Assynt Foundation

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November 2016 minutes

Posted on 25 January, 2017 at 5:30

Draft Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 15th November 2016, Glencanisp Office, Lochinver

Meeting began 6pm

1. Present/In Attendance /Apologies

Present – Nigel Goldie (Chair), Stewart Hill (by conference-call), Jeanette McCarthy, Brendan O’Hanrahan, Helen Simpson, Mandy Haggith

In Attendance – Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant, Ken Hamilton, Alex Dickson, John Venters

Apologies – none

Declarations of Interest: None

Minutes of Last meeting - were approved. Noted that Sept minutes were amended as proposed and will be made public. Action GR to pass Sept mins to AP to circulate.

2. Actions and Matters Arising

Action rolled over, AP to seek advice from OSCR on acceptability of offering discounts to AF members. Action AP

3. Financial Report & Annual Accounts year ending Mar 16

Ken presented P&L and Cash flow to end October. Agreed to approve accounts for year ending March 2016 by email.

4. Governance / Away Day – Noted that A.Biz now has an independent director (Jane Tulloch), giving some separation between the two companies. NG suggested further separation would be good practice.

Discussion of Director training and skills audit. All in favour of further Director training event, so long as confident in those running it, given some disappointing experiences in past. Action NG to circulate skills audit produced at time of Business Plan creation.

Areas of responsibility for directors to be revisited in future.

A walkaround at Glencanisp is suggested for the away day, to cover issues of land use and management.  

5. AGM – Action NG to seek views on AGM date by email – maybe between February and April. MH suggested an ‘AGM day’ for multiple local organisations with a high overlap of membership.

Noted that there is a row in budget for staff training, which could be widened to include Director training and other similar Governance costs.

6. Challenge Event – Meeting this Tuesday with North Lights Events regarding hosting a challenge event this spring.  All in favour in principle.

7. Croft Creation

General Board agreement was reiterated for the principle of croft creation. 3 issues raised in need of addressing –

1. Permission being sought and granted from BLF, HIE, SIS and possibly Scottish Govt. (Action AP seek in-principle support and info on process for formal approval from all four.)

2. Current grazing tenants - issues of whether they should be offered tenancy of crofts on their leased ground, or whether others should be given opportunity to be considered for croft tenancies there.

3. Potential of extra liability for AF for bridge upkeep. It was noted that we already have responsibility for the upkeep of the bridge at Ledbeg, as owner of that bridge, and that the bridge to Cnocnaneach is essentially a footbridge only, with potential for some vehicles to ford the river beside it.

Meeting is to go ahead on 3rd December. Mandy detailed plans for this.

Discussion of draft new croft boundary maps. BOH has produced two plans for crofts at Ledbeg – one for 6 crofts, 3 larger and 3 smaller, one for 4 larger crofts. An area is identified for housing etc associated with the crofts, nearer the road. Draft plans for 2 or 4 crofts at Cnocnaneach. Area at Druim Suardalain itself likely not to be followed up as that area is considered too valuable for future AF trading activities. Possibility of 3 crofts at Tiliathdoire. Noted that all our ground immediately north of the Glencanisp road is already part of existing common grazings, so is not being proposed for new croft creation. Glebe land may also be suitable for croft creation if purchased. Croft creation in new woodlands may be possible in future but may meet with SNH resistance.

Funding – Discussion of whether funding should be sought for infrastructure, like tracks and fencing by AF in advance of assigning tenancies to new crofts, or else sought after by crofting tenants, either individually or jointly. It is thought that grant funding would likely be more easily raised by crofting tenants.

Planning – Issues of planning consents for any tracks, housing or other infrastructure – GR has spoken with HC head planner about broad crofting plans, and will go back once plans are more detailed.

Deer Management – JV raised issue of potential for crofters to shoot deer attracted to their improved ground, and also issue of responsibility for any control of foxes around new croft land.

Staging of croft creation – Discussion of pros and cons of whether croft creation should be done on all 3 main areas at same time or whether better to do one area first. Will seek professional opinions on this at meeting on 3rd Dec.

8. EO Report – As per written report. GR reiterated the importance of creating a hydro scheme for substantial income generation.

Glebe – Still awaiting further response from Church of Scotland on potential sale.

9. AOB

MH noted upcoming visit by orchard surveyors to Glencanisp, as part of a wider orchard project.

BOH reported that a new Section 7 Deer Management Agreement for Inverpolly SAC (which includes Drumrunie) is currently being drafted.

We expect to hear back in next month or so about the recent SRDP funding application towards cost of reduction culling on parts of Glencanisp.

Uncertainty was noted over means of deer estates funding costs of future deer counts.

Some thoughts on alternatives to helicopter counting.

Eagle hide – will be constructed in due course.

Glen Laoigh ATV track into Drumrunie – issues over scarring of ground. To be discussed.

Insurance of new Druim Suardalain woodland block to pay for replanting in event of loss from fire etc – we have quote from insurer – The Woodland Trust for Scotland has committed to pay this annual cost.

Meeting closed. Next meeting 5pm 15th December.


Categories: AF Minutes