Monday, December 31, 2012

Cha mhòr nach eil 2012 seachad – 2012 is almost done

Have a good time out there in Gurnshire tonight, whether it be a quiet one at home or whether you are out in the madding crowd for near-riotous assembly somewhere close or far. As this year prepares to recede into history, let’s raise a glass to all we have achieved as a community or even all that we haven’t quite achieved or even gloriously failed at perhaps? Whatever your feelings about 2012, Nairn is still a great place to have seen it flow by and will remain so next year and into the foreseeable future if we work at it together. Here’s to what comes next and how we face it as a community. 

Set to fade into history - the aspirations and achievements or lack of them in 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nairn 1 Forres 0 - Pictures

Full screen slideshow here. Individual pictures here.

And Club photographer, Donald Matheson's pictures

Full screen slideshow here and individual pictures here.

And Kenny MacLeod's images here.  Full screen slideshow here. 
Match report here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

State of the High Street and main shopping areas in Nairn 2012

It’s been several years since the last totally unscientific Gurn High Street review took place, June 2009 to be exact, during the public enquiry into Sainsbury’s, so long ago.  The original article and results can be found here. Thanks to Spelding (the original) for once again coming up with this information. 

So how is our High Street (or maybe it should now be referred to as the main retail area) and what changes have happened in the intervening years?  Firstly, the usual disclaimer, it has to be stressed that this is not a scientific study, merely a snapshot of a point in time with some vague categories in which to try and establish some sort of base.

The area, or in modern parlance, the footprint of this latest snapshot has been extended to include down to the Harbour and out to Sainsbury’s (no businesses within the Industrial estate or business park are included for this review), which gives approximately 137 premises.  An additional premise was added to the High Street when the Royal Bengal was split in two with Moshi’s cafe now occupying the other half.  Two premises have disappeared altogether: the old Arcade in Harbour Street which has been demolished and has planning permission for flats and the Garage by the Co-op which has been demolished and converted into car parking.

Although some of the figures appear to be the same there have been many changes.  The majority of businesses are independently run and there are 15 multinationals.

In the previous review there were 9 empty properties: the Ballerina, Bike shop (by Clarks the Butchers), Bookies (by Images), Bridal shop (by Post Office), the Chip Inn, Co-op garage, NCFC Social Club, the Regal, Woolies.  5 of these have since been re-occupied and at the moment there are currently 8 empty properties, these are: the Ballerina, Barron House, Highland Foodstop (by Post Office), Images, Latino (Harbour st), NCFC Social Club, the Regal, Yorkshire Building Society/Scottish Highland Property services.

New business which have opened during the last 3 years include: ACDC Computers, the Antiques shop, Big Bloomers, Blossom tearoom, Candy Cabin, Co-op, Foot Health Clinic, Gelous Nails, Highland Deli, Ken’s Taxi’s Lilly’s tearoom, Moshi’s cafe, Nairn Building & Maintenance, Nairn Laundry, Nairn Model shop, Nairn Scenic Properties, Nickel & Dime, North Star Imports, Paper Bird, Partay, Sainsbury’s, The Whyte House

Business which disappeared or relocated outwith the area: Baby Talk, CanDo Cleaners, Epicurus, Haddows off licence, Highland Foodstop Metro, Images, Nairn Property Services Remax, Scotscoup bookies, Somerfields, Stephen Seedhouse Flowers, Victoria’s teashop, Victoria Wine, Volunteer office, Yorkshire Building Society/Scottish Highland Property services.

At least 2 properties will be closing down within the next few months: Concept Gifts and Ross Outdoors.  One other property, Burnett & Forbes is currently displaying a To Let sign.

On the face of it, the opening of Sainsbury’s has not lead to the anticipated Armageddon of the High street, however, now is not the time to be complacent as, coupled with the fallout of the financial storm which has been raging for the past few years, there may yet be many bumps in the road to come.  Who knows what 2013 will hold for Nairn retailers, will the comparative healthy state continue or will there be some casualties toppling over the retail cliff?  The next 365+ days will be interesting.

See the totals of different kinds of premises in a pie chart here or click the read more tab to see a list of the latest figures.

Forres eat all the pies but three points for County - Footy famine over as Forres fail to finish

The tea bothy at Station Park was eaten out of pies by before the start of the second half as the visitors added to the massive queue for sustinance. Maybe the sometimes iffy soccer made the tea queue an attractive alternative. After a spectacular start the fixture failed at times to rise to the occasion. 
The return to Station Park and Highland League football began at a cracking pace. Andy Neil put a bit of quick  festive fizz into this game with his second minute cracker. It wasn't all Nairn's way after that and at times it was fairly flat but we take three points and the big crowd will have put some cash into the kitty too. The County faithful will accept the points however they come and another big challenge looms next week as Nairn travel to Cove. Nairn 1 Forres 0. More images later

Friday, December 28, 2012

Nairn Healthcare Group - Personnel Changes

Here at the Gurn we had been hearing rumours recently that one or two partners may have been planning to leave the surgery (Nairn Healthcare Group) at the hospital. We inquired and the practice manager Barbara Graham told the Gurn:

"I can confirm that we have 2 practice Partners who have resigned and are currently working their notice. Dr Flynn will leave mid-Feb 2013, and Dr Stanfield at the end of April 2013.
We are currently recruiting their replacements, and I am delighted to say that we have already found one very experienced Highland-based GP, Dr Andrew Evenett, who will take up a Partnership post in July 2013. We are holding interviews in late January to find another replacement."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lighter Nights

Already a noticeable difference as we are almost one week past the winter Solstice.

Our unwanted stuff – could it create employment in Nairn?

Before Christmas one of our regular readers pointed us in the direction of an article in the Guardian newspaper: “On the 12th day of Christmas ... your gift will just be junk.” A piece by green mannie George Monibot*  He rounds on the commercialism of Christmas, here’s a short extract:
“People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smartphone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make "personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets". Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and by the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.”  Full article here.

Ok then, talking about our “collective madness” is a bit heavy over the holidays but if you agree with that article to any degree then what can you do about it? What can we do in our own lives and our communities to bring about some change that will hopefully go some way to reversing all the mess, we as a species, are still making of this planet?

It’s true that quite a few Christmas presents will find their way almost immediately to a cupboard somewhere, a shed, or a charity shop and, of course, landfill. At the last River Community Council meeting before Christmas, the potential for a recycling centre such as Moray Wasterbusters in Forres was discussed. There has been talk of this before but nothing tangible has emerged from the talk so far (see previous Gurnarticle in 2011).
The River folkies are determined to see a public meeting on the subject however and to see if the project can get enough supporters to go ahead.

Simon Noble outlined how there were organisations based out with Nairn that collected recyclable/resalable items but how something along the lines of the Moray Wastebusters could be initiated in Nairn. He told the meeting:
“What any group that gets together would be doing would be actually looking at what is the competition, what are the obstacles, not just how we do it."
Leslie Boulton was a bit worried that River CC might be overstretching themselves and he voiced his concerns:” All these are very worthy things, I’m not criticising any of them but I’m looking at the practicalities of it.”
Stephanie Whittaker outlined how she saw River CC facilitating the set-up of such a group rather than taking forward a project themselves.
Liz had earlier said: “I think it would be good if we had a committee to do the recycling project.”
As part of a presentation Simon Noble had referred to Moray Wastebusters and also a group called Can Moffat, both groups illustrate how employment can be created locally by recycling organisations. 

Can we do it here? The Moffat Group website is very interesting and worth a browse. Watch for details of a public meeting early next year – maybe you might want to get involved if there is enough interest to form such a venture in Nairn? 

*George is a curious greenie, he has had a road to Damascus type conversion and now supports nuclear power. He talked about his support for this type of energy at Findhorn in April of 2011. Gurn article about all that here.  

Boxing Day fish wifie - picture

The fish wifie was suitably dressed for the season. Picture Murray MacRae. It was a beautiful sunny day in Nairn on Boxing Day. Here's another picture taken by Murray. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Mammatus Cloud over Nairn

Donald Matheson captured the Mammatus Cloud over Nairn today and sent the above picture to the Gurn. This observer also managed to get outside to see the skies. More images here. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Stunning Rainbow Picture at Sainsburys Nairn captured by Thomas

 The link in the tweet takes you to a bigger image.

...agus bliadhna mhath ùr nuair a thig i...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes!

Have a good one Gurnshire, we hope to post a thing or two over the holidays including a few thoughts on what 2013 might bring for us all locally and a few refelctions on what 2012 did bring for us. If anyone out there has any thoughts that we might all benefit from please send them in to 
Slàinte Mhath a chàirdean

Saturday, December 22, 2012

22/12/12 The day in pictures!

Up the riverside replacement signs that warn that the river walks are not accessible to all have appeared, months after the originals mysteriously disappeared.

Santa was out on duty in the High Street. He told the Gurn later: “Santa duties over, it is just about to start to snow , Do you know it is great to see the Kids that still believe in Santa, I am so Lucky.  Cheers and all the best for this Festive Season.” Pics of Santa here.

A few Santas out in
Inverness too. This observer noticed that quite a few retail properties in Inverness are empty or for let these days. Here’s a few images taken today. There will always be changeovers and business failures no matter good or bad the economy but are we starting to see significant decay in the retail sector in parts of Inverness now? All part of a changing world? No doubt lots of people will be opening their brand new tablets in a few days time and getting trained up by their grandchildren on how to shop online etc. One wonders too if there will be more big name casulaties after Christmas.  

Down at Grant Street Park the Saints did not receive any quarter from a rampant Inverness City side. Individual pictures here.

And for some Christmas Colour there are pictures of the waxwings on the Birdiemannie’s blog. Very good pictures Seumas, nice to see the Waxwings again. 

Nairn powerlifter Max Ashmole - a possible contender for the Commonwealth Games

Young Max has broken a lifting record, the Courier states:
"REPRESENTING Scotland at the Commonwealth Games is potentially a target for one of the rising stars of British powerlifting.
Max Ashmole, from Nairn, impressed when setting a new record for his age and weight category in his for Great Britain Powerlifting competition, which took place in Glasgow." More here.   

Friday, December 21, 2012

A festive planning dish - an application to discuss over the mince pies and drams?

Serious students of planning applications in Nairn may wish to head over the Highland Council's e-planning site to browse  an application to "Erect Housing development of 24 Affordable units, with roads and associated infrastructure at Lawrie Drive, Nairn."

A new scheme to bolt onto the existing developments at Lochloy then. You can find it here. complete with maps. The developer is the Albyn Housing Society Ltd.

In recent years there has been much discussion about who actually gets to live in new social housing that is constructed in Nairn. Here is some debate that we reported on in June of 2011. There is also a school of thought that suggests the best way forward to ensure the community decides who gets to live in new social housing would be to create a Nairn Housing Trust that would build houses itself.

Either way, whatever your views, anyone that might wish to make comments on this planning application may wish to do so before falling into the festive slumber in front of the television after the Christmas Dinner.

Nairn v Forres off - Mosset Park waterlogged

Happy Solstice Gurnshire!

Glad we are all still here. Did anyone put off the Christmas shopping just in case? This observer is detecting a touch of austerity out there just now - is it like that for you? Are you cutting back this year?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Unusual view of the Old Bar

An interesting video has appeared on Youtube

Sepa flood alert - 20-12-2012 11:28 to 21-12-2012 11:28

From the SEPA site - fingers crossed there's no more damage this weekend.

from 20-12-2012 11:28 to 21-12-2012 11:28
A FLOOD ALERT has been issued for Findhorn Nairn Moray and Speyside. 
Large waves are expected from late Thursday and throughout Friday which have the potential to result in flooding from waves and spray overtopping, including within those areas where sea defences were damaged last weekend. Seas are expected to be largest early Friday, though will remain high after this period into the weekend; where the greatest seas are then expected late Saturday. SEPA will monitor the developing situation and provide further information when available.

Further details here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Cowshed fit for the new millennium

A bit about the new blueprint for the Wee County's future at Station Park on "County til' we die!" plus a lot more on the back page of the Nairnshire this week.

Get a grip!

Highland Council are advising us all to get shoe grippers to avoid injury this winter: their press release states:
 "The Highland Council and NHS Highland are urging people to get a grip of wintry weather conditions by considering purchasing snow and ice grippers to attach to their footwear to help prevent injury from slips and falls." More here.

Pigeons in the mist

It was a curious end to the daylight hours on Tuesday with the fog generally clearing as the frost came down. The local pigeon population continues to look healthy despite the attention of one or two raptors, they were making one or two final short flights before settling down for the night.  There was plenty of moisture in the air to turn everything crispy white for the bright red dawn that came up to meet the waking world around eight o'clock this morning. The frost was to lift quickly however but the ground remains hard. Football fans will be counting the days anxiously to the Wee County's fixture with Forres at Mosset Park on Saturday. Another cancellation would mean a potential nightmare fixture backlog.  Les's men would have to stand around idle once more. Supporters are anxious to see the squad returning to the title challenge battle as soon as possible. 
One forecast is predicting a frost on Friday night but temperatures generally might be higher. Fingers crossed. 

"Boy, 12, in hospital after taking ‘legal high’ drug"

The Press and Journal site states: "A 12-year-old boy was involved in an incident at Nairn, which prompted police to issue an alert about the unpredictable effects of products which have been known to kill." More on their site here.
In the paper itself Liz is quoted: " I hope nothing tragic will happen. But at the same time people who sell the substances must have a conscience about what they are doing. We have been lucky so far but there could be more serious consequences." 
The Press and Journal also has an editorial comment today. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Police appeal following lost medication in Nairn

Northern Constabulary Appeal:
Police in Nairn have received a report of the following prescribed medication, lost yesterday (Monday 17 December) sometime between 1700-1730 hours:

Amitriptyline 25 mg - 56 tablets

Temazapam 10 mg - 28 tablets

Omeprazole 20 mg - 56 tablets

The tablets were contained in a Semi Chem carrier bag (along with 2 litres of milk) and lost on High Street, Nairn. If found, please hand in to Nairn Police Station.

Late night shopping in Nairn Wednesday 19th December

Another late night shopping event tomorrow (Weds 19th) on Nairn High Street until 8p.m.

Joint Community Council meetings - seven councils too many for River

Whilst detailing River Community Council's plans for next year in a presentation last week (see that presentation here), Simon Noble stated:
"We've taken a position where we've said that joint community council meetings should be stand alone meetings, they shouldn't be River Community Council's meeting to week other community councillors can come along. They should be specific joint meetings addressing common issues and common interests."

Later on in the meeting the issue of joint meetings was raised again. Gurnites may recall that Liz initially called for these joint meetings - article here from March 2011.  Back then John Mackie of suburban was calling for the out of town Nairnshire Councils to be involved. 

Last week at the River CC meeting Stephanie said the Council had received a letter from Rosemary Young of West CC and they needed to schedule the next joint meeting. 
Discussion of other correspondence then intervened but Tommy returned to the matter later: "It's growing arms and legs now, Dick has actually e-mailed me and he wants seven Community Councils."
Stephanie then said: "We can't do that but we need to have one don't we?"
River then agreed to hold a joint meeting in January and a separate one from the normal schedule. There didn't seem to be any desire from River to extend the meeting beyond the normal scope of West, Suburban and River.  

This observer would suggest that to maintain the status quo of the joint meetings would be the right thing to do. A meeting of the seven councils could take place some other time. The joint meetings of the town's three councils are still in their infancy and trying to run too far, too fast, could open up fault lines again and bring the fragile "entente cordiale", brokered by Liz, crashing down. There is a place for pan-Nairnshire meetings, maybe one day we could get something resembling a Nairnshire District Council back but it will need a bit more planning and thought and there's no sense in rushing. Maybe something could be arranged for further into 2013, then the next joint meeting could go ahead in January    for the town's three councils? 

Tuesday Press review - Common Good again

Common Good issues are back on the front page of the Nairnshire with an article by Iain Ramage and the usual quality editorial from Iain Bain delves into the subject too. Last week Colin had posted his optimism on the Common Good issues but dangers still lurk. The maverick former SNP member Donnie Kerr gets a mention and he seems to think some of Sandown should be transferred for "affordable housing". Donnie also gets a mention in the editorial:
"The image of Cllr Donnie Kerr demanding equity in the form of land for affordable housing raises that spectre of Nairn's very own funds being appropriated by the pan Highlanders for other use."  Lots more in Iain's frank, hard-hitting editorial. 

Plenty of other information in the weekly paper, including the back page which is not all about football this week, well it is but in a different way. There's been a lot happening off the field at Station Park and there are great plans for the future of the ground as the club approaches the centenary year. The future is looking brighter still for the club and an important part of Nairn's identity looks like it will be around for a long time to come in its present location. Find out more in the Nairnshire and also watch out for fund raising efforts that the club's supporters will be running throughout 2013. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

And Sunday in Nairn was a totally different day

After the storm surge on Saturday, Sunday was such a different day. Calm, sunny and milder. Literally hundreds of Nairnites went down for a stroll along the prom to enjoy the change in the weather and to inspect the damage done by the high tide. Pictures below.
UPDATE - Video from Sunday here

Individual pictures here and full screen slide show here. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Storm surge high tide - 3 videos - Nairn Links 15th December

First video below, Video 2 here and Video 3 here.


"Gruoch’s Legacy" a novel by Claire Brodie - coming soon

Some of the Gurnshire twitterati might have seen Claire Brodie (picture below) participating in a twitter conversation that is ongoing between Liz and members of Clan Brodie. In one of her posts Claire mentioned a novel she was writing about Gruoch, the wife of MacBeth. This observer does know that there are efforts to rehabilitate the reputation of MacBeth. I remember reading recently that he was Scotland’s last Gaelic speaking king and his reign was just about the antithesis of the story as spun by Shakespeare. I was intrigued and asked Claire if her novel would mention Nairn. She told the Gurn:

“Nairn and the surrounding areas will be mentioned. It plays a very significant part not only in my wee novel, but in the history of Scotland. I thought it was about time that everyone knew.  A lot of Scottish history that is told today, is from the writings that came about after the times of Malcolm Canmore and his wife St Margaret, but the area of Moray was a stronghold for supporters of Gruoch and MacBeth and their line for many generations thereafter. I am not a professional historian, by writing my novel I invite anyone to review and reach their own conclusions, however I hope to open the door and would be delighted to entertain lively discussions and debates.

She continued:”I found out about Gruoch after doing some research on my family tree, the infamous Brodies. So having delved so far I realised I would bore the pants of everyone if I just gave facts and figures, so I evolved the information I was learning into a novel. So Faction. In other words, I have several pieces of the puzzle, but I had to stick it all together using my own interpretation, therefore open to conjecture and this is a good thing.”

Claire thinks her novel could potentially have a positive impact on tourism locally: “I am hoping, not only to make my novel a success, but I have a very great feeling that that the scope for tourism to the area will be immense. Nothing to do with me, but with the information I reveal. I am now just tweaking and editing the novel. I hope to release on e-books in the near future for all to view. “

When asked for comment on the current Kingsteps issue she said: “Kingsteps, interesting name. Which King? Was it MacBeth? And his hillock, near Brodie? His burial mound? In 2008/9 archaeologists visited the Island of Iona to dig up MacBeth's grave, and found, he wasn't in there. Yes, a lot of interest in your area, and yes the Brodies have safeguarded the secrets for generations  We do have an interest to keep the area open for all, but at the same time, you are sitting on potential goldmine from a tourist perspective, a vested interest to allure folks to visit and protect it also.”

Claire’s Gruoch’s Legacy facebook page is here and she invites contributions: “ If anyone is wanting to post a link on my page to advertises local activities/businesses, more than welcome, I'm going global so tourists will pick up on it.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

High Tides - damage and flooding - Nairn Saturday 15th December

Today's high tides came in on a fairly agitated sea, the result of bad weather elsewhere. The first one overnight left a considerable amount of debris on the dunes and the promenade. The one just around 1 p.m. caused severe damage to the path below the Golf View however and the Nairn Golf Club car park was underwater this evening. Pictures of the debris earlier today here 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good news on Nairn Common Good

A remarkable turn around in Highland Council's attitude to Nairn now seems to be well underway. Colin reports on his facebook page:

"Yesterday at full THC - some good news on a lot of fronts! Last but one item - decision taken by colleagues from across Highland to write off the interest payments that had been applied to Nairn's Common Good. We are getting there - loads of apocryphal proverbs that describe Provost Liz's and my endeavours in this regard." Keep up to date with Colin here.   

No football for the Wee County again tomorrow

Earlier hopes that the pitch might thaw in time for tomorrow's game proved to be optimistic. The Gurn has been told the pitch failed an inspection today however. Although grassy areas around the town now have a slight thaw beginning on the surface it looks as though Wednesday night's deep frost of around -7.5C (according to one plotter with a thermometer in his polytunnel at Sandown) has gone deep into the ground and will probably not be out by 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. This postponment is a real shame as it means that the County will have to go straight into their back to back games against Forres after a lay-off that will have been beyond their control.
Things are also looking bleak for the St Ninian versus Forres Thistle game tomorrow to according to a message on their twitter account.. 

More front-page publicity for "Legal High" shop

The Courier today has a front-page spread about current events concerning Partay Patrol and the controversial substances that are on sale there. The article that appeared in the Nairnshire alerted the community to what was on sale in the shop and highlighted the very serious concerns of parents, their article too pointed out that the authorities were powerless to do anything. It was something that needed saying at the time and the Community were grateful for the investigative journalism of Iain Ramage.

At the River Community Council meeting on Wednesday night the subject was discussed at length and Sgt Erskine of the Northern Constabulary responded as best he could to questions from the floor of the meeting. One concern raised was that there was anecdotal evidence that people are starting to come to Nairn just to visit this shop, and that any publicity in the future would simply encourage that trend, although word of mouth too also has its own dynamic it had to be admitted. 

One wonders now if anyone from Inverness will read today's front page Courier piece and head through to purchase a sachet of "legal highs". The Courier also has an editorial: "Time to take 'legal highs' off the shelves" which takes a strong moral standpoint. Of course the Courier has a right to report the issue, the cat is out of the bag so to speak as regards to Partay Patrol and it probably won't be long before it appears in the Scottish editions of national newspapers. The recent theft from the shop appeared on the BBC site and was re-tweeted by some on that particular social network, sometimes with frivolous comments added about our town. The Courier has some information however that illustrates the potential of the trade in legal highs. They state that "500 packets of herbal incense, some costing £25, and identified by police as legal highs..." were stolen. 

The Courier has moralised in the editorial, the article may help sell a few newspapers. also alert many parents,  but it may also inadvertently help the shopkeeper sell a few more of his products. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Making Nairn more like the movies at Christmas

There was a wifie, Katy Mccleallan, who was introduced by Colin at Wednesday's River CC meeting. Colin was sort of acting as her minder, introducing her to folk in Nairn etc. She works for RSA films and she had news of a project that she is involved in. The project has funding from Sainsbury's and it was thus that she was in Nairn as the town is the most northerly outpost that the store has in the UK. She had some interesting details to share. What follows isn't actually what she said but the blurb from an information leaflet. Basically you can get invovled by filming some of your Christmas activities etc, get the chance to possibly contribute to a work of art being made by Oscar winning Kevin Macdonald and maybe even win £200 of Sainsbury's vouchers. Perhaps that doesn't appeal to everyone but if interested please read further.

Thursday night miscellany.

The Gurn poll on the new appointments system at the hospital was curious in that a majority of voters were unhappy with the system yet all the comments that came in were positive. One would have expected a sprinkling of horror stories to counter the positive comments but none came in. Of course such a poll is unscientific but was the voting perhaps an indication of a more wider unhappiness with the practice? At River Community Council’s meeting last night Simon Noble related what he’d heard at a recent patients’ participation meeting. He reported that the practice acknowledged that they needed to speed up response times to the calls made seeking appointments and also they needed to work on communication in general on what the practice does. He also stated that the number of missed appointments have dropped dramatically and the practice was feeling a degree of satisfaction after the first five weeks of the new system. 

Did you go to the Transport Scotland Consultation in the Courthouse yesterday? Picture here from Murray MacRae. Did you think it worthwhile?

Mixed reports from the first of two late night openings sessions on Nairn High Street. Bratach took a couple of pictures. The weather has turned white, it had that kind of promise about it all day from the moment when the first rays of sun struck the Petronordic out in the Firth. The vessel had a dramatic back drop as waves of freezing fog rolled down off the Black Isle. Out in the east it looked as though Morayshire might have been booked in for a snowflake or two ahead of more westerly areas. 

Thanks to the regular reader that forward the URL of Ray Colliers latest prose on the River Nairn  - available on the Guardian site. 

Once again River CC last night was the best show in town and a lot was achieved last night on the roller-coaster of local democracy and debate. A chance afterwards for a quick pint in the Seaforth with Tommy and some of his Community Councillors and regulars including Alexander Brodie, there may be strong debate about Kingsteps at CC meetings but Christmas goodwill also abounds. More from the River CC meeting soon.

Sin agad e bhuamsa a-nochd, bidh mi air ais aig an aon àm a-maireach. Oidhche mhath a chàirdean, Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh uile agus Bliadhna mhath ùr nuair a thig e.

DIY anti dog-poo sign

Thanks to one of our regular readers who sent in this picture of an anti dog-poo measure.

No River CC cash for NICE

Nairn River Community Council discussed a request from NICE for a funding donation at their meeting in the Community Centre last night. In their request NICE outlined their expenditure so far and gave a detailed breakdown of their proposed expenditure over the next six months. The projected expenditure given was a figure of £11,200. You can see the application letter and the breakdown of projected expenditure costs here

Tommy asked the meeting for their views. Simon Noble was quite succinct, he said:
"The point I would make is that there is an issue for the community council in terms of supporting this group in that actually it is not clear what they are asking for. Although they are spelling out what their budgetary plans are, it's not actually clear what the longer term objective would be. I know they have got some charitable objectives that they have laid out which are broadly speaking for the good of Nairn. But my view would be that the benefits of making a contribution would be undermined for us in that it we would be seen to be bound to NICE by having made a contribution because NICE has demonstrated in recent months their willingness to publicise the support which is offered in principle and the risk for the current Community Council would be that our support would be misrepresented in specific situations . I'm not saying that it would be misrepresented but the risk would be that we would be seen to be supporting everything that NICE does when we haven't had the opportunity to contribute to the individual decisions that might be made in specific actions."
Tommy then said, "Also we would lose our independence would we not?"
Then Mike Henderson intervened and asked: "Could we in the future possibly, I'm not speaking about  any particular thing, be at loggerheads with NICE if they take one point of view and you take a different point of view.
There was then some comment from Tommy about potential conflict on planning issues then Mike proposed that no money was donated to NICE. The show of hands supported the motion unanimously. 

Nairn River Community Council - Achievements in the past year and aspirations for the future

Please follow the slideshow below for a quick resume of River CC's hopes for the future and what they have been up to since their election in November last year. The presentation was made last night (Wednesday) in the Community Centre by Cllr Simon Noble. Quite a lot done and some exciting ideas for the future. Please note slides 2 and 5 will load line by line and slide 11 will only load line by line each time you click on the mouse - apart from that this slideshow is quite simple to use.

There we have it then Gurnites the River CC plan is a work still in progress so why not go to the next meeting and have your 2/6d worth? There was some lively discussion about how much of the Council's ambitions could be turned into reality and the difficulties and the responsibilities that any projects would place on individual members of the Council but the River folkies look up for it. They feel that there will be plenty of goodwill in Nairn in helping them move towards realising some of the objectives outlined in the presentation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Police warning to public after theft of "Legal Highs" in Nairn

Northern Constabulary Press Release: "Police are appealing for information and warning the public after a premises in Nairn, known to sell ‘legal highs’, had large quantities taken from within.
Shortly before midnight on Sunday 09 December 2012, a premises on High Street, Nairn was broken into and a substantial quantity of packets containing 'legal highs' stolen.
Northern Constabulary are concerned that these substances are now in circulation and request that should any person find or come across any such substance that they hand it into their nearest police station.

Time to try something different - Late night shopping in Nairn

Tomorrow night (Weds 12th) is the first of two late night shopping events in the run-up to Christmas the next is the same time next week. Many shops will be open until 8 p.m. There will be a spot-the-stranger competition too.
Why bother you ask? These are changing, difficult times yes and it helps if we face them as a community. At the heart of our community is the town centre and the shops. Up to now we have been lucky in that our High Street has looked pretty full of active shops compared to even some parts of Inverness. We will be losing two businesses in the new year however. If we lose shops we all suffer. If we can keep the town centre from deteriorating we can keep our collective spirt up and look to the future with a positive attitude. It'll be no good renovating buildings and making aesthetic improvements if the businesses and the individuals that run them have packed up and gone.
Why not pop down for a look on one or both of the Wednesday nights, you never know you just might see that perfect gift that will mean you won't have to go to Inverness or endure an anxious wait to see if your online purchase turns up in time. See the banner below to see some of the shops participating. 

These businesses and others will be open - more details on this Gurn page.

Free Synchro Event 15th December - more info here 

For information on offers at shops on Wednesday nights

Tuesday Morning Press Review

Murd's campaign to get a ramp installed at the Firhall Bridge gets  the lion's share of page 5 in the Press and Journal complete with a picture of Murd on the bridge in the pale December sunshine. Page 5 comes under the "Inverness News" section - come on P&J this is Nairn news! If you want people here to buy your paper then please don't commit the cardinal sin of Invercentralism when reporting news from Scotland's sunshine capital.

The Leoplold Street Thunderer is on a 12 page week this time round but no shortage of stories and information in there today. The page one spread is all about the Highland Council's plan to recruit snow
clearing volunteers. The article has positive comment from Tommy, Dick and Liz. This observer believes that Nairn residents would be willing to help in their hundreds if areas could be allocated etc.
In 2009 the Gurn called for such a system where text and e-mails could call out volunteers when conditions deteriorated and paths needed to be cleared - see article here. Oor Graham and his colleagues didn't seem too impressed at the time however and it's good to see the new SNP led regime moving in this direcetion. We also commented on the proposed snow-clearing scheme back in September and pointed out that such a system once existed in Nairnshire - "Snow clearing, back to the future - want to be a snow shifter?"   

The Courier this morning states on the front page "Snow clearers recruitment drive 'left too late'. "  In a less than positive article they point out "More than two months after first mooting the plan, Highland Council has only now written to Community Councils with details and application forms for the scheme which involves providing snow shovels and snow pushers, gloves and high visibility vests for volunteers willing to clear paths." There is also mention in the article of provision of Health and Safety advice and personal injury insurance.

Other Nairn news in the Courier this week includes the fire in Simpson Street and comment from Alexander Brodie. There's also a wee interview and a picture of Jenny Baird, the Nairn County fan now famous for her fancy footwork at Ibrox that featured in a Youtube viral hit recently.  Also a picture of Nairn civil engineering apprentice Lewis Higgins, Scotland's Civil Apprentice of the year who received his award at the Scottish Parliament.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Going all nacreous up top - very pretty but we should be very, very concerned

Gurn reader Bratach took this picture of some startling looking clouds on Sunday. He was rather alarmed to read a Press and Journal report which showed similar clouds and stated: "And while the display was extraordinary to watch, it is not one which is welcomed by meteorologists. The vibrant colours and shifting patterns are a by-product of climate change and are caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases." P&J article here. 
Our correspondent also discovered that they are indicative of holes in the ozone layer too. More information here. Ozone depletion and the build up of greenhouse gases are subjects that haven't gone away then. Over ten years ago this observer took images around this time of year which showed similar colours in the sky, you can see them here and here. Unfortunately we are still trashing the planet. 

Amazon vouchers to stop litter at Nairn Academy and other Highland Schools - MSP John Finnie speaks out

Would vouchers to local businesses be better than Amazon vouchers as an incentive to stop littering at schools?

Nairn Synchro Swimming Christmas Display - 15th December Nairn Leisure Pool - free entry!

Jackie told the Gurn: "The team have put together a very special display which will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday 15th December at Nairn Leisure Pool. It will also feature Pauline, a veteran of the Commonwealth Games. Provost Cllr Liz MacDonald has kindly agreed to hand out trophies and to help draw the raffle after. There will also be mince pies and coffee.

We would be delighted if Nairn residents and family and friends would like to attend. The event is free and we hope to raise funds through the fantastic raffle that we have managed to put together. We have been given amazing prizes such as a Landmark Family Voucher, Jacobite Family Voucher, Cawdor Castle, Eden Court, Gateaux Regal, Nairn Golf Club, LifeScan plus much, much more."

Police at Partay Patrol this morning - Shop door window smashed

Two police officers outside the Partay Patrol premises on Nairn High Street this morning. There was a large hole in the shop's door window. Party Patrol featured recently in a Nairnshire Telegraph front page article concerning the sale of "Legal Highs."The piece was entitled "Parents' Drug Fears".
Iain Ramage wrote: "A partner in the business stressed that he was "doing nothing illegal."  Police, health services, local councillors and trading standards officers say they had no choice but to to agree with that statement."
The Nairnshire also reported statements from very concerned parents.
UPDATE: One of our regular readers reports intense police activity that seemed to indicate a forensic examination of the shop during the day. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Emergency services in King Street this evening

This image received by the Gurn around 18.15 this evening from Iain, a local resident. He reports two fire applicances, amublance and police in attendance at Junction of King St and Simpson Street. Larger image here. 
Update 18.51 - the Gurn understands that one woman was taken away in an ambulance, an eye-witness said she looked conscious and alert however. Emergency services are still very active around a property in the area.
UPDATE 20.12: Northern Constabulary Press Release: "About 1750 hours on Sunday 9th December 2012, Police were called to a house fire at Simpson Street , Nairn.
Fire units from Inverness and Nairn attended along with an Ambulance.
A female was removed from within the property and is currently being treated for smoke inhalation at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
There is no danger to adjoining properties and the fire is not being treated as suspicious."

Late night shopping in Nairn Wednesday 12th & 19th of December.
These businesses and many more will be open - more details on this Gurn page.

Friday, December 07, 2012

More unrest in Inverness - time for the Nairnshire Liberation Front to make common cause?

Tucked away on page 4 of the Inverness Courier today is an article entitled "Pensioner leads drive to 'rescue' the city centre". An 89 year old wifie called a meeting to discuss the poor state of buildings in the city centre. The meeting was well attended and you can read about it in today's Courier. This observer would simply like to quote three wee sections of it however:

Concerns were also raised that Inverness did not appear to be able to determine its own affairs.
"What came out was a sense of dissatisfaction about the governance of the city but also many people did not like the idea of being a city," he said.
"There was a very strong feeling that Inverness should have more autonomy.[...]"

Regular readers will remember that there is also a bit of discontent in Inverness over Common Good matters. Perhaps Nairnshire Liberation Front activists should be considering making common cause with the rebels in the Highland Capital?

Kingsteps car park is open again - Council obtain interim interdict

Swift action by Highland Council to ensure the car park at Kingsteps remains open. Their press release states:
"The Highland Council  was granted an interim interdict at Inverness Sheriff Court today (Friday) to ensure continued access by vehicle, foot, cycle or horseback to its car park to the east of Nairn at Kingsteps.
The Council’s action was in response to a decision by the landowner to erect a locked gate denying access to the car park.
This means that the gate cannot be closed across the access road and will allow public access, which has been exercised for more than 20 years, to continue."
Images of the gate being installed last weekend can be seen here. 

Talking up prospects for Ardersier

The Inverness Courier today has a front-page article and a editorial leader about the current speculation concerning the former McDermotts Yard on the Carse. The term "Port of Ardersier" is gaining currency at the moment. It'll be a big disappointment now if nothing comes off after all the recent press speculation. The Courier begins:
"A major operator in the renewables sector is set to move into the former oil rig construction yard at Ardersier. 
The clearest indication so far that a big development is in the pipeline was given yesterday with the news that advanced talks have taken place between agents acting on behalf of site owners the Port of Ardersier, formerly the Whiteness Development Company, and an unnamed third party." More in todays Courier. 

Maybe before too long anyone parking down the harbour to feed chips to seagulls admire the scenery will be able once again to look across to the bright lights of industry shining on the Carse. Let's hope this all goes ahead sooner rather than later and that perhaps, some locals that currently work off-shore or travel further afield for work, will be able to translate their skills into employment down by. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thursday morning miscellany

With regard to the recent Gurn poll which resulted in 79% of Gurnshire thinking that the 19th of November was a far too early start to Christmas, Michael Green tells the Gurn that although the Bjorn the Bear gig was indeed quite early, this was because the Polar Bear himself was available only on that date. He tells us that next year the Christmas lights event will be later and widened to include opportunities for local businesses to get involved and more entertainment will be available on the street. OK it was early but it was fun wasn’t it Gurnites? Michael is also working on other projects that he hopes to install into the yearly programme of events in Nairn. More information in the New Year he tells the Gurn.

So far Atmosphere, Ashers, Brambles, Paperbird, Nairn Model Shop and ourselves have confirmed they're opening and doing spot the stranger for the late night shopping on the 12th and 19th of December. Gurn page for these events here. Meanwhile Santa has been seen hanging around on the riverside. The weather has been cold, very cold and the first instances this winter of black ice on roads and pavements were waiting for everyone yesterday morning. Besides offering us all the first chance of coping over the weather did give those who made it to the beach the opportunity to enjoy the regular magnificent views plus a coating of the white stuff. The waves were stronger than usual, almost calm  but hinting of unsettled weather elsewhere. Finally over on the Highland Council website the front page article published in the Nairnshire Telegraph has encouraged the local authority to put out a warning about the dangers of using “legal highs” – you can read their press release here. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas on Nairn High Street

There are a couple of late night shopping nights planned for Nairn High Street on Wednesdays 12th and 19th December  - many shops will be open to 8 p.m. both nights and we understand that there will be some entertainment available on the two nights too. The Gurn has a special page for these shopping events - keep an eye on it here

One of the Gurn team is offering a free service to any town centre business that is doing something interesting for Christmas. A free banner can be made like the ones below that can link to your website or, if you haven't one, a quick page can be made up as a sort of digital leaflet if time permits. The banners will appear on our late night shopping page and also at the bottom of some Gurn articles. If you are interested in the offer please contact Here's some banners that our artwork team prepared earlier.

Congratulations to Nairn Academy for debating competition sucess

Details on the Academy website here. 

A96 Issues - meeting in Nairn next Wednesday

The ANB site has details of an A96 workshop being held in the town next Wednesday, the last time they tried this it came in for a lot of criticism but at least this time there is plenty of advance warning. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Independence or devolution megamax is on the way but what about self-determination for communities like Nairn?

In May we published an article on a report entitled:  The Silent Crisis - failure and revival in local democracy in Scotland, you can see that article here. Firstly let's re-quote a paragraph from that report:

“What’s the average budget of a community council in Scotland? Go on. Guess. It’s £400. That says almost everything you need to know about local empowerment in Scotland. Of course money can’t buy you democracy any more than it buys you love. But the near zero budget for Scotland’s “community tier” of governance matches its near zero powers and near zero number of contested elections. This is not local democracy.” 

So can renewed and reformed Community Councils be the conduit whereby the democratic deficit that affects communities like Nairn can be tackled?

Snow clearing and gritting priorities for this winter published

See what priority your street is on the maps on this Highland Council document now available online (the town map is on page 2).

Happy with the new appointment procedures at the Nairn GPs surgery?

We've started a new opinion poll in the sidebar for Gurnites to express their opinion. Here's the view of one regular reader however.

I have to admit that when I read about it I wasn’t too sure that the new procedure at our GP’s surgery at Nairn hospital would work.
When you ring up to make an appointment with a GP you aren’t immediately given one, instead a GP or health professional will call you back to discuss your illness.

Today I made such a call. I have a medical problem that requires antibiotics to be administered fairly quickly. The old system would have meant that I would have waited days at the very least to see a GP (not necessarily my own) and a trip to the surgery whilst not feeling very well. Under the new system I was called back within 30 minutes by my own GP and the much needed prescription will be ready for me this morning, brilliant.

I’m sure the system will have negative points for some people. For example it’s not always easy to take private phone calls at work, but maybe enough people have mobiles that enable them to slip out of the office to take the call?
Just be warned that calls come through on an 0800 number rather than the Nairn dialling code case be you think you’re getting some pesky sales call!
So… the new system is a hit for me, what about other folks experiences?

Christmas did start to early then

79% of Gurnites thought that we Started Christmas too early with the celebrations on the 19th of November. Bjorn was a star turn though and what a ball the thousand plus folk that filled the High Kirk had. The new poll is about the new appointments procedure at the GPs surgery at the hospital. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Fit for fashion night

Some strange goings on in the Nairn Community Centre on St.Andrews night – Nairn Rotarians strutting their stuff. See what happened on Flash Morton's flickr pages here.

Kingsteps latest - Council nearly obtained an interim interdict to prevent gate installation

The Highland Council backed off at the last minute however after discussions with Alexander Brodie. The gate was put in over the weekend (see images here).
Liz is concerned that the Council failed to stop the gate, she told the Gurn:
"I am really frustrated and angry that Highland Council did not serve an interdict to stop it from being installed. It was delayed until the meeting took place with Brodie and the next day he is out there putting it up. The police have not had one complaint about anti-social behaviour at Kingsteps. The bulk of the folk who go down there are bird watchers and dog walkers and not trouble makers of any kind, in fact everyone I've met there have been nice decent people."

Shop, restaurant, tourist information office, new public toilets, offices proposed for Old Social Work building

NICE are looking for comments on a proposal for a Civic Square between the Caley and the Old Social Work Buildings. Information posted on their website today states:
"As a first stage towards this objective, NICE has embraced some of the suggestions that have been made in relation to the old Social Work building opposite the Community & Arts Centre. NICE has now produced a plan outlining how it could be renovated, generate jobs and enhance the appearance of the town centre. 
This is a consultative exercise and NICE would welcome any comments and further input to this initial discussion starter. The plan shows the building put to use with a shop, a tourist information centre incorporating a taster for Nairn Museum in the old police cells (which are still there), three offices, a restaurant and relocated public conveniences. The existing toilet block would be demolished." Read more here and see the plan here.

"Update - Police in Nairn search for man in connection with an alleged disturbance"

Northern Constabulary press release:
"A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a number of alleged offences and is due to appear from custody at Inverness Sheriff Court today in connection with a disturbance in the Granny Barbour Road area to the east of Nairn on 28 November 2012.
A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."

Wee County's Jenny goes viral!

County fan Jenny had a day out yesterday and went down to see Elgin at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup. Her celebrations caught the eye of the Sky sports channel and a wee clip has nearly reached 100K hits on Youtube. Here's a new re-mix that's set to music that has also appeared. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mobility Scooter-friendly routes around Nairn?

A regular reader has a parent who has recently taken delivery of a mobility Scooter and wonders if anyone has ever produced a map of scooter friendly routes around the town. Obviously the circular walk around the river is not a circular route on a mobility scooter for example but has anyone ever made a wee map of round trip routes  that would be handy for locals and visitors alike? Do you have a mobility scooter? If so what are your favourite routes with roads easy to cross and drop level pavements etc?

Update: thanks to anon for the link to this  picture of the Highland Disabled Ramblers in Nairn recently. 

Meanwhile up at the riverside walkers' Christmas tree

A wee festive cameo role for one of the riverside creatures. Thanks to Jingle Bangles for the picture.

Nairn 3 Inverurie 3 - Pictures

Individual images here. Full screen slideshow here. 

And images from club photographer Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Full screen slideshow here.

It’s the season when the floodlights come on earlier each time, yesterday more light was necessary midway during the first forty-five minutes. We’ve slipped further into winter so effortlessly this year, the autumnal trips down a sunny A9 to exotic Scottish Cup destinations are far behind us now but those occasions will live forever in fanbase folklore. We’re well back into league duty bread and butter stuff but Station Park still has a lively ambience though. The hard core fan base has renewed and augmented itself and more yellow and black scarves are to be seen these days for a league fixture. I was about to say a normal league fixture but there’s no such thing in the Highland League these days.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Kingsteps car park - road ahead closed - Alexander Brodie installs the gate

The scene around midday as Alexander Brodie assisted by a local resident installs the gate across the road down to the Kingsteps car park. More pictures here. Short video here. 

Alexander Brodie is no longer in a mood to compromise earlier in the week he commented on the Gurn: "I have read the article dated 27 November in the Inverness Courier where Provost Macdonald branded my above posted compromise as "ridiculous". Pity. According, I withdraw the offer.
I am sorry, but I can no longer negotiate over this matter. It is taking to much of my time, confounding me, getting nowhere and subjecting me to unwanted judgement etc. According, I withdraw all offers and will not be making others.
Thank you to the readers of the Gurn for your support and understanding, and to those who did not support - for your good cheer and humor. thanks also to the Gurn.
Yours ever,
Alexander Brodie of Brodie"

Earlier this morning Liz tweeted: