Friday, September 28, 2012

Alistair Noble speaking at the Highland Council Consultation on Cuts - Rosebank School Wednesday night

There are challenging times ahead but also opportunities, perhaps, to change the way things are done in Nairn. Maybe the sound file should be listened to  in conjunction with this video.

Begonias always seem at their best just before the end of the season

Here's the display at the top of Harbour Street just before last week's stormy weather

A regular gurnite poses the following questions.

Where have all the seagulls gone?  In the town centre at the moment you can probably count on one hand how many are about.  In the places where they normally gather such as the bus station, the town centre and the roofs of Royal Walk there are none to be seen. Have the West CC gone ahead with their threatened extermination?

Where have the Dolphins gone from the top of Harbour Street and the Golfer out on the A96 near Sainsburys?  They seemed to disappear months ago and have never returned.

New Bikebug owners settling in at Falconers Lane

I had to go over to the cycle shop recently with a couple of problems and they were promptly sorted out by David Brownless who introduced me to the couple that will be taking over from him and Alison shortly, that's Steve and Alyson Beales.    

Steve told the Gurn: “We originate from Suffolk in England but have travelled widely and have already spent 15 years living and working in Scotland.

We are lifelong cyclists, both leisure and competitive although now only the former, and have previously owned cycle shops in Wick and Thurso.

Our love of the great outdoors took us to live in Northern Sweden where we could also enjoy cross country skiing, kayaking and a relaxed lifestyle closer to nature.

We have now returned to the best part of the UK and look forward to continuing the fine service and maintaining the excellent reputation which the departing owners David and Alison have built up over their 20 years in Nairn.

We look forward to meeting both new and existing customers and helping them with all their cycling needs.”

I asked Steve for a couple of pictures so gurnites would know who the newcomers are. Best of luck with the shop  Steve, it's a good asset for Nairn and it's nice not to have to travel out of town to get your bike fixed.

And the winners of the County bunnies were...

 - the Winners of the Nairn County Bunnies were as follows, Heather of Uncle Bob's won the Female Bunny wearing the Home Strip.  Ken of 24/7 Taxies won the Male Bunny wearing the Away Strip. A  a total of £365.00 was raised for Nairn County Youth Football. 
Well done the indefatiguable Ian Gordon for this fundraising effort. Ian runs a wee County shop during all home cames. You can see the lines here. 

Immigration crime at Nickel and Dime

"Acting on intelligence, officers from the agency paid a series of unannounced visits to Nickel and Dime shops in Naim, Keith, Dundee, Forfar and Arbroath yesterday.

A total of four illegal workers from Pakistan were arrested and one escorted from the premises - including the man from Nairn."

More on the Inverness Courier site. Thanks to the regular gurnite who sent the link in.

Postcode lottery winners the video

Video of the Nairn winners earlier this month.

Broadwood Bound

UPDATE 16.39 Friday - Colin Barron reports that the County supporters bus is now full!

Tomorrow a strong County support will be heading down the A9 towards Clyde's stadium. Que sera, sera but a great day beckons. If the County continue with their current flair tomorrow then Clyde will have a task on their hands, even with the home side artificial surface advantage. For Les Fridge who played 68 games for the Bully Wee it will be a return to the ground where he was on duty for the inaugural game in 1994. The Gurn understands that Clyde have interviewed Les for the match programme. Here's one of their recent tweets.
Here's Les talking to Bob Manson after the Brora game about the 6-0 win and the forthcoming Scottish Cup outing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shock River CC resignation

Sources close to River Community Council indicate that one of the long-standing co-opted members submitted their resignation yesterday. We may be able to publish the name of the Councillor involved later today once we have official confirmation.

UPDATE: The Gurn understands that John Dolan has submitted a letter of resignation to the River CC. This observer anticipates no further information coming into the public domain until the next meeting of the organisation. 

A comfortable cuts consultation for Drew Hendry, Dave Fallows, Liz and the high heid yins

The previous administration’s cuts consultation in June 2010 was an ill-tempered business with the town’s antipathy towards Highland Council being displayed by many citizens who heckled the top table. Looking back on it this observer is tempted to subscribes to the school of thought that the idea that the swimming pool might close was nothing but a red herring. 

No smoke and mirrors this time round though. Last night was a very calm affair compared with 2010. Everything up front with Liz, Dave Fallows and the Leader of the Council Drew Hendry. A few pictures of the consultation here.  

Those present got a chance for one to ones with the high heid yins and they were in genuine listening mode. Drew Hendry particularly seemed cognisant of the ill-feeling between the community here and the Highland Council in the past and he genuinely wants to offer us and other communities a better deal. It’s all to the backdrop of cuts however, how do we get the best from a diminishing pot? Will the new area comprising Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey deliver us a better deal than being in the clutches of Inverness? Let’s hope so.
There’s also the Scottish Government’s agenda of localism looming on the horizon as we’ve heard recently from Alistair Noble, who was at the consultation last night and threw that into the Q&A session at the end.

Also present the Nairn Youth Forum, the only youth forum to turn up at a consultation so far according to Drew Hendry. There was a willingness to listen and a respect shown from those present that simply wasn’t there back in June 2010 when a cuts consultation roadshow last hit town. And cuts there will be, about £30 million’s worth to find and it could continue for many years like this. It is sobering to be faced with a form asking you where you would like to see cuts made. Which finger do you cut off? Where will the damage done by the collective decision go? Are there ways of doing this by hitting further the management layers at Glenurquhart Road and not front line services? If genuinely moving to give power to the periphery again why do you need such a big centre?

A thought provoking meeting and although there will be cuts, this observer came away feeling less nervous about it all, it seemed a lot more competent than the debacle of 2010.
If you wish to take part in the consultation, you can do so here on line.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jemma's Secret - local acoustic act

Some Gurnites might have seen Jemma Tweedie performing locally but if not here's a chance to experience her material on the Gurn.  

Jemma is a 19 year old, local singer/songwriter who is currently working on her first EP due for release on 26th October. In the run up to this she has been spreading her musical word to the likes of BBC introducing, Radio Clyde's Vic Galloway and new up and coming artist Jake Bugg. Having sparked interest from several others she is now preparing to perform at Bogbain Farm as the local support act for Charlotte Church on her lastest UK tour.

Having received her guitar as a Christmas present last year, Jemma quickly found a passion for songwriting and since then she has been performing at small venues around Nairn, Glasgow and Aberdeen. This observer enjoyed listening to tracks she has placed on the Soundcloud site. One of them below plus more of Jemma from Youtube.
  Drunken Coastal Town (Preview) by Jemma's secret soundcloud

Jemma has a facebook music page here.

“Folk keep thinking that the cuts are going to be like the ones in Thatcher’s years but these cuts they’re worse”

The title of this post comes from a statement by Cllr Colin MacAulay speaking at Suburban Community Council’s meeting in the Academy last night. 

There’s a consultation meeting in the Rosebank School gym tonight where the high heid yin Dave Fallows will be chairing the proceedings.

There is a school of thought that the last time round it was all smoke and mirrors and red herrings as the meeting was dominated by issues surrounding the potential closure of Nairn Swimming Pool. At the end of the previous administration’s consultation process they came out of nowhere with proposed cuts to Teaching Assistant posts. This time, hopefully, this administration will listen to the punters a bit better than the last ruling group did.

 Alistair Noble, told the meeting that he believed the cuts amounted to 5% per year for several years. His thesis is that Nairn should not get the cuts that other areas wil get because we never got our fair share in the first place. He will be going to the meeting with his argument tonight. Understandably consultation is almost a four letter word in Nairn and we look at the way we have been treated in the past with a profound cynicism. It is a new administration however and we have Colin and Liz representing us in Nairn. For the foreseeable future the way this administration treats Nairn will have a profound effect on their political reputations and that of the party they represent. This observer, like many thousands of voters in Nairn, trusts them and hopes that the new administration doesn’t let them and Nairn down and that we are treated with more respect from now on.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Greyhound sponsored walk Sunday 30th September - 1 p.m. The Links

Gurnites will recall the mass greyhound sponsored walk last year on the Links and the beaches. It was a fantastic fund raiser for the Retired Greyhound Trust and a great spectacle to see these handsome pooches enjoying their walkies.. You can see pictures of last year's event here. 

This year the sponsored walk starts at 1 p.m. on the Links this Sunday (30th). It isn't restricted to Greyhounds this time however and you can take your dog along, have some exercise and help this important animal charity. If you are taking part please send a few pics to the Gurn, unfortunately we won't be able to be there this Sunday. For more information on participating. Click read more.

Snow clearing back to the future - want to be a snow shifter?

One of our regular readers points us in the direction of the Inverness Courier today. The bi-weekly master of sneckie media  tells us: 

"PEOPLE are to be recruited for a citizens’ army of snow shifters to keep pavements and paths clear this winter.
Highland Council is asking community councils to compile lists of householders willing to store equipment such as snow shovels and to lend a hand to treat icy paths." More here. 

Back in 2009, we here in Gurnshire called for such a system. Details here. With texts and digital communications it would be easy to set up something similar to the way Nairnshire dealt with things in 1936. Here's part of the list of volunteers from that time.  We did mention it to Oor Graham but the idea sort of fell on deaf ears then. Looks like the new SNP administration realises that citizens are willing to help out in such a situation. 

A citizens' volunteer army has its limits though. Build your own by-pass perhaps? Come to the Coffee Morning to raise funds for a JCB?

Wind of change blows through Viewfield

To the many objectors to the Bus Station flats plan Viewfield will soon perhaps see devastation of its aesthetic qualities following the decision today of South Planning Committee Circus Master  Chair, Jimmy Gray. See article below and pictures here. Although it has to be said that there are those in Nairn who will be pleased with this decision and perhaps they are not as organised or prone to writing letters as the objectors but will none the less be glad to see homes built in the town. The application was devisive all along and will probably leave a damaging legacy in its wake. 

Meanwhile in the very spot where the chair and his troops stood, now stands the sign above. Branches have come down and Doctor Grigor looks down over the danger zone. Viewfield has been delivered an instant autumn carpet today as hundreds of thousands of leaves were torn from their branches. No doubt there will be similar damage in other parts of the town. 

Bus Station Flats go ahead - 12 for 7 against

Colin MacAulay proposed rejection backed by Michael Green. Liz proposed for seconded by Laurie. Motion passed.

Operation Radar - tackling vandalism in Nairn

A Northern Constabulary initiative to tackle vandalism gets underway in Nairn. More on the Constabulary's website. 

The bus station site visit

What a day for a site visit! I would have watched the webcast where the decision is presently being made as this post is written but the plug-ins necessary to do that wouldn't work in Opera or Chrome. After that I decided I'd already spent too much time on trying to download a suitable programme.

“Always look on the bright side of life” - Alistair Noble’s vision for Nairn take 2

Maybe it’s just that the URC hall and splendid “chill” area is more likely to lead to a relaxed atmosphere than the Community Centre but Alistair Noble was in a more lucid, engaging and animated frame of mind as he gave his lecture for the second time. This was the night to make a video perhaps but the recording of the first talk has already had over 200 hits so if it had been made last night a few people would have been, up to now, unaware of the content of Alistair’s vision. 

This time round there were questions from the floor during the proceedings. I confess I missed the first half of the meeting but was present for some probing questions. There are people with concerns about NICE’s modus operandi and Alistair listened carefully and did his best to assuage any doubts or worries. We can’t get away from his central thesis however, Nairn’s civic status is still in the process of being picked to pieces by the InverCentric power brokers and we have to get our act together, stop any squabbling or we can expect more of the same. The meeting was not the total show of support that the West CC one was. River made no decision or affirmation of support like West CC but they received Alistair well and I don’t think there was anybody there that doesn’t think that Nairn has been/ is still being shafted and that the community has to act in some way.

The business plan that some feel might be a done deal is, in fact according to Alistair, just the bare bones of the mechanics of a way forward and it will be the community that will put the meat and tissue on the beast. One community councillor had difficulties reconciling that, he felt that a business plan was just that, however vague, something conceived beforehand by a small group of people. This observer has to admit that the business plan does seem to be nebulous at this stage – can you have such a thing, a contradiction in terms springs to mind? I asked if NICE, although not a body that would have to, would subscribe to the tenets of the Freedom of Information Act. You can for example, if you so wish, ask the Highland Council for all copies of Councillor X’s e-mail communications on a particular topic to organisation Y and you would probably get them. Alistair stressed that NICE would be completely transparent.

There’s another chance to see Alistair tonight (Tuesday) at the Suburban CC meeting in the Academy. There will be a leaflet drop to every house in Nairn at the beginning of next month and then a meeting on the 12th of October for the official launch of the NICE programme. That meeting should be quite a large affair, get down to it if you can, listen to Alistair and see what you think. If anyone has any alternatives then the 12th would be the moment to stand up and give your point of view too.

Can we get our act together in Nairn or are we destined to end up squabbling amongst ourselves like the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front in the Life of Brian as the Romans (Invercentrics) rule over as and do as they please? Do some of us secretly prefer the Romans anyway? The Scottish Government are talking in terms of “Locality Planning” and want to see power drilled down to communities. Michael Green, present last night, stated that Alistair’s presentation seemed to very much look like material that would come in the near future from Holyrood. There is an opportunity, can we as a community jump on board quickly? Can NICE do it and can they do it right?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Help is at hand for Nairn businesses to supply The Highland Council

A free event aimed at helping Nairn area based businesses to supply The Highland Council will take place on Thursday 4 October in Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

Members of the Council’s Procurement team will be on hand to provide free information and advice to help businesses through the processes of tendering for Council contracts. More on the Highland Council site.

£40 - is it no deterrent to those who still don't pick up doggie jobbies?

There is a school of thought that quantity of dog poo on our streets and public places increase in the darker winter months as those who are so inclined simply leave their dogs turds where they are and head off under the cover of darkness. As the nights draw in perhaps we should prepare to pay more attention when going from A to B after dark. 
This observer believes that the majority of dog owners are responsible and will pick up their pets' jobbies but there are still a few that don't and just one or two dogs shitting every day in the same spot can create quite a mess.
What to do then? The £40 fine as a deterrent is laughable and when did you last hear of anyone being caught in Nairn? Compare the potential fine in Durham - £1000? Above you can compare the Durham attitude with that of Highland Council. Now a grand, that should focus minds and make the persistent offenders think about taking a plastic bag with them every time they take their faithful friend out. Wardens will of course need to be issued with infra-red night vision equipment but the steaming piles should show up well.

Monday Miscellany

A few notes from Community Council meetings last week:

Tonight Alistair Noble goes to River Community Council with his Nice Vision for Nairn. Last week he was with the Westies and found unanimous support. River might prove slightly different however, this observer predicts he will receive a courteous, respectful welcome but issues between River and West over the bus station issue and one or two other matters may provoke an underlying tension between some members of River and the NICE organisation – some West Councillors have dual membership of West and NICE and to this observer this may influence some on River. It would be difficult for NICE to project itself as an organisation that enjoyed town-wide support without the official blessing of River. Tonight’s meeting 8 p.m. in the URC Church will certainly be important, but perhaps not crucial, to the future of Alistair’s initiative for Nairn.
Also important for NICE aims and ambitions in the town will be the planning site visit at the bus station tomorrow at 09.30 a.m. The Councillors will come to town on a bus and then head back to Inverness to decide if 16 flats should be built on the site of the old garage.

Other news from the Community Councils last week. At West concern was expressed about Viewfield House. Some present felt that the building was deteriorating and the Highland Council were not doing enough to maintain it. This observer had a look at the weekend and the first signs of decay can perhaps be seen if you look upwards.

At River it was revealed that another group are bidding to occupy the Links School building. Gurnites will remember that the artists from the BlueDoor Studios  want to move in, with assistance for their bid from the Scottish Arts Group WASPS. The Highland Facilitator team have also stepped forward. They are an independent not-for-profit environmental group who enable, engage and empower young people who are affected or suffer from long term illness and/or disability. They are currently based in Ardersier but are all for moving into Nairn if the Highland Council accept their offer to lease the building. 
A representative told River CC: “Developing community involvement in both the management and running of the Links School is a key factor in our proposal. An example of this is an HFT partner is keen to erect a sound studio within the building, to which people in Nairn would have access and use as well.”

Simon Noble told River CC that he thought that it would be useful to have a meeting of the residents surrounding the untended areas between Sutors Avenue and Sutors View in the Lochloy development to enable them to come up with some options as to what should be done. Posible options could include allotments, a community orchard or a garden. He said that it was clear that Highland Council had no legal obligation for the area and certainly had no wish to be come involved.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More good Nairn Soccer news - Nairn Academy 7 Inverness Royal Academy 3

The Nairn Academy news page states: "Nairn Academy Senior football team scored an impressive 7-3 win against Inverness Royal Academy on Wednesday 19th September."
Go to this page here and scroll down for a match report.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lossiemouth 1 Nairn 3 - Pictures

Individual pictures here from club photographer Donald Matheson and full screen slideshow here.

UPDATE: Sunday morning and a few additional pictures here from this observer. A great afternoon out in Lossie. Lossie fans and social club staff friendly and welcoming as always. It probably won't be long before they start climbing the table but it was another day in the sunshire for the County yesterday. Now all eyes to next Saturday and Broadwood.
A match report now on the Highland League site "Gethins 2 Morrison 2 but Nairn win 3-1. And now another Les vid on the Wee County's news page

Lossie 1 Nairn 3 - Dunbar posse on tour - picture

Post match reaction from Les Fridge now available on the County site. Pictures of the game to follow.
Dunbar clan County faithful larger image here

Doctor Grigor's wild Friday night?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bus Station Flats proposal - the site visit looms - Tuesday 25th about 09.30

Next Tuesday the Highland Council planning committee will get on a bus and get off at the nearest thing we have to a bus station. They will then have a look at the site of the proposed 16 flats at the now derelict bus station garage.

A meeting of the South Planning Applications Committee will take place in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Tuesday 25 September 2012 at 9.00 am.
"9.00 am Transport departs the Council HQ, Inverness to transport Members to Former Bus Station, King Street, Nairn for a site visit in respect of Item 5.1"

Above is the minute sent to us by an observant Gurnite. At the West Meeting on Tuesday night Rosemary called for all those opposed to this development to attend the site visit if possible. Regular readers will know that River CC support the proposal and West object. Interestingly the Bus Station area will feature in the NICE business plan which will be revealed next month. 

Regardless of the outcome or feelings about the application, it seems foolish that the committee will go back to Inverness to make their decision. We could have the debate in the Courthouse so that all those interested could listen to it without having to travel to Inverness or installing the relevant software onto their PCs, laptops or tablets so as to listen to the deabate/webcast. This observer is thinking of making a banner with the words: "This decision needs to be taken in Nairn!" Is anyone else going to the gig?

UPDATE: West CC did ask for the meeting to be held in Nairn and wrote to South Planning Chairman Jimmy Grey requesting this. Copy of this letter here.   A West source told the Gurn that they had not even had an acknowledgement never mind a reply to this letter.

Soon the lights will no longer be going out in Auldearn

Gurnites will remember the last Highland Council administration's plan to turn half the street lights out. Broadhill and Auldearn were selected as experimental areas. River CC were asked for their views and immediately surveyed the residents of Broadhill who voted against the proposal on the forms delivered by the CC to their homes. It was deemed that Auldearn was up for it however, see this Gurn article.

Liz now reports on Facebook that the experiment, on the Lethen Road, was a failure and didn't generate the savings expected and was unpopular with villagers. The lights should be going back on within a week says Liz..

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alistair Noble's vision for Nairn

If you have always thought that Nairn has had a poor deal from the authorities in recent years in the face of growing Invercentric tendencies then perhaps Alistair’s NICE initiative is the opportunity for you to get involved and do something about it. 

Alistair has been part of NICE from the very beginning a couple of years ago when the group was formed to stop what many saw as Highland Council’s “Berlin wall of flats” proposal along the A96 in the town centre. This summer he recently has taken a more assertive role and stepped forward as the public face of that organisation. Now he wants to use the opportunities provided by Holyrood localism and Right to Buy initiatives to begin to redress some of the democratic deficit that has accumulated here in Nairn in recent years.

Alistair is passionate about the future of Nairn and wants to see a healthy prosperous town that has a much greater control of its own destiny. I’m sure many Gurnites would share those sentiments. NICE is hardly out of the starting blocks however and it will need mass subscription to succeed (1400 members), the support of Nairn’s four councillors, the three Community Councils and the institution known as Highland Council. It’s an ambitious programme and will Nairnites rally to Alistair’s flag in great numbers or simply reject the latest proposals? Last night (Wednesday) Alistair took his vision to the West Community Council, next week he goes to River and Suburban and NICE will also present a business plan next month. Full details of these meetings are available here on the NICE website. 

Is NICE for you? Perhaps this video of Alistair’s presentation might be informative. You may have to turn the sound on your PC up a little, Alistair has a quiet voice (even with a microphone) and because the window in the upstairs room at the Community Centre was open he also had to compete with passing traffic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Glen Cunningham's opinions on what life is like for the youth of Nairn

Glen Cunningham, who many gurnites will know as a talented concert singer, is also a youth representative and full co-opted member on Nairn West Community Council. Last night in the Community and Arts centre he gave a forthright report on how it is for the youth of the town. He also talked about Nairn Academy and give frank opinions also on that institution. After being introduced by West chair Rosemary Young he began:

Since being co-opted I have been asked for the opinions of the youth of Nairn. Sadly the response wasn’t earth-shattering. I hardly had any feedback from my peers, however, I’ll share my opinions. I believe the youth of Nairn are very well catered for, there are lots of clubs that meet in Nairn such as the swimming club, scouts, cubs, beavers, guides, rainbows, brownies, boys brigade, sailing, athletics, synchro and many more.

We’ve got the two championship Scottish golf courses, the tennis and sports club, the swimming pool and the Little Theatre, the Community and Arts centre and they all offer lots of opportunities for youths to get involved. There are also youth football teams, many places where youths can get active – not to forget the beach. There’s lots of facilities for the youths in Nairn, so the only problem I can see is that they are not being utilised to their full potential.

You always hear negative comments about the youth of Nairn. For example, one of the questions at the hustings asked how to deal with the feral kids. I think that it is the people that feel this way about young people that are part of the problems. Most young people in Nairn are not threatening. It’s a stereotypical image. I think we should all focus on the success of the youth of Nairn instead of the bad reports. If we keep on complaining about the tiny minority of the youths dropping litter or having fights etc it won’t do anything to improve the situation. These issues should be dealt with in a more discreet way. Praise is more transformational than criticism without purpose. Praise young people for their positive attitude and contribution to society and you create positive roll models. Sadly some young people will not be positive citizens but perhaps adults in their lives do not have a positive influence.

When doing research one thing that did come back was negative about Nairn Academy. I can’t comment very much on this because I left Nairn Academy after my first year so I was only in Nairn Academy for one year then I moved to Culloden Academy. However, I’ll tell you the reasons why I left. To put it bluntly I had awful teachers in just about every subject and there were no opportunities for me to explore my musical talent. There were no school concerts, no school choir. For the time I was at Nairn Academy I wasn’t happy and I wanted to get the best education I could get and focus on my musical skills. It was my decision to put in a placing request to Culloden Academy. Obviously it was a hard decision to leave all my school friends and start anew but still live in Nairn. However, every thing has worked out brilliantly for me. I’ve had great teachers and achieved a good set of highers and I’m aiming for a career as a professional opera singer. I don’t believe that would have happened if I hadn’t left the school.

I wouldn’t like to comment too much on the school’s position right now. I’ve heard disappointing exam results from friends. Whereas Nairn is a great area and the kids should be receiving really good results but a lot of kids in Nairn have tutors outwith. This is something that is not evident in my school, Culloden Academy, but appears to be normal in Nairn Academy. This means the less well off people can’t the tutors and they’re at a disadvantage. The school is seen by young people I know to be improving slowly but with a long way still to go, I’m glad I left four years ago.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

River CC - attempt to support West CC's call for anti-dog signs on Central Beach fails to find a seconder

Earlier tonight in the Community Centre Fred Holmes called for River Community Council to back West CC in attempts to have signs erected on the Central Beach (the first bit of the West Beach really, the name Central is a modern invention by local government) asking for people not to take their dogs on that beach but to go elsewhere. Fred's motion failed to find a seconder.

Work on riverside project continues

A few pictures in from Murray MacRae of the ongoing environmental improvements on the lower riverside. The project seems to be attracting interest from the regulars who walk the riverside paths. Images here. 

West CC are all4 NICE - Meeting Weds 19th September

Up tonight are River CC in the Community Centre but there's also a meeting tomorrow night as West Community Council host Alistair Noble. The ad in the Nairnshire states:  Meeting at the Community and Arts Centre, Wednesday 19th of September, 7.30 p.m.

Presentation by Alistair Noble for NICE - Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise. The Vision and the capability, to improve your town will be outlined. This group is in a strong position to react to all those areas which concern the community . 

Come along and hear what is on their exciting agenda. The meeting is open to all and everyone is welcome. The Nairn West Community Council are strongly backing NICE with their development plans.

River Community Council meeting tonight 18th - Community Centre 7.30 p.m.

Here's the Agenda for tonight:

  1. Welcome
  2. Apologies
  3. Minutes of Previous Meeting
  4. Treasurers Report
  5. Police Report
  6. Presentation By Tenant Participation Officer HRC
  7. Links School
  8. Town Centre
  9. Lochloy Road (Traffic Management)
  10. Correspondence
  11. Planning
  12. AOCB
  13. Date Of Next Meeting (Tuesday 9th October)
 The Northern Constabulary try and attend all Community Council meetings in Nairn if an officer is available and this gives an opportunity for councillors and members of the public to raise local policing matters with the force's representative.
Here's a copy of the police report that has been received by River Community Council for tonight's meeting:

Broman's well going back to the wild?

Our riverside correspondent Murd Dunbar sends us the following pictures that demonstrate the lamentable state of the Broman's Well today and a picture of the renovations in recent years when money went into landscaping the area. 

The way things used to be after the landscaping work

 The 2012 look - cuts or a back to nature initiative from Highland Council?

Murd is also concerned that the path up to Mill Road from this area is also gradually disappearing. Money was also spent here repairing and widening this path but this too has not been adequately maintained according to Murd.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Under 15s Nairn 3 Merkinch 3

A fast exciting contest through in Inverness as County nearly win the league but were unable to find the fourth goal despite dominating the Merkinchers for the last ten minutes of the game.

Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here. 

Council Cuts Consultation 26th September at Rosebank Primary School

This observer thought that the next ward forum in Nairn would be about the town centre but it seems there is to be a meeting about where cuts should be made. Here's what the Highland Council have to say in a press release:

Two meetings in a series of 12 public consultation events on The Highland Council’s budget for 2012 – 2017 are being held next week at:
Brora Community Centre, Brora School on Monday 24 September at 6:30pm; and
Rosebank Primary School, Nairn on Wednesday 26 September at 6:30pm.

The meetings are joint arrangements of the Council’s Ward Forums for East Sutherland and Edderton, and Nairn.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

That 6-0 feeling - Interview with the Wee County's Les Fridge

In-depth interview with Les now up on the NCFC news page. Les talks about the Brora game, cups and league fixtures coming up including his forthcoming return to Clyde FC's ground at Broadwood. See the video here.

A good Saturday for Saint Ninian too

Carbon Black Wheelchair gains £350,000 investment

Gurnites will recall the recent BBC documentary that detailed Andrew Slorance's continuing efforts to take his revolutionary wheelchair design into mass production. According to the Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd 's nan Eilean (HIE) website. 

"As all eyes are on London 2012 Paralympic Games, a revolutionary wheelchair, which uses Formula 1 technology, has secured £350,000 investment from Highland Venture Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank.

 Andrew Slorance, designer of the Carbon Black wheelchair and founder of I Imagine Ltd, the company behind the technology, has spent four years realising his vision of a wheelchair revolution. Carbon Black uses F1 technology to create a cutting edge design that provides a significantly improved user experience with a stylish minimal design." 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Scotland Coast to Coast race - Nairn "It's the perfect kind of arena to set something like this off."

"One big adventure - 106 miles." They set off tomorrow morning in two categories at 06.30 and 08.00 a.m. respectively and run up to Cawdor to get their bicycles and then continue along the Great Glen. 
Healthy looking competitors are in the town centre this evening picking up last minute provisions etc, before the start of the race tomorrow morning. Two cyclists could be seen heading up in the Cawdor direction, maybe they will run back? The following Coast to Coast video shows Nairn for the first minute or two. Good luck to them all on foot, bikes and water tomorrow. 

Nairn "It's the perfect kind of arena to set something like this off." Last year the Gurn got a few pictures, it was dark and damp in the morning but so far the forecast looks a bit better for 2012.

A Friday night with a difference? Neil Diamond Tribute at the Legion

Raising Funds for Queen's Park Gardents Amenity Fund. £10 per Ticket - Tickets limited so act fast!

At the Legion Friday 14th Sep starting 19.00

further details on this facebook page

Nairn Ceilidh Group raises £2550 for good causes in 2012 - Video

Moguntia Pipes and Drums visit the Ceilidh in the Royal British Legion Nairn

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Scottish Government's "Community Right to Buy" - Could the community take control of the whole of Sandown for small scale agriculture?

There's plently of Land around Nairn and between here and Inverness zoned for development now (and nobody seems to be rushing) so why ruin the beautiful vistas across Sandown with housing? Imagine a lot more of Sandown as plots and Community Orchards etc? Just a dream? Not if a Scottish Government bill being formulated now goes through and gives communities like Nairn the right to do just that. According to the BBC:

"Urban communities could be given powers that would allow them to take over unused land and grow crops, flowers or plant trees.
The "community right to grow" is among ideas contained in the Scottish government's proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill.
Other suggestions include extending rural community land buy-out rights to large towns and cities." There's more here.

Maybe one day we could grow more of our own food, provide employment and create sustainable economic activity by using the Sandown Lands in this way? A mad pipe dream or an alternative vision that makes sense for the challenges that face our community in this new millennium?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

North of Scotland semi Nairn 3 Forres 2 - pictures

Going to the North of Scotland Cup Final on Saturday October 20th?

Get the bus from Uncle Bob's. More information on this facebook event page. 

Nairn pupils to go electro

Good news for young musicians at Nairn Academy in the following Highland Council press release:

Electrolabs, a mobile contemporary Apple Mac based electronic music production experience which uses professional industry standard performance software will be setting up in Nairn Academy next week to give pupils a taste of how modern music is created and produced.

Early hours evacuation of Windsor Hotel

The Northern Constabulary report on their website this morning:
"About 4.55am on 12/09/12 HIFRS and Northern Constabulary Officers attended to a report of a fire at the Windsor Hotel in Nairn. All occupants were safely evacuated without incident while HIFRS extingushed a small fire contained to the kitchen area. Staff and guests have now returned to the premises with all persons accounted for and no injuries reported. Northern Constabulary and HIFRS are continuing enquiries to establish the cause of the fire."

River CC renewal project gets underway

Himalayan Balsam being removed from the section of the riverside between the sewage and A96 bridges. River CC have funding to revitalise the ecology of this area: Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed will be either removed from this area or sprayed as part of an ongoing project and there will be some work on the trees too.

What a shame funding is only available for this stretch of the town centre river walks. The invasive species have had a good year again and they need to be dealt with so the complex ecological relationship between the flora and fauna of the river bank and the river can once again thrive. The authorities are well aware of the dangers presented by the "foreign plants" on the Nairn - here's Fergus Ewing and others at the Howford earlier this year.

Well done Tommy and River CC for getting this project underway! 

Path Renewal on East Beach

A Highland Council Squad yesterday busy at work along the path that leads from the Bailey Bridge to the East Beach. Good to see this work going ahead and resources being used in Nairn.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nairn 3 Forres 2 - post North Cup semi video reaction from Les Fridge now on County site

County joy as a hard-fought quality cup tie goes the right way after Robbie Duncanson's second goal. Drama all the way from the start as Forres Score in the first minute but a Cameron stunner in the 2nd put County straight back in the Game.
See reaction from Les Fridge on the Wee County's news page.

Update: the mannie sitting next to Charlie Robertson was a Rangers scout/spy it seems, earlier one of our correspondents reports that he stopped in a High Street shop to ask for directions to the ground. I wonder what he made of his mission to see what Forres Mechanics were made of? This observer hears that a few Nairn folk have managed to obtain tickets for the forthcoming CanCans v Gers Scottish Cup game, why bother the real action on that day will be down at Clyde FC's ground...que sera, sera....

Controlled expolsion on Cawdor estate

More on the BBC pages. 

Congratulations - the birde and groom emerge from the Courthouse into the High Street sunshine

A96 Consultation - picture

(picture Murray MacRae)
Despite the lack of prior advertising some citizens did manage to get up to the Courthouse to give Transport Scotland and BEAR the benefit of their thoughts. The chance will come again however, as Liz has sorted it so they will advertise properly and return in the near future. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting Salty to move along will cost a lot of money!

Peter Rock, a renowned expert on seagulls, who we have referred to several times on the Gurn is quoted in a BBC article today:

"They are very crafty and very clever in bird terms," says Rock. "They just adapt to everything that is thrown at them. We have invited them into towns with our throwaway society and it is going to cost a lot of money to take them away again."  More here. 

The Nairn book and arts festival Hog Roast finale - eye-witness accounts

One of our regular readers was at the Book and Arts Festival Chilli Pipers gig at the Newton last night and enjoyed the music but seems deeply disappointed with the hog roast, our correspondent sent the Gurn a few notes:

"Price £30 per head.  Festival Programme promotes “cabaret show to accompany hog roast buffet”, starting at 7.30pm.  Programme available on night has local singing group welcoming arrivals, local youth ceilidh band from around 8.00 to 9.30 and Chilli Pipers from 9.45 to 10.30 pm

Audience seated at tables in cabaret style arrangement.  Jugs of iced water on the tables.
Soft bap with some roast pork in it served at around 8.15 with dollop of coleslaw and salad garnish on plate to tables. 1 plate each.  All drinks extra

Notable numbers of audience visited the Newton’s bar and ordered chips, sandwiches etc.  One table alleged to have ordered a takeaway from Al Raj.  Fair number of grumpy comments.  Chilli Pipers came on at precisely 9.45 and stayed on through to nearly 11.15. All the music was good. The Chilli Pipers were BRILLIANT! OK that’s not a fact, it’s an opinion – but 95% of the audience was on its feet at the finale applauding etc.

So, what would you have imagined from the programme description? What d’you think a hog roast is? What would you expect for £30?"

Keen to further canvass opinion on the night this observer asked another festival goer who was also present at the final event of this year's programme for their thoughts: 

"On entering the function room around 8pm, waiters were dishing out plates with a roll on it and a little bit of side salad. First impression straight away not what we had expected for the price of the ticket! A hog roast dinner to us would imply a "hog" on a spit and freshly cooked slices of moist pork with crackling with plenty of apple sauce and side salad...option to have seconds as well. The roll was just your bog standard white roll, the pork was quite tough, no crackling to speak of and a small dessert bowl of apple sauce in the middle of the table for 9/10 folk. Not good enough."

Our second correspondent was also really pleased with the musical fare however: "The Chilli's were fab though. The set they played was appropriate for the venue, laying off some of the heavier/louder type drumming and opting for acoustic/softer type. The dance floor was indeed busy at the end of the night and everyone was on their feet for the encore mix of tracks. We Will Rock You does the trick every time I guess!
 Generally, would love to see more music played in a venue in Nairn but they didn't get it right on the food front, far too basic and not what the audience were expecting."

UPDATE 22.15: The Gurn learns this evening from a deeply disappointed Nairn Book and Arts festival spokesperson that they apologise to all concerned for the food provided, it wasn't what they expected, and they will be raising the matter with the hotel.

UPDATE 11th September 16.24: Gurn staff have seen a detailed complaint about the food provided at the event which is now on its way to the head of the hotel group concerned. We have also spoken to someone else who attended the gig and was so underwhelmed with the hog roast that he had to have a bacon and egg roll when he went home.

Police appeal for information following disturbance in Nairn

"Police in Nairn are appealing for witnesses following a disturbance in the George Street area of Queens Park in the early hours of Saturday morning (08 September 2012).

The disturbance, which happened at approximately 02:45 hours on Saturday morning, involved a number of people and Police are encouraging anyone with information to contact them." More details on the Northern Constabulary site. 

A96 Consultation workshop shambles - Liz asks them to advertise and come back again

See also the previous article from Dave W gurning about the lack of advertising for the A96 workshop consultation today in the Courthouse with BEAR and transport Scotland. Liz tells the Gurn that she has asked the representatives present to come back again as the event had not been advertised properly. Apparently there was an advert in the Highland News but nothing in the Nairnshire Telegraph. The Association of Nairn Businesses got wind of the event and posted information on their site last night but I'm sure David Brownless will agree that his organisation's digital journal is not as widely read as the local paper. 

Liz said that Council officials provided all the information as to where to advertise but nothing appeared in the Leopold Street Thunderer. She requested a re-run of the workshop after proper advertising has appeared, the mannie in the Courthouse agreed so it looks as though they'll be another chance for us all to air our views. Liz  also told us that although BEAR say they don't get many complaints about the A96 and the traffic lights the subject crops up constantly at Community Council meetings and in conversations with her constituents in Nairn and beyond. Given the concern in the town Liz thinks a properly advertised consultation would attract a lot of people.

A96 workshop gurn

Seems that there's a low key consultation gig on A96 matters in the Courthouse today (Monday 10th). Dave W tells the Gurn:

Very surprised that it doesn't appear to be have been advertised anywhere else.
After all it is an issue affecting everyone in Nairn !!!

Did the Community Councils know about this ?
If so why haven't they spread the word ?

Yet again another missed opportunity and a chance for Transport Scotland and Bear to do whatever they like without proper consultation?

You need to scroll down the page to see the notice............"

Maybe a big public meeting would have been more appropriate Dave?

Sunday afternoon - culture in Nairn - Tales of the riverbank

Images from Tez Watson. Tez told the Gurn:
"About thirty people attended the event co-organised by The Pen & I (Nairn) and forWORDS (Forres) two local writing groups, numerous passers-by stopped and listened... no doubt our chosen favourite verses tied to the trees/bushes, etc will catch the eye as well as the wind and intrigue some people.."

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Saturday afternoon and a bit of Nairn culture

The Victoria Hotel once again gets a mention on youtube from someone passing through.

Gurn buy back the Common Good scheme!

Fantastic opportunity to buy back what you already own! Waste no time, sign up now to avoid disappointment. We want 1,000 gurnites to subscribe £500 each and then we’ll submit a bid to buy out the common good lands and all other publicly owned areas and buildings in Nairn. As soon as we reach a 1,000 subscribers the right to buy legislation should kick in (we think). 

Should this scheme hit the buffers at any stage then all monies donated will be given to the Gurn correspondents Christmas Party Fund.

An offer that only comes once in a lifetime, contact the e-mail address in the sidebar for further details.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Buckie 1 Nairn 1 - pictures

Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictures here. 

County get a point at Buckie

County without Junior Mendes today (away on international duty) and Connor Gethins out with a hamstring injury.  Buckie were down to 10 men with Gary Clark red carded. Les said in the Courier that it couldn't be helped and it would give someone else the chance to shine - today it was Mike Morrison who shone for  the  County. More details on the above Buckie twitter account. A report will no doubt be available later tonight on 
Victoria Park is never an easy place for the Wee County to go and get anything so Les will probably be content to come home with a draw. 
Next week at Station Park there is the prospect of a cracking encounter with Brora Rangers and their massive squad of former Wee County Players. There should be some good craic coming from the terraces at 3 pm on Sat the 15th. Today the brand new Brora Rangers had a bad time of it at home to the Broch and will head south looking for redemption next week. Be prepared to see some familiar faces and a possible classic. 
Meanwhile there is the mouth-watering meeting coming up with the Can-Cans in the North Cup on Tuesday  night (again at Station Park). The Forres loons have their minds on their forthcoming big Scottish Cup tie so perhaps they might get a reality check when they head along the A96 for the Tuesday tussle?

An hour beside the river with Oor Vix

Gurn correspondent Vix Sinex files the following report:

Time for a shoppers loyalty card for Nairn?

A regular reader points us in the direction of  how Wick and Thurso are campaigning to keep shoppers spending in their communities rather than going further afield. Here's the offers available in Thurso and also in Wick. 
Maybe if there's any of the Sainsbury's donation left perhaps the cash could be used for similar in Nairn ?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It's not NICE for Forres but FACT!

With regard to town centre development  uncanny echoes surface along the road in Moray; the birth of the Forres Area Community Trust is summarised in Yesterday's Forres Gazette. 

"Following a period of community consultation and research, the Forres Area Community Trust is producing a plan which will enable the group to move forward with its top priority projects."

Like it's Nairn Counterpart NICE there is a big input from those who think that Tourism is essential to the community and again like the Niceafarians the FACT folk are going for mass membership: 
"Everyone with an interest in the Forres Area is urged to support FACT by becoming a member. A large membership demonstrates strong community support which is crucial to securing funding projects."

You can read more about FACT on their website and there are more interesting parallels to read about in this week's Forres Gazette. Meanwhile the Gurn learns from an unreliable source close to major players at the heart of River Community Council that Alistair Noble will be speaking to the River members at a public meeting later this month with a view to securing their support for NICE's aims and objectives (persumably all those aims and objectives will be detailed in the document called "A NICE vision for Nairn" which is not yet in the public domain). Alistair is a polished performer with a lot of street cred in Nairn but this observer predicts he may have difficulties in convincing one or two of the River folk of the benefits of giving their blessing to NICE.

"Candy Cabin" opening on the High Street Brae next week.

Ronnie Watson's former Greengrocer's shop (briefly occupied as Baby Love) will be reopening next week as the "Candy Cabin". Tasty looking sweeties are already starting to fill the shelves. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Soidhne dà-chànanach aig Slighe MhicGhumaraid, Inbhir Narann

How nice to see the Highland Council's policy of all new or replacement street signs being bilingual  now in action in Nairn. The English is still clearly visible so no chance of anyone getting lost or confused. Gaelic culture is not only an important part of Nairn and Scotland's past, it is still very much alive today as the bairns being educated in the language at Millbank School will testify. A language that still has a future and Nairn is playing its part in keeping the Gaelic language and culture alive in the Scotland of the new millennium. Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig agus 's math a rinn  Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd gu h-araid Oor Sandy nuair a leig esan a chuid taic ris a' chànain. 

Los Encantados - can you spot a Nairn loon in this music vid?

A year's free subscription to the Gurn to anyone that does.

Nairn town centre buses - would a free service to Sainsbury's have been a good move?

Here's how it's done in Kelso at the moment, a shuttle service between the town centre and the new superstore up the brae on the other side of the river. The situation is quite similar to Nairn and there were worries that the new store would take trade away from the centre. The free bus is seen as a benefit for both the store and the town. Here's comment from the store's web page:

"Sainsbury’s is delighted to be funding a free shuttle bus service from the store to the town centre. It operates Monday to Saturday, 52 weeks a year and will promote trade in the centre and in the Pinnaclehill area of Kelso.
Paul Miller, Sainsbury’s National Development Surveyor for Scotland, stated; “We have worked effectively with Scottish Borders Council, residents and traders to ensure that our free bus service will promote Kelso as the premier market town in the Borders.”

The theory being that those who park at the store will take the opportunity of a quick trip into town on a free busy and vice versa. Should we have done this in Nairn?