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North Councillors give support to Countryside Ranger Service

10th December 2014

The work of Highland Council's Countryside Rangers was welcomed at the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee as Members gave their support for the wide range of work done by the Rangers and also gave their approval for the 2015/16 programme of events across the area.

Highland Council's Countryside Manager George Duff informed members of the achievements made by the Rangers in the last financial year for 2013/14 and highlighted some local events they had been involved in:

· In Caithness and Sutherland 162 events took place which were attended by 1865 people with 98% of participants saying it met their expectations and 59% saying it exceeded expectations.
· Over 100 school visits involving 1800 local children took place between April and October with a variety of projects undertaken including constructing wildlife gardens, visits to the seashore and bushcraft activities in the woods.
· The very successful Wild North festival was delivered in conjunction with the North Highland Initiative and the Rangers' contribution to this event was significant.
· A series of workshops at Dunnet Bay on 30th May as part of the Science Festival for local primary schools were attended by 140 local pupils.
· Under the banner of the Highland Seashore Project the Rangers ran workshops and events in Keiss and Bettyhill in May which were both well attended

Mr Duff explained that the role of the Countryside Rangers has changed over the years from a traditional role of delivering environmental education and events to one of promoting and sustaining biodiversity; working with Access Officers in local areas; and managing and maintaining the large number of council properties that the Council has within its Development and Infrastructure service.

In Caithness there are 2 full time Rangers who are based at Dunnet and Wick and in Sutherland the 4 full time Rangers are based in Durness, Lochinver, Bettyhill and Lairg.

Members approved the proposed 2015/16 Countryside Ranger Programme of Events for their area which will include 127 events. The programme includes a range of walks, and activities aimed at different age groups and abilities. Highlights include guided walks to the Bone Caves at Inchnadamph and to puffin colony at Faraid Head, coastal walks to watch seabirds sour above northern cliffs, woodland bushcraft sessions, a nocturnal search for bats, the chance to learn navigation skills and Star Gazing into the Caithness night skies as part of the World wide Earth Hour event.

Leader of the Area Committee Councillor Deirdre Mackay thanked the Rangers for all their work in encouraging people of all ages to get out and explore the natural environment. She said: "We are lucky to live in an area that boasts very dramatic and outstanding scenery and the chance for people to enjoy seeing a wealth of wildlife in their natural habitats. The Rangers do a great job of promoting these opportunities to locals and visitors across the whole of Caithness and Sutherland.

"I am especially pleased that over the next five years the Rangers have signed up, as part of our contribution to the Peatland partnership, to deliver various activities including promoting new walking routes in the peatland area, putting on new guided walks along peatland routes, assisting with community events and training local tourism providers about the peatland resources around them. They will also be continuing to foster good working relations with the North West Highlands Geopark. Having them working in our communities is a real asset so I would encourage anyone who has not yet taken part in one of their activities, to come along and enjoy making new friends and learning more about the nature on our doorsteps."

2015 Programme

Sunday 15 March, 2015 11am - 1pm
Navigation for Numpties!
Want to learn some basic navigation & map reading skills? Why not join in on a hill walk around the Ulbster area where we hope to find some interesting archaeological remains including chambered cairn, stone rows & hill fort. Walking boots and outdoor gear required. Bring compass if you have one. Rough walking in parts.
Booking essential. Meet at Loch Watenan car park. Grid ref: ND 319408. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 28 March, 2015 8.15pm - 9.30pm
Earth Hour Star Gazing
A fascinating look at the earth in space, making the most of our unpolluted Caithness night skies. Slide show and guided star gazing provided by the local astronomy group, then a night walk to the pond. No astronomy knowledge needed. Please bring a torch and binoculars if you have them. Places limited, booking essential.
Booking essential. Meet at Newtonhill Croft car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 28 March, 2015 7pm - 9.30pm
Dunnet Beach by Night
As part of the Earth Hour celebrations join the countryside Ranger on an after dark evening walk and activities along Dunnet beach from the south end to the north end. We will finish with a warm drink and toasted marshmallows around an open fire on the beach. Bring a sense of fun, warm clothing and a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 05 April, 2015 2pm - 3pm
Family Easter Treasure Hunt
It's not just chocolate eggs at Easter time! Search for clues & learn about different types of animal eggs at the beautiful Geise woodland, near Glengolly.
Booking essential. Meet at Geise farm car park. Grid ref: ND 109649. Grade A. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 06 April, 2015 2pm - 4pm
Easter Egg-case Hunt at Sandside
Come along and join the hunt to see how many mermaids purses (skate, ray and shark egg-cases) we can find especially the large common skate egg cases. Any finds will be recorded to help in the conservation effort for these rare fish. All children must be accompanied.
Meet at car park by Sandside Harbour in Reay. Grid ref: NC 957659. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 18 April, 2015 11am - 2pm
Dunnet Beach Clean
Please help us to give Dunnet Beach a good clean ready for the coming summer season. Gloves, bags and a free hot drink provided. Please help if you can and stay as long as you are able.
Dunnet beach car park by the Seadrift Centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Free event. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 24 April, 2015 11am - 2pm
Woodland Burn and clifftops of Forse
A hidden gem of a coastal walk, with waterfall, spectacular cliff formations, castle and beautiful pocket sized native woodland. Please wear sturdy boots and bring a pack lunch. Some fence lines to cross. Exact route will depend on the height of the burn on the date.
Booking essential. Meet at North Shore Pottery car park, Forse Mill. Grid ref: ND 216344. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 06 May, 2015 11am - 1pm
Sea Watch at Holborn Head
Help the countryside Ranger look for and record whales, dolphins and porpoises using our telescopes. Bring your binoculars and learn about the species we may find here. All records will be sent to the Sea Watch Foundation to help in cetacean conservation. Wrap up warm.
Meet at bottom of road up to the lighthouse (please do not drive to the lighthouse). Grid ref: ND 107706. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 10 May, 2015 11am - 3pm
Berriedale Strath Guided walk
Follow the river from Berriedale up the strath passed the ruins at Strath Cuil & to the beautiful Millery pool, returning through the woodlands on the south side. Please wear walking boots/outdoor clothing and bring a packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet by the Berriedale phone box. Grid ref: ND 120228. Grade C. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 24 May, 2015 10am - 12pm
Seashore Shenanigans at Keiss
Fun family morning with activities based around 'Herring'.
Meet at Keiss harbour area. Grid ref: ND 350610. Grade B. Free event. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 24 May, 2015 3pm - 5pm
Seashore Shenanigans at Lybster
Fun family afternoon with activities based around 'Herring'.
Meet at Waterlines, Lybster harbour. Grid ref: ND 244349. Grade B. Free event. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 31 May, 2015 10.15am - 6pm
Ship a Hoy, to Orkney
Annual boat trip directly across to the Orkney Island of Hoy from John O Groat's. Choose either a leisurely walk to the Old Man of Hoy sea stack or enjoy a more strenuous walk over Ward Hill, hopefully with time to visit the native Berriedale Wood on route to Rackwick. Suitable outdoor clothing and packed lunch are needed for both walks. Porpoise, Minke whale and orca seen on last year's boat trip. £44 Charge covers, ferry ticket, bus ticket and Ranger charge.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade C. Adults £44.00, . Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 05 June, 2015 10.30am - 3.30pm
Bilbster to Wick, River Walk
Follow the river downstream from Bilbster to Wick Bay. We'll stroll the fisherman's beats whilst the sand martens fly over our heads. We will be surveying the plant life as we travel along this natural transect line.
Booking essential. Meet at bridge to the rear of Bilbster Mains Farm. Grid ref: ND 281531. Grade C. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 08 June, 2015 7.30pm - 9pm
Clowns of the Ocean
Enjoy an illustrated talk on 'An Introduction to Caithness Seabirds' with some coffee/tea & home baking before taking a short walk to view a Puffin colony.
Booking essential. Meet at Laidhay Tea rooms. Grid ref: ND 175308. Grade A. Adults £7.00, conc. £6.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 12 June, 2015 10.30am - 3pm
Explore the back of beyond, Munsary
A guided wildflower walk into Scotland's only Plantlife nature reserve. Join the reserve manager to learn about the techniques used to preserve this unique haven for boggy flora. Take in the local history and birdlife along the way. Bring your lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Munsary reserve car park (by Stemster Loch, Achavannich). Grid ref: ND 186424. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 14 June, 2015 11am - 3pm
Photography Workshop
Be dazzled by Ken Crossan's own photography before putting his tricks of the trade in to action during an outdoor practical session in the Coronation Meadow at Dunnet Links where we hope to see Primula scotica alongside other fascinating plants. Please bring suitable outdoor gear & packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Seadrift Visitor centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade B. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 24 June, 2015 10am - 12.30pm
Puffin Watch
Join the ranger at the largest puffin breeding colony in the area. Watch the antics of these charming birds through our telescope and bring you binoculars and cameras. Some rough walking required so walking boots recommended.
Meet at the Sutherland and Caithness boundary sign on the A836 road. Grid ref: NC 921645. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 26 June, 2015 6pm - 9pm
Puffin Watch
Join the ranger at the largest puffin breeding colony in the area. Watch the antics of these charming birds through our telescope and bring you binoculars and cameras. Some rough walking required so walking boots recommended.
Meet at the Sutherland and Caithness boundary sign on the A836 road. Grid ref: NC 921645. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 29 June, 2015 11am - 4pm
Duncansby to Skirza
Experience some truly inspiring coastal scenery during this clifftop walk from Duncansby head to Skirza. Enjoy breathtaking views of seastacks, caves & geos and amazing seabird colonies, including puffins. Please wear walking boots/outdoor clothing and bring a packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Duncansby head lighthouse car park. Grid ref: ND 405735. Grade B. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 03 July, 2015 6pm - 8pm
Bumblebee Safari at Dunnet
Learn to identify our local bumblebees on a guided bumblebee safari through the dunes and forest at Dunnet. See if we can find a rare great yellow bumblebee and discover how you can help these important buzzing pollinators.
Dunnet beach car park by the Seadrift Centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 08 July, 2015 11am - 12.30pm
Damsels & Dragons
A pond life family event including pond dipping & craft activities.
Booking essential. Meet at Newtonhill Croft Woodland Car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 09 July, 2015 11am - Tide dependent
Rockpool Rummage
Discover life below the waves. Search for weird & wonderful creatures including fierce meat-eating predators. Wellies essential.
Booking essential. Meet at Keiss beach layby. Grid ref: ND 344601. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 15 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Fairies & Wizards of the Wick River
Children's event most suitable for under 8's. Come for a magical time up the Wick Riverside with wand & flower potions.
Booking essential. Meet at Wick riverside car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 15 July, 2015 1pm - 3pm
Thurso Rock Pools
Kids bring your nets or use ours and have fun discovering the fascinating creatures found in the Thurso rock pools. Wear wellingtons and warm clothing. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 16 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Fairies & Wizards of Dunnet Forest
Children's event most suitable for under 8's. Come for a magical time in Dunnet forest with wand & flower potions.
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 22 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Join the caterpillar as he munches his way around Argyll Square. Inspired by the work of Eric Carle's fantastic book, this hands on interactive story walk is suitable for children aged 3- 6yrs.
Booking essential. Meet at Argyll Square gardens. Grid ref: ND 365505. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 23 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Join the caterpillar as he munches his way through Dunnet Forest. Inspired by the work of Eric Carle's fantastic book, this hands on interactive story walk is suitable for children aged 3- 6yrs.
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 24 July, 2015 11am - 1pm
Thurso Viking Ventures
Become a young Viking and see if your team can be victorious in the different challenges to decide which team gets the glory of setting sail on a Viking raid. Booking essential due to limited numbers.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 27 July, 2015 11am - 1pm
Mask Making at Seadrift Centre, Dunnet
Kids use your imagination and have fun making your very own mask from everyday items. All materials are provided but numbers are limited so booking is essential.
Booking essential. The Seadrift visitor centre, Dunnet Bay. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 29 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Nursery Rhyme Trail
The under fives will enjoy the songs and activities on this interactive nursery rhyme trail around Thrumster woods. Watch out for the crocodile!
Booking essential. Meet at Thumster house. Grid ref: ND 332452. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 30 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Nursery Rhyme Trail
The under fives will enjoy the songs and activities on this interactive nursery rhyme trail around Dunnet Forest. Watch out for the crocodile!
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Tuesday 04 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Eat the sun for lunch - family science workshop
How does the energy from the sun get inside plants and end up in our bodies? Learn about the amazing science beneath the leaves. Demonstrations and hand on activities for kids and big kids. Children must have adult supervision. Event supported by International Year of Light - Celebratory Events in Caithness.
Booking essential. Meet at Seadrift Visitor centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 05 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Bush Craft with volcanoes
Did you know Caithness had volcanic vents? Learn about our geology and try out some fire lighting skills to create your own smoldering volcanoes by the lava rocks at Sannick. Unsuitable for under 6's due to fire danger.
Booking essential. Meet at Sannick beach layby, on road to Duncansby Light House. Grid ref: ND 400733. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07501 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 14 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Kite Making at Seadrift Centre, Dunnet
Assemble and fly your very own kite made from everyday household items. All materials provided but limited numbers so booking essential. Kite flying will take place only if conditions are suitable.
Booking essential. The Seadrift visitor centre, Dunnet Bay. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 28 August, 2015 8pm - 9pm
Batty about Bats!
Enjoy a slide show about our fabulous midge munchers before wandering round Thrumster woods. Plese bring a torch & stout footwear. Event is weather dependent.
Booking essential. Meet at Thrumster house. Grid ref: ND 332452. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 04 September, 2015 8.30pm - 9.30pm
Bats and Marshmallows
A moonlit search around the harbour and woods for these flying mammals with a taste for midges. Marshmallow toasting and hot chocolate to finish. Wrap up and bring a torch.
Booking essential. Meet at Latheronwheel Harbour. Grid ref: ND 191322. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 04 September, 2015 8pm - 9.30pm
Castle of Mey Bat Walk
Use our bat detectors to discover the flying midge munchers around the castle at night. Wrap up warm and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 13 September, 2015 11am - 1pm
Fossil Fish Forray
Search for the remains of creatures older than the dinosaurs! Learn about the fascinating fossil fish of the Caithness beds & try to find a specimen to take home.
Booking essential. Meet at Achanarras quarry car park. Grid ref: ND 157536. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.
Wednesday 16 September, 2015 8pm - 9.30pm

Castle of Mey Bat Walk
Use our bat detectors to discover the flying midge munchers around the castle at night. Wrap up warm and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 03 October, 2015 11am - 2pm
Loch of Yarrows to Whaligoe
A walk through history in classic Caithness landscape. The route is peppered with archaelogical sites spanning several thousand years; burial cairns, broch, hill fort and ending at the breath taking steps at Whaligoe harbour. Rough hill walking in parts. Bring lunch and walking boots. Drivers returned to start.
Booking essential. Meet at Loch of Yarrows Car Park. Grid ref: ND 307433. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 15 March, 2015 11am - 1pm
Navigation for Numpties!
Want to learn some basic navigation & map reading skills? Why not join in on a hill walk around the Ulbster area where we hope to find some interesting archaeological remains including chambered cairn, stone rows & hill fort. Walking boots and outdoor gear required. Bring compass if you have one. Rough walking in parts.
Booking essential. Meet at Loch Watenan car park. Grid ref: ND 319408. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 28 March, 2015 8.15pm - 9.30pm
Earth Hour Star Gazing
A fascinating look at the earth in space, making the most of our unpolluted Caithness night skies. Slide show and guided star gazing provided by the local astronomy group, then a night walk to the pond. No astronomy knowledge needed. Please bring a torch and binoculars if you have them. Places limited, booking essential.
Booking essential. Meet at Newtonhill Croft car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 28 March, 2015 7pm - 9.30pm
Dunnet Beach by Night
As part of the Earth Hour celebrations join the countryside Ranger on an after dark evening walk and activities along Dunnet beach from the south end to the north end. We will finish with a warm drink and toasted marshmallows around an open fire on the beach. Bring a sense of fun, warm clothing and a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 05 April, 2015 2pm - 3pm
Family Easter Treasure Hunt
It's not just chocolate eggs at Easter time! Search for clues & learn about different types of animal eggs at the beautiful Geise woodland, near Glengolly.
Booking essential. Meet at Geise farm car park. Grid ref: ND 109649. Grade A. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 06 April, 2015 2pm - 4pm
Easter Egg-case Hunt at Sandside
Come along and join the hunt to see how many mermaids purses (skate, ray and shark egg-cases) we can find especially the large common skate egg cases. Any finds will be recorded to help in the conservation effort for these rare fish. All children must be accompanied.
Meet at car park by Sandside Harbour in Reay. Grid ref: NC 957659. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 18 April, 2015 11am - 2pm
Dunnet Beach Clean
Please help us to give Dunnet Beach a good clean ready for the coming summer season. Gloves, bags and a free hot drink provided. Please help if you can and stay as long as you are able.
Dunnet beach car park by the Seadrift Centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Free event. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 24 April, 2015 11am - 2pm
Woodland Burn and clifftops of Forse
A hidden gem of a coastal walk, with waterfall, spectacular cliff formations, castle and beautiful pocket sized native woodland. Please wear sturdy boots and bring a pack lunch. Some fence lines to cross. Exact route will depend on the height of the burn on the date.
Booking essential. Meet at North Shore Pottery car park, Forse Mill. Grid ref: ND 216344. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 06 May, 2015 11am - 1pm
Sea Watch at Holborn Head
Help the countryside Ranger look for and record whales, dolphins and porpoises using our telescopes. Bring your binoculars and learn about the species we may find here. All records will be sent to the Sea Watch Foundation to help in cetacean conservation. Wrap up warm.
Meet at bottom of road up to the lighthouse (please do not drive to the lighthouse). Grid ref: ND 107706. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 10 May, 2015 11am - 3pm
Berriedale Strath Guided walk
Follow the river from Berriedale up the strath passed the ruins at Strath Cuil & to the beautiful Millery pool, returning through the woodlands on the south side. Please wear walking boots/outdoor clothing and bring a packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet by the Berriedale phone box. Grid ref: ND 120228. Grade C. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 24 May, 2015 10am - 12pm
Seashore Shenanigans at Keiss
Fun family morning with activities based around 'Herring'.
Meet at Keiss harbour area. Grid ref: ND 350610. Grade B. Free event. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 24 May, 2015 3pm - 5pm
Seashore Shenanigans at Lybster
Fun family afternoon with activities based around 'Herring'.
Meet at Waterlines, Lybster harbour. Grid ref: ND 244349. Grade B. Free event. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 31 May, 2015 10.15am - 6pm
Ship a Hoy, to Orkney
Annual boat trip directly across to the Orkney Island of Hoy from John O Groat's. Choose either a leisurely walk to the Old Man of Hoy sea stack or enjoy a more strenuous walk over Ward Hill, hopefully with time to visit the native Berriedale Wood on route to Rackwick. Suitable outdoor clothing and packed lunch are needed for both walks. Porpoise, Minke whale and orca seen on last year's boat trip. £44 Charge covers, ferry ticket, bus ticket and Ranger charge.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade C. Adults £44.00, . Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 05 June, 2015 10.30am - 3.30pm
Bilbster to Wick, River Walk
Follow the river downstream from Bilbster to Wick Bay. We'll stroll the fisherman's beats whilst the sand martens fly over our heads. We will be surveying the plant life as we travel along this natural transect line.
Booking essential. Meet at bridge to the rear of Bilbster Mains Farm. Grid ref: ND 281531. Grade C. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 08 June, 2015 7.30pm - 9pm
Clowns of the Ocean
Enjoy an illustrated talk on 'An Introduction to Caithness Seabirds' with some coffee/tea & home baking before taking a short walk to view a Puffin colony.
Booking essential. Meet at Laidhay Tea rooms. Grid ref: ND 175308. Grade A. Adults £7.00, conc. £6.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 12 June, 2015 10.30am - 3pm
Explore the back of beyond, Munsary
A guided wildflower walk into Scotland's only Plantlife nature reserve. Join the reserve manager to learn about the techniques used to preserve this unique haven for boggy flora. Take in the local history and birdlife along the way. Bring your lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Munsary reserve car park (by Stemster Loch, Achavannich). Grid ref: ND 186424. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 14 June, 2015 11am - 3pm
Photography Workshop
Be dazzled by Ken Crossan's own photography before putting his tricks of the trade in to action during an outdoor practical session in the Coronation Meadow at Dunnet Links where we hope to see Primula scotica alongside other fascinating plants. Please bring suitable outdoor gear & packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Seadrift Visitor centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade B. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 24 June, 2015 10am - 12.30pm
Puffin Watch
Join the ranger at the largest puffin breeding colony in the area. Watch the antics of these charming birds through our telescope and bring you binoculars and cameras. Some rough walking required so walking boots recommended.
Meet at the Sutherland and Caithness boundary sign on the A836 road. Grid ref: NC 921645. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 26 June, 2015 6pm - 9pm
Puffin Watch
Join the ranger at the largest puffin breeding colony in the area. Watch the antics of these charming birds through our telescope and bring you binoculars and cameras. Some rough walking required so walking boots recommended.
Meet at the Sutherland and Caithness boundary sign on the A836 road. Grid ref: NC 921645. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 29 June, 2015 11am - 4pm
Duncansby to Skirza
Experience some truly inspiring coastal scenery during this clifftop walk from Duncansby head to Skirza. Enjoy breathtaking views of seastacks, caves & geos and amazing seabird colonies, including puffins. Please wear walking boots/outdoor clothing and bring a packed lunch.
Booking essential. Meet at Duncansby head lighthouse car park. Grid ref: ND 405735. Grade B. Adults £8.00, conc. £4.00, family £14.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 03 July, 2015 6pm - 8pm
Bumblebee Safari at Dunnet
Learn to identify our local bumblebees on a guided bumblebee safari through the dunes and forest at Dunnet. See if we can find a rare great yellow bumblebee and discover how you can help these important buzzing pollinators.
Dunnet beach car park by the Seadrift Centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 08 July, 2015 11am - 12.30pm
Damsels & Dragons
A pond life family event including pond dipping & craft activities.
Booking essential. Meet at Newtonhill Croft Woodland Car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 09 July, 2015 11am - Tide dependent
Rockpool Rummage
Discover life below the waves. Search for weird & wonderful creatures including fierce meat-eating predators. Wellies essential.
Booking essential. Meet at Keiss beach layby. Grid ref: ND 344601. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 15 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Fairies & Wizards of the Wick River
Children's event most suitable for under 8's. Come for a magical time up the Wick Riverside with wand & flower potions.
Booking essential. Meet at Wick riverside car park. Grid ref: ND 362511. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 15 July, 2015 1pm - 3pm
Thurso Rock Pools
Kids bring your nets or use ours and have fun discovering the fascinating creatures found in the Thurso rock pools. Wear wellingtons and warm clothing. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 16 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Fairies & Wizards of Dunnet Forest
Children's event most suitable for under 8's. Come for a magical time in Dunnet forest with wand & flower potions.
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 22 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Join the caterpillar as he munches his way around Argyll Square. Inspired by the work of Eric Carle's fantastic book, this hands on interactive story walk is suitable for children aged 3- 6yrs.
Booking essential. Meet at Argyll Square gardens. Grid ref: ND 365505. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 23 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Join the caterpillar as he munches his way through Dunnet Forest. Inspired by the work of Eric Carle’s fantastic book, this hands on interactive story walk is suitable for children aged 3- 6yrs.
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 24 July, 2015 11am - 1pm
Thurso Viking Ventures
Become a young Viking and see if your team can be victorious in the different challenges to decide which team gets the glory of setting sail on a Viking raid. Booking essential due to limited numbers.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Monday 27 July, 2015 11am - 1pm
Mask Making at Seadrift Centre, Dunnet
Kids use your imagination and have fun making your very own mask from everyday items. All materials are provided but numbers are limited so booking is essential.
Booking essential. The Seadrift visitor centre, Dunnet Bay. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 29 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Nursery Rhyme Trail
The under fives will enjoy the songs and activities on this interactive nursery rhyme trail around Thrumster woods. Watch out for the crocodile!
Booking essential. Meet at Thumster house. Grid ref: ND 332452. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Thursday 30 July, 2015 11am - 12pm
Nursery Rhyme Trail
The under fives will enjoy the songs and activities on this interactive nursery rhyme trail around Dunnet Forest. Watch out for the crocodile!
Booking essential. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park. Grid ref: ND 222698. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Tuesday 04 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Eat the sun for lunch - family science workshop
How does the energy from the sun get inside plants and end up in our bodies? Learn about the amazing science beneath the leaves. Demonstrations and hand on activities for kids and big kids. Children must have adult supervision. Event supported by International Year of Light - Celebratory Events in Caithness.
Booking essential. Meet at Seadrift Visitor centre. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Free event. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 05 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Bush Craft with volcanoes
Did you know Caithness had volcanic vents? Learn about our geology and try out some fire lighting skills to create your own smoldering volcanoes by the lava rocks at Sannick. Unsuitable for under 6's due to fire danger.
Booking essential. Meet at Sannick beach layby, on road to Duncansby Light House. Grid ref: ND 400733. Grade B. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child, family £7.00. Contact Kirsty on 07501 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 14 August, 2015 11am - 1pm
Kite Making at Seadrift Centre, Dunnet
Assemble and fly your very own kite made from everyday household items. All materials provided but limited numbers so booking essential. Kite flying will take place only if conditions are suitable.
Booking essential. The Seadrift visitor centre, Dunnet Bay. Grid ref: ND 219706. Grade A. Adults go free with accompanying children, £3.00 per child. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 28 August, 2015 8pm - 9pm
Batty about Bats!
Enjoy a slide show about our fabulous midge munchers before wandering round Thrumster woods. Plese bring a torch & stout footwear. Event is weather dependent.
Booking essential. Meet at Thumster house. Grid ref: ND 332452. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 04 September, 2015 8.30pm - 9.30pm
Bats and Marshmallows
A moonlit search around the harbour and woods for these flying mammals with a taste for midges. Marshmallow toasting and hot chocolate to finish. Wrap up and bring a torch.
Booking essential. Meet at Latheronwheel Harbour. Grid ref: ND 191322. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Friday 04 September, 2015 8pm - 9.30pm
Castle of Mey Bat Walk
Use our bat detectors to discover the flying midge munchers around the castle at night. Wrap up warm and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Sunday 13 September, 2015 11am - 1pm
Fossil Fish Forray
Search for the remains of creatures older than the dinosaurs! Learn about the fascinating fossil fish of the Caithness beds & try to find a specimen to take home.
Booking essential. Meet at Achanarras quarry car park. Grid ref: ND 157536. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Marina on 07818 588256 or marina.swanson[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Wednesday 16 September, 2015 8pm - 9.30pm
Castle of Mey Bat Walk
Use our bat detectors to discover the flying midge munchers around the castle at night. Wrap up warm and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied.
Booking essential. Meeting place given out on booking. Grade B. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £8.00. Contact Paul on 01847 821531 or paul.castle[AT]highland.gov.uk.

Saturday 03 October, 2015 11am - 2pm
Loch of Yarrows to Whaligoe
A walk through history in classic Caithness landscape. The route is peppered with archaelogical sites spanning several thousand years; burial cairns, broch, hill fort and ending at the breath taking steps at Whaligoe harbour. Rough hill walking in parts. Bring lunch and walking boots. Drivers returned to start.
Booking essential. Meet at Loch of Yarrows Car Park. Grid ref: ND 307433. Grade C. Adults £4.00, conc. £3.00, family £11.00. Contact Kirsty on 07500 784123 or kirsty.rosie[AT]highland.gov.uk.

 

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