Weekly update, 25th Sept & 2nd Oct

Tourism, Food and Drink:
• Last weekend saw the staging of the annual “Taste North” event organised at Ackergill Tower by Venture North with support from a range of organisations including CNSRP partner the NDA. Despite the less than ideal weather, the event attracted a record number of visitors (around 1,000), and a range of food, drink and tourism companies from across the north, and featured a range of activities and demonstrations, including masterclasses with renowned chef Nick Nairn. For further information visit https://www.facebook.com/tastenorth/
• On a similar subject, two companies from the area – Reid’s of Caithness and Dunnet Bay Distillers – have been taking part in the “Showcasing Scotland” food & drink event at Gleneagles, joining over 140 other Scottish companies and 150 national/ international exporters seeking Scottish products. The event – which was last held in 2015 – is supported by Scottish Development International, Scotland Food and Drink and CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). More information is at http://news.hie.co.uk/all-news/the-region-s-food-and-drink-goes-global-at-showcasing-scotland/

Enabling Activities:
• This week sees the official launch of a new initiative led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce in partnership with North Highland College UHI, NHS Highland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Recruit North Highlands has been established with the aim of attracting skilled individuals to the North Highlands to close the gap on hard to fill vacancies. The initiative’s website will take a unique “lifestyle first” approach, with a focus not just on individual job opportunities but on selling the North Highlands as a great place to live and work. More information is at http://www.recruitnorthhighlands.com/ and in an indication of the ongoing drive to attract people to the area, pupils in north Sutherland have gone online with a video aimed at attracting a Principal Teacher to Tongue Primary School. You can view the video at https://vimeo.com/236450203

Cllr Willie Mackay re-opens the Killimster Moss section of the B876 following its refurbishment, 29th September 2017


• One of the key enabling activities identified in earlier versions of the CNSRP Programme was the important stretch of road in Caithness that connects Thurso and Wick via Castletown. The “Killimster Moss” section of the B876 road crosses deep peat, and in addition to being an important public transport route also provides a valuable route for important businesses such as Subsea 7 and Norscot. CNSRP partner Highland Council responded to it being highlighted in CNSRP discussions and it was forwarded for inclusion in the Council’s roads programme. So it was great to see the road re-open to traffic last Friday (29th) following its closure to allow the enhancement work to take place. https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/10490/praise_for_b876_killimster_moss_road_refurbishment

Communications:
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:
• The latest issue of the “Energy North” supplement published by Scottish Provincial Press came out last week. As always it carried a range of stories relating to the energy sector in the north, including recent Scrabster, MeyGen, Beatrice Offshore and Moray Offshore news. I contributed an article summarising some recent activities relating to CNSRP. The publication is available online at http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=49350156-1a25-4f48-bd18-fbf87e70f134