Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Preventing the destruction of what’s good about Nairn and Nairnshire"

On Tuesday night Dick gave a short briefing to the Suburban CC members about the meeting earlier this month of the six Nairnshire Community Councils.He said: 

"We discussed things in a lot of detail, a lot of sense, everyone thought it was a super event and we must have more of them. This was really the first try and we really discussed everything that we’ve lost from Nairn and everything that should come back into local decision taking, and the way things are going there’s really going to be nobody apart from our four ward councillors that can actually speak up for Nairn together with us in the Community Councils and I think with the help of our four ward councillors and the community councillors in the six councils we can come up with a far better master plan for coping with, preventing the destruction of what’s good about Nairn and Nairnshire. Debbie of Nairnshire East, she is very insistent that it is Nairnshire and not just Nairn we are talking about. 

There is a lot of work to be done, really we have to get down and talk about how we can actually best achieve this and again working with Highland Council in Inverness – everything is pulled away from us and everything is actually coming back almost as a fait accompli from Inverness which isn’t at all satisfactory. We can’t really live with that. And there’s not much point in having community councils, just as Alistair says, if the decision taking like that is not going to include us. So really a lot must happen. "

Martin Ashford then said: “That has always been always the system though, this fait accompli presented. It’s not a consultation, this is what you will get. And that was the culture and that still is too.”

Dick continued, "Yes, unfortunately it is, we are being lectured to. The strength of that meeting which we had on the 6th of this month was really full support for this sort of approach to looking after what we’ve got and we actually think highly of in Nairn. And there we have the Nairn beach coming in as the top beach in Scotland and 11th in the UK. It’s not just the beach, it’s really everything else, it’s the dune system, it’s the scenic views across the Firth. The whole atmosphere of the Nairn beach obviously came out very highly in this survey of holiday makers. It’s something we have to look after and not have it snatched away from us by planners and others. We’ve really got to look after it as an asset. And what they said in this survey as well is the lack of commercial development along the seafront which is quite unique because most seafronts have a lot of commercial development.

That’s the result of our meeting There’s a lot to think about and a lot really we are quite capable of thinking and we are quite capable of actually decision taking. The funding side is going to be interesting We’ve really got to start thinking quite carefully about how we take Nairn forward because we are not averse to taking Nairn forward but it has to be done in a planned, integrated way. "

Saltire Foundation looking for Young entrepreneurs - plus how local man Charles Grant benefited from their fellowship programme

If you think this could be for you then click the read more tab to read a press release from the Saltire Foundation and also details of how it went for Charles Grant.

Difficulty seeing the lights

Traffic lights were discussed at Suburban CC's meeting on Wednesday night. It seems some drivers, and particularly those in lorries, are having difficulty seeing the lights with the new pieces of shading(?) that have recently been installed. Chair Dick Youngson told the meeting: 
"As regards the traffic lights at Leopold Street and Albert Street, the lorry drivers and those in high cabs can’t see the lights at all because of the baffles that are shielding them. All they see is a blank face, they can’t see if they are green or whatever colour."

A Gurn reader contacted us with reference to the lights too, he said that he also has difficulty seeing what colour they are at and he drives a vehicle only slightly higher than the average car. This correspondent had also phoned Bear during the recent hold-ups and told them there was a problem with the lights. He says they told him at the time that the lights had been checked and were working correctly. He says a written reply contradicts this and concedes that power outages were to blame. Copy of the letter received by our regular reader from Transport Scotland here. 

There was another issue raised at the Subbies meeting in the Academy from the lorry driver's viewpoint: Dick said these regular users of the A96 are horrified at the risks some motorists take as they draw away from the Moss-side Road traffic lights and pass in front of Lorries on the trunk road.. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tragic incident at Gordons Sawmill

The Northern Constabulary have posted a short report on their website.

Sandown Farmers Showfield?

Last night there was a wide range of topics discussed at the Suburban Community Council meeting. One item on the agenda was “Fields in Trust Scotland: securing a grass roots legacy in Nairn.” The FIT charity wishes to see environmental areas, sports fields and green spaces across Scotland secured for the future. The charity has not had any submissions for its list so far from the Highland area but have presently received 130 nominations from the rest of Scotland. Dick revealed he had been talking to Tommy of River CC about the green areas in their patch and then he ran through some of these essential parts of our local environment for the benefit of the meeting and included Sandown in his wee presentation. 

“I was speaking to the agriculturalists that have the old Farmers’ Showfield, they are very conscious of the fact that it is part of Nairn, the football players train there. They’re very keen to promote it. They’re very conscious of the fact that it is too small for them and they’ll never use it again. It’s very much a unique feature of Nairn, part of it could be developed and the greater part could be kept as an asset.
They are thinking along the same lines as well, actually they are quite keen on perhaps having Sandown as their area as well. That’s another permutation. It would make an extremely good farmers’ showfield.”
Dick was then asked which field and he indicated the other side from the proposed Wetlands Park., he continued:
“Because the arrangement at Kinnudie is very temporary, it’s not a permanent solution at all. They are perhaps going to end up with not having a site, and that site doesn’t necessary suit the populace of Nairn, it’s just a little too far to walk although there is a shuttle run. It would be handy actually having something closer to Nairn. I’m just relaying the thoughts that are going on.”

This observer believes that securing most of Sandown as another green lung for a growing town (bypass within the next 20-30 years or not) would be a fantastic step for the benefit of future generations. And what better way can there be for that than installing a permanent Farmers Showfield there? On one side of the road would be the wetlands park and on the other the Showfield. Yes, Highland Council would like to sell a lot of it off for housing but if the town would like to have that area as an addition to the existing green spaces then why not? Bluntly it is ours not Highland Council’s. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Woodstock 1 working off Nairn East Beach


Bigger picture here and a few more pictures of this crane ship and another cracking sunset here. Short video here. 

Nairn resident makes a video with David Bowie

Thanks to the sharp-eyed Gurnite Guardinista who spotted this one. More on this Guardian page and scroll down for the vid once there. 

West Community Council support River CC on Waste Busters initiative

Gurnites will be aware that River CC recently held a well attended meeting to form a steering committee with the ultimate aim of creating something like the Moray Wastebusters facility in the town. This would enable more reuse of materials, furniture and other items in the rather than them going off to landfill or elsewhere. There would also be possibilities of creating employment. 

Last night in the Community Centre Brian Stewart gave the his Westie colleagues details of the meeting he attended and said: " I think we ought to signal support and encouragement for the initiative that Nairn River have taken in trying to mobilise a working group to try and set up some kind of wastebusters operation in Nairn. 
After some detailed discussion on the present situation and how things might change Chair Rosemary Young said: "I move then that we write to Tommy and pledge our support to his campaign."
The meeting was so inclined.

The Gurn fully supports the River CC wastebusters initiative too. This observer feels that the most folk in Nairn will also support it and wish for the local authority to offer all assistance in helping the steering committee, formed to assist Tommy and River CC, to take this forward. There will be a financial and logistical mountain to climb but with with real help from the local authority it should eventually be possible. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

More Transparency for the Patients Participation Group

Gurnites will remember that Liz was recently asked to leave a meeting of the group. Things are about to change however, here's what they have to say:

Nairn Patients Participation Group (PPG) was formed in April last year following the merger of the Ardersier and Nairn GP Practices. The group derives from the Patient Participation Group (PPG) which had been active in Ardersier for some years and has been formed to work with the GP Practices, but not the Town & County Hospital. The current membership draws from the Ardersier group and patients from Nairn. Members from Nairn are patients who either had expressed previous interest in participating or who responded to advertisements and articles published earlier in the year inviting patients to join.

We will contribute to the continuous improvement of GP services and to foster improved communication between Nairn Healthcare Group and its patients. We are keen to hear about patients’ experiences and views of GP services in Nairnshire. We are committed to playing our part in working with the Practice to contribute to the improvement of services and regret we did not have the opportunity to contribute to the introduction of the new appointment system.

Following our first anniversary in April our meetings will be held quarterly and other members of the public are invited to come along and observe proceedings. We will publicise our activities, including agenda and minutes, on-line on our website (under development) and Facebook page, at the Surgeries in Nairn and Ardersier, at Nairn and Ardersier Libraries and Council Service Points and at Nairn Community Centre.
We are working on patient views of the appointment system, transport links with the surgeries and future recruitment for the Patient Participation Group (PPG). If you would like to get in touch with the Nairn Patients Participation Group or become involved, please use the details below:

Website, Facebook, e-mail contact@nairnpatientsgroup.org.uk, phone 07501 779357

Nairn Surgery appointments system - a date for discussion by the powers that be?

Friday the 8th in the Courthouse at 1.30 p.m. The public are allowed to observe. Follow the link in the tweet above for further details. The meeting will probably have a lot to discuss but the Gurn understands that the Nairn Surgery appointments system will be debated.

Wee County fans fundraising news - interview with Donald Graham

A spokesperson for the Fans Ground Improvement Fund tells the Gurn about some fundraising initiatives and items of merchandise now available.

Nairn - A February evening on the best beach in Scotland


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nairn Saint Ninian 1970/71


Thanks to Alan MacDonald for this picture. He can recognise most of the squad. Are there any Gurnites out there who can name the entire team however? A year's free subscription for every correct entry. Larger size picture here.

Sunday work off Nairn East Beach

Work continues at the sewer outfall with the crane ship Woodstock 1 that turned up again on Friday having been in position most of the weekend. Larger image here. Last night she was virtually sitting on the sand as the tide went out and if still in that position a similar scene will be visible on this evening's low tide (17.22). Grey cloud behind this scene early this morning advanced towards the town and left a sprinkling of snow which quickly melted. 
Out in the Firth there are presently four vessels parked up, three of their names are visible on this regularly updated shipping page.  
The grey skies of yesterday morning cleared a little towards evening and Looksharp captured a firey sunset - image here.  Looksharp regularly updates his images of the river and beach wildlife, you can see his work here. 
Here's a video we made on Friday down at the East Beach - in praise of Trip Advisor declaring Nairn as the best beach in Scotland. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The impact of the bedroom tax in the Highlands

Again from the Highland Council website: 

"Councillor Christie said the “Bedroom Tax” was the single biggest immediate concern relating to Council house and housing association tenants. It was estimated that this would affect around 3,000 council house tenants in Highland (23% of tenants). This measure alone would result in a reduction of around £2 million per year in housing benefit entitlement. An additional factor was that Housing Benefit is currently received directly by the Council in payment of rent but under the new Universal Credit, which starts to be phased in in Scotland from October 2013, one person in each household would receive monthly payments towards their housing costs and be responsible for budgeting to make these rent payments to the Council."

If you will be affected then, unfortunately, there aren't many one-bedroom properties available if you fancy flitting to avoid what's coming. 

Neigh bother - Highland School meat is horse free!

Highland Council stated yesterday:

“All our fresh beef, lamb and pork is sourced, slaughtered and prepared in the Highlands. The Council is contracted with John Munro the Butcher (Dingwall) with individual specifications and traceability included in the conditions of contract.

“In-house monitoring and supplier audits by external organisations ensure compliance, and our local Environmental Health Officers carry out food standards inspections in all our locations. We have that reassurance of where our produce originates, is prepared , packaged and delivered. This includes our fresh burgers, sausages and haggis included in our menus.

“All schools in the Highlands source their butcher meat from the same supplier. Munro also provides British chicken and venison from two of the Highlands leading game dealers in Bonar Bridge and Newtonmore.

“All meals are cooked freshly with fresh ingredients, and the Council is proud to source as much produce locally as possible and has been awarded the Soil Associations Food for Life Bronze Award.”  More here on the HC website.

Snowy start in Nairn

A white covering in Nairn this morning as the town woke up to a centimeter of snow. More pictures here. The Council guys had been out clearing the main paths in the town centre but the snow seems reluctant to melt and the skies carry a possible promise of more. The long run of sunny days is at an end.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nairn, the best beach in Scotland - Trip Advisor

Nairn's East Beach at lunchtime today (Friday 22/02/13)

For many Trip Advisor is the tourism bible and the Nairn's placing on this list of UK beaches will be very beneficial to the local toursim insdustry. Nairn is the highest ranking Scottish beach and the 11th placed UK beach, details here

You don't have to tell folk in the Moray Firth area that though, on Sunday the Links car park was full of visitors to the town who were taking advantage of the sunny, calm weather. Hats and coats were the only indication that it wasn't a typical summer's day when the busy scene was observerd from above the bandstand on Marine Road. 

The Trip Advisor rating is good news for the town yes, but it inspired one of our regular readers to check on how the town is presented online with the national tourist authority Visit Scotland. If you search for Nairn on the Visit Scotland site the top result you get is this page which shows a sign for the Castle Stuart Golf Links. Our correspondent  thinks this is a poor show and is also less than impressed with Visit Scotland's page for Nairn's Central Beach too and told the Gurn: 

"Whereas...... there are at least a couple of other tourism promotion/DMO operations that seem to have a rather better idea of how to do it. The Loch Ness one is not too bad. Moray has done a lot on walks including the Coastal Trail (and has the whisky trail/festival stuff too - and there is The Greater Speyside site).  

But the website/organisation that is new and - I reckon - pretty impressive is the Banffshire Coast one here.  Lots of info, well-organised, good interactive events-listings, great photos, the facility to send e-postcards, and lots more. Funded by.....Aberdeenshire Council, the Scottish Govt, Scottish Enterprise, the European Fisheries Fund, LEADER and others. Makes one wonder why we couldn't get similar funding to enhance an expanded website for Nairn."

Could we do better on the web? The Visit Nairn site is usually in the top 3 in the Google search engine and here we have private enterprise doing a pretty good job in providing information to potential visitors. Compare this to the neglected official offering.
Should any public money used to promote Nairn be diverted to assisting the like of the existing VisitNairn site or,  as our reader suggests, to an enhanced and expanded website for Nairn? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

U-14 disco Friday March 8th - 7p.m. to 9p.m. - Nairn Community Centre

Entry £4 - an event to raise funds for the Nairn Syncronised Swim Team's training costs. There will also be soft drinks and light refreshments for sale.

Fancy living it up?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

No game at Station Park tonight (Wednesday 20th)

As suspected the grass on the Cowshed side of the Park just didn't thaw out today. It's a pity as a win over Strathspey Thistle would have taken County up to third place. All eyes to Saturday now and an away match in Keith. Two minibus loads of County fans will be leaving Uncle Bob's for a trip to the far side of Morayshire around midday and no doubt plenty of other fans will also be making their way to see the Wee County continue the title challenge.

Nairn Man charged in connection with supply of legal highs to a child

Another twist to the legal high saga in Nairn, the Northern Constabulary state on their website:

"Northern Constabulary can confirm that a 17 year-old man from Nairn has been charged in connection with the supply of legal highs to a child. The incident is alleged to have taken place in the Jubilee Park area of Nairn in November 2012.
A report is being prepared for the Procurator Fiscal."

Graham Marsden writes in support of NICE

Oor Graham has sent us a copy of a letter he recently had published in the local paper. Here it is:

NICE, a Community Interest Company set up by a group of individuals to monitor and guide future development in the locality has been the target of public criticism from various quarters. This is a shame, but may be more about personality than principle.

Why do we need NICE? - There are several reasons why Nairn would benefit from such an organisation, if inclusive and representative. We need someone to argue for the protection of Nairn’s many existing qualities and to monitor and guide Nairn’s future development potential to ensure this is of high quality, designed sensitively and integrated appropriately - whatever the size - and reflects the aspirations of those who live and work here.

Why Now? - Government is relaxing Planning laws and allowing previously unheard of latitude for developers large and small. There is the likelihood of continuing relaxation, so responsibility is being passed more and more to developers to do the right thing when designing new properties - but developers are often consortia set up to develop a specific site, then move on. Also, previously, local objectors have had a significant impact on proposed developments, but these rights too are being eroded, as Government addresses the need to build more homes. Lastly, centralisation is being introduced apace by the Scottish Government. It’s possible that Highland Council will cease to exist in anything like it’s present form over the next decade, with increasing technological replacement of personnel and services.

To snipe and criticise at the only organisation we currently have to protect and influence the future development of Nairn is unhelpful and if it continues, Nairn and it’s population can only be the loser.
If people have comments to make or views to express, then surely better to get involved. I gather NICE has over a thousand members now, but for it to be truly representative, more of us need to sign up. How much better to make our points from within, so we can all influence what it says on our behalf - and NICE can truly say it represents Nairn and it’s community in planning and future development matters.

Graham Marsden

Frosty morning causes traffic mishap in the Fishertown

One of our regular readers told us: "the Car in picture slid on the icy road when driving along Society Street Fishertown at Links Place intersection around 11am today (Wednesday). It collided with a Post Office Street Safe."
The black ice that came down with the haar overnight was treacherous this morning and is still lying in some shaded ares of footpaths and roads in the town. Take care out there today. The temperature is now warming up causing small pieces of ice to fall from trees, a spectacular scene when caught in the sunlight. Will the slighty warmer weather save the rearranged fixture between Nairn County and Strathspey however? A pitch inspection is arranged for 13.00. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Inverness Courier promotes Nairn County to the top flight of Scottish Soccer


Thanks to the sharp-eyed regular reader who spotted this one. Well done the Courier for promoting Nairn. Perhaps you could sort us a bypass for the Friday edition please? 

A little more on the Library's future - staying on the High Street or flitting in a couple of years?

Earlier this month we reported extensively on the future of the library and the library car park in this article here  with reference back to what was said at the election hustings meeting last year. 

Last week at the River CC meeting Liz made a couple of brief comments as Community Councillors were thinking out aloud over the use of the Courthouse, Viewfield and the present Library building. Liz said:

"We're looking at options for the Library now but haven't got anything concrete to come forward with."

"We're hoping to get an outline business case done in March. We are seriously looking at what options there could be for the Library. "

Will the Library stay when the lease runs out, move to another Council building or will there be a new purpose-built building? Should the Community Councils be involved in the meetings that consider all options?

All is not rosy in the Inverness Provostorial Garden

Complaint about the Provost from the deputy Provost - Police involved. Interesting story on the Courier website. 

Chipping in for the County!

The Dolphin Chipper on Nairn High Street is the latest business in the town to join the NCFC supporters' Ground Improvements Fund with a campaign initiative that could bring a few shillings in.

Alan and Donna are kindly doing a Chippie Sunday on May 19th at the popular town centre chipper when we can all forego our Sunday Roast and buy a chip supper instead (choice of five meals) for a greatly reduced sum. "ALL proceeds between 12 noon and 5pm to the Ground Improvements Fund,"  according to a Wee County  Facebook Fans page insider. 

Watch out for the queue of folk wearing yellow and black scarves on Sunday the 19th of May and get that date in your diary now. For more details about County Fans fundraising and the Panel Beater appeal click the video in the left side bar. More details of the chipper event nearer the date.

Nairn - Parkour à la Plage

An intersting video has appeared on You tube  - young ones having fun on the beach.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bypass and A96 traffic issues in Nairn - Community Council action!

Those Gurnites who are actively following the Association of Nairn Business's lead and are lobbying Scottish Government ministers and Transport Scotland may wish to read the following three documents from West Community Council listed below. The more local residents that are up to speed with all the angles of the bypass and the current congestion issues in Nairn the better. Images of latest problems here.  Also if you haven't read the comments on this earlier Gurn article here then it is well worth doing so, there are some remarkably succinct points of view expressed there. 

West Community Council have been campaigning steadily on these issues for a few years now and recently received the blessing of the Joint Community Council meeting to take further action on their behalf. 

Here's a copy of a document the Westies handed in at the Transport Scotland consultation held in the Courthouse back in December. Click  here for "An agenda for discussion and action, 12 Dec 2012" Gurnites may wish to browse it and perhaps make comments or further suggestions. 

And here is a follow up document written earlier this month with the blessing of the Joint Royal Burgh Community Councils. 

For information here is a letter written by the Westies back in September last year to Jacobs UK who were working for Transport Scotland at the time.  Good reading folks. 

A96 traffic in Nairn moving better today

There were still considerable build-ups in the town centre this morning around 0900 a.m. but the delays did not seem to be so bad today for some reason. Again some drivers were not leaving the King Street roundabout clear for motorists to exit the Fishertown and there were queues in Leopold Street as access to the A96 was often restricted by lack of space on the A96. Quite often the  various lights were green but nothing was moving. Pictures from this morning here. 

It is a beautiful morning in Nairn and where the sun hits the frost it is lifting quickly. There is no wind however, and the smell of traffic fumes hangs over the part of the town centre where the A96 threads its way through. 

For all the latest comment on the delays caused recently by the traffic lights see this article

UPDATE: would anyone agree with the following opinion expressed by regular reader Ray?

"What's all the fuss about ? The Glenurquhart Road Fools' traffic lights have resulted in the establishment of a natural by-pass as a result of natural evolution.... It's called 'Cawdor'..... Park in the village for half an hour and watch 32-tonners thundering thro. the village and 'white-van-man' doing a good 60mph in the restricted area. Better still, get some of the so-called councillors and road-planners to accompany you.
Regards,
Ray"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Oidhche mhath a chàirdean

Good night Gurnshire, it was a very pleasant day and the afternoon temperatures will have given some impetus to the snowdrops, crocuses and even daffodils that are rapidly coming out of the ground just now. The light finally went around half-past five but not without a wonderful farewell show. 

A spate of posts on the Gurn here tonight (scroll down to see them) and the article yesterday on the traffic light delays is still attracting comments. The Association of Nairn Businesses have put into the public domain a message they have sent to Scottish Government ministers and Transport Scotland concerning the latest problems. Read the comments and what the ANB have to say here. Co-dhiù sin agad e bhuamsa a-nochd, bidh mi air ais aig an aon am a-màireach. Oidhche mhath a chàirdean. 


By-pass economic benefits

One of our regular readers is so scunnered with the recent worsening of the traffic light delays in Nairn (see comments here on this Gurn article) he has been scouring the net for information. He came across this information on an A96 bypasses study which suggests that our local economy would benefit quite considerably from a bypass. Namely there would be savings in travelling time that would have a beneficial monetary knock-on effect to individuals and businesses that would no longer have to suffer delays. The document states: 

"The overall conclusion from this research is that there are likely to be significant economic and social benefits to the implementation of the three bypasses at Nairn, Elgin and Keith, which would be welcomed and supported by key stakeholders and businesses in the study area." 

The document is a study from 2008 but to see the sums involved click here and start reading section E1 on page 4 of the doucment.

A doggie DNA register to stop the jobbies?

Recently we published details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act concerning the Highland Council's dog warden service or perhaps, in the light of that information, we should say the lack of it in Nairn. No fines for dog crap over the last five years -more here

One Gurnite suggested a DNA register for pooches whereby jobbies left behind could be tested and the offenders sorted promptly. This observer thought it a bit far out but apparently it is a possibility and there is a firm that would like to try it out in Caitheness. More here.   A chance for Nairnshire to get in there first and become the first doggie jobbie free zone in Scotland? It would still have to go hand in hand with a name and shame policy perhaps.

Who's been dumping in the Nairnshire countryside?

Seumas told the Gurn: "I took these pictures a couple of days ago just around the corner from the Recycling Centre on the A939. Who are these people that do this and blight our countryside?"  
Does anyone recognise the items in the picture - seen anyone loading their car up with the like? Seen anyone dumping - why not phone the poilis if you do?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nairn 3 Clach 2 - pictures

Traffic light troubles?

Here at the Gurn we are hearing reports of increased traffic light delays through the town. One regular Gurnite told us on Thusday night that he recently took fifty minutes to travel from Tradespark to the Lochloy area. Here is a picture from another reader illustrating the build ups that the town seems to be suffering just now.

Update: thanks for the reaction out there from the Gurnshire twitterati.

Update Sunday night 17/02/13: The Association of Nairn business are calling on Nairn residents to e-mail transport Scotland and Scottish Government ministers on the subject of these delay. They publish a copy of a hard-hitting meassage they have sent which includes the following:

"Prior to the opening of a new supermarket on the outskirts of the town in 2011 , Nairn was (at Transport Scotland’s bidding), shackled with an additional four sets of traffic lights and one extra pedestrian crossing . This brought the total amount of traffic lights and pedestrian controlled crossings in the town to nine in just over 1½ miles of road.

Since the installation of the new lights and their integration into existing system, no more than a few weeks ever pass where the traffic control system functions anywhere near what might be laughingly described as ‘effectively’.

The town is regularly gridlocked and protests and suggestions made at recent consultations with Transport Scotland/ Bear seem to have been ignored.

Since late last week, some issue has arisen and the traffic lights have been causing ridiculous delays for drivers trying to pass through Nairn from west to east; a journey that should take 5 or 6 minutes, even at a busy time is now taking 15-20, even on a Sunday.

I don’t really care how many ‘engineers’ may have assessed the system ( particularly the light at the A96/ Lochloy Road junction , which seem to be the main culprits) but in non-technical terms , it doesn’t work.

Those poor souls who are left trying to negotiate the ineffective and unnecessary gauntlet of lights at the moment must be left wondering if the person that designed them had just wandered into Transport Scotland off the street on that given day . If not, following either the Peter, or Dilbert’s principle , you should offer him a place in the government, as he’s a natural. " more here.

Yes Nairnshire launch - 14th February - videos

Video 1 - Ian Domment gives a fascinating insight into how the Yes Campaign will gather momentum in the run up to the referendum in October 2014.



Video 2 - Straight from the heart from John Finnie, Independent MSP, and Donnie MacLeod, a veteran Scottish Green Party Campaigner. Your comments on both videos are most welcome but please add which video you are commenting on and the time in the video which you refer to. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nairn singer/songwriter Jemma Tweedie nominated for Scottish alternative music award

Jemma will be participating in the SAMAS (Scottish alternative music awards)2013 event in Glasgow on the 8th of March. You can vote for Jemma on this web page here  (scroll down once there for the acoustic category).

Pookie - a Book and Farts insider?

Pookie alerted the Gurn to an enigmatice event adverstised on the Nairn Book Shop web site as follows:

"Tuesday 26 February 8.00pm at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre, Nairn.
Sam Derbyshire BOOK LAUNCH AND SIGNING Tickets available from The Nairn Bookshop.

'What Goes on Tour' by Sam Derbyshire
The author is a well known resident of Nairn who has written under the pen name of Sam Derbyshire. Come along to the event when the author's real identity will be revealed."

Pookie told the Gurn: " "Having sampled this first 'tee off' from the elusive Ms Derbyshire, I am quite literally salivating in anticipation ...

...of the next installment!" More information on this event on this page.

Speaking of books there is a new blog on the block. "Win You Round With Prose..." is the brain child of 16 year old Claire, she says:
"Well..my name is Claire and I'm a 16 year old currently living in a small town in Scotland. I decided to make this blog simply because I have loved reading and finding new books and authors since a young age and I wanted to share some of the books which I love with you too. It is my dream to become a writer myself later in life too, we shall just see how it goes though but that is what I really want! Also, I would be very happy for anyone to recommend books or suggest books they would like to see reviewed or give your opinion of a book - I think this would be really helpful and a lot of fun too!!"  You can find her blog here. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Yes Nairnshire" inaugural meeting - pictures

Pictures from the meeting in the Community Centre tonight. Speakers  Iain Domment, John Finnie and Donnie MacLeod told the meeting why they support the Yes campaign. 


A couple of green party loons, one from the Basque Country and another from Catalonia, showing international support in Nairn Community Centre tonight.  More from the meeting later. 


There's life in Nairn High Street yet - Phone and PC shop to open soon.


The former Images store didn't stay empty long. Looks as though the new business is  recruiting staff too. You can read the e-mail address on the larger picture here.

Nairn Healthcare Group respond to criticism of new appointments system

Here at Gurn HQ we have received a press release from the Health Care Group. We also posted an article earlier today (you can see it below this one) reporting what Provost Liz said at the River CC meeting. Here is the Health Care Group press release responding to recent criticisims:

 “Over the last 13 weeks NHG has changed the way patients access our GP service, moving from a ‘book in advance’ system to one where the patient initially speaks to a GP about their problem, and then the GP and patient decide on the appropriate course of action.

The reasons for this change were in response to the patients of the practice having to wait 3 - 6 weeks to see a named GP; concerns around continuity of care; and appointments that were made but not attended. Our intention was not to raise any barrier to patients seeing their doctor, as some perceive. Most weeks there were 45 appointments or 3 surgeries worth of consulting time wasted. We are constantly striving for a safer and more responsive service, so with the new service over the last 13 weeks, the patient phones the practice and then the GP and patient decide together on the best course of action. We have taken 18,500 calls in that time and had 5,325 appointments. These have been the full range of GP problems from dementia, cancer, heart and lung problems to rashes, coughs, sore throats and urine infections. Of the 5,325 appointments, 3,090 were seen on the day that the patient called, 750 were seen the following day and a total of 5,060 were see within 7 days of phoning, generally because this suited the patient. The other patients were seen by nursing staff, given telephone advice by the GP or directed to other services, for example, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social services and the voluntary sector.

The new process has dramatically reduced the numbers of patients who do not keep their appointments, from 3 surgeries a week to 1 patient a day. This has made the doctors more available for their patients. Patients with special needs, for example those with carers, dementia, learning disabilities, visual, language and hearing problems, or any other group of patient who might find receiving a telephone call a problem, will be able to directly book an appointment with their GP. We are listening to the concerns raised and will be working on improving continuity, reducing the time to call back and how we contact people who are at work. The patient access approach, although not popular amongst some of the local population in its present form, has actually got elements in it of what we have done for some time. We have always phoned patients back at their request to improve an aspect of their care. We have regularly adjusted the balance of appointments and phone contacts to respond best to demand.

The helpful feedback doctors get when they explain the system to patients during individual contacts, and indeed when patients experience the journey through it, we are striving to build on, and we will welcome all constructive feedback to mould it to suit Nairn and Ardersier patients.

Our early patient survey after 13 weeks has shown that 46% of patients prefer the new system to the old, 27% feel it is the same, and 27% feel that it is worse. When asked whether they were satisfied with the practice, 72% state that they are very satisfied or satisfied, 16% were neutral, and 12% were either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied. Surveys from other practices that have used this system for a period of time show that satisfaction levels are much higher when patients receive a quicker call back from their GP, and we are striving to improve our waiting times for call backs in response to patient feedback.

In the last 3 months the practice has advertised nationally for GPs to come and work in Nairn and Ardersier. We are delighted to have recruited 3 GPs to come and work with us. Modern GP training programmes mean that doctors in training do far less Out of Hours work during their GP training. We hope our patients appreciate that it is rare these days for their own GPs to look after their needs both in and Out of Hours, so it is particularly heartening to appoint 3 experienced, committed GPs that share our own vision. “

Nairn Doctors Surgery Appointments System – Provost gets complaints almost every day

There was discussion about the controversial appointments system last night at River CC’s monthly meeting in the URC Church Hall. Liz told those present:
“I get phone calls just about on a daily basis from people raising concerns about it. Initially I was telling them to complain to the GP practice but now I’m saying, as well as complain to them, they should also complain to Gary Coutts, Chair of NHS Highland, because I’ve heard from other people that have complained that there’s just a standard letter being sent back and they feel that it’s not properly being investigated. I was advised that they could complain to both points on the same issue.”

Liz went on the say that the problem was going to be on the agenda for the District Partnership meeting. The meeting of this newly formed committee is open to the public and takes place on the 8th of March, there is more information about this meeting on this web page here.

There then followed a discussion that included contributions from councillors and members of the public. It seemed to this observer however that the majority of those present had not had occasion to use the system yet but although they did not thus feel qualified to comment themselves, they agreed to write to Gary Coutts and the Surgery in view of the large number of complaints that seem to be surfacing in the community. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

County Fans Ground Improvement Fund newsletter 2 now out

If you wish to receive a copy of each newsletter published by the fans then send an e-mail to nairncountyshop@gmail.com to get put on the distribution list. 

Doggie jobbies - No fines in Nairn over the last five years!

Regular readers will recall the Gurn's recent Freedom of Information request concerning the Highland Council Dog Warden Service.

We received a prompt reply to the FOI questions to the Council. It appears that the there is not a dedicated “dog warden” but that the duties are shared by a team of 7 community works assistants and 2 education and enforcement officers. They fit the dog warden duties in with other stuff, including, pest control, fly tipping investigations, abandoned vehicles, taxi licencing, litter prevention / campaigns etc. The Council calculates that, based on the categories stated in our questions, the cost is equivalent to that of two full time posts which would work out at £69,777 per annum.

The total income in dog-fouling fines in the financial year 2011/12 amounted to £560; that is 14 fixed penalty notices. 

And, astonishingly, there have been no fixed penalty notices issued in the Nairn (Ward 19) area in the last five years.

If you are one of those inconsiderate people who do not bother picking up your dog’s crap then it looks like you can carry on getting away with it if the fixed penalty rate of the last five years is anything to go by. Gurnites it appears there is no deterrent! Copy of the Council's letter here.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nairn Health Care Group controversial new appointments system - petition in circulation in Nairn and Ardersier

Ed Chambers told the Gurn why he has started a petition calling for the Nairn Health Care Group to reconsider the introduction of the new appointments system,  see copy of petition here. The Gurn also understands that individuals are going door to door with the petition in Ardersier. Ed told the Gurn:

"Having had a rather negative experience of the Nairn Health Care Group’s new appointment system I wrote to the practice raising my concerns. I did receive a rather bland reply but my concerns were not addressed. I then wrote to the Nairnshire Telegraph raising my concerns and experience. By this time I was aware that I was not the only one to be unhappy with the service I was receiving. Admittedly a GP will phone back but by this stage I am at work and in my employer’s time and have to discuss my medical concerns in front of colleagues. Not my first choice and not all employers will be happy that mobile phones are left on at work. To try to get the Nairn Health Care Group to revisit the appointment system, along with a number of friend I have started this petition. I feel that the Nairn Health Care Group have given no consideration to the effect of their new appointment system on the  Health risk for the most vulnerable people in the area.

Having undertaken this exercise I was not surprised that of all the people to whom I have spoken so far I have only found 3 who are happy with this system.

I find it unacceptable that the Patient Participation Group at the GP practice have had no discussion on the new system before it was implemented and that the minutes of these meetings are not in the public domain. I could understand if this group were discussing confidential medical information but I am sure that this is not the case and therefore I can see no reason that these meetings must be held behind closed doors."

The Classroom raises £3,600 for Highland Hospice

Further details and a picture of the remarkable fund raising event on the Highland Hospice's facebook page.

Nairn v Clach this Saturday - Support your local team - "Black and Gold" makes an appeal

Regular Gurn reader and die-hard County fan "Black and Gold" told the Gurn today:

"NAIRN County have another massive game at Station Park on Saturday when they entertain Clach in the Highland League. Only a victory will do to sustain Nairn’s title hopes so they need a big crowd to cheer them on. Caley Thistle are away to Motherwell so hopefully Nairn folk who cheer on ICT will come up to Station Park and see what the Highland league has to offer. They won’t be disappointed. ICT and Ross County have done the Highlands proud. But your local team needs support too.

We are at a historic period in the club’s history. Next year is the centenary, the supporters are galvanised raising money for ground development, the board and manager have done a fantastic job putting together one of the finest teams in the club’s history. They deserve your support. A great opportunity too to contribute to the ground improvements project."

Bored at work? - Nairn 3 Wick 2 - more pictures to look at!

Click read more tab to see pictures.

Highland Council budget - "a whiff of the apocalypse"

Iain Bain seems less than impressed with the recent budget set by the three-party ruling coalition at Glenurquhart Road. In his editorial in this week's Leopold Street Thunderer he comments that the Council Tax has not been raised for a sixth year running and he goes on to say: 

"While tax payers might be happy there is also a whiff of apocalypse about this." 

He continues with his usual succinct style of expanding his argument, and if he is unhappy with the administration he looks equally unhappy, or maybe even more so, with the Independent opposition or what he says as a lack of opposition. All yours for 45p at newsagents near you.

Colin MacAulay had a different way of seeing it, he wrote on his facebook page last week:

"I hadn't seen "crocodile tears" outside of a zoo until yesterday!  The so-called "leadership" of the Independent (Tory) Group came up with a "back of a fag packet" budget that tried to make us blow the Council's reserves." He went a lot further than that too - you can read his attack on the Independents a few articles into his page here. 

Once again this observer must add that he is very happy with the Council Tax freeze. The Council tax takes a massive chunk out of the incomes of those who are on modest or minimum wage budgets. Yes there are things to pay for and the money has to come from somewhere but Council Tax rises would simply help push more people into poverty in these very trying times.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Graham Marsden explains the LibDem fairer tax campaign

Oor Graham was on the High Street on Saturday with some campaign literature.

Nairn firefighters at major Dingwall Blaze this morning

Earlier today he Highland Council site reported on the blaze at the Royal Hotel Dingwall:

"The fire was reported at around 03.00. Eight fire engines from Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service were deployed, an aerial ladder platform and a water carrier.
Police and ambulance responded to the call along with 45 firefighters from Dingwall, Bonar Bridge, Nairn, Fortrose, Drumnadrochit and Inverness.
They were tackling a fire within internal walls, roof space and voids. Breathing Apparatus (BA) teams are continuing a systematic search of the building to ensure no-one is trapped within the premises and further BA teams are continuing to fight a deep seated fire."  More here. 

Rearranged County fixture Weds 20th Feb

A mid week match against Strathspey has been arranged for Wednesday 20th February with an 8PM kick off.

Surgery appointments controversy continues

Last week the controversy over the new appointments system at the Nairnshire GPs surgery continued across the pages of the Nairnshire Telegraph. People certainly have strong opinions and during the week we have heard comments from folk who fall on both sides of this divide. Colin is quite happy with the appointments system however, he stated on his facebook page earlier this week:

“I've recently used the new appointments system in Nairn. The system has received a lot of recent flak - but I have to say that it really worked very well for me. I hope that it settles down - and that any teething troubles become fewer and fewer.” More on Colin’s facebook page.

Perhaps the debate will continue in this week’s edition of the local paper.

They used to offer you the moon, now it's a new solar system

Just had a loon on the phone with a west Central Belt accent telling me that under new government rules I could qualify for a new solar system. I told him I'm quite happy with the present 9 planet arrangement that we all find so useful.
This observer is registered with the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) so theoretically we shouldn't get such calls but there has been a spate recently of calls that seem to be coming from within the UK. You can make a complaint but you have to provide some information and that means prolonging the call and trying to get a few details. 
Surely politicians could get it together to make it totally illegal for anyone to make unsolicited phone calls to anyone else in an effort to sell goods and services. If we need such things we can ring and ask for them ourselves. Surely the digital technology that is available to the telephone companies should be able to detect who is making such unwanted calls and simply cut off their phone line? That goes for callers from overseas too that try and help you sort out your Computer too - couldn't they just be blocked? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"There’s so much that’s so good about Nairn. There’s so many good people in Nairn."

A quick flashback to last Wednesday night and the meeting of the Nairnshire Community Councils. Making a big contribution to the debate was Alistair Noble. He talked about returning power to Nairn, the town centre and the role that NICE will play in redevelopment of the old social work buildings. Here's a couple of short extracts from what he had to say: 

“If we don’t try we’ll not get anywhere. There’s so much that’s so good about Nairn. There’s so many good people in Nairn. It should be possible to pull this together. I think we’ve got to be quite explicit about this whole thing about power. Either we get control of decision making and we make the best decisions we can, and we know that might not be right, and we might make mistakes, or let other people make that decision for us and sit there and moan about it.”

“If we are going to go down this road it has to be with the support of the four councillors, the eight community councils and the community. I haven’t heard anybody, so far nobody has, disagreed with the idea that we’d like a nice town centre. We want really, free parking. We want a good High Street. I know these are all really easy things to say. NICE has actually got to show that it can do something so we are starting with the social work buildings and hopefully get money coming for a feasibility of the town centre and these things stack together.”

This observer is a great admirer of Alistair’s vision and wishes his efforts well. If things go the right way the old social work buildings will be developed by the community for the benefit of the community and if genuine control of that process stays in Nairn then that will be a breakthrough that could lead to other things. The role of our four Highland Councillors will be crucial and might, at times, be testing of their loyalties. Events in the past have clearly demonstrated that the interests of Highland Council do not always dovetail with the best interests of Nairn. The new administration promises a new beginning but just how much are the ruling rainbow group capable of turning round  the (up to now) centralist juggernaut that is Glenurquhart Road?

Nairn 3 Wick 2 - 2001petra's video

The game of the season so far has been put up on youtube by Wick supporter 2001petra. A chance to relive the game or see what you missed.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Nairn 3 Wick 2 - pictures

Two sets of pictures for now, one from the Gurn and another from Donald Matheson. More Gurn pictures tomorrow (Sunday). Match reports here and here. 

Thriller - Nairn 3 Wick 2 - a game that had everything - everything! - absolutely everything!


This game was outstanding, far more exciting than any of the exciting games that the Wee County faithful have experienced so far this season. It had everything, including a blitz of yellow and red cards from a referee that just couldn't keep his hand out of his pocket. It was billed as a potential epic and it lived up to that. More later when this observer settles down a little.
PS great to see Junior Mendes back with the squad too.

Updadte: The realisation that this observer had seen one of the most exciting matches of a lifetime is still sinking in. Match reports here and here.   

Warning to arrive early for the match of the day at Station Park - Nairn v Wick

Title contenders Nairn play top of the league Wick today in what promises to be an epic encounter. The Caithness twitterati are signalling that there will be an exodus from the north today as a massive Wick support heads for Nairn. The Wee County are urging fans to arrive early to avoid delays at the gate.

There will also be a chance for fans to find out more about the supporters fund raising initiatives and merchandise will be on sale in the ground. Don't miss this one - it promises to be a thriller.

Lochloy junction pothole status

Regular readers have expressed concern over the state of the potholes at the Lochloy junction on the A96 through Nairn. It seems that there has been a recent repair of the crater that was actually at the lights on the Forres bound side of the road, picture here. There is still a huge hole on that side of the road at the turn-off to Bridgemill however, see below. On the way into town from the east there is also a hole to watch out for as you near the lights and a further hazard at a man hole cover just inside the junction. If we can't have a bypass can we please have a bit more attention to this part of the road that regularly seems to generate new potholes?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Highland Council high heid yins take a hit too - plus some cuts for Nairn

Earlier today we speculated whether Highland Council could possible follow the proposed cut of a director's post (115K) along the road at Moray Council. They were pretty quick to contact us on twitter. It seems the pain will be shared at higher levels at Glenurquhart Road too.

 The cuts document linked in the Highland Council tweet above state that Nairn Community Centre will have a 3% cut in funding (p24) from £73,000 to £71,540 and by another 3% in the financial year 14/15 to £68,686.
Nairn sports club to get year on year 3% cut too from £7,651 to  £7,498 to £7,199. And a one-off 3% cut for Nairn museum.

Nairn Academy pupils and local businesses back anti-litter campaign

The Highland Council reports in a press release: 
"The Highland Council’s school litter project came to Nairn last week with volunteers and local businesses getting behind the campaign at Nairn Academy.

Pupils and staff from Nairn Academy were joined by volunteers from the Nairn Sub – Urban Community Council, staff from The Dolphin Fish and Chip Shop, and The Highland Council staff at litter hotspots around the town to encourage school pupils to use litter bags/ bins throughout the week.

In return for using the bins provided, pupils were given a token to hand in to the school to help it reach a target total. Pupils who returned their tokens were also entered into a prize draw to win £10 cash prizes as incentives to reward them for disposing of their litter properly. In addition the Dolphin Fish and Chip Shop and COOP kindly donated prizes for the pupils.

Each afternoon the rubbish was analysed, to obtain valuable data about waste generated at school lunch breaks. Over 22 kg of waste was collected in the bins from the pupils over the week long campaign, of which 9 kg was recyclable. This included 131 plastic bottles and 88 drink cans which were recycled.

In total, 875 tokens were handed in by the pupils and the school will now receive £750 to spend on eco equipment or initiatives as part of the campaign. Nairn Sub-Urban Community Council will also receive up to £500 of funding to spend on eco equipment or initiatives for their involvement during the week.

The Scope Litter Campaign which is being funded by Zero Waste Scotland as part of a Scotland wide trial, aims to reduce the amount of lunch time litter around secondary schools and to build links between the community, businesses and schools."

Proposed Cuts in Moray - a director's post to go saving 115K - could Highland Council do similar?

The cuts are going to the bone in Moray too and the Northern Scot makes frightening reading today as they list all the cuts that are going to be considered across the local authority's area. One piece of information is quite striking however:

"Chief Executive -Remove director’s post: £115,000 "   Could Highland Council do that? Share the pain at all levels? 

Jobbies on the Prom - Gurn freedom of information request to Highland Council

The number of turds on the prom yesterday inspired this observer to request the following information from Highland Council under the Freedom of Information Act. 

"What is the total yearly cost to the Highland Council of employing Dog Wardens, including employer’s NI and pension contributions, equipment, vehicles, stationery etc?

What was the total income from fines imposed by the Dog Wardens on offenders in the last financial year?

What is the total number of fines imposed by Dog Wardens in the Nairn area (Highland Council’s ward 19) over the past five years?" 

Some Gurnites may already have made their minds up about the value of the Local Authority's service when it comes to hounding those irresponsible owners who don't pick up their pets' turds. However, answers to the following questions will be very useful in forming  definite opinion on how seriously the Highland Council takes this matter in Nairn and if their Dog Warden service is value for money. 

 Just along the coast in Morayshire a full-scale anti-jobbie campaign is underway. This week's Northern Scot has a full-page article quoting residents who have had enough of people that won't pick up their pets turds. There is talk there of dog wardens using CCTV but again a fine of £40 is all that offenders will get. There is also a call for offenders to be "Named and Shamed", something which doesn't happen under current legislation. 

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Dick Youngson: "we really have to think about housing which is appropriate for the people that are on waiting lists"

Dick chaired the meeting of the seven Nairnshire Community Councils last night and opened with his thoughts on many of the problems facing the area at the moment and how we could best look for sustainable solutions based on the traditional resources of the area. The planning system featured heavily in his intro. He said: " We tend to be sucked into development proposals, we spend a lot of time and effort in responding to planning applications and a lot of our responses are perhaps ignored. We never really feel very satisfied with the outcome or very rarely." 

Nairn South, housing development, the A96 and the bypass featured in Dick's opening statement and he also pointed out: "A lot of these houses which developers are going to be putting up are not going to be affordable for a lot of people in this area. So we really have to think about housing which is appropriate for the people that are on waiting lists. It’s back to front with what Highland Council are proposing and developers."   
Dick described a scenario where the local authority was running out of money and he felt that "nothing much was going to happen unless we boot it up with development companies that we have control over."  

"Locality Planning" was the theme of the meeting  and here Dick shares the radical ideas of Alistair Noble. There is a massive body of support building up behind this school of thought in Nairn.  The test bed for such a development model will be the former Social Work Buildings in the town centre. If NICE succeeds there it will be game on for a whole series of initiatives that citizens can create and control for themselves.
More quotes from the meeting over the next few days. 

Promenade jobbie status - very brown

Watch your step when walking along the prom between the harbour and the play area. Irresponsible dog owners are now allowing their dogs to crap on the path rather than the grass nearby. A large number of fresh turds await the unwary. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

“That’s the old Scottish parish being reinvented” - Community Councils seven-up meeting – All Nairnshire CCs plus Croy meet

The heading of this post comes with a quote from Alistair Noble earlier tonight at a remarkable meeting of the seven Nairnshire Community Councils plus Croy. This meeting follows on, in a fashion, from the success of the recent three town CCs combined event which some of the “usual suspects” have taken to labelling the best ever. There is a good feeling in the air at these events these days. Here’s a bit more from Alistair Noble, a quote from well into the meeting but perhaps it captures in a philosophical sense the reasoning behind the widely held desire (shared by all those present tonight) to see decision making and power returned to Nairn :

“That’s just the old Scottish parish being reinvented, that’s just you taking responsibility for the good years and the bad years and all the things that people don’t have the money to do. It’s not a new concept but…”
“It works!” Interjected Tommy Hogg.
“What you can’t do in that model is spend the money twice,” continued Alistair.

A successful meeting and a succint and visionary opening statement by Dick Youngson, chair of Suburban CC, who hosted this meeting. Frustration with the present situation was expressed from all corners of town and country but there was an evident strong desire to find solutions and suggestions were put forward on possible road map scenarios to get Nairnshire to a new beginning. The Community Council folkies are doing their unpaid best for you Gurnshire, it’s time to pay attention and back them up in their efforts to get a better deal. We’ll bring you more from tonight’s meeting over the next day or two when time permits. 

"Nairn pub narrowly misses having licence suspended"

"A NAIRN pub - which has been accused of not employing security staff - has narrowly escaped having its licence suspended after the owners failed to show up for a vital hearing." More on the Highland News site. 

All set for a classic encounter at Station Park this Saturday

North journalist Will Clark is well placed to make an estimate. Saturday at Station Park will see an epic Highland League game, the stage is set. Fingers crossed for an improvement in the weather however. It would be tragic if this one had to be played on a midweek date at some point in the future. It would rob the occasion of so much.

"The Sandown Park" - a Nairn Green Party document from 1990



In 1990 the then Nairn Green Party submitted a proposal for a ecological park on the southern field of the Sandown lands. The proposal was mainly the work of the late Jack Ashford and was remarkably ahead of its time. 
Gurnites will know that such a proposal is now very much part of the overall design plan for Sandown which came about via the Charrette process. Of course it is all still part of a wish list and thus remains "aspirational" but there is a very strong likeliehood that something not very different from the document drawn up by Jack Ashford will one day become a reality on the southern field.
What a pity the District Council didn't have the foresight to get started in 1990. There weren't any charrettes in those days of course, just the odd tumbril rolling past the Courthouse at election time. Click the picture to read the document. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Call to fix lighting on the A96 bridge

Alistair Noble features in a Courier article about the current lack of lighting on the town bridge. More on the Inverness Courier site. 
The bridge of  darkness earlier this evening - two lights working on the eastern side however

Meanwhile Colin has commented on bypass prospects on his facebook page. He wrote earlier today: "The Scottish Government has today provided an update on its major infrastructure projects, including the A96 Dual-carriageway all of the way from Inverness to Aberdeen. The cost estimate is "in the range" of £3,000,000,000 - a lot of money - but great to see that it is a headline commitment and in the pipeline.
No previous Scottish Government has ever made this commitment - although I'm sure that we shall all see the crocodile tears of Danny Alexander, Mary Scanlon and Dave Stewart.
Timescale - still very flexible - "from 2017 onwards".
We all need to keep the pressure on for the Nairn bypass to be one of the first - preferably THE FIRST section - of the phased programme." More from Colin here. 

Farewell to Belle

Murd told the Gurn this evening: "Had to part with a faithful friend today. Belle and myself were constant companions as we walked around the river for the past 14 years and she will be sadly missed, not only by the family but all who got to know her over the years and enjoyed her friendly approach to all she met."

Around the local blogosphere.

Images are appearing daily on Janet Duppere's 365 photographed days blog. Particularly  interesting this week are black and white images of Corsee and Viewfield.  Green Dad is no longer a Nairn resident but many Gurnites will wish to keep up with his adventures in the capital city. He recently turned down an invitation to appear on Breakfast TV.  Bill has been quite busy blogging in 2013 and Emma too. One of Joe Telfer's  recent posts led to a debate with some of his readership. And surprisingly, JH has gone very, very serious and has been trying to do something about her energy levels - more here. 
Finally, the allotment society have details of a growing guide suitable for this area and free to download. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

26 grit bin sites identified for volunteers in Suburban CC area

Back to the meeting last Wednesday in the Academy again. Dick Youngson told his fellow councillors and members of the public how 26 sites had been identified for grit bins within his Council's area. 
The Subbies already have some volunteers identified and in cold snaps they will get out and grit paths in their areas, particularly outside homes of the elderly etc. 
This is the new way of thinking from Highland Council and was outlined in a press release last December. It's all called "Winter Resilience" according and you can read more here. It all makes sense to this observer, the town squad has been reduced in recent years and they can't do everything, they need help in keeping the streets and paths safe and snow and ice free. It's a shame the previous administration wasn't as keen to allow able bodied citizens to get involved in past years. We certainly could have done with organised volunteer help right across town during the last two winters, hopefully the suburban initiative will spread throughout the town. 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Fraserburgh 2 Nairn 4 - pictures

County stay with the leading pack and still have games in hand. All eyes also to the next two massive games - Clach on Tuesday night and Wick at home on Saturday. 



Images from club photographer Donald Matheson. Individual pictures here and full screen slide show here. Match report here.