Friday, July 31, 2009


Picture will enlarge.

Strictly Belly Dancing is nearly nigh! Book early to avoid disappointment!

Never mind the Pilgrimage, one of the most sought after tickets this season will be for the second Strictly Belly Dance Show that Liz is organising. Tickets at £5 per person for 7.30p.m. on Saturday the 5th of September in The Little Theatre. The venue only has 75 seats so you'd better be quick. Compare: John (the Prof) Matheson, Moray Firth Radio.

More over on the Nairn Drama Club site.

Sandown appeal by developer

In what may come as a surprise move to some, Deveron Highland have appealed the decision to refuse them planning permission for 500 plus homes on the Sandown site.
Here is the information on the Scottish Government's site. It seems the 'DEPA' have a target date of 21/04/09. No prizes for guessing this winter's top discussion topic in Nairn.
In today's' Inverness Courier spokesman Mark Cummings is quoted:
' The reason we have done this is because we feel we cannot go forward with Highland Council at this stage because of the inconsistency between officers and elected members.'
'We are committed to this scheme and have been for two years. The best route for us is to appeal and we are exercising that option. '
Spring 2010 and another public inquiry could be listening to the noisy activities of the seagulls on the community centre roof.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Performing arts - more use than a town centre supermarket?

Donald Wilson has an interesting story in the Highland News.
'A GROUP of people who would like to see Nairn ditch its aspirations for a town centre supermarket and build a modern performing arts centre instead has recruited Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton to their cause.'

Rosebay Willowherb

More on Nurn Nature

The Ceilidh is nigh - every Thursday night!

If you can't get a ticket to see the films then head for the Ceilidh!
The Nairn Ceilidh Group season has got off to a flying start with their Thursday evening ceilidhs at the British Legion.
Attendances at the first three ceilidhs are well up on previous years with all proceeds going to charity after deduction of expenses for some excellent bands whose members travel from Banffshire to Ross-shire to perform.
"We've had some youngsters from the the Nairn Feis performing this year and a display of Scottish country dancing and on July 30 we are very lucky to have John Carmichael's band from Glasgow doing a free gig for us," said a spokesman for the group
"Demand for tickets ( priced £5 as a one-off) will be high and that is expected to be a sell-out."
Suggestions that Brits could stay at home this year because of the recession seem to be borne out by attendances so far.
"We've had many visitors from all over the world and we find there are a lot of tourists from other parts of the UK.
"The local Lovat Lodge regularly supports the ceilidhs and we always receive a visit from the children from Belarus and their host families. That is always a very sepcial evening.
"The ceilidhs are a mix of tradtional Scottish music with dancing and piping throw-in and are great for people of all ages.
"It would be great if we could get some more locals and organisations to support the ceilidhs. If you have visitors this summer and want something to do pop along for the evening and you are assured of a warm welcome and great fun. At £2.50 entry you'll not be out of pocket." The ceilidhs commence at 8pm and end at 11pm in the Royal British Legion Highland Hall ever Thursday until September 10.
More details on the ceilidhs can be found at

The Pilgirmage is nigh!

Message from the pilgrims:
Dear Friends

We're about to embark on our Pilgrimage, safe in the knowledge that flash floods have already hit Nairn this month, and surely the same thing can't happen again...?

For those of you who are joining us in person, and haven't yet bought tickets, there are some still available at or to buy in person at Nairn Bookshop, but they're selling up fast!
For those of you who'd like to come and see us pull Screen Machine, or even join in the heave, some of our pulling locations are a little tricky to get to/park at, etc. and so for safety's sake we're not encouraging onlookers to those spots. However, if you find yourself in Strontian on Mon 3rd at 1.30pm, you'll see us pull Screen Machine out of town. On Tues 4th at 2pm we'll be pulling from the viewpoint on the B862, 5 miles out of Fort Augustus. On on Wed 5th at about 11.30am we'll be pulling along the driveway of Culloden Visitor Centre. Thanks to Highland Council and Contraflow Traffic Management!

But for the rest of you, those who are in far-flung places and unable to join us in person, please please check in to the website as each day of the journey we will be updating the Day By Day page with our photos, scrawlings, movie clips, sound recordings, dried flowers, brass rubbings, mathematical equations, sandwich crumbs and 20 pence pieces we lost down the back of the sofa years ago so's you can experience the delights and diversions, and even watch some of the films along with us.

Mark, Tilda and Matt

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not much to gurn about

Gurn slows down to crawling pace, summer takes over from blogging. Well there is one small gurn perhaps, but it can wait.
Picture should enlarge.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday night press review

They're gurning about the brae in the Nairnshire this week. It's a sort of souvenir edition celebrating the disaster that is the new-look brae. You'll have to get your deck-chair, a sleeping bag and a flask and head down the street now to join the queue to ensure that you get a copy this week, there will be a rush to read all the complaints about the brae. Here on the Gurn we've been saying that the whole thing was very silly right from the beginning. Nearly £200k to get rid of 7 parking spaces? There's a picture in the Nairnshire of a lorry mounting the pavement as it tries to get past vehicles in the loading/disabled bay. It's no fun to say 'told you so' is it? Next phase Gordon Street and the High Street? Oh what fun for years to come!
Iain Bain's editorial takes the whole thing to task too and the concept of 'consultation' that the Highland Council seems so happy with. Lots of other stuff in the Nairnshire, sorry no time to mention more here.
Good night Gurnites, happy reading of the local paper tomorrow if you haven't managed to get a copy tonight that is ;-)

Postcard from Nairn October 1908

'We leave here on the 12th for the Hebrides. We get back to Weymouth on the 5th of November.'

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Improvement of the "Brighton of the North" - A suggestion to the intelligent Provost of Nairn

'Those of our readers who have not for sometime seen the enterprising and therefore flourishing town of Nairn, will be much and agreeably surprised on their first visit to that favourite bathing place to witness the many miraculous improvements which have taken place there of Late - such as the erection of that picturesque yet suitable building, the Marine Hotel, creditable alike to the proprietors and Mr. Matthews the architect; the British Linen Company's new Bank a specimen of the pure taste of the Messrs. Reid: the building, yet unfinished, exhibiting the spirited localata of Mr. Gordon; the Episcopal chapel and school raised at the expense of Mr. Keith's congregation; the various villas and shops which wourd adorn a metropolis; with many other edifices, public and private, recently reared and in course of rearing - all betokening a healthy state of energetic advancement not to be found elsewhere in the North, excepting always the beautiful "city" of Elgin, which has been so greatly indebted to the amor patria of its Lord Provost.
Having so many objects of new beauty and interest upon which to cast our eyes during our brief stay in this ancient Portobello, we had almost omitted to mention one house which has undergone a scarcely credible metamorphosis; we allude to the prominence of Mr. MacGillivray, the wine merchant and distributor of stamps. Less than twelve months ago this tenement presented a dingy and gloomy aspect rather approaching to an eyesore than otherwise, but now, under the magic influence of Mr. MacGillivrays "presto change", it has become one of the chastest of Nairn's many handsome business structures.
Admiring, as we do the highly elaborated and ornate style which prevails in the modern banks and domiciles of our maritime burgh, we must acknowledge as to our liking the quiet unobtrusive plainness which Mr. McG. has adopted in constructing a place for business purpose. Had this feeling and good taste been more manifest in Glasgow of late year, we might not have had to deplore the casualties of the Western Bank, and many therewith connected. The Macdonald monument may testify as to the justice of our remark. The solidity of Mr. McG's masonry in our opinion (we speak commercially), would indicate the solidity of his business, and tnough highly approving the public spirit of those who have added so much to the beauty (Magnificance might be the proper word) of their "civic town" we mean nothing invidious, but rather a compliment, when we admit our partiality for that judgment which discriminates between a palace and a cottage, a church and a school room. From what has been said, some may imagine that Mr. McG is altogether utilitarian - to suppose as would be to commit an error. He has preserved the room of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" in its original state of antique pannelling, whitst his other refined notions are exhibited by the tasteful arrangement of the entrance to the house, where, alongside the doorway, is a very handsome conservatory, thus combining happily the dulce et utile.

The laying of the foundation-stone of a new Chapel is gratifying proof that whilst the good folks of Nairn are attending to the things of this world, they are not forgetting the more important matters which pertain to the next.
Rumour reports that more improvements are still on the tapis. Mr. R. Falconer we understand, contemplates a scientific "Laboratory" opposite the Hotel, almost rivalling the unique chemical, pharmaceutical, and inexplicable emporium of Mr. Leslie. The Glasgow Arms has the tree, the fish and the bell, with "Let Glasgow flourish" for its motto.
We would suggest to the intelligent Provost of Nairn that the "guid town" should adapt the "Rail, the fish, and the bath", rendering it intelligible by the motto "Nairn can bigg" '
That excellent report on the state of Nairn comes from the Inverness Advertiser of 2nd April 1861 and shows how Nairn had made great strides forward in the eyes of the town's neighbours. A copy arrived at Gurn Headquarters by snail mail (a first for the Gurn) and we were delighted to publish (republish). It came with a wee covering note suggesting that Gurnites need something to smile about and was enigmatically signed 'Main and Main', to whom the Gurn team are extemely grateful. Things were obviously really moving in 1861, I wonder how long it will be before the Inverness press can say the same Nairn in new millennium language?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Murd's 1956 pictures

Thanks to Murd Dunbar for the above pictures. Does anyone have any memories of that flood or any others?

More from the flood of 1956

The Sewerage Bridge
Mill Road

Thanks again to Tommy Hogg who has found another two pictures from that year.

Letter to the Gurn from Brian Lynch - Planning new settlements

This letter was originally published in the Press and Journal but heavily edited to save space. Brian has forwarded the full letter for the benefit of all Gurnites.
Dear Sir:
With reference to the letter in your edition of July 8th from Mr Sutherland under the heading of "Planning New Settlements". I share his concern about the risk that inappropriate development could ruin the unique character of some of Scotland's more attractive Highland towns - not just Stonehaven, but Nairn and a number of others are under threat. I would like to add the following comments.

Major housing developments are being planned across most areas of Scotland, and will impact many existing communities. If readers wish to get an idea of the sheer scale of house construction proposed they should access the Scottish Government's web-site and study the list of 68 projects listed under the "Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative" (and this list is not exhaustive with respect to planned house building in Scotland: as the list contains sustainable developments only).

Not only the should the numbers cause some serious reflection and questioning, but also the type of "high density" development being mooted as "the answer" in more and more cases. Few people who have ever lived in "high density" housing developments feel a burning desire to repeat the experience-and those who champion high density homes are very unlikely to move into one themselves.

The methodology for projecting future housing needs has recently moved away from the sole use of standard population projections based on factual birth/death data (See General Register for Scotland website) to the incorporation of "aspirational growth" projections for the next 25years. For the first time also we see use of a "high migration variant" projection in the derivation of these aspirations - these "assume higher levels of net in-migration to Scotland". So, for example, for the whole of the Highland we see births in the period 2006-2031 falling, but a population growth aspiration of 17% if the "high migration variant" is used in the calculation.

These "aspirations" might explain the 4,600 new homes (and a population growth of 10,000 people) envisaged for Nairn, because such an expansion surely doesn't stack up against the actual local population trend. What's generating the need for all these homes and, particularly in areas outwith the central belt and oil-zone around Aberdeen, where are the long term employment opportunities coming from?

Even if it is accepted that certain regions of Scotland need to retain and grow their resident populations, there has to be serious analysis of the factors that attract them. People move to the Highlands for quality of life, quality of environment, and quality of access and infrastructure for business and leisure. Building "affordable" housing alone, or in quantity, is not the solution, and is more likely to become part of the problem.

Members of the public have limited time and expertise to comment on these topics- which are at the heart of the future economic wellbeing of Scotland. People need homes, but something is not right with the logic here. Let's get back to a fact based planning methodology and away from an over-dependence on "aspiration" as the leading indicator for driving commercial house building projects. Is there any civic leader or politician who is prepared to challenge this approach-if so let us hear from you?

Brian Lynch (For Nairn Residents Concern Group)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another close shave down at the East Beach?

This in from Neil tonight:

'While enjoying a chip supper from Friar Tucks this evening ( 7.50pm) down at the harbour as one does, I could see two people who looked to be in some distress on the sandbank to the west of the Old Bar, the tide was coming in fast and it was obvious the people were fast becoming trapped. As someone who had to get rescued from the same spot 30 years ago I know how dangerous an area it is and how fast the tide comes in.Made a 999 call to the Coast Guard who took immediate action.Coastguard was soon on the scene with the police, and the helicopter being scrambled. The two people trapped turned out to be two teenage boys who took the risk and swam from the sandbank back to the shore, a very risky manoeuvre as many years ago a family had been swept away to their death. After two more phone calls from the Coastguard to me I was informed the casualties were two teenage boys who were very wet and very cold but OK. The helicopter was cancelled. Maybe more warning signs are needed down in the area of the East Beach!

Another July in Nairn - a flood in 1956

Tommy Hogg sent this picture to the Gurn, he remembers being present when his father took this picture in Mill Road near James John's house.
Anyone other Gurnites out there with flood picures from the recent or past events?

Summer flooding in Nairnshire (1829)

Things were fairly bad all along the Moray Firth in 1829 with Nairnshire being hit twice. The first time on the 3rd/4th of August and then again it seems ,according to these extracts from the Inverness Journal, on the 27th. The pictures will enlarge a little if you are having trouble reading them. The first details the first flood and the other two the one that swept the town bridge away.
It's raining again tonight and no doubt that will cause a moment or two's anxiety for a few folk in town just as Nairnites in 1829 must have looked to the skies with some trepediation imediately after events 180 years ago.
Thanks to Gail and Edwina at Inverness reference Library for sourcing this material.

Swan gets off the hook

A helping hand for one of the cygnets last night. Read about it on the swan blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday night press review

The Nairnshire leads with 'A month's rain fell in only four hours', a comprehensive account of the deluge and the damage done. There's news about a by-pass line with Sandy saying that discussions he has had with the government are paying off. There's a bit more information about the close of the planning inquiry and the annual 'let's do something about seagulls' debate seems to have kicked off on page 6. There's a full page advertisement inviting you to go and meet the Scottish Conservate candidate, Jim Ferguson, at the Nairn Show. Just think there was Nairn Quine complaining that there was no big attraction on the program.
The Editor writes about the deluge and the gulls and there are four letters this week. One backing John Hart the Common Good fund campaigner, another from Brian Lynch detailing his powerfully articulated concerns about a recent important meeting between Highland Council and the Sandown developers and both Sandy and Graham tell the public why they were not at the Sainsbury's public inquiry.
The Nairnshire is the usual must have read of the week. You're too late to get one from the Co-op now but be first in the queue in the morning with your 40p for all that and more, including Mary Scanlon speaking out about why she supports the local press. It's a bargain, get into it!

Will the Common Good Fund become an election issue for Nairn's Highland Councillors?

Just back from holiday and catching up on the two missed Nairnshire Telegraph and the Gurnmeister has noticed both an article concerning Sandy Park's attitude to control of the Common Good fund and a letter from John Hart in response.
Briefly Sandy feels that the Common Good fund should stay in Highland Council control but he doesn't seem averse to consultation of some form with community groups.
There are those that tend to disagree with Sandy and a few of the town's community councillors and other public-spirited individuals have been researching Common Good issues to the extent that they are perhaps as equally or better informed on these matters as our local Highland Councillors?
The Gurn agrees with those that think there should be more local democratic control. With the best will in the world the interests and desires of the Highland Council will not always dovetail with the wishes of the people of Nairn. What could possibly be wrong, if the Common Good fund were but under the control of a democratically elected Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council? Such an organisation may only be 12 months away from coming into existence. The Royal Burgh Council could also co-opt those many willing citizens with special skills and knowledge who are willing to help their community.
This issue will not go away and it is gathering momentum, it may become one of the main issues of the next local elections for the four Nairn seats on the Highland Council should any candidates emerge to challenge those four that make up the three members that represent the existing regime and the official opposition in the form of Liz
John Hart's letter has been published in the Nairnshire and also over on the Nairn Matters Blog.
Sandy's points are to be seen in the Nairnshire of July 7th. Why not go over to Nairn Matters, they will be delighted to hear your viewpoints on the common good issue.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Swine Flu, how does the French advice to their citizens compare to the UK situation?

The above image will enlarge. It is the english version of posters that are to be seen at french ports and airports. It advises travellers to avoid public places if travelling to a country affected by swine flu (North American flu to the French). By public places they elaborate by explaining that that means social events, shows, public meetings. Now that would mean avoiding the Farmers' Show even with that tenner freely available in your pocket and the Pilgrimage/Cinema of Dreams Roadshow too when it hits town. Is this advice overkill? Only this evening the British Government were telling pregnant mothers that they should do the same if they were very worried about swine flu. The BBC television news channel this evening featured a couple expecting a child and they seemed totally confused by the situation, the husband, a teacher, asking he too should be far more careful so as not to bring swine flu home. The only way a teacher could be more careful would be to stay at home too?
The French position is clear, everyone should avoid public places in a country affected by swine flu. That wouldn't be very good for the economy would it? Is this a factor scaring politicians? Should this precautionary principle at least be advised for all those with 'underlying health problems'? Who knows? Are even the medical experts entirely sure?

Is the Nairn Show too expensive?

Nairn Quine wants to have a wee Gurn about the Nairn Show:
'Just having a 'gurn' about the Nairn Show this year. Was going to comment on the 'What's On' but didn't see the Show, a highlight in Nairn's calendar year, mentioned there.
£10 admission plus £5 for parking? C'mon - are they having a laugh? So they are depending on punters like you and me to make up their money for them - half of us who probably don't know one end of a cow from the other or how much milk it produces per day!! And they complained that they made a loss last year.
Em, where did all the parking fees go to at Auldearn when they didn't have that facility to offer at Nairn? They made a big thing of it by the photo in the Nairnshire last year. And after a quick look at the programme, I couldn't see a 'highlight' to the afternoon's events. No motor bike stunt team, freefall parachutes (boring anyway), dodgy cars, etc.
So what does Joe Bloggs get for his tenner? A chance to walk round a hopefully dry, if not muddy, field to view coos and sheep, and perhaps buy overpriced food and knick knacks.
I, for one, and I am sure there will be many others like me when they discover the entrance fee, will certainly be giving it a miss this year.
Yours etc
Nairn Quine'
Thanks for that Nairn Quine. Is a tenner a lot of money Gurnites? Maybe we all look back to our halcycon days when we think of value for money. I remember when a ten shilling note was all you needed for an amazing night on the ran dan but times have moved on. A tenner is still a tenner I suppose if you are short of cash but then a sandwich and a cup of coffee up the High Street might take the best part of a fiver these days and a day out at the like of Alton Towers might cost a family anything up to £400 it seems (product of conversation via copper with Iright this morning). So I suppose you either go or you don't, if you know one end of a cow from another or not. The Gurnmeister had to miss out because of work last year and was actually quite miffed about that - the new site for the show offers a far better photographic canvas with the Black Isle and the massive of Ben Wyvis in the background.
In these troubled times it is no easy choice for many Nairn families when it comes to what to spend a valuable tenner on but if indeed you have that amount of currency burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps it is indeed worth the effort - after all the organisation is the 'Nairnshire' Farming Society and with that name tradition and local identity live on!

Deluge video

Thanks to Iain Fairweather for this video taken on the night of the deluge in King Street.

NSPHC reveal new facility

The Nairnshire Society for the Protection of the Hooded Crow reveal today their prototype structure to protect the population of Hoodies on the River Nairn. Members were concerned that their favoured birds favourite lampposts might soon be chopped down to stop the Hoodies snacking on ducklings so they launched an emergency appeal and were able to build a structure at a secret experimental location on the Auldearn Burn. Should the Society's worst fears come true then a new home would be instantly available. Hopes are high that further fundraising will enable 250 of these structures to be built between the Howford and the Bailey Bridges.

First Pilgrims arrive in Nairn already

Not long to go now before Tilda Swinton and the Pilgrimage arrive in town but already Nairn seems to be capable of attracting pilgrims. Picture will enlarge.
(not a local picture - in fact an artist's impression)

Flood damage

As the dehumidifiers hum away in some High Street shops and several Nairnites continue with the clean-up of their homes this pictures shows how destructive the torrential rain was in another corner of the town. The wall from the back of Knowles Gardens to the joiners yard was simply swept aside by the power of the flood water.
Picture will enlarge.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Rain has continued to fall for most of the morning, with one heavy burst around 04:30. The clear up post Thursday night’s torrential downpour continues. On the High Street some businesses are still closed, either still clearing up the mess or waiting for insurance assessors to arrive. The streets are awaiting a good clean and some drains are still blocked, but no sign of any work being carried out by the council.
Flash floods such as those we experienced in Nairn late Thursday night, early Friday morning are impossible to predict, but planning for such events should be in place.
Reports suggest that the telephone line to Highland Council’s Service Point in Nairn was almost impossible to get through to on Friday morning, and rather than an engaged tone callers received what sounded like a voice message for council employees rather than any useful information. Tec Services was also very difficult to reach.
In these times when Broadband is deemed as important as water or electricity Highland Council’s web site remained devoid of any news or information with regard the flooding, here at the Gurn we did our best to research and publish what we thought might be relevant information for anyone needing help.
The three pallets of sandbags available to the public from the Station Park depot had all gone by this morning, but no information as to when more might be available.
A caller to Nairn Service Point on Friday morning was informed of the sandbags but when he said he was disabled was told there was no delivery service or anyone to help him. His house had flooded in the early hours of Friday morning.
The doors to Nairn Service point were firmly closed as per usual for a Saturday morning, but taking the scale of the damage from the floods would it have been too much to have arranged for someone to be there today to offer help and advice?
Money is tight within the council budget but it seemed they were far from prepared for the flooding, or if they were is the level of service we should now expect?
We can only hope that we don’t see a repeat of Thursday night’s rainfall anytime soon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The clearing up

A walk around the town shows the number of homes and businesses affected by last night’s rain.
Piles of sodden carpet are heaped outside, and pavements and roads are strewn with debris.
The river Nairn is in high spate, tree trunks can be seen on the beach and out at sea, and the brown river water stretches right along the west beach past the swimming baths.
The grass sledges on the Links might need some floatation as a new water feature has appeared!
TV crews are out and about so expect Nairn to be featured in this evening’s news bulletins.

Update: STV coverage
Metcheck is predicting 16.6 mm of rain tomorrow morning at around 10:00 (Just over half an inch)
Sandbags – once upon a time you could fill your sacks from the beach but you probably need a SEPA license these days for sand movement and something filled in in triplicate!
P&J coverage


Torrential downpours hit all of Nairn and the surrounding areas last night, accompanied by thunder and lightening. Many drains failed to cope with the shear volume of water, which led to flooding; fortunately for many fishertown homes the tide was low at the time of the worst downpours.

The BBC reports that Union Street was flooded, the full extent of the damage is not known as yet, but certainly many homes have been affected and crops have also suffered.

The weather prediction is for further rain with a large area of low pressure not starting to move away until Monday

Flooding update:

Nairn Tec Services have a limited number of sandbags available. Call the Nairn service point for details (Note: The phone line is very busy, you might be best to call in person)

Nairn Service Point

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

The Court House 
High Street
IV12 4AU

Tel: 01667 458500

Council Out of Hours Telephone Numbers:

  • Social Work / Roads, Flooding, Lighting - 0845 769 7284
  • Housing - 0845 700 2005

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Devil is in the detail

Details published for the cost of the Brae upgrade suggest that a conservative estimate for the work is £170,000; the Brae covers just 180 feet. By my math (Did you ever go to school – Ed :) that means that the work on the Brae costs just under £5 million per mile of road.
Perhaps this is a bargain when you consider that the cost of building a mile of motorway in 2006
(Hansard) was £29.9 million
Highland Council has made a bid to the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund for a further £1,327,000 to complete the revamp of the High Street, but going by the Brae costs will this sum be enough?

On the road again

The Press & Journal publishes details of the reaction to the Highlands Councils A96 forum report from Action for Planning Transparency (APT)

In the article pressure group Action for Planning Transparency
(APT) said the authority’s “A96 growth corridor delivery forum” summary demonstrates how “unrealistic” its framework for development between Inverness and Nairn had become.

Clearly APT feels that Highland Council has over looked key infrastructure issues.
Once again we are in a situation whereby we have developers and Highland Council putting together ideas that are not totally shared by the current populous.
Developments yes but only if they are planned sensibly and are not riddled with holes before the first foundation has been dug!

You can read Highland Council’s report

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

High Street streetscape

Highland Council has placed a bid with the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund to further streetscape the rest of the High Street beyond the planned phase two of Gordon Street and the square.
According to this
news release Highland Council is still seeking contractors to complete this next stage, but the tendering cut off date was at the beginning of April this year and no further tendering notices have as yet been published.
One shopkeeper was concerned that if the contract for the second phase went to a different contractor it might introduce non-matching materials in terms of the stone being used.
Hopefully at the end of the day everything will match!

We got sunshine

Nairn may bask in more sunshine than Inverness but the city is just awash with supermarkets. Just to rub it in The Inverness Courier prints a size comparison for the proposed second Lidl store in the south of the city

‘The new Lidl store would be a lot smaller than the current 45,000 sq ft Tesco supermarket at Inshes Retail Park, but larger than the 8000 sq ft Somerfield supermarket in Nairn’

It’s good to know that our Somerfield store is useful for something!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nairn in the spotlight

A visitor to Nairn has left a comment on the new Brae thread.
Bill McDonald is a first time visitor to Nairn and feels the improvements to the Brae are worthwhile, but it is let down by:
‘the shabbiness of some of the store frontages. 

As a first timer I entered Nairn with a sense of foreboding when greeted by the tatty superstore and associated buildings but soon became charmed by the open spaces and beaches. 

I feel the shopping facilities badly let down a jewel on the Moray coast - I found the staff generally helpful but the shops often overpriced and shabby’!

We have often aired views on the Gurn with regard the poor state of the town and what the visitor must think. Here we have a visitor’s impression and it’s not very good when it comes to our High Street.
The Gurn would like to thank Bill for his honest opinions and hopes that he will indeed return as a visitor to Nairn.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Open Brae

Months of work and disruption, thousands and thousands of pounds spent, and the Brae is finally open to traffic. The now narrowed road has a speed limit of 20mph and sports pavement mounted signage (Will this prove a hazard for pedestrians?).
The East bound A96 is going to be extremely disrupted once Gordon Street is closed for the next phase of the streetscaping work, when traffic wanting to get to the High Street will be forced to use the Brae and will have to queue for a right turn on the A96. Businesses on the Brae suffered badly through the months of work; will business take a downturn for the whole High Street in the autumn with what will be limited access?
Still as you may see, the Brae is now greatly improved!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


The 2nd stage to replace the remaining elderly pontoons in Nairn harbour has started with the arrival of new units currently stored on the east harbour finger.
Highland Council awarded the contract to Hampshire firm Walcon Marine earlier this year.
Work to install the new pontoons is unlikely to start until October when it is hoped that many boats will have been craned out of the water for the winter, which will allow the installation to commence.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Painted Love

In a tradition going back several centuries a Gurn reader wonders if anyone can identify the trades folk who have signed their names on an inside house wall? The penciled signatures have come to light whilst the owner was decorating.
The painters in question are an A Geddes dated 25.11.78 and H Geld dated 06.03.94

Monday, July 06, 2009

The bonnie, bonnie broom part II

The Gurn reported back in June on the mysterious clearing of broom from the dunes next to the bankie. Today a Gurn reader sent us a reply from Highland Council Countryside Rangers with regard this work that caused so much upset and speculation.

The Highland Council Countryside Rangers organised a conservation task at Nairn West Beach on Saturday 20th June. A press release, which was issued at the time, did not make the local press, however, the purpose of the task was to address the following:
The dunes at Nairn Beach are slowly being invaded by broom, gorse and sycamore, which if left unchecked will eventually take over the dunes. These invasive shrubs and small trees will gradually shade out the natural dune loving plants which grow here and have a knock on effect on other wildlife such as some of our rarer butterflies. The plan is to remove small areas of shrubs every few years to keep this in check. This is exactly the same kind of work the RSPB have been carrying out on the dune systems around the Minster’s pool area at Kingsteps over the last few years. Prior to any work being carried out the volunteers were asked to check very carefully for any signs of birds nesting in the shrubs, it was also considered that hand cutting would be a better option than using chainsaws to reduce disturbance to wildlife and the public.
There was no sign of nesting birds and very unlikely that skylarks would be nesting at that location

The Gurn also reported that the much more invasive Japanese Knotweed has been left to thrive.
Perhaps some priorities need to be set with regard to what plants need to be removed and the work carried out at a time of year when there are fewer chances of disturbances to wildlife?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Picture this

In an interview with The Sunday Mail cult photographer John Rankin states that he hopes to buy a ‘bolt hole’ in Nairn, Rankin originally from Glasgow has holidayed many times here as a child.
His photography covers a wide spectrum of subjects from rock to royalty; his latest project is
Rankin live.
Rankin has also shown an interest in property development, could his new Nairn 'bolt hole' include a new housing scheme?
The Gurn also wonders if Nairn Camera Club might have a new member, and will his presence in Nairn mean another patron for the Nairn arts scene?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

In third place Nairn

Nairnac has drawn our attention to a Bank of Scotland survey that looks at the cost of living in a Scottish seaside town in terms of buying a house.
Nairn is third most expensive which maybe explains the interest from developers to build here; cheapest is Wick, which Nairnac is tempted to move to!

Most of the neighbouring properties where I live are holiday homes, is Nairn to become the same as many Highland towns, a place where locals can no longer afford to live?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Nairn a university town?

John has drawn our attention to trouble brewing over the site of the UHI in Inverness. He suggests:
'Well if they can't decide about having it in Inverness why not Nairn? Here is an alternative for Nairn town centre redevelopment! Just think, Nairn - a university town.'
His thoughts are echoed by someone commenting on the Inverness Courier article that reveals the situation to the world:
'Anyone with half a brain would not build the University at Beechwood or at the Longman.Either of these sites would only add to the cities traffic congestion problems.Best places, North Kessock or Nairn. Keep traffic out of the city area, not add to it.'
Sounds good, a Uni would be an excellent idea, it could go next to Sainsbury's or on part of Sandown/Delnies or, yes indeed, in the town centre.

A site of pilgrimage already and with a University we would be so unstoppable. The Canterbury of the North? That is if Canterbury has a Uni?

Sun, sea, sand, and… more sun!

The sand on the beach is pitted and damp from yesterday’s heavy showers, but Nairn basks in the sun once again with a typical circle of blue sky above us and clouds over our neighbours.
The sea is still cool in temperature but inviting enough this lunchtime for a few brave souls to paddle and swim in.
Nairn is hard to beat on a day like this, let's hope someone is snapping a few shots for future tourist brochures and advertising.
Despite the recent rain the grass on the links has all but given up and crunches underfoot, how many more days of this weather can we take Gurnites?
The sand on the beach is pitted and damp from yesterday

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Allotment consultation

Billy from Plot Tales is urging us all to get involved in the Council's consultation process. An article also appeared recently on the APT blog.
'Good to see HC now see a need for allotments, details in this weeks Nairnshire. They are asking you to to send in your views on this as I have already done. As Nairn expands we will need more plots to meet the demand this is a good chance for all of us to say what we think on how the ground is used around our town. The benefits of having an allotment are immense not only do you get to grow your own fruit and veg but you have the social aspect as well also good for the mind and body. So come on folks more allotments 4 Nairn.'
"Consultation responses are invited before the deadline of Friday 11 September, in writing to Keith Walker, Policy Officer, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX or by email to"
There's over thirty hopefuls now on the Nairn Allotment Society waiting list and we desperately need more land for allotments in Nairn. Please get involved Gurnites.

An interesting thread continues

The most interesting thread on for some time continues with another very thought-provoking comment from Nairnac. Here's part of it:
'We have a growing town with falling school roll’s, which strikes me as a somewhat unhealthy situation. And I dispair over potential employment opportunities for young people in the area. I just can’t see where many of them can get any kind of employment with any prospects.
Nairn has a very divided population, split between the affluent retirees and the less than affluent locals and seldom do the twain seem to meet. It’s not just retirees from the colonies who desire ‘decent well-designed houses, in gardens and with green spaces’, local working people would like them just the same, unfortunately they’re unaffordable for most.'
You can see the whole post and comments on Brian's Balblair Project page.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fancy going on the pull?

Tilda Swinton is looking for fellow travellers to help out on the Pilgrimage, mainly pulling a big lorry across the Highlands:

'Welcome to the state of cinema. We think you’ll like it here. You can be whoever you want to be in this special place. You can lose yourself in great glens, or lie on your belly on heather and peat and dip your lips into crystal clear mountain streams and drink ice-cold water. You might see a stag or eat fairy cakes. '
The Pilgrimage starts in Glencoe and arrives in Nairn on the 7th August. It will be fun to have the film festival crowd in town again, the journalists will no doubt give a boost to the bars again too . We'll be able to follow the progress of the Pilgrimage online and hopefully there will be a huge turnout to welcome the Pilgrims to Nairn. See your there Gurnites. For further information, lists of films etc head over to the stunning, user friendly Pilgrimage site. For all Gurnite facebookers there is also now a Pilgrimage facebook page.
Good luck pilgrims, a warm welcome awaits you in Nairn.

The Balblair project

An interesting debate has started up, again about development in the Nairn area, over at mynairn. Will Nairn soon start at the Howford Bridge and be encircled by a massive swathe of new homes. Pop over and add your thoughts if you have a moment to spare.