Monday, July 29, 2013

Traffic gurn again

One of our regular readers is a keen observer of the traffic jams, he tells us:

"Observed today major hold up's through Nairn West to East again. Fair dues to the BBC traffic as they had a notice that there were hold up's but as usual Traffic Scotland no mention at all.

I reported it to them but they didn't know about it either as they are fed the information from BEAR. The lassie was a good listener as I explained the problems at Nairn as she was not aware of this.
My phone number has been passed onto BEAR for them to give me a call, I wait with baited breath...
It's just a pain in the butt for locals and tourists alike.
Rant over
If I hear from them I will let you know."

Delnies Circular Walk - further concerns expressed by another Gurn reader

Another of our regular readers has contacted us with thoughts and images concerning the Delnies Circular Walk. Greg Riddle tells us:

"The attached photos were taken today between Easter Delnies and Hilton of Delnies.
Believe it or not I actually managed to ride this on a mountain bike, but I remember only a few years ago being able to push my youngest along here in a pram.
I think we've now lost this path competely, unless immediate action is taken to clear it.
Highland Council's website still lists this as a "Core Path" - what does that status mean exactly?
I know the Gurn has a broad readership and hopefully some of our local councillors will get this on the agenda with the Council.

Individual images here. Previous article here including comment from Colin MacAulay here.

County season starts Tuesday night

Doanld W tells the Gurn:

"Lots of excitement building up for the Nairn County FC faithful this week. The season gets underway with a North Cup tie Tuesday (July 30th) at Station Park against Strathspey Thistle (Nairn are the holders).
A great opportunity to view the new players and all the work undertaken at the ground.
Tough opener to the Highland League on Saturday Aug.3 at Fraserburgh followed by Ian Finlayson's Race Nite at the Legion 7.30pm in aid of the Ground Improvements Fund – fun night guaranteed.
On Sunday August 4 there is a fantastic evening of choral music being presented by Rev Steven Manders at Nairn URC for the football club development fund and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The performers are the Elari Singers who are members of Westminster Abbey Cathedral Choir, and Southampton and Lincoln Cathedral Choirs.
Pay at the door £7, refreshments available. This promises to be a very special event."

The Story Trail - facebook feelers out

An interesting facebook page has appeared recently - The Story Trail.   Here's a little from that page:

"We would like to open a visitor attraction and childrens play area in the town of Nairn. It will be an indoor trail through different areas to spark childrens imagination, interactive, fun and educational. With a focus on interactive storytelling and different areas for imaginative play - can you help the Story Teller find the missing things for the final story? Follow the trail through the Time Traveller (take a ticket, make a ticket, pack your suitcase and read your maps!), Tea Party (feast, banquet or just a picnic!), Today I Am...(dress up station with all types of costumes weird and wonderful), My House (igloo or wigwam - which will you choose to play in? with interactive props and sensory areas), Puppet theatre, small soft play area and also the Story Tree where children can record themselves, write, read and send their stories, notes, marks and pictures to the Story Teller - then find a quiet place and hear the story you have made."

It is rather enigmatic however, in that there are no full details of who is behind the concept other than the mission statement "The local views of us Setting Up a Visitor Attraction/Play area as a Social Enterprise to help the Community of Nairn & surrounding area.",  but as a crowd-sourcing, scoping, consultation exercise (or whatever else you may wish to call it) it has attracted quite a lot of supportive comment. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dead cetacean at Hilton of Delnies?

Some sad pictures received by the Gurn. Veronica told us: "Please see attached photos of what we believe to be a recently dead baby dolphin(?) on the beach near to Hilton of Delnies.  We often go there to see the dolphins as they can give quite a display. Yesterday we were saddened to find this baby which looked as if it had been washed in on the tide. Tried contacting the Sac vet services to report it but they are unavailable.
The drinks can is a 300mm can, the baby is about three feet long. It is difficult to know what has happened to it.
Obviously someone with experience may be able to shed some light on this and can advise what it is; how old etc."

Culloden 0 Nairn 14

Details in the NCFC tweet:

Nairn County FC Legends night - an enthralling eye-witness account

Thanks to Donald for the following magnificent piece detailing the Legends event organised by Graeme MacLeod in the Seaforth on Friday night: 

"Both the good the bad and the ugly times which form the rich tapestry of Nairn County’s history were recalled at an evening with Club Legends in the Seaforth Club on Friday night.
Graeme Macleod hosted the event and presented it in an entertaining style with Dave Cochrane, captain of the ‘75-76 Championship winning team; Rab Mulherron assistant to manager Mansell Craib when the club reached the third round of the Scottish Cup for the first time in 1986 and Director of Football Peter Mackintosh and current manger Les Fridge at the top table.
‘Ging’ set the ball rolling by asking Rab, now Director of footie, at Loadsamoney Brora, about his memories of that historic Scottish Cup run by a side cobbled together from the amateur and welfare ranks of Inverness and Nairn football when the club was so skint Mansell even used to pay for white liner for the pitch!
Seriously though, Rab lived up to his reputation as  a raconteur and despite his new allegiance to the Dungeon (sorry Dudgeon) Park, he regaled his audience with the harsh realities of life at Station Park during these times of great austerity.

Nairnshire Area Family Trees

In January last year we published an article with information on the family tree site created by Sherry Williamson of Canton, Michigan. Details here. 
Sherry tells the Gurn that she now has over 17,000 names on the database. You can browse the site here. 

"Revealing moments for Nairn cast"

Thanks to the regular reader who pointed us in the direction of the Forres Gazette review of Calendar Girls. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sandown Community Allotment helping folk "progress towards employment"

A press release from Highland Council tells of some interesting goings on up at Sandown. This observer would suggest we use a bit more of  the Sandown Lands for this type of thing but that is just a personal opinion :-) Anyway full marks to Susan and local horticultural expert Robert Cunningham.

"A new ‘Growing Into Employment’ scheme from the Highland Council Employability Service is successfully giving out-of-work Nairnshire residents the opportunity to learn gardening skills to help them progress towards employment.

The 12-week course – which is the first of its kind – started in May. The four attendees were long-term unemployed and were referred to the scheme through Work Clubs and Skills Development Scotland. They now attend weekly sessions of talks, discussions and practical training at Sandown Community Allotment.
The scheme has been very successful. Of the four attendees, one has secured employment with a local gardening centre. Two have got work experience and some paid work at the allotments and with Keeping Nairnshire Colourful. Two are also applying for their own allotment at Sandown.
Susan Jardine, Nairn Highland Employability Adviser who set up the course said “It’s difficult to appreciate just how far away from the labour market some of the attendees were when the course started. The clients who attended have learnt so much – not just about how to grow healthy food and eat it but new friends, lots of laughs and opportunities to get employment. One client told me it was ‘an amazing feeling’ to get his first pay slip after being out of work for so long.”
“We are looking to increasing the course time and involving more potential employers for the next course. Many thanks to Robert the tutor who has been so supportive, local allotment holders, and a local resident who volunteered her time helping one of the clients.”
The scheme provides a range of benefits. The attendees are: 
  • Learning how to grow fresh foods – from salads to strawberries, and from asparagus to apples.  
  • Learning about nutrition and healthy food and lifestyles. 
  • Developing gardening skills that will make attendees strong candidates for employment.
  • Socialising with other attendees, and getting involved in the local community at the allotment. 
  • Getting some paid work experience through word of mouth.
  • Learning about wild-foraging.
  • Trying new foods.
Topics covered in the course – run by Robert Cunningham, local gardener and arborist – include: 
  • Health and Safety 
  • Crop rotation and crop groupings
  • Sowing/planting times and techniques 
  • Using greenhouses and poly-tunnels
  • Working with orchards 
  • Weed control and weed management
Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee at The Highland Council said: “Growing Into Employment is another example of the brilliant and life-changing work the Employability Service do. The benefits of this project are manifold and it works on so many different levels. The new framework the Employability team has devised for provision of services is evidently working well – enabling the team to pull down the right monies, at the right time, in the right areas.”
The Highland Council Employability Service is part of the Highland Council Planning and Development Service.  The team work with JobCentre Plus, Skills Development Scotland and third sector organisations to provide personalised services to people who have barriers to employment.
They work with people who are disadvantaged or disengaged from society to help them overcome these barriers and to gain and sustain employment. This includes assisting people with learning/ physical disabilities, addictions, homelessness and offending behaviour. They also work with care-leavers, lone parents and young people with additional support needs."

The Wisdom of Iain Bain: “Local Voices”

A shorter editorial this week from Iain but still full of thought-provoking material. LibDems out to muddy the waters on Scottish Independence or devolved government based on Edinburgh? And the SNP talking localism but delivering centralism? Take another look at page six of this week’s Leopold Street Thunderer if you haven’t read Iain’s latest musings yet. 

No doubt many of the usual suspects will be awaiting the SNP governments Community Empowerment Bill with interest to see if there is any hope there of bringing back more decision making to Nairn. We await too the fruit of the Glenurquhart Road SNP led administration’s new ward area set-up to see if that delivers real change. One of our Councillors, Colin MacAulay, has stated publicly in the digital domain that he wishes to see some sort of decision making body running Nairnshire at some time in the future. Perhaps it might not be too long before a potential road map to a rebirth of the Nairn District Council or some similar body might be visible.

NICE feasibility study for Old Social Work Building now on-line.

More here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Comedy Nairn joke competition winner

The winner is Craig Hughson and two tickets will be available for him at the door tomorrow night Friday 26th. Tickets for Comedy Nairn will also be available at the Door too. Details of the acts and times on this Gurn page. 

Dolphins close to Nairn Beach - images from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Full screen slide show here. 

Dores 0 Nairn 4 Pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Full Screen slide show here. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Swimming pool roof - prompt response to a freedom of information request

Gurnites will recall the recent image and the comment from a regular reader concerning the vegetation in the swimming pool rone pipes. Article and image here.  Following a further comment from another regular reader that we did not publish we asked High Life Highland, the Arms Length Organisation that runs the Swimming Pool and the library in Nairn, the following question:  "Could you tell me please if Nairn Swimming Pool has suffered any leaks in the roof at any time this year and if so what the cause of the leaks has been attributed to."

The reply came very quickly and stated: "I refer to your Freedom of Information request dated 18 July.  High Life Highland  can confirm that according to our records, Nairn Leisure Centre has had  one  minor roof leak this year due to a blocked gutter during a severe downpour.  This was repaired by our maintenance provider, the Highland Council, in July 2013."

Fundraiser family fun day on the Sunday 28th July 2013 at Millbank Primary School - 12.00 p.m. start

Sarah tells the Gurn: My daughters dance group are doing a fundraiser family fun day on the 28th July 2013 at Millbank Primary School.

It starts at 12, and will have stalls, face painting, beat the goalie, lucky dips, raffles and much more.
All the money made on the day will be put towards the dance group so that they can attend the world street dance championships this august, in Glasgow.

Aerial surveys for the A96 and A9

Will this bring us to a Nairn bypass that wee bittie quicker?

Aerial surveys, using a plane to record data along the entire length of the A9 and A96 routes to be dualled, are soon to be carried out following the award of a £590,000 contract. - More here. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

County Fans Fundraising latest

The County Fans Ground Improvements Fund has three events coming up soon. On Friday night it's County Legends night in the Seaforth - Details here.  On Saturday the 3rd of August there is a Race Night in the Legion - more information here.   And on the following night, Sunday the 4th, there is a concert in the URC Church - find out more here.

Graeme MacLeod has produced a comprehensive report of the last fans fund-raising meeting which is on line here. The Gurn also understands that the club has appointed Graeme as programme editor and a new style larger programme will be available at all home games.   

Monday, July 22, 2013

Invergordon lifeboat tasked to Nairn during training exercise

Choral evening in URC Church Nairn on 4th August

Gruoch's Legacy - Claire Brodie's book now available

Gurnites may recall this article posted in December of last year about Claire Brodie's novel. Calire tells us that the novel is now available. Details in her tweet below.

Getting IT Together Thank You and class details

The coordinator of the Getting IT Together initiative was at the Street Market on Saturday. Brigitte told the Gurn she really enjoyed the market " We got another 19 folks for classes and  it was really good well organized event supported and run by Nairn community, great!"
Here's a document we received from Brigitte that we were unable to post before now. It contains details of how folk can start the classes. Perhaps you might want to help get people online too? You don't have to be an expert, just someone who has used the internet. Details in the message below.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pictures of Nairn Street Market 2013 - Gurn, Donald Matheson and Murray MacRae's images

The Street Market yesterday was obviously a fantastic success and we heard reports of stall holders selling out of stock during a very busy day. What a superb fun-filled festival atmoshpere on the High Street yesterday. Over on the Association of Nairn Business site they have posted a big thank you to everyone that helped make the day such a sensational event - more here.

Click read more to see three sets of images.

In the time honoured Gurn tradition of never blogging (too much) after a couple of beers

Yes pictures to come soon of the Nairn Street Market from Gurn photographers, and also images from Murray and Donald. In the meantime we leave you with this wee taster from Murray. Was West Community Council Chair Rosemary Young holding a special Saturday feedback session? More images tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's Saturday 20th July - It's Nairn Market Day! Free music!

At the time of going to press (08.20) the Business Association were marshalling the stall holders into place, the stages for the music were being set up too. Giving the street a last minute sweep was Councillor Michael Green (image here). A picture below of the scene around 07.30 a.m. this morning and a few more images now on a Gurn Flickr set (available here) that we hope to update later with more pictures of what promises to be a massive event.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sam suggests a High Street incubator

The link in Sam's tweet takes the reader to a very interesting page.

Grass cutting stushie between the Community Councils on the way?

Gurnites will recall the recent Article "Good omens for River CC’s attempt to win back local control of grass cutting?" Following comment from Tommy Hogg of River CC at that meeting detailed in the article, Suburban's Dick Youngson has written a letter to "clarify the current views of Nairn Suburban Community Council", views which Dick says are shared by his colleagues in West Community Council.

In his letter Dick states: "There has been no proposal for the three Nairn Community Councils to become involved in the town's grass Cutting." He has quite a few other things to say. Here's the final paragraph:

"We all share a desire to see the present unsatisfactory situation over local maintenance services resolved. Any alternative arrangement needs to be realistic and sustainable. There are many different groups - voluntary organisations, NICE and others as well as the Community Councils  - who may have a role to play. It would be sensible, as well as courteous, for all relevant parties to be involved from the outset in discussing the aims and preparing plans."

View Dick's letter in its entirety here.  He gives a quite emphatic set of reasons as to why he thinks there are problems with River Community Council's approach. We now have a situation where we have a proposal going forward from River CC (with the support of Highland Councillors Colin and Liz) and Suburban and West CCs wanting some other type of solution that could involve groups like NICE. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting IT Together - Nairn - Images

Full screen slideshow here. Individual images here.   If you know anyone that would like to get online then have a look at this facebook page for contact details about how they can "Get IT Together" here in Nairn. 

Getting IT Together in Nairn Community Centre - launch party

If you know anyone that would like to get online and could do with a bit of help then here's a page with contact details.

Springfield draft plan for Lochloy

See a larger image here. This area was previously zoned for housing so this simply represents a new application for the area. This observer would suggest that that would mean this application will not be refused, there may be room for manoeuvre when it comes to changes in the design however and now is the time to start making representations to the company and elected representatives and your community councils if you have any concerns, thoughts or simply if you support the project. Bearing in mind a topical issue in the Lochloy Road area just now, when asked about how the grass would be cut, the Springfield representative said that they work with one factoring company right across all their sites so that would be straight forward. Very interesting to see allotments included in the design too. 

UPDATE: Casting his experienced eye over the draft plan today was River CC's Chair, Tommy Hogg. Not much gets past oor Tommy.  Image below from Murray MacRae.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Looking good for the street market this Saturday in Nairn

Summer in Nairn and the heat continues. The forecast is for more of the same this weekend and Nairn will be buzzing with the street market and the usual intake of summer visitors. They'll be music and around fifty stalls -  more details here. If you are coming to Nairn on the train or via the bus for a day on the beach you can walk down the High Street on your way through town and experience the market for yourself.

Nairn 0 Ross County 4 - Pictures from Donald Matheson and also a Gurn photographer

Click the read more tab to see the images

Vegetation on Swimming Pool roof seriously alarms visitor to Nairn

One of our regular readers tells us that he was stopped on the links and asked by a visitor to Nairn if the vegetation on the roof of the swimming pool was cannabis.

Regardless of the nature of the herb(s) in question (see image above) our correspondent is outraged that a public building should be left to get in such a state. He states that should water find its way into the building because of the blocked rone pipes then there would obviously be considerable cost to the public purse. Our correspondent calls for immediate action by police or the appropriate authorities depending on the nature of the plants in question. He also says that those that enjoy the privilege of earning a salary out of public money and have the responsibility for managing this building should do better. 

Dog poo bin assault?

Has some "have a go hero" dished out a random kicking to the unfortunate poo bin? The image was sent to us by Iain this morning. He told the Gurn: "Saw this at the bottom on the path from Broadhill down to the railway bridge. Doesn't help - and just gives the Council unnecessary work."

The bin could, of course, have collapsed under the weight of a sudden rush of turds wrapped in plastic bags following the recent Highland Council poster campaign, either way it looks like a stronger foundation may be needed for this particular bin. 

Related to this subject, here at the Gurn we are very interested in doggie jobbie enforcement and fines (or the lack of fines to be more precise) and our  research into this matter continues. We hope to publish another  article in the near future. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A tale of two Counties - Nairn County 0 Ross County 4

The four division gap between these two sides was evident with the four quality goals from the Staggies but the Wee County were not intimidated by the visitors and at times were their equal in performance and flair on the park. A good run out for Les's squad and good entertainment for the home fans as the regulars and the new signings put on a display of how they aim to play in the Highland League this coming season. A great summer's evening up at the revamped Station Park and a fantastic family atmosphere as the two counties competed in a friendly game in front of a large crowd. A showcase of Highland Soccer enjoyed by fans, players and officials alike.
Update: The way the Staggie's Jailender saw the game.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The wisdom of Iain Bain – Town Centre – “But the problem is overturning a mind-set that sees Nairn as a dormitory of Inverness.”

As the lucky hard-core already digest this week’s edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph, it might be worth having a read of the last week’s editorial if you haven’t done so already. Iain was discussing the subject of the town centre with his usual erudite flair. It was a piece towards the end that caught this observer’s attention and I have to admit it resonated somewhat:

“But the idea of taking problems of town centres into consideration in the planning progress is sound as is the idea of re-creating “centrality”.

Would it work in Nairn? Well it could. But the problem is overturning a mind-set that sees Nairn as a dormitory of Inverness. The history of our local authority is one of a removal of civic function from Nairn. Since 1996 our own representatives have been singularly ineffectual in protecting Nairn in this regard.”  

NICE not the only option for the old Social Work building - other groups interested

Last Wednesday night there was some discussion about the old Social Work building’s future at the River Community Council meeting in the URC hall. Murd Dunbar on the public benches was vociferous in his call for the building to be turned into housing. Murray MacRae, on the other hand, thought it would be a good spot to move the library to, saving money on rental etc as it is already a public building unlike the library’s present location. “It’s the ideal spot there right in the centre of Nairn,” he said.

 Liz made an interesting intervention in response to comments about NICE’s involvement in the building, she said: 
“It’s a good building and I think, they put down this community interest and they’ve got until the end of  July to come up with whatever they come up with but there are more options for that building than just library or housing. There are other groups interested as well and the Council officer Matt Johnson is keeping all his options open just now.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Brown water in part of the Fishertown

One of our regular readers sent us an image of how the water supply looked for a while this afternoon in a part of the Fishertown. Our correspondent rang Scottish Water and he says they said that such discolouration can sometimes be caused if the Fire Brigade have been testing hydrants and sediment is disturbed and that if you are suffering with the problem Scottish Water recommend that you run a kitchen tap for an hour or two until the sentiment clears. Call the Customer Helpline - 0845 601 8855 should you require further information. 
Our regular reader followed their advice and watered the garden and the water eventually returned to normal. Anyone else had a discoloured water water supply today?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The kind of people that come to Nairnshire to do a bit of thieving

At the River CC meeting on Wednesday night the Community Safety officer from the local division of the Scottish Police Force was present. Although we live in an area that has traditionally had a low crime rate he made an appeal for residents to secure their properties and vehicles. He said:

“I’m forever finding places where I find keys in car ignitions, doors open and  I know this area command has traditionally been an area of low crime. It does lend itself to be easily targeted by thieves that I personally have come across as far away as Liverpool.”

He went on to describe how he’d stopped individuals driving towards Elgin on the A95 who claimed to be returning to Liverpool despite the fact they were equipped with Satnav. He continued: “results of enquiries led to their subsequent arrest and return to the Falkirk area where they were wanted by police down there.

What it does show is that these particular individuals are prepared to travel huge distances overnight, sleep in their vehicles therefore not show any kind of financial footprint in any particular location so we can’t see where they have been. Only through various other methods are we able to track the papers of the car but then again they use false plates to disguise the vehicles […] They generally use generic type  vehicles, white van, red van. Something that is commonly used throughout the commercial area. They will then hit a place or hit an area, or wait in an area where there are potential items to steal and then in a period of maybe 24hrs hit, hit, hit, hit and then disappear out of the area. The actual opportunity to try to either capture the individuals concerned or the property that is subsequently taken is fairly narrow.”

The officer went on to state that one advantage was that there are a relatively small number of north-south roads out of the area command. In response to the question: “Have these people got a common language he replied:

”For the record I’d probably say no. It would be fair to say that it’s not specific to any section of the community. These persons that are responsible for these thefts that have been traced to date they are form a varied background. It would be unfair to stereotype the persons responsible. It would be fair to say that these individuals are very, very adept at what they do. They are very able in the way that they are able to steal things. They are able to portray themselves sometimes as maybe as certain sections of the community. I’ve come across certain individuals who have tried to portray themselves as Irish travellers when in actual fact they’ve been from
Manchester and had no connection with Ireland whatsoever at all. So they try and disguise themselves. I’ve see other people who have claimed to be Italian and they ended up being from Falkirk or the Central Belt area but they’ve been trying to disguise and clearly try to push the authorities towards a stereotype which obviously steers them away from the true individuals that they are.”

Know anyone that would like to get online? "Getting IT Together" event Nairn Thursday 18th

Do you know anyone that would like to get online? Or maybe you would like to help others enjoy some of the benefits the internet offers. There is an event to launch a new local campaign" Getting IT Together" taking place in the the Community Centre on Thursday where you would be very welcome. Further details from the project officer Brigitte at the e-mail address in the poster below. 

Brigitte told the Gurn: "At the event we are going to have Mark Hudson playing guitar and Andrew MacLennan playing the pipes. We are going to have plenty of IPads and laptops for people to ‘have a go at getting on the internet’ with friendly tutors available to offer help and guidance."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good omens for River CC’s attempt to win back local control of grass cutting?

On Wednesday evening in the URC Church Hall the usual suspects (River Community Council division) met for their monthly meeting and grass cutting was once again on the agenda. Chair Tommy Hogg stated that he had been to see the new ward manager concerning his group’s Community Challenge bid to Highland Council. He seemed optimistic but also had some bad news to. He said:

”One that that has been made quite clear is that West and Suburban - they really don’t want to be involved in it.”

Despite the news that the town’s two other Community Councils do not wish to align themselves with River’s bid to bring the cutting of amenity areas back to local control, Liz was very supportive and she said:

"Myself and Colin had a meeting with Michelle Morrison and Richard Guest as well about taking this forward as well so we’ll really happy to work with you to – they were very positive about there being an opportunity here for River CC here if they want to do that.”

Simon Noble found Liz’s statement encouraging but added: “It is disappointing that the other two Community Councils are not willing to participate.”

The political support from the two Nairnshire Councillors who are part of the ruling Glenurquhart Road administration is crucial for River CC’s ambitions. The Gurn also understands that Laurie and Michael are willing to join their colleagues in backing this proposal too. The omens and the mood music are looking good – there’s a lot of work to be done but could Nairn be on its way to getting back control of grass cutting in the town (or at least that part in the River CC area)?  It may be of course that, if Tommy and his colleagues’ proposal gets off the runway, then the Westies and the Subbies will change their minds and obtain last minute tickets? As Tommy said:

 ”There’s no reason it can’t be done locally by local people and I think you would get a far better result.”

19th July - Nairn Central Beach "is being turned into fun central"

"A fun packed day of seaside adventures, exploring and games with the Highland Seashore Project and The Highland Council’s Countryside Rangers takes place in Nairn on the 19 July when the Seashore Roadshow rolls into town.
Nairn Central Beach is well known for its stretch of beautiful, deep gold sand, dunes and the fantastic links which is great for kicking a ball or flying a kite. On the 19th July the area  is being turned into fun central, with a marquee hosting all kind of seashore themed activities including face painting, seashore puppets, beach art and kite making."  More here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Don't leave your dog in the car in hot weather - "Dogs die in hot cars"

One of our regular readers is concerned that dog owners  should be aware of the dangers of leaving dogs in cars in hot weather. Our correspondent writes: 

"A timely reminder - Dogs die in hot cars.

Don’t leave your dog in a car in this weather, even leaving a window open doesn’t help if the temperature rises. The SSPCA have information on their site here.

There is a very informative video here which gives information on how quickly problems can start to happen and why (note to the squeamish, there are no gory details!). Best thing in this weather would be to leave your pooch at home. It probably won't be for long as, no doubt, normal summer will resume shortly."

Nairn's Windsor Hotel reopens today!

We received a comment on our previous thread  about the Windsor and thought perhaps Gurnshire would be interested enough to see it published as an article in its own right. The Windsor Hotel will be open again as of  today. It's good to see this building back in operation and providing employment once again. Here's what Lee Thomson, the new general manager had to say: 

"Hello Nairn, 

I would like to introduce myself as the new General Manager of Windsor Hotel. I am delighted to inform you all as of Wednesday 10th July 2013, we will be reopening! 

The Directors and myself would like to extend our happiness and enthusiasm about this fantastic product, that we hope will become the Best Hotel in Nairn. I am sure from what we have heard from the locals this place holds many memories for you all and a history full of stories... come down, take a seat, have a drink and tell us.

We are committed to bringing the community and tourists a place to call home from home, to enjoy the facilities where a warm welcome awaits you. We aim to enhance the surroundings with an excellent standard of service that all Consumers, Customers and Guests can enjoy again and again.

We are inspired to provide a hub and gathering for your most special celebratory occasions, where a first class service will instil a wonderful memory of your event with us, allow us to engage you with a function that delivers on your special wedding day, birthday or engagement or an efficient and discreet send off and toast to your loved ones or a formal conference facility that offers peace and comfort you need with plenty presentation space.

Myself and my Team at Windsor care that your experience with us is an enjoyable satisfying memorable time. Wile away the hours in our restaurant, lounges and bar, where the television, bandit, pool table and juke box amongst the laughter of friends will entertain you over a wee dram.

We invite you to grace the threshold of a new product in an old establishment that everyone remembers, come to us and experience our mouth watering menu of local produce from quality businesses and enjoy the culinary flair of our creative and talented chef.

We offer packages to suit your budget and work with you to establish a day to remember.
Our 48 bedrooms and beautifully decorated suites will provide comfort in a clean environment for the family.
Call us on 01667456010 or mail us at
Alternatively you can reach myself on

We hope to see you soon.

 Warmest Regards
 from the
 Windsor Team

 Lee Thomson
 General Manager 09/07/13"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Hogweed Heights - Lochloy Road, Nairn

The Gurn understands that some residents in the housing schemes down the far end of Lochloy Road   are growing increasing concerned about the large infestations of Giant Hogweed that are about to seed in the amenity area between the houses and the road. There are indeed many, many, fine specimens in full flower and with each plant capable of producing over a hundred thousand seeds this could be the year the plant takes over the area big-time. 
We spoke to one resident earlier this week who wants the authorities to act before it is too late and the plants seed. Larger picture here and another image here. 

Dangerous wall on Mill Road still dangerous - in fact even more so!

Here's the the roadside view through the hole in the wall. Compare this with the picture we posted on Saturday from the other side and you can see that the hole in the wall has grown. Stones are steadily making their way down to the football pitch with one large one already sitting proudly where one of the corner flags goes on match days. 

UPDATE: Weds 08.20. Liz tells the Gurn that she reported this to the TECs department when we messaged her earlier this week about this hazard. She says she will follow it up again today. 

UPDATE: The wall was fixed Wednesday morning

Sales of the Gurn go into freefall - everyones "à la plage"

The scene earlier this evening with plenty of people still on the beach, hardly anyone online this evening. Meanwhile it is so hot that Swan Island has now rejoined the mainland. 
Also down by this evening, one of our regular readers Iain, is a bit worried that the bins are overflowing and hopes Highland Council will be on the case as the hot weather continues (image here). 

Nairn market Sat 20th July – “It will be like a Nairn version of Rockness, except it's free”

The Gurn managed a word with market organiser Michael Green yesterday and he was enthusiastic about the music element of the coming event. He told the Gurn: 

“I think the biggest difference over the old markets will be the music component.

 We have seven different bands all through the day at the Royal Bank corner, plus traditional folk jazz and Scottish music at Castle square.

It will be like a Nairn version of Rockness, except it's free!”

And there is a promise that the community can have input into shape of future markets in the town. He added:
“We will have a ANB meeting after the Market where people can come along and have their say and how they would like to see it develop.”

A regular market would certainly be a feature that would help bring a bit of life into a town centre which has been performing reasonably well in the face of adversity in recent years but is now, according to some, once again on the slip. Thus, Iain Bain returns to the theme of the town centre in his editorial this week. Well worth a read of the Leopold Street Thunderer if you haven’t secured your copy yet. He says among other things:

“We have always reckoned that a proportion of commercial properties in Nairn High Street would be empty at any one time and that there would be ongoing “churn” which would see them come back into use. Right now the place seems to be hit for six by a combination of retirement and recession.”

The organisers of the street market and businesses in the town centre will be hoping for a boost from the market in less than two weeks time. Here’s hoping the current spell of good weather continues right through until the 20th.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The fight against doggie jobbies - style contrast

Thanks to Iain who sent in an image of one of the Highland Council posters that have appeared around town as the authority step up measures in response to continuing complaints about turds being left on our streets and green spaces by inconsiderate dog owners. We contrast it with the image on the right which is from the Leith Jobby Lobby campaign. See article here on the Greener Leith site and also their facebook page. We wonder whether it is the local authority approach or the freelance outraged citizens initiative that woudl be  the most effective? 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Saturday July the 20th - The market is back - article by David Brownless

Thanks to David Brownless of the Nairn Business Association for the following article:

If you were to ask a random selection of folk in  Nairn  High Street what they thought the word ‘Mercat’ meant, they would very likely answer that it was a small mammal and member of the mongoose family, that spoke with a Russian accent and sold car insurance…

However , aficionados of the Gurn, will know that it the old word for market and that Nairn’s ‘Mercat cross’ ( or what’s left of it) still stands outside the Court House. The cross itself is said to show that Nairn has the right to hold a weekly market, as laid down in the royal charter, granted to the town by Alexander the 1st.

The title Royal Burgh was lost to Nairn in 1312, allegedly after having been sent through to Inverness for safe keeping, though the diligent efforts of local government officials and assistance from the monarch of the day managed to relocate it, in 1476, only to let it slip through their fingers again sometime over the last 20 years…..  

During the long history of the town a market would have been traditionally held on a regular basis and, although there has not been  one for a few years now, the Association of Nairn Businesses is delighted to say that, it’s back. The market returns.
Saturday 20th July will see the High Street closed to traffic and given back to pedestrians for the day.
There will be a wide selection of stalls , plus all our existing town centre businesses and an exciting mix of music,  to make  a day  for the whole family to enjoy.

There will be all kinds of offerings from the traders taking a stall for the day: crafts, jewellery, patisserie, hot food, plants, produce and local charity stalls. There are even rumours of a set of stocks making an appearance, with some local  ‘well-kent names’  to throw things at ( seemingly, due to clearly ludicrous health and safety rules, the projectiles have to be soft…but who knows what they will have been dipped in first ?)

Giving the whole day a festival feel is a superb line up of musical talent.
Appearing on our version of the Pyramid stage ( it’s a mystical pyramid that is only visible to those that truly believe) are:

The Kitty Black Band
Susanna Wolfe
The Stellars
Mark Hudson
Kate Cruickshank
Jenna Mackintosh
And from Glasgow, The Lonely Whale

And for the those that prefer a more traditional sound, in our  ‘Neeps and Tatties‘  chill zone, we have :

Ho - Ro
Aye 2 Aye
Dan Leckie
Penguins Tuxedo
Nairn Speldings
Holli Atkinson
Gaelic Choir

So we look forward to welcoming everyone to the High Street for a great family day out.
The event runs fromt 9am until 4.30 pm and, like the car parking, the entry is totally free and you can have as much fun as you like.

Come to Nairn and try something traditional.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

A Gurnshire Yes-No thing

Yes or No? The debate seems to have found its place on the Gurn and thoughts on Europe and windmills intrude too - more on this thread here. If you can't be bothered with politics however, then there are now a couple of images of tonights sunset on the Gurn Flickr pages here which you might find rather more intersting. 

Riverside report from Murd - dangerous wall on Mill Road

Murd reports that the riverside paths from the Jublilee to Firhall have finally had their edges cut. A dangerous piece of wall has caught the attention of  our regular correspondent however, the image below is of part of the wall at the entrance to the drive down to the football pitch at the far end of Mill Road just below Milford Heights. This piece of wall is obviously in need of immediate attention.

More live music in town these days? Friday night and Peruvia in the Caley

The Caley was rocking the High Street last night as the Lossie Loons that comprise Peruvia came to town to entertain. 

There's a lot more from this band on their youtube channel.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Dol fodha na gréine - Sunset - 05/07/13

Colin: "I'd like to see a fully-empowered Nairnshire Council"

Apologies to those arriving hear from further afield but we have a habit on the Gurn of using a lot of the "usual suspects" christian names in articles. Colin is, of course, Councillor Colin J Macaulay. One of our regular readers points us in the direction of a post Colin made on his facebook page four days ago. It is indeed in brackets but it is there:

"We promised in our Council Manifesto that we would begin a process of decentralisation - bringing decision making and accountability away from Inverness. So, from September we'll have a Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Area Committee. It may not be ideal (I'd like to see a fully-empowered Nairnshire Council) - but it is a big first step in the right direction!"

Could Nairn do with a Leith style "Jobby Lobby"

Greener Leith is an entertaining community blog that reports regularly on events in that part of the capital city. The site has reported on a new campaign "The Leith anti-jobby lobby". Posters have appeared bearing captions like: "My owner is the filthy animal" and "The other arsehole should pick it up". A novel and more direct attempt to shame those dog owners who don't clean up their dogs turds into changing their bad habits. You can see the eye-catching designs on the group's Facebook page here. 

Interestingly in his article, Ally Tibbit reports: "Leith has historically had a raw deal from council enforcement services, but service managers have promised a crack down recently." Another article on Greener Leith gives a breakdown of enforcement figures here.  Gurnites who look at the figures will notice that there are actually fines imposed for dog fouling. Here in Nairn a Gurn Freedom of Information request at the beginning of the year revealed that there had been no fines for doggie jobbies in Nairn in the five years prior to that request. Even though owners get fined in Leith there is still a major problem. It looks like no matter where you live in Scotland then, dog turds are a problem and with or without enforcement they are in no hurry to go away - maybe the small fine is no deterrent and remember there is no "naming and shaming" element to the enforcement. So it is left to citizens groups to intervene. Would a similar shock poster campaign be of some use in Nairn? 

Barron House sold

The Inverness Courier reports today that Barron House was sold before it went to auction. The buyer lives locally according to the paper.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Car boot sale Sunday 7th July in Sainsbury's Car Park 10-1 - raising funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma research

One of our regular readers asked us to post details of the Car Boot Sale and we are delighted to do so.

Delnies circular route concerns

Another regular readers sent in the following plus an image. She stated: " I went for run round the Delnies

circular today. This post had route sign removed, path unclear, overgrown.

The Delnies circular walk also featured in Gurn articles in May. Here and here.

Heavy loads adding to traffic delays in Nairn

One of our regular readers took the image below today as he was stuck waiting in traffic. Our correspondent said: "West bound traffic was brought to standstill as yet another wide load carrying a piece of turbine (?) trundled through the town with a Police escort this lunchtime. Bypass time?"

Happy Birthday Hamish - 91 today!

Many happy returns to our regular reader and occasional correspondent Hamish Dunbar who is 91 today.

"Government to consult Forres Community Council on Common Good"

Thanks to one of our regular readers for pointing us in the direction of the Forres Gazette website this morning. Good news for Forresians worried about Common Good affairs along the road, their Community Council is to be consulted by Scottish Government officials responsible for drafting the forthcoming Community Renewal and Empowerment Bill.

""We welcome the news," said Forres Community Council secretary Colin Lipscomb. "We’ve maintained for a long time that the legislation on Common Good is so airy fairy you could drive a bus through it." More on the Forres Gazette website here. Gurnites that read that article will find echoes of similar sentiments that have been expressed in Nairn for many years

Our correspondent contrasts this information with the way things went with Sandown recently. There will be those in Nairn that have campaigned for a single Community Council that will point to this as an example of how it is easier to communicate with the authorities when you have one body representing the town rather than three. 

Nairn Bypass - "a tiny step forward"

At the West Community Council meeting last week Rosemary read out a couple of paragraphs from a copy of a letter she had received from Dick at Suburban CC. It was a response to a letter he had written to Transport Scotland in relation to South Nairn Development and the A96 Nairn Bypass. It was an interesting letter, yes versed in the usual official parlance but there were a few clues in there. You can read the letter here if you wish, it isn’t too long and it will probably not be necessary to make a cup of tea first this time.

Graham Vine then asked: “Madame Chairman, may I ask if the Combined Community Councils are going to press the authorities for an entrance/exit from the bypass in South Nairn?”
“We’ve already started that,” replied Rosemary. “I just hope we’re around,” she then added with a touch of irony.

Brian Stewart then stated: “the two key points out of this letter are: 1) although it is only a tiny step forward, it is a slightly more solid assurance that the Nairn Bypass will at least be an early component of the larger A96 dualling scheme Given that the bypass is locked into that much bigger, more ambitious long-term thing the focus has to be now in making sure that it is one of the first bits to be done.

The other point at the end of that letter is that it was in reply to a point out of the joint committee meeting a month or two ago which also which also reminded Transport Scotland of the traffic and transit issues of the current A96 trunk road through Nairn and the letter does offer, or does inform us that Transport Scotland are doing further traffic studies or censuses or whatever they of the current transit through the town. I’m not holding my breath for conclusions that come up with brilliant new ideas on improving the traffic through Nairn but it is another strand on which we will keep pressing.”