John O’ Groat Journal headlines for September 19

PARENTS of two Caithness brothers, in line to undergo life-saving bone marrow transplants, are appealing to people to support an upcoming charity event. Janet and Calum Macleod’s little boys are suffering from chronic granulomatous disorder and they have been helped by the Anthony Nolan Trust so have organised a ceilidh auction and supper in Wick, on September 27 to benefit the UK stem cell register.

RECORD turnouts were reported at polling stations across Caithness as people in the far north were among over four million voters who made their decision on whether Scotland should become an independent country. Over 20,000 people in Caithness were registered to take part in yesterday’s independence referendum as polling stations experienced their highest-ever turnouts with people queuing up to vote at 7am.

A NEW 118,000 piece of public artwork is to welcome visitors to the end of the road at John O Groats. Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which is leading the project, is looking for artists to come forward with ideas for the work to be done as part of a scheme that has transformed the village over the last few days.

THE number of boats and yachts dropping anchor at Wick marina is at an all time high, as the port has reported a surge in visitors. Wick Harbour Authority has welcomed over 300 boats to the marina during a single year – the highest total since the facility opened five years ago. The marina was built in an attempt to boost the tourist industry and the investment has paid off, as it continues to go from strength to strength gaining national recognition and welcoming visitors from further afield.

A CAITHNESS village could soon get a long-awaited zebra crossing to help pupils get safely to and from their primary school. An application for 15,000 towards the cost of the crossing and safety measures outside Watten school, on the A882 is to go before members of the Caithness and Sutherland area committee on Tuesday.

COMMUNITY representatives are calling on the developers of the MeyGen energy project to make clear what benefits the area can expect. Dunnet and Canisbay community Council wants to hold talks with Atlantis Resources about what the firm’s plans are to distribute community benefit arising from the project.

THE state of the roads in the Bettyhill, Strathnaver and Altnaharra Community Council area, remains a hot topic for its members. The concerns included the stretch of road at the eastern foot of the brae at Apigill just west of Bettyhill where the sudden narrowing to single track does not seem to be immediately apparent to visiting motorists. Outstanding issues on the Lairg-Altnaharra-Tongue road, including those related to the volume of bicycle traffic, are also to be raised with Highland Council.

IT was a sign of the times, indicating there were once more railway stations along the county’s eastern seaboard than just Wick. And now a preservation group has continued its work to promote the county’s historic relationship with the rail industry, by renovating and unveiling a former sign.

A 63-YEAR-OLD Lybster man is jetting off to foreign climes to complete an out-of-the-ordinary challenge to most of us, but nothing unusual to him. John Gunn and his nephew Stephen Gunn are leaving today for Chilean Patagonia where they will take part in the half marathon section of the Patagonian International Marathon in the majestic Torres del Paine National park.

WICK ACADEMY are looking to cure the hangover of their early exit from the Scottish Cup, by continued their impressive Highland League form, when they welcome Buckie Thistle to Harmsworth Park tomorrow. The Scorries were left davastated after their first round defeat to Huntly, last week when the hosts recorded their first competitive win, in six months with a 2-1 victory at Christie Park.