News Archive
December 2013

Wick Christmas
WebCam Link For Wick Hogmanay Street Party
Arrow right
 (will go live near to the event starting)
The Wick Hogmanay Street party this year is moving to a new locations due to the ongoing building works in Market Square.  This years event will take place at the car park at riverside - head to the rear of the butchers shop.  
Thurso Hogmanay Street Party
takes place at St Johns Square opposite the church with the clock and this year the music will be by the Chicken Pickers.

Photos On in 2013
January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
New Council Offices    Old Buildings     Galas & Shows
Earlier Years Archives 2000 to 2013

Police seek to remind the public about fraudulent bank phone calls
After a recent number of reported fraudulent telephone calls, Police Scotland is again warning householders across the Highlands and Islands, and in particular Inverness, not to give out any details to cold callers claiming to be from a bank.

Highland MSP steps in to try and resolve Helmsdale mobile coverage
Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP Rhoda Grant has stepped into a row over the breakdown of the O2 mobile service in the Helmsdale area.
Appeal for missing Caithness man, George Ronaldson
Police in Caithness are anxious to trace a missing 41-year-old man, George Ronaldson, who was last seen on Friday evening in the Stirkoke area near Wick. Police are anxious to trace Mr Ronaldson to ensure his wellbeing and to ensure he has access to required prescription medication. Anyone with information regarding Mr Ronaldson's whereabouts is urged to contact Police on 101.

Drink & Drug Drivers Caught In Festive Campaign
Police in Highlands and Islands report two drug drivers during third week of national campaign. Police in the Highlands and Islands are reporting the detection of two drug drivers during the third week of the festive safety campaign..... "Two out of the nine drink drivers detected last week were involved in collisions and as with previous weeks I am grateful to those members of the public who have contacted the police reporting a drink driver which undoubtedly reduces the risk of law-abiding road users being involved in a collision with a drink or drug driver.

Police and partners join with local SPL football clubs as part of domestic abuse campaign
Partners Against Domestic Abuse
Police Scotland and multi-agency partners are joining with two local Scottish Premier League football teams in a bid to reduce domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands. Both Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County players will be supporting the cause by wearing t-shirts during warm up for the annual new year derby match, in Inverness on 01 January 2014. In addition a number of police officers and members of the teams will be wearing white ribbons in support of the cause and information leaflets will be made available at the stadium on the day. Domestic abuse is one of the main priorities for Police Scotland and as such officers from the Highland and Islands Division work closely with a number of partners to look at ways of reducing domestic abuse incidents across the region. Partners in this multi agency approach are Highland Council Social Work, NHS Highland, Victim Support, Women's Aid groups, Violence Against Women groups and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.  

Senior Citizens Christmas Party At Lybster
Senior citizens Party Lybster - December 2013Senior Citizens Party at Lybster - December 2013
Lybster Senior Citizens got into the festive spirit recently when they attended a Christmas party organised by D & S Henderson - local convenience store. Everyone enjoyed a great meal and free flowing drinks and then danced the night away.   Photo Gallery

Stormy Weather At Lybster
Stormy Lybster December 2013 Stormy Lybster December 2013

House fire, Wick
Overnight, between 28th December 2013 and 29th December 2013 a house on Oldwick Road, Wick was set on fire. Police in Wick are appealing for information in relation to this incident. If you have any information please contact Police on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Fit's in 'e Groat
No time to read it all then get quick glance at a few items.

Castlehill Heritage Centre Gained 3 Star Award From Visit Scotland
Castlehill Heritage Gains 3 Star AwardCastlehill Heritage Gains 3 Star Award
Castlehill Heritage Centre has just been graded by Visit Scotland, and they achieved three stars at their first attempt. Needless to say everyone at Castletown Heritage Society is delighted with the outcome - and they have already set thier sights on a higher target for next year! The grading was revealed by our Chairman, Hugh Crowden, at the Boxing Day Opening.

Stormy Weather At Wick
Stormy Wick in December 2013 Stormy at Wick December 2013 Stormy at Wick December 2013

A storm at Wick but nothing compared to 12 months ago    2011    Way Back in November 2002

Highland MSP warns drivers not to drink
Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP and road safety campaigner David Stewart has warned drivers not to drink and drive particularly over this festive period, even the morning after. He said “ The message is simple – Don’t do it”.
Thurso High School - Ormilie Road Fully open Again
Police Update 10.56am today
Update 1 Thurso High School & Ormlie Road Further to the report on 24th December 2013 of Ormlie Road, Thurso being closed, Police can now confirm that the road has been fully re-opened and would like to thank the publice for their patience and cooperation during this incident.

Merry Christmas Everyone
Happy Christmas to you all wherever you might be.  We hope you all have a lovely day despite the wind and gales, snow and rain this year.  Travel difficulties due to the weather have prevented some of you from reaching  home but we hope you get home safe and sound soon.  And thanks to everyone working today in hopsitals and medical services.  Also to the many people out working to keep power supplies going and in the council services clearing fallen trees from our roads for the past couple of days.  We know many vital services are kept going on holidays like Christmas due to people working that day so have nice Christmas once your shift is over. Thurso High School Roof Damage In High Winds
A large section of Thurso High School roof has been blown off with the high winds. Police and Highland Council staff are in attendance and Ormlie Road has been closed. Some damage has been reported to private cars in the neighbouring area.
Police Update
Thurso High School About 1415 hours today, Police attended a report of a portion of the roof of Thurso High School having dislodged in the wind. On arrival, it was found that a large piece of the felt roof had blown off and become caught in a tree on Ormlie Road, Thurso. Two vehicles have sustained damage. Due to the high winds, structural engineers are currently unable to inspect the roof and in the interests of public safety, Ormlie Road, Thurso remains closed between Provost Cormack Drive and Heathfield Road at this time. Access to Ormlie Road from Ormlie Hill is also not possible. The recommended diversion is via the A9 and Halkirk.

Highland Educators Lead On
Highland Educators
Around 55 staff in The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service have recently completed a training programme aimed at encouraging generic leadership skills. Hugh Fraser, Highland Council’s Director of Education, Culture and Sport Service welcomed participants to a presentation day held in Milton of Leys School, Inverness in early December. The “Lead On Programme” involves self-directed training in leadership learning and development which ran from September 2012 to December 2013. The course followed by staff was called "Leadership in a culture of change" and addressed such leadership issues as resistance to change, helps and hindrances to change, support required during the change process and to consider different leadership styles.
More Drink Drivers Detected In Ongoing Campaign
Police in Highlands and Islands report rise in numbers of drink drivers during second week of national campaign. Police in the Highlands and Islands are reporting an increase in the number of drink drivers detected during the second week of the festive safety campaign. During week 2 of the campaign, which ran from 07:00 hours on Friday 13 December to 07:00 hours of Friday 20 December 2013, 14 drivers were found to be over the limit.

Latest Job Ads
Staff Nurse - Seaview House Care Home, Wick  - Closing Date 6 January 2014
Ashley Ann Ltd - Joiner   Closing Date 10 January 2014

Renewable energy projects at the forefront of Planning case work
Wind Farms
2013 has seen the Council receive its largest number of major pre-application enquiries in connection with renewable energy projects. In total 38 potential applications have been presented to the Planning and Development Service - an increase of 10 from those processed in 2012. The largest number of projects are related to potential wind energy proposals, a story repeated in the number of applications also being received for Environmental Screening, Scoping and ultimately in the submission of both planning applications to the Council and Section 36 Electricity Act applications to Scottish Government.
Large Map

Census figures show population of the Highlands on the up but down in Wick and Thurso
A report for Highland Councillors has highlighted the early results from the 2011 Census which shows that the population of the Highlands has grown over the last decade by 11.1%, with the strongest population growth taking place in the Inverness South and Aird and Loch Ness Wards. The report also highlights that across the Highlands there is a large number of people in the 55 to 65 age group which means the area should see a steady increase in the number of retired people over the coming years................As might be expected the largest growth has been in the expansion areas of Inverness with an increase of 8,136 in Inverness South (115%) and 1,958 in Aird and Loch Ness (22%). Badenoch & Strathspey, Nairn, Landward Caithness, Black Isle, Dingwall & Seaforth and Inverness Central have all seen strong growth around or above the Highland average while growth in Tain & Easter Ross, Cromarty Firth and the rural west has been more modest. Growth in Sutherland has been marginal, and four Wards – Wick, Inverness Millburn, Thurso and Culloden & Ardersier – have all experienced population decline.
From 2001 to 2011
Thurso 7,830  - 7,762 drop 68 -0.9%
Wick 7,232 - 6,954 drop 278 -3.8%
Landward Caithness 10,525 - 11,770 increase 1,245 11.8% 
New homes built in 10 years  - Thurso 203 - Wick 160 - Landward Caithness 752

Wick RBLS Pipe Band Donation
Donations to Wick RBLS Pipe Band
Wick RBLS Pipe Band has received a donation of £200 from the Nethcliffe Hotel. The money was raised from a “Guess where Santa lost his parcel” competition held in the hotel. The answer, drawn at random was “Dorrery” and the winner was Mhairi Allan of the Crown Bar. She won a Christmas goodie hamper. John Bogle, band secretary accepted the cheque from Nethercliffe proprietor Mervyn Hill and said “The pipe band is very grateful for the continuing support of the Nethercliffe Hotel and we would like to thank the proprietors, staff and customers of the hotel for this generous donation.  More communities rise to Climate Challenge
Further funding confirmed for climate action projects. The latest round of Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) awards will see 23 community-led projects share £2.63 million. Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse has confirmed the 16th round of CCF awards, supporting communities right across Scotland to take action to cut carbon emissions themselves...............“Grants up to £150,000 per year, per project are available through the Climate Challenge Fund and completed applications under £30,000 benefit from streamlined monthly funding decisions. We urge community groups to apply for grants now and help make their local areas more sustainable places to live and work.

Winter Safety Message - Outdoor enthusiasts urged to prepare for harsh winter
Be Ready For Winter
With the harsh winter looming, outdoor enthusiasts are being urged to stay safe on the hills, slopes and mountains of Scotland. “Before heading out on the hills, make sure you have the right equipment. Detailed safety advice is available on the Mountaineering Council for Scotland website “Technology can be useful, but don’t rely on it to navigate for you. Having a map and compass and the knowledge of how to use them is the best way to stay on course. The weather can change extremely quickly, so check localised weather information, mountain information of the sportscotland avalanche information service. “Take the opportunity to get involved in local training courses and take advice from seasoned professionals. Above all, know your limits. Routes that are easy in summer will be more physically demanding and testing in winter.”

Protecting shellfish production
Scotland first country in UK to ensure continued protection of shellfish waters. New legislation comes into force today to ensure the continued protection of Scottish shellfish growing waters. The measures – the first of their kind in the UK – have been introduced to replace the European Shellfish Waters Directive which has been repealed today.

Christmas cracker turned out to be a damp squip for Wick fans
Wick Academy 2 Deveronvale 3Wick Academy 2 Deveronvale 3
Wick Academy 2 Deveronvale 3 - Reporter Noel Donaldson
THESE festive fans dreaming of "a black and white" Christmas had their hopes dashed at a chilly Harmsworth Park when they saw their team beaten by a hungry, fast-moving Deveronvale. The badly-needed win that would have checked the Scorries slide down the snakes and ladders board that is the Highland League table, and set them up for the biggest challenge of the season, a back-to-back encounter with title favourites, Brora Rangers, never materialised. PHOTO GALLERY         Wick Academy Web Site
The Island Of Thurso?  Post Office Blunder - Daily Record

Keiss Primary School's Christmas Review
Keiss Primary School Christmas Review
REHEARSALS for Keiss primary school's annual Christmas concert had to be curtailed because of an inspectors’ visit but the audience would never had known had head teacher Maureen Miller not included it in her announcements before curtain up. The pupils and teachers always rise to the challenge which must be a considerable one as the programme has to be incorporated in their normal work and take count of such unknown factors such as inspectors’ visits. There was some traditional fiddle music to open with and then Primaries 1 and 2 left us in no doubt as to the time of year with their fun-filled reindeer hokey-cokey, complete with antlers.   Photo Gallery

Online Sales Are Already Booming Before Christmas Is Even Here
Up to 50% off In Amazon Clothes Sale
Book Deals
Fit's in 'e Groat 'e Day
Fast run through a few items from the local paper.

Royal Christmas pressie was "a piece of cake"
Royal Christmas pressie was "a piece of cake"FEW, if any pupils in the country can boast an extra-special Christmas present from royalty... and certainly not every year. But, despite being an annual occurrence, the magnificent cake gifted by Prince Charles, again attracted some early festive excitement among the pupils of Britain's most northerly mainland school, Crossroads Primary, when it arrived the other day. The heart-warming festive tale is well over half-a-century old and goes back to the 1950s when the Queen Mother bought Barrogill Castle as her Highland home and renamed it the Castle of Mey.

Highlands MSP backs SSPCA warning that pets are not just for Christmas
Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP Rhoda Grant backs SSPCA warning that pets should not be seen as cute gifts to give just at Christmas, but they are for all year round and for the life of the pet.

MSPs concerned by Minister's mixed messages on pharmacy proposals
Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, are concerned by the mixed messages emanating from the Scottish Government over community pharmacy applications.

Black Isle By-election Result Increases Independent Strength on Highland Council
Following the recent win by Independent Matthew Reiss in the Landward Caithness ward another independent today won a resounding victory in the Black Isle bi-election.  The Highland Council is made up of 80 elected members. The new representation is Independent 34, SNP 21, Liberal Democrats 14, Labour 8, Independent Nationalist 1, Non-aligned 2. Despite being the largest grouping indpendent councillors are not in the administration of the council  being out-numbered by a coalition of SNP, Libdems and Labour.

Survey seeks tenants’ views on council homes
Tenants of council houses in the Highlands are being asked for their views on the services provided by The Highland Council, as their landlord. The Council is offering 10 £50 vouchers in a free prize draw for those tenants who respond by the deadline of 13 January 2014. The short survey features in the festive edition of the quarterly tenant newsletter, which will be distributed to the 13,000 homes of council house tenants over the festive period.

Wick and District Pool League - Week 7 
Wick and district Pool League
The top three teams in division one all recorded comfortable wins on Monday night, as the Wick & District Pool league reached its half-way point. Bayview1 were impressive again this week and their 8-4 win over the Queens keeps them three points clear at the top of the league. Camps2 remain in second place thanks to a 9-3 away win against Blackstairs. Bruce Honeyman, David Hendry and Ryan Carter won all three of their games for the Camps side.......... The Wick & District Pool League now takes a break for Christmas and New Year, and will return on the 6th of January. The Boxing Day Pool Competition is in the Camps Bar and starts at 1.30pm. Entry is £10 and is open to anyone who wishes to play, call/text 07450993155 to book your place.

Most Drivers Appear To Be Listening To This Year's No Drink or Drugs Driving Campaign
Police in Highlands and Islands report numbers drink or drug driving in first week of national campaign. Police in the Highlands and Islands report that a large number of those tested for drink or drugs driving during the first week of the festive safety campaign were found to be adhering to advice and not taking the risk. Over the first week of the campaign, 317 drivers were checked for drink or drug driving across the region and a marginal 8 were found to be committing offences.

It Might Be Nearly Christmas But Emplowers Are Still Looking For New Staff - Check Our jobs Section
Latest Job today - Class 1 HGV Drivers - Full  Time and Part Time At Scrabster Port Services
Other Job ads - Pipe Fitters At Halkirk   Graduate Sales Project Leader - Wick
See inside for other jobs ads.
Employers - Don't Delay Your Job Ads Until 2014  - Get Your Ads on All Through The Holiday - It's Free and Effective and we will be updating ads every day throughout the holiday season.  Set a closing date and we will remove it shortly after the closing date.

Caithness Rangers Get Crafty
Crafters at NewtonhillNatural Christmas Decorations Birdbox Building

The Highland Council Planning and Development’s Caithness Countryside Rangers have had a busy weekend gearing up to the festive period. On Saturday the local ranger assisted the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland Christmas tree family day at the new Newtonhill Woodland site near Wick by making mini Christmas trees and reindeer from cones. During the Christmas tree sale, the Friends provided a wonderful family day with children’s activities and refreshments. The trees were donated by Forestry Commission Scotland to help with fund raising for the Friends Group.

New Homes Going Up At Coghill Street, Wick
New homes at Coghill Street, WickNeww homes At Coghill Street, WickNew Homes At Coghill Street, Wick

Christmas Lights At Keiss
Christmas Lights At Keiss 2013
New Wick Council Offices Latest Photos
New Wick Council Offices 14 December 2013
Steel and more steel as the floors go in to the new Wick Council Offices.

To see from the start go HERE

Jane Macrae - A Scottish Artist With Caithness Roots
Stroma Morning by Jane Macrae
Jane Macrae is a Scottish artist, born in Lybster and lived ten years of her childhood there and in Wick. Jane paints landscapes and seascapes and recently has worked on some pictures of Stroma. Jane has had increasing numbers of exhibitions and commissions in recent years.

Christmas Tree Festival At Wick St Fergus Church
Christmas Tree Festival At Wick St Fergus ChurchCchriustmas Tree Festival at Wick St Fergus ChurchChristmas Tree Festival at Wick St Fergus ChurchChristmas Tree Festival at wick St Fergus Church

Wick St Fergus held their first Christmas Tree Festival on Saturday 14th December 2013, and invited Charities and other groups to come along to the Church and decorate a tree and showcase their activities.

Police Advice On Staying Safe Over The Festive Period
Police in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross offer advice to help keep people safe during the festive period. A successful festive multi-agency partnership run previously just in the Inverness area, known as Operation Respect, has expanded to become a targeted partnership initiative across the Highlands and Islands which now includes the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross area.  Cooking up a storm at heart group's event
Heart Support Cooking Demonstration
CAITHNESS Heart Support Group was treated to a cookery demonstration, recently, hosted by one of its member, chef Laird Sutherland, who came out of retirement to prepare a thought-provoking variety of dishes, both savoury and sweet, some economical. Some members of the audience were invited to assist and there were tasting sessions at the demonstration in the Family Centre, Wick. Star of the night was Laird's French wedding cake which also went down a treat.

Council Tax freeze for 7th year in a row recommended as budget balances for 2014-15
The Highland Council is being asked next week to freeze the Council Tax for a seventh successive year and confirm a budget of £563.697 million for 2014-15. The Council Tax bands would remain: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; Band C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163.00; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.00. A final tranche of budget adjustments amounting to £3.561 million – added to the £12.148 million of savings already identified in February 2013 - will be presented to the Council meeting on Thursday 19 December for approval to balance the budget and allow the budget process to be concluded two months ahead of the typical special February budget meeting.

Council asked to agree amendments to Service management teams
Detailed proposals to realign The Highland Council’s Service management teams into 5 directorates will be presented for approval to the full council meeting on Thursday (19 December). At its last meeting on 24 October, the Council agreed to reduce the number of Services from seven to five, delivering savings of £350,000 per year. Since that time, Directors have been consulting with Senior Managers and staff representatives on the deployment and responsibilities of posts at Service management team level.

It Might Be Almost Christmas But  Vacancies Are Still Coming In - Latest Job Ads
Senior Administrator - Dounreay - Closing Date 17 December 2013

Caithness Apprentice Scoops Top Civil Engineering Apprentice Award
Alan Watt Presents Apprentice Award to Craig Harvey
Craig Harvey (21) from Wick in the Highlands, has been crowned Scotland’s top Civil Engineering Apprentice of 2013 at the annual SBATC Apprentice of the Year awards. The title was presented to Craig at a special ceremony held on Tuesday 10th December at the Scottish Parliament. In the Civil Engineering category, the runner-up was Kenna Warren from Moray Council and third place went to Derek Montgomery from Crummock (Scotland) Ltd. of Bonnyrigg, Midlothian. Winner Craig Harvey, who has an SVQ Level 3 in Construction Contracting Operations, is studying at Inverness College whilst working for John Gunn & Sons Ltd, a building and civil engineering firm based in Lybster, Caithness.

Twelve Days Of Debtmas
Twelve Days of Debtmas
This play on the old Christmas song is warning not to get into too much debt over the Christmas period and especially not with pay day loans. Take a look at the 12 Days of Debtmas.  Read the web site and then think about joining your local credit union which in Highland and Islands is The Hi-scot credit union is run for the benefit of members and has no shareholders other than members.
If you are not in Highland & Islands find your nearest Credit Union HERE

UK Government urged to act quickly to end ‘culture of exploitation’.  Pay Day Loan Cap?
Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing today called on the UK Government to bring forward plans to introduce a cap on the cost of payday loans. Mr Ewing said the cap must be in place by April 2014 in order to end the misery that unconstrained interest charges are piling on many people across Scotland. Westminster has said that the cap will be introduced in January 2015 in measures being outlined as part of the Banking Reform Bill. 

Fit's in 'e Coorier 'e Day

Cash for Caithness Harbours

Twelve Days Of Christmas Recipes From Philadelphia
Twelve Days Of Christmas Recipes From Philadelphia Twelve Days Of Christmas Recipes Twelve Days Of Christmas Recipes

Twelve recipes for you to choose from.

Council backs heavier fines for littering and fly-tipping
The Highland Council is fully backing plans by the Scottish Government to increase fixed penalties for littering and fly-tipping but wants to see more robust action taken against contractors who try to avoid landfill costs by dumping materials indiscriminately. It agrees that the penalty for littering should rise to £80 and the penalty for fly-tipping should increase to £200, penalties which are due to take effect from 1 April, next year.

Freedom of John O’Groats conferred on John Green
Jimmy Gray and John Green
The freedom of the most northerly community in Great Britain – John O’Groats – has been bestowed by The Highland Council on former Highland Councillor and local resident of John O’Groats - Mr John Houston Green. Tributes were paid to Mr Green at a ceremony held at John O’Groats Village Hall on Tuesday evening (10 December 2013). At the same time, Mr Green formally opened the refurbished hall. The decision to award the freedom came after a number of organisations and businesses in the John O’ Groats area wrote to The Highland Council requesting the council consider conferring the Freedom of John O’Groats on Mr Green. Mr Green served on the former Caithness District Council for many years before representing North Caithness on The Highland Council from 1995 – 2007. He remains active as the Chairman of Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council.  MSP Brings Castletown Pharmacy Proposal issue to Parliament
Rhoda Grant MSP (Scottish Labour) has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament on the Castletown Pharmacy Proposal. Both Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have opposed the pharmacy proposal since the suggestion was first raised and have called on the Scottish Government to introduced a moratorium on new pharmacy applications until new legislation is brought in and have also contacted Both MSPS have called for the application to be withdrawn with immediate effect. The Scottish Government have said the current regulations are not fit for purpose and that they will be changed.
Going To Inverness Next Weekend Then Take Kids To Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland set to light up Whin Park, Inverness. Hundreds of families are expected to attend this weekend’s Winter Wonderland, the Inverness Winter Festival’s most popular event for toddlers which will be staged at Whin Park this weekend. (Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 December).

North road safety campaigner still pushing for Graduated Licence Scheme
Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart who set up the Sensible Driving – Always Arriving campaign, back in 2010, after the death of two local Inverness teenagers, has not given up his hope to have a graduated licence scheme for young and new drivers introduced in Scotland as a pilot.

Santa Sesh
Santa Sesh fundraiser for Thurso Christmas Lights
Raising funds for Thurso Christmas Lights.  

Music and events all day from 2.00pm until midnight

Hot food, Santa's Grotto.

Thanks to The Guys Who Restored The Power Across Caithness and The Highlands
Power Restored In Caithness seen near wick Power restored by these guys in Caithness
A word of thanks and applause to the guys who restored all the power across Caithness and the Highlands following the big storm early last week.  We all take it for granted until somthing happens and then these guys go out in all weathers to resotre our power.  These pictures were taken near to the office in Wick in between snow showers and sunshine breaks. Teams were to be found in may parts as the power companies had anticipated problems following the weather forecasts.  Great job and well done to you guys who restored it all for us once again...we really appreciate it.

Cinderella Panto Live From The Hippodrome Theatre At Thurso Cinema on 22nd December
Cindereall From Hippodrome at Thurso cinema
Thurso Cinema using its great new digital technology to beam in live performances from around the UK brings Cinderella live from the Hippidrome Theatre on Sunday 22nd December.  Book your tickets early to be sure you can take the whole family.

Watch Films On The Big Screen and Get Great Meal Deals At Thurso Cinema
Lunchtime On Leith - Get a ticket and to see this great film and have lunch for £14.95 - 9th to 12th December
Check Sundays for Kids Eat Free
2 for 1 Pizza Tuesdays
And if you are an EE or Orange customer claim your two for one cinmea tickets on Wednesdays
Watch out for more deals at Thurso Cinema.

"It's A Wonderful Life" The Original Feel Good Christmas Movie At Thurso Cinema
It's A wonderful Life at Thurso Cinema
20th - 24th December - George Bailey is a small-town man whose life seems so desperate he contemplates suicide. He had always wanted to leave Bedford Falls to see the world, but circumstances and his own good heart have led him to stay. He sacrificed his education for his brother's, kept the family-run savings and loan afloat, protected the town from the avarice of the greedy banker Mr. Potter, and married his childhood sweetheart. As he prepares to jump from a bridge, his guardian angel intercedes; showing him what life would have become for the residents of Bedford Falls is he had never lived.

Seals Recently Decided The Wick River Was Good For Sunbathing
Seals on Wick River
If you were lucky recently you might have caught a glimpse of seals sunbathing on the River Wick.  Often to be seen in th eharbour at wick it is less often they take up residence on the banks of the river.

Scotland’s place names revealed
Scotland Place names online
Historical books with every place name that appeared on Victorian maps of Scotland now available online. Historical books with every place name that appeared on Victorian maps of Scotland have all been put online and are also featured in a display that opened on 6 December 2013. Almost 1,700 Ordnance Survey Name Books, held in the National Records of Scotland, have now all been added to the ScotlandsPlaces website, where they can be searched by the public. The books are also being linked to the relevant Ordnance Survey map to allow connected searching for the first time.

Council welcomes launch of new Highland Homecoming Fund
Senior Highland Councillors have warmly welcomed the launch of the Highland Homecoming Fund, which will give local groups the chance to bid for financial support of between £3,000 - £10,000 to organise a new or enhance an existing event linked to next year’s autumn celebrations.

Young Mothers Programme Family Nurse Partnerships Expanded

Online safety plan by Scottish Government

Farm payment transfer proposal

NHS Scotland is going digital

Young Mothers Programme Family Nurse Partnerships Expanded
Children born to young mothers are to be given a healthier start to life thanks to the extension of a support programme. The Family Nurse Partnership supports first time parents aged nineteen and under and already runs in seven health board areas. From next year, the programme will begin in NHS Forth Valley and NHS Grampian and places on the programme in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde) and NHS Fife will be increased.  Highland is already implementing the programme.

Council welcomes launch of new Highland Homecoming Fund
Senior Highland Councillors have warmly welcomed the launch of the Highland Homecoming Fund, which will give local groups the chance to bid for financial support of between £3,000 - £10,000 to organise a new or enhance an existing event linked to next year’s autumn celebrations. Highland Homecoming is a programme of events that will take place within The Highland Council area between 1 September - 31 October 2014.
Wick Christmas
Christmas Fun Day In Thurso
Christmas Fun Day 2013 ThursoChristmas fun day Thurso 2013Thurso Christmas Fun Day 2013Thurso Christmas Fun Day 2013Santa tThurso Christmas fun day 2013

Wick Academy Game Postponed Today Due to Weather Conditions

What's On In Caithness In December
Whats On Saturday In Caithness - One of the Busiest Days Before Christmas

Morning Noon And Night Don't Drink Or Drug  Drive
Police in Highlands and Islands remind of drink and drug drive dangers as part of a national campaign. Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division are reminding road users in the area of the dangers and consequences of drink and drug driving at the start of the national Festive Drink Drive campaign. The month-long campaign, which starts to day and will run throughout the festive period, aims to reduce the number of those committing such offences and detecting those who do in order to reduce the number of casualties on the roads.

Tidal Races Pentland Firth
A high-powered team from the Crown Estate visited Gills Harbour this week where it met directors of its Canisbay community-owned port and its (partial) lessee Mr Andrew Banks, managing director of Pentland Ferries Ltd. 'Preliminary discussions' on several matters of mutual interest took place, including a brief introduction to and description of the present 'Coastal Community Fund'. Its money will come from 50% of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate's 'marine activities'.

Feeding Frenzy For The Gulls
Feeding Frenzy for The Gulls
Feeding frenzy as the gulls compete for winter morsels behind this roadside ploughman on the Wick-Wester route.

Fit's in 'e Groat 'e Day
A few items from today's local paper.  And In 'e Courier a couple of days ago

Christmas Shops
Sams Furniture Shop Christmas 2013Flower Shop Christmas 2013 Rushdance At Street Star Championships 2013
Rush Dance winners kids have just competed at Dance lines Street Star Championships, the Street dance competition is the biggest one of the year on the ADFP circuit. It took place in the Blackpool tower ball room which is one of the best dance venues around the UK. Chloe MacGregor & Tyler Hutton took part in Duo’s for the first time together as they are in different age categories normally but as it was only the two of them going from we trained them together to compete in U10 Hip Hop duo’s. Duo results – Chloe & Tyler danced there way to a Six dancer final and placed 2nd place................Both kids danced fantastic on their way to the finals, once there number was called out to make the Grand final they had to do there dance-on in front of the whole hall of people watching...........Solo results – U8 Hip Hop Street Star Grand Final Chloe MacGregor 4th place. U10 Hip Hop Street Star grand Final Tyler Hutton *WINNER* and now the overall Dance lines Hip Hop Champion for 2013.........

Multi agency partners offer advice following power outages across the region
Emergency Services and partner agencies in the Highlands and Islands are asking members of the public to support elderly neighbours and family members following a large volume of power outages across the country which are affecting communities across the region. The severe weather, which has seen high winds, driving rain and snow affect the area has disrupted transport links and many roads since the early hours of this morning (05 December 2013).

Zurich Insurance sees 50% increase in claims calls from today's severe weather
Mark Blanchard, Head of property claims at Zurich, said:"As some of the most disruptive weather in many years bears down on parts of the country and especially the East Coast today we have already seen a 50% rise in calls from customers asking for us to help get them back on their feet.

Spittal Hill wind farm could provide £27m boost to local area
A planning application outlining proposals for the revised Spittal Hill wind farm, located between 2 and 3 km north east of the village of Spittal in Caithness has been submitted to Highland Council, and is awaiting assignment of a case reference number. Comprising of 7 turbines, with a total installed capacity of up to 21MW, the proposals have been submitted by Spittal Hill Windfarm Ltd, owned by Statkraft and a group of Highland based shareholders.

North MSP welcomes HGV 50mph for A9
Local MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart MSP, who jointly launched the HGV 50mph campaign in December 2012, has welcomed the decision by the Transport Minister, Keith Brown to pilot a 50mph speed limit on the A9 for HGV’s.

Highland Council winter road condition reports for Thursday, 5 December 2013

Alex MacLeod admits election expenses fraud charges - BBC
Alex McLeod
A former councillor says he has no intention of seeking re-election or returning to public politics after admitting to fraud charges. Alex MacLeod was Highland Council's youngest member when he was elected in May last year at the age of 19. His legal team has entered guilty pleas at Inverness Sheriff Court to charges relating to his election expenses. The 21-year-old former SNP Caithness Landward councillor will be sentenced on 9 January. In a statement, MacLeod said the fraud had been "an act of foolishness in the heat of a campaign".

Talks continue to maintain parking controls in Highland communities
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service – currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year. This is when the remaining five traffic wardens based at Inverness (2), Dingwall, Tain and Fort William are redeployed to other duties. At one time there were 18 full and part-time traffic wardens employed in the Highlands.

Highland Council response to extreme weather
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Council’s website and school closures online which are being investigated. Parents were still able to access the School Closures Telephone Line with their school PIN numbers to gain information about the closures.

Weather Web Sites
Met Office     SEPA Flood Updates     Transport Scotland    Traffic Cams

Traditional Music Concert At Wick Pipe Band Hall
Carol ann Mackay Traditional Music Concert 14 December 2013
The Wick Pipe Band Hall will be the venue for a traditional music concert on Saturday 14th December 2013 starting at 7.30pm. The concert will feature the well known musician Carol-Anne MacKay along with some of the musician friends she has met along the way and some of her pupils. A leading musical light in the North Highlands where she lives and teaches, Carol-Anne Mackay comes from Strathy, Sutherland. It was here her love affair with piping began at the age of nine, under the instruction of Pipe Major Charles O’ Brien, Strathnaver. She then learnt accordion under the steerage of Isobel Harper and went on to study music at the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Carol-Anne has appeared at many festivals and ceilidhs, guested along with The Levellers, Evelyn Glennie, toured home and abroad with both Anam and Ḍchas and more recently performed with Ùrachadh at both the Blàs and Celtic Connections Festivals.

Mr Boom Landing Again In Caithness
Mr boom lands again in Caithness 28th December 2013
28th December 2013 - Wick Pipe Band Hall

Mr Boom will land the Space Ship Imagination at the Wick Pipe Band Hall. Fun for younger bairns at Wick Pipe Band Hall. 11.30am and 2.00pm  - Ticket at the door.

MSPs press for new regulations on pharmacies
Having been informed by NHS Highland that the Health Board is not in a position to suspend a community pharmacy application until present legislation is revoked and replaced with other instruction, Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, have contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, asking when the new legislation relating to the granting of these applications will be introduced. Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have been in dialogue with the Cabinet Secretary for Health about the legislation surrounding community pharmacy applications over recent months......................Commenting on the situation David Stewart said “We need the Cabinet Secretary to ensure that changes to legislation are brought forward as soon as possible to end the uncertainty for communities affected, or potentially affected, by these applications. This is clearly a concerning time for the people of Castletown and Canisbay and I want to see appropriate legislation introduced as soon as possible to protect communities from being placed in this unacceptable situation.”   Say no to Castletown Pharmacy On Facebook     Save Our Surgery Campaign
Castletown Community Council Writes To Applicant to ask him not to apply
Wick and District Pool League Results Week 6
Wick and District Pool League
George Zindilis' Commercial side suffered their first defeat of the season on Monday night as they came up against a determined Crown1 team in week six of the Wick & District Pool League. The Lybster side have played some great pool this year, but couldnt stop Alan Larnach's Crown side from taking all three points. Steve Atkin's Bayview1 team remain top of division one as they earned a hard fought 7-5 victory away to Sinclair Bay. Camps2 move up to second place after an impressive team performance helped them defeat the Seaforth Club 10-2. Bruce Honeyman and Ryan Carter won all three of their games for Camps2 and Martin Hill knocked in an 8 ball clearance in his doubles game.

MSP Rhoda Grant Continues Her Fight Against Rising Debts Bringing Help and Advice To Next Surgery
Visit MSP Rhoda Grant's surgery for money advice and hwo to join a credit union at Pulteneytown People's Project, Huddart Street, Wick on Friday 6th December between 1.00 – 2.00p.m. Following the launch of the Debtbusters campaign in at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Wick last month, Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSP Rhoda Grant issued a Debtbusters survey to homes across Wick in order to get a better picture of the current financial situation for those living in the county.  Take your survey forms back if you got one.

Two New Job Ads just In today

Food Bank Wick - Public Meeting
A public meeting is being held on Thursday, 5th December in St John's Church Moray Street, Wick to discuss the idea of setting up a food bank in Wick.  The meeting starts at 7.00pm.  Anyone interested in helping set this up is welcome to attend.

Business Do Not Donate Cash to Cyber Bullying Programme
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme. The schools do not require these materials and will not assist the teachers or head teacher to help children and parents as they already have what they need in this respect. The materials they provide may well be genuine and do what they say but the point is you are wasting your money.
Warning Of Snow Thursday 5th and Friday 6th December
The Met Office web site is currently warning of snow on Thursday and Friday across the north so make sure you are prepared if travelling.  Traffic Cams   Ready for Winter  Highland School Closures  Road Gritting
Check - Tyres - Antifreeze  - Long Journeys Carry - Hot Drinks, Food, Shovel, Torch, Warm Clothing, Blankets, Wellingtons.
Fully charged mobile phones.  Reduce speed on icy roads and leave longer for all journeys. Don't travel unless necessary.    Check Insurance and Road Tax is up to date.  Top up Wind Screen Washers.
Remember old batteries are harder to start in cold weather - do you need a new one.  Get it checked at your local garage.

New job Ads just in........

See full What's On for other events In December

"What do I want in my stocking, Santa?... now let me see..."
What do I want for Christmas? Christmaselfs Help Santa
Caithness At War - 25th November  - 1st December 1940

Save Our Surgery - Castletown Campaign
Gibson backs campaign against Castletown pharmacy
Message from Doctors Wilma Macleod & Hercules Robinson

Hi-Scot Credit Union Visiting Caithness Soon
Join Hi-Scot Credit Union

Hi-Scot Credit Union will be visiting Caithness soon with its new mobile office to promote the benefits of saving and low cost lending for members.  You can join anytime via the Hi-Scot web site.  forms are available at council service points as councils across the region are supporting the credit union to assist citizens to avoid payday lenders.  Hi-Scot credit union covers the Highlands and Islands and is building up its membership.  Members savers are guaranteed by government and lenders get the advantage of the lowest interest rates for borrowing.  Credit Unions have a long history as membership organisations and the more that join the stronger they are.  Join now or see the mobile office when it comes.  We will publish dates later.  See Hi-Scot on Facebook

Wick Christmas
Caithness Gets Christmas Going
Assembly Rooms, Wick
Assembly Rooms, wick
Christmas lights committee draws a fayre crowd THE main hall at the Assembly Rooms was almost jam-packed with one of the festive curtain raisers drawing a cracking crowd which kept the various stalls busy. Not surprisingly, there was a seemingly endless queue of children waiting to see the man of the moment - Santa Claus.

Pipe Band Hall, Wick     
Pipe Band Hall
THE Wick British Legion Pipe Band swapped their tartan for tinsel on Saturday and invited patrons to join for lunch and a browse round the stalls.

Market Square, Wick
Market Square, WickThe tree that made a welcome return to the Market Square, Wick - with a little assistance from Santa's helpers -was switched on, on Saturday. And helping to set the festive scene was a group from Wick Salvation Army Band. Television favourite Mrs Brown - or was it - made a surprise appearance.


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