Off Road On Track
16th May 2002
There will be even more 4x4 fun on the farm in future, even in wet weather, with help from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).
William Ronaldson & Son of Westerseat Farm near Wick have bought a new tracked vehicle with financial assistance from CASE so their 4x4 activities for visitors can continue, even when the weather is more suited to ducks.
A development grant and financial support from the European funded HIE Activity programme - which supports tourism activities covering everything from mountaineering and fishing, to events and festivals - has allowed Mr Ronaldson to buy an ex-MOD tracked vehicle.
During periods of heavy rain the 4x4 track becomes water logged and normal off-road vehicles can no longer use it. However, Morris Ronaldson's new Hagglund BV206 All Terrain Personnel Carrier will mean visitors can still enjoy the off-road experience.
Commenting on the new vehicle, Morris said: "The new vehicle is a real investment, allowing us to operate in all conditions. Last year we were unable to operate between November and February because of wet weather but with the Hagglund we can now operate year-round."
The Ronaldsons set up the 4x4 activity centre in 2000 as a way of diversifying their farming business which involves cattle, sheep and arable farming as well as contracting. Other activities on offer at the farm include 4x4 and quad bike driving, and tractor and fork lift challenges with the centre proving extremely popular with guests staying at the nearby Ackergill Tower and locals alike.
Arlette Bannister from Ackergill Tower said: "Our guests really enjoy William and his team, they are very professional in their welcome, and explanation, and cover the safety aspect well. Another 'toy' in the form of the Hagglund is a great addition for us to offer to our guests, especially for those guests who have visited the Ronaldsons before."
Chief executive at CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "Tourism is extremely important to the Caithness economy and the more activities there are to do in the area, the more visitors we can attract. William Ronaldson & Son are an excellent example of how farm businesses can diversify and generate income from the tourist sector."
A drop in event. Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats.
A Caithness distillery has embarked on a major expansion that will boost its turnover and international sales and create at least one new job. Dunnet Bay Distillery (DBDL) has secured a £64,000 contribution from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards the £248,000 development.
The Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has welcomed Professor Lorne Crerar's report on proposed governance arrangements to support the outcomes of the Scottish Government's Enterprise and Skills Review. These recommendations would ensure that a HIE Board effectively remains in place.
Young people in Caithness and Lochaber will be among the first in Scotland to benefit from new Norwegian style learning centres. The centres are aimed at helping young people pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and digital (STEMD).
Ten wave energy development projects have been awarded a total of £3 million by Wave Energy Scotland. The projects, devised by individual companies and partnerships, will explore the potential of different materials and processes in the production of wave energy converters (WECs); devices that convert ocean waves into electricity.
Plans for a multi-million pound research and innovation campus in Stromness in Orkney are set to go ahead after the two organisations behind the venture agreed funding for the project. The 3.75-acre campus will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney's world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector.
The latest findings of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Business Panel survey have been published (Tuesday 20 December). A total of 1,004 businesses throughout the region took part in the survey between 29 September and 3 November.
The level of income required to afford a socially acceptable standard of living and to participate in society is ten to thirty per cent more expensive in remote rural Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. The report on Minimum Income Standard for Remote Rural Scotland 2016, published today (Wednesday 30 November), was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise (SE), the Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum (RIHAF) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
The chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has said he is fully confident about the future of the organisation. Responding to reports this week, speculating about the agencies future following the Scottish Government's review of enterprise and skills bodies, Professor Lorne Crerar, said he had had absolute reassurance from Scottish Government that HIE will continue in its present form.
Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson is seeking clarification from Depute First Minister John Swinney about reports claiming that the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to be scrapped and replaced with a centralised committee. Councillor Davidson said: "If it is correct - it is totally unacceptable that the Scottish Government is to centralise the decision-making powers of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
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