News Archive - April May June 2019
Many  previous items are archived in the Community, Arts, Sports and Business sections

A Short Walk On Thurso River At Halkirk
Walk on Thurso River At HalkirkWalk along Thurso River at HalkirkWalk Along Thurso River at HalkirkThurso River Walk at Halkirk

Building Your Own Home Is Easier Than You May Think!
Building Your Own House is easier than you think. A series of articles begins today from Peter Body
Today we begin a series of articles written by Peter Body of Thermohaus Ltd , a Caithness based timber frame kit home company. Why Self-Build? For decades the British have bought new homes as standard speculatively built products from national and regional house builders. In most cases you must take what the builder offers, meaning there is always compromise. Add to this the high value of land and developers' obligations to their shareholders and the buyer has generally got a poor deal. Self-build is a credible and viable alternative.
         Self-build expert in Caithness launches new eco home concept

Subsea7 Donate £1000 To Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT)
Subsea7 donate £1000 to Caithness Health Action Team - CHAT
Mikie Aitken , Quality Control Inspector for Subsea7 Wester Site, recently won a thousand pounds for a safety award while working on the Equinor Snorre project to be given to a charity of his choice. He chose to donate to Caithness Health Action Team 100mile helper kits which are given to Caithness General Hospital , Community Maternity Unit who give the kits to local women that have to be quickly transferred to Raigmore maternity hospital in an emergency situation. The kit has essentials a mother needs such as sanitary products, toiletries, water, energy bars, head rest, key for the disabled toilet, baby blanket and nappies.

Mount Pleasant Primary School - Public Meeting Regarding Creation Of Gaelic Medium Area
A public meeting will be held at Mount Pleasant Primary School on Tuesday 25 June 2019 starting at 7.30pm, to discuss the creation of a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Mount Pleasant Primary.   Community Index

Wick Harbour Day 2019
Wick Harbour Day 2019Wick Harbour Day 2019 - Boxing ClubWick Harbour Day 2019Wick Harbour Day 2019Wick Harbour Day 2019

Halkirk Gala 2019  - Floats, Crowning, Children's Fancy Dress
Halkirk Gala 2019Halkirk Gala 2019Halkirk Gala 2019Halkirk Gala 2019Halkirk Gala 2019

Obituary on Jimmy Simpson, Laird of Stroma Born 5 April 1928 Died 2nd June 2019
Jimmy Simpson obituaryborn 5 April 1928 Died 2nd June 2019
Jimmy Simpson, the Laird of Stroma, died at the age of 91 on June 2nd, 2019 at the Town & County Hospital, in Wick, Caithness, after a lengthy illness. Mr Simpson, who was born at the fourth of a family of six in Stroma Mains Farm, had owned the now uninhabited island in the middle of the Pentland Firth since 1961. He operated its near-one thousand usually wind-swept acres as a sheep-farm, servicing the two miles long by one mile broad island it with workboats based on little piers & harbours on the North Caithness coast. Jimmy became best-known to visitors as the genial Stroma boatman, ferrying hundreds of visitors each summer to the isle just off John O'Groats.
Budding Engineers Crowdfunding to To Increase Children's Access to 3D Design and Architecture
Budding engineers crowd funding campaign
Budding engineers are currently in the process of trying to raise enough money through crowdfunding for a 3D Community printer here in Caithness. In addition we are also looking to purchase several Architectural Modelling Kits to introduce into Primary Education, some of these are available for children as young as 4 years.

North Highland College No Plans Yet In Place To Deal With Serious Financial Problems
Audit Scotland report into Scotland's Colleges showing financial problems
Colleges' financial challenges increase.
The Audit Scotland report published today (4th June 2019) shows North Highland college is only one of several colleges not to have any financial plan in place to deal with a growing deficit. The auditor highlighted the need for more detailed interaction between the college and UHI as savings plans are developed. The college has once began a curriculum review, with a view to achieving savings for the 2019-20 budget. However, the college anticipates that it may require financial support from UHI, in the form of cash advances, for 2019-20. The college has loans of £1.3 million and in 2017-18 relied on waivers from its bank to avoid breaching loan covenants. The college has previously required cash advances from its regional body, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It is forecasting a cumulative underlying deficit of £2.5 million by 2022-23.
Have You Got The Skills To Assist The Caithness Broch Project Reach Its Goals
Volunteers with project and contract management skills and enthusiasm to join management committee of the Caithness Broch Project.
The Project Aims
Proposal To Establish A Gaelic Medium Catchment Area For Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso
Moladh Sgìre-Sgoile airson Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig a Stèidheachadh airson Bun-Sgoil Mount Pleasant

Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to establish a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Mount Pleasant Primary School. The change is being proposed in line with Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education.
Tha Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd gus beachdan choimhearsnachdan ionadail a shireadh mu mholadh gus sgìre-sgoile airson Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig a stèidheachadh airson Bun-Sgoil Mount Pleasant. Thathar a' moladh an atharrachaidh a rèir Stiùireadh Reachdail air Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig.

Wick Town Centre Getting A Huge Clean Up
big clean up for Wick town centre underway
Wick town centre is set to sparkle following a deep clean of the High Street area. The deep clean started on Monday morning and will be completed on Friday 31st May 2019. There are 5 staff involved daily in the cleansing operation, which is essentially a pressure wash which includes a detergent being fed through the tank of a mechanical street sweeping vehicle. Litter collection takes place daily anyway, so the deep clean will focus on the cleansing of pedestrian areas. The aim is to clean and remove any stains such as residual marks caused by liquid spillage and the clean will also remove any existing bird mess. Community groups and members of the public are warmly invited to attend a town centre regeneration meeting on Monday 10 June at 7.30pm in the Mackays Hotel.

Highland Council Rescue Plan For Caithness Horizons Approved
Caithness Horizons to reopen after council rexcue plan approved
Re- opening on the horizon for Caithness. Highland Council's Care Learning and Housing Committee today agreed a package of revenue and capital funding which is a major milestone towards the re-opening of Caithness Horizons, Thurso. The Council agreed to commit revenue funding of £75k p.a. for 3 years, and capital funding of up to £204k to allow the most immediate building works to be addressed over the coming months.   The plan includes a contract with Highlife Highland the successful arms length organisation that already runs a range of leisure services for the council across Highland.

The Highland Council Apprentice Mechanics Class Of 2016-2019
Apprentice Mechanics with Highland council
Apprentices Mechanics excel with Moray Firth Training. Seven of our apprentices studying with Moray Firth Training have reached the end of their third year in style! The team have taken 11 exams each over the last 2 years with 79 distinctions (over 80%), 9 merits and 3 passes in total between them. Scott Matheson and Alick Elrick achieved 11 distinctions, with Elliot Geddes, Jon Hutchison and Gregor Rose all getting 10 distinctions.

Highland on track to meet ELC expansion requirements by 2020
The national expansion of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) hours will see entitlement for three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds increased from 600 to 1,140 hours per year from August 2020. Every setting in Highland is being considered and assessed in preparation for full roll out in August 2020. The funding from the Scottish Government means that we are able to adopt a phased approach with approximately 70 sites already identified to move to 1140 hours from August 2019, with further sites expected to be identified into January 2020 before the statutory requirement in August 2020.
Local Entrepreneur Peter Body Starts New Caithness Business With A National Outlook
thermohause new companyPeter Body starts new company to build eco homes - thermohaus
Peter Body, one of the most successful business people in Caithness has launched another new company.  Thermohaus aims to make it easier for people to get the home they want using eco principles but with modern design. The Thermohaus design concept comprises just five primary building blocks. Two different height accommodation blocks, two roof forms and a link/porch unit. Together they may be arranged in a multitude of different formations to provide maximum design flexibility. The accommodation blocks do not require internal load-bearing walls meaning the internal layout is also very flexible and ideal for open plan living. Whilst Thermohaus recommend separate blocks for living and sleeping, customers may have the layout which suits them best.  The new business has launched a web site and Facebook page and will also have a stand at Homebuilding and Rennovation show on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June 2019 SEC, Exhibition Way, Glasgow.
A Walk Around Thurso On A Dreich Day
Walk Round Thurso May 2019Walk Thurso May 2019Walk Thurso May 2019
Yesterday was a kind of damp drizzly day but not wet enough to stop going for a wander around Thurso.
An earlier walk September 2017 was a much brighter day.
   Thurso Streets Index          A to Z Index

Pentland Music In Thurso Offering Lessons To Pupils Anywhere Online
Pentland Music Shop - Lessons for everyonePentland Music
Pentland Music Shop in Thurso has branched out to offer online music lessons.  With a growing number of people keen to learn to play but unable to reach a music teacher the numbers are expanding who get lessons from a distance.  The popularity of the Ukulele has been building and the shop has a great stock of instruments.  Lessons are offered on several other insturments and you can buy one or get advice.  So if you are wanting guitar, ukulele, fiddle, accordion, or keyboard lessons then check out Pentland Music.  Distance is now no barrier to learning to play an instrument in Thurso or any place.

Another Miller Academy Photo from 1962
Miller Academy 1962 sent by Jim ChristieJim Christie has sent in this latest photo of his class from 1962 at Miller Academy.  We have many of the photos from that centernary year already on the site and thought wehad gotten them all but you never know.  If anyone has a listof names please send them in to
The school photo section has not had new items for some time but if you have an old class photo you would like to share then send it to
  Miller Acadmy School Photos Index       Other Caithness Schools Early Class Photos Index

Wick Councillors Announce Follow-up Meetings In Town Centre Regeneration Plan
Plans for a town centre regeneration in Wick have taken another step forward with the announcement of two further stakeholder meetings. On Tuesday 28 May2019, town centre retailers are invited to join Ward 3 councillors and Highland Council officers for a workshop exploring some of the key themes identified during the first round of engagement, which took place on 16 May.
Meanwhile, councillors have also set a date for a meeting with wider stakeholders and the general public. This meeting has been set for Monday 10 June at 7.30pm in the Mackays Hotel. It will provide an opportunity for councillors to share their draft regeneration plans while seeking views, feedback and ideas from the community.
McIvor and Allen Wood Chip Carvers of Castletown Exhibition
McIvor and Allen wood chip carvers exhibitionMcIvor and Allen Wood Chip Carvers of Castletown 1890 - 1955 ExhibitionMcIvor and Allen Wood Chip Carvers of Castletown ExhibitionMcIvor andAllen wood Chip Carvers of Castletown ExhibitionMcIvor and Allen Wood Chip Carvers of Castletown Exhibition

The exhibition is now on at Castletown Heritage Centre, Harbour road, Castlehill, Castletown.
A short history of chip carving in Castletown by James Dunster.
Photos from the 2001 exhibition can be seen HERE

Castletown Heritage Society           Castlehill Heritage Centre opened in Novermber 2007
US and UK complete project to remove highly enriched uranium from Dounreay
End of Uraniaum removal from UK to USA
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have completed the transfer of around 700kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Dounreay, in the north of Scotland, to the US. The HEU transfer, from Dounreay to the United States, was announced by the UK Government as part of its commitment to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC.

Olrig House Castletown - Bluebell walks
Olrig House Bluebell Walks
Enjoy a walking tour with the Head Gardener, Graham around the grounds of Olrig House, see the stunning bluebells and learn about some of the history and stories related to Olrig. Tours will run throughout May on Friday and Saturday at the following times. 10.30am and 12noon.

Help Find Missing Tabby Cat From Keiss
Tabby Cat Missing from Keiss
Recently moved to Keiss and this tabby has gone missing.  If you see it get in touch.  Name and phone number inside.

   Cat Came Home.

The Flow Country - Peatland Partnership's World Heritage Site's Project Open Days
Flow Country World Heritage site Bid Open Days
The Peatlands Partnership is announcing the start of an extensive community consultation over a proposed World Heritage Site for The Flow Country, the vast area of peatlands in Sutherland and Caithness that is now widely recognised as being the best peatland of its type in the world. Joe Perry, the Peatland Partnership's World Heritage Site's Project Coordinator said: "A Flow Country World Heritage Site would not only be an enormous accolade for the area and the many organisations, land managers, crofters and farmers who have maintained this land for generations but it could also bring many positive development opportunities and undoubtedly some challenges too.

Glamping, Distilling And Farm Fitness - A New Guide For Farming Diversification
Farm Divesification ideas from SRUC
Glamping, distilling, adventure tourism and even outdoor farm fitness are among the novel opportunities open to rural businesses looking for "diversification inspiration". A new guide created by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) as part of its Rural Brexit Hub highlights successful examples from around the UK and includes advice on how to get new projects off the ground.
Guide author Calum Johnston says that, with current Brexit uncertainty and the onset of reductions in farm subsidy payments after 2021, diversification will become increasingly important for farmers and rural businesses to ensure long-term sustainability.

Labour Party Visit To Caithness Hears About Third Sector and Health Issues From CHAT
Labour Lead richard Leonard MSP and Rhoda Grant MSP with Labour Team meet CHAT
A visit of the Labour Party Leader in Scotland Richard Leonard MSP accompanied by Rhoda Grant MSP heard from the third sector and Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) about problems arising to the community from changes to health provision and wide range of topics. Roger Saxon the local Labour party organiser and Alan Tait from Caithness Voluntary Group facilitated the meeting at the Pulteney Centre in Wick. Bill Fernie CHAT chairman and Ron Gunn, CHAR vice-chairman set out some of the problems for people in the county in respect of health issues while Catherine Patterson spoke about Befrienders and the need for assistance.

BT offers communities the chance to ‘adopt' their local phone box for just £1
Adopt A Telephone box in your community
BT is offering communities across Scotland the opportunity to adopt their local phone box for just £1 to turn them into something inspirational for their local area. More than 740 traditional red boxes are available for adoption across Scotland and BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in more modern kiosks. BT is encouraging community groups to seize the opportunity to do something wonderful with phone boxes that have little or no usage. Already, more than 370 payphones have been adopted by communities in Scotland since 2008.
      Photos of Telephone Boxes in Caithness  - Some  Now Gone
Caithness Health Action Team Raised The Huge Mileages By Caithness Patients Going to Raigmore
Press and Journal Today Saturday 27th April 2019
Press and Journal 27th april 2019 - mileage by Caithness patients to Raigmore Hospital in InvernessPress and Journal breakdown of mileages travelled
Bill Fernie Chairman of Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) at the Annual NHS Highland review 25 April 2019 open to the public asked the top table of Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, recently appointed chief executive Iain Stewart and chairman Boyd Robertson of NHS Highland if they were aware of how changes over the years had increased patient travel to Riagmore to very high levels. A rough calculation showed it was in excess of 3 million miles each year now creating hardship for some families and huge inconvenience compared to to a time when more clinics were held in Caithness.
Story in Press and Journal 27 April on mileage piles up by patients form Caithness to Raigmore

Editorial in Press and Journal 27 April 2019 on the huge travel from Caithness to Raigmore

Caithness Health Action Team Facebook Page for comments on this situation.

Community Index

Thurso's Got Talent  - Entries Now Being Accepted
Thurso's Got Talent
Join us for an evening of entertainment from Thurso's finest talent! We're hosting Thurso's Got Talent as a fundraiser for our Trust. We're a grass roots, not for profit organisation which works on behalf of the residents and businesses in the town in the hope to develop and improve the place we call home. We're a registered charity and all funds raised help us progress with our projects and continue the work we've started since we formed in January 2018. We believe Thurso is home to fantastic people, businesses and talent so, how could we not organise a talent show?

Wick Players Announcments For Kids And Panto Dates
Wick Players Open Evenings
Open evenings for juniors being held by Wick Players on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. These evenings will begin on(Monday 22nd April 2019). Children must be 12 years or over.

Note - These are two separate events.  The open evenings are not related directly to the panto.

Wick Businesses Talk With Councillors About How To Improve The Town Centre
East Caithness councillors meet business owners to discuss the town centre
Wick Town Hall packed as businesses and councillors gather to discuss ambitious town centre regeneration vision. More than 50 retailers and business owners attend presentation and discussion session in Wick Town Hall, hosted by all four ward councillors. Councillors unveil three-part draft strategy to tackle derelict buildings, deliver flagship development, improve built environment.

Green Health Week 22nd-29th April 2019 with NHS Highland - Photo Competition With Moray Firth Radio
Photo competiton for Green Health Weel 22 -29 April 2019
Things are gearing up for Green Health Week. Moray Firth Radio will be running a radio campaign starting on the 22nd April so listen out for it! Either side of that MFR are running a photography competition. It will run for 4 weeks and is hosted on the MFR webpage.  MFR have a few suggestion and ideas for outdoor places to go.  So get cracking with some Caithness places and enter the competiton. Anyone can enter by sending a photo online a favourite outdoor space for 4 weeks.
Francis Street Bowlers, Wick Supports 3 Local Groups
Rosebank Bowling Club donates to three Wick Groups
On Saturday 13th April 2019 Francis Street Bowlers made three generous donation to local groups. A day spent playing bowls at the opening day of the season at Thurso Bowling Club was followed by a buffet tea after which they presented the cheques.
The three groups were -
Wick Youth Club £200
Laurandy Day Centre £250
League of Friends of Caithness General Hospital £200.

Berriedale Braes Road Project Starting Soon  - Spring Newsletter Issued
Berriedale Braes Road Improvment Starting Soon
The apointed contractor for the upgrade of the Berriedale sectionof the road is R J McLeod and they have issued the first in a series of newsletters as the main works are to begin very soon. Berriedale Braes is located north of Helmsdale and south of Dunbeath on the A9 trunk road in Caithness and forms part of the strategic roads network north of Inverness. The existing A9 at Berriedale Braes includes a tight hairpin bend northeast of Berriedale in order to negotiate steeply sloping topography. The existing hairpin bend on the A9 at Berriedale Braes entails that two HGVs travelling in opposite directions cannot pass on the hairpin bend, as one vehicle requires the use of most of the carriageway to successfully negotiate the bend. This existing substandard geometry is a safety concern and accident records indicate a near miss where an athletics bus collided with the barrier. 

Become a Volunteer with Home-Start Caithness and help local families
Volunteer with HomeStart Caithness
Come on the next Volunteer Preparation Course.
Wednesdays - 10am - 2.30pm May 22nd, 29th and June 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th.
Wednesdays - 6pm - 8.30pm May 22nd, 29th and June 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th and 3rd July

Jobs Jobs Jobs - Vacancies - Full-time - Part-time - Bank work
The most vacancies ever in our jobs section with many positions currently available in Caithness and Sutherland.
The holiday season has begun and hotels and catering places are looking for staff.  The health service and care sectors along with many others are advertising.  Many indivuals positions with a wide range of employers so check them out if you are looking for work.  For employers it is free to advertise in our forum - just join the forum and post your vacancies.  Free for all to see.

Caithness Community Planning Partnership - Next Meeting
Wednesday 17th of April 2019 The Pentland Hotel, Thurso 11:00am - 1:00pm  - Open To The Public

The Rev. Deacon Jacques Cooke - Obituary
Jacques Cooke Died 25 March 2019
The Reverend Deacon Jacques Cooke born 16 December 1924, Roubaix, Northern France: died 25th March 2019, Inverness. James Cooke was the second of five children born to British father (John) and a Belgian mother (Marie-Louise nee Hollebecq), who met on the evening of the 11th November 1918 and married in June 1921. Jacques was born on the 16th December 1924 in Roubaix in northern France, a short distance away from the Hollebecq family home in Mouscron. Jacques Cooke was a nuclear engineer at Dounreay who in 1986 became the first Roman Catholic to be inducted as a permanent deacon in Scotland for over a Millennium.
Success For John O'Groats Mill Trust Awarded £348,064
John O'Groats MillJohn O'Groats Mill
The largest of the latest round of grants announced today was made to John O'Groats Mill Trust, which has received £348,064 to acquire the B-listed, disused John O'Groats Mill along with 9.5 acres of land and two self-catering holiday cottages. The Trust intends to restore the Mill to its former working condition and develop it as a visitor attraction and a social and heritage centre, creating a number of employment, volunteering, training, and skills development opportunities.
Charity Pieces

Trustee Recruitment and Succession Planning

Is Your charity Ready For Brexit?

Up to £1,000 available to charities to help defend against cyber attacks

Goodbye Paper Applications - Hello Digital - Apply online to become a charity

5 Excuses for Not Having Young Trustees
Caithness Model Club Show 2019
Caithness Model Club Show 2019Caithness Model Club Show 2019Caithness Model Club Show 2019Caithness Model Club Show 2019

Caithness Will Be Very Busy This Coming Weekend
Several events this coming weekend wil make Caithness very busy.  The John O'Groats Book Festival starts on Friday evening and runs all weekend.  The Caithness model club annual show is in Wick for two days on Saturday and Sunday.  A craft fair, a beach clean, a coffee morning, coastal boat tour and more so check the Whatson Calendar for times and places

Thurso High Second In Rock Challenge 2019
Thurso High in Rock Challenge 2019 at Eden Court Inverness
Thurso High took second place at the 2019 Rock Challenge event at Eden Court theatre, inverness last night.  Well done to Thurso high.  Dinwall Academy took First Place.  The themes for the music this year were on wartime tragedies.  Thurso chose - Iolaire - 1919. The HMY Iolaire was returning war heroes to Lewis on New Year's Day. During the voyage, the ship struck the infamous rocks 'The Beasts of Holm.' The boat was torn apart and sank. Those that survived clung to masts and ropes to endure the night. More than 200 people drowned, just yards from their home. We will remember them. Inside see the list of all the awards with Thurso high listed on several others.
Fun At Lyth For Easter School Holidays
Easter 2019 at Lyth

Towheads/Large Structures Travelling Through Wick
Towheads through Wick
Subsea 7 will be moving three towheads for the Equinor Snorre Project from Wick Harbour to Wester Site in the next 2-3 days. It is planned that the towheads will travel along the route through town as in the photograph. Exact timings will depend on weather conditions and how the Police direct proceedings.

Beach Clean At Dunnet
Beach clean at Dunnet