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

16 January 2017

Gairloch High School. 7.30 pm.




Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Karen Buchanan.



Jack McCruden; Ben Thomas.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 21 November 2016 & Matters Arising

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

Matters arising:

i) Pauline had written to Fran Cree, Chair of Visit Wester Ross, to raise our concerns at the lack of recognition and understanding of heritage in its strategy. Both her letter and the reply (09 January) had been circulated. After discussion, it was agreed that we would renew our membership this time and review progress in the coming year. Karen will write to VWR with some further comments arising from our discussion.

ii) As yet, it had not proved possible to arrange a meeting with North Coast 500 representatives to agree a promotion for heritage sites, given that 2017 is the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology. Karen is therefore inviting other Highland museums to contribute to a collaborative “travel blog”.

iii) A letter template had been needed for a number of recent applications and letters, so Pauline had created one for immediate use, which will need to be standardised across all office holders and Karen.

iv) Karen’s Gairloch Knitting Christmas Tree at GALE had been a useful promotional effort, even if we didn’t win the prize money.

v) A fund-raising thermometer has now been put in place in front of the museum.

vi) Roy had written to Gail Ross, MSP, to invite her to visit GHM and learn about our project. A meeting is yet to be arranged. Edward Mountain, MSP, in Gairloch to meet constituents, had responded very positively when Roy introduced himself and was offering to write to contacts on our behalf.

vii) A meeting about publications is still to be convened.

viii) Karen is being asked to help with display material both for Inverasdale School and the new tourist shelters (Achnasheen/Braemore Junction). We will try to help as/when time allows.


3. Treasurer’s Report

i) Dugald has just received income and expenditure figures for 2016 to analyse. The operational costs of running the museum were very much in-line with 2015, though expenditure had been more. The final HLF development grant has not yet been paid and HIE would like our final submission for their contribution.

ii) Dugald had taken advice from our VAT consultant as to when might be best time to register for VAT and the implications of the various options. After discussion, it was considered that the most advantageous position was to become “culturally exempt”, which would mean our one paid employee (curator) becoming a Board member. Karen will give this due consideration. We also agreed that we would Opt to Tax the building in due course to maximise the VAT reclaim on the building works and related costs.  The benefit of registering for VAT is marginal at the moment and so it was also agreed that we do not need to register immediately.   We will keep this under review, as the project progresses it will become clearer as to when will be the appropriate time.

iii) Dugald expressed his gratitude to Marcus for the immense amount of detailed work undertaken on stock control.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Buildings and grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Exhibitions, events and outreach; Fundraising; Publicity.

Issues arising:

i) Willie offered to dismantle the collapsing fence and discuss with the householder how best to proceed thereafter.

ii) Karen provided details about the exhibitions already booked and there was some discussion about how best to fill the remaining slot.

iii) HMF has been awarded grants from both HLF and MGS for a project to improve the resilience of independent museums in the Highlands. Two posts are being advertised. In view of the pressures of our own project, she has withdrawn from the HMF steering group organising this.


5. AGM and membership matters

i) There has been a small increase in the membership tally for 2016-17, compared to 2015-16, though the number has been essentially consistent in recent years. It was agreed that the fees should remain at £20 family and £10 individual this year.

ii) Pauline clarified which four directors stand down on rotation, though eligible for re-election.


6. Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Lord Lieutenant, Janet Bowen, and three colleagues, had visited the museum on 16 December, to assess the contribution of our volunteers to the museum and the community. They had been extremely interested in our AAOR project, and seemed very impressed with all that they learned and saw. It will be July before we know the outcomes of their panel’s recommendations.


7. Museum development: updates and way forward

i) Although we had the good news from HLF confirmed on 6 December, we are still waiting for the necessary Permission to Start meeting to be arranged, which will be the guide as to whether or not our project programme can proceed to schedule. There has been correspondence with HLF with respect as to who should be our monitor. There will be no change, though our HLF Grants Officer will be more involved in future.

ii) We had what seemed to be a very positive meeting on 20 December with Eilidh Todd of the Scottish Land Fund with a view to funding support for legal fees and possibly other costs. However, on examination of our Articles of Association, Eilidh ruled that we were not eligible for SLF funding as we had to be a ‘community of geography’ as opposed to a ‘community of interest’. Pauline had written to test this definition (“Gairloch & District”; “Gairloch parish”) but to no avail. After discussion, it was agreed that to change our constitution, as SLF proposed, would not only take considerable time (and so hold up project progress) but also might well jeopardise those grants which were based on our being a heritage organisation. Pauline will write to Eilidh to this effect.

iii) Pauline briefly went through the many funding applications which are being made to trusts and foundations at the moment, possible now we have HLF Round 2. Thanks to a Ward Discretionary Grant we are able to continue to employ Mia as a consultant to help us with the administration of HLF, HIE, RCGF, LEADER etc and to investigate loan opportunities. A further substantial donation has been offered from Carl Mayl’s charitable estate, to be used to match donations from other parties.

ii) Roy was informed by our LDN Project Architect that the building control officer (HC) had just advised her that the building warrant approval will be forthcoming shortly. Roy continues to work to secure protection to the AAOR roof to avoid further internal deterioration.

iii) Allan had circulated the notes of the Community Fund-raising Group’s meeting held on 14 December. The next takes place on 16 January. Mia will be attending. The group do not intend to have a “big event” this year but will focus on community activities to keep the momentum going. They will also discuss how best to approach businesses and wealthier individuals, inviting generous donations which will help achieve the £2000K / 10% target. A new flyer is almost ready for printing. A couple of well-known people are being approached to request high-profile support for the cause. Allan and Karen had met Mark Feeny recently - his help has been invaluable.


8. Any Other Business

i) Pauline will circulate the current policies with the Minutes of this meeting for all to consider with respect to any necessary amendments and updating, due February 2017.

ii) The Wester Ross Biosphere steering group, which meets quarterly, would welcome a representative of GHM at their meetings. It was agreed that we would try to ensure that some-one attended.

iii) Alice MacLennan of Shieldaig is organising a pub quiz on 17 February to raise money for our AAOR project. Willie offered to gather a team for the evening, which happens to be the same date as one of our own series.

iv) PNL Accountants have requested that our Board officers present themselves, with passports, at their office in Gairloch to meet the requirements for money laundering checks.

v) Karen is meeting Kevin Frediani soon about the proposed community archaeology dig which is to take place on the Inverewe estate in the last week of April.

vi) Jeremy has produced a new booklet on the history of Gairloch - copies now available.

vii) Roy has had discussions with John English, a film maker (OTOXO Productions) who now lives in Barcelona. He is very interested to make a documentary about the way in which living in the Highlands changed in the second half of the twentieth century. A draft proposal will be tabled at our next meeting. It is hoped that the film could be launched at the opening of the AAOR Heritage Centre in spring 2019!


9. Date of Next Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Monday 20 February, at 7.30 pm, in the Museum Library.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.25 pm.







Curator's Report 16th January 2017



Building and Grounds


Could we please arrange a provisional date for the grand, pre-season clean up?


The fence between the museum and Derek Roxburgh’s house has suffered substantial damage over the winter.


There is some damage to one of the ridge tiles on the office extension.




A number of spinning related objects have been acquired from Sylvia Murdoch and added to the collection – all local made.


The Corie Church time capsule was acquired from the new owners of the building.


Volunteers have been undertaking condition checking, cleaning and numbering of the objects in the display area under the supervision of Rachael Thomas.  This will continue until March.


Two objects have been removed for repair – the cobbler’s bench and the model of Sleepy Time Gal.


We had a visit from a representative from Rackline, who will send us a costed plan for storage in the new building.


Training and Networking


Recently I attended the Highland Tourism Conference (at which our website was cited as a model of good practice during the presentation by Visit Scotland’s regional manager).


There was a Highland Museums Forum meeting on 13th December.


Alice is still teaching me Gaelic every week.


I will be taking modules in Social History and Folklore as part of the BA Gaelic Scotland this semester.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


We have one free exhibition slot for next year.  Suggestions are welcome.


We have a full schedule of Winter lectures programmed and, along with the pub quizzes, this means we have at least two events a month between now and the visitor season.


We have been approached by Kinlochewe Primary School to host a visit as part of their curriculum.




We have received a number of donations towards the project from various sources, including some local businesses.




We have had some very good publicity as a result of our Heritage Lottery Fund success.  We have been featured on STV, on the BBC website and in all the local and regional newspapers.  We also had a visit from a Guardian photographer last week.


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