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Proposed Caithness Archaeological  Trust

Minutes of Meeting of The Yarrows Heritage Trust Committee held on Wednesday, 3rd April, 2002, at The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster.

1. In attendance

John Inkster, Alice Miller, Margaret Georgeson, Peter Stewart,

Ian Giles, James Mackay, John Briskham, Islay Macleod, Paul Humphreys, and Barbara Hiddleston

2. Apologies

John Swanson, Ed Hilton, Fiona Macleod,

Stuart MacKay, Andrew Sinclair and James Oag.

3. Chairperson

Margaret Georgeson agreed to act as Chairperson until the election of the Office Bearers later in the meeting.

4. Minutes of last meeting

4.1 Corrections

4.1.1 (Para. 5.1) John Inkster pointed out that whilst he had made arrangements to open an account with TSB/Lloyds Bank, he was unable to open any account without the formal Trust document. Islay MacLeod agreed she would give it to Barbara Hiddleston, who would then send it on to John Inkster.

4.1.2 (Para. 9.3) It was pointed out that David Miller was long deceased, and that the comment regarding oral history referred to David Millerís son. This had been a misunderstanding on the secretaries' part, for which they duly apologised.

4.1.3 These comments were duly recorded for amendment. Alice Miller proposed approval of the minutes, seconded by Peter Stewart.

4.2. Matters arising

4.2.1 Margaret Georgeson requested that as well as being acknowledge in the Minutes, Ian Sutherland ought to receive a formal letter of thanks. Barbara Hiddleston agreed to send a letter on behalf of the committee.

4.2.2 It was confirmed the Trust document had been signed by Jim Oag, and had been sent off by Jean Maclennan to the Books of Council and Session at Register House, Edinburgh for registration.

4.2.3 Islay MacLeod reported that Richard Tipping, Senior Lecturer at Stirling University was finding university funds problematical. He had said he was unable to confirm their funding until the end of May/beginning of June. Islay felt that we needed to get Cameron Taylor on board as we probably had enough funding for that. As Islay was concerned this could affect monies coming from CASE, she had set up a meeting with Eann Sinclair for the next day at 9.00 am. to which Melli Pannett, Richard and herself would attend to explain the situation to CASE. As all committee members were invited, Barbara agreed to attend on their behalf.

4.2.4 Margaret suggested any archival material should be lodged with Wick Archives for safety. Islay MacLeod reported that she had already lodged the Innes Papers regarding the history of Thrumster House. The committee were unanimously in agreement with Margaretís proposal.

5. Election of Office Bearers

5.2 Election

5.1.1 Chairperson - It was the general consensus of the committee that Margaret Georgeson be elected as Chairperson to The Yarrows Heritage Trust, proposed by Peter Stewart and seconded by John Inkster.

5.1.2 Vice-Chairperson - Islay Macleod was elected as Vice-chairperson, proposed by Barbara Hiddleston and seconded by James Mackay.

5.1.3 Treasurer - John Inkster was elected as Treasurer, proposed by Alice Miller and seconded by Margaret Georgeson.

5.1.4 Secretaries - Paul Humphreys and Barbara Hiddleston were elected as joint secretaries, proposed by Alice Miller and seconded by Islay Macleod.

5.1.5 Non-executive members - It was agreed that all Trustees be elected as Committee members.

5.2 Terms of Office

5.2.1 The issue of terms of office was raised, this was deferred until the Trust document was available for consultation. Islay agreed to bring her photocopy of the document to the CASE meeting for Barbara to make further copies.

6. Conduct of the Meeting

6.1 The meeting then proceeded with the newly elected office bearers, and committee members in session, led by the Chairperson, Margaret Georgeson.

7. Treasures Report

7.1 Authorising Signatures

7.1.1 The Constitution decreed in Clause 21.l that Office Bearers require two signatures for the signature of cheques. It was the consensus of the committee that three people should be authorised to ease the administration of funds, with any two of the three authorised people providing signatures. It was agreed that these people would be the holders of the office of Chairperson, Vice-chairperson and Treasurer.

8. Secretaries Report

8.1 Paul Humphreys said that there was nothing formal to report at this juncture.

8.2 Educational Trip

8.2.1 Paul Humphreys was asked to report on the educational trip originally intended to be conducted by Melli. Due to Melliís fieldwalking programme being delayed by one week, she was unable to attend and lead the trip held on Sunday 24th March. Islay and Paul took her place, and led the walk with committee members and friends in attendance. They explored the archaeological site at Oliclate, the Brickigoe Mill and the settlement at Swartigill burn. This settlement was last mentioned as part of a 'fermtoun' and land and had been identified in documents dated 1601, with possible late Norse/early medieval origins. As it was a landlocked site, it was considered rare in the North of Scotland.

8.2.2 It was also suggested that in the longer term something might be done to preserve the Mill and School buildings at Brickigoe.

8.2.3 The finding of a wooden artefact in a ditch at Oliclate was reported. Paul Humphreys subsequently identified the object as part of a sowing sheet. A considerable discussion ensued on whether the artefact was part of a sowing sheet or a sowing fiddle.

7. Patrons.

7.1 Several names were put forward to be approached as potential patrons. Amongst these were Lord Thurso, Sir Robert Maclennan, and H.R.H. Prince Charles. It was decided that this topic needed more thought, and would be discussed further at the next meeting.

8. Trust Document

8.1 It was confirmed the Trust Document had been lodged, and everyone will get a copy. John Inkster informed the committee that the document would be given a number, which he required for filling in the Inland Revenue forms and the like.

10. Funding

10.1 As said earlier at the meeting, Islay reiterated depending on funding from Stirling University, their involvement through Richard Tipping may or may not come off. Money for Melli's summer project from University of Cardiff was partly in place, and the £4,000 to finance Andrew Bain would be matched with funding. But this would be discussed further at the forthcoming meeting with CASE.

11. Forward Programme

11.1 Aerial Photographs

11.1.1 Margaret had suggested possible usefulness of aerial photographs of the site. Paul reported there were probably two principle sources available, those taken by the RAF after WW II and those taken by the Lufftwaffer during the Second World War. It was agreed the secretaries would investigate further. One possible source was through the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in Golspie, and the other through John Woods, Head of Archaeology for The Highland Council.

11.2 Permanent revenue resources

11.2.1 Islay voiced her concern that Trusts such as ours seemed to fold after funding from government bodies and voluntary yearly donations ceased. In order to sustain funding for the future of the Trust, Islay had suggested that sources of sustainable funding available. She put forward the idea that the Trustees might consider buying forestry, citing the community at Bettyhill as an example. The Trust might consider acquiring equipment for producing round posts for example. The concept was agreed in principle by the whole committee, and would be mooted at the forthcoming meeting with CASE, as would the possibility of incorporating it into the Business Plan.

11.3 Mini Conference

11.3.1 Holding a conference was a suggestion put forward to help raise the profile of The Yarrows Heritage Trust within the academic community. Paul pointed out that archaeological conferences usually had a theme. Islay suggested that perhaps our conference could follow on from one being held in Westray, sometime in September and perhaps its theme could be used. As no one knew the topic of that conference the secretaries agreed to find out more about it maybe from Nan Bethune, and report back at the next meeting.

11.3.2 Paul Humphreys made the point that it would be important that the conference be taken seriously and make a positive impression within academic circles. It was not a subject to be rushed into. It would be necessary to establish a programme of papers relevant to work in Caithness of sufficient weight to attract delegates. Potential contributors would need time to prepare their presentations. Adam Jackson and Andrew Heald from the National Museum of Scotland, currently working on the Iron Age Broch at Freswick were suggested, as were Richard Tipping and Melli.

11.3.3 Possible venues were discussed. It was pointed out that Caithness could not and should not attempt to rival Orkney in this regard. What we needed was something different. Islay offered Thrumster House, which could house 100 people. Ian Giles put forward Lyth Arts Centre, although its alterations wouldn't be finished until next year. James Mackay suggested the mart at Quoy Brae. The cinema in Thurso was also suggested. Paul pointed out that in his opinion September was too soon as the conference could take over a year to organise, he felt that next year would be a better option.

11.3.4 It was agreed this issue would pursued at the next meeting.

12. Meli Talk

12.1 As Melli was up in Thrumster for the next ten days carrying out fieldwalking, the committee agreed to invite her to give a talk for everyone in the village. She would be asked at the meeting she consented to give a talk on Wednesday, March 10th, at Thrumster Village Hall at 7.30 p.m. on evidence of prehistoric man at Oliclate.

12.2 Alice offered to put up posters locally to advertise the talk, and Barbara agreed to contact Bill Fernie to advertise it on Caithness.org website. Margaret also asked if he would be invited to attend.

13. A.O.C.B.

13.1 Archives

13.1.1 Margaret asked how well was the collection of archival material proceeding. Peter Stewart reported he had taken a video of the old threshing method. James MacKay indicated he had been up to look at the old Radar Station.

13.2 Pathways

13.2.1 Margaret had several pathways for consideration, but to clarify there position, she agreed to produce a map at the next meeting with all of them clearly marked.

13.2.2 It was agreed to ensure the considerate use of pathways, in this regard it would be useful to invite the Access Officer, David Barclay, and the local Ranger, Marina Finlayson to the next meeting. The secretaries were asked to make contact with them.

13.3 Year of the Tree

13.3.1 Margaret announced that this was the Year of the Tree, and perhaps the committee could adopt a tree for the Tree-fest. A Monkey Puzzle Tree was suggested. This could be discussed further at the next meeting.

13.3 Daffodil Day

13.3.1 Islay told the Committee she would be holding a Daffodil Day at Thrumster House sometime during May, when the flowers would be at their best. She had generously offered part of the proceeds to the Trust funds.

14. Date and venue of next meeting

14.1 The date of the next meeting would be held at The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster on Wednesday 1st May at 7.30 p.m.