View Full Version : Fog fails to affect gala curtainraiser

28-Jul-13, 14:19
Harbour chairman's upbeat message on town's prospects on renewables

It's not all doom and gloom! That, in essence, was the upbeat message from Wick business man, Willie Watt, against a background of town centre decline.

He urged locals at the foggy Riverside crowning ceremony, to take heart from the exciting times that lie ahead for the town when he gave the guest speaker address at the launch of the annual gala.

Mr Watt, who manages Subsea 7's oil fabrication yard at Wester, and chairs the port's harbour board, said that the county had, over the decades, embraced change, the rise and fall of the herring and nuclear industries and he was confident Wick would grasp the opportunities in the off-shore renewables industry.

"Like it or lump it, it is coming", said Mr Watt who forecast the industry would bring work for youngsters, and provide training, leading to jobs.

He went on: "Our town will need all of the spirit we see here tonight to meet these new industries that are in real close reach to becoming a reality. They will be here, long after the Dounreay site is restores to its original state."

The Wick harbour board was working hard, preparing for the business would bring "hundreds and hundreds of jobs" to the town and will see 15 vessels leaving the harbour daily with technicians supervised from a central marine computer control room.
Mr Watt continued: "Wick is going to be really busy and we will be ready to embrace the business."

He estimated that if the twice-daily tides flowing from the Pentland Firth into the North Sea could be harnessed, it would provide power for half of Scotland. Subsea7 had invested heavily in the during its 35 years in operation and it intended remaining for the same period again and beyond.

Mr Watt commented: "The company has been good for Caithness and Caithness has certainly been good for Subsea7, so, despite the difficulties Wick is facing, there is lots going on and lots of good news around." His optimism wasn't confined to industry... there were three new schools in the pipeline for Wick and work was underway to building a new suite of council offices in the town centre.

Commented Mr Watt: "Where else in the whole of the country is so much civil engineering going on.?

Earlier, Gala Queen Hannah Russell was crowned by last year's monarch, Faith Harper. Queen Hannah extended a warm welcome to locals and visitors alike and exhorted them to fill the collection cans to overflowing.

Gala committee chair, Donna Plowman highlighted the gratitude they owed to the "invaluable" loyalty of local businesses without whose support the festival could not continue. Special mention was made off Irene Farquhar's artistic efforts in creating a new backdrop for the coronation platform. Mrs Plowman also paid tribute to her hard-working committee for creating a varied programme and expressed the hope that everyone would enjoy it.

After naming the Wick Coastal Rowing Club's first skiff, in the traditional manner, Queen Hannah and her court, led a procession of decorated floats through the crowded streets.

Wick Gala 2013
Photos from Noel Donaldson http://www.caithness.org/fpb/2013/july/gallery.php?gallery=13
(http://www.caithness.org/fpb/2013/july/gallery.php?gallery=13)Photos From Bill Fernie http://www.caithness.org/fpb/2013/july/gallery.php?gallery=12