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Caithness Critters
Highland Ranger Service In Caithness

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Walks In Caithness 

8 March 2007

The Critters Club membership is currently open as some of the older members have moved on.
For more details contact the Ranger Service at Wick.

Lindsey Duncan the countryside ranger at -
East Caithness Countryside Ranger
Bruce Buildings, Sinclair Terrace, Wick, KW1 5AB
Tel/Fax: 01955 607758
[email protected]

The Caithness Critters is a local children's nature group run by the Highland Council Ranger Service.  The club is open to children aged 8 to 14 with an interest in wildlife & the environment.  The club meets on a regular basis & aims to encourage greater appreciation for the environment and wildlife by raising awareness at an early age.

2007 Events
Saturday 17th February

Be a nature detective and discover who’s been around before you! A mixture of outdoor and indoor activities.
Wrap up warm. Meet at Dunnet Visitor Centre at 11am.

Saturday 10th March

Hunt for signs of spring in this pretty woodland.
A walk and games. Wrap up warm.
Meet at Latheronwheel Harbour at 11am

Saturday 31st March

Painted egg competition. Bring your own decorated egg! Prize for the best painted egg!
Meet at Dunnet Forest Car Park at 11am. Wrap up warm. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Saturday 12th May

Take a walk to see the seabirds and hunt for shells. Meet at Duncansby Head carpark at 11am. Wrap up well!

17 December 07
Best Caithness Critter Of 2007
At the last Caithness Critters event of the year, Thomas Simpson, aged 10 from Mey received the annual prize for Best Attendance. Organised by Countryside Ranger with The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service, Caithness Critters is a local children's nature group aimed specifically at children aged 8 to 14 with an interest in wildlife and the environment. The group meets on a regular basis and aims to encourage greater appreciation for the environment and wildlife by raising awareness at an early age. At the event held in the Seadrift Centre at Dunnet, the children learned about garden birds and feeding tips before they made their own bird table While presenting Thomas with prizes of bird identification, sticker book and certificate of achievement, Marina Swanson, East Caithness Ranger and watch group leader said: Thomas has done very well and is very enthusiastic about taking part in all our events. His bird table turned out brilliantly especially with the beautiful designs of blue tit and robin.


21 February 06
Almost 30 volunteers turned out to help plant trees at Dunnet forest last Saturday. The planting was organised by Highland Council's Planning and Development Service countryside rangers and Dunnet Forest community forester, Jon Hollingdale as part of the Caithness Countryside Volunteer and Caithness Critter programme of events. A mix of approximately 400 broadleaf trees were planted, staked and guarded in a recent felled area. The event was part of the Community Service Volunteers Action Earth supported by Scottish Natural Heritage. After the tree planting, all the volunteers rested at the Northern Sands Hotel where a sandwich lunch and refreshments were provided.

19 January 06

The first meeting of the year for the Caithness Critters took place last Sunday.  The wildlife loving youngsters turned out to brave the harsh winds and cold temperatures to take part in a bird watch at the Loch of Mey.  The children spotted and recorded a range of bird species and practiced their identification skills with pictures and bird sounds in the hide.

The annual prize of Best Attendance was also presented during the event. This year, two members tied for first place.  Alex Calder, from Scarfskerry, and Alexander Bonham from Corseback, Dunnet both attended 7 events throughout 2005.  They were presented with certificates and bird identification books.

 Marina Swanson, East Caithness ranger and watch group leader said: “The weather did not seem to dampen the spirits of the children as they were very keen to take part in the afternoon’s activities.  Alex and Alexander have done very well in keeping such a high attendance all year round.  It is encouraging to see the support for the group and the keenness of the children to learn about nature.”

The next Critter event will take place next month where tree planting will be undertaken at Dunnet Forest.  The Highland Council Planning and Development’s Countryside Rangers are supported by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Beach Clean At Keiss

21 September 04
Volunteers Flock To Keiss Beach Cleanup
Almost 30 volunteers turned out last Saturday to take part in a local beach clean and monitor at Keiss beach. The clean-up was organised by the rangers in The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service as part of the national Beachwatch event, the most extensive monitoring programme in Europe for coastal and marine litter. The volunteers cleared large amounts of unwanted debris and litter along the rocky section of the shore between the harbour and Stain. Members of the Caithness Critters and the Caithness Countryside Volunteers turned out in force and with help from local residents, created a strong hit squad. The types and quantities of litter were recorded and removed to ensure that the surveyed stretch of beach was rubbish free.

9 July 04
Critters At Achvarasdal Woodland Turn Detective
Achvarasdal Woodland was the place for exploration and discovery recently when members of the Caithness Critters, local
children's nature group, found evidence of all kinds of wildlife.  The Caithness Critters is an environmental group for children run by Rangers with The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service.  The group meets every month to learn about nature and wildlife around the county.  The team of nature detectives enjoyed the sounds and smells of the beautiful woodland while hunting for track marks and droppings.  Last month the Critters were 'Puffin' watching at Duncansby Stacks and will be exploring the 'Broch, Bogs, Burials' of the Yarrows  Archaeological Trail next month. Marina Finlayson, 'Caithness Critter' leader and The Highland Council's East Caithness Ranger said: "Through hands-on experience the children learn a great deal about nature and their environment without even realising.  We are lucky to have some great places to use for our events such as Achvarasdal Woodland where there is always interesting wildlife."

9 March 04
A Caithness based children's nature group, organised by The Highland Council’s Planning and Development Service Rangers are the winners of the Scottish Wildlife Watch Group of the Year Competition for 2003.   The group, 'Caithness Critters', won the Scottish Wildlife Trust competition which celebrates the achievements of Watch Groups around the UK and encourages the groups to keep a diary or yearbook of their activities through out the year.  The 'Caithness Critters', organised through Highland Council’s Rangers is a club for children aged 8 - 14 with an interest in wildlife.  The group meets every month to explore the great outdoors and learn about the wonders of nature.  Events take many different forms and over the past year have included forest treasure hunts, rock pool rummages, bat walks, gold panning, bird cake making and mini beast safaris.


23 September 03
Gold Panning and Fossil Hunting Keeps Caithness Critters Busy
Caithness Critters the local children's natural history group set out for a combined day of gold panning and searching for semi precious stones in the Strath of Kildodnan as part of Geology Week and then on to a fossil hunt at Loss Beach.

16 August 03
Critters Treasure Hunt At Dunnet Forest
Caithness Critters the young nature group run by the Rangers recently has treasure hunt at Dunnet Forest.  The highly popular group often has a waiting list for membership but it may well be worth putting a name on the list as youngsters grow up and move on.  Contact the Ranger Service for further details.

May 2003

Duncansby Stacks To See Birds

Pictures of Events From 2002

 24 November 2002

Noss Head Tree Planting

9 May 2002

Critters and Others At Spring Clean-up

Critters Easter Treasure Hunt

Earlier Cycle Outing