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Caithness News Bulletins April 2004

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The Highland Council today (Wednesday) joined the EU Network of GM-free Regions by declaring that the Highlands had nothing to gain from genetically modified technology and much to lose. Councillor Richard Durham, Chairman of the Council's Land and Environment Select Committee, was in Linz, Northern Austria, to add the Council's voice to the lobbying campaign to persuade the European Commission to give the 10 member regions the legal right to declare themselves GM-free.

A Caithness golf club with over 100 years of history is teeing up for the new season by launching a website  www.lybstergolfclub.co.uk  as part of a drive to encourage new members.  Lybster Golf Club (LGC), one of the shortest 9 hole courses in Scotland, is the club of choice of a wide range of golfers of varying age groups and abilities. Their clubhouse is the former ticket office of the Wick – Lybster Light Railway, which was closed in 1944. In recognition of the link to the railway line, the route of which is still visible through the course, the club adopted the steam train, affectionately known locally as the ‘Coffee Pot’, in their distinctive logo.

Gordon Miller - Honorary International Member At Lybster
To mark this new venture the club bestowed Honorary International Membership on Gordon Miller, a native of Lybster, who immigrated to Canada in 1953. Gordon, who is a member of the Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, sampled what the club had to offer while visiting his family in Lybster last summer. He said, “I am very honoured to have been chosen as an Honorary International Member of Lybster Golf Club and proud to be a Canadian ambassador. I’m looking forward to returning to play a few rounds and enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the members”.

Thurso FC Still In winning Mode As They Take The Morris Newton Cup

Thurso F.C won their second trophy of this season 2003/04 when they won the Morris Newton Cup Final 4-2 against Balintore at Dudgeon Park, Brora.  Thurso's goals were scored by Jamie MacKenzie (2), Ross Sutherland and Nigel MacKenzie. This was Thurso's third cup final of the season. Thurso have now won seven trophies i.e. two league championships and five cups (PCT Cup twice, Morris Newton Cup twice and Football Times Cup) since formation in 1998.

Pulteneytown People's Project And South School Meet Big Businesses
The Pulteneytown People's Project and South School in Wick were the main places on the visit to Caithness by some of Scotland's top companies.  The trip is over two days and is organised by Scottish Business In The Community and includes a visit by the Prince of Wales to local farms and businesses.

A future for farming and crofting
Sweeping proposals were published on 19th April 2004 which could help safeguard the future of farming and crofting communities in one of the most remote parts of Great Britain.  The conclusions are contained in an extensive report commissioned by The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust to examine the decline of farming and crofting in Caithness.

Migdale Hoard Collection Back On Display In Inverness Museum
Lecture by Dr Alison Sheridan, National Museums of Scotland
A magnificent hoard of Bronze Age jewellery, found at Loch Migdale, near Bonar Bridge in Sutherland will be the topic of a lecture to be given by Dr Alison Sheridan of the National Museums of Scotland on Thursday 29 April 2004, 7pm at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery.  The collection which went on display in Inverness Museum earlier this year in January was removed for its safety from the public gaze to allow electrical re-wiring work at Inverness Museum. The Migdale Hoard, on loan from the National Museums of Scotland, will be back on public display from 30th April to 14th June.

Secondary 1 and 2 students in The Highland Council area are being offered the opportunity to be part of Am Baile, the new Highland history and culture website and the chance to win a digital camera by taking part in a social history competition.  The Am Baile schools competition, 'A Day to Remember', is inviting students to write a short factual story about the Highlands. The winning entries will be showcased on the Am Baile website at www.ambaile.org.uk in the autumn.  There are nine prizes to be won. The overall winner will receive a digital camera and there is a £25 book token prize for best entry in each Highland Council area.

Local Man To Run London Marathon
Sandy Christies is running in the London marathon again this year after managing to get a guaranteed place by completing the Lochness marathon in 3hrs 15mins. Sandy said, "This allows me to raise money for my own chosen charity which this year is going to be Breathe Easy".  "My wife's step mother, Mrs Beta Brunjes, has been an active member and fund raiser for Breathe Easy since she was diagnosed with C.O.P.D in 1999".

The British Lung Foundation's Breathe Easy Club began in 1991 when its founder Trevor Clay - the first male secretary of the Royal College of Nursing and himself an emphysema patient - recognised the need for people with similar experiences to come together on a regular basis o support each other and learn more about their lung conditions. Sadly, Trevor Clay died in 1995.  However, his lasting legacy to the British Lung Foundation is a successful and thriving Breathe Easy Club.

£35k SNH Grant Boost For North Diver Project
A major three-year project in the north of Scotland, aimed at the conservation of one of the UK's rarest birds, the black-throated diver, has been awarded a grant of more than £35,000 by Scottish Natural Heritage. The total UK population of breeding black-throated divers is believed to be less than 200 pairs. Black-throated divers nest on small islands in lochs, or on the loch shore and around 30% of these nests fail annually due to fluctuating water levels. Others fail due to predation or human disturbance. Divers also produce very small numbers of young, so any lack of breeding success can have a significant impact on the overall population.

A survey is being carried out by The Caithness Childcare and Family Resource Partnership to find out what sorts of childcare people in Caithness want and what factors are important to them when they choose childcare.  Survey forms have gone out to a sample of parents in four areas of the County over the last few weeks. Lindsay Gunn, the Partnership project officer said: "Provision of childcare, or the lack of it, is becoming an important issue in the area these days. It may be that there are people who are unable to take up jobs or training opportunities because of a lack of childcare which is holding back the local economic development.

Berriedale Resurfacing Will Cause Delays And Road Closure On Some Nights From 10.00pm
Road Repairs at Berriedale commence on 19 April and will last for 8 weeks.  Delays of up to 15 minutes can be expected when passing through the road works.  In addition the road will be closed completely on 6 nights from 10.00pm until 6.00am the following morning on 6 nights.  The dates of total closure at night are  12 - 13 May, 19 - 20th May,  26th - 27th 2nd - 3rd June, 9th - 10th June, 16 - 17th June.  If you plan to travel at night or early in the morning then avoid these dates as there are no easy detours around Berriedale.  Emergency services are aware of these works and closures.

Caithness Country Music Festival Gets Going

Ormlie Volunteers Run Craft Workshops
The three girls in the foreground are having fun at the recent Easter Craft Workshop which was held in the Ormlie Centre by volunteers from the original Summer Workshops which are now a regular feature in out-of-school activities in Ormlie.  The volunteers so enjoyed providing the summer workshops that they decided they wanted to keep the joy going for everyone by running events during other school vacations too.

North Link Ferry Services To Be Retendered As Northlink Hits Financial Problems
The government has had to throw Northlink a lifeline to keep the service afloat.  The Scottish Executive will give the company an extra £13.4 million including £1million for the delays in the construction of the Scrabster pier.  The late start-up of the new ferry Hamnavoe and competition arriving from the new Pentland Ferries from Gills have played a part in the problems for Northlink.  The ferry contract will be retendered almost immediately and would commence in 2005.  Ferry services are not affected and sailings remain as per the timetable.

First Caithness Country Music Festival Starts Today - And Tickets Sold Out Sat & Sun Nights
Interest in the Caithness Country Music Festival has been intense and the Saturday and Sunday evening shows are sold out.  The big marquee complete with dance floor and stage can hold up to 700 people and preparations have been going on all week to have everything ready.  There are still some tickets left for afternoon shows on Saturday and Sunday and a fast disappearing few for tonight.  If you want to see any of the remaining show you better be quick and book a ticket.  Entry without a ticket is not allowed.  Thurso hotels and bed and breakfasts are mainly full for the weekend.  There are still beds available in other parts of the county and Thurso is only 20 minutes from Wick.  Country music fans have been arriving over the past few days for a look around before the festival begins.  Have fun everyone.

The European Union Is About To Get Bigger - Is Your Business Ready For New Opportunities?
Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster - Tuesday 20 April
The biggest ever enlargement of The EU takes place in May. In order to help Highland businesses prepare and take advantage of the opportunities EU Enlargement will bring, European Business Services in Inverness is running an evening seminar in Lybster.  If you want to learn more about doing business in other countries here is your chance.  The event starts at 5.30pm with registration at 5.00pm.  Whatever goods or services your business supplies can you afford to ignore 24 other markets in the expanded European Union. FREE

Plans to redevelop Thurso Town Hall and the adjoining Thurso Museum into a multi-purpose visitor, information and community centre called "Caithness Horizons" have taken a key step forward with the appointment of a specialist exhibition design team to develop the internal design of the revamped building and a museum assistant to audit and catalogue the museum collections.  Working with the design consultants will be Alan McIvor, the volunteer exhibitions co-ordinator with the Thurso Heritage Society, who is being seconded for 17 weeks by The Highland Council to work as a museums assistant, auditing and cataloguing more than 3,000 items held in storage by the Society and the Council.

Thurso Pipe Band Returned From New York After A Packed Schedule For Tartan Week
The Thurso Pipe band arrived back on Tuesday night after a hectic 5 days in New York to take part in the cities Tartan week celebrations.  As well a playing at the parade the band played at the pre parade Ceilidh held by the New York Caledonian Society and at Times Square. 


Another Well Head Arrives At Wick
As another wellhead arrived at Wick today the harbour was unusually busy to look over.   No longer are fish the main cargoes and it is strange to see that two different energy sources are presently the main work involved.  A well head bound for the North Sea oil fields via the Wester Yard and wind turbines for the Causewaymire.

New Thurso Lifeboat Arrives At Scrabster - "The Taylors"
the new Thurso lifeboat has arrived home.  The boat was crewed by the coxswain and mechanic plus three crew members who travelled to Poole in Dorset to do a week of training before taking the boat home.  The boat cost £1.9m. The boat is one of the Severn class of lifeboats, 17m in length with a maximum speed of 25Kts. She is named THE TAYLORS after a family of that name from Aberdeen who left a legacy to the RNLI.

Tent Show At Wick Sat & Sun 3rd & 4th April

1 April 04
Judo Self Defence Course - A Six Week Course From Caithness Judo Club
The course being run by Caithness Judo club is aimed at absolute beginners from age 14 upwards.  The course promises results in the six weeks and the possibility of getting you fitter.  The course will be held in Thurso High School  starting on 19 April and running up to 24 May.  The course fee is just £10.  All you need in the way of gear is loose sports or casual wear.  Contact details are in the leaflet.  Go on get fit this spring and have some fun along the way.

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