Monday, April 30, 2012

Drinking on the links. Are incumbent councillors and those that want the job interested?

The above image in from "Vic Sinex" and the following wee gurn: "Taken this morning after another weekend of illicit drinking on the Links. The message just don't seem to be getting through. Our incumbent councillors don't seem to want to know. Two we know will find it difficult to retain their position (that's what comes of back stabbing....long memories in the electorate!!!) but will the expected replacements make a commitment to do something about it?"

Meanwhile in Mill Road...

...the posters are going up. Any posters in your part of Gurnshire? 

After an almost ideal spring weekend

Apart from technical difficulties with videos, but that was mainly left until after dark at Gurn HQ. Well, there were two sharp frosts for anyone that had their first potatoes breaking through. This observer had decided  to plant some in that fine March weather

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Nairn Ward 19 hustings in full - video evidence for the future?

The Gurn videos of the hustings are now all on line. Have you made up your mind yet who to vote for this Thursday? Did you miss the hustings in the United Reform Church last week? Still need to make your mind up or thinking of changing your list of preferences? Maybe these videos will help you come to a conclusion on where to put the numbers on the coupon. To see the video of each question from the Highland Council, Ward 19 (Nairn) election hustings last Wednesday night click the read more tab below this line and then follow the "click here" at the end of each of the 19 questions that were asked by Steven Manders on the behalf of the citizens of Nairn. 

BT Broadband upgrade for Nairn. We are the first?

One of our more techie minded readers tells us: "BT have started connecting Nairn Broadband users to their new fibre optic facility allowing download speeds of up to 50MB and upload times of up to 15MB. It's BT's aim to connect two thirds of the UK to this facility by 2014, but the Nairn exchange appears to be the first one in the Highlands to offer this new service.

BT customers can check the availability of the new service here:

Businesses in the Highlands have often been critical of the lack of fast broadband but it would seem that many Nairn based companies may benefit from this high speed service"

St Ninian 6 Cruden Bay 1

 Just a few pictures from Saints spectacular six goal riot on Saturday. For individual pictures click  here.

Flower show and competition

Thanks to Murray MacRae for the pictures of the flower show and competition held in the Community Centre on Saturday. Congratulations  to David and Carol Shaw from Dyke, they won best plant in the show and are shown in the first image.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nairn 3 Buckie 2 - The story in pictures

Individual pictures here. Fullscreen slideshow here. Match report here. Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson and some from to come too later this weekend.
Post match interview with both managers here. 

Charlie Chaplin walk idea surfaces again

Articles in the Scotsman and the Courier online today: "A previous attempt by local man John Oliver to create a £250,000 trail was backed by various bodies but foundered through lack of money.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nairn news as seen on twitter

As recent articles in the local paper show the CAB is having a very busy time of it just now and such a web site would be a great asset to many families at the moment.  

This one is good news. It must be the old bookies next to Barron House. AS&J have it as "under offer" on their website at the moment. (click the images above to read the text more clearly if having difficulty.)

Food Parcels in Nairn - the story goes national

The alarming news on the front page of the Nairnshire Telegraph this week, stating that many families in Nairn are reliant on free food handouts has gone national:
"HUNDREDS of locals in a once-prosperous seaside town are relying on food handouts to survive. Skint residents swamped by debt are depending on charity for their meals in Nairn." More on the Sun website.
The plight of hungry debt-ridden families in Nairn is now centre stage in the local elections. See video number 2 in the post below to see what the candidates had to say about this at the hustings on Wednesday night. The impact of this story is hitting home elsewhere. The Gurn understands that one member of River Community Council is unhappy about his organisation being asked to give a £100 pound donation to the Nairn Jubilee celebrations with this issue in the background. This councillor will be asking that the money be given instead to those organisations preparing food parcels in Nairn.

The hustings Nairn 25th April - videos

Couldn't make it to the hustings in the United Reformed Church on Wednesday night? Here's a chance to see what you make of the candidates if you missed out on the best show in town this week (7 out of 8 of them were there - the Tory wifie couldn'd make it). This post contains the first of a series of videos. Hopefully we'll be able to show you the entire hustings on a question by question basis over the next few days. Maybe these videos will help you to make your mind up if undecided or maybe even change your preferences for the ballot box.

Steven Manders introduces the magnificent seven

Question 1 Feral kids in the High Street?

Question 2 Food parcels and Highland Council wasting money?

Questions 3 and 4 Candidates' membership of organisations and political parties?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nairn 0 Cove 2 - Pictures

Match report here. Individual copies of club photographer Donald Matheson's images here.

Johnston Press's hopes for a local media future

The troubled Johnston Press media group (owners of the Scotsman) have set out their plans for the future in a fascinating document that seems to be available to the world. They  see the future as being local and mobile and they want to become involved in communities. They aren't the only ones chasing this goal actually and perhaps all the big media hopefuls won't  get there. The world of news content generation and the way people read it is changing dramatically and rapidly. More and more people are coming to the Gurn on Iphone or Android devices and also tablets, so maybe the future is mobile but how do the traditional media folk transfer their advertising revenue onto these platforms? Who wants to look at pages of ads on a mobile? 

"The future of local media will however be very different in its delivery. It will be predominantly digital on a daily and hourly basis with most print editions being a weekly, in-depth, read," according the the Group.
Maybe we're already there in Nairnshire with

And now for something completely different...

Outdoors the rain continues and any candidates will indeed be very soggy today if they are still knocking the doors. Has one of the candidates switched sides mid-stream however? Murray drew the Gurn's attention to posters that have appeared in the Jubilee Bridge area. Must be mad to put out posters for a party that's not standing in the election?
Meanwhile the river is high today and there is a SEPA flood alert for the River Nairn.

The Hustings - the Questions asked

Here at Gurn HQ we've done a little work on the video we made last night at the hustings in the URC and we hope to have the first one or two of a series showing the entire hustings up later this evening. The day jobs must come first for a wee while now today but we've had an offer of a bit of help with some superior editing software so maybe we'll have a bit more video content up sooner than anticipated. The questions asked last night got deep below the fabric of Nairnshire political life and  into the core of many issues that have raised their ugly heads over the past five years and even beyond that in some instances. Given Sandown and the Common Good controversies you could even go as far to suggest ugly and festering heads. Just to give you a flavour of the proceedings last night here's the first eight questions that Steven Manders had received from members of the public:

Question 1
What would you do to manage the “feral kids” in the High Street who are so intimidating at night?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hustings – big turn out –majority present wanted a single Community Council for Nairn

Around 120 folk in the URC church tonight with Minster Steven Manders in the David Dimbleby role with 7 of the 8 candidates for the Nairn ward in the dock (there was no Tory candidate present).
Plenty of debate. Here at Gurn HQ we are working on the video we made of the 1 hour 35 minutes of debate and hope to show you segments of how your candidates fared under the spotlight.
 Two brief headlines. One of the first questions was whether any of the candidates are Freemasons. The response? None of them are. On the issue of a single community council for Nairn members of the public were asked for their preference and the majority wished to see such a body for the Royal Burgh. 
More soon.

Cawdor Road safety measures take shape

Images on the Gurnflickr pages.

Spotted in Achareidh - Lampost behaving badly!

Jeanne Tolmie's thanks to her rescuers

Jeanne Tolmie asks us to express her grateful thanks to all those who assisted her on Tuesday April the 17th when her buggy got stuck in a deep puddle of very cold water next to the bottle banks in the town centre. "It appeared to be merely a puddle," said Jeanne," but it was a drain filled up with terribly cold water and it was quite deep. I want to say thank you to everyone that helped me."
The drain where Jeanne had her mishap is now covered by a board and a bollard.

The Jubilee – A committee finally steps forward

The so far lacklustre response to calls from the Lord Lieutenant for citizens to organise events for the Jubilee in Nairn seems to have been surpassed with volunteers finally stepping forward to fill the breach.
Last night at the Suburban CC meeting Dick Youngson revealed that a committee had been formed comprising of reps from the town’s three community councils, Louise Clark from Highland Council and Yvonne Cotter from the museum who will chair the group. An event will take place on Sunday June 3rd. It will not be called the “Jubilee Lunch” but the “Community big Lunch (or picnic)”. Dick said: “It would appeal to many more people.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bus station garage site redevelopment plans get the go-ahead

The controversial plans for flats and a supermarket on the site of the derelict bus station garage have been approved today at the Highland Council planning meeting. River CC Chair Tommy Hogg told the Gurn, "I'm chuffed, I'm really pleased."

UPDATE: this matter was discussed later in the evening at the Suburban Community Council meeting inside Nairn Academy. Here's a few notes from earlier today (Tuesday).

Liz said: I requested it to be deferred because I felt it was too high…it’s going to dominate the whole landscape in that part of the town, but there was a vote on it and I lost."
Laurie stated that if it had been deferred it would have been put back to July and the developer could have gone to the Reporter.
Liz went on to say: “I think the problem is the car parking. Obviously, I think the figures that came before the committee were optimistic in the number of car parking spaces that were available. Particularly in daytime, I’ve seen people driving round and round trying and I’ve done that myself trying to get a parking space.”
John Hart asked Liz: “So all the objections were technically ignored then.”
“Eh, yes!” Replied Liz.
“Right ok, sounds familiar,” added John Hart.

Lost cat in Fishertown area - can you help?

Black cat has been missing since 15th of April in the Fishertown area,  but she may have strayed further afield.  Could you please check your sheds, garages, outbuildings or gardens for her?  If you have seen her please ring the numbers on the poster.

Teenager charged with rape in Nairn

Information on the Highland News site.

Debts and demand for food parcels in Nairnshire

The front page Nairnshire Telegraph article on the growing debt crisis affecting many families in the County is disturbing reading and full marks to the Leopold Street news team for bringing this to the public's attention. 
Iain Bain writes in his editorial: "There is something shocking to hear that food parcels are being handed out locally on a large scale. We are used to hearing about this in the context of charitable organisations mounting campaigns in the case of disaster or Third World Relief. That the fund-raising efforts might be put to use for families close to home is a real surprise." 
Iain goes on to highlight how this is an  election issue and, yes indeed, it is something that candidates should be debating. If you do nothing else this week read that front page article and the associated editorial. For those of us with full bellies this lunchtime the shocking revelations are indeed food for thought.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Station Brae closed tonight

A massive squad in situ and setting themselves up for a night's work on Station Brae. It looks as though the long-awaited road safety improvements are about to be installed. There are diversion signs on the High Street pointing down Church Street/Mill Road. A few drivers seem to have been caught out however, and are heading straight up to the road closed signs.
We had heard here at the Gurn that there would be closures and that the Cove squad had been informed that they would have to head to Station Park via Delnies on Wednesday night. Does anyone know how long the closures will continue? All week perhaps?

Remember Prestos?

Time and tide reveal an echo of  Nairn's recent past 

Vandalism in Auldearn

The above images (individual pictures here) in from a concerned Auldearn resident and the following message:

"I found this had happened in Auldearn village between midday Saturday and 10.00am Sunday :
Part of the wall round the village green and flower beds was kicked over, white paint thrown around in the woods at the start of the Newmill path, as well as poured over the path signpost and obscene graffiti daubed on the road.
What a shame to see this destruction, contrasted against the good stuff, such as the refurbishment of the Lethen Road hall and the timber works in progress along the Newmill woods walk to keep it attractive, safe and healthy...
If youngsters were responsible, maybe some parent will have been aware of white paint on their kid's hands and clothes on Sunday morning?
I haven't seen anything like this for a while, so let's hope it's a one-off." 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Scots Guardsman 46115 with a steam excursion pulls away from Nairn station early this evening" (22/4)

Image on Visit Nairn's Facebook pages.   The locomotive was also seen by regular reader James O'Brien. He told the Gurn:
" There was a steam train through Forres and Nairn this evening. 
West Coast Railways ran their 'Great Britain V' train, hauled by LMS 'Royal Scot' class loco 46115 'Scots Guardsman' this way. Unfortunately it was running twenty minutes or so late, because of delays in crossing over with the regular diesel trains on the run from Aberdeen to Inverness.  
This is the loco that will carry the Olympic Torch at some point before the Games this year.  
This shot was at Inverearn Road crossing at Forres."

Old Free Kirk Manse sealed off by police - Another alleged assault investigation.

This evening the old Free Kirk manse in Gordon Street is taped off and guarded by a police officer.  The Gurn understands that Northern Constabulary are in the early stages of an investigation.
Update 20.08: More from the Northern Constabulary site
"Police are making enquiries in relation to an alleged assault on a young woman in the Gordon Street area of Nairn around 1.30 am on Saturday 2st April 2012.
They would also like to stress there is no connection between this incident and a previously reported assault at the Duncan Drive/Kilravock Crescent area of the town around the same period."

And in connection with the other alleged assault the Northen Constabulary released the following statement later on on Sunday night.
"POLICE have charged an 18 year-old man in connection with an incident late on Friday night, 20 April, in which a woman was alleged to have been assaulted in the Duncan Drive area of Nairn. A report has been made to the Procurator Fiscal.
The man is expected to appear in Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday 23 April."

A twitter list – Nairn Business and Information

Does your Nairnshire based business or organisation have a twitter account? Here at the Gurn we’ve noticed a few such twitter presences and we’ve started a list: Nairn Business and information. Here's what we've come across so  far and here's what they're tweeting. If you would like to be added please tweet @GurnNurn. 
Maybe you might benefit by tweeting your information out into the digital ether too and be considering a twitter profile. Twitter is fairly user friendly but contact the Gurn if you have any questions on its use or anything else that might help you make more use of the Internet.

Nairn St Ninian 2 Portgordon Victoria 1 - Pictures

Individual pictures here. Full Screen slideshow here. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who should we vote for? Contribution from a regular Gurnite

The following in from one of our regular readers in response for our call for the thoughts of voters in the Nairn (19) ward, our correspondent is obviously looking for changes this time round:

We know what we've had in the past and it's time for a change. We've had visionary proposals from the new candidates and bold words from the old ones - why didn't they implement them when they were in power? So, do we stick with who we know or take a chance on the new candidates?

I am less bothered about who gets voted in than their ability to roll up their sleeves and work together for the good of Nairn. In the past there has been too much jockeying for position and headline grabbing.

Incident overnight on footpath/cycleway?

Donald reports that the footpath between Duncan Drive and Kilravock Crescent has been sealed off by police this morning.
Update 11.14 - A local resident tells us that  the police called making inquiries but not revealing the nature of the incident. Quite  a number of officers in the area it seems.
Update from Nothern Constabulary site:
Police are making enquiries in relation to an alleged assault on a young woman in the Duncan Drive/Kilravock Crescent area of Nairn last night, around 00:30 21 April 2012.

An 18 year-old man is in custody and police would like to trace anyone who witnessed or heard anything or who has any information in relation to the incident. Anyone with information should contact police on 01463 715555

Saturday miscellany

Marks have appeared on the roadway at Station Brae, could the long-awaited traffic calming measures be about to start at last? Also noticed, sand was placed on large lengths of Mill Road, Murd suspects fuel or some other oil-based fluid spilt on the road yesterday. Down at the links, a source close to River CC sends us this picture of a recently broken window at the toilets. Last but not least, impressive progress is being made by the contractors at Brocher's brae as they replace the dodgy sewer pipe. Even with a bit of ducking and diving it all seems to be going well.

Nairn County have a day off today but Saints kick off at the showfield at 2.p.m. Hopefully the rain will cease by then. In the meantime another wet morning for the candidates. Still no posters sighted in Nairn but plenty of LibDem material hanging from lamposts in Ardersier yesterday evening plus an impressive SNP sign for Glynis Sinclair at the Crossroads by the old railway line. Cawdor residents, of course, have to vote in the Ardersier and Culloden ward despite their community being a part of Nairnshire.

UPDATE: We hear from a Nairn County source that the Station Brae will be closed on  Weds night. Donald tells us:   "The road will be closed to traffic and possibly pedestrians (not sure about  that) on wednesday night as we have a match on against Cove.  Cove have been informed and are having to go via Delnies turn off."

Controversial Bus Station garage plans recommended for approval

The controversial planning application for 12 flats and a supermarket/retail unit at the bus station has been recommended for approval by the planning officers and will go before the Council’s planning committee on the 24th of this month (next Tuesday).

Transport Scotland have withdrawn their objection after receiving a traffic impact assessment but have insisted on changes to footpath arrangements. There were concerns about parking too but

Friday, April 20, 2012

Street Names of Nairn Vol 2 - Local author Irene Main Mackintosh follows up on the sell-out success of Vol 1

Gurnites will remember the enthusiasm that greeted Irene's first book.  Now a second volume is available. The price is £4.00 like the previous volume and is available at County Books, Strachans, Broadley Garden Centre, Pat Frasers and of course they can get in touch with Irene at   Irene tells the Gurn that there may be a reprint of the previous volume if there is enough interest. Please contact her too if you would like a copy of volume one. 

They've had their say now have yours

Are you voting this time round? Why and who for? If not why not? Tell the Gurn who you are voting for and why. Give us your thoughts - e-mail Minimum 250 words. Best article wins a year's free subscription to the Gurn. 

William & John MacGregor VC of Cawdor

We've had some interesting pictures in so far this week. If you have any pictures of Nairnshire past or present we would be delighted to publish them. We're putting the pictures of historical content into this Gurn flickr set. Anyway, some information now about the above picture. Dave Shillabear has sent the Gurn a fascinating image (larger version here). Dave has been campaigning for John MacGregor VC to receive the same recognition in the Country of his birth has he has received in his adopted country of Canda. Here's the notes Dave sent in an e-mail:

 Re your article on Old Nairn pictures I have a picture of Cawdor Young Farmers Association 1932-33. The farmers in the picture are identified as:-

B and W copy of a paper copy, fair. BACK ROW L to R, Duncan Dallas of Inchyettle, Peter Rose of Ballieknockan, James Clark of Lyne of Urchany, George Morrison of Budgate, John Urquhart of Balinrait, James Innes of Bog of Cawdor, Hugh Robertson of Newton of Cawdor, Alex MacPherson of Meikleburn, Lyle of Alnaha, Alea MacArthur of Achamore, William robertson of Tomlunquhart. MIDDLE ROW

Will you be going to the hustings?

They want our votes, perhaps you have something you might want to ask them. We must be wise in our choices for the Highland Council election on May 3rd. Who will be the best candidates to represent Nairnshire against the mighty forces of Invercentralism? Four will succeed, four will be disappointed See the candidates performing  if that helps.
So if you have any questions you can send them in advance in to the chairs of our Community Councils or to the Editor of the Nairnshire. The gig is next Wednesday night 25th April in the URC church. More details here. 

Seeking to find a 3/4 bedroomed home in Nairn for long term rent

Can any Gurnites help Sam find a 3/4 bedroom house to rent in Nairn?

Sam tells the Gurn: " Myself, my partner and two kids moved to Nairn in October, having eventually found somewhere to rent - but only for the winter.  We need to be out by the first week of June.

I am currently the Director of Promoters Arts Network (PAN); having been brought in to revamp, redevelop and make sustainable the organisation that supports promoters throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (our website is terrible, new one comes on line shortly...) I am also a freelance trainer and developer of community development and not-for-profits. My partner is...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jimmy Halliday shoeing an 8 year old Clydesdale in 1973

In response to our request for pictures of Nairnshire past and present Liz has sent in an image of her dad, Jimmy Halliday, shoeing an 8 year old Clydesdale in 1973 at Cawdor Smithy. Behind him is Raymond Munro his apprentice.

Liz says : "As you have a bit about Rosemarys' first job, my first job was when I was at Cawdor primary school and I used to pick raspberries. When I began at Nairn Academy I then worked every summer holiday at Cawdor Castle, on pitch and put, in the restaurant and in the cafe. Cawdor was a fantastic village to grow up as I loved the outdoors and walking our small border terrier cross Shandy"

It's been a busy day on the Gurn and there are other older pictures from Murd in a post below. Tomorrow another picture from out Cawdor way. 

A throw-away line from a confused voter

Thanks to Spelding for the following mid-election quote overheard today:

"I'm stuffed if I know who I'm going to vote for. Give me the person that gets the bloody town clock running again and I'll  vote for them."

Spelding told the Gurn: "Parish pump politics at its best. Never mind the by pass, the  town centre, potholes in the road ,what small changes/improvements would you like  to happen to win your vote." What do you want for them to do for you Gurnites?

Nairn 5 Vale 2 - Pictures

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

Allotment town – one third of all Highland plots are in Sunny Nairn!

More on the Nairn Allotment Society pages. 

Nairn 5 Vale 2

Nairn go into goal overdrive after finally returning home from a sting of away games. Read Graeme Macleod's action packed account here.
Next Wednesday's ecounter will be a 3rd against 2nd contest when Cove come to Nairn, and hopefully another goal feast for Les and the squad. Keep in touch with all things County on the official website. 

Planting the Culbin in the early fifties

Thanks to Murd for these two images of his brother Alistair  and  his father in  law (Granda MacKenzie) working in the Culbin back in the fifties. We also have a request from Murd's elder brother Hamish today. Hamish asks Gurnites a question in relation to RGV's cricket images.:

"Seeing these photos has made me very nostalgic and bring to mind names such as Major Clarke (Captain) of Achareidh Farm, J.C. Ross (Jack) of the Nairnshire Telegraph and other team members whose names have faded into the mists of my memory.

I wonder if there is somewhere a photo of the pavilion that  was replaced by the existing one which, I am presuming, is the one that was built in say the mid thirties? 
Did the earlier one have a separate dressing room for the visiting team?

Kind regards Hamish."

Thanks to Murd and Hamish. Do any Gurnites have similar pictures of Nairnshire past or present?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jac's fireplace

Here's a sad picture that needs no words. 

"Rosemary’s first job was for the Havelock House Hotel in Nairn as an Assistant House Maid..."

"...She worked every summer from the age of 12 to pay for her school uniform at Nairn Academy. She was one of five children and she worked throughout her secondary school years. She paid for her uniform week by week at Peter Greens, High St"  More on the WRVS Moray heritage memories site.

Nairn County Cricket club - pictures old and new

Interesting flashbacks on RGIV12's flickr pages.

Not ideal weather for the candidates

Yesterday witnessed a very wet morning and although things became brighter in the afternoon there was a chilly wind that would have made a walk along the prom a bracing affair. "It's a dreich day in Nairn. Might be a good day to visit the museum," tweeted the Nairn Museum. Towards the end of the afternoon some very threatening clouds hung over the edge of town, they were depositing considerable rainfall on the countryside and no doubt we'll see a rise in the river today. Heavy showers are the last thing that the squad preparing to replace the sewer pipe at Brocher's Brae need. Already the triangular coping stones have been taken off the wall next to the river in preparation for the big job that should mean the end of river walkers having to step through puddles of sewage on the path, either side of the sewage bridge, at times of heavy rainfall.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Riverside punch bag no more

Gurnites that walk the riverside will probably have seen the punch bag that had been hanging from a tree for several months. Quite a few bairns had been using it for just that and having some fun lashing out at an object that was intended for that purpose. The punch bag is no more however.

So far so good with this year's cemetery maintenance

High heid yin, Debbie Maguire from Glenurquhart Road Central Command was present at the River Community Council meeting last week and she promised an improvement in the maintenance of the cemetery. Gurnites will recall that there were complaints last year after the grass cutting at the cemetery had been put out to contract. Debbie Maguire admitted that there had been problems last season and told the meeting: 
"It's a sensitive area that needs to be dealt with properly and hopefully the contractors this year will be using more appropriate equipment."

Good acoustics?

Thanks to Jamie Walker for this picture of someone practising their bagpipes under the riverside railway bridge. Picture will enlarge.

Keeping up to date with the wider planning picture

Plenty of Gurnites show a keen interest in local planning issues and many already keep up to date by regularly following the APT blog. The Association for Planning Transparency group keep citizens up to date with all those issues centered  around Glenurquhart Road Centralised Central Command that affect us here in Nairn. Today the APT Sec has commented on a video put up on Youtube by the Planning Department. Some may think that this material is only for serious students but events in recent years have shown us that our community has to be at the top of its game in regards to planning issues.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Election thoughts

Slowly May 3rd is creeping up on us and the moment of truth for the eight candidates standing for the four available spaces in the Nairnshire ward of Highland Council draws near. This observer comes from reading the Nairnshire Telegraph and notes that there is a picture of Oor Graham with Danny Alexander and some other mannie allegedly of note in the Scottish Liberal Democrats. If Graham makes it into the final four will it be thanks to Danny or in spite of him?

Costs to demolish the old filling station

Thanks to Murd for forwarding a document which he received from the Highland Council. Click the read more below to see the document.

Nairnshire born Oz swimming legend Murray Rose dies

"Iain Murray Rose was born on January 6, 1939, in the Scottish coastal town Nairn to British parents and migrated to Sydney as an infant after the outbreak of war.

He had his first swimming lessons in Redleaf Pool in Double Bay in Sydney's east and grew up with a shark-netted beach near his house.

From 1956 to 1960, he was the world's best men's swimmer, winning four Olympic medals and setting 15 world records. After the Melbourne Olympics, he won a swimming scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he studied drama and television. He last competed for Australia at the 1962 Commonwealth Games."  More on the Austrailian.

Welfare League

Nairn teams were in action on Sunday with Nairn Wanderers going down 12-0 away to Elgin Thistle. Jacko's beat Nairn United 3-0 in action at the Riverside. Uncle Bob's had a narrow defeat at home to Carlton 2-3. To keep up to date with the Forres and Nairn Welfare league bookmark the league's site. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jac's hoose no more

Thanks to Jock for sending the Gurn pictures of the recently demolished former residence of Jacapo Morganti. The house had been badly damaged by fire last year and had perhaps become a bit of a danger. Many thousands of times Jac's brightly coloured ice cream and sweetie vans must have made the trip up the drive at the end of a long day's toil. Now very little remains of a part of Nairn that was so very much both Italian and Scottish. Click the read more button below to see the images.

Sandown Allotments Phase 2 - work begins

Black Earth at Sandown as work starts on the expansion of the allotments (picture below). When the work is completed another 45 allotments of various sizes will have been created. With the new plots there will then be over 100 allotments in Nairn. A sizable chunk of those on the Allotment Society's waiting list will get a plot at Sandown but the demand for land to grow food is increasing all the time and the waiting list is once again growing. NAS will also be continuing their campaigns to encourage more people to take up allotment gardening in and this observer feels it will not be too long at all before pressure builds up for more land at Sandown to be released for citizens to grow their own food. Well done to Liz, Graham and Laurie and, last but not least, the retiring high heid yin, Oor Sandy who supported the application by Nairn Allotment Society for the allocation of land for Sandown 2. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fraserbugh 2 Nairn 0 - Pictures

Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictuers here. Full Screen slide show here.

A suitable sign for Nairn?

A couple of days ago we mentioned the anti dog poo signs in Leith. Now Fraser, one of our London based readers, suggests this sign for the Links and other heavily turded areas.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Traffic, ratruns, West End and all that

The image above (taken today) and the text below in from one of our regular readers:

It was only a few months ago that the question of traffic through the West End's residential streets was raised at a Nairn West Community Council meeting. There was concern among local residents about the increasing volume of through traffic, the risks to children and visitors in the Marine Road/Links area, and the hazard to the elderly folk who live in some of the houses in the surrounding streets. The idea was raised of approaching the other CCs, and the Council, to discuss measures like access signs or speed limits, similar to those that already exist in the Fishertown.

This provoked an regrettable outburst of snide and hostile comment - not least in the esteemed pages of the Gurn (see ) - including remarks about posh people, armed guards and gates, NIMBYs etc, - all of which revealed a disturbing level of prejudice among some, at least, of the folk of Nairn. There were even calls for Nairn West CC to be disbanded....

Clach 1 Nairn 1 pictures

Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictures here.

Hustings for May 3rd Council elections

Michael Green informs the Gurn that hustings are to be held on Wednesday the 25th of April commencing 7.30. p.m. Stephen Manders, United Reform Church minister, has agreed to take the chair, plus provide the URC as a venue. All candidates are being invited to attend. Micheal also says that a specific format has not been agreed but the favoured option at the moment is to have all potential questions submitted via the Community Councils. The town's three community council chairs, Rosemary, Dick and Tommy are all in favour but Rodger at Auldearn has not been contacted yet as he is on holiday.

The Gurn now has uploaded copies of all the candidates' leaflets apart from that of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate but we did ask their Highland Party office for a copy. You can find links to the leaflets here and there are also buttons in the side bar that will take you to any web presences that the candidates have.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Taxi parking problems?

River Community Council members complained to Sgt Olga Hansen about parking of taxis in inappropriate places, including the pavement, on the High Street at their meeting Tuesday night. Freddie Holmes, a former taxi driver himself, was sympathetic to the situation faced by taxi drivers and said that the reason he was allowed to park on the High Street was that he was near the Moray taxis office and that as a tourist town it was helpful to have taxis in the High Street.

Sgt Hansen said that having no specific taxi rank in Nairn made it quite difficult to monitor fully.

Tommy Hogg asked Liz if a designated taxi rank to be made in the area of the old community centre once it came down.

Liz didn't see why that couldn't be added into the plan but did say it would have to be through consultation.

Where the money to repair the Bailey Bridge came from

The Community Works manager for Nairn Debbie MacGuire (based in Inverness) was at the River CC meeting on Tuesday night to explain a few things to the Councillors gathered in the Community Centre. Gurnites will be aware of the complaints about the Links play park not being cleaned at the weekends during the winter months. No joy there according to Debbie, there just isn't the money. She did reveal where the money for the Bailey Bridge repairs came from however:

"Well we had money left coming towards the end of the financial year, last financial year. We had money left in our bridge maintenance program and that was highlighted as the project to get done in the last year so we did manage to get it done." She went on to add that the existing narrow part of the bridge that was the original pedestrian walkway will be closed as it will deteriorate further."

Among the comments made to Debbie was one from Murd reporting that one of the interiors of the litter bins at the skateboard park was sitting in the middle of the river. That was Tuesday night and Murd reported to the Gurn that it was still in the river on Weds afternoon. Not there today though and not back inside the bin. Has it been retreived and taken for repair by the council or has the wee spate taken it away. Murd is still on the case.

Liz calls for 20 mph limit in Boath Park

Liz tweets this evening: " Concern in Boath Park about traffic going too fast, requesting a 20 mph limit. Everyone I spoke to following this statement agreed."

Ashley's leaflet - Nairn Labour rose to bloom in May?

The Gurn only needs the Tory leaflet now and we'll have a full set. Ashley's is the latest and he sent a message with the copy of his leaflet (a larger version of the two page document here).

"Well here it is the Labour Rose outlining my background and what Labour will do for Nairn if elected in May. I cannot promise changes overnight but given time and commitment from the Highland Council we will halt the decline in public services and restore civic pride to Nairnshire.
So best of luck to all candidates as we enter the final stages of selection.

Ashley Broadbent
Scottish Labour Party Candidate"

Clach 1 Nairn 1

Third placed Nairn came away with a draw last night which takes a bit of pressure off Cove as they chase after Forres at the top of the table. Match report here.

Japanese Knotweed not so destructive in Japan

This observer decided to ask Gaelic blogger Takeshi Mogi how the authorities deal with problems created by Japanese Knotweed. It seems it isn't much of a threat at all on its home turf and our environment is obviously a lot more benign when it comes to accommodating this super weed.
Takeshi says that the plant doesn't harm buildings or roads in Japan, it is prolific however but renowned for its health benefits if eaten. A quick google reveals that the BBC has some culinary details on this. If the three year eradication plan fails on the Nairn perhaps we could start a new local industry? Knotweed, North American Crayfish and chips please?

"I love you because you pick up your dog poo"

Yesterday this observer had a useful day out in Edinburgh attending an event sponsored by Creative Scotland which turned into a bit of a blogger/#hyperlocal content meet-up. It was a fascinating experience but more about that today perhaps if time permits. We had a particularly stimulating chat with one of the folk that contribute to Greener Leith. It will come as no surprise to learn that Dog Poo is not only a problem in Nairn. In Leith citizen activists are going about the business of targeting the offenders with home-made advertising. The posters and stickers in Leith are reminiscent of similar ones that went up in Nairn in 2008 and also of the more extreme method preferred by one local resident. Time for Nairnites to get creative again too and/or just simply steal the designs from Leith?

Note to all the local election candidates - whoever comes up with a decent policy to stamp out (mmm) doggie jobbies in Nairn will be onto a winner.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Candidates' leaflets - Highland Council election May 3rd

The Gurn has up to now received leaflets from 7 of the 8 candidates participating in the election that will take place on May 3rd. As they have all been published here on the Gurn at different times it is perhaps best to put links to all of them in one post as some readers might not have seen them all yet. We still haven't had a copy of Rossie MacRae's leaflet but will be happy to post one once it comes through either the digital or snail mail letter box. Anyway here's what we have so far:

Ashley Broadbent Scottish Labour

Ritchie Cunningham Ind

Laurie Fraser Ind

Michael Green Ind

Colin Macaulay SNP

Liz MacDonald SNP

Graham Marsden Scottish LibDem

In the the Gurn sidebar you will also find links to any web presence that the candidates have. As far as we know it is only Laurie and the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate Rossie MacRae up to now that are not using either Facebook, twitter or some other form of internet resource for this election. Please take the time to vote on May 3rd Gurnites, let's see if we can get Nairnshire at the top of the % turnout.

"Nairn Fire Station is of a high standard of both training and response"

Gurnites will remember the few wee sparks between Oor Graham and Mike Henderson last month when he asked the LibDem member for comment on Fire Brigade training locally. The exchange took place at the River CC meeting last month. There was a sequel to all this at this month's meeting of the River CC when a letter was circulated by Mike Henderson (unable to be present) asking that the decision not to discuss the matter be reconsidered. The letter began:
"I tried to raise my concerns about the fire service at our last meeting. Unfortunately it was decided for various reasons that this was not a suitable item for a community council. I have to disagree most strongly with this viewpoint."
There was then some considerable debate about whether it would be competent to discuss the matter with some councillors thinking it was not a suitable topic for debate. Reference was made to standing orders. Liz was allowed to speak from the public benches and she thought it was relevant to community council affairs. She then made public an e-mail she had received from the fire service. Liz wanted to assure Mike Henderson and members of the community that despite concerns over press reports concerning fire service training in the Highlands all was well in Nairn. Here is the e-mail that Liz received:
Hello Liz

Following our conversation this morning I email with information on the current situation with training at Nairn Fire Station.

Nairn follow our 2 year Maintenance of Skills training structure, carried out on their weekly training evening. The Watch Manager in the station is being supported by ourselves in Inverness & Nairn District Office in ensuring this is up to date and fully recorded in the appropriate manner.

New businesses on Bridge Street

Upstairs and Downstairs

Ritchie's leaflet

Here's another leaflet - this time through the digital letterbox. Ritchie told the Gurn that the leaflet is now through more than 4000 doors. He added: "Perhaps different from the normal political leaflet but hopefully gives the voters an idea of who I am and what I offer." See a larger copy here. This observer also notes that Ritchie has added a new page to his website, he states there:"I’m finding I have to keep my diction very clear on the doorstep. If I speak too quickly voters get concerned I’m promoting Independence and nothing could be further from the truth." More here: Independence or Independents? You can also tweet Ritchie here.

Oor Graham's Lib Dem leaflet

The leaflets are really flying through the letter box now. Here's a larger copy. Each leaflet is personalised with the address of each voter in the household. Graham's leaflet also comes with a copy of the LibDem focus newsletter.

Monday, April 09, 2012

So where will the library go then?

At last week’s West CC meeting mention was made of the lease on the library running out at some time in the near future. This observer wondered where best to get information that would confirm that. The library is quite a busy place and brings a lot of people down into the High Street, it would be missed. Today Laurie’s leaflet popped through Gurn HQ’s letterbox and in Laurie’s essay was the following little gem:

”The Library’s lease is due to expire in two years and a new location will be required.”

Laurie is informing us that the Library will have to move but it is a shame that he doesn't tell us why. We can deduce that for some reason the lease will not be renewed, beyond that we are in the dark, it would be nice to know in these days of transparency. Anyway, information that emerged during the heyday of the (now seemingly dormant) organisation NICE indicated that the car park between the library and the A96 also belongs to the owners of the library. Now obviously if the library moves there may be implications for the car park. More to the point however is just how much say will our community get when it comes to the library looking for a new location? Don't forget the Highland Council put all the libraries and swimming pools out to an Arms Length Organisation so they don't have direct control over what gets done and where resources go.

In the meantime Laurie also states in his leaflet: “The old community centre and petrol station are close to demolition and by the time of the election should be down and the land tarred.” Land tarred – ah excellent, ideal for car parking? Wasn’t there the wee problem of the Highland Council administration looking for a developer for the community centre site however? Recently River CC called for a permanent car park on the site and Liz backed them up. Liz reiterated her position on keeping the Community Centre as a permanent car park again at the weekend, she told the Gurn:

“The delay to the work at the old community centre is due to there being 3 electric supplies. The chaps came from Hydro and were only able to disconnect 2 of them and another crew has to come to sort out the commercial supply. The contract did begin from 5th March and I am disappointed as much as everyone else at these delays as I'd been hoping the work would be completed in time for the Curtis Cup, which was the initial aim. However in the longer term it'll be great to get the site cleared and let's keep it for a car park for our town centre.”

Michael Green calls for Firhall Bridge to be widened

Commenting on his election Facebook page Independent candidate Michael Green states:

"Not campaigning over the Easter break and just back from a cycle round the river.The Firhall bridge really needs to be widened for disabled access. This point was made to me earlier in the week and I totally agree; it must be so frustrating for people in wheelchairs finding themselves unable to use the bridge."

Most gurnites will be aware of the present state of the bridge but if anyone is not up to speed here's a few pictures that were published recently.

Laurie Fraser - A Message

A copy of Laurie's leaflet has been delivered to Gurn HQ. It's four sides of A5, printed locally by the Nairnshire Telegraph. What is interesting about this leaflet compared to others that this observer has seen so far is that the inside pages contain quite a lot of information, several hundred words of our present Provost's thoughts which may delight or upset voters depending on they feel about our current Civic Head's performance. Plenty in there for voters to digest: "Laurie Fraser - A message" see what you make of it here in googledoc format.

Community Councils finding consensus on the Common Good – can it happen or is it “a big mountain to climb”?

West CC spent some at their meeting last week time mulling over last month’s Common Good Fund meeting between the town’s three community councils and Highland Council. Graham Kerr stated:
“We were outmanoeuvred by the Highland Council. They came there ready with the answers that they wanted to answer and without any information regarding what we wanted to hear. It was quite clear that Mr Gillfillan was dancing to a tune that he’d been given, he was not telling us about the past errors and he was making it very difficult for us to find out about these past errors. What we as a community council and the other community councils need to do is get our act together and say this is what we want, this is where we need to be. There are two separate issues one’s the past and one’s the future. The stuff that’s in the past, we have to decide whether we pursue that or not and what we definitely need to do is to decide how we get control of what is going on.
Graham Vine also present at the meeting made mention of the Scottish Government’s localism agenda and suggested Highland Council were going against this with their administration of the fund.
Cllr Kerr then said: “At the moment Highland Council are saying that they administer it, and we’re saying fine just you carry on administering it. What we’re after is that Nairn people have to decide what is going to happen with Nairn’s common good.”
Brian Stewart was more pessimistic than Graham Kerr. He thought the Council had used the meeting to close off local public debate but he saw a couple of small chinks of light. He added: “I don’t have a great deal of confidence that all three community councils will be anymore willing now than they were a month or two months or six months ago to come together to discuss a strategy on this issue And secondly, I am willing to lay good money on the fact that even if all three community councils did get together to discuss this they would not be able to reach consensus. I’m very willing to try and take part in that effort, but I’ve been round that course and the evidence is that it would be a big mountain to climb.
Graham Vine had the last say at the meeting: “Madam Chair, now that I no longer have no official status whatsoever I would suggest that if the price of forgetting history was that they no longer charge the Common Good for the Community Centre that would be a very fair compromise all round.”
This observer feels that that would be an ideal outcome but would Highland Council write off around £3 million to placate the citizens of Nairn in order to put the long running festering sore that has been the administration of the Common Good to bed?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A good day for Nairn Football

County won 3-0 at Brora yesterday and St Ninian managed the same scoreline at Colony Park. County match report here.

Pictures from club photographer Ken Houston. Individual pictures here.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

No to the cloned coos

Steven Innes has decided not to pursue a cloned cow future: "Public fears about ‘Frankenstein farming’ have killed off plans to sell milk from Britain’s only herd of clone cattle. Most of the 96 animals – sired by two bulls bred from embryos from a cloned cow – have been destroyed or exported to Europe. The farmer who owned the cows decided to get rid of them after it became clear the public would not accept milk or meat from them." More on the Daily Mail webpages.

"What seems to be lacking is competent supervision " Cllr Brian Stewart

Brian Stewart speaking on the subject of the management of local council services on Wednesday night in the Community Centre:

"There’s a bit of a pattern here, not just in this community council but also in the other discussions in the other communtiy councils about the way in which services are being delivered in and around Nairn. From mowers flattening the gravestones in the cemetery to the issue that Mike Henderson pursued about council workers working at weekends to clear up the beach, to problems of contractors who dumped all over the flower beds which people had taken a lot of time and voluntary effort to plant opposite the West End garage and that area. And the common thread moving through this is that most of this seems to have emerged since the reorganisation and/or contracting out of council services. Either TEC services type work whether it is maintenance or grass cutting or cemeteries or whatever is managed remotely by some official in Kinguisse or some official in Inverness or it’s left to private contractors or let out to private contractors. The point, the general theme about this, is that what seems to be lacking is competent supervision, and the irony is that the more stuff is let out at arm’s length, at a distance, if money is tight and the work is contracted out supervision becomes more not less important. The pattern seems to be that the services are being reduced and the level of supervision and local scrutiny of how it is being performed is diminishing and that’s largely because the people doing the supervising are not here."

There was some discussion then of the centralised nature of services and the paradox created by the contracting out system: being that although front line staff had been paid off while the council has retained the supervisory and management staff in Glenurquhart Road. Ritichie Cunningham, Indepependent candidate in the forthcoming election and rector of Inverness High School gave an example that he himself had come across in his professional life:
"Well often they don't actually have the budgets, the budgets are held by other services. For example, as a head teacher I have a budget for clearing the car parks. I can't use TEC services anymore. I have to use one of their approved contractors."

Invasive species enjoying the Easter sunshine

Japanese Knotweed ( Reynoutria japonica) leisurely makes its way skyward through a thriving patch of Giant Hogweed ( Heracleum mantegazzianum), basking in the sunshine just down from the A96 bridge. Their days are numbered though as Tommy Hogg will soon be on their case when the River CC's improvement project kicks into gear. Larger picture here.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Kite Buggy - Nairn east beach

This looks like fun.

West CC – tough on litter – tough on the causes of litter?

Councillor Graham Kerr asked the police rep at the West CC meeting earlier this week if anyone had been charged with dropping litter.

“If we see somebody dropping litter they can be charged,” replied Sgt Olga Hansen.

“Has anyone been charged?” Continued Cllr Kerr.

“I did research it but not to my knowledge,” said Olga.

“Maybe next time you come you could research it and tell us how many have been charged.” This observer got the impression that Graham was wanting a few litterbugs charged in the interim.

Olga did add: “If we see someone drop it we would ask them to pick it up.”

Graham feels that litter is a problem in Nairn he said:” The High Street is full of it, the High Street is full of CCTV, no one’s been charged.”

Graham Vine (former councillor) then asked if CCTV was evidence adequate to charge someone with dropping litter.

“It would require to sit and review the CCTV, if there was nobody sitting monitoring at the time. At weekends a lot of people are asked to pick up various things that they drop, it’s usually down to the influence of alcohol. We don’t use CCTV to monitor litter dropping,” replied Olga.

Cllr Brian Stewart then entered the debate: ”By charging one or two people you send a pretty clear message that this is something that is unacceptable. In the same way you would ticket people for parking on yellow lines or ticket people for motoring offences. It’s a very, very clear message. If you transgress you get nailed. Now, to do that with littering wouldn’t require very many people to be charged.”

Olga then added: “A lot of the litter is from takeaways and I know most places where they are licensed they’re supposed to tidy up the mess outside.”

Rosemary Young intervened: “I went to that place over there and told them to tidy up and they were out like a shot. They just need to be warned about it and that would help wouldn’t it?”

Some concern was then expressed at the level of litter being caused by school children. After some more debate Rosemary said: “We are coming to the tourism season now so we want the litter reduced to as minimal as we can get it.”