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Highland Ranger Service In Caithness
Visitor Centre At Dunnet Bay
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Earlier Events

25 September 06
Three Guided Walks To Caithness Heritage Sites
North Coast Harbour Trawl - Saturday 7 October.
Battle site at Altimarlich - Sunday 8 October
Bogs, Burials and Brochs - Thursday 12 October
Three guided walks to Caithness sites of heritage interest have been organised by The Highland Council's Countryside Rangers as part of the 2006 Highland Archaeology Fortnight festival which runs from 30 September to the 15 October, giving children and adults something fun to do during the school holidays.

The first event, North Coast Harbour Trawl, will be on Saturday 7 October. Led by Ranger Mary Legg, the outing, which runs from 11am to 3pm, will be a tour to discover the history and wildlife of the harbours of the North Coast. For further information, and to find out where to meet up please telephone Mary on 01847 821531

The following day (Sunday 8 October) the Countryside Rangers will be leading a walk up the Wick River to visit the ancient clan battle site at Altimarlich, looking at wildlife along the way. Anyone coming along should bring a packed lunch and meet up at the Somerfield Car Park at 11am, bringing binoculars rather than swords!

The third event on Thursday 12 October, called 'Bogs, Burials and Brochs', is a beginner's introduction to the Yarrow area. Explore a landscape filled with round houses, a chambered cairn and broch structures with Ranger Marina Swanson. Running from 11.00am to 1.30pm, anyone wishing to come along should meet up at South Yarrow Farm car park, grid reference ND 306433.

The Highland Council's Countryside Rangers are grant aided by Scottish Natural Heritage and their role is to promote public enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside and to conserve wildlife and habitats.

These events are part of the 156 different activities taking place during Highland Archaeology Fortnight which celebrates the archaeology, history and culture of the Highlands with guided walks, talks, children's activities and special events for people of all ages.

Co-ordinated by The Highland Council's Archaeology Unit in the Planning and Development Service, the festival's events are organised by a wide range of community groups, interested individuals, museums and professional bodies such as Historic Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

21 February 06
DUNNET FOREST TREE PLANTING
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.

16 October 05
Walk - Wick To Altimarlach

As part of Highland Archaeology fortnight the Rangers organised a walk from Wick to Altimarlach the site of the last clan battle in Scotland between the Campbells of Glen Orchy and the Sinclairs of Keiss.  A beautiful day took the walkers a couple of miles up river to the site  (three hours there and back with a stop for lunch)  Along the Wick river plenty of birds to spot and views of the old croft at Cruives , the Fairy Hillock cairn and great views back to Wick and out into the Caithness countryside.  The reed beds are died back at this time of the year making the approach easier than in summer although Altimarlach can be reached from the Sibster road.  Care needs to be taken as the site is on farmland with cattle in nearby fields that need to be crossed.  See Altimarlach in the A - Z for link to the history.

8 March 05
Ranger Walks Are FREE and Great Way To See the Caithness Countryside And Coastline
This picture was taken on Sunday 6 March on the Ranger led walk from Staxigoe to Keiss.  The walks are organised throughout the year but there are many more in the summer months than the winter.  The rangers research their walks and can point out not only interesting aspects on wildlife and plant life but also can give some information on some of the history or archaeology along the way.  Walks vary in distance, time and difficulty but all details are usually advertised or can be checked by a quick call to the ranger office.  Visitors to the county are very welcome to go along on these walks and all of the walking groups in the area welcome new faces for one or more walks.

23 February 05
850K SNH GRANT AID FOR COUNTRYSIDE RANGERS
Scottish Natural Heritage has awarded a grant of 850,750 to The Highland Council to support the continued employment of their countryside rangers for the next three years.  The rangers make a significant contribution to the delivery of SNH's functions for conserving, for promoting public enjoyment and fostering understanding of the natural heritage as well as playing a key role in encouraging and managing access and recreation. The SNH grant secures the 26 full time and four seasonal posts who provide a ranger service throughout the local authority area. Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Executive's statutory advisor in respect to the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage.

4 January 05
Access In The Countryside

The latest newsletter from SNH and links to related and useful web sites.  the new legislation comes into affect in 2005 and there are grants available for paths etc.

13 September 04
CAITHNESS PEOPLE RALLY
TO NATIONAL WILDLIFE EVENTS
The two Caithness wildlife workshops held recently by Ranger in The Highland Councils' Planning and Development Service proved to be a great success. The 'Batty about Bats' workshop at Dunbeath attracted more than a dozen people and the 'Caithness Cetaceans' workshop at Lybster saw more than thirty people over the course of the day.

24 August 04
Bat Training Workshop
SATURDAY 28TH AUGUST
DUNBEATH HERITAGE CENTRE AT 7PM

As part of the UK Bat day, you are invited to attend a training workshop led by Anne Youngman from the Bat Conservation Trust.  This workshop is aimed at people with some previous experience of bats. There will be an indoor 'hands on' session on Bat ID & use of bat detectors followed by a bat walk up the Dunbeath Strath.
Please book a place on this event by contacting Marina Swanson on 01955 607758 or
 e-mail marina.swanson@highland.gov.uk
Please wear warm/waterproof outdoor clothes, stout footwear. Bring a torch, flask & detector if you have one.
Please note that this event is free of charge but any donations to the Bat Conservation Trust or Dunbeath Heritage Centre would be gratefully received.

SEAWATCH 2004
National Whale & Dolphin Watch with the Highland Council Ranger Service

Did you know there are regular sightings of whales & dolphins around the Sutherland & Caithness coastline at this time of year?
Join the ranger service in a national Seawatch on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of August at the following venues:
Saturday STRATHY POINT: Meet at lighthouse car park at 10.30 am.
Sunday LYBSTER COAST: Meet at Lybster Heritage Centre (harbour) 12 noon.
Please wear warm/waterproof outdoor clothes, stout footwear. Bring binoculars, if you have them, a snack and thermos. Please allow 2 hours.   ! Please note that this event is weather dependent!!

 

21 August 04
BAT WALKS
Thursday August 26th ACHVARASDAL 8.30pm
Meet at woodland entrance
Friday September 3rd CASTLETOWN 8.15pm
Meet carpark at Castletown end of beach.
All children under 16 must be accompanied by adult
Please wear warm/waterproof outdoor clothes, stout footwear & a torch.  Please note that this event is weather dependent & sightings are not guaranteed!!

18 August 04
SEAWATCH 2004 - National Whale & Dolphin Watch with the Highland Council Ranger Service
Did you know there are regular sightings of whales & dolphins around the Sutherland & Caithness coastline at this time of year?  Join the ranger service in a national Seawatch on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of August at the following venues:Saturday STRATHY POINT: Meet at lighthouse car park at 10.30 am.  Sunday LYBSTER COAST: Meet at Lybster Heritage Centre (harbour) 12 noon.

17 August 04
MAMMAL WORKSHOPS COME TO CAITHNESS
Caithness will host two exciting workshops  at the end of August (Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th August 2004) focusing on some of the smaller Caithness mammals; 'Bats', and also some of the largest mammals; 'Cetaceans' (whales, dolphins & porpoise). A common theme of "eco-location" will run through the workshops as both animals depend on similar methods to navigate and capture prey.  The workshops have been organised by Rangers in The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service in an attempt to raise general awareness and to improve identification skills of the various species of bats and cetaceans which can be viewed around the county.

11 April 04
Rangers And Countryside Volunteers Mark Out The Brethren Well Near Lybster
The opening up and clearing of the Brethern Well undertaken by Marina Finlayson of the Caithness Ranger Service and some hardy volunteers. It is located on the west brae above the harbour. It apparently dates back to before the Middle Ages.  Monks are reputed to have drawn water here, hence the name. The last domestic supplies were drawn in the 1950's -- approximately 3 large buckets a day--by a family living nearby at Swiney Hill.  It is intended that the well be lined with flagstones and a sign post is already erected on the harbour brae path indicating its existence.

26 February 04
BUILD A BIRD BOX DAY AT DUNNET
The Dunnet Bay Visitor Centre turned into a busy workshop for eager bird box builders last Sunday when over 20 volunteers turned up to 'Build a Bird Box Day'.  The event was organised by Rangers in The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service in response to the Local Biodiversity Action Plan which highlighted a need for specialised bird boxes. Instead of the more common tit and robin type nest boxes, the volunteers tried their hand at building tree creeper and communal house sparrow boxes. The tree creeper boxes will be erected in broadleaf woodlands such as Dunbeath and Achvarasdal and the communal house sparrow boxes in towns through out the county.

14 February 04
Watch Our Wildlife - Spring
A new leaflet from the rangers for Caithness & Sutherland.  It is available in leaflet in paper form from the rangers and locally.

Winter Programme February - April 2004
A variety of walks and activities in the countryside of Caithness to get you out and about.

Marina Finlayson's New Zealnd Trip
Our local rangers get around

 


 

Rangers Winter Walk Programme
Oct -Dec

Sunday 12th October Badryrie deserted settlement; as part of Archaeology week. Visit the deserted settlement of Badryrie and discover the secrets hidden in its walls. Rough walking in parts. Boots essential bring snack
Start time 10.30 Loch Stempster layby ( Road from Causemire to Lybster )
Sunday 16th November; Seal Watch.
A walk from Skirza Pier to John O Groats. The sights and sounds of seals who should be pupping at this time of year. This walk can be boggy in parts. Boots essential. Bring lunch.
Start time 10.30am. at Skirza Pier. Distance 10-11km.
Sunday 07th December. Dunbeath Strath
Follow the strath up to Cnoc na Maranaic or to Achnaclyth. Depending on Weather.
Boots essential.Some rough walking with gradient. Reasonable fitness required .bring Lunch
Meet Car park at Mill 10.00 am
Further information 01847821531

2 September 03
No Whales For Whale Watch Near Lybster
The ranger service organised a cetacean watch as part of the national whale and dolphin watch which was taking place all over Britain.  24 people turned out for the event on Sunday 31 August but unfortunately whales nor dolphins were spotted.  2 groups of porpoise were seen.  Marina Finlayson seen 2 minke whales very close to shore the previous Friday but they did not turn up for the event!

Where You Might Walk

Pictures From Earlier Walks

All Walks Are FREE
Walks Weather Dependent
Outdoor and Waterpoof clothing recommended
Reasonable Fitness Required

Wednesday Wanders
A guided walk every Wednesday in June to September led by Dunbeath Heritage guide or a Countryside Ranger.  Telephone 01593 731233 for details or meet at Dunbeath Heritage Centre 2.00pm every Wednesday.  Coffee after each walk.

Dunbeath Wednesday Wanders are a regular weekly walk. The Heritage Trust conducts walks based on archaeology & history every other week. Meeting place and time is the same as above.

See Also
Nature & Environment

Every year the Ranger Service in Caithness organises free guided walks covering a wide range of areas and habitats.  the walks take in plant life, birds as well as looking at the topography and surrounding countryside.  The experience of the rangers in organising these walks ensures that you can go out with knowledgeable and enthusiastic people able to answer most of your questions on the local environment.  There are outings for children and families and most are suitable for all able bodied people and all that is required is suitable clothing and footwear.  Where the walks are longer it is indicated whether to take along drinks and food

26 August 03
Bat Nights
Learn about how the midge munchers catch prey & navigate through the dark.  2 - 5 September at various locations.

20 August 03
Gold Panning
MONDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER
Try your luck, & perhaps make your fortune, by finding gold & semi precious stones up the Strath of Kildonnan! There will also be a chance to find some fossils during a beach visit in the afternoon.
Transport, equipment will be provided Cost 3/person
Please bring welly boots, outdoor clothing & packed lunch.
BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL
Phone 01955607758 to book or for more details

18 August 03
NATIONAL WHALE DOLPHIN WATCH WEEKEND
30th & 31st August 2003  Want to take part?  Then grab your binoculars and head for the coast!
Your nearest manned site/s:
Strathy Point (lighthouse)
10.30 am Saturday 30th August
Gills Bay (Lay-by overlooking bay)
10.30 am Sunday 31st August

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. Critters Index

16 August 03
Beach Clean
Sunday 21 September 2003 2.00pm

Annual and national Beachwatch which is Sunday 21st September.  Meeting at North Baths, Wick Harbour at 2pm.  This beach clean involves monitoring and recording everything which is found.  There will be refreshments available for all volunteers after the event.

14 August 03 
Bumblebees Talk and Search  - Interesting Day Out
 

Caithness Field Club and the Rangers teamed up to search for Bumblebees.  These useful creatures have been in decline for several decades in most parts of the UK but Caithness, Sutherland and the islands still have some of what have become rarer bumblebees.  Many places in the north have not been surveyed to see what species exist there and they are keen to find out.   Some information is presented to show how you can help to save the bumblebee or assist in checking what species are around in different places........

13 August 03
Sand Sculpture Competition At Dunnet Beach - Great Day

11 July 03
Summer holiday fun with the
Caithness Rangers!

23 May 03
Sutherland Walkers Group In Caithness
Marina Finlayson, Highland Ranger in Caithness recently led the Sutherland Walking Group from Wick to Sarclet Haven.  The birds were truly amazing and the weather made a perfect walk.

2 May 03
2003 East Coast Events And Walks

29 April 03
Sinclair Bay Beach Clean
The beautiful beach at Sinclair Bay, north of Wick, Caithness is looking more inviting to visitors and wildlife after an extensive beach clean which took place on Sunday 27th of April. The weather held for the volunteers to fill a skip full of bags from the masses of accumulated litter along the beach.  The event was funded through the Moray Firth Partnership and organised as an environmental project for the Caithness Countryside Volunteers by the Highland Council Ranger Service. Valuable assistance on the day was provided by Mr Watt from Subsea 7, who loaded, transported and unloaded all the fill bags to a skip on the Wester Site.

12 March 03
Caithness Critters 2003 Programme Now Out
The group for children aged 8 - 14 run by the Rangers has its programme for 2003 out now.  A great chance for young people to learn about the countryside on outings and participating in smallprojects.

Noss Head Tree Planting 26 November 2002
Big Community effort with several groups coming together to plant trees at Noss Head

 

Beach Watch 2002- North Baths Wick 25 Sept 2002

19 September 2002
Inner Wheel Ladies Plant Marram Grass At Dunnet
Inner wheel ladies recently planted more marram grass in the big blow out in the dunes at Dunnet Bay. The marram grass is the dune building grass, it provides a physical barrier which gathers sand and also stabilises the dune helping it to build up. The fences in the picture are made from old branches from Dunnet forest these also provide a barrier for sand to accumulate against. This is an on-going project to try and repair the damage caused by very high winds.  The ranger service is very glad of the help the ladies gave and thank them very much.

Rockpool Rummage 10 September 2002
The recent rock pool rummage at Keiss beach attracted a good turn out on Friday night (over 20 people). Armed with sampling nets and trays, the rummagers searched for the air breathing fish and hunted for the meat eating predators living in the rock pool system.

Cone Zone Challenge 10 September 2002
7 youth group teams turned out for the cone zone challenge held in Dunnet Forest on Saturday. The youths navigated their way around the forest and completed a series of mental and physical tasks. All teams completed the challenge. The photo's show some of the teams at work.

Latest Ranger Notes 3 August 2002

Rangers CASEG Litter Campaign

Ranger Guided Walks In 2002 Programme
A packed season of summer walks open to all members of the public for 2002.  Printed leaflets will be available at Tourist Board and other centres from May.  Meantime check it out here and if you are visiting the county you are welcome to come along.

Countryside Volunteers Programme
Plenty of fresh air awaits you if you join the band of volunteers out in the countryside.  Anyone wising to attend events must register beforehand with the Rangers.  A form is in the section.

Rafts Floated and One Platform In Position
Rafts and platform at St john's Pool were floated and positioned on 1 April

Caithness Critters At Easter

Pictures Presented To Highland Rangers
The Learning for Life Group presented pictures of birds to the Rangers this week

Mary Legg Highland Ranger In Caithness
Tells of Her Taste of Argentina In 2001

Broubster Forest Walk
January 2001 - Pictures

Where You Might Walk

Pictures From Earlier Walks

All Walks Are FREE
Walks Weather Dependent
Outdoor and Waterpoof clothing recommended
Reasonable Fitness Required

Wednesday Wanders

A guided walk every Wednesday in June to September led by Dunbeath Heritage guide or a Countryside Ranger.  Telephone 01593 731233 for details or meet at Dunbeath Heritage Centre 2.00pm every Wednesday.  Coffee after each walk.

Dunbeath Wednesday Wanders are a regular weekly walk. The Heritage Trust conducts walks based on archaeology & history every other week. Meeting place and time is the same as above.

See Also
Nature & Environment

Every year the Ranger Service in Caithness organises free guided walks covering a wide range of areas and habitats.  the walks take in plant life, birds as well as looking at the topography and surrounding countryside.  The experience of the rangers in organising these walks ensures that you can go out with knowledgeable and enthusiastic people able to answer most of your questions on the local environment.  There are outings for children and families and most are suitable for all able bodied people and all that is required is suitable clothing and footwear.  Where the walks are longer it is indicated whether to take along drinks and food