Caithness Bloggers
Speed Bumps - Home In The Highlands
Northlights 2009 Slide Show - or go to choose your own HERE  Plenty Of Time? - See over 1100
Mary Ann's Cottage Paper Boat Blog Going Strong
The fundraiser idea over at Mary Ann's Cottage is growing at an unbelievable rate as the boats keep sailing in to the cottage.  There is no shortage of ideas for boats and it looks as if the armada will be huge by the final date of 10th August 2009.  It is planned to show all the boats in Caithness Horizons in Thurso in September.  The only question we begin to ask is - will Caithness Horizons be big enough?  If you would like to make a donation to the cottage fund-raiser and get a boat into the show send it in by 10th August - all details and instructions on making a paper boat are on the web site - get folding or creative.
The Boats On Scribd reached the Hotlist

Coop At Mount Pleasant Thurso Donates £1127 To Dunnet Forestry Trust
Dunnet Forestry Trust would like to thank the staff of the Co-op in Mount Pleasant Road, Thurso for the fantastic donation of £1127.48p particularly at a time when they are experiencing difficulties in sourcing funding for the Forest. This money will be used to buy a chainsaw winch which will mean a more efficient extraction of timber which in turn will enormously help their on-going log sales – currently their main source of income. One of the DFT Directors, Jean Clasper and Administrator, Andrea Sinclair receive the cheque from members of the staff. Such a gesture emphasising community involvement and support is so encouraging. Hopefully this will initiate the next five year plan for the continuing development of this most northern and popular community forest. In the last five months, since Dounreay apprentices installed people counters at the entrances, over 15000 visitors have used the forest. It is appropriate that this support by the Co-op emphasises the fact that the aspirations of the Trust are all about community co-operation. The vision in 2002 was "A forest for all". The forest has and will change but that vision remains.
Dunnet Forestry Trust

The Solar System - Your Chance To Find Out More - Monday 16th March
The Caithness Astronomy Group present another chance to find out more about our Solar System on Monday 16th March at Pennyland Primary School, Thurso.  An illustrated talk followed by Hands-on Astronomical Activities.  This evening runs as part of the Caithness Science Festival that takes place between 16th and 20th March.


Murky Day Clears For Fantastic Caithness Night Sky At Astronomy Talk In Castletown
Caithness Astronomy Group who are running events throughout 2009 to mark "International Year Of Astronomy" were delighted at the very clear night sky last night. "With the cloud breaking as it did after a day of poor weather we were treated to breathtaking views of the night sky. It's hard to believe what we managed to see, all in the space of a couple of hours. Early on we were treated to views of the crescent Moon and Venus showing a similar crescent phase. Then with the sky darkening the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula and the Milky Way started to become visible. By the end we had seen stars & star clusters galore, galaxies, a planet almost without its familiar rings, a passing comet, an iridium flare and a shooting star or two. Let's hope for more of this at future events!"   See Listing For Coming Astronomy Events     Caithness Night Sky

Playden Nursery - Open Day
Thursday 5th March, 1pm-2.30pm

All preschool children and parents welcome

A seven week interior design programme starts at Halkirk Youth Club on Monday 2nd March for young people aged 12 and above. The project aims to equip young people with basic interior design skills and to ensure that they are fully involved in the design and upgrading of the facility. The sessions will be led by local volunteer Jean Alexander and The Highland Council’s Youth Development Officer – Angela Alexander She said “The programme is an opportunity for young people to come together to transform the facility which will address their needs and aspirations for a Youth Café in the village. Anyone wishing to participate in the programme can come along to Halkirk Youth Club on Monday night at 7pm. For more information contact Angela Alexander Tel – 01847 895782

Plenty To Do At Thurso Youth Club
Thurso Youth Club is open to all young people aged 12 and above and is a place for young people to hang out with their mates, learn and try new activities like music and cooking, play pool, Rock band and have free access to the internet. The club is open from 7:30pm- 9:30pm every Tuesday and entry is free for the next six weeks so young people can drop in to see what is on offer. The club also runs a girls group fortnightly on Monday evenings for young woman in S3 and above. The next session will be on Monday 2nd March and the planned activity is hip hop dance with Gill Kingdom. If dance isn’t your thing then you can come and chill out on the comfy sofas with your mates. For more information call Thurso Youth Club Tel- 01847 892964

New Public Toilets At Golspie
A new public convenience has opened in Golspie, providing local residents and visitors alike with modern surroundings. The Highland Council has invested £286,000 in the facility on the Main Street that includes male, female, disabled toilet units and an attendant's store. Additionally there is a separate 24 hour toilet unit, accessible using a swipe card which can be obtained from the local Council Service Point. Nappy changing facilities have been provided within the female toilets. The toilet block was designed by the Council's Housing and Property Service and built over 23 weeks by contracting firm M.M Miller Ltd Inverness.

Bigger And Better Boat Festival At Portsoy For 2009
From international boat experts to the world's fastest knitter, the 16th annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will celebrate all aspects of Scottish maritime heritage from 2-5 July in Portsoy. A major event in the Homecoming 2009 calendar, the festival has been extended by two days this year to include a symposium of fascinating speakers who will talk about nautical traditions ranging from early boat building to sea shanty and gansey knitting.  The Wick Harbour Fest and Boat Festival runs 26 - 28th June

Have You Visited the Esplanade In Thurso Recently?  Check Out the Pavilion Restaurant
A while back the Highland council decided to put the old pavilion at the Esplanade, Thurso up for sale as it was not being used and was in danger of falling into disrepair.  It seems that was a great move as it now houses a bright and fresh little eatery called not surprisingly "Pavilion Restaurant".  Inside a cosy atmosphere awaits with a fire glowing in the fireplace and windows that look out on the bay.  On a dreich day as it was today it was very pleasant to sit and eat home made soup followed by paninis and baguettes with various fillings.  The old pavilion has had a full make-over and is now real bright sport on the Esplanade in Thurso.  No longer the former boarded up building.  Well worth popping in after a stroll along the seafront.  We will definitely be back.  More Esplanade Photos

Caithness Community Awards

North Highland Connections - February 2009 Newsletter
North Highland Connections was launched in August 2008 and yet in that short space of time has put on 21 events in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire.  The latest newsletter gives details about the group and what is planned for 2009.  Keep watching for the newsletter or bookmark the North Highland Connections web site for additional events being planned for later in the year.

TRANSFORM - A Major Theatre Project Coming To Caithness June 2009
National Theatre of Scotland Learn. Sponsored by ScottishPower and supported by Determined to Succeed, presents TRANSFORM. Eight major education projects are being produced by the National Theatre of Scotland’s Learn team in March to December 2009. A team of leading artists will take up residency in communities across Scotland, working with secondary schools and community groups to produce eight full-scale site-specific productions. Projects for 2009 are taking place in Fife, Dumfries, East Renfrewshire, Moray, Orkney, Caithness, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Transform is a major collaborative education project between National Theatre of Scotland Learn, ScottishPower Learning and the Scottish Government’s Determined to Succeed programme that allows schools and communities to transform their approaches to learning. By bringing schools together with theatre professionals, communities and audiences, the partnerships produce high impact theatre events that use the local environment as a backdrop to tell compelling stories. Transform aims to enthuse and motivate participants and enable them to develop key skills they can adopt in life and the world of work.

Caithness Calling For Ministers To Come North
A PRESBYTERY in the Highlands is calling on new ministers because retirements are beginning to take their toll on the number of existing preachers. Three Church of Scotland ministers have retired from their churches in Caithness in the last 18 months. The Presbytery's Business Committee said that the workload was becoming far too heavy for existing ministry teams to cover parishes without a minister. However, Presbytery Clerk James Houston is hoping that Caithness will attract fresh blood because of the inviting ministry it presents: "We have a number of vibrant congregations covering large town and rural areas with a wide range of skills and abilities, which make it very rewarding.

Caithness Bloggers
Fresson In Orkney - Rain On My Window    Fresson 70th Anniversary 2004
2009 - A Year In Photographs - Northlight keeping up the pace with more photos
May Ann's Cottage Fund Raiser going From Strength To Strength - Join In - Make A Paper Boat

AstroPhotography & AstroArt Competitions - From Caithness Astronomy Group
As part of their International Year of Astronomy events Caithness Astronomy Group would like to encourage budding local astrophotographers to submit entries to the competition.
The closing date is 29th May 2009.
Astro-Art Competition  - Produce a piece of art on the theme "What it is like to be on an alien planet" See poster for ages and groups.
Astro-Photography Competition Any astronomical themed photograph can be submitted.  See poster for age groups.
Northern Groups Look To The Stars - BBC

Astronomy   Programme of Astronomy Events In Caithness In 2009

Highland Literacy Reading Blog
A new initiative to help children to share reading experiences with each other across the region was launched today (Thursday). A blog ( has been designed to allow children to submit reviews of books. This blog ties in directly to the ‘Reading for Enjoyment’ component of the Highland Literacy Project supported and developed by Highland Council. The blog has been piloted informally over the past few weeks. The children log on using a general username a password and can then do two things.  1. Read an existing review and post their thoughts/review as a comment or 2. If a review has not been produced for a book, they can create a new ‘post’ which allows them to enter their review. All comments have to be moderated before they go ‘live’ so there is no chance of any inappropriate language etc slipping through the net. Each school has a ‘step by step’ guide to posting on the blog.
Highland Literacy Project Update 13 November 2008

Internet Safety For Highland Children
Every pupil in the Highlands has been issued with important information to protect themselves online. They will receive a leaflet entitled 'How can I protect myself? Ciamar A Dhìonas Mi Mi-fhèin?' which was distributed to coincide with 'Safer Internet Day', a global event which takes place each year in early February with the purpose of promoting safer and more responsible use of online and mobile communication technology. All schools in the Highlands are being encouraged to hold their own internet safety discussions, events and activities to make pupils and parents aware of the importance of being good 'digital citizens' and ensure they know how to keep themselves safe. Schools are encouraged to have fun with the internet as well as reinforcing the benefits of using the internet safely.  Think U Know web site for children, young people, teachers and parents on Internet Safety

Caithness MotoX Club Fun and Open Day
Sunday 1st March
Ravenshill Track, Forss by Thurso

All ages from 6 upwards



Hi-tech "Worm" Probes Subterranean Pipeline
A hi-tech "worm" is probing a subterranean pipeline used to discharge radioactive effluent from Dounreay between 1957 and 1992. The £100,000 pipe crawler has sent back video and radiation readings during its five-day journey some 45 metres underground. The data will be analysed by a project team investigating how to leave the disused system in a safe condition as part of the site clean-up. A bundle of four cast iron pipes, each 23cm in diameter, was laid in the 1950s to discharge effluent from the fast reactor experiment.  Earlier Dounreay Items

Highland Children Benefit From Lottery Payout
Over 4,000 children in Highland pre-school education received all weather suits just in time for playing in the snow. As part of Highland Council’s ‘Rain Starts Play’ project, every pre-school centre in the Highlands is being equipped with waterproof suits and wellington boots to enable staff to take children outside for play and learning. Television viewers across the Highlands successfully voted for the Scottish regional People’s Millions TV contest for £80,000 Big Lottery Funding to pay for all weather gear for children.

Caithness Volunteers Brave Winter Weather At St John’s Pool
A small but hardy group of dedicated Caithness Countryside Volunteers recently (Sun 8th February) braved wintry conditions to undertake maintenance work at St John’s pool (between Dunnet and Brough). Despite heavy snowfall, five volunteers showed up to help Highland Council Ranger Dieter Tuerlinckx enhance the site, which is superb for bird watching and open to the public.


Strong Interest In Pentland Firth Marine Energy Opportunity
The Crown Estate has announced that the first stage of the process to allocate sites for wave and tidal renewable energy in the Pentland Firth strategic area is complete. Developers' response to this first invitation has been very positive and 38 individual companies and consortia have been invited to tender following confirmation of their interest by registering for the pre-qualification process.

Local Volunteers In Scottish Casualties Network Training Exercise with Assynt Mountain Rescue
The Scottish Casualties Network is group of volunteers who help organisation improve their training by simulating accidents with some very impressive fake wounds, broken bones and other injuries.  This set of photos was taken on the exercise in April 2008A number of people in Caithness volunteer with the group

Additional Investment for Money Advice and Welfare Rights Services
For a second year running, The Highland Council is committing a further £100,000 to money advice and welfare rights services in the Highlands. This takes the Council's annual funding for these important services to £1,414,000. Recognising the impact of the current recession on families and individuals, the Council is striving to manage the debt burden of some customers and maximise the benefits of others. Support is provided jointly by the Council's in-house team of money advice and customer income maximisation officers as well as advisers at nine Citizens Advice Bureau offices in the Highlands.

From The Papers
Fishing history at heart of heritage project - Press & Journal
Rescue of building provides focus to efforts of Dunbeath Trust
Life’s a beach as Wick men strive to stay on top of fitness regime before visit of Fort William P&J

Vandalism Wellington Street, Wick
Police in Wick are appealing for information regarding a vandalism, whereby, the communal front door to a block of flats on Wellington Street, Wick was forced open, causing damage. This incident occurred about 2.40pm on Tuesday 17th February 2009.

Northern Aspen Woods Surveyed - Sutherland’s Fairy Glen Aspens

A group of keen aspen enthusiasts spent their Valentine’s Day in Woodland Trust Scotland’s Fairy Glen wood at Spinningdale on the hunt for rare aspen trees. The day was part of Golspie based North Highland Forest Trust’s Northern Aspen Woods project, which aims to show local people how and why they might encourage and manage aspen in the woods of Sutherland and Caithness. The aspen project is one of 24 separately funded projects being undertaken in Highland with assistance from the Highland Biodiversity Partnership. The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and receives match funding from The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and RSPB Scotland.  North Highland Forest Trust   Biodiversity Index   Biodiversity Forum
A Survey of Aspens on Dunnet Head   Aspen - Wikipedia

Caithness Bloggers
Children of the Grey Coast - Home In The Highlands - Posted Today

Water Bailiffs Get Police Training To Tackle Wildlife Crime
The first in a series of training days for warranted Water Bailiffs across Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross took place at Achfary, on the Reay Forest Estate last week for bailiffs from the North & West District Salmon Board. The training days are part of an ongoing Police initiative to tackle Wildlife Crime in the Far North by the Police working in partnership with gamekeepers, water bailiffs, countryside rangers, conservationists and other organisations involved in countryside.

In The News
Council's oil consumption rising -
Paper On Energy Use For Resources Committee Wed 18/2/09 - Shows council buildings that have renewable energy projects installed and those coming in 2009. 75 council properties have already had some form of renewable energy installed or will have it by the end of 2009. A further 22 projects have been approved and are at options appraisal stage.  Several schools in Caithness are included in the listings.  Swimming Pools and Caithness Horizons in Thurso (124Kw Ground Source Heat Pump) are on the list.
10-year-old Sellafield plant may be closed - Guardian
Nuclear fuel rod removal begins - BBC
Nuclear future 'key for Scotland' - BBC

Update On Missing Woman
Police have confirmed they recovered a body from the Dunnet area of Caithness at 2.40pm this afternoon. The discovery is connected to yesterday's disappearance a 44-year-old woman in the Holborn Head area. Police and coastguard officials spent today carrying out coastline searches for the missing woman. Formal identification will take place in due course and next of kin have been informed of the discovery. A post mortem will be carried out in due course and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal
Woman Named - BBC

Winter Maintenance Update From Highland Council
The prolonged period of adverse weather conditions this winter has resulted in a significant increase in the usage of rock salt to treat roads in the Highlands.  The average annual usage of rock salt over the past five years has been 55,000 tonnes.  The total for this financial year already stands at 77,000 tonnes.  In 2007/8, the Council spent £4,237,000 on winter maintenance. £3,777,000 has been spent in this financial year.

Visitor centre on course to smash target - Press & Journal
Caithness Horizons ‘set to become a major attraction’
Caithness Horizons Opened In December 2008               Museums and Visitor Centres In Caithness

Lybster Snow That Night

Lybster Snow Next Day

To see all the of the Caithness Snow Photos from the start GO HERE

Vandalism To Car In Smith Terrace, Wick
Police in Wick are appealing for witnesses to a vandalism of a Nissan Micra whilst parked on Smith Terrace, Wick, about 0040 hours on Sunday 15th February 2009. The vandalism consisted of the offside wing mirror being damaged.

Search For Missing Woman Off Holborn Head Today

The search for a missing woman was carried out earlier today but was called off later due to failing light.
Missing woman search stood down - BBC
An air, land and sea search for a missing woman in the Highlands has been called off for the night. The search for the woman was focussing on coastline at Holborn Head near Scrabster........

The Way It Was At HQ

Wick As Snow Goes

Snow Photos Still Being Added In Photography section
My Snowy Trees    Southern Scotland  Picture Of Snowy Sarclet   Interesting Winter Photos   Icicles  
Go West How Many Snowmen Out There    No Snow men Just Sleding and an Igloo
Still Snowing   Loch More Fun   How To Take Good Pics In The Snow

Sunday Papers
Caithness has properties ripe for renovation - Sunday Times
Prince Charles' North Highland Initiative is encouraging people to rescue derelict farm buildings and redevelop them into homes.

Catching Up With Caithness Bloggers
Home In The Highlands -
Three new pieces this week
Mary Ann's Cottage Paper Boat Blog By Joanne Kaar
Still firing ahead this week with cats and dogs and snow and of course more paper boats
Northlight - Goes For Wick In White for Pic 41 - See all of his 2009 daily collection HERE or sit back and relax and watch his Slideshow



Break-in At Harmsworth Park Changing Rooms, Wick
Between 1700hrs on Thursday 12th and 0950 hrs on Saturday 14th February 2009, the window within a back door to the changing rooms at Harmsworth Park, Wick was smashed and the premises unlawfully entered. Police wish to hear from any persons with information relating to this incident........

Strath Of Dunbeath In The Icy Grip Of Winter

Yarrows Frozen Over

Highlanders Urged To Get Fresh On Valentines Day
Highland romantics are being encouraged to get fresh this Valentine's Day by turning on ... the tap. Far from pouring cold water on those Valentine's Day plans, drinking between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day could actually help keep those pulses racing.  Keeping your body hydrated will help to keep your heart healthy, protect that charming smile and give you more energy for whatever you have in mind on February 14th.

Ex Caithnessian  Diagnosed With Breast Cancer In Race For Life Campaign
Kate Barnet was born in Thurso and her parents still live in Dunnet. Kate hopes to be doing the 5K Ruin For Life In Aberdeen for Cancer Research UK.  Kate was diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in November 2008, and has been under going treatment ever since, and is now onto Chemotherapy to be followed by Radiation. Her parents still live in Dunnet and I sure there are a few folk in Caithness who know them, Jean and Mike Barnett. Her Mum is also going to be going down to Aberdeen to help push her around the course in a wheel chair if need be (as it will be smack in the middle of my Radiation treatment, and she is not expecting to be running). And she will also be looking for some sponsorship.......
Sponsor her at

Two Exhibitions For North Galleries
Swanson Gallery, Thurso  -
14 Feb to 14 Mar - Precious Cargo
St Fergus Gallery, Wick
- 14 Feb to 14 Mar Gray's School of Art Printmaking Department Portfolio
An exhibition which has been specially created for Scotland's Year of Homecoming with a Highland focus goes on show at the Swanson Gallery, Thurso from 14 February to 14 March. The exhibition has been designed by Brodie Nairn and Nicky Burns from Glasstorm in Tain as an innovative installation of cargo boxes, each revealing new objects or contemporary 'souvenirs' of the Highlands, which travellers to lands across the sea might have cherished to remind them of 'home'. Meanwhile at the St Fergus Gallery in Wick, following the very well supported 'Home' exhibition by Hillhead Primary School, original prints go on display combining the work of 4th year undergraduates, invited artists and staff.

Snowy Wick River Earlier In The Week
Photo from Donnie Macdonald. If you would like to share your snow scenes email them to for inclusion in this section or add them yourself to the Forum Photography section where many recent snow photos are already in place. My Snowy Trees    Southern Scotland
Picture Of Snowy Sarclet   Interesting Winter Photos   Icicles   Go West
How Many Snowmen Out There    No Snow men Just Sleding and an Igloo
Still Snowing   Loch More Fun   How To Take Good Pics In The Snow

Rowling's prints set in stone - Teletext
Author JK Rowling's stone handprints have been put on display in Edinburgh, where the Harry Potter saga was born. The Edinburgh Award 2008 was presented to the writer by the city council "for her contribution to the city". Her engraved handprints in Caithness stone are in the grounds of the City Chambers, alongside those of fellow Edinburgh author Ian Rankin.

Pick Up A Quiz and Help Radio Remedy At Caithness General Hospital
Radio Remedy, Caithness General Hospital's very own in house Radio Station run by volunteers, has annual running costs of around £450 per Annum before we even get to spin a disc (Insurance, Performing rights, phone and internet charges and that's before we buy any music). The Annual Lyric Quiz allows us to make substantial inroads towards reaching our running costs. Quiz sheets are priced at £1.00 and are available from:  - The Gift House, Wick and Newsbeat & Bews Newsagents, Thurso
Plus Radio Remedy Presenters (Bob Johnson, Bill Duchart, Alex McManus, Brian Marshall, Spike & Kenny Scobie, Matthew Thain & Chris Boxall)
They are also available across the Dounreay Site (See Dounreay intranet Bulletin Board for details).
Closing date is 28th February and the prize is a £20 Gift Voucher.

Council Confirms Council Tax Freeze and Growth in Key Services
Labour Criticises SNP Govrernment For Forcing Cuts In Council Spending

A freeze in the Council Tax and a growth in spending to accommodate priority front line services has been confirmed by The Highland Council. The Independent/Liberal Democrat and Labour Administration were successful with their recommendation to keep the tax at 2008/9 levels and deliver a revenue budget for 2009/10 of £598 million, an extra £23 million (or 4.3% increase) over the current financial year. The Band D will be £1,163.
Labour MSP Peter Peacock said "You have an impossible choice when the government tells you to make cuts or lose some of your already limited grant. The reduced grant would cause you to have to make further cuts and raise the Council tax to balance the books. The government have manipulated the grant system to reward councils for making massive spending cuts and penalise them if they don't. It is a form of micro management of Council budgets we have not seen since the Thatcher era."

Council Confirms Commitment to Wick Heating Scheme
The Highland Council has advised customers of its Wick district heating system that their supply of heat and hot water will continue as it investigates the best way forward for delivering heat to their homes in the future. Letters were hand delivered to 247 homes immediately following a special meeting of the Council on Thursday 12th February 2009 when councillors concluded that the technology installed at the Caithness Heat and Power plant to produce heat and hot water and electricity was unlikely to deliver what it set out to achieve. As a result, the gasification plant, which helps produce electricity, is to be decommissioned. Customers of the district heating system will continue to receive heat and hot water via a temporary oil-fired boiler until new arrangements are confirmed.

Temporary Closures Of Seater Landfill Site
Temporary closure of Seater landfill site and the access road thereto due to essential repairs Last 3 weekends in March 2009. The road will be closed from 2.00pm on the Friday afternoon and will re-open at 8.00am on the Monday morning during the following dates:-
13th March to 16th March
20th March to 23nd March
27th March to 30th March

Reassurance No Immediate Threat To Caithness & Sutherland Fire Services
Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs have secured reassurances that there is no immediate threat to Caithness and Sutherland fire services, following a vote in the European Parliament. The MSPs have visited fire stations and been in discussions with the Fire Brigade Union and the Fire Master for the Highlands and Islands and have also been in touch with Euro MEP, Catherine Stihler and UK Government Minister, Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy MP. As a result of all the contact and discussions they say they are "significantly re-assured" there is no immediate threat to fire services in the north, nor do they believe there will be disruption to fire services in the longer term

The Papers
Freezer arm chills Russell results - Scotsman
HAULAGE and distribution firm John G Russell has reported a steady rise in turnover but losses at the group's freezer manufacturing arm brought a chill to its annual results. The Glasgow-based company has operated the Icetech freezer business since 2005 when it bought the Caithness firm Norfrost out of administration.
Former bank chiefs face wrath of MPs’ public grilling
- The Herald
Among the Westminster inquisitors will be John Thurso, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, who today wants the four former bankers to say sorry to the nation. "It would be appropriate given the level of anger that my constituents are expressing," he told The Herald.
Bout of nerves as battered bankers square up to heavyweight MPs - The Times
John Thurso, one of the Liberal Democrats, will be another persistent questioner. (That he sports a knuckle-duster, a reference to his family crest, on the third finger of his left hand can only be to the good.)
How a £50,000 fund is adding colour to disabled artists’ lives - The Herald
Nine projects and artists from across Scotland have received a share of £50,000 from the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) to expand and develop their endeavours.  Lydia Popowich The Caithness-based visual artist will produce a work called Disability Pursuits, based on a popular board game.
Postbus service may be under threat - STV

Thurso River Today

Several Schools Closed In Highland Today Due To Weather
Caithness -
Bower Primary - Crossroads Primary
Ross & Cromarty -
Bualnaluib Primary - Park Primary
Nairn -
Cawdor Primary (nursery only closed)
Badenoch & Strathspey -
Deshar Primary - Gergask Primary

A Trip To Berriedale And The Strath Of Kildonan Today

Has Your Photo Driving License Expired? - You Can Be Fined For Driving With An Invalid License

Northlight Continues His 2009 Photo Collection
Northlight completed a photo a day for 2008 and also has other sets including an extensive Caithness Collection  Northlgith regularly adds photos to our Photography section and it looks like he is on course for another superb collection for 2009.  Sit Back, feet up  and view as a Slideshow

Caithness Bloggers
THE MADHOOS at AIRY - Rain On My Window
A Parade Of Paper Boats - Home In The Highlands

Halkirk Youth Club Delivers A Fleet Of Paper Boats To Mary Ann's Cottage Project
The fund-raiser for Mary Ann's Cottage started by is becoming something of a phenomenum. Joanne Kaar a local artist and paper maker set this fund raiser going only recently and it runs until 10th August.  Anyone can send a paper boat to join the growing fleet or should we now say Armada.  Another artist Lynn Taylor is running a partner project in New Zealand where Billy Connolly called in a few days ago.  Why Paper Boats? It was inspired by the maiden voyage of the Westland Ship - 30th January 1879 (130 years ago) from Scotland to New Zealand. Mary-Ann's father, William Young was a member of the crew.  Get folding and send your boat - instructions on the site.......

Sunday Papers
Was It worth It? -
Sunday Times
Many more “bargain-baggers” have fallen victim to planners, who have often proved reluctant to give the permission necessary to extend properties or convert them for residential use. Among them are Gordon Foyle, 57, a mechanical engineer, and his wife, Pauline, 55, who bought the Old Lookout Tower, an 1812, B-listed octagonal structure in the Caithness fishing village of Wick, which was featured in Home on November 11, 2001.
Former RBS bosses to face accusations of abusing shareholders' trust - Scotland On Sunday
Looks like John Thurso is giving RBS a hard time.

Tugmistress Tours Caithness In The Snow

In The Photo Forum
Moon                Mid-life Crisis                    Heading North Today      Dunrobin

And a Few More.....

Highland train line best in world - BBC

The Henderson Children At Achreamie School

Photos sent n by Audrey Ross, Thurso
Achreamie School Reunion - 30 May 2009

The Dangleberries In Assembly Rooms, Wick TONIGHT - Saturday 7 February
The Dangleberries Web Site 

Snow In Watten
Thanks to Suzie Anderson for these snow scenes from Watten


  See Kinlochbervie In the Snow Or Winter Wonderland

Maiden Voyage Of 'Pentalina' Hails New Era In Faster Travel From Caithness To Orkney

The maiden voyage of the new catamaran ferry "Pentlaina" saw it arrive at Gills after the trip from Orkney. The vessel was built for Pentland Ferries and will be able to carry 350 passengers, between 32 and 58 cars, and nine articulated lorries (load configuration can vary to suit requirements). Investment for the vessel is estimated at between £10-15m. The Pentalina is a twin hull vessel with an overall length of 70m, a beam of 20m, a service speed of 15kt and a maximum speed of 19.7kt. The ship has been designed to handle the occasionally rough waters in the north of Scotland and will run all year around.  It is expected that the crossing time will fall to 45 minutes on days where there are no weather problems.  The 'Pentalina' was previously expected to come in to service in 2008 but various problems prevented that. A surge in bookings is expected as the pound has fallen making trips to the UK much cheaper and expectations that more British people will holiday at home this year.  No doubt many Caithness folk as well as Orcadians will be trying it out in coming months.  More Views In the Photography Gallery

Jam Club In Wick Youth Club Tonight Cancelled Due To Weather
The Jam Club for young people in Wick that has two sessions 6.00pm and 7.30pm has been cancelled.  Please let anyone who attends know to save them making a trip to the Youth Club.

Caithness Primary School Pupils Are Healthy Highlanders
Pupils at a Caithness primary school have been named as the winners of a competition to celebrate Healthy Highland Week in which they had to suggest healthy alternatives to sweets as rewards. Members of SNAG, the School's Nutrition Action Group, at South Primary School in Wick were presented with a cheque for the school on Wednesday (February 4) for coming up with the best ideas in the competition organised by NHS Highland.

Minister accused of snubbing pupils in north - Press & Journal

Thurso Coop Relaunched Today After Extensive Upgrade

Gaelic Authors for New Highland Writing Initiative
Sgriobhadh sa Sgìre is the name of a new Highland Gaelic writing initiative which will see published authors and established writers visiting schools to work alongside pupils. The writers will also take in part in arts and community based events and the project will also promote Gaelic books through sales and marketing.
Iomairt Sgrìobhaidh Ùr Gàidhlig Na Gàidhealtachd
'S e Sgrìobhadh san Sgìre ainm iomairt sgrìobhaidh ùr Gàidhlig sa Ghàidhealtachd. Air sgàth na h-iomairt bidh ùghdaran is sgrìobhadairean stèidhte a' tadhal air sgoiltean agus ag obair còmhla ri na sgoilearan. Gabhaidh na sgrìobhadairean pàirt ann an cùisean ealain a bhios stèidhte sa choimhearsnachd, agus bidh an sgeama cuideachd a' brosnachadh leabhraichean Gàidhlig tro reic is margaideachd.  More Gaelic News Links etc

The Gaelic development agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig, launched a major new information and networking site on 4th February 2009, which aims to be the place to visit for everyone who wants to learn more about Gaelic - Gaelic language and culture, tourism, events relating to Gaelic and, how and where they can engage with the language. is aimed at Gaelic speakers and novices alike, offering something for everyone with an interest in wishing to learn more about the language or indeed learning to speak Gaelic. The website was launched in Glasgow by Minister for Gaelic Linda Fabiani, where representatives of various Gaelic organisations were invited to view the innovative new communication channel.
Dh'fhoillsich Bòrd na Gàidhlig, a' phrìomh bhuidheann poblach le uallach airson leasachadh na Gàidhlig, làrach-lìn ùr fiosrachaidh agus lìonraidheil - - an-diugh (Diciadain 4 Gearran 2009). Tha ag amas air a bhith na h-àite tadhail do neach sam bith a tha airson barrachd fiosrachaidh fhaotainn mun Ghàidhlig - an cànan agus an cultar, turasachd agus tachartasan co-cheangailte ri Gàidhlig, agus dòighean agus làraich eile far an urrainn dhaibh a dhol an sàs anns a' chànan. Tha airson an dà chuid luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig, agus an fheadhainn a tha ùr dhan chànan. Bidh an làrach inntinneach do gach neach aig a bheil ùidh ann an Gàidhlig no a tha airson barrachd fiosrachaidh fhaotainn mun chànan, no a' Ghàidhlig ionnsachadh.

Highland BlindCraft - High Quality Beds and Furniture

Would like you help Highland BlindCraft? Easy - Just help boost their sales by checking out the high quality beds and other furniture. A difficult trading year by the company that manufactures and sells high quality beds and furniture has resulted in a loss last year. With a base in Inverness Highland Blindcraft in a great place for anyone to see the furniture, mattresses and beds but do you know where it is? Have you ever visited their showroom.? Well now it is easier than ever as they have gone online with all of their products. Check out 
Ardconnel Street Just round From Castle Street Inverness

Young Carers Drop-in Zone At Wick Family Centre Cancelled Tonight
Cancelled due to weather conditions but will resume next week all being well

North Primary Schools Artwork Wins Laptops - Miller Academy and Melvich Primary Schools
BNS Nuclear Services Ltd, in conjunction with DSRL recently held a series of safety presentations at several local primary schools with Oscar the robot. The primary schools were invited to submit a poster based upon the theme of safety in the home with the first prize being a laptop for the school. Two schools entered, Miller Academy and Melvich Primary and as the entries were of such high calibre it was decided to award both schools with a laptop. Children representing both schools are pictured here receiving the laptops from BNS Nuclear Services Ltd with some of their artwork in the background.

Bad Weather Closes 63 Highland schools - But Not In Caithness
Snow has affected roads all over the Council's area. The worst affected area is from Grantown to Carrbridge and up to Moy (A9). Grantown has over 2ft of lying snow. The A939 and B9007 are closed due to fallen trees (weight of snow). Problems also being encountered by HGVs diverting off the A9 at Aviemore (which is still closed at Moy) and re-routing via Grantown and Nairn and getting into difficulties. The Council has been working with Police to clear many stuck HGV's on A938 and B9153.

View From Bill's Window In Wick Today
Bill took this photo this morning from his window and a bit more snow has fallen since.  if you have taken any snowy photos today email them to to add to this Caithness Winter Gallery.

  More Snowy Pics In the Forum Photography Section


Caithness Celtic Supporters' Club Bus availability, for the next game
The next bus is:-
versus Rangers (League) on 15/02/09 - 12.30pm kick-off. Bus leaving Wick Safeways @ 03:00 and Thurso Skinandis @ 03:30.
Senior = £30 and Junior = £20.
Contact, Stevie King =
Official website -

'Mind Your Own Business - 'FREE Training Course For Community Groups
The training is open to individuals within community organisations acquiring, owning or managing community assets, to help them meet the challenges of developing and sustaining their organisations.  The free training course will take place on Friday 6th March 2009; 9.30am (for 10am) to 5.15pm At The Bowling Club in Lybster.

Highland Council Administration Recommends Council Tax Freeze
A freeze in the Council Tax is being recommended by the Independent/Liberal Democrat/Labour Administration of The Highland Council when the Council holds a special meeting on Thursday 12 February to confirm the 2009/10 Council Tax levels. The tax is set to remain at the 2008/9 level and deliver a revenue budget for 2009/10 of £598 million......... In confirming the budget for 2009/10, the Council has needed to find savings of £13 million and this will result in the deletion of the equivalent of 110 full time posts, some of which are vacant......The recommended Council Tax levels for 2009/10 are: -
A: £775.33 B £904.56 C £1,033.78 D £1,163 E £1,421.44 F £1,679.89 G £1,938.33 H £2,326. These are the same levels as 2008/09.

The second budget of this Scottish Government has been passed by Parliament, securing vital public spending at a time when the economy needs it most. John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth said the vote in favour of the spending plans would ensure a massive investment programme across Scotland would go ahead, keeping the economy moving and supporting nearly 5,000 jobs.

Staff Presented With Top Toilet Awards
Following The Highland Council's success at the Loo of the Year Awards, staff from the Education, Culture and Sport service who are responsible for looking after the award winning toilets were presented with their certificates at a special ceremony in Inverness held on Tuesday. Mike Burton, Managing Director of Albany Washroom Services who sponsor the Awards travelled to Inverness to make the presentation. He congratulated everyone involved for the superb results and said: "It is obvious that Highland Council has galvanised an enthusiastic team of motivated cleaning personnel and management that take tremendous pride in the standards of the toilets that they maintain. Chairman of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie attended the award ceremony. He said: "We have a remarkable track record of success in these awards and it is down to the dedicated teams of staff working across the Highlands. What is particularly good news is the number of new entries which have got five star rating. I would like to congratulate all the staff involved and thank them for their dedication and hard work."  Thurso High choir and Hilton of Cadboll Primary School provided entertainment.  Bigger Photo

Mary Ann's Cottage Paper Boat Project Gets A Visit From Billy Connolly In New Zealand
The Paper Boat Fund Raiser started by Joanne Kaar our local paper making and print  artist has a partner project in New Zealand.  New Zealand print artist lives in Dunedin and is carrying out a similar exercise with paper boats.  The connection is that the father of Mary Ann was William Young who worked on the maiden voyage of the ‘Westland’ from Glasgow to New Zealand in 1879. His sea chest is to be found in Mary-Ann’s cottage.  Well Lyn must have been very surprised when well-known Scottish comedian Billy Connolly walked in to her studio.  This paper boat project is certainly growing and gaining attention.  It was on BBC Alba last week.  You can send paper boats to Joanne up to the 10th of August.  Mary Ann's Cottage

Refurbished Thurso Co-op Relaunch Thursday At 10.00am
The newly refurbished Co-op will relaunch once again for shoppers at 10.00am on Thursday this week. The store has already been open to shoppers for the past few days. A chef will be doing cookery demonstrations over three days. Product giveaways and product sampling.  Fairtrade sampling.  On Friday this will be on going and on Saturday Face Painting and more cookery demonstrations etc.

Caithness Amateur Radio Society Annual General Meeting
The Caithness Amateur Radio Society Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 4th February, at 7:30 pm, in the Nethercliffe Hotel, Wick. All welcome.
From Denny Morrison "We had quite a good turn-out at the last club night, thank you to those who attended. I'm not putting out minutes, but possibilities for Club activities were discussed - I'll summarise these here:
Contests: The two most likely candidates for club participation are:
The PACC Contest on 14th February - See  for details.
The Scandinavian Activity Contest - The last weekend in September for SSB. See  for details of last year's event.  The club will consider a range of other events."

Just Found - Highlights of Wick Academy v Fraserburgh 16th Aug 2008
This game at the Harmsworth Park, Wick ended in a 2 - 2 Draw.  This item was found via another blogger Inside Left for all the footy fans.

Another Blogger
Today we found DropOne the blog of Helen Lockhart who lives in the NW Highlands of Scotland with her husband and our two terriers. She knits, spins and dyes yarn.  The blog has the knitting etc but also a mix of photos round Assynt and Sutherland.

More Winning Caithness Photographers
Angus Mackay Wins Nouveau Natural World at SWPP Awards
Local photographer Angus Mackay won the Nouveau Natural World category with a rather moody shot of the dilapidated John O'Groats House Hotel.  In addition Angus won three other merit awards - pretty good for his first big competition.
There is no shortage of aspiring photographers in Caithness and elsewhere as can be seen in The Photography section in the forum so it looks like they will all have to be on their toes to stay ahead.  Well done Angus.

John Bailkie Wins Animal Photography Section At SWPP Awards
John Baikie has won yet another competition to add to his huge collection of awards in the last few years.  This photo of somewhat scary looking sheep took first prize in the Animal category of the SWPP awards.  John Baikie has built up his photography experience over several years. His attention to detail and pursuit of excellence has paid off with a growing list of prizes and awards.  John has a couple of web sites at Caithness Photographic and Captiv8 Congratulations on another great job John.

Plight of the humble bee
Native British bees are dying out — and with them will go flora, fauna and one-third of our diet. We may have less than a decade to save them and avert catastrophe. So why is nothing being done?
Once upon a time, for example, the great yellow bumblebee, Bombus distinguendus, which thrives in the cold and wet, was common throughout Britain. Now it has been driven so far northwards that it occurs on the mainland only within half a mile of the extreme north coast of Caithness and Sutherland. 'So,' says Goulson, 'it can go no further. It is probably doomed as a result of climate change.' Other species, too, are shrinking into local redoubts. The shrill carder bee, Bombus sylvarum, is now limited to the Somerset Levels, Salisbury Plain and the Thames Estuary, where much of its habitat is on brownfield sites and impossible to protect. Since 1980, the formerly common large garden bumblebee, Bombus ruderatus, has been recorded at fewer than 10 sites in the UK.  Bumblebees on

Prize Winning Local  Photographer Martina Cross Does It Again Twice
Local photographer Martina Cross whose photos have regularly featured on the web site has won another two Photographer of the year awards with the SWPP again this year. She managed to grab the "Landscape" and  "Monochrome" titles. The winning image in the landscape category shows the Kyle of Tongue and Ben Loyal and the mono one shows Dunnet Beach  Martina is a regular to the Forum in the photography section and has made her 1000th posting setting off another thread on the subject of Black and white photography.  See many more of Martina Cross photos at Martina Cross Photography and on her blog Scotland Visions   Superb as ever Martina.
The Photography section in the forum has over 1400 separate threads with many thousands of photographs.  You can post your own photos to many photo web sites and pull them into the forum.  Why not post some of your Black and White photos.

Grand Concert & Ceilidh  - Huge Line Up For Cancer Centre Fundraiser in Thurso
14 February - British Legion, Thurso - Tickets £5
A GREAT LINE UP OF PERFORMERS WILL TAKE PART TO HELP RAISE FUNDS FOR THE NORTH HIGHLAND CANCER INFORMATION AND SUPPORT CENTRE IN THURSO. Clapshot, Chloe Smith, Margaret MacDonald, David Rosie, Mina Mackay Dancers, Mikie & Hannah Henderson, Kieran Sutherland, and The Strathspey and Reel Society, Compere is Willie Mackay Oldhall, Tickets available from Cancer Shop, Highland Hospice Shop and Sinclair's Shoe Shop THURSO

Nurse Tracey MacLeod From Caithness General Hospital Fund-Raiser Trek For Multiple Sclerosis
It all Happens On 21 May 2009
I am a staff nurse at the Caithness general hospital and have in the past raised funds for children's charities by going on a trek to the Great Wall of China. Last year, as my father suffers from MS and both parents very involved with the local group, I undertook a trek to the Grand Canyon to raise funds for something closer to my heart and home and raised £4,000 for the local branch of Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. Next trek I am undertaking a "climb" of Mount Etna for which all proceeds like last, will go to the local branch of Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, and the Caithness branch can verify that there is an agreement that ALL monies raised do indeed go to the Caithness branch. Indeed as it is raised it is being sent to them. Head over to Tracey's Just Giving page to make a donation

While We Are On School Reunions
Don't Forget Achreamie School Reunion - 30 May 2009 - Weigh Inn, Thurso

Latheron School Reunion 11 July 2009 - Have You signed Up Yet?
The clock is ticking for the Latheron School reunion on 11 July 2009.  If you would like to attend please get in touch with the organisers as oon as possible to help with catering etc.  Meanwhile Fiona Sinclair has sent in a couple of new photos for the site.
Latheron School About 1964    
Latheron School 1971

Latheron School Days Index    Main Caithness School Days Index    Main School Reunions Index

Caithness Student Shortlisted For National Film Award
Philip Todd from Wick is in the running to achieve a national film award. Philip, a former pupil of Thurso High School submitted an entry to FilmG, MG ALBA's innovative Gaelic online digital shorts competition, and has been shortlisted in the Best Performance section of the New Entrant category with a chance of winning £500. The aim of the competition is to uncover creative talent for the new Gaelic television channel, BBC ALBA, in which MG ALBA is a partner. The winners will be announced at the FilmG awards ceremony on Friday 6 February in Eden Court Theatre, Inverness.

Geocaching Taking Off In Caithness
The activity known as Geocaching has been growing steadily over the past few years.  Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.  See for more informationThere is even one near Wick but we will not spoil the fun by telling you exactly where.  Certainly adds to the interest when out and about.
Three Caithness Geocaches

Tha Riaghaltas na h-Alba air a' chiad Dreachd Phlana Gàidhlig a chur a-mach gu co-chomhairleachadh poblach. Tha am Plana a' moladh cheuman gus luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig a bhrosnachadh gu bhith a' cleachdadh na Gàidhlig an uair a tha iad a' dèiligeadh ris an Riaghaltas.
Draft Gaelic Language Plan for Consultation
The Scottish Government has published its Draft Gaelic Language Plan for consultation. The Plan proposes measures to encourage Gaelic speakers to use the language when contacting the Government.

Consultation on Proposals for a New Community Centre in Thurso
Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall, High Street, Thurso
Thursday 5th February 2009 7.00pm
If you are interested in the future of Arts, Sports and Community in Caithness then you will want to attend this event. It is an opportunity to comment upon Concept designs that have been prepared for a Community Centre on the site of the former UKAEA Sports and Social Club known locally as The Viewfirth. By attending the event you will hear a presentation of the design by the Architect and have the opportunity to ask questions. A comments survey form will also be available. On the evening a Committee will be formed to carry the project through to completion. Plans for the proposed development will be displayed in Caithness Horizons from Friday 6th February along with consultation forms. If you cannot get along to the event you can make your views know by completing the consultation form HERE and sending it to David Brookfield c/o Pentland Housing Association, 37-39 Traill Street, Thurso KW14 7HD or by email to

Front Page Headlines Archive Index From 2000 Onwards