Sunday, December 25, 2022

A few pics of the Nairn County Dook - Fundraiser for Mikey's Line and Team Hamish

 Nairn County Dook 24 Dùbhlachd 

It was fabulous to see so many folk down at the Nairn County fundraiser for Mikey's Line and Team Hamish yesterday. Have a great one today folks and maybe see you up at NCFC v Clach on Tuesday - it'll be a real cracker!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

New feature on the riverside walks


One of the Whinnieknowe beeches sadly feel down overnight 23/24th December 2022 blocking the path. It was quickly dealt with though with Cllr Paul Oldham stating: "Sean Gallagher and Highland Council have been down and are removing." And a great job they did too - the riverside walks are once again ready fro Christmas

Nairn County Christmas Dook - Video


A wee dip in the sea for the County team and supporters - A fundraiser for Mikey's Line and Team Hamish

Merry Christmas and a happy new year when it comes!


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Community ownership must be strengthened to support regeneration

Last week in Parliament Green MSP Ariane Burgess shone a spotlight on community empowerment through the regeneration of land and buildings.

In two Parliamentary debates and at the AGM of Scottish Communities Alliance, Ariane highlighted the need for greater financial support for community ownership and enabling organisations such as community housing trusts.

Commenting, Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess MSP said: “There are 188 registered vacant and derelict sites across the Highlands & Islands. But thanks to the Community Empowerment Act, our communities are just getting started in reimagining under-used local assets, from playing fields to disused hospitals, community halls to growing spaces.

In Gairloch, the community, supported by the Communities Housing Trust, has transformed a derelict site in the centre of the village into 25 homes with a range of tenures and a community hub which is Scotland’s first public passive-house building.

But communities across Scotland need more support to make the most of this legislation.

That’s why the Bute House Agreement commits the Scottish Government to doubling the Scottish Land Fund to £20m by the end of this parliamentary session.

The Scottish Greens are calling for more long-term and post-acquisition support for community organisations and key enablers such as community housing trusts, to help communities thrive and support rural and island repopulation.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Highlands and Islands Fire Brigade on the High Street 17/12/22

Tron latha bha iad a' togail airgead airson carthannas air a’ Phrìomh Shraid agus an uair sin bha iad air ais a-nochd. 'S math a rinn Seirbheisean Smàlaidh na Gàidhealtachd 's nan Eilean!

During the day they were raising money for charity on the High Street and then they were back again tonight. Well done Highlands and Islands Fire Brigade!


Seirbheisean Smàlaidh na Gàidhealtachd 's nan Eilean air a’ Phrìomh Shraid 17 Dùbhlachd 2022

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Community Food Growing on Sandown - feasibility study to go ahead!

Interesting news on Cllr Paul Oldham's blog:

 "Plans for Sandown

At the last Area Committee it was agreed that a feasibility study would be progressed to explore the potential of developing Community Food Growing on Sandown. This followed public feedback received as part of the consultation on the future use of that land. We’ve now agreed for that to go ahead with a budget of £18,000, which will be paid for by the Common Good Fund, which owns the land."

More interesting item's on Paul's blog here.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Nairn Local Place Plan meeting in Community Centre 7.30 pm 10th November


Childrens' Christmas Bauble competition - prizes to be won for Christmas Lights switch on.

Youngsters and business owners are being given the opportunity to get involved in this year’s Countdown to Christmas event which will incorporate the town’s Christmas lights switch on.

Children across Nairn are being invited by Nairn Connects BID, which is organising the event on November 26, to make a Christmas decoration to be in with a chance of turning on the lights accompanied by Father Christmas.

Meanwhile, businesses in Nairn are being encouraged to decorate their windows and shop fronts to ensure the town is a winter wonderland for the big day.

Decorations need to be in place by November 19, and the windows will be judged by STV’s Nicola McAlley with winners being announced at the Christmas Lights Switch on.

Lucy Harding, manager of Nairn BID said: “We are working with Inverness Farmers’ Market and others to bring a great event to Nairn to mark the countdown to Christmas and we want as many people as possible to get involved.

Lucy Harding, Nairn BID manager with the first bauble entry

“We have run the Christmas decoration competition before and it’s always well received. If you are taking part, entries need to be taken to the community centre by November 24. They need to be clearly labelled with a name and contact details. All the entries will be put into a Santa’s hat and a winner chosen.”

Lucy added: “It’s the first time we have done the window dressing competition and the organisers of Inverness Farmers’ Market, who are running our street market on the day, are offering a £50 cash prize to the winner. There will be two runners up prizes in retail and food and beverage categories. They will each receive a Highlands Gift Card to spend in Nairn.

“The shops in Nairn always pull out all the stops and the windows and shop fronts always look spectacular, but we just wanted to add in an extra incentive this year so that windows are ready in time for the big switch on.”

As well as the light switch on at 4pm, the one-day event will include a street market, two craft fayres, street entertainment, live performances and more.

It will take place over two locations, the Town Centre and Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

Full details and timings will be available on the Nairn BID website

Friday, November 04, 2022

New Nairn Youth Football Pathway to be established

 Nairn County state on their website: "Getting as many young people playing in football in Nairn is extremely important to the club and today, we are excited to announce we are joining forces with Nairn Soccer 7s and Nairn Fire to commit to providing a more structured approach to youth football in the town."

 More here:

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Saturday November 26th - Christmas Lights switch-on, an all day event - businesses and community groups invited to get involved

Nairn’s Christmas lights switch on is back and the one-day event will include a street market, two craft fayres, street entertainment, live performances and more.

Countdown to Christmas will take place over two locations, the Town Centre and Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

The event is being organised for a third year by Nairn Connects BID and businesses and community groups are being encouraged to get involved.

Nairn BID manager Lucy Harding said: “The Christmas Lights switch on is back and we are so very excited. Last year, we were unable to do the actual switch on due to Covid restrictions, but this year it is back on.

“The switching on of the lights is an important annual event and provides an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the beginning of the festive season. Nairn BID is here to develop these opportunities and to encourage people into the town so that the businesses can benefit and we believe that what we have created will do just that.”

She added: “The event will kick off at 10am with a craft fayre in the community centre until 3pm. This will be supplemented by the Inverness Farmers Market and a crafters corner all along the High Street. The main town centre will be shut to traffic which will enable visitors to browse at their leisure. There will also be performances from community groups, street entertainment including stilt walkers, a circus skills performer and a fire show, a clown, huskies, a Santa’s grotto in the library and of course the all-important lights switch on at 4pm.”

“We are promoting the event on MFR and in Spotlight magazine this year”

“Our previous Christmas events have been a huge success with a great turnout and many businesses benefitting. We really hope that we will achieve this again and already, we have had many businesses coming forward to get involved. There are businesses and organisations such as the Havelock, Uncle Bob’s Bar and the Nairn British Legion who are staging their own events on the day as well, so there will be entertainment well into the evening too.”

Lucy added: “This really is the beginning of the countdown to Christmas and we hope that there is a great turnout from the community to support the local businesses by shopping local and enjoying everything that the Nairn BID team and its many volunteers are putting in place.”

The event will take place on November 26. Full details and timings will be available on the Nairn BID website

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Conversation replaces conflict – Community Council documents demonstrate positive relationship with the new set up of Highland Councillors locally

 The Gurn has received three documents: previous minutes, next agenda (Monday 31st October) and comments on the Inner MorayFirth Local Development plant.

The minutes demonstrate the ongoing positive conversations but it’s the last document that is worth a serious read, a vision of how things might be if the community got more control of it’s own affairs: there’s comment on Sandown, Nairn East, Nairn South and a few other issues. An outline of what sort of town we are and how it all can be improved. Warnings too of the dangers of over-development without infrastructure.

Given the recent discussions between Community and Highland Councillors, it looks like things are moving forward in a positive direction with the potential for a locally made plan that is indeed “local” – it all comes at a time when we face another period of austerity however. But even when money is short there are still inventive ways that resources can be used or prioritised. Time to be optimistic about our civic affairs and what we can do collectively to improve Nairn as a place to live, work and play?

Well worth taking a few minutes to have a look at the documents linked above.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

£500 plus to change a flag up at the Courthouse?

 Readers may have seen cherry pickers being used to change the flag(s) on the pole(s) at the Courthouse since the building was renovated. Apparently it is not very easy or impossible to raise or take a flag down from within the building. Readers may wish to correct the Gurn if we are wrong but we believe that it was decided that flagpoles at the top of the building could damage the structure, hence their new location. The days of sending someone up through the hatch to change a flag are gone and the new position of the pole presents an insurmountable difficulty it seems - unless you have a cherry picker.
This is where a cost comes in - obviously an internal cost to Highland Council but that will mean money that could be spent elsewhere in Nairn has to go on getting a cherry picker in. 

The Gurn wonders what the total cost of cherrypickers for all the flag changes during the year is and whether some engineering solution to install flagpoles to their original location might be cheaper in the longer or even shorter term. It's a problem not of at least three of our councillors making, but I would imagine they too might have noticed the cherry-picker in action and wondered about how it goes through the books and whether there is a better solution?

You may wish to pop over to the ever-popular Nairn when you were a bairn Facebook page and have a look at what Murd has to say in relation to the response to a figure of £500-600 contained in the response to his Freedom of Information Request.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Moss Side Park Community Orchard Consultation

The Allotments Orchard Group working with Green Hive hope to establish further community orchards in Nairn. We'd like to put a wee orchard in a corner of Moss Side Park but want to hear what residents think first. Thanks to Catriona, Highland Council's participation officer, for setting up this survey for us. If you live near the park please complete the survey.
The link to the survey here.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Nice Chairman's Report - September 2022 - very interesting report and associated documents worthy of a good look too!

Serious students of some of the matters discussed in Alastair Noble's report may wish to browse the following documents he refers to. They are all a fascinating, but long read, pour a dram or make that cuppa and have a look.
 And here is Alastair's report.
Why NICE and what does NICE do?

Well, a simple answer might be if we did not have NICE, we would have to set up a properly constituted Community Enterprise/Body. Thanks to all the diligent work of our Director’s we have all the right bits of paper to fulfil all these statutory and governance roles. Since merging and supporting Team Hamish with NICE we have a membership into the thousands. We therefore are the body within Nairnshire to take forward Local Place Planning (LPP). We will deliver this by working with the Community Councils, Local Businesses, all the local people and facilitating the involvement of Highland Council, Highland & Island Enterprise, Scottish Government and NHS Highland.

A Local Place Plan is exactly that -it must be led by the local inhabitants.

What will it look like?

After all the many meetings and discussions, I have been involved with, there are some very clear and easily understood messages that I think will resonate with all the inhabitants of Nairnshire.

The first big message is INFRASTRUCTURE FIRST-no more sprawling housing developments on our beautiful surrounding green fields until we have sorted out our essential infrastructure.

We need a By-pass-if the money is not there to duel the A96 then we still need a by-pass-responsibility lies with Scottish Government and Transport Scotland

Sewage-we need to upgrade our Victorian sewage system and stop polluting the River Nairn and our beaches-responsibility lies with Scottish Water and SEPA.

Flood risk-Fishertown is the most at risk part of the SEPA area covering Highland and Moray including Nairn-responsibility lies with SEPA

New Academy-essential we replace the condemned building with a high quality new build-responsibility lies with Highland Council/Scottish Government

Town Centre Regeneration-we have too many empty or underused properties in the Town centre- responsibility lies with Highland Council and the Private Sector to bring all these properties back into use

Electricity-we need an upgraded electrical supply-responsibility lies with Scottish Government.

Green sustainable energy--building on the excellent work of the Lido Group we will explore using our natural sandstone under the Firth to heat the swimming pool-responsibility lies with Highland Council, Scottish Government and Lido Group

Water supply-we need to upgrade our water supply to allow businesses to expand-responsibility lies with Scottish Water

Broadband-again we need to upgrade our broadband and allow companies to expand-responsibility lies with Scottish Government.

Harbour-again in urgent need of upgrade and repair. It could provide a focus for a wide range of water sports and tourism activities- responsibility lies with Harbour Board and Highland Council

The other really exciting development is by working with the Local business sector and prioritising more land for business and commercial use we can deliver a lot more local jobs and build this greener, sustainable circular economy so essential to all our future. This enables many more people to live, work, shop and socialise locally-this again boosts the local economy and drives up the return on the money invested. Footfall is the key to success. We will work with the Nairnshire Economic Forum to deliver this joined up way of delivering these projects together

Looking forward our younger people will have more job opportunities to live work and above all remain in Nairn. This will boost our local economy and again drive more investment and job security.

We will remain an attractive place to live, work, retire and holiday in. Nairnshire is seen as a good place to invest, and we must show a return on all this investment and above all provide value for money.

The assets included in our Royal Burgh of Nairn Common Good-lower River Nairn, Dunbar Golf Club, Maggot, Parkdean Caravan site, the Links, Sandown and many parts of the town centre including Viewfield- are worth their weight in gold as amenities for us all to enjoy.

We are acknowledged as having world class wetlands, woodlands, golf courses and historical buildings-these all make this such an attractive place to stay and to holiday in.

This must all come with a price tag. A reasonable guestimate of all of the above is between 5-600 million pounds. This money obviously comes from different budgets and includes private sector investment.

We must address the idea of Fair Share weighted capitation budgets. All the DATA and information I have seen supports the knowledge that Nairnshire is being consistently underfunded. The biggest gap is in Integrated Health and Social Care budget, probably millions of pounds but it exists in all other budgets-education, leisure and recreation etc. Why is this so important? Well firstly secure recurring revenue streams allow us to borrow and repay capital spend. This is vitally important as we move forward in these difficult financial times.

It also means many more people living and working locally -this again boosts the local economy and drives up the return on the money invested. For example, we will provide many more home carers and supporting services-prioritising Integrated Community care and right sizing Specialist Consultant care. Put simply this will mean using the Nairn model of care to deliver optimum care and deliver value for money.

The Sports Club, the Community Centre and Team Hamish Splash Pad are also excellent examples of locally run services and again all will benefit from Fair share Budgets.

We will be holding a big open meeting in probably November to update everybody on the delivery of the Local Place Plan and the Economic Forum. This will be a joint meeting with both Community Councils.

At this meeting Sam will update us on the next Team Hamish Links Projects and continue the good work-we hope in time for next year’s Summer Visitors to enjoy. What a fantastic job they have made of the Splash pad.

Also, Tibor will present his excellent thoughtful and historically fascinating ideas and option appraisal for regenerating the town centre. Can I thank him in advance for this positive and helpful study. We will be circulating it widely after tonight. It is complemented by Don Murray’s work on a Strategic Economic Plan and Active Masterplan and Fiona Willis’s updated engineering report on the old Police station. (Both available on our website)

So, we have an option-do we take this opportunity and deliver an exciting and sustainable future which supports Nairn as it moves towards being a “Green” town for the future generations of Nairn children or do we just sit back and accept an inevitable slide into the dormitory town for Inverness.

Starting tonight I know which option I prefer, and I would ask for your support and political pressure to ensure it happens

Finally, I would like to mark the retiral of 2 of our original Directors

Iain Fairweather represented all that is good in Tourism with Visit Nairn, his fabulous photography, fiendish jigsaws, local businesses and his determination to help NICE flourish. We wish him good health and a long and happy retirement nearer his family.

Mike Barnett is just an amazing whirlwind of energy and brain power From Rotary to Music Nairn, Men’s Shed to so many gardening groups, with NICE from the beginning-calm, confident, diligent and hard working -what more can you ask from any one individual.

Enjoy your retirement and Ireland-Keep gardening and keep helping NICE flourish

Many sincere thanks to you both

Dr Alastair L Noble MBE (for Integration of Health and Social Care and Conservation work in Nairnshire)

Chair NICE

September 2022

One of the images from the options apprasial

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Nairn folk pay tribute to Joe Telfer

People have been expressing their sadness at the sudden death of Joe Telfer, Nairn's "Swan Man". They can be read on the Facebook Site Nairn Rocks here. 

 You can have a look at Joe's Blog, Simply Superb Swans, here, it dates back to 2009 and features many wildlife events on the River Nairn.

 Rest in Peace Joe

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Highland Council invites new applications for the Nature Restoration Fund

The Highland Council is inviting communities to apply for a share of the 2022/23 allocation of the Nature Restoration Fund.

Established by the Scottish Government, the Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) is a capital fund designed to help support projects that will deliver nature restoration, safeguard wildlife, and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss due to climate change.

At last year's COP26, the Scottish Government announced further support of £55m over a five-year period to specifically target nature restoration projects. Of this, an annual allocation of £5m will be directly distributed to Local Authorities.

Chair of the Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said: “The purpose of the Nature Restoration Fund is to support positive actions that can help nature recover. During its first round, the Council decided to do an open call for community groups to bid into the fund.

"Grants between the value of £2,500 and £20,000 were awarded to 27 successful organisations throughout Highland. Projects approved included the creation of 13 new wildflower meadow sites, 17 tree planting initiatives, 7 areas of wetland creation or new wildlife ponds, and projects to remove invasive non-native species to enhance local habitats for protected species."

He added: "I am especially pleased that we opened the fund to be accessible to external organisations. It was encouraging to see so many projects coming forward which shows that people all over Highland are mobilising themselves to take local action against the climate crisis. I expect to see a high demand for funding again this year, so I encourage all eligible groups to submit their expression of interest before the deadline of Wednesday 31 August.”

This year, there is an increased focus on outcomes which address the main drivers of the decline in biodiversity on land and seas particularly rural biodiversity. For example, where on land, over-exploitation of the natural environment and addressing its consequences, habitat loss and fragmentation, and removal of invasive non-native species. To deliver this aim, the fund has four strategic themes:Habitat restoration – management for enhancement and connectivity
Freshwater restoration, including hydrological change
Eradication of invasive non-native species impacting on nature
Coastal and marine management to promote restoration and resilience

The capital funding allocated to Local Authorities is to support new, or to enhance existing, approaches that further biodiversity and which adhere to the following criteria:deliver positive effects for biodiversity and enhance local ecosystems
address the climate emergency and its impacts through mitigation and adaptation and by promoting nature-based solutions

Capital items that could form that basis for spend may include, but are not limited to:Action for pollinators (equipment for maintaining wildflower areas or verges including planting)
Improving condition and use of Local Nature Reserves (purchase and planting)
Developing a local nature network through planting of wildlife corridors, removal of barriers to wildlife movement and pollinator planting
Greening active travel routes (purchase and planting)
Natural flood management actions such as connecting rivers with flood plains, pond creation, de-culverting, in-stream works for habitat and flow variability
Removal of invasive non-native species (INNS) to improve the biodiversity value of the remaining habitat
Habitat and species enhancement works using native stock, enhancing natural coastal defences through marram, addressing coastal squeeze.

All projects should be ready to start before the end of March 2023 and be completed by the end of June 2023.

The minimum grant support available is £2,000 and the maximum is £25,000.

Applications are welcomed from constituted community groups; public sector bodies; charities; voluntary and social enterprises; co-operatives and community ownership initiatives; development trusts.

This is a competitive process, so the Council is highlighting that projects with secured match funding or in-kind contributions are likely to score higher during assessment. NRF can only fund capital expenditure that directly enhances biodiversity. Revenue costs such as project management are not eligible however labour costs to undertake the approved works will be accepted.

The Council is operating a two-stage process to apply for Nature Restoration funding. An expression of interest giving outline information on key facts and figures about your project should be submitted no later than Wednesday 31 August 2022.

For full information and further guidance please visit –

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Cllr Michael Green elected chair of Nairnshire Commitee - video of meeting from 8th August 2022 (including Sandown latest)


Michael Green Chair of Nairnshire committee, Paul Oldam vice-chair and Laurie Fraser Provost. More from the Nairnshire committee, including latest on Sandown in the video.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Farmers' Show 2022

 A few pictures from the Nairn Show at the end of last month. More here.

Taisbeanadh Tuathanaich Inbhir Narann 30 Iuchar 2022

Good to see the show returning to the community's calendar in a great venue and with a big crowd and a tremendous atmosphere. Soon the games (Saturday 20th of August) and then the Book and Arts Festival starting on the 27th of this month.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Well done Pam Bochel with her Keep the Library in Nairn town centre petition - over 1,500 signatures.

 This screenshot from the NWSCC page sums it all up really  Meal do naidheachd Pam. Sin thu fhèin a charaid, ‘s e gaisgeach a th’ annad. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

Telling tales: Nairn Book and Arts Festival launches story-themed programme Line-up takes inspiration from local myths and legends

Organisers of the annual Nairn Book and Arts Festival have announced this year’s programme, which takes inspiration from Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, with a diverse array of events celebrating the ancient myths and modern legends of Nairnshire, the Highlands and the North East.

The family- friendly festival, running from Saturday 27 August to Sunday 4 September, will feature a ‘creative takeover’ of Nairn’s High Street with a storytelling fancy dress theme, alongside author talks, street theatre, live music, storytelling, exhibitions, creative workshops, tours and two paranormal investigations - a first for the festival.

The festival’s launch day will feature a parade of silk flags featuring ‘Stories of Nairn’, the culmination of a major collaboration with international arts production company Kinetika, artist/ storyteller Lizzie McDougall and local community groups. The festival’s finale day will see events taking place at indoor and outdoor venues across the town, from author events to multilingual storytelling, a costumed ‘Wandering Woodland’ childrens’ parade, live music by local bands, creative activities celebrating nature and a large scale flag installation.

A host of critically-acclaimed and award-winning authors from Scotland and across the UK will make an appearance, including Walter Scott Prize-winning author James Robertson discussing his seventh novel News of the Dead, Andrew Greig, talking about his latest historical fiction novel Rose Nicolson, Iain Cameron reflecting on Scotland’s winter mountains with his book The Vanishing Ice, and Sean Lusk with his debut novel The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley - the Scottish Book Trust’s book of the month for June.

The popular Wine and Crime event returns, featuring CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Martin Edwards talking about his latest book ‘The Life of Crime’, a Q&A with Times Bestseller, LGBTQ+ writer Mary Paulson-Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker, and Jennifer Morag Henderson in conversation with Martin Edwards, discussing her biography “Josephine Tey: A Life”.

The programme features a diverse range of authors, poets and performers, including writer

Nikki May, an Anglo-Nigerian author, who will discuss her recently published debut novel WAHALA, currently in development as a BBC TV Drama, Mae Diansangu, a Black and queer poet from Aberdeen, whose work has been featured on BBC Radio Four’s Tongue and Talk, and writer and singer Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, a founding member of the LGBT music collective 'Bogha-froise.' The current Gaelic editor of Northwords Now, Marcas writes and publishes in Scottish Gaelic, English and Polari.

Tanera Bryden, the festival’s Creative Coordinator commented: “ This year we have dug deep into a rich seam of modern myths and ancient tales from Nairn, the Highlands and the North East of Scotland. Storytellers, poets and musicians will bring them to life in Doric, Gaelic and English, and we’ll be celebrating them with costumed parades and outdoor performances. We are excited to be collaborating with Kinetika as a major partner this year to create beautiful flags telling ‘Stories of Nairn’, drawn from our community and history. And we have a brilliant line-up of some of the country’s best authors and poets, covering everything from crime and Scottish historical fiction, to the fragility of our natural environment and the glories of Scottish river fishing.

We’re grateful to our funders and sponsors, our partnerships with local businesses and our team of amazing volunteers. The festival brings joy to so many, and without their support, it just wouldn’t happen.”

Festival activities begin with the ‘Creative Takeover’ of Nairn High Street on Saturday 27th August, with a fancy dress storytelling theme, parade with hand painted silk flags by Kinetika, circus and stilt walking entertainment from Fly Agaric, live music from Feis Nairn, acapella choir The Accidentals and Nairn’s Gaelic Choir, and outdoor theatre performance ‘A Discovery of Memories’ - an interpretation of recollections gathered from friends, family and elderly Nairn residents by Nairn Youth Theatre with Borealis Theatre Arts.

The programme features a host of live music events including The Cattachs and Gallachs of the Grey Coast, an eclectic and dynamic evening of music and poetry inspired by the far north and north-east counties of Scotland, developed as a collaboration between three of Scotland’s finest artists - the poet and Caithness Makar George Gunn, Gordon Gunn and Andy Thorburn.

Well known singer songwriter Martin Stephenson will be appearing with his Good Will Trio, featuring Rupert Hughes (guitar/vocals) and Niles Krieger (violin/mandolin/dobro/vocals) both from the award-winning bluegrass band, The Often Herd.

There is a particular focus on Isobel Gowdie, the so-called ‘Witch of Auldearn’; the festival’s programme cover artwork by Rachael Forbes is inspired by Isobel’s life, and there will be a special exhibition dedicated to her at Nairn Museum, with paintings by artist Julia Jeffrey, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. Artist Helen Wright will discuss her mural of Gowdie’s life in Auldearn, while American author Nancy Kilgore will discuss her latest book, Bitter Magic, inspired by the story of lsobel.

The languages of the Highlands and North East feature strongly with a range of Gaelic, Doric and Scots language events, including Gaelic poet Eoghan Stuibhart (supported by the Gaelic Books council) and storytelling by writer, folklorist, ethnologist, broadcaster, and singer Margaret Bennett, founder member of the Grampian Association of Storytellers Jackie Ross, and Jess Smith, an author and storyteller whose work focuses on the lives of the Scottish Traveller community.

The Festival Finale takes place on Sunday 4 September, on Nairn links, and features a costumed ‘Wandering Woodland’ environmentally themed procession for children, accompanied by local samba band ‘The Penguin’s Tuxedo’, Kinetika’s ‘Stories of Nairn’ flags will be installed at the Wallace Bandstand with artist-storyteller Lizzie McDougall uncovering the stories behind the flags, along with readings from local writing group The Pen and I , nature -themed creative activities with Nature 4 Health and an afternoon of live music by local musicians, curated by young performers Kenna and Morna Ross.

More Festival Highlights: 

Exhibitions include ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ - the festival’s biennial Open Exhibition - returning with a selection of paintings, prints, textiles and photography by artists from the northern regions of Scotland. Nairnshire artist Eve McDonald will be showcasing her popular scrap metal artworks at a new temporary ‘sculpture park’ at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. Textile artist Susie Rose Alexander, will exhibit her ambitious new work The Clouds of Unknowing, at the Original Spinning Arts Studio. Artist Jonathan Shearer, gives a talk about the art of painting landscapes outdoors, in the extreme weather conditions of the remote Highlands.

The programme also features a rare tour of Black Isle Bronze, the UK’s premier sculptural and architectural bronze foundry based in Nairn, while local historian John Urquhart takes a journey down Nairn’s High Street. Highland Paranormal will lead tours and investigations of Viewfield House, home to Nairn Museum, and the historic Auldearn Cemetery.

Author talks: Edinburgh based doctor and award winning writer, Gavin Francis, discusses science and kindness. Author, musician and fishing enthusiast, Malachy Tallack, talks about his new book Illuminated by Water. Gerda Stevenson, reading from her critically acclaimed book of short stories Letting Go: A Timeline of Tales will be in conversation with Thomasin Collins of Luath Press. There will be a platform for readings by creative writing students Linda Blackwood and Dawn Tripp from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Young theatre collective Crimson Tea Productions present The Ghosts of Campfire Stories - a play based on the old legends of the Sea Maiden of Kessock and the myth of the Kelpie of Loch Ness: the origin story of Nessie, and Norse Gods share their own stories, highlighting the importance of Norse mythos in Scotland.

The festival offers a range of creative workshops including ‘Forest Beings’ workshops for children with Sadie Stoddart, and a Silk scarf making masterclass with Ali Pretty (Artistic Director of Kinetika). Sean Lusk and Meg Pokrass will share the secrets of how to write sparkling short fiction with a two-day creative writing workshop.

School Outreach Programme: authors Kenneth Stevens, Ross Sayers and Gaelic poet Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, will visit local primary and secondary schools.

Artists in schools: Environmental artist Gordon Maclellan aka Creeping Toad returns to local primary schools with forest-themed storytelling and creative workshops, with a ‘wandering woodland’ procession on Finale Day. Iona Gibson takes a zine making workshop to Nairn Academy.

The ‘Stories of Nairn’ storytelling flag project has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

Nairn Book and Arts Festival runs from Saturday 27 August to Sunday 4 September 2022.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Cuts for Additional Support Needs Unit at Millbank? - Parents' concern and Councillor Paul Oldham's response

The Gurn has received a copy of a letter sent by one of the concerned parents at Millbank:

 I am writing to you as I heard some very troubling news last night regarding proposed cuts to the ASN unit at Millbank primary school in Nairn. My non verbal autistic son is due to start there in August.

 Over the past few months I’ve visited the unit and witnessed firsthand what an incredible job the teachers do there, despite the fact that they are already stretched to the limit, In fact if anything, they need MORE support, not less. These proposed cuts would lead to our chicken no longer being able to spend time with their peers in the mainstream classes (where appropriate). It would also mean a significant reduction in class outings (such as swimming) and class trips. 

Cutting funds in an already struggling environment will ultimately have a severe effect on our children’s safety and well-being. They all require one to one support at all times and I can’t see HOW on earth the unit could function adequately and safely if these cuts go ahead. 

 I cannot understand how the Highland Council can justify such action. I would like to ask them this - WHY do our children with additional support needs not deserve the same level of education and support as mainstream school pupils? 


XXXXX XXXXXX (a very concerned parent)

 Cllr Paul Oldham responded to a Gurn request for comment this morning:

  "I, and other ward councillors, have had many emails about this from parents yesterday. At the insistence of the SNP group ASN funding was protected in this year's budget but it's officers who decide where that money is spent, not councillors, so I would suggest that parents contact Nicky Grant <>, who is the ECO for Education & Learning at Highland Council as she's ultimately responsible for these decisions and should be able to explain why this is happening."

Peace in our time? New start for Community Councillors and the Highland Council variety in Nairn? Perhaps NRCC meeting tonight (22/06/22) will provide a few clues of direction of travel

 It's the AGM at Nairn River Community Council tonight as well so if you would like to go you can read the agendas for the AGM and the regular meeting here and there is also a contact e-mail address to access the Zoom meeting.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Keep Nairn Library in town centre - petition closes 16/6


Mikeysline establishes new Hive in Nairn to expand mental health support in Scottish Highlands

A leading Scottish mental health and suicide prevention charity has secured premises for its fourth face-to-face support offering in the Highlands.

Mikeysline has opened The Hive Nairn in the Highland Yoga Collective at 17a Acre Street. The charity will provide confidential face-to-face mental health support to those who require it on Saturdays from 6-10pm.

Appointments can be booked at, or by contacting the charity during office hours on and 01463 729000.

Emily Stokes, CEO of Mikeysline, said: “We are thrilled to be opening our fourth Hive in the Highlands, expanding our mental health and suicide prevention services and offering more face-to-face support to those who need it.

“The Highland Yoga Collective is a fantastic social enterprise, offering many health-related services to the people of Nairn and we are delighted to be collaborating with them to bring additional mental health services to the area.

“We want everyone in the Highlands to know that it’s ok not to be ok, and that help is always available to anyone that needs it. Whether you’re facing stresses at home or at work, thoughts of suicide, or a general low mood, we are here to offer confidential, non-judgemental support – face-to-face in our Hives, and also via our text support services.”

The Hive Nairn is the charity’s fourth outreach centre in the Highlands, joining those in Inverness, Tain and Alness. With suicide rates higher in the Highlands than much of the rest of Scotland, Mikeysline’s aim is to open up the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention, allowing those who need support to access it freely and easily.

Fiona Palmer of Highland Yoga Collective added: “Our yoga studio is a social enterprise and we use our revenue to promote health and mental wellbeing in Nairn. Our teachers, leadership team and students either have personal experience of mental health issues, or know someone who does. That's why our whole community is so pleased to be able to offer the studio space to Mikeysline every Saturday evening for its peer support sessions. Supporting these sessions aligns with our core values as a social enterprise, which is to provide a safe, welcoming, inclusive and accessible space for all”.

Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages dealing with mental health issues, emotional distress or thoughts of suicide in the Highlands and Moray. It does this via a text line service at 07786 207755; WhatsApp at 01463 729000 and via its website; and live chat, Twitter and Messenger via its website. The charity also produces a popular podcast, Speaking of Suicide, and offers face-to-face support from four Hives across the region – at its Inverness headquarters, Tesco in Tain, The Place in Alness, and now the Highland Yoga Collective in Nairn.

For more information, visit – or find Mikeysline on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Highland Council's Moray Firth Local Development plan too complex for online users? Nairn River Community Council creates "user-friendly" form in response to concerns raised by locals

Nairn River Community Council are encouraging people to have their say on the future of Nairn. They state:

"Nairn and Nairnshire’s future is out for consultation till 17th June as part of the new Inner Moray Firth Development Plan.

A range of ‘allocated sites’ are mapped out for future development over the coming 10-20 years as the town grows further.

Please take the opportunity to have your say as a Nairn resident on this important Plan."

NRCC also say on their website:

 "Since the Newton public meeting many locals attending have contacted community councillors to say how difficult they are finding it to access this complex Development Plan and comment on it online."

The Newton Hotel meeting was well attended. Newly elected Highland Cllr Paul Oldham posted a picture of the meeting and the following comment which indicates too that some folk are having trouble with it:
"I have had some feedback from people who are unable to comment on the Plan via the Web for whatever reason. If you’re in that position you should contact the Development Plans Team on 01349 886608 to discuss alternative ways of accessing the Plan and making comment."  More here. 

Nairn River Community Council are encouraging people to comment on the plan and on a page they have published on their website they too offer alternatives to people have problems with the online portal and on the popular Nairn Facebook page "Our Town" they state:

"You can comment via the Highland Council online consultation portal or look out for the 'user friendly' form created by Nairn community councils to help you have your say. This summarises key 'site allocations' for future development in Nairn over next 10 years for you to comment on ( hard copies will be made available on request and in public buildings for those with no IT access)"  

Here's the NRCC Moray Firth Local Development Plan information page.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"Community councils hope to repair broken bridges with Highland Council"

An interesting article in yesterday's Inverness Nairnshire Courier. Here's hoping indeed that Nairn is off to a new start with the new line-up of Highland Councillors and the willingness of the Community Councils to forge ahead in a positive direction.

Donald Wilson's article is here. A copy of the letter the CCs sent to the Highland Councillors is available here. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Nairn County announces Murray Travel as new main sponsor

Nairn County Football Club has announced Murray Travel as its new headline sponsor.

The Highland travel agent – owned by local couple Scott & Sarah Murray, and with branches in Inverness, Elgin, and soon in Forres – has agreed a three-year deal with the club.

Scott Murray, director of Murray Travel, said: "We’re thrilled to be sponsoring Nairn County FC for the next three years, and look forward to exploring all the opportunities the partnership presents.

 Graeme Macleod (left) and Scott Murray celebrate the new partnership between Murray Travel and Nairn County FC. [Image by Eoghan Smith Photography.]

“Sarah and I recently moved to Nairn, and we also expanded our business from Inverness into the local area when we took over Beaver Travel and Alba Travel at the end of last year. It’s important for us, and for our business, to engage with the community in which we and our young family live and work.

“By sponsoring Nairn County, we want to show that we are committed to the development and wellbeing of the community we call home. We’re already excited about cheering on the Wee County from the stand next season!”

Through sister hospitality business Cru Holdings, the Murrays also purchased the Classroom Bistro in Nairn in 2019 – another firm favourite with locals.

Graeme Macleod, Nairn County FC director, added: "We are absolutely delighted to have Murray Travel on board as the club's new main sponsor.

"This is a crucial deal for the club which allows us to look forward and plan for the future with further optimism and ambition.

"Scott and Sarah are highly-successful businesspeople who have grown Murray Travel from humble beginnings to an award-winning company. It is that drive and passion to succeed and always improve which makes this partnership with the club a fantastic fit.

"The board of directors at the club is grateful to the efforts of our committee members Cindy Milne and Derek Steel in negotiating and concluding this deal.

"We are all extremely excited to be working with Murray Travel, and firmly believe that this will be a partnership with huge benefits for both parties. I look forward to welcoming Scott, Sarah and their staff to Station Park in the new season."

Murray Travel (formerly Inverness Travel) was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife team Scott and Sarah Murray, who added to their portfolio in 2021 with the takeover of local agencies Alba Travel and Beaver Travel. The firm operates travel boutiques in Inverness and Elgin, and will soon open a premises in Forres. Mr and Mrs Murray also co-founded Wanderluxe, a homeworking agency based in Sawbridgeworth, and Mr Murray is also a director in hospitality group, Cru Holdings.

The Murray Travel team has won numerous awards for its high quality of customer service and innovative business practices. Murray Travel is a member of ABTA, AITO and the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association. For more information, visit or head to @themurryatravel on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Scottish Governement's Transport Minister visits Nairn today - meets with community representatives and visits Rosebank pupils

Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has met with representatives from the Nairn community to discuss the A96 by-pass.

The visit which took place today (Thursday 19 May), was organised by Nairn Connects BID, a membership organisation which works with local businesses and the community with the principle aim of making Nairn a better place to visit and shop and make it a more attractive place to do business.

Ms Gilruth spent time with Nairn BID manager Lucy Harding, and representatives from the town’s businesses and community groups including Nairn River Community Council, Nairn West Suburban Community Council, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise (NICE) and Drew Hendry Westminster MP and Fergus Ewing MSP.

The main purpose of the visit was to show the Transport Minister the reality of living with the trunk road cutting through the heart of the town and to give a voice to the businesses and community groups.

Concerns have recently been raised that a newly announced review of the plan to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen could see the project scaled back. However, the minister made assurances that this was not the case.

6 pupil Amelie Ogston and P5 pupil Max Murchison show the transport minister their posters regarding the A96.

Lucy Harding said the Nairn community welcomed the opportunity to speak to Ms Gilruth face-to-face.

“We are very pleased the Transport Minister has taken time to come and see for herself our town and the road that cuts through it.

“Nairn is growing year on year and the by-pass is urgently needed. What we have now is not fit for purpose and is dangerous to everyone’s health and safety. It is also stunting potential growth for the town and hinders external and internal investment. Nairn has the potential to be a real destination once the bypass is built, and we are all working hard to achieve this goal.”

She added: “Ms Gilruth reassured us that she would be taking our concerns back to the Government and she is keen to expedite the process. She reassured us that she and Transport Scotland would be back in touch once the capital spending review is completed at the end of this month and was keen to emphasise the need for pace.”

Drew Hendy, MP who attended the meeting said: “The Minister has been very clear that it is her ambition to see the project move forward. It does feel to me from what I have seen and heard that we are much closer than we have ever been in the past.”

Ms Gilruth also visited Rosebank Primary School which is located adjacent to the busy trunk road.

There she met with the school’s headteacher, Lisa Campbell, and pupils who showed the Minister the difficulties they face on a day-to-day basis and presented her with posters about the road.


The Transport Minister met with representatives from the community

Ms Campbell said: “We were very pleased to have the Transport Minister visit Rosebank Primary School. The pupils were delighted to discuss their concerns with Ms Gilruth on behalf of our school community. The pupils and staff would welcome a by-pass to prevent the volume of traffic passing our school every day. Not only does the volume of traffic present a safety risk for pupils and families but it also impacts on our overall health and well-being due to the traffic noise and pollution.”

Amelie Ogston, a primary six pupil, told the minister: “The road is noisy and even when we are in the classroom it can be so loud that it is distracting. Sometimes we can’t hear the teacher.”


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ariane Burgess MSP encourages Inverness and Nairn folk to share their vision for a ‘green transport corridor’ between Inverness and Aberdeen

"Today the Scottish Government have launched a consultation about the future of the A96 Corridor [1] 


Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess is encouraging organisations and individuals to fill in the consultation to ensure that the voices of those who walk, wheel and cycle are represented.  


Greens believe that this consultation is an opportunity to present and support a ‘green transport corridor’ between the two northern cities. 


Ariane Burgess MSP has said,  


“For many years, dualling the A96 has been seen as a magic bullet to traffic problems in the North East but we cannot road-build our way to net zero. 


Cheap, reliable public transport which can facilitate commuting, safe active travel infrastructure, dualling the Inverness-Aberdeen train line to encourage freight as an alternative to haulage and world class EV charging infrastructure as well as safety upgrades and bypasses which improve the quality of life in towns bisected by the A96 should be part of the discussion. 


I want to ensure that there is maximum engagement and that our Region leads the way in Scotland for inter-city connections that work for people and the planet.” 






1 Survey A96 Corridor Review Feedback Survey ( 


Saturday, May 07, 2022

We're taking a break but in the meantime congratulations to the four winning candidates yesterday.

We have been pretty low key for the past couple of years actually with the odd flurry of activity. Time for a break now to see how it goes in Nairn after the election. Here's hoping for a lot more positive vibes for Nairn - if our civic life becomes Stushieville to the power of 2 then that would be very sad. Hopefully everyone will work together with our four councillors to get the best for Nairn, if it doesn't go that way then things could be very depressing indeed and what is the point of reporting on any of that? Worth bearing in mind that only 48% voted too - down 4% from last time, sobering stuff.

Gurn twitter may still be active some of the time however. Cheers - and remember, very important:

Ubhal-ghortan dha na daoine!

Orchards for the people!

Sandown - 12 years on from a bare field

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Highland Council election for Nairn and Cawdor - It's on Thursday May 5th - Vote early and vote often folks... fact, up to 8 times in order of preference. There will be at least 3 new faces when the electoral dust settles and here's wishing them well (and also urging them to go flat out in getting the best for Nairn). 

 So make your minds up folks, ask the candidates about anything that is bothering you and don't forget to go to the ballot box and to all those who have already sent in a postal vote - well done!

We're going to take a break until we see how things pan out and come back a bit afterwards if things turn out on the brighter side for Nairn.

The Gurn twitter account will probably still continue and if you are looking for things going on in town and a little bit of debate then we recommend the Nairn Our Town our views facebook page. Let's make the most of our local democracy folks - we need to work together to get the best for our community.