.  A film crew from Japan may also be present as this is an important topic in Japan where the Postal Service has been privatised and there are many protests going on there also about the reduction particularly in rural areas.  Post Office Consultation On Closures Web Site

Thurso Represented At Celtic Connections In Glasgow
Thurso was well represented at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow last weekend.
On Friday last a Thurso couple, Alison Birnie and Fraser Bain performed some of their own music at the Danny Kyle Open Stage event - a much sought after gig held each night in the Royal Concert hall.


 

Variety Concert And Dance - 8th February - Thurso
Macmillan Cancer Support are holding a Variety Concert & Dance in The Royal British Legion, Thurso on Friday 8th February 2008 at 7.30pm. Dance Music by Addie Harper. Raffle, Light Supper, Tombola. Tickets 8.00. For tickets phone Sheila on 01847821374
Louise Shakespear, the Macmillan Cancer nurse, is participating in The Annapurna Experience, which is a Trek across Nepal. This will be the 5th Trek which Louise has taken part in and to date she has raised 20,000 pounds for Macmillan Cancer. Her personal target is 25,000 and this concert is to help Louise reach her target.
The Artists are :- Strathspey & Reel Band - The Big Band - Caithness Dialect by Nona Mackay - Elise Lyall Highland Dancers  - Singing by Magnus McLeod - Alexander on Accordian - Singing from Kane Cameron

Burns Night Celebrations at Auckengill Hall, Caithness 2008
 

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