News Archive - October November December 2019
Many  previous items are archived in the Community, Arts, Sports and Business sections

Web Cam For Wick Hogmanay Street Party HERE

Wick Harbour At The End Of 2019
Wick Harbour at the end of 2019Wick Harbour end of 2019 - new structure for traing crews workingon the Beatrice turbinesWick Harbour end of 2019
Check out the new structure for training crews from the work boats servicing the Beatrice turbines

Remember Snowy Wick Harbour 29 December 2001

Scrabster Harbour At the End Of 2019
Scrabster Harbour at the end of 2019Scrabster Harbour at the end of 2019Scrabster Harbour at the end of 2019Scrabster Harbour at the end of 2019

Lands' End to John 'OGroats in Brussel Sprouts
Sprouts Lansdend to John OGroats
100 million (97,500,000)* Sprouts are expected to end up in the bin this festive season as nearly one in six Brits (13%) admit that they plan to bin their leftover sprouts this December. This amount equates to the weight of 77 double decker buses (1mkg)**, nearly the size of Manchester (115km2)*** or more than the distance (2925km) from  to Landsend to John O' Groats via London and back again (if every Brussel Sprout was lined up one after another) .
Every Adult Must Be Accompanied By A Child
The Christmas lectures are designed with children ages 11 years+ and young adults in mind but are engaging for people of all ages. This years lecture, Secrets ad Lies; The Hidden Power of Maths, is being delivered by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and will look at the hidden numbers, rules and patterns that secretly control our daily lives in ways we could never imagine.  Using demonstrations and experiments she will show us how to decode life's hidden numbers and make better choices for a happier life.
Thursday 12th December 5.30 - 8.30pm  Booking Required So Get Going.
Eco-friendly addition to Caithness Rural Transport service
New Eco bus for Caithness Voluntary Transport
Caithness Rural Transport has a new eco-friendly addition to its fleet which is now up to 10 vehicles offering a transport service in Caithness. The new electric minibus is cleaner and greener. Not only do these vehicles create zero emissions, they are faster and quieter and can create great savings in fuel and maintenance.

  Community Index

Triotaxi service will bring cycling to those less able
New Rickshaw style for folk with walking diffculties
Members of Wick Wheelers cycling cub have taken possession of a rickshaw-style Triotaxi. This came about through groups in Wick working together. Befriending Caithness works with elderly, isolated people in the community, visiting them in their houses as well as young people visiting people in local care homes.

Community Index

A Charolais cross bullock from Michael Shearer, Lythmore, Show Winner Bought By Murray Lamond
Charolais Cross Chaopmion Bought by Murray Lamond of Mackays Hotel
A Charolais cross bullock from Michael Shearer, Lythmore, Westfield, Thurso, took the prime cattle championship at Aberdeen and Northern Marts' annual Christmas show and sale held at Caithness Livestock Centre. Tapped out by judge Bill Cameron, Burnside of Edingight, Grange, was a 20-month-old, home-bred bullock weighing 621kg. Bred out of a Simmental cross Limousin dam, he sold for 3000 to Murray Lamont and his daughter Jennifer, of Mackays Hotel, Wick, who were buying at the event for the 22nd consecutive year.
     Business Index

Build A Snowman At Newtonhill Woodland Near Wick
Build a Snowman
No snow so far  in the county but the kids can have some fun at Newtonhill Woodland om sunday 15th December.
Check posterfor detaisl and how to book.

     Whats on In December 2019

The Crew of 'Revival' medning Nets at Scrabster Harbour Today
Revival crew mending nets at Sctabster on 3rd December 2019
Crew members of the Fraserburgh registered fishing vessel Revival FR316 making repairs to their nets at Scrabster Harbour. Note where the fisherman in the centre keeps his knife for easy access.

Towhead At Wick Harbour Today
Towhead at Wick Harbour 2 December 2019
Darren More has posted the great photo on Facebook of the Towhead at Wick harbour today.  It is heading for the Subsea7 yard at Wester

The Stroma Boat 'BEE'
Stroma Yole BEE
The Stroma cattle boat called 'Bee' was rescued from, its slow but inevitable, disintegration and rebuilt by John William Laird of Eastend, Duncansby.

An article in the Scotsman says the boat wil shortly be up for auction.

     Stroma Index                     A To Z Caithness Places

Climate Action Funding Proposal  - Would Your Group Want To Be Invovled?
Thurso Community Development Trust working in partnership with Lairg Learning Centre are intending to submit an initial project proposal to the new TNL Climate Action Fund to develop a project across Caithness and Sutherland which aims to change behaviours in our community in order to take action against Climate Change. We will be looking at various options including encouraging Zero Waste, Local Food Growing and Food Waste Minimisation to change behaviours in the face of the Climate Emergency. If you are interested in being involved no later than Friday 6th December.
 Royal Navy Boats At Wick Harbour In July
Royal Navy At Wick July 2019
John Hay has taken many photographs with a martime flavour and include some for his 2020 calendar now on sale. One missed out onthe calendar due to sizes. This view of Wick harbour shows possibly one of the largest gatherings of Royal Navy boats for a long time. 3 Royal Navy Archer Class Patrol vessels, HMS Example P165, HMS Puncher P291 & HMS Explorer P164. To see a bigger photo right click on it and open in a new tab. The calendar for sale can be found HERE

House Design Advice From Thermohaus
Thermohaus - House Design for self builders
The next in a series of articles with advice for anyone thinking about self-build for a new home.
What are the elements of a good design?
Who is going to design your new house?
Do you need an architect?
There are links to the earlier articles at the bottom of the page
Finding And Buying Land For Your Self Build Home
Building Your Own Home Is Easier Than You May Think
Can You Afford To Build Your Own Home
How to Finance Your Self-build New home
Exterior Refurbishment Of Canisbay Church Completed
Canisbay Church Refurbishment Completed November 2019
The exterior refurbishent of Cansibay church is now completed.  The clean up now shows it standing out gleaming whitein the sunshine.

   Older Historic churches in Caithness

Open Day At Former Woolworth Store, Wick
Former Woolworht Store, Wick - Open DayFromer Woolworth Store - open dayFormer Woolworth Store
he Wick community council arranged for an open day for interested parties to look around and make any suggestions for possible uses of the shop in Market Square. The building is available for sale or lease.  There will be two follow up sessions at Assembly rooms, Wick on 28th November

Property Details

Floor Plans
Floor plans for old Woolorth shop, Wick

The last business in the premises was the Original Factory Shop that closed on 12 August 2018

Prior to that the Store was briefly an Ethel Austin store
Woolworth closed in 2008.

Candidates confirmed for UK Parliamentary general election 2019
18 candidates are seeking election on Thursday 12 December 2019 for the three Highland UK Parliamentary general election constituencies. Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency has attracted 5 candidates; Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency 7 candidates; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency 6 candidates.
North Highland College UHI celebrates diamond year
North Highland colleg 60 years - Do you have old photos to send.
North Highland College UHI celebrates a milestone this year with 60 years in education. North Highland College UHI first opened in 1959 as Thurso Technical College to serve the training needs for Dounreay. Since then the college has become part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and are one of 13 academic partners that make up the university. North Highland College UHI has seen many changes over the years with the curriculum and geographic coverage expanding significantly......................The college also has campuses in Halkirk, Dornoch and Alness. North Highland College UHI would love to hear from past and present staff and students with stories and images of their time at the college. If you have any photos or memorabilia from the last 60 years please email
Businesses and Groups Invited To Old Woolies Building - Bring Your Ideas
Open Day at Wooolies
The old Woolworth building in Market Square, Wick is lying empty and unused. The Wick Community Council is looking for any ideas from businesses or/and local groups for possible uses. A solution could be found for a single use or perhaps shared and the community council wants something done to bring it into use. Get along and bring your ideas to the consultants and help Wick build a business plan for the building. Regain the High Street.
A Lone Seal On The Wick River
Seal on the Wick RiverSeal on the Wick River
The lone seal may be on the lookout for some salmon on the river Wick.  Seemingly unperturbed by the attention while relaxing on the end of a pipe that sits just below the surface of the water at high tide.

Toolkit to improve early literacy skills across region
Literacy for early learners toolkit
An Emerging Literacy Toolkit developed as one of the Northern Alliance's key workstreams has been designed to help improve early literacy skills across the region. Recently endorsed by all eight participating local authorities, the toolkit was developed by James Cook, Depute Head Teacher of Milton of Leys Primary School in Inverness. James was seconded to the regional improvement collaborative and recently returned to teaching after completing the toolkit. James' work has been extremely well-received by teachers, early years practitioners, councillors and senior education officials. In explaining what drives his passion for improving literacy skills, James explained: "Literacy, language and communication skills are a passport to life and work. Having worked closely with occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists to develop the networks of practice across the Northern Alliance, I've had my eyes opened to the wealth of skills that children require to succeed in reading and writing. TOOLKIT link inside
BT Public Payphone Consultation - 55 To Be Objected To By Highland Council
Telephone box removal continues
BT are proposing to remove 110 payphones across The Highland Council area. Under Ofcom guidelines, the Local Authorities are responsible for co-ordinating consultation responses on behalf of their local community for any proposed removal of public payphones. Objections to removal can be made, but this must be based on evidence of need. Following a two-phase community consultation, Highland Council has received 163 representations regarding BT's proposals to remove 110 public call boxes from across the Highland region. On 7 November 2019, Members of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure committee will be asked to consider and agree a response to BT.

Wick High Street Sees Change
Divas and Dudes closedCafe Express opens
High Streets every where are under pressure but stil new businesses are stating up to fill some gaps.  Newlwy opened at 45 High Street, Wick is Cafe Express in the premises recently occupied by Divas and Dudes children's clothes store.

Two Caithness Community Councils Collapse As Failure to Get Enough Candidates
Caithness West and Tannach and District community Counils failed to get enough candidates by the nomination deadline yeasterday.  Thurso and Watten community councils will have postal ballots as they attracted more nominations than positions......There is a withdrawal period between Wednesday 30th and 4pm on Friday 1 November where candidates for these 20 community councils can choose to withdraw their nomination. Ballot papers will be posted out on Friday 15 November and must be returned by 12 noon Wednesday, 4 December 2019.
John O Groats Trail and Northern Pilgrims' Way Meeting
Meeting of John O'Groats Trail and Northern Pilgrims Way
Trustees of the The John O Groats Trail and members of the steering group for the Northern Pilgrims' Way had a joint meeting on the 24th October at the Bannockburn Inn, Helmsdale. The main item for discussion was how they could co-operate to further the aims of both groups. The Northern Pilgrims' Way is a fairly new group who are working to re-establish the ancient pilgrimage route between St Duthac's, Tain and St Magnus Cathedral, Kikwall. As parts of the pilgrimage route overlap with the JOGT,which follows the coast from Inverness to John O Groats, it seemed sensible for both groups to work together. The NPW will benefit from the greater experience and higher profile of the more-established JOGT and the JOGT will benefit from the added historical interest in the places on their route and, hopefully, an increase in the numbers of people walking the route.

Highland Council Cuts 800,000+ Miles With Enterprise Car Club Saving 400,000
Enterprise Cars Saves Highland council 400,000
Highland Council saves 400,000 And 377 Tonnes Of CO2 In First 12 Months With Enterprise. The Highland Council has reduced its annual business mileage by more than 825,000 miles and made cost savings in excess of 400,000 in the first 12 months since introducing Enterprise Car Club, part of global vehicle rental group, Enterprise Holdings. This represents a 15% reduction in overall business travel costs. The council's grey fleet mileage has fallen by nearly a quarter (22%) and its overall business mileage has dropped by 13%. A fleet of 60 Enterprise Car Club vehicles located across 21 Highland Council offices is now available for booking by the hour or day by employees who would have previously used a private car and claimed mileage reimbursement, sometimes referred to as the ‘grey fleet'. Enterprise Car Club is also used as an alternative to daily rental in many locations, as it has proven to be a more efficient choice.

Teaming Up To Tackle Entanglement In Fishing Gear
Tacklng Fishing Gear Entanglements
In the first workshop of its kind in Europe, creel fishermen and women from around Scotland gathered in the Highlands to tackle the problem of marine animal entanglement. Organised by the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA) and funded by the University Innovation Fund through Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), 20 creel fishermen and women from the Clyde up to Shetland travelled to Ullapool to work alongside project partners with the aim of encouraging better reporting of entanglements, widen Scotland's existing entanglement response network, and share insights to better understand, mitigate and respond to incidents. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS), the Scottish Creel Fishermen's Federation (SCFF), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) provided training in the first in a series of workshops.

Gail Ross MSP Has Launched A Consultation On Remote Rural Communities
Gail Ross MSP launches consultation on Remote Rural Communities
At a gathering in Wick town hall on Monday 28th October 2019 Gail Ross MSP launched a consultation on a remote rural communities bill that would be similar protection for mainland communities as the 2018 Islands Act for Scottish islands. Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross is proposing the legislation, which would mean public bodies would have to take the impact on remote rural communities into account when making policy. The Islands Act sets out duties for Scottish ministers and a new bill would also create a duty for Scottish ministers to publish a national remote rural plan.
Councillor Struan Mackie Promoting Dounreay Expertise in Japan
Cllr Struan Mackie in Japan
As part of the nuclear sector deal, to foster ever-stronger links between the British and Japanese nuclear industry, Councillor Struan Mackie who represents Thurso and North West Caithness (Deputy-Chair of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group) undertook a five day Japanese visit to discuss the impact of nuclear decommissioning on local communities with stakeholders in Tsuruga City, Fukui prefecture. The whistle-stop visit included two days in Tsuruga on , the home of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agencies fast reactor ‘Monju', is generally regarded to be a ‘partner plant' to Dounreay's PFR in Caithness. The trip, supported by the British Embassy, also included a formal meeting with Tsuruga City's Mayor Takanoby Fuchikami and the delivery of a speech on the Caithness and North Sutherland Community at the British Embassy.

New Ferry mv Alfred Set For First Crossing Of Pentland Firth
mv Alfred at Kirkwall Harbour 18 October 2019
Friday 1st November 2019 will see the first trip with passengers and vehicles. mv Alfred can carry up to 430 passengers and 98 cars, or 54 cars and 12 articulated vehicles/coaches. The company has anticipated that in future there should be no problems getting booked on.

Walkabout in Kirkwall to the Harbour
Walkabout in Kirkwall to the HarbourWalk to Kirkwall Harbour 18 October 2019Walk to Kirkwall Habour 18 October 2019Walkabout in Kirkwall to the HarbourWalk to Kirkwall harbour

Still Tme To Bid In the Brochtober Auction
Some great pieces on offer from artists in support of the Caithness Broch project.
These pieces were imagined and created by 42 artists (and 1 poet!), each with their own vision and ideas inspired by the brief we gave them: to create a piece of work based on brochs, their place in the landscape, the finds from within them, and their shape. We also offered the artists the opportunity to base their work on the art and life of John Nicolson, a local farmer who assisted in a number of early excavations of brochs in Caithness, as well as being a self-taught painter and carver.
Online auction closes 10pm Sunday 27th October Final auction night hosted by Lyth Arts Centre and run by Cashpoint Auctions, 7-9pm Friday 1st November.

Planning Successful Crofting Succession
Succession Planning for crofters
Crofters planning for the often daunting and complex process of passing their business on to the next generation are being offered the chance to register for a bespoke webinar. Crofters face unique challenges whether that be crofting law, remote markets or generally smaller business sizes. Facilitated by SAC Consulting - part of Scotland's Rural College, the Crofting Succession webinar will guide crofters through the steps of the succession journey including how to start the conversation, who to involve and how to make sure all generations are heard.

Parking Charges Debate - New Off-street Parking Charges Could Generate Local Investment
Parking Charges for Highland council car parks
A new off-street parking policy which could generate income for local investment, will be considered on Thursday by members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure (EDI) Committee. Chair of the Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: "The Council manages infrastructure comprising some 4,000 miles of roads, 100 harbours, 1,400 bridges and over 200 schools. Each year, there is a reducing pot of money to invest in local infrastructure and services, and to find solutions for tourist congestion and traffic management across the region.
The threat for local coucnillors In 2018 was and is still there - "Where local/ city committees decide not to apply new charges or increase charges and this results in a shortfall against budgeted sums agreed by Council, then local/city committees will agree how to deal with the shortfall of income, i.e. they will decide which other Community Services budgets to reduce. They will make these decisions based on evidence, including workforce implications and they can engage communities on the options for service reductions."
CHAT Team Visit To The New Balfour Hospital in Orkney
CHAT visit the new Balfour Hosptial in OrkneyCHAT visit to the new Balfour hospital in OrkneyCHAT visit new hospital in Orkney

Is It Crunch time For Parking Charges?
Parking Meeting At Highland council 24 October 2019
A special meeting of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee of Highland council has been called for Thursday 24th October 2019 at 10.30am in council chambers in Inverness. The only agenda item is 'Off Street' parking but as of today (Sunday 20 October 2019) the paper has still to be published on the web page. It is likely that parking charges would be referred to local councillors for decisions according to previous papers and the one produced for the Redesign Board on 1ST MAY 2018.

Wick Street Design - Get Along Or Do It Online but Do Put Your Ideas Forward
Wick Street Design
We have heard it for years "Why is no one doing anything about the centre of Wick"  Well now finally something is happening but first Sustrans who have been commissioned to come up with something want to hear from you.  Separate from that the newly formed Wick Development Trust will take a hard look at what comes out of any report..  And things are happening such as the council have agreed to resurface the riverside car park and make some other changes in that area.  The newly formed trust is in the process of getting its legal documents in order but first lets hear from as many people as possible in this survey as a first step.

Dunnet Bay Distillers Is Scottish Gin Distillery Of The Year At The Scottish Gin Awards 2019
Dunnet Bay Distillers - Gin of the Year 2019
The national awards programme which celebrates excellence in Scottish gin has revealed the names of the best gins made in Scotland this year, as part of its 3rd annual competition. The Scottish Gin Awards revealed the winners last night following a rigorous judging process involving 30 leading experts from across the UK, the assessment of 104 written entries and the blind tasting of 173 gins, all distilled in Scotland. The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Caithness-based Dunnet Bay Distillers after phenomenal growth in demand for their Rock Rose Gins worldwide.
Blasting At Berriedale Braes - Change Of Date
CHANGE OF DATE) 8th and 15th October 2019 RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd has been progressing the construction of the road alignment works on the A9 at Berriedale Braes on behalf of Transport Scotland. Further to the previous notice, our recent blast on the 24th September was more successful than anticipated. This has resulted in the requirement to process significantly more rock than originally envisaged.

Time Running Out For Telephone Box Consultation 2019
Telephone box consultation 2019
The Highland council has been running a consultation about the removal of 110 telephone boxes in Highland. The last list showed there had been no objections for the removal of Caithness telephone boxes in Castletown, Halkirk and Latheron. The consultation closes - no later than 23:59 on 24/10/2019.

               Community Index

Taste North - The Food Festival At John O'Groats
Taste North 2019
Taste North 2019 - Sunday 6th October 2019 11am to 4.30pm at Together Travel - John O'Groats. Taste North 2019 will feature many foodie and family activities throughout the day including chef's demonstrations, cocktail masterclasses and workshops. Our incredible guest of honour this year is Jean Christophe Novelli who will conduct a number of live cooking demonstrations and be charged with choosing the winner of the annual baking contest, the Taste North Challenge. Our Exhibitor's Market will offer everyone the opportunity to sample food from local eateries and producers, taste our local tipples and see an array of artisan crafts from right here in Caithness & Sutherland. For families there will be plenty of children's entertainment and various opportunities for them to get their hands sticky and learn where their food comes from.   Entry To The Festival is FREE but make sure you have your parking ticket if local for free parking otherwise its 2.