News Archive - February 2015


Thrumster House Snowdrop Day
Thrumster House Snowdrops - 28 February 2015Thrumster House ran a fund-raiser Snowdrop day with proceeds going to Yarrows Heritage Trust.  A cold blustery day did not affect the tens of thousands of snowdrops that are in full flower at the moment.  But after being fortified with a bowl of soup, scones and tea a bracing walk around the grounds showed that the snowdrops planted decades ago are in good health.  Some of the trees could be seen lying on the ground after the big storm a few weeks ago and work to clear them continues.  A few beech trees perhaps 150 years old had finally succumbed to a Caithness blast.  Soon the daffodils wil be out there also.

Captain's Galley, Scrabster Wins Sustainable Restaurant Of The Year Award
Captains Galley, Scabster wins Sustainable Restaurant Award 2015Captains Galley, Scrabster and Cotswold Cafe were recipients of the Sustainable Restaurant of the year awards 2015. Two very different restaurants, 700 miles apart, but who share the same outstanding commitment to sustainability, have been named joint winners of the Sustainable Restaurant of the Year award in London on 23rd February 2015). Daylesford, which operates three organic cafes in the Cotswolds and Kensington, and The Captain's Galley, Britain's most northerly mainland restaurant that strictly serves seafood in season, received their awards from Raymond Blanc, President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Update

Snowdrop Day At Thrumster House
Snowdrop day at Thrumster HouseForget the blustery weather and pop down to Thrumsrter house for tea and cakes and take look at the huge numbersof snowdrops around the gardens.  Thrusmter house has big collection of many varieties of snowdrops.  Proceeds for the day go to the local charity Yarrows Heritage Trust.

See more of Thrumster House AmaZing Venues' Ackergill Tower Best Wedding Venue in the North East
Ackergill Tower win Wedding Venue AwardWedding venue specialist, AmaZing Venues is celebrating its latest win at the Scottish Wedding Awards 2015 where Ackergill Tower was awarded Wedding Venue of the Year North East. Now in its third year, The Scottish Wedding Awards is very much a celebration of local businesses. Winners are a true reflection of quality and customer service as chosen by members of the general public. "We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. We provide something a little different for couples who truly want a fairy-tale or dramatic setting for their special day and our teams work hard to ensure that the wedding of newlyweds' dreams is a reality," said Suzanne Taylor, managing director of AmaZing Venues.     History of Ackergill Tower - Photos, plans etc

Fast Look At 'e Groat an 'e Courier

Ian Pearson At "Committted To Art" Exhibition
Glass creations by Ian Pearson to be show in Committed to Art Exhibition 4 - 28 March at Caithness horizons
The Exhibition "Committed to Art" will run from Wednesday 4th March until Saturday 28th March. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm and Sat 10am-5pm.   An exhibition by members of the committee of the Society of Caithness Artists. At Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall, Thurso KW14 8JA 2015 sees the Society celebrate 80 years of annual exhibitions in July/August of each year making it one of the oldest Societies of its kind in Scotland. The Society is managed by a committee comprising of practising local artists. These are both professional and amateurs demonstrating a wide diversity of media in two and three dimensional work.
New Job Vacancies Added At 10.50pm

New work ready programme seeks candidates with a positive attitude
If You Are looking For An Apprenticeship Check This Out

Candidates aged 16 -29 are invited to apply for a 10 week course led by SSE and being delivered in conjunction with Energy and Utility Skills and the North Highland College UHI. The successful students will spend three weeks at the North Highland College UHI, where they will complete certificates in work readiness as well as a workshop and hand tool safety course. Students will spend two weeks at the SSE's training centre in Perth where they will work on their personal awareness, team working and communication skills whilst completing certificates in health and safety, working at heights and confined spaces. The final five weeks will be spent on a work placement with SSE or a subcontractor.

Wick & Distric Pool League Latest
Wick and District Pool LeagueWith only two games remaining in the Wick & District Pool League, the division two title race is hotting up with four teams still in with a chance of finishing in top spot. An inspired captains performance by Graham Harper played a key part in the Francis Street Clubs 9-3 win over top side Queens on Monday night. Wins from Stewart Steven, Brian Munro and Michael Innes helped the club side go 3-0 ahead, before a fantastic clearance by Jim Bain pulled one back for the Queens.

Candidates Announced So Far For General Election for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
o date we know of four candidates for the general election to be held on 7th May 2015.
The candidates declared so far are -
John Erskine - Labour
AlastaIr Graham - Conservative
Paul Monaghan - SNP
John Thurso - Lib Dem

Councillors Agree local access to Carbon CLEVER Funding
Would you like to support adult learners in your community?
Support Adult LearnersThe PDA in Supporting Adult Literacies Learning at SCQF level 6 is intended for individuals who wish to assist with tutoring adults in numeracy and literacy. This qualification is available through our Adult Learning Team. It has been designed to be delivered with a learner-centred, participative and practical approach.

NEON WALZ At Ynot, Thurso
Neon Walz at Ynot, Thurso - 27 February 2015
27 February - 8.00pm

Highland Council's Digital Strategy to Save 1.3million In 4 Years
Highland council digital Payments strategyTHE Highland Council Digital First Programme aims to greatly increase access to online services, enabling at least 40% of transactions to be carried out online by April 2017. The programme will also deliver 1.3 million in savings over four years. Digital First means that online services should be simple, convenient and well signposted so that customers choose digital as a first choice. With the emergence of tablet and smartphone technology and its increasing prevalence, there is an expectation that more public services will be accessible online, so that people can choose when and where they can access services at their convenience.

First class flats at a price you can afford
Cairn Housing Association for flatsAN excellent range of one-bedroom and studio flats with affordable rents are available now at Caberfeidh Court in Wick. Cairn Housing Association has 36 high quality properties that are available exclusively to people over 50 years of age. As it is situated off the main road on the outskirts of town, this peaceful development is surrounded by a large private garden. For people who enjoy gardening they can join in with the planting and maintenance of the garden with help from Caberfeidh's gardener. There is also ample private parking with fantastic views over the North Sea and surrounding coastline. This first class accommodation consists of both studio and one-bedroom flats which are ideal for anyone wanting to downsize from larger homes, enabling them to be free from any worries of losing out financially as a result of the "bedroom tax".

Highland Council Website Review Reveals Positive Results
Highland Council Web Site Screen ShotA six month review of the Highland Council website, which was launched in 2014, reveals high satisfaction levels amongst Highland residents. The majority of people visit the website to access services or to find information on Council meetings. The website has approximately 800,000 views each month, with the most popular pages including planning, bin calendars and job vacancies, with seasonal trending towards school enrolment, recycling and winter maintenance.

Garden waste collections resume 2nd March but please check your bin!
Garden Waste in Brown bins collections resumes 2nd MarchAs garden waste bin collections resume on 2 March residents are being urged to check their brown bins carefully for any contamination before they put them out for their first collection. Householders are reminded that plastic bags or any other plastic, glass, soil, stones and rubble must not be included and any contaminated bins will be rejected.  The garden waste bin is for grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, twigs and small branches, flowers, plants and weeds only. Notifiable weeds such as ragwort and Japanese knotweed, animal waste material and kitchen waste should not be included.

Your Chance To Design A Caithness Flag
Caithness Flag competitionFollowing a successful meeting with the Lord Lyon and The Flag Institute with local community and Highland Council representatives, a competition for the design of a new flag for Caithness is launched today. Caithness Civic Leader, Councillor Gail Ross said: "This is a great chance for people to get creative and design an eye catching flag that will become the public symbol for Caithness. The flag will raise recognition and awareness of the area nation-wide, express the pride in our local community and celebrate the heritage and culture of our corner of the country. I really look forward to seeing the entries and seeing the winning design flying from a flagpole later this year." A competition pack giving full details on how to enter and useful information from the Flag Institute including guidelines and examples of good design has been produced and is available to download.

Doanalsin's Caithness 2015
Doanalsin's Caithness 2015Doanalsin's Caithness 2015

Caithness Photographer Wins Top Media Award
Maciej Winiarczyk wins top media photogrpahy award
Maciej Winiarczyk who lives in Caithness has won a top media award for his photography. Maciej said "SWNS Press Photo of The Year 2014 Award for my picture of the Aurora, Milky Way and Volcanic Glow taken on Iceland last October and I've received my trophy few days ago."

Latest Artist Into The Galleries  - Elaine Rapson-Grant
Kinfisher and Fish by Elaine Rapson_Grant
A few of Elaine's wildlife pictures are displayed here. Elaine Rapson-Grant is an internationally selling artist. She has collectors throughout the UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Italy, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, S. & N. Ireland, Wales, Isle of Wight. She is a Committee Member of the Society of Caithness Artists and exhibits regularly at their Summer exhibition held in Thurso, Caithness during July August.
 If you would like to buy pictures from any of the artists contact them directly via our Arts Index or their web sites.
To have your pictures included FREE get in touch with

Moving Towheads Through Wick On BBC One Show

Venus and Mars in conjunction below moon on February 21
Following last nights great views lets hope its a clear night when the sun goes down.  On February 21, the waxing crescent moon, and the planets Venus and Mars all shine in front of the constellation Pisces the Fishes.  Remember to look after the sun goes down.   The Night Sky February      Night Sky February from Jodrell Bank
NOTE - It was a poor show in Wick due to clouds but fingers crossed for 23 Feb.

Pennyland Kids Star In Aldi Advert At School and Scrabster

Three chairs for Thurso medical practice
Heart Support Caithenss present equipment to GP's in Thurso
Dr Anna Seborova tests one of three, padded, phlebotomy chairs presented to Thurso and Halkirk medical practice, by Caithness Heart Support Group. In addition, a mobile drip stand and an emergency first aid/responder bag were handed over.

Check If You Qualify For Early Learning and Childcare Entitlement

Wick Gets A Mention In Shipping News Web Site

Scottish Water urges customers in the Highlands to help keep the water cycle running
wipesIt's been almost a year and a half since Scottish Water launched its national campaign to urge customers to ‘help keep the water cycle running’ and put an end to the high number of blockages caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets. The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their scenic beauty and yet some of the region’s towns and villages have revealed themselves to be harbouring something not so beautiful below their streets and houses. Approximately 37,000 blockages in Scotland’s drains and sewer network were attended by Scottish Water last year and approximately 80 per cent are caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets.
Anyone For Tennis Say Thrumster Kids
New tennis equipment for Thrumster School
Thrumster school is sure to be hitting aces with all new tennis equipment and nets. Children from Thrumster Primary are celebrating a successful application to the Bilbster wind farm fund for tennis equipment. They can be seen pictured with their newly purchased rackets and nets enabling them to practice tennis during playtime and after school. Who knows we may have the future Andy Murray in our midst.

HomeStart Caithness Manager In Running for Guardian Award - Vote For Her
HomeStart Caithness
VOTE  VOTE  VOTE To Help HomeStart Caithness Manager Get Recognition
The Business Services Co-ordinator of HomeStart Caithness, Rosemary Smith, has been one of 5 people shortlisted (out of 155 nominations) for a place in the prestigious charity "Trailblazer of the Year Award" run by Guardian newspaper. Rosemary has been involved with Home-Start Caithness since 2010 and initially became involved as a home-visiting volunteer. In November 2011, Rosemary was elected to the Board of Trustees as Volunteer Representative and then in October 2013, was appointed as Chairperson.    VOTE HERE

More from the Thurso High Art Exhibition
Thurso High Art Exhibition 2015
The art and design exhibition runs until 26th February at Caithness Horizons, Thurso.

Personal Empowerment Students Donate To Yorkhill Charity
donation to Yorkhill by Persdonal Empowerment StudentsPersonal Empowerment Programme (PEP) students with their cheque to Yorkhill Charity The students raised 214.94 over the Christmas period through activity books and Christmas decorations. The PEP course aims to help students develop skills which can help them progress onto a vocational course at College or into employment.

Scrabble Competition - If You Want To Test Your Skill Get Your Name Down
Scrabble competition
Scrabble competition  - 20th March
1st 50 + 20 voucher for cafe tempest
2nd 10 voucher for cafe tempest
Entry 3

Can You Help A Student With Her Research? - Complete Her Survey Online
Study explores if and how living in a rural area affects the way people take part in the shaping of their communities. Do some people have less opportunities or less say in the life and work of their community than others? I want to ask people if they feel they ‘belong' or ‘don't belong’ to their community and whether this matters to them or not. Who says what ‘goes’ or what ‘matters’ in Wick, John O’ Groats and surrounding areas, and does anyone or any groups of people feel that they are excluded from having that say?
North Highland College UHI recognised for supporting care leavers
Donald MacBeath - Principal, North Highland collegeThe North Highland College UHI is delighted to announce that they have been awarded with the Buttle UK Quality Mark. The award will allow the College to further enhance its support to young people with a care background. North Highland College UHI is now one of a number of academic partners within the University of the Highlands and Islands to be awarded the mark. The Buttle UK Quality Mark requires educational institutions to demonstrate that they have a robust strategy in place to ensure that students from a care background can access a package of support, be it pastoral, educational or financial.

Re-use Is Best - Pass It On - 7th to 15th March
Pass It On Week 7 - 15th March 2015Re-use Is Best! Pass It On! - That is the message for ‘Pass It On Week' that this year takes place from 7th to 15th March. ‘Pass It On Week' is a national event to promote greater reuse, whether that be through, swapping, sharing, up-cycling, or buying second hand. The Highland Council is supporting the campaign and is encouraging as many organisations and individuals as possible to hold an event. Pass it on Week is organised by Zero Waste Scotland as a way to encourage more re-use of items and to tackle the huge amount of re-usable items that are sent to landfill each year in Scotland. Keeping assets in circulation and avoiding waste directly supports the Council's Carbon CLEVER aim of a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025.

Wind Farm Fund has Positive Impact on Local Community
Wathegar Wind Farm - Tannach and District Community Fund
The Tannach and District Community Fund is making a lasting impact in the area it serves. In its first year of operation the fund awarded over 25K to eight local projects. Thrumster Primary School Parent Council was one of the beneficiaries which received funding to purchase equipment to enhance the outdoor play area, including seating, play bins, outdoor chalkboards and decorative items.

Wick & District Pool League - Rockwater Shield
Rockwater Shield - Wick and District Pol League
Rockwater Shield Semi Finals 1st Leg
Bayview1 and The Francis Street club recorded important 1st leg wins in the semi finals of the 2014/15 Rockwater Shield. Graham Harper's Francis St Club side looked for the win away to Queens Hotel that would help in their quest to make the cup final for a second year in a row.

Aged 15 - 30? Complete A Survey and You Might Win Tickets To Belladrum
A new online survey has been launched to explore the changing aspirations of young people and their attitudes to the Highlands and Islands. The researchers aim to find out what people aged 15-30 think about education, jobs, quality of life and cost of living in the region. Five pairs of three-day tickets to the sold-out Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in August are available to be won by those taking part in the survey.     Community Index

North MSP asks more questions on the Scottish Driving Assessment Service
Highlands & Islands MSP (including Moray),Shadow Minister for Transport and Islands and also road safety campaigner, David Stewart, earlier this month raised the issue of the location of the only Scottish Driving Assessment Centre in Scotland now being based in Edinburgh.   Business Index Showered In Trophies In Dundee
Ruishdance make a big haul of trophies at Caird Hall, Dundee - February kids have just competed at maximum street dance championships in Dundee, The competition was held in the Caird hall in Dundee. Again this year the competition was massive with around 40 kids in each sections and it being our first run out for 2015.  It was a big challenge for us and reflecting again on how well we have done as a dance school its fantastic with our U10 Advanced kids topping the first 3 places which is just fantastic.  Advanced level is the Top level at street dance competitions and with Rebecca Miller winning her section two years on the run showng that there is a lot of talent in the Highlands.    Arts Index

Pentland Ferries Increases The Fleet
MV Saturn acquired by Pentland FerriesPentland Ferries is all set to buy the former Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Saturn. The move has been confirmed by the owners of the ship, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL).. The Saturn was launched in 1977 at the Ailsa Shipyard in Troon and entered service the following year. She ceased use from the CMAL fleet in September 2011 and has been laid up at Rosneath since. The vessel is being be sold to Pentland Ferries for freight work and working with the renewable energy sector around Orkney and the Pentland Firth.

New Design Company 'North Design' Launches New Web Site
North Design based at Naver, Thurso
Whether you are looking for a new corporate identity, a professional annual report, stand out exhibitions, contemporary web design, noticeable newspaper ads, eye-catching posters or quality packaging, North Design is the right choice for all your creative needs.

Arts Investment Roadshows Promote Funding Opportunity
Highland Cultural Strategic Board (HCSB) has secured investment funding from Creative Scotland and The Highland Council to support the implementation of its cultural strategy ‘Highland Culture- take pride, take part'. The ‘Growing Audiences' strand of the Strategy has been identified as a priority for support and HCSB are seeking proposals from arts organisation partners to achieve the ‘growing audiences’ objectives in the Highland Council area.

New Noss Primary School, Wick - Latest Progress Photos
Noss Primary School, Wick - 11 February 2015
Work on the new Noss Primary school in Wick to replace north and Hillhead schools has been forging ahead since the big storm caused some damage to the construction site.

Photos from the START

Public thanked for their involvement in recent CaSPlan consultation
The consultation on the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan Main Issues Report (CaSPlan MIR) drew to a close on Friday 6 February 2015 after 14 weeks which saw members of the public take part in a series of drop in sessions and evening workshops held around the plan area.
Two Different Artists Living In Caithness Added To The Artists Galleries
Jana Embury and Herminia Bernal have exhibitied in many places around the world and locally.  Whilst working in different media both have diverse range of work to their names.  Herminia Bernal has a great web site showing the variety of her photography and now living in Caithness is taking advantage of the great seascapes.  Jana Emburey also has a web site showing some of her works and the places it has gone.  It is not suprising they can sell their work and they have both agreed to add to the growing Caithness artists galleries in coming months.  
Herminia Bernal                   Jana Emburey
Keiss Beach 1 Herminia Bernal        Coast - Jana Emburey
Artists who live in Caithness, have a connection with the area or produce Caithness related works can be added to the gallery by contacting         Artists Galleries Index      Caithness Artists Index

Tablets 'for every Highland pupil'  - BBC

Wick Academy 4 Huntly 0
Wick Academy 4 Huntly 0 - 14 February 2015
Reporter Noel Donaldson - Academy four-midable in St Valentine's Day's engagement.
Wick Academy 4 Huntly 0 Reporter - Noel Donaldson FOOTBALL came home to Harmsworth Park on Saturday and supporters, thirsting for the return after a match famine, couldn't have been more delighted. There was no love lost between the sides as the Scorries disposed of opponents Huntly with no less that four goals without reply, to leap-frog into third place in the Highland League table.   Photo Gallery

Beginners Dance Classes in Ballroom and Latin in Thurso Starting in March

Water Polo Takes Off In Wick Wednesday 18th February
No need to be a top swimmer as long as you can do front crawl and you will get fit with a fun sport.

Police Ask For Witnesses to Road Traffic Collision at Wester To Contact Them

Rhoda Grant MSP signs up to HI-Scot Credit Union
Hi -Scot Credit Union www.hi-scot.comRhoda Grant MSP signs up as a member of HI-Scot Isles Credit Union, the financial co-operative which serves the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Based in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, HI-Scot has been serving the Western Isles of Scotland since 2006. In 2010, the organisation extended its reach to cover the Highlands and Islands and now serves an area larger than Belgium. HI-Scot offers its members a range of savings and loan products and, as the Credit Union is a member run and owned co-operative, all money is used for the benefit of its members - not for the benefit of external shareholders.

Council implements new technology for road repairs
Jet Patchers to be used by Highland CouncilThe Highland Council has been trialling new technological means of repairing and maintaining roads, according to a report into the Roads Innovation Fund by the Director of Community Services. Techniques to be used for the repair of potholes include use of "Jetpatcher" equipment, a process by which a high velocity air stream is used to clear any debris in the pothole and also to lay and compact new asphalt, filling it. Highland Council has been working with three contractors and Moray Council to trial this system.

UK students develop tech skills and their very own Smartphone apps - DW
Wick High School Team with winning appWick High pupils fame for apps spreads worldwide
"Coding, idea generation, marketing, you name it, we've got it," says 15-year-old Caitlyn Taylor, exuding a confidence that belies her age. Caitlyn is one of the newest – and youngest – faces of the UK's booming tech scene, hailing from just about as far north as you can get on mainland Britain. Caitlyn and her Wick High School teammates, Meghan Lyon and Katie Gunn from Caithness, Scotland, were brought to London by Apps for Good, a program that trains young students to design Smartphone and tablet applications.

Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
Highland MSP, Rhoda Grant who has spearheaded the campaign for improvements to the far north line is highlighting figures from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) that have recorded a 6% fall in the usage of rail stations in Caithness in 2013-14. Meanwhile, figures from the ORR revealed that nationally across the UK rail journeys had risen by 5%.

Performance of Police and Fire services in Caithness & Sutherland under the spotlight
During this week's Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee councillors had the opportunity to scrutinise and discuss progress reports from the Police and Fire services and to find out more details about the work underway to address local priorities.

Caithness wild plant conservation charity to benefit from Landfill fund
Marsh saxifrage
Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity which own and manage Munsary Peatland nature reserve in Caithness have been given a boost for their project to improve the visitor experience to a site of international importance.

Funding confirmed for health boards for 2015/16
NHS Highland gains an uplift of 24.8million plus 1.8million for delayed disharge

Thurso High Art Exhibition Now On 5th - 26th February
Thurso High art Exhibition at Caithness HorizonsThurso High Art Exhibition
Take some time out to visit the Thurso High Art Exhibition now on at Caithness Horizons Gallery in Thurso.  If you cannot make it to the gallery we have some photos but you can have much better viewinig by going to the gallery for coffee and snack before or after viewing the exhibition.
Further pictures from the exhibition coming later.

Fit's In 'e Groat 'e Day
Damage to Motor Vehicles, Barrogill Street, Wick

Two Thurso High School Events
Art & Design ExhibitionTourism Debate
Thurso High Art & Design                 Tourism Debate at Caithness Horizons
Questions still unanswered over NHS Highland’s financial woes - Press & Journal

Rhoda Grant MSP Urges Customers to Claim Power Cut Compensation

Police in Wick appeal for information following damage to vehicle

Labour Candidate Backs John O'Groat Journal SOS Campaign
Labourt Candidate supports Save Our Surgeons CampaignScottish Labour Candidate Backs John O'Groat Journal SOS Campaign John Erskine, the Scottish Labour candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross gave his backing to the John O'Groat Journal SOS (Save Our Surgeons) campaign over the weekend whilst campaigning in Caithness. Commenting Mr Erskine said,"Speaking to local people in Wick and Thurso on the doorstep, the future of Caithness General was one of the top issues that is raised with me time and time again.
Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update

Crowd Funding Project In Arran - Great Idea - Could It Work In Caithness?
Local business support as Arran Community Land Initiative goes crowdfunding for farmland project. This looks like a winning project giving the opportunity for many people to get involved using the power of the internet and crowd funding which is growing all over the place.

Man Arrested After Smoke Bomb Incident At Football Match

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