Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nairn Youth Street Band music project fundraiser

The Penguin's Tuxedo band write on their fundraiser page. 

WHO ARE WE? We are a small but awesome (not for profit) youth group that gets together every week to practice samba/carnival music using Brazilian drums. We range from ages 11-22 and we are open to all young people in our community to join. We are called The Penguin's Tuxedo and we live in the small seaside town of Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland. 
WHAT DO WE NEED? We need to raise money to cover travel and accommodation to get ten of our members who are part of the bigger regional Youth Street Band (TNT) to the West End Festival in Glasgow in June. We don't have much money but we have already fund-raised enough for 2 people! our small town means fund raising is quite difficult.

MORE INFO... This is an exciting time for these guys as they have worked really hard to make this an amazing performance. You can see us performing on Facebook TNTyouthstreetband and also on our own facebook page Penguins Tuxedo. 

Strathspey 1 Nairn 2 Pictures from Donald Matheson, Mashy Young and Kenny MacLeod

Donald Matheson, individual images here. 

Mashy Young, individual images here. 

Kenny MacLeod, individual images here. 

Tories in town yesterday (Saturday 25th)

Edward Mountain, the Conservative party candidate, was on Nairn High Street yesterday with fellow party activists.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Parents for Play" group formed to apply for funding for play equipment in Nairn

Stephen Fuller (SNP candidate for the Highland Council Nairn By-Election) is in the process of setting up a new group that will investigate and apply for funding to modernise and improve the play equipment in Nairn. The first 2 areas the group intend to try to improve are the Links and the Riverside.

Stephen said "you just have to look to Ardersier to see the tremendous facility a group of parents achieved by working together with councillors, play officers and the community to deliver one of the best playgrounds available in the area. I hope to do the same for Nairn, we have set up a core group and we would welcome more members and anyone who would like to help us in this aim"

"It is essential to have the community on board and any proposals we come up with will be shared with schools, play providers, parents and the youth forum. One member of the group is very keen to see play equipment installed that can accommodate children with disabilities and wheelchairs."

Liz MacDonald added "We used to have some of the best play facilities in Highland, but unfortunately these now require a significant input of cash to bring them up to modern standards. Myself and the other Nairn Councillors will, I'm sure, be delighted to work with Stephen's group to help find funding to update the Links and the Riverside and make them more exciting places for our local children and visitors to use"

Stephen added: "The group is new and will have to be set up formally to ensure we have the right body for applying for funding to achieve our objectives. As we develop and come up with ideas and suggestions we shall make sure to consult with the community, particularly the main stakeholders in this - our children."

Highland Council Byelection - Election Literature - fourth leaflet received - Ritchie Cunningham Scottish Liberal Democrats

Four out of five now received - just need the Labour mannie's leaflet for a full set. We did our best to make Ritchie's leaflet readable but it is a larger sized document - so if you have any problem reading it a full size version is available here. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This Saturday (April 25th) Fourth year for Scottish Rock Garden Club show in Nairn Community and Arts Centre

David Shaw tells the Gurn: "This will be the fourth year that we have run the show in this format at the Nairn CC and the people of Nairn really seem to like it as much as the organisers. Once again exhibitors will be travelling from all parts of Scotland with some of the best alpine show plants to be seen anywhere, but they still have a good challenge from local growers.

As well as plant sales from the local members table the nurseries will be Rumbling Bridge from Fife, Ardfearn from Munlochy and we are pleased to introduce Askival Alpines from Fort Augustus. Once again we are very pleased to welcome the Nairn Amature Athletics Club to provide refreshments."

This observer will testify that the Show is well worth crossing the A96 to see - images from the 2014 show here and 2013 here. 

Murd's Firhall Bridge question to the candidates

Murd Dunbar tells us: "Now that the hunting season is on for votes I would like to know who amongst the candidates would genuinely support a change from the enclosed photo to a ramp and let every one enjoy the riverside walk.

I ask those who would like my vote for a genuine answer not just a political answer just to obtain my vote then turn their back on it when elected.
It would also be nice to know what your readers think of a ramp for the disabled and others at the bridge.

As they can see it is impossible for anyone but those who can access the steps."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Highland Council Byelection - Election Literature through - Third leaflet received: Mairi MacGregor

That's three out of five we have received now

Parent Council erect "No Entry" signs at Millbank Primary after parking advice ignored

Traffic safety issues at Millbank prompted the Parent Council to take action. A Highland Council spokesperson told the Gurn:

“The ‘no entry’ signs erected at Millbank Primary School were erected by the Parent Council (with approval from the school) during the holidays following a decision at their last Parent Council meeting. In common with many other schools the car park can be very busy and despite numerous reminders in newsletters that the car park is for staff and permit holders only, this advice was being ignored. Permits are issued to parents of pupils with additional support needs for access to the school."

The restriction will be removed on May 7th however when Millbank becomes a polling station for the day. The spokesperson went on to say:

“On the election day the car park will be available to voters as usual. Staff will park their cars in the infant playground as pupils are not in school on that day.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

Highland Council Byelection - Election Literature through the door - Second leaflet received Stephen Fuller SNP

That's two out of five we have now. Here's Stephen Fuller SNP candidate for the Ward 19 Nairn byelection on May 7th.

"Vlog: Cottage By The Sea In Nairn"

A young couple have been staying in Nairn and have made an outstanding video that we are sure many Gurnites will enjoy. They have a website here where you can follow their other travel adventures too. Well done Angela and Chris, your video is a stunner that will certainly help promote Nairn. 

Sight Action Raffle at Sainsbury's

A Sainsbury's spokesperson tells the Gurn:

"We here at Sainsbury’s, Nairn are delighted to inform you we are selling raffle tickets in our store at a £1 per ticket until the end of April. All proceeds will go to our charity partner “Sight Action”. Local businesses in Moray and Highland have been extremely generous in donating these prizes and we are extremely grateful to the following:

Boath House “Afternoon tea for two”

Highland Beauty Clinic Forres “£10 voucher”

Ashers “£10 voucher towards celebration cake”

Macleans Forres “Delux hamper of Macleans goodies”

The Newton Hotel “Afternoon tea for two”

Hopeman Holiday Cottage “13,14,15 Nov (Sleeps 4)”

Torvean Golf Club “Round of golf 4 people”

Pretty Woman Salon “Beauty gift voucher”

Abernethy Golf Club “Round of golf 4 people”

Jacobite Cruise “2 people”

Brodie Countryfare “Afternoon tea for two”

Eden Court Theatre “Gift voucher”

Leisure Club Family Membership “2 adults and 2 children”

Gatineau Cleansing Collection “Beauty products”

Glider Lesson with trained instructor “conditions apply”

Please come along and support this cause when you are next in store"

"Calling all creatives local to Nairn"

The WASPS studio viewings, more details on the page linked in the tweet above.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

August 1st, World Orienteering Championships in Nairn – thousands of visitors anticipated and road closures to facilitate the competition

At their recent meeting on the 8th of April in the URC hall, River Community Council heard from Colin Matheson, the professional officer for Scottish Orienteering and assistant director or the World Orienteering Championships, on the logistics for the major orienteering event that will take place in Nairn on August 1st. There will be a massive influx of thousands of visitors and competitors, road closures in the Fishertown area and all on the same day as the Farmers Show but Nairn will be in the international limelight for the day. 

Colin explained that the World Championships would run in tandem with the Scottish Six Days event. He told the meeting:

“The two events this year come under the umbrella of Highland 2015. Two years ago they were Moray 2013 and it is Highland this time. I’ve been having a number of meetings with Highland Council including councillors in Nairn, Liz Cowie and a transport sub-committee group , essentially to discuss the main opening race which is taking place on Saturday the 1st of August in Nairn. That will be preceded by the opening ceremony of the world orienteering championships. We’re still a little bit cautious about giving too much away about exact locations because until the last minute the details of where the course will go are have to be kept secret from the 50 or so nations that are competing. 

Essentially it is a mixed relay, sprint relay, which goes woman, man, man, woman and each runner will be running for approximately 15 minutes at high speed, primarily around the Links and Fishertown areas of Nairn. The exact routes and locations are, as I say, are a closely guarded secret and we don’t want information to leak outside. One of the...there’s various concerns that day including the fact that the Nairn Farmers’ Show happens on the same day, so there’s likely to be quite a lot of traffic coming through Nairn as they leave the show and a lot of orienteers who are coming to Nairn to spectate coming into Nairn. We will be parking on the Nairn Showfield so the majority of competitors and spectators will be coming in from the Inverness direction and turning right into the Showfield just as people are trying to come through Nairn. It has been recommended that we put up some advance warning notices to let people know that traffic will be particulary busy on that day in Nairn and we would also like if possible that people leaving the Farmers Showground and who are heading west to seek alternative routes via Cawdor but we can’t necessarily dictate that. [...]

Lots of, perhaps, concern for some people within this community council area is that we have applied for road closure notices between five o’ clock and half past nine on that Saturday evening. By road closures we really don’t want people to drive in and out the areas affected. The intention is that we will do the postcard drop throughout the affected areas – which essentially will say: “road closures, sorry for any inconvenience, we hope you take the opportunity to come and spectate at this once in a life time event”. And the plan is for a prize draw as well if you come along and present your card. So we want to try and keep people informed, to get people onside and not see it as a big negative – “oh God there’s a major event going on which is going to mess up my evening.” We will offer alternative parking arrangements for people who absolutely need to drive in and out of the affected areas on that evening and that will be up in the Farmers Showfield. 

So we hope that with our efforts of talking to different community councils people will have a sympathetic ear for what we are trying to do. This is one of the biggest sporting events inside of Scotland this year, perhaps the only thing upstaging it is the Open golf. I’m a golfer myself as well but we have major backing from Events Scotland. The event will be screened across; we’ve sold TV rights to Scandinavia, across Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland. That’s a two million TV audience and discussions have just been concluded with BBC Alba who will be covering the sprint race in Nairn so there will be TV coverage. So there’s every opportunity to make Nairn stand out to a very wide audience. [...]

When I moved to Nairn a couple of years ago, when I first met Louise and we kind of bandied the idea about as to whether we could stage such a thing. The original plan was to host the event in Elgin. I managed to persuade the event advisers, the International Orienteering Foundation, that it was actually a better venue but it’s only a better venue if I’ve got the people of Nairn behind me in supporting me and asking them to leave their cars behind for a few hours on a Saturday evening. "

Colin then took questions. It emerged that as well as 50 international teams of 4 competing there would be approximately a thousand runners in a public sprint race which will take place immediately after the world championship sprint race. It is also anticipated that perhaps around 2,000-2,500 spectators may come to Nairn on the Saturday to watch the race. There will be provision for 700-800 car parking spaces in the Showfield and Nairn Academy will be used for overflow parking. Those arriving in Nairn will be directed from the carparks to the Links via the High Street. It promises to be quite a day.

New future for the Windsor Hotel? - planning application in to change to smaller guest house and 16 flats

An application is now live on the Highland Council website to change the Windsor Hotel - as the application sates: "Alter Hotel to form smaller Guest House and convert remainder of Hotel, and change use to 16 flats."

The Hotel is currently empty and looks in a very sorry state indeed. You can browse the application and associated plans here. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Nairn features on BBC "Landward"

Thanks to Iain Maxwell who tells us that Nairn and local food is featured in this week's Landward. The first broadcast is past but the repeat is on BBC2 at 1.00pm Sunday 19 April.

Various views of Nairn High Street (looking good), Forbes meat - Little Kildrummie, MacLeod's Organics (Ardersier) and Connage Cheeses are all featured before the programme moves to Inverness to cook the locally sourced ingredients in Eastgate.  Also available on iplayer here, Nairn featuring at 6.44 into the program. 

"the old idea of making decisions for us still lingers" Big slide images showing previous changes and thoughts on the present day situation

Thanks to Iain Fairweather who sent us these pictures below that detail a previous change to the big slide in 2008. It passed without comment - perhaps everyone saw it as an improvement at the time?  Iain muses on what might have changed since then. He told the Gurn:

"The last time the slide was changed, I don't recall any public comment. This time Highland Council officers and councillors have drawn the fury of the community. So what has changed? The reality is that the Nairn community has found its voice and despite structures providing for consultation and partnership working, officials and councillors have yet to make that work in practice. They declare they do, but they obviously have different views of what that means. Scottish Government policy is to enable and empower the community but the old structures are struggling to embrace that. So a small issue that could have passed off without incident has once again placed Highland Council in the firing line. The old idea of making decisions for us still lingers and they have yet to embrace the new idea of making decisions with us. That's the future."

Present day scene

Another view from the present day
Larger pictures available if you click on the images on this Gurn Flickr page here. 

Morning skies on fire - picture Dave Shillabeer

Another beautiful sunny spring day in Nairn and it had a spectacular start too - captured by local award winning photographer Dave Shillabeer. He told the Gurn: 

"The skies a-blaze over Nairn just after 6 this morning. Taken from the farmers
field as the sun rose through the mist.

Larger image here and one more image here.

Constituency profiles - media showing more interest in Inverness, Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey seat

The interest in the high profile contest between Danny and Drew continues to draw attention from the national media. Available online today are constituency profiles from the Herald (here) and the National (here).

Highland and Islands FSB organising a General Elections hustings for local businesses - taking place in Nairn April 29th

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Highland Council Byelection - Election Literature through the door - first up is Independent candidate Paul McIvor

That's the first byelection leaflet that has appeared at Gurn HQ so far. Not thin on the ground by contrast is General Election literature. Anyway as and when byelection literature arrives we hope to copy it and put online.

Politics in the Playhouse - Tuesday 14th April - picture

Tuesday night in the Playhouse saw the open meeting where voters could ask questions of Drew Hendry the Westminster Parliamentary candidate for the SNP in this constituency. Also in attendance and taking questions from a large turnout were Fergus Ewing MSP and Stephen Fuller SNP candidate in the Nairn byelection for the vacant seat on Highland Council.  

Drew Hendry, Fergus Ewing and Stephen Fuller (left to right)

All candidates in both the Westminster and Nairn byelection contests are welcome to send in their images of campaign activities in Nairn and the Gurn will be happy to publish. 

Movie Icons Lingerie Fashion Show - 24th April - Newton Hotel

"Come along to our fabulous Movie Icons Fashion Show on the 24th of April. We will be showcasing the latest lingerie looks from around the world and raising money for Marie Curie. There will also be a raffle on the evening with brilliant prizes to be won! 

£10 tickets include entrance to the spectacular fashion show, goody bag and after party. 
£15 VIP tickets include entrance to fashion show, goody bag, after party and a glass of bubbly served to you at your table before the show starts. 

You can get tickets for the show in store, by emailing, calling 01667 454114 or from the Highland Fashion Week website:

Support a worthwhile cause and have a fantastic evening of glitz and glamour!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gurn exclusive - Murd Dunbar and the General Election come face to face - pictures Murray MacRae

Thanks to Murray MacRae for this picture of an STV camera crew and SNP Westminster candidate Drew Hendry in Queenspark earlier today, as Drew chapped on Murd's door. The Gurn understands that issues concerning the Firhall Bridge may have been discussed.

A larger image here and a couple more of local photographer Murray MacRae's General Election observations here. 

Are you a General Election candidate? Let us know what you are up to in Nairn and/or send us pictures and the Gurn will be happy to publish.