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Caithness At War 4 - 10 March 1940 - Highland Archive

5th March 2013

Photograph of Caithness At War 4 - 10 March 1940 - Highland Archive

On Tuesday 5 March, facing defeat and with Soviet armies attacking the city of Viipuri and threatening Helsinki, the Finns finally entered into negotiations with Russia about ending the Winter War and Britain and France abandoned plans to send troops to their aid. Meanwhile, with spring just around the corner, it was evident that the Phoney War would soon come to an end.

Meanwhile in Caithness, with spring just around the corner, there was concern that the declaration of the area north and west of the Caledonian Canal as the Northern Protected Area would deter tourists from visiting. The John OGroat Journal this week reflected both sides of the question.

On the one hand there was an opinion piece dismissing the fears: there is nothing to prevent tourists going to the Highlands and into the protected area, provided they have taken the precaution to secure permits and passports for identification purposes. Although the writer conceded that it would not be a normal holiday season, owing to war conditions and petrol rationing, he concluded that the existence of a protected area should not deter bona fide tourists.

But the paper also carried a letter from an Edinburgh resident who said that the current waiting time for a permit to visit Caithness was up to ten days. Why, he asked, was the north Highlands made a protected area and not, say, the south of England or London? Was it simply an easy way out of some administrative difficulty for Whitehall officials?

For the full story go to The Highland Archive site at -