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Caithness Field Club

Caithness Field Club Bulletin
2018

Contents
Editorial - See Below

Caithness Field Club Summer Programme 2018 - See below
Field Club Activities during 2017 (by Tony Bradford)
Botanical Report 2017 (by Francis and Margaret Higgins)
Ranger Wildlife Notes 2017 (by Paul Castle)
Strathmore Flora (contributed by Keith Gerry)
Allan’s Reminiscences (by Allan Abernethy)
Place-names - Nottingham and Snottergill Burn (by George Watson)
St Donnan - Patron Saint (by Audrey Munro)
Thusater Dig (by Caithness Broch Project)
Caithness Field Club Trips (by Anna Rogalski)
Heads of Heroes (by Geoff Leet)
Tale of a Carriage (by Tony Bradford)

Editorial
For many years Ken Butler edited this Bulletin. Sadly he died last year, and his knowledge and expertise in putting together an interesting and informative magazine for the Field Club is much missed. Finding a replacement Editor has proved impossible, but the Bulletin has always been a welcome feature of Club membership, so it was felt important that publishing it should continue.

Elizabeth Rintoul and Janet MacKenzie decided to produce it jointly, even though it appears rather later than usual. We hope the result will compare reasonably with those edited by Ken and his predecessors. At our 2017 AGM, several long-standing Committee members stood down, expressing the hope that replacements would be found to carry on their work and maybe bring in new ideas.

We thank in particular Geoff Leet (ex-Chairman) and Marion Owen (ex-Secretary) for their sterling service over many years on the Committee in those capacities. We could not have done without them. We would also like here to give a tribute to other stalwart members who are sadly no longer with us: David Oliver, Jack Barnaby, Paul Humphreys and Lynn Leet. They have all either served on the Committee or helped in other ways. 

With new blood on the Committee, several different ideas for summer outings were tried last year. The motorcade which was usually the first outing of the season was changed to a rail outing to Kildonan, which was very successful (the fine weather helped). Several walks took place on other days of the week rather than on Sundays as had been the usual practice. The winter programme of talks and short outings was also successful. These changes have been well received, and we hope that this year will prove equally appealing. Last year the Field Club published a new booklet, “Visits to Historical Caithness”, which was edited by the late Ken Butler. This is laid out as a tour around the county and includes maps. It is proving to be very popular and has already had to be reprinted. It is available from local museums and also from the Treasurer. 

Finally, if any member has an item that could be included in next year’s Bulletin, for which we already have some material, please let either Elizabeth or Janet know. We would be delighted to have your contribution. Next year we hope to produce the Bulletin in April for distribution at the AGM as previously, and would like to receive articles as soon as possible. 

Elizabeth Rintoul Editor Janet Mackenzie Sub-Editor

Caithness Field Club Summer Programme 2018
Saturday 21st July: Walk on start of the John O’ Groat Trail Joy will lead on an easier part of the developing coastal trail: sheep grazed sward, rich in wild flowers, and favouring some birds, especially waders. We will need a car left at the lighthouse to make it a one way walk. Bring lunch or join the tourists in their experience. Cars will depart from Wick and Thurso railway stations at 10-00 to meet at the main car park, JOG.

Wednesday 15th August: Evening walk around the delightful woodland trail at Geise Calum will take us around what is usually a diverse selection of wild flowers and birds, together with the remains of the old distillery. Cars will leave Wick railway station at 18-30 to meet at Thurso station at 19-00.

Saturday 15th September: Wild food hunt in Dunnet Forest Tony will try not to lose us, but this will be essentially an exchange of ideas, from which we could all benefit. To discourage over optimism, you are advised to bring a packed lunch. Cars will depart from Wick and Thurso railway stations at 10-00, to meet at the forest car park.

Saturday 6th October: an outing for Archaeology Month, visiting the Ord of Caithness Try to follow part of the old coach road, taking in Ousdale Broch and ending up at the deserted village of Badbea. This will require some difficult walking in parts, so some alternative easier walking routes will also be devised to view the broch and village. Meet and depart from Wick and Thurso train stations at 10-00, and bring packed lunches. Contact Tony Bradford (tel. 01847811298) nearer to the time.

NON-MEMBERS ARE WELCOME (SORRY, NO DOGS). WALKERS EXPECTED TO WEAR SUITABLE CLOTHING AND BRING A PACKED LUNCH WHERE NECESSARY. EVERYONE COMES AT THEIR OWN RISK. THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTS THAT MEMBERS SEEKING LIFTS SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE COST OF PETROL.

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