Monday, August 31, 2015

Missing cat Kingsteps area

Have you seen "Whisper"? If you have any information that could help Whisper's owner David Cox who lives in the Kingsteps area of Nairn please contact the Gurn on and we can forward the details. 

Temporary 10th set of traffic lights again for Nairn for Monday evening rush hour

Another set of lights appeared today at the Duncan Drive junction of the A96 - a cable of some kind is to be laid across the road and the work will be completed tonight. 

Again it is a question of timing that is exercising the minds of some Nairn residents out there in social media land tonight. The lights appeared in the afternoon and were in operation for the rush hour - not much rush at all tonight. It all goes to show that since the powers that be swamped us with traffic lights with money extracted from Sainsbury's (money that could have done interesting things in the town centre) it only needs another unexpected factor in the mix to cause chaos. 

Does the political will exist to test removing some of the lights and/or implementing a roundabout or two to ease things? Or do we have to wait for a bypass - best guess 3-5 years if funding can be found and anyone has a serious review of what the experts have deemed suitable for us?

The temporary 3-way lights at Duncan Drive this evening
Thanks to Donald M for the picture. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nairn County launch new media service

The County website states:

"LAST week saw the launch of the official Nairn County FC Facebook page with the first full, live match day coverage coming from yesterday’s game against Buckie Thistle.

The page can be found at and provides supporters with updates on all they need to know from Station Park.

The importance of the supporters and keeping them informed is recognised at the highest level of the club and we will endeavour to keep everyone up to speed with all developments and news which may be of interest through our official website at our Twitter feed @nairncounty_fc and on the new Facebook page so that all fans can keep up the speed in the digital age."  More here. 

Nairn 1 Buckie 2 Pictures from Donald Matheson and Kenny MacLeod

Disappointment for the County faithful yesterday as a good run came to an end at Station Park. Match report here. 

Donald Matheson's images

Individual images here. 

Kenny MacLeod's images

Individual images here

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Red Kites illegally killed in Highlands

"including the first breeding female Nairnshire has seen for decades." More on the Inverness Courier site here.

Cantray Park hot food delivery service for the elderly in Croy, Galacantry, Cawdor and Ardersier areas

Cantray Park - the social enterprise arm of Cantraybridge College - has just started a pilot hot food delivery service for 20 older people in the Croy, Galcantray, Cawdor and Ardersier area. 

This 3 days a week service (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) is for older people
who are housebound/have been recently discharged from hospital, or who don't find it easy to manage making meals.

Cantray Park grow their own produce and use eggs from their own hens. The Cantray Park cafe chef prepares the food and it is delivered by college students/Social Enterprise Team.
Hot soup and a scone or roll and a small cake is £2.15

Hot baked potato or hot quiche and a small cake is £2.50

This pilot runs until March 2016 when the service will be assessed to see if it is viable and whether it can be provided without grant assistance.

For further information, please contact Ian Larg or Sarah Burton on 01667 493500

Cycling provision on the A96 bypass

On Tuesday night at the Community Council meetings the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists on some of the minor roads around Nairn was discussed. Hopefully the increasing amounts of "rat-run" traffic that causes the danger would disappear once the bypass is built. 

But what about the bypass and the opportunity this gives to create new routes for cyclists? The official national cycle route to Inverness takes you up into the Cawdor hills and a 26 mile plus route to Invereness. If we are to get a bypass and dual carriageway to Inverness then that is an opportuinty to create an additional route that would be more practical and encourage more people to cycle all or part of the route to Inverness on a regular basis.  

Yesterday there were plenty of suits on hand in the Commmunity and arts centre to meet and greet citizens who wanted to get the latest information on the bypass route and there was certainly no shortage of folk with concerns or otherwise generally interested in the project. 

One of the project staff told this observer that no decision had been taken on cycling provision yet but it would be integral to the project. It may mean dedicated cycling lanes beside the bypass or putting cyclists onto the old A96 or even the creation of a new but detached route. Time for local cyclists to pay attention as this project goes forward and cycling provision comes under the microscope? The project team can be contacted at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Next thing you know that mannie Boswell will be gurning on Tripadvisor

Sewage System Stirs Subbies

There was mention of problems in Nairn’s sewage system once again at the meeting of the Nairn Suburban Community Council at Nairn Academy on Tuesday night. Chair Dick Youngson said:

“I had two communications today, one is about sewage and the dreadful smells that are on the High Street and down the brae from sewage.” He went on to say that the High Street can be quite revolting at times with the smell of sewage and something had to be done. Dick added: “these blockages just haven’t been cleared and there are lots of other sites.”

Graham Kerr of West CC, who was also present, told the meeting: “It’s probably widespread throughout the town with these heavy downpours we are getting these drains just can’t cope.” He suggested the town’s three CCs go to Scottish Water with their complaints and Dick agreed. 

Later, during the West CC meeting, Brian Stewart (Secretary of the Westies) said: “We talked at previous meetings about sewage and drainage problems, bad smells on the High Street and the brown lagoon down by the Merryton Bridge. It is also worth noting that on the evening before the Orienteering World Championships, the manhole cover on the Links blew and the content of the sewers were spilt over the Links. 

Brian went onto say that there was no shortage of evidence and it wasn’t something that was acceptable.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Aurora "Dancing in the night" time lapse video as seen from Nairn by photographer Graeme Whipps

A couple of astonishing time lapse videos from photographer Graeme Whipps

Graeme has a website where his Aurora images can be purchased here.

Anyone got anything oven ready for town centre regeneration? There's suddenly a pot of cash available but deadline is 29 September

Last night there was a lot on the agendas of both the Subbies and Westies Community Council meetings at Nairn Academy. Towards the end of the meeting there was discussion of the current situation concerning town centre regeneration plans. 

Michael Green was optimistic and mentioned Highland Council official Scott Delgarno's ongoing role. Graham Kerr of the Westies indicated all was well too from a NICE perspective. There was no mention of a "bolt out of the blue" funding scheme that is now doing the rounds of town centre regeneration players having digitally materialised this morning via Council sources after a being launched by the Scottish Government yesterday

After being alerted by one of our correspondents we have had a wee browse of the information on the Scottish Government Website. There are conditions attached of course but under a heading "How much is available": 

"£1.7 million capital funding is available from August 2015 and must be committed by March 2016. Eligible community groups can bid for grants from £20k to a maximum £150k per capital project. Depending on volume and quality of applications, we may also consider offering amounts out-with these limits, by exception."

Time for any community group that might consider itself eligible to quickly go and read the information on the Scottish Government's website! More information here for those interested -  Town Centre Communities Capital Fund - all revealed in the Word documents linked in the sidebar on that page. 

You'll have to be quick though the deadline for applications is the 29th of September. The sudden appearance of this funding has prompted one of our regular correspondents to have a wee gurn:

"There really seems to be no sensible arrangement for such funding. It seems to be one extreme or the other. Either you get an appallingly complicated, elaborate and laborious process such as the LEADER scheme involving Steering Groups, Local Action Plans and Expressions of Interest which is very daunting to people and takes months, if not years; or you get this rabbit-out-of-hat stuff saying 'bid within four weeks' (just like the Streetscape was a last-minute off the shelf wheeze, and arguably the slide/playpark equipment was also a short-notice "lets's blow some leftover money" plan)."

"This is a crazy way to administer a grant scheme: announce it on 25 August, and expect applications by 29 September! Seems to be typical of Government and Council schemes: short notice invitations, likely kneejerk responses, no time for sensible planning, no opportunity to develop project plans."

Points worthy of serious reflection but important to get the information out there now to organisations in the community who just might have the bare bones of something that would earn Nairn a 20-150K slice of the action.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Nairn Squash Doubles Tournament

Nairn Sports Club started the 2015/2016 Squash Season with a bang holding a Doubles Tournament at the Club on 16th August. It was very well attended with twelve doubles teams taking part, the vast majority of players coming from the large junior section at the club. Doubles has become a firm favourite after the Commonwealth Games with the young players to the point where they have invented an exceedingly enjoyable and competitive game called 'Two Bounce'. This means that the ball is in play for up to two bounces in a rally, at first glance it would seem to make it easier to play but in reality it means that rallies go on for longer and actually scoring a point becomes more and more difficult. 

There were two competitions, a traditional One Bounce tournament plus a Two Bounce Tournament. Each one was played in a system of four Divisions of three teams to a Division with the winners of each Division playing in the finals. There was fierce competition with the junior players performing well against their senior opponents. 

In the Two Bounce the 3rd Place playoff was won by Ben Booker Millburn and Ross Donnachie and the 2nd Place playoff won by Angus Baker and Garry
Tournament Winners Harry Jack and David Massey
McKay. In the final, Harry Jack and David Massey (a wild card player from Inverness) faced the highly rated Harry Barron and Lewis Barnard from Nairn. There were some long rallies but the teamwork and determination of Jack and Massey meant they defeated their opponents 2-1. 

The One Bounce saw Fraser Weller and Paul MacDonald take the 3rd Place Playoff with Euan Dawson and his Grandfather Arthur Masson deservedly taking the 2nd Place playoff. The Final was a repeat of the 2 Bounce with Harry Barron and Lewis Barnard again facing Harry Jack and David Massey. This match was a much tighter affair with both teams being equally matched, Barron and Barnard initially benefited from high speed, hard hitting tactics but in the end, again, the teamwork and accurate play, especially on the backhand wall, of Jack and Massey saw them deserving winners. 

Doubles Squash is not a popular sport in Scotland but Nairn is bucking the trend and the use of the 'Karakal Big Ball' for the Two Bounce version making it a much easier game to learn and take up. The Sports Club has all the required equipment and is keen to help players start the sport, the contact number is 01667 454523.

Liz going forward for the selection process to choose SNP List MSP candidates

If you are an SNP supporter your second vote in next May's Holyrood election could be for Liz if she is selected by SNP party members to be one of the list nominations on the second ballot.
Liz was recently on the all woman short list for the SNP constituency nomination to contest the  Skye, Badenoch and Lochaber Scottish Parliamentary seat. It was apparently a very talented contest and the eventual choice to represent the party in that Highland seat was a young Dingwall woman Katie Forbes.  Liz also gave Drew Hendry a very close run in the selection for the Westminster nomination in a series of hustings that attracted large crowds of SNP members. 

Also standing for selection to the SNP list is another Highland councillor who Gurnites may be familiar with - Richard Laird, who was nominated earlier this month by the Moray SNP branch. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ziran’s “improved retail scheme" for Balmakeith - what two of our councillors had to say at the planning meeting last week

Back in July we published details of Ziran’s latest proposals for Balmakeith, they said they will bring national retail names to Nairn - details in this previous Gurn article here. The full plans are not before Highland Council for discussion yet but on Tuesday last week the South Planning Committee met at Glenurquhart Road to discuss the “Proposal of Application Notice”.

Michael Green told his colleagues: “Just a couple of points and it’s when the application comes forward I would like to see robust evidence on the sustainability of this development. That comes from two sort of fears that I have. One: as is well known there is an excess of somewhere between 20 and 25% capacity of out of town shopping which has been declared redundant. And secondly: on the week that Amazon Fresh announced that they are going to be launching into the grocery market which will change the landscape for all players, I’d like to see these factors taken into account and to prove the sustainability of their proposal. "

Provost Laurie Fraser said: “I’d just want to cover the point of over-provision, I know in retail it is not allowed to be considered but the plan is outwith the [...] it’s outside the town centre first principle and outside an area of development, recognised development so therefore I would ask if the question of overprovision should be looked at as well because if you over provide for something you just cause more and more empty premises and there is a point at which these stores cannot trade."

Nairn Healthcare Group news August


Nairn Healthcare would like to extend a big thank you to Tracey Paterson and Aileen Bain, our two administrators, who have recently been recognised for their
long service to the Practice. Both Tracey and Aileen started out as receptionists at Lodgehill Clinic in 1988 and 1989 respectively. They are pictured rightwith Senior Partner, Dr Calum Macaulay.

We are also delighted to welcome Kate and Alison, our new receptionists. Plus a new Practice Nurse, Hayley Shepherd, will be joining the Practice in September. Hayley will be available to carry out all the usual nursing procedures and will also be assisting GPs with specialised clinics and supporting the duty doctor.

NHG Statistics - Nursing apppointments June

Over the month of June, our three nurses and four healthcare assistants saw 2,458 patients. They also dealt with 253 telephone consultations and 46 home visits to patients who are unable to attend the surgery. Our healthcare assistants also assist the GP with minor surgery, vasectomies and other specialised clinics.

Routine asthma, diabetic checks, ear syringing, cervical smear tests, childhoods immunisations, injections and blood tests are just some of the duties undertaken by our nursing team and we look forward to Hayley joining the team in September.

New Website

Nairn Healthcare is hoping to have their new website up and running by mid-October. In the meantime, we encourage patients to use our current website for updates about the Practice, self-help advice and general information about the surgery. Repeat prescriptions can also be ordered via the website. Please visit


Our flu campaign will be starting again at the end of September/start of October. Please keep an eye on our website, the reception desk and local pharmacies for more information nearer the time.

If you are 65 or over or fall into one of the “at risk” categories, you are eligible for a flu vaccination.

If your child is between 2-5 years of age, they are eligible for the childhood flu nasal spray. Children aged 6 months – 2 years that fall into any of the “at risk” categories also qualify. Children over the age of 5 will be vaccinated in school.


All patients aged 65 and over qualify for the pneumococcal vaccine. This is only given once, so if you have already had this vaccine, you will not require it again.


All babies born after 01/05/2015 will be eligible for the Men B vaccine. Vaccines will be administered at ages 2 months, 4 months and a follow –up booster between 12-13 months. The GP can this discuss further at the baby’s routine 6-8 week check. 


In recent years, there has been a large increase in cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by MenW across the UK. In response to this, it has been recommended that all school leavers should be immunised to help protect them from this life threatening infection. The vaccine recommended provides protection against diseases caused by MenW but also three other types (A, C and Y). It is called the MenACWY vaccine.

This vaccine will be replacing the Men C vaccine. It will be offered to all patients under 25 who have not had the Men C vaccine since the age of 10.


Patient born between 02/09/1944 - 01/09/1945 (aged 70) and also those born 02/09/1936 – 01/09/1937 (aged 78) are eligible for the shingles vaccine.

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau welcomes new suitability rules for the Pension Wise guidance service

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau has today welcomed news that the Pension Wise guidance service is now to be made available to people aged 50 and over. This means that many more holders of Defined Contribution pension schemes can now book an appointment to receive phone or face to face guidance on the range of choices now available since the introduction of the new ‘pension freedoms’ in April 2015.

Melinda Macdonald, local Pension Wise Guidance Specialist, said:

- “Until now, we’ve only been able to offer guidance appointments to people approaching 55. That’s been great for those people about to make decisions about how they are going to access their pension pots. I’m delighted that we’re now able to offer the same guidance service to people aged 50 and over. Many of us want to plan ahead, and receiving information about pension options can be a really useful part of that planning process.”

- “Since April 2015 people have been able to access their pension as they wish. You can now buy an annuity (a guaranteed, regular income), or take all your pension out in one go as cash, or withdraw it bit by bit and leave the rest of it invested. You can usually take out 25% of your pension tax free. For everything else you withdraw, it will be added together with any other income you have in that year and taxed at your marginal rate. 

- It’s important to be aware of the tax implications of any decision you make as well as watching out for any charges. Take your time to shop around for the best deal.”

Anyone aged 50 or over with a Defined Contribution pension scheme who wants to arrange a face to face guidance appointment should contact Melinda Macdonald on 01667 456677, or alternatively, just call into the Citizens Advice Bureau at 6 High St Nairn. You can also book a telephone appointment by calling 0300 330 1001.

Rothes 0 Nairn 3 Pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gas Network upgrade starting Nairn High Street on 7th September for approx 21 weeks

In a leaflet issued to local residents SGN state:

"We are investing £150, 000 to upgrade the gas network in High Street in Nairn.

This essential work involves the replacement of old, metal gas mains with new plastic pipe to ensure a continued safe and reliable gas supply.

Following discussions with the Highland Council, the work will start on Monday 7 September and will take approximately 21 weeks to complete"

You can see how the work will be phased and how long each section will take on a copy of the information leaflet in PDF format here. 

Sunday Splash - Duck Race from Jubilee to A96 bridge

Fun scenes as the ducks raced to the finish this morning on the River Nairn. Race was organised by the Nairn branch of the Royal British Legion in aid of the Erskine Hospital and the Nepal Appeal. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fergus reselected as SNP candidate for Holyrood next May

Fergus Ewing will be the SNP's candidate for the Constituency ballot once again, he was selected earlier today at a meeting of Inverness and Nairn SNP activists, he said afterwards on twitter : "It is an absolute honour to be unanimously endorsed by #Inverness and #Nairn Constituency Association today."

Please read wee Layla Jade's story about how the Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow helped her mum and dad when she was seriously ill

A young local family are trying to raise funds for an organisation that helped them so much at a very stressful time when wee Layla Jade was seriously ill. 

Here through the eyes of Layla Jade is the story so far: 

"Over the next few months my family are organising events to raise money for Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow, this is my story.

I was born with gastroschisis at 37 weeks - my bowels had escaped through a hole in my abdomen while my Mummy was pregnant. 

Just a few hours after I was born the Special Care Baby Team had to take me away from my parents by ambulance from Glasgow Southern General to Yorkhill Hospital. My bowels were put in a special bag called a silo which was suspended above me, gravity slowly helped them back to where they were meant to be. At 6 days old I had an operation, the last few inches of bowel were gently pushed inside my tummy and the hole was closed. My umbilical cord was saved when I was born so I now have a designer belly button rather than a large scar. After my wound had healed a little I finally got my first cuddles with my Mummy and Daddy. (Don't tell them this, but I think they enjoyed them more than me!)

I experienced my first taste of milk when I was ten days old, it was only 5ml every two hours to start with, I thought it was so amazing I kept crying for more! I wasn't allowed to feed before my operation; or more often afterwards; as there was a risk my bowels wouldn't be able to cope. Sometimes I was so tired the nurses or my Mummy had to put my milk down a nasal-gastric tube instead so I wouldn't be going hungry. I really didn't like these NG tubes and got pretty good at pulling them out- my record was 6 in 24 hours! I also had a Picc line going into one of my veins to ensure I was receiving enough nutrients and fluid to keep me healthy. 

After 13 days in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit I was transferred to a general surgical ward as I was recovering well; my consultant even said I was breaking records with my progress!! 

I was taking a little bit more milk each day and was upgraded from a syringe to a bottle, just like any normal baby. The first time I was so excited I managed to guzzle it all within 20 seconds! I was gaining weight and managing to take milk well without vomiting so I finally had my lines and tubes taken out. This also meant I could have a bath at long last and wear clothes properly rather than having one arm poking out the neck of an outfit. 

Once I was up to 84ml and maintaining this amount each time my Mummy was allowed to stay overnight with me in the ward before sending me home. 

At exactly 1 month old, I was discharged from Yorkhill hospital to go home with my Mummy and Daddy!! 

At three months old I took unwell, Mummy and Daddy took me to hospital where they did lots of tests and I was diagnosed with Pneumonia and Acute Bacterial Endocarditis - an infection on the tricuspid valve in my heart. I was taken by ambulance to Glasgow to get looked after by paediatric cardiologists
in the new Royal Hospital for Children. I had at least one new cannula inserted nearly every day as they would stop working, but I needed the medicine to get better. After a few days to build up my strength I went to theatre and was put under general anaesthetic so my consultant could put in a Hickman line. This is a small catheter that goes in to a vein near my collar bone. The Infection Control Team said I would need a total of 6 weeks of IV antibiotics to treat the infection on my heart valve. 

During my time in Glasgow I had several scans done of my heart and countless blood tests. After what seemed like an age, the doctors were then happy enough with my progress and I was stable enough that I could return to Raigmore hospital, where I could be closer to home. I still have half of my treatment to complete but each day is a day closer to getting home with my Mummy and Daddy.

During both admissions while I was being cared for by doctors and nurses in Glasgow, Ronald McDonald House looked after my Mummy and Daddy; less than 10 minutes away from my bedside. They gave my parents somewhere secure to stay where they could cook, sleep and wash for NO cost. 

Ronald McDonald is a charity that survives on donations and provides families with a 'home from home'. Having me poorly in hospital is tough enough without having the added stress and financial hardship of being away from home and work for a long period of time. 

Please help me to say thank you to such a wonderful charity.Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page. "

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Whitebridge - good vibrations at last?

Latest from Cawdor direction:

Both Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council and the Whitebridge Support Group, were pleased to see the bridge replacement positively discussed at The Planning and Infrastructure meeting this morning.

The issue continues to be of major concern both local business users, and the town of Nairn.

Town and Country Councillors put forward our case very strongly. The project will now be put onto the agenda for the Planning, Infrastructure and Community Development meeting in Early November 2015.

Councillors are due to give an update to the Whitebridge Support group later this week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sandy Park to lead newly formed WhiteBridge Community Support Group

Whitebridge – B9090 Cawdor to Clephanton River Nairn Crossing
Proposed 18T Weight Limit and Replacement Bridge Crossing

Following the Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council meeting on Monday evening, members of the local community have now set up the Whitebridge Community Support Group with the aim of offering a means of communication between the Council and the community, as well as assisting the Council in any way they can to facilitate the building of a new bridge. Sandy Park, former Convenor of the Highland Council, has agreed to lead the Group.

The group aim to liaise with Council representatives and business users of the bridge, as well as all the Nairnshire Community Councils, given the massive impact the proposed 18 Tonne weight limit is going to have on not only in the Cawdor area, but also the town of Nairn with a view to getting the replacement bridge on to the Capital Budget Programme for 2016/17.

The Whitebridge Community Support Group will also be engaging with The Design and infrastructure team, and looking to produce a business Plan for submission to Highland Council.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vacancy caused by Rev Steve's departure - exclusive Gurn picture of interviews

One of our regular correspondents captured this image earlier today as two of the candidates on the short list nervously waited their turn to be called to the interview room.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A farewell to Stephen Manders

He's not quite away yet but last night (Friday 14th) the "On Yer Bike" farewell concert took place. It was a sell-out and a very emotional affair especially when Stephen said a few words at the end of the show. For him his time with us has been very much a two-way experience. The deep and abiding bond he has formed with the community found expression in the Community and Arts Centre as the event unfolded.

 We did our best in the light conditions and hope some of the pictures do justice to what was an extraordinary night. Cheerio for now Stephen and all the best for the new job in Edinburgh.

Saturday night e-protest in action "lets support the Nairn showies. Urge the council to cut rates"

Another e-petition hits the digital ether around Nairn. More details here. 

Meanwhile despite misgivings by some on social media who feel that Labour List MSP David Stewart is using the situation to gain himself some much needed attention the politicitian's traffic lights petition continues to gather signatures and comments. 

What is remarkable is that almost half of those who have signed the traffic lights petition have also made a comment. Here is one of the latest to be posted:

"As a Nairnite who has been away from the town for some years I am nothing short of embarrassed by the appalling impression the constant traffic jams in our once welcoming wee town, must make on first time visitors who will likely never return -why don't we just put a big SORRY sign up at both ends of the town and be done with it..... More seriously I suggest some kind of study is commissioned on the economic losses to tourism and local businesses this summer so that something is learned from this chaos and it never happens again... The cost to locals and visitors of lost time and missed appointments due to the recent gas works lights debacle at bottom of High Street should be totalled up- I personally know of at least half dozen people late for work, meetings and appointments ( including hospital ones ) between Elgin and Inverness - and thats just in one week- and send the bill to Highland Council and those responsible for the Gas infrastructure works. No one would get a penny most likely but it might force a bit more joined up thinking about the negative impacts when public works are carried out without proper local engagement and consultation."

Pipe bands leave the games to march back to the High Street - video

Thursday 27th August - Opportunity to meet the A96 Nairn Bypass design team

A transport Scotland Press Release

As the design work for the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme continues, locals are to get a chance to meet the people designing the route.

Two “Meet the team” events are being held later this month in Culloden and Nairn when representatives from Transport Scotland’s A96 Dualling team and their design consultants, including the Stakeholder Co-ordinator, will be available to answer questions on the design and assessment work being carried out on the preferred option for the scheme which was announced last October.

‪Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said:

‪“The Scottish Government has given a clear commitment to dual the A96 which will see delivery of around 88 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, a huge task but one we are relishing.

‪“Dualling the A96 requires careful, in-depth planning and design so that we deliver the right scheme and help tackle congestion, make journey times more reliable and, crucially, improve road safety.

Have a great Games day Gurnshire

It's a bit dreich this morning but the forecast for midday and going on into the afternoon and early evening is more optimistic. Have a good one gurnites. 

Fantastic music, craic and emotional scenes at the farewell concert for the Rev Steve last night in the Community Centre. A couple of images later this weekend when we get a moment or two. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strathspey 1 Nairn 2 - Nairn go through to the North Cup semis - pictures from Donald Matheson

Strathspey looked good up at Grantown last night but in the end Nairn played two stunning get out of jail cards. Match report here. 

Individual images here. 

Another day, another mention about Nairn traffic lights from David Stewart MSP - he also sets up a petition to the Scottish Government

On his initial post about traffic lights which has attracted considerable comment from local residents the MSP adds this morning:

" I have read all the posts and I have set up an i-petition at which hopefully many people will sign.I will continue to keep you posted. I am also doing an interview for the BBC this morning on this issue."

His petition states: "We call on the Scottish Government to take action over the traffic chaos that is currently taking place in Nairn which has resulted from changes in traffic management that have resulted from the number of junctions controlled by traffic lights rising from four to eight ; and we observe that this has seen drivers travelling along the A96 through Nairn opt to take a de- tour along the back road between Auldearn and Culloden Moor, trebling the amount of traffic on a road that is not fit for such a volume of traffic and is thus creating a road safety issue; and that has been exacerbated by gas mains work being carried out at Harbour Street, High Street, Bridge Street and St Ninian Road junction on the A96 last week, all taking place during daylight hours when a more would have been a more efficient and effective time frame to carry out the work could have been sought; and that in light of the assessment that it may be a couple of years before work begins on dualling the A96 by 2030, with the Inverness to Nairn stretch, including the Nairn Bypass, we further call on the Scottish Government to provide solutions to the traffic jams now, and not in a few years’ time; and that this requires a proper look at the current traffic management systems."

The MSP's petition can be signed or commented on here. 

Free Microchipping from Dogs Trust at Links Car Park 2-4 Saturday 22nd August

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nairnshire Challenge organisers want to know what you think

The following has been posted on the Nairnshire Challenge Facebook page:

"While all entrants enjoy the Challenge, the number of entrants has been steadily dropping. There is probably no single reason, but factors include the sheer number of events around these days, including - of course - the Highland Cross, with which we clash because of the need to keep clear of the grouse breeding season.

We welcome your ideas and advice. Should we change the route and move the date earlier in the year (back to May)? How about changing the whole nature of the event? Maybe run the event every other year? Please let us know what you think."

  You can do that here if you are a facebooker.

List MSP speaks out on Nairn Traffic Lights issue

David Stewart, a Labour MSP, states on his facebook account that Nairn shouldn't have to wait for a bypass before the traffic lights issue is sorted:

"The fact is that we need to come up with a solution to the horrendous traffic jams in Nairn now, not in a few years time and a proper look at the traffic management systems is required. I will be writing to the Transport Minister asking him to look at this issue as a matter of priority because the situation has now become so bad that traffic has almost trebled on the back road between Auldearn and Culloden Moor, which is a road that is not really fit for that amount of traffic, so we have a road safety issue here as well."

More here on the Labour MSP's facebook page and all the latest anti-traffic lights craic on the "Remove Nairn Traffic Lights" pages.   A page that could become essential reading for all candidates for Holyrood in May 2016?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

White Bridge replacement could commence late 2016 says Council official

The menacing black cloud that obscured the entire length of the Black Isle and beyond as far up the Moray Firth as the eye could see last night moved south just as the meeting in the Cawdor Community Centre got underway. It wasn’t long before windows had to be shut to keep out the noise of the heavy rain and wind that was competing with the voices of those eager to debate the future of the White Bridge and all the myriad of road traffic issues that spin out from the impending problem. 

Out on the B9090 itself huge puddles were forming that would exercise the driving skills of those leaving the meeting later. Perhaps there are issues with drainage on parts of the road or maybe there is just nothing that can be done at some locations when such heavy rains fall. At least it wasn’t during the peak period of the day when many, many drivers habitually now take the unofficial bypass route to avoid even the normal traffic light delays in Nairn let alone the 45 minute queues that temporary traffic lights for roadworks can bring about; add into this the forthcoming weight restriction on the White Bridge and you have the perfect traffic storm looming and not just a passing one on a summer’s evening.

The Cawdor Communtiy Council meeting was well attended by residents, former Convenor Sandy Park was there, Cawdor estate reps and in addition to the Nairn Councillors, Kate Stephen and Roddy Balfour had made their way once again to Cawdor and the Highland Council’s Roads official John Taylor was also present to answer questions. 

He started by outlining how the consultation process so far had proceeded and explained what would happen next. He mentioned the meeting in the Cawdor Hall on the 30th of July to take on routing concerns. He revealed that there had also been a meeting with Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland to discuss the implications for traffic on the A96 and they have asked that the Highland Council provide a traffic assessment. It emerged that they are looking at a possible structural assessment of the Howford Bridge before the end of August which would dictate whether a loading assessment would be required. 

Lord Cawdor at this point asked: “What does that actually mean?”

John Taylor responded: “Well I’m not a structural engineer; they will decide whether the bridge is satisfactory to take any significant additional loading.” 

He added that it all looked fine at the moment but that was not the Council’s preferred option and he indicated that they wanted to put rerouted traffic that would not be able to use the White Bridge down into Nairn on the A939. 

John stated that the next part of the consultation process was a further open day on the 26th of August. He added:

“I think there is a request from the committee to potentially put that back pending possible acceleration of the project but I’m not sure that that really is going to be an option. We’re not quite sure when we get a definite answer on where the project sits in the capital programme.”

He went on to say that they were aware of the sensitivity and importance of the bridge and the matter was to be raised at the next Development and Infrastructure committee meeting on the 19th of August. The Council were currently working on options and solutions and there was the very beginning of a design report where lines and options were being assessed. It was not altogether simple however as there were some environmental and service/utility issues at the bridge. It was anticipated that fuller info would be presented at the next Development and Infrastructure meeting on the 4th of November. John Taylor went on:

“And if acceleration of the project is recommended and agreed, and I have to say if because there is a number of competing schemes in, then subject to member agreement and statutory consents then agreed the replacement could commence late 2016.”

John Taylor’s brief presentation set the stage for quite a number of questions from the floor of the meeting. More from the evening's events when time permits.

The Highlands and Islands need rent controls – John Finnie MSP

"The Highlands and Islands is an expensive place to live. You probably know that our big distances mean higher transport costs, and our wilder weather means bigger fuel bills. You could probably guess that our workers’ wages are well below those in the central belt. But it might come as more of a surprise to learn that rents in the Highlands and Islands are well above the Scottish average, and rising faster than anywhere but Glasgow." 

National Allotment week - Nairn plotter gets a mention

"Garden Organic celebrates National Allotment Week by showcasing members' allotments."  A Nairn organic plotter gets a mention.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Missing Tortoise Boathpark Nairn - reward for her return

3 year old tortoise called Wobbles is missing. It was last seen in Hamish and Veronica's garden in Boathpark. Reward for her return.

Veronica tells us : "we are offering a large reward for its safe and happy return.If anyone finds it please call 01667456431."

Deveronvale 1 Nairn 4 Pictures from Mashy Young and Kenny MacLeod

Mashy's pictures

Individual images here.

Kenny's pictures

Individual images here.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Another video for the powers that be to file under "Nairn needs a bypass!"

Here's the sunny Sunday gas main special

A quiet day for Roadworks on the A96 in Nairn? Pictures

Tailbacks have been building up all morning in the town as the gas main works got underway. An interesting contrast here between the West tailback and the East end of town. The first picture was taken around 13.00 and the other out by Sainsbury's about 20 minutes later. Maybe a lot more folk were taking the unofficial bypass or perhaps the temporary lights were a little kinder on those coming our way from the east? We did hear of a tailback well past the roundabout earlier however. More later. 

The tailback stretches to the  turn-off to the Delnies caravan site around 13.00 today Sunday 9th August

The Sainsbury's roundabout at about 13.20 Sunday 9th August. The tailback was beyond the railway bridge and just across the Grantown Rd set of lights - considerably less than out towards Inverness

Road works in Nairn - From the horse's mouth (Traffic Scotland) "reported delay of 45 mins. #AvoidIfpossible #BeAware"

The work on the gas main where it crosses the A96 from Harbour Street to the High Street was rescheduled for today with two more sessions planned outside of peak periods during the day on Monday and Tuesday. It looks however that the volume of traffic on the A96 these days means roadworks can cause massive delays at any time of the day in Nairn. Here's how Traffic Scotland sum it up via twitter today:

Friday, August 07, 2015

Gas mains upgrade work re-starting on Sunday on the A96 at Nairn. Temporary lights will be in use

Update: Friday 7 August

From this Sunday (9 August) we will be returning to complete our section of work at the junction of the A96 with Harbour Street, High Street, Bridge Street and St Ninian Road. These arrangements have been agreed following a review of work at this location earlier in the week.

Work will start at 6am on Sunday and two-way temporary traffic lights will be in use. We're aiming to complete the work by the end of Sunday and will take down the lights before we finish for the day.

We will return on Monday at 9.30am to reinstate the road surface temporarily. Temporary traffic lights will be in use again, however we will take them down at 3.30pm on Monday.

The lights will return at 9.30am on Tuesday so that we can finish our work with permanent reinstatement of the road surface. We are due to complete all the work and remove the lights by 3.30pm on Tuesday.

There is still no access from the A96 into Harbour Street or High Street for approximately four weeks. Traffic will also not be able to join the A96 from Harbour Street. Local diversions are in place.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

“Is this a taste of what is to come?.........” That’s what the people of Cawdor are asking? - Whitebridge restrictions could affect Nairn badly

Below we have a message from Cawdor CC. The forthcoming restrictions to the Whitebridge route look like they will drastically increase the number of HGVs heading through Nairn and so they are inviting concerned Nairn residents to attend their meeting on Monday night (Monday 10th of August) where the issue will be debated: 

Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council have, for the last six weeks warned of the impact, the impending 18 tonne weight restriction will have on Nairn.

Last Wednesday’s consultation meeting saw farmers and hauliers meet officials to discuss Highland Councils Roads Officials preferred routes – which direct virtually all HGV vehicles straight through the middle of Nairn.

This week has seen a marked increase in the volume of traffic travelling through Auldearn and Cawdor to avoid the Nairn delays. Given the number that currently cross the Whitebridge, taking an hour to get through Nairn may become the norm?

The impending restrictions are on the Agenda at the Community Council  meeting in Cawdor Community Centre on Monday at 7.30 pm at which all are very welcome.

Click the read more tab to see the full agenda for Monday night's meeting which includes Dog Fouling at Ord Hill and a proposed new road between the A96 and Gordons Sawmill.

Community Council Elections in Nairnshire - over 16 you can stand - NIMBI "Now I must become involved" ?

Thanks to Cawdor CC for forwarding the information below contained in a news letter they have received. In Nairn the West and Suburban CCs will be amalgamating so when the election comes round there will be only two Community Councils in the town. Some members of the Westies and River have indicated that they will not stand for re-election so there will be vacancies to fill and hopefully elections if enough citizens stand. There are also community councils for Cawdor and West Nairnshire, Auldearn and East Nairnshire.

Recently Nairn has experienced a way of digital activism on social media by those who have concerns about issues in the town. Perhaps some of those involved in the various groups may consider standing for the CCs. The information below that we received tells you what it is all about and the responsibilities involved. This observer hopes that lots of folk put themselves forward especially younger members of the community. Nominations start on 22nd of September. 

"Community Council Elections 2015

This September is your opportunity to get involved in the community by becoming a member of your local Community Council.

Community Councils act as a voice for the local area: they meet regularly to discuss issues affecting their area, including planning and licensing applications and one of their core functions is to represent the views of the local community. Many also involve themselves in a wide range of other activities for the benefit of the community. This is your opportunity to work with other people to represent the views of your community. 

Each Community Council is made up of a number of people living within the local area. Every four years there is an election where a new Community Council is elected. There will be an election this year and so we would like to encourage people to come forward to be part of their local Community Council. If you want to find out a bit more about what being a community councillor involves you can contact your local ward manager for more information (search for ‘Ward Managers’ at 

Anyone can become a member of their Community Council provided they are:

· Over 16 years old

· Live within the specified boundary

· Are on the electoral register within the boundary 

If you are interested in becoming a Community Councillor, you can nominate yourself between Tuesday 22nd September and Tuesday 6th October 2015. Nomination forms will be available on the Council’s website or from local Service Points. If there are more nominations than places on the Community Council then there will an election ballot in that local area. 

If you’re interested then you can check which Community Council area you live in on the Highland Council website. You should also refer to the Elections pages of the Highland Council website for more information about the nomination process. If you have any questions, please email or contact your Ward Manager."

Can you help? Volunteers needed to deliver Games Day Programmes‏

The Games Committee would like to get as many Games Day Programmes out into as many Nairn homes as possible over the next few days.

This is Nairn's best day of the year - please help if you can!

Seen the World Championships? Fancy trying some orienteering yourself? Nairn Family Orienteering sessions coming up soon.

Cantraybridge College North Wing Survey

A Cantraybridge College information leaflet states:

"The courtyard building (Cantray Square) was acquired by Cantraybridge in January 1996. The North Wing is in need of renovation in order to be fully used. The North Wing is open-ended to the weather, the roof decaying and inside areas are damp and need to be renovated. 

The college site had a previous life as Cantray Home Farm. Cantraybridge are keen to gain as much historical information as possible with a view to seeking funding to also create a display and interpretation area for visitors on 

· The history of the area. 

· People who lived and worked here in the past. 

· Architectural history. 

· Cantray Home Farm. 

· Kirk Care Housing Association (no longer in existence). 

· Cantraybridge College and its history, its students and its working practices. 
With a grant Cantraybridge could 

· Breathe new life into the North Wing and Clock Tower of Cantray Square, by repairing, adapting and giving both areas a productive new use.

· Provide opportunities for the community to access office space/hot desks. 

· Provide a Highland Self Directed Support hub (info on next page).

· Create a microenterprise support hub for people with learning disabilities, autism and/or mental ill-health. 

· Develop key student services."

There is more interesting information available on the leaflet. Gurnites can read a copy here. 

The College also says: "We are keen to find out from the community if there is interest in and support for developing the North Wing and Clock Tower of Cantray Square. The North Wing is open-ended to the weather, the roof is decaying and inside areas are damp and need to be renovated. We would really appreciate you filling in this survey."  The Survey is online here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Nairn Academy celebrates pupils’ successes

"Nairn Academy pupils have achieved highly at National, Higher and Advanced Higher level.

Forty S5 pupils achieved 5 Highers this year, almost a quarter of the S5 cohort and one of the highest percentages across Highland schools and the highest percentage for 5 Highers in the last 6 years. Four pupils achieved A’s in their 5 Highers."

Nairn Saint Ninian 2 Spey Valley 1 - pictures

Images from Tuesday night's action at the Showfield.

Individual images here. 

Google honours Nairn?

One of our correspondents alerts us to today's appearance of the popular search engine and asks us if Google has heard of our plight too?  

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Monday, August 03, 2015

World Orienteering Championships in Nairn - videos.

Some videos have been posted on Youtube. Some remarkable overhead views of the action here from Richie Main. And some ground level footage from Eleana Reid here and here. 

Nairn Traffic Lights Anger - "They've put this town in shambles"

The temporary traffic lights at the top of Harbour Street have certainly had an effect today with the town's traffic flow and many tempers going into meltdown. One of our readers tells us:

"I got to Delnies junction at 1340. I turned of at Pinewood Ave at 1423, 43 minutes. God knows how long it will take to get past Sainsbury’s."

Another observer tells us too that around midday there were already tailbacks past the Ardersier turn off. The Facebook group "Remove Nairn Traffic Lights" is complaint central today. Warnings too that the unofficial Auldearn-Cawdor bypass is very busy. There is debate on the traffic lights group page about why the work had to be done at the height of Nairn's tourist season. More here

Interesting article and comment on the Highland News site this evening too:

Nairn community councillor Rosemary Young was caught up in the traffic jam and livid.

"It’s a standstill. An absolute standstill. Horrendous," she said. "I have never seen anything like this. They’ve put this town in shambles." More here.

Meanwhile it looks like the delays are so horrendous the authorities have to take action:
The Website states: "The two-way temporary traffic lights which have been in place today on the A96, at the junction of Harbour Street with High Street, Bridge Street and St. Ninian Road, will be taken down this evening. We will complete this section of work at a later date and will provide a further update once revised plans have been finalised."

And it looks like there has been an impact on the World Orienteering Championships too, BBC Alba's Hugh Dan has commented on twitter - probably on his way to try and commentate on the orienteering.
And at five o' clock a certain amount of normality had returned as the traffic lights had duly been taken away but there was still no access to Harbour Street. 

Sunday, August 02, 2015