Nairn, former county, Scotland: see Nairnshire.
Nairn, town (1991 pop. 7,721), Highland, N Scotland, at the mouth of the Nairn River on Moray Firth. It is a tourist resort and fishing harbor. Other industries include dairy and crop farming and whiskey distilling. Granite is quarried. Cawdor Castle, the legendary scene of the murder of Duncan by Macbeth, is located nearby.
Nairn (Gaelic: Inbhir Narann) is a town in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is an ancient fishing port and market town some 16 miles east of Inverness. King James VI, when he travelled to London to become King of England, boasted that in his kingdom he had a town whose only street was so long that the people living at one end of it could not understand the language of the people living at the other end. He was speaking of Nairn, formerly split into Scottish Gaelic- and Scots-speaking communities. A town of two halves in other ways, the narrow-streeted fishertown surrounds a harbour built by Thomas Telford while Victorian villas stand in the 'West End'. It is believed that the Duke of Cumberland stayed in Nairn the night before the Battle of Culloden.

The town is now best known as a seaside resort, with two golf courses, a small theatre (called the little theatre) and one small museum, providing information on the local area and incorporating the collection of the former Fishertown museum.

In 1645, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the battle of Auldearn was fought near the town, between Royalists and Covenanters.

It was not until the 1860s that Nairn became a respectable and popular holiday town. Dr. John Grigor (a statue of whom is located at Viewfield) was gifted a house in this coastal town and spent his retirement there. He valued its warm climate and advised his wealthy clients to holiday there. Following the opening of the Nairn railway station in 1855, new houses and hotels were built in the elegant West End. The station is on the Aberdeen to Inverness Line. Originally this was the last stop on the line from London due to the inhospitable terrain on what is now the main Dava branch line to Inverness.

Nairn is known as a world class golfing destination, with two 18 hole courses. One of these, Nairn Golf Club is one of the great traditional links courses and was laid out by James Braid in 1928. It has hosted many tournaments culminating in the 1999 Walker Cup and is visited by golfers from all over the world.

The local football team is Nairn County F.C., who play in the Highland Football League. They recently picked up their first trophy in 31 years when they won the North of Scotland Cup 3-1 against local rivals Forres Mechanics F.C. at Grant Street Park, Inverness. The town has another football team, Nairn St Ninian, who are a junior outfit.

The town also hosts the Nairn International Jazz Festival each August, usually attracting some well-known and world class musicians.

Nairn also stages one of the biggest Highland games in the North. The first event was held in 1867, and it is now one of the few where entry remains free. The games are a major event in the local social calendar.

William Whitelaw the British deputy Prime Minister 1979 - 88 was born in Nairn and has a street named after his family.

James Augustus Grant who discovered the source of the Nile together with Speke was born at Househill, attended Nairn Academy and died at Nairn in 1892. There is a plaque to his memory in St Paul's Cathedral.

Current developments

The A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen currently passes through Nairn town itself. Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, has been canvassing for a Nairn by-pass to be developed.

At present Scottish Executive investment in the transport infrastructure has focused on the Inverness to Nairn stretch of road, especially to improve links to Inverness Airport.

However, there are no current plans to build a Nairn by-pass until after 2011. A consultation is currently planned to 2007, which is expected to determine both the feasibility of a Nairn by-pass, as well as a potential time-scale for development.

In the meantime, land to the east and south of the town is being considered for the further development of 1400 houses, with additional plans submitted by Lord Cawdor to double the size of the town over the next 10-15 years through private investment.

Parliamentary burgh

The burgh of Nairn was a parliamentary burgh, combined with the burghs of Inverness, Fortrose and Forres, in the Inverness Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the UK from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. In 1832, however, the boundaries of burghs for parliamentary election purposes ceased to be necessarily those of burghs for other purposes. The constituency was abolished in 1918 and the Forres and Nairn components were merged into the then new constituency of Moray and Nairn.


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