Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nairn 5 Turriff 2 - Pictures

A change in fortunes for the wee county last Saturday. Pictures now on the Gurn Flickr pages from official club photographer Donald Matheson here. Also now on line are Donald's Pictures of the North of Scotland cup game against Forres last Tuesday.
Kenny MacLeod's
match report from Saturday here.

Highland Council 90K water cooler bill

'It cost the local authority £91,772 between 1st July, 2009, and 30th June this year to rent or buy coolers and keep them filled, cleaned and maintained. Over the past three years the outlay has totalled £290,000.'
More on the Inverness Courier site

Realism versus Nairnbairn - a debate for hearts and minds and the future of Nairn town centre

There's been a lot of comment on the Gurn recently concerning town centre matters, if you haven't visited recently, make a cup of tea, scroll down and read the latest in the posts below this one. Two particular comments are quite striking and perhaps summarise the position/quandary/crisis that is the situation today and the choices facing the community. Ladies and Gentlemen here's Realism followed by Nairnbairn's response:
'We might lament the lack of a bustling High Street complete with a daily market, throngs of people praying at all of our churches, queues along the pavement waiting to get into the cinema, gridlock on the A96 as cars wait to fill up with petrol, hundreds of passengers waiting to get on a local bus. But to a great degree the need for any of these buildings that we complain about has gone, that’s why they are empty!I suspect that even the arrival of a new Sainsbury’s (if it ever comes) will still mean convoys of Nairnites travel to nearby towns to do their shopping, and at the same time they will fill up with petrol, and maybe even catch a film at a multiplex. Buses are a good idea but the routes they travel these days are not much of a deviation off the main A96, and car ownership has never been cheaper. Our working lives have changed as well, more folk work from home so have less need to travel to an office, or indeed need an office out of their homes, and I wonder how many of you reading this have shopped on line, so do we need the same number of High Street shops? Patently not. Trying to re shape a town centre designed many centuries ago for modern day living is nigh impossible. We may cry out for a quaint High Street but I would suggest none of us use is it as our ancestors did with daily food shopping. Because we know it exists we want more, more goods, more shops, more choice, and all at cheaper prices. Shopping is still a necessity but it has also become an experience, a leisure pursuitIn common with most of the UK Nairn has a growing elderly population who consume less than their younger counterparts. The greatest threat to the town centre in Nairn isn’t derelict buildings or construction of blocks of flats but work, or rather the lack of it. In the Highlands we are dependant more than most upon the Public sector, which is going to go through a radical change in the next couple of years with unparalleled job cuts. We don’t have industries in the Highlands since the oil construction yards closed, and we now have a global economy which means it is cheaper to build in China. Regrettably I can only see the Highland economy collapsing, there is nothing waiting in the wings to rescue us. Our only mainstay is tourism that is largely seasonal and provides only a handful of jobs. Young people are understandably leaving looking for sustainable futures elsewhere. Will we ever see a bustling town centre in Nairn, not in the near future. Embrace what is being offered or more buildings will stand empty. Our vision should be that of realism not dreams, and remember that we cannot even afford what we have, witness our new community centre.'
Nairnbairn's response
'The analysis offered by Realism above is seductive but misguided. As a description of recent and current patterns of local shopping and behaviour, it's pretty accurate. But it would be a mistake to design the Nairn of the next 20 years on the basis of the lifestyles of the past 20 years. Yes, our lives have changed: but even greater change is coming.It's important to look forward and to anticipate the trends of the future, not assume that existing patterns will remain. Some of these trends are already apparent.In housing, town-centre apartment blocks are discredited because they tend to become ghettos (look at Scotland's central-belt towns). Suburban housing-estate sprawl is becoming less appealing because of its soulless anonymity. Thoughtful urban planners are trying to design environments which deliver the kind of diverse urban architecture that promotes sustainable, integrated communities.The shopping of today is indeed based on the car and the edge-of-town supermarket. But there is already the stirring of a backlash against "Tesco-isation". In search of quality and choice, and in reaction to the "foodmiles" issue, people are shifting away from supermarkets and back towards independent shops and local producers. Hence the nationwide revival of farmers' markets. This shift may not yet be very evident in Nairn - but it will come. The trend is clear.People are also rebelling against the homogenised High Streets with their chain-store frontages. They are beginning to appreciate the importance of local tradesmen and the value of a variety of retail premises. Just as micro-breweries have flourished while the big brewers have struggled, Ashers may yet prevail against Mothers' Pride...The change in shopping habits may be forced on us anyway by transport trends. Rising fuel costs and ever-worse congestion will make car travel more expensive and more tedious. Town centre shops will again become important. Who knows, we might see more folk cycling! Business, too, is changing. Better IT will enable more decentralisation and homeworking. Other countries like China and Korea will be increasingly the heavy industrial producers. To thrive and offer employment, the Highlands has to embrace the service sector, get into high-skill high-value manufacturing, and recreation and tourism. That means people - whether investors, workers, or visitors - will increasingly value the quality of the environment, the quality of local services, and the sheer quality-of-life. We have to plan the development of Highland towns and countryside to respond to these expectations.
So, Realism , your view may be "realistic" but it is also short-sighted. We should not indulge in unrealistic dreaming. But we do need rational analysis and pragmatic vision. We also need to cease playing catch-up. There has been too much development based on yesterday's obsolete thinking and today's lifestyles. Instead, we should be planning for tomorrow. We need development which doesn't just address present problems, but which also aims to influence and take account of future change. '

Monday, August 30, 2010

Graham 'Sledgehammer' Marsden?

"The equally pressing priority for council officers is what the Co-op plan to do about the eye-sore which is the Regal Bar? Every time I go past , I want to take a sledge hammer to it - it can't go soon enough for me."
Cllr Graham Marsden quoted in the Nairnshire Telegraph of August 31, 2010. On you go Graham, show the lead and start knocking that pile of crap down, this observer will contribute a tenner to any fund to pay your fine should you be punished for such a public-spirited act. Better not do it on the day Rosemary is out painting however.
This week's paper also carries a hard-hitting editorial with Iain Bain making a suggestion for the town centre that many across Nairnshire and beyond will no doubt echo. He begins:
'Nairn's councillors are putting a brave face on it but there is little other way to describe the finale of the town centre renewal but as a failure.'
To read more about the Nairnshire editor's preferred solution start queuing at a Co-op or independent newsagent's near you now. One wonders if the Nairnshire will be on sale at Sainsbury's when the time comes?

Another victim of Dolphin serial killers?

Thanks to Tommy Hogg for this picture of what seems like a harbour porpoise which was washed up dead on the West Beach over the weekend. Could this creature have been another victim of the Dolphins?

Sandy moves fast to resolve town centre redevelopment crisis after Co-op fearties pull out

A press release from the Council:
'Nairn town centre redevelopment plans (30/08/10)

New plans to redevelop the town centre in Nairn will be presented to the local community soon. The blueprint from The Highland Council will take account of the Co-operative Group’s decision to abandon plans to expand their town centre supermarket on the King Street site. Instead the focus will be on attracting housing, retail and providing adequate public parking. It is intended that a Development Brief will be presented to the Council’s Planning Environmental and Development Committee on Wednesday 22 September.

If approved, the draft Brief will be discussed at a Ward Forum in Nairn in October and then it will be available for public comment over a minimum of four weeks. Following the Co-operative Group’s decision to refurbish their existing store on King Street rather than extend, the Council intends to meet with senior Co-op representatives later this week to discuss the future of their land holdings at the Regal Bar and the disused petrol filling station.
Convener Sandy Park said: “There is no hiding our disappointment at the Co-op’s decision not to expand. However, we must move on swiftly and present the local community with alternative options for developing the town centre.
“We will be asking the Co-op for their plans for the Regal Bar and the disused petrol filling station. At the same time, we will be finalising a Development Brief for the whole site, including our land holdings on King Street between the former Community Centre and the supermarket. The provision of public parking will be an essential part of the development brief. The listed building at 4-6 Court House Lane will be retained for Council office accommodation.'

That new bendy bit at the top of the High Street

Perhaps the other side of the road will be made bigger to allow traffic to pass simultaneously straight on and also along Leopold Street but one or two Gurnites have mentioned how the new layout might possible create a bottleneck. One of our regular readers has also sent in a picture. A vehicle trying to unload on the pavement outside Boots is obviously causing a problem.

The concert

Our internet monitoring unit has been busy at the weekend searching for snippets of information out there from the Westlife gig. Here's a video if you missed the show:
Might be handy for the fan who made it there but still missed it 'what a waste' as she says herself.

Friday, August 27, 2010

High Street to close for at least two weeks from 11th October

A circular delivered to residents in the town centre states:
'The formal road closure will commence on Monday 11th October 2010 and will be in force for a period of 4 weeks, to 6th November 2010, or until the works are complete, whichever comes first.
The circular notice is three pages long and does state '..., it is not intended that the High Street will actually be closed for any longer than TWO WEEKS, and every effort will be made to ensure completion by Friday 22nd October 2010.'
If nothing else this will give the authorities the chance to see where all the hundreds of cars that head up the High Street every day are going because the impact of closing the High Street will be immediate. One wonders if Waverly Road, for example will be able to take increased traffic as drivers look for new routes to their usual destinations. More from the circular later gurnites.
UPDATE: Read the closure notification - Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.

Houses for the old Community Centre?

Could it go the same way as the proposed plans for Rosebank Church with flats and parking underneath? Housing for the old Community Centre as a solution to the Co-op fearties losing their bottle and dropping the major development in the town centre seems to be one way out of the mess. Either way it is the end of a dream as the row of buildings still stand there rotting away in the middle of Trip Advisor’s No2 ‘up and coming’ destination. The Courier today has an article and editorial on Nairn’s major town centre problem. They’ve spoken to Liz and she mentions the housing solution. It also seems a report is in the offing too:
‘Nairn members met yesterday morning to discuss how to take forward the redevelopment of the town centre. A report setting out recommendations for the future consultation on the regeneration of the area is set to go before the planning, environment and development committee on 22nd September.’
Reports, committees and consultation – haven’t we had about 15 years of that as far as the town centre is concerned? Why not save money and put a suggestion box in the Courthouse?
In their editorial ‘Think Big’ (not on line yet) the bi-weekly organ of the Highland Capital also preoccupies itself with Nairn’s woes, the paper makes a plea to the council not to rush in with housing however, they suggest:
‘While we agree that the eyesores cannot be left to deteriorate for much longer, we would urge the local authority to make one last attempt to market the whole site nationally and internationally in the hope of attracting a striking development that would benefit the town economically.’
A view from afar that really doesn’t understand the situation on the ground, the present miserable condition of that part of the town centre has been due to waiting, waiting, waiting for a white knight to come dashing onto the scene and sort it all out for us. The Council no longer owns the whole site anyway. If there are to be any solutions this observer suspects there are not national or international white knights waiting in the sidings, solutions will have to be locally inspired ones. Have Gurnites got any genuine ideas to sort this wee problem?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No buses to West Life at Cawdor?

A few West Life fans have ended up on the Gurn after searching for information on buses to the concert. Most of them will perhaps be making their way from Inverness but it seems that there is no spare accomodation in the Highland Capital this weekend (P&J report here), such is the interest in the Cawdor concert that fans are being advised to try Nairn with all beds full in Inverness. It could bonanza time for the town's taxi services this Saturday as fans try and get up to Cawdor. Hopefully the roads will not be too crowded but some concerns have been expressed in the P&J:
'However some fans are upset that there is to be no public transport to the castle.
Angela Mackay, 45, of West Mackenzie Park, Inverness, predicted traffic jams on rural roads around the castle and said that buses should have been laid on.
Les Kidger, of promoter CK Events, said: “We are anticipating a fair crowd to come from 9am onwards.
“We have facilities set up for them and will be looking after them.”
UPDATE: more anger and concern at the lack of buses for the Westlife gig on the Highland News site - Westlife Castle gig buses blow fury

A96 dualling and Nairn by-pass design contract awarded

Soon to be on the drawing board but any bets on when a contract to build the by-pass will be awarded?
'Work has started on designing the long-awaited upgrade for one of the north’s most notorious roads.
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson will confirm today a firm has been appointed to identify “preferred solutions” for dualling of the A96 between Inverness and Nairn.
The project will also involve drawing up plans for a Nairn bypass and a new link connecting the A96 to the A9 Inverness-Perth road south of the Highland capital.'
And elsewhere in today's P&J Drivers will believe it when they see it

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Co-op scales down Nairn plans

Looks like the Co-op have finally put their cards on the table and are going ahead with slimmed down plans for Nairn town centre. The King Street store is in line for a six week revamp, not quite the grand culimination of the town centre masterplan that Highland Council were after is it? They are obviously worried by the competition that the proposed Sainsbury's operation will pose and point the finger at the Highland Council's decision to grant planning permission at Balmakeith. They promise us a wider range of goods but frankly they will have to go some way to improve on their present dismal choice. To this observer it looks like Nairn is getting the bare minimum from the Co-op.
The Press and Journal reports: 'Work will begin in October on the £700,000 transformation of the King Street Somerfield supermarket, which will be completed in mid-November. It had been hoped that a bigger development would mean the removal of the eyesore site of the old Regal Cinema.' More here.
The Moss-side store is also in for a re-vamp and the petrol station will have money spent on it too. It looks like the mess that is the rest of the town centre in the supermarket area will stay as it is for now anyway - unless buyers can be found or someone comes up with a bright idea. The P&J quote Danny Alexander:
“Local people will be rightly concerned that the nearby disused petrol station and vacant buildings are to now be put back on the market and I hope that discussions with the council will now take place to look at how the centre of Nairn can develop. I hope the Co-op will take steps to mitigate the visual impact of the petrol station and Regal Bar until a long term solution is identified.”

How another Royal Burgh hid the Provost's chain

The chain of office was kept privately in a safe by Dornoch citizens after their town council was wound up. They were worried that it would disappear to Inverness. The Press and Journal reports:

'A HIGHLAND town is at the centre of a tale of impressive political skulduggery and cunning.
It has been revealed that the civic golden chain of Dornoch and its town charter – an ancient parchment – are kept under lock and key at a secret location, with only eight locals enjoying access.
The tale emerged after the Scottish Cabinet convened in the royal burgh as part of a summer tour last month. '

More on the Press & Journal website.

This is perhaps an ideal point to ponder what will happen locally at the next Highland Council election to the office of Provost. Here's what Gurnites thought of the decision to remove Liz in one of our unscientific polls.
The Gurn confidently predicts that Liz will be returned at the next election with an increased majority. Will she become the Provost again? The electorate might think it her right if she were once again elected top of the poll. It would, in legal terms, under the current system it seems be down to the decision of the other three members in such a situation. One thing that might happen however is that by the time of the next election Nairn could have (as a product of a recent and ongoing review) a democratically elected Community Council covering the present boundaries of the town (The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council). That community council would then just have as much right to pick a Provost as the Highland Council members?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forres 1 Nairn 0 - exit from HITS North of Scotland Cup

Nairn had class and Forres looked cumbersome but it was the home side that went through to the final. Home advantage, sheer desire, superior strength - whatever the magic ingredient, it belonged to Forres. Nairn went home empty handed as the County players failed to capitalise on their individual talents and put the ball away in reply to Charlie Brown's crafty free kick just before half-time. A downpour in the second half lasting around twenty minutes seemed to add to the misery of the visiting team and their fans. A dull drab night through at Mosset Park for anyone with Station Park loyalties. A great cup of tea was to be had however at the Forres pieshed.
A full match report is now up on Highland League.net

The confession of Isobel Gowdie, the witch of Auldearn

A video with details in English and German

The Nairn half-marathon from a runner's perspective

Richard Meade has posted his experiences at the Nairn Games on the internet:
'It was always going to be interesting to see how my body reacted to over 300 miles of training in 3 weeks. I picked the Nairn Half Marathon on Saturday 22 August to put all that training to the test and to review my progress towards my Amsterdam marathon goal in October. I did, however, only give myself one week to taper and recover from all this training before the race and I always wondered if this would be enough.
The Nairn Half Marathon is part of the Nairn Highland Games, which was a great setting, as the first 300m of the race was a lap of the grass track, which was surrounded by about 250-350 people all cheering and shouting, which was inspiring and filled my legs with a little extra energy as we hit the roads. Maybe the cheering influenced my heart more than my head, as I set off too quickly and as a result suffered in the second mile...

Leabhar-d Gàidhlig soar an-asghaidh - Free Gaelic e-book - Reul Chearbach air cuairt

Reul Chearbach air cuairt - A shooting star returns.
Sguelachd inntinneach ri fhaighinn air an storas eadar-lìn Archive.org. Chuir e baile coltas Inbhir Narann nam chuimhne nuair a leugh mi e :-) 'S ann ann an cruth PDF no dad sam bith eile a tha freagarrach dhuibh a tha e (Kindle, Daisy msaa).
Free Gaelic e-book, a very interesting read if you have a bit of Gaelic.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nairn Highland Games 2010 - Pictures

More pictures now on the Gurn flickr pages: Nairn Highland Games 2010 - Na Geamaichean Gaidhealach Inbhir Narann 2010

and see two posts below for links to more pictures and videos taken by Gurnites at the Games yesterday.

Taking it to them Cove 4 Nairn 2

Nairn performed well at Cove yesterday taking away some of the latent sting from the 5-0 thrashing they received from Cove at Station Park on the first day of the season. More pictures from official club photographer Donald Matheson on the Gurn flickr pages.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Na Geamaichean Gaidhealach Inbhir Narann 2010 - Nairn Highland Games 2010

Sin na geamaichean seachadh - That's the games over but the partying continues. The massed bands marched back up the High Street at 1700. More pictures and hopefully video over the rest of the weekend.
Update: Picture of the Legion colours preparing for the parade (thanks to Murray MacRae for this image) In the picture are Peter Macinnes / Robbie Stuart / Ian Macgillvary / Les Seivewright
And a good selection of images of the games here on James Main's facebook pages.

Update: First video

A new future for the Bridgemill mini

A recent picture on the Gurn lead to speculation in the comments as to the fate of the iconic 'Mini in the wall' that had been taken down from eastern side of the Bridgemill Direct store. Manageress Wendy Brown has been talking to the Press & Journal and has revealed that the Mini is staying in Nairn but moving to a new location. More here: Half a mini was better than none for residents who miss landmark.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nairn Higland Games 2010 traffic jams prediction - so why not come early?

The Highland News reports:
'POLICE are advising motorists and pedestrians of increased traffic flow in the Nairn area tomorrow (Saturday) due to the Nairn Highland Games.' More here.
Why not come to Nairn early and have a browse of the shops, plenty of places to have your lunch too. Enjoy a stroll along the beach or the riverside walks before the games begin. The massed bands march down to the Links at 12.30.
Have a good one Gurnites and if you publish any pictures, videos etc online afterwards please let us know and we'll link to your images. Here's a couple of pictures from last year.

More pictures from 2009 here and here.

Inshore rescue

One of our correspondents reports that the crew of a yacht were rescued today by the inshore lifeboat earlier today. Our correspondent reports that apparently the boat had a damaged rudder and the rescue took place 200yards off the west pier.

Another Gurn correspondent has also now filed a reportand picture on the yacht incident:

Update 18.44: A small motor yacht moored off of Nairn was attended by both the Lifeboat and Coastguard services this afternoon. High winds have caused a choppy sea, the boat in question appears to be at anchor awaiting the next tide to come into harbour.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Poll - Your opinion of the streetscape so far

A new poll on the Gurn. We've heard a few complaints about the Streetscape and some praise too. There have been letters for and against in the Nairnshire but now you have your chance to vote in our unscientific poll in the side bar.
We'll be removing a couple of polls that are now closed from the sidebar soon (the Firhall Bridge and Lizgate) but we'll have a wee analysis of the findings before that.

Highland Council - ideas but no cash

Councillor John Laing is bemoaning the fact that lack of cash is holding back a lot of bright ideas at Glenurquhart Road:
'Mr Laing, chairman of Highland Council's transport, environmental and community services committee, said: "We are not short on ideas I can assure you.
"We have 80 councillors who are awash with ideas, projects and schemes - I can think of any amount off the top of my head." '
More on the BBC site.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out there in the great digital conversation the Kist restaurant gets a mention

A tweet goes up recommending a Nairn restaurant. Out there people are telling the world about their tourist/dining/consumer experience as it happens.
Out there too Tourscotland has put an old picture of the Links online. Once on that blog post you can click on the picture to enlarge.

River Rescue - Andrew Brown aided Betty Nelson

More details on the P&J website: Hotelier went to aid of injured OAP in River Nairn.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

'Nokia coast to coast' sold out

A major sporting event starting in Nairn on Saturday 18th September has sold out:
'With a one month to go until the inaugural Nokia Coast to Coast Adventure Challenge, the ultimate multi-sport adventure race across the Scottish Highlands on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September 2010, entries have completely sold out. Demand for the 109-mile adventure challenge on foot, mountain bike and kayak from Nairn to Ballachulish has been huge with one thousand places selling out as early as July 2010; and more than 100 people on the waiting list. '
Yes the main event is sold out but Allmedia Scotland reports that you can still enter for the first part of the even along the river to Cawdor:
'Although the main challenge is sold out there are still spaces left for the Nokia Coast to Cawdor 10k run which also starts at Nairn and traces the route of the River Nairn to Cawdor Castle. It features on and off road sections and is predominantly classed as a trail run.'
Hopefully there will be a bit of spin-off for the local economy with so many people entering this event. Anyone looking for accommodation for this event might wish to try visitnairn.com

River Rescue

The Highland News is reporting:
'AN elderly woman fell into the River Nairn near the town harbour today about 1pm.
The woman was seen falling into the water from a path near the Merryton footbridge, several hundred yards upstream from the harbour.
A member of the public alerted emergency services and coastguard, ambulance and fire crews attended.'
More details here

Sunday, August 15, 2010

County 6 Huntly 1 - pictures of the rout

The Gurn has received pictures from official club photographer Donald Matheson and we are delighted to be offered the chance to display his work on our flicker pages. Here's one below and more here on Gurn Flickr. (picture will enlarge)

Showies sign

Nairn Allotment Society Open Day Success

A large turn-out today at Sandown for the Nairn Allotment Society's open day. Funds were being raised to help set-up the allotments down at Mill Road. On what must have been one of the hottest afternoons of the year a steady stream of visitors headed for Sandown including Sandy Park and Laurie Fraser. A great day and a great atmosphere.
Even with the allotments at Mill Road the society will still have a waiting list of nearly 40, there's still a big need for more land for allotments in Nairn.

County climb off the bottom with style

Nairn go striding up the table to 12th position with a 6-1 demolition of Huntly. More here.

Still sluggish but we did hear a rumour...

...about a fence, a big long fence that might upset a lot of people. The trouble about rumours is that you have to do some research to gauge their veracity. So we'll try the lazy way, if you are for or against or have any information about a big long fence near you please e-mail the gurn. Maybe this was simply a back of a fag packet thing after a few beers or something like that but if it wasn't we feel it might attract a lot of attention.
Comments, please note a few comments have been missed over the last week or two, we usually receive an e-mail evertime one has been made but this didn't happen a few times. They are now up however, although as usual there are one or two that can't go up for various reasons.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fergus will be the candidate once again

The SNP have sorted out who will fight the seats in the Highlands for next year's Holyrood elections. The P&J today states:
'Community safety minister Mr Ewing was also confirmed as being selected unopposed to fight the new seat of Inverness and Nairn, and will be up against Inverness West councillor Alasdair Christie for the Lib Dems.'
Alasdair Christe? Never heard of him. One wonders how the 'Condem' vote will fare in this constituency next spring against Fergus. You can read about the SNP's other candidates here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simply Superb Slugs

Nairn slugs having unprotected sex

Out past the eastern suburbs of Nairn

Everytime you pass that way on the train more houses seem to have been built in the Lochloy schemes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

River CC opposes Lodgehill Clinic flats proposal – If you are worried about over-development in Nairn you can too.

Residents living near to the Clinic have won support now from both the West and River Community Councils in their efforts to stop the shocking over-development proposed for the Clinic site. The boundary between the two areas actually runs down the middle of the road outside so neighbours went to the Laing Hall tonight to ask for the support of Jeanne Tolmie and her River colleagues. They were successful with strong support being expressed from both community councillors and members of the public present.

From many aspects this application is appalling, it is not in keeping with the local area especially being three stories high, there are not enough parking spaces provided, the density is excessive and isn’t it just bonkers to have a metal roof on a building next to Dr Grigor’s former home? It’s claimed building will be even taller than the nearby ‘Duchally’ building.

If you too are worried about over-development in Nairn then spare a thought for those opposing this application. They are not nimbies, they told the meeting tonight that they are not opposed to housing on that site but something of a lower height and density and more in keeping with the neighbouring architecture. Who knows where the next inappropriate development will come in Nairn – perhaps it might be in your street next time? Once again another part of our community is threatened by over-development, you can help put a stop to this current application, just go along to this webpage on the Highland Council site and object (use the comments tab to object and the documents tab to read the objections already received). The last day for the receipt of objections is Sunday, please spread the word if you feel so inclined.

River Community Council to support Sports Bar (but with major reservations over the upstairs smoking area)

4-1 they agreed to support the planning application to convert the old NCFC social club into a sports bar. Strong concerns were expressed about the potential for noise from the part of the building (upstairs) that will have the roof removed and become an ‘external’ smoking area. There were worries expressed both from councillors and members of the public that still burning fag-ends, bottles and other objects (maybe the odd human being or two?) could be thrown from such an area. A representative from the architect’s was present and this observer thought he performed very well on some questions and poorly on others. It was a lively session and another example of democracy in action in our community, it was a shame a few more of those both for and against didn’t make the effort to turn up. The application has also been advertised in the Nairnshire this week and no doubt a full report of the River CC debate will appear in that august journal next Monday night/Tuesday morning. One nearby resident said, ‘I don’t care what goes in that building, they can put a brothel there if they like, it is the noise from the smoking area that bothers me!’

The Nairn Fishertown Walk

Join Alan Barron for guided walk around this fascinating part of Nairn
Meet outside the Little Theatre, King Street
@ 2.00pm on Wednesdays August & September
Cost £3 per person
Futher information Nairn Museum 01667 456791

Nairn Allotment Society Open Day this Sunday 15th August

At Sandown Farm Lane Allotments
12.00 am to 4.00 pm
Admission £1.50
Children under 12 free
includes refreshment
Various Stalls: Plants, Produce, Baking, Crafts,
Children's Activities and much, much more
The open day conincides with National Allotment Week, picture soon.

Ullapool pool woes

Ullapool swimming pool is run as a joint venture between Lochbroom Leisure and Highland Council, between them they have to work out how to replace the roof at a cost of £345,000. One wonders if this will throw a spanner into the works of present calculations concerning pools throughout the Highlands. The local community has started fund-raising but one imagines there will be pressure on Highland Council to contribute. The Press and Journal today:
'Since the pool opened in 1994 hundreds of children have learned to swim there, from south of Dundonnell up to north of Kinlochbervie. The pool’s existence is down to dedicated local fundraising, which took 15 years to raise the £140,000 needed to give the area it’s very own community-owned pool.' More here.

A minute on the Links

After a grey morning of heavy rain the afternoon cleared up and Nairn was at its sunny best. On the Links the first of the showie wagons were setting up their equipment.

Another video of the Links here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Nairn 'tripwow' on tripadvisor.com

Iain Fairweather has setup a slideshow on Tripadvisor.com. A very good idea really bearing in mind that they have Nairn up as an upandcoming worldwide destination. You can see it here, we tried the embed code but blogspot doesn't seem to like it very much. 

Sports Bar application – now the letters of support

First there were the objections and now the trickle of letters of support has become a steady stream. It is fascinating to read these letters as their authors often diverge into other things that folk think are wrong with Nairn at the moment.

Just as with the objectors’ letters however, it remains to be seen what will be seen as ‘material considerations’ by the planners. One thing is certain, there can be no denying that part of this process can turn into a numbers game and this may focus the mind of elected representatives as we move closer to the next elections.

You can read all the correspondence here by clicking on the documents tab. Tomorrow night (Tuesday) the matter will be discussed at the River Community Council planning meeting in the Laing Hall. When there’s nothing good on the telly River CC can be an highly entertaining evening out. Perhaps tomorrow evening the attendance might be a little higher than normal?

'Don't forget the bypass'

A smaller editorial from the Nairnshire in last Tuesday's edition but a very important subject discussed. Iain Bain is agitating for the bypass to be kept on the agenda:

'It may be fashionalbe now to take on the mantle of the candour of reality with which the Prime Minister wishes to characterise the early days of his government and say "well no chance of a bypass now". But we say "rubbish" to that. Don't forget the Nairn bypass. We have the problem now and it is not going to improve on its own. "

Hard to see how the Prime Minister will be moved by the collective voice of Nairn calling for a bypass in his ear. Hard to see how Danny can/will do anything either. Nothing has been posted on the LibDem Nairn bypass site since January, have they given up on the idea?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Bagging it

Plenty of people bagging it these days.

Bridgemill Direct new colours

A striking new colour scheme for Bridgemill Direct

Lifebuoy no more

 Someone idiot has seen fit to remove the lifebuoy on the east pier. The beach nearby was very busy and one bather actually looked liked she had consumed too much alcohol and might easily have had need of the lifebuoy had things taken a turn for the worse. 

Squid's in

None of your junk food here boy - we are real seagulls

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Grant Park Forres

Thanks to Billy for this picture of Grant Park Forres. Grant Park looks its usual spectacular self and Billy thinks it a pity that Nairn is unable to do likewise and with recent cutbacks may never achieve the excellence on display through the road in Forres. Perhaps it will be left up to Nairnites to do it for themselves in the future as cash dries up?

A few Dolphin pics

Thanks to Will for the trip out to see the Dolphins. A few more pictures here.

Early Days...

Nairn County still propping up the Highland League in week 2 of the campaign after losing 2-1 away to Lossie today. Also down at the bottom are Deveronvale then 3rd and 4th from bottom respectively are Strathspey and Fort William. Here's the current table on the BBC site.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Nairn Leisure - a new website for the pool, gym and steam room

At last a user friendly website to keep up to date with activities at the Pool and the related facilities. Nairn leisure are looking for feedback on their new site.

Council may farm out culture and leisure services

And more news on further outsourcing measures to be possibly taken by the Council appear in the Herald Today.

Grass cutters required

Horticulture Week reports:

Highland Council is seeking contractors for grass-cutting services across the Highland area.

Nine lots are available and contractors can apply for one or more. Contractors will be required for the growing season - seven months of the year - but can extend annually for up to two years. The deadline is 30 August. Call 01463 703887 or email procurement.unit2@highland.gov.uk

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Another UFO crash lands near Nairn

Smoke from the wreckage can be clearly seen on the eastern edge of town. (picture will enlarge)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Nairnshire cloned beef in the food chain?

The Daily Mail is claiming that the cloned beef now in the food chain came from a farm near Nairn.

Update 05/08/10: This observer is no fan of cloning of animals but is the Daily Mail now out to demonise the Nairnshire farm concerned? The Press & Journal has a more sympathetic approach: Dairy farmers are innocent victimes, they say. For anyone seeking further information there are now 1,285 news articles to browse on Google News.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Caroline Johnston depute head teacher of Rosebank primary dies in tragic accident

Further details on the STV site.

And the following tribute has been published on the Highland Council site

'Hugh Fraser, The Highland Council’s Director of Education Culture and Sport has paid tribute to Mrs Caroline Johnston, depute head teacher at Rosebank Primary School, Nairn, who died as the result of a horse riding accident on Monday (2 August 2010).

He said: “We are all shocked by this tragic accident. Our sincere condolences go to her family and all those who knew and worked with Caroline. She was a first class teacher, who was popular with her staff and pupils. She will be sorely missed.”

Mrs Johnston began her employment with The Highland Council in 1997 at Central Primary School, Inverness. She moved to Cradlehall Primary in 2003/2004 and was appointed depute head teacher at Rosebank Primary, Nairn, in 2004. She was seconded to acting headships at Ardersier Primary in 2006 and Kingussie Primary in 2009. Caroline was currently depute head teacher at Rosebank Primary School in Nairn.'

Monday, August 02, 2010

Juvenile (Shag or Cormorant?) in the harbour area

This young creature was not at all bothered by people nearby earlier this evening, the bird seemed fit and alert and spent some time preening itself to the delight of onlookers. Picture will enlarge and more pictures here

Objections to Social Club change of use stacking up

More objections to the proposed change of use of the former NCFC social club to a sports bar have been published on the Highland Council site. You can read them here (don't click on the comments tab - click on Documents and scroll down to read the public comments).

Do mink like snacking on ducks?

Further to the photographic evidence provided by Tommy Hogg to the presence of mink down by the harbour it is interesting to note that the BBC report into a survey into the prospects of mink eradication on Skye quotes:
‘They prey on water voles and have been blamed for almost wiping out ground-nesting birds on Sandaig and the Sound of Sleat on Skye.’
Perhaps they have been attracted to the harbour area by the increase in duck numbers in recent years. They have in fact been present further up the river for some time. Two years ago this observer saw a mink drag a fully grown rabbit into the river just below the railway bridge. The mink drowned the rabbit and then proceeded to haul it up into its burrow underneath some exposed roots of an alder tree. Perhaps the hoodies and black back gulls are not the only culprits down by? More evidence of the varied diet of mink can be had from a report in 1998 following the release of thousands of mink into the New Forest by animal welfare numpties:
‘Yesterday, on the advice of police, residents were locking up their cats and dogs, and mounting armed patrols on their properties. The mink have already taken out a Chihuahua and had a go at some piglets. Locals have been warned not to approach them, if they feel a sentimental attachment to all 10 of their fingers. Landowners have been advised to shoot on sight.’
Please note we may take comments but perhaps will not

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Planning Gold Rush in Nairn?

Is the local development plan presenting a gold rush opportunity for developers or has Nairn Matters become a bit too excited by some clever marketing? More over at Nairnmatters.com?

Nairn 2010 (Dolphins inculded)

A video from Youtube entitled simply 'Nairn 2010', looks very much like images from a family holiday based in Nairn. Quite often it seems to be amateur efforts that do much more than any official publicity to capture just what a great place Nairn is (wet or dry).

And here's another video from Youtube, showing a walk to the West Beach

A quick google reveals that Dolphin View Cottage has its own website. Here's what they say about Nairn on that page (nice picture of deer on the beach too):

'Nairn is a Victorian seaside town which boasts 2 championship golf course, 2 sandy beaches, the river Nairn with fabulous fishing and the Links with its children's playground & paddling pool, a bandstand & cricket pitch. It has a public swimming pool, museums, shops, parks, many places of interest and a host of events all summer, including the famous Nairn Games which take place on the Links every August (Sat 21st August 2010). Nairn Highland Games 2010
A travelling funfair visits Nairn Links for two weeks in August, culminating on Nairn Games Day. Nairn also hosts an annual Jazz Festival in August (not 2010), with many International acts at affordable prices in venues around the town. There are so many restaurants and cafes within Nairn you could eat out at a different place every day.
It's is an ideal base for families, golfers, fishermen or walkers, with so many places of interest within a short drive. There are castle trails, whisky trails and walking trails from easy to extreme, all within easy reach. '
That's correct folks, all that and much much more, why not give Nairn a try for your holidays or a short break this year?

Nairn County FC - the only way is up!

Work commitments prevented this observer from going to Station Park yesterday to witness Cove coming to town to go away with three points, having put five in the home net. Not a very good start to the season but there may be one or two mitigating circumstances if you read Kenny MacLeod's report. This heavy defeat sent Nairn to the bottom of the table in the opening week of the league.