John O Groat Journal headlines for February 8, 2013

A BID is being made to make Thurso the water sports capital of Britain within the next three years. That is the aim of local Highland councillors John Rosie and Donnie Mackay who claim the initiative could have "enormous potential" for tourism and the Caithness economy. Mr Rosie described the waves at Thurso Bay as among the best in the world for surfing but reckons the far north would also be ideal for kayaking and canoing.

CAITHNESS
has been bypassed in a current bid to boost green motoring in Scotland and cut vehicle emissions.- but is expected to be included in a later phase of the scheme. The Scottish Government this week announced a 2.6 million plan to increase the number of charging points in the country and said the move would mean electric car drivers could recharge every 50 miles on trunk roads. However, there seems to be no plans to site any new charging points north of Inverness at present, although local SNP MP Rob Gibson yesterday stressed the scheme will be rolled out in stages.

PASSSPORT
interviews could be reintroduced in Caithness two years after an office in Wick closed down and forced first-time applicants to travel over 100 miles to see an official. Discussions have taken place between the Home Office and Highland Council about setting up video link interviews from the makeshift council offices in Girnigoe Street. At the moment, residents who wish to obtain a passport for the first time are required to travel to Inverness to be interviewed by video link by staff from the Home Office.

A WAR
of words has broken out between a green energy giant and a far north village over the prospective impact a proposed wind farm would have on a Second World War air crash memorial. RWE npower renewables has flatly denied having written any reports which look into relocating the memorial to accommodate the 13 turbines Bad a Cheo scheme earmarked to go up near Mybster on the Causewaymire. But the chairwoman of Halkirk Community Council insists the company has tabled the proposal in deocuments which are available for public viewing.

RNLI
volunteer Andy Anderson had no idea he was just moments away from death when he rushed to get on board a lifeboat only to be stood down by the cosxwain because it was already full. Minutes later, the 19-year-old watched in horror as he saw a giant wave capsize the vessel killing five of the six crew on board including his uncle. Looking back at the Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster of 1953, which will mark its 60th anniversary tomorrow he said the agony of seeing his colleagues drown and knowing he could have been one of them, still live with him today.