Local Interest
Photographs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 05:35


The photographs on this page are all my own unless stated.

Some are not Caithness but most are.

If you wish to purchase any of these in any format, please use the 'contact me' page and we can discuss your requirements.

All that remains to say is Enjoy the vision of Caithness - the forgotten county!


Keiss Castle

Inside Keiss CastleKeiss Harbour

All the above were taken at  Keiss in Caithness.




 All the above are from Dunbeath.

 Italian Chapel, Orkney

Italian Chapel, Orkney Italian Chapel, OrkneyItalian Chapel, Orkney


Northern Lights, March 2012

March 2012March 2012March 2012March 2012


Now just various bit's of Caithness, some of the crofts, like below, are no longer there as new builds stand in their place.


Abandoned Croft

Dunnet Forest

4th Sept 2009 Westerdale

4th Sept 2009 Westerdale

4th Sept 2009 Loch MoreAbandoned CroftAzamara Journey







Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 12:01
Scrabster Harbour Funding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 22 November 2010 21:31
The Highland Council has welcomed the announcement by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to award Scrabster Harbour Trust £5 million to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure.

Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: "The news of the approval of £5m from HIE should be very welcome not just in the north but throughout the Highlands. Scrabster is well placed to take advantage of renewable energy developments in the Pentland Firth, and oil and gas developments in the Atlantic province. We hope that Scottish Govt will provide the remaining funds to meet the significant gap which remains for this flagship project."

Businesses and communities in Caithness, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides look set to benefit from investment in major infrastructure projects approved today (Monday 22 November) 2010 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The HIE Board (Monday 22 November 2010) has approved grants totalling more than £13m to develop three major projects.

In Caithness, Scrabster Harbour Trust has been awarded £5m to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure.

In Orkney, HIE plans to invest £2.95m to create six new industrial units at Hatston Industrial Estate in Kirkwall. This would meet the needs of tidal energy developers using the European Marine Energy Centre test site at Eday.

In South Uist, community landowner Sealladh na Beinne Moire will receive £5m of HIE investment towards a £9.9m project to create new marine leisure and fisheries facilities, and provide access to land for community and commercial development.

Alex Paterson, HIE Chief Executive, said:"These are three highly ambitious projects which HIE believes have the potential both to transform their local economies and make a significant contribution to the region's growth.

"This is a very challenging time for all of us in the public sector in Scotland. Everyone knows resources are tight, but HIE remains fully committed to our objectives to stimulate sustainable economic growth in every part of the Highlands and Islands.

"The renewable energy potential of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters forms a major opportunity which the investments in Scrabster and Kirkwall will help to realise.

"The Lochboisdale Port of Entry project will produce powerful social and economic impacts in a fragile part of the Highlands and Islands.

"That combination of economic and community development has been a hallmark of HIE's approach for many years, and continues to lie at the heart of everything we do."

Willy Roe, Chair of HIE, said:"Investment in these three projects will not only produce benefits for Caithness, Orkney and South Uist. It will enable each of these areas to contribute further to Scotland's economic recovery and growth.

"As a major local infrastructure project, each one should also come as a welcome boost for the Highlands and Islands construction industry, creating opportunities for local contractors in particular."

Further detail on each of the three projects follows.

Scrabster Harbour
Scrabster Harbour occupies a strategically important location next to the Pentland Firth, the first area in the UK to be made available for commercial-scale development of wave and tidal energy.

Developing the huge potential of marine renewable energy in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters will require major investment in infrastructure and services over the coming years.

HIE and its partners in the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership believe marine renewable energy can play a key role in the local economy.

A growing marine energy industry would help offset an impending employment gap created by the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear facility, retaining highly skilled engineering jobs in the region.

The creation of a modern, multi-purpose pier would be a major step towards achieving that vision.
Dunnet Forest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 05 April 2010 10:15

Dunnet Forest lies to the south of the village of Dunnet adjacent to the A836 Thurso to John O'Groats road, just inland from the beautiful sands of Dunnet Bay. The land was purchased in 1954 by the Forestry Commission, and planting began as an experiment into silviculture on poor soils - the initial intention was to create a much larger forest. The forest is part of the Dunnet Links SSSI; the owners, Scottish Natural Heritage, acquired the land from the Forestry Commission in 1984. The forest covers 104 hectares, around half of which has developed into mature forest, the remainder being a mosaic of open space, scattered trees and scrub woodland. A range of tree species were planted, but the forest is now dominated by Sitka spruce and Lodgepole, Corsican and Mountain pine, with a few broadleaf species, such as Sycamore.

Extensive, publicly accessible woodland is rare in this part of the world, and the physical development of the forest has been matched by its growth in importance as a recreational facility for locals and tourists, and as an educational resource for schools and the Highland Council Ranger Service. An EU-funded project in the late 1990s upgraded much of the evolving path network, and created an all-abilities trail.

However, the long-term future of the forest was threatened: where initial plantings have been most successful, the trees are reaching maturity and suffering from windthrow. Dunnet Forestry Trust has begun the process of "restructuring" the forest - clearing windblown areas, felling "at risk" stands, and restocking these and other areas with a mix of conifers and broadleaves.


Dunnet Forest Walk

Dunnet Forest is an area of mature coniferous forest containing a variety of pine and spruce species with some broadleaved trees such as sycamore and birch. Dunnet Forest lies to the south of the village of Dunnet adjacent to the A836 Thurso to John O'Groats road, just inland from the beautiful sands of Dunnet Bay. The area was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s as an experiment in planting on poor soils, but is now managed by the local community for recreation and biodiversity.


Near the Dunnet end of Dunnet Links you will find the Dunnet Links National Nature Reserve. This includes a large wooded area complete with bridges and walkways, a good place for children and even toddlers should manage to toddle it! Dunnet Links is one of the largest sand-dune areas in the North of Scotland and the reserve hosts at least 230 different plant species, one of which is the Scottish Primrose which is only found on the North coast of Scotland and in the Orkney Isles.


Dunnet forest is the most commented upon area by the public in Caithness. This is an indication of the quality of the recreational access resource provided by the Dunnet Forestry Trust, with all-ability, horse riding, walking and mountain bike users all being catered for with paths and trails in the forest. The roadside footway linking the forest to the caravan site and beach access point together with Dunnet village creates a well integrated access resource for locals and visitors alike.


Name: Dunnet Forest

Habitat type: Woodland

What can I see there?

Dunnet Forest is an area of mature coniferous forest containing a variety of pine and spruce species with some broadleaved trees such as sycamore and birch. The area was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s as an experiment in planting on poor soils, but is now managed by the local community for recreation and biodiversity.

Forest Track

Whaligoe Steps PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 14 December 2009 11:01

Whaligoe Steps.


It used to have a step for each day of the year, but thanks to vandals, the steps are now about 30 steps short of that.

Whaligoe is not for the faint hearted, but if you're willing and able to visit this secluded and spectacular spot, you'll be following in the footsteps of a unique community of fisherfolk. 

Some 365 stone steps lead down a precipitous grassy cliff to a sheltered inlet at the foot of towering 250ft cliffs. These days you're likely to hav only the seabirds for company as they swoop and dive high above and through the narrow channel.

In it's heyday, in the middle of the 19th century, over 20 fishing boats used the the landing known as the Haven and the occasional schooner would call by to pick up cargo.

Whaligoe Steps

Whaligoe (the name means inlet of the whale) was mentioned as a fishing port as long ago as 1640, but it wasn't until 1792 that construction of the steps began on the orders of the then estate owner David Brodie.

Beside the Haven a flat area called the Bink was created for landing and curing the catches of Cod, Haddock or Ling and boats were also secured there for repairs or re-tarring etc.

The fish would be gutted by crews of women and carried up the steps in baskets to be taken to be sold in Wick. Barrels were made in the coooperage at the top of the cliffs and taken down for salt Herring to be stored in and taken away by schooner.

Bottom of Whaligoe Steps

Iain Sutherlands booklet 'Whaligoe and it's steps' describes the history of the Whaligoe fishing fraternity and explains the techniques they used.

Describing the site as 'quite unique in Scottish industrial heritage' Mr Sutherland points out that no other fishing station in Scotland was built in such an apparently inaccessible place.

Near the top of the steps there is a stone plaque commemorating local woman Etta Juhle who looked after the steps for many years.

In recent times maintenance and repair work on the steps is done by Mr Sutherland himself and Davie Nicolson. Mr Nicolson lives locally and is a great person to talk to about the steps, he is absolutely crammed with information and is happy to talk to interested visitors.

Mr Sutherland and his team have twice been major prize winners in the 'Shell Better Britain Campaign' in 1992 and 2001 in recognition of their conservation work on the steps.


Whaligoe is not signposted but it's not hard to find - It's is 7 miles south of Wick on the A99, it is the turning directly opposite the turning signposted to the Cairn of Get.

There is a small carparking area near the path that leads to the steps. Whaligoe is NOT suitable for the very young or anyone not steady on their feet. It is also NOT ADVISABLE to take pets with you.

Great care is needed to negotiate the downward journey and even those regarding themselves as quite fit can feel the exhaustion creeping in on the way back up!

DO NOT be tempted to stray away from the steps themselves, the cliff tops can very very unstable and extremely dangerous.

As you stop and get your breath back at the top of these wondrous steps, spare a thought for the hardy breed of women for whom carrying baskets of fish up these steps was just one of their daily tasks!


Text taken from Caithness Explorer by kind permission of North of Scotland Newspapers.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2009 11:08

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