Friday, January 31, 2014

Saving money on your energy bills - more from Nairn CAB

The CAB had their Big Energy Saving Week stall at Sainsbury's again today. Apparently the average saving by switching tariffs can be £200. One woman who had previously sought advice from the CAB texted the staff at the stall to say she had saved £117. More details of how you could save money on the Nairn CAB site. 

Pictures of a visit of Danny Alexander to the CAB stall here. And below a recording of what Danny had to say to the Gurn about the CAB's initiative below.

Friday Miscellany

Thanks to one of our regular readers who pointed out to us that there is an image of Keith Brown on Transport Scotland A96 dualling page that carries a bit of irony with it. Our correspondent suggests that anyone writing to the Transport Minister to complain about any elements of the recent road works at Bridgemill Direct would be able to point out that the minister knows the spot himself as he is pictured at the exact location on this web page. 

Meanwhile on Facebook Cllr Colin MacAulay SNP states: " Report is that last night's traffic lights failure was down to vandalism." That is extremely bad craic if that was the case.

Whiteness Head has received planning permission and hopes that the  yard could reopen for the construction of wind turbines move a step forward. More on the BBC site.

More later from the Nairn CAB's Big Energy Saving week, images and an interview with Danny Alexander. Apparently the average saving from switching tariffs can amount to £200 and today one woman told the CAB that she had saved £117 from switching. Murd Dunbar was also up at Sainsbury's and updated Danny on the proposals to improve access to the Firhall Bridge in the spring - image here.

Will we see more from the Better Together campaign in Nairn soon? The Gurn talks to Danny Alexander

Click the red button to see what Danny had to say.

Michael Green lobbies Danny Alexander on the possible loss of flights to London from the Highlands

Michael tells the Gurn why he lobbied Danny Alexander today at his surgery - Click the red button to listen to what he said.

Nairn South - pre appeal hearing meeting on 17th February

Brian Stewart, Secretary of West CC told the Gurn last night:
"I have  received a copy of the formal letter from DPEA confirming that the Nairn South Appeal Reporter - having studied the written submissions - intends to hold a hearing; and that he proposes to hold a pre-meeting in Nairn on 17 Feb strictly to discuss the arrangements for the hearing (not the substantive issues or the merits of the case). It looks as if all who submitted documents to the Appeal are invited, and are asked to confirm whether they wish to attend."

Westies and Subbies teaming up - short statement from Rosemary Young chair of Nairn West CC

Rosemary indicates that the decision to hold joint meetings with Suburban CC was partially due to the demands of attending quite a few meetings in the year. In addition to each individual monthly meeting the town's three Community Councils meet on occasion and also Nairnshire's eight CCs. Here's what Rosemary told the Gurn:

"Following on the announcement we made last autumn we would be having so many three cc meetings and so many 8 cc meetings and that Nairn West would occasionally have a joint with Suburban in a month when there was a three which is February.  I said it would be a pilot and we would see where it would go but during the winter with so many people away it seemed right and sensible to team up....." 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Problems at temporary traffic lights at Bridge Street Nairn A96 roadworks again

Last night they stuck at red and tonight they were out completely. At around 10.40 p.m. tonight two police officers were directing traffic past the area where the road has been dug up and the two out of order sets of lights. The Gurn understands they had been there for around 15 minutes in response to a call they received. Contractors arrived on the scene shortly afterwards and began efforts to get the lights working again. 

Big energy saving week with Nairn CAB - advice stall at Sainsbury's today and tomorrow Friday 31st Jan

This lunchtime the Gurn went up to Sainsbury's to find out a bit more about the Nairn CAB's big energy saving week  that can help you with your bills. Shriley and Marie explained the initiative to us and you can hear what they have to say in the recording below the image. They will be at Sainsbury's again tomorrow (Friday 31st) between 10-2. 

Suburban CC salting strategy shines

At Tuesday night's Suburban Community Council meeting Dick Youngson commented: 

"We've got a good number of salt bins in places that normally ice up or or don't melt in winter time so it's really up to people that live in that area to do their own winter gritting, to look after the elderly people who perhaps can't get about so easily as some of us can. Just to make sure that should there be any snow and the council can't cope it's up to us as a community to look after our won."

Highland Councillor Colin MacAulay then said: "Suburban shines in terms of community councils' involvement in terms of this initiative. [...] It's a fantastic effort by this community."

Traffic delays map for Nairn - confusing information?

One of our regular readers, Ian M, sent us the following screenshot of the Traffic Scotland online roadworks map. There is no roadworks icon shown in Nairn but if you click the one at Tornagrain the information shown below shows up.

The Gurn tried the map this morning and got the same result - map is available here.  Ian also reports he is having difficulty finding any mention of the works here or here.  Ian adds however: "But the site might be up to date because the traffic jam has melted away."   Any gurnites aware if the situation has improved now?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dangerous chaotic scenes at Roadworks on A96 in Nairn tonight

The roadworks traffic lights facing east, just outside Bridgemill direct, past the river bridge were stuck at red at approximately 10.10 p.m this evening - there was a long queue stretching back towards Inverness and impatient drivers (lorries and cars) were pulling out to pass more obedient motorists and jumping the lights. Some of the exasperated law-brakers were travelling at some speed too and as they pulled out from various points in the waiting line the potential for an accident escalated. An eye-witness at the scene said the lights had been stuck at red for at least half an hour. This observer watched the lights for around 10 minutes and they still remained at red during that time. No one was working overnight at the roadworks but two BEAR Scotland employees, who had recently arrived themselves, were examining the equipment further along the road to try and determine the nature of the problem. The police then arrived on the scene. 

UPDATE: Just how long will the roadworks last? Last night Bear Scotland tweeted the following message: 

But the website was telling a different story according to the information available online on their map the works will last until the 10th of February  - the Gurn has asked Bear Scotland for confirmation of the information below.

UPDATE: 0900 30th Jan - the ongoing roadworks again impacted on traffic going through Nairn - the long queues illustrate just how much traffic passes through Nairn - images here on the Gurn flickr pages.  

UPDATE:  0902 Cllr Colin MacAulay SNP states on his Facebook page: "Nairn A96 - BEAR reporting that they are awaiting an update from Scottish Gas re A96. If they have found the leak and repaired it then the trench will be filled and things will get back to normal asap. If not - then they will have to keep excavating until they do find it."

UPDATE: 0906 BEAR tell the Gurn in a tweet: 
As SGN is investigating a gas leak, it can take up to 2 weeks. The traffic lights will now be manually controlled today.

Traffic delays in Nairn (Weds 29th Jan) update

The emergency gas repair (according to Traffic Scotland) continued throughout the day and the evening rush hour led to virtual gridlock in the town.

The west end rat run was in high demand as many drivers turned down Sandown Farm Lane. No doubt the country roads would have been even busier than usual. At the Sandown crossroads around 18.00 this evening a line of cars could be seen stretching back to the Delnies bend and beyond. These are obviously exceptional circumstances but these queues demonstrate just how much traffic does pass through Nairn and how the slightest upset can cause major problems.  Meanwhile here's Traffic Scotland's take on the situation as posted on their twitter account. 
UPDATE: one of our regular readers reports taking 1 hour 45 minutes to reach Broadhill from Inverness

A96 traffic delays in Nairn this lunchtime - roadworks near town bridge

The scene just outside Bridgemill Direct around midday today. Traffic was moving extremely slowly and had backed up beyond the Sainsbury's roundabout in the Forres direction at one point. 

Nairn Community Councils – Westies and Subbies to work together and hold joint meetings

Last night at the regular meeting of Suburban Community Council held in Nairn Academy the Subbies voted unanimously for a cosy entente cordiale with their opposite numbers from the smaller West area. The two organisations are definitely jumping into bed together but they will retain their own households, office bearers and minutes etc although the possibility of a full marital union at some time in the future has not been discounted. 

Last night the Chair of the Subbies Dick Youngson said: “Nairn West would like to join up with us for meetings, we’d keep our identities but we’d share meetings – we are talking about the same thing most of the time it doesn’t make sense really[…] It would make a lot of sense just to join forces.”

When asked if Highland Council would reduce the funding for the two organisations Dick was quick to reply: “We’d wait until the next elections and then we might actually come together and funding would be recalculated on a per capita basis anyway.”

Brian Stewart, secretary of the Westies, then spoke: “The thinking behind this is that it brings two or three advantages. One is, as Dick has just said, on a lot of the issues, the kind of major issues, we end up talking about the same things and are pretty much on the same wavelength. So, having combined meetings actually streamlines our efforts to bring together peoples views and then submit them, whether it is for planning business or some other policy debate with Highland Council. It shares our workload and enables us to get through it more quickly without having to put pieces of paper around the streets for weeks in-between each meeting. 
Secondly, I’m sure and I hope our elected councillors will find it a slight relief to their diary if instead of having three separate meetings per month they have one or at least perhaps too, it releases a bit the pressure of time on our elected councillors[…] and of course third and it is part of the same argument is that our poor policemen who are supposed to be keeping the streets safe and control the streets are having to turn up three nights per week per month to say more or less the same thing at three different community council meetings.” 

The question was then asked: “Is Nairn River Community Council aware of this?”

Dick replied: “No we haven’t spoken to them […] Nairn River wouldn’t want to join us I think I can say that quite clearly.”

Brian Stewart then said: “In terms of joint meetings the door is always open. It would be their choice. In principal we’ve always favoured the idea of collaborating, all three of us together.”

Gurnites will recall that in April 2010 at the time of Community Council reorganisation by Highland Council there was a move by Suburban and West to have a single Community Council for the town – this was however resisted by River Community Council and despite the majority of public submissions being in favour of a single Community Council to represent the town the Highland Council opted for the status quo. At that time the Gurn supported the movement for what would have effectively been “The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council” and created a site which listed the pros and cons of such a move. You can read “Time for a Town Council for Nairn” here. 

Since then things have moved on somewhat and there is a school of thought that the three councils have effectively worked well together on a variety of topics and that they de facto perform the role of a town council when it comes to the like of joint submissions to the Nairn South planning appeal. Also in response to an initiative by the then Provost Liz MacDonald, the three town CCs agreed to hold four joint meetings a year. In another highly significant move, recently a delegation of all Nairnshire's Community Councils went to Glenurquhart Road for top level discussions over their dismay with how planning procedures are followed out in relation to the local area. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

East Nairnshire Community Council elections - deadline for nominations 5th February

More details about the election here on the Highland Council website. 

Wee County June 29th reunion - digital chain letter goes out

Donald Graham, who is organising the County reunion to be held in July, has produced a mail that has gone out via the normal NCFC club and fans network but if anyone out there in deepest Gurnshire hasn't seen it yet then please feel free to copy and forward to anyone with a County connection that may be interested in attending. 


Nairn County FC celebrates its centenary in 2014 and to mark such a momentous occasion, a reunion will take place in the main hall at the Royal British Legion in Nairn on Sunday June 29th. I would like to invite all current and former players, coaches, committee members and of course supporters to this one-off event.
The reunion will be free to attend and everyone will be made more than welcome. It will hopefully provide everyone with the chance to meet up with old friends and reminisce about the fantastic memories we all have involving Nairn County FC.

In receiving this email I would like to ask all of you to help in making the reunion a success by forwarding the email onto as many people as possible, particularly those who have a connection with Nairn County either on or off the park that are in your contacts list please.
If you know of someone that might require me to send a letter, then please let me know.
The event will take place between 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm on Sunday June 29th with free food and entertainment being provided.
I would like to hear from those wishing to attend as it would be great to have a note of your name for the day itself.

Please contact me, Donald Graham at to let me know that you are going to attend.


Donald Graham

Monday, January 27, 2014

The second in a series of “Scotland’s Future” public meetings will be held in Nairn on Saturday 1st February at 1pm in the local Community and Arts Centre

Before the details of the second of the YES Nairnshire campaigners series of meetings in 2014 - are there any NO or Better Together Campaigners out there that have meetings planned in Nairnshire in the near future? The Gurn would like to cover your side of the Referendum Debate too if you have any events planned locally. 

Children and Families in an Independent Scotland

The Guest Speakers for this lunchtime event will be the Scottish Green Party’s ex-MSP Eleanor Scott, the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE and local Nairn Councillor, Liz MacDonald.

Prior to being elected as a Scottish Green Party MSP in 2003, Eleanorwas a well-respected Community Paediatrician providing support for children with special needs across the Highlands. She joined the Greens in 1989 and has campaigned on many important environmental issues, including food, rural development, energy and waste.
Eleanor says: "I believe that independence offers a unique opportunity for people in Scotland not only to control their own affairs, but to transform Scotland into a modern democracy with social justice, environmental protection and human rights at its heart".

Tasmina,recently awarded an OBE for services to business and to Scotland's Asian community, is one of the SNP’s candidates at May’s European elections, is the SNP’s National Women’s Officer and is a member of YES Scotland’s Advisory Board. As well as being a partner with a Glasgow law firm, Chair and Founder of Scottish Asian Women’s Association, a TV producer for Elysee Productions International Limited and an accomplished actress, she is a also a mother of four

Former Highland Council area manager for Nairn is chosen to be high heid yin of new department

The Highland Council has appointed a Director of a new Service to be created from 1 April as a key part of the new Service management structure of the Council.

William Gilfillan, the Council’s Corporate Manager, will be Director of Community Services.  

The new Service is responsible for housing, roads and winter maintenance, waste management, building and grounds maintenance, public and school transport, harbours, street lighting and emergency planning.

South Nairn planning appeal – hearing likely in April

Initially it seemed that the Scottish Government’s Reporter appointed by DPEA to determine the South Nairn application for 319 homes and infrastructure on the Cawdor Road was to consider written submissions only and have a site visit, now the process will probably expand into a two day affair with a site visit and a day and a half’s hearing. 

Latest correspondence uploaded onto the DPEA online case file included an e-mail to Highland Council and the agent acting for the appellants. The case officer is quoted:

“The reporter is minded to hold a 2 day hearing regarding above (probably 1½ - day hearing plus site visit probably) and has pencilled in 7 and 8 April 2014. Can you advise if this would be suitable?”

A reply came back from the appellant’s consultants containing the following:” Unfortunately these days are proving difficult for the appellant. Please would it be possible to provide for alternative dates, which do not coincide with the Easter holiday period as availability will be easier to organize.”

Planning appeals seem to show no mercy for family arrangements during school breaks however, the DPEA case officer said: “The reporter advises that to ensure the timeous handling and determination of appeals it is not possible to avoid school holiday dates. The reporter will review his timetable over the coming days but cannot discount the possibility that the Hearing dates will fall during weeks commencing 7 or 14 April.”

So, those serious students of these matters can expect a couple of days at a hearing at a venue in Nairn during April. The Reporter has an option of courses of action he or she can take to determine an appeal and it seems this one is (so far) not minded to go all the way up the scale to a Public Inquiry over the South Nairn application. The Scottish Government website offers the following information:

” The reporter appointed to consider an appeal will make a decision as soon as he/she is able to do so. However, it is sometimes necessary to obtain some further information on a particular matter before the appeal can be decided. Where this happens, the reporter may choose to carry out one or more of these further procedures:

Inspection of the site
Further written submissions
Hearing session
Inquiry session”

Meanwhile in Last Friday’s Inverness Courier, Charles Allenby’s, agent has expressed his exasperation with Highland Council. A page 4 article by Donna MacAllister reads:

A DEVELOPER has accused Highland Council of deliberately trying to put off making a decision about his controversial development plans.
Planning consultant Robert Evans suspects the local authority is purposely postponing its decision on his client’s 250-home scheme at Balblair Road, Nairn South. 
Mr Evans, who represents Nairn Landowner Charles Allenby, believes the council is waiting to find out if its recent decision to turn down a similar housing scheme by a rival developer in the same part of town will be overturned by the government.”

The article goes on to say that a Highland Council official strongly denies the claim 

Gurnites can read all the latest submissions to the planning appeal here (search via Authority area, chose Highland and it comes up presently at the top of the list). There are currently 17 pages of links to documents that have been posted and there will probably be more as the appellant had 14 days from the 17th of January to respond to submissions received by the appeal team. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

NICE town centre survey - a question for the Chairman, Alastair Noble

Yesterday up at Delnies Wood, this observer asked the Chair of NICE, Alastair Noble, why he thought the ongoing NICE town centre survey was so important.

Saturday night's street drumming session cancelled

Friday, January 24, 2014

Nairn residents lobby Fergus Ewing MSP over Delnies Wood bypass fears - video and pictures

Fergus Ewing addresses Nairn residents who gathered to lobby him at the Delnies Wood. Also some images here. See earlier Gurn article published today for interview with Dick Youngson who outlines the abundance of flora and fauna in the area earmarked for one of the bypass routes. 

Liz and Fergus Ewing on BBC Alba tonight 8 p.m. (Fri 24th) - promoting Nairn Big Energy Saving Week

Fergus Ewing and Councillor Liz Macdonald pop into Nairn CAB to check out their tariff and support Nairn Big Energy Saving week on BBC Alba. Appearing on tonights program 'An la' at 8pm. Week gets off to a great start. More happening next week - details plus video in this Gurn article here. 

Large turnout on site to lobby Fergus Ewing MSP over proposed bypass route through Delnies Wood

A large assembly at the Moss-side car park at Delnies wood today as local residents lobbied Fergus over the proposed dual carriageway option that would go straight through the wood. The Gurn spoke to Dick Youngson (Chair of Suburban CC) about why he was there today and he outlined his fears for the considerable flora and fauna that would be affected. Recording below.

Several residents spoke to Fergus before and after he made a short address after the organiser of the lobby, Iain Gordon, introduced him. Fergus then took a walk into the wood himself. More images and details later.

Nairn big energy saving week - check your tariff? - Video

Nairn CAB is running a Big Energy Saving Week on 27th - 31st January providing information to help people in Nairn and Forres get all the financial support they are entitled to and find out how to make savings.

There will be several events in the lead up to and during this week. Fergus Ewing will be calling in at the CAB today (Friday 24th January) to check his tariff and help  promote awareness of what people can do to cut fuel and energy costs.

The opening event will be in Forres Tesco on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th of January and CAB staff will be in Nairn Sainsburys on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st  to give you all the information you need to make those savings; the Gurn also understands that Councillor Colin Macaulay will be in Sainsbury's wielding big scissors to make those cuts.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A96 Nairn dual-carriageway bypass - Auldearn CC opt for northern route around village

Auldearn Community Council have written to Transport Scotland to express their preference for the northern "2H" option around the village. Their support for this route is conditional however, they state: "...our adoption of 2H as the preferred route is conditional on the realignment of the eastern section of the road, as presently drawn, further south from Penick and Wester Hardmuir farms." 

Councillor Richard Laird: "I think Nairn should have its County Council back"

Speaking last night at the YES Nairnshire meeting on Scotland's Future, Richard Laird (the newly promoted depute leader of the SNP group on Highland Council) gave the meeting an explanation of his personal motivation in campaigning for a YES vote in September. He outlined a number of things he thought could be improved in an independent Scotland. You can hear his speech in its entirety in the video shown in this Gurn post.  Many Gurnites, be they YES, NO or UNDECIDED will perhaps be interested in what he had to say about local government:

"The final point we could do is completely re-examine local government because I don't think the local government we have is what is in Scotland's best interests. I don't think that the monolithic Highland Council is in the best interests of most Highland communities and how it should work. I happen to believe it should be broken up. I happen to believe that Inverness should have a City Council and Nairn should have its County Council back."

Town Centre Survey gets off to a good start

The Gurn understands that the NICE town centre survey has received over 74 submissions within the first 24 hours. If you are interested in what the community can do to revive the town centre then NICE want to hear from you. More information on this page here and the survey is here. 

More people using the Firhall bridge according to statistics

Murd has been given the latest figures from the Highland Council Ranger service who have a people counter installed near the Firhall Bridge. During  2013 the equipment counted  36,753.
Previous years were 2012   27,281; 2011  24,806;  2010 18,959.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scotland's Future - Richard Laird speaking in Nairn Community Centre

Councillor Richard Laird was in Nairn tonight (Weds 22nd) speaking at the first of a series of YES Nairnshire meetings to be held over the following months. Earlier in the day Richard had been appointed the depute leader of the SNP group on Highland Council. Below is quite a long video, the first twenty minutes consist of an introduction by Colin MacAulay and then Richard's speech. There then follows a Q&A section. 

This Saturday night Nairn Street drumming band Penguins Tuxedo will be busking

Lorna tells the Gurn: "It'll be about 7.15 - 7.30pm at Rosebank Square if anyone can make it along."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Residents urged to lobby Fergus Ewing MSP this Friday (24th) over threat to Delnies Wood from potential bypass routes

Moss-side resident Iain Gordon is urging all those that enjoy the amenity of the Delnies Woods to lobby Fergus Ewing when he makes a site visit to the popular recreational spot this Friday (January 24th). In a leaflet he has produced, Iain Gordon states:

“Fergus Ewing MSP has raised questions with the Transport Minister and the department officials as to why
the previous consultations, which were carried out at considerable public expense and had reached a democratic conclusion, are apparently being side-lined. He is also making a site visit to Delnies Wood on Friday 24th January prior to a Constituency surgery to assess for himself the potential impact.”

Iain is urging those of a similar mind to himself to attend the site visit, he is also urging others to let Transport Scotland know their views before the deadline of the 31st of January. Iain gives his contact details and further information in his leaftlet – a copy of which is available here. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cutting down on the carbon when travelling to work - picture

Local arborist and gardener Robert Cunningham (left of picture) and a colleague head off for a day's work this morning. Robert likes to use eco-friendly methods of transport whenever possible.

Aeryn Charlotte Jane Crawford's christening - pictures

The Christening of Aeryn Charlotte Jane Crawford was held in the Nairn Parish Church yesterday with the Rev Alastair Younger. Afterwards  parents Will and Toni, grandparents James and Morven, great-grandparents Murd and Kirsty and other members of the family had a wee celebration in the Westerlea. Images Ian MacRae.   More pictures here. 

Water and drainage issues in Nairn - a document produced by the Community Councils

Gurnites who have been following South Nairn planning issues may find it interesting to read a submission to the Scottish Government's Planning Appeals department from the town's three Community Councils. "Water and Drainage issues in Nairn" is available here. 

Cantray all abilities cycle track open day on Saturday 8th February

Jane Harkiss told us: "The track at Cantray Mill, Cawdor is Scotland's first all abilities cycle track and on 8th February, there will be an open day to mark the presentation of a cheque donation of funds raised by the Royal College of Physicians, to be used to purchase more cycles and to maintain the track. Visitors are free to try out one of our specially adapted bicycles - and we will also have a brand new KMX 'recumbent' cycle to try.

One of our key aims is to establish a regular cycling group for children and young adults in the area - along the same lines as Riding for the Disabled - but with bikes instead of horses. This idea has proved extremely popular among local families and with further funding, the plan is to make this a reality in 2014..."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Keith 1 Nairn 8 - more pictures from Kenny MacLeod

Click read more to see images

Firhall Bridge update from riverside correspondent Murd Dunbar

Murd tells the Gurn that there has been a wee paint job on the Firhall Bridge and he encloses a picture of the
recent Health and Safety makeover.
“By coincidence in Nairn County colours," said Murd.
" 'We believe', and I am led to believe that the work on the ramp should start early next spring.”
Murd also stated that Liz MacDonald keeps him regularly informed of her ongoing contact with all the officials involved. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flying a kite to see how a kite festival would be received in Nairn

The "Find it in Nairn" facebook page reports: 
"The Association of Nairn Businesses have been approached by a company wanting to organise a regular kite festival on the beach or the links during the summer months."
Reaction to the idea seems to be overwhelmingly positive - more here. 

Asher's Bakery Scoth Pie Championi!

A gold award for the local bakery - more here.

County goal riot at Kynoch Park - Keith 1 Nairn 8- Pictures Donald Matheson

And so a dreich drive along the A96 for the faithful today to be rewarded with NCFC running riot at Kynoch Park – of course with the (sometimes) obligatory first goal concession ceded to the opposition. Through the mud and monsoon the initial turmoil turned to satisfaction as the equaliser went in, the delight at the second changed into euphoria at the third and then it just kept coming as the perfect afternoon out continued. 
“There’s only one Highland League” and “Cheer up Sandy Stables” were to be heard along with the classics like “We’re County til’ we die” as the fans echoed their decision at a fund-raising meeting last week to condemn the proposal by the Keith Chairman to split the Highland League into two. 

The County family again ate all the pies, brought a few pints in the local bar, added their entrance fee to the Keith balance sheet and then headed for the enclosure. There it was a fusion of the Cow Shed and Seekers Hill regulars – for 90 minutes the Keith enclosure was the Seekers Shed as an electric drama escalated to the inevitable massive conclusion, a momentous moment played on a muddy park as the Moray monsoon beat down. 

In this landmark moment of the 2013/14 season give the Keith youngsters their due for battling on to the end. The dark days are not too far away in the recent past, we at Station Park know too well what it is like to take a thrashing so onwards and upwards and not too much gloating perhaps. Goals then from Moore x2, Duncanson, Cameron, Naismith, Main, MacPhee and Pollock (on his debut congratulations!).

The county family mix of partnership, friendship, confidence and trust between the fans, players, committee, community and management takes one more giant step forward – you can’t bottle it but you can savour it – the next chance to do so is at Station Park next Saturday when Inverurie Locos will be the guests at 3 p.m. Doing anything next Saturday?
Click read more to see images.

Scotland’s Referendum - Series of Public Meetings to be hosted in Nairn.

The first of a series of public meetings entitled “Scotland’s Future” will be held in Nairn on Wednesday 22nd January at 8pm in the local Community and Arts Centre.

The Guest Speaker will be Councillor Richard Laird from Inverness who will introduce the Scottish Government’s white paper which was launched by the First Minister in November. Richard’s presentation will be followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience, discussion and debate.

Cawdor and West Nairnshire CC contemplate wind farm windfall

On Monday night at the Cawdor Community Centre the villages and surrounding area’s Community Council met. The meeting was well attended, mainly due to a contentious planning issue (details here on the Highland Council e-planning site) and the subjects discussed included dangers from elm trees (long dead from Dutch elm disease) that were overhanging roads in the Cantraybridge area and close to the Galcantry crossroads. The gathering was told how plans for an emergency team of volunteers to look for anyone who might get lost in the Big Wood were advancing. The Higland wide Local Development plan was discussed, the Chair Kevin Bolton outlined how the Council were working with the other Nairnshire CCs but their priority was the Cawdor area. The chair outlined how it was CC policy to attract people to the Cawdor area and outlined how people leaving Cawdor had caused the new school to briefly lose a teacher when the school roll dipped. He said:
”We broadly support development but that development has to have proper infrastructure prior to it going in.”
On the Tom na Clach wind farm the Chair said:

”Obviously you are aware that the wind farm at Tom na Clach falls within our remit and there’s various ways we can get funding from that as a collective or doing something different with the energy suppliers. Neil Cameron who normally sits on this council is very well versed both planning in general and also renewables has already taken a lead on that on our behalf with regard to that. So that we get the best deal, for want of a better word, for us as a community council. There are various options already up and running in different parts of the country. Some are successful, some aren’t, some people get on some people don’t and we need to learn from what’s gone before and take the best of what works and don’t take anything from the stuff that doesn’t work. That’s ongoing, I think the earliest that we are likely to see any turbines is round about 2018 and after that there will be some revenue coming in from that to be split up amongst the community councils. Some of the councils that have got big funding have done fantastic stuff, they’ve underwritten university placements for local children – so it is something that is going to provide quite a bit of money but it is some distance away so we just have to make sure that we cross the t’s and dot the i’s with regard to the way that we approach it.”

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rosebank Church - correspondence between Nairn West Community Council and Highland Council

Bairnites and those Gurnites not on Facebook may find the copies (linked below) of correspondence on the topic of Rosebank Church between the Westies and Glenurquhart Road interesting. The correspondence came after Cllr Colin MacAulay reported back to West CC on issues they had raised with him about the building. That was in July last year. The Westies maintained an interest and, if anything, grew more concerned. They eventually wrote to the Highland Council's heritage officials. Below are links to copies of the documents arising from that correspondence. The Gurn understands that the correspondence is still ongoing and this observer would imagine that further details will come into the public domain via West Community Council's regular series of public meetings.

Letter from Nairn West CC to Highland Council  23 Oct 2013
Reply from Highland Council to Nairn West CC  27 Nov 2013
Reply from Nairn West CC to Highland Council  30 Nov 2013
Reply from Highland Council to Nairn West CC  20th Dec 2013

"Nairn when you were a Bairn" group discuss the state of the Rosebank Church

Interesting debate continuing on Facebook today as the Bairnites analyse the current state of the building and what, if anything, can be done about it. One comment reads:

"It is ultimately down to the people of Nairn - those who elect their Council representatives to make things happen -as they have done effectively with many other ventures in the past- from the railway to the allotments.....No one else is going to fix things for us......There are plenty of channels to do so - particularly NICE who were set up as a community led trust - ie run by the members who own it - ie local people ( I understand that more than 1000 plus locals signed up so many of you who live in Nairn must be among them-its an open organisation so if you haven't got involved maybe you should as it has a structure established which could bring in millions of funding which NWYWAB does not, so we should try to support it - and for info non resident locals ( like me) can join as associate members ) However nothing will happen unless we put pressure on for it to happen.... The reality is that in these times with limited public funds around folks have to work with the local authorities to be effective, sitting at home slagging them off doesn't get anywhere.."

Members of the group are also offering their condolences to the MacArthur family and leaving tributes to Ex Provost and local businessman Sammy MacArthur who sadly is no longer with us. 

Nairn River Community Council focus on anti-social driving

More on the NRCC site here.

Last night's search and rescue in Nairn - official press release

Police Scotland state:
"At approximately 16:58 hours on Wednesday 15 January 2014, police received a report about a missing 38-year-old woman from the Nairn area.

Following concerns for her wellbeing, Police Scotland co-ordinated searches in and around the Nairn area with assistance from HM Coastguard Search & Rescue teams (Inverness and Nairn), RAF Rescue 137 helicopter and the divisional police Dog Section.

The missing woman was traced at around 23:50 hours in the Firhall area of Nairn and airlifted to Raigmore Hospital where she is reported to be in a stable condition."

Missing person was located last night by RAF rescue helicopter close to River Nairn

And Coastguard search team carried missing person to the helicopter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Police search for missing person centres on riverside in Nairn

Numerous police vehicles (including dog section) were parked at different points along the riverside tonight as a helicopter hovered above the river itself. Searchlights could also be seen in the cemetery as officers combed the area looking  for a missing person. Also involved in the search are the local coastguard. 

Nairn County Chairman outlines his concerns on new SFA pyramid system

Peter Mackintosh, Chairman of Nairn County FC is quoted on the revamped Nairn County FC site:
"In welcoming in 2014, what a warm feeling of satisfaction to know that we play in a league which is the envy of Scotland, for its competitiveness, thrills and supporters enjoyment. There is simply nothing to equal it."

He then goes on to talk about the recently rejected proposal to split the Highland League into two divisions and then speaks about the possible negative consequences of ill-prepared Highland League or Lowland league teams going up to the Scottish League after the proposed play-off between the winners of the respective leagues. Peter's erudite thoughts can be read here on the NCFC site. 

Chan e eòlaiche a th’annamsa ach…

Diluain agus chaidh mi suas gu Chaladair gus faighinn a-mach dè bha a’ dol aig coinneamh CCC (Chomhairle Coimhearsnachd Chaladair). ‘S e coinneamh gu math inntinneach a bh’ann ann an aite ris an canar (dhomhsa co-dhiù) Ionad Coimhearsnachd Chaladair. Mar a thuirt mi seall air an dealbh, chan e eòlaiche a th’annamsa
ach chanainnsa rudeigin diofraichte a thaboh gràmair – aidh fhios’m nach eil mo chuid sgrìobhaidh foirfe nas motha.
‘S e pàirt den aon togalach ris an sgoil a th’anns an ionad seo agus taobh a-staigh gheibhear soidhneadh dà-chànanch. Bha mi bruidhinn le fear a tha ag obair air a’ phaipear naidheachd againn sa bhaile seo agus mhothaich e am fhacal “rùm” air doras. 
Thuirt e rium: “nach eil sin sealltainn dhut cànain ri uach bàis?” Bha e a-mach air iasad facial bhon bheurla. 
Ars mise, “tha facal eile ann, ‘seòmar’,” a dh’fhaodadh a bhith nas Gaidhealach agus chan eil fhios’m carson a tha rùm ga chleachdadh . 
As dèidh làimh smaoinich mi air agus nach ann às an fhacal fhrangais ‘chambre” a tha seòmar? Iasad eile bho linn eile nuair nach ro a’ mhòr chànan Bheurla cho làidir air a’ Ghàidhealtachd? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nairn Transport Issues: the capacity of the local road network

One of the documents submitted to the South Nairn planning appeal by the town's community councils analyses the traffic situation in Nairn. This document may interest not only serious students of South Nairn planning affairs but anyone who observes those traffic difficulties we have in Nairn may wish to take a look. A copy of "Transport Issues - the: the capacity of the local road network" is available here.

Brent Geese on Nairn West Beach - Pictures David Shaw

David Shaw counted 64 Brent Geese on the West Beach earlier today. Larger images here. 

Police appeal for information following a break-in to a premises on Forres Road, Nairn

Another break-in at the Scotmid Co-op at the Lochloy Road junction. Gurnites will remember a previous incident in November.

"Police in Nairn are appealing for information following a report of a break-in to a premises on Midmills, Forres Road in Nairn on Sunday 12 January.

The break-in is believed to have occurred at approximately 04:20 hours. A number of bottles of alcohol were reported as being stolen.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the incident and would encourage them to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court."

County Fans taking subscriptions for Club's Highland League Centenary book to be launched this summer

Fans’ spokeperson Donald Wilson told the Gurn: “Myself, Graeme Mcleod and Bill Logan have been carrying out extensive research over the past year on a book to commemorate the Centenary of NCFC. The club's roots go back to the early 1880s (so we are older than Celtic FC - quiet a remarkable thought) but it was in 1914 we were accepted into membership of the Highland League. 
This has been a major task and I am sure fans will be delighted with the final product when it is published next summer. Don't want to give away too much but there are some fantastic tales and anecdotes uncovered in our investigations and the book includes interviews with former players, managers a chronological account from the early days of the club to the present day.
We have access to fantastic mono (black and white) pictures of the earliest teams, scenes of Station Park and some superb colour photos will be made available from Des and Shirley Scholes, Donald Matheson and Kenny Macleod. All in all we hope you will enjoy the book which we hope to publish as soon after the current season ends as possible and we will have an official launch event. In terms of financing the book I don't know what the final printing costs will be until we have the pagination complete and ready for the printers but at the NCFC Supporters Ground Improvements Fund meeting a cover price of £20 in principle was agreed.” In short – the team of authors are taking names to secure an advance copy of the book.” There’s more on the Fans Ground Improvement news pages here.

Also on the Ground improvement pages, a report of the fans meeting from Graeme MacLeod, news of auctions for a signed football and a copy of the year’s accounts plus the latest bank statement. Other County news is that the official site is to be relaunched in a new format in a few days. You can also follow the County on twitter and if you have a facebook account the fans have a "We Believe!" page here.

UPDATE - BREAKING NEWS - Free Pies for a hat-trick. Ali Asher has told the County Fans:
"Something for the fans in the centenary year... For the remainder of this season at Station Park, if any Nairn player scores a hat-trick - FREE PIES for everyone! Subject to the hut still being open and until supplies of scotch pies or sausage rolls run out."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nairn Street Youth Band badly needs volunteer help

Elizabeth Elgar told the Gurn that the band badly needed help: “The Nairn Youth Street Band are desperately seeking an enthusiastic volunteer or two, for either 2 or 3 Monday's a month -  4pm -5.30pm at the Community Centre in Nairn.  Must enjoy working with youth groups aged 11-21: - they are loud, boisterous and enthusiastic but they are a brilliant group that are respectful, loyal and dedicated to the band. 

They have worked hard and play at many local events and also have performed at Belladrum, Insider Festival and the Mardi Gras in Edinburgh.  This percussion group enjoys performing but more importantly needs an extra person to be as involved as they want to be on a Monday practise session.  With most parents working or with younger siblings at home, finding dedicated and enthusiastic help has been difficult - please help us.  We will pay for any PVG that will be required and we are governed by a child protection policy to keep our Band safe. 

We welcome volunteers from all age groups over 18.  The music can be anything from Jazz to Latin American and they spend time making up their own compositions.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer, please e-mail and we will forward your contact details.

The connoisseur’s guide to reading the South Nairn planning appeal representations

The South Nairn planning appeal planning appeal will determine much about how Nairn grows in the future. As some would put it – will it be the sort of place that will grow according to a pace and suitability that its citizens determine - or will things be decided by planners and developers?
So much now rests in how it will all be determined by the Reporter appointed by the Scottish Government’s DPEA (Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals). That appeal is set to be decided by written evidence only but the town’s three Community Councils and a rival developer have called for a publicly accessible hearing where evidence can be cross examined. This observer is inclined to think that in the light of how this appeal is so important for Nairns’ future that would be a move that would be very much appreciated in Nairn. 

But in the meantime here’s a quick Gurn analysis of some of the representations made to DPEA so far. They are available on the DPEA website (details of how to get there at the bottom of this aricle)

1) Cathy Stafford’s submission focusses mainly on the planning-procedure issues, and argues pretty persuasively that the refusal-decision was properly arrived at on grounds that were justified:

2) The Nairn Residents Concern Group paper effectively addresses each of the arguments put forward by the Scotia group in their appeal-submission.

3) The initial document from Nairn’s Community Councils ensures that the Reporter has a complete picture of all the formal local objections in a full set of the various Nairn Community Council documents commenting on both incarnations of the Scotia application and on the site-masterplan drafted by the Council.  

4) Joan Noble has delivered a specific critique of the inadequacy of the Transport Assessment, as well as a swipe at the housing figures and forecasts:

5) Another document from the Community Councils -pictures on transport issues will give the Reporter a real-world understanding of the practical and physical limitations of the existing local roads and infrastructure.

6) Then there are a series of documents from individual local residents helping to make the point about local engagement and democratic decision-making.

7) The Allenby group's submission is pretty compelling too:  first, to argue that the appeal should be thrown out and declared null and void because of a string of legal/procedural points of non-compliance;  but then to argue that if the Reporter is nevertheless minded to examine the appeal, he should do so in a full hearing or enquiry where all the issues can be got out in the open and debated.

The Gurn also understands that there will be a further submission from the community councils and also representations from Gordons Sawmill. 

To access the documents online:
Unfortunately there seem to be some problems with the site just now and not every document is opening as it should but you can read most of the submissions at the moment – a lot may depend upon your browser. Another problem is that there is not a permanent link to the pages that list the documents, you have to go through the search process every time – the easiest way to do that just now is to go to this page, select Highland on the drop down authority list and once you click go the South Nairn application will be top of the list– a further click will get you there – there’s 14 pages of documents and the ones we mentioned are in the last pages. There will also of course also be material available from the appellant. DPEA have told the Gurn that they are aware of the issues on their site and working hard to correct them

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Local YES campaign announces public meeting on 1st of February

It looks very much like the local YES campaign are stepping up a gear in this referendum year. For the sake of balance are there any local NO folk with any meetings planned in the near future?
Update: Richard Laird tells the Gurn that there is also another meeting on weds 22nd Jan in the Community centre at 20.00.

Nairn 3 Fort William 0 - Pictures Donald Matheson

  Individual images here.  
Nairn County Fans Ground Improvement Fund - new page Achievements of  2013 here. 

Nairn 3 Fort William 0 - Pictures Kenny MacLeod

Individual images here.  Nairn County Fans Ground Improvement Fund - new page Achievements of  2013 here. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nairn Wedding exhibition 2014 - images

  Individual images here. 

Very busy at the Wedding Exhibition in the Community Centre

At the time of posting (2.p.m) the Wedding Exhibition in the Nairn Community and Arts Centre has another two hours to run and there is a fashion show and live music still to take place. Most of the downstairs areas of the centre were full of local businesses exhibiting their wedding services. Visually there were an amazing variety of beautifully made objects to see and many people had travelled from further afield to be at the event. The organisers were not asking where people were coming from but they said one party had come down from Lairg today to attend the event. Two images from the centre below and more later will be posted on the Gurn flickr pages. 

River CC unhappy with two planning applications in the Fishertown conservation area

Chair of River CC Tommy Hogg , speaking at the organisation’s regular monthly meeting on Wednesday night outlined several concerns he had over two recent planning applications. His reservations on the aesthetic appearance of the application for a house in Wilson Street and similar concerns re some materials and parking for another application on St Ninian Road were echoed by his colleagues and Tommy was mandated to take his Council’s concerns to the planning official dealing with the applications.

During discussion Murd Dunbar suggested that the gable end of the house in Wilson Street should be built with stone.
Tommy made reference to a house that was built in Westbury Road he said: “Look what’s happened there with that house, yet the plan, the original plan shows stone cladding.”
Area Political Leader Liz MacDonald, who was also in attendance, said: “It was shocking that one!”

The application for Wilson Street can be viewed on the Highland Council site here and likewise the one for Saint Ninian Road here

Friday, January 10, 2014

A new cemetery for Nairn by the end of the autumn

At the River Community Council meeting on Wednesday night Fred Holmes asked Liz if there was any progress on the proposed new cemetery at Granny Barbour's Road

Liz replied: “They’re negotiating going ahead to buy that bit of land and I think we’re hopeful they’ll be finished by April and we’ll vote for it and the work will be starting in the summer and it’ll be finished before the end of autumn. 

Nairn South - Community Councils to press for full local public inquiry

The Nairn South appeal by the Scotia consortium is due to be determined by the Scottish Government Reporter by written evidence only. The Gurn understands that the Nairn's three community councils (River, West and Suburban) are to write to the DPEA (Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals) and ask, in the light of their considerable concerns, that an inquiry be held locally where the various representations can be open to public cross-examination.
Earlier this week we reported how local landowner Charles Allenby (who has rival planning ambitions for the Nairn South area) had also asked through his representatives for a hearing to be held in Nairn. 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Oor Sandy on the bypass - "By the time this road is built there could be spaceships in the sky"

Sandy Park, former convener of Highland Council and affectionally referred to as "Oor Sandy" in the Gurn during the peak of his political career,  was at the back of the crowded Lethen Hall in Auldearn last night. He was in the middle of a wee throng by the door who couldn't find a seat.  The debate had run its course for almost an hour before the elder statesman of the village made an intervention. He said:

“It has been a very good meeting and I think if you wind the clock back, they’ve been trying for a bypass in Nairn since 1938. I think Gilpen summed it up very well when he said that there is a bit of political meandering going on there. We did agree in 2009 a ring road in Nairn which was at a very advanced stage, just about at the design table. It was completely wiped off the table. All the landowners on that line had been spoken to, had – they were all in agreement that that line would go there – there were absolutely no problems with it. […] I think Fergus Ewing’s e-mail summed it up to a tee, Forth Bridge, Aberdeen bypass, the whole dualling of the A9 – don’t need to say any more, this is going to be a long, long time, I think you’ll have to put your cards on the table, you’ll have to sort of say right, if there’s going to be a route, this will be our preferred route but we’d like you to come back with far more detail. How can you as a chair speak about buses, detail whatever? By the time this road is built there could be spaceships in the sky. You’ve got to put a line down and say this is the preferred line and then the important emphasis you have to put on that is the absolute detail.”

It was interesting to hear Sandy speak last night, earlier today this observer was reading some material submitted by Cathy Stafford in one of the representations to the Nairn South appeal which reflects what is stated above. What follows demonstrates that expansion of Nairn and the bypass are  two subjects that  have been joined at the hip for years. 

“The ‘review’ for the ‘southern edge of Nairn’ took place in 2006.  On the 08 August 2006 the 'Front Page' of 'The Nairnshire' had the headline, 'OPTIONS FOR NAIRN', 'Councillors to debate bypass options and population expansion'. 

The article continued into page 4 and diagrams of all 5 'Options' were shown. The article began, 'A framework for the development of south Nairn over the next three decades is predicting a population increase by between 3400 and 10,000 people, and with up to 5000 additional houses built and over 4000 jobs created...' Councillors were being encouraged to publicise the options which were to be the focus of consultation in the following month - September. Sandy Park is quoted, as the then chair of the Council's strategic planning committee, as saying, "Some tremendous work has been done by Halcrow and I think we are now seriously looking at a line for the bypass." Indeed, a proposed line for a Nairn bypass was shown on every option diagram and Councillor Park was also quoted as saying, "We must establish a bypass line and it must be an engineered line. I have supported the A96 Masterplan but before there is any development to speak of at Nairn we need a by-pass"

South Nairn appeal – lots of reading material for serious students.

The deadline for representations to the Scottish Government reporter who will determine the appeal for the South Nairn planning application has passed and several documents have appeared on the DPEA website. 
A representation from Mr Charles Allenby (he has a rival planning application for the South Nairn area) is calling for a full Public Inquiry hearing rather than simply the reporter considering written evidence – a view that will be echoed by many in Nairn who wish to see the South Nairn issue fully examined. Mr Allenby’s representatives have stated what seems to be a formidable case for the appeal to be rejected. There is also material submitted by Nairn’s Community Councils, the Resident’s Concern Group, Joan Noble, Cathy Stafford and others. 

Unfortunately there seems to be some problems with the site just now and not every document is opening as it should but you can read most of the submissions at the moment. Another problem is that there is not a permanent link to the pages that list the documents, you have to go through the search process every time – the easiest way to do that just now is to go to this page, select Highland on the drop down authority list and once you click go the South Nairn application will be top of the list – a further click will get you there – there’s 14 pages of documents and the ones we mentioned are in the last pages. There will also of course be material from the appellant. 

If any Gurnites find the time to read any of this material please share your discoveries and your thoughts here.

Nairn Wedding Exhibition is on this Saturday, 11th January, at Nairn Community & Arts Centre, 11.00am - 4.00pm

Organiser, Bobbi Urquhart,  told the Gurn that this was the second year of the event and that it had increased in size this time  round. On Saturday 35 wedding suppliers will be displaying their goods and services. Bobbi also said  that there would be free entry, a fashion show in the afternoon, live music, a free prize draw...... "the perfect place for brides-to-be  to plan their wedding," said the flower shop proprietor. 

When asked how far people traveled to the event Bobbi said that there were definitely people who came from beyond Inverness and Elgin and many of them made a day of it in Nairn, returning for the fashion show in the afternoon after heading into town for a bite to eat. Hopefully this event will once again draw a few visitors into town and once again  Nairn Community Centre demonstrates its versatility and track record when it comes to staging events and exhibitions. 

The bypass – a possibility of a route all the Community Councils can agree on

There were two meetings last night to discuss bypass routes, River CC met in the URC hall and Auldearn CC met in the Lethen Road hall out in the village. The Auldearn meeting was quite a big affair with at least a hundred people in attendance, River Community Council’s was much smaller in comparison. 
Briefly, River CC have opted for a route similar to Suburban CC’s preference: the Gurn understands that River also back the 2H option that starts at Delnies (see pages 3&4 of this document). Unlike Suburban however they are not opting for the route to Auchnacloich to rejoin the line of the existing bypass but are declining to make any preference beyond Foynesfield. Tommy Hogg and his colleagues feel that from that point onwards it is up to Auldearn Community Council to make the choice and not for River to interfere. 

Meanwhile in Auldearn the well-attended meeting was debating the merits, or more accurately the lack of them, of all the lines – the search was on for the least worst option. Roger Milton was an impressive chairman and he first allowed views on the routes south of the village and then the northern option. The potential destruction to businesses and the environment from some of the options was effectively articulated by several speakers. There seemed to be a drift towards a consensus that the existing line of the bypass was the one the that was the least damaging option -there was in fact only one person in the hall to speak against that line. Here's Roger Miltion opening the meeting:

The folk out at Auldearn last night were again at a loss to see why a dual carriageway is necessary but Roger pointed out that that was a political decision out of their hands and they had to respond to what they were presented with. There was around an hour and a half’s debate and Auldearn CC will meet again very soon to formulate their response to the bypass choices presented by Transport Scotland. We will post more details of the debate held in Auldearn when time permits. 

With both River and Suburban choosing a route that would dovetail with what may be a majority desire in Auldearn for the existing route from Auchnacloich onwards along the existing bypass then perhaps it may be easier for Transport Scotland to come up with the definitive route than some observers had originally speculated. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Police in Nairn appeal for witnesses following a break-in to "Pampered Pets"

Police are appealing for witnesses following a report of a break-in to a premises in the Nairn area. Between 18:30 hours on Tuesday 7 January 2014 and 09:45 hours on Wednesday 8 January 2014, entry was unlawfully forced into the premises known as "Pampered Pets” on Harbour Street, Nairn.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the incident and would encourage them to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Clach-mhìle Inbhir Narann "Wee County" air duilleag-lin BBC Alba

"Bidh mòran a' cuimhneachadh air 1914 anns na mìosan ri tighinn is ceud bliadhna ann bho thòisich An Cogadh Mòr.
Ann an Inbhir Narann, bithear cuideachd a' comharrachadh rudeigin car diofraichte - ceud bliadhna bho fhuair cluba ball-coise a' bhaile, Nairn County, ballrachd ann an Lìog na Gàidhealtachd.
Ged a bha sgioba Nairn County air a bhith a' cluich 'son fichead bliadhna ron a sin, 's e ceum mòr a bha seo dhan bhaile." Tuilleadh air làrach BBC Alba.

Plans to split Highland League into two divisions totally rejected by Nairn County fans

On Monday the Press and Journal broke the story of a plan to split the Highland League into two divisions:

”Highland League restructuring is on the agenda for the start of next season with plans for a competition which would see two new clubs being invited to join the other 18 teams into a two-division contest with promotion and relegation. The proposals from Keith president Sandy Stables are intended to get clubs ready for the play-offs involving Lowland League clubs which could lead to entry to League 2 of the Scottish Professional Football League at the end of next season.”

This shock announcement came as a bolt out of the blue for fans. They quickly took to the social media to denounce the idea. Nowhere was the displeasure more apparent than on the County Fans "We Believe!" site where there was a unanimous feeling expressed that the Highland League is a exciting football product that is bringing the fans back to the grass routes: for example, at the Christmas derby game with Forres at Station Park the Gurn understands there were 550 paying customers at the gate, also to be added to that are the children that get in free with an adult taking the crowd well above 600. Last night, at the Nairn Fans monthly fundraising meeting there was another unanimous denunciation of Sandy Stable's plans and the well attended gathering strongly communicated their feelings to NCFC Chairman Peter MacKintosh and Director of Football Peter Jnr who were observing the meeting and were keen to hear the fans views on the controversial proposal. 

On another fans Facebook page “Scottish Highland Football League”, one County Fan wrote:  

”I am sorry but this proposal just beggars belief. I sincerely hope on Thursday night the league representatives treat this with the utter contempt it deserves and ditch it as far out the North Sea as they can. As a football fan of the Highland League I find it insulting even that such a proposal should even be allowed to go a league meeting without clubs first having the opportunity to discuss this very important issue with their fans. This will KILL the Highland League - nine home games and that's your lot! Plus a contrived cup competition just to try and make the economics stack up.” More here. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Campaign against inflated delivery charges to the Highlands and Islands finds a focus

Anger over rip-off delivery charges to the Highlands and Islands has spilled over onto the pages of Facebook and a campaign group has attracted over 10,000 members in over 48 hours. There's a lot of people swapping notes and suggestions are being posted too. If you have a Facebook account the group is here. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

A resignation Michael doesn’t regret

In the midst of the holiday period there was some media coverage of Michael Green’s resignation from the Highland and Western Isles Joint Valuation Board. Briefly, there was an opportunity to appoint a new high heid yin at a reduced salary. Michael told the Gurn that the salary of £87,000 for the post of Assessor and Electoral Registration Officer was worth over £100K when the whole package was considered. He believed it was in the gift of the Highland Council to reduce the salary.

When asked if a reduced salary would have attracted a lesser calibre of applicant Michael replied that he was informed that there was no shortage of applicants for the job and it would probably have been the same number for a reduced salary. He said that the Council had to get its own house in order at a time when many individuals and businesses in the area are still taking their share of economic pain.

Michael also fails to see why it was necessary to fly the committee to Stornoway for a meeting with all the resultant expense on travel and meals etc, when video conferencing technology is in available. Michael sees his actions on this issue as reflecting the views of those voters that elected him. The committee voted 7-2 not to review the salary and thus Michael resigned. There will be many Gurnites who will share his view that this was a good opportunity to reduce the local government management wage bill in the Highlands.

Michael’s view is not reflected by his fellow Independent councillor Laurie Fraser however, he was quoted elsewhere: “The salary is comparable with what other officials get. He is responsible for the register of Council Tax, Business Rates and the electoral roll  - which are extremely important.”