Saucy find for environmental defender
IT has been a hectic week for Dorcas Sinclair, who not only discovered a cache of Victorian sauce bottles but was also nominated for a major award.
Dorcas, from Weydale, started the Facebook group Caithness Beach Cleans (CBC) in March last year and has lifted 9.5 tons of plastic and other rubbish from the county's coastline.
Now, she has been nominated as an Environmental Defender at the third No.1 Amazing Women Awards taking place on February 29 at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow.
"The first I knew about it was when I got an email a few days ago saying someone had put my name forward," Dorcas said.
"I was totally shocked but really honoured that someone would nominate me."
The Amazing Women Awards celebrate the strong and inspiring women of Scotland, giving recognition "for their incredible achievements and efforts".
The John O'Groat Journal reported in December how the beach cleaners had celebrated a total of eight tons lifted from local beaches, which meant the group was averaging almost a ton a month.
"We have 308 members now. They're not all pickers but the numbers are growing," Dorcas said.
"The more people that go out, the more we will remove from the beaches."
Dorcas said that the monthly average of a ton had now already been achieved.
She puts some of the success of the group down to the introduction of weighing devices that the pickers use to tally up the amounts gathered.
"They use the scales, take a photo of it and post it on the Facebook page."
Previously, Dorcas and her husband Allan had tried to find research statistics on the amounts of rubbish lifted off Caithness beaches but could find no data.
"Seeing that weight rising every few days is what sends people out to do more," she said.
She also thinks that another successful aspect of CBC is the fact it is an unconstituted group and "people don't have to commit to anything".
Last week Dorcas was with a friend, Caroline Swan, who discovered a Victorian sauce bottle on the beach at Castletown.
"Allan and I went back to see if there were any more and we discovered about 50 of them. It looked like they'd been packed in a crate," she said.
Dorcas estimates the bottles are about 150 years old and originally contained sauce from an Aberdeen company called Thomas Curr & Co.
The group is having sponsored beach cleans on all Caithness beaches on February 9 (details on its Facebook page) and in March there will be a pop-up shop in Thurso which will include some of the Victorian sauce bottles for sale to raise funds for the group.
Anyone wishing to join the group as a picker, or looking to highlight where rubbish is, can make contact through Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/2561533860586878