Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ceilidh to help light up Station Park

Nairn County football fan Donald Wilson is inviting fellow Cowshed grazers and sawmillenders to support a ceilidh he is organising to help fund the new flood lights at Station Park. The club has recently launched its own website and is appealing to fans to come up with ideas to support the fund raising drive for new lights. Donald told the Gurn:
"This is a real opportunity for the fans to come on board and show their support for the long term future of the club. "I was involved in a project at the United Reformed Church inspired by Rev Tom Heggie ten years ago and £400,000 was raised in grants and loans to build the extension which has been a fantastic asset not just to the church but the community of Nairn.
"Tom actually challenged church members to raise £100 each and a 100x100 club was launched with the aspirations of members using their own ideas and talents to generate £10,000 - There was an amazing response. People gave sums of cash for their birthdays, concerts, afternoon teas were held, old pews were transformed into very desireable footstools and one of our deacons decided to hold a roup. I remember seeing the church hall packed with what I thought was a mixture of useful second hand goods and junk!
"An auctioneer flogged the lot at the roup and we raised £3000. Tom's 100x100 club generated £30,000. I'm hoping fans will turn out at the ceilidh in large numbers and who knows we may get some of the players to come along and have a pint with you."
Music will be provided by The Altyre Ceilidh Band (Jimmy Urquhart and Friends).
venue: Royal British
Legion Highland Hall.
date: Saturday May 12 8 till late.
Tickets priced £5 will be available from donaldawilson(AT) or phone 01667 453270 evenings.

Footnote: The existing lights at Station Park incorporate stanchions rolled at the pipe mill at McDermotts in the 1970s and the later addition of redundant lights from Inverness Caley's Telford Street ground.

Lossie 0 Nairn 2

County claim three points through in Morayshire earlier today. Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here.
Match report here.

Fruits of Keeping Nairnshire Colourful labours start to show

The remarkably warm weather has helped bring about an early feast of colour to the field below the cemetery on the Grantown Road. This picture is of the lower part of the field where thousands of daffodils and muscardi were planted last autumn by the volunteers of Keeping Nairnshire Colourful.

Seagulls - a partial solution from Arbroath?

Thanks to a regular readar for alerting the Gurn to this interesting Guardian article:

"In the summer breeding season, which is fast approaching, they can become aggressive. Appeals to residents not to feed them, hawks and anti-litter campaigns have made little difference. Now, the local council is about to trial a new deterrent by painting bright red patches at key locations around the town." More here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eight contestants for four Nairnshire seats

Broadbent Ashley Scottish Labour Party

Cunningham Ritchie Independent

Fraser Laurie Richard Independent

Green Michael Independent

Macaulay Colin John MacRury Scottish National Party (SNP)

MacDonald Liz Scottish National Party (SNP)

MacRae Rossie Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Marsden Graham Scottish Liberal Democrats

The nominations closed at 16.00 today and a list of candidates has now been published. Game on! Interesting to see a Tory candidate putting their hat in the ring. For a full list of candidates in all the Highland Council wards see here. Eight into four Nairnshire seats doesn't go, once the dust settles four of the above will be disappointed. How will Gurnshire vote? Unscientific Gurn poll in the side bar.

Keith 1 Nairn 3

Nairn move up the table again by taking three points at Keith last night. Pictures from Donald Matheson, club photographer. Individual pictures here. Match report here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Work continues on the Bailey Bridge

Local tradesman Robin Smith continues to make good progress in replacing the rotten decking on the Bailey Bridge. Larger picture here.

Riverside circular walk warning signs vanish

Murd reports that the "Circular walk no suitable for all abilities" signs newly installed on the Riverside have vanished. Murd informed the Council thinking that perhaps they might have removed them for some official purpose. Word comes back from the Ranger service that it appears the signs have been stolen. Riverside metal theft?

Cawdor get go-ahead for Delnies development

"Description: Mixed use development incorporating:
• 300 residential units
• Tourism and heritage centre
• Hotel, spa and conference facilities
• 18 hole golf course, clubhouse, golf academy and golf range
• Equestrian Centre and stables
• Tourism and Heritage Centre
• Ecological Centre with bird hides
• Community woodland and park
• Public footpath and cycleway network

• Associated access and infrastructure works, including new roundabout on to the A96 Trunk Road."

That was how it was billed at yesterday's planning meeting in Inverness and it was passed. There were 10 objections including River Community Council, you can see the list of objectors on page 8 of this document and a lot more background information too on other pages. There was also one letter of support from the Nairn Woodlands and Wetlands Association.

Elements of this development could provide employment in sectors that have a proven track record in this area. Golf, tourism, hotels etc. Obviously there are concerns about environmental impact but if Dick Youngson and the Woodlands and Wetlands asscociation are happy with what might happen then that is good enough for this observer. As to housing, it might be a while before we see significant numbers of houses on either Sandown or Delnies so there is an opportunity here to plant trees and prepare the landscape years in advance of the bulk of the inhabitants moving in? In retrospect thank goodness we got Delnies first and not the 550 houses that were proposed by the Highland Council's preffered bidder for Sandown.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fire on the hill yesterday (Monday)

According to today's Inverness Courier an area of 2 sq miles of moor was ablaze yesterday beyonD Cawdor. During the day smoke was clearly visible from Nairn.

Swim Camp - an 8 week programme for young swimmers

Louise of NDASC told the Gurn: "The club is going from strength to strength and is now about to launch an exciting new opportunity for young swimmers in the area.

Starting on Friday 4th May, NDASC is delighted to announce that we will be running an 8 week programme for young swimmers who are not quite ready to join the club. Swim Camp is a fun way to improve swimming skills alongside normal leisure centre and school lessons." More details and an online application form here.

Betty Jessiman - Nairn Games female trail blazer

"When Miss Jessiman spotted a poster for the Nairn Highland Games, which omitted to state the dancing competition was “males only”, she seized her chance and posted in her entry. A special committee was convened to consider her application and it was decided to let her take part."

Thanks to Jason Rose for pointing us in the direction of Betty Jessiman's obituary.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Harbour tonight

Picture from Murray MacRae. And here's a few pictures of the sunset from further along the West Beach by a gurn photographer.

Will work start on the Jubilee car park today?

Work had been predicted to start on demolishing the old Free Kirk/Community Centre on the 5th of this month but the building is still intact this morning, apart from....

Where the commemorative plaque used to be.

Update: Liz told the Gurn: "I asked officers for an update last week, the contract did begin from 5th March. I understand that the first job was checking out for asbestos so survey work may have been going on inside the community centre, there has also been equipment removed that had been stored since Nairnia."

Tax smear attempt on Fergus by fading dead tree daily

The Daily Record is having pop at Fergus today claiming that he has invested in tax havens, their report dutifully helped along by comments from two politicians, a Green and a Labour MSP.

"Ewing transferred his £200,000 portfolio into collective investments to avoid potential conflicts of interest when he became a minister."

Poor Fergus, he needs at least another 50K, then he could spend it in a oner to get in to see David Cameron by the back door. More on the Daily Record.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bob the builder inspired by Nairn

Not a new story but it gets an interesting airing again in the Daily Record, quoting Keith Chapman the creator of the character:

“It’s one of my favourite places. I think it’s perfect. The cricket pavilion, the bandstand, the parks, the beach, the sea, the Black Isle edging the Moray Firth, the surrounding farms, the golf courses, the charming town itself, the rivers, the Highlands off in the distance." More on the Daily Record web site.

County 1 Locos 3

Match report here. Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here. Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson and

St Ninian 2 RAF Lossiemouth 2

Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here.

Wee bargain out at Auldearn

"Charlie's Staffordshire elephant fetches thousands" Only one day left to watch this Antiques Road trip Episode 26 on BBCiplayer. Visit to Auldearn begins 14.30 minutes into the episode.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Solving a wee photographic enigma

Tez Watson of Iolaire Gifts, Gallery and Graphics down at the harbour would like the help of Gurnshire, he tells the Gurn:

"May I try through your good offices to locate the owner of the attached photograph who came into our Harbour Street premises a while ago wanting a copy made and left without leaving his contact details saying he would be back the next day. As the original is marked "Jock Barron" on the back I duly consulted Nairn's resident sage (Alan Barron) who was unable to in this instance assist with identifying the lad in the photo or the older gentleman who brought in the print. Looks like the Catering Corps to me and a while ago, the shiny horse is quite interesting perhaps a trophy! "

Sad seagull reading the sign?

Picture James O'Brien

Curtis Cup Nairn 2012

A video with comment from George Asher and Nan Burtwell

There are also pictures of the Great Britain and Ireland squad practising in Nairn yesterday on the Curtis Cup Facebook page. Here's the Nairn Golf Club Curtis Cup page.

Friday, March 23, 2012

ASBOs for seagull fans in Moray?

"While some could see no harm in feeding gulls in their own gardens most people expressed support for Moray Council’s stance that they would, after sufficient warning, take out the legally-binding orders against people who refused to stop the practice." More on the STV Forres pages.

Nairnshire's resident urban seagull population could be quite active by May 3rd. This observer wonders if the election candidates might find the gulls an issue on the doorstep. Whilst we've mentioned this issue many times on the Gurn, including the recent "token gesture"
and Inverness spending £5,000 on research to get results that you could probably have googled anyway, the ASBOs for seagull feeders idea does seem to be a new initiative.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How about some restoration as well as some demolition of Nairn's historic buildings?

This interesting piece in from a regular Gurnite:

We are all aware how 'Oor Sandy' and Council officals were able to obtain a grant from the Scottish Government's Derelict and Vacant Land Fund (DVLF) to pay for the demolition of the former Free Church/community centre and to subsidise the removal of the Co-op's abandoned filling station.

It is sensible, if sad, to knock down old buildings which are no longer useful or safe. But wouldn't it be good if our Councillors and their officials were equally effective at securing public money to repair and restore some of the historic buildings in Nairn that deserve to be kept? There is a £10 million pot of money now up for grabs under the so-called "CARS" scheme. This has nothing to do with vehicles or traffic. It's the Conservation Areas Regeneration Scheme, administered by Historic Scotland. The fifth bidding round was announced by Fiona Hyslop in February, and the deadline for bids is 31 August.

More details here and in a press report here

It seems that this scheme is not limited to work in existing conservation areas - although Fishertown has that status, so money could be sought to preserve the former Links School. Since 2005, Highland Council has evidently applied for, and got, CARS money for Wick (£1.5 million) and for Dingwall (£420,000). Are they applying for funds this time for Nairn?

After all, there are several buildings in the town which are in need of a bit of TLC. Let's start a list. The former police station/social work buildings are historic stone structures which deserve to be preserved, restored and brought back into use as feature elements in a redesigned town centre. Maybe the former school building nearby, listed because of its Italianate architecture and currently used as Council offices, could be turned into a showpiece building too? Viewfield House, an important part of Nairn's heritage which is owned by the Council and used by the Museum, is in dire need of substantial repairs. Since the CARS money can be made available to local businesses and even for private buildings, why not also seek funding to restore some of the neglected facades of the High Street? The bus station is beyond redemption. But it might be nice to see the roofless wreck of Rosebank Church turned into an attractive and usable building again.

To quote Ms Hyslop's own announcement: "“By restoring our high streets and town centres we are maintaining their distinct identities, improving them for the people who live, shop and work there. It is also providing a boost to local economies; creating work and training opportunities; encouraging tourism and celebrating culture within our communities......Funding can be used for repairs and improvements to private homes and businesses as well as restoring local landmarks to bring them back into use."

Here is a test for the effectiveness of our present and future elected Councillors. Instead of focusing on knocking down and selling off buildings in order to create car parks and clear land for developers, let them show their mettle by ensuring that the Highland Council successfully bids for a significant sum of money to look after and revive some of the decent and attractive buildings which give Nairn its special character.

Work on the Bailey Bridge commences

Earlier in the week the Gurn had heard rumours from one of our regular unreliable sources close to River CC that work would soon be starting on the decking. All was confirmed when Liz tweeted today.

And on facebook Liz gives all the credit to River Community Council for forcing the Highland Council Administration into action. You can see from the pictures below that there has been serious decay in both the upper and lower decking. Decay that didn't come overnight. Back in October we published pictures sent in by one of our regular readers who was concerned about the state of the decking, perhaps if repairs had been made back then some money might have saved to the public purse as another winter's decay would have been avoided.

Debating success for Nairn Academy pupils

From a Highland Council press release:

Two senior pupils from Nairn Academy, Amy McCann and Ruby Downie, have won a place in the finals of the Law Society of Scotland's Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament which takes place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 14th June, later this year. Amy and Ruby won through at a semi-final debate held at Meldrum Academy on Tuesday evening, 20 March, for their convincing proposition of the motion 'This House Would ban all forms of gambling'. They will take their place in the final alongside pupils from Stewart's Melville College, Craigmount High School and St Andrew's and St Bride's in East Kilbride.

The girls continue to build on their success earlier this year when they won the North of Scotland Schools Debating Championship. Amy commented: “The semi-finals were quite different to any of our previous debates as we only received the motion 1 hour before the start and had to quickly collect our thoughts and write out our speeches within that short time without access to any outside materials or support.” Ruby added: “It was a great experience, we really had to think on our feet! We can’t wait to go to the Parliament for the final and ‘fly the flag’ for the school.”

Team Coach John Chalmers noted: “This is a first for a Highland School and we’re all very proud of the girls’ achievement – their team-work was superb. To reach the national final and be amongst the top four debating teams in Scotland is fantastic for the school, the community and the pupils… It shows the kind of potential our students have.”

The annual competition, which is now the biggest schools' debating tournament in Scotland each year invites pupils from schools across Scotland to pit their wits and powers of persuasion against each other.

Explosives on Nairn Beach

The BBC reports: "Part of a Highland beach used to train troops for the D-Day landings in World War II has been shut off following the discovery of rusting explosives.

The two devices found by a member of the public at about 09:45 were thought to have been exposed by shifting sand at Nairn's East Beach.

Bomb disposal experts are heading for the scene from Edinburgh.

Nairn's beaches were used to prepare soldiers and sailors for the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944." More information here.

There is also a larger image of the ordnance on this Northern Constabulary web page.

Update: Interesting comments in from Murd and Nairnlass. Mrs Gurnmeister was speaking to someone today who remembers being warned about mines on the beach as a child in the early/mid fifties. This blog post highlights Nairn's link with the D-Day landings and also links to an interesting document which tells of the loss of a Valentine tank by the Royal Hussars in training off the Culbin.

In relation to Murd's post we have further information from Hamish who recalls a Harbour Street shoemaker's son being killed in a tragic accident during the war:

"I do believe that the lad was seven years old and he wandered on to a minefield at the Back Shore. As to the date I am not at all sure but an educated guess is that it was during the war years. 1940/41 ?"
Do any other gurnites have any memories of the D-Day training, the minefields or the munitions left behind after the war?
Update: Comment in from Min

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nairn harbour pics

A few interesting pictures on the fun loving criminal's flickr page. Not quite the usual images we are used to.

Forres and Nairn Welfare league

Summer football looms on the horizon already and some Gurnites walking along the river walks on a summer's evening might be wondering who it is playing football on the riverside pitch. If you didn't know much about the Forres and Nairn Welfare league then a new website can get you up to date:

"The Forres and Nairn Welfare League was formed in 1999, amalgamating the old Nairn and Forres Summer Leagues. Providing competitive football for players in the Forres, Nairn and Elgin areas who may not be of junior level, and players who want to make themselves known to junior teams, teams compete for the League Shield, the Ally Ross Memorial Rosebowl and the McIntosh Rosebowl between April and September."

Last year's league winners were Jacko's and they had a remarkable season: "2011 also seen first time winners, Jackos made Welfare League history by going through their entire league campaign without dropping even a point, winning all their games."

You can browse the Forres and Nairn Welfare league website here (tip once on the site use the sidebar on the left-hand side, the tabs at the top of the page take you to information on the web host)

David Ross (Ross Outdoors) tells it like it is

David Ross has commented on an a Gurn article published recently. We think it worthy of being highlighted as a post in its own right as it demonstrates the obstacles that many small businesses must face at this point in time in a rapidly changing retail world.

Chilly economic wind blowing down the brae?

TO CLARIFY OUR SITUATION. Yes, the current economic climate is not good for small specialist shop keepers like ourselves, but we were prepared to tighten our belts and ride it out! However, the manufacturers and distributors who supply our goods are NOT prepared to do the same, and demand that we order £5,000 (trade cost ex VAT) of goods a year, or they close the account!! Some are even saying £5,000 twice a year ordered 10months in advance!!! These are companies that we have dealt with regularly for over 8yrs, and paid within 2weeks! We deal with over 20 manufacturers and distributors, so this soon adds up and becomes impossible!!!!!

We have tried to find goods of the type and quality that our customers expect, but have not found a suitable manufacturer, or distributor, who is not starting to enforce the above conditions!! With Nairn being an IV postcode we are also penalised by having to order minimum amounts of goods (up to £750) before they deliver to us!!

We have never “just relied on Nairn” for our customers! For certain brands we are the only Industrial Rope Access & Arboricultural equipment specialist in the North of Scotland, dealing with Cairngorm Mtn., The Scottish School of Forestry, & Perth Council, to name but a few!!!!

I did not take the decision (to close) lightly, having put 13yrs of my life into Ross Outdoors Ltd.!! I have steadily built up a reputation for quality and service, and the company is financially viable! The policy of the shop was to offer a wide range of quality items, this is now, unfortunately, no longer possible!!!

I would also like to thank our customers for their support over the years. I have been overwhelmed by all the people who have been coming into the shop saying they are sorry to see Ross Outdoors Ltd., and all it stood for, close.


David A. Ross (Director)

Update: Now in the P&J:

"He said Nairn’s ‘IV’ postcode also penalised his business as it comes with a demand for a minimum order of goods to assure delivery, and that no politician had dealt with the unfair delivery system." More here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Greenhouse for sale

£200 or nearest offer. Further information here.

A Sunday afternoon dare in 1939

Hamish tells the Gurn:

"Attached is a photograph of a very dear friend dressed in the uniform of a member of the Nairn Pipe Band.

I recall that it was taken in King Street at the end of Wilson Street in 1939.

One Sunday afternoon my Pal, who played the pipes in the Band, and I challenged her to wear the uniform and walk along High Street. She accepted the challenge and walked, unaccompanied , as far as Morganti's on the Brae.

After the war our lives separated and 'went their own way' but we never lost touch and still corresponded regularly"

Ashley supports Liz

Labour mannie Ashley Broadbent tweeted his support on the housing issue and offered his good wishes to Liz for the campaign. (image will enlarge)

Out on the campaign trail Liz tells the Gurn that some voters are worried about the unkept condition of the town. She has notified Scottish Water on one issue of smelly drains. Some problems have been referred to Fergus as she felt they were more appropriate matters for the Scottish Government to deal with. In Auldearn she says: “Folk are not so happy about the alternative light switch off as I had been led to believe .”

Gurnites will remember that the residents of Broad Hill protested vigorously with the help of River Community Council and had a proposal to turn half their lights off overturned as a result.

Tonight the Nairnshire has the Links litter and safety issue on the front page and once again propels what, to this observer, is fundamentally a question of who runs Nairn to the centre stage. An interesting read for anyone with a spare 45p awaits in the shops tomorrow morning.

Charlie's Art

Charlie Williamson's interpretation of the A96 town bridge.

Carrying the Flame - Sandra Ross and Jamie Walker

And thanks to Anon for spotting Jamie Walker

From the Meet the Torchbearers site.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Will Liz's sacking as Provost in 2010 still resonate at the ballot boxes?

Here's how the BBC covered Liz's sacking as Provost by Graham, Laurie and Sandy: "Sacked Nairn provost 'treated shabbily." There's no doubting Liz was a very popular Provost and her sacking caused outrage at the time. We covered it on the Gurn and there's also wall to wall linkage on Google for anyone who isn't up to speed with how things unfolded. Liz drew a line under it all with a "free hugs" event to thank all her supporters, including a massive Facebook group formed to call for her reinstatement. She told the P&J at the time: “The purpose of the free hugs, on Saturday morning at 11, is just to draw a line under things." Pictures of that event here. Will the electorate be as forgiving? Has time been a healer or will it still be on one or two voters' minds as the preferences are filled in on the ballot papers?

The Gurn is running a poll in the sidebar for the coming week, asking the question: "Will Liz's sacking as Provost in May 2010 influence the way you vote this time round on May 3rd?"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Buckie 2 Nairn 1 Pictures

Not a perfect day for the Wee County but congratulations to St Ninian, by the way, who won 2-1 at the Showfield against Colony Park in the Elginshire Cup.

Pictures of the Buckie game from club photographer Donald Matheson, and Tommy Hogg. Individual pictures here. Full screen slideshow here.

Match report here.

Buckie 2 Nairn 1

The pies were good, the sun shone but it wasn't to be the Wee County's day. More images later.

Social housing issues

A lot of people in Nairnshire are upset about the way that social/council housing is allocated in this area and one suggestion is that it should be brought back under local control and thus the community can have direct input into who gets housed and not out of town officials or agencies. Why should homeless people from outwith Nairn get priority points etc?

It is a subject that has cropped up a few times at various community council meetings. Now one of the candidates has come across it on the doorstep. Michael Green writes on his Facebook page:
"I had a very interesting meeting with a community care worker who is separated from her husband , has two children and is unable to get a house, from either the Council or Albyn. All three are currently occupying one room in her parent’s house and she has been on both housing lists for over eighteen months. If elected , I told her to contact me on May 4th and we will go and see both the council housing department and Albyn, as she ticks all the boxes as the type of person who should get priority on any housing list. The council officials work for me and I work for her."

One Gurn reader was not very taken with this comment, hard actually to see why. Shouldn't this be an election issue? If you have a facebook account you can comment over on the candidate's page. Colin MacAulay too is interacting with the electorate on Facebook.

"We're all going to Buckie!"

This observer will be going with a bus load of the faithful (departing Uncle Bob's 11.30) to follow the Wee County in the Highland League cup encounter through in Victoria Park, Buckie. Que sera, sera, more later...

Mike Henderson gets a few sparks from Oor Graham

More heat than light on the subject of Fire Brigade training at the River CC meeting on Tuesday night?

Mike Henderson has been a persistent thorn in the flesh of any members of the ruling Glenurquhart Road regime that turn up at River CC meetings. His persistence has resonated all the way to the front page of the Nairnshire in recent weeks. Mike has been questioning those members of the (Indy/LibDem/Lab) ruling group who turn up to River CC meetings on a range of issues recently on how the cuts are affecting the delivery of services to the community. On Tuesday night Oor Graham (aka Cllr Marsden LibDem) seemed fair scunnered with Mike when he tried to get some details about Fire Brigade training.

Mike began his latest inquisition:” I’m glad that Cllr Marsden is here because he’s the joint Fire Committee substitute member.

“No, I’m not!” Exclaimed Oor Graham.

“It’s on the...,” Mike attempted to continue

“Ah well, but I don’t attend the meetings.” Interjected Graham.

“Well you are a substitute member, so you should have an insight into this one,' continued Cllr Henderson.

Graham was not impressed and turning towards the chair he asked if this was appropriate business: “Is this anything to do with River Community Council?

“Well I think that the training of the firemen is.” Mike was determined to press home his point.

Graham had an exit strategy from this questioning however. He said:” I think this would be something that you and I would talk together about rather then bringing it up in here.” The LibDem’s voice was now much louder than normal at this point.

“Are you saying that the training of the firemen is not a concern of the town?” Mike was not giving way at all.

“I’m sorry, if you have a specific issue that is about that then I can actually get the information which you want,” came the reply
”Do you feel that the training is going to improve?” Mike had another go.

“I don’t know anything about this. I am the substitute member, that is I fill in when the members are not there. I’ve never been asked. There are significant issues around the Fire Board at the moment.” This was the final part of this exchange because Tommy Hogg, in the chair, decided to close the debate down.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St Ninian Road red brick cludgie no more?

On Tuesday night River CC debated a planning application for one house on the vacant piece of land next to the vets in St Ninian Road. A previous application for two houses had received an unfavourable response from the community watchdogs. This time though everything was hunky dory and there were no objections. The new drawing looks pretty good from the front. Will the residents at the rear be happy this time round however? You can see the new plans and previous comments here on the Highland Council e-planning pages.
The old red brick cludgie would go and perhaps a few pennies would come in to the Common Good Fund for that wee strip of land?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Michael Green gets his campaign underway

The Gurn had the opportunity for a wee blether with Michael Green yesterday as he made final preparations for the seven week campaign ahead. "Your local independent candidate for Nairn" is looking forward to knocking on the doors and engaging with the voters. He won't be restricting himself to the traditional methods however. Gurnites will be interested to hear that Michael will be providing daily updates on a Facebook page "and hopefully a wee bit of humour too." If the rest of the candidates are as up for it as Michael then this election will probably be very lively indeed. View Michael's election leaflet here.
This observer feels that Michael will be a very strong candidate in this election and will mostly likely be one of the four out in front who will represent us when the dust settles.

Safety at the Links Playpark - River CC unrest continues

Gurnites will recall the Nairnshire front page splash of February 21st: “Cuts compromise safety?” The first paragraph of that story stated: A community Councillor has called for a re-think by Highland Council on its policy of not deploying a street cleaner at the weekends over the winter months to check for broken glass or dog fouling at the Links Playpark.

There was a sequel to this issue on Tuesday night at the Community Centre meeting of River CC which illustrates yet again how the community fails to get effective action from Highland Council. Something is seriously wrong Gurnites if someone cannot be found to check the playpark at weekends. Who runs the Civic Administration locally? The Councillors in Nairn, the officials here or the high heid yins in Inverness? Just who is laying down the law when it comes to getting things done?

Mike Henderson stated on Tuesday night: “We did write to the four councillors asking for their views and if they would reply prior to this meeting . I asked Stephanie if there had been any reply and no reply from any of the councillors.”

Liz said: “ We did actually discuss it Mike at our ward business meeting and the outcome was that in the spring it gets done anyway at the weekends. There’s someone that goes down at the weekends in the summer months. It was going to be monitored and the feedback that we got was from John Fraser as well was that it wasn’t a big problem.”

Mike continued: “A number of people have approached me thanking me for bringing it to attention. I’ve got to thank John Dolan and the Nairnshire for giving it such a headline because I think, whatever John Fraser says, I’m there every weekend, John Fraser isn’t. And I think it is pretty disrespectful to the Community Council Liz that not one councillor replied."

Stephanie Whittaker then stated that she had asked John Fraser if he was willing to come along to the meeting and he is willing to see community councillors in his office but he can’t go to any meeting of the CC.

Liz then said that she had an e-mail from John Fraser that she could forward to Mike. She had asked if they could either reconfigure the boys routes so that they could do the Links at the weekend or find additional funding to do it and he replied back that they were actually looking to find more savings.

Cllr Ian Gordon was incensed with the information emerging he said: “They live in their ivory towers, they’re not prepared to come face to face. You can go to their office, their kingdom where they feel in control. They are paid by us to provide a service to us, not vice versa, they are accountable. Why should we be dictated too? This is a very valid point the Links are an asset to Nairn, it brings people into Nairn and it must be kept up to a certain standard. Does it need one child to be damaged by broken glass etc, is that where we’ve got to go to get anything done? He can sit in his office if he wishes but can we not just take him down to have a look at it?"

Stephanie then said :”I think that is a bit unfair to John Fraser if we want to someone to come along then we have to ask his boss, it’s not his fault he can’t come to meetings”
Liz confirmed that.

Andrew Purkis then stated it was down to a frame of mind and compared Nairn with other seaside communities where councils acted on such issues. He thought that Highland Council sometimes don’t see what is going on outside Inverness.

Tommy then said: “Is this not where we should actually be trying to get things done locally, everything back locally and this is a perfect example of where it is going, it’s getting further away all the time.”

Bailey Bridge - still no TLC

Last October the Gurn made a plea for some TLC for the Bailey Bridge in response to some images from one of our regular readers. The fear was that some of the boards would further deteriorate during the winter.

Well things have moved on, winter has passed and nothing has happened down by. River Community Councillor Fred Holmes raised the matter almost immediately at the start of his organisation's meeting on Tuesday night. Graham Marsden (our LibDem candidate in May) stated that "it had been reported."

"Nothing has happened as far as I know," said the Chair, Tommy Hogg.

"I know it's been reported previously, it's been reported again, because it is deteriorating really badly now," continued Fred.

"I'll go down and have a look at it, " said Oor Graham.

There we have it Gurnites, will the duckboards on the bridge continue to deteriorate to the extent that the wider part of the bridge will have to be closed to the public or will something magic happen before the elections on the 3rd of May?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ross Outdoors closing down

Chilly economic wind blowing down the brae?

Paths around Nairn getting "Leader" Cash

Up for discussion at Glenurquhart Road this morning is approval of a long list of path projects across the Highlands. Three of them are in and around Nairn:

Kingsteps, Nairn, (applicant) Nairn Access Panel
Links to core path and improvements £6,000
Nairn Beach Access – (applicant) Golf Club Nairn Suburban CC and NGC
Improvements to core path £25,000
Nairn Beach Access, Pier, (applicant) Nairn River CC
Improvements to core path £7,500

Jubilee back to the Viewfield now

We reported how at the last joint Community Council how there had been a feeling that the Links would be more suitable for the community's Jubillee celebrations than Viewfield. At last night's River CC meeting Tommy Hogg reported that there had been a change of heart by Suburban and things would now be getting underway in Viewfield after all. River were happy for Suburban to take the lead along with the museum and were obviously wishing them well in their endeavours . This observer thought however, that a general lack of interest in a Viewfield event pervaded the atmosphere last night in the Community Centre.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Old Community Centre site - River CC want permanent car park not temporary.

River CC want to see a permanent car park on the site of the old Community Centre and not a temporary one while the Highland Council looks for a developer for the site. During discussion on the matter Liz said: "It's still being marketed, It's a temporary car park and it would be very positive if the Community Council wrote and said we would like this to be retained as a permanent car park."

The River members were so minded to take up Liz's suggestion. The town centre lacks adequate parking at the best of times and this picture on flickr shows how desperate things can be when events are taking place. Nairn town centre needs more parking Gurnites. What can we do to ensure that? Why not only vote in May for those candidates in the Highland Council election that wish to retain that area as a car park once demolition has taken place? Maybe we could even call the area " The Jubilee Car park"?

Lower speed limit possible for Clephanton Junction

Thanks to one of our regular readers who points out that the Clephanton junction junction appears on the list of B class roads with a high accident rate that could be up for a speed limit review - see Apendix 2 of this Highland Council document that will be discussed on Thursday.

Scottish Government Climate Change Fund cash for Nairn allotments

Heard about this on twitter (see image above) Great news that this funding application has passed all the hurdles: "Nairn Allotment Society - Sandown Community Gardens project plans to create specific allotment growing space for disadvantaged adults and young people within the Nairn area. The project will provide training & resources not only to help people grow, cook and enjoy their own home-grown fruit and vegetables, but will also focus on reducing food miles, unnecessary packaging and by reducing waste through effective composting & recycling. £4,000." Full details on this Scottish Government, Riaghaltas na h-Alba page.
More details about the Sandown allotment expansion in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A little bit of history from Hamish.

Thanks to Hamish and Murd for the following pictures and information. "Photos were taken by Robert Mackintosh. He was the assistant Registrar of B. M. & D’s whose office was in Court House Lane. I think that after the war he became a well known photographer. Not a Cecil Beaton but...Hamish"
Hamish's brother Murd (of Firhall Bridge fame) adds: "the shop and garage were at the back door of the Caley the buildings were all knocked down when they cleared Courthouse Lane"
A little more information on each individual picture can be had here by clicking on the individual thumbnails.

Ashley Broadbent - The Labour Mannie

Gurnites might like to see what the Labour candidate for Nairnshire has to offer on his digital stall. Not much on his brand new twitter account yet but perhaps that will soon change as the election nears. We tweeted Ashley to ask him what he thought his chances in Nairn were. Last time round this observer remembers that the Labour Candidate didn't do too well at all when it came to counting the preferences.

Ashley e-mailed the Gurn with a few details about himself: "Further to your communication I am indeed the Scottish Labour Party candidate for the forthcoming Highland Council elections in Nairn. As for my chances, well that is for the electorate to determine.

As to my background, I have over 30 years experience in local government, 18 of these as a senior manager in Highland Council. Prior to my retirement 5 years ago I held the position of Inverness Area Roads & Community Works Manager. Duties included the daily management of roads, open space, and streetscape together with annual planning of winter gritting operations. Other previous posts within Highland included Head of Service responsibility for leisure facility management together with operational co-ordination for parks and green open space, refuse collection, street cleaning and cemeteries. So I possess an in-depth management knowledge of a raft of public services and would, if elected, hopefully use these skills to shape policy for delivery of quality services for residents of and visitors to Nairnshire.

Having lived in Nairn for the past 10 years and prior to that 13 years in Culloden Moor, I am well aware of the needs of all Nairn communities and would meet the challenge of elected service with integrity and enthusiasm.

I believe that it is time for change in the political balance of local politics and a vote for me is a vote for a brighter future through a return to local democracy. If elected I will always put Nairn's interest first and strongly defend any proposals to cut existing service levels. Indeed, through the vehicle of developing new community partnerships, I would hope to establish growth in amenity provision and restore civic pride in Nairnshire.

In conclusion I trust my fellow candidates will share my vision for the future of Nairn and look forward to the election campaign over the next 7 weeks."

We've added Ashley's twitter page to our list of candidate links in the sidebar. We've also added Oor Graham's dormant twitter account, perhaps that will see some activity in the next few weeks or maybe our resident LibDem will be relying on just the traditional methods of electioneering.

Also on the digital election front. Colin MacAulay adds some pictures to his Facebook page.

"Macraes Travel Agency in Nairn Scotland - A Saturday Visit"

Posted on Youtube by John MacCalman

Sarf Nurn (Inbhir Narann a Deas) area high viz jackets and clipboards

One of our regular readers reports:

"Something is happening in the field (that was considered for development) outside Nairn just after Rhuallan Grove. Several people in high viz jackets with clipboards were wandering around the field this afternoon." Stand by for another planning application?

Oor Sandy helps them "move it!"

"Councillor Park, who also donned his trainers for Move It to Lose It, presented mum-of-five Johanna Quinney with her prize of a year’s ‘all-inclusive’ High Life membership and congratulated her on her great achievement.
Johanna, who uses Nairn Leisure, was one of more than 50 people at the leisure centre who benefited from the help and assistance available as part of the programme, including one-to-one tips and advice, weekly weigh-ins and last minute ‘burnout workouts’." Full story on the Ross-shire Journal site.

Sandy please don't go?

Positive news for Auldearn

Here’s some stuff we didn’t have time to post last week – more from the Auldearn Community Council meeting last Wednesday. It certainly is all happening in Auldearn.
The Lethen Hall is to get a major makeover with new central heating, insulation and windows plus decorating. The news was broken by Oor Sandy to the meeting. The retiring Convener stuck his neck out and suggested the work may be completed by the end of April. There’s also going to be something quite interesting happening in the Community Park by the school but funding confirmation hasn’t arrived yet so plans have not been revealed but Roger Milton (CC chair) seemed quite excited by what is in prospect. The clock on the Dunbar Hall has been fixed and will have a lighting system so the villagers will be able to tell the time in the dark. The work was helped immensely by local boys who set up the scaffold for the operation, otherwise the project would have incurred substantial extra costs.
Last but not least Oor Sandy’s lobbying of the National Trust to spruce up the area around the Doocot has finally had an effect and the Trust will soon be tidying up the overgrown whins on the side of the Doocot mound.
Opps nearly forgot that Sandy seems to think there could be a start on the Lion soon since there has been quite a lot of interest shown by folk who want to downsize. Auldearn certainly is a village where things get done.

Filling Station demolition agreed too

Nairn town centre is set for a double demolition as the eyesores of both the old Community Centre and the filling station are set to be raised to the ground - Oor Sandy is quoted in the following Highland Council press release. Looks like the council only want the community centre site as parking in the short term however:

"Work is expected to start soon on two projects to remove disused properties in the centre of Nairn.
A contract has been let for the demolition of the former Community Centre on King Street and Morrison Construction will move on to the site soon. The value of the works is £80,000.
And agreement has been reached for the demolition of the nearby disused petrol filling station in a separate contract awarded to William Munro Construction (Highland) Ltd. This work, costing £55,000, will commence early next month.
The Council has longer term plans for the redevelopment of the Community Centre land but in the short term intends using it for free car parking.
The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park is delighted that progress is being made in clearing the two sites.
He said: “It is great to see things beginning to happen in the town centre. The demolitions will pave the way for new development which will greatly enhance our town centre. In the short term the extra car parking is very welcome. The support of The Co-operative in agreeing to the clearance of their petrol filling station site is much appreciated. It helps the momentum of what we are trying to achieve in the town centre.”

Do you have a relative in a care home?

Perhaps you might want to go to the River CC meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday) in the community centre. Full size poster here. River CC also have a carers page on their web site.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wee County official website launched

The home page of this very impressive site states: "Nairn County Football Club has now launched its official website, which was kindly donated to the club. The website will be updated weekly with new fixtures, results, match reports and news, with further development ongoing. Development will include a photo gallery, shops and a ex-pats feature aim at overseas supporters who want to help the club out." Here's

Nairn 5 Wick 0

Pictures from Club photographer Donald Matheson. Full screen slideshow here and individual pictures here. Read Kenny MacLeod's match report here.

Celebrating the Community

Pictures from the event held in the Community Centre yesterday (Saturday 10th of March). Pictures Murray MacRae. Individual pictures here.

No Nairn boat in Thames flotilla but the Jubilee starting to look shipshape?

Ewen Brodie, Lord Lieutenant of Nairnshire was present in the Lethen Hall for the meeting of the Auldearn CC on Wednesday night. He revealed that efforts to get a Nairn boat in the mammoth flotilla that will sail down the Thames in June had failed. It seems the event is oversubscribed and also that the “airdraft was too high.”

Auldearn looks up for the party however and those present were all for something during the day and also an event in the evening. Ewen reported that Cawdor “has certainly got the bit between the teeth" and that the estate were organising a bonfire on Cairn Maol up by the Clunas Dam.

Liz told the meeting that Suburban CC were organising a picnic lunch down on the Links. There was also mention of the Scouts also organising a bonfire on the beach.

Liz also added to comments expressed about the last Jubilee: “That was all the Rockabilly times and the Beatles were in Nairn…there was lots of really exciting music at the time.” It looked to this observer as though Liz was going to suggest some sort of flashback concert but there were then some comments about historical accuracy concerning the Jubilee.

Iain Bain intervened: “There was not TV in Nairn at that time,”

“Not even a TV, not even in the posh houses?” Asked the chair of the meeting.

This time round, there will be plenty of TVs to watch events and maybe some people will even drag themselves away from the box and go to a picnic or a bonfire?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St Ninian 5 Bishopmill 0

Individual pictures here. Full Screen slideshow here.

Sabhal Mòr Beurla

Going off-topic now for a wee Gàidhlicky gurn about something on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig's (Scotland's Gaelic college) site:

Dealbhachadh Digiteach airson luchd-adhartaich Digital Photography for Advanced Learners
"‘S ann tro’ mheadhan na Beurla a tha an cùrsa seo ga libhrigeadh, gus am bith e freagarrach don a h-uile duine."
agus beagan a bharrachd fiosrachaidh air an duilleag bheurla.
"This course is largely conducted through the medium of English to make it accessible to all, although Cailean is a fluent native Gaelic speaker!"
Dean SMO freagarrach buileach glan? Faigh cuidhteas den Ghàidhlig? (Make SMO completely accessible? Get rid of Gaelic?) "Rant over" mar a chanas iad sa chànan eile.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Parkour problems in Society Street

"Police have said teenagers running and jumping across roofs in one of the oldest parts of Nairn, near Inverness, face prosecution. Northern Constabulary said calls about the activity in Fishertown had been on the increase." More on the BBC webpages.

Fergus launches campaign to rid the River Nairn of Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalyan Balsam

Fegus Ewing MSP today launched an initiative to eradicate Hogweed, Balsam and Japanese Knotweed from the Nairn, Findhorn and Lossie rivers. The initiative is being led locally by the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fishery Trust.

Fergus is pictured above speaking to Sandy Robb at the Howford this morning. Robb is kitted out with the required equipment and ready to spray the invasive species that are so much of a threat to the native ecology. Here on the Gurn we have highlighted the spread of these invasive dangers for a few years now and we are delighted that work is now under way with Scottish Government support.

Here's two videos that explain in depth how the initiative will work

Common Good - Peace in our time?

SNP candidate Colin MacAulay writes on his facebook page:

"Nairn Common Good - Nairn Common Sense! Really pleased that peace has broken out :)Cooperation and collaboration for the good of Nairnshire has to be the right way ahead. With 4 Highland Councillors working closely with our local Community Councils - We can - and we will - do better!"

There was a meeting on Monday night in the Courthouse between the 4 ward councillors and the usual suspects. The public were excluded from that meeting. However post match comments from the chairs of the three Community Councils have now been published:

"Tommy Hogg, Chairman, Nairn River Community Council said: “We have no real issues with the Council’s management of Nairn Common Good Fund and will be happy to engage with the future meeting proposed by Councillor Park. The three Nairn Community Councils need to start singing from the same hymn sheet.”
Brian Stewart, Member, Nairn West Community Council said: "We were pleased that a meeting was arranged to talk about this complex subject. The discussion helped to underline the importance of the Common Good to Nairn. We have had concerns about some aspects of Common Good administration. But following the very detailed official briefing, we are now much clearer about the Council's position, and we feel it is right to look to the future. We welcome the proposed arrangements for regular meetings, and look forward to participating fully and constructively in them."
Dick Youngson, Chairman of Nairn Suburban Community Council said: “Some questions remain for some of our Members but we are satisfied with the Council’s position and now wish to move forward along the lines suggested by Elected Members.” "

Oor Sandy seems to have smoothed the waters with a concession: "In looking to the future, Councillor Sandy Park, Convener of The Highland Council, said he and his councillor colleagues in Nairn believed a positive way forward would be for the four new Members elected in May to meet with a representative from each of the three Nairn Community Councils on a regular basis. He stated this would help to both better inform communities about the management of the Common Good and councillors about the views of people in Nairn." " More on the Highland Council site.

Usual suspect receives free chewing gum!

A prominent member of the "usual suspects" revealed to the Gurn yesterday that a Highland Council employee had given him free chewing gum and disposal papers.

There was also an advertising campaign including two bicycle hoardings (pictured) above and also a massive long wheelbase vehicle with similar posters. Earlier Highland Council staff had been removing chewing gum from the pavement in front of the Courthouse with a special machine. Very laudible, if only the same effort were put into a doggie jobbie campaign however, and fag-ends, and litter...

"His mind might have been on Nairn but his heart was definitely in Auldearn"

Praise for Sandy from the chair of Auldearn CC Roger Milton on Wednesday night in the Lethen Hall:

“I think it came as a bit of a shock and a surprise when Sandy announced he wasn’t going to stand in the forthcoming elections. I think it’s a very great sadness that somebody of his experience and effectiveness is not going to be standing in the forthcoming elections. It’s been quite remarkable that someone from Nairn has been working at the very highest level in the Highland Council and Sandy can be justifiably proud of his long and very effective work there. How many years has it been Sandy?”

“Eighteen,” replied the outgoing Convener.

“I think it’s a remarkable record and I think more important for a meeting such as ours is that Sandy has been a very robust and effective champion of the needs of this village and I think everybody will know that of the many, many projects that have happened over the years, either Sandy has initiated them or he has been right behind the people that have been trying to get things done and make sure that they could actually happen. I’d just like to take this opportunity Sandy, of thanking you on the behalf of the village. You’ve done a fantastic job and you’ve got a justifiable rest ahead of you but I know we can rely on you to also continue the work that you’ve done because I know you are that sort of character. I’m sure you will be there to help everything that is going on in the village. Thank you very much.”

Liz, a former chair of Auldearn CC, then added: “Sandy was always backing any project, he was a tremendous support to all the groups in the village and I think his mind might have been on Nairn but his heart was definitely in Auldearn.”