Friday, July 31, 2015

Gas update - temporary traffic lights on A96 for a week and no access from the trunk road into Harbour Street and High Street for 4 weeks

A post on the SGN website states:

"From Monday 3 August there will be two-way temporary traffic lights in place for approximately one week on the A96 while we are working at the junction of the A96 with Harbour Street, High Street, Bridge Street and St. Ninian Road. 

For approximately four weeks there will be no access from the A96 into Harbour Street or High Street. Traffic will also not be able to join the A96 from Harbour Street. Local diversions will be in place. 

We are sorry for inconvenience caused and would like to thank road users for their patience while we complete our essential work."

Nairn orienteering shop windows displayed on Facebook as the town prepares for tomorrow's World Championships

The Scottish Six Days event runs in tandem with the World Championships and they have been in Nairn to take some pictures of shops supporting the events tomorrow. Pictures on Facebook here. 
One of the images also in the six days tweet below.

Ashers have stepped in to feed the film crews too

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A fascinating conversation about Nairn going on right now

The facebook group "Please don't kill our town" has reached a membership of over 500 in its first week of being online. A multi-layered discussion seems to be running through many posts about what is good and what is bad about our town. 

A fascinating conversation is underway and it seems that here is a constituency that has perhaps barely been touched by all the years of town centre improvement/development meetings etc, from the likes of Highland Council, the Community Councils, NICE, NEI, ANB and a few other acronyms too perhaps over the years complete with powerpoint presentations and maps and graphs at many consultation events. 

One of our local Highland Councillors, Stephen Fuller, has made contributions to what is being said; fair play to him too he is an advocate of digital participation and so is putting into action what he preaches. This afternoon someone has posted a link to the webpage about NICE but perhaps they and all the other groups would do well to present themselves officially and test the water? It seems to be where a conversation that is relevant to people's lives is taking place. A rich seam of real time opinion available for movers and shakers to engage with if they wish. One local woman posted today:

"I've read through many posts on both this site and NWYAB and it seems that people want a committee made up of common folk to help pull Nairn up by the bootstraps... and you don't get much more common than me!!So, if any of you want to meet up in a real room (possibly with real coffee and biscuits) please let me know either by PM or on here and I'll sort something out"

If you have a facebook account "Please don't kill our town" is available here. 

NICE = Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise
NEI = Nairn Economic Initiative
ANB = Association of Nairn Businesses

Our drains correspondent asks: "Will the world's orienteers be wading through Nairn's effluent when they come to town for the Championships?"

Could some of our drains do with a quick pull through and jet blast? We had earlier posted images of drains overflowing elsewhere this week including at the top of the Links Car Park - article here and pictures of a very wet day on the Gurn's Flickr pages here. The following from the Gurn's drains correspondent:

"The heavy rains during the past 48 hours have once again overwhelmed Nairn's overloaded drainage and waste water network. Not only have there been overflows in all the usual places, but for the first time in recent memory the drain-covers on the Links cricket field were forced up by the volume of waste water.

The good news is that the pool of water seems to have drained away. The bad news is that it has left behind all the solid waste and debris, which is now spread across the field (see pics)

Cricketers might be accustomed to the phrase, "rain stopped play". But this is much more serious. Not only is the Links field a public park and recreation area used by local and holidaying families. It is also the venue for the opening ceremony and events of the World Orienteering Championships this coming weekend. Thousands of spectators and participants will be gathering on this very field, and television crews will be broadcasting the pictures to the world.

Health and safety? If the orienteers and visitors are having to run through, or step around, the waste that has been spread around the field from Scottish Water's overflowing drains, in full view of the TV cameras, some people are going to have a lot of explaining to do. The authorities have barely 24 hours to organise and complete a clean-up. The clock is ticking..... and the world will be watching. "

The world starts coming to Nairn...

...just had a blether with some of the Hong Kong orienteering team on the High Street. They are certainly looking forward to it, should be thousands more oreinteering folk here on Saturday if predictions prove correct. Should be fun - a once in a lifetime opportunity perhaps and it kicks off on the Links just as the Farmers Show will be winding down so a chance to take in both events. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Forres one step ahead of Nairn on town centre regeneration matters?

Recently we had the news that NICE had sourced 10K from the Scottish Government to take Nairn town centre plans forward.  Are folk in the neighbouring town  just 10 minutes along the A96  thinking bigger and acting faster however?

"Jump in the CARS and head for £2.9 million" is the splash in this week's Forres Gazette.

The paper goes on to say: "Businesses are being urged to sign up to the Forres CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme) project. 

It is estimated that funding totalling £2.9 million could be made available to boost the town centre, if partners come on board to make up match funding." 

More in this week's Forres Gazette, lots that will resonate with gurnites concerned about town centre affairs and worth a look, hopefully it will go online at some point. 

If Sutton Coldfield can do it...why not Nairn?

The latest newsletter from the Scottish Community Alliance popped onto the Gurn e-doormat this morning. It had a headline title "If Sutton Coldfield can do it..." We adapted that title for this article. 

Perhaps the West Midlands scenario of Sutton Coldfield voting for UDI from Birmingham is not wholly analogous with Nairn's relationship with Inverness but in the context of a democratic deficit it probably hits the same spot. 

Here's what the SCA newsletter had to say:

"Throughout all the discussions over the past couple of years about community empowerment and the debates as to what should be in and what should be left out of the Bill, the elephant in the room has been what to do about our missing tier of local democracy. The residents of Sutton Coldfield have just voted to establish a new Town Council, taking on powers previously vested with Birmingham City Council. The new Town Council will raise income through a local tax and deliver local services. Why can't that happen here?"

Why can't that happen here? A vote to see what Nairnites would like to do? We never had a vote either on whether we should have just one community council for the town - that could have been an embryonic vehicle for a re-birth of Nairn District Council.   More details about the Sutton Coldfield situation here on the SCA website. 

Real time Bus info via Google - Nairn Inverness

It can be a bit tricky getting into the bus timetables to Inverness even when you
have them bookmarked. There are two or sometimes three timetables to look at.

This observer was quite surprised by what is perhaps a new development on the Google search engine (more techy savy gurnites might know more), when you type in "buses Nairn Inverness" you get a live timetable. It even tells you when there's trains and how long you've got to get to the bus stop. Picture on the right of what it all looks like. 

Volunteers needed to assist with the World Orienteering Championship arena set-up in Nairn on Saturday morning.

Mike Rodgers of Scottish Orienteering tells us that help is still needed to set up the spectator arena for the World Championships on the Links on Saturday morning. If anyone can spare a little time the orienteers would be very grateful.

The arena build team for Saturday's sprint relay are meeting at the Links quite early with the aim of having it complete by 1100 so ideally volunteers would need to report by 0800 to Chris Huthwaite and Limelight Event Services team leader Gus McLeod down at the Links.

Mike also gave us some information that gurnites planning to observe the World Championships might find interesting:

Car Parking:
Spectator car park - Old Farmer's Showfield (Opens 1400)
Athletes car park - Maggot (Opens 1430)
Volunteers Car Park - Next to Sainsbury's (Opens 0800)

Race Arena:
Build complete by 1100
Officially "opens" at 1600 but people can come earlier
Opening Ceremony at 1645

Road Closures:
Road closures take effect from 1700

TV Previews and Live TV:
Various TV news previews on Friday
BBC Alba 1800-1925.

Orienteering theme on BBC Radio Scotland "Get it on" with Bryan Burnett 1830 tonight.

Race Start:

Expected runner changeover times:

Relay finish:
1900 approx

"Flower" ceremony
1915 (medals awarded at later stage after technical scrutiny by officials complete)

Public race:
Runners start from 1930. Courses close and roads reopen at 2130.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A solution for historic Nairnshire asks one of our readers?

One of our regular readers was up Tomintoul way and took the picture you see below. Our correspondent asks is this the way forward for Nairnshire now? Just simply an historic arrangement of the past that might be worth a note in passing or can some way be found to reinvent the County as a local government unit? It is the direction of travel perhaps if you consider the forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal bill coming from the Scottish Parliament. Indy Councillor Michael Green also wants to see a measure of self-rule returned to Nairnshire too and it may be that the new Independent administration at Highland Council may be sympathetic to calls for decision making powers to be returned to Nairnshire. Provost Laurie Fraser also wishes to see a return to something resembling the former Nairn District Council. What will it be for Nairnshire - a footnote in history or a bit of a comeback?

NICE has secured a grant of £10,000 from Scottish Government to drive the Nairn Town Centre Plan forward

From the NICE website:

"The regeneration of high streets and town centres remains a high priority for the Scottish Government. DTAS secured funding from Scottish Government for a number of pilots, and through its DTAS membership NICE has secured a grant of £10,000 from Scottish Government to drive the Town Centre Plan forward. NICE will be working with its partners to use this money to best effect, and initial meetings have taken place with a view to developing an action plan. NICE will make a further statement when this has happened. NICE is also involved in several other community initiatives, and will be making further announcements as they come to fruition."

Full article here on the NICE web pages "A Review and Update"

Liz on six women list of potential SNP candidates for Holyrood's Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency

Councillor Liz MacDonald was in Portree last night at SNP party hustings with five other women who are in the selection process to become the party's Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch candidate for the Holyrood election in May 2016.

There were several mentions of the six women on twitter this morning and after being contacted by the Gurn Liz confirmed that she had been involved in hustings recently, she told us:

"As Area Leader for Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey it is a tremendous honour to be nominated by fellow members for the selection process. If I am successful I'd build on Dave Thompson's good work, champion local issues and represent all within the constituency"

Wet start to Tuesday as heavy showers hit Nairn - Broon lagoon back at Sewage Bridge too

The wet weather was keeping pedestrians off the High Street this morning and with the brae closed to traffic there weren't many motorists around too. 

Some drains were coping with the downpour better than others and unfortunately the Sewage Bridge drain covers couldn't cope despite improvements in recent years and the Broon Lagoon reappeared on the riverside paths with a familiar odour in the air. 

A drain cover had come loose at the top of the Links Car Park too and a similar odour hung in the air there. A large pool of water had formed on the Links and if the orienters had been here today they certainly would have needed their wellies. A few more images of a wet walk around town here. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sainsbury's Nairn raise 6K plus for Sight Action

Friday, July 24, 2015

Whitebridge weight restriction Community Consultation event

A Highland Council press release:

The Highland Council is hosting a drop-in Community Consultation Meeting next Wednesday (29 July) in Cawdor Community Centre to provide people with information about the introduction of an 18 tonne weight restriction at Whitebridge. 

The Council is aware of concerns raised locally about the impact a weight restriction will have on the local economy and this will be a chance for local residents and business owners to ask questions give their feedback to proposals and provide suggestions as part of the consultation. 

White Bridge, spanning the River Nairn, is one the oldest bridges maintained by the Council and is a ‘Category A’ Listed structure. It has a humped vertical alignment and carries single file traffic in both directions, subject to traffic control signals.

The weight restriction is required following the recommendation contained within a recent structural assessment of the bridge. 

The Community Consultation event, which takes place in Cawdor Community Centre on 29 July from 3pm until 7.30pm, is the first of two such events that the Council plans to hold. 

Tracey Urry, The Highland Council’s Area Community Services Manager said: “We have given the community the reassurance that we will involve them fully and staff have worked with the Community Council over the arrangements for this drop in session next week. Poster publicising the meeting have gone up and public notices are in the local press so we hope as many people as possible manage to call in to Cawdor Community Centre between 3pm and 7.30pm to speak to us to let us know their thoughts and ideas.”

World Orienteering Championships - Live broadcast from Nairn scheduled for BBC Alba on August 1st

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nairn 0 Aberdeen Xl 3 Pictures of Bobo's testimonial from Donald Matheson, Murray MacRae, Mashy Young and Kenny MacLeod and a gurn photographer

Click read more tab to see images.

On yer bike! Tribute concert to Rev Steve Friday Aug 14th - tickets going very well - hurry to avoid disappointment

One year on - Tess the guide dog is still missing

It's a year today that guide dog Tess went missing - today we repost an article from around that time last year.

Article first published 27/07/14

Female Guide Dog Tess- went missing near the Old Cemetery along the river in Nairn around 3 p.m. on Wednesday the 23rd of July last week during play time off the harness. She had apparently gone into the river chasing ducks and has not been seen since, despite searches of the riverside and nearby areas and posters being put up in the town. She has a leather collar with tags but no harness or attachments on her. 
Were you in the riverside area around that time, this includes the Broadhill side of the river, the Jubilee Bridge and playing fields, Mill Road etc and below the A96 bridge around about 3 pm.? Did you see anything? Were you in the town centre or anywhere else in Nairn and did you see a dog matching Tess’s description – see poster below. 

Did you see anyone with a similar dog? Did you see anything unusual at all? Please think about this and ask your family, friends, neighbours and workmates if they have any information or sightings. Please check your gardens, sheds, garages and any areas nearby where a dog might be. If you have a business with a yard etc please check that.

Tess is more than a companion dog she is a working Guide dog and an important and vital part of her owner’s life. If you have any information at all it is time to come forward. There is a contact number on the poster but if you have difficulty with that number please contact the police on 101 and give them your information.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A cycling revolution in Nairn

The screen shot from Revolution Cycling gives you an idea of what the new cycling club are up to. They have a Sunday Sesh starting at 10 am from the Links car park. 

Revolution cycling have a website here and their twitter account is here.

Highland Council tick and Lyme disease leaflet

"The Highlands are a great place for getting outside and enjoying yourself, but you need to know about how to protect yourself  from tiny biting parasites known as ticks."

Download a copy of the leaflet here. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hydrotherapy pool - agreement in principle which will assure the future of the pool for a minimum of the next three years

A press release from NHS Highland:

"Following a meeting this morning with representatives from NHS Highland, Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust and Arthritis Care’s Nairn Branch an agreement has been reached in principle which will ensure the future of the Hydrotherapy Pool for, at a minimum, the next three years.

The agreement involves four partners including NHS Highland; these are Arthritis Care’s Nairn Branch, the Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust and the community of Nairn.

Jean-Pierre Sieczkarek, NHS Highland’s Area Manager, who covers Nairn, is delighted that this has been such a positive resolution for all concerned.

He said: “We’ve been able to build on last week’s positive meeting and we’re particularly pleased for the people who will benefit from the pool in the future.

“We look forward to further discussion and working with Arthritis Care and the Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust.”

A series of meetings will now be set up to look at the referral pathway and wider use of the pool by the people of Nairn and the surrounding area."

Tomorrow night at Station Park (Tues 21st) - Nairn County v Aberdeen Xl for Martin (Bobo) MacDonald's testimonial match

"The guest players for Bobo's big match against Aberdeen on Tuesday evening (kick off: 8.00 pm) are as follows:
Brian Macleod (Nairn County 2004 - 2010 North of Scotland Cup winner x2)
Duncan Jones (Nairn County 2005 - 2009 North of Scotland Cup winner x2)
David Hind (Nairn County 2009 - 2012 Highland League Cup winner)
Craig Campbell (Nairn County 2009 - 2011 Highland League Cup winner)
Steven Mackay (Nairn County 2009 - 2012 Highland League Cup winner)

A great, one-off opportunity to see these great servants to the club roll back the
years and run out at Station Park in the yellow jersey one more time on what is sure to be a special night.

Tickets available in advance from Stachan's,  Uncle Bobs Bar (all Nairn High
Street), Bridgemill Direct (Forres Road) and Westerlea Hotel (Inverness Road). 

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. A cash gate will be open at Station Park on the night but please buy in advance where possible to ease congestion at the turnstiles.

Fantastic value and a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to Bobo's magnificent service to the club over the years as well as seeing a strong Aberdeen team in action as Nairn County finalise their preparations for the 2015/16 Highland League season, which gets underway just four days later."

More details about this match here. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Paddling pool problems and a big slide replacement a possibility?

The Links playpark area came in for some scrutiny at the regular meeting of River Community Council last Wednesday night in the URC hall. Members of the watchdog organisation were very critical of the fact that the paddling pool was still closed. 

Mike Henderson led the charge, he said:

"I'm a bit disappointed about the situation with the paddling pool [...] that paddling pool should be checked at least a month before it was due to be open not the last minute."

Tommy Hogg chairing the meeting said: "It always used to be done 5th April, the new year and it was always...all the repairs were done ready for the opening and I've seen it open on the week after Easter. "

Mike Henderson then asked who was actually responsible for the paddling pool, Highlife or the Council.

Highland Councillor Liz MacDonald replied: "Highlife Highland manage it for us for the Common Good."

A little later Liz said: "It's going to take significant funds to do a proper repair on that paddling pool."

Mike responded: "why were the temporary repairs not done at Easter rather than July?" 

Tommy interjected: "It was always done when the new budgets came out at April."

Liz added: "There's a lot less staff now as well  as you know but the thing is we're going to be keeping it open for an additional three weeks. " 

The meeting did not seem to be at all impressed by Liz's new information - the impact of colder weather was mentioned. 

Mike Henderson then moved onto Big Slide territory by asking: "Are there any plans by Highland Council to reintroduce a decent-sized chute somewhere in Nairn?" 

Liz said: "We were talking about play areas today and that was on the agenda." 

Gurn opinion: 

There you have it Gurnites looks like a replacement big slide could be on the agenda. It was such a shame that so much time, effort and money was put into the the removal of the big slide and the protective brae behind it. It will be interesting to see what the eventual cost of repair of the paddling pool is (should it every happen in the current climate) in comparison to the amount of cash expended on the unpopular removal that councillors seemed to have no knowledge of until it was in progress. 

County Legends step in to help Rothes FC

Ali Nicol tells the Gurn the Wee County Legends side  will be in action again in a couple of months time to help cash-strapped Rothes:

"Pleased to confirm that we have another Nairn County legends game arranged against a Rothes Legends side. Match will take place at Mackessack park on Sunday 27th of September. I am also proposing to hold a Supporters game before the legends game (also at Mackessack park) where there will be a £20 fee to play. 

Rothes like our club previously are going through a tough time recently so all monies raised will go towards the save Rothes FC fund. 
Mark Holmes is going to take the County legends team. It would be superb if we could get a good crowd through to Speyside for the day.

Rab Mulheron was with us when we were going through a tough period in our history so let's show him why Nairn County has the best supporters in the Highland league. We've raised over 70k for our club so now we can do our bit to help out a fellow HFL club. "

Picture of the recent line up of County Legends v County Supporters sides here.

Nairn 0 Caley 1 pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nairn Saturday soccer specials - County v Caley and Saints v Inverness City

The pre-season friendlies continue with Nairn Saint Ninian welcoming Inverness City to the Showfield tomorrow - kick off 2 pm. Just over the other side of the tracks County will be taking on Inverness Caledonian Thistle at 3 pm. Those intending to see the Caley game could also take in the first half of the Saints match if they wish. Saints played really well in a 4-3 thriller against the County last night so City might have quite a game.

Plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Nairn town centre if you want to come early. 

Hydrotherapy Pool latest: Rev Stephen Manders "an outbreak of common sense"

A press release from NHS Highland:

"A meeting took place with representatives from NHS Highland, Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust and Arthritis Care’s Nairn Branch on Wednesday of this week to build on the momentum generated by the interest of local people in Nairn concerning their loss of access to the hydrotherapy pool.

Discussions have started which aim to identify possible alternatives to the withdrawal of some NHS financial support for the hydrotherapy service. 

Proposal are being worked on which would meet the objectives of each of the partner organisations, as well as maximising the health benefits of hydrotherapy for people living in the area, with a particular focus on the 20% of the population living with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

In June, NHS Highland confirmed that they had reviewed the £45,000 annual contract to the Trust and indicated the need to make some changes. The board received a petition with more than 1,300 signatures asking for the contract to be continued. The partners have now agreed that a strong business model needs to be developed to ensure the future availability of the pool for the community.

And discussions on finding a way forward were described as ‘very positive’ by Captain McGregor, Chairman of the Hydrotherapy Trust. He said: “We had a very positive meeting on Wednesday afternoon with representatives from NHS Highland and Arthritis Care Scotland. 

“We agreed how we can all work together to ensure a lasting solution for the pool. We do understand NHS Highland’s perspective and respect that but they also know how passionate we are about securing a future for the pool. I am now very confident we can do this”. 

On behalf of the local branch of Arthritis Care Rev Stephen Manders described the past 24 hours as bringing ‘an outbreak of common sense’, adding:”This is all about coming up with the best solution and to do that we all need to work together. I have seen that willingness from all partners.

“Now we need to sit round the table and agree the range of therapeutic interventions and how to fund them. Nobody is talking about reducing funding for services in the area but using some funding differently. 

“This will include what support Arthritis Care’s Nairn Branch can contribute to ensuring people with arthritis living in the area continue to receive access to this very valuable therapy.”

Jean-Pierre Sieczkarek, NHS Highland’s Area Manager, who covers Nairn, commented: “We had a really good discussion on Wednesday about the value of the hydropool, as well as creating other options. 

“I think we have got to a position that everyone understands it’s not an either or situation but need to strike the right balance of therapies. NHS Highland will support an Advisory Group to work with the Trustees on referral pathways, access to the pool and a fee structure. 

“The referral pathway will include GPs, Physiotherapists and representatives of the Hydro pool. The contribution of Rev Stephen Manders and Arthritis Care Scotland will be invaluable because it will help us arrive at, what I believe, will be an overall better solution for the future.”

Angela Donaldson-Bruce, Arthritis Care’s Scotland Director said: “We are delighted to be able to support the aspirations of our Nairn Branch to keep what is seen as a vital local service for people with arthritis in Nairn, particularly as keeping people active and supporting them to live well with their condition is one of our key objectives.”

It was confirmed that there will be a follow up meeting in the near future."

Advisory Notice - Road Closures - World Orienteering Championships 2015 Saturday 1st August in Nairn

From a World Orienteering Championships Press Release Nairn - Saturday 1 August 

"Roads in and around Fishertown in Nairn will be closed from 1700 through to 2130 on Saturday evening to ensure safety of runners. 

The car park by The Links (Cumming Street) will be closed from early Saturday morning. 

Please note - Postcards have been distributed to properties affected by the closures with a further drop planned shortly."
They also say:

 "In two weeks time the eyes of international orienteering will be firmly set on Scotland. From 31 July to 8 August (WOC2015) and the 20th edition of The Scottish 6-Days, two of the world’s most renowned orienteering events, will be staged alongside each other in the Highlands and Moray. Together they comprise the largest orienteering event ever held in the UK, and one of the largest sports events to be held in Scotland in 2015.

The WOC15 courses are bound to test the sport’s most experienced elite athletes. The Middle distance and relay races will be held in the intricate terrain and forest at Darnaway with the ‘blue riband’ long distance race held in the more mountainous terrain at Glen Affric. Nairn and Forres, offering the mixed urban landscape of roads and small alleyways mixed with parkland, ornamental gardens and community woodlands, are the perfect locations for the extremely spectator friendly urban sprint and sprint relay races.

450 of the world's best orienteer athletes from 50 nations and more than 5,000 club competitors and enthusiasts from all over the world will compete on some of the finest, yet physically and technically demanding orienteering terrain in the UK. At the end of a week of close fought and tactical racing worthy world champions in individual and team sprint, long and middle distance and relay disciplines will have been crowned. "

Tomorrow night (18/7/15) at the Community and Arts Centre - Elaine C Smith

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pre-season friendly at the Showfield - Saints 3 County 4

Match report here on the NCFC site.

Individual images here. 

John Finnie MSP visits Sandown Allotments

John Finnie MSP visited Sandown yesterday afternoon (16/07/15) and spoke to Nairn Allotment Society committee members and plotters plus students on the Highland Council's Growing towards Employment Course which is based at the society's community plots. Here's John speaking to plotter and course instructor Robert Cunningham.

The return of the Nairn Seashore Roadshow

It’s all happening in Nairn this Friday (18 July) with free seashore activities, arts and craft sessions, events and games on the Links at Nairn’s Central Beach from 11am to 4pm.

The free Seashore Roadshow is being hosted by The Highland Council Ranger Service with the support of the RSPB, and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Trust, all proud to show off how amazing our Highland Shores are. Supported with the assistance of the Highland Seashore Project, a three-year initiative to get local communities out on their shores and feel excited about our Highland Coasts. All events by the Highland Seashore Project are free; it’s all about getting people out on to the coast.

In 2013 the project worked with local community groups and the Highland Ranger Service and brought six large community Roadshows to venues around the Highlands. This year the Highland Seashore Project is working with the Highland Rangers and local Community Museums, and community initiatives to run Seashore Festivals across the Highlands in eight different venues, celebrating how the Shore has influenced local heritage and culture. Coupled with this was the demand to run the highly successful 2013 Nairn Roadshow again.

Back at the Roadshow this year is the brilliant Bob Pegg musician and storyteller, face painting, walks with marine Biologist Mike Kendall. Ardersier Boat Club will be bringing along their Skiff and a rowing machine and there will also be a chance to make sand sculptures on the beach as well giant seashore creature jigsaws and a kite making workshop. So if you want to start the weekend off well come along to Nairn and join in the fun.

To find out more about the other festivals and events please go to the project web site at go to the festivals page or the project facebook page at Highland Seashore Biodiversity Project.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Provost ready to get on his bike

Provost Laurie Fraser tells us that he will be taking his bike out to the Farmers Show on Saturday 1st August - he has responsibilities to fulfil at the Kinnudie Farm site and then has to get back into town for the World Orienteering Championships opening ceremony on the Links. 

There will be a massive influx of thousands of visitors and competitors, road closures in the Fishertown area and nearby areas to facilitate the competition and with the traffic heading away from the Nairn Show too it will obviously be very busy on the A96 and other Nairnshire roads. Laurie is convinced a bicycle will be the best method of transport to enable him to perform his civic duties in both locations. 

Signs have now gone up warning residents which roads will be closed on the 1st of August and the Links car park will be closed for a period that will stretch over three days - see image above. The Scottish 6 Days event will also be running over the period of the Championships and they warn folk that there will also be closures out at Darnaway on the 5th and 6th of August - details here. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Nairn Economic Initiative is currently advertising for a graduate under the “Adopt an Intern” scheme

Any local graduates fancy this one?

"The Nairn Economic Initiative (NEI) is seeking a graduate intern to help identify and procure funding to enable achievement of NEI’s prioritised projects and key outcomes. The key responsibilities for this role are:

• Review and collation of the current ambitions and projects outlined by key groups in Nairn including, but not limited to, Nairn Economic Initiative, Highland Council charrette, local community councils, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise.
• Assist with the identification and prioritisation of other projects that can be progressed over the short, medium and long term and projection of costs and potential sources of finance.
• Formulation of a strategic plan for NEI.
• Facilitation of the early project priorities identified by the NEI launch and other priorities of other local social enterprises such as NICE and Community Councils.
• Identifying, making applications for, and securing funding streams required to take forward NEI’s activities.
• Participate in appropriate community planning forums.
• Lead the planning process for a future HIE-funded, business-focused, facilitated strategic workshop – designed to formalise NEI’s strategic direction.
• Drafting the final report detailing deliverable projects, likely costs, suitable lead organisation(s) and potential funders"

More details and how to apply on the Adopt an intern website here.  The applications have to be in by 26th July.

Monday, July 13, 2015

An overnight 4-star stay in Nairn for Day 3 of "The Lawn Way Round" fund-raiser for Crohn's & Colitis UK

Last week it was round UK charity rowers in Nairn for an overnight stay. Today it is the turn of a team with a similar purpose but their journey is being accomplised on lawnmowers. As we publish this article, just about to enjoy a meal in the 4-star Newton Hotel are the team of Daz Whitehead, Tony Dwight and Paul Tindall who are riding Briggs and Stratton mowers around the UK to raise funds for Crohn's and Colitis UK. It was a journey of 306 miles today up the West Coast from Dumfries and along the Great Glen. More details of their fundraiser "The Lawn Way Down" here.

Hospitality is being provided in the town by the Newton Hotel after the manager Kevin Staines heard about the charity fundraiser earlier this year. The mowers were being serviced this evening by local garden machinery mechanics from W Thomson of Forres.  The charity riders will be departing at 05.30 am tomorrow for day 4 of their fund-raising mission. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nairn 0 Airdrie 4 - pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Donald has also been watching the cricket this weekend - images here. 

Also in action at Station Park with the County paparazzi was Mashy, you can see his images here. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool: "We were so dreadfully sorry and angry that the staff were put in this incredible position"

This is the third so far in a series of Gurn articles concerning the Hydrotherapy Pool campaign meeting that took place in the Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Thursday night. Friend of the Pool, Clive Murray, gave a hard-hitting speech highly critical of NHS Highland. Here's most of what he had to say: 

"Thank you Mr Chairman, good evening ladies and gentlemen, along with you and everyone else I’d rather not be here tonight. I’d rather be watching Emmerdale, happy in the knowledge that the people in Nairn who needed and wanted hydrotherapy were still being referred by their local GP to the pool for that very treatment. The Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool had a contract with NHS Highland which was due to run out, as Alastair MacGregor said, on the 31st March 2015. The contract was to do with GP referrals whereby the Nairn GPs directly referred their patients to the pool for hydrotherapy treatment – a tried and tested formula. This along with the fact that there was room for ambiguity about how many patients would receive funding if they exceeded a quota that was set by NHS Highland led to meetings taking place, as Alastair said, between October and December 2014. 

A compromise solution was agreed in writing taking matters through to the 31st of March this year. The agreement also stated that there would be consultations over a new contract between the parties and at the pool’s request this was to include the Nairn GPs; I also say the Nairn and Ardersier GPs in that, and the
Friend of the Pool, Clive Murray
pool’s hydrotherapist to take place between January and March this year: i.e. before the new financial year began on the 1st of April. When by early February 2015 we heard nothing, they contacted NHS Highland as you would imagine – who berated them for nagging and saying they, NHS Highland, would let the pool know when the consultations would take place. The pool heard nothing but continued to treat all the referrals sent by the GPs including after the 1st April. When the pool did hear and it was finally, June 19th 2015, this year in other words, it was a letter from NHS Highland saying all bets were off and they were looking at rerouting their budget allocations to the leisure and recreation arm of Highland Council. The letter was received at exactly the same time as a press release issued to the media and coincided with a phone call from the press to the pool to ask staff for comment on the bad news and all that the information implied. 

We were so dreadfully sorry and angry that the staff were put in this incredible position. We hasten to add that the media were only acting in good faith. The pool, its staff and trustees, as well as its patients and their families and their carers found the methods used by NHS Highland to be both cruel and abhorrent.”

Clive Murray then talked about how the three petitions came about separately and went on: “All three petitions have in common the main aim and purpose of persuading NHS Highland to see the folly and, dear I say, the cruelty of their ways.”

“Next to happen, or not to happen was that the trust chairman phoned Deborah Jones, the Chief Operating Officer, on the 24th of June, a Wednesday, to ask her to meet with myself, he confirmed this unanswered request by e-mail. Four reminders and re-requests later we finally got an answer from them on Thursday the 2nd July, eight days later. On Friday the 3rd of July NHS Highland issued another press release saying GP referrals for hydrotherapy would be resurrected from that day the 3rd of July until the 31st of October. We are unclear as to whether the GPs were even informed about this. We understand they were informed of another new system of referrals but not necessarily to do with hydrotherapy.

Meantime we will continue to ask for a one to one meeting with the Chief Operating Officer, to negotiate the 2015/16 contract. They have agreed to this but we still await their proposals of dates despite courteous reminders.”
Clive Murray then read an e-mail from the Chief operating officer of NHS Highland. A little later he continued:

"So that is the factual layout of what has happened or not happened and what we have had to put up with on your behalf as we try and fight to retain the contract, far less restore it once it was axed, suddenly, without consultation, on June 19th."

He then moved on to the sequence of events over the last eight months.

“I was given a full and side on view of the meetings, being in attendance at the November and December meetings, often to the resentment of those present from NHS Highland – I wonder why? I still cannot to this day fathom out the people at NHS Highland who we have had to deal with. You would expect a reasonable, if not high degree of both integrity and professionalism from them but this has been sadly lacking.

Consider the following which disproves any excuse that any shortcomings, might have been one-offs; on the contrary they seemed to have turned obstruction, betrayal and obfuscation into art forms. The highlights or should I say the low lights have been the broken promises to consult; the dismissal and disdain shown to us when we asked when this might actually occur; the passing of the new financial year which started on the 1st of April without any contact, far less contract and the final and devastating act of issuing a press release, which again I repeat the media dealt with in perfectly good faith; and that simply axing of the contract and without NHS Highland even checking that the trust had received a copy of this letter and giving them, the trust, the opportunity to talk to members of staff. This was followed by the insult of announcing a resurrection of referrals from the rest of July to October without, it is our understanding, necessarily telling the GPs this was happening. Again it was a press release that was their chosen form of communication.”

“[...] It has been a cocktail of bullying, deception and low standards. It needs to be addressed by the very top and it is exceeding disappointing that he Chief Executive does not seem to think that this whole scandalous matter is important enough for her to attend tonight to listen and to explain.

I have seen members or friends of the trust who were cajoled and sneered at with highly appointed, and not doubt highly paid, senior executives looking over their glasses and peering down their noses at them. I have lots of dealings with market organisations who have bullied or betrayed their customers or the people that they are there to serve; whether it has been banks, energy supply companies or in this case NHS Highland. They all seem to have one thing in common, this unshakeable and totally self-persuading notion that might is right – nothing could be further from the truth The people of Nairn, the wonderful people of Nairn, town and County, and the surrounding areas, whether ill, injured, infirm or incapacitated; whether patients, relatives, friends, carers or members of staff deserve better than this and I pledge to do everything within my power and ability to try and help a safe and working future for the pool including through its NHS contract. So here’s to the future and the next 30 years.

In conclusion I’d like to say I’m proud to be a friend of the pool, determined to help in any way I can to get this contract resurrected in a fair way and to an appropriate level. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.”

Nairn 0 Airdrie 4 - pictures from Kenny MacLeod

Individual images here. Match report here.

Nairn 1 Ross County 2 - pictures from Weds 8th July from Donald Matheson

 Individual images here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nairn 1 Ross County 2 - images from Kenny MacLeod

Pictures from Kenny of a very creditable performance by the home side at Station Park on Wednesday night against a Scottish Premiership side.

Individual images here.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"We must ensure that if a patient’s GP considers they need hydrotherapy then they must be allowed to have it.” Alastair MacGregor - article 2

No 2 in a series of Gurn articles from tonight's Hydrotherapy Pool campaign meeting (09/07/2015) First article here. 

Alastair MacGregor, the chairman of the Hydrotherapy Trust opened the meeting. He said that a number of apologies had been received (including MSPs) he said that the number of apologies were so extensive that he didn’t mention them all. He went on to say that NHS Highland had declined their invitation which was rather sad. 

He started with a brief history of the pool:

“Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust operates the Nairn Hydroptherapy Pool, obviously on everyone’s behalf here who use it and the trust is a registered charity. It’s a resident independent charity, we’re not beholden to the NHS or anybody else and it was set up by the community of Nairn in 1984 and 1985. That trust was set up to build and run the Hydrotherapy Pool in the area for the benefit of Nairn and everybody in the Highlands because that was something that did not exist at the time in 1984 and 85. 

That’s its history, it’s a totally independent organisation. It relies on people using it and obviously we welcome those to the hydrotherapy pool from the doctors, the GPs and NHS Highland. I’m sure a lot of you would rather not be here tonight, having to show to NHS Highland not only that the pool is a great asset to the area but also that it is something that many, many pool uses cannot do without. NHS Highland really must recognise patients needs and care and that should be NHS Highland’s prime priority. (applause). 

It is very sad that I have to confirm that the previous contract with NHS
Alastair MacGregor
Highland which enabled the GPs to refer patients directly to the Hydrotherapy Pool for this special treatment was not renewed [...]NHS Highland, as you will hear later on, were far too busy to meet us between December 2014 and the first of April 2015. We tried but we never succeeded in getting meetings with them. Last December, my wife Jan and myself, and trustees of the pool and Mr Clive Murray here, we attended several meetings with NHS Highland and the Chief Operating Officer, Deborah Jones. We asked for and she confirmed in writing that we would be consulted between January and March 2015 about a new contract to run from the 1st of April 2015 when the existing one ran out. Unfortunately despite our best efforts no such consultation ever took place. NHS Highland then made a unilateral decision that has a very serious effect on patient needs and care. And here we are today with one task and that is to ensure that NHS Highland do not stop patients getting much needed hydrotherapy through their GPs. We must ensure that if a patient’s GP considers they need hydrotherapy then they must be allowed to have it.”

Alistair then invited Clive Murray, a friend of the pool, to expand on the background leading up to the meeting.

Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign steps up a gear after huge turn-out at public meeting - article 1

The outrage, bewilderment and anger that were expressed across the community with the NHS press release informing the world that they had instructed Nairn GPs to no longer refer patients to the Hydrotherapy Pool reached a public plateau tonight. Such were the strong feelings expressed there is no doubt in this observer’s mind that Nairnshire Citizens go much, much further in their desire to protect a healthcare resource that has come to be embedded into the very fabric of the town’s psyche. The desire to right what all see as a major wrong committed by the NHS bureaucracy was paramount, it flowed down from the packed ranks of the tiered seating in the main hall of the Community and Arts Centre tonight – it is in the very ether of this town – a community is united in its disgust. There was incredulity expressed by all those who spoke that NHS Highland could possibly contemplate such a destructive and foolish move against an asset that, due to the success of its remarkable service, must have saved the NHS and society in general a massive amount of money over the years. We hope to bring you some of the statements made over the next few days. 

The NHS may have started to backtrack given its more recent statement but that has come too late for them; in Nairn an outraged community has become energised and empowered and is on the warpath. The high heid yins of NHS Highland are in their sights and things will not settle until the future of patient referrals to the Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool is assured with a new contract. 

A few more details from the massive meeting held in the main hall of the Community and Arts Centre as and when time permits. There was a good turnout from the mainstream press tonight, in addition to the Nairnshire Telegraph the P&J and the Inverness Courier were also present.

Cllr Liz MacDonald, one of many people who spoke earlier tonight

Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool and withdrawal of NHS funding - public meeting tonight Thursday 9th July at 7 pm in Nairn Community & Arts Centre

"A public meeting will be held on Thursday 9th July at 7 pm in Nairn Community & Arts Centre concerning NHS withdrawal of funds to Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool."

There is  facebook page for this event - any Gurnites who wish to show their support for the Pool by attending the meeting can publicise this even via the social network. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Auldearn CC minutes from meeting held on the 1st July

Click the read more tab to see the minutes of the meeting of Auldearn CC held on 1st July 2015

Auldearn Community Council to object to Blackpark wind turbine

The text of the Auldearn CC objection is as follows:

"Auldearn Community Council held a public meeting to discuss this application on Wednesday 1st July 2015 and would like to respond as follows :

The size of the proposed turbine would make it a very obvious and substantially scaled and solid mechanical construction in an area without any constructions of similar type or scale in an agricultural landscape.

When viewed from the Househill, River Park or Balmakeith Park areas of Nairn and other individual dwellings closer to the site, it will have significant impact on the visual amenity , particularly given that it would stand roughly 3 times higher than the mature trees that lie to the east and south of the site. The height difference would make the turbine more obvious than usual, given that the rotating blades would crest the skyline from the most populous viewpoints.

The proximity to nearby dwellings, and proposed dwellings, must bring into question issues of noise and shadow flicker.

The proposed site is very close to the adopted route of the proposed Nairn Bypass, the exact line of which is presently being engineered. Given the importance of and the capital expenditure involved in this major trunk road development, it would seem irresponsible to consider the application until the engineered bypass line was fixed and the road orders placed.

In view of the above points, Auldearn Community Council objects to this application."

"Thèid sinn sìos dhan Lot a-màireach… We’re going down to the Allotment…"

Cròileagan Inbhir Narainn at Nairn Allotments - excellent pictures of the young gaelic learners on the Cala blog here. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"The Grigor Lido" - "A vision for Nairn's Tourist future ...again" A game-changer for Nairn?

Gurnites might have seen the recent front page spread in the Nairnshire detailing Iain Bruce's vision for a tourism game-changing facility in Nairn. 

The full document in which Iain outlines how we could potentially transform Nairn as a holiday destination is 8 pages long and is available here. 

Make yourself a cup of tea or pour a dram and give it a read. Is this the way we should go to transform the tourist industry in Nairn or at least to transform the debate in the first instance? The first few paragraphs below to perhaps hook a few more casual readers in for a browse. We would be delighted to hear the thoughts of Gurnshire on Iain's work so far. 

"This paper has evolved from a re-reading of Iain Fairweather's seminal piece Nairn 2020 : Brigadoon or a Jewel in the Scottish Crown, the subsequent Nairn Partnership's draft document “NAIRN REVISITED”: A Tourism Strategy (fourth draft March 2009) and the apparent absence of progress in the intervening period.

The paper takes as its starting point the Partnership's tenet that:

"tourism is, and has to remain, central to the economy and prosperity of Nairn. It follows that all development planning for Nairn must be compatible with, and contribute to, this tourism-promotion objective: to enhance and improve the town of Nairn as an urban centre which is attractive to visitors as well as residents, which has the capacity – in terms of infrastructure – to meet their expectations,
which offers the prospect of employment and (retail) business, and which can deliver appropriate facilities and services."

In developing the strategy, the Partnership undertook a comprehensive and necessary analysis of the issues, however this paper argues for a giant leap in both imagination and ambition to bring about a solution that fulfils the aspirations of both the Fairweather paper and subsequent document whilst simultaneously providing the context in which to refine the 'road map' set out
in March 2009.

The proposal in nothing less than the Grigor Lido@Nairn ©. The Thermae Spa in Bath is the only hot  mineral spring spa in the UK, and is the unashamed paradigm for this vision of the future of Nairn's tourist industry. Reopened in 2006 following a tortuous and protracted redevelopment, the facilities are owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council and operated by the Thermae Development Company and have proved a considerable success despite problems during the development programme. In the absence of a local source of mineral rich hot springs however, the Nairn vision is to combine the spa concept with the well established curative effects of seawater, albeit of variable temperatures in different pools.

The Grigor Lido@Nairn© is a combination of spa baths and seawater baths in a derivative on the Stonehaven model but combining a free flowing unheated seawater lagoon at the base with uncovered sea water pools of varying temps at intermediate levels. The principal floor would house the steam rooms each infused with aromatic essence as at the Thermae Spa. In addition the Lido would offer, the unique Grigor experience© which would replicate sea air charged with healthy negative ions which accelerate the body's ability to absorb oxygen and also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. And to provide a comparative experience, the steam rooms would be augmented with a suite of Turkish baths, Russian banya and Finnish sauna."

Highland Council attempting to buy the Library building on Nairn High Street

At last week’s meeting of Suburban Community Council the town centre plan was discussed. Brian Stewart said that he thought Council official Scot Delgarno had said that he would “try and identify possible sources of funding, whether it is government funding or grant funding or European funding or whatever, but to try and relate specific aims of the town centre regeneration, specific project ideas to potential sources of funding and/or delivery.” 

Murd Dunbar raised the issue of the privately owned car parking area behind the library building. He thought that when the lease comes up for renewal that the Highland Council would no longer be prepared to pay for providing free car parking for this area of the town centre. 

Brian Stewart said: “this will be an interesting one for our elected councillors Murd, they are the ones that are going to have to decide how to spend the Council’s money and if they decide to not to spend the council’s money on re-leasing the library and/or the car park then I suspect there will be a local reaction because parking seems to be a matter that is very sensitive for this town.”

Liz (highland Councillor Liz MacDonald) then confirmed that the two leases had been separated and that they certainly would be keeping the library in the present building. She hoped that they would keep the car park as well and when asked about the figures for the leases she replied that she thought it was about £13,000 for the car park but she was reluctant to give more figures as they might have been wrong. She said she would provide accurate figures after the meeting. 

Liz went on to say: “Officers have actually been trying to buy the building because it’s very expensive to lease” She added that they were negotiating with the owner. 

Gurn opinion:

Gurnites will not have failed to notice that Highland Council have to make cuts of £46 million in the next three financial years – and there’s more coming down the line perhaps depending on tomorrow’s Westminster budget. Will an attempt to purchase the library building (if the owner is cooperative) make it under the wire before the cuts apocalypse starts? What too for Highland Highlife that provide the library service in the High Street at the moment? They are presently very happy in the building it seems but in two to three years just what will be left of them and the service they provide. Times are looking very difficult and it is a pity that the building was not purchased several years ago when the cash was still flowing. And then we have the lease for a car park – will there be a temptation to introduce parking charges in some or all of Nairn to recoup some of the cost of that?

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dick and Tommy in favour of £12 million Balmakeith retail development

Quoted in an article by local journalist Iain Ramage on the P&J website today are Dick Youngson Chair of Nairn Suburban CC and Tommy Hogg, his opposite number on River CC. 

Suburban Community Council chairman Dick Youngson said: “We’re all for it, but a little disappointed Lidl aren’t coming in.”

Tommy Hogg, of River Community Council, said: “I know there is some resistance among high street traders, but I think this is badly needed and can only do good for the town.”

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Nairn West CC annual report/secretary's review - a very good read for those with an interst in local affairs.

Last week on Tuesday night in the Community and Arts Centre, Secretary of the Westies, Brian Stewart, delivered what will have been the last annual report of that organisation - In November the West CC and Suburban will merge to form a new organisation. Brian's report is a comprehensive document that will be of interest to many Gurnites and is well worth the trouble of taking the time to read a few headlines etc below but the full document is available here.  

The headlines are 

· Success at the Nairn South Planning Appeal
· Some progress on regeneration plans for the Town Centre
· Cautious optimism on the prospects for the Bypass
· Much still to be done on changing the approach to development planning 
· Agreement on West/Suburban CC merger proposal
· Local discontent over management of amenities and services
· Serious challenges ahead as budget cutbacks affect public services

And the Key issues for the coming year are likely to include:

· A possible further round of debate on the prospects for development of Nairn South;
· Related discussion about the medium and long-term future of the Sandown Land;
· Further discussion of other development sites proposed in the IMFLDP;
· The impact of the Bypass – assuming the Transport Scotland scheme makes progress;
· Further scrutiny of the management of Nairn ‘s Common Good;
· The management and implementation of forthcoming – and severe – budget cuts;
· The effectiveness of new community empowerment arrangements (eg new Area Committee)
...... and of course the usual hardy perennials of seagulls, dog-poo, A96 traffic congestion, etc!

Read the full report here.   Quite a lot of stuff was also discussed at the Subbies and Westies regular meetings on Tuesday night - we hope to look at some of that over the next day or two.