Sunday, September 15, 2019

Meanwhile in the electric car charging point this Sunday morning

An electric vehicle user takes to social media draw attention to a Highland Council vehicle parked in a recharging space
A Gurn reader also passed this vehicle and reports it isn't plugged in and has seen the note too - so there must be some mistake here Highland Council?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Coast to Coast Rat Race leaves town again

It's all a bit Brigadoonish, it's usually all over by 9 o'clock with the last batch or runners leaving but once a year this event sets off from Nairn. Probably the biggest event this Nairn Festival week but nothing to do with the festival although perhaps some of the many runners that stayed in accommodation in Nairn might have visited one of the Festival goings-on yesterday.

Here's a video of the first batch leaving "the experts".


And some images of the 8.30 departure. Individual images here. 

Oirthir gu h-oirthir - Rèis nan Radain- 14 An t-Sultain 2019

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Scottish Government to plant 24 million trees - any chance of including apple trees in that Fergus?

Earlier today Fergus Ewing put a post up on twitter. This observer was quick to reply to his post. You can see the details below.

In recent years the orchard revival movement in Scotland has made remarkable progress. You can get some idea of what has been going on by popping into their social media blether and think tank page "Scottish Orchard Collective" here. 

Nairn is just one town in Scotland where a lot of orchard related stuff has been going on. These pages here give you an idea of some of what has been happening in the town and nearby.

Of course there are many things you can do with apples, including making cider, and across the nations that make up the UK some exciting things have been happening there in recent years too. 

Caledonian Cider, made in the Highlands, is indeed a very good example of this activity, and here is a map of all the cider makers in Scotland just now. 

There will soon be another one too if all goes well. Common Weal cider will be making an appearance in Aberdeen:

"Common Weal Cider wants to recruit volunteer groups who can donate their time – and their apples – to help put the north-east on the map for cider-making.

The collected fruit would be turned into either cider or juice by the Common Weal Cider group and sold for profit.

Neil Clapperton, who is also chief executive of Grampian Housing Association, said the project came about through conversations with groups Common Weal Aberdeen and Aberdeen Beautiful, which look to improve community engagement in the city." Read more here. 

There is a social media page for Cider makers in Scotland too and whether it be a yearly demi-john or too or maybe you have plans to enter the market yourself in some way, you will be welcome by the folks here. 

Last Wednesday evening this observer  managed to get some decently priced tickets and get through to Aberdeen to a event in Waterstones organised by Neil and his colleagues. " An evening with the Ciderologist Gabe Cook" turned out to be a very enjoyable couple of hours. As well as outlining how he came to be a "Ciderologist" (a name he admits to making up himself) Gabe communicated his passion and knowledge for all things cider. Here's a wee bit from his website which isn't far off from some of the things he had to say.

"Ciderology is an ethos; a way of life, if you will.  As The Ciderologist, I have embarked upon a journey to spread the good word of cider. The principles of Ciderology are upheld by six Core Values:
  • True love of cider: the perfect confluence of art, science and nature
  • Espouse the unique traditions, heritage, culture and identity of cider in its heartland regions
  • Advocate the development of sustainable, authentic cider industries in areas of new growth
  • Champion artisan producers for their innovation and creation of high value products
  • Support cider producers of all scales which continue to uphold the spirit of cider by making a responsible product and contributing to their local heritage, economy, environment and communities
  • Celebrate and share the wonder of cider with the world
Cider is far more than merely an industry (ie the processing of raw materials into a product).  In certain parts it forms the culture, heritage, lifeblood and defining feature. It is where the worlds of great artistry (for cider makers truly are artists), scientific application and the harnessing of nature, come together in perfect unison." 
If you want to find out more about the cider world (totally astonishing what is going on really once you scratch the surface, here's Gabe's website folks, and here's his entertaining and very informative book "Ciderology. Gabe is also involved in a magazine called Full Juice which details a lot of the country's craft ciders made with nothing but full juice - spoiler some ciders out there can contain up to 65% water :-).  There is also interesting cider discussion on the Caledonian Cider blog folks and if anyone is thinking of making some of their own this year, here's a very interesting Leeds based website that gives you a few pointers. 

And if anyone is in town on Saturday there is an apple related event going on in Viewfield: 

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Fitzwilliam String Quartet - Friday 6th September Music Nairn 7.30 pm Nairn Community and Arts Centre

On Friday 6th September Music Nairn are delighted to be hosting the Fitzwilliam String Quartet in their 50th Anniversary season, making them one of the longest established string quartets in the world. An especially warm welcome to Alan George on viola, the only remaining founder member of the group who got together as undergraduates at Cambridge.

Over the years the quartet have built a very fine reputation, and enjoyed a special relationship with Shostakovich and his quartets, the composer personally sending them the 13th, 14th and 15th near the end of his life. The anniversary will be marked by new recordings of Shostakovich, and several of the Schubert quartets.

Appropriately for a Scottish tour, Friday’s programme opens with the beautiful Quartet in C minor by Thomas Erskine, the 6th Earl of Kellie who was an eminent musician in mid 18th Century Scotland. His quartets were only discovered in 1989 as part of manuscripts discovered at Kilravock Castle near Nairn. The programme continues with a very appealing mix of new and old; Delius’ Late Swallows and Glazunov’s Noveletten contrasting with three of Bach’s Contrapuncti, and in conclusion Beethoven’s passionate Quartet in F minor Op 95.

The performance begins at 7.30 with tickets in advance or on the night from Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Road resurfacing on A96 - BEAR consultation falls short by a vast margin says Community Councillor

River CC (in abeyance) Community Councillor Hamish Bain told the Gurn:

"We read on the Gurn a press release from Bear that "Consultation has taken place with local residents in advance of the resurfacing to make them aware of the traffic management arrangements and to minimise any inconvenience." 

As you know we live on the A96 and can assure you that no such consultation has taken place. However this morning the attached was delivered to our postbox.

The letter is dated 22nd August 2019. If this is the implied consultation then it falls short by a vast margin of expected performance by any group let alone a group contracted to a National Government. It is a very poor notification leaving no time for alternative arrangements to be made by or for any susceptible people. There are many very elderly people living in Sutors Avenue and no consideration has been taken for these vulnerable people.

As Community Councillors for this area we are very disappointed in the tardiness shown by Bear and the apparent lack of respect given in publishing the press release without actually having held a consultation as far as we are aware. We have written to Bear asking for clarification on the consultation dates and whom the consultees are. We have, as yet, not received any response directly."

Below is a copy of the letter received by Hamish and his neighbours. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

£360,000 overnight resurfacing improvements for two sections of the A96 in Nairn starts tonight (25th August) for three weeks

From BEAR Scotland press release: 

Two sections of the A96 in Nairn are set to benefit from £360,000 worth of resurfacing improvements with works scheduled to start this weekend.

The resurfacing improvements will address any road defects in the carriageway, creating a smoother and safer journey for road users.

The overnight project is set to begin on Sunday 25 August and is programmed to take three weeks to complete with the project split into two phases. The project will take place between 7.30pm and 6.30am each night with surfacing improvements due to be completed by 6.30am on Thursday 12 September. The first phase of improvements will take place between Albert Street and Tradespark Road before moving onto improvements between Sainsburys Roundabout and the A939 Junction. No works are programmed for Saturday nights.

To ensure the safety of roadworkers and motorists, a 10mph convoy system will be in place during working hours for both phases of the project. Temporary traffic lights will also be in place during works being carried out at the A939 Junction and Moss-Side Road. All traffic management will be removed during the daytime.

Consultation has taken place with local residents in advance of the resurfacing to make them aware of the traffic management arrangements and to minimise any inconvenience.

Commenting on the improvements, Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s North East Representative, said: “This investment from Transport Scotland will allow us to repair a number of cracks, potholes and other issues which will improve the general condition and safety of this section of the A96 for motorists.

“We’ve taken steps to minimise disruption by carrying out the works overnight and ensuring that all traffic management will be removed out with working hours. Our teams will do all they can to complete the project as quickly and safely as possible.

“We thank motorists for their patience in advance while we complete these works and encourage road users to plan their journeys in advance by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date travel information and allow some extra time to reach their destination.”

Real-time journey planning information can be obtained by visiting, twitter at @trafficscotland or the new mobile site

All waste materials and spoil resulting from these road works will be re-cycled in accordance with Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) policies and procedures.