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Proposed Caithness Archaeological  Trust

Minutes of Meeting of the proposed Trustees of The Yarrows Archaeological Trust, held at The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster, on 6th March, 2002,

at 7.30 pm.

1. In attendance:

John F. Swanson, Ian Sutherland, Peter Stewart, Andrew Sinclair, Alice Miller, Fiona Macleod, Islay Macleod, Stuart MacKay, James Mackay, John Inkster, Paul Humphreys, Ed. Hilton, Barbara Hiddleston, Ian Giles, Margaret Georgeson, and John Briskham.

2. Apologies

Jim Oag.

3. Chairperson

3.1 It was agreed that Margaret Georgeson would act as interim Chairperson for the evening.

4. Minutes of last meeting

4.1 Approval

Proposed by John Inkster and seconded by Alice Miller, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved and adopted

4.2 Matters arising

There were no matters arising.

5. Treasurer's Report

5.1 John Inkster reported he had opened up an account on behalf of the Yarrows Heritage Trust at Lloyds TSB, Wick Branch. It was suggested he could asked if they would give a donation to the Trust

5.2 Islay Macleod announced that Ian Sutherland, of Wick Heritage Society, had donated a cheque for £500 to start up the Yarrows Heritage Fund. Ian added that any monies collected in the donation box at the top of Whaligoe Steps would also be donated to the Yarrows Heritage Fund. David Nicolson, who lives at Whaligoe Steps, was in charge of looking after this. Islay proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of those present for Ian's generous gift; the whole committee seconded it.

6 Trust Document

6.1 John Inkster distributed copies of The Yarrows Heritage Trust document for perusal, prior to signature by the trustees. He pointed out the addition of clause 21. It was noted that the document specified a maximum of 15 trustees and there were in fact 16. Also, there was a typographical error in clause 15. After the meeting was closed John would correct the master copy prior to signature.

6.2 As Jean MacLennan of Georgesons would not be in attendance for an hour, it was agreed to continue with the business of the evening.

7 Secretaries' Report

7.1 It was requested that if any member wished to add anything onto the next meeting's agenda, they could contact either Paul (O1847 851 275) or Barbara (01847 851 295).

8 Funding

8.1 Islay reported that that Dr Richard Tipping needed to have matched his research council grant by 16 March meeting. Richard Tipping had been provisionally been told he would receive a research grant of £19,938 over 3 years being half of the budget required. The sum was made up from:

∑ Tutorial fees £ 4,988

∑ Salaries £13,450

∑ Travel and subs. £ 1,500

Total £19,438

This was conditional on this amount being matched by a further £19,938 from the Trusts potential resources (£6,646 each year).

Stirling had pledged a further £8,500 for lab and storage costs bringing the total sum pledged to £28,438.

8.2 Islay also reported on monies pledged by Cardiff University in respect of one years funding for Meliís field walking project and this seasons excavation at Oliclate. Highland Council have also pledge £5,000 for maintenance of Yarrows Trail improvements. These sums amounted to:

∑ Field walking 100% £ 2,720

∑ Meliís research grant £ 2,800

∑ Lab. & storage         £ 4,000

∑ Transport                £   500

∑ Equipment               £ 5,000

∑ Highland Council       £ 5,000

Total                       £20,020

Taken together with the £6,646 p.a. from Stirling the total pledged funding for this year amounted to £26,660.

8.3 Islay outlined the amount of money that The Trust would need to find for the coming year. These amounted to:

∑ Match Stirlingís pledge                                    £ 6,646

∑ Match Meliís grant of £2,800.                           £ 2,800

∑ Fund Andrew Bain to supervise the Oliclate dig  £ 4,000

∑ Consultants fees for first year                           £ 2,500

Total                                                            £15,946

8.4 Islay then ran through other the sources of funding so far identified. The Wind Farm Co. had offered £500 p.a. for thee years. Richard Tipping had indicated to Islay that one of his students was carrying out a project on Yarrows using the G.I.S. system. He was creating a 3D digitalised model of the landscape of Yarrows, which could be used by the Trust. Islay generously offered to help fund Islay the studentsí accommodation by a donation of £500.

8.5 She also reported that CASE has suggested The Trust should apply for funding for the excavation and Richard Tipping as well as for funding the Business Consultant Plan, this could be done by setting certain costs against the provisional sum.

After much discussion it was agreed that Islay should go ahead with the CASE application.

8.6 Islay revealed that another source of funding could be obtained from the Landfill Tax that had been earmarked for ventures such as The Trust. To apply for this The Trust would need to register at a cost of £100.

8.7 Margaret Georgeson raised the question of seeking funds from Historic Scotland, even although they had refused to fund Richard Tipping. It was generally agreed that this avenue ought to be explored.

8.7 Another source of funding was discussed. The possibility from the University of the Highlands and Islands, as a B.Sc. student was receiving funding for tuition fees on a course in Pre-improvement Farming.

9 Archives.

9.1 As part of creating an Archive, it was suggested there were those present who had specialist knowledge of the area. Amongst them, the following were identified:

∑ James Mackay, 2nd W.W. radar at Tannach

∑ Peter Stewart, traditional crofting methods

∑ John Swanson, history of land ownership

∑ Ian Sutherland, the railway

Margaret Georgeson, pathways

9.2 Ian Sutherland offered to give to The Trust two tapes he recorded 25 years ago. This was a record of Alex Oag talking of life in Sarclet over 100 years ago. As this was an important oral account about part of the Trust's area, this offer was gratefully accepted. Ian said he would send them to Paul Humphreys who would make a copy and arrange for transcription. Barbara Hiddleston agreed to keep it as part of the archives.

9.3 It was also suggested that local people such as David Miller, Old Stirkoke could also provide oral history.

9.4 Information on the history of Thrumster House, pre-Innes ownership times would also be found at Sinclair Trust at Nosshead.

10 Meli's Visit

10.1 Meli and her 7 students were due up, for two weeks beginning on Saturday 23rd March for field walking. It was suggested and generally agreed that the members ought to make use of her visit. After much discussion it was agreed that an 'Educational Trip' would be held for those interested and to allow those unfamiliar with the area to become acquainted with it (meet at Marl Loch, Brickigoe Yarrows on Sunday, 24th March at 11 a.m; a packed lunch and wellingtons were advisable).


11.1 After Jean MacLennan's arrival, and the corrections and format changes were made and approved by Jean MacLennan. The signatures of fifteen of the sixteen trustees were added to The Trust Document, and witnessed by Jean MacLennan. Jim Oag, who was unable to attend, would sign it at a later date. After this final signature had been added and the document registered at the Books of Council and Session at Register House, Edinburgh, The Yarrows Heritage Trust would formally be in existence.

11.2 A vote of thanks was given to Jean for her work regarding the Document. She wished the members all the best for the future of the Trust.

11.3 Islay produced the 3rd report on core sampling carried out at Oliclate, Yarrows, by Dr. Richard Tipping of Stirling University. The document reported the results of radio carbon dating of peat samples on taken from Oliclate last September. Six dates had been obtained, ranging from the Mesolithic to the Late Medieval periods. One sample suggested that very rare archaeological evidence of Mesolithic occupancy might be preserved, undisturbed, under one particularly deep peat deposit.

13 Date and venue of next meeting

13.1 General consensus of opinion agreed that the meetings should be held on every first Wednesday of the month at The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster.

13.2 As a result the date of the next meeting is to be held on Wednesday, 3rd April, 2002, at 7.30 p.m. at The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster.