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Earlier Items

12 December 06
Caithness Horizons Appoints Marketing Firm And Goes For A Geo Thermal Heating System

Caithness Horizons has this week appointed Shetland based marketing consultants Shaw Marketing and Design Ltd. to develop and implement the pre-opening marketing plan in preparation for opening the new facility in 2008.

Isabel Johnson, Director of Shaw, said: “Immediately on reading the project brief, it struck a chord. Here was a project about a core community asset that had been in danger of becoming extinct. Living in a similar remote community where people have strong links with each other, are proud of their culture and heritage, and enjoy sharing these experiences with visitors, we instinctively felt a strong desire to be part of this project and are delighted with our appointment.”

The Thurso Town Hall refurbishment continues to progress with the main building construction work going out to tender very shortly, with a number of local companies having expressed an interest.

Charlie Ingham, venue manager of the prestigious Rutherglen Town Hall redevelopment project, has been continuing to work alongside the project team to impart his valuable knowledge and experience to assist with crucial business decisions for the future.

A state of the art geo-thermal drilling rig, the first of its kind in Europe, will shortly be carrying out test bores of up to 300 metres in order to test the level of water beneath the Town Hall site. The trials are expected to prove a success, allowing plans to go ahead for a sustainable and eco-friendly ground source heat pump heating system.

5 November 06
Old Rope ?

This may seem a strange request from Castletown Heritage Society. Let me explain. In 2007 Highland Region is celebrating Year of Culture. As our contribution CHS is putting on a series of workshops on traditional skills which used to be part of village life.
One of the skills is that of rope-making. We have invited an artist in rope making and basket-weaving to conduct a creative workshop using rope and basket weaving as a medium for interpreting the story of Castletown and district. As we need some themes to base our interpretations on we have chosen firstly the tale of the selkie (seal-woman) who came from the sea as a baby and was buried in Olrig cemetery. Secondly is the theme of emigrants who left the area to find a new life elsewhere in the world. Our rope artist incorporates various mementos or appropriate objects into the weave of the rope so that they help to tell the tale.
We are contacting those, whose families originally came from here to ask if they might possibly send us a small length of e.g. local grasses/ straw/ leaves from your part of the world/ ribbon/ fabric/ a flag/ a message on paper/. Just enough to go in an envelope will do, and a few words of explanation would be ideal.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could send us something before March 2007 when the rope workshop is due to start. If you know of any more people with connections to Castletown or Olrig parish please pass on this information.
The workshops are being held in our new premises at Castlehill, and the finished interpretation in rope will be on display in it.

Many thanks

Muriel Murray
Castletown Heritage Society
Borgie House
KW14 8SN

8 August 06
Scottish Land & Society: the Threipland Papers

This summer sees the fruition of a two year project by Perth & Kinross Council Archive to catalogue the extensive Threipland papers. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Perth and Kinross Council, Project cataloguer Richard Costello has looked through over 31,000 documents, arranged and listed them. For the first time ever, the Threipland collection is now accessible to the public.  The papers will be on display in Caithness at Halkirk, Thurso and Wick 4 - 23 September 2006

29 June 06
A PERMANENT exhibition entitled Scrabster: Then and Now has been officially opened at Scrabster mission by superintendent Murray Campbell.

The fascinating exhibition features hundreds of photos encapsulating the history and present day-to-day life at the busy whitefish port. A smaller version of the exhibition was previously held on a temporary basis in 2004 but, due to popular demand, it has been expanded and made a permanent fixture at the mission.

Local characters, fishing vessels, Thurso lifeboats over the years, and pictures of royal visits to Scrabster also feature in the exhibition alongside four different St Ola models in bottles and other historical pieces.

Her Late Majesty the Queen Mother's visit to Stroma from Harrow harbour in the 1960s aboard the Primula WK97, skippered by Angus Macintosh, is shown.

The exhibition also has an archive of wrecks in and around the Pentland Firth, including the recent grounding of the Audacious BF83 in 2004 off Canisbay.

Murray said: "Scrabster: Then and Now is a varied display that depicts the port in the old days and through the years up to today. "As a boy, I was sent to the old Scrabster Post Office on errands and was recently given an old photograph of the building. The photo gave me the inspiration to try to put something like this together, with the help of those who have been good enough to lend and donate photos and other items."

He drew attention to the aerial views of Scrabster over the years which show how the port has expanded and diversified to include cruise liners and oil vessels.  "Everyone is welcome to come and visit the exhibition; it's opening hours are the same as the mission - 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 7am to midday on Saturday. Entry is free," he said.

Fishing vessels featured in the exhibition include local boats, like the Opportune WK171 and Boy Andrew WK170, and those from further afield.

28 June 06
Halkirk Heritage and Vintage Motor Society
Summer Exhibition
Saturday 1st July 2006
Ross Institute, Halkirk

Grand Opening By John Thurso MP 2.00pm
Open To The Public 3.00pm - 5.00pm
The exhibition will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays 2.00pm - 4.00pm & 7.00pm - 9.00pm and on Saturdays 2.00pm - 4.00pm

4 April 06
Dounreay’s award-winning visitor centre has opened its doors for the 2006 season in time to catch the early tourists heading North for Easter.  The centre explains to visitors the remarkable story of the pioneers who developed the fast breeder programme at Dounreay over 50 years ago, and the major clean-up programme now underway to restore the environment.

It describes how UKAEA is working with the local community to establish Caithness as a global centre of excellence in nuclear decommissioning, qualities that can sustain the skills and enterprise base of the north Highlands beyond the closure of Dounreay.  Nearly 9,000 people visited the centre during 2005, making it one of the most popular visitor attractions in the far North.

New to the centre this season will be information on the proposed new low level waste disposal facilities at Dounreay, following consultation on the preferred way forward as part of the decommissioning and clean-up of the Dounreay site. Plans are now being prepared for a planning application for the new facilities adjacent to the site.

Trained guides will be on hand to take visitors through the story of Dounreay’s pioneering past and explain how UKAEA has become the most experienced organisation in Europe in nuclear decommissioning.

UKAEA’s Tina Wrighton, who manages the centre, says: "The visitor centre plays a vital role in giving the public the opportunity to find out more about the decommissioning challenges that lie ahead of us and the ground-breaking work that is carried out at the site. UKAEA is working very closely with the local community to ensure that the benefits of Dounreay can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come."

The whole family can enjoy the exhibition and admission to the centre is free, reflecting the importance that UKAEA attaches to both communicating openly and honestly with the wider community about the decommissioning programme and supporting the local economy.

VisitScotland's Area Director, Scott Armstrong said: "Overall in 2005 the visitor numbers to the Highlands increased and high quality visitor attractions, such as Dounreay, play a major part in attracting more people to our area. I wish everyone at the Dounreay Visitor Centre all the very best for a successful season in 2006."

16 March 06
£3.5 Million Project Will Create New Jobs

With the Thurso Town Hall now closed to allow the refurbishment to begin, the enabling work for the Caithness Horizons project is scheduled to start very soon.  The contents of the main building and the artefacts from Thurso Museum have been safely packed up and transferred to an off-site store, and cataloguing the collection will begin shortly.

13 January 06

Caithness Horizons has been awarded the final phase of its crucial capital funding package allowing work to begin within the next few months.  The Highlands and Islands Partnership Programme (HIPP), which administers EU funds for the region, has announced its support for the redevelopment of Thurso Town Hall, with a contribution of £100,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Dennis Malone, Chief Executive of HIPP, said: “I am delighted that ERDF has been able to make a financial contribution to one of the most exciting projects in Caithness and I am confident that the investment will deliver significant benefits for the area.”

15 November 05
Grass Roots Comes to Inverness
Representatives from museums and galleries across northern Scotland and the Highlands and Islands met at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery this week (15 November 2005) to attend the second of a series of workshops as part of the Grass Roots initiative.

Grass Roots, a partnership between the Scottish Museums Council (SMC) and the Group for Education in Museums (GEM) is giving museums and galleries throughout Scotland the opportunity to increase and enhance the learning services they offer by providing practical support, particularly to those lacking dedicated learning and access staff, in developing high quality learning and access programmes.

The workshop - 'Developing Learning Activities in Museums' - called on the expertise of several speakers from the region who have experience of working with schools, higher and further education and the wider community on education and learning initiatives.

The day was aimed at demonstrating inspiring ways to incorporate learning into museum programmes, including practical examples of teaching techniques, case studies from previous successful projects and practical advice on who is available to help. Informal discussions were also held on issues affecting museums and the implementation of learning activities.

Susan Galloway, GEM/SMC Education Officer for the Grass Roots project, said: "Through the Grass Roots project, we aim to boost the confidence and proficiency of museums that currently offer limited learning activities, enabling them to develop their own, tailored education resources using their own collections and facilities. This will be of real benefit to both the museums and visitors, giving them an increased sense of involvement and an enhanced experience of the collections."

Joanne Orr, Director of SMC, said: "The Grass Roots project puts into action Scottish Museum Council's Learning and Access Strategy, published earlier this year, making quality access and learning policies and practices an integral part of museum delivery. We are delighted that so many of our museums in the Highlands and Islands and the north of Scotland are getting involved in the project."

· To view a copy of SMC's Learning and Access Strategy, please visit www.scottishmuseums.org.uk 
· A full explanation of the Grass Roots project can be viewed on GEM's website - www.gem.org.uk

5 November 05
The Dounreay Visitor Centre, rated as a four-star attraction, has closed its doors for the 2005 season after enjoying yet another successful season with almost 9,000 people through its doors. The Visitor Centre opened in March this year to encompass the early Easter break and has received a steady flow of tourists from all over the world, as well as members of the local community throughout the season.

Visiting Caithness & Planning Your Trip
Remember the Highlands of Scotland and the far north in particular can have very variable weather often changing very rapidly.  If you are planning to spend a few days in the far north think about being flexible seeing the coast and beautiful scenery on a dry day and visiting some of the many and varied centres on the wet ones.  Caithness has a rich history and cultural background that is still very much alive.   Ask locals when you might see some of the local events especially during July and August.  Watch out for exhibitions, local musical events, Highland or country dancing often hidden away in halls and not advertised.  Visitors are welcome to join in local events - just ask.

5 June 05
As part of a celebration of the life of the fishing community in Lybster and of Neil Gunn, the well-known Caithness author, Lybster Heritage Trust and Lybster Harbour Society are inviting everyone to come and join in the fun on Saturday, 25th June.  There will be demonstrations of creel and net-making, spinning and rag rug-making; there will be a story-teller and traditional music; there will be stalls, including one where you can buy Cullen Skink and another selling crab. The old film “The Silver Darlings”, which was partly made at Lybster harbour will be shown at 12 noon and at 3.30 p.m.

25 March 05
Wick Heritage Opens For Easter Weekend

The folk over at Wick Heritage have been dusting down and getting ready to open early this year and they will be open over the Easter weekend.  with a huge range of items and rooms set out reflecting Caithness in earlier times it may take more than one visit to see it all.  the centre boasts a huge archive of photographs many from the Johnson Collection and a unique photo from Caithness can be purchased in a variety of sizes.

25 March 05
Dounreay’s award-winning visitor centre opens its doors for the 2005 season today in time for the early Easter weekend.  The centre explains to visitors the remarkable story of the pioneers who developed the fast breeder programme at Dounreay 50 years ago, and the major clean-up programme now underway to restore the environment.  It describes how UKAEA is working with the local community to establish the north Highlands as an international centre of excellence in nuclear decommissioning - qualities that can sustain the skills and enterprise base of the north Highlands beyond the closure of Dounreay and so ensure the ultimate legacy of Scotland’s first “atomic factory” is one everyone can be proud of.

21 March 05
Dounreay's award-winning visitor centre will open this year on Thursday, 24 March 2005. The centre, which last year attracted over 9,000 visitors, tells the story of Dounreay's role over the past fifty years, how it was developed as the centre for Britain's fast reactor development programme, its operational years, and how the site is now focussed on decommissioning. Tina Wrighton, who manages the centre, said it is one of the leading tourist attractions in the area. "With Easter being so early this year, when normally there are a number of tourists in the area, we wanted to make sure that our doors are open to bid them a welcome," said Tina. Visitors of all ages are welcome and they can enjoy a light snack in the adjacent cafeteria.

19 October 04
The group behind the redevelopment of Thurso Town Hall into a multi-purpose community, visitor, information centre and museum, Caithness Horizons, have launched a new website to keep people informed of the projects progress and have formalised themselves by becoming a company limited by guarantee.  Preliminary sketches and plans of the proposed layout for the redevelopment are now available on the new website.  There is also a chance for people to complete an online survey form, which will provide information on what facilities people would like to see provided.  Plans are also available in Thurso Town Hall and both Wick and Thurso Libraries.  Under the plans Thurso Town Hall and the adjacent library which are owned by The Highland Council will be developed to improve the public spaces for meetings, talks and local groups, and to bring together information for visitors on Thurso, Caithness, and the decommissioning work at Dounreay.  The project will ensure that the Victorian old building is maintained for public use in the future.

14 September 04
From The New Archivist At Wick - Rachael Taylor

Just a quick note to introduce myself as the new Archivist at North Highland Archive in Wick. I began work here at the start of August and it's great to be able to work in such lovely surroundings! I have worked in various archives around Scotland including the National Archives of Scotland, University of Edinburgh and Glasgow City Council.

7 December 03
Plans For New Visitor Centre At Thurso Town Hall
The project is the establishment and operation of a multi-purpose visitor, information and community centre within the Thurso Town Hall and the adjacent Carnegie Library through the restoration, refurbishment and alteration of the building.
Check Out Artists Impressions

3 November 03

A  41 per cent increase in visitors to the Dounreay Exhibition has made the 2003 season one of the most popular for many years.  Almost  8,000  people  passed  through  the  doors of the Highlands' latest four-star visitor attraction since it opened in May.

2 September 03
5000th Visitor This Year To Dounreay Visitor Centre
Dounreay director Peter Welsh was on hand to welcome the 5,000th visitor to the Dounreay Visitor Centre since it opened in May. He presented Kent holiday-maker Elaine Yorwarth with a souvenir copy of the book "Dounreay - The Illustrated Story" to mark the milestone. Tina Wrighton, who runs the UKAEA visitor centre, said: "visitor numbers this season have been very high with a twenty percent increase on recent years and welcoming our 5000th visitor so early in the year has been a real pleasure and very rewarding for the staff who work so hard in centre.  The centre will be open until the end of October so anyone who hasn't come along this year still has plenty of time to call in".

4 August 03
Millennium Dyke Launched At Dunnet Near Ranger Centre 

The dyke was constructed by a local dyker and local children supplied drawings which were the designs for the pictures carved out of the stone and set into the wall.

7 July 03
Tour  guides at the Dounreay Visitor Centre know all about the fast breeder reactor programme that turned the site into a household name. But  they  learned  quickly  about a very different type of breeder when an Oystercatcher  decided  to  nest  in  a  flower-tub  at the entrance to the centre.

1 July 03
Timothy Pont Exhibition At Dunbeath
Throughout July 2003