Friday, May 31, 2013

Mark Hudson at Fish 'n Hits

Work starts on the stand at Station Park

Work has started today to reclad the stand at Station Park.  Over on the Nairn County site Chairman Peter Mackintosh has posted a statement praising the achievements of the players and the fans over the season that has just drawn to an end. Under the title ' "We believe" - truly inspirational ' he says:

"The creation of the "We believe" campaign I am sure exceeds our wildest expectations and has proved to both players, Management and Club Executive that the whole community is behind the objective of the Club to provide exciting and entertaining football.'

He goes on to talk about the fundraising projects, the club's ambition to upgrade the ageing infrastructure at Station Park and also the ups and downs of the footballing year. You can read his statement here.  Also keep up to date with the fans fundraising here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

1st Battalion Scots Guards homecoming parade Inverness

Donald Matheson took these images earlier today in Inverness as the 1st Battalion Scots Guards held their homecoming parade after returning from a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan. 

Individual images here.

Windsor Hotel to reopen in 3-4 weeks

Good news for Nairn's tourist trade - the Windsor Hotel will soon be back in business. Many local residents were saddened by the sudden closure of the Hotel earlier this year. There are many in the town who, remembering happy events in the hotel, have an emotional attachment to the place. So good news all round for Nairn today with this breaking story.

The building is a hive of activity today (see image below), and is undergoing a complete refurbishment. The new proprietor, Elaine Douglas told the Gurn that she will shortly be holding interviews for the position of General Manager and more information will be available once the post is filled. 

I'm sure Gurnshire will join this observer will in wishing the Elaine and the rest of the new team at the Windsor all the best in getting the Hotel back on its feet. 

Pedestrian crossing at Moss-side Rd Co-op: "such a feature at this location would actually put pedestrians at greater risk"

Suburban Community Council wish to see a pedestrian crossing at the Co-op on Moss-side Road. Their ambition to see this  road safety measure installed  took a major knock at their regular meeting on Tuesday night in Nairn Academy. Colin told them:

“Our principal traffic officer has been out and looked at the situation; he’s the guy that advises the council on the locations of crossings. His last sentence: “The site is extremely difficult to locate such a feature due to the proximity of private accesses, junctions, bus stop, etc. I can see no suitable location that would safely serve the pedestrians near the Co-op. In fact, I believe that such a feature at this location would actually put pedestrians at greater risk.”

Colin then continued: “I haven’t let go of it yet, but what he is saying is that it’s dispersed just now and people know the junction and people are crossing at different places and they are familiar with it. If you put in a crossing people slow down for it and then they speed up after it. Because of the nature of the dispersal, his professional view is that it puts people at greater risk.”

Despite this advice Colin is still supporting Suburban in their desire for a crossing at this point. He had had a meeting with Inspector Murdo MacLeod at the site and he said: “Murdo and me are agreeing that because people are slowing at the bend the line of sight can be shorter, if folk are flexible.”

Colin also mentioned that these things were weighed on accident statistics and there was only one recorded accident which was to a dog. Colin is now researching previous decisions elsewhere on granting and refusing crossings. The fight for a crossing at this busy junction goes on but it looks like it has suddenly got a lot harder for the Suburban watchdogs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

County Polo shirts donated by Bridgemill Direct to Fans Fund sell out overnight

Yesterday evening around 8 p.m. it was announced on the County Fans “We Believe” facebook page that Mark Green and Bridgemill Direct had donated 30 black cotton polo shirts, that will have the club crest embroidered on the left hand side of the chest and 'We Believe' on the left arm, to the fans Ground Improvement Fund. The shirts were priced at £15 each with all proceeds going to the fund.

By breakfast time  all the shirts had been snapped up by the County faithful. Another £450 raised for improvements at Station Park which, with matching funding from the Scottish Football partnership, will eventually be worth £900. Fans spokesperson Donald Graham told the Gurn:

"Thanks to Mark Green and Bridgemill Direct for their generous donation and thanks to the fans for their fantastic response, yet again"  More County fans fundraising news here. 

Nairn Carbuncles back on the agenda

At last week’s meeting of the joint Community Councils Graham Kerr requested that carbuncles were put back on the agenda. 
“Which ones would you like,” asked the chair (aka Nairn’s new tourism personality) Rosemary Young.
“Well, we’ve had some success, some of them have gone now,” replied Graham. He continued: “It appears that something is happening at the Regal and that is good. The old bus station is still a thorn. The Rosebank Church is still a thorn and I’d like to add Altonburn Hotel, the Sandancer.”

There was both  good and bad news for Graham and anyone else concerned about Nairn carbuncles at the Suburban CC meeting in the Academy last night with two pieces of information put into the public domain from Cllr Colin MacAulay. Colin had bad news about the Alton Burn Hotel:

“Keep an eye out on the Alton Burn Hotel. There are folk making their way into the building. So again if folk see anybody or hear of it, feed it into the police so they can just try and stop them, somebody will come to grief in there if it goes on.”

Later he told the meeting in the Academy on the subject of the Bus Station that work was scheduled to start on June. The four ground floor flats would have their own entrance and then there would be a lift access to the other three floors. Colin suggested that the bus station flats might suit some folk that might be considering a move because of the bedroom tax or other reasons: “It won’t suit some folk but for some older folk to be slap bang in the centre […] and if it’s like the current council houses it will be built to a good standard then it could be an attractive option.” He finished, “It’s not what I wanted there but it is better than what was going to be there.”

John Mackie added: “You’ll get away with that in the middle of Nairn where it would look stupid on the outskirts.”

To which Colin replied: “I still don’t think it’s the right development for that site.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guardian interactive map vote - Do you think Scotland should become independent?

There is an interactive map on the Guardian site just now. You put in your postcode and then vote Yes or No to Scottish Independence. The picture below is a screenshot from a zoom into our part of the world at around 16.00 today. People all over the UK are having their say and further afield too. You can have a vote too on this Guardian webpage.

Liz - 20 m.p.h. limit for Boath Park

Speaking at last week's joint Community Council meeting Liz said:
“We’ve got £50,000 set aside for bringing in 20 limits and that’ll come into the TECS committee in August and I’m hoping that Boath Park will be included in that. When I was going round prior to the election there were quite a lot of people saying they would like 20 mile an hour limits in more residential areas and just recently last week, through a national thing I had quite a flurry of e-mails about wanting 20 m.p.h. So this is one of the areas where TECS guys are saying because there is just one road going in it would be easy to implement the 20 mile an hour limit. It would be great to have it all the way through Nairn but we can’t do that with the trunk road."  

Nairn Sailing Club open day images

Images available here .  Also last night the prospects for a decent sunset didn't initially look good but there was a last minute change in the conditions - Bratach captured this image.

Nairn Traffic issues – Lochloy Road/A96 junction – Sandown Farm Lane and Cawdor Road

Along with A96 and bypass issues which were discussed at last week’s joint Community Council meeting. the Chair (and new Nairn tourism personality) Rosemary Young asked if there was anything else that hadn’t been highlighted. 

Graham Vine asked about the promised limit on Sandown Farm Lane he said: “You have a single track road, buildings either side and it’s 60 m.p.h.” Graham was annoyed that nothing had been done yet.

The dangers at the Lochloy Road junction with the A96 and View Road were mentioned too. A local resident raised concerns that the both the traffic from View Road and Lochloy were coming onto the junction at the same time.

Brian Stewart replied: “That was one of 12 very specific points that we raised in writing with Transport Scotland. I’ll read out the two sentences that we got in the reply on that junction. ‘A96, Lochloy, View Road intersection. The current signal control system takes account of the present traffic flows, continually monitoring them, automatically varying the signal timings when necessary to provide the most efficient junction operation.’ ”
Brian then added his own interpretation: “So all is wonderful and don’t worry about a thing and we’re not going to do anything.”

Stephanie Whittaker mentioned that she had been up to the hospital recently and because the hospital car park was full people were parking all the way along the road past Queen’s Park. She added: “not only is it awful just now but when the building starts….  

Brian Stewart ironically added : “That’s Cawdor Road, that’s the one that’s got lots of capacity to cope with 500 more houses.”

In respect of the Cawdor Road situation Gurnites may wish to reflect on the editorial in last week’s Nairnshire. In referring to the Cawdor Road “choke point” under the Railway Station, Iain Bain states:

“More than a century and a half ago the railway station was built just beyond the periphery of Nairn and the Cawdor Road served a pleasant rurality. But in recent years the underpass created when the station was built has been a real problem. The nearby junction with Balblair Road has proved a problem for heavy vehicles serving the sawmill; there is a visibility problem; there have been drainage problems and when the hospital was rebuilt the difficulties posed by increased volumes of traffic were highlighted.”
And further into the editorial piece Iain adds: “Nothing in the Masterplan inspires confidence on this issue. The elephant in the room is the re-engineering of the cutting and the bridge that carries the station platforms and line. That is the solution to the problem and it costs.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

County Fans fundraising auction item – 2 fish suppers every week for a year – provided by Alan and Donna at the Dolphin.

The Dolphin Chipper has made another generous offer to raise funds for the Fans Station Park  ground improvements fund. One of the fund raising team told the Gurn tonight:
“We have just been given a very generous offer from the Dolphin chip shop to run a auction for 2 fish suppers or any supper of choice once a week for a year starting from Monday June 3rd. The voucher can only be used by the winning bidder or immediate family and is not transferable. The offer is worth over £600. The auction will end on Saturday night at 9.15 at the community centre and we will take any bids online also. Thanks again to Alan and Donna for their kind generosity.” 

Bids can be placed via the Fans “We Believe!” facebook page. The Gurn understands that the music event on Saturday night in the Community Centre (details on this page) is fast approaching sell-out status with now less than 10 tickets remaining for sale.

Ali Nicol, organiser of the Ben Nevis climb fund raiser in September, tells the Gurn that anyone wishing to sponsor this event can now do so through Paypal, you can contact Ali for further details on how to do this via this fundraising page.

The Gurn also understands that the Rev Steven Manders is organising a concert at the Nairn URC on the evening of Sunday, August 4th in aid of the fans fund. This event was also announced tonight by one of the fund raisers on the Facebook page. More details about the concert will be available later.

To keep up to date with all the latest on the fans fundraising efforts bookmark this page.

Unfortunately Nairn has lost its atmosphere this summer

The retail cycle of life on Nairn High Street takes another turn as the premises Atmosphere becomes vacant. A note on the door of Atmosphere from Murd. Debbie and familily is pictured above.
Their website states: "Our shop in Nairn will close at 4pm on Saturday the 25th of May.  We will open our new shop in Leicestershire mid June.  Thank you to all our customers and friends for their support. We look forward to hearing from you soon. "

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Moray Coastal path - Nairn to Inverness - the missing link - still a long way from completion?

Gurnites may recall this article posted in January about the economic and other benefits that might arise if the “missing link” in the Moray Coastal path were to be installed between Nairn and Inverness.
The joint Community Council meeting back think instructed West CC to investigate and report back with details of how this might happen. From what was said and from information contained in documents released into the public domain last Wednesday night this observer would imagine that such a path will not be completed in the near future.  

Brian Stewart gave an update at last week’s meeting of the town’s three Community Councils, he told the meeting:

"The essential point, firstly: a plan does exist for the Coastal Path between Nairn and
Inverness. There are maps, there are diagrams, there’s a whole policy document. It exists. Now you might think that that is good news. Point 2 is that the Highland Council is responsible for implementing it, quote “as a priority”. In practical terms they have done nothing.
There is one piece of additional news (which is nothing to do with Highland Council) which is the new National Planning Framework 3 includes a proposal that SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) leads a project on long-distance paths and cycle routes and they should prioritise and ensure the delivery of the missing link. Because the bit between here and
Inverness is a missing link on the Moray Coastal Path which should join up with the Loch Ness walk and cycle way." 

Michael Green then added, “I will come back to the next joint meeting and update you as to exactly where we are with a map with what’s been agreed and what areas are outstanding.”

Liz contributed too. She said. “ We know exactly where the route is but the problem is that there is no funding attributed to it.”

Laurie also mentioned that it was a “long drawn out affair” and he suggested there were problems about the direction of the route at the
Inverness end.

We mentioned in the original article in January how Nairn might benefit from such a route. Serious students of this matter may wish to read the letter from West CC to the appropriate Highland Council official asking a number of questions and a copy of an e-mail reply from Stewart Eastaugh the Council’s Access officer for the Inverness and Nairn area. 

A copy of the Highland Council hopes to achieve this section of the Coastal Path can be found here on this webpage in the paragraph headed "Priority 1".

Fish ''n hits pictures - slideshow

With the recent changes on the Flickr site we had a few problems displaying the Fish 'n Hits pictures last weekend but now we've finally worked out how to do a few things on the new set up - so here's a slideshow and a full screen one here. 

More sunny Saturday images

Sofas in the sunshine

Murray's Pictures from a sunny Saturday in Nairn

Thanks to Murray Macrae for these images from yesterday in Sunny Nairn

 A serenade from the Slim Panatellas at the Dying to Know event. Colin reported on his facebook page:
"Great couple of hours at the Community Centre - for what was one of the very best events of Nairn's year. A fantastic opportunity for people to ask about and learn about some of life's last few taboo areas - preparing for death and dying.
Huge thanks to the army of volunteers and committed key individuals who made the day happen - Gillan of Nairn CAB and NHS Kate - and of course Rev Manders etc etc etc.
 Brilliant effort - a MUST for repeating at some point down the line!"

Meanwhile another successful event down at the Harbour as a steady stream of visitors and local folk made their way down to the yearly Harbourfest.

At the other end of town, also out in the sun were the first Saturday work party of the season up at Station Park. Volunteers are welcome every Saturday during the close season between 10 a.m. and 5p.m. Davy Mackinnon told the Gurn: "if you can spare a couple of hours then you will be very welcome. Images of some of the latest work here. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Social Work Buildings – feasibility analysis – Video of presentation evening 23rd May 2012

Last night NICE presented the details of their ongoing feasability study of what could be done with the old Social Work buildings. Potential ways forward were outlined in a presentation by Alan Jones. His presentation begins at 3.25 minutes into this video if you want to fast forward.

This observer really liked the idea of a Reptile Rescue centre moving into these presently derelict buildings. There were plenty of other ideas though and the results of the survey were very interesting too. For the latest from NICE on what could happen next why not listen to some or all of the video? If you are in a hurry just now however a copy of the presentation is now available online here. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fish 'n Hits Nairn High Street Sunday 19th May - Images

Regular readers will be familiar with the way we have displayed images on the Gurn flickr pages over recent years. There have been some changes on Flickr recently so we have to display them in slightly different ways. 
So for five pages of thumbnails from the amazing event on Sunday click here. 

This is the way that Flickr presents sets now - warning it takes a very long time to load - anway click here to see bigger images. 

Alternatively start at this image here and work through them all by clicking the arrow to the left of each image. 

Murd's idea to get more visitors in Nairn - tell the world we have free parking!

Pictured above you can see an illustration of how Murd would like all the "Welcome To" signs to look at the edge of town. His idea found instant favour at the meeting of the town's three Community Councils last night and endorsement again among the massed ranks of those attending NICE's meeting in the Community Centre tonight. 
It surely would be a goer, often when on holiday in the UK you will be asked to pay for parking and sometimes quite considerable sums if you intend to stay in the one place for the day - a tax on visiting a community and spending some money there really. How refreshing if we could simply point out that we want visitors' money but that they are welcome to park for free before they inject some cash into the local economy? 

Children's "Spring Display" - Keeping Nairnshire Colourful competition results

Annie Stewart told the Gurn: ""Budding Young Gardeners in Nairnshire have been busy since the Autumn planting bulbs and looking after them to put on a colourful show for the Keeping Nairnshire Colourful "Spring Display" competition. The children kept a log & took photograhs of what they did & how things grew. The containers & beds were judged at the end of April & the results are as follows:
1st - Auldearn Primary School (pictured below)
2nd - Nairn Academy Special Needs Support Class

 1st - Alasdair Beaton (pictured right)
2nd - Erin Baudins
3rd - Livi Micklethwaite

KNC would like to thank Robert Cunningham for judging and Sainsbury's & Broadley Garden Centre for the prizes. Photographs of all the entries can be seen in Library until the end of the week or on the KNC website:
 Entries for the summer "Edible" competition are available at local nurseries, the Service Point and the Library."

Nairn Tourism “we don’t have the local promotion people” comments - Rosemary Young fights back

Rosemary Young, chairing the joint meeting of the Community Council meeting last night, was out to set the record straight on local tourism and she fired both barrels in the direction of Michael Green who is reported in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week as saying, among other things:
“I don’t want to be too parochial, but we don’t have the local promotion people that we used to have, but we’ve still got some fabulous asssets”

Rosemary read out a prepared statement, she said:

“Before we move on to tourism I would like to respond in public to the extraordinary article on tourism on page three of the Nairnshire this week. 
To say a void had been made by  the absence of tourism hard hitters from yester year is not only inaccurate but once more denigrates the hard work being done right now here in Nairn

I would point out the following:

  1. There is a dedicated band of accommodation providers and food providers  – out there 24/7 with pride and passion and real work ethics.  Owners and their staff  who meet visitors on a daily basis and achieve high standards not always seen in other parts of Scotland or England.  They market their own properties and carry on regardless of what VS do or don’t do to help them.  They have earned the respect of the ‘many’ and countless numbers of visitors who return as repeat guests.

  1. These nowadays ‘personalities’ are joined by many more who although they may not know it are component parts of the tourism industry.  Golf Clubs, Sports Clubs, Retail shops, Ceilidh evenings, Music Nairn, Cinema Nairn, Pub entertainers, Pipe Band, Highland dancers, NICE, Rotary and the Nairnshire Challenge,  Beer Festivals, Book and Arts Festivals, Sporting event organisers, Keeping Nairn Colourful, Museums, games Day,  farmers show, the churches, the community and arts centre, the swimming pool,  the wonderful and cheerful chap who cleans our streets and last but not least the actual history of Nairn itself with Dr. Grigor being the first real personality for tourism……

I could go on and on  ….. the butcher, the baker the candlestick maker……
These are the core workforce for real tourism and many of them linking tourism to actually raising money for charity.

 Added to them comes the fantastic website for Nairn - with on line booking devised and managed by Iain Fairweather who was also the innovator behind the introduction of the new Nairn Guide and for its enlarged distribution.

All these people and more are indeed the personalities we do need in Nairn who work tirelessly in an austere economic climate and still manage to put on a great show.

The ‘old school personalities’ had a bucket of public money and their only problem was how and where to spend it.  How sad VisitScotland seemed to have admitted that they only react to the big swash buckling personalities.

Well I have a message to VS and that is to sit up and react to the personality of a truly wonderful town with the best beach in Scotland  - Nairn

Well done Nairn and the Nairnites of today  – tourism is here to stay.”

Rosemary received considerable applause. 

Michael Green responded and stated that we have to engage with Visit Scotland as  they  are the people that promote Scotland. He went on:
 ”Now we’ve all got opinions. My opinion about Visit Scotland is well known about how effective a job they do but you need to engage with them. Their Chairman Donald Graham, he said, “tourism is all about personalities”. Basically what he said was that they’ve engaged in years gone by with grants or various funds which we know. That seemed to be missing, the point now is how do we reconnect with Visit Scotland?”
He talked about a meeting with Visit Scotland where “We’ll discuss what we want to discuss because they’ve got resources that we want to get.”

Rosemary then said: “Just before I open this up to everyone, even in those days they didn’t actually do anything for us. It might have been all right swashbuckling around and spending money but they didn’t actually do anything – Visit Scotland themselves and as for people saying people went abroad, I bankrolled all that so all the trade shows and stuff like that – a waste of money, never brought anything much.”

There then followed more debate about the merits of Visit Scotland (more of this later if time permits this week).

South Nairn planning decision leaves a bitter taste for the Community Councils to swallow

Members of West, River and Suburban CCs expressed their dismay, despair and even anger at the recent decision of Highland Council to approve the master plan for Narin South.

The regular joint meeting was hosted by Nairn West CC in the Community Centre. Brain Stewart introduced the topic, he said:

We collectively as the three joint CCs and, indeed, as individuals fed in a number of detailed comments reflecting our concerns about the capacity of the Nairn South infrastructure to cope with the scale of the development that was being planned.  I don’t think I’m being too blunt in saying that the Highland Council planners pretty much ignored all the local concerns that were expressed at the joint meeting and then conveyed in writing. The master plan as approved a few days ago is pretty much unchanged from the one which Malcolm MacLeod presented back in January.

Rosemary Young the Chair of Nairn West was not in a very good mood with the town’s elected Highland Councillors, she told the meeting:

I would like to say that I think that it is very poor even though some told us why they weren’t there but none of our elected councillors came to the eight meeting where they would have seen the tremendous strength this town is feeling about not having Nairn South. Now I would like to remind our elected Councillors that they are voted in by the people of this town to be there to do the job for us. So if we have a strong feeling about something they should be there to listen to what we are saying. It would appear on this occasion, even though Michael put up some valid support four not having the houses there that nobody else did. I think it’s very disappointing and I don’t know why I would ever bother to vote for an elected Councillor again. I’m very glad I’m not a paid Councillor so I can say what I want about this sort of thing. But I think it is poor and I think that in a week where universities are trying to make wheat to double the amount of food, as well, so we can feed the world, that we are going to plough up some land out there and houses on which has been no rational thought as to whether we really  need it or not. That’s all I have to say.

Other comment on Nairn South from last night later.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weather picture Nairn 22nd May

This picture just in from Riverside reporter Murd Dunbar illustrates that the we are not really into a run of good weather yet. The Gods were indeed smiling on the Fish 'n Hits festival in the High Street on Sunday. 
Murd also reports that the town's spraying squad are out tackling the Giant Hogweed up the river today too. 

Rebuilding local democracy in Scotland - a tough job against institutionalised thinking?

Here in Nairn so much of civic life revoles around ensuring Nairn has its fair shout in the world - a difficult job after decades of centralisation where power has slipped away in the direction of the big city along the A96. We are promised a bit of a new deal by the current Highland Council administration with the creation of the Nairn Badenoch and StrathSpey area committee. There are those that don't think that will take us very far but to be fair to Drew Hendry we have to wait and see what comes out of that one. Colin and Liz too are confident that we'll see an improvement and have indicated such on social networks. The meetings coming up tonight of the Community Councils (in the Community Centre 7.30 p.m) and NICE tomorrow (same time and place) will most likely debate this democratic deficit again, not head on but it will be implicit within many presentations and points of view that will be heard from the floor. 

This observer receives regular newsletters from an organisation called the Scottish Community Alliance and they often discuss subjects that have echoes in Nairn. The header on their latest newsletter read "local people leading" and went on to say:

"At last week’s gathering of Scotland’s community controlled housing associations, Local Govt Minister Derek Mackay was dropping hints on the likely content of the forthcoming Community Empowerment Bill - cranking up expectations yet further. The Minister clearly intends this piece of legislation to remove long standing barriers that get in the way of communities taking more control of their own affairs. To hear this kind of ambition from a Government Minister is really encouraging. But as the contributions of subsequent speakers served to illustrate, many of these barriers are the product of institutional mind-sets that instinctively resist any transfer of power to communities – and these may simply be beyond the reach of legislation."

Scottish Communities such as Nairn want change and the present administration in Holyrood seem to want to deliver some democracy back in this direction but willl "institutional mind-sets" be too much of an obstacle in the final analysis.  You can register for the Scottish Community Alliance's newsletter or simply have a read of their archives here. 

Toby Michaels at Fish 'n Hits - Video

Housing and Transport, Access and the A96 Bypass - Suburban CC letter and a response from Fergus

At last joint meeting of Nairnshsire and Ardersier and Croy Community Councils held on the 25th of April it was agreed that the individual Community Councils would write to local representitives to convey the views of the meeting.

Suburban CC have released into the public domain the copy of their letter that was sent to elected representitives and others and a reply received from Fergus Ewing. The subbies' letter concentrated on Housing and A96 issues and was signed by Dick Youngson. You can read a copy here. The letter sent on the 9th was answered by Fergus Ewing MSP on the 14th and you can see a copy of his letter to Dick here. Fergus's letter concentrates on A96 and bypass issues. The many gurnites who are long-time serious students of these issues may find both letters interesting. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Colin and Crawford at Fish 'n Hits - video

Also a few images from Murray MacRae of Sunday's event can be seen here. 

@ flickr users in Gurnshire

You may have noticed the changes that were made to Flickr last night. Less than 24 hours on and there are around 11,000 refuseniks who have written their messages of complaint on the flickr forum. Outraged flickr users are also tweeting @flickr and leaving messages on the flickr facebook page. Flickr proudly claim: 

"A brighter Flickr is here. A Flickr where everyone gets a free terabyte of space for original images. Where your photos are at the center of a stunning new web design. And where Android users have a seriously beautiful app to take with them, anywhere."

That's wonderful but the new design is totally unsuitable for many long term users who simply have grown used to displaying their work on flickr and found the former layout perfect for their needs. So if you too are finding the new changes horrendous then please add your voice on the forum or via a social network message. 

Sat May 25th Nairn Community Centre - Dying to Know

Billed as a different day out, information on a subject we quite often chose to avoid. More information on this event is available on the Nairn Citizens Advice website here. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Provost puts herself in the shop window for the County

Provost Liz MacDonald helping County Fans clean up the windows of the High Street premises formerly known as Occasions to make ready for the flitting of the Fans Station Park Ground Improvements Fund display from the Library to the empty shop. 
The shop is the property of Highland Council and Liz and Colin arranged for the premises to be made available to host the display for two weeks starting today (Monday 20th). Just after this image above, Jim Clark arrived with display boards from Nairn Rotary which have also been made available to the fans for the next two weeks. 
More pictures of the finished display here, including former County player Fred Milne admiring the shop makeover. 

Mary’s Meals Concert - Saturday night in the Community Centre – great entertainment but also a very thought provoking event.

The concert was to raise funds for Mary’s meals and specifically for the Baby Sam’s Shelter that is proposed for the Kaphirikwete School in Malawai. The shelter will be in memory of Iain Gordon’s grandchild Sam. Iain organised the event which attracted a capacity crowd to the Community Centre. The evening was a marvellous night’s entertainment and included the Black Isle Jazz Band which was not mentioned on the ticket and came as a bonus. Donnie Munro performed for around two and a half hours and interspersed between his songs were many interesting anecdotes and comment on contemporary and past Highland issues. Fantastic evocative performances by Donnie and his supporting musicians. It was a powerful night in another sense too. This observer had heard before in the press of the work of Mary’s Meals in providing a daily meal for school children in impoverished countries but hadn’t realised what a fundamental difference that could make to a child’s life. Simply if a child doesn’t have to go out and spend the day, begging, working, even perhaps stealing to get money for food then they can go to school. In areas where Mary’s Meals are operating the school role can double. A child can be fed for a whole year for less than eleven pounds. If you have a few moments  then please watch one or two of the videoshere.

Another initiative by Marys Meals is the Back Pack project. Here in a society where most of us possess so much and children too have possessions that many other less fortunate kids can only dream of we might find it hard to imagine what the gift of a back pack containing a few simple school and domestic items might mean to  children that literally have nothing. Another video here shows how this works in Malawai.

Mary’s meals is a Scottish Charity that does so much to change lives. It operates from a Garden shed and 93% of funds raised go directly to where they are needed. Their website is here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Warning to all Nairn residents! - Pirates now operating in our area! See the video!

Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers in Castle Lane Square, Nairn High Street, earlier today. Just one of many acts that performed at the Fish 'n Hits party. Further details in previous article here. More pictures and videos to come during the week. 

Fish 'n Hits - High Street fund raiser led by Dolphin Chipper for Station Park Ground Improvements a massive success

The Gurn understands that the County Fans Ground Improvement Fund benefited to the tune of £1770 today from sales of special bargain fish and other suppers. A collection in Castle Lane, where many talented musicians gave their time and talent free of charge, also raised another £240. That's a total of £2010 and matching funding that will eventually be available from the Scottish Football Partnership will double the spend potential on ground improvements up at Station park to £4020. Well done to Alan and Donna and their "we believers" in the chipper and all those who performed and helped organise the event in Castle Lane.
Nairn had its festival hat on today, the sun shone too and it was a day that will not be forgotten. More pictures and videos from this event on the Gurn during the coming week.
The Dolphin Chipper - Now a County legend!

Update - another local photographer has already posted a few images on his flickr account, click here to see them.

Coming up next week - Weds 22nd and Thurs 23rd - concerned about Nairn affairs? - 2 evening dates for your diary!

First up on Wednesday night is the joing meeting of the town's three Community Councils. They will be discussing Nairn South, the by-pass, planning issues and the recycling initiative. The meeting will be held in the Community centre and will start at 7.30 p.m. 

Next up will be the NICE meeting on Thursday night. Could we soon see action from the 1,000 strong group in renovating Nairn's town centre? Joan Noble told the Gurn:

"The feasibility study for the first phase of town centre redevelopment is proceeding apace, with a good response to the recent survey of businesses, tourist operators and the public asking for suggestions and aspirations for the area.
These have been collated and several draft options will be presented and discussed at a public meeting on Thursday 23rd May 7.30 pm at the Community Centre. Everyone interested is warmly invited to come along and ensure that as wide a spectrum of opinion is represented as possible."

There it is Gurnshire, a couple of chances to contribute to our Community's future. Why not pop down to the Community Centre on Wednesday and Thrusday nights and give a bit of gravitas to the gatherings of the usual suspects and give a helping hand to their ambitions to do the best for Nairn. Alternatively give them a roasting if you feel so inclined - it's all in aid of local democracy. Love them or loathe them, you get the Community Councils and NICE for free and they, once again, want to hear your views. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A question from the time Donnie Munro used to come to Nairn on his holidays

A fantastic concert tonight at the Community Centre in aid of  the charity Mary’s Meals.  Top of the bill was celtic rocker Donnie Munro. Whilst introducing one of the songs he told of the days when his family would come through to Nairn for the day whilst enjoying their annual holiday to Inverness.

Donnie asked if anyone could remember a restaurant in Nairn with a mosaic floor with what seemed to him to be like a big star in the middle. He would like to be informed if this was the case or if it was simply a figment of his imagination. Nobody in the capacity audience was able to help him, is there anyone in Gurnshire with thoughts on that?

Pishing down in Huntly pictures - Huntly 3 Nairn 2

Pictures from County Photographer Donald Matheson
Individual images here. 

Dreich Disappointment at Christie Park fails to dampen County spirit

Another cheerful outing for the County faithful today, the last of the season, to Huntly. And a luxury bus for the final Roaches Coaches trip this time round, parked next to the team coach it looked distintinctly up market by comparison. So to the game, it was dreich and it didn't go our way: Huntly 3 Nairn 2 but the younger fans just took it all in their stride and the older ones were still cheerful as they made their way home too after a fantastic season. Two goals for Conor Gethins to add to his very impressive score this season. More pictures later. 

Zero tolerance on litter

One of our Highland Councillors recently posted on Facebook:
"We live on a beautiful planet in a beautiful country. And we live in the most beautiful part of our country. Don't spoil it - Bin it!"

Despite the natural beauty surrounding us some people, young and old, still do drop litter though. For some it is perhaps a "cool" thing to do for others maybe they actually consciously get a perverse pleasure out of despoiling their local environment. Will we see fines issued in Nairn or not by Highland Council? The lack of fixed penalites issued in recent years for people who don't bother picking up their dogs' turds is perhaps not an encouraging example. Anyway here's what Drew Hendry, the Convenor of Highland Council says: 
 “As a Council we have to tackle littering head on and treat it as anti-social behaviour. Littering is wrong, it should not be tolerated and it should not happen. Littering also has an impact on our tourism economy – one of the key industries in the Highlands. We market our natural environment as a key attraction for visitors and littering has a direct impression on visitors that can affect the potential for repeat visits through word of mouth recommendations.” Read the full press release here.

Hopefully we will see some action by the Council in Nairn but there is another agency that is determined to take a zero tolerance attitude too. Litter featured at the last meeting of the Suburban Community Council meeting, the Subbies have a problem in their area with empty cans of drink being left in the lay-bys further along Moss-Side Road. Pupils heading too and from the Academy at lunch time feature in complaints too. Subbie members were pleased to hear Sgt Graham Erskine, also present at their meeting, declare his determination to catch litter-bugs and keep Nairn clean. Good luck in their efforts to both the Council and the local members of the Scottish Police Force in their efforts to tackle the litter problem locally and across the Highlands! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Michael Green on Nairn South: "this is a serious issue and it needs to be resolved to the satisfaction of Nairn’s largest employer."

Up for discussion again at the Planning, Environmental and Development Committee was the thorny subject of Nairn South. The Council planning high heid yins pointed again to an existing traffic assessment that would allow for 320 houses on the site. Michael Green made a plea for a rethink after the first and each subsequent batch of houses are built. His proposal for a new traffic assessments every 100 houses found favour with the committee and he also raised other concerns that many gurnites will have heard before over previous months and now years. 

The town’s three Community Councils don’t want this development until the infrastructure, including a bypass, is in place. Michael Green spoke on the behalf of many people in Nairn on Wednesday in the Council chamber at Glenurquhart Road as he reiterated what the West, River and Suburban CCs and many others feel. Here’s what Michael said:

“In Nairn this is not a popular development – It’s not! Folk are just wondering why it appears to put the cart before the horse when we are having a development on this scale proposed when we don’t have the bypass. The logical thing to have done here would have been to have had the bypass and then you could have looked at a development which with the bypass could cope with the traffic problems. That brings me round to the two main areas of concern which Brian and Malcolm will have heard many, many times from many people. 

The first one is the inability of the local infrastructure to cope with the proposed increase in traffic. Now as was shown in the overhead, there’s currently Balblair Road and Cawdor Road these are two old fashioned B class roads and they have to deal with traffic, and I’ll just Labour this – a few points here: the Queens’s Park housing estate, the hospital, the Nairn County football ground, several old peoples homes, the new Broadleigh housing development, the Council technical department, Gordons Sawmill and a busy garden centre - all back and forth into the town centre. At the narrowest point where Cawdor Road and Balblair Road merge there is a one lane choke point. This is effectively a chicane and even as it stands just now it is a real bone of contention with people because there are tailbacks developing on either side at certain times.
So when I read that the traffic impact assessment states that the infrastructure can cope with the increase in traffic from such a development, myself and many others don’t really agree and feel that this increase in traffic will result in making an already difficult and tricky situation much, much worse and equally importantly: it could start the creation of new rat runs. Rat runs in an urban development could have very serious consequences.

So on the 1st point and I think it has been well documented and the officials agree it, I would like to propose we have a pause and review after the 1st hundred have been built, for a new traffic impact assessment plus local consultation.

The second area of major concern lies around the impact the proposed development will have on Gordons. Gordons Sawmill has been established for well over 100 years. They’re the biggest employer in Nairn. There’s over 100 direct employees and probably a similar amount in related jobs. Now they’ve raised concerns that the development could not only hamper their future business expansion but could threaten the viability of their current business. Their concerns are around noise levels and mitigation measures. Now the strategic master plan states that the developer should be responsible for noise mitigation measures. For example bunds and acoustic fences to ensure that noise levels do not exceed 45 decibels during the day and 25 at night.

Now, Environmental Health have now stated and I quote: “In assessing the statutory nuisance the Councils will be required to take into account several considerations including nature and character of noise and not just compliance with an agreed noise.”
 I welcome the agreement that we will work together to find a solution to this. I don’t think that I need to go into much more technical detail other than to agree, as we are well aware that this is a serious issue and it needs to be resolved to the satisfaction of Nairn’s largest employer.”

Jo Muskus in the finals of Oz Best Job competition

More on the BBC site.

Nairn Cygnets 2013 - picture

Thanks to Murray MacRae for this picture of this year's cygnets on the River Nairn

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Ward Manager for the Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey Wards

From a Highland Council Press Release:
The Highland Council has appointed a new Ward Manager, Liz Cowie for the Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey Wards.

Liz currently works on Skye as Ward Manager for Eilean a' Cheò and was previously Ward Manager for Dingwall and Seaforth Ward.

She starts her new post towards the end of June and replaces Ward Manager Louise Clark who retired on 3 May.

William Gilfillan, Highland Council’s Corporate Manager said: “Liz brings a wealth of experience to both Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey Wards. Her background and experience as Ward Manager in her previous posts in working with the wider community will prove a great asset to the Wards.”

John Finnie tells Danny Alexander to get a move on over Mainland Fuel Discount.

The Gurn has received a copy of a letter that John Finnie MSP has sent to Danny Alexander. This observer wonders if Nairn would qualify as a remote mainland community? Anyway here's what John said to Danny. 
Dear Danny,
Fuel Discount Scheme For Remote Mainland Communities.
I have read coverage in today’s press regarding the above with great interest. 
Whilst I appreciate the wheels of Government don’t run swiftly, I am concerned at the time its taken HM Treasury to report on the case for a fuel discount scheme for remote areas of the mainland.
I would appreciate it if you could inform me, as soon as possible, of when you expect to take this issue to Brussels, which areas will be included in your proposal (including the criteria used to make this decision) and an unequivocal commitment that the 5p discount will be passed directly to the consumer.
It will not have escaped you that it is over 3 years since you stood on for re-election on this issue and I urge you to do everything possible to get a successful outcome for people living in remote and rural areas.
Yours sincerely, 
John Finnie MSP
Independent, Highlands & Islands.

A good year coming up for Giant Hogweed on the River Nairn?

Last Wednesday night River Community Council again discussed the eradication of invasive species on the part of the River Nairn that runs through their area. 
Murd Dunbar reported that he had received an e-mail from Councillor Green stating that the Council would be spraying this week.  Giant Hogweed has been one invasive plant where the efforts of the town and the voluntary efforts of Murd and his river patrol squad have achieved some success in recent years but this year as growth finally starts on the River Bank it looks like this plant is making a serious comeback and the local authority will have to try and deploy its scarce resources to deal with it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Activity at the building formerly known as the Regal

Details, images and comment on the Harleys Grill and Cocktail Facebook page.

"Basic digital high street through to augmented reality"

The following presentation by the Talk about local organisation may or may not interest some of our High Street folk - the augmented reality bit mentioned is perhaps a little way down the line yet but indicates perhaps where technology is taking us all. Maybe promotion of what's in the High Street is best done online by individual shops and businesses doing their own thing the way they know best but perhaps the slideshow contains food for thought. 

Basic digital high street through to augmented reality from william perrin

Former go-kart track cycling training road signs no more

Murd Dunbar reported to the River CC folkies last week that the road signs on the former go-kart track down at the riverside on Mill Road have been taken away by Highland Council staff. After the go-kart heyday the track was converted into a very impressive cycling proficiency training area. This project was the brainchild of two formidable Nairn District Councillors of that era, Meg Anderson and Chrissie Ellen. For many years it was very busy and then official use declined but every year you could still see some parents supervising their children in this area. As Murd put it on Wednesday night: "People took their kids there and showed them a wee bit of road sense."
River Commuinity Council are to write to the Highland Council TECS department in an attempt to have the signs returned. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

River CC unimpressed with design for Nairn Sports Club extension

At their meeting last week the River folkies declared themselves "unimpressed" with the design put forward to the planning department for an extension to the Sports Club in Viewfield. You can view the details of the application here. 

Equally unimpressed was Brian Stewart of the West CC who was also present on the public benches last Wednesday night. He told the meeting:

"Viewfield is basically still green space. I know there is a museum there and the Sports Club and the Tennis Court but it is an attractive part of town, and it is important that it looks good and the Sports Club is there and that's fine but we don't want buildings there that look like industrial premises. Anybody who comes to or through or past Viewfield, whether they are walking the dog or visiting the museum or whether they live beside it, they all see this."

River CC are not to object to the plans however, they will simply contribute a comment to the planning department. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nairn harbour fees now too pricey?

One of our regular readers tells us:

“Fees at the harbour have nearly doubled in the last four years which is a large hit and has seen a record number of boats up for sale this year. It's a shame as although some may regard having a boat as elitist many very ordinary folk have a boat in the harbour. “

Our correspondent tells us that a plea was made from the Nairn Sailing Club Commodore for harbour dues to be frozen. The request fell upon deaf ears at the Highland Council’s Fishery Harbours Management Board meeting held on the 18th of April however. A minute going forward for approval at the Council’s TECS meeting next week states:

“Nairn Harbour Dues for Financial Year 2013/14

There had been circulated Report No FHMB/11/13 dated 8 April 2013 by the
Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services inviting Members
to recommend approval of the level of charges to be published for Nairn Harbour
in “The Highland Council Harbours Schedule of Rates and Dues” for financial year
2013/14 and to consider a proposal from the Commodore of the Nairn Sailing
Club to freeze the berthing charges at the harbour until parity was achieved with
the charges at Highland Council Class A harbours.

Nairn Harbour had its own “Schedule of Dues and Charges” as a result of repairs
which had been required at the harbour in 2003, particularly in relation to
providing new pontoons. The Commodore of Nairn Sailing Club had suggested
that the charges at the harbour should now be frozen and his reasons for this
were outlined. Nairn dues, in comparison to other harbours, were provided as
were details of the advantages and disadvantages of berthing at Nairn harbour.
In addition, information was given as to past and current works as well as
anticipated work together with estimated costs. The total amount of dues
collected for the current financial year was £36,719 and, if Nairn was to be recategorised as a Class A harbour, a budget pressure of £4,919 would be created.

In recognising the significant investment that had been made by the Council at
Nairn Harbour, the Board AGREED to recommend to the Transport,
Environmental and Community Services Committee:-

i. the approval of the 4% increase in harbour dues and charges for leisure
vessels, wharfage and miscellaneous charges; and
ii. that the request from the Commodore of the Nairn Sailing Club to freeze
berthing charges at Nairn Harbour be declined “

Our regular reader is not taken with the Council’s thinking about the investment in Nairn harbour, he told us: “The argument about new pontoons was not a good one. The old pontoons were sinking (literally) and access was only via the vertical ladders on the harbour wall. The harbour authority has a duty to maintain the harbour or close it. If a car park had resurfacing work carried out would new charges be imposed to reflect the cost of the work, I doubt it.”

The Gurn has also been informed that there is a school of thought that more money could be made from Nairn harbour if it were marketed more to visiting yachts and that the Council does not have a dedicated web page for Nairn harbour unlike seven other harbours in the Highlands that are promoted on the Council’s website.

County's delightful Aberdeenshire outing - more pictures - Formartine 1 Nairn 3

Individual images here Match report now in the Highland News here.

Ali needs an exercise bike next Sunday afternoon for Fish 'n Hits - can you help?

At next Sunday's Fish 'n Hits gig in Castle Lane (12-5 p.m and Bargain fish and other suppers from the Dolphin Chipper for £2.50) County Fans Fundraiser Ali Nicol hopes to get in training for the sponsored  Ben Nevis climb in September by spending the afternoon peddling away as he enjoys the music. 

Ali and 19 other fans will be climbing the mountain but they need to do a bit of training first and you would be making a great contribution if you could lend an exercise bike to them for the afternoon. Have you got one that Ali could use for a few hours? Please contact us on and we'll pass on any offers. 

Fish and Hits details here including Dolphin menu for the 19th here and the Ben Nevis climb page here. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Things to watch for at the Planning, Environment and Development Committe next week (including Nairn South)

According to the APT Secretary we should be aware of the following items on the agenda for the meeting in Inverness next Wednesday (15th May). All this stuff can be very difficult to read of course but there are many serious students of such matters in Nairn that may wish to browse the information available online.  Anyway the APT Sec tells us:

"The Nairn South masterplan is an agenda item, as is the HwLDP Action Plan - which updates on A96 Issues and also has details of the the consultation draft of the Third NPF (National Planning Framework).

Plus, Eastgate Centre Tuesday May 14, 2013 9 am – 6 pm where the Government's NPF3 team will be holding informal ‘drop-in’ sessions where anyone can come along for a discussion with the team during the hours stated above."

Wide loads negotiating Nairn - Another reason why we need a bypass?

Thanks to one of our regular readers Robert, who sent us in this picture of a wide load apparently having serious difficulty in getting through town earlier today. Robert reported chaos and tailbacks in both directions until the situation was resolved. "Bring on the bypass!" said our correspondent.

Party put on hold in Aberdeenshire today - Formartine 1 Nairn 3 - Pictures

If Formartine had won they would have been crowned Highland League Champions today but it was not to be and it was County that won the right to party this evening with their victory over the league leaders.  A feeling of despondency seemed to envelop the home side at North Lodge Park midway into the second half after Conor's second goal. Formartine were not the side that came to Nairn earlier in the season and inflicted such damage. The feeling became infectious and spread to the supporters who started leaving twenty minutes before the final whistle, that trickle of departing fans became a flood in the final five minutes.

Next Saturday it goes down to the wire as Formartine host Cove to decide who takes the title - Nairn's challenge faded somewhat recently but today's effort has ensured an exciting finish to the Highland League this year. It's not over for County too, their final game is away to Huntly and the faithful are planning one more away day Saturday special before the large supporters flag is folded up and put away until next season. Great goals today for Bobo and Conor (now the leading scorer in the league this season).

Pictures from club photographer Donald Matheson - individual pictures here.  More pictures from the Gurn this weekend. Also now available on the Gurn flickr pages more images of the game last week against Lossiemouth.