Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hairdressers Salon 80 open

Reading this Gurn feed on the Inverness Myvillage site? Why not come through and enjoy Nairn's shops and restaurants plus there's always the option of a stroll along the beach or the riverside walks before or after some retail therapy. It isn't always snowing here and it's far less stressful than the big city.

Will Streetscape 2 solve this problem - Part 2

A lorry parks just up from the brae, perhaps the loading bay on the brae itself was full? The bus driver coming along Gordon Street does his best with the remaining road surface available but still mounts the pavement as he enters the High Street. Will anything be shaved off the wide pavement here to allow buses and other large vehicles to get round the bend safely when this situation occurs? Picture will enlarge.

Another stormy day in Nairn

The Dunes continue to erode on the West Beach as the High tide backed by a strong wind from the North comes in.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stormy day in Nairn



It's not getting any nicer outdoors in Nairn today and various blends of snow/sleet/hail and rain keep coming down. A few cars passing through town are covered in snow. Nothing settling on the ground however.
Thanks to Donald who sends this picture from the harbour.

Save Rait Castle Facebook Group

Alastair Cunningham has sent us the URL of the Save Rait Castle Facebook group.

Buckie 1 Nairn 0 - edited Highlights.

There's a loon in Buckie, David Smith, who puts all his team's games up on Youtube. This got him into a little difficulty with the Highland League high heid yins but with the backing of Buckie Thistle he has returned to putting the videos on line and pretty impresive they are too. Well done David, you're doing a brilliant job for Buckie and promoting the Highland league in general.
Here's a chance to see edited highlights of the game on Saturday.



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Wednesday morning press review

The front page of the Nairnshire tells us all about a local care home deemed to be “unsatisfactory” according to the authorities. On page 2 there’s news of a Spanish mannie that wants to hear from you if you were in the Regal the night the Beatles played. Bad news too on page 2 if you like jazz. Is rural Nainshire about to get a better broadband deal? Read this week’s local paper to find out more. Further into the paper and yet more bad news, could the Nairn Museum be in danger as funding cuts bite? Could Croy get the recycling bins back? Loads of other news too this week and the regular sports columns. Yours for just 40p!

A third Tilda film festival for Nairn?

Has a Times journalist got the wrong end of the stick or is there another film festival in the pipeline for Nairn?
'This summer, Tilda Swinton will host her third independent film festival in her local town of Nairn, along with the film critic Mark Cousins, a fellow local.'

Monday, March 29, 2010

Important wind-farm planning meeting in Inverness - 7 Councillors absent, 2 made to leave, 8 make the decision

The Gurn had already reported the controversial issue of two Councillors being excluded from the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area planning committee on Friday. The eventual decision was taken by only eight members of the 17 strong committee however. The Press and Journal reports:

'Highland councillors unable to attend a key planning meeting for health reasons or due to long-term commitments have responded to their critics.
Seven of the 17-member Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area planning committee were unable to be at a special hearing on Friday on the contentious issue of a 33-turbine windfarm proposal for Dunmaglass Estate, near Loch Ness, 15 miles south-west of Inverness.
Two others had to leave the room because of their public objections to the scheme.
More than a dozen of the 1,556 objectors to the proposed 394ft high turbines travelled to the Inverness meeting.
Several were angry that only eight committee members were in the chamber to consider the council’s view on the planning application.
The committee voted six-two not to object to Hertfordshire-based developer RES Group’s plans.'

Whatever your position on wind energy this doesn't look good for democracy. It's 2010 and a new age of technology, why can't Councillors absent on business or through ill-health simply use their Highland Council laptops or Blackberries to vote? They could all be issued with a password to enable them to do so or could e-mail the planning department with their decision beforehand, or maybe even a snail mail vote such as that available to the electorate at the General Election. It makes a mockery of the system if technology is ignored, maybe there needs to be a change in the law to allow it to happen? Read the full P&J article here. ( I wonder how long we'll be able to link to these articles, will the P&J go behind a pay wall like the Times Group are planning to do?).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Other Royal Burghs with an advantage over Nairn

Quite a few other towns in Scotland which were once bestowed with the honour still make use of the title 'Royal Burgh', and why not? Somehow the 'Nairnshire Partnership and Ward Forum' doesn't quite hit the spot as a catchy title for promoting the town does it? Nothing wrong with the Partnership and Ward forum of course but it's time we had an elected body which represents the town again. Here's a few other places in Scotland which have taken that useful step, a step that recognises a town's hertiage, history and ambition, you will find the following Royal Burgh Community Councils:

Royal Burgh of Cupar Community Council, Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council, Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council, Royal Burgh of Jedburgh Community Council, Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council, Royal Burgh of Whithorn and District community council, Community Council of the Royal Burgh of Peebles and District, The Community Council for the Royal Burgh of Forres, Elie & The Royal Burgh of Earlsferry Community Council, Royal Burgh of Montrose Community Council, Royal Burgh of Elgin Community Council, The Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council.

The democratic benefits of a single Council representing the town are obvious, the benefits in promoting Nairn's separate identity in the world are easily seen too. Soon there will be a period of consultation where Highland Council will be seeking the views of the town's population on how community councils in the town should be reformed. We have three councils that represent odd lines drawn on a map, by goodness knows who, back in the seventies. End the confusion and take a step forward - let your views be known. The Gurn will provide information of how you can take part in the consultation, you may also find this additional Gurn blog useful for more background information.

Call to save Rait Castle

'FOR centuries Rait Castle has lain desolate, covered by undergrowth and haunted by a curse that lingers from a chilling episode in Scotland's bloody history of clan warfare.
Now – almost 600 years after a terrible massacre was enacted in the stronghold – its owner, one of Scotland's most ancient noble families, is under pressure to save its remains. Fears Rait is in danger of collapse have led to local campaigners urging the Earl of Cawdor's family to take action to conserve the ruin near Nairn – the last 13th-century hall castle in Scotland standing.'


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sudden Drop

Thanks to one of the regulars for the picture and the following information:

The cold snap over the winter saw part of the central beach collapse with the frost. High tides have accentuated the fall of sand, and now there is a small cliff 3-4 feet in height stretching roughly from the Links car park to the harbour. Be prepared for a bit of a jump if you wander down to the beach from the bankie in this area.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nairn still waiting on word from the Co-op

The Nairnshire reported in a front page article (February 9th). 'Co-op's decision next month?'
An extract from the article states:
'A spokesman for the Co-op said: 'Following the extremely disappointing decision to grant consent to the Sainsbury's development contrary to the Reporter's recommendation. The Co-operative Group is reviewing its plans for its business in Nairn but assures residents that is committed to investing in the town centre. We anticipate completing our deliberations next month and will make an announcement then.' '
Will that investment go further than a few new t-shirts and fleeces for the Somerfield staff? Only 6 days left for the Co-op to keep its promise and make that announcement!

See Inverness City FC at the Showfield

With both the Saints and Nairn County travelling away tomorrow there is still a chance to for stay at home fans to see some soccer.
Itinerant club Inverness City have been thrown out of the Nothern Meeting Park again so the cricket can go ahead. Clach and Caley aren't making their pitches available despite playing away so the nearest the City players can get to home for a 'home' fixture is the Showfield in Nairn.
Given the bitter aftertaste left in some quarters by the merger that brought about Caley-Thistle perhaps 'City' is a title that all Inverness fans can get behind, hopefully they will get a more permanent home and maybe even get as far as the Highland league one day. It will be interesting to see how much travelling support follows them to Nairn tomorrow.
Kick off 2.30 p.m. Entry free Inverness City v Glentanar
North Region Division 1

UFO's over Nairn - the story continues

Regular readers will remember the Valentine's Day UFO story that featured in the Gurn last month. The story continues yet again in the Highland News. A Culloden man has come forward to say that he has seen the UFO four times now:

'But Mr Jackson has now come forward to dismiss this theory and even has his mum as an eye witness to strange goings on in the night skies along the Moray Firth coast.
"I know what I saw but it was definitely not a love lantern or a Chinese lantern. It was far too big and it did not flicker from the centre. It was shaped liked a helicopter or truck cab and it travelled at between 150-200mph, so it could never have been a lantern," Mr Jackson told the HN.
"I am just an ordinary guy and am not a crank. I felt after reading these silly stories about the love lantern all I want is verification. I can't believe this was seen by myself and nobody else."
He said the love lantern was set off in the Cairngorms at 6pm and the light he saw was at 8pm.
Mr Jackson, a self-employed bathroom fitter, said he has now had FOUR sightings of the UFO. And the second was witnessed by his mother Anne.
Last month we described how the Valentine's Day sighting was reported on the website of Canadian paranormal researcher Brian Vike.
Mr Jackson had sent an anonymous blog to the website describing how he spotted the UFO approaching Nairn from the east on February 14.
He turned up the Grantown Road to get a closer look to see the fireball-like object travel in a north north-easterly direction.
He was so amazed he phoned his girlfriend and mother before reporting it to the local police station.
'

Read the full article by Donald Wilson here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nairn Police looking for light blue Citeron

'Police are keen to trace the occupants of a light blue Citroen car in Nairn following concerns were expressed from a member of the public.
The car was seen parked in Somerfield Car Park at 12:50 hours yesterday (Wednesday 24 March 2010) after which time it was reported to Police from a concerned member of the public who saw unexplained behaviour from the occupants within the vehicle.
Police would urge the occupants of the vehicle or anyone who may have information to contact Police in Nairn on 01667 452222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.'

Will Streetscape 2 solve this Nairn High Street Hazard

Yesterday afternoon this lorry had a delivery to make but no where to park without blocking the traffic coming behind. The answer was to go on the pavement. It is not unusual to see vehicles mounting the pavement on the brae but it does happen on the High Street proper too, more generally just up from the brae as delivery drives seek somewhere to stop, but nowhere is really totally safe from this practice. Here's an example of just how dangerous this behaviour is. Hopefully Streetscape 2 will bring solutions?

Highland Council - should Councillors that think wind farms per se are a bad idea be banned from planning meetings?

Senior tier Councillors are not allowed to give their views on a particular planning application prior to the meeting that decides each application. That can be uncomfortable for some when constituents fail to grasp this important part of the process, Councillors can be seen as indifferent or even siding with the developers by perhaps not being seen to help people in their area against an unwanted or unsuitable development. It can seem strange but it has its legal merits apparently.

Now what if you have a party or personal philosophy against something. There are no Green members on the council but if there were would it not be democratically acceptable for such a Councillor to have a party position against new airports or motorways? If that were the case surely he or she will still be allowed to attend planning meetings discussing the like, likewise SNP Councillors that oppose nuclear power. If there were suddenly an application for a nuclear power station on the Carse then one would hope that they would not be precluded from the meeting that decided such a hypothetical application's fate? Reading Tory activist Liz Gilchrist's blog I am alerted to the fact that Highland Councillors who think wind farms are a bad thing have been told to stay away from planning meetings that decide the fate of wind farms. Liz writes:

'Democracy has gone to the wall. A sad day when Highland Council can silence Councillors so readily.
They are elected by the people to voice the concerns of the people and show signs being silenced by a dictatorship.
Does this mean that anyone who has voiced an opinion before being elected will be excluded from hearings?'

Liz is right. Does this mean that every time a politician has to make a decision at a planning meeting then their past statements or their party's position on anything remotely concerning the subject will be scrutinised to find a reason to prevent that member attending a meeting? If those that are against wind farms are banned then surely those that support them or belong to parties or groups that support them should be banned?

You can read Liz Gilchrist's article here. And the Press and Journal states:

'The silencing of two Highland Councillors could leave the authority’s system of decision-making in chaos, according to political observers.' More here.
Update - more discussion on the APT blog.

Nairn keep scoring goals - Brora 1 Nairn 3

Report on the Press and Journal site.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black Isle burning

This view from a Fishertown window this morning sent in by one of our regular readers.

Rescue Greyhound on Nairn beach

This video shows just how much fun dogs and their owners can have on Nairn's beaches. This was taken on the East Beach and although dogs are not allowed on the Central beach in summer you can still go on the East. So if coming to the Highlands on Holiday why not visit the East beach this summer, there are two car parks nearby.


The information on this video's youtube page reads:
'Daisy is a two year old rescue greyhound from The Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary. Check out their website - http://www.scottishgreyhoundsanctuary...Greyhounds make fantastic pets and, by adopting one, you could be saving their life. '

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday morning press review

The Nairnshire front page is dominated by the threat of the closure to the Tourist information centre. There’s a picture of Sandy Ford as he finishes his career on the streets of Nairn. Provost Liz has a mention on the front page too, she has attacked the council cuts as shocking. Now it is the job of any opposition to attack the administration but perhaps Liz might want to tell us how she might want to balance the books or how money could be found to avoid cuts? It isn’t a happy situation, we all know it is coming, if anyone has any alternative ideas of how it can be done then perhaps we’d all be grateful?
Inside the paper Community Councillor Graham vine is worried about potential allegations of ‘Nimbyism’. There’s a picture from the Beer Festival and the usual ‘Cop This’ entries. Good news for retaily-deprived Nairnites on page 3 with the latest on the Sainsbury situation. The Nairnshire also has a report on the Junior World railway incident.
To page 4 and a report on the West Community Council backing a single council for Nairn but news that the Provost has gone very cool on the idea. That’s a bit of a pity really, you’d think Liz would see the potential benefits for the town, is she looking at this through Highland Council tinted spectacles? Still time to change your mind Liz. Iain Bain has a theory as to why some quarters might not want to see a single council in Nairn, you can read his editorial to find out what he feels about the single council proposal.
Liz again speaks out about the £100,000 tag bandied about to repair the Links School roof, the Nairnshire tries to get to the bottom of the origins of this figure. News on the arts and Nairn Academy is to be found on page 7 and the usual comprehensive sports coverage to the rear, including the impressive recent turn of fortunes up at Staion Park with wins against Huntly and Cove in the cup last week.

Cinema Nairn prepares for a trip to the moon

The film due to be screened this week by Cinema Nairn recently won a major award and it has been discovered the director has a connection with the north of Scotland.
The community initiative reviving big screen entertainment in the seaside resort has also announced three films to be shown as part of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival in June.
‘Moon’ (certificate 15) is this Friday, the 26th of March, starting at 7.30pm in Nairn Community Centre with tickets priced £4 (£3 for under 18s).
The film, originally released last year, is about a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint harvesting resources on the moon.
A few weeks ago the director, Duncan Jones, won Best Debut at the BAFTAs.
It turns out Jones, son of legendary rock musician David Bowie, is a former pupil of Gordonstoun.
Moon won Best British Independent Film at the BIFA awards last year and Jones won the Douglas Hickox Award.
Cinema Nairn’s Jason Rose said: “Reviewers raved about Moon but it was only available to see briefly in Inverness so we’re delighted to give Nairnites the chance to judge for themselves what all the fuss was about. The main performance by actor Sam Rockwell is stunning. The cinematography and music are beautiful and make this a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. Moon is usually labelled as science fiction but it’s not about little green men with laser guns - it’s a story about human emotion and how we interact with technology.”
Meantime Cinema Nairn have announced three films with literary themes to be screened as part of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival in June. They are: the Woody Allen classic ‘Manhattan‘ from 1979; ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (2005), Robert Downey Jnr’s homage to hard-boiled detective fiction; and the romantic comedy ‘Shakespeare In Love‘ from 1999.
Details can be found on line at
www.cinemanairn.blogspot.com.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hugh McBean's walking guide to Nairn

Thanks to Doc Grigor for this link. Hughie needs no intro for Gurnites but if you're just visiting the Gurn or thinking of coming to Nairn on holiday perhaps you'd like to know a little more about our favourite postie, this P&J article will give you an idea of what a great guy he is. Hugh has made a first class video that sings just a few of Nairn's praises.

Anyway here's Hugh's video - enjoy the walk and your holiday in Nairn :-)

Update: Monday morning - back to the top with this post. There's been a lot on the Gurn over the weekend and throughout March. Only about the first twenty articles feature on the main page, to see links to all 81 articles posted so far this month just scroll down the sidebar a little to the blog archive.

Nairn's West Council on Community Council reform

Last Tuesday night the West Community Council discussed the ongoing community council reform process in Nairn, a process that is taking place all over the Highland Council area at present. Councillor Brian Stewart outlined how the consultation process had now requested more discussion in Nairn on the idea of a single Community Council for the town. He said that there were 2 councils in the town in favour and one against. He stated that a single council would bring Nairn into line with other comparable towns in the Highland area and Moray and Grampian.

Cllr Stewart told the meeting: ‘ We as a Community Council and others believe a single Community Council would be the most effective way of reflecting the interests of the whole community and influencing policy and planning on the major issues that affect the town. We also believe that a single Community Council would have greater capacity to handle the growing workload of scrutinising the local plans and having to respond to all these requests for comment and consultation. So our collective view is that a single council would be good for Nairn. The question is how do we help to promote discussion about this, encourage support and ultimately bring it about?’

Cllr Stewart continued,’ It is self-evident that the arguments for and against do need to be discussed as widely as possible, not least among the community councils but among Nairn residents.’

More details from the West Community Council later if time permits. The Gurn supports a single council for Nairn. Do you think we need a Royal Burgh Council to speak out for Nairn? For more information on this subject and the issues surrounding it head over to this campaign blog. There's an opinion poll in the side bar once you get there. And there's also more debate over on myNairn.

Back to last week's Nairnshire editorial

In just over 12 hours the hardcore faithful will be waiting at the Co-op for the latest edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph. The question is will this week’s editorial have provoked a reaction? If you didn’t read it or have now recycled your copy then here’s a taste of what Iain Bain had to say about the Sandown Objetors.

‘You can argue about the densities implied in the layout for Sandown but the overdevelopment argument as expressed by neighbour objectors, and to a large extent by the council, has also been quite frightening in its sheer Luddism. You might be able to argue pressure on infrastructure on a scale limited in time and area but you cannot in all honesty argue it in terms of Nairn town as a whole and for ever. If you do accept this then it is a recipe for urban suicide.’

Did Iain somewhat overstate his case? We are inclined to thinks so. In arguing against the present Sandown application, were the objectors saying no more growth, ever, for Nairn? This observer doesn’t think so but what would be acceptable to all on the Sandown lands would probably promote some considerable debate. This observer predicts a response or two in the letters pages.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saturday street sign Nairn High Street

Do you think we need a Royal Burgh Council to speak out for Nairn? For more information on this subject and the issues surrounding it head over to this campaign blog. There's an opinion poll in the side bar once you get there.

New site for Nairn Book and Arts Festival

The Nairn Book and Arts Festival have launched a new website.

Sandown Inquiry: A conflict of interest concerning some evidence?

Drs Joan and Alistair Noble e-mailed the Inquiry Reporters with their concerns re a part of the evidence given in the inquiry. You can see both their e-mail and the Reporters' response on this DPEA webpage. Note the response comes first followed by the Nobles' e-mail below.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fosters Highland League Cup: Nairn 2 Cove 1

The league leaders returned after beating Nairn at Station Park last Saturday 1-5 but Groundhog day it was not. Nairn reduced to 9 men had to endure an eternity of injury time before the referee finally blew the whistle. Cove are out of the cup and a resurgent County march on.

Morning Gurnites

Good morning Gurnshire, we've got one or two articles to put up over the weekend but we're going to leave Hughie's fantastic video near the top for most of the day and may put it back on top for Monday morning too - the video is generating quite a bit of interest. Great job Hugh! The video has only just been uploaded onto Youtube but is already attracting interest around the world, here's a graphic from Youtube.

It's a fresh morning but the light rain seems to have ceased. The first daffodils are making serious efforts to open now. On Wednesday this observer saw a bee, tempted out by the sunshine, on some flowering heather close to the beach. Further into the town a wasp too yesterday. Turning the corner at last? Today Cove return in the League Cup, no doubt hoping to emulate their five goal performance from their previous visit last Saturday. If Nairn continue on the high from the mid-week victory over Huntly then Cove's mission will not be so easily accomplished this time round. Have a good weekend Gurnites!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Highland Council looking to Westminster for pothole cash

The Press and Journal again:

'Highland Council is to write to the chancellor to seek emergency funds for the cost of repairing potholes after the worst winter for decades.
The authority’s transport director told councillors, meeting in Inverness yesterday, that the big December and January freeze had blown a £1.5million hole in the council’s budget that would have to be carried over into the 2010-11 financial year.'

Another burden on an organisation creaking under the strain. It appears also that the Council may use part-time fire-fighters for winter maintenance duty in the future.  More in the P&J.

Meanwhile the Council is hopeful of saving money on a new ICT deal (information and communication tecnology).  Another page on the Council's site gives details of another regular item that has to be met on the budget - the details of how much the Heads of Department earn.  

Junior World bairns get onto the railway

The Press and Journal reports:

'An investigation is under way after three nursery children were able to walk across a railway line to retrieve a lost toy.
Youngsters at Junior World nursery at Nairn gained access to the tracks by crawling under a security fence adjacent to the Aberdeen-Inverness line.
Network Rail yesterday admitted the fence had been “incorrectly” installed because a gap had been left at the bottom of the wire, which was large enough for small children to squeeze through.'

When you consider the massive investment made recently in new fencing along the railway in Nairn, one wonders how more attention wasn't paid to ensure that this wouldn't happen.

More here: Nairn youngsters able to crawl under fence and cross tracks to retrieve toy

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Integrated public transport systems 1855

Mrs Gurnmeister was complaining that her train from Aberdeen was an hour late earlier this week. A sobering thought however for anyone worried about delays on the local line, to think that in the days when the railway only extended as far as Nairn from Inverness that you would need another seven and a half hours on the Stagecoach to even reach Huntly! At least the transport system was integrated, there must have been unity among the Community Councils of the time.
Thanks to Irene for another snippet from her extensive research.

Click on image to enlarge.

Tilda perfume in the shops soon

One of our regular correspondents reports that Tilda has launched a perfume. The Nairn film star has developed her own perfume with one of the concepts being that she will reminded of sitting by her fire in Nairn on a Sunday afternoon. Lots more details about the new Tilda pefume here.

Councillor Vine: 'The sums add up.'

Graham Vine the West Community Council's treasurer reported that the Council had a balance of £2,167 in the bank with an outstanding bill of £225. Now how much does the Tourist Information Centre need to open for business again this year? :-)

Highland Council cuts - the Tory view

Maybe this observer is not looking hard enough but feels that there isn't really a lot of material out there from the PPCs (Prospective Parliamentry Candidates) for this constituency, Inverness, Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey.

Interesting then to read the view from Jim Ferguson the Conservative PPC:
'The national percentage for those who are over 60 in scotland is 19%. That percentage increases to 34% for the Highlands and Islands. This percentage for the Highlands will increase by 10% every 5 years so its imperative that proper planning and a full strategic review is carried out in order to ensure adequate health care provision accross the Highlands and islands.
I am disapointed to see that the Highland Council who now have to make £12 million pounds of savings are cutting front line services in areas such as care workers who are a lifeline to many families across this region.
The SNP, Labour and LibDems have all had an opportunity at running the Highland Council but have failed to achieve the outcomes that the people need. Their in-fighting and petty politics have caused inaction and a failure to properly provide for the elderly community which is growing at an incredible rate.
There really does have to be some common sense introduced so that we dont end up with a situation where we simply dont have the resources to cope.
Add to this the fact that we have had huge numbers of Eastern Europeans migrating to the Highlands who have not being paying contributions to the country but who quickly claim all their entitlements and we see a recipe for disaster due to not having the care provision and infrastructure to cope. The Labour Government were warned that this would happen but neither they nor the LibDems were prepared to listen and simply used political correctness as a weapon to silence their critics. '
Jim should perhaps mention the 'Independent' Party, after all they still have a big say in the running of the Council. Anyway, there's more on the candidate's blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nairn 1 Huntly 0

Joy at Station Park as Campbell breaks the deadlock towards the end of the second half, showing what he can do when he doesn't get a red card. Nairn finished really well, good omens for another crack at Cove in the cup this Saturday. We'll link to the match details once the appear on Highlandleague.net.
No report on the league's site yet but here's something in the Press and Journal.

West Community Council supports Gaelic on path signs

The West Community Council voted, on the Chair’s casting vote, to support bilingual path signs in Nairn. The Gaelic element of the signs will be funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig – the Government Quango responsible for implementing the Scottish Government’s Gaelic act. There was a lively discussion on the merits of Gaelic signs with support from most of the members of the public present. Graham Vine and Seonaid Armstrong voted against the proposal with Jim Ferguson and Rosemary Young in favour. Brian Stewart, with mixed feelings abstained. Ailidh Chisholm the Nairn Academy rep on the Council was in favour but is not actually a voting member of the organisation. The Casting vote fell to Rosemary Young. Jimmy Ferguson’s pragmatic approach of using the extra funding available just to get new signs was probably an indication of how you have to grasp every opportunity available in these new, credit-crunched times. The Gurn understands that last week the River Community Council voted emphatically against any Gaelic on path signage however.
The Gurn supports Gaelic but accepts there are those who would legitimately argue that Gaelic is irrelevant to the modern world, it is a fair basis for argument but there can be no denying the unmistakeable element of Gaelic heritage in Nairnshire. According to the last census there are 200 speakers of the language in Nairn and another 100 capable of understanding the language. There is also now a Gaelic unit at Millbank primary and a well supported and successful Gaelic choir. Gaelic culture is an element Nairnshire life in 2010, by no means as strong as in 1891 when 23% of the residents spoke Gaelic according to the census at the time but Gaelic is still here and may be around for some time yet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nairn to lose tourist information point?

It emerged at this evening’s meeting of the West Council that a lack of funding could mean that Nairn will not have a Tourist Information Point this summer. £2,000 is needed urgently if the successful ‘partnership' information point in the Community Centre is to go ahead again this year. Councillor Rosemary Young pointed out the irony if a town voted the no 2 world destination in an online TripAdvisor poll had no Tourist Information Centre.

A96 gets recycled

Thanks to our regulars for pointing out the following:
'The A96 has taken an awful battering from the frost and contractors have been out planing the tar off long sections between here and Brodie prior to re-laying the surface. The contractor is keen to get rid of the old stuff nearby so we have been buying lorry loads of the planings at £100 a time to repair the farmyard. '
For more of the goings on down at a local farm click here.

Tuesday morning press review

Your weekly 40p special treat is a 16-pager. It will perhaps be remembered as the edition that charts the current, considerable woes of the River Community Council with both a front page article and a further article inside discussing issues of transparency concerning the Council. There's a few articles for Ardersier and Croy readers this week and an article concerning ownership of the Cawdor Hall. The last days of the Sandown Inquriy of well covered and again present essential reading material for those wishing to stay fully informed on local planning matters.
An enlightening article on the 'Herring Girls' that is record of a recent talk at the Nairn Literary Institute. This week there are pictures from the Auldearn Guides celebration. In the ads section, Cawdor Castle are looking for seasonal workers plus a full-time admin assistant. You'll be able to read a two-page sports section with a report on Saturday's defeat for the Wee County against Cove plus Equestrian, Indoor Bowling, Golf, Tae Kwon Do, Shooting, Curling, Dominoes and Chess reports. All this and much more.
Apart from events at the River Community Council this edition is also striking for Iain Bain's editorial. He outlines his concerns at how the Sandown application gathered momentum but also takes a swipe at the objectors. Interesting reading Gurnites.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Highland Wide Local Development Plan - The responses are online

Thanks to APT for alerting us on their blog. There are a large number of responses in and some from the Nairnshire area including local community councils and the Nairnshire Farming Society and Cawdor Estates.

Looking forward to the boats coming in?

There were some quite impressive cruise liners to be seen heading for Invergordon through the Sutors last year. One of our correspondents alerts us to the fact that the anticipated list of arrivals this year is already up on the Invergordon Port site in PDF format.

Danny wants to make you a millionaire!

'Someone in our area could have a big surprise waiting for them at the bottom of an old jacket pocket, or at the back of a cupboard drawer.
"It's well worth having a good look in the next week, because the surprise will not be such a nice one if the winning ticket turns up after next Monday.'

More on our local MP's website

Free seeds

Thanks to the green-fingered Gurnite who tipped us off about the free seeds offer on one of the BBC sites.
'Fill in the form below to apply for your free seeds. Once we get your application, we'll send you a packet of each of the five Dig In veg - mixed salad, courgette, french bean, basil and carrot. You'll also get a handy booklet alongside them, explaining how to grow them.'
Looks straight forward, hopefully the seeds will reach Gurn HQ soon, it was almost warm today wasn't it?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

'Time for a single Community Council for Nairn'

Want to see more democracy for Nairn? Yes? Then follow the new arrival in the Nairn Blogosphere.

An access ramp at Househill - but then where would you go?

It was stated by Provost Liz MacDonald at the last Ward Forum meeting that the Nairn Access Panel’s priority for the riverside was for ramps to be put in place at the Househill path steps on the riverside walk..
The initiative to install ramps here comes from the Highland Council. The Gurn was told recently by a Highland Council official that the ramps had been costed at approximately £6,000 on a ‘bag of a fag packet’ calculation. That’s fair enough but this correspondent is left wondering why this actual site is a priority.
If permission were granted from the landowner to build the ramp then just where exactly would this improved access lead to? On the other side of the steps from the river there are three gates almost flush with the small path which widens out to a track that would surely need upgrading. Presumably the price includes moving at least two of these gates and the surrounding fencing? The track then leads to the Crook Road. This track is an access route for farm machinery. If the object of this ramp would be to create a round trip of some kind then the next nearest footpath is some hundreds of meters away on the Grantown Road along a single track road that can become quite busy during peak periods as drivers look for ways home avoiding the A96. If people were encouraged to use this ramp would it not be safer and make better sense to create a car park here?
Is this really the best way to spend £6,000 when with a little bit of imagination a solution to providing better access to the Firhall Bridge could be found?
We enclose pictures with this article that show the Househill steps from the river, the gates on the other side of the bank, a picture of the tack surface and views up and down the Crook Road as a vehicle passes.
For more pictures and larger versions of the images below please click here.






Last Sunday's 10k and fun run pics

Have you seen the pictures yet?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Piccolo press back in action

Fully back in action after a flood the popular Fishertown printing company have now published pictures of the devastation on their web site.

Coming soon a new Gurn blog: 'Time for a single Community Council for Nairn!'

The time has come Gurnites. Nairn is capable of punching its weight in the Inverness dominated world and the Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council would be the ideal democratic forum to do that. Since the demise of the old Nairnshire District Council there has been a democratic deficit within the County Boundaries. 

''Time for a single Community Council for Nairn!' will be hitting the digital presses  for (hopefully) the Monday morning edition but if you are standing in the digital queue at the virtual Co-op with 40p in your hand perhaps you might get a sneak preview tomorrow night. This new blog will argue the case for a Royal Burgh Council but in the interests of Democracy will also carry information on what some consider the pitfalls. There will be information on how you can contribute to the debate and help the dream come true. When you think about it Gurnites - what on earth would be wrong with a democratically elected body called 'The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council' meeting in the Courthouse and expressing the  views of the town's residents in a world that increasingly sees Nairn as simply a suburb of Inverness.  Let's go for it! There will be a consultation period between April and June, we have to act, the chance might never come again.

Gurn mission statement update

'Blogging from Nairn: sometimes satirical, sometimes silly, sometimes serious but hopefully giving a flavour of life in our community,' claims the Gurn. Perhaps we should add to that our ambition to become the house journal of the Nairnshire Freedom Party in their efforts to end Inverness domination and establish home rule for Nairn. 

We also like to encourage others to blog and it was good to hear a Gurnite who works overseas say how much he enjoys reading the Gurn and those others in the Blogroll - 'Apart from Bill Cameron,' he said. I'm sure Bill will be delighted to know he has had that sort of impact :-)  We'll keep on adding as much crac to the show as we can but it is the Gurnites out there that add so much to the fun. The tools are yours too Gurnites, with the publishing tools that the web offers you can have your message out there too. If you are thinking of starting a blog or already have one that we haven't noticed please let us know and we'll put it in that wee list in the sidebar. Here's a video on how to blog, within minutes you could be adding to the Gurnosphere carry-on.

Nairn 1 Cove 5


Pictures will enlarge. The second image shows Tony Low's goal going into the net. Nairn never lived up to the promise (perhaps even dare we say flashes of genius) of the first half and Cove stepped forward to claim their three points to stay at the top of the league. More pictures later perhaps and a link to a full match report once it appears on HighlandLeague.net.

Game on at Station Park

Rumours circulating over the last 24 hours could well be true, there is every likelihood that there will be a home game played at Station Park at 3.00 p.m. this afternoon. Highland league champions Cove will be through looking to maintain their title challenge. 

Murd on Google street view

'Not in the slightest bit concerned by privacy issues,' Murd told the Gurn.

Highland Council and WWF's Earth Day - A Gurnite's money saving tip

One of the Gurn's readers has drawn our attention to more information on the Highland Council website:

'The Highland Council is supporting the WWF’s Earth Hour 2010 and on Saturday 27 March will be joining million of people across the globe by switching off lights to seven prominent landmarks for an hour in a demonstration of support for people and wildlife threatened by climate change.

From 8.30pm to 9.30pm the floodlighting to Inverness Castle, the Cathedral, Ness Bridge, the Hector Macdonald Monument in Dingwall, the Ross Institute in Halkirk and the Thomas Telford Bridge in Helmsdale will be switched off, while in Lochaber every second lighting column along the Caol to Kilmallie Road will be turned off.'

Why not leave them switched off all the time? Suggests a concerned resident of Gurnshire. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Anyone up for a bit of consultation?

A bit heavy so early in the morning but Highland Council are looking for consultation on their Housing Strategy. An alert Gurnite has spotted this information on the council website. We should really put in strong responses from Nairn if we are to influence what kind of housing gets built here in the future. No doubt it will be another set of documents that get forwarded to Nairnshire's community councils. There must be a few community councillors out there with houses full of documents that have to be read and commented upon. Here at the Gurn we think that that is another good reason to have just one Community Council for the town, the work of interpreting these documents and deciding what is the best response for the community would not have to be repeated three times over and as an offshoot of that maybe one or two trees could be saved. More on the Highland Council's housing strategy however:

'Highland's Housing Strategy proposes six main outcomes which the Council wants to achieve, these are that:
people are best able to live in suitable, and affordable housing, through increased supply in the best places and improved access routes to a wide range of housing choices.
owners and renters are able to live in sustainable, energy-efficient houses which are in good condition and, for renters well managed.
fewer households living in fuel poverty.
more people with community care needs successfully living at home independently.
fewer households experience homelessness through increased prevention and the delivery of responsive, effective services.
we have strong and support communities which have a long term future where people feel safe; where the impact of disadvantage is reduced and where public services are delivered well and provide value for money.'

More here for those that are interested and we should be really but reading all the documents coming out for public consultation is a full-time job in itself. Maybe the town's community councillors should have a clerk working for them just for that purpose alone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joe finally lost it but Sandy sorted it!

Looks like a couple of litter and doggie jobbie hotspots have been sorted thanks to an intervention by Sandy Park. More on Joe's Swan blog.

Could Sandown feature on the Highland version of Monopoly?

STV reports:

'The Loch Ness Monster could be set to replace Mayfair as the Highlands gets its very own version of Monopoly.
The public are to be asked to vote for which local landmarks should feature on the popular game.
It is thought Nessie could swap places with the likes of Mayfair or Old Kent road on one of the 30 squares.'

Perhaps Sandown, Delnies, Whiteness and Tornagrain could make up a set?

High speed rail link must include Nairn!

The Scottish Government have jumped on Labour's feel good factor have a new railway ploy.

The BBC site proclaims,'The UK government's proposals for a high-speed rail link must include extending the line to Scotland, according to Holyrood ministers.
UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has set out detailed proposals for the first stretch of the 250mph railway.
He said the first part of the route would run from London to Birmingham.'

Well how far North would a super-duper wonder train go do you think if Scotland were thrown into the occasion? Why should we have to make do with the crappy single track line north of Perth? It can take you almost as long to get to Edinburgh from Inverness as it takes to reach London from Edinburgh. Let's have the Northern Terminal built on Station Park - not much football gets played there these days anyway and the funds from the sale would enable a relocation to Sandown.

Taken the Google digital walk around Nairn yet?

Have you been on Google street maps to see what Google made of your residence? For some time major British cities have been viewable but from today everywhere else is too. Some folk have privacy fears etc. This screenshot sent in by a Gurnite shows the Barbers at the time of the Cinema of Dreams so the pictures are already a couple of years out of date. Once on Google street view all you have to do is drag the mannie onto the map and then the picture of the location comes up. Then you orientate North, South, East or West and follow the yellow line. I wonder who that is on the bicycle? Once you arrive at your house zoom in and have a close up look at your property. Google street view didn't make it down to Gurn headquarters it must have been too narrow.

Is your houme on Google maps? Do you think it is an invasion of privacy or simply another useful tool from the masters of the digital universe? Seen anything strange on your digital walks around Nairn?

Sunsets Monday & Tuesday


If you happen to be reading this on the 'My Village Inverness' site you could be forgiven for thinking that Nairn is Inverness given the amount of Gurn feeds the site seems to use - Anyway why not come through to Nairn, explore the shops (there's been a lot of changes), have a meal in a wide choice of restaurants and then head down for a walk along the beach before you go home. Nairn the perfect antidote to big city Highland life.

Mentioned in litter dispatches

There was debate about litter at Glenurquhart Road yesterday with Lib Dem Leader Michael Foxley wanting to see litter cleared up in the Highlands. He was all in favour of big fines. The P&J quotes a response from Graham Marsden however, it's not often we hear anything our Nairnshire members say reported but here's a quote from today's paper:

'Often the people who would be affected by the notion of fines are people who really have no money. Then you end up with people being put into prison for short spells and it doesn't achieve very much at all.'

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wee County fixture crisis intensifies

Highlandleague.net reports:

'The Nairn County v Inverurie Locos fixture scheduled for this evening has been postponed due to a frozen pitch at Station Park. The temperature in Nairn dipped to as low as minus 5 over night and although it has been sunny today, the deep frost has shown no signs of coming out of the ground on certain sections of the surface.The area in front of the farside enclosure has always been problematic due to the sun not hitting it until it was at its highest. Now, the construction of an extension to Nairn Town and County Hospital has added to the shadow that is cast of County's pitch throughout the majority of each day.'

Surely there must be considerable doubt now that all Highland League fixtures will be completed before the end of the season?

Warning Lib-Dem invasion of Nairn at the weekend!

Anyone else had the 'take a break' magazine style Dannie Fanzie delivered yet? If not then you might get a copy soon as Lib Dem activists prepare for the big push.
According to a Lib-Dem bulletin board there will be campaigning session in Nairn this Saturday.
'Come and help our local team campaigning for a fairer Britain in the beautiful seaside town of Nairn.
There will be delivery, canvassing and indoor jobs, kindly hosted by local members, David and Sheila Thomas,...'
If you are that way inclined you can get more details on the Lib Dem 'Flock Together' site. Why the big push in Nairn? Is it because Nairn has strong SNP support that might be softening a little as we approach the general election?

'New Nairn 550 homes ‘urban sprawl’ protest'

The Press and Journal's report on yesterday's events in the community centre:
Campaigners tell public inquiry development ‘unfitting and unwanted'

River Community Council meeting last night

This observer went as usual but decided to leave early, suddenly a very large dram and a couple of hours of trash Television seemed a very good way to spend the evening.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A single community council for Nairn - it nearly happened in June of 2003

As the community prepares to enter into another round of consultation into what is the best way to organise the town's three seperate community councils it is worth reflecting on a previos meeting when Nairn councillors approved something similar but it never happened for one reason or another:

Item 7 of the minutes of the meeting of the Nairnshire Committe held on Tues 24th of June 2003.

PRESENT:Provost A S Park Councillor L Fraser Councillor E MacDonald Councillor J N Matheson Councillor B Dunlop Councillor A Gordon...

'7.
COMMUNITY COUNCILS - PROPOSED NEW SCHEME
There was circulated Report No N/84/03 by the Area Manager proposing that the statutory process be initiated to revoke the current Scheme for Community Councils for Nairnshire and substitute a new scheme which would provide for there being one Community Council for the town of Nairn as oppose to the existing three.The Area Manager spoke to his report and advised that these proposals had arisen given that many of the issues affecting Nairn, such as the Town Centre Development and the Sandown Lands proposals, had an effect on the entire town rather than a single sector and that as such there was merit in considering the formation of one Community Council to represent the whole town as opposed to the existing three. They had been discussed at a recent meeting of the Community Council Forum when there was agreement that the proposals be progressed, noting that there would be a wide consultation exercise prior to any final decision. He advised that single Community Councils operated successfully in other comparable settlements throughout The Highland Council's area and that, if there was to be a single Community Council for Nairn, the boundaries of the three remaining rural Community Councils would remain unchanged apart from any minor amendments required to reflect the expansion of the town.The Area Manager further advised that in terms of the Council's Scheme of Delegation the responsibility for preparing, amending or reviewing Community Council Schemes rested with the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee which, obviously, would wish to have regard to the Area Committee's views on any such proposal.The report outlined the statutory mechanism for revoking the existing Scheme and adopting a new one, including public consultation prior to the Council determining the matter.In discussion Members considered the question of whether any new Scheme might also take account of recent developments in voting arrangements to help encourage greater community participation in Community Councils and the Area Manager undertook to consider this as part of the proposed new Scheme.Thereafter the Committee AGREED that the Area Manager should prepare a draft Scheme for Community Councils for Nairnshire with one Community Council for the town of Nairn and with the existing three rural Community Councils continuing subject to any necessary boundary changes due to Nairn's expansion since the original Scheme was introduced. The draft Scheme should then be submitted for consideration by the Committee and thereafter, if the Committee was so minded, onward transmission to the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee for consideration.'
The Gurn's posistion has been made quite clear in the past, we support a single community council for Nairn, it would be the ideal democratic vehicle to fight for Nairn's identity against the dominance of Inverness and ensure the community's voice is heard clearly by those in authority. We look forward to the debate during the next period of consultation. The arguments of 2003 are just as valid today, in fact even more so.

Today at the Sandown Inquiry

Mrs Farquaharson-Black kept nipping away at John Hart like the excellent, determined, polite legal terrier she is but this observer thought that although she might have slightly pulled a few threads out a little, she failed to make a decisive hole in the NCRG case. But then again it'll all be down to the Reporters' interpretation? More later, would have been more earlier but the sunsets down at the beach have been bewitching for the past few days. The sun now sets beyond the tree line at the Golf View and has been providing quite a show during this cold night/ sunny day period.
Now back to the Inquiry, here's John Hart's precognition, he read that before Mrs Farquahar-Black asked him the questions. Here too are the precognitions from Cathy Stafford of the Association for Planning Transparency and also that of Sandy Park - they both spoke on Friday.
So that's it for now folks, all over bar the site visit. Will we have to wait as long as we did for the Sainsbury's result? Time will tell.

Nairnshire Telgraph Sandown Inquiry souvenir edition now on sale

40p spent today on the local paper will bring you up to date on all Inquiry related matters and other local news too. Enjoy

Monday, March 08, 2010

Two sites at Balmakeith for sale

Here's part of the information describing the sites:

“A large supermarket chain has recently obtained detailed planning permission for a new development located on the eastern outskirts of the town which will further enhance Nairn’s retail offering.

Nairn is an expanding commuter town located approximately 16 miles to the east of Inverness. The town has been the focus of considerable development within recent years, with further significant developments proposed."

More information available here.

Fusion Remix festival for Nairn

News from HC:

'A festival for young people in Nairn taking place this Saturday (13th March).will give those taking part the chance to try a wide range of activities including walking in giant hamster balls at Nairn Swimming Pool, street football, ultra violet body painting and an evening Blue Light Rave. 

The Festival is a culmination of project “Fusion” which has been run by The Highland Council’s Education Culture and Sport service. The events target the secondary age group and are an opportunity for young people to engage in a range of activities and events on Friday and Saturday evenings.

So far Nairn has hosted four Fusion events which have included a Youth Cinema Night showing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, DJ nights where young people are allowed to mix their own tracks and make a CD, Acoustic Nights and a Drumming extravaganza.

All events are free and are aimed at providing positive activities for young people to engage and socialise in. The final event “Fusion Remix” is a culmination of all that has happened to date. The day will start at the swimming pool with Waterwalkerz from 12 noon to 4pm which involves actually walking on water inside a giant hamster ball! This event is bond to be extremely popular and will operate on a ticket only basis. Please contact Nairn Swimming Pool on 01667 453 061 for more information.

Afterwards the young people can relax watching the movie 17 again with Zac Efron at the Youth Cinema in the Community Centre. The film is a certificate 12A which means that young people under the age of 12 can watch the film under the supervision of an adult. Doors will open at 5pm with the film starting at 5.30pm. Organisers expect this to be very well attended and seating will operate on a first come basis.

The youth café will host a live acoustic session from early evening till close whereby a couple of local artists will play live music in the café which young people can chill out to whilst playing pool or using the other facilities on offer.

For the sporty people there will be Street Football in the car park behind the old community centre. Or if art is your thing, one of the more unusual events is a UV workshop run by A Bee Art (www.abeeart.com). A room will be blackened out and there will be a large banner which young people can paint throughout the evening. This along with having their own bodies painted with UV body paint (as seen in pop culture such as the Black Eyed Peas video “I’ve gotta feeling”) will be highly effective in the Blue Light Rave. This takes place in the Main Hall of the Community Centre from 7pm to 11pm.
For anyone who enjoys a bit of action on the Wii as part of the “Cyber Room” there will be a giant screen hooked up so people can bowl and use the Wii fit until their hearts content. There will be additional game consoles in the Cyber Room with Singstar and other popular interactive games.

Finally, to ensure everyone has enough energy to take part in everything that’s happening there will be free food in the form of an indoor BBQ.

For more information about the event please contact Youth Development Officer Christie Fullerton on (01463) 703646'

Secret talks to privatise Highland Council care homes?

The Press and Journal is on the case this morning, Iain Ramage reports in today's edition:

'The privatisation of every care home run by Highland Council is back on the agenda.
The Press and Journal can reveal that e-mail messages exchanged by senior officials have confirmed that the controversial option has been discussed by senior members of the local authority’s administration at secret talks.
The correspondence was obtained by the opposition SNP group on the council.'

See the full article here. And the P&J on the council's smoking dilemma here.

UPDATE Tuesday : a new article in Press and Journal
Care homes to stay in council hands
highland leader gives assurance privatisation is no longer on local authority agenda

Free dinners for councillors - Gurnshire has spoken!

No doubt about that one. A chance now exists for Sandy, Liz, Graham and Laurie to show solidarity with the credit-crunched council tax payers of Nairnshire in simply stating that they will no longer accept free dinners at Glenurquhart Rd when they attend council meetings. It would be a small step in financial terms but it would show a significant lead in other ways and voters would remember them for it.

Sandown: last Week's editorial in the Nairnshire

Iain Bain entitled last week's editorial 'Controversy' as he took a long hard look at the troubled history of Sandown in recent years. He looks back to the 1990's and the 'centralising tendency' that was prevalent at the time in local Government matters. He sees more controversy to come too after the inquiry as far as Sandown is concerned. Before queuing up this evening for your inquiry-filled edition of the local paper at the Co-op perhaps you might want to turn to the current edition however and reexamine the Editor's view. It gives those Gurnites only now showing an interest in this matter a crash course into the events that led us to where we are now and other long-term implications regardless of how many houses eventually get built on the Sandown fields.

We reproduce the third paragraph:

'Sandown was a prime candidate for disposal because it was ground owned by the CGF and not a part of that fund. The money riased will stay in Nairn's CGF but a mortgage has been raised on the council's contribution to the building of the community centre which will be covered by the proceeds of the Sandown sale, whenever that happens. While the council has undoubtedly provided a bridging loan of sorts and carried the charges, eventually the Nairn CGF will pay for the council's part in the Community Centre. Some might call this a pretty good trick. Others might question its legality and consider what other costs are going to be lumped into the settlement .

But it is a controversy mostly to come. Sandown lands also became notorious for the way in which...' Well worth a second look Gurnites if you still have your copy of the Nairnshire available.