News Archive - September 2017

Taste North - North Highland's Premier Food, Drink And Craft Event
Taste North
Taste North, the north Highland's premier food, drink and craft event, in association with Venture North and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), are back for the third year running and this year return to Ackergill Tower with a packed line up and a leading name in the culinary world to head up the fantastic schedule and inspire the foodie passion in us all! Nick Nairn will be joining us as our very special guest this year at Ackergill Tower on 1st October 2017.  11.00am - 4.30pm - Drop in and get a taste of the north.

Newtonhill Talk Fundraiser For Caithness Heart Support Group
Crofthouse at Newtonhillfor Talk to support Caithness Heart Support Group
THE renovated croft house at the top of Newtonhill will be the focus for an illustrated talk by volunteers who are hosting it on behalf of Caithness Heart Support Group. The historic croft house dates back to the 18th century. Since it was opened to the public in 2015, extensive improvement and landscaping have been carried out in the surrounding area. The talk, at 2:00pm on Saturday, (30th September 2017) will be delivered by Willie Bruce and Billy Nicolson. Admission 3 will include tea, coffee and biscuits.

Noss Primary School Exhibition for Malawi Kids
Noss Primary School Malawi Exhibition fund raiser
Noss Primary school has been involved along with other schools in helping kids in Malawi and have an ongoing collection of pennies on a map of Africa. Recently the school in Wick donated the old sweat shirts from the old schools to a project sending items from lost property boxes in Highland schools to schools in Malawi where they could be put to use. The exhibition consists of postcards, photos and artwork from the kids in Malawi responding to the supply of sweatshirts from Noss School pupils. Since the story about the pennies on the map of Africa at Noss primary has run more people have turned up to donate collections of pennies to the project.    Let us all get behinds this great wee project  by Noss Primary.
A raffle will be held at the exhibition for funds to the Highland Malawi Trust

Thurso Town Improvments Newsletter and Halloween Parties for Kids and Adults in Community

50th Wedding Anniversary Wick Couple Asked Guests To Donate to CHAT
Maureen and Gordon Doull present 750 to CHAT - Nicola Sinclair and Bill Fernie
Maureen and Gordon Doull from Wick have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Mackays Hotel and asked their guests to make donations to Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) as they are so concerned at what is happening to health services in Caithness. The couple handed over a 750 to Bill Fernie, chairman of CHAT and founder member Councillor Nicola Sinclair.

Tackling poverty is everyone's business
Warm Home Discount
An initiative to address poverty and tackle the deprivation that is prevalent throughout the Highlands is launched today (Wednesday, 27 September 2017) by the 9 Community Partnerships. Highland Community Partnerships were formed at the end of 2016 and are a coming together of individuals within local communities, the third sector and public agencies to reduce inequalities and to agree key improvement opportunities that are important to local residents and businesses and thereafter to take the appropriate action.
            Caithness Business Index    

Recycling For The Future
Projects which are increasing recycling rates, reducing emissions and re-using resources are to receive a share of 8.4 million. Around 4.2 million will help 17 small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) develop new products which will re-use whisky by-products, waste plastic and household furniture, through the Circular Economy Investment Fund.
     Community Index

Emily Frased and Anne Dunnet
CAITHNESS Heart Support group recently bade a fond farewell to its patron Miss Anne Dunnett who retired from public life recently. The group was only one of several local organisations Miss Dunnett was involved in, not least as the county's Lord Lieutenant. Tribute was paid to her 'significant' contribution to the heart group during the past six years, at a social gathering at the Norseman Hotel,Wick.

NHS Highland Board’s Dirty Tricks
The Caithness Scream - Ian Scott
Today a hard hitting letter from CHAT's Vice Chair Prof. Iain Baikie has been published in the John O'Groat Journal an is now published on the CHAt Facebook page.. Joining in is well-known local artist Ian Scott has produce a new work for the campaign "Caithness Scream".  The relentless march by NHS Highland to downgrade health services in Caithness is now once again exposed for what it is.  Nothing is safe it seems - maternity, Town and county, Dunbar, beds in Caithness General and more.     Follow on CHAT Facebook.

Dunnet Beach Clean - Can You spare An Hour?
The rangers are organising another clean-up for Dunnet Beach on Saturday 30th September.  The removal  of waste from our beaches is unfortunately a never ending one but if we want to keep this one looking good go along and help between 11:00am and 2:00pm.  Gloves and bags supplied and a free hot drink.
Calling Geocachers - Check out a new event in the Highland Archaeology Festival
Geocache at Highland Archaeology Festival
As part of the 2017 Highland Archaeology Festival, a number of geocaches have been hidden throughout the Highlands. "There are so many wonderful sites in the Highlands to explore," explained Kirsty Cameron, Highland Council Archaeologist. ‘We wanted to hide caches where people can discover more about our rich heritage. We've also hidden some small objects in our caches during the festival." One of the geocache sites is at Dunbeath- see the web site for all of the sites in Highland at the Archaeology Festival

Buzzfeed one of the biggest online news sites highlights Caithness Maternity Issues

CHAT Facebook for the latest comments etc

Noss Primary School Wick - Raising Funds For Malawi
Noss Primary School - Money for Malawi
As well as our sponsored ‘Water Walk' next Wednesday and our Malawi display which you can visit on the Open Afternoon and parents' evenings, we are collecting loose change to try to cover a map of Africa we have set up in the library area. If you have any 5p, 2ps or 1ps lying around, please send them in with your child so they can put them on the map. It would be lovely to get our ‘Change for Change' map completely covered.

Caithness JAM - Charity Music Event For Sarcoidosis
Charity music event at Mill Theatre

Help Save the Town and County by Professor Baikie
Professor Baikie, vice-chairman of CHAT has hit the ground running is his new role with front page headlines in the John O'Groat Journal today and a letter on the CHAT Facebook page calling the whole community from whatever perspective to join the fight to save the Town and County from the despicable moves of NHS Highland trying to hide behind a consultation exercise and bed review.  Read the letter  - it says what many people feel and gives voice to the need to fight this in every way possible.  What next, after the maternity disgrace and moves on the Dunbar hospital in Thurso  as well as the Town and Coucnty in Wick,.  Another Vice-chairman Ron Gunn was appointed at the CHAT AGM a couple of weeks agao and a new branch of CHAT to specifically deal with Thurso will be formed at our next full meeting in Thurso to allow full participation without having to travel to Wick in coming weeks and months. CHAT is increasing its political activity as the only way forward as we have had no sign from NHS Highland other than their moves to close down the facilties in Caithness.  Professor Baikie has asked for as many as possible to write to the First Minister to show we are united - it.  Contact details are on the CHAT Facebook page along with the letter.......Bill Fernie.
Day of action at Caithness bird haven
Caithness Countryside Volunteers at St John's Pool Birds place Sepember 2017
After an extremely busy breeding season, most of the nesting birds have now left St Johns Pool, near Dunnet which gave the Caithness Countryside Volunteers the ideal opportunity to get into action before the winter migrants begin to arrive. The volunteers undertook a range of activities such as wood preserving the viewing hides and fence posts. Weeding was carried out on one of the islands and new shutters fitted to one of the hides.

Attractions of Wick On the John O'Groat Trail - Can You Help?
As some of you might know the John O Groat trail is hoping to be officially opened next year. The trail will pass through Wick and it was thought that this would be an opportunity to showcase the attractions of Wick for the visiting walkers, those driving the NC500 and others visiting the area.

We are recruiting new Trustees At HomeStart Caithness
HomeStart Caithness Recruiting more trustees
Can you spare a couple of hours a month to help change lives? 
You may bring a particular expertise to the board, such as professional skills in finance, IT, business, personnel management or marketing and PR, but equally as important are listening and communication skills, commitment and common sense. Your commitment is to attend Board meetings. These are held every eight weeks or so and do not usually last more than an hour. All relevant papers are sent out at least one week in advance.

All The Stations - Inverness to Wick
Geoff Marshall and Vikkie Pipe have completed their journey in this last little video.
Comments From The CHAT Postcard Campaign
CHAT Postcard Campaign sample comments
The CHAT postcard campaign has now moved on with the first batch of 1000 postcards sent ot the First Minister.  Here are some sample comments frmo the postcards.  More to follow in coming days.  You can still leave comments about the situation on health issues in Caithness on the CHAT Facebook page whether on maternity or the soon to be launched NHS consultation/bed review which may dramatically affect the three Caithness hospitals with threat of huge reductions at Town and County in Wick and Dunbar hospital Thurso.

Save The Town and County Hospital in Caithness - Sign The Petition

CHAT sends first batch of 1,000 protest postcards to First Minister
CHAT postcards sent to First Minister
Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) has gathered 2,410 postcards from members of the public protesting the centralisation of health services under NHS Highland. The postcards carry the slogan ‘100 miles too far' in reference to the 100 mile journey patients frequently have to travel to receive basic care. In 2016 14,786 patients from Caithness and Sutherland travelled for appointments at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, many of which last only 5 minutes and could be conducted on the phone. Meanwhile, around 90% of maternity patients now give birth in Inverness, and many mothers are making the journey down the A9 without an ambulance, whilst in labour.

Highland Council 160million Budget Gap Next 5 Years

HIE Helps Businesses Get Cyber Strong
Cyber Strong
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is offering its clients across the region support to protect themselves from cyber attacks, by launching the Cyber Strong business project. Co-inciding with Digital Leaders Cyber Resilience Week (11-15 September 2017), the agency is launching a programme to help local businesses and social enterprises achieve national Cyber Essentials accreditation.

Companies Set To LINC With Dounreay
Dounreay PFR
Companies are being invited to LINC together and support Scotland's largest decommissioning project thanks to an innovative new scheme designed to increase the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) delivering clean-up work at Dounreay. Up to five companies will be invited to help understand and develop the best proposal for size-reducing all of the machinery and components that will need to be removed from Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) - the largest to be built at the Caithness site. It is the first of several opportunities expected to be advertised as part of an initiative encouraging SMEs to LINC - liaise, innovate, network and collaborate - with Dounreay.

Highland Council driving quality improvement in education

Council Programme agreed - Local Voices, Highland Choices

Highland Council Restructure Management To Save A Further 235,000

Landlord Registration Enforcement

The John O' Groats Mill - Open Weekend - 9th and 10th September
John O'Groats MillJohn O'Groats Mill
Everyone in our community is aware of the mill at Groats - we've all driven past it, some of us daily. It's very much a local landmark. You may even know a little of its history: it was grinding corn as recently as 2001 and its machinery is still in working order to this day. Not many of us, however, have had the opportunity to see through the buildings. Well, now’s your chance. By kind permission of the Houston family, the Mill will be open on Sat. 9th and Sun. 10th September from 11am till 5pm. All are welcome ................We need your opinion. Without community interest, this project will be nothing more than a pipedream.
Wick Players Christmas Panto Advance Notice

9 Million Berriedale Braes Road Contract Out To Market
Berriedale Braes Improvement contract out shortly
The notice, which outlines construction costs of approximately 9 million, invites prospective bidders to formally apply to participate in the procurement to construct major improvements to this important route in the north of Scotland. The project will see improvements to the road alignment and the existing tight hairpin bend. Once complete the scheme will improve road safety and journey times by removing the need for vehicles to slow down or stop to negotiate the bend.

Caithness Professor Appointed As Vice Principal Of UHI
Professor Stuart Gibb appointed vice-chancellor UHI
Professor Stuart Gibb, director of the Environmental Research Institute at North Highland College UHI, has been appointed as vice-principal (international and external engagement). He is leading on the development and implementation of the university's international strategy, working to improve brand identity and increase the recruitment of international students.........West Highland College UHI principal, Lydia Rohmer, has taken up the role of vice-principal (tertiary) .......Iain Macmillan, principal of Lews Castle College UHI, has been appointed as vice-principal (strategic harmonisation and organisational efficiency)

Mapping the Ecosystem Services of Noss Head and East Caithness Cliffs - Workshop
A coupleof places at the workshop remain.  Takes place on Thursday 7th September.

Chairman of the Royal British Legion Scotland Wick Branch Captain Richard Otley thanks Laurieton
A letter published today in the Camden Courier in Australia. Laurieton United Services Club is in New south Wales.

Crab fishermen off Orkney taken to safety in Scrabster  - BBC

Wick Riverside Volunteers Making a Huge Difference - Want to Help?
Wick Riverside Volunteers - Another Job Done
As communities in Highland and indeed Scotland get left to do more in their areas one group is showing the way. Wick Riverside Volunteers have already changed the look of several areas around the riverside and you can see the before and after photos on their Facebook page.  Dorren Gow a volunteer with the group sent some photos from last weekend and said,"We were given lots of tar planings from Highland Council roads dept for improving the paths, and GMR Hendersons supplied equipment and manpower last weekend. "We will be doing a post on Facebook asking for helpers this weekend now. All help much appreciated, and to bring along a wheelbarrow, spade and gloves if possible."   Share their facebook pages. Alexander 'Sandy' Manson born 1st August 1924 died 22nd August 2017
Alexander 'Sandy' Manson died 22nd August 2017
Alexander 'Sandy' Manson, John O'Groats postmaster and Arctic Convoys veteran. Born 01/08.1924, died 22.08.2017, both at John O'Groats, Caithness. The sudden death of retired postmaster Alexander 'Sandy' Manson at the age of 93 in his PO House home in the well-known small community at the 'top' of Scotland, has robbed the country of one of a dwindling group of servicemen who have been more honoured by a key ally in the long fight against the evils of Nazism than by our own British Government. For Sandy Manson served on board an RN destroyer that provided key support in 1943 and 1944 to seamen of the British Merchant Navy supplying ... against all the odds ... vital war-equipment to aid the Soviet Union in its ultimately successful, but bloody, land and air battles against the Wehrmacht armies. Those conflicts were to decisively turn the tide of WW II against the murderous, fascist clique that ruled Germany from 1933 till the Soviet 'Red Army' overran Berlin in the spring of 1945.

FANCY YOURSELF AS A BIT OF A SLEUTH? - Ashley Cowie Will Reveal New Discoveries
New Archaeology discovery
Fancy yourself as a bit of a sleuth? Come and apply your skills at a unique historic investigaton and hear all about Ashley's latest Neolithic discovery in Caithness.

Booking HERE

Woodturning Demo
Wood Turning Demo
North Highland Woodturners annual demonstration with professional turners Alec Mutch & Mark Sutton.

Caithness man raising awareness of life after brain injury backing ID Card
Callum McLeanAn ex-fisherman whose life changed following a tumour is backing a new charity identification card aimed at helping brain injury survivors explain their condition. Callum Maclean, was a commercial fisherman for more than 20 years and a qualified welding inspector before a brain tumour changed his life in 2011. The tumour left him with a number of problems such as impaired balance, affected temperament and limited mobility. These symptoms have brought many challenges, including dealing with the often inappropriate ways people react to his disabilities.  It’s for this reason that he is supporting a new identification card being launched by Headway – the brain injury association. The Headway Brain Injury Identity Card is designed to help brain injury survivors explain their condition.
Royal British Legion Scotland Wick Canisbay & Latheron Branch
Alex Paterson paints new Legion sign
Royal British legion Scotland Wick Canisbay and Latheron Branch, over the last year have had a very busy, rewarding and successful time......................................In a bid to re - engage with valued members and to ensure effective communication Chairman Capt Richard Otley has recently personally written to all members present and lapsed. Going forward the branch has introduced a monthly draw for all members and hopes to further build on the success of the recent annual RBLS Mey Highland and Cultural Games, making next year's event even bigger and better.