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

06-Jul-11, 11:27
John o’ Journal review: July 6, 2011

LOCAL opinion appears divided over the iconic derelict John O’ Groats Hotel which has been transformed into an art installation to signal the start of the site’s multi-million-pound redevelopment, reports Alan Shields in the paper’s front page lead. Around 2000 people visited Groats at the weekend, to see the colourful design, which was created as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Transform event-a two day celebration featuring street art, video projections, ceramic firings, music and storytelling. The £108,000 price tag being linked to the art project has, however, given rise to questions about whether it was worth it for the hotel’s artwork which was managed by DUFI and will disappear in around 10 weeks time when work starts on the revamp. One such concerned resident is Groats-based mother-of-three, Heather Mackay, who told the Courier her family had an enjoyable weekend but she believe the money could have been better spent. Noel Donaldson writes-“ I think she has a fair point even though part of the cash covers parts of the hotel’s redevelopment. In the present economic climate when cash is tight, I’m sure the money could have been better spent in John O’ Groats”. What do you think, and what would you have like to see instead.? Have your say on the forum.”

The paper records on page one, the death of Alex Johnston. The well-known Wick photographer, passed away at Caithness General Hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning. Family relative, Jenny Bruce described him as “an indomitable spirit who expounded nuggets of wisdom”. She added that the Johnstons left “a unique record” behind which would benefit future generations and give the town a chance to see its heritage. In particular, that referred to the amazing collection of photos of Wick’s prosperous herring era, on glass plates and negatives. Mr Johnston worked in the family business in Wick, and signed up to join the Royal Air Force’s photographic section. He was posted to a bomber command station, RAF Snaith, in Yorkshire. Mr Johnston served at Egypt and Kenya and returned to work in the family business, retiring in 1976.

Completing the front page...Robert Coghill has hit back at criticism he is narrow-minded, followed comments he made over bi-lingual road signs. He said money being used to implement the signs should be directed towards helping to fund front-line care services. But his views attracted criticism online, and the councillor later received an e-mail which claimed ”keeping our national language alive is more important than ferrying old people around”. Replying, Mr Coghill said he was deeply offended by the e-mail and argued he is representing the views of the people he is elected to speak for.

INSIDE Will Clark reports that Wick and Thurso need their own dedicated town centre champions to help reverse their fortunes. It follows the announcement, on Friday, that local town-centre development officer, Alan Steven, has quit, after only three months in the job. Caithness Chamber of Commerce is now looking to appoint two new officers who will focus exclusively on each town. It is currently in talks with project funders, before the proposal gets the go-ahead, but the organisation’s chief executive officer, Trudy Morris, believes it is the best way forward.

A NEW initiative which aims to help the county’s brightest musical talents shine, starts this weekend. The first-ever Creative Music Week will take place at venues across Caithness from Sunday. Organised by North Highland Connections, the initiative will see 12 talented young musicians work with distinguished conductor Nicholas Cleobury, along with composers Stuart MacRae and David Horne. Dr Graham Elliot, executive director of NHC, said the week was a great chance for the students to learn from some of the country’s most renowned composers.

THE first subsea turbines in the Pentland Firth are expected in the water in 2013, two years later than originally scheduled. MeyGen has the lease to develop what many view as the crown jewel site, in the inner sound between the mainland and the uninhabited island of Stroma. The consortium intends installing 4000 one-megawatt turbines by 2020 making it the biggest of the 11 sites earmarked for wave and tidal energy schemes. Its detailed timetable was publicised at three open days it staged in Thurso and Mey last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

CASTLETOWN Gala is well under way, it is reported in a picture and text coverage on page seven. The sun was shining for the event’s much-anticipated official curtain-raiser on Saturday night when Amy Mackenzie was crown gala queen. Hundreds of locals and visitors turned out to support the event and join in with the fun. The gala, which has been held annually since the early 1960s, will see a range of activities taking place at various venues throughout the week. There’s another photo spread and report on Wick High School’s prizegiving ceremony.

THE sports lead is good news for Wick Groats, who kept alive their chances of a maiden MacLeod IFA Highland Amateur Cup title after getting the better of a very useful Culbokie side on Saturday. A goal rush just before the interval proved vital as Stewart Ross’s outfit won 4-2 to book a place in the last four.