Blog & News

Here you will find out all of our latest updates through News and Blog pages.


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Weekly update, 11th February 2019

SpaceHub Sutherland:

The SHS team are holding more events this week –  in both the Melness Community Centre (Tuesday 19th February, 15.30-20.00) and the Pentland Hotel, Thurso (Wednesday 20th February, 15.30-20.00). They would welcome anyone with a question to pop in and meet. A reminder that the project team have also created a web presence at  which will be a central resource for information about the project as it progresses.

Energy and Business Services:

Good to see that Simec Atlantis Energy continues to make progress in its drive to reduce the costs of tidal energy, as it announces a new subsea connector hub that will allow multiple turbines to be connected one power export cable. This is estimated to reduce connection costs by around 50%.

Enabling activities:

The Beatrice operations base, February 2019

There is a final chance to book a place at the “Pitching Skills” workshop that is coming to Caithness on 21st February. This is a session not just for those in “dragon’s den” situations, but for anyone who works in a business and does any sort of public or business-to-business speaking. Led by Maryanne Johnston, who has significant pitching/ presentation skills experience, it is being delivered through the Entrepreneurial Academy developed by HIE. To book a place see

Caithness Chamber is working with Caithness Voluntary Group and HIE to run workshops in Thurso and Wick on 27th February. Focusing on “phishing” (where criminals pose as a legitimate institution in order to lure individuals into providing sensitive information), these one hour free sessions will teach attendees the anatomy of a phishing email. Not only that, you’ll get a chance to create your very own phishing email – a great way to get a better understanding of the kinds of techniques used in these emails so that you are better prepared to spot them. To book a place check at either or

A reminder that work continues with businesses in the area to ensure maximum awareness of the need to plan for Brexit. HIE has an excellent self-assessment tool for businesses, together with a range of advice and support, all available at and we are looking forward to taking part on March 1st in the business breakfast event on Brexit, which is being run by Caithness Chamber of Commerce in its role as a Europe Direct Information Centre. You can book to attend this event 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:

  • This Wednesday is the deadline for applications to become the new CNSRP Manager. With an ambitious programme of work ahead, the new post will provide an excellent opportunity to play a vital part in the move towards a post-Dounreay economy in the north. More details and application form are at
  • I chaired a meeting of the Caithness Community Planning Partnership this week in Wick. A powerful presentation from Caithness Drugs and Alcohol Forum was heard by a packed audience, and there was much support for the wider dissemination of the work currently going on, particularly in schools, to raise awareness of support mechanisms. We also discussed fuel poverty and heard from the new Social Security Scotland agency. The three staff employed through the Aspiring Communities fund also spoke about their initial work on the ground in the four localities within the Caithness community Plan. For more on the Community Planning Partnership see
  • Delighted to see Matt Leslie’s piece in Friday’s John O’ Groat Journal this week painting a picture of tourism industry feelings about the North Coast 500 Route. There have been some well-publicised headlines on the more negative effects of the route on the north and west’s infrastructure, but it was good to see industry voices highlighting some positive impacts the brand has had on the tourism economy (not online.) This week I also met with members of the steering group brought together by the Peatlands Partnership to advance the proposition for the Peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland achieving a World Heritage designation. We discussed what the economic value of such a designation could bring, and discussed a programme of community consultation on the proposal, including where its boundaries might be.
  • The NDA’s Andrew van der Lem, Head of Government Relations (and Socio Economics) and Jeremy Harrison, Risk and Assurance Director, were in Caithness this week. They visited Scrabster and Wick harbours, and met with local stakeholders from the Dounreay Stakeholder Group and CNSRP.  We emphasised the opportunity to maximise our current opportunities through joint investment by partners in key projects.
Castle of Old Wick, February 2019