Blog & News

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


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Weekly update, 1st April

Morning sun on Castle Varrich, Tongue.

SpaceHub Sutherland:

Ivan McKee MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment & Innovation visited the north this week, and I was delighted to be invited to take part with HIE colleagues in a meeting with the Minister in Tongue. Representatives of Melness Crofters Estate, Lockheed Martin, Orbex Space met the Minster to talk about the emerging plans for the SpaceHub Sutherland project.

Amidst a significant amount of other business in the House of Commons this week (!) it was good to see Jamie Stone MP asking a question of the Prime Minister regarding the project. and June Love’s presentation to last week’s meeting of the Thurso & Wick Trades Council about her involvement with the SpaceHub Sutherland project is covered this week in the Caithness Courier and the Press and Journal

A view across the Kyle of Tongue to the Moine, site of the proposed SpaceHub Sutherland

Energy & Business Services:

The NDA has announced welcome funding support of £5M for Scrabster Harbour Trust’s Ola Pier project this week. The £17M project aims to enhance the port’s capacity to deliver economic benefits in both oil & gas and cruise ship markets. ( At last week’s meeting of the Thurso & Wick Trades Council I mentioned as part of my progress update that we continued to work with Scrabster Harbour Trust as it moved forward with its ambitious plans for the port. I’m pleased to see that Gordon Calder’s piece in this week’s Caithness Courier picks up the points I made at the meeting.

Enabling activities:

Community Planning activities continue apace in Caithness, and I meetings in both Lybster and Thurso this week as Locality Plans in each area are developed. Data gathering across the four Locality areas in Caithness (Castletown, Wick, Thurso, Lybster/ Dunbeath/ Berriedale) is being coordinated by staff working through Caithness Voluntary Group’s Aspiring Communities project, and it was good to see how staff were reaching out to people whose voices are sometimes not heard in community consultations. It was also good to hear this week that Thurso Community Development Trust has been awarded funding through the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) to support activities to tackle food waste and establish community growing space. Broadly similar work has been taken forward in Lybster through the Latheron, Lybster & Clyth Community Development Company, and you can find out more about its fantastic range of activities at

A dreich Lybster for this week’s Locality Plan meeting.


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:

  • Martin Thomsen joined the HIE Area Team for Caithness & Sutherland this week. We welcomed Martin to a role in our Strengthening Communities team, where his most recent work as a staff member at the award-winning Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust will serve us well as he covers communities across the north.
  • I attended the open day held by North Sutherland Community Forestry Trust (NSCFT) last Saturday, as it celebrated the purchase of 37Ha of land at Forsinain from the Forestry Commission, with funding from Big Lottery Fun and SSE’s Strathy North Joint Community Fund. It was good to see some old friends from the Trust there, and to hear from Trust Chair Sandy Murray about its plans to push forward with a sustainable timber business.