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'No wherewithal'

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'No wherewithal' Empty 'No wherewithal'

Post by Mr007 on Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:32 am

Gunn said the establishment had focused too exclusively on its own economic agenda for the area. Other assets - the north's arts and culture - had been ignored, he said.

The Caithness landscape and history have been shaped by its Neolithic inhabitants, the Vikings - Thurso takes its name from the Norse god Thor - through to the two world wars.

A record number of brochs - 2,000-year-old stone towers - have been found in the area.

Imposing and ruined early 19th Century Castleton Mill is one of only two examples of a double mill in Scotland, the other being Ayre Mill in Kirkwall.

Caithness like neighbouring Sutherland was also marked by the Highland Clearances.

But Gunn said it was as if this rich past was a secret and Caithness's ancient relics were forgotten while sites on Orkney across the firth draw thousands of visitors.

He said: "Caithness has been used as a highway to the pier in order for tourists to go to Orkney.

"For every fantastic thing that is in Orkney there are probably about four in Caithness, but they are just lying under layers of peat.
Continue reading the main story
Caithness factfile

* Caithness has a population of 25,195, according to the 2001 Census
* The census also shows 75.2% of men aged 16-74 were economically active and 59.9% of women
* The Highland Historic Environment database - which is run by Highland Council - has 7,741 records of historic and archaeological sites in Caithness

"The archaeologists know they are there, but there is just no wherewithal to dig them up or promote them.

"The amount of Neolithic, Iron Age and Bronze Age sites here is quite fantastic, especially around Yarrows and Ulbster."

He added: "The trick the establishment is missing, and it is because they don't value cultural life, is that this is a time for a place like the north of Scotland to invest in the arts and the cultural life of the area.

"The bottom line is if there is no involvement with local people whether it is in economic life, or cultural life, what you are going to face over the next 10 years is drastic depopulation.

"Those aged between 16 and 35 will go first and we will be left with an elderly population that is economically moribund.

"That is not a prospect that I savour."

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