Friday, April 29, 2016

Wild bee rescue Nairn April 2016 - video

On Wednesday afternoon (27th of April 2016) local beekeepers responded quickly when alerted to a fallen tree that contained a large colony of bees close to one of the riverside walks in Nairn. More information in the video made by the rescuers themselves.

Like many other river walkers this observer has walked past that tree thousands of times and was unaware of the presence of bees. Ann and her colleagues had been monitoring the bees however and now they are happily settled in their new home.

This just goes to show that wildlife makes just as much use of the dead and decaying trees as the live ones and they have their  place in the wonderful ecosystem that we enjoy along the riverside. Well done the Nairnshire beekeepers!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Power over potholes returns to the Courthouse

A Highland Council press release:

The budget for Road Maintenance for 2016-17 is to be distributed between the eight Local Area Committees to enable greater local decision making in line with the Council’s localism agenda.

The budget for road maintenance contains four main and distinct activities. These are:
Revenue for Winter Maintenance
Revenue for Cyclic Maintenance, which includes pothole repairs, surface patching, road markings, traffic signs and verge cutting
Capital expenditure for early intervention to extend the life of the road surface
Capital expenditure for larger resurfacing and major bridge refurbishment works

"51% of Scots think the local council operates in the interests of the people who run it, as opposed to 26% who think the council is run in the interests of local people"

Just been having a wee browse of a recent Electoral Reform Society report, it says

"In a poll carried out in April 2016 by BMG market research for the Electoral Reform Society, 76% of Scots felt they had no or very little influence on council spending or services. This is a worrying number for democracy; the fundamental claim of a democratic system is that the people have a say. If this claim is not felt to be true, then trust in the system itself is undermined. This is borne out by another figure from the same survey: 51% of Scots think the local council operates in the interests of the people who run it, as opposed to 26% who think the council is run in the interests of local people"

This observer thinks that figure would probably be spot on for Nairn too, many of the serious students of local government matters will tell you that local wishes have been ignored by Highland Council for years. The report does go on to offer crumbs of comfort and hope however such as:

"For example, 30% of people think their councillors work hard compared to only 12% who don’t. Perhaps the most heartening thing is that people want their democracy to work better. Contrary to the ‘anti-politics’ narrative that is so often heard, Scots want more local representation. 78% of people would like more councillors if they were community volunteers and even more surprisingly, 68% want more councillors even if they were to be paid as they currently are."  

Readers may remember that Provost Laurie Fraser was recently criticsed for calling for more councillors. This research would indicate that he is in tune with public opinion. 

The report is a quick read if you have a few minutes to spare and will certainly chime with many of our readres, Here's another snippet:

"Democracy is about distributed power; structures which centralise or ‘suck it up’ feed a growing distrust in those past promises of freedom, democracy and equality. Across Scotland there are many examples of successful community action and self-managed local projects—but instead of getting the encouragement and support from state structures that could help these things become the norm, they are currently exceptions that have to overcome intimidating systemic barriers. This makes the lack of trust in existing democratic institutions even worse. But people doing things for each other and for themselves with sufficient resource and support is often the best way to rebuild democratic trust, and the most effective way of running the services communities need to thrive. It’s not hard to imagine that involving more local people in running their community will lead to improvements."

The Electoral Reform Society Report can be read here - have a look at what they think is the problem and what can be done in "Re-making Local Democracy". 

Delnies Ghost Island proposal refused by Highland Council

Regular readers may remember the application by Cawdor Maintenance Trust which sought to replace the proposed roundabout to service the Delnies development with a simpler, ghost island priority junction. That application has been refused by Highland Council. The application received a number of objections including submissions from the Community Councils and the Residents Concern Group. 

The decision states on the Council's e-planning site:

"That the proposal is contrary to policies 17 and 28 of the Highland-wide Local Development Plan in that the proposed ghost island does not provide a satisfactory access to the Delnies site as the benefits the original roundabout to local residents and the wider population will not be achieved, thereby having a detrimental impact on community residential amenity."

18 tonne weight limit on White Bridge starts Saturday

From Saturday we will see if the White Bridge weight limit has a discernible effect on levels of traffic on the A96 through town if drivers followed the preferred diversion route through Nairn. Below is a Highland Council press release.

"From Saturday 30 April 2016, The Highland Council will introduce an 18 Tonne maximum gross weight restriction at White Bridge on the B9090 Loch Flemington – Clephanton – Cawdor – Nairn Road.

A preferred diversion route has been identified by the Council via the B9090, A96, A939 and B9101.

White Bridge, spanning the River Nairn, is one the oldest bridges maintained by the Council and is a ‘Category A’ Listed structure. The weight restriction is required following the recommendation contained within a structural assessment of the bridge.

The introduction of an 18 Tonne maximum gross weight restriction will minimise the number of heavy axle load vehicles crossing the bridge, regardless of whether or not they are laden. The only exemption will be for emergency service vehicles attending an emergency."

Crispy start but frost lifting quickly in the sun

An anxious morning for many gardeners who will be wondering if any of their more tender plants and shrubs that have shown foliage already will be affected by the overnight frost. The frost is lifting quickly as the sun rises but it may have done some damage here and there. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Top of the SNP list in Nairn today - Maree Todd

Maree Todd was in Nairn earlier today and on the High Street with local SNP activists. Maree is the top candidate on the Highlands and Islands list for the SNP on the 2nd ballot in the forthcoming Holyrood election and could be on her way to the Scottish Parliament after the votes are counted. 

Safety versus Parking on Leopold Street - four parking bays to go?

Readers may have noticed that after the resurfacing work the parking bay markings in Leopold Street were not fully reinstated - four of the bay markings have now gone. This doesn't seem to have bothered local motorists however who are still using the spots they have been accustomed to parking in over the years. Double yellow lines could appear however, in an effort to improve safety on Leopold Street. 

At the regular meeting of Nairn West/Suburban in the Community Centre on Monday night Councillor Michael Green told the meeting that there would be a period of consultation over the conflict between the safety issue and parking.

"There are traffic orders for double yellow lines which would be back from the A96 but that would mean the loss of four car parking spaces but the other thing is there is the safety element because there is a real choke point, a bottleneck and folk are going up onto the pavement and the traffic slows very, very slowly – it’s a kind of “who dares wins” – the scenario with two into one and a half and it’s difficult. So, the Council is going to wait and see how it pans out on the one hand it’s safety and traffic speeding an awful lot quicker through the town centre, it is a plus, but then on the other hand we’re losing four parking bays. So we've just got to wait and see how local opinion feeds back on that."

Dick Youngson the Chair of West/Suburban CC told Michael Green that there should be a disabled bay on Leopold Street.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A few snippets from the Nairn South debate on Wednesday in the Courthouse - 2) Michael Green - consultation

One of our Highland Councillors is as cynical about "consultation" as many of our readers are. On Wednesday at the Nairn Area Committee meeting Michael Green said: 

"I’m pretty cynical about consultation and that is based on experiences. We had a massive response to Nairn South, I would suggest the level of response which  was received for Nairn South was unprecedented in the Highlands. The Inner Moray Firth, and this really caused problems with me, the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan stated that whilst the overwhelming response was against Nairn South they had to take into account the views of those that did not take part in the process and then they did take the rather Machiavellian view that they were of the opposite opinion to the majority. Now I don’t know what that would do to encourage folk to take part in the consultation process but unfortunately that is the sort of legacy that that process has had."

Putting Green Charity Challenge

Saturday, April 23, 2016


A bit of activity in Nairn today....Leopold/High Street Corner is obviously the best pitch.
Here's the SNP stall
In the afternoon some Scottish Labour activity too but not in the High Street
John Finnie was also in town today

Planning applications 2. 71 High Street Nairn - Change of use to Cafe

A planning application for change of use to Cafe has been published on the Highalnd Council's e-planning site for 71 High Street (Eilean Dubh Fine Foods, formerly known as Brown the Butcher's). The details, including plans can be seen here. 

Planning Applciations 1. Former Harbour Street stores change of use from Retail Unit to Dwelling

A planning application for change of use from Retail Unit to Dwelling has been published on the Highland Council e-planning site for 20 Harbour Street Nairn. The details are available here.

Bids invited for Nairn Harbour dredging contract

"The works involve the draining and dredging of the inner harbour basin of Nairn Harbour at postcode IV12 4NX. Approximately 12,000 cubic metres of accumulated silt, mud and sand is required to be excavated and transported to the nearby foreshore for disposal using dumpers."   

Friday, April 22, 2016

News from Murd - the Firhall Bridge - a puddle too far - plus one other matter.

At the recent meeting of NRCC Murd asked Stephen Fuller how things were
progressing with the issue of the large puddle at the bottom of the Firhall steps bridge. At the March meeting Murd had asked if anything could be done to fill in the very incovenient puddle (picture right). Stephen Fuller had been to see the puddle and took up the issue on Murd's behalf. Nothing had been done however and the problem seemed to be that an official was not answering Stephen's e-mails. Gone are the days when somebody could be dispatched to sort a wee problem like that the next morning? 

Murd is also campaigning for something to be done about what he considers to be two dangerous trees close to the riverside footpath on the Househill side of the River as you approach the Firhall Bridge.

Scottish Rock Garden Club 47th annual Highland Plant Show in the Community Centre on Saturday 30 April

Local Rock Garden Clubber David Shaw told the Gurn: "The Scottish Rock Garden Club will hold its 47th annual Highland Plant Show in the Community Centre on Saturday 30 April. The show is organised by the local Highland Rock Garden Group and was originally staged in Inverness, at various venues, until the new Nairn Community Centre opened and has been at this venue ever since.

This is the first flower show of the year in the area and the largest show of its
kind in the north of Scotland. It has proved increasingly popular with local people who come to admire some well grown examples of hardy perennial plants, bulbs and small shrubs. In addition to the show there is a large plant sales area with trade stands from Rumbling Bridge in Fife, Ardfearn at Bunchrew and Askival in Fort Augustus, all selling locally grown hardy plants. In addition there will be the Highland group’s members stand with an eclectic range of plants kindly donated by members. If you want to try to ‘grow your own, why not have a rake through the hundreds of packets of seeds available at a very low price. Soup, sandwiches, bakes, tea and coffee are provided by the sports club.

The plant sales area will open at 1030 and the show just as soon as the judges finish their judging which will be as soon after 12 noon as possible.

Why not come along and enjoy your Saturday with us and then spend Sunday planting out your purchases."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A few snippets from the Nairn South debate in the Courthouse today – 1) Michael Green – housing

At the Nairnshire Committee meeting this morning the Highland Council planners latest paper on Nairn South was considered. Michael Green, in the chair, analysed the document section by section and then asked his colleagues to comment and the officials gave further responses too. The first item he raised was the 20 year housing requirement figures for Nairn as outlined by the planners those figures were contained in a table entitled “Nairn Housing Market Area Housing Land Requirement”.

He said: “I really welcome this because this is a chance to put on record exactly our opinions which I think are representative of the views of local people as regards this master plan’s proposals. Now in 2010 there was a requirement was for 2,500 houses. We all thought that was incredibly high. In 2015 it’s now come down to the low estimate which is 1,097, the high is 1,514. There are factors put in there to explain why that figure has come down. There are also additional current figures, there are tens of thousands of job losses in oil and gas. There is the failure of Whiteness, that was going to provide several thousand jobs. Highland Council are cutting hundreds of jobs and that’s a process that looks likely to continue for many years

I would suggest the real scenario, the requirement for houses is probably about a thousand. Let’s not forget that we actually do want development in Nairn. This is the important thing to remember here we do want development. The perception that is out there is that we are anti-development. We are not anti-development, we just want development at places we wish to see it occur. There must be priorities. So I would look and say if you include Sandown, if you include Delnies, Lochloy existing permissions and factor in which your refer to as the windfall factor in Auldearn and Cawdor. It’s round about a thousand. The point I really want to make is I don’t think there’s any real requirement for development at Nairn South. So we have got I think we have got on the books enough capacity to cater for the next 10 years for Nairn. Again I’ll say we want development and we want to be able to prioritise where it occurs.”

Nairn South saga continues – controversial issue to return to Nairnshire Committee in September

Not a spare seat on the public benches in the Courthouse today as Nairn South was again discussed. The transport appraisal produced by the planning Department's consultants will be made available for public comment and consultation but following that there will be a significant change in procedure which chimes with the ascendancy and growing power of the area committees at Highland Council

Michael Green, the Chair of the Nairnshire Committee, proposed the following Motion:

“Following public consultation the transport appraisal will return to the Nairnshire Committee on the 21st of September 2016 for consideration and recommendation as to whether or not to progress with the preparation of a new Nairn South master plan. In the intervening period all work on the new draft Nairn South master plan will be deferred.”

The motion was supported by Cllr Stephen Fuller and would have been opposed by Laurie Fraser but he had no seconder.

Cllr Liz MacDonald could not vote, she had left the room at the start of the debate on Nairn South; she had said at the beginning of the meeting at the point of the declarations of interest that she would do so because she had “land allocated for housing within the Inner Moray Firth Development plan.” This situation has prevented Liz debating Nairn South matters for some time now.

Some interesting comment by members of the committee today. More later if time permits. 

Cinema Nairn celebrates its 100th Film!

Cinema Nairn celebrates its 100th screening on Friday 22nd April with Indian film ‘The Lunch Box’ (PG) . 

To mark the occasion, the film will be preceded by free Indian nibbles from 7pm.   

Set up by a group of enthusiasts in 2009, Cinema Nairn’s aim was to use the
facilities of the new community centre to return regular local cinema to the town.

Programmes concentrate on quality films past and present with the emphasis on lesser known gems which may have slipped beneath the radar. This approach has won a loyal following with evening audiences of up to 110 people, and the four matinees held each year with tea and bakes included are equally popular. It’s a lovely afternoon out especially for those who can’t make evening showings.

‘The Lunch Box’ tells the story of an unlikely romance conducted through messages popped into the lunch box of a lonely widower, and was BAFTA nominated as well as winning many Asian film awards.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An important day tomorrow morning at the Courthouse (Wednesday 20/04/16) - please get down there if you can.

Gurn Opinion: It's a major decision for the Nairnshire Area Committee tomorrow on the latest South Nairn proposals from the planners. If you are concerned about what the traffic proposals could mean please contact our four local councillors to inform them of your views and/or come down to the Courthouse to lobby them and observe proceedings tomorrow morning at 10.30 am if you can. 

Please see articles below for further information. Any readers who might have missed any of the Nairn South goings on in recent years may wish to read this recent letter that was sent to Highland Council's Chief Executive by the town's two Community Councils, it will give you the historical perspective. Some images from September 2013 here, a video here.

An interesting moment tomorrow - the return of real local democracy and the new Nairnshire Area Committee making a giant leap forward or simply more of the same?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nairn South back with a vengeance and going before the Nairnshire Area Committee again on Wednesday

Gurn opinion:  What part of "No" do Highland Council planners not understand? It's an important day for Nairn on Wednesday at 10.30 in the Courthouse. Will the Nairnshire Area Committee stand up to the planners again or will they allow their "consultation" to go ahead? If they cave in the principle of development at Nairn South will be accepted. Please read the following and if you can get yourself down to the Courthouse on Wednesday morning to lobby Councillors Michael Green, Stephen Fuller, Liz MacDonald and Laurie Fraser please do so. Will Nairn South finally be consigned to the bin, thus enabling the community to move on and agree sensible development elsewhere (such as the Common Good Land at Sandown where the community could control all aspects of  the site) or will Nairn get well and truly stuffed? Is it to be real "Localism" or more of the same and control from Highland Council planners?

Regular readers will recall this article from January "Born again Nairnshire Committee stands up to Planning Department’s Nairn South Sledgehammer" 
 At the time Michael Green said: "“To sum this up Nairn said no, the PIE committee said no, the reporter said no and I’m pretty sure the man from Del Monte would probably say no. "

Well it looks like the Highland Council bureacrats have sent it back to the new area committee again and this is the item for the agenda. Will Michael, Liz, Stephen and Laurie tell them once again where to go or will the planners get their way this time round?

"6. Future Development in Nairn

Leasachadh san Àm ri Teachd ann an Inbhir Narann

There is circulated Report No N/10/16 dated 8 April 2016 by the Director of Development and Infrastructure which presents background evidence for future development proposals in Nairn and more detailed transport analysis to inform the preparation of a revised draft masterplan for the Nairn South development. The Delivery Strategy for Nairn confirms the capacity of local services and infrastructure to accommodate development across the wider town and outlines the current status of sites allocated in the Development Plan. Alongside, a Draft Transport Appraisal has been prepared which sets out the transport mitigation requirements for development of the Nairn South site. The Transport Appraisal is presented for approval for consultation to allow any comments to be considered. Members are also asked to agree how to proceed with a new Nairn South Masterplan following the recommendations of the Examination Report to the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.

The Committee is invited to:-

i. provide any feedback on the Delivery Strategy for Nairn;
ii. note and agree the Transport Appraisal summary document enclosed at Appendix A and agree to make it available for public comment; and 
iii. agree to prepare a new Draft Nairn South Masterplan for public consultation as outlined in section 4 of this report"

Serious students of these matters might like to read the full document going before the Nairnshire Committee which details the Transport Appraisal and shows drawings of what would happen to the Cawdor and Balblair Roads. Go to this Highland Council page and click on item six to download the full document 

It looks like traffic lights for the Station Brae folks and if you look in the documents you will find drawing indicating that Balblair Road is to become a largely single track Road, the Highland Council document states:

""1.1.4 Cawdor Road/Balblair Road junction and Nairn Station Railway Bridge Traffic signal control of the junction provides traffic management over this section of Cawdor Road - and is required from the outset. This includes advanced stop lines for cyclists on all three approaches. Footway width provisionshall be 2.0m below the arch bridge widening to 2.3m either side. A pedestrian phase is required within the traffic signal sequencing. Pedestrian storage provision adjacent to the rail station steps is also required as indicated in Drawing 60446943-SKE-C-102 in Appendix A. This also allows for a right turning refuse vehicle from Balblair Road to Cawdor Road south."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The future with traffic lights on Station Brae and 320 houses at South Nairn?

Picture will enlarge 

Information going before the Nairnshire Committee on Weds April 20th in the Courthouse includes the following suggestion for Station Brae:

"1.1.4 Cawdor Road/Balblair Road junction and Nairn Station Railway Bridge Traffic signal control of the junction provides traffic management over this section of Cawdor Road - and is required from the outset. This includes advanced stop lines for cyclists on all three approaches. Footway width provisionshall be 2.0m below the arch bridge widening to 2.3m either side. A pedestrian phase is required within the traffic signal sequencing. Pedestrian storage provision adjacent to the rail station steps is also required as indicated in Drawing 60446943-SKE-C-102 in Appendix A. This also allows for a right turning refuse vehicle from Balblair Road to Cawdor Road south."

UPDATE: one of our readers points out that the actual situation will be much worse than this, at the point where the Range Rover is parked the road will be reduced to 3.83m so a good part of the road on the brae will effectively be single track. 

" and nothing ever happens "

Missed the gig, no room left in the Bandstand for the beerfest masses. Still became an opportunity to try the ciders in the big tent. Mystery performer liked Nairn it seems. See tweet below. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Meanwhile in the Sahara desert today Chris MacKinnon keeps on running

After the rigours of Stage 4 it's on to Stage 5, a leisurely 42.2 km, in 50 degree temperatures - definitely not Nairn beach!

For the MARATHON DES SABLES competitors have to be food self-sufficient over a distance of about 250 Km and each participant must carry their own backpack containing food, sleeping gear and any other material they need. The good thing is that he will now be carrying less weight having consumed most of his food by now! Before he left Chris said "'In calories we trust' - here sits 22,000 kcals & the actual 7 days food that will fuel me from the start line to the finish of 250kms running in the Sahara desert......this is all I will have, I can't buy any more as there are no shops, if I have not got enough I will starve (Well ok, i'll be bloody hungry), if I have too much I will use more energy carrying it.....current bag weight - 6.5kg including bag (still to pack the survival kit)" Below is his pack.

Check out video's of the 2016 race here. More details about the MARATHON DES SABLES here. Keep going loon your almost there.

Chris’s chosen charity is the Highland Hospice and he is aiming to raise at least £5000, to make a donation just go to his fundraising page at

To track his progress check here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

More on the paddling pool situation

The paddling pool was discussed at the Nairn River CC meeting last night and when time permits we'll report on what our local Highland Councillors had to say. Basically they said that a repair could be done by a firm that would give a three year guarantee and the repair would be cheaper than at first thought. In the meantime here's the official Highland Council press release:

"The Nairn Ward Councillors considered the options for the Nairn Paddling pool at their Ward meeting on Monday 11th April. 
The paddling pool, which is operated by High Life Highland (HLH), the Council’s arms-length charity, has been a popular attraction since it was built over 50 years ago with an expected lifespan of around 25-30 years. 

Investigations by HLH considered three options which included repair of the existing paddling pool, its replacement or the complete removal of the facilities. 

Speaking about the paddling pool project, Councillor Michael Green, Chair of the Nairnshire Committee said, “The paddling pool is clearly a very popular attraction in the Nairn beach links area. For this reason we were keen to maintain the paddling pool for use by both local residents, as well as visitors. We have therefore instructed the repairs to be undertaken so that the pool is available for this summer season and we understand the works that will be carried out will last for at least three years. 

Councillor Green, who is also a board member on High Life Highland went on to say, “In addition, we have asked High Life Highland to consult on behalf of the Council with local groups to carry out a review of the existing paddling pool requirements and seek options for the longer term. We are hopeful this process will gather some good information that will then allow decisions to be taken for the future generations coming to enjoy themselves in this area of Nairn.”

Try bowls? Albert Street Bowling Club Saturday 16th 2 pm

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bladerunner on the A96 Nairn

Click on picture to enlarge. 

Thanks to Joe Telfer for this image of one of a convoy of three wind turbine blades passing through Nairn yesterday morning. 

Chris Mackinnon - latest update on his progress in the MARATHON DES SABLES 2016 race across the Sahara

Chris has completed the first 3 stages of the MARATHON DES SABLES, this means he has run 3 marathons in the last 3 days. He is currently tackling Stage 4 which consists of 84.3 kilometres (over 52 miles) and is actually a double marathon. 

Have a wee think about that, most of us can’t do 1 marathon never mind 2, in 1 and a bit days, after running 3 in 3 days, through the desert! There are some video's of the 2016 race here - have a look to get some idea of what this race entails, haven't managed to spot him yet, he's number 1049.

To find out more about the MARATHON DES SABLES and what Chris is undertaking have a look here, this is no picnic on Nairn beach. Keep going Chris, you've already made a fantastic achievement.

Chris’s chosen charity is the Highland Hospice and he is aiming to raise at least £5000, to make a donation just go to his fundraising page at

"Nairn Flyabout" - simply stunning video of the town and the beaches by Richie Main

Watch it on Youtube here. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The day in pictures 3 - High Street becomes quiet street as the tarmac lorries stack up on the brae

The day in pictures 2 - Distillery looks a bit shocking

The site of the potential distillery in the town centre (the old Social Work) buildings might need a bit of a makeover for the reception area before the project goes ahead. This observer noticed a door open earlier this morning. 

The day in pictures 1 - Still 10 mph in Church Street

Our correspondent Murd Dunbar reports that the 10 mph sign is still in place in Church Street. Murd has tried to find out if this is a real limit or just a bit of fun someone got up to a few years ago. So far his questions to councillors at CC meetings have not borne fruit. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Paddling pool to be repaired for this season - significant turnaround in iconic Nairn facility's prospects

This observer bumped into Provost Laurie Fraser tonight  and he told the Gurn that the paddling pool would be repaired for this season.

Now a little reminder of the historical situation. Readers will remember that the paddling pool opened late last season because of a need for significant repairs. A Highland Council press release from July last year said:

"Significant repairs are required for the Paddling Pool at Nairn Links and an assessment of the facility has delayed its opening this season. 

Given the extent of the repairs required, Highland Council’s Nairn Ward Members have taken the decision to approve temporary repairs while a longer term solution is investigated. 

Works will start on site on Monday 6 July and it is expected that they will take at least three weeks to complete which also allows for 5 – 7 days ‘drying’ before filling with water. An issue with any repair, whether temporary or permanent is that the time required for removal of screed, repair and application and curing/drying of paint is weather-dependent.

The paddling pool is normally operated for three months from 1 June to 31 August. In light of the unavoidable delays, High Life Highland, who operate the paddling pool on behalf of the Nairn Common Good, have undertaken to extend the opening of the pool up to the end of September, weather permitting. 

On behalf of the Nairn Ward Members, Provost of Nairn, Councillor Laurie Fraser said: “It seems that a permanent repair will be a lengthy and expensive job, so we have agreed to undertake a temporary repair to allow the paddling pool to open.

“We understand the substantial local interest in the play facilities at the Links and are keen to engage local families in the long term decisions that are made.” 

In September of 2015 Liz MacDonald said to a Nairn West Community Council meeting: 

“I think what we must do is have a consultation on it and be totally open about how much the cost to be to fix the paddling pool and what we could have as an alternative because I know there is a lot of historical attachment to the paddling pool, we’re one of the last ones in Scotland but at the same time the parents are saying let’s give us something we can use all year round.” More here. 

In January of this year things looked really bleak, Nairn River Community Council minutes from the 13th of that month state:

"The paddling pool was discussed. It emerged that the paddling pool is unlikely to open this year although consultation on whether a like for like replacement or an improved facility would be put in place. When asked whether another emergency repair could take place again this year Michael Green said that was not impossible however it would be dependent on the result of the consultation."

Later in January a Nairnshire Telegraph front page headline read: "No paddling pool this summer."

Now it appears there has been a turn around in fortunes for the pool and a repair is suddenly on the cards. This week's edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph details comment from a councillor who attended this morning's Ward Business Meeting in the Courthouse when the matter had been discussed. Essential reading material this week's Leopold Street Thunderer get your copy as soon as you can! 

There had been wide ranging discussion about the pool on the popular Facebook Group "Nairn Rocks!" over the weekend with many forthright views being expressed by local residents. The discussion on Nairn Rocks migrated to the Save Nairn Paddling Pool page which saw an influx of over a hundred new members in the space of a few hours which took that page's membership up to 675. There were calls for a crowd funding appeal to save the pool.  

The only councillor willing to respond on social media yesterday to public concerns over the pool was Stephen Fuller who said he would raise the issue of when consultation would beging at this morning's ward business meeting - that meeting must have been quite an interesting affair. 

Conversation about the latest development in the paddling pool saga is ongoing tonight on the Save Nairn Paddling Pool facebook group page here. 

River Community Council meeting Weds 13th April 7.30 pm in the URC hall - Agenda

Here's the items for debate as per the River CC agenda, members of the public are allowed to raise other items at meetings however:

· Apologies
· Minutes of previous meeting
· Matters arising
· Treasurer’s Report
· Nairn’s flowerbeds this season – ~KNC funding
· Dog fouling solutions
· Communications
· Co-option members
· Ship to ship oil transfers
· Request from Nairn Rocks
· Castle Lane notice board
· Community refuse and recycle bins situated at Council run flats where all tenants use all bins.
· Speed bumps Harbour Street
· Paddling Pool
· Planning
· Next meeting.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Heartbreak at Grant Street Park - Pictures Donald Matheson and Kenny MacLeod

It went to penalties after Nairn turned it round and made Brora the underdogs in this fixture, scintillating stuff from the County boys but it never found the net in the 120 minutes played before the penalty kicks were taken. It ended 5-4 to Brora and the Morganti Cup was not to return home this time. A crushing blow for the team and considerable number of supporters who had an afternoon out in the Sneck sun.

If you can bear it you can watch the penalties on video here and some of the shots here too.

Now Donald Matheson's images.

Individual images here. 

And Kenny MacLeod's images

Individual images here.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Good luck Nairn County FC in the Highland League (Morganti) Cup final today.

The action starts at 3 p.m. at Grant Street Park today in the Sneck. The build up has been a bit low key perhaps and County are the underdogs but maybe the Morganti cup will be coming home this evening? C'mon the County!

Track Chris MacKinnon running across the Sahara

You can track local running enthusiast Chris MacKinnon live online as he attempts the gruelling 257 km 'Le Marathon des Sables' across the Sahara Desert. The tracking facility goes live tomorrow (Sunday 10th) and can be found here. 

Chris is aiming to raise  £5,000 for the Highland Hospice, his fundraising page is here. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Nairn 1 Fraserburgh 1 Pictures Kenny MacLeod and Donald Matheson

Kenny's pictures

Individual images here. 

Donald's pictures

Individual images here. 

"Superfast" broadband Cabinet 13 still unlucky for some in the east end of Nairn up at Lochloy

One of our regular readers wrote to us today:

"I've been fighting for 'superfast' up Lochloy road and Kingsteps, even writing to local MP for over 2 years now! However, the infamous cabinet 13 is yet to serve these areas, despite the building of over 300 new houses at Meadow Leas".

As a new resident of Lochloy who works at home I was concerned that we might be stuck on ADSL so I wrote to HIE and got this reply today which I thought you might want to pass on as it sounds like a lot of people are affected by the roll out to cabinet 13."

Our correspondent shares with us the response he got from HIE today:

"Thank you for your email and interest in the Next Generation Broadband 

I am happy to confirm that Cabinet 13 in Nairn is currently in build  and, all going well, should be ready in the next 3-4 months. This  cabinet has been a long standing 'problem' cabinet for us, but the  issues are now resolved and it is in build.

Fibre has been rolled out in Nairn over the last few years but because  the service is reliant on fibre cabling going out to a new cabinet  rather than the exchange it means that places the size of Nairn can't  all 'go live' at the same time. There are now around 15 fibre cabinets,  in Nairn the last of which are going live just now. To further confuse  matters the earlier cabinets were built through BT's own commercial  programme, that is BT have paid for them with their own private funding.  The later cabinets have been built through our government funded 
programme as they weren't commercially viable for BT to build  themselves. Our website only shows cabinets that are in our programme so  most of the other ones (1 to 8 etc) were in the commercial programme.

Keep an eye on the checkers so that when the cabinet goes live you will  be able to order the service from your preferred internet service provider.

I hope that is of some help."

We're still not there yet for the whole of the town then folks. Regular readers might recall this article in July of 2012 in which we revealed that only about 90% of the town was covered then. Also an article of October  last year. Hope anybody still without doesn't have to wait too long. 

Note, many of our readers will know that Gurn HQ is in the town centre area, Mrs Gurnmeister has just been on line to check once again and we are told:

 " Your cabinet is enabled for Superfast fibre however you're not able to order fibre just yet. This might be because the length of the line is too long to get Superfast speeds. We're actively looking at other options. If you'd like us to let you know if fibre becomes available, register your details."

We are on cabinet 15. It's not over yet fellow citizens, despite the announcements in recent years Nairn is not all kitted out with superfast yet. 

Free Entry to Gardens at Cawdor Castle and Auchindoune House on National Open Gardens Day on 15th April 2016

"The gardens at Cawdor Castle and Auchindoune House will be free to enter for the public on National Open Gardens Day, between 10am and 4pm. Visitors will be able to come and see the gardens awaken from their winter sleep with the gardeners in action preparing for another season.

Daffodils and other small bulbs, Rhododendron species and hybrids, Camellia, Hesperis, Helleborus,Omphalodes, anemones, cherry and apple blossom are a few of delights that will be coming into flower."   More on the Cawdor Castle facebook page here. 

This observer spent nearly 10 years working in the Cawdor Castle and (sometimes) Auchindoune gardens - quite a lot of interesting things can happen and be over done with before official opening day. Don't miss this chance to have a browse. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Nairn youngsters clean up graffiti with "dreams, aspiration and achievement"

Many Gurnites will know the path/cycletrack between the end of Lodghill road up to Cranloch very well and also the badly graffited wall that backs onto a section of garden. That wall is getting a makeover from a community-minded group of youngsters who are in the process of creating a mural that will cover the unsightly mess that is there now.

Clair Nicols of the Youth Highland Group told the Gurn:

"The mural is being painted by young people from the Nairn Youth Forum. The young people have been responsible for coming up with design ideas and organising the project.

The group applied for funding for the project from the Highland Youth Arts HUB. The project is supported by local Youth Development Officer Shona McDonald and Youth Highland.

The design will incorporate words and images around the themes of ‘local landscape’ ‘dreams’ and ‘aspiration and achievement’.

Yesterday young people began to put down an undercoat of coloured masonry paint. As soon as the weather allows this will be covered with detail in spray paints. None of the young people have used spray paints before and everyone is very excited to make a colourful and positive creative contribution to the community.

It is important that young people can be encouraged to be positive contributors to their communities and this project seeks to enable the young people to be seen as creative and vibrant active members of the community."

Nairn Youth Forum cleaning up Graffiti black-spot
The work was still ongoing at around 15.30 and there should be more for passers-by and those coming home on the trains tonight to see. Clair tells the Gurn they are always looking for more sites for murals and funding help so if you want to help the youngsters brighten up more of Nairn contact Clair at   More pictures here. 

And the finished mural tonight:

Scottish Labour’s Inverness and Nairn Candidate, welcomes progress being made in addressing the issue of ‘boy racers’ speeding around Nairn Harbour

We said yesterday that we are always happy to publish material from politicians relating to Nairnshire affairs. So for a second time in as many days we present a press release from the Scottish Labour Party candidate in this year's Holyrood elections. 

"Scottish Labour’s Inverness and Nairn Candidate, David Stewart, has welcomed progress being made in addressing the issue of ‘boy racers’ speeding around Nairn Harbour.

The issue was raised with Mr Stewart while he was visiting Nairn earlier this year in his role as MSP for the Highlands and Islands. Mr Stewart was advised of concerns which have been ongoing sporadically for several years.

David Stewart, said “This is an issue that has been raised with me on several occasions over the years and it appears to have resurfaced again in recent months. After these latest concerns were raised with me, I wrote to Police Scotland and to the Highland Council to see what steps are being taken to curtail the problem. 

Mr Stewart continued “I am pleased to be advised that a meeting took place with the complainants where potential solutions were discussed and the Council is working up a cost for a traffic calming solution. I would like to see this problem resolved permanently and I will be keeping a very close eye on this to see what develops.”

Still raining in sunny Nairn

That's been a fairly persistent belt of rain now, it's been around for about 24 hours. It should help all the gardens get off to a good start though as we enter a time where buds are bursting. Nairn even looks good in the rain?

Monday, April 04, 2016

This looks very interesting

Frustration with slow moving vehciles likely to lead to accidents on A96 says Labour candidate

Here at the Gurn we are always happy to publish material from politicians provided it has a Nairnshire context. So here we are folks something from the Scottish Labour Party candidate:

"After raising the issue of slow moving vehicles causing frustration and likely to lead to road collisions on the A96, Scottish Labour Candidate for Inverness and Nairn, David Stewart, said " In my previous role as an MSP for the Highlands & Islands, I was contacted by constituents who were commuters travelling between Inverness and Nairn in particular, whom were concerned by the long tailbacks and queues caused by slow moving vehicles failing to pull over and let faster ones passed."

"What drivers of slow moving vehicles have to realise, is that if they fail to pull over, then frustration kicks in, the red mist comes down and drivers start to behave in a dangerous or careless manner. I repeatedly advise that a contributory factor in road collisions is driver behaviour and speed. We know that in 2014, excessive speed was responsible for 11% of all reported collisions and 18% of fatal collisions. What we don't know, because it is not recorded, is how many collisions are caused by driver frustration?"

" A review of Scotland's Road Safety Framework to 2020 has shown that there needs to be a refocus on speed, (fast and slow) motorcycles, young drivers, older drivers and pedestrian and cyclists. These are all areas where I have been working over the past six years."

" I have written to the Government and Police Scotland on this issue in relation to the A96 Inverness - Nairn Road and I am delighted that Assistant Chief Constable,Bernard Higgins of Police Scotland, has advised that this route has now been formally identified as a priority route and this will mean that all such issues as those I have highlighted will be given due attention."

Local runner to take on 160 miles of the Sahara sand and sun

Heading off shortly for the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara is local man Christopher MacKinnon

He states on his Just Giving fundraising page for the Highland Hospice

“On April the 10th I will be running in Le Marathon des Sables, an extreme running event taking me across the Western Sahara Desert in Morocco, one of the toughest footraces on earth, as an addition I will be looking to assist the 'Highland Hospice' in Inverness with some much needed fund raising.

The 257km (160 mile) foot race shall see me run self sufficient, carrying all my own food, sleeping and survival equipment for a week in heat which will reach up to 50+ degrees, I will be running approximately 6 marathons over consecutive days in the scorching Sahara desert with day 4 involving a double marathon 80+ km /52 mile single non stop stage.”

Chris has been training all winter and many early birds heading up through Ferness and across the Dava might have seen him setting off for training runs in the snow and ice on the hills, he has also run many marathons in the run up to this event.  Chris's Just Giving page is here. 

Chris MacKinnon

Nairn 3 Strathspey 1 Pictures Kenny MacLeod

A goal for Alan Pollock and two for Robbie Duncanson on Saturday as the sun shone on Station Park. Videos of the Robbie's two goals here on the Gurn Youtube pages. 

It was also Ladies Day at Station Park. Picture Donald Matheson and the team benefited from their considerable vocal support.

Click on Image to enlarge

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Nairn Healthcare News April 2016

Inverness Half Marathon

Nairn Healthcare wishes to congratulate two members of staff for completing the Inverness Half Marathon. Administrators Tracey Paterson and Wendy Arnott, completed the 13 mile run on Sunday 14th March in a fantastic time of 2h 34m and 2h 41m respectively. Their efforts raised £750 for the Highland Hospice. Well done ladies!

Tick Information

Winter is now officially over and we are all looking forward to Summer and getting out in the countryside and gardens.

However, the country undergrowth from Spring until Autumn is covered in tiny ticks which may carry bacteria and can transfer to people when the tick attaches
itself. If the tick is removed properly and correctly, there is no risk to health but there is a risk of developing Lyme disease if this is not done correctly.

A symptom of Lyme disease is a red skin rash which can be cured with a simple antibiotic. If the rash goes unnoticed, it can result in joint pain or nerve problems which may require stronger antibiotics.

If you find a tick on yourself or your child, wait until you get home and calmly remove the tick with a tick removal tool which is designed to get underneath the tick and lift it off safely. Don’t attempt to remove it with your fingers. Using fingers or tweezers risk squeezing the tick and actually injecting the Lyme disease bacteria into your blood.


For more information, please pick up the Tick Information Guide from reception or read online at

Cervical Screening

Cervical screening aims to reduce the likelihood of cervical cancer in women by detecting pre-cancerous cervical changes and we would like to encourage more women to attend for their check-up. Women aged between 20- 60 are invited to have a cervical smear every three years. From June 2016, the eligible age range will change to 25-64 years with 25-50 year olds being screened every 3 years and 51 – 64 year olds every 5 years.

Out of 3,477 women invited for a smear between the months of July-December 2015, 78% attended for this test. Nairn Healthcare would like to see this figure rise and urge more women to come in for this valuable screening. It could save your life.

The King's Fund

Nairn Healthcare was joined by The King’s Fund on Wednesday 16th March. The King’s Fund is an independent charity based in London and has been involved in leadership development since 1951. They work with individuals, teams and organisations from across the health and care system to improve performance and support the delivery of high-quality care. They also carry out research and analysis to lead change in the way that people think about leadership and culture in the NHS.

Vijaya Nath (Director of Leadership Development), Matthew Rice (Senior Consultant, Leadership Development) and Rachele Rossini (Programme Co-ordinator) arrived in the Highlands for a 2-day Study Tour to discover more about healthcare within NHS Highland. They were greeted by Elaine Mead, Chief Executive of NHS Highland and Maimie Thompson and visited a variety of locations.

On the final day of their trip, they joined Dr Adrian Baker and Practice Manager, Tanya Bowie to discuss the progress made over the last few years. The national crisis in recruitment and retention of GP’s was familiar to the visitors. The team had considerable experience in the healthcare in different settings in Europe and North America. They congratulated the practice on the process and the changes that the Practice has made since October with the assistance of NHS Highland and the public involvement in the Rapid Process Improvement Workshop.

They were particularly interested in Nairn Healthcare’s appointment system and how this had been worked through with the help of NHS Highland and local public representatives. The joint working with the local care homes and the 180 residents was discussed along with the integration between the Practice and fellow community services. The building also featured highly and everyone acknowledged how this integrated facility worked exceptionally well to enhance joint working within the teams and has improved patient care. The practice was commended on the quality of care provided to the Town and County patients by the multidisciplinary team and for continuing to provide 24 hour care, 7 days a week for the local public by the practice and highly skilled A&E nursing team.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Holyrood elections and the candidates for the Inverness and Nairn constituency are...

The Highland Council has published a list of all the candidates standing in the Highland Constituencies. In Inverness and Nairn there are only four contenders for the first past the post seat but on the list component of the election there are other choices for voters. The following from the Highland Council press release:

"Inverness and Nairn

o CADDICK, Carolyn Ann - Scottish Liberal Democrats

o EWING, Fergus Stewart - Scottish National Party (SNP)

o MOUNTAIN, Edward - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

o STEWART, David - Scottish Labour Party

In the Highland and Islands regional constituencies a total of 9 parties and 1 independent candidate are seeking election to Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Inverness and Nairn, Shetland, Orkney, Moray, Argyll and Bute, Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
They are:

· RISE – Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism
· Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship
· Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
· Scottish Green Party
· Scottish Labour Party
· Scottish Liberal Democrats
· Scottish National Party (SNP)
· Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement
· UK Independence Party (UKIP)
· Independent candidate - James Wilson Stockan

Voting will take place between 7am and 10pm on Thursday 5 May at 283 polling stations. The count will take place overnight, starting as soon after 10 pm as possible at the Highland Football Academy, Victoria Park, Dingwall. Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council is the Returning Officer for the three local constituencies."  More information about the ballot here.