Friday, September 30, 2016

Superfast Broadband and mobile reception - Margert Davidson, Leader of Highland Council outlines levels of frustration and expectation rising every month throughout the Highlands

Yesterday morning this observer noticed another exasperated thread on a popular Nairn social media page concerning high speed broadband in the town. The roll out across Nairn has certainly not been universally praised. Later on I read an article in The National by Lesley Riddoch. My mind then flashed back to the Nairnshire area committee meeting last week (Weds 21st) where local Councillors Stephen Fuller and Liz MacDonald raised concerns about high speed broadband and mobile coverage in parts of Nairnshire and their desire that these be priorities for their new committee. This prompted the Highland Council Leader, Margaret Davidson, who was sitting in on the meeting at the invitation of her Independent group colleague Michael Green, to make a lengthy contribution. She certainly knew her stuff and she said:

“Broadbrand and mobile delivery are a priority for the Council, they’re right up there with Highland First. The reason they are there is that I don’t know a community in the Highlands that doesn’t have this on their agenda. The level of frustration and expectation rises each month, and that’s because it is usually important, it’s really important for the way of life that we are evolving: we are going to need it to deliver health and social care in the future, for connectivity it’s holding families together at the other end of the world and I understand that completely. 

And it is very much going to be what will help keep some of our young people here because they need decent mobile reception and broadband there is no doubt about that and every tourist that arrives in Nairn will take out their mobile and see whether they can get a signal and the answer is some places yes and some places no. We’re now at the moment, is, that BT has delivered, just about finished delivering, the first part of the first contract which was to put 84% cover for high speed broadband across the Highlands and I say “haven’t we done well?” They are probably going to deliver a little bit more because it is about squeezing a little bit more out of them and it might go up to 85, 86%. This is fine, if you are sitting somewhere within a few hundred yards of a green box you’ll do well. If you are outside the orbit of that it starts falling away quite rapidly and I’ve got complaints from areas of Inverness that you would think would be fine but they’re not. And you may well have patches around the town where it’s not great. BT are just about getting there with that contract. Any improvement in high speed broadband in the area of the green boxes you need to get to BT.

If it is of any use to you I have the contact details of the chief executive of BT, Brendan Dick because I find that trying to get a service anywhere else in the organisation is practically impossible. So I’m quite happy to share that with you guys if you need to use it. 

Mobile reception is on the move, there’s a lot of applications up to come through about upgrading existing masts. The police and fire masts are going to be upgraded and they’ll be public access to...I don’t understand most things with broadband and Wi-Fi, I just like using it like most people but the upgraded masts will be available for public use and BE which is now part of BT will be actually operating businesses on the back of that. So they will be operating full services for people within the range of these masts. They’re upgrading with 4G and that is happening quite rapidly across the Highlands. I see it across my desk because I’m part of the planning committee applications from that regularly for rural Inverness. 

The other thing is that there is a push by other operators Vodafone and O2, they’re working in partnership and they are looking to put in a lot more masts along the road infrastructure in Highland. There are many places in the Highlands, you can drive down the trunk roads and your reception falls out and comes back and I think that is to be welcomed. In addition to that there are other masts where they are choosing to put them in. But we are at the mercy of what the mobile operators are offering. So we haven’t yet got a clear picture. They are going to come with their applications and that’s 4G which is really good. Except that 4G has less penetration than 2G and you have to be close to the mast to get the benefits of it. However what I do think is that we are going to have significantly improved mobile reception within the next 12 months and that is actually on the move and the mobile operators are really keen to do it. They’ve got certain obligations from the UK government that they’ve got to deliver. 

What we are really waiting for now and the biggest hold up is the Scottish Government coming forward with their plans of how they intend to get to 100% high speed broadband which is what they have promised. The frustration is that there are communities the length and breadth of the Highlands. You may have them in rural Nairn that are willing to pick up the baton if nobody is coming and organise their own Wi-Fi systems with Community Broadband Scotland, as some have been done on the west but they can’t move until they know how far the main stream stuff is going to get because you can’t invest public money twice in one place. And the real frustration is that they are still waiting and I’ve been saying this now for over a year. Still waiting for a clear picture of where public investment is going and where communities need to work with Community Broadband Scotland to fill the holes. You may have areas like that, certainly in rural Inverness I do, lots of it. It’s a mixed picture, we really have to at the moment, your target, if you want to target BT, I think they are doing what every business does, making the most of their contract. [...]”

Margeret Davidson then suggested that the Nairnshire Committee also got HIE along to give them an update, she then went on:

“I think we now need to put the target towards the Scottish Government, everyone is waiting for them to say what’s their plan to get to 100% coverage. The trouble with 100% coverage is that the deadline, the delivery date for that is up to 2021 and I do not know a single community that is prepared to sit quiet and wait until 2021. They’re not and they shouldn’t be, it is too important for business, for leisure, our way of life. It’s too important there. 

The really good news is that the guy in charge of Broadband is Fergus. The MSP for this area and I meet Fergus regularly and discuss it with him. But really at the moment we should be all saying to the Scottish Government come on let’s have your plans so that we can all get on.”

Liz MacDonald thanked Margaret Davidson and said that it would be worthwhile if they invited an HIE official to the December meeting. Liz then outlined difficulties that Geddes and Cantray and Galcantry have and that a delegation of people had met with Fergus recently to try and get their situation pushed further and she knew that he was working on that. She also said that there were also parts within the town that didn’t get the broadband required. She asked for the matter to be put on the agenda for the next meeting. 

And so this week this observer went up to the Co-op for his daily copy of the National and within the paper was an article about Superfast Broadband and mobile reception in the Highlands. Like the Leader of the Highland Council, columnist Lesley Riddoch is also critical of government policy in the Highlands, her article is entitled: “The Government's failed on broadband - here's how to fix it.” She criticises the roll out of superfast broadband, she wrote:

“After various false starts resulting in “not spots” all over the Highlands and Islands, the Scottish Government decided the Highlands and Islands should come first in the rollout of superfast broadband.

That hasn’t happened, indeed the delivery of “superfast broadband” across the whole of Scotland – especially rural Scotland – has been a bit of a disaster. So much so that Nicola Sturgeon’s 2015 pledge to connect 100 per cent of properties by 2020 simply won’t happen unless the Scottish Government tears up the existing model of broadband rollout and starts again.”

She goes on to compare the situation with that of the Faroes: “A recent trip to the tiny Faroe Islands, located between the Shetlands and Iceland, revealed something rather more ambitious and successful. There 98 per cent 4G LTE coverage is backed up by an islands-wide fibre network. Indeed the cluster of 18 islands is set to have 100 per cent superfast mobile broadband by the end of 2016. That coverage extends out to the 200 mile fishing limit – to include the Faroese fishing fleet and passing cruise ships – and also a mile up in the air to cover important helicopter routes. There are no exceptions, no not spots and there is no argument about Faroese Telecom’s claim to provide the world’s best mobile broadband.”

The Faroese are even willing to sort Shetland’s problems it seems but existing legislation may scupper that according to Lesley Riddoch. The Scottish Goverment has a few years to realise its 100% ambition but as Margaret Davidson articulates, people are not patient. Such is society’s hunger to be on the information super highway 24/7 that many voices will be raised in the intervening years. Not only is it a social necessity that our addiction to the internet be satisfied no matter where we live it is of course, again as the Chair of Highland Council insisted, a must for business survival and growth – a level playing field is necessary for the remote parts of the Highlands to compete with similar UK and international businesses. Read Lesley Riddoch’s article here.

Perhaps it is a lot easier for the Faroes who enjoy a greater autonomy than Scotland. The assessment of Lesley Riddoch is that it “has more to do with political control than technological pyrotechnics”. Give the Faroese the contract for the whole of Scotland – superfast and mobile?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Potential Campervan solution for the Harbour?

A few more comments in now on that campervan article that runs parallel to the Nairnshire front page spread. One contribution explains how they do it in Port Erroll - the answer for us?

'Mobile Homes For occasional visitors/users there is a 3 night maximum allowable stay. There is no compulsory fee but the Port Erroll Harbour Trustees would suggest a donation of £10 per night’s stay would help toward the care and maintenance of our historic harbour. Your donation with your registration number can be placed in the green box at the head of the slipway'"

More here on Facebook Page Nairn our town, our views. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Resident swan on River Nairn "Popeye" dies

Very bad news tonight. More information over on the Swan blog. 

Cinema Nairn at the Community and Arts Centre 7.30pm Friday 30th September

On Friday (30th) Cinema Nairn presents an award winning Jordanian film by director Naji Abu Nowar.

Amid stunning desert scenery, a Bedouin tribe have traditionally guided pilgrims through inhospitable and dangerous territory. So when, during WW1, a mysterious English stranger asks to be guided through the desert to a secret destination a young lad Theeb is detailed to accompany him.

This coming of age thriller unfolding through the eyes of the young Bedouin as he tries to unravel the mystery is accompanied by a stunning musical score and outstanding cinematography.

Film starts 7.30pm at Nairn Community and Arts Centre, with tickets at the door.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Camper vans at the Harbour overnight - most folk not bothered by them? Councillors out of sync with public opinion?

The Leopold Street Thunderer today published a front page spread concerning comments made by local Highland councillors about the holidaymakers that park their vans up over night at the harbour. This in turn has prompted debate on the popular social media page "Nairn our town our views" - from the comments being made there it looks like councillors who are calling for the campervans to be moved from the harbour could really be out of touch on this one.

More here on the Facebook page. "Nairn our town our views"

Meanwhile down in Ardersier the uprising continues - will Highland Politicians have the bottle to support them?

It seems the site visit did eventually go ahead. Follow the latest here on the Ardersier folks campaign Facebook page. The decision by the Highland Council South Planning committee will be webcast here

116 year wait is over as Nairn Dunbar achieve first Northern Counties Cup success

"Nairn Dunbar, beaten finalists last year, went one better in the Northern Counties Cup final at Royal Dornoch Golf Club on Saturday afternoon.

Graeme Burnett, Willie Barron, Freddie Brown and Brian Watson beat Royal Aberdeen's Mark Halliday, Nick Macandrew, Donald Macandrew and Daniel Sim by two holes to win the prestigious double foursomes club match-play tournament which was first played in 1900."  

More, including picture, here on Scottish Golf View

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Another step towards the rebirth of something resembling the old Nairn District Council?

A press release from Highland Council. Away from the talking shops and into a doing shop?

Taking forward community partnership in Nairnshire and Ardersier

Councillors have today (21 September) welcomed the creation of a new Nairnshire and Ardersier Community Partnership which will be launched this autumn and will play a key role in taking forward local planning arrangements.

The Highland Community Planning Partnership Board agreed at their meeting on 30th June to establish 9 local partnerships across the Highlands, including one in Nairnshire and Ardersier. These partnerships will provide a focus for local discussion, engagement with communities and identifying priorities for the local area.

Under the terms of the Community Empowerment Act, community planning is to become a shared duty facilitated by Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NHS Highland and The Highland Council. Along with representation from the Third Sector, community planning will also involve a further 10 partners including SNH, SEPA, the Scottish Sports Council, HITRANS, Skills Development Scotland and Visit Scotland.

The Community Partnership will replace the current District Partnership arrangements which covered Badenoch and Strathspey, Ardersier and Nairn together, and its core remit will be to:

• Develop Local Plans for Children and Adults

• Develop Locality Plans/Community Learning and Development plans focusing on communities facing the greatest level of inequality as a result of socio-economic disadvantage

• Identify local actions and priorities

During today’s Area Committee, members had the chance to discuss progress and reaffirm their commitment to the new arrangements. 

Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee, Councillor Michael Green said: “The new Community Partnerships are about a more local approach to decision making, with partners working together to address local issues and priorities. This new Community Partnership will focus on the Nairnshire and Ardersier areas and will drive forward community empowerment for our communities. Representatives of Community Councils will need to be represented as an equal partner in the new structure. We, as local members, are all committed to making the new arrangements work and look forward to greater involvement of local people in decision making.”

Local priorities for Nairnshire

Here's a press release  below from Highland Council. This observer attended part of this meeting this morning and was quite impressed by the performance of Margaret Davidson the Leader of the Council who was in Nairn for this meeting. Much of what she said will be sweet music to the ears of the usual suspects. If time permits we hope to get round to reporting some more of what she said. 

A draft list of local strategic priorities for Nairnshire, which reflect the geographical diversity of the Ward, has been drawn up by members in order to ensure that local needs and issues are taken into account by the Council as a whole.

The draft list of priorities identified by local Members includes:
Economic development and prosperity – this includes developing a blueprint for economic and regeneration with key targets and timescales for Town Centre, Harbour area and business park
Broadband and connectivity – developing wifi and bringing a minimum of 4G to all areas of the Ward
Community/localism - supporting local participatory budgeting initiatives
Transport and infrastructure – Supporting delivery of A96 Bypass and lobbying to improve sewerage infrastructure
Housing development – Development of key sites and affordable housing, including proposals to be included in the City Region Deal
Health and social care – ensuring quality local care provision
Education – seeking opportunities to develop higher education provision and skills and employability for young people
Partnership working – working with partners to create a dynamic change agenda for development of Nairn

Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee, Councillor Michael Green said:

“These priorities will include the creation of a blueprint for Nairn for economic development and regeneration with key targets and timescales for town centre and harbour regeneration, tourism development and business improvement.

“We want to take the opportunity to make Nairn the watersports capital of the Highlands and attract even more visitors to the area. We have a large sailing club, a growing kayak club, a world class golf resort, dolphin tours and many other attractions. We also have a growing cruise ship market in the Highlands and we need to capitalise on all these factors to grow Nairn as a tourist destination.

“Improving the quality of our bathing water and upgrading our sewerage infrastructure are vital and we need to put Nairn at the front of the queue for investment.”

He added: “Fundamental to the success of the area is good infrastructure and connectivity, both for broadband and for transport. Nairn needs reliable broadband and mobile phone coverage, and we will aim to develop Nairn as a wifi town.

Together, we will work with partner organisations to create a dynamic change agenda for Nairnshire.”

The Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson visited the Area Committee to hear about the local priorities and what the Council can do to help progress these. 

She said: “Broadband connectivity is very high on our council agenda and this issue appears on the lists of all the areas’ priorities. The BT broadband contract is nearly completed and there are ongoing improvements with new and upgraded mobile phone masts underway. However there are still areas with very poor connectivity and we now need to know what the Scottish Government’s plan is for 100% coverage. It is too important for business and leisure and our way of life.”

She added: “I am pleased to see local priorities being developed. This is the biggest Council in the UK, in geographical size and members. We cover diverse and widespread communities, each with their own unique challenges and needs. The Council is committed to a localism agenda, which means we really want to hear want matters to local people so that we can target our efforts and design our services accordingly. 

“We have our Highland First Programme and each Area is now identifying their local priorities, which is a good start in actually empowering people to work in partnership with the Council to make real improvements and reduce inequalities across the Highlands. I want Area Committees to be really specific in identifying areas for local economic development. We have a short time available in the term of this Council, but I am convinced that we can make some real inroads.”

Members debated the draft priorities which will be further defined and agreed at the next area committee meeting in December.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Next steps for Nairn South Masterplan

Nairn South Masterplan will be considered at a future meeting of the Nairnshire Area Committee to allow further time to fully consider comments received.

The item presenting feedback from the consultation on the Transport Appraisal for Nairn South was scheduled to be considered at the next Nairnshire Committee meeting. However, due to the breadth of issues raised in comments received and the need to fully consider these, whilst also seeking views from the transport consultants who carried out the appraisal, the item will be referred to a future meeting. Members will then be asked to agree the Council position on the issues raised and the next steps in preparing the Nairn South Masterplan.

Whilst there has been some slippage in timescales, the commitment to prepare the Nairn South Masterplan remains a requirement of the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan Action Programme and will be prepared by the Council. This work, when complete, will guide any future development on this site and put us in a strong position to determine any application for development.

Nairnshire Committee Chair Cllr Michael Green said: “I am delighted the Council is taking adequate time to investigate, analyse and reflect on the large number of responses received from the Nairn Community.”

Gurn comment: It's now just over three years since the residents of Nairn took to the streets to demonstrate against the Nairn South proposals and it still this overwhelmingly unpopular idea lives on.

Nairn Healthcare News September 2016


Nairn Healthcare is sad to say goodbye to two loyal members of admin staff. June Watt, medical secretary, retired after 35 years of service to the surgery and we wish her a long and healthy retirement. Receptionist Marion is also leaving the desk after 12 years. We wish Marion well in her new post. 

We are delighted to welcome Dr Katie Reid back after maternity leave. Dr Reid is available for appointments now. We will also be welcoming two new Advanced Nurse Practitioners to Nairn Healthcare. Anni Campbell and Amy Mackay will be joining Hayley Shepherd and Kevin Stuart as part of the duty clinician team from 3rd October. 

We have also said goodbye to GP Registrar, Dr Gina McRobbie, whose placement came to an end. We have welcomed Dr Lori Cruickshank who will be with Nairn Healthcare for 6 months. 

Art in Health Care

Nairn Books and Arts festival goers were invited to attend a private view of the Art in Healthcare Exhibition which includes artwork from emerging and established Scottish artists such as TG McGill Duncan, David Michie and also Christopher Gilvan Cartwright, whose series of paintings were inspired by recovery following illness.

The event took place in the waiting area of Nairn Healthcare Group and attendees were also joined by the chief executive of the Art in Healthcare charity, Margaret O’Connor. 

Pictured right are Dr Debbie Miller, Dr Calum Macaulay, Margaret O’Connor and Dr Audrey Banks.


Nairn Healthcare is launching a new alternative way of contacting the GP through the method of eConsult.

eConsult is available now and can be accessed through our website –

You just log on, click on the eConsult banner and fill in the form that relates to your condition. This can save you waiting in the phone queue for a telephonist. The eConsult will be given to the duty clinician and you will receive a response by 6.30pm the next working day.

We would like to stress that this is an additional service and will not replace current services available at NHG.

The picture left illustrates the first “eConsult” dated 21st October 1774. It was from Dr William Cullen who helped found the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.

Ear Syringing 

Earwax is normal and is produced inside your ears to keep them clean and free from bacteria. Impacted ear wax is common, and the chances of wax accumulating are increased by the use of hearing aids and cotton buds. Possible complications of syringing include perforation of the ear drum, otitis externa (inflammation of the external ear canal), damage to the external canal, pain, deafness, vertigo and tinnitus (“ringing in the ears”).In most cases you can self-treat using eardrops bought from the pharmacy. The ear drops should be used several times a day for 2 weeks to soften the earwax so that it falls out by itself. This is a safe and effective treatment which should avoid the need for syringing however if this fails to resolve your problem, please contact the Practice to discuss further.

Training Practice

The Practice regularly hosts Medical Students, most from the University of Dundee.

The students are supervised during their attachment by one of our experienced GPs. All of the Doctors take an active role in the students’ attachments to the practice.

During a student’s attachment, you may be asked if you mind seeing the student on their own before your appointment with the GP. If you agree, we will ask you to complete a consent form and you will see the Doctor immediately after. 

Training in general practice is a crucial part of all medical students’ training and we urge you to co-operate with the students if you can.

We will be joined by Blair Wallace and Iona Robertson (Dundee University) from mid-September who will be completing a placement year with Nairn Healthcare.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ardersier People’s uprising against Scottish waste water treatment plans – can Fergus sort it?

The discontent does more than rumble in Ardersier. The community has been galvanised and have learnt new protest activist and campaign skills on the way. Tonight saw another packed meeting in the War Memorial Hall. An all woman top table of activists set out the next steps of the community’s campaign. Displeasure was expressed about the attitudes of both Scottish Water and Highland Council and preparations were being discussed for the forthcoming site visit of the planning committee to the proposed Waste Water location. The determination was palpable, here was a community fed up with the way the authorities were treating it and looking for help from their elected representatives to redress the situation.

The meeting heard how more support was needed from SNP, Green and Labour MSPs. A question from the floor asked who could stop the development going ahead in the proposed location. The answer came back “Fergus Ewing”. Residents of Ardersier are looking to their constituency MSP to sort the situation for them and get the plant relocated further away from the village. (To this observer that seems like a reasonable request – good luck to the people of Ardersier in their campaign.)  The meeting continued with a hustings for candidates in the forthcoming Ardersier and Culloden ward Highland Council byelection. 

More information and background on the Against Ardersier Waste Treatment Plant here.

You can't go far in Ardersier without coming across protest banners
The meeting was a little late in getting underway
AAWTP activists Isla O'Reilly and Jenny Maylan after the first part of the meeting 

Quite a lot at River CC last night

A good write up has been published this morning over on the Nairn Rocks facebook site by Nairn West/Suburban Councillor Andrew Randerson. Andrew's article is also available on Nairn our Town, he begins:

"Was a fantastic meeting last night of the Nairn river community council and some bullet points below to show what a wide ranging amount of topics get discussed...and proves so many many good folk trying to do good for nairn and keep it ROCKING :)

LoreineThomson gave a passionate speech regarding community engagement laws and issues happening right now regarding Highland development plans inner moray firth plans and so so much more then I could type here ...."

You can read the rest here if you are a member of the Nairn Rocks group. 

The stuff from Leoreine Thomson was truly top of the range and we are lucky to have her researching the way Highland Council interpret the Scottish Government's Community Empowerment legislation. She reckons they are falling far, far short and we have to take them to task to make sure that we get a better deal in getting some powers back to Nairn, especially on planning where so many of Nairn's difficulties have surfaced in recent years. 

If the community is ever to take control and decide on the pace and place of future expansion of Nairn then it will have to come out of this community empowerment legislation. Councillor Michael Green was also present and he indicated his determination to get the best deal for Nairn out of the Community Empowerment opportunity. The struggle continues.  Gurnshire - we need to take control ourselves - let's do it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meanwhile over on the SEPA water quality results page for Nairn's East Beach - quite an extraordinary bad result on August 8th

Gurnites can browse the SEPA page here. According to the SEPA folk "Single sample results above 500 EC and 200 IE are indicative that water was of low quality when the sample was taken" - well the score on August 8th was a massive 3,600 for EC and the IE was bad too!   Things hadn't been too bad at all this year up to then. Nairn Central beach results also available here

This obviously must have alarmed the testers as they had a think about this and added to the table is the following:

"The elevated result at Nairn (East) is likely to be due to heavy rain and stormy weather conditions preceding sampling. SEPA staff observed that strong westerly winds were pushing the flow from the River Nairn directly over the sampling site at Nairn (East). This combined with the high bacterial counts seen in the River Nairn samples and sediment disturbance at the sampling site are thought to have caused the elevated localised bacterial counts. Joint, pre-planned, SEPA and Scottish Water inspections of the Nairn sewage network on 8 August 2016 confirmed that there were no discharges from the storm overflows at that time. Further investigations by SEPA staff found no other on-going issues or pollution incidents in the area at this time that would have influenced bathing water quality."

No other ongoing issues they say - well the Swan mannie's obeservations could be said to contradict that - more over on the swan blog here. 

Pollution in River Nairn - Michael Green calls for "immediate action" and Ed Mountain invited to special stakeholders shitestorm summits

Regular readers will recall the link we posted to the swan mannie's eye witness report on the dry weather serious pollution incident on the lower River Nairn this week - that article is here on the swan blog here if you are unaware of what happened. 

Well now, Independent councillor for Nairn, Michael Green has called for ‘immediate action’ in response to the recent sewage discharges into the River Nairn. Cllr Green, who also chairs the Highland Council’s Nairnshire Committee, said he plans to meet with Scottish Water to agree on a plan for swift action: “The Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson and I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Scottish Water to initiate and agree action to once and for all address the issues facing Nairn. I have also met and briefed Edward Mountain MSP and will be invited to attend future Nairn Bathing Water Stakeholder Group meetings”.

Cllr Green was keen to emphasise that a program should also be put into place to bring the current system up to the best standards possible: “The recent sewage discharges directly into the River Nairn, highlights once again, the scale of the problem we face here in Nairn. What is required is immediate remedial action to mitigate the effects of these dangerous discharges, plus longer term, a program of works to upgrade the local infrastructure to the highest standards. The incident will be top of the agenda at the upcoming Nairn Bathing Water Stakeholder Group.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ardersier against Waste Treatment Plant Demo - pictures from Murray MacRae

Individual images here.

Charges for Cludgies in Nairn - time to tell Highland Council to Bog off?

It's survey monkey time as the high heid yins in Glenurquhart Road think up new ways of paying the top man's £140K per annum etc, etc.  Here's the spin:

"The Council is undertaking a review of how public conveniences are funded and will be increasing the number of sites where there is a charge for use. The Council is consulting on how much you would be willing to pay for the use of the public toilets and is seeking views on the level of charges from service users and other stakeholders to assist in the decision making process. Increasing the income from the usage of the toilets could enable the Council to retain more public toilet provision."

Here at Gurn HQ we are willing to pay no charges at all for popping into a cludgie in toon. Keep our cludgies free of charges - and just in case you think of trying it on with the parking then BOG OFF on that one too. We are feeling pretty annoyed here at the Gurn on this attack on civilisation. No payment for a pee! Keep Nairn Cludgies free of charge!

Feeling like being surveyed by the monkies - then try here.  By the way do any councillors still take a free dinner when they go for meetings in Inverness?

Update: is Nairn exempt from pay as you pee proposals? The Highland Council Press release makes no mention of this however Councillor Stephen Fuller states on twitter this evening. "fortunately no plans for pay per pee in Nairn and we intend on keeping it that way."

The Highland Council press release can be read here and there is no mention of an exemption for Nairn. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Pollution incident in River Nairn witnessed by Swan mannie - working group on s**** in River Nairn affecting beaches please note and seek explanation!

More including pictures over on Joe Telfer's Swan Blog. 

Newsflash - drains blocked Boathpark

A report in from our Boathpark office which we were unfortunately unable to file immediately due to an appointment with a dram (in memory of Geoff Skeet who was cremated today after a humanist ceremony in Inverness that celebrated his life - more celebrations at the Legion at 6 pm for all those that knew Geoff through the many activities and contributions that he made to our community). 

Anyway here is the picture over the wires from our Boathpark Bureau.

Bilingual Gaelic English signage madness seen in Canada too! Special Gurn report

The Gurn sent a team of crack reporters to investigate reports of bilingual Gaelic/English signs in Nova Scotia. Critics of the policy in Scotland will be disappointed to find out that the reports are true. On Cape Breton Island there was virtually a bilingual road sign on the outskirts of every community. Inverness wasn't translated as Inbhir Nis however, local Gaelic speakers had called it "An Sithean" for some reason - saoil carson a tha sin? There was even a place called the Gaelic College which was just peppered with Garlic stuff. 

Even outside Cape Breton Gaelic could be found on signs, including the top picture from Antigonish which had a really big one on the outside of town welcoming you in with the words "Am Baile Mor" - The Big Town. 

Despite these irresponsible, confusing and completely unnecessary measures large numbers of tourists could still be seen spending considerable amounts of money on local products, accommodation and services in sunny Alba Nuadh. Where will it all end? Worse still, even over on Prince Edward Island Gaelic was even heard being spoken at a Saturday night Ceilidh. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Cricket Club improvements hit by vandalism

The Gurn's sports and leisure correspondent has filed the following report:

"The Nairn County Cricket Club at the Links appears to have had some unexpected and unwelcome visitors sometime in the last 48 hours..... and it certainly wasn't a rival team! 

This summer - against a background of reductions in Council maintenance - members of the cricket club themselves devoted considerable time, effort and money to tidying up and improving the pavilion frontage by clearing overgrown bushes, removing rubbish, re-laying turf and installing a picket fence. Local firms generously donated some of the materials. Visiting teams, as well as Nairn residents and others who  use the premises (like the Games committee) have appreciated the improvements.

But this does not seem to have deterred some people from trashing the work done by club volunteers. This was the scene (see photos below) on Tuesday of this week when team members gathered for weekly practice. The poles and rope which surround and protect the wicket in the centre of the field had been pulled out and thrown up the bank. And the new fencing in front of the pavilion had been knocked over and broken - not by accident, but clearly as a deliberate act of vandalism."

Counterfeit currency warning for Inverness and Nairn