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Weekly update, 26th October

Tourism, Food & Drink

Tomorrow (Saturday 31st) sees the official launch at John O’ Groats of public art works commissioned by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by Creative Scotland Lottery Fund. The works, entitled “nomadic boulders” will be officially launched at an event at the site on Saturday at 5pm. The event will feature specially-composed music and verse from acclaimed composer/ director Jim Sutherland and renowned poet/ playwright George Gunn respectively. Both men are from Caithness, and Jim was a contributor to the soundtrack of Disney’s “Brave” animated movie that brought considerable tourism impact to Scotland. Schoolchildren from Canisbay Primary will also be involved in the opening ceremony. Further information is at–groats-sculpture.html#sthash.crckWk1C.dpbs 

Excellent news today that cinema company Merlin Cinemas Ltd has announced its intention to reopen the Thurso Cinema, which closed in September when former operator Thurso Cinema Ltd went into administration. Gordon Calder’s piece in today’s (Friday 30th) John O’ Groat Journal contains welcomes for news from Ormlie Community Association and from HIE’s Pete Guthrie.

Enabling Activities:

The Caithness & North Sutherland Fund (CNSF) held its annual general meeting today (Friday). CNSF was set up to distribute £4M of benefit from CNSRP partner the NDA from construction of a Low Level Waste repository at Dounreay, and has in its four years of existence awarded £1.2M to over ninety community projects in the north. More on the Fund’s activities at


As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • I was invited this week to make a presentation on the activities of CNSRP to students from Manchester School of Architecture, who have been in the Highlands this week at the start of a programme of research on spatial planning issues. Both Ken Nicol of DSRL and myself outlined Dounreay’s past and current activities, as well as highlighting the efforts being made to prepare our area for life beyond Dounreay. Next week I will be delivering an update on CNSRP activities to the members of Highland Council’s Planning Infrastructure and Development Committee in Inverness.
  • North Highland College continues to take innovative approaches to raising awareness of its range of courses and activities. Its most recent YouTube film about NHC and college life highlights some of the many good reasons for choosing to study in the north, and it has been made by Thurso-based Storyboard Films. It is available to view on the NHC YouTube channel at Attracting and retaining young people has been one of the great challenges throughout the Highlands and Islands, and this weekend marks an important milestone for economic development activity in the area, with Sunday 1st November marking 50 years since the establishment of the Highlands and Islands Development Board, the predecessor to CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise. You can read more on this milestone, and some of the many changes that have taken place over the years, at
  • Today (Friday 30th) and tomorrow is the Thurso Surf Festival, which is a collaborative effort between the Scottish Surfing Federation and the UK Professional Surf Tour. As with previous years the event has attracted support from CNSRP partner Highland Council. More details on the event at and Thurso also had an unscheduled surf competition last week, with the “Gathering of the Clans” surf event being moved at short notice from East Lothian to Thurso East due to weather conditions.
  • Good to see that Ignis Wick Ltd has been nominated for two awards at this year’s Scottish Green Energy Awards, both relating to the company’s investment in (and operation of) the Wick District Heating Scheme.