Monday, August 31, 2015

Missing cat Kingsteps area

Have you seen "Whisper"? If you have any information that could help Whisper's owner David Cox who lives in the Kingsteps area of Nairn please contact the Gurn on and we can forward the details. 

Temporary 10th set of traffic lights again for Nairn for Monday evening rush hour

Another set of lights appeared today at the Duncan Drive junction of the A96 - a cable of some kind is to be laid across the road and the work will be completed tonight. 

Again it is a question of timing that is exercising the minds of some Nairn residents out there in social media land tonight. The lights appeared in the afternoon and were in operation for the rush hour - not much rush at all tonight. It all goes to show that since the powers that be swamped us with traffic lights with money extracted from Sainsbury's (money that could have done interesting things in the town centre) it only needs another unexpected factor in the mix to cause chaos. 

Does the political will exist to test removing some of the lights and/or implementing a roundabout or two to ease things? Or do we have to wait for a bypass - best guess 3-5 years if funding can be found and anyone has a serious review of what the experts have deemed suitable for us?

The temporary 3-way lights at Duncan Drive this evening
Thanks to Donald M for the picture. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nairn County launch new media service

The County website states:

"LAST week saw the launch of the official Nairn County FC Facebook page with the first full, live match day coverage coming from yesterday’s game against Buckie Thistle.

The page can be found at and provides supporters with updates on all they need to know from Station Park.

The importance of the supporters and keeping them informed is recognised at the highest level of the club and we will endeavour to keep everyone up to speed with all developments and news which may be of interest through our official website at our Twitter feed @nairncounty_fc and on the new Facebook page so that all fans can keep up the speed in the digital age."  More here. 

Nairn 1 Buckie 2 Pictures from Donald Matheson and Kenny MacLeod

Disappointment for the County faithful yesterday as a good run came to an end at Station Park. Match report here. 

Donald Matheson's images

Individual images here. 

Kenny MacLeod's images

Individual images here

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Red Kites illegally killed in Highlands

"including the first breeding female Nairnshire has seen for decades." More on the Inverness Courier site here.

Cantray Park hot food delivery service for the elderly in Croy, Galacantry, Cawdor and Ardersier areas

Cantray Park - the social enterprise arm of Cantraybridge College - has just started a pilot hot food delivery service for 20 older people in the Croy, Galcantray, Cawdor and Ardersier area. 

This 3 days a week service (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) is for older people
who are housebound/have been recently discharged from hospital, or who don't find it easy to manage making meals.

Cantray Park grow their own produce and use eggs from their own hens. The Cantray Park cafe chef prepares the food and it is delivered by college students/Social Enterprise Team.
Hot soup and a scone or roll and a small cake is £2.15

Hot baked potato or hot quiche and a small cake is £2.50

This pilot runs until March 2016 when the service will be assessed to see if it is viable and whether it can be provided without grant assistance.

For further information, please contact Ian Larg or Sarah Burton on 01667 493500

Cycling provision on the A96 bypass

On Tuesday night at the Community Council meetings the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists on some of the minor roads around Nairn was discussed. Hopefully the increasing amounts of "rat-run" traffic that causes the danger would disappear once the bypass is built. 

But what about the bypass and the opportunity this gives to create new routes for cyclists? The official national cycle route to Inverness takes you up into the Cawdor hills and a 26 mile plus route to Invereness. If we are to get a bypass and dual carriageway to Inverness then that is an opportuinty to create an additional route that would be more practical and encourage more people to cycle all or part of the route to Inverness on a regular basis.  

Yesterday there were plenty of suits on hand in the Commmunity and arts centre to meet and greet citizens who wanted to get the latest information on the bypass route and there was certainly no shortage of folk with concerns or otherwise generally interested in the project. 

One of the project staff told this observer that no decision had been taken on cycling provision yet but it would be integral to the project. It may mean dedicated cycling lanes beside the bypass or putting cyclists onto the old A96 or even the creation of a new but detached route. Time for local cyclists to pay attention as this project goes forward and cycling provision comes under the microscope? The project team can be contacted at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Next thing you know that mannie Boswell will be gurning on Tripadvisor

Sewage System Stirs Subbies

There was mention of problems in Nairn’s sewage system once again at the meeting of the Nairn Suburban Community Council at Nairn Academy on Tuesday night. Chair Dick Youngson said:

“I had two communications today, one is about sewage and the dreadful smells that are on the High Street and down the brae from sewage.” He went on to say that the High Street can be quite revolting at times with the smell of sewage and something had to be done. Dick added: “these blockages just haven’t been cleared and there are lots of other sites.”

Graham Kerr of West CC, who was also present, told the meeting: “It’s probably widespread throughout the town with these heavy downpours we are getting these drains just can’t cope.” He suggested the town’s three CCs go to Scottish Water with their complaints and Dick agreed. 

Later, during the West CC meeting, Brian Stewart (Secretary of the Westies) said: “We talked at previous meetings about sewage and drainage problems, bad smells on the High Street and the brown lagoon down by the Merryton Bridge. It is also worth noting that on the evening before the Orienteering World Championships, the manhole cover on the Links blew and the content of the sewers were spilt over the Links. 

Brian went onto say that there was no shortage of evidence and it wasn’t something that was acceptable.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Aurora "Dancing in the night" time lapse video as seen from Nairn by photographer Graeme Whipps

A couple of astonishing time lapse videos from photographer Graeme Whipps

Graeme has a website where his Aurora images can be purchased here.

Anyone got anything oven ready for town centre regeneration? There's suddenly a pot of cash available but deadline is 29 September

Last night there was a lot on the agendas of both the Subbies and Westies Community Council meetings at Nairn Academy. Towards the end of the meeting there was discussion of the current situation concerning town centre regeneration plans. 

Michael Green was optimistic and mentioned Highland Council official Scott Delgarno's ongoing role. Graham Kerr of the Westies indicated all was well too from a NICE perspective. There was no mention of a "bolt out of the blue" funding scheme that is now doing the rounds of town centre regeneration players having digitally materialised this morning via Council sources after a being launched by the Scottish Government yesterday

After being alerted by one of our correspondents we have had a wee browse of the information on the Scottish Government Website. There are conditions attached of course but under a heading "How much is available": 

"£1.7 million capital funding is available from August 2015 and must be committed by March 2016. Eligible community groups can bid for grants from £20k to a maximum £150k per capital project. Depending on volume and quality of applications, we may also consider offering amounts out-with these limits, by exception."

Time for any community group that might consider itself eligible to quickly go and read the information on the Scottish Government's website! More information here for those interested -  Town Centre Communities Capital Fund - all revealed in the Word documents linked in the sidebar on that page. 

You'll have to be quick though the deadline for applications is the 29th of September. The sudden appearance of this funding has prompted one of our regular correspondents to have a wee gurn:

"There really seems to be no sensible arrangement for such funding. It seems to be one extreme or the other. Either you get an appallingly complicated, elaborate and laborious process such as the LEADER scheme involving Steering Groups, Local Action Plans and Expressions of Interest which is very daunting to people and takes months, if not years; or you get this rabbit-out-of-hat stuff saying 'bid within four weeks' (just like the Streetscape was a last-minute off the shelf wheeze, and arguably the slide/playpark equipment was also a short-notice "lets's blow some leftover money" plan)."

"This is a crazy way to administer a grant scheme: announce it on 25 August, and expect applications by 29 September! Seems to be typical of Government and Council schemes: short notice invitations, likely kneejerk responses, no time for sensible planning, no opportunity to develop project plans."

Points worthy of serious reflection but important to get the information out there now to organisations in the community who just might have the bare bones of something that would earn Nairn a 20-150K slice of the action.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Nairn Squash Doubles Tournament

Nairn Sports Club started the 2015/2016 Squash Season with a bang holding a Doubles Tournament at the Club on 16th August. It was very well attended with twelve doubles teams taking part, the vast majority of players coming from the large junior section at the club. Doubles has become a firm favourite after the Commonwealth Games with the young players to the point where they have invented an exceedingly enjoyable and competitive game called 'Two Bounce'. This means that the ball is in play for up to two bounces in a rally, at first glance it would seem to make it easier to play but in reality it means that rallies go on for longer and actually scoring a point becomes more and more difficult. 

There were two competitions, a traditional One Bounce tournament plus a Two Bounce Tournament. Each one was played in a system of four Divisions of three teams to a Division with the winners of each Division playing in the finals. There was fierce competition with the junior players performing well against their senior opponents. 

In the Two Bounce the 3rd Place playoff was won by Ben Booker Millburn and Ross Donnachie and the 2nd Place playoff won by Angus Baker and Garry
Tournament Winners Harry Jack and David Massey
McKay. In the final, Harry Jack and David Massey (a wild card player from Inverness) faced the highly rated Harry Barron and Lewis Barnard from Nairn. There were some long rallies but the teamwork and determination of Jack and Massey meant they defeated their opponents 2-1. 

The One Bounce saw Fraser Weller and Paul MacDonald take the 3rd Place Playoff with Euan Dawson and his Grandfather Arthur Masson deservedly taking the 2nd Place playoff. The Final was a repeat of the 2 Bounce with Harry Barron and Lewis Barnard again facing Harry Jack and David Massey. This match was a much tighter affair with both teams being equally matched, Barron and Barnard initially benefited from high speed, hard hitting tactics but in the end, again, the teamwork and accurate play, especially on the backhand wall, of Jack and Massey saw them deserving winners. 

Doubles Squash is not a popular sport in Scotland but Nairn is bucking the trend and the use of the 'Karakal Big Ball' for the Two Bounce version making it a much easier game to learn and take up. The Sports Club has all the required equipment and is keen to help players start the sport, the contact number is 01667 454523.

Liz going forward for the selection process to choose SNP List MSP candidates

If you are an SNP supporter your second vote in next May's Holyrood election could be for Liz if she is selected by SNP party members to be one of the list nominations on the second ballot.
Liz was recently on the all woman short list for the SNP constituency nomination to contest the  Skye, Badenoch and Lochaber Scottish Parliamentary seat. It was apparently a very talented contest and the eventual choice to represent the party in that Highland seat was a young Dingwall woman Katie Forbes.  Liz also gave Drew Hendry a very close run in the selection for the Westminster nomination in a series of hustings that attracted large crowds of SNP members. 

Also standing for selection to the SNP list is another Highland councillor who Gurnites may be familiar with - Richard Laird, who was nominated earlier this month by the Moray SNP branch. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ziran’s “improved retail scheme" for Balmakeith - what two of our councillors had to say at the planning meeting last week

Back in July we published details of Ziran’s latest proposals for Balmakeith, they said they will bring national retail names to Nairn - details in this previous Gurn article here. The full plans are not before Highland Council for discussion yet but on Tuesday last week the South Planning Committee met at Glenurquhart Road to discuss the “Proposal of Application Notice”.

Michael Green told his colleagues: “Just a couple of points and it’s when the application comes forward I would like to see robust evidence on the sustainability of this development. That comes from two sort of fears that I have. One: as is well known there is an excess of somewhere between 20 and 25% capacity of out of town shopping which has been declared redundant. And secondly: on the week that Amazon Fresh announced that they are going to be launching into the grocery market which will change the landscape for all players, I’d like to see these factors taken into account and to prove the sustainability of their proposal. "

Provost Laurie Fraser said: “I’d just want to cover the point of over-provision, I know in retail it is not allowed to be considered but the plan is outwith the [...] it’s outside the town centre first principle and outside an area of development, recognised development so therefore I would ask if the question of overprovision should be looked at as well because if you over provide for something you just cause more and more empty premises and there is a point at which these stores cannot trade."

Nairn Healthcare Group news August


Nairn Healthcare would like to extend a big thank you to Tracey Paterson and Aileen Bain, our two administrators, who have recently been recognised for their
long service to the Practice. Both Tracey and Aileen started out as receptionists at Lodgehill Clinic in 1988 and 1989 respectively. They are pictured rightwith Senior Partner, Dr Calum Macaulay.

We are also delighted to welcome Kate and Alison, our new receptionists. Plus a new Practice Nurse, Hayley Shepherd, will be joining the Practice in September. Hayley will be available to carry out all the usual nursing procedures and will also be assisting GPs with specialised clinics and supporting the duty doctor.

NHG Statistics - Nursing apppointments June

Over the month of June, our three nurses and four healthcare assistants saw 2,458 patients. They also dealt with 253 telephone consultations and 46 home visits to patients who are unable to attend the surgery. Our healthcare assistants also assist the GP with minor surgery, vasectomies and other specialised clinics.

Routine asthma, diabetic checks, ear syringing, cervical smear tests, childhoods immunisations, injections and blood tests are just some of the duties undertaken by our nursing team and we look forward to Hayley joining the team in September.

New Website

Nairn Healthcare is hoping to have their new website up and running by mid-October. In the meantime, we encourage patients to use our current website for updates about the Practice, self-help advice and general information about the surgery. Repeat prescriptions can also be ordered via the website. Please visit


Our flu campaign will be starting again at the end of September/start of October. Please keep an eye on our website, the reception desk and local pharmacies for more information nearer the time.

If you are 65 or over or fall into one of the “at risk” categories, you are eligible for a flu vaccination.

If your child is between 2-5 years of age, they are eligible for the childhood flu nasal spray. Children aged 6 months – 2 years that fall into any of the “at risk” categories also qualify. Children over the age of 5 will be vaccinated in school.


All patients aged 65 and over qualify for the pneumococcal vaccine. This is only given once, so if you have already had this vaccine, you will not require it again.


All babies born after 01/05/2015 will be eligible for the Men B vaccine. Vaccines will be administered at ages 2 months, 4 months and a follow –up booster between 12-13 months. The GP can this discuss further at the baby’s routine 6-8 week check. 


In recent years, there has been a large increase in cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by MenW across the UK. In response to this, it has been recommended that all school leavers should be immunised to help protect them from this life threatening infection. The vaccine recommended provides protection against diseases caused by MenW but also three other types (A, C and Y). It is called the MenACWY vaccine.

This vaccine will be replacing the Men C vaccine. It will be offered to all patients under 25 who have not had the Men C vaccine since the age of 10.


Patient born between 02/09/1944 - 01/09/1945 (aged 70) and also those born 02/09/1936 – 01/09/1937 (aged 78) are eligible for the shingles vaccine.

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau welcomes new suitability rules for the Pension Wise guidance service

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau has today welcomed news that the Pension Wise guidance service is now to be made available to people aged 50 and over. This means that many more holders of Defined Contribution pension schemes can now book an appointment to receive phone or face to face guidance on the range of choices now available since the introduction of the new ‘pension freedoms’ in April 2015.

Melinda Macdonald, local Pension Wise Guidance Specialist, said:

- “Until now, we’ve only been able to offer guidance appointments to people approaching 55. That’s been great for those people about to make decisions about how they are going to access their pension pots. I’m delighted that we’re now able to offer the same guidance service to people aged 50 and over. Many of us want to plan ahead, and receiving information about pension options can be a really useful part of that planning process.”

- “Since April 2015 people have been able to access their pension as they wish. You can now buy an annuity (a guaranteed, regular income), or take all your pension out in one go as cash, or withdraw it bit by bit and leave the rest of it invested. You can usually take out 25% of your pension tax free. For everything else you withdraw, it will be added together with any other income you have in that year and taxed at your marginal rate. 

- It’s important to be aware of the tax implications of any decision you make as well as watching out for any charges. Take your time to shop around for the best deal.”

Anyone aged 50 or over with a Defined Contribution pension scheme who wants to arrange a face to face guidance appointment should contact Melinda Macdonald on 01667 456677, or alternatively, just call into the Citizens Advice Bureau at 6 High St Nairn. You can also book a telephone appointment by calling 0300 330 1001.

Rothes 0 Nairn 3 Pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gas Network upgrade starting Nairn High Street on 7th September for approx 21 weeks

In a leaflet issued to local residents SGN state:

"We are investing £150, 000 to upgrade the gas network in High Street in Nairn.

This essential work involves the replacement of old, metal gas mains with new plastic pipe to ensure a continued safe and reliable gas supply.

Following discussions with the Highland Council, the work will start on Monday 7 September and will take approximately 21 weeks to complete"

You can see how the work will be phased and how long each section will take on a copy of the information leaflet in PDF format here. 

Sunday Splash - Duck Race from Jubilee to A96 bridge

Fun scenes as the ducks raced to the finish this morning on the River Nairn. Race was organised by the Nairn branch of the Royal British Legion in aid of the Erskine Hospital and the Nepal Appeal. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fergus reselected as SNP candidate for Holyrood next May

Fergus Ewing will be the SNP's candidate for the Constituency ballot once again, he was selected earlier today at a meeting of Inverness and Nairn SNP activists, he said afterwards on twitter : "It is an absolute honour to be unanimously endorsed by #Inverness and #Nairn Constituency Association today."

Please read wee Layla Jade's story about how the Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow helped her mum and dad when she was seriously ill

A young local family are trying to raise funds for an organisation that helped them so much at a very stressful time when wee Layla Jade was seriously ill. 

Here through the eyes of Layla Jade is the story so far: 

"Over the next few months my family are organising events to raise money for Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow, this is my story.

I was born with gastroschisis at 37 weeks - my bowels had escaped through a hole in my abdomen while my Mummy was pregnant. 

Just a few hours after I was born the Special Care Baby Team had to take me away from my parents by ambulance from Glasgow Southern General to Yorkhill Hospital. My bowels were put in a special bag called a silo which was suspended above me, gravity slowly helped them back to where they were meant to be. At 6 days old I had an operation, the last few inches of bowel were gently pushed inside my tummy and the hole was closed. My umbilical cord was saved when I was born so I now have a designer belly button rather than a large scar. After my wound had healed a little I finally got my first cuddles with my Mummy and Daddy. (Don't tell them this, but I think they enjoyed them more than me!)

I experienced my first taste of milk when I was ten days old, it was only 5ml every two hours to start with, I thought it was so amazing I kept crying for more! I wasn't allowed to feed before my operation; or more often afterwards; as there was a risk my bowels wouldn't be able to cope. Sometimes I was so tired the nurses or my Mummy had to put my milk down a nasal-gastric tube instead so I wouldn't be going hungry. I really didn't like these NG tubes and got pretty good at pulling them out- my record was 6 in 24 hours! I also had a Picc line going into one of my veins to ensure I was receiving enough nutrients and fluid to keep me healthy. 

After 13 days in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit I was transferred to a general surgical ward as I was recovering well; my consultant even said I was breaking records with my progress!! 

I was taking a little bit more milk each day and was upgraded from a syringe to a bottle, just like any normal baby. The first time I was so excited I managed to guzzle it all within 20 seconds! I was gaining weight and managing to take milk well without vomiting so I finally had my lines and tubes taken out. This also meant I could have a bath at long last and wear clothes properly rather than having one arm poking out the neck of an outfit. 

Once I was up to 84ml and maintaining this amount each time my Mummy was allowed to stay overnight with me in the ward before sending me home. 

At exactly 1 month old, I was discharged from Yorkhill hospital to go home with my Mummy and Daddy!! 

At three months old I took unwell, Mummy and Daddy took me to hospital where they did lots of tests and I was diagnosed with Pneumonia and Acute Bacterial Endocarditis - an infection on the tricuspid valve in my heart. I was taken by ambulance to Glasgow to get looked after by paediatric cardiologists
in the new Royal Hospital for Children. I had at least one new cannula inserted nearly every day as they would stop working, but I needed the medicine to get better. After a few days to build up my strength I went to theatre and was put under general anaesthetic so my consultant could put in a Hickman line. This is a small catheter that goes in to a vein near my collar bone. The Infection Control Team said I would need a total of 6 weeks of IV antibiotics to treat the infection on my heart valve. 

During my time in Glasgow I had several scans done of my heart and countless blood tests. After what seemed like an age, the doctors were then happy enough with my progress and I was stable enough that I could return to Raigmore hospital, where I could be closer to home. I still have half of my treatment to complete but each day is a day closer to getting home with my Mummy and Daddy.

During both admissions while I was being cared for by doctors and nurses in Glasgow, Ronald McDonald House looked after my Mummy and Daddy; less than 10 minutes away from my bedside. They gave my parents somewhere secure to stay where they could cook, sleep and wash for NO cost. 

Ronald McDonald is a charity that survives on donations and provides families with a 'home from home'. Having me poorly in hospital is tough enough without having the added stress and financial hardship of being away from home and work for a long period of time. 

Please help me to say thank you to such a wonderful charity.Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page. "

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Whitebridge - good vibrations at last?

Latest from Cawdor direction:

Both Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council and the Whitebridge Support Group, were pleased to see the bridge replacement positively discussed at The Planning and Infrastructure meeting this morning.

The issue continues to be of major concern both local business users, and the town of Nairn.

Town and Country Councillors put forward our case very strongly. The project will now be put onto the agenda for the Planning, Infrastructure and Community Development meeting in Early November 2015.

Councillors are due to give an update to the Whitebridge Support group later this week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sandy Park to lead newly formed WhiteBridge Community Support Group

Whitebridge – B9090 Cawdor to Clephanton River Nairn Crossing
Proposed 18T Weight Limit and Replacement Bridge Crossing

Following the Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council meeting on Monday evening, members of the local community have now set up the Whitebridge Community Support Group with the aim of offering a means of communication between the Council and the community, as well as assisting the Council in any way they can to facilitate the building of a new bridge. Sandy Park, former Convenor of the Highland Council, has agreed to lead the Group.

The group aim to liaise with Council representatives and business users of the bridge, as well as all the Nairnshire Community Councils, given the massive impact the proposed 18 Tonne weight limit is going to have on not only in the Cawdor area, but also the town of Nairn with a view to getting the replacement bridge on to the Capital Budget Programme for 2016/17.

The Whitebridge Community Support Group will also be engaging with The Design and infrastructure team, and looking to produce a business Plan for submission to Highland Council.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vacancy caused by Rev Steve's departure - exclusive Gurn picture of interviews

One of our regular correspondents captured this image earlier today as two of the candidates on the short list nervously waited their turn to be called to the interview room.