Draft Minutes of Garve & District Community Council Meeting Held 1st April 2014 in Garve Village Hall

Present: Kenny MacLean (Chairman), Jean Hollingdale (Secretary), Jean Bailey (Treasurer), Jennifer Haslam, Sue Tarr (Minute Sec), Bob Moir, Alex Mackenzie; Cllr Ian Cockburn; Sarah Bedwell and Karen Grant ( Parent Council).

The Chairman opened the meeting at 7pm and welcomed everyone.

Apologies: Eliza Leslie Melville, Fiona Milligan, Martin Macphee.

Declarations of Interest: the Chairman will leave the meeting during Treasurer’s Report.

Chairman’s comments: It was noted with sadness that Liz Pritchard, former travelling teacher and community representative, had passed away. The local WRI group was congratulated on their success at the recent Bulb & baking Show at which they won 4 cups and 1 salver; it is hoped that they will also do well at the forthcoming Handicraft Show on April 10th / 11th in Dingwall Academy.
Parent Council update – Mrs Ross had a farewell get together with present and past pupils, parents and friends attending. There will be a temporary teacher in place after Easter until the position is filled. The Parent Council has several events planned: Temple Spa Night on Sat 24th May in Garve Village Hall, entry £5 with beauty treatment demonstrations (to raise funds for Garve School); Raffle of a Hamper to be drawn on 18th April – tickets available to buy; Egg Hunt on Good Friday; a Clairvoyant Night and a Whist Drive are also in the pipeline. Money raised will go towards purchasing play equipment and also activities for the children throughout the year.
The Chairman attended the Stromeferry Bypass Exhibition in Lochcarron. All options are expensive, the cheapest being to keep patching the rockface as at present.
The Church of Scotland Easter Sunday Service will be held in Contin Church.
All G&DCC minutes and agendas are available on our website
www.community-council.org.uk/garveanddistrict as well as at Garve P.O., at Garve and Achnasheen Village notice boards, in the AGNV and on the AGNV website, direct from the Secretary on gdcc@fsmail.net, tel/fax 01997 414201 and at every G&DCC meeting.

Approval of minutes of meeting held 4th March 2014: Proposed by Jennifer Haslam and seconded by Bob Moir.

Matters Arising:
Polling Station Review – no changes for Garve or Achnasheen.
Tarvie Landslip – the road surface has been renewed, white lining to follow.
Drain at Garve BT Exchange – this is still flooding after heavy rain. The drain on the road was cleared recently. Also the drain at the Hall has been flooding very badly, it has been investigated and there is a blockage out of reach but BEAR are coming back to sort it. Ian Cockburn to see if HC can deal with the Exchange drain.
Potholes at Strathgarve Primary School – in hand.
Litter on roadside verges – HC are responsible for clearing litter from verges. If a littering offence is witnessed please phone HC on 01349 886603 noting car registration, date and time; please note the incident has to be reported within 7 days and the witness must be prepared to make a signed statement. The fine for fly tipping has increased to £200 as of 1st April, littering has increased to £80  and the charge for Bulky Items uplift has increased to £16.22.
Re-shaping Care for Older People – the meeting heard about an event Gairloch has planned where various organisations will be present to give help or advice about their services. Tracey Shaw would give assistance and provide funding to organise an event in Garve where members of the community can come and say what they would like for this area to help meet the needs of older people. Agreed to invite Tracey Shaw to next meeting to get the ball rolling.
SSE deer fence at Grudie – there are still bundles of old wire. Kenny MacLean to contact Lisa Marchi.
Crash barrier at Grudie Bridge – still not repaired.
Eneco update –Blade repairs are nearly complete for Turbine 02 so a large crane and associated ballast lorries will be coming up the road fairly soon.
The wind farm opening is planned for the 14th of May. 14 turbines are now in operations and it is estimated the remainder will be within the next month or so. The site remains curtailed to 14MW and testing is currently underway to lift this restriction which should be in near future.
Corriemoillie Substation – the community councillors are invited to visit the new substation on 9th May.

Police Report – none this month.

Treasurers Report – The Chairman handed the meeting to Jean Bailey, and left the room.

Total balance b/f 2551.08

Senior Citizens Fund no change 871.37 871.37

Bench Fund no change 50.00 50.00

War Memorial no change 140.86 140.86

Treasurers Acc. b/f 1488.85
Less Achnasheen Amenities March meeting -20.00
Less Secretary Fee -250.00
Less Minute Secretary Fee -250.00
Less Auditors Fee -100.00 868.85

Carried Forward £1931.08

It was recognised by members that the Chairman puts in a lot of time attending meetings and felt he should be reimbursed. The feeling generally was that any Community Councillor attending meetings on behalf of G&DCC should be encouraged to claim travelling expenses. It was not clear what the best method of claiming expenses was and it was agreed to ask Robbie Bain for advice. At present the running costs of G&DCC are not covered by the Highland Council grant; in future it may be necessary to do some fund-raising, or it may be that the CC looks at cutting back on expenditure e.g. by reducing the number of meetings held in the year.
Jean Bailey handed the meeting back to the Chairman.
Appointment of Auditor – Jean Bailey proposed Ann Macrae continue as auditor; seconded by Alex Mackenzie and agreed by all.

Correspondence: By Email, Rural Cycling Event Poster; Drew Hendry re HC Service Point Review; Rebecca Munro re HC Service Point Review; P.I. Renewables re Carn Gorm Windfarm; HC Policy, Inverness & Black Isle U3A Study Day; John Boocock, open letter to CC’s; HC Policy, Peoples Millions open for business; HC Ranger Guided Walks 2014 pdf; June Ross TECS, information on litter; reply from Tracy Shaw RCOP Community Networker Mid Ross; Jennifer Haslam, community lunch; Highland Third Sector Interface, Ministerial Visit; Highland Third Sector Interface Newsletter; HC Policy, Customer Service Review of Service Points; Lochcarron CC mins; Strathpeffer CC mins; HC New Service Structure and changes to strategic committee names.
By Post, NHS poster.

AOB: Bob Moir reported some good news, that streetlights not working in Stirling Drive were reported on Sun evening and were on again by Mon.
He highlighted the number of road cones left at the SSE road access at Killin and that some were blowing onto the road and causing a hazard to traffic.
There was also a query about the locked gate which has been put in and whether the right of way was inaccessible as a result.
It was noted that there was a good display of daffodils in Garve this year, although there was some disappointment that some had been picked.

Planning: two applications have been determined –
Land off A835, Aultguish – erection of 12m tower with 2 antenna, 2 transmission dishes and equipment cabins enclosed within compound and formation of access track – granted.
Tigh na Srutha Lochluichart, erection of decking – granted.

There are two new applications:
Land at Corriemoillie Quarry, Garve – Formation of access track. No Comments.
Land at Allt Achadh na Sine Achnasheen – Construction of 800kW hydro-electric scheme amendment to design of powerhouse building approved under 11/00770/FUL. No Comments.

Date of next meeting:
Tues 6th May 2014 7pm in Achnasheen Village Hall
Tues 3rd June 2014 7pm, AGM followed by Ordinary meeting in Garve Village Hall
Tues 1st July 2014 7pm in Achnasheen Village Hall
Tues 5th Aug 2014 7pm in Garve Village Hall

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.45pm

Draft Minutes of Garve & District Community Council meeting Held 4th March 2014 in Achnasheen Village Hall

Present: Kenny MacLean (Chairman), Jean Hollingdale (Secretary), Jean Bailey (Treasurer), Eliza Leslie Melville, Jennifer Haslam, Sue Tarr (Minute Sec), Bob Moir, Alex Mackenzie; Darrin Rooney (P.I. Renewables); Cllr Ian Cockburn; 1 member of the public.

The Chairman opened the meeting at 7pm and welcomed everyone.
Apologies: none.
Declarations of Interest: none.

Chairman’s Comments: The Chairman attended the Parent Council AGM. The Office Bearers are as follows: Sarah Bedwell, Chair; Gail Grant, Treasurer; Karen Grant, Secretary. Mrs Ross, the teacher is leaving soon and there will be a temporary teacher until the summer holidays. Jennifer Haslam is going to visit the school with sunflower seeds to get the children started for the Flower and Vegetable Show later in the year.
The Chairman was unable to attend the Skye, Lochalsh & Wester Ross NHS District Partnership meeting in Ullapool.
The G&DCC website has had over 1000 visitors in its first year.
All G&DCC minutes and agendas are available on our website
www.community-council.org.uk/garveanddistrict as well as at Garve P.O., at Garve and Achnasheen Village notice boards, in the AGNV and on the AGNV website, direct from the Secretary on gdcc@fsmail.net, tel/fax 01997 414201 and at every G&DCC meeting.

Approval of the minutes of the meeting held 4th Feb 2014: Proposed by Bob Moir and seconded by Jennifer Haslam.

Matters Arising:
Dingwall Police Station opening hours have changed. It is now open 8am-6pm seven days a week, but closed 12.30 -1.30pm for lunch.
Grudie offlets – some are still to be done.
Crash Barriers at Lochluichart – the one at the Lodge entrance has been repaired, the one at Grudie Bridge still to be done.
Strathgarve road – the surface is in very poor condition. Cllr Cockburn to chase.

Carn Gorm Windfarm update – G&DCC has received a response from HC Environmental Health and from P.I. Renewables following its comment submitted to the planning dept about concerns regarding noise levels affecting Strathgarve Primary School. The Environmental Health Officer is satisfied that the noise levels will be within permitted levels. The Parent Council has been made aware of all the comments.
Darrin Rooney said that the houses closest to the Windfarm had been assessed for noise levels and these are meeting the noise limits. Because noise diminishes with distance this means that any other houses or buildings further away also meet the limits. He referred to the other aspects of noise that Cllr Cockburn had objected to and stated that these were not assessment requirements as set out by the Scottish Government.
Bob Moir queried the turbine model that the noise assessment was based on.
There are two aspects of the planning that require a turbine model to be used: the Landscape and Visual Chapter which is based on a particular candidate turbine, and the Noise Assessment which is based on the turbine model which is deemed to be the noisiest of all turbines (Vesta). Therefore when the final choice is made of turbine model, it will be well within accepted noise limits.
Darrin Rooney addressed other aspects of the application that Cllr Cockburn had objected to regarding visibility from Rogie Falls Bridge and carpark. P.I. Renewables had looked very closely at this in response and there would be no visibility from these places. The turbines will be visible from Tarvie. The viewpoints used in the assessment are laid down by the Highland Council and P.I. Renewables have not tried to underplay issues related to the Windfarm.
Cllr Cockburn was invited to comment but declined.
Sue Tarr asked what the timeline was for the planning process. A planning recommendation is expected late April with a Planning Committee date of around 20th May but this may be delayed. The SNH response is running late because SNH are busy. There have been some mitigation measures requested by statutory consultees, for example the Forestry Officer has requested that some trees which need felling to realign the access road need to be replaced.  A 10 x 150m corridor of trees will be removed near the top of the access road and replanting will be nearby. The Access Officer has requested promotion of access for walkers and access will be opened up and improved. There have been no significant objections from statutory bodies yet.
The Chairman thanked Mr Rooney for attending.

Achnasheen Railway Bridge – the work is nearing completion, it has been a longer job than expected. It is going to be dark green. Residents within Achnasheen have been notified about engineering works which will take place overnight on 22nd March.
Garve Level Crossing – Network Rail have responded that it is not their responsibility to apply for road closures, but Bear’s.
Broadband – G&DCC have received contact details from Cllr Cockburn about community broadband. Sue Tarr to follow up.
Bingo Night – a big thanks to all who came along and to those who donated items. £188 was raised for the Senior Citizens Fund.
AOB brought forward before Cllr Cockburn had to leave the meeting:
Jennifer Haslam said that there was a huge puddle preventing access to the recycling bins at the school. Cllr Cockburn to follow up.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Cockburn for attending.

Police Report: There is now a Community Engagement Form, which lists local priorities: Road safety initiative held across the Division; licensed premises checks being carried out; road patrols of the village in relation to antisocial behaviour.  Members agreed they would also like to continue receiving the area statistics as before.

Treasurers Report:
Total b/f 2373.24

Senior Citizens Fund 662.03
Add receipts Bingo Night 290.10
Less hire of Garve Hall -35.00
Less food -45.76 871.37

Bench Fund – no change 50.00
War Memorial – no change 140.86

Treasurers Account 1520.35
Less hire of Garve Hall Jan & Feb mtgs -31.50 1488.85

Carried forward £2551.08

The insurance has gone up this year to £88.13. This is automatically taken off the HC grant.

By Email, Plunkett Foundation – information; Robbie Bain, Biosphere Meeting; Highland Third Sector Interface Survey; Highland Third Sector Interface Newsletter; Network Rail reply re level crossing; Cllr Carolyn Wilson re proposed service point closures; Cllr Dave Fallows re proposed service point closures; Robbie Bain – SSE withdrawal of Fairburn Windfarm Extension planning application; P.I.Renewables – response to noise levels; Cllr Carolyn Wilson re outcome of service point meeting; Lochcarron CC mins; Strathpeffer CC mins; PC Beverley – CC form for reporting issues; Chris Hamilton re community projects event; Jennifer Haslam re LCT.
By Post, Local Govt Boundary Commission fifth review; Network Rail info; Scottish Water record performance & great value; Local Energy Scotland Grants and Loans.
A member of public has written suggesting that G&DCC could hold an event where people come and talk about ideas for community projects. The Chairman passed the letter to Lochluichart Community Trust for consideration. Some discussion about community projects in relation to money becoming available from the LCT in the near future. Some local groups would be well placed to make applications; other projects may need the assistance of G&DCC or LCT to make progress, or would need to form a new group with a bank account.  It is unsure at present time whether the LCT would be able to lead projects; the LCT guidance notes have still to be approved.
Another member of public is putting forward an idea for a community minibus scheme. Anyone interested in joining a group to take this forward please get in touch with Uisdean Menzies, or the Secretary.

Eliza Leslie Melville said that the official opening of Lochluichart Windfarm would take place on 14th May.
Jennifer Haslam wished to confirm who had donated prizes at the Christmas Dinner for future reference when approaching sponsors for the Flower Show. Sec to email a list (contributions were received from SSE, Infinergy, Eneco and two local individuals).
Faulty streetlights in Garve were reported and have been fixed.
Jean Bailey reported that the litter getting thrown onto roadside verges was getting very bad. Members were unsure whether this was a matter for HC or the police. Sec to contact Cllr Cockburn.
A member of public has reported a large pothole on the road at Mossford to HC.
Kenny MacLean informed the meeting that the Achnasheen – Strathcarron road will be closed overnight on Mon 10th March, and again for 6 nights from the 22nd March for railway work.

AOB (Public):
A member of public asked about the War Memorial money and would it be spent on maintenance.
G&DCC have received no claims for the money, and would encourage maintenance receipts to be presented.

A Screening Report for 700kW Hydro Scheme at Torrain Dubh has been submitted to HC for guidance.

Planning Applications:
The 100kW Hydro Scheme at Strathvaich has been approved.
Two new applications have been submitted:
Tigh Na Strutha, Lochluichart – erection of decking. No comments.
Land 130m east of Rosebank, Achanalt – upgrading of access including junction improvement and erection of replacement bridge. No comments.

Date of next meeting:
Tues 1 April 2014 at 7pm in Garve Village Hall
Tues 6 May 2014 at 7pm in Achnasheen Village Hall
Tues 3 June 2014 at 7pm AGM followed by an ordinary meeting in Garve Village Hall
Tues 1 July 2014 at 7pm in Achnasheen Village Hall

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.40pm.


  1. Introductions and Apologies

  1. Declarations of interest

  1. Chairman’s comments

  1. Approval of the minutes of the last meeting

  1. Matters arising from the minutes

  1. Police report

  1. Treasurer’s report

  1. Correspondences

  1. AOB from CC members

  1. AOB from members of the public

11. Screening reports, scoping reports and consultations
At the time of writing, the CC has not been made aware of any new screening reports, scoping reports or consultations.
12. Building warrants, planning issues and licensing issues
At the time of writing, the CC has not been made aware of any new building warrants, planning issues or licensing issues for this area.

13. Dates of future meetings
Tuesday 1 April 2014, 7.00pm, Garve Village Hall
Tuesday 6 May 2014, 7.00pm, Achnasheen Village Hall
Tuesday 3 June 2014, AGM followed by an ordinary meeting, 7.00pm, Garve Village Hall
Tuesday 1 July 2014, 7.00pm, Achnasheen Village Hall



Wet and windy conditions, varying to mild calm days and back to heavy rain, sleet, hailstones and snow,
with strong gusts of wind from all directions have made fishing uncomfortable to say the least in recent months. Never the less, I’ve had more doubles caught during this spell than I would have thought possible.
At times water in the lochs has been so high I’ve had to sit with my feet underwater, but which made bringing large pike in over stages and masses of weed that much easier, also far better for fish as less stress being
unhooked when kept in the water.
Some good photographs were taken of fifteen to twenty pounders in grassy pools just below the surface ready to swim after being unhooked. Others in my large landing net have come out well, although I still find nets a problem with pikes incisors getting caught up, not to mention the hook, which more often than not has to be cut out of the mesh leaving yet another hole! And the one I bought is supposed to be hook friendly, but the makers interpretation of this must be a lot different than mine. Landing nets are unfortunately a necessity at times, but I prefer not to use them whenever possible. The weather has been so windy at times I’ve been
forced to fish in places that had more potential as shelter from the elements than catching a fish from, and
yet with the main loch water whipped up by the wind, like the sea, these small protected areas produced at
least one pike each time of twelve pounds upwards, sometimes even two and close in the bank. Theses
catches were a real bonus in rough conditions I wouldn’t normally fish.
I have only seen one other fisherman out on a cold day. He started doing a bit of spinning, but quickly
disappeared at the first sign of rain. More hardy were a couple of beginners to pike fishing I took out on cold blustery days, one from Inverness and the other from Nairn, both had good size fish and were surprised at the pikes speed and power when hooked. So well done, Mark and Jason, two enjoyable days out in very bad conditions. A regular companion, who I call my “fair weather friend”, as he always seems to pick a clam windless day to arrive on, did it again on his birthday December 10th beautiful day, hardly a breeze on the loch and water at a high level. Sitting opposite I watched him catch five pike up to 9lbs and loose another four. I also had to listen to him laughing and chaffing as I hadn’t even had a bite! I could only retort that after 30 years of fishing, he could only catch small pike even on his birthday. And when he found he hadn’t hooked properly, were the larger ones now heading for my side? But now he had gone deaf and said “he couldn’t hear me”! Luckily it went quiet, no more catches opposite, no more bite alarms going off, and within 15 minutes I watched my float just bob, then gradually more slowly off, I had a large bait on a 1 1/2lb herring with just a treble hook in the tail, so I let the pike run, partly swallow the fish, then stuck with the hook hopefully embedded in its jaw, not its belly. What a fish, the reel handle spun so fast it bruised my finger, as line tore off, it was a 100 yards before I had some control, it then dived deep into the thick weeds and just wouldn’t budge. All I could do was to walk along the bank letting line out, push my boat into the water, jump in and reel the line in, pulling the boat towards the fish, which again, luckily moved off. I couldn’t do anything but hold the rod as it took the boat in all directions. After 10 minutes it showed no signs of weakening and
with more Scottish banter coming from across the loch “are you playing the fish or is it playing you”? I wedged the rod between my knees, grabbed the oars and rowed for shore, virtually impossible to do, with the pike bending the rod to breaking point going under the boat, then off 50 yards again.
More time went by but I did eventually on the fourth attempt get near the bank and jumped out, forgetting
how deep the sides were, so filled my wellies and got really soaked before guiding the fish into a pool on
the bank. Thankfully the digital camera worked for a change and didn’t say “low battery”. I then easily got
the single barb of the treble from its jaw and weighed it not very successfully as I couldn’t see it properly as
now getting dark. It was either 9 ½ or 10 ½ kilos but either way it was over 20 pounds. I stayed in the water with it until it recovered, hold its tail and splashing water into its gills, then it surged forward and it was gone into some deeper water. Had my mate been nearer I could have had a photo kneeling down holding it correctly, but that’s always the way. Finally, fishing over the Christmas period 24, 25, 26, one pike was caught on the 24th Christmas Day but seven caught on Boxing day, one 9 pounder and six 10lbs to 16lbs, from wet and windy conditions to calm and ideal conditions. I saw red kites and even an eagle which my friend took a photo of.
Also an otter on the far bank, and the two crazy crows that chased off the eagle. All a lot better than staying at home doing nothing but watch TV!

More next time

David Willis

Wildlife and Nature Notes

As I write this on Friday 13th singing away and it is so mild that it might be a spring morning – except for the fact that it is still dark. Perhaps we will have a milder winter this year, despite the dire weather warnings that appear in the press. If so, it will be interesting to see if it restores the balance to nature which seemed to be out by about a month after a particularly long winter in 2013.
There is a pair of buzzards around the village who are displaying to each other and it is nice to see their aerial acrobatics. It must be lovely to be able to fly. One of the buzzards is often seen in the field hunting around
the mole hills- not for the moles – but for the worms that are presumably fleeing from the mole! It wouldn’t seem that buzzards should eat worms but they apparently love them, as badgers do.
 Also getting closer are the red kites, who are seen fairly regularly now around Lochluichart and are sometimes seen further west too. A pair was seen the other day, so perhaps they will be breeding here before too long. I also had a nice view of a golden eagle whilst I was driving up Glen Docharty recently - and it was gliding down, very low. Somehow it always gives a thrill to see the enormous feathered wings.
Down at the river, the dipper has been fairly elusive, although it has been seen a couple of times. They
breed very early in the year and apparently can build their nest to the size of a football – which would be
worth seeing. One day we saw and heard a greenshank, unfortunately the camera was deep inside the pocket at the time. On another day I saw about 15-20 black grouse all together. It had been wet the day before, but on that day it was dry with a bit of sunshine. The grouse were all sitting on stones and tufts of grass, dotted about a knoll, and I think it was to keep them up off the wet ground.
When the weather did get colder one day with ground frost, there were some beautiful patterns on the
vegetation – some of which can be viewed on our Flickr page.
On coming to a close, now near the end of December, we have certainly had some extreme weather with
ferocious winds and lashing rain. I don’t know how the beasts outside survive in this weather, but remarkably, the wee robin is still singing outside my house every morning and it brightens up my day.

Helen and John

More photos on http;//www.flickr.com/photos/j-h_wildlife