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

15 Oct 2018

Gairloch Hotel 7.15 pm.




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



Nevis Hulme.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 27 August & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Liz and seconded by Jeremy.

There were no matters arising.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald presented working figures for the first nine months of the financial year. There is currently an operating deficit. This is the consequence of having to pay VAT on admissions, memberships and many retail items, and of the reduction in grant from Highlife Highland. Exhibition takings are down also. Adjustments will be made, following further checking as to what expenditures are related to the project, rather than operational.


Mia has been provided with the information she requires to submit the next set of claims to HLF, HIE and Highland Council. The delays in payment of the funds, via Highland Council, from the Scottish Government are understandable but unfortunate. Our financial affairs, never simple, are particularly complex at the moment.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering: Building & grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Project; Fundraising; Exhibitions, events & outreach. Further to this:

i) The design team have confirmed that they will try to incorporate parts of the Ribhinn Boidheach into the display, provided there is enough sound wood.

ii) We await a response from the Radcliffe Trust as to whether or not they will be supporting our Collections work this year.

iii) Notes from the last meeting with representatives from the Russian Arctic Convoy Project group have been circulated. The loan of specific objects is being organised, in both directions, and other collaborative working is being considered.


5. Volunteers’ Lunch 2018

It was agreed this year’s lunch be booked at the Shieling for Friday 23 November. Alice and Karen will review a draft list of who should be invited so that Pauline can progress the arrangements.


6. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Events, Outreach & Activities; ehive; and visits to other museums (to review ‘behind the scenes’ visitor engagement activities).

There was some discussion about our present printing issues and future printing demands with regard to a potential upgrade of our printing equipment. Katie will circulate further information to inform the debate; Karen will speak to WHC as to whether they wish to consider a joint facility; and Dugald recommended Katie contact a social enterprise in Inverness – For the Right Reasons – who might be able to help/advise on more cost-effective printing options.


7. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) The contractor continues to make progress (details provided). The current expected completion of building work on site is 4 February.

ii) A productive meeting was held on 9 October with members of the design team and those working on interpretation are now much clearer as to what is needed. Templates and further detailed plans are expected very soon. The design team also visited the site and were impressed.

iii) The dismantling of the lens commences this week, (17 October), under the supervision of a retired engineer with the Northern Lighthouse Board, as the base needs to be extracted from the floor and inserted into concrete in the AAOR. The Temporary Exhibitions area will be used for storage before re-assembly in the new Museum in the New Year.

iv) The three versions of the logo (English; Gaelic; English & Gaelic) were approved by the Board and can now be signed off.

v) Notes from the meeting of the Commercial Operations Group (COG), held on 26 September, have been circulated. Given that it would likely be more attractive to would-be tenants to have both the retail unit and the kitchen fitted out, Roy, Mia and Pauline met with Lindsay Simpson (HIE) on 3 October, to discuss the plans with a view to applying for financial support. We were advised that any such request, particularly if for capital costs, would be considered and that it would be better to apply this financial year. Mia is working on the details needed.

Calor Gas have quoted for the supply of a tank and pipework for the café.

vi) Bruce Tait Associates advise advertising for an Operations Manager in December as we envisage the appointee taking-up post in early Spring.

vii) A formal letter with respect to the termination of our lease has been delivered to our landlord. A meeting will be arranged with him for later this month.

viii) Griff Boyle, our mentor, and Bobbi, our HLF advisor, are visiting the site on 24 October. Roy, Karen and Mia will meet with them.


8. Any Other Business

i)  After discussion, it was proposed that the AGM be held in early April. Katie will contact a potential speaker to discuss his availability.

ii) A meeting between some Board members from each organisation will be arranged with GALE in January to discuss matters of mutual interest, given our impending move.

iii) Hugh has applied to Zen Internet to provide us with services in the AAOR. It is a requirement for the Certificate of Completion that phones are already installed, given that we have a lift.

iv) We very much appreciated the comforts and service offered for this meeting, at short notice, by the staff of the Gairloch Hotel. Karen will enquire as to the possibility and costs of using this venue for future meetings (until we have our own facilities).


9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 3 December 2018.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 8.50pm.


















Curator's Report 15th Oct 2018


Building and Grounds


The building is leaking like a sieve and the sooner we get objects off display, the better.




Numbers for August were almost identical to last year, but September has been a poor month, with numbers down by 15% on last year. Last year we experienced large increases in visitor numbers in the Spring and Autumn months, with a decline in the peak season. That trend seems to have been reversed this year, and it is not clear why though the excellent weather no doubt had played a role in the Spring months.




We continue to receive objects and images and there is now a new backlog of objects awaiting accession.


I have taken advice from Am Bata in Plockton about the boats. It is suggested that we retain the rudder, rudder pintel and bowsprit of the Queen Mary. The Ribhinn Boidheach should be able to be used for our new, internal fishing display. The salmon coble was offered to the Inverasdale Heritage Group but we have not yet heard their decision on whether they would like to keep it.


Recent additions to the collection include part of the door of the old smiddy in Poolewe, into which numbers and letters have been cut and a framed, original cartoon by Harry Thomas and a Northern Lighthouse Board cap badge.


Training and Networking


The two modules I am studying this semester are proving both interesting and very useful to my understanding of bardic culture in particular, but also modern Scottish History. It is proving challenging keeping up with two modules which have substantial new content and assignments. I will have to sit an exam sometime in the middle of December.




Following the provision of a method statement and list of equipment for moving the Rubha Reidh lens, it has been arranged for Peter Fleming to oversee the dismantling of the lens between 17-19 Oct. The lens will be moved to the exhibition space until it is required again.


The laying of the rails for the roller racking in the artefact store has apparently been delayed until next week.


The interpretation team had a very useful meeting with Campbell and Co. on 9th Oct.  Elevations of the display areas were produced, which allows the interpretation team to see the position and size of panels. Once we receive the label templates next week, we will be able to make good progress in writing the panel and label text. A meeting of the interpretation group has been scheduled for 19th October.




£5000 has been raised through Mark Feeny to pay Rosalyn Goulding to undertaking editing and checking of the label and panel texts for the new displays.


£5000 has been awarded by the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust towards the new lighthouse displays.


Donald Ian Macrae very kindly offered to make a strong crate for transporting the sections of the lighthouse lens.



Exhibitions, events and outreach


Events are covered in the Learning and Interpretation Officer's report.


We are looking for exhibitors for next year, though I am still awaiting guidance from the COG team on how the new exhibition space will be used.


I did some filming with the BBC at the Red Smiddy in September, which should be featured in the second series of Scotland from the Sky.


Karen Buchanan (Curator)





Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 15th Oct 2018


Events, Outreach and Activities


Winter events

• ‘A Land Fit For Heroes?’ exhibition will be closed to the public from Wednesday 17th October.


• We were the only organisation on the West Coast in Highland to put on an event for Doors Open Days. We held 3 tours of the new building on Saturday 22 September all of which were very successful. We attracted 75 people in total and had some wonderful feedback. Thanks to Allan, Willie, Alick and Neil for running the tours with me.


Did an interview on Two Lochs Radio to follow on from the tours. Have been asked to go on more regularly.


Highland Archaeology Festival

Walks have been successful. Average of 15 people on each, mostly local but a few people on holiday. Beneficial for planning how we organise trails from the new museum. Intending to utilise volunteers to lead regular guided walks from the museum in the summer months with trail leaflets available in the museum all year round.


Pub quizzes –  thanks to Allan for organising our 2018-19 Gairloch and District Pub Quiz Challenge.

The Shieling, 9 November

Badachro Inn, 14 December

Myrtle Bank, 18 January

Aultbea Hotel, 15 February

Old Inn, 22 March


• On 29 September, I held a cake and coffee afternoon with the volunteers on the desk. 5 volunteers came along.  Really useful to hear feedback on trails/quizzes and how volunteers have found the season so far.


Reminiscence work

• House of Memories – last meeting for the steering group was early September. App coming along well and content is still set to all be sent off by the end of the year.


We were asked to trial images for the app. Helen took the images supplied by IMAG into local care homes. These proved to be so beneficial for memory discussion that I have decided to create packs of images of objects from our own collection in addition to ‘reminiscence boxes’.


• Looking to expand our handling collection with the intention of creating effective reminiscence boxes for local use.


• Exploring our collection for objects for photograph packs. This will allow us to offer a facility to those living further away/unable to reach the museum.



• On 14 November I will be running a careers workshop for students (S4-S6) and attending Gairloch High School’s Careers Fair.

• Myself and Karen will be meeting with the new deputy head of the High School to discuss a partnership as part of their Developing the Young Workforce Initiative.

• Online resources – created and sent out an online survey to local teachers to get an idea what types of resources would benefit their teaching. Plan is to put together resources that would support a visit to the museum (pre, during, post visit activities) for each of the displays. This idea was favoured based on feedback from the survey as it will allow students to get the most from their visit but can still be classroom based if required.


Anything to Add


• Technical side of adding eHive plugins onto our website and uploading content seems manageable. It will require volunteers who are confident with computers to take over this.

• Will be discussing with Karen which sections of our collections will be uploaded.



Earlier in the year I was asked to look into our printing options. Our rep from Highland Office Equipment has looked into what they can offer us based on the concerns we had at the time. The proposal is for a newer multifunctional device to replace our existing one. The proposal claims that the new machine would offer better quality prints, faster printing and a booklet finisher. I will have the cost summaries and spec with me if the Board thinks this change is necessary.


Museum Store Fit Out

With a portion of the funds from Museums Galleries Scotland to fit out our artefact store, library and archive and make the spaces accessible to the public, I will be going on ‘knowledge exchange’ visits to Scottish museums with a view to introducing visitor engagement activities in our ‘behind the scene’ areas. My first visit will be on 16/10 to the Highland Folk Museum where I will be touring their collection store, speaking to their tour guides and meeting with one of their Collection Curators to discuss visitor experiences in museum stores. Waiting for a response from Glasgow and Paisley.


I would like to raise 2 questions about school visits and object boxes.






Katie Pilcher (L&I officer)







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