Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company

21 November 2016

Gairloch High School. 7.30 pm



Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Janet MacLean; Dugald Macpherson; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Karen Buchanan.



Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Jack McCruden; Alice Mackenzie; Willie Macrae; Ben Thomas.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 03 October 2016 & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record (proposed by Hugh, seconded by Irene).

Matters arising:

i) The Volunteer’s lunch on 18 November at The Shieling had been a successful and enjoyable gathering.

ii) Ben has arranged for Aonghas MacCoinnich to be our guest speaker at the AGM which will take place on 03 April.

iii) A draft contract has been drawn up to offer to Jamie Maclean to undertake the tasks associated with creating a Gaelic loans box by 31 March 2017.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald reported that all outstanding bills had been paid. Meetings were organised to resolve some of the remaining discrepancies between ordinary museum revenue and development project income, with input from all parties involved. Roy was thanked for undertaking the banking whilst Dugald was away. The first payment for building warrant work has been made. Mia is working on the final HLF Round 1 claim.


4. Curator’s Report  

Karen had circulated her Report covering Buildings and grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training; Exhibitions, events and outreach; Fundraising; Points for discussion.

Issues arising:

i) Discussion about how to preserve the boats for the short term was inconclusive. The priority is to ensure that those sections needed for display in the AAOR are preserved. There has been local interest in salvaging the coble in the longer term, if it is to be disposed of.

ii) We will pay for membership of Two Lochs Radio.

iii) We discussed whether we should renew our membership of Visit Wester Ross. It was agreed that Pauline will write explaining our concerns at the lack of recognition and understanding of heritage within its strategy. We also observe an undue concentration on the North Coast 500. We will request a breakdown of the hits they receive on their website to link through to us.

iv) Pauline will work with Jim to prepare an “official” letter template, incorporating addresses, OSCR and Company details.

v) Either Jeremy or Allan will source a Christmas tree for the GALE competition.

vi) Given the number of current and potential future booklets etc, it was agreed that we should convene a working group in the New Year to draw up a publications strategy to ensure a consistent and clear Museum identity.

vii) As charities are free, we have registered as North Coast 500 members. On behalf of HMF, Karen is to meet NC500’s chief executive to guide them to producing a ‘heritage trail’ for the route, in recognition that 2017 is the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology.


5. Retail report

Irene had attended a retail focus day and presented samples of some items which might be “customised” to broaden the range of goods we sell. After discussion, it was agreed that she would prepare some sample designs, with specific items in mind, for future consideration.


6. Museum development: updates and way forward

i) Planning permission was granted on 16 November 2016. LDN architects have already begun the work for the building warrant, which should be completed early in 2017.

ii) Once we have a decision from HLF we will know better when it might be appropriate to begin both discussion with the Highland Council, as to the timing and legalities of transferring the AAOR to our ownership, and the process for VAT registration. In the meantime, Roy is trying to get HC to undertake a temporary roof repair to minimise further structural deterioration.

iii) The meeting on 11 October with HLF officers and a panel member seemed to go well. They viewed both the current and the proposed new museum locations. Tom, Rhona and Mia attended pro bono, presented the designs and helped to answer queries. Karen has dealt with further enquiries since.

iv) The deadline for the RCGF application is 28 November. Mia has just completed a draft which Pauline, Roy and Karen will work through before sending on to Highland Council for submission.

Pauline is, in hope, preparing applications to the Robertson Trust and the Wolfson Foundation who both indicated they would accept these once we had HLF Round 2 confirmation. She has also spoken to the Foyle Foundation whose advice was to apply for (max) £75K in January. There are other smaller trusts, such as the Waddilove Foundation, who might be worth approaching also. No two applications are comparable …

We have now raised over £600 via Easyfundraising, and will continue to promote this.

v)  Allan had circulated reports of the last two meetings of the fund-raising group.

- He invited discussion on the proposal to hold a formal ball at the Shieldaig Lodge Hotel on a Friday/Saturday in May as our big fundraiser. All rooms would have to be reserved by attendees. There was debate as to whether the effort and costs required (up-front) would produce a fair return for the project, not just be an enjoyable event.

- Channel 4 have provided a copy of The Last Post Run so the long-intended film evening can now be planned.

- Jeremy will source some construction grade plywood and Hugh will do the cutting-out for the long-desired thermometer (fund-raising totals). There was discussion about where best to site it near the road junction - to be resolved in situ when it is ready to install.

- Karen would like to be involved early on in the discussions about the proposed book based on local legends and folk tales, which should be considered within the new publications framework.

vi) Roy will write to our MSP to invite her to visit and learn about our project.

vii) John Mackenzie is arranging for the County Lord Lieutenant to visit in December with respect to his nomination of GDHC volunteers for the Queen’s Award.


7. Any Other Business

i) Mia is continuing to support us with fund-raising applications, though she has completed her contract work as project manager for HLF Round 2, other than the final submission for payment.

ii) No problem was perceived in meeting the request from West Highland Museum to share information about our HLF round 1 application and Business Plan.

iii) Roy and Karen had met with Mary Rogers from the Wester Loch Ewe Trust. There might be opportunity to put up an exhibition and development project information in the room that is being vacated by RACMP. We are interested to explore this further.


8. Date of Next Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Monday, 16 January at 7.30 pm.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.40 pm.






Curator's Report 21st November 2016


Building and Grounds


There are no new issues with the building and grounds, however it is worth flagging up that the condition of the boats is increasingly poor.  If we are hoping to use part of these boats in our new displays, action should be taken to conserve them.  It is not certain that they will survive another two years in the weather.




During the 2016 season the museum welcomed 6379 visitors – that is 6% more than last year.  In fact our visitor numbers have risen by 30% since 2013, which is a very positive trajectory and no doubt linked to the enthusiasm within the community for our redevelopment project.  We have certainly appreciated having so many local people calling in to see what we are up to.  However, we have not experienced the huge rise in visitors that the local accommodation providers and hostelries are reporting due to the North Coast 500.  Furthermore, our visitor numbers were down substantially in July – precisely when we should be busiest.  We will be working to try and change this for next year.




A small number of new items have been acquired and accessioned including a whisky pig from an Inverness wine merchant and the objects for which we obtained funding from the National Fund for Acquisitions.


There is currently a small accessions backlog and the temporary numbers have not yet all been resolved.  Hopefully this will happen over the winter, though other priorities relating to the new building and the future of the museum often intervene.




Recently I attended training courses in Publishing for Museums (with Dorothy Malone) and in Archives for Museums – participating in the training for the latter.


Irene Macintyre attended training in Retail for Museums.


Eight of our volunteers will attend Object Handling Training in Ullapool on 22nd November in preparation for the decant.


I am working on assignments for my UHI degree course (Gaelic Prose and The Gaelic World).


I attended the Museums Association Conference in Glasgow.


Alice is still teaching me Gaelic every week.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


The exhibition which U3A put together on local buildings was extremely well received, and it was suggested that it should be on permanent display in the new museum.


An event held by Hector Mackenzie to launch a booklet of his songs raised more than £200 for the museum.  The booklet is on sale in various local outlets with all proceeds to the museum.


The Gaelic Conversation class is still running every Tuesday in the museum library.




Our application to the Coastal Communities Fund was unfortunately unsuccessful.


We have been nominated for a contribution from the McColl’s charity fund by Catriona Mackenzie.


Highland Museums Forum has received a grant of £52,000 to match the £35,000 from MGS toward the project ‘Highland Museums Our Collective Future’.  The project will start this month and will investigate sustainable options and business models for the future of the independent museums in the Highlands in the face of funding cuts.


Points for Discussion


Should we take out company membership of Two Lochs Radio?  We use the radio quite heavily to advertise our events.


Should we renew our Visit Wester Ross membership in light of the failure to include heritage as a development area for tourism in Wester Ross?


Do we need a publications strategy to steer the direction of the museum’s future fundraising publications.


Can anyone please supply a Christmas tree for the GALE competition – starts 25th November?


Karen Buchanan (Curator)





Gairloch Heritage Museum :   Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK

Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)

tel : 01445 712287

email : info@gairlochheritagemuseum.org

Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd

 which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249