View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Courier: review-March 23, 2011

23-Mar-11, 14:51
2.2m clinches capital for marine energy power

A GOOD news story is always welcome and nowhere more so, than in Caithness, amid these bleak economic times. It is contained in the front page lead story which reveals that plans to make Scrabster the main hub for the marine energy industry in the Pentland Firth, have taken “a very significant step forward”. The encouraging comment was made by Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP, John Thurso, after the Scottish Government allocated 2.2 million towards the development. The contribution means that Scrabster Harbour Trust now has the 20m it needs for the project which is expected to get under way in the summer. The announcement was widely welcomed, locally, with North SNP MSP Rob Gibson hailing the scheme as “a golden opportunity” for the area. The redevelopment work will include upgrading facilities at the port for existing users, as well as exploiting the potential for the emerging marine energy sector in the Pentland Firth and the waters off Orkney. It will also encourage new offshore oil and gas-related traffic.

JOHN Thurso also featured in another major story, the revolutionary drama being played out in Libya and has given his backing to the plan to create a no-fly zone there. The Far North MP supported the motion in the House of Commons and was one of 557 MPs who did so. Thirteen voted against. John Thurso told the Courier that he voted in favour of the move but with “extreme reluctance”. He went on: “Military action must always be the last resort.” The Liberal Democrat MP, who opposed the war in Iraq, pointed out there were “substantial differences” between the two. “This action is legal. As far as I was concerned, the war in Iraq was not. Also, this United Nations resolution has been backed by a wider coalition which includes Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Qater and the Arab League.

ANCHORING the front page is a picture piece about the ‘ horror’ of fly-tipping at Mey. Amongst the rubbish dumped, is a vacuum cleaner and two tyres, just a mile from one of the county’s tourist attractions, the Castle of Mey. The castle has proved a must for visitors to Caithness but those taking the Thurso to John O’ Groats road this week, would be confronted by the mess which includes bottles and plastic bags. Landward Caithness councillor Willie Mackay is appalled by the fly-tipping which has taken place at the roadside on the Moss of Mey.

INSIDE...in the wake of a terrible tragedy, two young men have helped raise over 6000 for an often overlooked genetic disease. Following the death of 17-year-old Connor Craigie in a car accident at the end of January, two of his close friends, Bryan Green (21) from Canisbay and Darren Gunn (18) from Thurso, organised a car cruise from Thurso to John O’ Groats, to help raise money for two charities that support people with cystic fibrosis. Wick-born senior specialist cystic fibrosis nurse, Lensley Blaikie, has praised the two young men for their fundraising activities. She said their good work had helped to raise the profile of the condition when she received cheques amounting to over 1,500, on Friday. The cash will be added to other donations, the total being distributed between the Leanne fund and NHS Highland’s endowment fund.

BABCOCK International, the operators of the pension office for the nuclear industry have defended their controversial decision to move from Thurso to Forss. The company came under fire for keeping community representatives in the dark about the impending flit. But a senior executive from the firm yesterday made clear the move is designed to optimise the opportunities to expand the operation. And Richard Stoneham denied Babcock has welshed on any commitment it had made to local representatives.

There’s seldom any lack of material for the court page...a sign of the times. Further inside, there’s some tough talking from area police inspector, Angus MacInnes in his warning to antisocial drivers in the county. “Don’t come crying to us, if you get caught” he declares.

A PICTURE page reports on the various groups using Red Nose Day to sniff out some gratifying cash totals, from their fundraising
ON the sports front, it’s reported that offshore worker Chris Noble reclaimed his Scottish open surfing title at the weekend. He topped the entry of 20 who took part in the two-day competition on the renowned reef break off Thurso East, the annual venue for the event. Conditions on Sunday morning were among the best to have prevailed in recent competition, with quality four-to-five-feet surf created by a strong swell and a mild offshore breeze. Spectators were treated to a succession of tube rides when the surfer manoeuvres inside the wave as it is breaking.

SUCCESS too for Thurso Amateur Swimming Club members when they travelled to Forres for a two-day meet on March 12 and 13 which produced medals galore. Day one started strongly for the 37 Caithness competitiors with both Bryan Stevenson and Jamie Mackinnon achieving impressive personal bests in the boys’ 13-year old 100m breast stroke. Jamie fought hard but just missed out on a medal. The 13-year old girls also swam well in this event with Emma Budge winning gold with a two-second PB in a time of 1.25.42 mins, while Lorna Nicoll, Kelly Campbell and Emma Mackay also produced PBs, Emma by a massive 16 seconds. The report goes on to catalogue the rest of the club’s list of medal successes.

HOWEVER Wick Academy didn’t get that rub of the green with which to trigger that elusive cup run.The Scorries fought all the way first to a 2-2 draw, against Keith and extra time that failed to break the deadlock. Then the inevitable penalties shoot-out, which, no-one really wants to decide a tournament. And it was Keith who went on to face Rothes in the quarter finals after a 4-3 penalties decider.

AND finally...Thurso river head ghillie, Dougie Reid, had a smile almost as big as the fish he reeled in recently. It weighted 120lbs, but before you all go rushing of the river, it wasn’t the grandpapa of salmon and he didn’t catch it locally. Dougie was fishing off the Seychelles during a trip arranged by a client he regularly takes fishing on the Thurso. What made this catch of a trevally breed, extra special was the fact that he landed the monster with a nine-foot rod...no mean feat. The fly he used, called Highland Ghillie, what else, did the trick in attracting the giant. You’d certainly get a lot of fish suppers out of that one, Dougie!