John O’ Groat Journal headlines for July 11, 2014

THE welcome Thurso gave to the Queen’s baton would have received the royal seal of approval from the woman herself, as hundreds of people packed the town centre to celebrate the Commonwealth games coming to Scotland. Ten baton-bearers were chosen to carry the baton which, in 12 days time will arrive at Celtic Park when it will be opened and the Queen’s message inside, will be read to more than 60,000 people at the opening ceremony and broadcast to an estimated TV audience of at least a billion.

PUBLIC sector workers in Caithness took part in a national strike yesterday over cuts to their pay and pensions. They are also unhappy with the UK government’s austerity measures and say there is an alternative strategy which would boost the economy and create jobs.

A NORTH teenager who battled life-threatening meningitis as a toddler, is planning to put pedal power to use later this month in a fight to help children living in poverty. Kind-hearted Darren Douglas, of Thriepland Place, Spittal is gearing up to tackle an energy-sapping cycling challenge from Thurso to Inverness, in aid of the STV Appeal.

TWO American naval communications bases in Caithness were on a top secret list of over 100 places in the UK which could have come under nuclear attack during the Cold War. But nuclear plants such as Dounreay and other major infrastructure were not included.

A MAN is appealing for help to make his seriously ill little cousins’ lives that bit easier as they struggle with an incurable condition. Noah and Gracie Coates have a rare genetic disease called Vanishing White Matter Leukodystrophy , a very serious disorder which results in regressive neurogicial functioning and premature death. To raise money to help pay for their care and to raise awareness of the disease, their cousin, Andrew Raeburn from Thurso aims to cycle 2000 miles from his home town to Rome from September 7.

A CAITHNESS computing student has picked up a university award for the highest academic achievement in his year. Sebastian Coles (23) from Thurso is currently in his fourth year of a computer science degree at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and he received the award at the School of Computing Science and Digital Media’s annual prize-giving.

A CAITHNESS film-maker has won a prestigious award in London for his latest documentary. Iboga Nights, by David Graham Scott, who comes from Wick but is based in Glasgow, won the Best UK documentary category.

ABERDEEN and Northern Marts sold 438 store cattle at its show and sale at Quoybrae on Monday. Champion in the show – sponsored by Allan’s of Gillock and judged by Bruce Watt, Cairntack, Belhelvie, Balmedie – was a 537kg Charolais bullock from D A Budge, Brae-edge, Castletown and sold for £1340 to the judge.