Friday, February 28, 2014

Morton Gillespie's images of the Northern Lights from Nairn Harbour 27/02/14

Individual images here. 

Ongoing problems with phone lines at the Surgery

Nairn Patients Group state on their Facebook page this afternoon:

"Both NHS Highland and the Practice have been in touch with us about the ongoing problems with the surgery's phone lines. Apparently a number of lines on the network in that part of Nairn have been affected. BT are working on the lines and have apparently managed to solve the problem only to find it reoccurring shortly thereafter. Right now, PPG is not clear if the problem has been permanently resolved, but naturally enough both NHS and the surgery have asked BT to prioritise fixing the surgery phones and as a temporary measure calls should be diverted to Raigmore Hospital.

So, if you call the surgery, you can't get through and you're not diverted to Raigmore, CALL Raigmore and ask them to let the surgery know you're trying to contact them."

Northern lights seen in Nairn - best for at least 20 years?

A picture taken by Simon Ross last night  has appeared on Flickr and can be seen here.  There is also a remarkable picture on Tania Wallace's twitter account. If other photographers publish images later we will link to them. This observer would suggest it was the best display that he has seen for at least 20 years. Towards 10.30 p.m. last night there was a continuous arc of green light above the sea which was almost in alignment with the coast. It eventually began to widen and shimmer and treated those watching to a spell-binding display. To the west it turned red as the whole display expanded inland and simultaneously dropped lower over the Firth. It was a remarkable performance by  the aurora or as they say in Gaelic, "Na Fir-Chlis" (the dancing men).

UPDATE: -another image by Simon Ross here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Highland Council on course for a billion pounds worth of debt by 2016/17?

This observer has been looking at the documents attached to the agenda of yesterday’s Highland Council’s Finance Housing and Resources Committee and more specifically item 8 of the agenda which was a Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Statement – 2014/15. 

Below is a screenshot of page 17 of that document (click to enlarge). The capital financing requirement for 2016/17 is a real biggie at £1,013.4 million – you can see from the legend that borrowing is involved in that. 
The bottom row gives figures that seem to be pure borrowing however – “Treasury Position This indicator shows the expected borrowing position, net of investments.” An estimated figure for 2016/17 is £937.4 million. 
Figures on the page then and daunting perhaps for those not of an accounting mind. Worrying too? The Gurn today asked Councillor Michael Green what he thought of these projections. Michael told the Gurn that he was very worried and he thought the figures were “unsustainable”.

Colin votes to shut service points

Nairn Highland Cllr Colin MacAulay yesterday voted with his administration colleagues to shut 22 service points throughout the Highlands. The vote split along group lines with the SNP/Lab/Lib alliance's tally at 13 and the Indies with 9. Colin voted for the closures and Laurie voted against.   Nairn wasn’t on the hit list but Ardersier was. In a local weekly newspaper based in Leopold Street the Editor wrote in this week’s edition prior to yesterday’s vote: 

“But there is something very gung-ho about this move, suddenly announced last week. Nairn is not affected but Ardersier is. However the worrying aspect is knowing just where this may end.”  

The Independent leader on the Council later put out a message to the region’s Community Councils stating that her group would be putting a Notice of amendment to take the issue back to the next Council meeting on the 13th of March. Click read more to see what she wrote:

Nairn County Fan Jonny Gould wears club tie on Sky TV

Images from Donald Matheson who told the Gurn: "Our friend Jonny Gould was true to his word and wore our club tie on  National TV this morning. Big up to Jonny he even got a hair cut too."

Nairn Police keen to trace Auldearn 11 yr old - Update child found safe and well!


Balmakeith Industrial estate trees – Colin on the cusp of a solution?

The saga of the controversial felling of trees on the edge of the Balmakeith Industrial estate continued on Tuesday night at the Community Council meeting in Nairn Academy. Councillor Colin MacAulay told the Westies and Subbies that Council’s Forestry officer and  BEAR have a meeting on site this week and an invitation had gone to the Community Councils and Keeping Nairnshire Colourful to attend. He said: “They will feed back with what they think is feasible and a costing in terms of what can be done there.”

Earlier Murd Dunbar had contended that there had not been a continuous line of trees on the edge of the Industrial Estate and he produced images to back up his point of view. Murd is an advocate of allowing the businesses to be seen from the road and is also concerned about how maintenance of flower beds, further tree planting etc would be paid for. Boath Park resident Hamish Bain disagreed strongly with Murd on the concept that there had never been a continuous line and he was backed up by Colin who added:

“I think Murd is wrong. I think the intent was undoubtedly that the Industrial Estate should have been screened and the maintenance of that should have taken place through decades. It hasn’t happened, trees have been taken out, some were taken out ten years ago, some were taken out two years ago, some taken out more recently. I don’t think we can get back to that very quickly. I would like to replicate the opposite side of the road. Some Scottish trees in there, a mix of trees not rose beds, they do have additional maintenance but they managed to maintain the grass round the trees on the other side, there is no reason why they can’t maintain grass round trees on that side."

Nairn the place for businesses that can help with your wedding day!

Bobbi Urquhart tells the Gurn that all of the Nairn business who were finalists in the Scottish Wedding Awards won their regional category.

The businesses and categories are:

Specialist Wedding Supplier, North of Scotland Marques 

Hair /Make-Up Specialist, Eileen Solan Make Up 

Wedding Venue, The Newton hotel 

Videographer, Thistle Production

Independent Caterer DM Catering

Claim that Highland Council are slow to respond to Freedom of Information requests on South Nairn matters.

Alastair Noble, one of the Community Councillors preparing for the forthcoming South Nairn planning appeal hearing,  said at the Westies and Subbies combined CC meeting on Tuesday night: 

“One of the other issues I wanted to raise is the Freedom of Information requests, and again for the councillors' benefit, they’ve been pretty slow in responding to. And it is absolutely fundamental to some of the work that has been done in preparation for this, so anything that can be done to make sure that the Freedom of Information requests are responded to fully and quickly…”

Rosemary Young, chairing the meeting, then asked Alastair to give further details.

He said: “Remember that the planners’ advice at the South Highland Planning was that the Community Councils hadn’t objected to it and there seems to be a fair amount of doubt around some of the, what was going on between the planners and the consortia between the Nairn South meeting and the PED meeting. So there’s issues there, there’s also quite specific issues around what was going on between TEC services and the road or traffic assessment people that the consortium were employing. And it makes it very difficult if people are doing a lot of work if what we find is after we’ve done the work is that there was other information that wasn’t given to them and it would be really, really helpful, and again I emphasise this point, we are united in this and we have to make sure we get the right answer and the best answer for Nairn out of this.” 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A familiar spring-like scene for Riverside walkers

Community Councillors call for Cllr Colin MacAulay to speak at Nairn South planning hearing

Yesterday at the combined meeting of Nairn West and Suburban Community Councils Brian Stewart said:

 “There has been and there is a clear sense that the view of the community in the sense of what Nairn wants is pretty unified. There is a very broad consensus around this issue and in a way, we’re quite keen, I would have thought, to have the strongest and broadest representation possible of the local community’s views if […] If we feel the pressure, we the community councils, feel the pressure to mobilise a collective consensus and representation and to deploy that as effectively as possible. We see ourselves doing that essentially in support of the Highland Council’s stated position and it’s for that reason we feel we need to field the strongest team, or they ought to be fielding the strongest team possible in support of the debate that is to happen and we understand Liz is effectively debarred.”

Colin then said: “If I’m entitled to be there Brian, I’ll be there.” 

It was then Rosemary Young who intervened: “I’m known for plain speaking – Colin we need you there!” We haven’t got Liz because she has just put herself out of the job really, which is appalling. We need all four. The town does not…” 

Rosemary was unable to finish as Colin cut in: “I think that is unfair, there are a whole range of people who are out of the job for specific reasons…”

Just as abruptly Rosemary reintervened: “She’s got a planning thing in coming in herself. So that’s a sort of self-servicing thing, she should be representing the town because that is what she was elected to do and the town…”

Again Colin interjected: “We can all have a conflict of interest on all of the issues we deal with on the Council Rosemary.”

Rosemary replied “I’m sure we do but what we are saying is and I know because I hear this from people, we need our elected councillors to be speaking for us on the things on the things that we feel about and we don't want this.” 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nairn South planning appeal meeting " Really quite scary"

Alastair Noble speaking at the combined West and Suburban Community Council meetings earlier this evening said: 
"We all went to a meeting with the Reporter last Monday night and that, I’m going to be quite blunt about this, was really quite scary. We have a position where the whole of Nairn, the three councillors who have a say in this and the community councils, everybody else is saying we don’t want Nairn South. And the decision rests with one man who can make an arbitrary decision based on what he wants which is a quite narrow interpretation of the planning rules. So I think we have just got to be very aware that this process doesn’t strike me as very democratic and can be quite worrying. 

I’m looking at Colin now, I mean that Highland Council’s corporate position is quite clear that the councillors in their wisdom and I think quite rightly, turned this plan down. My understanding is that Michael and Laurie are speaking, and maybe we want to ask Colin why he is not speaking and how he could speak and how he could help that. But the thing that came up most clearly was the developers and the Reporter seem to be very clear that, for example, they have reached an agreement that the TEC services people from Highland Council will turn up and the reason they are turning up is that they are the local experts and they know more about roads and the roads in Nairn than anaybody else and he  must hear from there. That was countered and I think quite rightly by Highland Council’s legal advisor saying that the Highland Council are going to employ an independent transport person/planner to give an independent view which would be supportive of Highland Council’s position because what was raised by the audience was that TEC services could be seen as a hostile witness in this context. It’s getting really quite tricky to understand this and one of the things that I think that we want to discuss tonight is if the Reporter follows this line of thinking he might well ask the planners to turn up and they could again be hostile witnesses and we might need Highland Council to think seriously about having a planning person à la Sandown.”

For those that are not regular readers of the Gurn Colin is Cllr Colin MacAulay and Laurie and Michael are Cllrs Michael Green and Laurie Fraser. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Scottish Government fly in the South Nairn planning ointment? No bypass access!

Gurnites will be familiar that with the mantra that we must have a bypass to allow the development of South Nairn to go ahead. This has been enshrined in official Highland Council thinking for some years and appeared in the A96 Corridor Framework which is of 2004-6 vintage. There are those serious students of these matters that mention that South Nairn was not in the Nairnshire Local Plan of 2000 but emerged with the A96 Corridor Framework in 2004-6 and it is in this document that the concept of the bypass enabling development at South Nairn surfaces too. 

The A96 Corridor Framework says (p 17):  “Critical Issues:  The commencement of the bypass travelling from the west at Drumdivan is critical.  This will..... provide the opportunity to effectively link new growth areas.... to bring an integrated movement solution for the town as a whole.    Later on the same page, it refers to "....Expansion at Nairn South [allows] the extensions to be integrated into the town through appropriate bypass routing [and public transport provision]...." (see full text on p17 of the document here)

There are probably few in the town that did not agree with the concept that traffic for the South Nairn area in the future could come and go via a junction with a bypass should new and even existing residents wish to use such a facility. 

Yesterday we posted an article based on information from the submissions to the Highland Council’s Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan. There’s quite a lot more in that document (besides the considerable opposition that has emerged to the South Kingsteps proposal) and early into its 124 pages, there can be found a submission from a one Grainne Lennon (Page 22) and she states her ‘organisation’ as the Scottish Government – she is in fact a Holyrood senior planner. Now this is what she says:

“Comment Changes
Page 64, para 4.37: Amend the text… "Longer term development options at Nairn South are largely dependent on the provision of a vehicular access to the proposed A96 trunk road bypass” to read… “Longer term development options at Nairn South are largely dependent on developers agreeing and delivering suitable improvements to the  local road network”. Page 67, Site NA9 Nairn South (long term) table, remove the text… ‘… identifying requirement for linkages to the proposed A96 (T) bypass’ 

Previous TS comment: 
An appropriate access strategy taking into account the cumulative impact of the various development opportunities should be discussed and agreed with Transport Scotland. It would be expected that existing junctions will be used to access the proposed sites.

Additional Comment: 
The Nairn Bypass options recently presented to the public did not allow for a junction in close proximity to sites identified as NA8 and NA9. Reason - Given the policy position set out in SPP on access to the trunk road network and the alignment options and junction strategy being considered by Transport Scotland for the Nairn Bypass, the developments at Nairn South cannot be dependent upon taking access directly from the new trunk road.”

One of our regular readers who has seen the submission detailed above told the Gurn: 

“Now there are differing views as to whether, how, and where the traffic from any future development at Nairn South might come and go.  But if Transport Scotland is adamant that development at Nairn South "cannot be dependent upon taking access directly from the new trunk road" (as per Ms Lennon's comment), then this means there is no option other than for all such traffic to use Cawdor and Balblair Roads southwards (which are not intended to have junctions on to the bypass), or to take the route under the railway and through the town to get - eventually - on to the A96. 

The absolutely killer point of principle is that the original designation of Nairn South for development was based on, and contingent on, the provision of access as part of the delivery of the bypass.  If the bypass does not provide access to the site, then the rationale for its original designation for development falls away. “

The Scottish Government has stated its position – what now for the Highland Council’s  Inner Moray Firth Development Plan and the proposed designations for South Nairn? 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nairn 5 Rothes 1 More Gurn images - the Andy Neill farewell to Station Park edition

The day Conor Gethins took his goal tally up to 101 goals in 101 appearances was also the last time Andy Neill was to play in a County strip at Station Park. Last season's player of the year is moving down south and the Wee County faithful are sad to see him go, he will be missed and especially by many of the young fans. All the best for the future Andy.

Individual images here. For images by Donald Matheson, Murray MacRae, Kenny MacLeod and other Gurn images of this game go to this post here. 

Submissions to Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan reveal considerable concern over proposal for 90 houses at South Kingsteps.

Gurnites can browse the submissions received by the Highland Council for the development plan consultation held between the 1st of November and the 13th of December last year on this document here. There are heavy submissions on the like of the Showfield and south Nairn areas and other matters that have been of considerable concern to many people in Nairn over recent years and months but there are also 25 pages of (mainly) objections to the proposal for 90 houses at South Kingsteps. They can be viewed on pages 62-87 of the document. 

One submission comes from the town’s three community councils. Nairn West, River and Suburban CCs state:

"See attached composite note of jointly-agreed CC comments, in particular Section 4, headed SOUTH KINGSTEPS (NA2) – objection: development not required and not appropriate. This site should be removed from the Plan, for several reasons. “Rounding-off” the eastern margin of the town (given in the MIR as a reason for allocation) is no justification for building over the green space and watercourse of this field which have amenity value. Building housing on this field would have implications for drainage. The indicative total of 90 units is totally unacceptable. This would substantially alter the current low-density-residential character of the existing Kingsteps houses. The total of new housing elsewhere built and approved (Lochloy), likely (Delnies )  and allocated (Nairn South, Sandown, etc) renders this allocation superfluous. Access is a critical constraint. The capacity of the unclassified minor road to Brodie is limited. Access to this site through the existing Lochloy site NA5 (which itself has only one entry-point already serving some 600 houses) is inappropriate. If combined with a direct link out on to the Lochloy-Brodie road, this would create an obvious “ratrun”. This road – the sole access – leads only to an already problematic junction in Nairn, and eastward as a narrow rural road with no convenient connection to the A96. Unless and until the bypass route is confirmed and there is a vehicular linkage eastward from the Lochloy residential area on to the eventual A96 bypass, there should be no development on site NA2.”

Another comment received by the Council reads:

“Lochloy Road, through Kingsteps is a narrow road. The through traffic is made up of timber lorries, tractors, delivery vans, school buses plus the use of private vehicles from Kingsteps and beyond. Passing areas are not designated, therefore private driveways are used. Exit on to A96 from Lochloy Road at the junction at certain times results in long queues forming on Lochloy Road. This would be made worse by the addition of 90 plus more cars joining the exit to work. This would not be alleviated by the new proposed trunk road as traffic would still have to travel on Lochloy Road.”

In his representation, Laurie Fraser, himself a Highland Councillor states: 
“NA2 South Kingsteps. There should be no further housing built to the east of  Nairn until the transport links have been improved. This means a road from the A96, Balmakeith, over the railway line to link in with the current development being proposed.”

Nairn 5 Rothes 1 - pictures from Donald Matheson, Murray MacRae, Kenny MacLeod and also Gurn photographers - full County Paparrazi turn-out yesterday

Also with the County yesterday (the 101 Connor Gethins day) were The Force aka "the Retro Troopers".

Please click the read more tab for five sets of images from yesterdays games plus links to individual images

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Conor Gethins: 101 goals in 101 appearances for Nairn County - club's official picture celebrates today's remarkable milestone

Peter Mackintosh, Chairman of Nairn County Football club said this evening :

"Conor Gethins scored his hundredth goal for Nairn County at 3.17pm today in the game against Rothes FC, he followed it up with another 68 minutes into the match at 4.23pm giving him a tally of 101 goals in 101 appearances. The full time score was Nairn County 5, Rothes FC 1 - the other three goals scored by team mates Morrison, Duncanson and Leslie."  
Nairn County also released the image below to commemorate this very special occasion - click to enlarge. 

“We might want to tackle climate change but the sea routes are opening up.”

SNP Euro candidate Stephen Gethins spoke in Nairn at the YES Nairnshire meeting on Thursday night (video here). He mentioned Whiteness head and the opportunities for employment from renewables. The Scottish Government’s commitment to renewable energy needs no explanation, locally it is set to provide jobs soon if predictions are correct but it is not without its controversial side as witnessed by developments up the hill in Glenferness. 

Climate change means flooding and extreme weather for many and more of that may come as the polar ice caps melting contribute to rising sea levels. (As an aside to this there is an item on the agenda at next Tuesday’s West and Suburban CCs meeting to discuss flood prevention in Nairn both in terms of the river and the seafront.) In a way then our commitment to tackling climate change offers opportunities, going further from that should we ignore other economic opportunities that climate change offers? Stephen Gethins touched on this on Thursday night. He said, whilst talking in terms of Scotland’s competitive niche in the world:

“Climate change is something that this part of the world knows all about. Things are changing. One consequence of this , and it is something that is emerging that the Russians are really starting to open up on; is what are the consequences for the opening up of the northern sea routes and that is something that will have significant impact on towns like Nairn and this part of the world in particular and I think we need to start having a think about how do we respond to these changes as well.”

Stephen later added: 
“We might want to tackle climate change but the sea routes are opening up. Now the UK is clearly not looking at that fact. You had a Russian warship in the Moray Firth just a few weeks ago. The Defence Ministry had no idea how to respond to it. In fact it couldn’t respond to it because there were no UK ships in the vicinity. In fact on Austrian television I saw someone put up a clip of Russian sailors just a few miles from here making fun of the UK’s defence just off the coast, just off the NE coast here.”

Stephen also mentioned a few other topics linked to the EU and the Independence debate. Videos of his speech and also a question and answer session are available here and here. 

The Gurn would be interested to hear opinions from any Better Together activists locally or any NO voters out there - if you are planning any meetings too, let us know. We are not interested in publishing any of the national press releases, links etc, from either camp however, but any material spoken or created by politicians at meetings locally or anything that has a relevance to Nairnshire is welcome. What would be the impact of Independence on our community, our town, our County? Let us know your thoughts. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A chance to help Nairn Citizen's Advice Bureau by supporting their craft fair in April

There will be a craft fair in the Nairn Community Centre on Saturday the 12th of April to raise funds for the local CAB. There will also be a raffle with a wide range of prizes. To keep up to date with how you can support the Craft Fair and/or buy tickets, perhaps by participating or offering raffle prizes etc, then please keep an eye on this facebook page. The Nairn CAB does so much valuable work for the community, now in April there will be a chance for us all to support this vital service. 

"Stop the World Scotland wants to get on" Stephen Gethins speaking in Nairn Community Centre - 20/02/14

Last night (Thursday) was the third meeting of 2014 held by YES Nairnshire and featured SNP Euro candidate Stephen Gethins. It was very interesting in the light of recent comments from Jose Manuel Barruso about how he saw Scotland's chances of joining the EU, to hear a response locally from one of the SNP's Euro election contestants. Stephen, whose mother hails from Auldearn,  contends that we are all EU citizens already and there are no mechanisms in place to take that citizenship away. In his speech and the question and answer afterwards he also made several other relevant points. He didn't have it all his own way though and there was some forensic examination from one of the members of the public present. 

Here's the speech which lasted around 20 minutes. A longer Question and Answer video is still loading up onto Youtube and will be available sometime later today.

Please note we have featured details of all YES Nairnshire meetings held so far this year, if anyone is planning holding any Better Together events in Nairnshire please let us know at, we would be happy to video your meetings too.

UPDATE: The Question and Answer video with Stephen Gethins

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Millbank Primary - £50,000 conversion of the former dental unit into a Nurture Room

More on the Highland Council website.  

"Historic Forres building is cleared for community ownership"

The Forres Tolbooth is going into Community Ownership. The news website Inside Moray reports:
"Ownership of the building will now be transferred to the Trust who have already carried out extensive work on the Tolbooth, with support coming from several sources including the Budge Trust who provided a £10,000 grant."

Those 1,000 plus members of NICE will be wondering if such a generous deal will perhaps soon be on the table for the old Social Work buildings after the town centre charrette to be held by Highland Council in April. There are also those in Nairn in the past who have suggested that the Courthouse itself should be transformed into a community asset and Highland Council staff moved to the likes of Viewfield. Parallels to be considered then in this news from Moray. More on Inside Moray here. 

Westies and Subbies - first joint meeting next Tuesday (25th) will have a very full agenda - a chance to have your say too

Many topics that have made headlines in recent weeks will be discussed at the first joint meeting of Nairn West and Suburban Councils next Tuesday (25th February) at Nairn Academy. Other items that come round every year are on the list for discussion too. One of our regular readers was asking if the Westies and Subbies are now holding joint meetings should they be called the Wubbies? Anyway, if any Gurnites have any views on any of the items below then you will have a chance to go along and make your voice heard next week. Here is the agenda.

1) Welcome.
2) In Attendance / Apologies.
3) Approve Minutes for NSCC Meeting on 28th. January 2014.
Approve Minutes for NWCC Meeting on 12th. December 2013.
4) Approve Agenda.
5) Police Matters.
6) Matters Arising:- (1) Town Centre Planning Charette/Workshops.
(2) A96 & Bypass plus linkages.
(3) Nairn South Planning Appeal/Hearing.
(4) Nairn Traffic Order –Update.
(5) Community Winter Gritting.
(6) Rosebank Church (NWCC)
(7) Licensing Rules Consultation.
(8) Inner Moray Firth LDP.
7) Treasurer’s Report(s).
a) Altonburn Hotel site & Sandown Farm Lane. (NSCC)
b) Viewfield/Nairn Sports Club. (NWCC)
9) Seagull Control.
10) Flood Prevention : River & Sea.
11) Ward Councillors Report.
12) A.O.B. - 
a) Events Committee.
b) Balmakeith Trees.
c) Ward Forum Meeting.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ongoing town centre survey receives over 250 responses so far

NICE activist Joan Noble told the Gurn “The Nairn Town Centre questionnaire being facilitated by NICE has already reached over 250 responses, which is a very encouraging figure for surveys of this sort. The reason for the survey is ensure that the community's opinions are central to the Town Centre Charette being held in April.” 
She went on: “Forms have been available in the Community Centre, Library, Courthouse and some shops, as well as being handed out in the High Street and other venues and meeting points. As well as paper copies, the survey is still available on line at”
Joan finished with a plea: “So please if you haven't already filled one in, take this chance to have your say about what you'd like to see happening in Nairn town centre”

Monday, February 17, 2014

Good turnout for South Nairn pre-hearing meeting

There were around sixty people in the URC hall tonight to hear the Scottish Office reporter outline the procedures for the South Nairn planning appeal hearing. The hearing will take place on Tuesday the 22nd of April and Wednesday the 23rd of April and will conclude with a site visit. Present were several besuited folk who were no doubt present in a professional capacity; a strong contingent of Firhall residents; the Community Councils, Gordon’s Sawmill, the Nairn Concerned Residents Group and other sundry objectors. 
There were a number of technical procedural questions for the reporter, mainly from Mr Charles Allenby’s representative.

It emerged that Cllrs Michael Green and Laurie Fraser will be representing the Highland Council. The Highland Council will also be in the unenviable position of seeing both the roads official who examined the applicant’s data and recommended approval and a hired hand appearing to support the Council’s case. The Council’s legal rep had indicated that they would be using an independent traffic engineer to put their new position on the South Nairn application but the Reporter wanted to see the mannie that made the initial assessment of the developer's assessment. When you think about it would perhaps be a little bizarre if an official who had argued the other way round on the day back in September would turn up backing the new position of the Council – a position that came about because of intense public pressure. 

Joan Noble and others argued the point that it would be unfair on members of the public if the case against the development were not supported by a professional in this area. The Reporter then agreed that both the original official involved and the Council’s appointed expert for the hearing could both attend. 

All this obviously demonstrates that the Reporter wishes to know much more about the traffic assessment and other factors concerning the road network around the site. The hearing will not take the shape of the adversarial public inquiry type of event that many Gurnites will have witnessed or read about in recent years but will be more of a round table discussion. The Reporter indicated that he hoped to have a decision on the appeal by the middle of June. 

Green Campaigner Andy Wightman: – “let’s forget about Community Councils, they’re done, they’re finished”

Last Thursday  the Scottish Green Party launched their document “Renewing Local Democracy in Scotland” in Nairn at an event held in the Community Centre. In the question and answer session after the introduction by leading figures in the Scottish Greens (video here) there was a slight difference of opinion between Martha Wardrop, a Glasgow Councillor, and author and land rights campaigner Andy Wightman over the role of community councils in a potential new landscape of local democracy in Scotland.  

Many Gurnites, especially the Community Councils’ ‘usual suspects’ and many of the NICE rank and file, often exercise their thoughts on how more democracy could be restored to Nairn and, as we surmised in a pervious article, much of what the Scottish Greens outlined in the Nairn Community Centre last week would probably have been refreshing to those in the area who wish to see great changes in the way ‘local’ government is organised. Interesting then perhaps to focus on some of what was said by the Greens about Community Councils. 

Martha said: “I think it would be important to hear the views of Community Councils as part of this debate because we wouldn’t want to disenfranchise community councillors. They have an important role at the moment and many of them want to have resources to make decisions about roads, lighting, street cleansing, general park maintenance arrangements, the local High Streets. We need to take account of existing boundaries that have been established for community councils in this and whether they would be workable within the arrangement.”

Andy then said: “Let’s be clear the Green Party has its policy and views on Community Councils. In the report I argue let’s forget about Community Councils, they’re done, they’re finished. There’s an advantage of starting with that as your base and building up. The problem there is a political one. If you have to drag powers out of existing ones down to that then that’s a hard claw of a job. Also they do not have a great name, reputation, in some places they are doing fantastic work, in a lot of Scotland they are doing mediocre work. The notion that you are going to sell a new democracy on the basis of more power to Community Councils was in my view, because I wrote the report – kind of sends the wrong political message and the other thing is that in an historical context Community Councils were given as a sop in 1973. The towns were very angry that their councils were going. They wanted to keep their land, their wanted to keep their Common Good assets – they weren’t allowed to do that so they just drafted a few clauses and said: “We’ll take account of your interests. […] And then people said we still want a voice in this new district and regional authority. “We’ll give you a Community Council” and then they said well do they have any powers and “We’ll consult you”. So the very genesis of this thing was a sop.”

Previous article, including video, of the Scottish Greens high heid yins in Nairn here

Auldearn and area bypass group facebook page

Thanks to one of our regular readers for pointing us in the direction of this facebook page created by Tom Pearce. You have to be logged into Facebook to access the page but those Gurnites that do have an account and are following bypass issues may be interested. 

Tom Pearce has published the content of an e-mail from Fergus Ewing in which the MSP includes a list of questions he had for a meeting with Transport Scotland on the 30th of January. Fergus wrote in the first paragraph of that e-mail:
"Many thanks for your note. I have received many representations regarding the consultation on the proposed route of the bypass. This has engendered a great deal of concern.
Whilst there is , I believe, a strong majority in favour of a by pass of Nairn, there is much  scepticism and discontent about the manner and timing of the consultation."

Further into his correspondence he goes on to say:
"I am putting to Transport Scotland, whom I am meeting on 30th January, these points and will 
secure answers to them namely
*Have they used the most up to date maps
*Did they walk the line
*Have they had regard to individual properties on the line of the various options for the route
*Why have they not included other options, which have been previously considered, especially that 
in the enquiry of 2000."

Also on the facebook page is a complaint that Transport Scotland have not asked for permission before going onto property with their theodolites etc, More details on the Auldearn and area bypass facebook page. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nairn Library opening hours - changes from 1st of March

Existing opening hours:
Monday 10:00 - 20:00
Tuesday     10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 13:00
Thursday   10:00 - 18:00
Friday   10:00 - 20:00
Saturday 10:00 - 13:00

Opening hours from 1st March 2014:
Monday 09.30 - 19.00
Tuesday 09.30 - 17.30
Wednesday 09.30 - 13.30
Thursday 09.30 - 19.00
Friday 09.30 - 17.30
Saturday 10.00 - 13.00

Nairn businesses in the 2014 Scottish Wedding award finals

Bobbi Urquhart of the florists Big Bloomers told the Gurn that she is not a finalist in the Scottish Wedding Awards this year but once again several Nairn businesses that provide wedding services are. They are, including the categories: 

Independent Caterer of the Year, DM Catering

Specialist Wedding Supplier of the Year, North of Scotland Marques 

Hair /Make-Up Specialist of the Year, Eileen Solan Make Up 

Wedding Venue of the Year, The Newton hotel 

Videographer of the Year, Thistle Production 

Turriff 2 Nairn 3 - pictures from County Papparazi who were out in force at the Haughs yesterday

First, may we share this image of a strategically placed Turra advertising board!

Now to see images from  Kenny MacLeod and one of the Gurn photographers  please click the read more tab. PS Match report from Sean McAngus here. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Talismatic turnaround takes it at Turra

Turriff 2 Nairn 3.

The snow had conveniently melted just in advance of the County trip to the Haughs and the roads across the hilly Aberdeenshire landscapes were generally quiet. Once there the visiting fans were sanguine about an indifferent start and the first and second Turriff goals, it had the drift of the last three games about but it was a Saturday afternoon out after all and an occasion. The upstairs tier of the Turriff stand was full of smartly dressed wifies enjoying some sort of Ladies hospitality day and they made themselves heard across the park. So with some resignation the County fans endured the minutes that were left. 

Then Conor Gethins returned as a substitute and, not immediately, but after the second Turra goal, a magic ingredient returned with the talisman to bless the yellow and black shirts with an unbelievable turnaround and three goals – two of them in as many dying minutes of the game The roll of honour goes to Duncanson, Morrison and MacPhee in that order. Call it theft of three points if you like but it was an orgy of raw emotion when the third one went in. Three points in the Station Park cat burglars bag as everyone left for home – pausing for reflection on the way out with fellow fans here and there to try and analyse just exactly where it had come from – that peculiar quality that can vanish and return on a whim, that something special that gives a team something unique, something quite unquantifiable and beyond articulation – something that can lead to glory if it sticks around long enough. It was a mystical moment. 
More images later this weekend when time permits. 

Gaelic fun for bairns age 5-8 at the Wee Fèis next Saturday (22nd)

Fèis organiser Rhoda MacDonald told the Gurn:  "We are trying out a new Fèis Bheag this year, for kids
aged 5 - 8 years and  have a few spaces left. We have two fluent Gaelic speakers taking this class."

We also have a new chanter and piping class. Calum Alex Macmillan is taking this class, along with our Gaelic singing class. Also, we have a 'Come and Try' Shinty class that kids would love. All the details are online at "

Bidh a h-uile cail a tha sin a' gabhail àite san Ionad Coimhearsnachd Inbhir Narann. Gu dearbh fèin abair thusa gur e togalach iol-chomasach a th' ann. Nach buidhe sinne leis a leithid goireas againn sa bhaile seo? 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Brae Banking Blow

Santander customers in Nairn have received a letter stating that later this year the banking service provided in Nairn will stop. The letter signed by the Managing Director of Retail Distribution states:

"We are working closely with the agency to agree when it will stop providing Santander banking services and I will write to tell you again to let you know what has been agreed."

The letter also gives details of where to find the Inverness branch and reads: " Alternatively, you may find it convenient to use our Online, Telephone or Mobile Banking services. These simple and secure services offer you flexibility in how and when you choose to manage your money." 

Local government in Scotland - "Basically a regional service delivery the behest of national government"

Yesterday we posted a video of the Scottish Greens launch in Nairn of their document intended to kick-start a debate about the future form of local government in Scotland. That document Renewing Local Democracy in Scotland is available here. You can see the video here - it is long but the first 20 minutes or so is the intro (including Common Good campaigner Andy Wightman) and then there is a question and answer session, this observer asked (at 32 minutes into the video) if those in Nairn who are looking with hope towards the Scottish Government's Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill will be disappointed. The Scottish Greens seem to be pessimistic about the Bill's prospects of giving democracy back to communities. 

Much of what the Greens had to say on local democracy would probably resonate well within the ranks of the Community Council usual suspects and the NICE rank and file too. Here's just a couple of quotes from yesterday's event in Nairn Community Centre. 

"There are fundamental problems not only with local government, local democracy but with people's sense of connection to decision making right throughout our society." Patrick Harvie MSP.

"One of the most interesting things about local government in how it stands in very sharp contrast to local government across most of Europe, because the local government we have a the moment is neither local nor does it govern. It is basically a regional service delivery vehicle which delivers services at the behest of national government."  Andy Wightman

"Local government should enjoy a large amount of fiscal autonomy - and we argue in the report that at least 50% of the funds they have should be raised locally and that is the norm across Europe. " Andy Wightman. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scottish Greens high heid yins in Nairn to launch document designed to stimulate debate on future local government for Scotland.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, Glasgow Councillor Martha Wardrop and Common Good campaigner and author Andy Wightman were in Nairn Community Centre today to unveil proposals to prompt a new national debate about local government in Scotland.  The Scottish Greens see the independence referendum as giving Scots an opportunity to consider how to improve democracy on their doorstep.

This observer feels that the many serious students of controversies involving the way Nairn has been governed by Highland Council in recent years will be very interested in the proposals outlined by Patrick, Martha and Andy and in the subsequent Q and A sessions too. You might have to turn the sound on your machine up a little here and there – apologies for that – the Gurn team hope to have some better equipment available soon.

A good pause for reflection perhaps on how the problems of the democratic deficit in Nairn fit into the ongoing national debate about Scotland’s future governance.  As well as the video below, Bratach was also in situ and has posted a few images onto his flickr pages here.

State of Fishertown roads highlighted at River CC meeting - Highland Council accused of "Colonial attitude" by Andrew Purkis

Cllr Andrew Purkis quizzed Highland Councillor Colin MacAulay (the sole member of the local authority present last night in the URC hall) on the subject of road repairs, he also compared planned expenditure in Inverness with that in Nairn, he said:

"Is there any more news on any road developments around Nairn and upkeep of roads? Highland Council are spending £41 million for the extra bypass, yet we in Nairn have many substandard roads. In areas of the Fishertown there is a bare track. [...] We have been fighting for years in what is a conservation area which attracts tourists and ratepayers shouldn't have to put up with basically gravel in some of their streets. Highland Council and its colonial attitude is willing to spend 41 million in Inverness  - we can't even get 20,000 spent on the road. It's just one of these age-old niggles in Nairn that we pay plenty of rates into Highland Council, It's a cash cowboy, but we don't seem to get the roads dealt with. A conservation area is a huge attraction for tourists. They come off the front, they spend some money in town yet the upkeep by Highland Council is pitiful .

Colin responded: "There are bits that are particularly band and I think, let the Council know bits that are bad, let me know which bits that are bad...But I have to say in terms of road budget in Highland, terribly under-resourced for the whole of Highland. It is different in terms of capital budget which is developing a new road versus the maintenance budget. I think it is either one or two extra million put in last year, it'll come again this year. There will be more roads maintenance. In terms of the backlog of roads maintenance  you're talking 40 years of backlog. There's certainly more funding going into it [...] They work on a surveying basis, they pick up, they have a computer on the front of a lorry. It picks up exactly which roads are in a worse state and they address those ones first. 

Andrew replied: " This was raised I can remember when I was originally on the Community Council back in 2003 [...] Here we are, 11yrs and still nothing done..."

Colin intervened: "The budget has been boosted Andrew but it is not going to meet the requirements or the expectations..."

Leslie Boulton, chairing the meeting cut in with his thoughts: " On Radio Scotland there was a survey with a couple of taxi drivers from Glasgow and one suggested they lifted all the road humps and fill the potholes with the road humps which I thought was a good idea."

Andrew then continued: "There are two streets in Fishertown which really, basically don't even constitute a road surface any more - it is so poor!"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Police appeal in relation to reports of theft from vehicles in Lochloy area of Nairn

Police are appealing for information in relation to reports of theft from vehicles in the Lochloy area of Nairn.

Between 01:00 hours and 01:30 hours in the morning of Saturday 08 February 2014, a number of vehicles in the Lochloy Crescent and Sutors View areas of Nairn were reported as entered and property removed from within.

Police are keen to speak with two males seen in the area. One is described as 5ft 5in, medium build, wearing light or grey coloured trousers, top and hat, and black trainers, the other wearing all black.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the incident or may have seen the males in the area 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.

Still having to look to Forres for jobs in Nairn?

Can you spare a pint - blood donor session in Nairn 11th March

More information here on the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service site. 

Soidhne ur - Ionad-spòrs Inbhir Narann

Abair thusa gun do chord e rium gu mor, mor nuair a mhothaich mi soidhne da-chananach eile sa bhaile an-de. Sin thu fhein Highland Highlife, deagh shoidhne gu dearbh agus a bharrachd air sin dathan breagha na chois. Dhomhsa tha e a’ toirt meas don Ghàidhlig agus tha e sealltainn taobh eile den Ghaidhealtachd don luchd-turais. A-nis bidh iadsan eolach gu bheil cultar nas doimhne air a’ Ghaidhealtachd agus gu bheil iadsan ann an aite a tha caran diofraichte air sgath sin. Chuir mise an dealbh seo ris a’ bhuidheann Soidhnichean Gàidhlig ann an Alba a tha ri fhaicinn ann a sheo air flickr.

Police appeal for information following a report of theft from premises in Nairn

Police are appealing for information in relation to a report of theft of money from Ashers Bakery, High Street, Nairn.

Between 14:30 hours and 17:00 hours on Sunday 02 February 2014, a sum of money went missing from the front till at the bakery, which was believed to have been 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.

Nairn Police Station opening hours to increase to midnight seven days a week

From the 3rd of March Nairn police station public service counter will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. The station is currently open to the public from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. The information is contained in this Scottish Police document available on line here - (note Nairn is in the Scottish Police Force's N division). 
The changes come with comment from Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson:

"Local policing remains the bedrock of the new service. The benefits of a single service are already being felt right across the country – with national specialist resource now meaning our local community team resource is further strengthened and supported. This means all areas have access to specialist expertise and equipment whenever and wherever required, and can draw flexibly on extra officers and specialist skills when local demand requires it.

"We have listened to all the views put forward and made changes to reflect this but an effective, modern policing service must evolve to reflect the communities we serve. These changes allow us to ensure more of the right people with the right skills are available at the right time and in the right places to serve communities in a manner that reflects the way people now live their lives. The review of Public Counters has contributed to this with Police Scotland committed to maximising police officers on the street and in communities working to keep people safe and to provide the high standards of service the public expects.

"Police Scotland has introduced a range of new ways for communities to contact them, including enhanced local policing, the new 101 non-emergency number and a strong national and local online presence. Along with the telephone, this is now how most people contact the police. All divisions now have the facility for members of the public to make appointments for police officers to visit them at their convenience to report crime, accidents or other matters requiring a police response.”

From Model Shop to Trading Post?

No opening date on this sign that has appeared in the former Model Shop window but the information is quite interesting and this observer would suggest that the recycling element will be welcomed by many gurnites. If you have trouble reading the text in the image, click on it to see a slightly larger size. 

The Highland Facilitator team have produced a video explaining their work and it is available on their website here. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Third "Yes Nairnshire" public meeting of 2014 announced.

Yes Nairnshire have been quick off the mark in 2014 and have already held two meetings. Now they have realeased details of a third. The Gurn spoke to Danny Alexander recently (recording here) and he indicated that we could expect more activity from the Better Together campaign in Nairn soon but so far it is the pro-independence camp that are dominating the debate locally  this year. Click read more for details of the YES campaign's next meeting.

Local business claims to have a discreet and stylish way of dealing with doggie jobbies

With Highland Council promoting its Green Dog Walking scheme, with the tagline, leave only paw prints. One enterprising local micro business, based in Cawdor, might just have the answer to the conscientious dog walkers’ dilemma, what to do with that nasty bag of poo once you’ve cleaned up after your dog. Out in our beautiful countryside bins are not always easy to find and carrying ‘that’ bag’s an unpleasant prospect!
Jon Lane from The Little Cawdor Bag Company tells us how their product, the appropriately named Poo-Ch Bag provides a discreet alternative.

“I was fed up of walking our dogs on the beach or in the forest, cleaning up after them and then continuing my walk swinging a nasty unhygienic bag of poo in one hand” he laughs, “It’s embarrassing, unpleasant and now unnecessary”.
He approached his wife Jane, who makes bespoke Tweed handbags, and set her the task of designing a suitable bag. It had to be simple to use, practical, hygienic and discreet. After a couple of trials she came up with The Poo-Ch Bag.

The Poo-Ch Bag has two pockets to the front one for clean waste bags and one for treats. The main body of the bag is of Tweed or Tartan, whilst the inner is made of a waterproof lining into which the unpleasant filled waste bag can be placed. There is even a small scent pocket with a foam pad to enable you to hide any unpleasant odours with your favourite perfume or essential oil. Once secured using the simple, yet effective drawstring, you’re free to go. The adjustable, cross body design means both your hands are once again free to lead your dog, throw a ball etc, safe in the knowledge that the parcel you so diligently cleared up is safe and hygienically secure until you find a waste bin.

It’s so simple and with designs in tartan, Harris and Scottish Tweeds it really is the discreet and stylish way to carry dog waste on the move. They even offer a fully bespoke design service so you can make your Poo-Ch Bag unique. With sales both locally and nationally the Poo-Ch Bag is proving to be a real winner in the world of essential dog accessories.

“Our customers range from boutique pet suppliers to individuals, professional dog walkers and those looking for a unique gift for a dog owning friend, we even supply an Active Service version of the Poo-Ch Bag to Police dog handlers”!! adds Jane.   More information on the Little Cawdor Bag Company web site. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

As others see Nairn Beach

Changing treescapes of Nairn

Recently the controversial removal of trees on the industrial estate made a few waves (Gurn article here). Another more prominent tree has had its day too just below the Jubilee Bridge. Gurnites that are familiar with the river will know the  mature willow that dominated this spot until a few days ago. It took a battering in the recent storms and was obviously deemed to be a danger by the authorities. The tree was felled towards the end of last week and work continued on the clear up today. Murd Dunbar sent the Gurn the picture below.

Willow is very resistant however and very quick growing, within 3- 4 years new shoots from the base will have grown by at least 20ft. Every such felling creates an opportunity. A young larch that was growing very slowly under the cover of the willow seems to have survived the felling and can be seen in the middle of the picture. If it remains undamaged during the clean-up it too may one day reach the height of the willow in its heyday and perhaps a little bit more too. 

And now for something completely County...

More on the Fans fundraising site here. 

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Highland Cycle Ability Centre Cantray Mill - Open Day - interviews and pictures

The Gurn was today up at the Highland Cycle Ability Centre today and what a fantastic resource it is. The Kilometer long circuclar track is in a beautiful setting just along the banks of the River Nairn from the Mill itself and the other side of the bridge from the Rural Skills College. Today during the celebrations a cheque for ₤4,798 from the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh was handed over to the centre. Alastair MacGregor told the Gurn that the cash was much welcomed boost for the centre and was earmarked to buy more cycles. To find out more about the track and what goes on there listen to the two interviews below the image with Jane Harkiss and James MacGregor.  More images here including the handover of the cheque.   And here's the centre website. 

Please note we also did an interview with Alastair MacGregor but we messed the settings up on that - sorry Alastair. 

Support for Davanomore campaigners from Cairngorms National Park Authority

The Glenferness anti-wind farm campaigners will be pleased with the decision of the CNPA to object to the proposed Cairn Dhuie wind farm:

"Eleanor Mackintosh, the convener of the CNPA planning committee said: “While we understand the reason behind the planning officer’s recommendation there was a very strong feeling among members that – for many reasons – this was a windfarm too far, especially with the Dava Moor being an iconic route into and out of the Park.” "  More on the CNPA site here

Friday, February 07, 2014

Shop let on the Brae

According to the CCL Property Ltd Facebook page the property left empty when Calendonian Craft Connections flitted across the road has been let. Image here

Friday Press Review – local stories in the Inverness Courier

The Courier has published a front page article after talking to Auldearn man Tai Altman – the headline speaks for itself “Son supports parents’ tragic ‘suicide pact’ – Auldearn man spent two emotional days with devoted couple before last goodbyes.” 
The human interest story is sensitively handled and Mr Aitman gives an insight into how his parents ended their lives in the manner they wished. 

Another headline further in “Small traders get the chance to display their wares on Nairn’s High Street.” Elizabeth Elgar’s Caledonian Crafts are giving artists the chance to display and sell their products and the income she earns from the shelf space will help pay her overheads. 

There’s a picture of Tommy Hogg on the preceding page and the headline “Hospital mistook man’s heart attack and stroke for shingles”. The Courier states that he is to be discharged from Raigmore soon and quote Marion:
“His wife Marion said he had lost his sight in one eye and one side of his body was partially paralysed, but doctors believed the damage was temporary and he was expected to make a full recovery.”

Marion has also elaborated on the circumstances which led her to take Tommy to Raigmore:
“Mrs Hogg got her husband in the car and drove to the Nairn Town and County Hospital where it was thought he had shingles. But she then drove her husband to Raigmore Hospital, a difficult journey because he kept trying to open the door in his confused state.”
More in today's Inverness Courier.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

County Fans decide on next walking challenge – West Highland Way here we come!

Last year Ali Nichol and a group of his fellow Wee County fans climbed Ben Nevis and raised nearly £5,000 for the Nairn County FC Supporters Ground Improvements Fund.

In the Westerlea on Tuesday night at the regular monthly fundraisers meeting held by the fans, Ali announced the 2014 Challenge. A team of walkers, including many of the Ben Nevis veterans, are going to tackle the 98 miles of the West Highland Way over 5 days in September.

Discussions during the meeting indicated that it would cost each fan apprx £150 for accommodation along the way but tonight Ali announced on the Fans’ We Believe Facebook page that a base camp has been sourced and the walkers will return to this each night.  Ali said “We will be staying in an old farmhouse in Tyndrum near Crianlarich and returning there after each leg of the journey. We have had a very productive week with our deposit paid today for our accommodation. I have also managed to obtain a minibus for the duration of the walk thanks to Ken Finnerty of 24/7 Taxis which also comes with a driver. I’m very pleased with this as we now have a support vehicle throughout the walk.”

Places on the walk were quickly taken up but there is still a chance for anyone wishing to get involved to participate in the final leg of the Challenge. Ali continued: “Although all the five day slots are now full Heather Stevenson from Uncle Bobs has agreed to put on a bus from Nairn for anyone wishing to take part in the final 15 mile leg of the Challenge between Kinlochleven to Fort William which will take place on the 5th of September.” 

In addition to the help from 24/7 Taxis, an anonymous donation has also been made to help cover a portion of other logistical costs. Ali would also like to hear from any other businesses or individuals that would like to be associated with this walk, either through sponsorship or donations. 

The trek will not end in Fort William however – it will go all the way to Nairn with another group of sports enthusiasts taking over. More details of this will be released in due course once final arrangements have been made.  
Sponsorship forms will be available from Uncle Bob’s bar.

Nairn A&E whiteboard for patient patients

Broadhill by night

An image received late last night at the Gurn multi-media headquarters. One of our readers in Broadhill reported all the street lights out after 2300 and sent in the picture. Our correspondent is unaware of when or if they went back on as she got up after first light today. The blackout made our regular Gurnite reminisce of the plan Highland Council had to experiment with turning off every other light in Broadhill back in the winter of 2011. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Overnight repairs ongoing to walls on Station Brae

A team of workmen are busy working away tonight repairing the walls close to the railway bridge on Cawdor Road. Parts of the walls have been in a dangerous state for some time and with the occasional stone and soil falling on the path adding to the dangers facing pedestrians on this busy thoroughfare. Tonight the work continues with three-way traffic lights in place. 
Here is a picture of one section of wall that the Gurn published in February 2010 which illustrates how certain sections of the wall have been in a bad state of repair for some considerable time. 

Town centre charrette/workshop could include Harbour Street and Station areas

Speaking last week at the regular meeting of Suburban Community Council, Dick Youngson told the meeting that he had attended a pre-charette meeting with the four Highland Councillors, reps from the CCs, planners and folk from the business and tourism sectors in the town. He said that an effort would be meed to get more feedback for the initiative that will hopefully lead to regeneration and change in the centre of Nairn. He said:

"The area is the centre of Nairn, which can start at the harbour and southwards to the railway station but not crossing the railway line. The previous report two years ago was a little bit more restricted it stuck with the Gordon Street, High Street, a little bit of, or most of Leopold Street, King Street and that was really a very narrow square. It really didn't cross King Street and go into viewfield and it didn't go further south along Cawdor Roa and past the Academy Square perhaps to the station. 

We feel that it is up to all of us here to feed in information of what we think is the centre of Nairn. [...] We hope in the future actually to follow that with a series of projects all linked to it and all part of the regeneration of Nairn as the 2nd largest town in the Highland Region. This is really to improve everything: to make tourism better, to make our lives better, to make the High Street better, to make it look more colourful and attractive to tourists."  More information on the charrette here. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Nairn County Football Club Exhibition Summer 2014 – Nairn Museum appeals for photographs and memorabilia

In the summer of 2014 Nairn County Football Club celebrate the centenary of the club’s admission to the Highland Football League. However 1914 was not the beginning of the journey, County’s entry to the league was a major, but long overdue, step along the way for a small club which emerged from fairly humble beginnings to become the powerful force we see in the Highland League today.

To commemorate the journey Nairn Museum intends to hold an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia charting more than 130 years of “the beautiful game” being played in the town.

The exhibition, and a soon to be published book on the story of Nairn County F.C. (co-written by three of the club’s supporters) aims to bring the rich and largely forgotten history of our town’s senior football club to a wider audience  of supporter and non-supporter alike, and with this in mind Nairn Museum appeals to the people of the town, Nairnites further afield and the wider public to scour their lofts and attics for any old photographs or memorabilia (old football strips, boots or other items of interest) connected to ex-players, supporters or officials of Nairn County Football Club which could be displayed in the exhibition (dates to be notified).

Museum manager Yvonne Cotter and volunteer Bill Logan would like to assure potential contributors those items handed in for assessment will be handled with care and respect. Old photographs will be scanned into the museum’s archive files and the original copies returned to their owners as quickly as possible. It should also be stressed that, due to lack of storage space, in the museum, objects selected for display will only be held for the duration of the exhibition and returned soon after the close of the event.

In order to make this a truly memorable exhibition it is hoped that the public can bring to light some, forgotten until now, items for display to a wider and appreciative audience.

Please contact the Museum Manager on Tel. 01667 456791 e-mail
or Bill Logan on Tel. 01667 459496  e-mail  (AT replaces @ in those addresses to confuse spam harvesters)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Police appeal for information following a report of unusual behaviour on Nairn beach

Police are appealing to the public for information to identify a man seen at the east side of Nairn beach between 12:00 hours and 14:00 hours on Wednesday 29 January 2014, following a report of unusual behaviour.

The man is described as being caucasian, between 25-45 years of age, wearing a maroon coloured waterproof jacket with the hood up and dark trousers.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the individual 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.

Colin would like to landscape the area between A96 and the industrial estate with a mix of trees

At the regular Suburban CC meeting last Tuesday night, Rosemary Young chair of the Westies, and also present at the meeting, mentioned that she had received a telephone call from a woman concerning the felling of trees at Balmakeith Industrial estate. Dick revealed that he too had received a similar call and it concerned land half way along from the previous (controversial) pruning of some cypress trees. Dick mentioned that people who lived opposite were quite cross as they used to enjoy an uninterrupted screened view of the industrial estate. 

Rosemary asked the floor of the meeting for comment. Murd Dunbar was quick to reply: “I don’t see any problem in cutting down the trees, it’s an industrial site!” Exclaimed Murd. 

Cllr Colin MacAulay then joined the debate, he said: “I’ve had a few conversations saying exactly the same
thing Murd. They are saying that the landscaping and the trees were there for a purpose which was to absolutely screen the industrial estate from the road and I’ve got sympathy with that and I would like to landscape that area, an entrance to Nairn […] In terms of the people 30 years, more than 30 years ago I guess, were promised that the Industrial estate would be screened, the reality is over a period time it’s not been managed tightly. I’m not sure cypress trees are the most attractive to have. I’d like to see a whole mix of trees in there.”

The Gurn also understands that Colin has held preliminary talks with Keeping Nairnshire Colourful about this area of ground - KNC too would like to plant trees there.

UPDATE: As can be seen from the image inserted above the tree cutting issue spills over into a classic "anger" headline in the Leopold Street Thunderer this Tuesday (04 February morning) with planning issues being examined now. Some interesting comments coming in - see below and one Nairn resident who sees no problem with felling the Industrial Estate trees is Murd Dunbar however (see above) and he reiterated his position to the Gurn last night. He said:
"I also said that people are trying to make a living in the industrial site so let them be seen and not hidden away behind trees, cut them all down  and let people see what is on offer. Often at meetings the subject is how to get people to shop in Nairn if they don't know  what is there they will go elsewhere  it would be  helpful to have a sign as you enter with what is on offer in the site.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The floodgates were open

One of our regular readers contacted us to say he was concerned that no floodgates were in use on the lower riverside walk next to Harbour Street yesterday with a high tide that came onto the path in several places. It looks too like some debris was deposited beyond at least one of the two gate positions by yesterday's tide. The gates were not in position again today although the tide was obviously lower than yesterday but still lapping onto the path in places. Our correspondent feels the gates should be installed for even the slightest risk of flooding and wonders what the criteria are for deciding when to use them. 

Anyone lost a bike down by the river?