Caithness Courier headlines for February 24, 2016

A VISITING surfer's close call in the Pentland Firth at the weekend has prompted a call for signs to be put up, at all popular boarding haunts around the Scottish coastline warning of potential pitfalls. The student, who has not been identified, was almost swept away after he got into serious difficulties while surfing with a friend near the island of Stroma.

A GROUP of local historians are pursuing plans to build a replica of an Iron Age broch in a venture they believe could become a prominent tourist landmark in the far north. Caithness Broch Project wants to create the broch and an adjoining drystone dyking workshop, to tell the story of what it was like to live in Caithness 2500 years ago.

OPPOSITION councilllors Highland Council are set to fight proposed cuts which would hit some of the poorest people in Caithness and other parts of the Highlands. Wick councillor Gail Ross yesterday said she and her SNP colleagues will vote against the Independent-led administration's plans to wind up the deprived area fund as well as cut the budget for employability service.

LOCAL authority redundancies will have a serious knock-on effect on the Highland economy, according to area MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart. They were speaking in the wake of Highland Council's confirmation that 341 employees, who applied for voluntary redundancy, as the council tries to make savings of almost 40 million in the coming financial year.

A CAITHNESS rural garage owner has been doing a roaring trade in replacement springs and shock absorbers thanks to the state of some of the county's roads. Ronald Gow rates the potholed and broken up condition of the network as the worst he has seen in 30 years with public service cuts only likely to make things worse.

A HALKIRK teenager is over the moon to be part of a team who won the people's choice award for their short film at the National Gaelic Film Awards. Sixteen-year-old Ross Binnie and his friends Katie Gregson-MacLeold, from Inverness and Olivia McPartlan from Nairn took part in the FilmG competition and won with their creation called Tulteam a Gras.

And finally...WANTED - a mate for a frustrated feathered Caithnessian who has been taking out his pent-up aggression on his owner. The appeal has come from farmer Walter Fraser who is desperate to find a companion for his lovelorn peacock. He has been viciously assaulted on a number of occasions and believes the arrival of an amenable pehen would allow him to walk around his holding at Knockdee, Stemster without fear of being ambushed.