2 December 2021
When the Castle of Mey rang to ask me to make two benches for the castle I had no idea they were intended as a gift to Prince Charles from a friend of his in memorial to the Queen Mother. They had to arrive before Prince Charles arrived at the castle in July and it turns out the whole royal family came along as it was Prince Andrew and Princess Anne's joint birthdays, one was 50 and one was 60.
I was most nervous about Viscount Lindley, as he is a famous furniture maker, and also was worried in case the Queen got any splinters sitting on them! Can you imagine. But the gardener reported that Prince Charles was really happy with them, so that made my day.
The picture above of the bench outside in the garden is the castle one, it has three crosses, one to represent each son of the lady who bought them for Prince Charles.
There are also the traditional Caithness chairs I make, picture above to the right of the bench one. I had bought an original one from an auction and have been making replicas of that one. From this I have done talks and a workshop about them. I also made a bench in the style of a Caithness chair for Caithness Horizons Museum, now the North Coast Visitor Centre.
30 November 2021
We are offering a special Hogmanay weekend, minimum 3 nights stay for £35 pppn ( based on 10 sharing ).
Our stunning location, Scandinavian design and wonderful cosy fire and beds, make it the perfect Hogmanay Getaway.
The ultimate in Highland Hygge.
29 November 2021
The Wick Heritage Museum will be hosting a special sale of heritage books on Saturday's 4th and 11th of December 2021, including the book 'Fifty Year Fifty Favourites' which commemorates 50 years of the Wick Society. Don't miss out!
The Wick Society are also celebrating a milestone in their hugely successful Wick Voices project, which now has a phenomenal 300 recordings of local memories, stories and information from the past. You can listen to all these recordings on their website.
24 November 2021
Smoo Lodge were delighted to be featured this year in The Guardian's "20 of the best UK hotels and inns to rest and relax" and would like to thank their wonderful team and all those who have helped over the years to create a B&B that is a little bit special.
You can read the full article at: www.theguardian.com/travel/2021/may/08/20-best-uk-britain-hotels-and-inns-to-rest-and-relax
19 November 2021
Our current exhibition features local area maps, sea charts, building plans, plots of Caithness and Castletown area services, ancient Bronze Age star maps, the evolution of survey and mapping techniques, heritage survey equipment and the latest LiDAR aerial laser scanning technologies, to name but a few.
One of our most popular 'permanent' exhibits is the WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that was recovered from a Caithness bog in 1990. The engine belonged to a RAF Hurricane that was stationed at RAF Castletown in August 1941, and was involved in a mid-air collision during a training flight. The story of the recovery of the engine by two local enthusiasts, the original incident and the subsequent exploits of the Norwegian pilot, Lt Jens Muller of 331 Squadron, is quite incredible. Muller was one of only three servicemen to successfully make it home following the Great Escape in 1944 from Stalag Luft III.
Under normal (non-Covid) conditions the Centre is open to visitors from 2pm to 4pm every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday all year round (excepting Christmas Day and New Years Day). We are currently open on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.
We also open at other times by request for visiting groups and tours, and host curriculum supporting school visits and activity days.
16 November 2021
While the hotel closes over winter our glamping pods are available for rent year-round!
The pods are available to book on a nightly basis and we have 6 of them so there’s plenty of availability. There are two types, family ones with bunk beds that are suitable for age 10 and under and a king size bed and the other three are for two adults in a king sized bed. They are all en-suite with shower.
15 November 2021
Looking for some Christmas gift ideas? Then look no further than the Royal Dornoch online shop!
The only place where you can buy designs with the famous club crest is the Royal Dornoch Pro Shop. For members and visitors who are unable to call in regularly, their online outlet is an ideal way to stay connected and browse various items.
Stand out from the golfing crowd and represent Royal Dornoch proudly by purchasing!
Visit here: https://royaldornochproshop.com/
11 November 2021
The John O’Groats Trail is a fantastic walking route which stretches right from John O’Groats in the north of Caithness along the east coastline through Sutherland and Easter Ross down to Inverness, linking up with the Great Glen Way. This makes it part of the trails system which allow you to walk the entire length of Britain in one go!
This summer, in a joint project with the John O’Groats Brewery, they have installed a custom-designed archway at the John O’Groats start/end point to enhance the special atmosphere of excitement for those walkers just beginning or ending their trip.
Keen locals who would be interested in finding out more about the group who manage the trail, or indeed in becoming a member or volunteer, are invited to visit their website https://www.jogt.org.uk/ or contact [email protected]
10 November 2021
Conveniently located in the heart of the Highlands, Mackays Hotel is a family-run hotel renowned for its award-winning cuisine and devoted staff members that create a friendly and relaxed environment for everyone. Mackays Hotel caters to all types of guests (including four-legged ones!) and makes the ideal base to explore the nearby countryside. The hotel is situated in Wick, a popular stop on the North Coast 500, and provides easy access to natural and historical landmarks in Caithness with plenty of walking paths and opportunities for outdoor activities from alpaca trekking to water sports.
6 October 2021
A warm Highland welcome awaits you at the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora. We are only an hours’ drive from Inverness along the NC500. Our charming Highland hotel is the perfect place to unwind and explore the stunning east coast of Scotland. Spend your days on the beach or explore the great outdoors before relaxing after a hearty meal in one of our restaurants.
We also have self-catering apartments available overlooking Brora beach. A great option for families, groups, golfers or couples looking for long term stays and a fantastic base from which to explore the surrounding Highlands.
Autumn breaks from just £65 per person, per night
As the seasons change, there is no place quite like the Scottish Highlands, and beautiful Brora is the perfect getaway for your autumn break. The vibrant colours of the landscape, ever-curious wildlife, and an abundance of wonderful activities to get you outdoors and feeling refreshed.
From just £65 per person, per night
Enjoy a two night stay for two people with breakfast including dinner and complimentary bottle of wine on the first night.
Terms & Conditions:
• Available only when you book direct at www.royalmarinebrora.com
• Subject to availability. Minimum two night stay.
• Applies to hotel rooms only.
• Includes a two night stay for two people with breakfast, dinner and complimentary bottle of wine on the first night in our restaurant.
• Price is based on two people sharing a classic room. Upgrades are available.
• Further terms apply
Find out more and book your stay.
4 October 2021
Big news - In summer 2022 Culgower House is being offered as a holiday let / exclusive use house (sleeping eight) so that folk can enjoy the north Highlands in the company of their friends and family using our home as their base. More details and availability calendar on our website - www.culgowerhouse.com
So 2021 is our last season as a Bed and Breakfast and we are fully booked to the end of this season. We have loved welcoming our guests, especially those who have visited regularly, and it has been a privilege to help you to relax, enjoy your holidays and make the most of your time in this wonderful part of the world. Our thanks for your custom and support over these past years.
24 September 2021
Bin Ends & the Whisky Cellar is a labour of love by a team people passionate about our brand and products.
Murray Lamont opened our very first shop ‘Bin Ends, the fine wine shop’, back in 1995 in Wick, our Thurso shop soon followed and more recently the shop at Inverness Airport.
With more than 20 years’ experience, The Whisky Cellar offers you the best and finest selection of whiskies, wines, spirits and beers.
We are passionate about all things Caithness, Old Pulteney, WolfBurn, Rock Rose Gin, Ice & Fire, North Point Distillery, John O’Groats Brewery to name a few, we also include a wide range of products from different parts of the world.
Instead of turning water into wine, Murray is turning his wine business into whisky! An avid collector, Murray is now releasing some of his favourite drams via our latest venture our website. www.whiskycellar.scot
Quality is the key to everything the Whisky Cellar does.
Pop into one of our shops if you happen to be in our neighbourhood, or if you prefer more modern methods of getting in touch, send Pamela an e-mail at [email protected] or visit our website. www.whiskycellar.scot
Whisky Cellar & More Is the trading name for Bin Ends, based in Wick, Thurso and Inverness.
Our head office is at: 2 River Street, Wick, Caithness. KW1 5EA.
Our Telephone No is 01955 606006.
23 September 2021
The Crannag Bistro has been closed to customers this summer whilst local Post Office staff run their services from the restaurant. The decision was made to allow the Post Office to continue to operate whilst its own building in the village is being renovated. Options for relocation were limited locally and rather than lose the facility altogether, Ian and Kathy Smith decided to offer their premises. “We decided that the community could do without a restaurant in the short term, but couldn’t do without their Post Office.” said Ian Smith.
The Crannag has been offering a ‘drive through’ collection service since April 2020. The menu, which changes every week, features freshly baked pizza, Crannag specials and complementary wines. Open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, collection slots must be pre-booked. The menu can be found at www.crannag.com or on Facebook.
“We have maintained a local takeaway service throughout lockdown and it has been wonderful to keep in touch with our customers. Regular visitors to the Crannag have returned this summer and have been very understanding, enjoying their takeaways instead of dining in.”
The Post Office renovations will hopefully be completed in November. Ian and Kathy aim to open the Crannag dining room again in December, if circumstances allow.
21 September 2021
Rock Rose Gin is officially a ‘cool brand’. The super-premium British gin has been selected by the influential CoolBrands® in the 2021/22 roster of the coolest brands around.
Brands are shortlisted by invitation only and selected by a prestigious panel of 39 judges, comprising designers, style experts, media personalities, and prominent names from entertainment, fashion, and music.
In addition to Rock Rose Original, there are several gin expressions including seasonal editions: Navy Strength Rock Rose Gin (ABV 57%), Pink Grapefruit Old Tom Gin, and Citrus Coastal Edition Gin.
Customers are encouraged to ‘go green’ by purchasing attractively priced refill pouches with further incentives provided through the Refill Rewards Club which Members can choose to join on a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis to receive gift hampers with each delivery.
It’s not just the taste that is exceptional. This is a truly sustainable business: it is the first company in its sector to offer spirits in eco-friendly, fully recyclable pouches which are used to refill the iconic ceramic bottles.
Martin Murray adds: “The company is sustainable through and through and, unusually for a small business, this year we appointed a dedicated Environment Manager to further improve our already eco-friendly approach to business. From ploughing used botanicals back into the land, to sustainably foraging for or growing our own plants where possible, to using solar panels and carefully managing water, supporting a range of charities, and taking good care of our dedicated team of colleagues, we are proud of our record to date. CoolBrands is more than just ‘another award’. It recognises our brand’s strengths in their entirety”.
10 September 2021
The majority of my guests tell me how the location of the Attic flat is perfect, ideal as a base for NC500 route, and extremely good value for money.
They appreciate the extra little touches and the Attic Flat this year alone has had 4 couples on their honeymoon and 2 groups of 4 doing a charity cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats.
8 September 2021
These last two seasons once we managed to open have been fantastic. We have been fully booked since the beginning of June and it remains that way until the end of September. We have had many returning guests. Folks just seem to love our very coastal location, just directly above Harrow harbour, many spend hours sitting in the garden watching the seals. Guests furry friends are very welcome too.
1 September 2021
Timespan is delighted to have been shortlisted for Artfund Museum of the Year Award 2021 for their programme and work during lockdown.
The winning finalist will be announced in September 2021.
27 August 2021
Dunbeath Preservation Trust runs the Dunbeath Heritage Museum, as well as owning much of the area at the harbour, where we have a lovely boat-shed with restored yole, open to the public & good picnic area beyond the ice-house.
We have a one-way system in the Heritage Museum & the usual hand-sanitising points. Visitors are encouraged to follow the route around our displays, with plenty of space for stopping to read exhibition boards on the way.
We have, of course, a focus on Neil M Gunn’s works in the main exhibition room with “Highland River” painted on the floor. The next room, containing the “tableau of life-size historical characters” will be re-vamped to become a Heritage Room, enabling the local community and researchers a comfortable space to have a good browse through our collection. The 3rd room is very much focused on Caithness archaeology with Caithness-wide artefacts on loan from NMS. We also currently have a temporary loan of some of the Mesolithic flints recovered during the re-alignment of Berriedale Brae. There's lots to see & read & we endeavour to answer any questions visitors have.
Our museum is the only one in Caithness where you can currently see Caithness archaeological artefacts on display.
We will remain open through to end of October, maybe longer if staff & volunteers are able.
We are currently open Tues, Wed & Fri 10-4.
25 August 2021
At the beginning of the first lockdown we turned our hand to deliver as much as we could from the bar to our customers at their homes. Starting with packaged products and bottled drinks; expanding last spring to deliver hand made cocktails direct from the bar. This expanded further with packs of hand made cocktails and party kegs which can all be delivered locally and now nationally.
More recently alongside developing the variety and availability of drinks for delivery we have been working with local distilleries to create original Cocktails both inspired and utilising the amazing local resources. Additionally the most recent developments of the pandemic have allowed the return of live music to the bar which has been so long overdue and is just the thing to restore the relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere that Mr C’s has always strived to provide.
23 August 2021
Above and Beyond Tours have been developing Distillery Tours for the north and are trialing these brand new tours with guests in August! This is an exciting new direction for Angela and Isobel as it will be a great day out and something special to offer future visitors.
20 August 2021
Lindsey Gallacher has a new sterling silver pendant called 'Swimming Is Better With Friends' a perfect gift for only £48. You can purchase on her website or pop in to her studio in Thurso open tue-sat 10-4pm.
22 July 2021
Lark & Lily Designs turned 10 years old on the 1st July 2021, with plenty of celebrations!
The business also won the Theo Paphitis Small Susiness Sunday several years ago on Twitter. Picked by Theo himself, this is something to be extremely proud of.
15 July 2021
Patricia Niemann's business' interests aren’t just the making and selling of ‘wearable’ jewellery from her studio, but also artistic practice based around the human body and the more ‘sculptural’ adornment of it. She is going to be involved in a very prestigious exhibition with some of her glass jewellery at the Museum Of Glass in Tacoma, Seattle, in Spring of 2022.
"The exhibition presents an elite group of internationally acclaimed figures in the field of contemporary jewelry and art who use glass as a vehicle to express their views on present-day concerns. Their devotion to working with glass as their preferred material is the thread that binds these diverse artists, while their unique perspectives set them resolutely apart. The exhibition offers viewers the exciting opportunity to see how such objects—wearable and not—can be thought-provoking statements of compelling and enduring interest." https://www.museumofglass.org/
14 July 2021
Ice & Fire Distillery were the only company from the Highlands to win in Round 17 of Scottish Edge and they have also recently launched a Caithness gin and tonic sorbet with Flavours Ice Cream, John O'Groats.
Read all about it here: