News Archive - September 2016


Changes to parking fine enforcement in Highland
Changes To Parking Fines in Highland
fter many years of complaining community councils in Thurso and Wick may finally see progress regarding parking on main roads in the towns.  More fines are likely to be issued once the new laws come into force after 3rd October with one of the big difference that the local authorities can keep the fines to pay for the wardens and other parts of the serviceThe Highland Council will be taking over responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions across the whole of the Highlands from Monday 3 October 2016. Money raised through Penalty Charge Notices will be spent on maintaining this new service. So be aware that parking fines are much more likely unless you pay attention to notices.  For the first time the council will have the power to remove vehicles.
Loch Ness Knit Fest - Four Days International Crafting
Loch Ness Knitting Festival For International Crafters
29 September - 2 October 2016.
There is still time to book some of the many events in the 2016 Loch Ness Knitting Festival taking place at Eden Court in Inverness Loch Ness Knit Fest - an exciting and innovative four-day festival for the international crafting community to be held in the heart of the Highlands. Inspired by the hugely successful Danish Strikkefestival (and with the blessing of its organiser Christel Seyfarth) our inaugural international knitting festival will be hosted by Eden Court, Inverness. Inverness is the Highland capital of Scotland, close to the legendary location of Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Knit Fest promises to be an event to remember for everyone involved.

Lower Reiss Farm Near Wick Takes Overall Show Champion At Dingwall Sale
Supreme Champions at Dingall Sale 24 September 2016 - Owner - Mr Webster, Judges - Lewis Smith, Graham Smith, & Sponsor Ian Macdonald from Norvite.
Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd, sold 405 rams and females at its annual show and sale sponsored by Norvite. The judges, Mr Graham & Mr Lewis Smith, Towiemore, Drummuir, awarded the overall show champion and winner of the Mountrich trophy to a Texel shearling from Mr D. Webster Lower Reiss Farm, Wick which realised 1,750 and the reserve champion was awarded to a Blue Faced Leicester shearling from Mr G. Mackenzie, Broomhill Farm, Muir of Ord, which realised 1,000.

Suffolk Reserve Champion At Dingwall Sale
Suffolk continetal Reserve Champion at Dingwall 24 September 2016 - Suffolk & continental show reserve champion – Mr Gordon U. Mackenzie, Broomhill, Muir of Ord – Blue Faced Leicester shearling out of a homebred ewe and by a Mendick ram.Suffolk & continental show reserve champion – Mr Gordon U. Mackenzie, Broomhill, Muir of Ord – Blue Faced Leicester shearling out of a homebred ewe and by a Mendick ram.

Health chiefs probe botched caesarian after surgeon cut newborn's head  -
Nicola Sinclair, secretary of the Caithness Health Action Team campaign group, said it was a "distressing" case which "highlights the dangers of cutting services to remote areas".

Fits in 'e Groat 'e Day
A quick look at some stories in the local paper.

Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Latest Update

Drivers creating potential hazard in main street - sheriff
Perhaps this is coming to an end as decriminalised parking and the appointmentof new wardens with new powers will mean fines coming soon to Highland.  Only time will tell if it has an affect on bad parking.

First section of the 1.1bn Caithness-Moray transmission link energised
Knocknagael to Kintore section live and connected to Blackhillock substation. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks has energised the first section of the 1.1bn Caithness-Moray transmission link between Knocknagael and Kintore. SSE said the 275kV overhead line is now live and connected to the expanded Blackhillock substation, near Keith, after almost three years of work by the project team.

Do you want to grow your online sales? Think International! - Thurso Workshop
Selling Online Internationally
Get booked early for this free course organised by HIE in Thurso on 9th November.
If your business is already selling online, or you're thinking about starting an online sales operation, why not consider the international marketplace? With the right information, set-up and skills, your business could capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available beyond the UK.

Your Cash Your Caithness - Grants Up For Grabs For Local Groups
Caithness Members of The Highland Council have set aside 30,000 from their Ward Discretionary Budgets to let the local community once again decide for themselves which projects are needed in their area.  Get your ideas written up and go along to pitch for up to 3000.  Local people will then vote for the groups they think deserve support.
All applications must be submitted before 5pm on Monday 31 October 2016.

Watten Fun Day Photos
Watten Fun Day
Last Sunday was the fun day in Watten.

Huge Jackup Barge Neptune Arrives in Pentland Firth For Turbine Installation Work
Jackup Barge Neptune
Jack-up barge Neptune arrives in the PF's Inner Sound early this afternoon 22.09.16. German tug Elbe, which will be working closely with the self-propelled JU, is already on site. Appears that it will be practice runs, with tides, seabed etc. deck-officer /technician familiarisation etc., rather than actual deployment of Andritz 1.5 MW tidal stream turbine, over the next few days.

Council awards new ICT Contract To Gain 11 Million of Savings
Councillor Bill Fernie asgins contract with Wipro for 11million of savings for Highland council
The Highland Council has awarded a 7 year ICT Services contract to WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd. The Council has procured a cost effective, value for money, corporate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solution that will deliver excellent operational performance and contribute to the continuous improvement of services. The contract will deliver a reduction in costs in the region of 11 million over the lifetime of the contract. Chair of Resources Committee, Cllr Bill Fernie (Independent councillor for Wick) said: "I am delighted to announce that the Council has awarded this important ICT contract to WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd.

Wick Campus Delay Until 2017
At a Wick stakeholders meeting held on Monday 19 September at Wick High School, representatives from Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction gave an update on reasons for the delay and outlined a revised programme for the Wick campus delivery. The meeting was chaired by Highland Councillor for Wick Bill Fernie who expressed the Council's disappointment at the delay, and re-stated the Council's priorities to ensure that the flagship facility is completed to the standard expected, and accepting handover only at that point.
Installation of underwater turbine and foundation structures at Pentland Firth: Notice to Mariners
Green Isle Work Boay
After many years of planning finally real action for the placing of turbines in the Pentland firth with the Meygen project. Bill Mowat reports the latest news that a work boat will be here this week to begin the process for the first turbines to go in the water.  This follows the visit to Nigg by First Minister Nicola Strugeon last week to see a turbine for herself.

Wick Hits Headlines As First Nuclear Fuel Flies Out To USA -
Daily Record
Anyone passing towards Wick from Thurso in recent weeks will have seen the major activity upgrading the runaway at a costof 18million ahead of 18 months of flights to take out nuclear materials.  Flights are expected to be about one per month.
10 New Apprentices Start At Dounreay
10 new Dounreay apprentices
Dounreay has said "you're hired" to ten local newcomers who have started their careers at Dounreay this week. This makes it the 61st consecutive year that apprentices have joined the site. The four-year apprenticeship scheme allows the successful applicants to gain on the job experience and training, whilst studying part-time through the University of the Highlands and Islands in Thurso, to gain higher national certificates and diplomas. This year, there are two mechanical apprentices, three instrument apprentices, two electrical apprentices and two design apprentices.    Business Pages

Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Update

Over 5000 Kids Seen By Highland Rangers So Far In 2016
Bower Primary Kids with Ranger Andy Summers
It has been a really busy year in the North Highlands for The Highland Council's Countryside Ranger team. A recent school visit by the Rangers to Bonar Bridge Primary brought the total since the start of January to 234 Ranger school projects in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire involving over 5000 school pupils so far this year. From Durness to Rosehall, and from Castletown to Lochinver, the Highland Rangers have been involved in wildlife projects this year, including everything from exploring the seashore to woodland, from birds to minibeasts, from environmental art to creating wildlife gardens, bush craft activities to making shelters in the woods.           Community Pages

Groat Headlines Friday 16th September 2016
Caithness Heart Support Group Donate Equipment
Caithness Heart Support Group present equipment
THE Thurso and Halkirk joint GP practice was delighted to receive much-needed replacement items for the surgery.

Volunteers Improve Access Along the Caithness Coast
Volunteers improve access to Caithness Coast
Members of the Caithness Countryside Volunteers teamed up with the Friends of the John O'Groats Trail on Sunday morning to improve access along a section of coastline in the Latheron area, cutting back dense gorse and building stiles to improve access for walkers. The works on Sunday contribute to establishing a long distance walking route from Inverness to John O'Groats and other work days are planned in the future.

Support for Young Farmers
Over 7 million has been awarded to help create and develop around 140 new farming businesses across Scotland. This funding, from the EU and the Scottish Government, will support the next generation of farmers and increase opportunities for young people to establish a career in agriculture. This latest award sees a further 35 new farm businesses from across Scotland sharing over 1.8 million to help create and develop new enterprises.

First Minister Sees Turbines Bound For Pentland Firth
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon see turbines bound for Pentland Firth
Scotland will be home to the world's first ever large-scale tidal stream farm as part of a drive to develop Scotland's marine renewables industry, creating jobs and investment. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the MeyGen project, owned by Atlantis Resources, to see the first turbines in the planned tidal stream array during a trip to the Highlands today. The first phase of the project, developed thanks to 23m Scottish Government funding, is expected to further develop the marine renewables industry and open up vital skilled job opportunities for those who are moving from the oil and gas sector.

Decriminalised parking enforcement
The introduction of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in the Highlands will allow responsibility for enforcing parking and waiting and loading regulations to be transferred from Police Scotland to The Highland Council. The Council will also receive powers to uplift vehicles.

Public views sought on Parking Enforcement Officers wearing body cameras
The Highland Council is carrying out a public consultation - privacy impact assessment on Civil Parking Enforcement Officers wearing body video cameras. The Council will begin enforcing on and off street parking restrictions throughout the region from October 2016 and as part of the technical specification; Parking Enforcement Officers will be equipped with body worn video cameras.

Review of public toilet charges - Survey
The Highland Council is undertaking a review of how public conveniences are funded and propose to increase the number of sites where there is a charge for use.

Caithness WASPI Group Join Day Of Action
Caithness WASPI group at John O'Groats
Women Against State Pension Inequality are holding a national Day of Action on Friday 16th September 2016. The Caithness WASPI group will be actively campaigning in Wick and Thurso to raise awareness of the changes to women's pensions. On Thursday 15th September the Caithness WASPI group will have a stand in the Wick and Thurso TESCOs so would encourage 1950s women to come along and find out more about the campaign.   Hey Men you can go too - it affects your mothers, aunties cousins, grandmothers and any 50s ladies you know so check it out.

Another Computer Competitiion Won By Wick High School Pupils -
Press and Journal
The winners were Maja Pearson and Erin MacGregor from Wick High School for their innovative Quancobot raspberry pi robot.
Wick Harbour Set To See Biggest Investments Ever In Highland and Possibly The UK
A public information session is to be held on Wednesday 14th September at Mackays Hotel between 4.00 and 7.00pm.
 Drop in anytime to find out more about what is about to happen at Wick harbour starting very soon now that all the financial arrangments are in place,  Construction phase with up to 65 jobs followed by 90 permanent jobs in the new buildings.  The Beatrice Wind farm project off the Caithness coast is about to commence with an operation base at Wick.

The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm site is located 13.5km (at its closest point) from the Caithness Coast in the Outer Moray Firth, with its centre located approximately 25km (13.4Nm) south south-east of Wick. The proposal is to install up to 84 7MW Siemens turbines which will be capable of generating up to 588 MW of renewable energy.

As well as generating renewable electricity, the Project is expected to bring a range of socio economic benefits to both the Moray and Highland regions through job creation, skills training and opportunities for local businesses.

This is all in addition to recent announcments by SSE -
26 August 2016
The 1.1 billion investment is the largest single project that SHE Transmission has delivered to date, following swiftly on from the completion of the Beauly-Denny line last year.
Highland Council signs up to Digital Participation
Digital Participation
Highland Council has made a continuing commitment to tackling digital exclusion in the Highlands. The council has become the latest organisation to sign SCVOs Digital Participation Charter.  Chair of Resources Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie said: "Digital skills are essential for everyone to participate fully in modern life and access all the advantages and opportunities which come with those skills." He added: "Highland Council is currently part of the Digital Highland partnership, a group of organisations working together to provide a sustainable, partnership approach to support Highland residents to go online and addressing issues around digital inclusion. This work also supports Highland Council's ongoing development of online services, allowing customers to access services anytime, anywhere, on any device."
Public to be consulted on CaSPlan changes
The Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan) which sets out The Highland Council's vision and development strategy for the area over the next 20 years is to be modified and put out for public consultation.
Inverurie drive Academy loco
Wick Academy 1 Inverurie Locos 1 - 3rdSeptember 2016
Wick Academy l Inverurie Locos 1

Reporter Noel Donaldson
THIS certainly fell far short of Academy's best performance and Locos, on the other hand, will have rightfully felt cheated at not taking all three points, given the efforts they put in. Failure to capitalise on their equaliser during repeated onslaughts on the Scorries defence and some sharp keeping by Sean McCarthy denied the visitors the spoils. Buoyed by a emphatic, mid-week win against Strathspey, it looked as if Academy might build on their disappointing home record, when a cut back from the right, in the 14th minute teed the ball up nicely for on-form Richard Macadie to ramrod into the far corner. Photo Gallery

Which Businesses Are The Most Popular Look-ups in our Business Index?
The Caithness Business Index has contact detaisl and links ot many Caithness businesses and many articles that do not alway appearn this page. The articles flow out to our linked Facebook page so if any Caithness business would like an article about their business to feature FREE of charge just send it with a photo to

Public warned of algal bloom presence at Loch Watten, Caithness
Loch Watten Algal Bloom Warning
The Highland Council is warning the public of the presence of an algal bloom at Loch Watten, Caithness. As a precautionary measure, environmental health have posted notices next to the water body, warning that contact with the algal scum or mat material should be avoided. Adjoining landowners and fishing interests have been advised of the situation as have NHS Highland and SEPA.
   Watten Village From The Air

Wick High School Dance - 10 September 2016 -  Has Been Cancelled
The committe organising the last dance have asked us to let everyone know that for various reasons it has been cancelled.  Anyone who has already paid for tickets wil shortly get a full refund.

between Sunday 18th and Thursday 22nd September
Overnight Road works soutbound to Kessock Bridge from Tore roundabout
BEAR Scotland, on behalf of Transport Scotland, will be carrying out essential resurfacing works on a section of the southbound A9 Trunk Road between Tore and Inverness.  The resurfacing works are programmed for construction between Sunday 18th and Thursday 22nd September 2016. With no works planned for the Friday and Saturday. Due to the high traffic flows over this section the resurfacing works will be undertaken between 19:00 and 07:00 each night to reduce the impact to motorists.

Wick's Summer Reading Challenge Certificates Presented
Reading Challenge Wick Library
Councillors Neil Macdonald, Bill Fernie, David Bremner and Gillian Coghill were on hand to congratulate the youngsters and hand over a certificate and a medal for their efforts.

Independent Councillor Gillian Coghill Is The New Civic Leader for Caithness
Gillian Coghill, Civic Leader for Caithness
The new Civic Leader of Caithness is Councillor Gillian Coghill who takes over the role from Councillor Gail Ross. One of four councillors representing the Landward Caithness Ward, Councillor Coghill, who was appointed at the start of today's Caithness Committee, is delighted with her new role which is an honorary post and carries no remuneration. Councillor Coghill is an independent councillor and a member of the current ruling administration of the council.