View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Coorier 'e day

20-Apr-11, 19:23
Caithness Courier Review: April 20,2011
WELL, our old ‘friend’ the Gaelic controversy seems to be set to rear its head, again, according to the paper’s page one lead story. Local Highland councillor, Graeme Smith has claimed that the authority wants to take a Highland-wide, broad-brush approach to the issue, in a review of its Gaelic language plan. He feared the revision could force bilingual sings on the area-despite much-published, previous widespread opposition. The Wick member argued that certain councillors are seeking to make sure local areas will not be able to avoid having bilingual signs. Thurso councillor John Rosie, an ardent opponent of Gaelic road signs in Caithness, said he would be making representations to the Gaelic committee while the language plan is under review, and he hoped his views would be taken on board. Noel Donaldson comments: “Whatever the pros and cons on the vexed question, I would have thought that at a time when the authority is having to cut, cut, and cut again, signs anywhere, could surely be shelved.”

THE page one photo reflects a good-news story with a smiling Walter Fraser, proudly displaying his “priceless” first edition of the Beano which he came across in the clear out of his Halkirk attic. It is believed that only 12 of the 1938 issues that have survived and with one of these fetching £12,000 to a collector, some years ago, Walter could be in for quite a windfall.

A FAR North railway line has notched up a notable accolade in being included in a new top 10 of the best railways journeys in Britain. Mark Norton of the Dornoch Rail Link Action Group, welcomed the inclusion of the route in the new book by Michael Williams called On the Slow Train Again. In it, the author who spent two years on research and travelled thousands of miles on the rail network, described the route between Inverness and Thurso and Wick as the wildest. He states: “This four-hour trip, past splendid castles, mountains and lochs, beaches and firths, eerie bogs and lonely moors, to the most northerly town in Britain is truly a journey to the end of the world.” Some rail enthusiast travelled the trip on a double-header steam engine, stopping off at Wick on a tour of the UK, much to the delight of local rail buffs. However, the trip was tinged with controversy, as sparks thrown out by the puff-puff are being blamed for starting an extensive hill fire on a nature reserve near Forsinard.

ALSO inside, a local community group has had to go back to the drawing board with part of its plans to improve and area in Wick. Pultneytown People’s Project has applied to Highland Council for planning permission to divert the Thomas Telford-designed mill lade, which was uncovered when the foundations were being laid for a new community centre in Huddart Street earlier this year. As previously reported, the community group had come under fire from Wick Paths Group secretary, Jenny Bruce who alleged that it had broken planning permission by building over the lade once it was discovered.

A VARIETY of local produce was served up by a Caithness business agency at a flagship event in Aberdeen, designed for the travel trade. Caithness Chamber of Commerce under its Invest Caithness brand, was one of 250 organisations to exhibit at last week’s VisitScotland expo 2011. The event attracted more than 1000 travel agents and tour operators from around the world. Visitors were treated to a taste of the North, with a variety of products such as Old Pulteney whisky, Berry Good vodka, Bulno Goats Cheese, items from the Meyh Selections brand and Caithness Biscuits.

CHANGES at the top in Northern Constabulary are recorded, with George Graham taken over as chief constable and Superintendent John Chisholm starting out in the role of divisional commander for the north division.

ALWAYS plenty to read in the court section and on a completely different tack an excellent response from the business community in Thurso, who said that the week-long surfing festival, Wave North, had been a huge success for the area. The event, organised by Caithness Horizons, was created to celebrate the world-class surfing competition being held in the area. A series of gigs and workshops were help at various locations throughout the town during the week.

A CAITHNESS councillor has defended the timetable for the local schools review following criticism from a Wick GP. Dr Ewen Pearson who is the chairman of the Hillhead School Parent Council, said he has no faith in the review being carried by Highland Council after it emerged the timescale for the consultation has slipped back. Dr Pearson is unhappy about the situation and pointed out that he only found out about the changes after making a Freedom of Information request. But Wick councillor Bill Fernie who chairs the council’s education culture and sport committee, described the timetable as “reasonable” and pointed out that the review is a huge job. He said: “We want to get it right and it will take as long as it takes. I appreciate it is a difficult time for parents, but we are trying to be as open as we can and present all the information we can. We are not holding anything back.”

NO EDITION of the Courier or the Groat would be complete these days without a dose of politics and amongst the party claims there is an interesting statistic. A record number of Highland people have applied to vote by post at the Scottish Parliament elections and the national referendum on the UK voting system on May 5. A total of 25,137 electors across the three Highland constituencies of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Sky, Lochaber and Badenoch and Inverness and Nairn began receiving their postal votes yesterday. Who says there’s apathy about politics?

A CALL has been made for development agency officials to “get off their backsides” and fight for marine renewable energy projects in Caithness. It came from John Crowden at a meeting of the Thurso and Wick Trade Council. His view was shared by Davy Alexander who claimed Orkney was “light years” ahead of Caithness in the way it deals with the marine renewable industry.

PAGE 11 carries a spread of dramatic pictures from the Thurso surfing festival and its yet another story of doom and gloom on the Wick Academy front with yet another game in which they conceded four goals with against title chaser’s Buckie Thistle with only a single reply.