Why Nairn? Nairn is fabulous. This is where we lived when my children were small, so we will always be biased...but with very good reason. Nairn has beaches and beautiful countryside stretching for miles. The old stone harbour from the days of the herring fleets sits just to the side of the river, providing shelter along a vast coastline of westerly drifting and shifting sand. To the east, Culbin Forest was planted nearly 100 years ago to stabilise the dunes and now provides forest paths for bikes and walkers. To the west, the sand stretches out to the far point at Whiteness, another 7 miles or more in the opposite direction. The gently curving beach faces generally north looking across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle and beyond up the coast towards Wick. Bottlenose dolphins live here, one of only two resident populations in the UK, and wildlife spotting is something that we used to make time for on our early cycles to school along the beach.
Nairn is also the home of the Nairn Sailing Club. A few of us helped to re- launch a junior program here about 10 years ago. We acquired 8 second hand training Optimists from another sailing club to get started. These hard wearing plastic hulls have seen excellent use over the years, hundreds of children have had their introduction to sailing in them. They are the boats which we will be borrowing for our beach cleaning, pressed into service as small cargo vessels to move marine litter back to the harbour. The club is enthusiastic. The wind is often offshore here and the central beach is generally very clean- but along the coast there is a post industrial site being reclaimed by nature and fishing gear and general waste washes up in the winter storms along both beaches. The club does beach cleaning on a regular basis, but cleaning the coast is difficult without road access. If using the dinghies proves practical, this could make it an easier task.
But for now, its time to catch up with old friends. We are parked up by the harbour overlooking the beach, enjoying the sunset and just feeling happy to be here. We have a big day planned for Thursday and the forecast is looking good for a day on the water.