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Looking Back – news from the John O'Groat Journal of yesteryear


By Features Reporter

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Thousands turned out for Thurso’s street party on Hogmanay 2010 as it made a comeback after the cancellation of the previous year's event. Picture: John Baikie
Thousands turned out for Thurso’s street party on Hogmanay 2010 as it made a comeback after the cancellation of the previous year's event. Picture: John Baikie

Needy children's festive feast

From the Groat of December 30, 1921

All the Wick schoolchildren who attended the soup kitchens had been entertained to a sumptuous Christmas dinner, organised by the Wick branch of the British Legion (Comrades of the Great War) and paid for by a public collection.

The children's menu consisted of roast meat and potatoes followed by plum pudding.

"Nearly 300 bairns were entertained and there were liberal helpings of all the good things. The youngsters expressed their gratitude for the treat in the eagerness with which they availed themselves of the fare and by their unmistakable signs of enjoyment.

"Bags containing two oranges, an apple and some sweets were also distributed among the children.

"In the afternoon all the bairns were kindly entertained by Mr and Mrs Aubrey, of the Pavilion, to a free cinema matinee which proved highly popular and was greatly enjoyed."

It was noted that the local Legion members' philanthropic work in connection with the treat had "called forth many expressions of appreciation".

Elsewhere, a correspondent from Latheron had urged the county to get involved in water power, which was to be the "economical force which will revolutionize industry".

The writer maintained that the falls at Latheron and Forss were "the only ones in Caithness from which the requisite power could be obtained".

New contract for Dounreay

From the Groat of December 31, 1971

The lucrative connection which the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Dounreay establishment had had with South Africa over the previous five years, and particularly the last 12 months, was further strengthened by a substantial contract which would provide more work for the experimental reactor organisation.

The contract with the South African Atomic Energy Board was for five years' manufacturing of certain new fuel elements for use at the research reactor at Pelindaba, Transvaal, and for reprocessing of spent fuel elements for the purpose of recovering uranium still remaining in the elements after use.

In addition to the South African orders, work was progressing on contracts with Australia, Denmark and Germany for the supply of fuel elements for similar reactors.

Meanwhile, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board had made live for the first time the whole of the northern section of their Super Grid transmission line between Beauly and Dounreay.

The new line, which was to cater for increased supplies of electricity to Dounreay, would later feed the output from the 250MW Prototype Fast Reactor, currently under construction at the site, into the board's main supply system.

The line would also serve to reinforce electricity supplies to Caithness and Sutherland.

Local lord's theme park plan

From the Groat of January 3, 1997

A company chaired by the 3rd Viscount Thurso wanted to build a £17.25 million theme park in Ross-shire.

Highland Fantasia Ltd had applied for planning permission to develop a site on the Black Isle, near the Tore roundabout.

If given the go-ahead, the development would create 56 jobs and attract 250,000 visitors a year, according to the company.

Using the latest technology, the theme park would trace the history of the Highlands over a 2000-year period.

The focal point was to be a custom-built Highland castle containing 15 themed attractions and a restaurant and shops inside simulated croft-houses.

Viscount Thurso said the theme park would be fun and educational, and would be designed to demonstrate quality in the Highlands.

Elsewhere, a mental health group in Caithness had been awarded £177,000 from the National Lottery charity fund.

Caithness Mental Health Support intended to use the money to build a drop-in centre in Thurso.

The group had already established a purpose-built centre in Wick, called the Haven, and now wanted to repeat that success on the other side of the county.

It already ran free sessions seven days a week in the Pop-In Parlour overlooking Thurso's shopping precinct.


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