Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nairn Army Cadets circa 1973/74

Thanks to one of the regular Gurnites for this image of the Nairn Army Cadet Force around 36 years ago.

Left to Right

Top Row: George Innes, Keith Girvan, Davie Gibson, Ronald Mackay, Gerald Conagan, Not known, Hamish Bain, William Coull, Dennis MacDonald, Bill Innes, Snr

Middle Row: Bertie Palmer, David Finlayson, Donald Mackenzie, James Macgee, Mike Sievewright, David Connachan(?), David Craig, Tony Hannah

Front Row: Billy Innes, Ian Wilson, David Pettit, David Fraser, Ally Ross, Tommy Crosbie.

Some of the spellings of the names may be incorrect. Can anyone identify the missing names? View a larger image here on the Gurnflickr pages.

Auldearn "lights out" going smoothly

Not too many complaints at all about the 50% lighting cut experiment in Auldearn. Sandy told the inaugural meeting of the new Auldearn Community Council tonight that if anyone had a problem and thought if any of the lights turned off were creating a hazard then all they had to do was just give him the light number and he’d e-mail it to the relevant department to get it changed. He even said that the light outside his house had been turned off.

Chair Roger Milton made a jocular comment comparing the situation with the lights in Auldearn and that in Nairn. Sandy mentioned “sensible heads” in a retort that wasn’t completely audible to this observer. “That’s a comment for the Nairnshire,” said the Chair, who was next to Sandy on the top table. The chair’s comment was received with good humour by many present at the meeting.


Strikes hit Nairnshire

This observer cannot help but think that the public sector unions are walking into a trap in the same way as the miners did back in the mid-eighties. Could Cameron set aboot them in the same way that Margaret Thatcher destroyed the NUM as an industrial force? Could it be that some sections of the Tory party will be delighted that a fight with the unions will take peoples' minds away from other issues?
One can understand the emotion around changes to pensions etc but again it might be suggested that some local government employees (such as many teachers) earn salaries that many people in Nairn can only dream of. Have the unions picked the wrong time to make a stand with so many people in less fortunate circumstances suffering too? Have your say in the Gurn poll in the sidebar.

The BBC is reporting all schools in the Highland area being closed today and it seems that way across Nairn this morning. The service point at the Courthouse was closed too but the library (now run by an arm's length organisation) was open. The gates at Nairn Academy were still open even if no teaching was taking place today however. There were over a dozen private cars in the car park and some vehicles belonging to workmen who can be seen wearing white protective clothing in the second picture below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nairn pensioners' fundraising 2012 Calender becomes world-wide success

Media outlets are showing considerable interest in the Calender the residents of Queenspark sheltered housing made to raise some funds for their working committee. With the help of photographer Ian MacRae they created a sensational calender that is fast becoming a runaway success. Here's a piece from the Daily Record:

"FUN-LOVING pensioners yesterday revealed Scotland's most bonkers charity calendar.

At 100, Peggy Phimister led the way as 14 OAPs - with a combined age of 1143 years - clambered into fancy dress costume to recreate famous movies, comedy scenes and fairytales.

Peggy said: "After the telegram from the Queen in July and my birthday party, this was the best thing this year. I thoroughly enjoyed it."

The pensioners thought they would be lucky to sell 100 at £6 a time to swell their working committee coffers. But sales have gone through the roof - at the last count 500 and rising."

More here on the Daily Record : OAP's take the Yellow Brick Road for Bonkers charity calender. The Gurn understands that a television crew have also visited Nairn to report on the Calendar success.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The lights are on for another festive season.

Laurie dusted off the old ermine and his fancy hat and got dressed up for the occasion, oh, yes he did!  The Nairn Academy Choir, who were sporting a fantastic collection of hats, entertained the crowd with their unaccompanied rendition of 5 traditional Christmas Carols.  Individual pictures can be found here.  One image supplied by Murray Macrae.

Strathspey 0 Nairn 2

Pictures from Donald Matheson of Saturday's action as Nairn maintain the challenge.

Individual pictures here. Match report here.

The High Tide

Sunday's high tide spilt over a little on to the riverside paths. Bratach captured the scene. The other Brian has posted an article too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nairn St Ninian 0 - Lanark 3

On a gusty day at the Showfield, Nairn faced Lanark in the third round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup. Most of the action was restricted to midfield with each team having the occasional foray into the opposition’s goal mouth. Midway through the second half Lanark scored the first, quickly followed by another two goals. The referee seemed to be taking advantage of the windy conditions to give his cards a good airing throughout the game, particularly the yellow, there seemed to be little other explanation as to why he kept on waving them about! Final score was 0-3 to Lanark. More pictures now available here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Hill of the Ord

"About four miles south of the town of Nairn, a round-shaped hill rises to the height of some 700 feet and occupies an area of several square miles. It is known as the Hill of the Ord, (" Ord " in Gaelic meaning the " Round Height.") At its northerly base there is a platform of granite, but the hill itself consists mainly of a mass of gneiss, the surface of which is very much broken, and the ground strewn with fragments of rocks and travelled boulders. Its aspect is softened to some extent by the thick firewood that crowns its heights, but it still presents conditions typical of a favourite haunt for wild animals, in its numerous rocky retreats and grassy ravines. Near the foot of one of its easterly slopes lies the small farm of Slagachorrie — a Gaelic name meaning "Hollow of the Corrie," which very accurately describes its situation Many relics of Prehistoric Times have been found there. Stone axes and manufactured flints have been picked up in considerable number. Some of the axes are finely shaped and beautifully polished, and the flints, in the form of arrow- heads, saws, and scrapers, exhibit a very high degree of finish."

From the History of Nairnshire by George Bain

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The odd vessel slightly bigger than a 500 man Roman warship can sometimes now be seen

" view of the undoubted existence of a numerous population on the banks of the Nairn in Prehistoric times, it is probable that on the high ground known as the Castle Hill, a settlement existed, and it may be permissible to imagine that the appearance of the Roman galleys with their great banks of oars as they swept along the bay must have filled the minds of the ancient inhabitants of these parte with wonder and consternation. There is no record of any previous ships having penetrated the firth. The Celts were not a maritime people. Canoes, skiffs, and coracles or skin boats, were doubtless in use slot^ the shores, and an occasional Norse vessel may have found its way or been driven into the firth But no such ships as the great Roman vessels of war, some of them capable of carrying 500 men, had ever been seen there before. It is on record that the Roman sailors occasionally landed and pillaged the native settlements on the coast. It is reasonable to suppose that as careful navigators they would select landing places in the sandy bays rather than on the rock-bound coasts, and it is not at all improbable that the first visitors from the outer world who ever stepped on the shores of Nairn were these Roman sailors."
From the History of Nairnshire by George Bain

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nairnshire Partnership

This observer went to the Partnership workshop on Monday night and a very interesting affair it was too. I went representing a group and not as a member of the public so you'll have to wait until the proposals get reported to the next proper partnership meeting to find out what went on. I don't think anyone would be too upset if it was pointed out that there was strong lobbying at the workshop for as much as possible to be held in public however.
The Gurn poll is insructive in that as of today (22nd November) over 68% of Gurnites that voted have responded No to the question "Should all meetings of the Nairnshire Partnership be open to public?" Are you one of the those who voted No? Perhaps you might to explain the reasons behind your vote in the comments thread? It really would be interesting to find out a bit more.

Here's a reminder of a comment Iain Bain made in an Nairnshire editorial earlier this year:

“There is too much meeting behind closed doors already in Nairn. The Nairn Partnership, a self-appointed group of interested parties meets privately. Yet it is, perhaps more than community councils, the body which informs Ward 19 councillors and contributes to policy making and some decision making by councillors. Our understanding is that the Partnership which once held its proceedings in public stopped doing so because of interventions by the public. Community Councils should not follow this example.”

Return planning power to Nairnshire - your chance to tell the Inverness Courier what you think

We commented earlier on Inverness Councillor Jim Crawford's recent complaint reported in the Courier.
Here's what Spurtle had to say on the Courier site in connection Cllr Crawford being upset about folk from outside Inverness being involved in by-pass decisions:

"Councillor Crawford is entitled to voice his concerns at the inclusion of 'non-Inverness' Councillors on the bypass group. Of course, in doing so he will have to acknowledge that an Invercentric Highland Council planning committee really has no mandate to make decisions that affect areas outwith Inverness. Why should the people of Nairn, Dingwall , Tain and elsewhere have to tolerate planning decisions made by Councillors from elsewhere with little, or even no, knowledge of the areas affected or impacted by their decisions?"

Now this is one of those occasions where we get the chance to put our point across. Yes Jim Crawford is right but it must work both ways. Yes don't let our lot have a say but they must keep their nose out of our affairs too. If you have a moment why not pop over and leave a comment for the citizens of the Highland Capital to read.

Broadhill backlash gathers momentum

As reported previously River CC surveyed every home in Broadhill to find out views on Highland Council's proposal to turn off every other street light.
The results and subsequent comments from parties involved are reported in today's Nairnshire Telegraph - the front page spread infact. 70 homes were surveyed and 37 responses with 30 against and 7 for. The Gurn can reveal that since then Tommy Hogg, the survey coordinator has received another 7 responses and all were against.

Thats a total of 44 responses, 37 against and 7 for. That's a 63% turnout for the River CC survey and this observer would speculate that that is the kind of response marketing people can only dream of. Tommy went on to tell the Gurn today that some residents were very angry that they had been singled out by Highland Council for such treatment and comments made on some of the survey forms have revealed extreme disatisfaction with the Council. Looks like the powers that be have made a mistake with this one. Time for an apology to Broadhill? Tommy said that he will be making a list of the comments (without revealing the names of the authors) and presenting it to his fellow councillors at the next meeting of River CC.

River & West CCs at planning loggerheads again

River and West already take opposing views on the bus station proposal being for and against respectively. Now a smaller planning application in the River CC area has the two watchdog groups coming down again on separate sides of the planning fence but with River against and West for. The application for the extension to the lounge of the Braeval can be seen on this page here (click the documents tab). Click the Consultation doc dated 24th of October for the River CC response and the public comment dated 14th of November for the West letter of support for the application.
Once again River are the statutory consultee with West commenting from over the border so to speak.

"It's such an intimate ground. Fans and players, keepers and management interact. "

"...a Highland League encounter between leading lights Nairn County and Lossiemouth at Station Park. With no preconceptions of what to expect, I must say I was totally bowled over by the game."

It's always refreshing to see ourselves as others see us. See what sports journo Jonny Gould thought of the Wee County in his article here. (warning - first half is about Caley but even that is worth a read).

Can you fix it then Jim? Keep your lot at home too that is?

"AT least two-fifths of the councillors who will decide a preferred route for the much-awaited Inverness bypass are from outwith the city.

The make-up of the cross-party working group, set to pick the route of the link road between the A82 and A9, has been criticised by Inverness South councillor Jim Crawford, who insists its 15 members should be from the Highland Capital with the exception of Highland Council’s transport committee chairman, Councillor John Laing (Eilean a’ Cheò), and convener Sandy Park (Nairn). "

Well Mr Crawford I seem to remember you coming to a planning meeting in Nairn back in June 2008 to give Nairnshire the benefit of your wisdom on the issue of Sainsbury’s coming to town. So perhaps you could also call for Inverness councillors to stay out of Nairn matters. The Gurn agrees with you of course and thinks Laurie (and we'll go further than you and include Sandy) should stay at home and not take part in Inverness affairs but please keep your lot at home too when it comes to things like the Lodge Hill Clinic planning application. Nairn is a community quite capable of deciding a lot more for itself. Courier article here.

Would any Nairn shopkeeper be as bold?

With cash coming up soon for shopfront makeovers this observer wonders if anyone in the town centre would go with a Gaelic only shopfront like this one in Clifden, Connemara. Clifden is outside of the remaining Gaeltacht, Irish speaking areas but like elsewhere all the public buildings had bilingual signage and some shops too but this one was Gaeilge only. It wasn't selling anything much different from half-a-dozen other similar shops but it was the busiest of them all and to this observer it was obviously the signage that was attracting the tourists.

Once there were more than a few doggie jobbies lying around on the Links for citizens to worry about

See the post two below this one for details of how dog turds are annoying some citizens. Local politicians (the paid variety) please note - that is the sort of thing you are elected to sort out! Meanwhile let's flashback to a time when you might have encountered something rather more unpleasant down the Links.
From the Nairnshire Mirror June 13th 1946. Picture will enlarge a little.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jonny Gould meets Nairn Celeb

Talksport's Jonny Gould meets Les Fridge after the game on Saturday. Reading Jonny's tweets it looks like he had a great time in Nairn. (picture Donald Matheson)
Donald told the Gurn: "He was very impressed with the welcome he got from the Wee County and commented on it is the cleanest and tidiest ground he has every visited and that was before the match started."

"Three years to save the future of Scots tourism"

A Scotsman article may interest gurnites who are involved in the tourist industry. Tourism high heid yins think Scottish tourism might miss out on a few opportunities. Are we at a crossroads for tourism in Scotland, could it even go down the pan perhaps?

"Tourist chiefs believe spin-offs from the London Olympic Games, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a new Disney film offer an unprecedented “honeypot” – but only if they are capitalised on.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “I am appealing to the tourism industry to help us grasp this opportunity – from the smallest B&B to the biggest resort hotel.” "

Benefit from the Olympics? With millions of people trying to escape London for four weeks perhaps? Maybe Nairn will get by simply because the Highlands, will as always, promote themselves simply by their majestic natural beauty that won't be going anywhere soon. Well some of the anti-windmill groups might have you think so. Besides Rosemary got the Regal painted up so things should improve now and maybe a few more folk passing by might be lured in to spend money in overnight accomodation etc, in Nairn. Although a worrying figure is quoted in the article:

"The Winning Years initiative is to be launched formally at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, just weeks after it emerged that spending from overseas visitors was down by 17 per cent in the first half of this year, contrasting sharply with a 5 per cent rise across the UK."

The Scotsman article is here and there are some interesting comments following it too. Fergus gets a mention in his role as tourism minister. At the end of the day tourism is a powerful part of Nairn's economic muscle but can we always rely on it being there? Do we need a plan B in case it fails in the near future given the global economic situation?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sewage Bridge - something in the pipeline?

The Gurn has heard from unreliable sources close to River CC that a reply to their detailed questions on what has being going on down at the sewage bridge recently has been received from Scottish Water. Regular gurnites will recall that the River folkies had already received a very interesting letter from SEPA. Our sources indicate that there has been no reply yet from the Highland Council over environmental health issues in that part of the riverside. Anyway it appears that a contract could be soon awarded to sort a fair bit of sewer in this problem area. Good news it seems.

Nairn 3 Lossie 3 - Pictures

Pictures from Club Photographer Donald Matheson

Friday, November 18, 2011

Looks like Nairnbairn was wasting his/her time?

Urban Realm sent someone to come and have a look at our carbuncular potential. Looks like the architect Mark Chalmers can't see what the fuss is all about in fact he doesn't seem to think we have a problem. Sorry Nairnbairn your anon nomination looks as though it is a big loser this time round because reading between the lines it looks like we are not a serious contender for the award.

"Perhaps the underlying concern which prompted the town’s nomination is a fear for the future: the threat of housing developments on the town’s edge. That unease often manifests itself in a series of ciphers – the call for lower speed limits really means cutting out non-resident traffic; higher quality development translates into exclusivity; and conservation equates to preservation of the status quo. After all, the current population has a vested interest in maintaining quiet roads, uninterrupted views, property prices and manageable school rolls."

Mmmm, Mr Chalmers does have a strong opinion or two doesn't he? More here on "Nairn at the Carbuncles, 2011". Nice pictures and interesting observations from the visitor Mark Chalmers.

10 years of carnage on the roads

One of our regular readers had been on the Guardian website this morning and came across an article Road Casualty UK: 10 years of deaths mapped and visualised. What that means in UK terms is 32,955 killed and nearly 3,000,000 injured between 2000 and 2010. How those statistics break down for our part of the world is captured in the screenshot sent to the Gurn by our correspondent. The searchable map from ITO world is below the image. The key on that resource shows you what all the coloured marks mean in terms of deaths and casualties. Click on the word "key" to close the explanation box if you wish to do a search.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Graham Vine out in shock poll result!

One of the stars of West Community Council lost his seat earlier today as the count was held in the Courthouse. Graham received 136 votes. Another prominent member of the West came in 5th with 195 votes, enough to see him elected but this observer had thought Brian Stewart's recent prominence on planning issues might have seen him climb a little higher but the people have spoken.

However the women of the moment is the lady who kicked ass over the Regal and got results. Reports are coming in from the West End of Kalashnikovs being fired in celebration to honour Rosemary Young for topping the poll with 354 votes, she was nearly 100 votes ahead of the nearest contestant. There was a 49.84% turnout in the West area.

Meanwhile in Suburban Dick Youngson topped the poll with a massive 630 votes in a 35.11% turnout. In River all safely home with 0 votes apiece.

Big turn out for Broadhill partial black-out survey

The Gurn understands from unreliable sources close to River Community Council that there has been a big take up on their survey forms put around all the houses in Broadhill. The forms were put out to determine how public opinion lies as to whether that area should be the Nairn guinea pig test-bed for switching one in every two street lights off to save money.
The Highland Council had asked River CC for their views. River CC quite sensibly asked the citizens themselves and it looks like Broadhill residents have responded very well to someone bothering to ask them their thoughts. That sounds a bit like democracy it action doesn't it? One wonders why the Highland Council couldn't have asked the residents themselves in the first instance. The results are not in the public domain yet according to our unreliable sources but it seems those Highland Council folk in favour of a partial black-out up at Broadhill will not be happy with the result.

Gaelic in Nairnshire - when did the local dialect die?

According to the last census there were nearly 200 people that could speak Gaelic and another 100 who could understand or read the language but not speak it. Soon we will have the new census figures and it will be interesting to see how the recent growth in the number of learners in the town and the numbers of bairns attending the Millbank Gaelic unit has affected those figures. What will also be interesting will be to see how many people also recorded their abilities to speak, understand, read or write Scots in response to the other linguistic question on the census. But back to Gaelic just now. The term “linguistic relevance” was used recently in the Nairnshire. A loaded term perhaps that means many things to many people. If two people meet in the High Street and have their conversation in Gaelic does that have any less linguistic relevance that other people speaking English nearby or say visitors from Europe speaking a strong dialect of one of the continental Languages? Does a child’s answer to a teacher in Gaelic have any linguistic relevance than that of an monolingual pupil in a nearby class? Does the Gaelic tribute written on one of the wreaths at the war memorial on Sunday have any less linguistic relevance than other tributes in English?

In 1822 research by the Inverness Society for the Poor maintained that 62% of the population of Nairn were Gaelic speakers, 55% in Ard Clach and 75% in Cawdor. The Cawdor figure is significant if compared to a similar figure in the present day for the Back area in Lewis which is considered the strongest surviving community of Gaelic speakers in the remaining traditional areas. In 1854 500 residents of Nairn who wished to maintain Gaelic services in “the only language in which they could be edified” were over-ruled by the Church of Scotland. Gaelic had relevance to the punters in 1854 but the high heid yins were well into the English-speaking way of things. And then we can see the gradual decline of what remains of the Nairnshire Gaidhealtachd from the census figures of 1881 onwards. Those figures have since then always been topped up by Gaelic speakers moving to the area and as mentioned above we now have children in Nairn being educated in the language. One could perhaps safely claim that some Gaelic has been spoken in Nairnshire from the day it first established itself here.

But back to the question – when did the local dialect die? Information in the Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland published 1997 states that in November 1952 Fred MacAulay interviewed a Mrs Fraser in Cooperhill Darnaway. She was aged 90 and had been born in New Inn, Glenferness. Her father was also born in Glenferness but her mother was from Farr, Strathnairn. “When aged 2 Mrs Fraser moved from Glenferness to Terriemore where she was brought up among Gaelic speakers. Her father used to read the Gaelic bible to the family daily, though she feels her mother had better Gaelic.”

Another interesting interview was with Alexander James Johnstone of Easterton, Fisherton just over the Nairnshire border past Ardersier. He was aged 74 “born Easterton, parents Westerton. Fluent but has not spoken Gaelic for a long time apart from a few words with other local speakers in Fisherton.” Interviews took place over August-October 1953.

Within living memory local Gaelic dialects were spoken in this area then. Whatever your attitude towards Gaelic it’s impact on Nairnshire cannot be denied and it continues to exist in the town and with 40 children now being educated in the language its presence will continue in one shape or form for at least the lifetime of the present younger generation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sewage in river scandal - Latest!

Two ways of looking at it (the Bus Station plan)

Two extracts from comments submitted to the planning department and now available on their website. The first is from Jimmy Ferguson and he writes as an individual not a director of NICE. This observer would contend that the majority of NICEites would perhaps be behind him however given the show of hands from them at the public meeting on Friday.

Contrast that with the short and sweet submission below from Tommy Hogg on the behalf of River Community Council. Now their decision was unanimous. There lies the division of opinion in Nairn on the bus station planning application. NICE's ambition is to speak on the behalf of the Community and River Community's role is to represent the Community. So we have two views on the behalf of the Community. Can they both be right? This obsever would contend that River CC are closer to public thinking here - based on the unscientific poll held recently on the Gurn.

Over now to the planning professionals and the elected councillors on the Committee - the majority of whom that will debate the proposal will not of course be from Nairnshire.
You can see other submissions on this planning application here.

County sign Morrison

NCFC sign former Buckie Thistle skipper Micheal Morrison. More on Highland

Strippers at the Ballerina?

The Sun is a bit excited today about a new Pink Floyd iphone app.

"And after their gig at the Ballerina Ballroom in the Highland town of Nairn on July 21, 1967, the fed-up owner stopped booking live music acts — to stage strippers instead." More details here.

Why can't the number 20 stop at the bus station?

Sheilea Mayer asked that question at the River CC meeting last week. The problem for some folk is that they need to get into town on one of the regular buses that use the A96 and then change to the number 20 to get up to the hospital. Instead of having to walk over to the stop on the High Street wouldn't it be easier for the 20 to go to the bus station as well? Here's a map of the 20 & 20a routes.

Saint Ninian v Lanark United 26th November

Saints to play Lanark United in the third round of the Emirates Junior Cup. Full draw here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"£250,000 improvements planned for Nairn"

"New street lights and closed circuit television cameras could be installed in Nairn." More on the Courier site.

Ivy Box

Nature continues to overcome the redundant Nairn East signal box.

Green Dad hits a prolific patch

Green Dad has expanded his cyber-output to twitter and facebook. The Gurn sends feeds to twitter but has never bothered with facebook, if there is every anything sufficiently interesting someone will usually link to it from their facebook account.
Facebook is an good tool for Community pages too and with that in mind please note the campaign to find Ruraidh continues too. Perhaps the biggest and most influential facebook campaign in Nairn was the Save the Swimming Pool pages.

According to the group Talk About Local the use of people extending their use of facebook from the personal to the community space is a major trend. They have a page "Ways of building communities on Facebook" which may interest some gurnites.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Scotland's community council network 'dying' "

"Scotland's network of community councils could be "dead" within 10 years, the president of the charity that represents the bodies has warned.

Vincent Waters said the councils would cease to exist "by default" unless younger members became involved.

A fifth of Scotland's 1,514 community councils are currently suspended because of a lack of interest, research by the BBC has found.

Of the active ones, nine out of 10 are formed without elections." And there's more here on the BBC site.

Things here in Nairn aren't as bad as the general picture in Scotland but Nairnshire East Community Council couldn't find enough people to continue and in the town the ballot papers will be counted this week to see who is elected for Suburban and West Community Councils. Under the old rules River CC would have had an election if there were over five candidates but Highland Council recently moved the goalposts and the number of candidates triggering an election was upped to 11, thus there being only nine people wishing to stand there was no election. This observer stood for the community council and must admit wondering if there is any value in proceeding as an community councillor who got in with 0 votes - in effect self-appointed really and perhaps the following paragraph/comment from the BBC report could stick hard and fast if thrown enough times - similar comments have been made to me personally:
"And then you can have a community council next door where it's half a dozen or so of the weel kent local worthies whose interests are their own interests."

wee update: Decided not to participate when the new River CC is constituted by the Returning Officer on 13th December. I just feel it inappropriate to proceed with a tally of 0 votes - informed the HC official respopnsible for the election of that .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nairn remembers

Hundreds of Nairn residents turned out today at the War Memorial. Numbers were, once again, up on the previous year.

A Gaelic tribute on one of the wreaths - The regimental toast of the Highlanders

Tir nam Beann, nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach,
Far am faighear an t-eun fionn
'S far am faigh am faidh fasgadh
Cho fada's chitear ceo mu bheann
'S a ruitheas uisge le gleann,
Mairidh cuimhne air euchd nan treun
Slainte agus buaidh gu brath
Le Gillean Gleadach
Cabarfeidh gu brath !

The Land of Hills, Glens and Heroes,
Where the Ptarmigan thrives
And where the red deer finds shelter.
As long as mist hangs o'er the Mountains
And water runs in the glens.
The deeds of the Brave will be remembered
Health and Success forever
To the Lads from the Highlands
Cabarfeidh gu Brath !
(The Deer's Horns Forever !)

Individual pictures here

Update: Murray MacRae's pictures from Remembrance Sunday

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Inverurie 0 Nairn 0

Match report here. Individual pictures here. Pictures from Deanna Matheson

Nairn St Ninian 3 Cruden Bay 0

Looking for Ruaridh - let's make a big effort this weekend!

He still hasn't turned up Gurnites. Aileen and her family desperately want him home. Please keep your eyes peeled everywhere you go this weekend. If you can spare any time at all please have a look around your area of the town or countryside and if you can just go a bit further too and see if there is any sign. Here's the latest from Aileen on the Facebook group that is co-ordinating efforts:

"My faith in humanity is knowing no bounds just now. Network Rail just phoned me to ask how the search was going and to tell me that their maintenance men had been out tramping miles of track to see if they could see anything. The words 'Thank you' seem so small to everyone, but please- from the heart, everyone- thank you so, so much. Please pass on the contact information to anyone who may not know it. -Me-07813022717 or 01667 458542 (for the dog warden) 01667 452222 (Nairn Police)" Click here for the Facebook group.

Tattie Talk and Gardeners Question Time - Sat 12th Novemeber

Going on the Ran Dan tonight? Before taking a skinful why not get clued up on tatties over at the Community Centre this evening?

A NICE time last night

There were around 40 people present yesterday evening in the Community Centre for what was effectively the re-launch of NICE. A lot of stuff was said, (some of it would have been familiar to the previous intake last year) and there seems to be a desire to move forward towards establishing a Community Interest Group to move the aims of the organisation forward. There was a mannie there from The Development Trust Association who made a lot of comments that seemed to please the NICE directors and the troops. It seems Scottish Government policy that is heading towards becoming legislation will be favourable to the aims of groups like NICE. The DTA mannie said that the Scottish Goverment had promised a bill called the Community empowerment and renewable bill, he continued: “that is all about empowering communities to achieve things for their own community. And what this bill is all about will be giving new rights and new responsibilities to try and overcome some of the obstacles...Basically what I’m saying is what your are trying to achieve , the Scottish Government Policy at the highest level, the ministers and the civil servants are also wanting to go in that direction.”

As said previously there was a lot of points of view but here’s two that stuck out to this observer:
One wifie said:
“I don’t think it’s good enough to say that people have the opportunity to be members of NICE. I think you have to be quite proactive in reaching out to different sections of the community. There are some people that will never come to a meeting like this, this meeting is quite exclusive. So I think you need to be pro-active in involving different aspects of the Nairn Community and you might never get a consensus but you need to be seen to have reached out to people and meet them on their own terms rather than expecting them to come here to you.”

Iain Fairweather said a little later: “It’s good if we can bring as many people with us but I don’t think we need their permission if they don’t want to come with us...Certainly if we can get the Community Councils to come with us great, but there’s an opportunity here to set something up that will do something different but has the potential to do something different, government mechanisms are in place to help us to do something different so there’s an opportunity to try and that’s maybe as far as we can go tonight and I think we should grasp it.”

There will be another meeting next month and the new working groups will report back, including one for Bus Station issues, notably the supermarket and flats proposal and there will be an attempt to contact the developer. At the meeting it emerged that the Sports Club had been trying to acquire the site for an indoor tennis court - a facility that is badly needed in the North it seems.

UPDATE: due to the nature of comments being received on this post that are not suitable for publication that facility has now been closed. Debate is perhaps needed now but a digital stushie will get nowhere.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 a.m. 11/11/11

Pictures Murray MacRae

Meanwhile at a bus station in another universe...

...things nearby go higher than four storeys.

Highland Council Lib Dem heid yin gets a prize

This from Highland Council:

"This year’s award for Local Government Politician of the year, sponsored by Improvement Service and Robertson Group, was won by the Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Michael Foxley, for his campaigning on issues such as the threat to coastguard stations and emergency tugs and for reform of the Crown Estate.

Councillor Foxley received his award at a ceremony in Edinburgh, sponsored by the Herald newspaper.

He said: “I am thrilled with this prestigious award, which reflects highly on our role as a campaigning Council for the benefit of our communities. While as the leader I am often the public face of our campaigning initiatives, there is a tremendous team in the Council who support these efforts”.

Councillor Foxley is the longest-serving councillor in the Highlands, having entered local government in 1986.

The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park proudly announced Councillor Foxley’s success at the close of the Council’s own annual Quality Awards held at the Town House, Inverness, which was being held at the same time as the Herald awards.

Councillor Park said: “We are all thrilled at Michael’s success. It is a richly deserved reward for the huge amount of work he dedicates to campaigning issues, such as the reform of the Crown Estate and retaining the emergency towing vessels based at Stornoway and Shetland and the Coastguard Service.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A bit early for a hyacinth outdoors

In a neglected corner of a garden a hyacinth blooms in November.

Residents seek a bit of care and attention for Lochloy quarry paths

Two residents from the new Lochloy schemes were at the Nairn River Community Council meeting earlier this week. They reported that the quarry was now in the ownership of the Highland Council but that the Council had up to now taken no action to maintain the paths or deal with the Health and Safety issue of dead elms (the victims of Dutch Elm Disease). The residents are not looking for the area to be made up to public park standard, they would just like to see some of the vegetation surrounding the paths cut back and a little effort to remove weeds from the path. This observer visited the area today and agrees with the points made by the residents. A little action now would prevent the paths created by the developer returning to nature and this amenity being severely diminished. There is a precedent for the Council taking action to remove dead and dangerous elms - witness all the activity along the riverside in recent years.

Tearoom opens on the brae

Blossom is now open.

"Nairn leads the way for Sainsbury's"

" “The performance [at Nairn] has been exceptional. People are driving much longer distances to get to that store than we were expecting.”

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s property director, said: “Feedback from the Nairn store was phenomenal from day one.” "

Nairn writer goes on Amazon - WYKKYD!

Jane Harkiss told the Gurn: "It's a historical adventure fantasy, based (very) loosely on the character of Alexander Stewart, AKA The Wolf of Badenoch. Ideally aimed at late teen audience, but anyone interested in this kind of thing will enjoy, I think. If people read the blurb and like what they see, then they can choose to read on. I aim to have a new episode up on there every week. You don't have to have a Kindle, you can also download to PC, MAC etc."

"Twenty or thirty miles from the lonely, windswept ruin of Lochindorb castle, a chaotic whirl of paramedics and doctors descend upon a trolley bearing the frail form of an elderly, dying man. Outside the hospital, shivering in a T-shirt and puffing furtively on a damp cigarette, a teenage girl wonders why she is still waiting, waiting, waiting… What for? " More here on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Nairnshire group that meets behind closed doors to review direction

The Gurn understands that the Nairnshire Partnership has invited all Community Councils to send two representatives to a meeting on the 17th of this month to "review its membership and future direction."
What is the Nairnshire Partnership and why does it need to meet behind closed doors? This is what they say on their website:
"The Nairn Initiative has now been superceded by the Nainshire Partnership,a multi-bodied partnership between the voluntary sector, private sector and public agencies. The Nairnshire Parnership is the Community Planning Partnership for the area" You can read more here.
On the face of it the Nairnshire partnership is quite important then, even the more reason to be completely transparent if it is to enjoy the support of the community. However there has been quite serious criticism of the Partnership in recent times, here's what NICE had to say at the height of their 2011/12 winter/spring activity:

"It is of course true that the Nairn(shire) Partnership exists as a collective formal group. Evidence exists that it has ceased to offer a genuine forum for the development of a shared vision, but serves primarily a vehicle for the local authorities to make announcements and deliver vision. The emergence of other groups – of which NICE is only the most recent – is a clear sign that the Nairnshire Partnership is not fulfilling the role envisaged in the official guidance"

It is interesting that at a time when NICE hopes to come back to life (an initiative very, very much contingent on the rank and file mustering to the colours perhaps) that the Nairnshire Partnership should also seek to redefine itself. the Gurn calls upon the Nairnshire Partnership to open its doors to the public on the 17th and will go along in the hope of being able to report on the proceedings.

New Poll - Should all meetings of the Nairnshire Partnership be open to the public?

*There seems to be an issue with the coding for this poll at the moment. Please try later if it isn't in the sidebar at this moment in time.

The Bus Station Poll is now finished. See the final results below. It's all up to the planners now, the Community Councils and others have commented now its up to the professionals and the Highland Councillors for the town.

Dawn 08/11/11

Looking up towards the Crook from the cemetery field.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Elderly black Labrador missing in Nairn after being scared by fireworks

Back to the top with this post. Ruaridh is still missing. Please if you have a few minutes today have a look around near your home or street. Everywhere you go today bear in mind this black lab - a much loved family pet. Further details and link to facebook group below.

Ruaridh is a much loved 11 year old black lab here's a message that's been posted on facebook by Aileen:

"Ruaridh has been missing since 05/11/2011. He slipped his collar and bolted when fireworks went off right beside him. Hence he has no tags or chip. He's 11 years old and must be very scared right now. If you spot him in Nairn, Highland, PLEASE call either me on 07813022717 or Nairn Police on 01667 452222."

Monday, November 07, 2011

11/11/11 Armistice Day

A short ceremony to mark Armistice Day will take place at the Nairn Branch of the Royal British Legion. Friday 11th November at 11.00 a.m.

Problems in the sewage bridge area - Scottish Water must act say SEPA

Earlier tonight Tommy Hogg distributed copies of a letter received from SEPA in connection with River CC complaints over the multiple problems in the Sewage/Merryton Bridge area. It looks as though the onus is now very much on Scottish Water to come up with explanations and remedial actions. It will be interesting to see what action the Highland Council's Environmental Health Department take.

Turning the lights off up at Broad Hill?

Highland Council want to experiment by turning off half the street lights at Broad Hill to see how things go and whether the idea could be expanded to other areas of the town. The meeting heard the suggestion that Broad Hill was chosen because it was a relatively crime free area. However a Broad Hill resident present of the meeting told of how there had been recent increases of theft from gardens and bad behaviour from alcohol abusers passing through the area.

John Dolan read an e-mail from the Highland Council that asked River CC for their views on the matter. River CC were not prepared to commit themselves on the issue before delivering a survey to every household in Broad Hill asking them for their views on the Highland Council's proposal.