Sunday, December 29, 2019

Grass cutting rumours - but could we just stop cutting a lot of it anyway?

Here at the Gurn we've heard from some of our regular readers that they've heard that moves may be afoot to re-jig the way that grass cutting services are delivered in the town and even that a proposal could soon see the light of day. Just the Christmas silly season or is there something going down?

Community orchard planting in Forres
Obviously it is good to keep the visitor areas of the town in good shape all year round but are there other areas where a lot less could be done and perhaps a few trees (including fruit trees could be planted)? 

This observer is inclined to think of how a couple of areas no longer being cut by Moray Council in Forres have now been planted with fruit trees by local folk. We could go for that kind of look or even devolve down to streets or sets of streets with something more structured like the Viewfield Community Orchard if local residents were willing to see such changes.

One of our regular correspondents who has been having a blether with us about the grass cutting situation in Nairn and what may or may not become of it tells us that it might be worth looking at councils that have turned over large grassed areas and planted wild flowers too. 

Perhaps folk in the various districts in Nairn might be interested in submitting their thoughts to the authorities if there is anything in these rumours and a major change in the grass cutting regime does indeed come to the surface and fully into the public domain?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Well done the Turkey Trotters!

Nairn Roadrunners held another successful Boxing Day event - well done all you Turkey Trotters.

Sgriob Circe-frangaich 2019 - Turkey Trot 2019

Larger images here. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr nuair a thig i - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes!

Merry Christmas Gurnshire. 

Here's our recommended free gift to take you forward into 2020 - There's never been a better time to learn Gaelic, here's the Duolingo Scottish Gaelic online course - perfect for this time and space in the new Millennium. 

Have a good one Gurnshire!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Police investigating iron gate stolen from Sutors Avenue

Officers in Nairn are investigating the theft of an iron gate, which was stolen from Sutors Avenue, Nairn overnight on Friday 20th December 2019.

Anyone with any information regarding this theft is asked to call Police Scotland on 101 quoting ref: NM/2363/19.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Nairn Healthcare News Winter 2019

Here's the latest News letter from Nairn Health Care. Click to enlarge

 Please not the links on the images don't work so here they are: 

Reordering Prescriptions or by email at

Cooking the Turkey


Monday, December 16, 2019

Lochloy junction without traffic lights

The scene just after 0900 am this morning, with traffic moving reasonably well but no good at all if you are a pedestrian and wishing to cross the A96. Something else to add to the long list of problems that have occurred with this infamous set of lights. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Castle Lane Democracy Rocks - friends not on the net? Now they can read NRCC candidates' statements old style

Just when you thought it was safe to come out from behind the sofa with the General Election done and dusted. Now it won't be long before Nairn River Community Council election (take 2) postal ballot papers will be hitting your doormats. 

For anyone fancying a punt on the new coupon here's some information on quite a few of the candidates that we put up for the previous cancelled election. 

Likewise any candidate that hasn't sent info to the Gurn is still free to do so and we will add to the collection. 

So if you live in the River CC area and you know anyone that has a ballot paper but no Internet then here's were they can find out more about Nairn's forthcoming Christmas and Hogmany festival of local democracy. 

‘The Nairn Climate Strikers’ wins national film award

Nairn Academy pupil Rowen Henderson has won the ‘Best Film Challenge’ award in the 2019 Scottish Youth Film Festival.

His short film ‘The Nairn Climate Strikers’ was chosen as this year’s best overall film.

The film features Nairn climate strikers Eric Ness and Dayne Inglis, who have led the school climate strike protests in Nairn, calling for urgent action to prevent further climate change.

Dayne Inglis said:

‘As young people in Nairn, we will have to face climate breakdown during our life-times. We can change what we are doing, but our government must take the lead.’

As part of the partnership with Youth Cinema Network, this film will be screened around the world at other Youth Film Festivals.

Eric and Dayne are both members of the Extinction Rebellion Nairn protest group.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Cawdor Street Post Office no more - flitting to McColls in January

Here's a letter from the Post Office that those folk who took part in the consultation received. Not going down well on social media this but looks like we simply have to suck it and see. The times they are ' changing.

Drew Hendry returned as MP for Invnerness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey

In a night that saw an SNP surge across Scotland Drew Hendry was returned with an increased majority.
That's the election over, here at the Gurn back to the normal "Bah Humbug!" for a while but eventually we will crack and Mrs Gurn get the lights out of the cupboard.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Police update - death of woman - River Nairn

"With reference to our previous release appealing for information to help identify the woman who was recovered from the River Nairn, near the harbour on Sunday 8 December 2019, please note:

The woman has now been identified as a 64 year-old woman from Nairn and her relatives have been informed of the death.

A post mortem will take place in due course to establish the exact cause of death, however at this time the death is being treated as unexplained although there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.

Members of the public are thanked for their response to our appeal."

A photographic bridge between Namibia and Scotland - Monday 9th Dec 2019 7 pm Nairn Community and Arts Centre

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Appeal for information to identify body found in Nairn

Police in Nairn are appealing for information to help identify the body of a woman discovered in the River Nairn.

The woman was seen in the water opposite the Caravan Park on Shambles Road, around 8.55am on Sunday, 8 December, 2019. Her body was recovered near the Harbour a short time later.

She is described as being in her late fifties, early sixties of a slim build with short grey hair and was wearing a dark-coloured Slazenger top.

Detective Inspector Peter MacKenzie of Inverness CID said: “We are currently conducting a number of enquiries to identify the woman, establish the circumstances leading up to her death and trace her family.

“As part of this we are appealing to the public for help and would urge anyone that recognises the description to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained and a post mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death.” Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 1250 of Sunday, 8 December, 2019.

Friday, December 06, 2019

A new Splash Pad will replace the existing paddling pool on the Links area of the Town

 Highland Council press release:
An exciting opportunity has been agreed to go forward for Nairn. A new Splash Pad will replace the existing paddling pool on the Links area of the Town.

A jointly funded project between Team Hamish (NICE), Nairn Common Good Fund and The Highland Council - the idea of a Splash Pad received strong community support from extensive engagement with local people over the last 18 months.

The Splash Pad will be available for a longer period over the season (April-October), will attract and be accessible for a wider group of people and provide a modern, high quality, outdoor interactive play facility for the town. It will be the first of its kind in Highland.

Work is hoped to begin early in the new year with the facility being in place around Spring 2020.

Executive Chief Officer Malcolm MacLeod said: “Highland Council is delighted to move forward with this project. There has been significant consultation over recent years to think about how the community want to progress and develop the Links area for Nairn. This is the first phase of the Links Development. It will reinvigorate the area and hopefully attract more people and visitors to the Links. It is very pleasing that we are able to work together to deliver this for the people of Nairn.”

Sam Hey from Team Hamish said: “Susan and I are thrilled that this project is being delivered. We have received so much support from the Nairn community over the last few years and people have been incredibly generous in contributing money towards developing something positive on the Links. We are really pleased that people can see where their money is going and what a fantastic facility this will be for the whole community.”

Monday, December 02, 2019

Nairn River Community Council election declared null and void - mistake in the ballot paper - ballot to be re-run!

The Gurn has seen a copy of an e-mail from Highland Council to the 20 candidates in the River CC election. It reads:

"Dear Community Council candidate,

I am writing to inform you that the ballot paper for the Nairn River Community Council election contains an error.

The error is in the order of listing candidates. Normally the listing would be in alphabetical order, however, due to the formatting process this has not happened. 

Senior Officers within the Council have considered the issue and have judged that the issue is significant enough to mean that it is prudent to re-issue a corrected ballot paper and to conduct a fresh poll. 

I realise that this will be a disappointment to you and cause you no little inconvenience however it is clear that our duty is to run an election process that is transparent and consistent with electoral norms.

It is our intention to send out fresh ballot papers of a different colour on the 13th of December to be returned by 9th of January and the count taking place on 14th January. The re-issued ballot will contain a letter to electors explaining the situation.

I hope you will accept our sincere apologies for this error and that you agree it is necessary for us to take this action."

The e-mail is signed by the Highland Council's "Community and Democratic Engagement Manager".

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Nairn Allotments Orchard Group presentation at Scottish Parliament Apple Day


Nairn Allotments Orchard Group were invited to give a presentation at the Scottish Parliament about all the apple goings on in Nairnshire.

 It was the Scottish Fruit Trees annual Apple Day at Parliament. A NAOG representative was presented with one of the yearly awards by Stewart Stevenson MSP for all the work that is going on in and about Nairn. 

 (pictures Dennis Mollinson)

John Hancox of Scottish Fruit Trees gave a speech calling for more apple trees to be included in Scottish Government tree planting initiatives. He said:

"Thanks firstly to our Co-sponsoring MSPs – Claudia Beamsish, Alison Johnstone, Jeremy Balfour, Beatrice Wishart and Stewart Stevenson

While thinking about what key message to get across at this – our 11th Holyrood Apple  - I heard the SNP manifesto pledge to plant 30 million trees in Scotland

Then I looked at the other party manifestos – Greens, Lib Dem, Labour Conservative, and Brexit. And all the parties have made a significant commitment to tree planting

It is very important that our Holyrood Apple day has cross party support with our MSP sponsors representing Labour, SNP, Greens, Lib Dem and Conservative parties. This reflects a real understanding of the long terms importance of tree planting.

Everyomne agrees that tree planting is a good idea

What I hope you get from today is that planting fruit  trees and orchards  is a GREAT idea

If we are to plant say 30 million trees in Scotland – could 10% of them be fruit trees

Fruit trees so what trees do, plus they have extra benefits

Speakers today will talk of the value of orchards and fruit trees for health, education, well being and for the environment. Fruit trees on arable land would store carbon and improve soil health – while also giving a useful food crop.  Avoiding bringing in fruit from across the world – and reducing food miles – increases food security and carbon footprint.

Orchards also create far more employment than conventional forestry planting

Many of the fruit trees and orchards planted so far across Scotland are small scale but the impacts are big

Imagine the impact of a much bigger scale planting of Orchards across Scotland – as well as encouraging people to plant fruit trees in Gardens, parks, workplaces and allotments across Scotland. Planting 3 million fruit trees would be transformative

So a message for today. Yes lets plant trees and well done to all our politicianas for seeing the value in this .   But lets make lots of them be fruit trees !"

Saturday, November 30, 2019

St Andrews Day - the perfect day to start learning Gaelic on duolingo!

Perhaps you've tried before with conventional courses or maybe you know a few phrases from Gaelic-speaking friends. Maybe your bairns will be going to Nairn's Gaelic nursery or the unit at Millbank Primary. Perhaps you just want to know more about one of Scotland's languages.

Whatever your interest now with duolingo there is a chance to learn Gaelic for free at a pace that suits you. 

Give it a go Gurnites, Good luck-Gur math a thèid leis.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Millbank Nursery "...proper processes have not been followed in this case"

Within just a little over 24 hours a petition campaign to get a reprieve for the present set up at Millbank Nursery has achieved a very good result with a "hands-up" from the Highland Council, an admission that:

 "...proper processes have not been followed in this case."

An update on the petition page reads:

"Thank you for all your overwhelming support , in such a short space of time there has been a significant change in direction from the Educational board and Millbank Nursery will remain open. 

There will be parent and public consultations next year on how the new 30 hours initiated will be implemented especially for out of school hours but with Millbank Nursery remaining open for the 9am to 3pm, we will all have to come together with the Council, Councillors and school to continue discussions."

The petition started yesterday stated: "

As many parents and community members are now aware. There are plans to close Millbank Nursery as of August 2020. 

The new plan of handing all nursery education over to CALA and build new premises for this on school property to be used by CALA and not the school and leave several members of staff in the nursery without jobs

Millbank Nursery is an integral part of our community and children's educational needs before their transition to Millbank Primary. The council has an obligation to step up and expand within the school not outsource it to a Private firm for profit

There has been no public consultation or local consultation with the council, and no finalised planning permission or public consultation on this either"

Alert for beach walkers - can you keep an eye out for the Swan Island sign

The spate took away the Swan Island sign, Joe and his colleagues are asking for anyone that sees it anywhere on the beach to return it to them or alert them of its location. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Highland Council Additional Needs Support cuts: "These cuts will affect everyone and the wider parent group need to be made aware of this"

 One of our regular readers tells us:
"A review of Pupil Support was held at Nairn Academy on Tuesday, with an invitation to pupils (who currently receive support), staff and parents. Staff from the four local Primary Schools and Academy described the impact a reduction in support will have on classroom life.

It looks likely that years 2 and 3 of Highland Council cuts will still go ahead despite the concerns raised.

Teachers have begun basic awareness training in Neurodiversity, however, this will not fully prepare them for the reality of autistic children in mainstream classes with no support. Teachers are already dealing with increased workloads and under pressure to achieve good results, removing support in the classroom, will make their jobs so much harder leading to ill health, absence or leaving the profession.

These cuts will affect everyone and the wider parent group need to be made aware of this.

Everyone is being let down, it seems the worst possible scenario to remove support from the most vulnerable in our community."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Road closures for "12 hours of Christmas" on Saturday November 30th

For the Christmas event next Saturday 30th (poster below) Nairn BID state on their Facebook page "the High Street/Brae/Leopold Street will be closed from 8am until 7pm."

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A chance to roast your nuts with Nairn BID

Would you like a stall at the Christmas Street Market?

Calling all BID members... We are delighted to be bringing a street market to the Christmas Lights Switch on this year, which will take place on Saturday 30th November. We have a number of stalls available, FREE to BID members, should you wish to take one.

The market will take place on the high street between midday and 6pm. If you would like to take a stall, please email Janis at, by 3pm on Friday 22nd November at the very latest.

There is also an opportunity for two charity groups to raise funds for their organisation and raise their profile, by running the hot chestnuts stall and the toasted marshmallows stall. We will provide the equipment; you will need to have public liability insurance and supply the chestnuts/marshmallows. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved. 

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting - Monday 25th November 7pm - Community and Arts Centre

Monday, November 18, 2019

Election fever hits Nairn - no not the General, the Community Council election!

Local democracy is having a fabulous time in Nairn at the moment, there are 20 candidates for 12 places on Nairn River Community Council and the ballot papers are hitting the doormats all over town. 

Some of the candidates have given statements to the Gurn and quite interesting they are too, more may come in yet so keep an eye on that page if you are a voter in this election. There is a discussion on the highly popular Facebook pages "Nairn our Town" and "Nairn Rocks". 

And in a first (we think), for a community council election in Nairn, a group of candidates have put a collective leaflet out. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Information from the candidates for the election to Nairn River Community Council to help your choice - Ballot papers to be returned by 12 noon on Wednesday, 4 December 2019

"Ballot papers will be issued by post to all registered electors in their community council area and must be returned in the pre-paid envelope provided by 12 noon on Wednesday, 4 December 2019."

Here at the Gurn we have offered the candidates the opportunity to say a little bit about themselves and the reasons they have for standing. We will add the statements to the list below as we receive them so please bookmark this page for future reference if you are a voter in the NRCC election.

It'd be cool if there was a massive turnout for this election – good for Nairn, good for democracy and good for telling the world what this community thinks and desires.

Hamish Donald Bain

I grew up in Shanghai or as others might know it Queenspark. I was educated at Millbank & the Old Academy (now Rosebank Primary). I howked tatties; picked rasps & berries delivered papers and delivered groceries by bike, from the local shoppies, traditional money earners in this part of the World, those of us that did it will know it to be hard work too. Leaving school I worked as a print machine operator at 'The Nairnshire Telegraph' producing the paper with all the gossip, general information and local News. I am well versed in the opinions of the Town then and now.

I joined NRCC at the 2015 election. Since then there has been many upheavals, mostly caused by the
Planning department ignoring local needs; one example being approval of large houses where local needs are for small one or two bedroom properties.

I do object to the seemingly continuous creep of housing along Lochloy Road creating issues at the A96 junction, issues with the Town infrastructure and lack of superior building control, without the anticipated School or shop being provided. I object to housing being imposed on Nairn that will result in creating more issues than are solved. Nairn needs housing of the right type, in the right healthy, safe places - that I do support. Why build houses in Nairn when it then empties, like a drain, along both sides of the A96 to Inverness, Forres or Elgin for work only to fill back up again at night? Thats part of the 18000 vehicles passing along Marine Road every day. Nairn needs jobs and then housing. NRCC declared a ‘climate emergency’ before Highland Council did so.

I challenged the Highland Council and our Councillors, on their more unsavoury plans for Nairn, imposing Parking Charges; Common Good Issues - apparent disappearing assets; lack of proper consultation; Links Development processes, resulting in some heated discussions. I am open to working with them for the Towns benefit with the new Community Empowerment Act, the NRCC, must be consulted on all planning or licensing applications and on any new policy proposals.

The High Street needs rejuvenated and that must be pushed on. We need more Tourism that local businesses are able to capitalise on. I will continue to fight to get the High Street cleaned and up-kept. I will fight for improved facilities in the Town: mobile home facility away from the Harbour; maintenance to the Harbour; new well maintained Public toilets; supporting attractions like the historic guided walks; nature walks; beach entertainments.

NRCC has a reputation as an Environmental group supporting local green and wild areas, this I want to pursue and promote, there are funds available to do so, through the Rural Development Fund, only the Highland Council can apply for these on the Towns behalf. The NRCC in recent years has never been a politically divisive forum as can be witnessed by the good relationship that was built up across the different Communities represented and I will work to keep it democratic without fear or favour for the membership.

Steven James Bain

I have been a member of Nairn River Community Council for the last 4 years and very much hope to become elected again.

I have lived in Nairn all my life firstly staying in Boathpark before moving to Queenspark both areas are in the Nairn River boundary.

I attended Millbank primary school and the present Nairn Academy before starting my training in Accountancy and Auditing at a firm in Inverness before moving back to Nairn after 12 years, to take up the position of Tax Manager at Ritson Young, Chartered Accountants on Nairn High Street.

I have been involved in many clubs in Nairn including over 30 years on the committee of Nairn County Football Club where my position is in the area of fundraising, during this period I was also very instrumental in two rescue packages to safeguard the club’s future, I also enjoy kayaking and have served on the committee of Nairn Kayak Club for the last 7 years, I also played cricket for Nairn County in my younger days.

Living and working in Nairn has made me very aware of the people of Nairn views, problems and aspirations for our beautiful town, I am very much aware of their concerns and really want to try and make Nairn a better place. For this to happen both Nairn River and Nairn West & Surburban Community Councils need to work closely together. Although both community councils in Nairn have different areas of the town we must at all times work together for the benefit of Nairn

During my previous 4 year term Nairn has faced many problems such as the decline of the High Street, housing and at present potential car parking charges. We must all work together and listen to the voice of our community. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 will allow communities to have a greater say and we really need to grasp this.

The Nairn Common Good Fund is also an area that interest’s me and it is important the residents of Nairn are aware of this fund as it was set up for the benefit of the people of Nairn. If elected I would continue to ensure these assets are available to the people of Nairn for future years to come.

I am personally delighted that 20 names have come forward to contest the Nairn River Community Council election and I find it heart-warming that so many people care about our town. 

Good luck to everyone involved.

Paul Cutress

Originally born in Forres and “dragged up” on Findhorn Bay, after a sojourn south of the border I returned as one of the senior management team at Sainsburys before moving on from there to Inverness BMW a couple of years ago. 

Previously residing in Fishertown and now on the Lochloy development, I am keen to ensure Nairn retains its local identity and status as one of the best places to live in and visit in the Highlands

We live in arguably the most beautiful part of the highlands and we are blessed with superb beaches, a diverse and thriving wildlife, a key salmon/dolphin habitat and most of all a fantastic community.

All of these must not just be protected, but be at the heart of our future policies and action plans.

With increasing financial pressures on county councils placed on them by government departments, it is vital we ensure Nairn does not fall prey to non-sensical ideas such as parking charges or any other revenue generators just to top up Highland council coffers. 

We must collaborate to encourage more tourists and therefore external revenue sources; support and encourage the re-livening of our high street, our “shop window”, whilst at the same time leading the drive to a sustainable and environmentally sound neighbourhood.

It’s easy to say I will do this or I will do that – it’s not so easy to actually get it done given the constraints and challenges the bureaucracy places on the community councillors. So rather than make empty promises, what I will say is that given my experience of dealing with figures in senior positions and ability to see through the smoke and mirrors I will ensure that at the very heart of my actions will be the common good of the Nairn community and environment.

And I don’t just mean the community and environment of today – our children are currently set to inherit a whole host of issues, none of which they are responsible for – They deserve our – MY- best efforts to improve the situation going forward so all policies should look to the future and not just be short term fixes.

Just like you this town is my home. I plan to retire here and spend the rest of my life here and therefore it is in my interest to do the best for our community that I can.

Ann Fuller

See joint candidates' statement at bottom of page

Stephen Kenneth Fuller

See joint candidates' statement at bottom of page

Peter Gibson

My mother Betty owned Dallas the Jeweller’s and she worked and lived in Nairn since the 60s. I was born and educated in Nairn. I grew up and worked here. My memories of the good old days are vivid, but I also remember how hard I had to work to survive. I moved away from Nairn in 1992 to follow my career and worked abroad for over 20 years and returned to Nairn in May of last year, along with my wife Raelene.

Having returned to Nairn, I undertook the project of redeveloping the Windsor Hotel into residential properties, which is now at the construction phase. One of my primary objectives is to utilise local businesses and tradespeople as much as possible and to date, we have been successful on this point.

While overseas in Qatar, my spare time was spent playing bass and singing in a band, as well as promoting live music in the region. Prior to leaving I created and organised a live music festival called Rockaway Beach, and I continue to run the festival from Nairn. An avid musician since my Nairn Academy days, I joined my friend and former bandmate in reforming our band No Label when I returned to Nairn. We have been performing in Nairn and Highlands at venues and events ever since with our “3-hours of non-stop power pop” that many of you will be aware of.

Having been away it is easier to see change, and I have seen some real positive changes to Nairn; new shops, lots of ideas and initiatives being proposed, local business getting awards, etc. but best of all is the energy of our residents and the pride that we all have in our wee town. I see a number of organisations getting great work done, promoting Nairn, running events and lots of great suggestions being made. To be honest, I’m still learning what they all are and to help me in this I decided I wanted to roll up my sleeves and get involved. The Nairn BID had already had the YES vote when I arrived home, so I threw my hat into the ring to join the Nairn BID team and have served as vice-chairman since the board’s inception in October 2018.

With a leadership role in the Oil and Gas sector for over 25 years, my skills include: understanding project needs; setting realistic targets; working with and leading a team; and delivering a quality product to the customers’ requirements within cost and time constraints. I believe that these skills transfer to any business including community ventures. I have not served on a community council before but believe these transferable skills can help me add value to the Nairn River Community Council.

Because it is a task for everyone living here to shape the future of Nairn, I’d also like to see a more united Nairn with Nairn River Community Council, Nairn West & Suburban Community Council and Nairn BID getting together to work towards common goals.

I am a hard-worker, able communicator, persistent problem solver and extremely passionate about helping Nairn reach its potential. With both of my children away at university and a community-minded wife by my side, I am able and willing to dedicate the time needed to serve on the Nairn River Community Council. Thanks to Laura Morton (and the Nairn Facebook Community) we all know that Nairn ROCKS! We just need to be rockin’ out together.

Ian Ramsay Gordon

I was born in Edinburgh and educated at two schools there including Boroughmuir, I attended the College of Commerce (now Edinburgh Napier University). I became a member of the Association of the Institute of Work Study Practitioners) and started work as a work study engineer with George Waterson and Sons – they printed stationery and among other things banknotes. It was a fascinating place to work and I took a stationery apprenticeship simultaneously to gain more knowledge of the shop floor.

My father was in printing too and a Father of the Chapel for his workplace, he always told me “always watch the spine of the book, you break the spine of the book, you break the book.”

I went to Scottish and Newcastle Breweries to continue in the work study field and later became a manager of a large Edinburgh city centre establishment. It was a learning process and very hard work, one day a week off. I met my ex-wife in June 1977 just after I changed direction and started work at the Inland Revenue and we were married in 1979.

I had a tremendously interesting working life but the best was still to come when I became a hotelier in Nairn and I cherish the friendships and many, many happy memories that this community has given me. Our family move to Nairn was a very fortunate and rewarding one.

I'm not a Boris, if you ask me a question I will give you an answer.

Nairn has been sidelined – just look at what Dingwall has had out of Highland Council. It's always been thus. I get despondent when I look around and see the beauty of what we can give, not take give, but everything is dealt with from other places – Nairn needs its' autonomy back.

I'd give Murd his bridge, I've got a lot of time for Murd, if there were more people of Murd's type then there would be far more scrutiny of how proposals affect individuals and communities – this watchdog element is an important task for community councils and vigilance must be ever-present.

I remember the old Provost of Nairn Nigel Graham: I was a million miles away from his party political politics but remember how he didn't take fools gladly, he had gravitas, he would simply have said no to the ridiculous folly that is parking charges and the idea would have vanished. The present day autocratic moves that are inimical to Nairn would not have been tolerated by him. Fast forward to the present day and is hard for our elected representatives at Highland Council level to achieve much in the current institutional climate of the 80 member chamber at Glenurquhart Road, but we have to assist them in being as assertive and as inventive as possible in achieving the maximum for Nairn, be it through the confines of their institution or through a multi-agency approach or with “out of the box thinking” to find new solutions for Nairn.

I admire the current chair of River Community Council, Tommy Hogg, I don't always agree with him but his heart is in the right place – it is all about Nairn and there's no self interest with Tommy. If elected I would look forward to working with Tommy to do everything I can for the Common Good of all in our community.  

Helena Harcourt
I came to this beautiful and friendly place in 1991, initially staying in Piperhill and am now settled with Stevie the bullterrier in Fishertown. I worked for UHI, Doctors without Borders (MSF) and Ashers amongst others but always did voluntary work for such organisations as Association of Probation workers, The Red Cross, Reach out Highland, Rape and Abuse Line, Victim Support, Citizens Advice Bureau, Nairn 101, WEA, the Scottish Regional Advisory Group for the Northern Periphery, Highland Domestic Abuse Forum and SSPCA. I left Greenhive with Corinne Ferguson to start Nairn Eco( to be found on Facebook) where we are working towards a cleaner environment with Surfers Against Sewage on the Plastic-free Coastline project to reduce single-use plastics in and around Nairn. In collaboration with BID and Nairn businesses, we try to assist in finding alternatives to single-use plastics. 

Reducing single-use plastics is important to me and I want to work on a strategic level, changing
daily habits while making this easy to achieve. Highland Council took the motion in 2018 to promote environmental awareness and encourage people to pick up 3 pieces of rubbish which is a good starting point. I also wish to look after the town of Nairn, building on Alan Barron’s work in capturing the rich heritage. It would also be good to find a way of reviving the High street and make the town as appealing to tourists as possible for the short season.

My background is a law degree from Sweden and I proceeded to take diplomas and exams in Languages and Communication, French, as well as in Remote Learning. I did several Harvard courses on Humanitarian Aid and Action.

I have a lot of experience of collaborative projects and partnerships to further social justice, community cohesion, and development. Along the way I acquired good communication and networking skills, being able to bring the human dimension to problem-solving and can think out of the box. I consider myself as having a keen social conscience and wish to work towards social equality and integration.

Ian Michael Henderson

I am taking this opportunity to introduce myself in the hope that you will consider voting in the forthcoming River Community Council election. My name is Ian Michael Henderson. I have resided in Nairn for about 20 years. I have been a member of River Community Council for several years.

I fully support local infrastructure improvements, which are badly needed. Improvements in our local transport system, bypass, rail and bus links, are something that have to be seriously brought into focus. Things such as a lift at the railway station, traffic congestion, Lochloy junction and proper bus links to Nairn Hospital, require to be discussed, and acted upon locally. Also upgrading and rejuvenating our open spaces has to be a priority. Congratulations to “Team Hamish” and “Green Hive”.

As with other candidates, I believe the environment is something which is now borne out of necessity, not just lip service, and deserves due consideration. Anything, even at Community Council level, that can be achieved, would be a beneficial improvement to the town. At my age, it is not for my benefit, but for our children and grandchildren, and all those who follow. Perhaps in our own small way, we can influence those who make decisions.

Much has been written and said, about the issues surrounding River Community Council’s abeyance. All parties, Members, Councillors and Highland Council Officials, contributed, to a greater or lesser degree, in the demise of the Council. I would hope to be able, if elected, to pursue a reasonably conciliatory tone, rather than the more confrontational spectacle that has previously been displayed. Councillors and their officials deserve to have all aspects duly scrutinised, and where applicable, concerns or pragmatic advice, offered.

The most pleasing success, in my view, was the combined effort of the local Community Councils, to defeat the ill conceived Nairn South Housing Application. Our elected Councillors did nothing. Planners and Councillors were out of tune with the people of Nairn’s opinions and beliefs. Praise in this respect must go to Rosemary Young, especially, for her leadership. I was also involved in getting further “grit / salt” bins supplied to various key areas. Not enough, but a start.

I support future expansion at both the Retail Park and Business Park. Our town needs inward investment. This will provide much needed employment, especially for our young people. Whether you agree, or not, these outlets are the preference of the paying customer. I hope McDonalds and Home Bargains are just the seedlings of prosperity. The High Street has the “BID” project, and this too must have local support.

Tommy Hogg

I live in Fishertown and am a Nairnite born and bred.
I am a retired builder, who followed my father into the trade, so I understand the importance of infrastructure such as roads, water supplies and sewerage to a growing town.

I enjoy getting around Nairn Fishertown and the Riverside on my bike, keeping in touch with local residents and new developments.

I am a keen fisherman and golfer and passionate about protecting Nairn's green spaces and wildlife.

I have a strong interest in local history and have seen many changes in Nairn in my lifetime, not all of them for the better.
I have been a serving member of Nairn River Community Council for almost 20 years, most of those in the Chair. 

I remember the good old days of Nairn District Council so I know how important it is that we make decisions for Nairn here, not in Inverness.

If re-elected, I will bring my years of local knowledge of this community, its people and its history, to the table and will continue to help local residents of Nairn River communities to raise their concerns and provide a voice for them in local decision making. 

I oppose Highland Council's plans to introduce local parking charges, and will also fight to protect and maintain Nairn's Common Good Assets for future generations.

Mandy Lawson

I have been a member of Nairn River Community Council for the last 2 years. I am a Nairnite, who left in the 1980’s and returned in 2016 to live in Fishertown. I love this town.

I have worked in local government, adult training, and community partnerships. If elected I will be an accessible and vocal representative for Nairn River communities and will work hard to help local residents have a proper say in Highland policy and planning decisions which affect our town. I believe that the people who know best what Nairn needs are those who live here and use local services.

Many problems Nairn faces today are a consequence of 20 years of ‘remote’ management by Highland HQ in Inverness, since Nairn District Council was disbanded in 1996.

Highland Council Planning decisions have frequently ignored local concerns, in favour of Inverness HQ’s corporate interests.

The last thing Nairn needs is more Highland Council resources wasted on ill informed plans or damaging policies like parking charges which chase shoppers out of town, or traffic lights that no one asked for.

Building 850 new homes at Lochloy, with no school, shop or community facilities has stretched Nairn’s infrastructure to the limit and failed to address local demand for social housing.

By law Community Councils must be consulted on all planning and licensing applications and new policy proposals, especially those which affect use of Nairn Common Good lands at the Links, Maggot, Riverside, Viewfield and Sandown which were gifted to the former Royal Burgh for sole benefit of its citizens.

I will push for a new community led Locality Plan, to be designed in Nairn to reflect local needs and priorities, and ensure that we don’t become just another suburb of Inverness.

I will fight for free local parking, clean and accessible public toilets, parks, paths and streets, housing to match local needs,and more local jobs to keep Nairn nice for locals as well as visitors.

I welcome the commitment of Highland Council’s new management to greater local control over local services. This means full community consultation on everything.

It also means Highland Councillors and officers must work more openly and collaboratively with communities as they are accountable for how local taxes and developer contributions are spent. No more decisions behind closed doors. Last year the 5 Nairnshire Community Councils secured one seat on our local Community Planning Partnership. As the Nairnshire Local Area Committee will have more decision making powers for the area, including on Nairn Common Good matters, I will campaign for a community voice there too. Proper local oversight of Nairn’s Common Good Assets is vital to maintain these amenities for future generations

The last two years have been a tough apprenticeship with Nairn River CC.  The next four years will present further challenges for sure but I am well prepared and ready to continue to serve my community as a proactive Community Councillor.

Veronica Mackinnon

I have lived in Nairn all my life, born in Nairn Town and County Hospital. I grew up in Fishertown and attended the Links School, moving on to Millbank and Nairn Academy. I support the Natural World in my daily life and have contributed to the preservation of several wildlife and forested areas in and around Nairn. I have a wildlife garden to encourage birds and small mammals, hedgehogs love it. This summer we had quite a few hoglets, so they appear not to be in decline in our area.

My home is in Boathpark, close to the Riverside. Most days I meet folk while walking my dog, Bear, and often as not have a chat with old and new acquaintances along the way.

Joining Nairn River Community Council, I soon became aware of how important it was that we locals should have a say in what happens in our town. 

We, NRCC, have been given the nomenclature "Watchdogs" as a result of ensuring the correct processes have been followed by The Highland Council, the elected representatives and the HC Officials. This sometimes puts us at odds with these people but that is only for the good of Nairn. NRCC have a reputation of being an Environmental Group and earned this well before the Highland Council declared the current Climate Emergency. Hopefully this will continue with the next Council.

Louis Anderson McIntosh

Please also see joint candidate statement at bottom of page

I've been a Nairn resident for 5 1/2 years. I work for a Parking Enforcement company in Dingwall, where I'm also a trade union representative. I also stood as a candidate in the local council elections in 2017 and I'm a former board member of Green Hive.

I believe that community councils should be inclusive and progressive, to ensure that they represent the views and expectations of the whole community. My concern at the moment is that those in the 16-30 age group are under represented, which is why I will give my full support to any initiative that encourages the involvement of those members of the community in the decisions NRCC will make.

Encouragement of younger members and groups to become associate members of the community council, in a consultative capacity, will expand the scope of the council and could lead to a broader vision for the future of the community as a whole. In turn, we may see an increase in the number of candidates in four years time, putting an end to the stagnation of the same faces year in, year out. Personally, if elected, I don't intend to serve more than one term and would consider relinquishing my seat should any one of the associate members show a real interest in taking a formal place on the council.

Paul Carlo McIvor

Linda Morton

Simon Noble

See joint candidates' statement at bottom of page

Jim Ross

My wife and I have lived in Nairn for 14 years, though my connections to the area go back a lot further. My mother’s maiden name was Nairn and my great-great-grandfather was married in Cawdor in 1816! My wife, Pauline, is already involved with the local community as secretary of the local U3A group.I am now retired, having spent over 40 years in the oil & gas business in both technical and managerial roles. My background is strongly science-based with a PhD in geophysics, though I also have a Master’s degree in petroleum law and policy.

I have not served as a Community Councillor previously, but have attended a couple of NRCC meetings. That experience, together with encouragement from one of the Community Councillors from the previous NRCC, has led me to apply for such a role. I was surprised at those meetings to witness evidence of significant discord between some of the Community Councillors and our representatives on the Highland Council. Meaningful communications and even trust appeared to be lacking. Hence, I see it as an absolute priority to ensure a closer and more collaborative relationship between NRCC and our four Highland Councillors in the future. Of course there will be differences of opinion, but there must be a recognition that ultimately we should all be working for the benefit of those who live within our community. Compromises will always be necessary, especially with limited funds available. This means the NRCC should be focussed on identifying practical solutions to addressing the local needs (as expressed by the locals!) and avoiding at all costs politically-driven agendas.

Where interests overlap, which is surely much of the time, close coordination with Nairn West and Suburban CC (and potentially other adjacent community councils) is essential. My understanding is that this has been the case in recent times and it should continue to be strongly supported.

NRCC should be developing proposals on behalf of the community that it represents, which can then be progressed by our Highland Councillors. At the same time, however, NRCC must also be prepared to call out the Highland Councillors if they are making decisions that directly affect our community without first consulting with NRCC. Good communications, pragmatism and respect are essential from both sides.

Stewart Hunter Stansfield

See joint candidates' statement at bottom of page

David Fraser Thomson

My name is David Thomson, I'm a retired Shipping/Logistics Manager who worked with the Scotch Whisky industry for over 40 years. I choose to live in Nairn because I love it here and want Nairn to flourish.

To do that we need an attractive Town Centre and sensible and appropriate development planning which is coupled with essential infrastructure provision. Hidden, and not often known about by a lot of the public, is Nairn's common good. These assets, i.e. Links, Maggot, Viewfield, Sandown, etc together with those common good areas which have been leased e.g. Parkdean, Nairn Dunbar Golf Club, Sailing Club etc. are invaluable to the community; there is no doubt that the Nairn Common Good needs to be managed considerably better than it has been so that maximum benefits are delivered to help make Nairn an attractive and healthy place to live and visit.

I believe in Community/Locality led governance, accountability, and fair share budgeting and as many decisions as possible being taken locally. For too long decisions affecting our Town/locality have been made by people who don't live here, albeit our local Highland Council members are elected to represent the views and concerns of the residents of Nairn and to ensure Nairn's interests are protected. Openness, transparency, and positive two-way collaboration and engagement are essential to move Nairn forward.

After many years of supporting productive participative working between the Nairn Residents Concern Group (via my wife, Loreine) and our local Community Councils on

  • development issues associated with Lochloy, Kingsteps, Nairn South and Sandown Lands to name but a few;
  • critical infrastructure such as sewage, water, schools, roads, health care, Nairn bathing water quality etc;
  • Common good issues and local governance
  • Knowledge of Community Empowerment Act 2015 and Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

I believe I am sufficiently knowledgeable and pragmatic to contribute to our Community Councils making well informed decisions which will benefit the people of Nairn now and for the future. Thank you taking the time to read this statement.

Katrina Ann Woods

Please see joint candidates' statement below

Our candidacy for NRCC

 Ann Fuller, Katrina Woods, Louis Mcintosh, Simon Noble, Stephen Fuller, Stewart Stansfield

 We are all longstanding members of our community and want to see everyone in the area properly represented and genuinely benefitting from developments in and around the town. We pledge to do the following: 

  •  Do everything we can to make sure we understand what the people of our community want 
  • We will re-instate NRCC’s facebook page
  •  We will set up occasional pop-up stalls on the High Street to get your views
  •  We will do quick polls on the latest issues – on facebook, at our pop-up stalls and at our meetings 

  •  By doing this we will be in a stronger position to argue for change in the town 
  • We will re-organise the structure of NRCC meetings to encourage people’s involvement

  • We will limit the amount of time allocated to administrative matters
  • We will invite members of the community to speak on issues of concern to them – e.g. climate concern or housing 
  •  We will hold regular community meetings where people can drop in and have a cup of tea 

  •  We will take practical steps to encourage the involvement of young people (16-30) 
  •  We will prioritise collaboration and partnership with others in the town 
  •  We will declare our personal interests, including membership of other organisations
 We are: Ann Fuller: Originally from Clydebank, moved to Nairn in 1975. The town has grown and evolved in many ways since that time. Works part-time and seeking election to the community council hoping to have a positive influence in our local area.

 Katrina Woods: Has lived in Nairn all her life, over the years involved with numerous local committees, passionate about the town’s environment. The community's views and needs are very important to her.

 Louis Mcintosh: a Nairn resident for 5 1/2 years. He works for a Parking Enforcement company in Dingwall, where he’s also a trade union representative. Louis also stood as a candidate in the local council elections in 2017 and is former board member of Green Hive.

 Simon Noble: Born Aberdeen, visited family every year throughout his life and moved to the area more than 12 years ago. A former member of NRCC, he’s very keen to see it make a positive impact on the town’s future. Currently chair of two local charities, including Green Hive.

 Stephen Fuller: Former Councillor on the Highland Council, born and raised in Nairn. Continues to be involved with local groups and organisations within our town and if elected intends to engage with other like-minded individuals in working constructively for the betterment of our community.

 Stewart Stansfield: long-time resident of Nairn, former Highland Council community services officer and passionate about getting practical improvements for Nairn. Founder member of Nairn Play, working to improve play grounds in Nairn

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nairn CAB Employment Rights Campaign

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau recently launched ‘Do the Rights Thing’, a new campaign to help raise awareness among young people in Nairnshire of their employment rights.

The campaign, which is taking place across Scotland through the Citizens Advice network, aims to:

Raise awareness among young people of their employment rights and where they can seek advice online 
Empower young people to take action when their rights are not being upheld 

Encourage young people to share their experiences of poor employment practices via an online interactive form 

CAS’s Advice for Scotland website has detailed information on rights in the workplace and can be found by visiting

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau Manager, Gill MacLean, said: “Knowing your rights at work is very important at any age but particularly for young people who are often trapped in a cycle of insecure work, low pay and limited opportunities. 

“That’s why as part of our ‘Do the Rights Thing’ campaign we are hosting an employment advice drop in session on Thursday 14th November in the bureau from 17.30 to19.30.

“This will give young people in Nairnshire the confidence around knowing their employment rights and empower them to take action when they are not being upheld.

“Our Advice for Scotland website is also a fantastic resource with easy to understand information about your rights at work and we’re also asking young people to submit their bad experiences at work online.

“You don’t have to give your name or personal details if you don’t want to and by taking part you’ll be able to inform our future work as we continue to stand up for young people in Nairnshire