Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meanwhile down on the riverbank

A young heron looking for breakfast. Thanks to Jock Schneider for this picture.

Bus worries for Suburban folk - what happens next year when funding runs out?

John Mackie of Suburban Community Council has been vociferous over the years in his campaigning for a better bus service in the town. Last night at the regular meeting in Nairn Academy he outlined ongoing concerns about the town's bus service. 
The most obvious concern is that the service to the hospital is inadequate even outside of the surreal fact that the town bus service doesn't stop in the bus station to connect with other services. If you are heading to the hospital for an appointment and take, say a service 10 into town, you have to walk over to the bus stop in the High Street for the 20 town service. Bizarre but true, and despite this being raised time and time again no one in authority seems to be able to sort this out. John Mackie claimed that it is easier to get a bus from the west of town to a Doctor's appointment in Ardersier than it is to one at the hospital in Nairn. The situation will get even worse if and when the Rosebank Pharmacy moves up to the hospital too.
John is also worried that when the Sainsbury funding runs out next year there may be no town bus service at all. He said: "Come August next year I suspect that bus will disappear."

Alistair Noble said: "The problem we've got is the problem that we've always got in that we don't know who is making these decisions.[...] If we could make local decisions we could come up with solutions."
To this observer Alistair is absolutely right, we pay people elsewhere to make decisions for us and it doesn't work. We also have four elected representatives that spend a great deal of their time going to Inverness to try and sort things out on our behalf but can we get a town bus service that goes into the bus station? When it comes to simple basic common sense alternatives like this it seems that community input can still be ignored by the system. This is wrong - more decisions need to be taken in Nairn, surely we can be trusted to decide where we want our buses to stop?

Kingsteps car park - information from 2003

It seems the authorities have been trying to discourage the use of the Kingsteps Car Park for some time. Ironically the recent publicity has probably encouraged even more people to head for this popular and convenient car park. Here's an extract from an article that appeared in the Nairnshire Telegraph in October 2003.  
The article goes on to quote a Reserve Warden Mr Steve Elliot: " The car park at Kingsteps was being overused and householders were sometimes blocked in. It had implications for emergency services. They were also being bothered by people asking where the beach was and where the toilets were."
At the time there was an ongoing wrangle about where to best place signs to the RSPB Culbin Reserve. 

In November another article appeared: "No end in sight for sign wrangle" and the picture seems to be very confused between the Forestry Commission, the RSPB and Highland Council over where to put the signs. Mr Elliot is again quoted stating that the East Beach is more suitable because it has toilets. Aren't those toilets closed at the moment however as part of the cuts? Does anyone know exactly what year the road to the Kinsteps car park was tarred? Was it before or after these discussions and attempts at discouraging use of the car park?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday night miscellany - from greyhounds to ghosts via seafood and spin

One of our regular readers passes on heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Retired Greyhound Trust, Isle of Skye Branch, and Helen Forsyth to all those that supported the recent Trust Sponsored walk The Gurn hears that Although the event was heavily corrupted by the weather (it seems to become a “trend” that at Nairn events marquees take off? – fortunately the cakes did not!) they raised £495 for the furry friends in need. Pictures of the event here.

Seafood for Nairn Academy – a press release out there states: “SEAFOOD Scotland is continuing the highly successful Seafood in Schools programme with an exciting, interactive event at Nairn Academy on the 1st and 2nd November. Around 250 pupils from the Academy and local primary schools will be attending the event. 
The children will enjoy four workshops with their classmates, learning where seafood comes from, how healthy it is, and how it gets from sea to plate. A selection of fish and shellfish will be available to taste, and pupils will have the opportunity to see fresh and live species including crab, lobster, cod, monkfish and even squid.” More here.

One man’s riverside regeneration is the creation of another man’s ecological wasteland. Joe Telfer isn’t happy with River Community Council. Read all about it here. The River CC project includes a long-term effort to remove Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed, three invasive species that have been doing untold damage to the delicate ecological balance of the riverside for years now. The Gurn also understands from a regular unreliable source that River CC are also in negotiations to obtain young alders of local provenance to under plant some of the more older trees in that area between the A96 bridge and the sewage bridge.

The Kingsteps saga is still brewing away steadily behind the scenes with all eyes on the forthcoming River CC meeting on the 13th of November. Those readers who are unfamiliar with the controversial area in question or haven’t been down there for a while might benefit from a few images - here's a set of images on the Gurn's flickr pages. Any comments on this subject, please go to this thread.

Do you ever get scunnered with the sort of political language we get spoon fed from the mainstream media? An interesting quote on the APT blog quotes a wifie Margaret Heffernan:
"Orwell understood that...if you mess with the language you mess with people's thinking.  If you misuse language you stop people being able to think some contexts I often wonder if that is the point."
An interesting post from the APT Secretary which is well worth a couple of minutes of your time, "True democracy depends on clear communication."

Ian Finlayson has a book of Nairn Ghost Tales available on Amazon that can be downloaded onto a Kindle or other device. More information here Ghost Town – Ghosts of Nairn 2.

Perth and Kinross is the name of the local authority just south of Highland Region on the A9 as you go down the road. Kinross Town Hall is a derelict building however and the former seat of civic power is up for sale along with the former public library next to it. There’s an article mentioning the buildings on Andy Wightman’s blog. This observer was in Kinross earlier in the year and took some pictures of the very same building. If I can find them I’ll put them up and link them later. The point is that there is probably a service point somewhere in the town and somewhere you can get books but look what has happened so such an imposing public building that was once the civic heart of Kinross. Could we one day see our own Courthouse going up for sale in Nairn?

Now to go off subject for a while. Finally, one Unionist scare story that has got this observer really concerned : Scotland ‘More Susceptible’ To Zombie Invasion Under Independence.

Serious delays at Nairn railway station - Picture

Photographic evidence of  delays at Nairn railway station has been published online here. 

Eddie Grant retires after 50 years working for the Nairnshire Community

Highland Council Press Release

Eddie Grant, The Highland Council’s Principal Building Standards Surveyor in in Nairn, has retired after 50 years’ service with the Council.

Eddie, who left School aged 15, started work with Nairn Burgh Council in 1962 as an apprentice Burgh Engineer. One of the many important summer duties as apprentice Burgh Engineer included painting the road signs at the edges of the carriageways.

He progressed to becoming a Building Control Officer in 1975 when Local Government re-organisation established Nairn District Council. The construction industry interested Eddie and satisfied his curiosity in following a buildings evolvement from foundations to completion. He also enjoyed the banter with the tradesmen whilst out on sites inspecting progress.

At the next re-organisation of Local Authorities in 1996 Eddie was promoted to become Principal Building Standards Surveyor. At this time he became responsible for the management of Building Standards operations within the Nairn area.

Born, bred and schooled in Nairn, he is married to Carole and is a highly regarded and accomplished jazz musician and played semi-professionally from the age of 15. Nowadays, he plays simply for the love of the music.

Colleagues joined Eddie last week to celebrate his retirement. Building Control Manager Glenn Campbell said: “Eddie has served each Council diligently and conscientiously and has proven himself to be a very highly prized and consistent member of our Building Standards team. He is often referred to as ‘Steady Eddie’ because no matter the scenario Eddie will offer an unbiased and fair view on interpretation of the guidance behind the building regulations and is relied on, by the team, to provide sound advice and guidance.

“Eddie has worked his entire working life in Nairn and at the age of 65 retires from Highland Council having given 50 years loyal service to the Council, but more importantly to Eddie, the people of Nairn. He is staunchly proud of his roots, his town and the people of Nairn. We all wish him well in his retirement.”

If Forres gets a public vote on major Common Good issues then why not have that principle for Nairn too?

The Highland website has a report on the proposed major development on Common Good land in Forres. If the development went ahead it would mean yet another new stadium for the Can-Cans, a prospect that prompted of the Nairn twitterati to suggest that Forres Mechanics move closer to Elgin with each new stadium. Here's a section from the article:

" Although principal agreement has been reached with the club, the fact Mosset Park is built on common good land means that a public consultation held by Moray Council must vote in favour of the proposal, regardless of whether planning permission is obtained. Redco's last proposal - which didn't include the stadium rebuild plan - fell at this stage of the process, and Mechanics chairman Dr James Anderson was keen to emphasise that it will be the fans who make the ultimate call on the club's future."

The Forres Gazette has a report on the development here and states: "Mechanics chairman Dr James Anderson said that the club was "taking a neutral stance" with regards to the retail development, and would be guided by what the people of Forres want, bearing in mind that they previously voted no to selling common good land for development."

Now wouldn't it have saved a lot of trouble if we had been consulted in Nairn about the Deveron Homes development with ballot papers delivered to each door? Perhaps that could be done the next time anything is planned for Sandown or any of the other Common Good areas in the town? 

Narrow lanes on A96 town bridge as railings repainted

Take care when crossing the bridge just now as the railings are getting a makeover from the trunk road contractors. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sat 3rd November - now a second bus for the black and gold faithful for the trip to Forfar

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Orchards for the 21st Century - a meeting in the Community Centre on Sat 10th Nov 7.30 p.m

John Hancox of Scottish Orchards will be in Nairn to give a talk in the Community Centre on the 10th of November. More information in the video or on this leaflet here. 

Celebrating with the cup

Pictures of last week's celebrations after the North Cup came back to Nairn once again. Individual pictures here. 

Incident at Links Car Park

Around 8 a.m. this morning a local resident tweeted an eye-witness account of police, fire service and ambulance personnel in attendance at a car parked at the bottom of the links car park. Sadly it looks like a tragic incident took place earlier. A hand written sign had been taped to both front door windows. At 09.00 a.m. a police car was parked next to the vehicle in order to ensure that other vehicles and passers-by kept away from the car.

Formartine v County off

The Gurn hears from Donald Matheson that the Highland League fixture is off with the Formartine pitch frosted and with snow on the surface as well. That's bad news as the Wee County miss yet another Highland League game. Next Saturday no Highland League football too but an intriguing Scottish Cup encounter at Forfar (In 1968 the squad went down on a similar journey in the prelimanary round and came home with a 1-2 away win). I
Here's the Highland League table before today's surviving matches are played. Cove are top, having played 11 games but the league is still wide open, with perhaps almost 10 teams in with a chance when games in hand are taken into account. The Wee County's twitter feed states that last Saturday's North Cup final was the 9th highest attendance at a football ground in Scotland on that day. The profile of the Highland League is rising once again.  

Nairn Healthcare Group - Changes to their appointment system

The Healthcare Group have released an information leaflet highlighting changes to their appointment system. Here's an extract:

"What is changing? From Monday 5th November, an patient wishing to make an appointment to see a doctor will be asked to speak to the doctor first. The receptionist will ask you to give a very brief explanation as to the reason for the appointment, and will take a telephone contact number that the doctor can reach you on. The doctor will then call you back within the hour."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Delays on Station Brae

It was all quiet when this picture was taken as the boys with the black stuff headed off down the High Street for a piece. Gurnites are reporting long delays here however. Might be worth a detour if you need to head out the Cawdor Road today. 

Community Challenge Fund - a possibility for town centre projects?

On Wednesday night in Auldearn Liz suggested that the Highland Council's new Community Challenge fund might be a suitable source of funding for NICE's intentions with the old social work building. Yesterday she also tweeted on this:
Item 3 on the list of chllange fund projects seems to be suitable for what Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise have in mind, see below. What could be done with those buildings though to ensure that they had a sustainable future? 

"(i) Deliver a service at lower cost
The project will demonstrate that a community based delivery mechanism will provide the same level of specified service or services as currently provided by the Council, at lower cost, and will be sustainable in future years at an indexed cost.
(ii) Provide a higher level of service for the same cost
The project will demonstrate that a community based delivery mechanism will provide a higher level of specified service or services as currently provided by the Council, at the existing cost, and will be sustainable in future years at an indexed cost.
(iii) Help to reduce the Council’s cost for maintaining premises
The project will assume responsibility for the maintenance and running costs of premises and will show how the project will be sustainable in future years following a one-off challenge fund contribution."

The Council's full challenge fund document is here.    When the Council talks in item (i) about providing the same level of specified service or services as currently provided by the Council, at lower cost, and will be sustainable in future years at an indexed cost, could that mean that the Community Councils could put in to take over the grass cutting contract for the town and employ the local guys that used to do that job? As long, of course, they could show that they could do it cheaper than the contractors? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chernobyl Kids Lifeline Ceilidh November 3rd

With the Nairn Ceilidh group season over people looking for a good Scottish Ceilidh have the chance to dust down their dancing shoes on Saturday, November 3 in aid of a very worthy cause.
Rev Tom Heggie is organising a ceilidh for the Nairn Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline at the Nairn Dunbar Golf Club.
Tickets still available £5.
Get along there and support a very worthwhile charity.
Donald Wilson is MC , music provided by the Altyre Ceilidh Band, Two Iains, Dave Godden and Dougie Gray. Sounds like a great night.
Call Tom on 01667 456158 for tickets or Donald on 01667 453270

NICE committed to buy the “Civic Square”- Regal under offer?

The NICE message was double booked last night and after showing his powerpoint display to the Auldearn Community Council, Alistair hotfooted it up to Glenferness to explain the NICE message to the Nairnshire East CC. 

It appears now Community Councils might be moving to associate membership of NICE. This would give them the chance to state that they broadly support the aims of NICE but allow them wiggle room should any of the elements of the NICE plan displease them.

The meeting in Auldearn heard how membership of NICE had now passed the 400 mark. The target is still 1,000 plus so expect a membership form to be flashed in front of you some time soon. When asked about any specific right to buy projects that NICE were committed to already. Alistair replied that they were committed now to buy the “Civic Square”, that makes up the old Social Work buildings an the parking area behind it. “That would be our first project,” said Alistair.

NICE were also interested in the Regal but they have been told that it is under offer now for a lease as a bar and restaurant. Alistair went on to say that other projects would include the car park area of the bus station and then they would get into the “whole of the nitty-gritty” of Sandown.

Alistair received the support of Auldearn Community Council at the meeting. Earlier the Chair Roger Milton had said that the project was a dramatic very ambitions plan and he had a little bit of concern has to how it was going to function. His most serious concern was how it was going to actually mesh into the existing political structure.

Roger went on to talk about the planning proposal that was passed for the flats at the bus station. He said it was a “jig-saw that was put together a long way away from anybody that lives in the community and if NICE start to get themselves involved at that level I just don’t know how successful it can be.”

Alistair’s reply to that was quite frank: “This won’t really work unless everyone pulls together.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Job experience scheme for disruptive seagulls?

The Scorries brought down a couple of the local gulls on Saturday,  another could be sitting proudly on top of a flag being carried by one of the other Wick supporters. Is this how they deal with errant Salties in Wick? If you're caught stealing chips from bairns you get one last chance and work experience with the Academy supporters club? A chance to get your life back on track and stop making a nuisance of yourself? Maybe this scheme could be extended to Nairn?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Highland SNP resignations

Troubled times for the SNP in the Highlands, recently Highland Councillor Donnie Kerr left the party claiming the administration whip was hindering him representing his constituents. Now the SNP lose respected MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart over the NATO issue. This weekend readers will note that Liz also tweeted her  chagrin with the recent SNP decision to keep an independent Scotland in NATO.

Many Gurnites will know John Finnie, he is no stranger to Nairn and has made many trips here on campaigning issues during his time both as a Highland Councillor and a MSP. You can see him here in the right of the picture signing a petition to stop the mooted closure of Nairn Swimming Pool in 2010.

Donnie Kerr going was one thing but the loss of  John Finnie and his colleague will be a big blow to the party, they are not without respect and influence well beyond the ranks of the SNP. Will rank and file members follow? A press release has been issued that details the reasons given by the two MSPs.

"John Finnie MSP and Jean Urquhart MSP have tendered their resignation as members of the Scottish National Party following the SNP’s adoption of a pro-NATO stance at its Party Conference last weekend. They will continue to sit as Independent MSPs for the Highlands and Islands with no official party affiliation.

The two Highlands and Islands list MSPs announced their decision at Eden Court in Inverness, describing their decision of principle as “heart-wrenching”.

John Finnie, who first joined the SNP when he was 16, said:

Les not getting carried away by it all

""The cup win is a fantastic achievement for the club, but I’ll be emphasising to the players again this week that they cannot afford to get carried away by it," said the Wee County manager."

More in an interview with Graham Linton on the Courier site.

A Culbin life-saving tale of 2006, starrring the Kingsteps car park and five young people from Nairn

An interesting link on Liz's twitter feed this morning leads to the following:

"FIVE youngsters were praised by the police yesterday after alerting emergency services to a walker who suffered severe breathing difficulties in Culbin Forest. Their prompt actions led to the 54-year-old man, who is from Nairn but has not been named, being airlifted for treatment at Raigmore Hospital. "There's no doubt the swift actions of these youngsters could have saved this man's life," a Northern Constabulary spokesman said."
Click the link in the tweet below to read more.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"No Vehicle Access" at Kingsteps - Alexander Brodie tells his side of the story

Alexander Brodie has written a letter to the Gurn outling his position concerning the No Access sign at Kingsteps

Dear Sir,

I refer to your article about the “Private Road: No Vehicle Access” sign at Kingsteps. I would like to clarify the situation and inform of the reasons that the private track owned by Brodie estates has been closed to vehicles.

There are several reasons I am closing the road to vehicles. Over the years Brodie Estates has received complaints from local residents. These complaints include dog walkers who have failed to control their animals, dog fowling, overnight parking, loud music and other disturbances at night, vehicles blocking access, and people trespassing on residential properties. I have been notified that hunters are using my road and the parking to shoot wildfowl. I own Culbin sands and its shootings rights, I rent these to the RSPB on the condition that shooting is not allowed. I abhor wildfowl shooting and will not tolerate guns being used or crossing my land for this purpose. Shooting of wildfowl has even taken place in the car park. When residents complain to the police about the shooting or other infraction they are informed that officers can not intervene as the property is private. Yet when I complain to the police they inform me that the property has many sign posts and rubbish bins and other indications that it is public, that they can not intervene to uphold the rights of private property is such circumstances.

The problems have been steadily getting worse. Since the council tarred the road the number of vehicle users has increased. Since the Forestry Commission has started charging for parking at its own car parks, these numbers have reached unreasonable proportions. With this increased usage, complaints to Brodie estates have grown.

The solution was to place a sign post clearly indicating the property to be private. The purpose was to discourage access by vehicle and clarify the situation for police intervention from complaints. The first thing I did upon erecting the sign was visit Nairn police station and enquire if it was now possible for them to intervene. They informed that the situation was too complex, that the council signs and facilities indicated one thing, my sign post another. According, I wrote to the Council asking that they remove all their signposts and rubbish bins. They have removed the rubbish bins but not as yet the sign posts. My sign post was not meant to prevent access - it was not a barrier. Its purpose was to discourage, reduce numbers and allow complaints to be handled by the authorities. Naturally, if drivers trespassed but were respectful of the neighbourhood, kept their dogs on leads, removed fowling, and they did not carry or use guns, block accesses, walk into peoples gardens or stay after nightfall there would be no cause for complaint. Brodie estates and the residents could have looked the other way. But the sign post would have given teeth to tackling any violation, to allow redress for any problem visitors.

In the wake of the extraordinarily irresponsible calls by counsellors at Nairn River Community Council this situation has changed. I read in disbelief as representatives called openly on the public to disrespect my right to private property. To ignore my sign. With the Provost using the internet to “tweet” comments on the vandalism of my sign, such as “What's worse putting up a sign to stop access to Kingsteps car park or painting it out?”, it was only a matter of time before the sign was irrevocably damaged. It is without surprises that I have noticed the sign has now been removed and stolen. With such public calls, no doubt the perpetrators felt like they had been acting with the authorities blessing. It now seems pointless to erect another sign. It would be disrespected and vandalised. According, I have been forced into the option of a gate. I have ordered a specific gate that allows access to pedestrians, horses and none motorised bikes, while denying vehicles. This gate is being custom built and shipped and will not be up until at least a month.

Access is closed only to cars (not walkers, riders or none motorised bicycles). For the users with cars there is a proper official parking next door, closer to Nairn, larger, right by the sea, and with better facilities. Both the Forestry Commission and the RSPB do not promote the parking at Kingsteps, rather they prefer visitors use the official parking at East Beach.

The Brodies of Brodie have managed the Culbin sands for countless generations. We have continuously tried to preserve this coast line and have never publicly sought credit. We have always sat in the background letting others enjoy it. We are very proud of our beach and are trying to preserve it from development. To keep it natural, full of wildlife and beautiful. It was never my intention to stop access. I have always wanted others can see and enjoy my property. Pedestrians and horses are still permitted down my roads and tracks and on my beach. All I ask is that drivers park at the official East Beach car park.

If Provost Liz McDonald believes that this is unsatisfactory, I am prepared to offer a compromise. I have been informed Provost Macdonald lives near Kingsteps, at Drumbeg. I am familiar with this area, it used to be Brodie estate holdings. I own Kingsteps Wood below Drumbeg that borders her property and my beach. If she doesn't mind car parks, unlike residents at Kingsteps, I propos that she builds a public car park by her house and I clear access from this to the beach.

I have been invited to attend the Nairn River Community Council of the 13th November at 19.30 in the Nairn Arts and Community Centre. I hope to answer any further questions there.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Brodie of Brodie,
Brodie Estates Office,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

AJG Parcels North Cup Nairn 2 Wick 1 - Video highlights from Thistle Channel TV

Thanks to Ross of Thistle Channel TV for sending the Gurn the embed code for the video.

Official pictures - AJG Parcels North Cup Nairn 2 Wick 1

Gurn images up here - Last 190 pics now up (22.00) including John Cameron's goal and cup celebrations.

Now here's  Donald Matheson's official images. Individual images here. Full screen slideshow here.

"NICE is not a political entity" - discuss

An interesting post on the NICE site appeared yesterday. NICE would deny that it is a political entity. That is correct in the sense of party politics (a grotesque, posturing and often irrelevant process to many citizens perhaps). But community life is full of politics, from the wee gurn on the street corner to the powerpoint presentations in the Courthouse, politics swirls all around us whether we like it or not and NICE will not be able to escape this. Perhaps gurnites have thoughts on this, if so why not leave them here on this NICE page. 

North Cup comes to Nairn again - a few pictures

Please note - Another 190 pics now up (22.00 Sun)

Individual images here and full screen slide show here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

County take the North cup in a classic thriller - Nairn 2 Wick 1

"You wouldn't have felt hard done by if Wick han taken the cup," said one of the Wee County faithful as the massive crowd (reminiscent of Highland league games of the sixties and seventies) made for the exit. True words as both sides put on a great display of football that did the Highland League proud but it was to be Nairn's day. The North Cup once again heads for Nairn and Les's loons are fired up and ready to take on Forfar in the Scottish Cup.
It was a classic, well down the County boys and Robbie Duncanson and John Cameron with the goals,  a great day out for the County faithful, more pictures later.

Late arrivals

Late arrivals. This duck has taken her late brood down to the breadcrumb zone which so often is the place where predators come for a feed too. Here's hoping. 

Time for residents' parking permits in the Fishertown?

A resident in the Fishertown has felt the need to erect this sign on their boundary wall. Parking in the Fishertown and some other areas of Nairn can cause problems. Some areas are just not designed for the level of car ownership that exists in modern society. The problem is rather acute at times in the Fishertown however. Earlier this year we reported on the Gurn how there were even calls for a parking mediation service in this area. 
One of our regular readers tells us: "  Parking is a problem in the area some folk use the pavements as a extra parking space making parents with prams use the road. Come on get something done before Fishertown is grid locked with parked car."
Perhaps it is time for the local authority to acknowledge the problem and issue residents with parking permits?

No parking problems in the town centre today however, plenty of parking here. The Co-op were lagging behind the Highland Council for a while but now they have their site tarred while the Council's patch is still waiting for the black stuff. Maybe it will be ready in time for the Christmas rush. 

Bus Station planning decision - West Community Council to seek advice from Planning Aid for Scotland

The West CC are still very concerned about the decision to build 16 flats on the Bus Station garage site. The words "done deal" could be heard in the discussion at their meeting last Wednesday night. Anyone that wishes to challenge the decision has to first make a complaint to the Council and let that process complete its course before approaching the Ombudsman.

Concern was raised that the flats were in the pipeline well before the planning committee met. 
Brian Stewart said: "Higland Council's housing strategy programme which they put into the Scottish Government back in July and August already had the proposal to build 16 affordable flats in the centre of Nairn."

The Westies are to seek the advice of Planning Aid for Scotland as to whether they have grounds to take their concerns further and make an official complaint.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SNP blunder today says Liz

Liz is referring to the decision today by the SNP. An independent Scotland would remain part of Nato now. This observer can't say that it's the talk of the streets just now. People are mentioning Cllr Donnie Kerr's defection from the SNP to the Independents however. Although Donnie will sit as an independent independent. If this continues it won't be long before there will be three different lots of independents like there were in the final days of the last administration. 

In friendship - here's hoping for a Highland League soccer spectacular tomorrow at Grant Street

Brocher's Brae concerns outlined at West CC meeting

It's a bit outside their "manor" but West CC heard concerns about the Brocher's Brae area on Wednesday night from Cllr Graham Kerr. It came after the police rep had addressed the Council and one or two points were brought forward for the Sergeant's attention. 
From communication between Graham and residents in the area it seems that there has been a spate of folk sitting on the wall and then throwing their litter in the river. Children have also been riding bicycles along the top of the wall, obviously endangering themselves given the huge drop on the other side. A result of replacing the triangular coping with flat slabs obviously. West CC are tough on litter and the causes of litter and Graham Kerr consistently calls for more action on this matter. 

Doggie jobbies were discussed too. The Northern Constabulary have obviously quite a lot to do and, like all the forces in Scotland, there are great changes in the background given the new Scottish Police force coming into being shortly but they do have a willingness to help wherever possible with issues that affect community life. The meeting heard from the police rep how the Nothern Constabulary had worked with the Council in Wick to target fouling hotspots. If you have any general concerns you wish to discuss with the police then Community Council meetings are a good place to go. Depending on operational needs there is often a police rep present.

More Westie news later.  

Access row hits page 3

Ils ne passeront pas. A picture of Liz, Colin Fraser and Fred Holmes on Page 3 today, alongside an image of Alexander Brodie. The article is entitled "Laird provokes fury with right of way ban."
Liz is quoted: I cannot understand why Alexander Brodie is doing this and all the hassle he is causing. I cannot think how he thinks he can benefit by causing all this trouble," she said. More in the Inverness Courier

Come on Alexander take the sign down, Nairn is good at forgiving and forgetting. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tribute to Ian Hardie

Sadly Ian died on Tuesday. A tribute has been posted on the Occasionals website.

Facebook persona - Cullthegull Nairn

A facebook page states: "I live Scotland in a small town called Nairn. I'm a pest and love to steal chips from kids leaving the chip shop etc. I crap on cars and love to swarm down over kids at school and steal their lunches. I'm a danger to kids as when I attack they panic in put themselves in life threatening situations by running onto the road without looking as they are to busy trying to get away from me.
 I was featured on televisions "News Round" a few years back for attacking kids in the playground."

A subject with a serious side but a humourous character has appeared on Facebook and is gathering friends. You can see Cull the Gull Nairn's profile here but you have to be signed in to Facebook to see all the information.    This time of year the Gulls are mostly all down the beach behaving like seagulls, next year perhaps there will be more activity in making their nesting sites uncomfrotable but it will be a big job and who pays?

Former social club application for provisional licence reveals layout changes

Thanks to the regular reader who noticed the following information on the Highland Council's Current application pages

The following application(s) will be considered by the above Licensing Board at its Meeting on Tuesday 18 December 2012 at 12.00 Noon in the Council Chambers, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness (following the Licensing Committee commencing at 10.30am):

1. Application for Variation of Provisional Premises Licence

1.1 On and Off Sales
Premises: Former Nairn County Social Club, Church Street, Nairn IV12 4AP
Applicant: Mr Peter G Moore, Flat 2, 36 High Street, Nairn IV12 4AU per Lorna Murray Solicitor.
1. Reduction to capacity from 346 down to 246.
2. Variation to Layout Plan - Gallery area and staircase removed. Fire alarm system upgraded to be L1 compliant. Window added to front elevation. Doorway added to front elevation. Gents toilet layout amended. Bar Counter layout amended. Small store room added next to bar.
3. Deletion of ' with a mezzanine floor' from the premises description.
Date published: 29 October 2012
Date for Objections: 19 November 2012

Might not be too long before pints are being supped again in the old Social Club?

Teresa the traffic warden finishes

The last day today for Teresa as a traffic warden. West CC learned last night that she is off to start her training at the Scottish Police Force college. The westies wished her well and hope that a suitable replacement can be found to continue her work next year. More from the westies and their deliberations last night later. 

County cupcake - Picture

Ashers Bakery wishing Nairn County all the best this Saturday. It promises to be a cracking final with the Wickers (now top of the Highland League) coming down for what will probably be one of the finest afternoons in this season's calendar.
To avoid delays at the Grant Street Park gate you might want to buy tickets in advance. They are available  from MacRae's Travel on the High Street.

Local food gets mapped

A new website is helping folk across the Country find local food to buy. A good initiative to help support local economies. There isn't much on the local food map for Narin yet, however.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meanwhile out over by the waste water pipe on the East Beach

Holes in the rocks - Does anybody know...?

Dave Shilabeer has sent the Gurn some pictures and he tells us:

"We had a gentleman come into the museum a few weeks ago asking about holes in the rocks between the Golf View and the swimming pool. I had to put my hands up and say I didn't know. Walking along the prom this morning I noticed them properly for the first time so am asking your readers help. This section I have photographed is right under the wall of the prom and there is a line of 7 holes running parallel to the wall about 2 metres (6ft) away. There are others in the area but I can't make out a discernible pattern. The holes are about 8cm (3in) in diameter. "

Hospitals of Nairn

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Balblair Road Fire Wednesday 10th October - pictures

Pictures of the fire in a field on the B9091 Balblair west of the town. Over 30 bales of straw were destroyed in the fire which could be seen for miles around. Images from Donald Matheson.
Individual images here.  Full screen slide show here (recommended)

Tuesday Miscellany

The Gurn hears from two of our regular unreliable sources that folk have been seen measuring up for a gate close to the entrance road to a popular seaside car park that has been mentioned in the local media recently. Our correspondents are awaiting further developments.
Meanwhile it's a cold day for the golf but several hardy players were out early this morning - picture here. An image here too of the progress that the River Community Council project is making down at the Riverside. Won't be long now with Gordy on the job. 

River CC cool on NICE?

John Dolan considers last Friday night's NICE launch in his editorial this week and mentions that their success hinges on community support. He says: "However, they are likely to be disappointed that Nairn River Community Council already appear cool to how NICE is shaping up, if the watchdog's recent statement is anything to go by."

The River CC statement raises some concerns yes, but it also offers an opportunity. If NICE were to take up the offer of having 3 Board members from River CC, 2 from Suburban and one from West (in proportion to their respective electorates) then we would effectively have a town council. If the rural community councils had one member each too then we would have an embryonic Nairnshire County Council. The River CC statement is worthy of further analysis. You can read the text  here or just simply listen to a text to sound vid below.

Nice copy and paste - text to sound

For the links mentioned in the video go to this page. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

County contract extensions

Martin MacDonald and Connor Gethins (Highland League top goal scorer) sign 4 and 3 year contract extensions  respectively with the Wee County. More on the NCFC official site news pages.

Photo contributions snow and gows

Sneachd air na beanntainn a-rithist a chàirdean. 

Dave Shillabeer sent us an image of the snow across the way. He told the Gurn: "Snow on the Ben this morning. It's usually just a quick dusting like icing sugar but I think someone dropped the bag. The easterly winds are back. It doesn't bode well does it?"

Jingle Bangles sends the image below in response to a request from a regular Gurnite who asked where all the gows/gulls had gone.

Monday Miscellany - everyone having a NICE time?

One of our regular readers sends a picture and asks if this is the start of seaside flats being built on the East Beach. This morning sees snow down to quite low levels on the hills that make up the panorama of the other side of the Firth. Well quite low levels for the middle of October. It seems that autumn is moving on fast towards winter. Another reader asks if Nairnbairn might be considering another entry for the Carbuncle award this year. Where are you Nairnbairn? Are you filling in the entry form already?

Friday night was the big night for brand new NICE and there are reports of a very well attended meeting with 100 plus souls in attendance. Not bad for Nairn, especially on a wild, wet, windy dark night. Apparently NICE now have 300 signed up and are after at least a thousand.

A lot of Gurnites find this NICE topic “mildly interesting” it is worth paying a bit more attention if you have some spare time. Well worth reading are the Nairnshire articles and editorials. The wisdom of Iain Bain states:
“Never mind specific projects based on urban regeneration, this group seeks wants to take on functions which would see it parallel, even rival, the local authority. In that respect it confronts one of the most centralised and monolithic local governments in Scotland.”

There lies a potential problem for NICE, we now have a change of administration however and, perhaps, a more benign regime in Glenurquhart Road promising a measure of devolution. At the recent consultation meeting Drew Hendry and Dave Fallows were alongside Liz and Colin and were making soothing noises that we hope will turn into reality over the next year or two. Maybe the new administration will seek to work closely with NICE or will Councillors and officials feel threatened by the embryonic organisation?

Iain Bain states that NICE could rival the local authority. Yes, it certainly could, and maybe we have a game-changing movement underway in Nairn should NICE mk2 get off the airstrip and take to the municipal skies. Where would it leave the Community Councils however? NICE are hoping to play at the top of the game, should they achieve this could River, Suburban and West CC’s become defunct backwaters of local democratic life or would they continue to play a prominent role in this scenario?

Some critics have pointed to the fact that past and present members of West Community Council have, or have had, prominent roles in NICE and that, perhaps, their influence may be in some way distorting perceptions of what is right and wrong when it comes to the state of Nairn and fixing our blindingly obvious democratic deficit when one considers the, up until now, unhealthy relationship with dominant Invercentric power brokers. River CC state in a recent intervention: “Nairn River Community Council represents more than 53% of the population of the community of Nairn. (Nairn West represents 12%, Suburban, 35%).” River go on to state that the Board of NICE should contain pro rata “We feel the issues at stake and the requirements of the legislation demand a clearer commitment to local representation, so invite NICE to formally appoint to their Board a proportional number of Directors from each of the Community Councils – three from NRCC, two from Suburban and one from West.”

This observer would suggest that should NICE take up River on that point then we would all be well onto our way of achieving the Holy Grail of one Council for the Royal Burgh. A town council, democratically elected, would be the perfect vehicle to take forward the ambitions and talent that Nairn has. It would be dominated by those who got in, not the West CC or anyone else. You would get who you vote for – sometimes you don’t even get a vote for community councils. See here for the Gurn position on a Royal Burgh Community Council.

Some people are very happy with NICE however, Joe Telfer writes on the NICE site: “It’s clear to me that much thought and expertise has gone into the NICE vision for Nairn, and all those involved are to be congratulated on their joined up thinking and hard work. It seems to me that party politics have got to be left behind for the benefit of this vision for Nairn. The joined up approach shown in NICE’s vision has to be matched by the local community councils and our elected Regional councillors as well. A unified approach is far more likely to bring results for the benefit of all the Nairn residents, Nairn could look a lot better and be the envy of many Towns across the country. NICE are on the right track, keep going !” More of the swan mannie’s deliberations here.

The debate, so far has been dominated by the older generations in this town. Perhaps NICE have a marketing issue to deal with here. How can they get the young debating the issue on the social networks and elsewhere? The report on Glen Cunningham’s views on Nairn Academy attracted over 40, mainly highly articulate comments, mostly from young people. NICE will know they are on the right track when those young people, this town’s and Scotland’s future, engage and let the older worthies know if they think NICE is a good thing. 

Lot’s of NICE stuff here and also thought-provoking material from RiverCommunity Council on this page. It all boils down to whether you agree with the thesis that Nairn is getting stuffed and, if so, whether you want to do anything about it.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saints 6 Lossiemouth United 4 - Pictures

Individual pictures here.

Culbin Access Issues

An attempt to keep vehicles out of a popular car park?  The Gurn understands that the matter was discussed at River Community Council earlier this week. More on the MyNairn blog. 

Update last week Liz published pictures of the sign and direct action that someone must have taken in blacking the message out. Full size images available if you click the thumbnails below. Following the vandalism to the sign it seems it has reappeared in pristine condition.

Celeb quine not coming to Nairn

Que sera sera, County gu bràth - Book your seat on the Forfar bus

Nairn County Supporters Bus for Forfar (3rd November) away tickets are on sale £20 per ticket. Names and Money to Uncle Bobs Bar ASAP.

Clach v Nairn today (13th) postponed due to waterlogged pitch. There is soccer today in Nairn however with Saints in action at the Showfield.

Cup final tickets now on sale at Macraes travel and Ritson Young also through Colin Barron with names taken at uncle bobs. Adult price £8 concession £4.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nairn 3 Clyde 2 Pictures

Pictures from Club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictures here.

Also pictures from Murray MacRae

Retired Greyhound Trust sponsored walk Nairn Links October 2012 - Pictures

This observer had the pleasure of witnessing the Greyhound Trust's Fundraiser last year. This year Gurn  contributor Dave Shilabeer captured a few images.

Normal service resumed

Back after a short break in France, a few things to catch up with. Thanks for the recent comments, 18 of them published tonight. A few pictures and articles later tonight hopefully.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nice thoughts from River CC

More here.

Nairn Synchro CreamTea Fundraiser Sat 20th October

Nairn Synchronised Swimming Club
With Training Demonstration
At The Viewing Area, Nairn Leisure Pool
4pm – 5.30pm, Saturday 20th October 2012
Come along and see how we train our members
To become future champions, whilst enjoying
a clotted cream tea, with homemade scones, cakes and unlimited
Tea, coffee or squash
(Adults £5, children £3.50)
Second-hand books, CD’s and DVD’s will also be available

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Changing face of Harbour Street

Arcade no more

Liz seeks military help for Firhall Bridge

Liz told Murd at the consultation meeting last week in the Rosebank School that she had been in touch with the Commanding Officer in Kinloss with a few to getting military help to install a ramp on the Firhall Bridge. 

Bournemouth Tartan Army County Fan Club latest

TWO Tartan Army footsoldiers living in Bournemouth are on a footballing odyssey which is going to take them all the way to the Scottish Cup final at Hampden next May. Football daft pals Ian Wright and Willie Johnston (no relation to those of Arsenal and Rangers fame) will be at Station Park for Satruday’s replay with Clyde. Nairn players and fans caught up with them at Prestonpans when Nairn beat Preston Athletic and Ian and Willie were at Broadwood on Saturday to watch the six goal thriller with Clyde. The pair were inspired by the Scottish football sell-out Saturday campaign and decided to do their bit to support the game which faces uncertain times after Rangers’ fall from grace. Both men’s families are originally from Glasgow and they began their journey watching Preston beat Fort William at An Aird earlier this month. They undertook the 900-mile mile round trip to Prestonpans by car where they saw Nairn win comfortably 2-0 at Pennypit Park through goals from Robbie Duncanson and Conor Gethins. Then they went to Broadwood now they face a flight to Inverness for Saturday’s replay at Station Park.
“We love our football and love following Scotland,” said Ian, “and having heard of the plight the game is in after Rangers’ difficulties and their demotion to the Third Division we felt we just wanted to show our support for the game in Scotland. “We came up with this madcap idea that we would go on the road to Hampden and started off at Fort William where Preston won 3-1 on August 4. “That took us to Prestonpans on Saturday and wherever Nairn are playing in the next round we will be there to follow them.”
The pair got their photos taken with a number of the Nairn County stars on Saturday after the game including latest signing former St Mirren star Junior Mendez who was side-lined through injury. Willie said there were only two ties to choose from in the preliminary round. Fort William v Preston Athletic or Keith v St Cuthbert Wanderers.
“Fort William was the obvious choice for me because I have climbed Ben Nevis and that’s where I got married. We thoroughly enjoyed our day on Saturday and had a great time. But the drive was exhausting and if Nairn get a home draw in the next round we’ll fly up to Inverness. If we have to drive somewhere nearer the Borders would be nice! “I attended my 50th Scotland game in Florida when Scotland lost to the US but we need to support the game at all levels and this Scottish Cup journey is already taking us to grounds we have never even heard of. It’s the beauty of the cup and we will be looking to see who Nairn pull out of the hat on Monday.” Their verdict on Saturday’s match: “Nairn were deserved winners,” said Ian. “They were down to 10 men after just 25 minutes but always looked in control and never looked like losing.”

Clyde 3 Super County 3 Pictures

Pictures from County photographer Donald Matheson

Monday, October 01, 2012

Follow the County - Follow the flag!

Nairn County fans ahead of our trip to Clyde. #flagday #TheCo... on Twitpic Click the pic for full size image

Art fair Community Centre Friday and Saturday 5-6th October

It’s running from 5pm to 9 pm on Friday evening (5th) and from 9am to 6pm on Saturday (6th). The information says:
“ Affordable Art Fair. A showcase of local arts to see, enjoy and buy...from the edible, to prints & photographs, textiles, crafts, original watercolours, oils and mixed media.”

The wisdom of Iain Bain on “A vision of Nairn’s future”

Interesting comment from the Editor of the Nairnshire Telegraph in last week's edition:

“In the meantime though, the NICE people have a task on their hands which is to convince Nairnites that they are not just a bunch of folk living in the west of Nairn defending their property from an invasion of oiks. And those who have already formed that impression need to quit their sour griping, look at the positive aspects of what is being proposed and actually take part.”

Scottish Cup - County's Clyde replay preview with Donald Wilson

ONE fan among the large support from Nairn at Broadwood Stadium on Saturday was local journalist and author of the biography of Nairn County hero of the 1960’s Davy Johnston.
As the team prepares for what promises to be a mouthwatering replay at Station Park on Saturday (October 6) Donald looks back on Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Clyde and reflects on Nairn’s last major foray in the Scottish Cup.
“I was a bit young to remember the great games against Hamilton Accies in the Scottish Cup 1963. But the 1986 Scottish Cup run was memorable in itself not just for the fact the team created a bit of history, but because it was a team cobbled together by manager Mansell Craig from the amateur and welfare ranks.
“We drew 1-1 with Scottish League newcomers Meadowbank Thistle and beat them in the replay in Edinburgh 2-1 in a howling gale to secure a historic third round tie at Nairn against First Division side Dundee.
“The game was played in front of 2.300 fans and I think looking back even Mansell would admit that the biggest mistake Nairn made was before a ball was even kicked in that game. The pitch had been frost bound for days and a squad of volunteers led by Mansell made a sterling effort to get the playing surface playable. The stark reality was the surface was dangerous but after a morning inspection the nod was given for the game to go ahead. The Dundee players were clad in the type of boots players use today on synthetic surfaces and the Nairn players struggled to keep their feet and were well and truly humped 7-0.
“One of the players in the Dundee line-up that day of course was the current Clyde manager Jim Duffy. The Dundee manager Archie Knox, was furious that the match had ever been allowed to go ahead. When Jim inspects the current playing surface before the gloves come off on Saturday I’m sure he will not believe Station Park is the same pitch he played on 26 years ago. His assistant at Clyde of course is Chic Charnely who can expect some pelters from his mates whom he worked with at McDermotts in the 1980s. Chic also played for their works team in the Nairn Welfare League.
“This Saturday it would be great to think Nairn can raise a four figure crowd for the replay against Clyde. I was on a bus-load of die-hard County fans who travelled to Broadwood on Saturday. It was a great day out – pity the colourful language can’t be eradicated though!. The three Nairn goals two by Conor Gethins and one by Greg Main were sublime. Conor’s first was an outstanding strike that nearly took the roof off the stand where 150 Nairn fans were gathered but Easter’s strike was one to behold and will be talked about for years to come by those who witnesses it.
“Having covered Nairn County’s matches as journalist between 1971 and 1997 for the Nairnshire Telegraph and other publications I enjoy today the passion of just being a fan. I’m often asked the 64,000 dollar question of how the current teams compares with the 76 title winning side. I’m going to stick my neck out and make the following observation. The team Les Fridge has moulded contains more players of real class. The goals for column last season tells its own story with nearly 100 goals in the league alone. But the championship winning team of ‘76 was a team with an ‘all for one and one for all’ mentality with a resolute and unforgiving defence which saw them through many a battle. They were a ‘team’ in every sense of the word.
“Two or three seasons ago there was criticism from the terracing that Nairn could be too defensive. That can’t be said of them today. They are a thoroughly entertaining side to watch with goals coming from all quarters of the pitch.
“At Broadwood they were in the lead three times and were pegged back by Clyde who finished the stronger side. I hope we don’t have to go through the same agonies on Saturday.
“Just as an aside, it ‘s always nice when you travel in the Scottish Cup to see faces in the crowd of Nairn exiles you haven’t seen for years. Gordon Thompson, Jim Logan and Alastair Smith were just some of the kent faces in the stand and no doubt they’ll be hear today for the replay.”
Another snippet:
Travelling fans rewarded
Nairn County have rewarded their travelling fans with a donation from their 50-50 club towards bus travel costs.
In return 25 fans on the bus to Clyde pledged to join the 50-50 at a cost of £1 a month – everyone’s a winner!