Friday, December 15, 2017

Meanwhile over on the Gurn twitter account

If there's not much being posted here it's worth having a look at the Gurn twitter account. Quite a lot happens in the Nairn twittersphere these days and you can scroll down the wee twitter boxie on the right hand side as far as you like to see what the latest craic is. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Nice to see Argos following the Sainsbury's Nairn example and using Gaelic!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

And the citizens are gritting it for themselves...

Well done the ladies who dealt with the dangerous state of the path down from Boathpark to the riverside. An old lady coped over on the ice yesterday and this motivated a group of women to go out and deal with it for themselves. Images and comment on the popular Nairn Rocks Facebook page.

Here at the Gurn we are hearing tales of quite a few people falling over and some injuries too. Society can't afford the gritting but the hospital bills will probably cost more. Yes the Council boys can't be everywhere but there are a lot less of them these days - the cutbacks have gone to the bone and beyond. 

Mind is blown, game changer, earlier yesterday brought two pints of a decent beer for £3.78

Before this observer left town for Elgin on the train with a friend we had a couple of pints of a fairly decent lager that cost over £9. Sort of what you expect really

Then Wetherspoons in Elgin where two pints of this very nice ale came in at £3.78. It was an awesome moment in a pub that was packed out on a Wednesday night.   It really made this observer think. Wetherspoons what about the Royal Bank site in Nairn - would it make a lovely pub?

Then it was off to the comedy gig at the Drouthy Cobbler, a good gig but not a patch on some of that Wildnight Comedy stuff we used to see around the place in recent times.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cromarty Rising instructs legal advisor to commence a formal complaint to the European Commission about a breach of European law.

Cromarty Rising are again raising the subject of what they see as Scottish Government reluctance to get involved in the proposed Ship to Ship oil transfers. In a press release they state:

"Cromarty Rising, a Highland community group opposed to ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil inside the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC), has instructed its legal advisor to commence a formal complaint to the European Commission about a breach of European law. Cromarty Rising has written to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on a number of occasions since April 2017. 

Despite promises to respond, key questions remain unanswered. Namely why the Scottish Government refuses to mention its responsibility for European Protected Species licensing. Cromarty Rising wants to know: Who is protecting the protected species? The Scottish Government remains silent on the subject." 

A new application for ship to ship oil transfers is anticipated from the Cromarty Firth Port Authority in 2018. The statement goes on to say:

“This is an absurd situation. The protection of protected species is falling between Government agencies. Here we are two years down the line with no answers and nobody taking responsibility. The primary objective of European and UK Habitats Regulations is to protect identified species and the habitats which support them, importantly offering protection to the species in rearing their young. It is a criminal offence to cause harm. We are looking to the European Commission to call upon the Scottish Government to accept its responsibilities and be accountable for the protection of European Protected Species in this situation.

Ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth are highly contested. More than 103,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees Scotland petition against the CFPA proposal. Every major wildlife NGO in Scotland has objected. 27 local community councils object or have expressed concern. 

Last week Cromarty Rising and Nairnshire Rising, together with Marine Connection of Cawdor, held discussions with representatives from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which has already issued a statement expressing concern."

Anti S2S campaigners demonstrating on Nairn East Beach this time last year
Click image to enlarge and more images here

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Advice to motorists who use the Whitebridge near Nairn"

Issued by Police Scotland

Police in Nairn are offering advice to motorists who use the Whitebridge on the B9090 between Clephanton and Cawdor.

The bridge, which crosses the River Nairn, has an 18 tonne weight limit, which has been in place since April 2016.

Officers have received a number of complaints from the local community about large lorries and goods vehicles suspected of breaching the weight limit.

In effect, vehicles designed to transport loads where the maximum permissible weight of a tractor and trailer combination exceeds the 18 tonne restriction are not lawfully permitted to cross the Whitebridge, irrespective whether they are laden or not. 

Local officers and officers from the Road Policing Unit are being deployed to enforce the weight restriction.

The minimum penalty is a fixed penalty notice for disobeying traffic signage - while any offence could also be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of court proceedings or referral of vehicle operators to the Traffic Commissioner's office.

Nairn-based Sergeant Graeme Erskine said: "Vehicle operators and drivers of HGVs are asked to give due consideration to the weight restriction on the Whitebridge and help to maintain the structural integrity of the bridge and the safety of other road users.

"The Highland Council has identified a preferred diversion route for vehicles with a maximum gross weight exceeding the 18 tonne restriction, avoiding the Whitebridge via the A96, A939 and B9101 roads and we urge all drivers to stick to that route.

"We will take action against anyone found to be exceeding the weight limit. The few minutes potentially saved in journey time are not worth the risk of the potential penalties which could be imposed.

"Anyone with information or concerns about use of the bridge can contact us on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you prefer to remain anonymous."

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Phallic Snow Art appears beside A96 in Nairn

Yes for once the phrase is spot on - "It's bollocks in Nairn"  The art installation is also directly across the road from the controversial housing scheme proposed by a north company - surely no connection?

Thanks to our regular reader who, although shocked by what they saw, managed to forward an image to us despite their anger and outrage.

Jordan MacRae to stay at Station Park: "“The setup is fantastic at Nairn and there is a great team spirit within the dressing room and across the whole club."

Friday, December 08, 2017

Meanwhile down at the Harbour in the "road closed to subsidence" zone daylight reveals the extent of the problem.

Click to enlarge

Clunas Christmas Conundrum Continues - another mystery gift appears on gates

 Clunas resident David Clem tells the Gurn:

Dear Gurn,

You may remember that last year we sent you details of an intriguing Christmas mystery in Clunas. All the cottages and houses in the area were delighted to find beautifully and lovingly constructed wooden Snowmen deposited at the end of their tracks or at the garden gate. Despite lots of local speculation, enquiries and publicising the event with The Gurn and in the Nairnshire we never found out who the benefactor was.

This year we all decided to put the Snowmen out at our front gates and imagine our surprise that, at the same moment, another Christmas gift appeared in the form of a fantastically and lovingly crafted, wooden, Christmas Robin which was placed at everyone's house.

The photo shows last year's Snowman with this year's Robin plus a close-up of the Robin. One has to admit it is a work of art and to construct about 16 or so would require not only a great deal of time and effort but quite an outlay of cash in paint, buttons, scarves and hats!

Yet again, we have not the faintest idea who is responsible for the work of art!
Does anyone out there have any idea as to the identity of the Christmas Robin creator? There are a lot of Clunas folk who would like to say "Thank you".

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Nairn Harbour Access closed due to subsidence! Video from the scene.

The road down to the car park next to the west pier was closed this afternoon at around 15.00 at the time of the high tide and in the eye of Storm Caroline. The dredger was busy at the part of the harbour where the problem seemed to be though - were the dredger crew pumping material up against the harbour wall to shore it up?

Update Press Release from Highland Council:

"For public safety, The Highland Council has closed Nairn Harbour access road from the point just beyond the Nairn Sailing Club’s yard fence. 

There is currently no access to the large car park at the end of the pier, and there is no access to the slipway into the harbour.

Access to the Sailing Club Yard is still in place at present and pedestrian access for boat owners to the pontoons is being maintained.

The closure is due to subsidence in the harbour wall. 

Access to local businesses is unaffected.

Signs have been erected and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are urged to heed the signs.

Assessments into the condition of the harbour wall and repairs required are ongoing."

New logo for Partnership

The Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partership now has it's own logo, designed by two S3 Nairn Academy Pupils - Angus Baker and David Fleming.

The launch of the logo coincides with the release of the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership plan.

Storm Caroline no match for material dredged from Nairn Harbour

Accidentals Christmas Concert St Ninian's Church 7.30 pm Saturday 9th December

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Team Hamish Ceilidh 15th December

NRCC fight back against Councillor Liz MacDonald

A letter from Nairn River Community Council appears in today's edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph and it sets out their defence against a recent statement critical of the CC from Liz MacDonald.

One of the initial paragraphs reads:

"We wish to clarify our consistent support as a body for provision of appropriate housing in Nairn to meet local need. At no point have we ever as an organisation taken a position against provision of social housing for Nairn. We are thus disappointed to see this suggested on your front page."

It's a very good, well-structured letter which analysis Liz's present planning position in depth and it pulls no punches there. This observer would recommend that you invest 50p in this week's edition of the Leopold Street Thunderer for this masterpiece fightback alone. Keep up to date, read this letter!

There is actually criticism of our Highland Councillors in two other letters this week and support for the Community Councillors. GS Guthrie thinks Community Councillors have backbone and writes:

"Recent reports in your paper of attacks on the Community Councils by town councillors have caused me great concern. I have lost my confidence in them completely, as I feel this sort of criticism is totally unjustified."

A cracker of a letters page with Ritchie Cunningham also asking questions of Fergus Ewing and the Scottish government on the proposed ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth. 

A very good edition this week fellow Gurnites, break open the piggy bank and get down the paper shop asp. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Massive hike in cost of renting a garage from Highland Council?

We had a tweet from one of our readers tonight, he suggests that the rent for his Highland Council garage could rise an incredible 2500%

He went on to tell us that in cash terms that would be a rise from £39 to £936. This observer suspects that that would be a fair whack out of most household budgets in Nairnshire. We have forwarded Tams information to Oor Liz (via Twitter) to see if she can tell us whether Tam is merely unlucky or whether this will affect a lot of folk if it goes through.

To get a better idea of what is going on we had a look at the minutes of the Community Services Committee mentioned in the image that Tam posted with his tweet and with regard to garages. The minutes for the meeting on the 15th of February state:

"The continued difficulty in letting garages was acknowledged and alternative ways to address this were explored. It was suggested that they could be sold on the open market or, taking into account any potential parking issues, that they be used as house sites. Many were in a dilapidated state and attracted anti-social behaviour and ideally therefore they should be phased out. In addition, given that most were rented by non Council house tenants for storage and/or commercial/business use, there was a commercial opportunity open to the Council to increase the rent in these cases for garages and garages sites by more than the proposed 1%;"

The committee agreed: " a review of the use of garages and garage sites be undertaken."

More background here from the webcast of that meeting which indicates some of the dilemmas facing the Council with garages and some of the thinking going on. The video starts with Donnie Kerr it is also worth going to 2.22 in the video where an official responds to some of the points made. 

NCFC Chairnman's report -

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Banca Rìoghail na h-Alba ag radh gum bi am bamca aca ann an Inbhir Narann a' dùnadh

Chan e a-mhàin gu bheil e cudromach don choimhearsnachd mar bhanca, seall ciamar a tha e aig teas meadhan pàirt den Phrìomh Sraid agus ceàrnag le Sraid Leopold far a bheil cuisean air a bhith a dol gu h-ìre math, agus a dh'aindeoin a h-uile bacadh a tha bailtean a leithid Inbhir Narann air a bhith fulaing.

Ann an seadh ailtireach tha e cudromach cuideachd. Chithear sin anns an dealbh. Cha mhòr nach eil iad a' dèanamh sgrios air pàirt den eaconamaidh den bhaile agus a bharrachd air sin an sealladh laitheil againn. An gabh dad a dhèanamh? Gu mì-fhortanach tha sin den bheachd nach gabh agus gum bi riaghaltas Lunnainn coma mu a dhèanamh.

"Port of Cromarty Firth says ship-to-ship plans will be resubmitted"

"CONTROVERSIAL proposals for ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Cromarty Firth will be resubmitted despite a 100,000-strong public petition voicing concerns about the potentially disastrous impact on the environment and a world-renowned colony of dolphins."

It is really disappointing, Fergus Ewing and the Scottish Government cannot fail to be aware of the level of anger against this S2S proposal - you would have thought they would have found a way to sort the Port Authority over this by now wouldn't you? An imaginative bit of speedy legislation perhaps?

More Gurn comment on this over the next few days. Enjoy Christmas and Hogmany folks and then  prepare once again to fight the Port Authority and to put pressure on our local Scottish Government MSPs again too.

Meanwhile two wee snippets worth a read on the Cromarty Rising web site: "What’s the difference between Fergus Ewing, Rossana Cunningham and Douglas Ross?" and "Port of Cromarty Firth ignore their stakeholders"

A reminder of what we all got up too around this time last year below. Individual images here. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

All looking lovely and Christmasy in Auldearn

A Magical Christmas Fayre fundraiser for Nairn Play - Community and Arts Centre tomorrow Saturday 2nd December 10 am - 4 pm

Women's Charities and foodbank stall on Nairn High Street Saturday 9th December 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Labour wifie speaks out against RBS closures

Drew got the ball rolling this morning and he has his finger on the wave of outrage sweeping across the Highlands today. Don't believe us? Go and have a look at the pages of the Nairn Rocks Facebook groups and the Royal Bank thread. 

Hopefully we will see cross-party support against the RBS Banksters and maybe even public demonstrations? Maybe, just maybe, this can be stopped? Now here's what Scottish Labour have to say.:

"Highlands and Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant has hit out at the decision by RBS to close a further 62 branches in Scotland.

Rhoda Grant said “I understand that banks are coming under pressure due to reduced customer footfall with the onset of online banking and telephone banking becoming more popular. However, off the 62 RBS closures,13 are in the Highlands and Islands where access to online banking is limited and the distance to an alternative bank is prohibitive.

“It is the elderly and the disadvantaged who are the main users of on street branches and they are the very people who will find it hardest to either access these other forms of banking or be able to travel to the next available bank. We have to also think about the staff who at this time of year are more than likely to hear they are losing their jobs.

“Village banks especially those in the remote areas are integral to the community. In many cases they are the magnet that pulls people into our villages and towns. If they close we are likely to see what’s left of our business and trading community diminish as the villages and town centres become more like ghost towns.

“Banks always talk about their social responsibility, well in most of these cases the closures seem more about costs and savings than any form of responsibility to the community.

“ I will be writing to the CEO of the RBS, Ross McEwan, seeking answers to the questions many constituents of mine have been asking. These will include what plans have they to reduce any staff compulsory redundancies, how are they going to provide a service to the loyal customers in the towns and villages across the Highlands and Islands and what action do they propose to take to sustain and support the local communities they are abandoning. A further key question that I will be asking is have RBS taken into account the poor broadband connection in many rural places across the Highlands & Islands which will prevent many from utilising this particular service."