Board Meetings

Board Meeting July 2012

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting
12 July 2012
Glencanisp Office, Lochinver

Present: Helen Steven (Chair), Andy Summers, Stephen Smith, Bill Badger, Patricia Robertson, Clive Sheppard, Fergus Stewart.
In attendance: Russell Robertson, John Cullen, Jane Tulloch, Gordon Sleight

1. Apologies: none

Meeting began 4.15pm.

Gordon Sleight reported on a potential Landscape Partnership funding application being considered by Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape (CALL), over a 5-year period from 2014. Other groups/partners are sought to strengthen the application and to present possible projects. A meeting last month reviewed a previous unsuccessful LP bid and devised a list of ideas for possible exploration, including:-
Historic Assynt – archaeology
Field Club – marine environment projects, soil and fertililty
Repairwork on Glencanisp track
Diverting GC track/alternative to Ledbeg House
Ledbeg House
Tourism Group/Mission – archivist post for marine archive
CALL – training, land management issues
So far it is just a ‘pooling of ideas,’ but any groups or organisations interested in this application will be sent a statement of ideas and criteria for applying. Gordon called for questions, and was asked to give pros and cons for potential applicants:-
- Forseeable issues may be that co-ordination of the bid would be complex, and it would be a great deal of hard work.
- Plus points being that SWT have offered to do most of the application work
Application deadline is early next year, with expressions of interest to be presented by September this year. A public meeting and consultation will take place at an early stage. Potential projects for AF to partner in the application require to be discussed before agreeing to join. AF Board agreed to consider various ideas, and come to the next meeting.

Gordon then updated the Board on progress with the Historic Assynt trail programme. An interpretation group visited Cnocnaneach, and other possible trails have been defined at Borralan and Ledbeg round to the ridge at Loch Awe and back round to Lyne. Gordon asked if this would be possible/agreeable, and was advised by the Board that if stalking activity was protected (mainly through guided walking), if car parking was clearly defined and if a sign was erected requesting walkers to ‘check with office’ before venturing out during stalking season, (most walks were to take place on Sundays), this is unlikely to be a problem.

Gordon left meeting 4.40pm.

2. Declarations of interest: None

3. Minutes of last meeting: Bill proposed, Stephen seconded. Minutes adopted.
Matters arising from last month’s minutes were discussed at this time:-

Lodge presentation from Dorothea: Thea was unable to attend the meeting but submitted a list for the lodge. Lodge tour for directors and report to follow.

Marketing subgroup: Meeting was postponed due to a prior meeting running over time. Subgroup members confirmed as: Dorothea, Jane, Pat, Helen.

Hydro: Directors’ meeting held last week with a full house of Directors. Clive to distribute minutes.
The decision has been unanimously made by Directors to go ahead with a funding application for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), limited to the Feith an Leothaid project.
Funding avenues, including both loan and grant sources are being pursued. It is also agreed that the community must be made aware of all decisions, and the sound business reasons for them. A pubic meeting will be held in due course, but at present Directors would be unable to provide answers to many questions likely to arise from such a meeting. In the meantime, a statement will be made via the local press to keep the community abreast of decisions, comprising an accurate minute of the hydro meeting, facts up to now, and that there will be an opportunity for questions and attendance at a presentation in the near future – possibly October. However, it is recognised that the public may wish to seek information before that time, and they are welcome to call or email the office or contact one of the directors.
Action: Russell to write statement for AN and Ullapool News.

Ledbeg House: Quote has been supplied. Concerns were expressed that Ledbeg House was becoming something of a millstone and that it would never make back the money spent on it. Agreed to put LBH as main agenda item after the summer break.
Action: Pat to approach joiners for further quotes in the meantime.

4.Appointment of new Directors to Assynt.Biz: Assynt Biz is pleased to welcome Davy Robb and Stewart Hill on to the Board, which will be of benefit to both Biz and to AF.

5. Financial Report: Postponed due to Adam on annual leave.
Action: Bill to meet with Adam next week.

6. Staff Report: see appendix. The minutes reflect that the Board has expressed their disappointment at the length of time it is taking to get the printed literature from the graphic designer.
Action: Jane to follow up.

7. Subgroup Report: Sporting
• John presented the draft of his annual deer report, with the final copy to be available by the weekend. It is noted that this represents a great deal of work by John, and that he should be congratulated.
• The WSDMG has been split into subgroups, with the Assynt Foundation in a group with similar Section 7 partners. As yet no subgroup meetings have been held.
• Bill asked for a distinction between ‘shooting’ and ‘stalking.’ Stephen explained that ‘shooting’ is done with a shotgun, and ‘stalking’ with a rifle.
• Elphin crofters have asked that something be done about the amount of foxes threatening stock in the area. Ledmore Estates are currently dealing with this, but have asked the Foundation to assist.

8: Focus Item A: Lodge and Marketing: Due to Dorothea’s absence, and the agreement that this is more of an Assynt.Biz issue, this report will be made to the Biz Directors at the forthcoming Board meeting. Notes will be circulated to AF Board.

9. Focus Item B: Arts Building: Fergus reported that Benni Mellen and his team are here, and that felling has commenced. Cormac is in Strathconon drawing up plans. It is anticipated that the skyline will be in operation over the next few days, and it is suggested that Neil Gerrard be invited for a site visit, maybe next month. It is expected, by early next year, to have the project at a stage where a programme of activities can be devised for next summer, and a marketing plan put together. There is much talent and expertise in this area and it is hoped that the current arts revival in general will add to the economic value of the arts building. As the space is not exclusively for the arts, it may be necessary to give it a different name at a later date, to encourage the building to be used by the whole community, for a diverse range of activities.

10. Focus Item C: CALL: Contained in report from Gordon Sleight at the start of the meeting.

11. Action on Matters Arising: Completed during discussion of minutes.

12. AOCB:

• John brought up the subject of Deer Farming. Discussion postponed until Assynt.Biz meeting.

• Progress of the Forest Plan was enquired about. Robin Noble is away until end July, at which time Andy will meet with him for a discussion.

Date of Next Meeting: 6 September 2012, 4pm at the Glencanisp Office.

Meeting ended 6.35pm.

APPENDIX: Staff Report June-July 2012 (Jane Tulloch)

Adam is on annual leave this week, and has previously sent financial information for his report.

Car Park
Almost finished – needs a couple of weeks of rain, then rolled again, then gravel/hardcore on top. We have paid contractor. Assynt Angling has confirmed their donation of £1,000 which will be sent to us via the treasurer, and Helen has applied to Scottish Mountaineering for a further £1,000. Assynt Angling would like it to be noted that they are very pleased with the new car park, which is used by the fishermen as well as walkers. Sign in progress, suggest another donations box at car park – somebody could empty it every morning on their way to work.


Moving along slowly, but actively. Suggest a comprehensive marketing report/presentation at next board meeting in September (remember August is a break) when all the literature and promo items will be complete, signage up and the press will have been (hopefully) to stay.

NFU Insurance
Helen, Russell and Jane conducted an insurance review yesterday with Louise Chisholm of NFU, who came to meet us at the Glencanisp Office. A lengthy meeting flagged up some important insurance issues to be addressed. Report and recommendations to come from NFU, with quotations for additional services, for example Health & Safety/Risk Assessment advice, Valuations etc.

The Boat House
Benni and the forestry team are here in advance of Cormac arriving, and will be staying in the Boat House. They have gutted it, removed old carpets and furniture, and given it a deep clean. All it needs is an electric shower and some bits and pieces of furniture, which can be foraged from around the lodge, Bothy, donations etc. As Andy will have mentioned, we have the go ahead and funding for the Habitat survey. The person doing the survey is looking for somewhere ultra-cheap to stay for 12 weeks – the Boathouse is perfect. Also, Hamish (contract stalker) would wish to use it on occasion if late out on the hill. I know we are planning to rebuild/renew, but I wonder if it would be better to look first at the Bothy rather than the Boathouse, as the Bothy is definitely uninhabitable?