Monday, July 28, 2014

The Referendum on September 18th - make sure you are registered to vote!

Are you YES or NO or perhaps still making your mind up? There will surely be a very high turnout when the polling stations open on referendum day. Are you registered to vote though?

"If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to vote. In October and November 2013, each household was sent two forms by their local electoral registration office requesting the details of all those who will be eligible to vote.

If you have not received your forms or need new forms, you should contact your local electoral registration office. You can get their details by entering your postcode on this website." 

And that on line form is available here. You still have to print the form off and physically post it to the electoral registration office though.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tess the guide dog is still missing – can you help? Please spare a minute or two to think about this

Female Guide Dog Tess- went missing near the Old Cemetery along the river in Nairn around 3 p.m. on Wednesday the 23rd of July last week during play time off the harness. She had apparently gone into the river chasing ducks and has not been seen since, despite searches of the riverside and nearby areas and posters being put up in the town. She has a leather collar with tags but no harness or attachments on her. 
Were you in the riverside area around that time, this includes the Broadhill side of the river, the Jubilee Bridge and playing fields, Mill Road etc and below the A96 bridge around about 3 pm.? Did you see anything? Were you in the town centre or anywhere else in Nairn and did you see a dog matching Tess’s description – see poster below. 

Did you see anyone with a similar dog? Did you see anything unusual at all? Please think about this and ask your family, friends, neighbours and workmates if they have any information or sightings. Please check your gardens, sheds, garages and any areas nearby where a dog might be. If you have a business with a yard etc please check that.

Tess is more than a companion dog she is a working Guide dog and an important and vital part of her owner’s life. If you have any information at all it is time to come forward. There is a contact number on the poster but if you have difficulty with that number please contact the police on 101 and give them your information.

The sun shines in Inverness on Liz's BBC Bias demo

There were some heavy downpours in Inverness this afternoon but the weather improved as Nairn Councillor Liz MacDonald today led a demonstration in Inverness that walked up from the Town House to the BBC Highland premises on Culduthel Road. Image below and more images here. 

Liz's protest coincided with a larger one in Glasgow and she told those present:

"Thank you to everyone who came here today, we’re here to support the protest in Glasgow although we can’t be there we agree with their sentiments. This protest is not about local or Scottish Services but rather about the way Scotland is being treated by London based HQ and Westminster decisions, In 2012 and 2013, 35 job losses at BBC Scotland was a devastating blow for output in news and current affairs across Scotland and we lost many great reporters. Output from BBC Highlands was drastically affected, losing a significant element of reporting staff at Inverness.

With dictatorial control exerted by London we will never get fair reporting. London BBC is all about retaining the Union and the power base in London and by retaining membership of CBI they endorse the no campaign.

According to BBC’s own figures Licence fee money collected in Scotland after costs is £287million but the BBC only spend £205million in Scotland leaving us £82million short changed. We are in the middle of the biggest decision many of us will ever make and the publicly funded BBC is only paying the Scottish Independence referendum lip service whilst touting UK Government propaganda."

Independent MSP Jean Urquhart was also at Liz's demonstration and made a brief speech - see video below:

Are you YES, NO or undecided? Have a Nairn connection and have something to say then let us know - views from both sides or none most welcome - contact

Two Counties encounter - Nairn County 1 Ross County 1 - Pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here, full screen slideshow here.

Also now on the Gurn flickr pages images of the game against Saints from Donald here and some Gurn pictures here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Yes and No at the show today

Highland Cycle ability- cycle to the challenge - fundraiser July 23rd - August 3rd

Jane Harkiss tells the Gurn: 

"Come and help us complete the 296 km between here and the Commonwealth Games Velodrome in Glasgow, on our track! This is a combined effort. We don't expect anyone to cycle the whole distance! Your kilometres will be logged and added to the total. You may enter as an individual or as a group / club. There will be a small entry fee, but great prizes up for grabs. The event will run from July 23rd to August 3rd to coincide with the Games. One lap of the track = 1km added to the total. Kms can be completed on any non motorised wheels (bike, roller skates, wheel chairs) or on foot."

More details here on the event facebook page.

Nairn County 1 - Ross County 1

Not a tale of two Counties at all. Nairn looked impressive and produced quality to deliver a few dangerous moments - Paul MacLeod looked very impressive in aboot the Ross County defence. A very good performance that will set County up for a North of Scotland Cup encounter with local rivals Forres on Tuesday night  (29th) at Station Park.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stewart can certainly hack it - footpath across the fields to Firhall Bridge passable again thanks to local hero

Recently we reported on the state on the overgrown footpath that cuts across the fields to the Firhall Bridge -  a walk that has been popular for many years with locals but had become overgrown and virtually impassable this season. Outrage had been expressed on social media that the path hadn't been cut this year. 

One public spirited young man Stewart MacLean set aboot the undergrowth himself on Monday but only had limited time due to work commitments. He returned today, on one of the hottest days of the year, to finish the job and the result is pictured below. Congratulations Stewart, you are a credit to the community and a fantastic ambassador for the younger generation. Maybe the powers that be could find some way to give Stewart some recognition for his selfless hard work for the benefit of others. 

Find missing guide dog Tess - please print off and display poster

File available in googledoc format here to download and print.

Search for a missing guide dog - tonight in Nairn - meet 18.00 at joiners yard by old cemetery - details on map

The Highland Dogblog group are organising a search tonight for the guide dog that went missing yesterday - details of dog here.  See map above. Gurnites will remember the dogbog folk organised large searches for Bracken, the dog who went missing in the Delnies Wood back in April.

Saints 1 County 8 - Pictures by Kenny MacLeod

Individual images here.  Full screen slideshow here. 

Aldi coming to Nairn?

Thanks to our regular reader who spotted an enigmatic series of job ads online giving the location of Aldi jobs as Nairn,Nairnshire. Image of one of them below.

Update 17.44 25/07/14 : the Gurn e-mailed the Aldi press office earlier today to find out more information and we are still waiting for a reply. 

Use of mobile phones whilst driving.

Last week the East Nairnshire Community Council heard how some tractor drivers can be seen using mobile phones whilst driving along the country roads. One community councillor told the meeting that she thought it was so dangerous she phones the police when she sees it happening. The ENCC heard too of how traffic, particularly lorries, is now finding its way onto previously quiet roads due to the use of Sat Nav systems. The way our society is organised around motor transport means there will be more of this unfortunately as individuals and businesses look for the quickest way from A to B, finding new rat-runs to avoid the overcrowded rat-runs – even in rural Nairnshire. The desperate need that a lot of us now have to feel connected all the time via digital devices means the temptation to use/answer the phone whilst driving is always there, be it town or country.

In town too there is no shortage of drivers on phones, particularly on the A96 – this observer once saw a lorry driver navigating the King Street roundabout whilst going about whatever he felt it necessary to do on his phone. We live in a state that has a penchant for mass surveillance, the government is capable of accessing all our e-mails or listening to our phone calls if they wish – surely there is some way they could figure out who is using a phone while driving and quickly earn several billion in fines that could be issued instantly by post? A silly thought perhaps on a warm and Thursday morning but we need to hear more in the press of people being prosecuted for thinking they are above the law when it comes to driving and mobile phones.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Urgent - please help find guide dog missing in Nairn

Guide dog went missing yesterday Wednesday 23rd July

Inverness City 0 Nairn 2- Donald Matheson's images from the friendly encounter on 19th July

Individual images here.


Fo rìoghachd nan car

Rinn mi sgriob air baidhseagal an de. Chaidh mi air an treana gu Inbhir Nis agus. As deidh dhomh suil a thoirt air an taobh-seallaidh Ceasaig a Deas ( agus nach buidhe dhomh – da leumadair a nochadh aig an deiradh am a thug mi mo camara as mo phocaid) rinn mi air an canal agus as deidh sin trasainn na h-Eileanan Nis gu rathad Dures. Bha an rathad trang ach mhothaich mi nach robh moran caraichean sa Tescos ur (an treas no an ceathramh fear?) aig an timicheallan far a bheil an cuairt rathadh a’ stad an drasta ann an achadh agus connspaid gu leor. Chum mi a dhol ach saoilidh mi gur e rathad cunnartach a bh’ann gus an robh cothrom an rathad samach eile agus slighe shonraichte cleachadh do Dures. 

Aig an Taigh Osda Dures ghabh mi biadh agus pinnt shandy. Cha robh Loch Nis cho breagha sa b’abhaist dha a bhith le ceo a’ chladaich tighinn a-steach cho fada ris an loch. Ged a chuala mi gur e latha breagha, breagha a bh’ann air an toabh an iar cha robh grian ri fhaicinn air an taobh seo ged a bha Caisteal Urchaidh ri fhaicinn bha coltas doilleir air. Cha do chuir sin cus dragh orm ge-ta bha e freagarrach gus a bhith air baidhseagal. 

Nuair a thill mi gu Inbhir Nis thug mi an cuairt rathad agus bha taighean ura agus moran eile ri fhaicinn air gach taobh. Bha slighe shonraichte an seo son baidhseagailan an seo cuideachd agus bha sin a chord a rium, bha caraichean agus laraidhean gu leor air an rathad fhein. Chaidh mi seachad air an Asda ur agus Sgoil Gaidhlig Inbhir Nis air an taobh eile. Saoildh mi gur e sia no seachd kilometre de cuairt-rathaid a th’ann. Seachad air na buthan mora eile ri taobh an Tesco eile agus mise cha mhor air an rathad dachaigh. Bhithinnsa a dhol suas gu Cuil Lodair agus an uair shios dhan tursachan Clabha agus an rathad ‘1’ ofigeach son baidhseagailan. ‘S e rathad na bu dorra a th’ann ach samhach agus breagha. Ged a tha faisg air deich mile a bharrachd air an taobh sin b’fhiach e, ‘s e eacarsaich a dhith orm cuideach agus mise a deanamh deiseil son Slighe an Gaidhealtachd an Iar as an t-Sultain. 

As deidh timicheallan na-h-Innseachan chaidh mi tarsainn an drochaidh os cionn an A9. Chuir e iongnadh orm de cho trang sa bha na solas-trafaig agus ciuthan caraichean fada, fada air gach toabh dheth, shios dhan A9 agus a-mach a shealladh suas rathadh Cuil Lodair. Fhios’m gu bheil traffaig Inbhir Nis buailteach a bhith craicte sa mhadainn agus air an fheasgar ach cha robh seo ach leth uair an deidh uair. Air an taobh cli bha na toglaichean Oilthigh na Gaidhealtachd a dhol suas gu luath. Fhios agam gu bheil a’ Ghaidhealtachd airidh air a leithid ach de thachras an seo nuair a thig na h-oileanaich agus na h-ollamahan sna caraichean fhein? A bheil na siostam rathaidean Inbhir Nis comasach a deileaghadh ris?
Staing traffaig air Rathad Cuil Lodair Inbhir Nis
Feumaidh mi radh chan eil gainneadh busaichean ann an Inbhir Nis, chunnaic mi moran dhiubh agus daoine air baidhsaigealan cuideachd ach ma th’agad ri rudeigin a dheanamh sa bhaile mhor thog a mhor-chuid an caraichean aca orra. Gu dearbh fhein tha sin uile beo ann an linne far a bheil sinn an eismeil caraichean agus de ghabhas a dheanamh? Saoilidh mi gur ann mar sin a bhios e san am a tighinn oirnn gus an latha a bhios pris ola cus agus an uair sin de thachras? 

Dealbhan bhon sgirob a bha seo ann a sheo air flickr.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are you an unpaid carer? Drop in coffee morning with Connecting Carers on Weds 30th of July

Are you an unpaid carer – if you provide support for a relative, friend or neighbour who can’t manage without assistance then you are a carer. 

If so then come along to Connecting Carers Drop In coffee morning on:

Wednesday 30th July
From 10:00-12:00
Asher’s Café – Wee Blether, 9 High Street, Nairn. 

Tea/coffee and cake will be provided by Connecting Carers and you will be welcome to come for the two hours or just pop in and stay for as long as you want. 

The aim of the ‘Drop In’ is to provide a venue and opportunity for carers to meet, chat and have time togetheraway from their caring responsibilities.

All are welcome. We hope you can come and if you know any unpaid carers please tell them about it and bring them along. 

We will be there to greet you, and look forward to meeting you.

Additional dates are as follows: 27th August; 24th September; 29th October.

Connecting Carers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jason Maclean in Glasgow to represent Team Scotland at The Commonwealth Games

Elizabeth McDonald, Active Schools Co-ordinator, tells the Gurn:

"Yesterday Nairn lad 17 year old Jason Maclean travelled to Glasgow to represent Team Scotland at The Commonwealth Games. Jason's story is inspirational if not unbelievable as his training only began last year when he hung up his football boots to become a sprinter. Jason will run in the 100M (T37) at Hampden on Monday 28th July at 11am. Jason is an amazing young man who deserves the support of his town at this very exciting time. Lets get behind Jason and share his story to ensure maximum support. Ashers Bakers have been his main sponsor - image here"

Have a good one Jason, Nairn is shouting for you!

Monday, July 21, 2014

First steps going forward for a lasting solution to the Rosebank Church problem!

A solution to the problem of the derelict Rosebank Church has emerged, a solution that could not only save the building for the future but also allow an existing Nairn business to move forward to a secure future. The Gurn has received the following:

"1st Steps Childcare Nairn is delighted to announce an exciting new development which will secure the future of the existing 1st Steps nursery and restore the historic Rosebank Church to its former glory.
Present state of Rosebank Church - image Greg Riddle
Local people will be well aware of the recent furore over the state of the former Rosebank Church building which has lain empty for over 25 years and is currently considered “at risk” on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.
The existing the 1st Steps Nursery, currently based in temporary buildings leased from Highland Council within the grounds of Rosebank Primary School, is facing the threat of closure when their lease is terminated in summer 2015 to make way for additional car parking.

The Directors of 1st Steps Childcare Nairn Limited have been working individually with various parties since 2009 and collectively since October 2013 to identify and secure suitable child care premises. Most recently, they have been working with the owner of the former Rosebank Church, Sheridan Macrae, on plans to re-develop the building into a high quality child care facility which we will lease on a long-term basis. Heads of terms have been agreed, and they anticipate that a planning application, being prepared by Craig Mackay of CM Design, will be submitted in late July / early August.

Roslin Murdoch, Director of the Company and owner of the existing nursery, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Sheridan Macrae to bring this historic building back to into use, whilst providing an excellent facility which will benefit children, parents and have a positive impact on the town. All parties are committed and working hard to achieve our opening date in Summer 2015.”

The exterior of the building will be sympathetically restored with the only significant visible changes involving creation of additional windows and an external door on the East elevation which is largely hidden from view (adjacent to Leopold Street).

The interior ground floor will be extensively re-modelled to create a suitable internal space for a state-of the art day nursery and out-of-school child care facility. At first floor level the building will be refurbished and retained for future expansion.

The grounds will be landscaped as secure outdoor play area complete with a disabled parking space.

It is anticipated that the impact on existing traffic and parking will be negligible, within the context of a town centre location, and the traffic impact of the existing nursery location and adjacent Rosebank Primary School.

They aspire to create a high quality childcare facility incorporating a day nursery and breakfast/after school child care for school age children. Building on the high standards of care being achieved by the excellent staff within the existing 1st Steps nursery, the new nursery will cater for children from babies to 5 year olds, observing best practice and full compliance with national care standards, tied in to the national curriculum for pre-school education. School age children will benefit from a separate space dedicated to their needs and supporting parental child care requirements out with the school day and during holidays. The capacity of the new child care facility compared with the existing nursery will increase by approximately 35%.

There is a demand for high quality child care in Nairn which is both affordable and flexible, which is set to increase due to Scottish Government policies on the provision of free pre-school education, both in terms of increasing the hours per week, and extending the current scheme to include 2 year olds.

1st Steps will provide an attractive child care option which does not currently exist in the town, although common in Inverness and its environs. This will attract economically active young families to settle in the town, as well as supporting existing families to remain here. The new child care facility will be located in the heart of the community, adjacent to the largest primary school, which will reduce car dependency and promote walking and cycling.

As the existing 1st Steps nursery is losing its current premises it is essential to open the new premises for business in Summer 2015 and there is a tight programme with respect to obtaining planning permission and building warrant, and completing the substantial construction works. Highland Council’s planning officers seem to be broadly supportive of the proposals from informal feedback to date."

Gurn speaks to some Nairn YES voters

After the showing of the film Scotland Yet in the Little Theatre in Nairn on Saturday afternoon the Gurn spoke to some YES voters, see the results of the interviews below.

Are you YES, NO or Undecided and willing to do a short interview with the Gurn?  Contact us on if you are.


Overgrown footpath latest - a local hero emerges!

Earlier today we published a short article on the state of the popular footpath that cuts across the fields at Firhall to the bridge across the River Nairn. Article here.

Since then Stewart MacLean has been out there cutting back the path for the benefit of the community, he said on the Nairn when you were a bairn facebook page: 

"I made a start on this path today As I have work tonight, I have had to stop for now. I will try and do a bit more on Friday, weather permitting." Here's an image of his work so far.

What an amazing difference this young man has made on the mess that had been stopping walkers following one of their favourite routes. Messages of thanks and support are piling into the Nairn when you were a Bairn pages thanking Stewart for his public spirited act. Stewart you are a credit to the community and the younger generation in Nairn, you are to be congratulated for your work to the benefit of others. Top man!

Nairn Ceilidh Group has a night off this Thursday (July 24) at the Royal British Legion

Nairn Ceilidh Group has a night off this Thursday (July 24) at the Royal British Legion due the floor in hte Highland hall being refurbished. Ceilidh stalwart Donald Wilson told the Gurn:

"We had a full house last Thursday, our first of the season and our numbers and income are on a par with last year," said Chairman Donald Wilson. The Legion committee has carried out an ongoing programme of improvements at the Highland Hall and the work on the floor is the next phase. We will be back with our regular weekly ceilidh on Thursday, July 31 when we will be hosting the Nairn Link of chernobyl Children's Lifeline and we are all looking forward to a great evening. The ceilidh is of course open to the public and we would be delight to see people coming along and supporting us."

Overgrown path anger

Angry comments have been expressed recently on social media about the state of the path that cuts between the fields at the town side of Firhall. Some river walkers vary their circuit of the river with a walk along this straight stretch. In past years it has been cut by someone but this year the path is very overgrown making it difficult for walkers, especially in wet weather. In past times the town could have easily have sent someone up with a strimmer for an hour's work but perhaps that sort of flexibility no longer exists in the world where Highland Council delivers the service by the use of private contractors. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lack of public transport in rural Nairnshire “an infringement of human rights”?

There was the odd dash of outspoken material at the inaugural meeting of the newly elected East Nairnshire Community Council in the Glenferness village hall on Wednesday night.

On the subject of the Dial a Bus service there were mixed reactions. David Cook said: “It would be interesting if we actually knew something about the Dial a Bus. It’s one of those great, grey mysteries.”

Heidi Tweedie had a different perspective: “I didn’t know anything about it and a neighbour, when her sister came over from America, had no transport, and she used the Dial a Bus and found it to be incredibly good value and excellent service.”

David replied: "It is if you can get hold of it."

There were further complaints about the Dial a Bus including an allegation of seeming to get  a “runaround” on the telephone. There did seem to be a lack of precise knowledge about the service provided by the Dial a Bus David Cook again:
“It’s another box that has been ticked to excuse the fact that we have no public transport. We were promised public transport when the railway closed, a bus from Grantown to Nairn was going to run regularly to provide transport. That lasted about three weeks.”

There was also discussion about the efficacy of the school bus service. On both transport topics Colin MacAulay, the Highland Councillor was up from the town, said:  It’s a good topic for an agenda item when you do your research in terms of what you’ve got and in terms of what you think should be better.” But Colin had a warning, he added, “But there’s not likely to be funding for an expansion of services.”

A little later David Cook had a further contribution to make: “Older people up here are faced with two choices: they stay here and rely on neighbours and that has always been the way, people have always helped out or they move to the town. Why the hell should they leave the place they have lived in for most of their life just because there is no transport and they are unable to drive?  I think that is grossly unfair – it’s actually an infringement of human rights.”

Margaret Walsh then said she would actually say that it was same for people with younger kids given the cost of fuel etc.

There was then some conversation about the possibilities of car-sharing schemes which might be a solution for some of the community. One other suggestion was that more events be held locally to avoid having to travel. 

Public and school transport exercised the minds of the last East Nairnshire Community Council and continues to be a topic of debate for the new slate of councillors. What the newly elected members can achieve in a time of austerity remains to be seen but perhaps there are some out of the box ideas that might be possible to improve the lot of those who live in the country but find themselves increasingly cut off, simply due to the problems of growing old or the increasing cost of fuel. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Scotland Yet crowd-funded film at the Little Theatre

The crowd-funded film Scotland Yet was shown in the Little Theatre Nairn  on Saturday afternoon. Pictured above are film-makers Jack Foster left and Christopher Silver, in the centre one of the film team Chris.  

The film started by detailing the historical backdrop to the momentous events that lead up to the referendum on September the 18th and then went on to feature some of the artists that participate in the YES supporting National Collective but did also feature comment from the other side such as the high-profile George Galloway. 

After the film tea and cakes along with biscuits donated by MacLean's Highland Bakery were available from the "Aye have a dream" group that organised the event.

Are you organising any referendum related events in Nairnshire? Send us details if you are and pictures of any campaigning too if you wish. The Gurn is happy to publish opinion, videos, etc from any local residents be they YES, NO or undecided. If it's referendum related and happening in Nairnshire please let us know.