John O' Groat Journal headlines for April 3

THE county's only five-star hotel, which was destroyed by fire just over a year ago and then completely reburbished, is to be put up for sale. Ackergill Tower will not be put on the market immediately, but Clarenco LLP, parent company of AmaZing Venues which owns the property, has confirmed it will happen.

SEVEN Caithness men are readying themselves for a cycle challenge overing 100 miles and climbing a total of 13,500ft to raise money for charity. Andrew Mackay's family and friends are making the effort in aid of Crohn's and Colitis UK, Highlands and Islands group, to say thanks for their help and support after the youngster was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in September 2013.

NHS dental patients in Caithness face a two-month delay in getting appointments. The delays, described as "disappointing" by a local councillor, are the result of two vacancies at the Lochshell dental clinic at Wick. However, NHS Highland yesterday said the posts are being advertised this month.

A MAJOR upgrade at Caithness General Hospital, which is to cost around 5 million, is expected to be finished by 2017, an NHS manager has claimed. NHS Highland area manager, Bob Silverwood, said the design for the reconfiguration of the wards should be completed by July. A funding application will then be submitted and, if approved, the work will get under way and should be finished in two years later.

A SPECIAL salmon fly has been designed and will be sold to raise money for a charity which is helping a Halkirk woman through a testing time. After overcoming the initial shock of learning one of his friends, Linda Sutherland, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Pat Quinn, also from Halkirk decided he wanted to do something useful, not just for her but for Cancer Research UK generally.

WORK to improve the "shocking" condition of a section of the A9 road in Thurso could be carried out in the next few months. That is the hope of local community councillors who have been trying to get the road at Sir George's Street repaired for a number of years. Community council chairman, Bob Earnshaw, hopes Bear Scotland, which is responsible for maintaining trunk roads in the north, will carry out the work.

RUNNING faster and more dependable services should be the first priority for the new operators of the rail line between Caithness and Inverness. That is the plea from far north rail campaigners who have blasted the standard of the service provided by Aberdeen-based First Group in recent years.

CROFTERS and farmers are being urged to consider the risks associated with working with calving cows and young calves. As the main spring calving season gets into full swing, Quality Meat Scotland, NFU Scotland, and the Scottish Beef Association are encouraging beet producers to do all they can, to reduce the potential dangers which regularly result in injuries and occasional fatalities at this time of year.

SIX new jobs are set to be created in Watten after an Aberdeenshire firm was given the go-ahead to establish an agricultural engineering business on the outskirts of the village. HRN Tractors has been granted planning permission to form a base which will offer agricultural repairs, servicing and sales premises.

CAITHNESS is being geared up to celebrate the armed forces this summer in a much bigger fashion than before. A group of locals have come up with the idea of the new Caithness Armed Forces Gala, an event held in line with the national Armed forces Day, both this year on June 27.