Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nairn's Hydro Eelectric shop to close

An iconic store on the High Street is to close as part of the SSE company's decision to shut its remaining 37 shops in Scotland. The company states in a press release:

"SSE has today announced it is taking the difficult decision to close its 37 remaining Scottish Hydro Electric shops in Scotland, along with its associated online shop.
The retail shops sell electrical and white goods and are predominantly sited across the north of the country. 

SSE has entered into consultation with its 119 employees affected by the planned closures and will discuss possible redeployment within the SSE plc group. It aims to avoid redundancies wherever possible, although if this is unavoidable, enhanced terms will be offered to affected employees during the consultation process. 

Stephen Forbes, SSE Director of Domestic Retail, said changing shopping habits and more customer choice mean the shops have now been loss-making for a number of years.

He said: “Customers’ shopping habits have changed considerably since these shops were first opened with more and more people shopping online, especially for larger electrical items.

“We know some of these shops have been on local high streets for a long time so we did not take this decision lightly but footfall and sales have reduced considerably and there is, unfortunately, no realistic prospect of that long-term trend reversing.

“Our priority is to ensure our colleagues are fully supported during this time and we will work to redeploy staff within the SSE group where possible.”

All 37 shops and the online shop are expected to be closed by the 15th of May.

SSE employs around 6,000 people across Scotland many of which are based across the north of the country. Each year SSE contributes more than £1bn to the Scottish economy."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sundancer license board application approved

The Sundancer licence application was approved yesterday at the Highland Licensing Board meeting in Inverness. The discussion on the application can be seen on this Highlannd Council webcast here - if you go to that page scroll down to item 8.1 in the right hand side bar and click on that. 

Holyrood election 2016 Fergus in town

Came across Fergus in the High Street this morning. Are you one of the contestants in the Holyrood election this time round? Send the Gurn pictures of your activities in Nairn and we will be delighted to publish. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Police activity on Nairn beach this morning

Part of the West Beach between the Golf View and the Swimming Pool was cordoned off by police this morning. The Fire Brigade were also in attendance. The scene was captured by a local photograper, images can be seen here.  
Just after one o' clock media outlets were reporting that a body had been found on the beach. 

A Century of Nairn Town and County 1847 - 1948 Slideshow by Jim Leslie

Regular readers will have noticed that we recently linked to the Historical Hospitals site and an article about hospitals in Nairn. Dr Adrian Baker read that article and has kindly forwarded us a copy of a presentation made by Jim Leslie at the time of the opening of the new hospital in 2010 it has quite a bit more information and might be of further interest to our readers. If you are unable to  see the images in the presentation below (use the right hand side bar) a copy is also available online here. 

The Slideshow is the work of Jim Leslie His  book the Hospitals of Nairn is on sale in Strachan's newsagents. Jim has a website "The History of Nairn Hospitals" which can be viewed here. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

A petition to stop the spending of £500,000 on a metal cladding for Inverness Museum passes 3,000 signatures

Regular readers may recall a post earlier this month we drew attention to the proposal to spend a considerable sum of money cladding the Inverness museum and compared the fortunes of Nairn Museum to the facility in the Highland Capital. That article is here. 

Since then a petition has been started by Inverness businessman Donald MacKenzie. His petition states:

"Stop Highland Council wasting cash cladding ugly museum to make it a gold-clad ugly museum."

There appears to be considerable momentum building behind this petition and that would indicate it is not only folk in Nairn that think the money could be better spent on other things. The petition is available here and has now been signed by over 3,000 people. 

Hospitals in Nairn - a bit of history

We came across a very interesting page on a site entitled "Historic Hospitals" yesterday. It has some very interesting information worthy of a browse if you have a moment or two - more here. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nairn River Community Council branch out onto social media

NRCC have had a website for some time but now in an effort  to research issues the community think important they are branching out onto social media. They state on their brand new Facebook page:

"The main purpose of the Nairn River Community Council is to find out what residents' views are, and represent them to the Highland Council, and other public authorities, and private agencies, in order to have action taken on matters of interest or concern to the community.

In order to do this effectively, we need to know what your views are, what matters do you want the Community Council to raise on your behalf. This page is one of the ways we are hoping to achieve this, other mechanisms will be set up in due course."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Free online journalism course

There is a phrase out there "we are the media now" and in a way that is right, many news stories are broken by citizens on the likes of Facebook and Twitter and you only have to look at the myriad of sites and social media pages in  Nairn cybersphere to see that, apart from the affectionate place we still all have for the The Leopold Street Thunderer, it is on line that so many of us get our information these days. 

A free online course run by Strathclyde University starting next week is entitled "Introduction to Journalism" and might be just the thing for one or two people in Nairn that create content for local websites or social media pages. 

The site hosting the course states:

"This free online course is aimed at those curious about journalism and looking to gain a better understanding of what the subject entails. Run by a team of internationally-renowned scholars and journalism practitioners at the University of Strathclyde, it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the professional world of reporters and editors.

The course contains six topics - what makes a good news story; writing news; writing features; opinion writing; politics and journalism; and investigative journalism - and explores these in relation to a case study running throughout the six weeks. Although the scenario is entirely fictitious, participants will engage in tasks and discussions that reflect real-life situations in journalism."

Any community groups with ideas for encouraging cycling that might meet the criteria for Cycling Scotland grants?

"Communities can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to deliver local cycling projects. The purpose of the Cycle Friendly and Sustainable Communities Fund (CFSCF) is to support groups to encourage cycling in their community and to deliver a sustainable cycling project that will encourage more people to travel by bike.

This Transport Scotland funded grant scheme enables community groups to support and deliver projects with an overall aim to increase the number of local journeys by bike. Reducing single occupancy car use and increasing active travel options will result in reduced local transport related carbon emissions and increased health and wellbeing of the community."

More on the Cycling Scotland website here. 

Cycling Scotland also have another grant scheme "Cycle Friendly Community Award" which offers grants of up to £20K. More here.

Motion on ship-to-ship oil transfers drafted by local branch passed at SNP conference

Liz tells the Gurn that she is delighted a motion drafted by the local branch of the SNP was agreed by acclaim at the recent SNP Party Conference in Glasgow. 

The motion by the Nairnshire, Culloden and District Branch read:

Ship-to-Ship Transfers 

Conference welcomes the statement from the Scottish Government on 9 February 2016, “Protecting our Seas”.

Conference calls for decisions on ship-to-ship oil transfers to be devolved to the Scottish Government.

Conference expresses its strong opposition to the present application for a licence to permit the transfer of up to 8,640,000 tonnes of oil between tankers moored at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth in the Moray Firth, which has been put forward by the Cromarty Port Authority.

Conference further calls for greater transparency in the mechanisms for the notification of proposed developments in the environmentally sensitive areas. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

City deal for Inverness - but just where will Highland Council find the cash to contribute its share?

Gurn opionion: There is a regional element involved so perhaps we will get the paddling pool fixed now?  The Scottish Government press release states: 

 "Funding will be targeted towards improving the regions transport and digital connectivity networks, fostering innovation of high growth businesses through the creation of a Northern Scotland Innovation Hub, promoting tourism and delivery of local housing and assisted living schemes."

It would be really helpful if any of our politicians could set out a road map of just how Nairn might benefit however - what should we get pro rata over 10 years £30 million? Time for some sizeable crumbs to trickle down in our direction?

The press release goes on:

"Inverness will benefit from a £135 million Scottish Government investment into the city’s infrastructure following the award of a City Deal.

Working in partnership with The Highland Council and the UK Government, the Scottish Government’s investment brings the total City Deal funding for Inverness to £315 million over 10 years. The UK Government will commit up to £53 million and The Highland Council and regional partners will contribute £127 million.

The City Deal is an agreement between the Scottish Government, UK Government and The Highland Council."

So we see a figure there mentioned in conjunction with "Highland Council and regional partners." Let's just pull a figure out of a hat and say half of that could come from Highland Council? Given their apocalyptic situation with pay-offs and cut backs just how do they hope to come up with that?  Gurnties might remember the Press and Journal suggesting Highland Council might have to cut £41 million in an article back in December.

Good luck to Snecky the roads will soon be paved with government gold even if it is only to be aluminium cladding for their museum.   The Scottish Government press release is available in full here. 

Nairn School opens its doors for WW1 commemoration project today Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Highland Council press release:

A Nairn Primary school will open its doors to the public today (Wednesday 23 March 2016) to showcase their pupils’ work on the First World War.

Rosebank Primary School on Nairn’s Academy Street will be open to the public from 9:30am till 2:30pm.

Anne Bryce, Deputy Head Teacher explained: “The whole school has been working on a World War 1 commemoration project involving every child and family in the school, from nursery to Primary 7.

“In collaboration with project workers from Fort George, the project is culminating with a showcase of the children’s work which is open to the public on Wednesday 23 March from 9:30am till 2:30pm.

“There will be lots of interesting stories of how families were affected by the First World War and the feelings of this current generation of children documented.

“The showcase and whole school event which has been coordinated by Linsey Matheson is well worth a visit and we look forward to seeing folks attend.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A new name for the new cowshed? NCFC calls public meeting for fans to whittle down "the many, many nominations"

The NCFC official facebook page states:

"PUBLIC MEETING: Ian Finlayson, on behalf of Nairn County FC, would like to call a public meeting of all supporters at Uncle Bobs Bar on Tuesday March 29th at 7.00 pm.

The one item on the agenda will be whittling down the many, many nominations received for naming the new standing enclosure at Station Park to a final shortlist, which will then appear on the voting papers.

All supporters are welcome to attend to make the case for their preferred name to appear on the final voting paper. If you are unable to attend but which to state your case for your nomination, please arrange for someone to attend on your behalf or message this page."  More details on the County facebook page here. 

Riverside changing rooms twitter storm as welfare leaguers take issue with Liz

The twitter accounts of both Jackos FC and the Forres and Nairn District Welfare Association seem to be upset with comments attributed to Cllr Liz MacDonald in the Nairnshire this week and perceive what she is recorded as saying to the local paper as a lack of support. Below is one of several tweets that have appeared on line tonight in connection with the Riverside changing rooms, other tweets show pictures of the interior of the changing rooms and details of what was reported in the Nairnshire. 

Dog fouling fine doubles

Many of our readers who commented on the doggie jobbie thread will perhaps be happy with the following press release from Highland Council: 

From 1st April the fine for dog owners who fail to pick up after their dog will rise from £40 to £80 , bringing it into line with the fine for other types of littering – cigarette butts, chewing gum and general litter.

The change comes after the overwhelming majority of responses to a Scottish Government consultation on responsible dog ownership said they would support the fixed penalty being raised.

As well as the fixed penalty, the Scottish Government is also considering how to develop a more robust system of enforcement.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We welcome the doubling of the fixed penalty notice for dog fouling, a measure supported by 63% of people asked in a YouGov Poll commissioned by Keep Scotland Beautiful in August 2015.

“Increasing the fine to £80 is a positive step in the right direction and will send a clear message to irresponsible dog owners that their actions have a negative impact on people and communities. However, increased fines form only part of the solution and that is why we are leading a national stakeholder group to develop an action plan on the issue."

Chair of The Highland Council’s Community Services Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson, added: “Dog mess is not only unpleasant but also presents a health risk, particularly to children. The increased fine will hopefully impress upon the small minority of dog owners who do not pick up after their dog has fouled the seriousness of the offence, along with other littering including fag ends and chewing gum.”

“Dog owners should never take their pets out without a supply of plastic bags as not having one is no excuse under the law. Bags should always be placed in a public litter bin or, if none is available taken home for disposal.”

Members of the public who wish to report instances of dogs being allowed to foul in public places can contact The Council by calling 01349 886603 or emailing

For further information visit and

Community Council crisis - what now for the new West/Suburban CC after shock resignation?

The Nairnshire today details the circumstances behind the resignation of West/Suburban secretary Brian Stewart as Secretary and also as a member of the Community Council. More details at a newsagents near you. 

What then now for the fledgling Community Council that was launched after the
Brian Stewart pictured at the South Nairn
planning hearing in June 2014
combination of West and Suburban CCs at the elections in November? The Gurn understands that Brian had been very reluctant to take on that role in the first instance but decided to do so after it was indicated that the Council would fall into abeyance unless that position was filled. 

If you think of many of the initiatives that have emerged from the community councils and other groups in recent years to fight Nairn's corner in an increasingly Invercentric Highland world then Brian will probably have been there helping to develop and draw up strategies and documents to help fight our corner. There are those that feel that Brian's skills went a long way to helping the community fight these battles at a level that often surpassed the kind of information and material that the out of town authorities that have made the major decisions for Nairn in recent years have been able to produce. Brian's main motivation is to make Nairn a better place for all that live work or come to holidy in the town. This observer feels it is fair to say that his contribution through the Community Councils and other organisations has been immense. 

So what now for the West/Suburban CC? Will fault lines emerge along the wetlands/visitor project they propose for Sandown  and now the giant cage proposed for parrots and other birds that is championed by a newly co-opted member of that organisation? There are those that feel that housing should be the priority for the Sandown fields and amongst that social housing that the town would have a large element of control over. Sandown is of course on the West/Suburban "manor" but it will be interesting to see what others out with that geographical area might wish to see done with those fields owned by the Common Good Fund which could possibly used as an engine room for development that could harvest cash for other projects in Nairn. The next meeting of the Westie/Subbies will be very interesting. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

"In a challenging time for school budgets" raising cash online for Nairn Academy

Screenshot of Nairn Academy Parent Council crowd funder page
The local giving page for the Nairn Academy Parent Council reads:

"Our fundraising does not buy luxury items but essential things, which cannot be met within school funds. The current school budget equates to approx £130 per child per year. To put this in perspective photocopying a newsletter costs £42 and replacing a Smartboard lightbulb costs £100. The school needs to replace 10 bulbs this year. The choice should not be between maintenance and educational opportunities, this is where the Parent Council is stepping in for the first time to buy equipment."  

Overnight resurfacing on A96 between Grants Garage and town bridge begin tonight - pot holes no more?

Transport Scotland state on their website:

"Overnight resurfacing improvements will be carried out on a stretch of the A96 in Nairn between the Railway Bridge and the River Nairn Bridge in March. The £72,000 investment by Transport Scotland will ensure that the A96 continues to operate safely for years to come. 

The resurfacing will begin on Monday 21 March and is programmed to continue for three nights, between 7.30pm and 6.30am the following morning.

For the safety of motorists as well as road users, a 10mph convoy system of traffic management will be used during the overnight works. This will be lifted outside of working hours, however a temporary speed limit will remain as motorists will be running over a temporary surface.

Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s North East Representative said: “These resurfacing improvements will enhance the A96 at this location, creating a smoother and safer journey for motorists. 

“We’ve scheduled these resurfacing works to take place overnight to minimise any delays to motorists as much as possible. We would also encourage motorists to plan their journeys in advance where possible by checking the Traffic Scotland website for travel information.”

Real-time journey planning information can be obtained by visiting or twitter @trafficscotland. 

Materials removed from the existing carriageway will be recycled using SEPA approved methods. 

The works are being carried out by Breedon on behalf of BEAR Scotland."

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Delnies ghost island priority junction falls foul of Highland Council's Transport Planning Team

An application by Cawdor Maintenance Trust seeks to replace the proposed roundabout to service the Delnies development with a simpler, ghost island priority junction. The Council's very own Transport Planning team have come out against it however. A document posted yesterday on the Council's e-planning site sates: 

"Although we do not dispute that based on the possible predicted level of traffic, a ghost island junction would be adequate, it is the duty of the Council to consider the wider issues of junction choice and consider the benefits that other junction types may provide. In addition as it unknown as to how much traffic a future development at Sandown may create and it is not clear if a ghost island will be able to satisfy policies 16 and 17 of the Highland Wide Local Development Plan for suitable shared access to the Sandown and Delnies development sites. A ghost island junction fails to consider the broader urban design issues relating to the growth of Nairn. 
A ghost island junction does not provide a gateway feature, cannot help to distinguish between urban and rural areas and provides little in the way of helping to differentiate between a change in speed limits. Furthermore there are proven specific safety benefits that make roundabouts a more desirable junction and it is a more attractive option for pedestrians and cyclists wishing to access the south side of the road. Therefore we do not support this application to vary Condition 14 of the previous planning in principle permission."

Gurnites may wish to read the entire document over at the Highland Council's e-planning pages here. 

Nurturing Nairnshire - a video made by Iona MacDonald

Couldn't make it to the Nurturing Nairnshire event? Iona MacDonald has posted a video on youtube that captures the day perfectly.

More videos by Iona here on youtube

Local groups to benefit after Nurturing Nairn votes cast

A Highland Council press release: 

Local people had the chance to cast their votes on Saturday (12 March 2016) at the Nurturing Nairnshire participatory budgeting event held in Nairn and community projects are now set to benefit.

Over 100 people took part in deciding which projects should be supported from the £25,000 made available from the local Highland Councillors Ward Discretionary budget. A total of 14 out of the 29 projects put forward by community groups have been successful and will now receive funding to help them put their ideas into action.

All applicants gave a 4-minute pitch to make their case for funding and then attendees were asked to vote for the five projects that they thought would make Nairnshire a better place.

The Provost of Nairn, Councillor Laurie Fraser said: “The community has decided what projects they think will help Nurture Nairnshire and the whole process has been a great way to support community empowerment. This is the first time we have tried anything like this in Nairn and the feedback from those who attended the event was overwhelmingly positive. The event showcased all the fantastic work that community groups do locally and I am extremely grateful for everyone who came along and made the day such an excellent success.”

The successful bids were awarded as follows:

• Nairn Welfare Football Association - Riverside Refurbishment

• Friends of Nairn Duke of Edinburgh - Duke of Edinburgh Awards now and for the future

• Nairn Kayak club - Nairn Harbour training and coaching base

• Nairn Men’s Shed - Acquisition of permanent premises

• Revolution Cycling Team- Nairn BMX Track Tidy Up/Provision of a safe environment for inexperienced cyclists

• Nairn Ceilidh Group - Ceilidh on the move

• Nairn Youth Café - Unicycle Achievement group

• Nairn Sports Club - Rackets for all

• River Nairn Swan and Waterfowl Trust - Lower Riverside Enhancement

• Lung at heart - Lung at heart

• Nairn sailing club - Improving public access to Nairn West Beach

• Nairn Books and Arts Festival - Kids events for all

• Nairn Allotment Society - Growing fruit trees from grafts on rootstocks

• Association of Nairn Businesses - Get to know Nairn

Tomorrow night's film (Fri 18th) "Pride" in Nairn Community and Arts Centre

‘Pride’ (15) 2014
Friday 18th March 7.30pm
Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Tickets at the door.

Cinema Nairn’s next screening, ‘Pride’ is based on a true story from the miners’ strike. In the summer of 1984, at the height of the strike, a group of gay activists attending the Gay Pride march in London decide that they should make contact with the Welsh miners to offer their support. Their mini bus eventually arrives in Welsh valley village Onllwyn, where they are greeted with some bemusement by the local folk.

Will the power of friendship and good intentions eventually overcome prejudice and political dogma to everyone’s benefit?

Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Paddy Considine star in this gentle comedy which was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nairn Football Community Coaching announce a sponsorship deal with HARRY FAIRBAIRN BMW

More on the Nairn Football Community Coaching facebook page.

Information for motorists as ground investigation work set to start for the A96 Nairn Bypass

Motorists travelling on the A96 between Inverness and Nairn should be aware of traffic restrictions as work is carried out as part of the A96 Dualling programme starting on 21 March 2016 and lasting for around 20 weeks. 

The restrictions are necessary to enable vital ground investigations to be carried out on the existing A96 as the design work for the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme is progressed. 

Although most of the work will be carried out offline of the existing road, there will need to be some traffic management involving short lane closures to facilitate work on the carriageway.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said:

 “These ground investigations are needed to get vital information on the existing A96 carriageway between Inverness and Nairn as we progress our plans to dual this section of the route. 

“We apologise for any inconvenience the works will cause and would thank road users and local communities for their patience over the next few months. The contractor will closely monitor the operation of the traffic management to ensure that delays are kept to a minimum.”

 The traffic management arrangements will include relatively short alternate single file traffic sections controlled by temporary traffic signals. 

When planning their journeys road users are encouraged to visit the Traffic Scotland website at 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Appeal for Information Following Sneak-in Theft - Nairn

"Police Scotland is appealing for information after a wallet was stolen during a sneak-in theft at Nairn.

Officers are looking to trace a man who entered a property in the Manse Road area of the town on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at around 8.30pm while the owner was at home. 

The thief stole a wallet containing cash from a counter top in the kitchen, and escaped through an insecure door when he was disturbed." More on the Highland Times site here.

Welfare Football Association Nurturing Nairnshire delight

The welfare league players are delighted that they got funds on Saturday to fix up the dilapidated facilities at the Riverside Changing rooms. 

"The Forres and Nairn Welfare Football Association (further referred to as “the Association”) are delighted to announce that on Saturday they were awarded the maximum grant available of £2500 at the Nurturing Nairnshire event held at Nairn Community Centre."  More here on the FNWFA web site. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Winners and losers at Nurturing Nairnshire

Murd shares his thoughts with the Gurn:

"I would like to thank everyone who supported the ramp application for the Firhall Bridge yesterday in the Community Centre, especially Brian Stewart for his presentation. We didn't succeed but we were up against so many good causes in a new event that turned out fine on the day and was a useful exercise but perhaps it could do with a bit of fine tuning to enable more people to vote.

Congratulations to the winners but for myself and others that didn't succeed a moment of quite reflection as the winners were having their picture taken for the Council publicity. I have to confess to a slight feeling of failure, I know how a ramp could make such difference to a lot of people that would like to benefit from a circular walk of the river. I still see it as a necessary improvement and I will keep campaigning for a way for it to become reality. If there was a huge lump of last minute cash available recently for several Highland Council discretionary projects such as the ice rink our four councillors could perhaps prepare a document supporting the ramp now for submission should there be funds left over again through in Inverness next year. I will have a word with those that have helped the Firhall Bridge campaign up to now and see what we can do next, perhaps it might mean another attempt at this Nurturing Nairnshire fund next year or perhaps some other opportunity might crop up in the meantime. Anyway thanks for the support and watch this space"

Dog Poo matters

At last Wednesday's meeting of River CC the situation with dog fouling was again discussed. It was suggested that there were not enough dog bins in Nairn, enforcement too was debated. The meeting was also told by Mike Henderson that he believed free dog poo bags from Highland Council will soon be disappearing because of the cuts. The provision of dog poo bins on the East Beach was also discussed. And it looks like a beach user has decided to do a bit of awareness raising with a tweet to Highland Council:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nairn 2 Turriff 0 Highland League Cup semi-final, pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

And a short Gurn video showing Sam Urquhart's stunning goal that sealed it for Nairn County. NCFC now face Brora in the final on Saturday April 9th 2016 at 15:00 Hours through at Grant Street Park.

Laurie would like to see number of Glenurquhart Road councillors doubled to 160

Through at Glenurquhart Road at the full meeting of Highland Council on Thursday, Provost Laurie Fraser spoke during the debate on the agenda item “Proposal to establish a Commission on Highland Democracy”, he said:

"I actually welcome this paper, I still believe an independent Nairnshire would be a good thing but I recognise that it is not going to happen in the current financial climate. If we are going to do down this path of localised democracy we’ve got to bring the budgets and the cash with it: it’s no use having area committees and meetings locally with local people unless the cash comes with it. As one of my newspaper editors said to be a couple of months ago “In today’s modern financial world why can’t somebody in the finance department just press a button and then gets your income up for each post code and there’s a percentage allocated to each area by the local councillors, it’s not that difficult to do I’m sure. 
Double up to 160 Highland councillors? Laurie thinks it can be done
Additionally we shouldn’t just be looking at our democracy here in the Highlands. I think there is a demographic deficiency in sort of  councillor representation within Scotland and I think that we should at the same time I think we should be looking at lobbying central government for improvements to democracy because we can’t just do it all in house. For example, I believe that if you try to run a committee in Nairn with four councillors it’s insufficient as a committee, eight is a proper number for a committee to try and run Nairn and to get a good balance of views and to get good representation. For that it means a doubling of the number of councillors. Quite honestly I would advocate we actually double the number of councillors on the Highland Council from 80 to 160. I just don’t see why not. I think it could be done."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Parkdean Nairn Lochloy ready for another holiday season

Highland Common Good Funds - a webcast worth watching

A quick insight into how others in the Highlands view Glenurquhart Road's administration of Common Good Funds is available in the webcast of yesterday's full Council meeting. 

This week both community councils in the town raised their concerns or perhaps alarm might be a better word that an official be appointed to oversee the management of the funds and that the funds be charged for that official's work. The meeting yesterday discussed the mechanics of that arrangement and how much it might work out at etc. 
Stephen Fuller speaking yesterday

Previous mess-ups that have cost the Highland Council dearly were mentioned and ongoing issues that are still to be sorted too. There seemed to be widespread support that a solicitor be appointed to delve into some of the tangled aspects of the like of asset registers but how that would be funded proved to be controversial. The appointment is going ahead but whether it will be the Council that pays for that statutory duty to be carried or whether the common good funds put up the cash is yet to be decided. 

There seemed to be considerable support for Stephen Fuller's viewpoint that it should be the Council, his proposal was not voted on, he withdraw it in favour of the convenor suggesting that it be brought back for decision at the May meeting, thus giving time for consultation with Community Councils as was called for during the meeting yesterday. 

Interesting comment from Richard Laird that illuminated the feelings beyond the chamber that members of the public generally hold on the issue of the Common Good, he said:

"Whether we like it or not there is significant public opinion, particularly Inverness and Nairn. There is no confidence among a lot of people in the way this Council manages the Common Good in both those former Burghs. Whether we like it or not that is the Truth."

We would recommend that all serious students of Common Good matters in Nairn head for this Highland Council webcast page and click on item 18 in the right hand side scroll bar.

Alarm raised for missing Nairn pensioner update found safe and well

Details on the Inverness Courier site here.

Update found safe and well

Clach 1 Nairn 2 Pictures from Donald Matheson, Kenny MacLeod and Mashy Young

Click read more tab to see images of the action from Wednesday night as County went through to the next round of the cup which means a home tie against Turriff tomorrow Saturday 12th March.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Murd wants your vote on Saturday

Murd is canvassing for support at the Nurturing Nairnshire event to be held in the Community Centre on Saturday when funding will of between £200-£2500 will be distributed to the projects with the most votes. Here's what he has to say.

"Your support is needed.
If you think my campaign for A ramp at the Firhall Bridge is worth supporting please go down to the Nairn Comunity Center and cast your vote for it. There is Money out there for this but it has to be applied for.

You know the saying if you don't ask you wont get. So again I ask for your support for those who need a ramp at the bridge. Give five minutes   of your time on Saturday and let your thoughts for others be known.
Support the Ramp
Murd Dunbar"
Murd demonstrates how wheelchair uses could use the Firhall Bridge if a ramp were to be installed. 

Others looking for a vote that we know of are the NAS Orchard Group (Gurnmeister declares and interest here). Please see video below.

We have also heard of a few other bids, there is the Nairn Play Group. Nairn Rocks are looking for funding to help with their planned Family Fun Day. The Nairn Welfare football Association are hopeful of a cash boost to help refurbish the Riverside soccer facilities. There are also many others apparently and voting is in the community centre on Saturday, you have to register to vote from 09.30 onwards. 

Lochloy Sewage infrastructure - Scottish Water and Highland Council close to agreement or will it be lawyers at dawn?

The ongoing campaign by River CC and residents in the Lochloy area to have the sewage and drainage systems in that area officially “vested” and the roads adopted by the authorities after many years of mystery, delay and confusion seems to be bearing some small fruit at last. Speaking at the regular monthly meeting of Nairn River Community Council in the URC hall last night, the Chair, John Hume stated:

“We have some progress on that, just to update you, we received an indication on the 25th of February that has changed matters slightly. Scottish Water have now indicated that where previously they had said they would not adopt the sewage systems in Lochloy unless and until they were brought up to standard including SUDS drainage systems – that’s still the position – but they have now said they have had some discussions...there’s ongoing work, the work has not been completed, it will be completed possibly by the end of March, but they are also in discussion with Highland Council about the maintenance of the SUDS system.”

He continued: “Highland Council and Scottish Water had a meeting the other day, I haven’t heard the outcome of that but what Scottish Water have now told us is that irrespective of whether Highland Council adopt the SUDS system or not Scottish Water will take responsibility for that system which is a big step forward. It doesn’t resolve the issue in the short term but what it means is that they have put in black and white is that if they don’t get a resolution sorted with Highland Council then they will take responsibility for it. I’m not sure what that means between them and Highland Council. They have told us that they believe they have an agreement with Highland Council dating back to 2001 that Highland Council would take responsibility for the SUDS system. If they don’t Scottish Water have told us they will adopt it and relieve the residents of that worry of the system in Lochloy.”

He added that it sounded like good news but he didn’t think that anything would happen quickly. He went on: “After an agreement is in place between themselves and Highland Council they expect to take a further ten weeks to adopt the sewage and waste water systems. If there is no agreement with Highland Council I suspect a lot longer than that, I’m not sure where that dispute will then go between Scottish Water and Highland Council.”

John added that that left the roads and the only issue stopping the adoption of the roads was the sewage system. He said that progress was being made and he expected to get another communication from Scottish Water shortly. 

After a quick discussion John added that his gut feeling was: “If there is not an agreement between Scottish Water and Highland Council it is going to end up in court.” 

Iain Vernal, a Lochloy resident said he had a letter that said they (Scottish Water) were going to try and get a deal within 10 working days and if there was no response in that time that the project would look at an alternative solution and the legal team would be involved.

John added that he knew there had been a meeting with Highland Council but he hadn’t heard anything about that but he had heard one disappointing thing and that was that the official dealing with the matter at the operational level at Highland Council had resigned. John anticipated another update at the next meeting of the Community Council.

There was a good attendance from members of the public at the River CC meeting last night and a very busy list of issues discussed. The Gurn team will report on some of them if time permits but best reserve your copy of the Nairnshire Telegraph for next Tuesday as they will no doubt have full coverage of both the River CC from last night and the West/Suburban meeting on Monday where there was another busy programme of discussions. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Provost has his gas cut off

This morning this observer was approached by a local gentleman who was outraged that the Gas Guys had taken up so much parking space in the High Street after he had recently been told that the work had been finished. 

Maybe this is connected with the recent work but it is obviously quite necessary as a short time later Laurie Fraser told the Gurn that his gas had been cut off. We have asked Scottish Gas Network for information.

Sun Dancer licensing application - open meeting to be held later this month

On Monday night at the regular meeting of Nairn West/Suburban CC in the Community and Arts Centre, the secretary, Brian Stewart, told the meeting that both his council, River CC and a number of residents had made representations to the licensing board concerning the Sun Dancer Bar and Restaurant application. He added that an open meeting had been organised at the premises at 19.00  on Wednesday 23rd of March where it would be possible to hear from the applicant as to how the premises intend to operate and ask questions of the applicant and the Licensing Standards Officer of Highland Council. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Projects recommended for Capital Discretionary Funding at the Highland Council Thursday - nothing for Nairn!

A document going before the chamber at Highland Council tomorrow lists six projects recommended for funding, and the cash amount they will get if passed, and they are:

• Inverness Ice Centre 171,870 
• South Loch Ness Trail 72,000
• Cromarty Harbour Trust 50,000 
• Alexandra Bridge 26,406 
• New Embo Community Centre 70,000 
• WASPS Studios, Midmills College 100,000 

Gurnites wishing to find out more about these projects can download the Highland Council's report by clicking on item 15 on this agenda document here for the meeting in Glenurquhart Road tomorrow. 

Gurn opinion:  Obviously they are all very worthy projects but why is there nothing for Nairn on this list? Surely there is enough that needs doing? Did our councillors submit anything? Things are supposed to be going down the pan but there is still money around although none of it seems to be coming our way. 

Nairn Common Good Fund drifting towards control from Inverness despite reborn Nairnshire Committee?

A proposal recommended by officials and going before the Highland Council on Thursday would see the establishment of an officer responsible for all of the Common Good Funds in the Highland Council area. It states:

"In recognition of both the current challenges together with the need to prepare for the implementation of the community empowerment legislation it is proposed that the Council agree to establish a temporary post. The post, which is proposed to sit within the Finance Service, will be one dedicated to the management and protection of all Common Good Fund assets with a particular emphasis on ensuring compliance and with the management of assets and risks. It is proposed that the post be funded by the Common Good Funds on a pro-rata basis. The initial term of the post would be 24 months."

Ironically the Community Empowerment Act is mentioned. That is supposed to be the direction of travel dictated by Holyrood and visualises a world where towns like Nairn have a bigger say in a lot of things that affect civic life - such as more control over the Common Good. 

It was pointed out at the West/Suburban Community Council meeting last night that there has been no consultation with Nairn Community Councils on the appointment of an officer who would be funded on a pro-rata basis by the Common Good funds. It was suggested that this would effectively mean that the Inverness and Nairn funds would pay for that as there is very little cash or assets in any of the other Common Good funds left in the Highlands. 

Members of West/Suburban were worried that this officer would be based in Inverness and thus more control, transparency and accountability would slip away from Nairn and that the charges for the officer would quickly deplete the fund's cash. They are pressing for the appointment of the officer to be differed until the community councils are consulted on the merits or otherwise of such a move. 

Serious students of these matters may wish to go to the agenda page for the Highland Council meeting on Thursday (10th March) and download item 18 to read the report in full. 

Gurn opinon: And what of the Nairnshire Committee on this? Shouldn't our councillors make the decision in the Courthouse and not the full Council in Glenurquhart Road? Could one be forgiven for thinking that the Community Empowerment Act is being used as a fig leaf here for Glenurquhart Road to continue in exactly the opposite direction? Will our four Highland Councillors stand up for Nairn on this one on Thursday?

Monday, March 07, 2016

Apples Let's grow some in Nairnshire! - video

If you are going along to the Nurturing Nairnshire Community Event this Saturday 12th March in the Community and Arts Centre please will you consider supporting the Allotment Society's Orchard group's grant application when the votes are cast. 

The video explains the group's ideas:

Na Fir Chlis - The Northern Lights 06/03/16

Click on image to enlarge

Black Lab found at Riverside and handed in to police this morning 7th March

One of our regular readers tells us that a lost black lab is on its way to the police station.

Update dog returned to owner.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Massive cash bonanza for Inverness Art Gallery and Museum - any chance of a wee hand-out for Nairn then?

According to the BBC: 

"Councillors have approved a plan to improve the appearance of a prefabricated concrete building in Inverness by covering it with metal.

The £500,000 cost of the work to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery would be met from £3m of funding provided by the UK government.

The building's front and side is to be clad in aluminium.

The light sandstone-coloured anodised, perforated aluminium would feature a map of the city.

The museum, which is operated by High Life Highland, is in the city centre next to the Inverness Town House and Inverness Castle." More here.

One of our regular readers is less then impressed with this latest lorry load of cash heading for the Highland capital and told us:

"Half a million pounds to facelift the Inverness Museum - a building which is relatively modern, structurally sound, well furnished and equipped, and is owned by Highland Council and managed by HighLife Highland. 

The other £2.5 million is to be spent on "upgrading the grounds of Inverness Castle and creating free public access wifi for the city".

Meanwhile the Nairn Museum is housed in an elderly Victorian building with serious issues. It is also owned by Highland Council (who ought therefore to be maintaining it), and run by a board made up of volunteers who have to look to charitable donors and fundraising efforts to pay the bills. What could they do with a fraction of that half-a-million?

Moreover, while preparing to spend huge sums on tarting up Inverness Castle grounds (which are hardly derelict!), Highland Council is simultaneously cutting back substantially on the maintenance of public amenity areas like the Links and Viewfield, claims it cannot afford to replace the paddling pool, and is reducing or giving up the provision of floral planting in public spaces in Nairn and in other towns around the Highlands. As for wifi, while Inverness is to be provided with a free public wifi network, parts of Nairn still haven't got superfast broadband."

There you are folks, thoughts for a dreich Friday afternoon. Have good weekend. 

Allied Irish Bank get planning permission to turn the Windsor into flats

The application to turn the Windsor Hotel into 13 flats and a guest house was approved very quickly at the South Area Planning Committee at Glenurquhart Road on Tuesday. Michael Green and Laurie Fraser spoke in favour  and none of their colleagues raised questions or commented on the project. 

The Allied Irish Bank should have no difficulty in finding funds for the 
conversion if this BBC article published yesterday is anything to go by "Allied Irish Banks: Parent company of NI bank, First Trust, makes 1.5bn profit" In no time at all there could be a few builders heading for the High Street for a piece at lunchtime if the bankers have that much cash floating around. 

The traffic issues raised during the course of this application were considered but the planning officer summed it up by saying there were not enough grounds for refusal that could be defended on appeal. There were one or two things to be tidied up such as the issue of domestic refuse but the planning councillors gave the go ahead. 

Michael Green said he was very supportive of the application and listed the ongoing issues including youths entering the vacant building and the need for regular visits by the police. He didn't see it as a loss of amenity but an addition if anything. He said that the application had overwhelming consent in Nairn. For Michael this would add to the number of beds for the holiday trade and he indicated that there were shortages of such capacity in the summer in Nairn. He thought that the development would be "upscale" and mirror the occupation pattern of the Marine Appartments - he said it "ticked a lot of boxes for Nairn."

Laurie Fraser said it cleared up an eyesore but conceded that there could be parking problems. He thought it would have been nicer to separate the houses but he too gave it his blessing.

And that was it, a go ahead for the Allied Irish bankers.  

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Tales from Brigadoon - contributed

Once upon a time, although not so long ago, a few people sat around a table up at the Big House. They discussed ideas for making it easier for visitors to find their way around. A Visitor Information Board seemed like a good idea. It could display a map with places to visit around town; where to get a meal; where to find a bed for the night. “Great idea”, they all said and the plans were sent to a faraway place where all the big decisions are made for Brigadoon.

Time passed. Weeks became years. The people at the Big House moved on to pastures new. More years passed and local people forgot the plans that had been agreed. Until one day in the town square there was the sound of pneumatic drills as workmen cut holes in the paving blocks. “What can this be?”, people wondered. “It’s a sign”, they said. “What do you mean? A sign of better times perhaps”. “No it’s a sign board. It was sent by the people from the faraway place. But no one can remember what it was to be used for.”

Up at the Big House, people scratched their heads and for long enough the lovely new sign board sat empty despite proudly declaring “Welcome to Brigadoon” in English and in Gaelic. Part of the problem was that having been installed no one could find the key. Eventually, it was found in a dusty cupboard. But the people in charge at the Big House had no idea what the information board was meant to be used for. “Why don’t we just use it for public notices?” they thought. “That’s a good idea - but who will look after it and place new notices and take out the old ones?”. “It’s got to be someone local. Why don’t we ask one of the River people to take charge?”. That seemed a good plan as the board is in the area belonging to the River people. There are various groups of people in Brigadoon who keep a watchful eye on their own areas: the people of the West lands and others living in Suburbia.

And so it was that the key was given to one of the River people. He  regularly went up to the Big house to collect new notices and place them in the shiny new noticeboard. Notices began to appear telling local people about Coffee Mornings; the odd community event; charity fund-raisers - in fact the same old notices that regularly clutter the windows of local shops. But the notices now display events that have long since passed. Perhaps the new River people didn’t know they were custodians of the key. “What key?”, “Who has it anyway?”.

So despite the ”Welcome to Brigadoon”, does the visitor information board offer any useful information for visitors? Not really. Apart from a small map, people don’t know where they are, what they can visit, where they can eat or where they can sleep.

In a town to the east where the people of the Forest live there is also a visitor information sign. It provides lots of useful information for visitors; tells them where they are on the map and suggest lots of interesting things to see and do around town. Now that’s what I call a Visitor Information Board.

But I still can’t work out why they call this place Brigadoon!

Ducks testing out the big puddle behind Grants Garage

One of our regular readers who lives in the Merryton Crescent area tells us that she has never seen such an amount of water on the land behind the garage. Yesterday afternoon several ducks looked very happy in the water and were obviously thinking of perhaps moving in for the nesting season. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Floodtide (U) Monday 7th March 2pm Matinee - Nairn Community and Arts Centre

Cinema Nairn Present: ‘Floodtide’ (U)
Monday 7th March 2pm Matinee
Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Tickets £2.50 (include tea and bakes) at the door

It’s 1949, and the Clyde shipyards are leading the world in ship building and design.
Against his father’s wishes, farmer’s son David Shields (Gordon Jackson) dreams of life in the city and gets a job in the shipyards, where he finds a flair for design, and quickly moves up the ranks. Although resented by some of his colleagues, his design for a revolutionary ship finds favour with the boss, but will it also attract the attention of the boss’ lovely daughter?
Rona Anderson, Jimmy Logan and John Laurie also star in this heartwarming Scottish romance.

Nairn Healthcare News March newsletter

The latest from the practice


Nairn Healthcare is sad to say goodbye to our longest serving member of staff. Jean Maclean has been with the Practice for 39 years as receptionist/administrator and will be leaving her post on Friday 4th March. We wish Jean all the best for the future We will be welcoming our new receptionist, Emma, on Monday 7th March to the team.

Befrienders Highland 

Befrienders Highland Ltd (BHL) has recently announced that loneliness and isolation are sadly on the increase in the Nairn area. In the past 12 months, there has been a 60% increase in the number of people who are referred for 1-1 support because of the loneliness created as a result of their mental illness or dementia. Befrienders Highland are hoping to recruit and train enough people for those referred and are reaching out to the local community. The friendships can be offered face-to-face (Inverness and Nairn) or through phone, letter or email across the wider Highlands. They have been described as a lifeline for over 650 people who have benefitted from the weekly social contact. If you are interested in becoming a befriender and are aged 25 or older, please contact Alan Duncan or Sally Mackintosh on 01463 235675 or email Befrienders Highland will provide training and ongoing support. 

Practice Booklet

Nairn Healthcare has launched a new eBook which is now available on our website . The booklet contains information about the practice and extended teams within the community. It also includes useful telephone numbers, helpful information and more

No Smoking Day 2016

No Smoking Day 2016 will be 9th March and Nairn Healthcare wants to urge all our patients who smoke to stub out the cigarette and be proud to be a quitter. Around 10million people in the UK still smoke and 100,000 die every year from smoking-related causes. We are all aware of the reasons why it’s a good idea to stop smoking and although quitting won’t be the easiest thing to do, the benefits will reap once you have. As soon as 24 hours after quitting, your lungs have already started to clear out the mucus and smoking debris. After one year, your risk of heart disease is halved. Money-wise, a 20-a-day smoker can save over £3,000 in a year! Also, life and home insurance is cheaper when you are a non-smoker. For help on stopping smoking, log on to for forums moderated by ex-smokers for support and encouragement. You can also call Can Stop Smoking on 0800 84 84 84. Also, most pharmacies offer a smoking cessation service. They can provide support, advice and discuss the best method to help you quit. For more information, please contact your local pharmacy. 

The Scottish Bowel Screening Progrmme

The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme aims to reduce mortality from bowel cancer by detecting the condition as early as possible – early stage cancer has a more favourable prognosis than advanced disease. Men and women aged 50-74 years old are invited to take part in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme through completing a home screening test every two years. The screening test aims to detect blood in bowel motions as this may indicate a higher risk of bowel cancer. People with a positive screening test result (i.e. blood was detected in the bowel motions tested) are offered further investigation, typically a colonoscopy. Between the period of January – June 2015, 1,409 Nairn Healthcare patients were invited to take part in the screening resulting in 63% returning their kit exceeding the national target of 60% and we would encourage patients to continue participating in this very important screening test. For more information on bowel screening, please call the helpline on 0800 0121 833 or visit:

John Finnie MSP continues his assualt on Scottish Government over ship to ship oil transfers

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie today called on the Scottish Government to end its silence over the application for ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.
Following calls by the SNP MP Ian Blackford for a decision on the application to carry out ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth to be delayed so that the Scottish Government may be consulted, Mr Finnie has expressed his disbelief that Scottish Government was not proactively protecting Scotland’s environment.

Commenting Mr Finnie said:

“The Scottish Government is responsible for protecting Scotland’s environment; that it would not respond to a consultation with severe environmental consequences because it wasn’t directly asked beggars belief.

“Somehow, despite not being directly asked, many ordinary citizens were able to respond to the consultation ran by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, calling for the application to be denied on environmental grounds.

“The Scottish Government should have been well aware of the application; indeed the SNP Leader on Highland Council said ‘I understand from the Scottish Government and one of our MP’s in the SNP that this licence has the support of the SNP government’.

“For the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Richard Lochhead to keep silent throughout the consultation process and the day after it closed to ask for the decision to be devolved smacks of playground politics. I support all decisions concerning our precious marine environment to be devolved too but that in no way excuses the Cabinet Secretary’s silence. 

“Incredibly, the Scottish Government has stated it believes the Cromarty application will transfer the wrong type of oil for it to oppose the application. [1]

“Sadly, rather than protect our interests, it is clear that this call for a delay is simply an attempt to wrong foot the electorate ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections, perhaps – as with CalMac and fracking – leaving all the bad news until after May.

“The public have a right to know the Scottish Government’s stance on the application and the SNP should get on with telling us, rather than bleating about how the UK Government dropped the ball by not sending them an embossed invitation.”

John Finnie has been a Highlands and Islands MSP since 2011 and is the lead Scottish Greens candidate in the forthcoming Holyrood election.

[1] Exchange between Mr Finnie and the Cabinet Secretary, 11 February 2016. Official Report:

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Sites for Nairn - a new kid on the block

While the moribund  is still waiting for a makeover  a new entity has come out of nowhere and created an alternative presence for the town in cyberspace. You can find it here at