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


By Features Reporter

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This is thought to be Wick’s first female football team, pictured before a match against Halkirk ladies in 1938 along with Wick Academy officials Dane Harper, Sykes Sinclair and Alex Boyd.
This is thought to be Wick’s first female football team, pictured before a match against Halkirk ladies in 1938 along with Wick Academy officials Dane Harper, Sykes Sinclair and Alex Boyd.

Donations for local museum

From the Groat of May 19, 1922

The committee of Wick Library had extended its thanks for a number of items donated to the institution from locals.

Among these were an adder killed in Thrumster in 1915, "several excellent specimens of moths and butterflies", "bows and arrows and the head-dress of the Hause of Nigeria, a calabash water bottle carved and ornamented by the natives of Nigeria", an old coffee mill found at Achimore, Shebster, and a wheel taken from the old mill at bridge of Brubster 150 years before.

It was reported that "it would be well if all who take an interest in the local museum would follow the example of the contributors and help the committee in their endeavours to furnish a museum worthy of the town".

Meanwhile, at a meeting of milk producers and retailers held in Wick, it had been agreed to reduce the price of milk to 2s a gallon retail.

However, the benefit to the weekly shopping budget looked to be short-lived as housewives were warned to expect an increase in the price of butcher meat.

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease had resulted in a scarcity of beef south of the border, with the result that "English buyers are making their presence felt at the northern marts and are very keen on securing fat cattle, which has caused prices to rise".

Householders urged not to waste water

From the Groat of May 19, 1972

Although the Wick burgh supply was not yet at risk, the people of all Caithness were being asked to economise in the use of water and, with the exception of Wick, to adhere to a restriction in the use of hoses for washing private cars or watering private gardens.

Wick was supplied from Loch Yarrows, the level of which "is at present comparatively safe".

However, the remainder of the county depended on Loch Calder which had been affected by the dry weather of the previous two winters, and "more dry weather could precipitate a crisis".

It was hoped the situation would be eased as the North of Scotland Water Board was changing over, as far as possible, from water power to electricity at the Hoy pumping station, the treatment works for the Loch Calder supply.

Of the 8.5 million gallons per day extracted from Loch Calder, 1.5 million gallons went to the consumer and the remainder was used to drive the Hoy pump turbines.

Elsewhere, Caithness County Council was to seek more information on plans by Loganair to offer two return flights on Wednesdays for an Inverness/Dornoch/Wick service.

Councillors considered they needed to know the proposed times of the flights and how they would connect in with services to the south of Inverness before they could comment on the proposal.

NHS trust leading the way

From the Groat of May 23, 1997

Caithness and Sutherland NHS Trust had claimed credit for spearheading the recent major upgrading of the standard of primary health care facilities in rural parts of the far north.

According to the chairman, George Bruce, the move was in line with the trust's pledge, when it formed four years previously, to target the many outdated, cramped surgeries run by village GPs.

Officially opening a £200,000 health centre at Dunbeath, Mr Bruce said it was the latest in a rolling programme of such projects throughout the two counties.

He added: "We have grasped the opportunity since our inception to demonstrate our commitment to improve the wellbeing of the people of Caithness and Sutherland by providing the best possible range and standard of services.

"We wish to see as much work as is clinically appropriate provided as near as possible to the patients' homes."

Elsewhere, a total of 36 objections had been raised to a £2.5 million scheme to build a hotel and supermarket complex on the outskirts of Wick.

Initially the scheme had attracted six comments but this had increased in the fortnight before the deadline for submissions.

Inverness-based Morrison Developments Ltd was preparing to unveil its plans at two public exhibitions in the town.


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