News Archive - December 2014


Wick Street Party Web Cam Will Go Live at 10.30pm
Once again the street party will take place at the car park at riverside due to the ongoing works at Market Square.  You wil hear the music as you approach the area.  If you  know of anyother web cams for Caithness parties let us know.
A few earlier parties
2014  2008   2006

Fast Look At e' Last Groat of 'e Year
Police appeal for information following report of assault in Thurso

Parents get cyber-savvy in 2015
New online safety classes for families. Parents and carers concerned about keeping their children safe online will be able to take part in new hands-on training sessions. The pilot, created in a partnership between anti-bullying service respectme and the Scottish Government, will guide even the most technophobic users through the most popular social media sites and how to make sure their children's pictures and postings are as safe as possible.
Community Index

Impact Of Welfare Reforms On Households To Be Examined
New research on the impact of welfare reform on Scottish households has been commissioned by a Scottish Parliament committee for 2015. The research for the Welfare Reform Committee will be carried out by Professors Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill of the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University. For the first time, the research will aim to measure the impact of the UK Government's welfare reform agenda on different household types.
Business Index
A Frosty Walk Along Wick River
Frosty Wick River WalkWick Frosty River WalkFrosty Wick River WalkFrosty Wick River Walk

A few took a bracing, post-festive, walk round Wick's frosty Riverside, today, and one of the dogs that went walkies decided to take the temperature of the water....but not for long.
Some Thoughts on Castle Varrich, Tongue. (by George Watson)
Castle Varrich
This article appeared in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin for 2013. Perched on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Kyle of Tongue this small tower was described in 1791 as, "a structure so antient, that there is no consistent tradition concerning it"i. Subsequent years have had little to add, forcing visitors to speculate on its origin and history. Those searching for information are restricted to a few sentences in the Statistical Accounts, and the remains of the building itself. A plan of the building, published by MacGibbon and Ross in 1889 ii, shows a doorway in the south wall of the upper floor, but this is contradicted in the attached notes, which correctly place the doorway in the east wall.   Earlier Articles From Caithness Field Club Bulletins     Castles
Rabbits At Ellens Geo, Ulbster
Rabbits at Ellens Geo
Rabbits at Ellens Geo near Ulbster.  If you would like to add your rabbit photos to this gallery email them to

Happy Christmas To Everyone From
                                         Happy Christmas From A Few Items From 'e Groat - Early This Week

No Hiding for Those with History of Violence Says Rhoda Grant MSP
Highland and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSP, Rhoda Grant is backing the roll out of an anti-domestic abuse scheme across Scotland following a trial period that was piloted in Aberdeen and Ayrshire in November this year. The Police Scotland "Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme" which allows for men and woman to request information on whether their partner has a history of domestic violence has already received 15 applications in the trial areas and is being tested in Scotland following the introduction of the scheme in England and Wales following the murder of Clare Wood in Salford in 2009 by her ex-partner who has a previous record of domestic violence and abuse.
Caithness and Sutherland Women's Aid

Action to create better conditions for freshwater pearl mussels
Fresh Water Pearl Mussells
Work to create better conditions for internationally important freshwater pearl mussels in an area of significant decline is underway. It follows recent survey work at the River Spey that detected a 50% decline in the freshwater pearl mussel population. This disappointing downward trend has been attributed to water quality, the plant water crowfoot, fluctuating water levels, and wildlife crime.

A new joint initiative urging voluntary restraint on large scale culls of mountain hares has been launched
Mountain Hare
The move by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) should, along with several other measures, help ensure that future management is sustainable. Ron Macdonald, SNH's director of policy and advice, said: "We are asking estates for restraint on large-scale culls of mountain hares which could jeopardise the conservation status of mountain hares.

Life-saving project gets go-ahead for another year
Safe Highlanders Caithness
An event that equips Highland primary 7 pupils with potentially life-saving skills will again take place in 2015. Members of The Highland Council's Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee have given their backing to the "Safe Highlanders" partnership project which, in 2014, took place at Cameron Barracks Inverness and also at Portree and Wick.

Back to school in 2015 with free school meals
The Highland Council is advising all parents and carers of Primary 1 to 3 children in the Highland area that they will be entitled to receive free school meals from Monday 5 January 2015.

Rabbits In Caithness
Rabbit at Coop store in Wick
A couple of pictures of rabbits relaxing in the sunshine at the Coop store in Wick.  Have you any pictures of rabbits wild or pets that you would like to add over the Chrismtas period.  Send your photos by email to to add to the gallery.  If you have even more on web page or facebook send the links to add to your photo on our gallery.

Talks to be held over Caithness General consultant shortages - BBC
The Highland health board said it was looking at new models for the service that would allow it to continue on a more sustainable basis.  Meeting of Health Board and local politicians on 6th January in Wick.

Hillhead Primary School Creates Unique 2015 Calendar
Hillhead Primary School 2015 CalendarPrimary 7 pupils at Hillhead Primary School have created Christmas cards and calendars with a very special Wick connection. The primary 7 class have taken hundreds of photographs of signs around Wick. They have photographed shop signs, business signs and plaques. The photographs were then cropped to make letters which they have used to create calendars and Christmas cards. The cards and calendars both make a very interesting item for anyone with connections to Wick as it is an intriguing puzzle as to where the letters come from. For those who get stuck there are the correct answers on each item.
Front page plus September and October included here for you to guess the businesses - answers included and you can buy the calendar for all the rest of the puzzle to guess all the businesses.

Keiss School Christmas Concert
Keiss School Christmas Concert 2014Keiss School Christmas Concert 2014

Prices at the Pump - Why Are They Falling and Will This Continue?
Oil and Petrol PricesThe price consumers pay for fuel is strongly related to the price of crude oil, although it is less volatile and the effect of changes in crude oil prices are delayed. The most recent data shows the crude oil price falling 25% on the year, so, are we in line for a big drop in fuel prices?  Well who can guess?

Council welcomes work of Highland Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership
Members of The Highland Council have welcomed the work of the Highland Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership and endorsed the partnership's future priorities.

How Others See Us - 269 Sunken Turbines To Make Scotland Home To World’s Largest Tidal Farm
From ClimateProgress
The world’s largest tidal energy project, capable of powering nearly 175,000 homes in the U.K. with 400 megawatts of power, will break ground next month in northeast Scotland. Atlantis, majority owner of the MeyGen project, announced that its flagship project had met all the conditions required to start drawing down finance through the U.K.’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund. The completed project will have 269 sunken turbines, according to Atlantis, which expects to have about 60 of these installed and delivering power by 2020.

Financial close for Wick Campus puts project full steam ahead
Drawing of front of new Wick High SchoolThe Highland Council is pleased to announce that 'financial close' of the Wick Campus project was achieved, Friday 19 December 2014. With financial close, the Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) contract has now been signed off for the £48.5m project which is due to complete in September 2016. The Wick Campus project will see a new community campus for Wick incorporating replacements for the existing Wick High School, a replacement Primary School (Newton Park Primary School) for the existing South Primary School and Pulteneytown Academy Primary School. The Campus will also replace the existing community swimming pool and community library facilities with new provision.   PHOTO GALLERY

University of the Highlands and Islands launches its first accelerated degree
Accelarated Degree in Georgraphy at University of Highlands and IslandsThe University of the Highlands and Islands is offering its first ever accelerated degree. Applications have opened for the new BSc (Hons) geography which will be available to study at Inverness College UHI and Lews Castle College UHI on Lewis from September 2015. The course will enable students to gain an honours degree - something which would normally take four years to complete - in just three years. Students will undertake two terms in their first year then go on to a trimester system in their second and third, studying for three blocks of three months at a time with a month off in-between each. The model aims to help students enter the workplace more quickly and reduce the costs of going to university.

More Music Lessons Of High Standard Could Be Delivered By Video Conferencing To Schools

Keep pressure on council over school cuts proposals, councillors told - Press & Journal

Police appeal for information following damage to lorry in Castletown

Police appeal for information following damage to premises in Wick

Police Appeal for Information - Car damaged - Thurso New photo contest celebrates Scotland's urban deer
Urban Deer Photo Competition
To celebrate one of Scotland's most renowned and beloved animals, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has launched a free photo contest - Scotland’s first Urban Deer Photography Competition. More and more deer are moving into urban areas, as new green spaces and woodlands are created in the Central Belt and in towns and cities across the country. This means many more people in Scotland are enjoying seeing wild deer – and have the chance to take some stunning pictures.
HIE Buys Pelamis But Jobs Go - re NEWS

Atlantis Resources Makes First MeyGen Facility Drawdown

Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
Good news for Caithness as this weeks newsletter from Eann Sinclair shows the Meygen project getting closer to starting.  Check out the very interesting film issued in January about the project.
Fit's in 'e Groat
Wick Ward Forum tonight is cancelled
The Wick Ward Forum which was due to take place in Wick Town Hall at 7pm tonight has been cancelled on the advice of the police due to the weather forecast. There is currently a yellow warning in place for snow and ice for the North Highlands. A new date for the event will be arranged early next year. Here We Go Again - 10 Years Ago This Banner Was Flown By North Action Group
Banner No Downgrading
2004 Maternity Fight - 2014 Surgical Cover Fight Begins
With the removal of 24 hour surgical cover from Monday 15th December a rising voice is being heard calling for something to be done by NHS Highland and not just to put in place possible transfers to services over 100 miles away. The banners are still around - we did not dispose of them and it is looking more and more that they will need to be unfurled once again.  See the petition link below with numbers rising fast.
Petition Link
Re-instate and continue to maintain 24 hour emergency surgery services at Caithness General Hospital Wick

Free Meeting Room For Community Groups At Tesco Wick
Tesco wick offering free meeting room for community groupsShopper at Tesco Wick will have seen the new look in parts of the store but may not be aware that Tesco Wick are now offering free facilties to community groups.  Times may be hard and community groups might want to save money on room hire by using the new place which is fully furnished and offers free tea and coffee making facitlties.  Booking is easy by phone or email.  The room can be used for one off meetings or regular weekly or monthly meetings.  Worth checking out for established groups or new ones looking to get going.

Cold In Caithness - Snow In The East On Saturday
Snow in Caithness - 13 December 2014Snow in Caithness 13 December 2014
The cold weather let a few children get out to make snowman in their garden in Wick.  If you have any other photos of the snow email them to to be included in this gallery.

Caithness Archaeology: Aspects of Prehistory Hardcover – 31 Mar 2015
Caithness Archaeology - Available to pre-order at Amazon
This long awaited book on Caithness Archaeology is coming out in March 2015.  If you would like to be notified when it is available go to our local publishers in Caithness - Whittles Publishing.
If you are quick you can still order Caithness  and other titles from them in time for Christmas at at

Christmas Tree Festival 2014
Christmas Tree Festival 2014
The Christmas Tree Festival at Wick St Fergus church gave voluntary groups the chance to place a tree and display someof their information.

Latest Pictures in the Artists Gallery From Robin Cookson
Robin Cookson - Acrylic

Fit's in 'e Groat

Thurso recycling point at Lidl closed
People in Thurso are being advised by The Highland Council that the recycling banks at Thurso Lidl have been removed until February 2015 due to lack of space in the car park during the store’s renovations.

More Toys For Caithness FM Christmas Appeal
Toys for Caithness FM appeal
Dounreay Employees Charity Fund donated over £500 worth of toys and gifts to this year's Caithness FM Toy Appeal. In addition a selection of hand knitted toys were donated by Mrs Gladys Leith. The toys and gifts are distributed to children and teenagers in Caithness.
Dounreay, Caithness Horizons, Caithness FM and Tesco Wick are all collection points for the toy appeal up until 20th December.  All gifts should be unwrapped to let volunteers select suiable gifts for each child.

Since its launch in 2011, the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund has awarded almost £1m to seventy five community projects and this performance is set to continue....The Caithness & North Sutherland Fund also held its latest grant assessment round which awarded £7,337 to the Caithness Voluntary Group (CVG) towards its Telecom and IT Refurbishment Project.

If You Are In Inverness With Kids 12th - 14th December
Winter Wonderland adds WOW factor. A number of new attractions will take place in Whin Park, Inverness this weekend (Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December 2014) at The Highland Council's Winter Wonderland event. Traditionally one of the highlights of the year for youngsters from all around Inverness and the surrounding area; this year's Wonderland has been expanded to feature a number of inflatables for families to enjoy; including the first ever opportunity for folk to climb inside giant WOW balls and attempt to walk across the park’s famous boating lake.

Highland Council Distance Learning Course to Become a Primary School Teacher
Part-time distance learning primary teaching course. Building on an existing successful partnership between The Highland Council and the University of Aberdeen, the next Distance Learning Initial Teacher Education Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (DLITE PGDE) (Primary) begins on 7 February 2015. Ten places are available.

Tidal wave causes damage to Thurso riverside wall
Damage to River Wall after tidal wave in ThursoA tidal wave, reportedly about 2 metres high, swept up Thurso river yesterday during high tide and the force tossed part of a concrete wall onto a road. Fifteen metres or so of the four concrete block high wall next to the slipway at the Riverside car park was tossed into the air and landed on the access road causing sea water to flood through the breached wall onto the surface of the road. During the storms a lot of debris was deposited on the esplanade and riverside area but sand bags were in place so it's understood that none of the properties suffered any water damage.    See same place after council cleared up

Lightning striking Scotland's most northerly mainland point at Dunnet Head yesterday

Lightning Storm captured from Thurso beach looking over to Dunnet Head. Film by Ann Livingstone.

St Fergus Gallery, Wick - Christmas Craft Market
Saturday 13th  10.00am - 4.00pm.

Noel tunes up for a festive fundraiser
Noel Donaldson
Coffee and carols session at the Norseman Hotel on Saturday - 10.00 - Noon.

WANTED - Accredited Testing Company - Concrete Cube Testing Work
Cube testing will be required from February 2015 to December 2016 approximately. Collection may be required where a collection fee can be agreed from a fixed point close to Thurso on the A9.

North Councillors give support to Countryside Ranger Service

'Caithness House' chosen as name for new Wick Offices
New council offices at Wick to be named Caithness House
With staff due to move into the new council offices in Wick in March next year, one of the items on the Area Committee today was to agree a name for the building which will house 140 members of staff. Local Councillors, keen to have a new name to encompass both the refurbished original listed building at Market Place and to reflect the new works to incorporate the adjoining building at Stafford Place put forward the suggestion of Caithness House which was unanimously agreed by the Committee.

Fit's in 'e Courier

Police in Wick appeal for information following serious assault
Weather Warnings Until Thursday - Trains Cancelled - School Closures Possible
Police and partner agencies across the Highlands and Islands are reminding the public to be vigilant following yellow warning reports (be prepared) of severe gales and storm force winds with gusts of up to 60-70mph from 9pm on the evening of Tuesday 09 December 2014 through to 6am Thursday morning of 11 December 2014. The winds are believed to be strong enough that there could be some structural damage associated with them, and they will also be accompanied by high seas which have the potential to cause wave overtopping.

Caithness Orchestra Carol Concert  - Thurso - Sunday 21st December
See Santa At Dunnet Forest On Saturday 13th December
Check December Whats On For Many Christmas Events in Caithness

No bags in Blue Bins To Improve Recycling
Improve Blue Bin WasteClean, dry and loose, that's the simple message that The Highland Council is delivering to householders where it has been experiencing contamination issues with the blue recycling bins. Feedback from the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) where the mixed recyclables are taken for separation is there are just too many plastic bags as well as bagged waste in the blue bins which makes it very difficult to process. Collection crews are unable to empty bins with contamination and will put ‘No Bags' stickers on blue recycling bins reminding residents that paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, food tins and drink cans should be put in loose.

NDA Launches Consultation On New 3 Year plan
Consultation began on 8th December 2014 on the Draft Business Plan 2015 to 2018 that sets out the key objectives and plans for delivering the NDA priorities over the next three years. The total planned expenditure for 2015/16 is £3.31 billion, of which £2.09 billion will be funded by UK government and £1.22 billion by income from commercial operations. Planned expenditure on site programmes will be £2.91 billion, while non-site expenditure is expected to be £0.19 billion.
Still Time To Advertise Your Christmas Events In Our What's On
Whatever yor event - Christmas Fair, Christmas Party, Christmas Menu, Christmas Disco, Christmas Carols or indeed any event coming up in December.  Remember it is FREE to advertise for groups and businesses.  The "What's On" is the most comperhensive local listing of what is on around Caithness and sometimes even Sutherland.  Hundreds of events are listed each month and the listing flows out daily into our Facebook and Twitter acocunts for even more coverage.  The listing also shows on many pages around the web site and our scrolling headlines neaer the top of this and other pages.  Getting your event noticed is easy - just complete the 'Submission Form' in the section.  Get your events listed as soon as you have full details available and get long term coverage even years ahead.

Reactor control room moves to a new home
Control Room From Dounreay now moved to Caithness HorizonsLast week saw the last of the Dounreay Materials Testing Reactor (DMTR) control room panels shipped off site and transferred to their new home in local five-star visitor attraction Caithness Horizons. The control room panels and control desk have been donated to Caithness Horizons and reconstructed at the museum to form the basis of a new permanent exhibition representing Dounreay's significant part in Scotland's industrial heritage. The project team have developed a special framework to display the control room in the newly refurbished exhibition area and a small amount of restoration work has been carried out ready for display.
More Photos From The New Wick High School Construction Site
Wick High School 6 December 2014
Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Update

Stranded Marine Animals - Who To Call
Stranded Animals

Board Members Needed - Pentland Housing Association
Pentland Housing Association is a key provider of social rented housing in the County of Caithness, but in combination with its two subsidiaries, Pentland Community Enterprises and Pentland Energy Advice, it has a wider remit to support and invest in local regeneration, and help sustain local communities.

Several Vacancies Added To the Forum at 4.15pm

New Wick High School Construction Site Today
Wick High School construction 4 December 2014The new Wick high school site is hive of activity now as the car park is under construction  - no doubt to provide parking for workers vehicles as the building works progress as well as for teachers cars once the project is completed.

Caithness FM Annual Toy Appeal
Caithness FM Toy Appeal 2014Dounreay, Caithness Horizons, Caithness FM and Tesco Wick are all collection point for the toy appeal. All donations greatly appreciated and will help local under privileged children have a brighter Christmas. All contributions should be unwrapped and can be sent in until 20th December.  

Our focus, your priorities for community safety say Police and Fire Services
Officers from Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be attending Highland Council Ward Forum Meetings over the coming weeks.  CAITHNESS (Combining WICK, THURSO & LANDWARD CAITHNESS wards)- 15th December 2014- Wick Town Hall.

NHS Highland board members furious with scathing audit - Press & Journal

The Crucible - Live From The Old Vic Theatre at Thurso Cinema
The Crucible live from the Old Vic at Thurso cinema4th and 7th December at Thurso Cinema direct from the Old Vic Theatre, London
The Old Vic's five-star, sold-out production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible directed by YaŽl Farber and starring Richard Two performances available at Thurso cinema.

What's On At Thurso Cinema From Friday 5th December

If you live in Thurso Remember to save money for Christmas Cards and Use the Scout Post
See the item inside telling you where you can post your cards and how to pay.  Save money and help the Thurso scouts.
Invite for Businesses Interested In Tourism in Caithness and Sutherland

New Funding Opportunities for Groups and Individuals Added To The Community Pages

Sinbad - Wick Players Pantomime
Sinbad - Wick Panto 2014
2nd to friday 5th Dec curtains up at 7:30 and Saturday 6th Matinee curtains up at 2:30. Tickets available from The Flower Patch, River Street, Wick or at the door £6 flat seating and £8 Tiered seating. Loads of fun laughter and audience participation also find us on Facebook as Wick Players. Sinbad and his crew are setting sail out of Wick Harbour!!

Wick & District Pool League - Rockwater Shield Second Leg

More Jobs in Caithness Added To Our Forum at 4.10pm Today

New Noss Primary School, Wick  - Animation
Noss PrimarySchool Animation
An animation has been created to show how the new Noss Primary school in Wick will look. The new school is expected to open in 2015.    
Latest Photos HERE
Construction Site Photo Gallery From The Start

Several New Jobs - Added at 7.00am Today
Employers can advertise their vacancies completely free of charge in the forum that now receives a very high viewing level.  Ads also flow out into Facebook and Twitter for even more coverage.
Thurso Christmas Cards Can Be Delivered for Just 20 pence to Thurso Addresses
Thurso Scouts Local Christmas Post Delivery For 20p

Help Thurso Scouts by getting the scouts in Thurso to deliver local cards.  See the full item on how to do it.

New Council offices In Wick - Latest Photos
Council Offices in Wick progress at 1 December 2014
Work progresses inside and out at the new council offices in Wick with eveing and weekend working to ensure the time scale is met.

Police appeal for information following theft of farm item from a property in Roster, Lybster

Police appeal for information following damage to property in Wick

Are you ready for winter asks Highland Council?
Are You Ready for Winter?
The Highland Council is supporting the Scottish Government's Ready Scotland Campaign and urges people in the Highlands to take some time to get ready for winter and all kinds of severe weather.

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