Assynt Foundation

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Minutes of October 2017

Posted on 28 February, 2018 at 8:00

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 4.00pm Wednesday 25th October 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Lewis MacAskill, Claire Belshaw, – Quorate.

In attendance: Gordon Robertson, John Venters.

Apologies: Nigel Goldie, Mandy Haggith, Alex Murray, Mandy Haggith.

2. Declarations of Interest


3. Minutes of the meeting held on 20th September 2017

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 20th September were not available or approved at the meeting but were subsequently approved by those attending (via e-mail).

4. Actions and Matters Arising.

The Action Points and Matters Arising were carried over, and are noted at the end of these Minutes.

5. Financial Report.

The circulated reports were noted. 

GR reported on the recent meeting with HIE who continue to support AF as it seeks to develop businesses that will lead to full sustainability without the need for grant aid. GR is working with Elaine MacAskill (CALLP/Woodland Trust) to ‘fast track’ the most deliverable parts of the whole scheme in order to demonstrate expected levels of capital.

6. Glencanisp Lodge Update.

The management of the Lodge continues to receive plaudits and the opportunities for guests and local residents to have dinner at the Lodge has been well received. There have already been 70 bookings for pre- Christmas meals.

The issue of opening the Lodge during the first quarter of 2018 has still not been resolved, but will be based on financial viability.

7. Executive Officer’s Monthly Report

• Hydro Schemes

A written update had been circulated. The current proposals will be considered in greater detail at the forthcoming Land Use Sub Committee meeting. It was noted that the Drumrunie proposal had received approval from Local Energy Scotland for Green Highland Renewables to carry out the Feasibility Study.

• Native Woodland

Elaine MacAskill would shortly be circulating her initial thoughts on the first potential site for planning on the Foundation’s land. This will include draft budgets and be available for the Land Use Sub Committee’s meeting in November.

• Glebe Purchase of Land from COS

Still awaiting a date from HIE and the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust. Their representatives (Liz Howard (HIE) and Ronnie MacRae (HSCHT) are striving to arrange a combined visit.

• Hutting

This proposal appears to have a good prospect of financial backing from Funders, and has the potential to generate a regular annual income for the foundation. Potential siting and scale will be discussed in detail at the Land Use Sub Committee Meeting.

• Stalking Report

JV confirmed that it is proposed to shoot 60 stags next year over Glencanisp and Drumrunie whilst still leaving a few carcasses out on the hill for nature conservation reasons.

BOH and GR had attended Community Land Scotland’s meeting in Ullapool to consider and discuss a wider approach to Deer Management on Community Land. Minutes will be circulated on receipt. CB stressed the importance for AF to have a clear vision with regard to our deer management for the long term future. AF should take the lead and set out a policy demonstrating where AF wants to see the deer population in 100 years’ time, linking this species with the environment, stalking, venison and public interest. All present supported this aim and this will be incorporated into the Deer Management Plan required by SNH

• Sporting Rates

GR confirmed that he had been in contact with the Assessor’s Office and that 100% Mandatory Charitable Relief is expected to be received by AF

• Climate Challenge Fund Application for Walled Garden Restoration

AP had put in a considerable amount of work for this extensive application. The deadline for the submission will be met.


Discussions continue with CALLP staff to assist with and benefit from their established programme. This includes path improvement, training courses, venison marketing potential, appointment of Crofting Officer and more.

• Long Leases 

10 year lease, commencing in November 2017, on track for the Drumrunie grazing tenancy. Details of the land area for the Ledbeg tenancy are to be agreed by the Land Use Sub Committee.

8. Potential House Site. Drumrunie

GR will speak to the Planning Officer and SNH regarding this proposal, before discussions are more publicly launched.

9. Future Event Opportunities at Glencanisp

• North Lights Easter Challenge runing event

All on track. Organisers liaising with Sam and Rachael and will be linking with community members to develop the programme. A suggested programme will be received shortly and circulated for Board approval.

• Classic Car Rally

Sam and Rachael in discussions with the organisers of a Charity Car Rally, commencing and finishing in Dornoch next May during a single day. The aim is for the 60 participants to meet and have lunch in the Pole Barn next May with catering provided by S&R. Opportunities to promote the Lodge, Artists Studio, Kiln and more to high net worth participants.

• Festivals/Music Events

All agreed that AF should aim to develop a future ‘Programme of Events’ throughout the year. To be discussed and actioned at the next AF Board meeting.

• Edie

The Film is being acclaimed as it ‘does the rounds’ of the Film Festivals. It has been to Edinburgh, but will be shown in Berlin, Inverness and Aberdeen within the next month. It is still planned to be launched in the Spring of 2018 and the Producer, Mark Stothert, of Infinity Productions will liaise closely with AF when the Screen Machine comes to Lochinver in order to gain maximum PR and Community benefit.

10. Governance

Simon Jeffreys (Company Secretary) will write to HIE confirming the details of the perceived need for HIE to be the PSC (Person Exercising Significant Control). This relates to the Annual Confirmation Statement that SJ is undertaking of behalf of AF and this matter had been included in previous returns by the past Company Secretary (MacLeod and MacCallum). This is a procedural matter, and GR will contact HIE beforehand to advise them that SJ will be in touch.

11. AOCB

BOH attended the new Land Commissioners ‘Meet and Greet’

Request for details on historic deer numbers and cull records.

12. The date of the next meeting was agreed as Thursday 23rd November 2017

Categories: AF Minutes