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 Lewis man who recently moved to Shetland has been awarded funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help make kite energy a reality. Rod Read set up his company, Windswept and Interesting Ltd in 2012 when he started developing kite turbines.
The current phase of engineering works to strengthen the 1.9km viaduct that supports the railway track began in April 2021, with the aim of returning the funicular to service early next year. However, despite strong progress made in tough conditions, HIE has concluded that the planned timescale now needs to extend into the second half of 2022.
Orkney Cheese Company Limited is investing in a £925,000 refurbishment project, which is set to increase production, create jobs and help the company reach new markets over the next three years. Significant improvements will be made at the Hatston Industrial Estate based facility in Kirkwall.
There are currently several opportunities, across a broad range of disciplines for Graduates, from HNC to Post Graduate, to apply for within Businesses and Social Enterprises across Caithness and Sutherland. To register an interest please forward the following information email@example.com mid-day 17th September 2021: Full Name Educational Institute Award Attained and Subject Year of Graduation(e.g., 2020) Any additional subject/graduate position interests E-Mail Address Legally permitted towork in the UK (Yes / No) Available to work from Caithness or Sutherland (Yes / No) The details provided will be forwarded to the Businesses and Social Enterprises that have current vacancies and they will arrange to contact the Graduates direct.
Another 22 young business leaders from around the Highlands and Islands have become the latest to take part in a year-long programme aimed at developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. The IMPACT30 programme is open to people aged 35 and under who are in key decision-making roles in young, ambitious businesses.
For the 5th year running HIE has joined forces with SE and SOSE to fund the RLP, which is aimed at business managers and employees from rural businesses (both private/social enterprises), who have a desire to develop their leadership skills and grow their business. In previous years farmers and land-based consultancies have dominated the cohorts, HIE are keen to promote the opportunity to rural businesses across the sectoral mix we have in our rural economy.
Plans for Caithness to become the host site for a prototype generator for one of the world's most efficient, cleanest and lowest carbon forms of energy have taken a step forward. A bid to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) prototype fusion power plant was submitted by the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) in March.
The mountain resort will enhance its summer offering with a new blue accessed gondola trail that, once completed, will be the UK's longest uplift accessed mountain bike trail. A new and more convenient controlled entry car parking system will also be installed for summer 2021 which will allow visitors the option to pre-purchase parking tickets online.
Scotland's development agency for the Highlands and Islands has set out its plans to create jobs and support an inclusive and green economic recovery over the coming year. Action for Jobs and Communities is the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) operating plan for 2021-22.
Virtual taster sessions are arranged for 24 June and 28 July for Pathfinder Accelerator, which is a six-month programme designed to help participants build a company or launch a new product saving time and money. Developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the programme provides fast-track training and mentoring and will be delivered completely online.