If you enjoyed your last visit to Mary Ann's
Cottage, or even have never been there but would like to know more, it
is on your doorstep so 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 throughout the summer - for further
details contact Chris Cariss on 01847 851765. Mary Ann's will
open on 1 June and will be staying open thereafter for the season until
the end of September.
Dunnet Beach - Clean-Up -
Friday 8th April 2011 - 11am onwards.
Sick of seeing the beach
look untidy? - Come along and make a difference!
Join the countryside ranger and other volunteers at The Seadrift Centre
car park at 11am to help give Dunnet Beach a ‘spring clean’.
Everyone welcome - gloves, bags and a skip provided to help keep the
beach looking beautiful for all the users and the local wildlife.
This beach clean is part of the Keep Scotland Tidy Group’s ‘National
Spring Clean’ event. Further details from: Paul Castle Highland
Council Countryside Ranger 01847 821531 firstname.lastname@example.org
The concert is on the eve of the retirement of West Church's minister,
The Revd Ronnie Johnstone, on Saturday,
26th March at 7:30pm.
The choir is made up of students from the Royal Scottish Academy of
Music & Drama, one of North Highland Connections cultural partners.
The Choir was established in September 2007 by its present musical
director Andrew Nunn. Les Sirènes is a Chamber Choir consisting of 16
vocalists who are all students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music
and Drama in Glasgow. The Choir was Adult Choir of the day in the BBC
Choir of the Year competition in Edinburgh in May 2010........
Academy were knocked out of the league cup but didn't exit without a
fight, at Harmsworth Park. They took Keith right to the wire in the cup
thriller, with a stalemate score of two all, at the end of normal
time. With neither team managing to break the deadlock, the place
in the next round went to penalties with the visitors triumphing
Diary - Fit's
In E' Groat
Local People Invited To SNH Reception In
Local people are being invited along to an informal evening reception
by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) at Mackays Hotel, Wick, Caithness,
from 7 pm until 9pm on Wednesday 30 March. SNH is the Scottish
Government's advisor on the management, enjoyment, understanding and
sustainable use of Scotland's wildlife, natural habitats and
landscape. The evening will provide an opportunity for informal
discussion about the work of SNH in the area, what we do and why;
giving people the opportunity to raise issues relating to the natural
environment which are of interest to them.
A Wick train driver and his wife are celebrating after scooping the
£500,000 Thunderball jackpot in the draw on Saturday 5 March 2011 by
matching all five main numbers and the Thunderball. Alastair
Cameron (53) and his wife Isobel (56) were watching the draw live on
the Saturday night and to their complete astonishment all six of their
Thunderball numbers were read out. Alastair said: “Isobel began
jumping around screaming that we’d won and I just didn’t believe
her. I thought she was having me on. But then I checked the
numbers and it really hit me. “Isobel then phoned her mum and our
daughter Christine – we were so excited we couldn’t wait to share the
news.” The Camerons have been playing the lottery since it
started and have won small amounts in the past.
The Camerons also intend to pay off their mortgage and treat themselves
to a new car – hopefully an Audi. They also have a trip to Las Vegas
planned in the next few months which Alistair now says they’ll be able
to do in real style!
Science Festival 14th - 18th March Yes its Caithness Science Festival time again and
once again a great programme of events for youngsters. All
primary school children in Caithness will be taking part in various
shows and workshops every day, two lecturers will talk at Wick and
Thurso High Schools and on Tuesday night there is a public event, free
and open to all, please come and sample the shows and workshops.
The public event takes place at Pulteneytown Primary School, Wick and
starts at 6.30pm - See Events
Science Videos All Over
As next week is Caithness Science Festival a few inspirational videos
might get you in the mood to visit. There are ahuge range of
science related videos now available on Youtube covering many topics
and few might encourage you to look more closely at science or if you
are still at school to think about why science might be worth looking
at as a future career. Here are some we have picked out - Symphony Of Science
- We Are All Connected
And nearer to home -
Professor Baikie who was one of the founders of the Caithness Science
Festival runs a science based company in Wick. His company
specialises in manufacturing Kelvin Probes using many of his own
inventions which he has patented. Professor Baikie has some short
video presentations to explain what his probes are all about on his
company web site - K P Technology
Children's Home Earmarked For Wick The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work
agreed in principle to build a new five-bed children's residential home
in Wick at an estimated cost of £1.2 million. Lessons
Learned From CHaP Project The Highland Council has learned lessons from the
Caithness Heat and Power Project in Wick, and introduced measures to
ensure the corporate failings are not repeated in any future
project. A total of 39 actions have been put in place in a
response to an internal audit of the Wick-based enterprise and these
actions have been acknowledged by external audit and the Accounts
Continue To Boost Local Charity - Everybody Online Caithness Everybody Online Caithness has been given another
great boost by
local BT staff. Project Officer, Shona Macdonald, has been
working with the local BT management team to resolve one of the main
challenges which faces the project, which is gaining volunteers.
Local BT management have agreed to support the project by releasing
staff once a week to deliver basic internet and IT sessions to the
public. BT staff have committed to a similar scheme for the
project previously, the latest offering highlights the continued
support BT offer the local charity. Everybody Online - Caithness,
is part of national charity Citizens Online and is designed to help and
support individuals or groups get online and use IT and the internet
for the first time.
Labour MSP David Stewart Backs Wick Tax Office Staff
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has backed efforts to
try to save Wick's HMRC office from closure. He said: "I am
dismayed to hear that the Wick office, which was for years the most
northerly point of the old Inland Revenue, could close within a year.
The Caithness economy has been suffering for some time and the loss of
another 20 jobs through the closure of the HMRC office is another
hammer blow . It seems senseless given the massive return we get in
terms of the yield generated by the staff at Wick."
Caithness Community Awards recognise and reward individuals and groups
who have brought distinction to themselves and the Caithness community
during the years 2009 and 2010. The community awards are
sponsored by generous local businesses who wish to recognise and thank
those who do most for their community.
The Caithness Community Awards 2009/10 were facilitated by the
Caithness Partnership and a committee of sponsor representatives was
formed to undertake the voting process. Members of the public
across Caithness were invited to submit nominations and an excellent
response was received.
The award ceremony was held on the 16th of February in Ackergill Tower
where the nominated finalists and guests were invited along with the
sponsors. The guest speaker was local bred comedian Colin
Campbell who thoroughly entertained all with his local radio
humour. Harpist Amy Todd provided some excellent music which was
very well received by everyone. The Master of Ceremonies was
conducted by Eric Farquhar who himself was a previous community award
winner as he received the Good Neighbourhood award in the 2007/8 Awards.
Neil Gunn writing competition - Last Few Days To enter This biennial competition is organised by The
Highland Council and The Neil Gunn Trust; the 2010-2011 competition,
the eleventh, is now open and entries are invited. The lead judge is
Scottish author Andrew Greig.
Theme for 2010-2011 : 'A Wrong Turning'
"Our river took a wrong turning somewhere! But we haven't forgotten the
Highland River, Neil M Gunn
Writers are invited to interpret this theme in any way they wish.
The piece of writing does not have to be set in Scotland; any
international setting is welcome. The closing date for all sections of the
competition is Friday 11 March 2011.
Winners will be notified as soon as possible and the award ceremony
will be held in Inverness on 14 June 2011. Entries were first
called about 6 months ago
Convention - Thurso 2nd March - 6.00pm - 8.80pm 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 2nd March 2011 at
Thurso High School, Ormlie Road, Thurso from 6.00 pm - 8.30pm and will
offer people of all age's comprehensive information on careers,
employment, training and education.
From The Accounts Commssion Highland
Council Failed To Establish Effective Governance Arrangements
For innovative Heat and Power Project The Accounts Commission has considered a report on
Council's Caithness Heat and Power (CHaP) project, which was run by an
arms-length community enterprise. In its findings the Commission says
the lack of appropriate risk management and effective governance
arrangements for the project was a corporate failure by the council. It
also highlights aspects of the performance of two senior officers in
relation to governance.
The Highland Council established a not for profit company in 2004 to
provide a heating system to 500 houses in Wick. The company failed to
deliver its objectives and the project experienced technological and
financial problems. The council's total commitment to the project
including provisions stands at around £13.8 million. It has spent
around £10.5 million so far but because the project is still ongoing
the full cost and any losses cannot be determined yet. The Commission says that there were weaknesses in
the council's arrangements for oversight of the project. From the start
there was a lack of appropriate risk management. The council did not
monitor progress effectively and failed to ensure that appropriate
control mechanisms were in place.
The Commission notes that the council has taken action to avoid a
similar situation happening again. The structure of the council has
also changed in recent years and there is now less emphasis on
area-based decision making.
Chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland John Baillie said: "The
CHaP project was established as an innovative scheme to benefit the
local community. Unfortunately the council's arrangements for managing
its interest in the project were not as good or as effective as they
should have been. However, The Highland Council has been addressing the
difficulties in governance and financial stewardship and has taken
action to avoid a similar position developing