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Minutes Nov 2014

Minutes of Meeting of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

Held in John O’Groats Village Hall

On Wednesday 26th November 2014

Those Present:          John Green, Chairman

                                  Christopher Hobson, Treasurer

                                  Bill Mowat

                                  Ann Shearer

                                  Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                  Willie MacKay, Highland Councillor

                                  Eilidh Gunn, Foundation Scotland

                                  Acting Sergeant Deborah Simpson,

There were 3 members of the public in attendance

Apologies:   Apologies were received from Eric Green

1.         Vandalism at Brough Village.

1.1       John Green began the meeting by welcoming the members of the public, who were there to represent the residents of Brough Village and invited them to speak before the business of the meeting began.

1.2.      Between them the villagers spoke of vandalism on property and chattels being carried out within the village and at Brough Bay where machinery and other items had been seriously damaged. They also told about abusive behaviour residents were experiencing, and stalking being carried out on some members of the community. The vandalism and abusive behaviour began around 2001, but this year the situation had worsened. - there had recorded 56 incidents so far.  The residents found that this bullying was causing much concern, they were being intimidated and becoming very afraid.

1.3.      Contact had been made with Thurso Police who had been understanding, but it would appear were not able to help in this matter as incidents are still continuing to happen.  The representatives said they understood there was not sufficient evidence to prove these actions.

1.4.      They had come to the Community Council meeting to explain their plight and to ask for any help.

1.5.      Acting Sergeant Simpson responded to their plea. She reported that this matter had been brought to the notice of the Chief Inspector of Caithness to whom she would be reporting her findings of this meeting.  He had in turn reported this matter to the Area Commander and there will be a final report.

1.6.      She reassured them that if there are any incidents reported the Police are bound by law to act. She explained that regarding evidence, by Scots Law through the principle of corroboration, there needs to be two witnesses.

1.7.      Whilst the residents didn’t have, as yet, corroboration on witnesses on acts of vandalism, it would appear they did have corroboration on objectionable behaviour which if reported, it would give a case that could be taken up by the Procurator Fiscal, and the person would be charged.

1.8.      Acting Sergeant Simpson appreciated that a diary had been kept, but emphasised reported incidents had to be corroborated, even by simple initialling to confirm the incident had taken place. A pattern of behaviour would emerge that could be used when corroborated evidence on other actions was gathered together.

1.9       On asked if she would be willing to attend a Brough Bay Association meeting to give them advice, Acting Sergeant Simpson, agreed saying if she wasn’t on duty, another police representative would attend.  She also suggested that she would get in touch with the ASBO officer who could also assist in advice on the anti-social behaviour issue.  The representatives thanked Acting Sergeant Simpson, and agreed to liaise with her.

1.10     Prior to responding to the Brough Residents, Acting Sergeant Simpson gave a detailed Police Report on the area.

2.         Minutes of the Previous Meeting

2.1.      John proposed the Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 12th October 2014 were accepted, which was seconded by Chris Hobson.

3.         Matters Arising.

3.1.      Proposed tidying up outside the Canisbay Doctor’s Surgery area.  Councillor MacKay reported he had a quote from the Highland Council for £12,360 including VAT.  John Green agreed to find out if we could qualify for funding from the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund. It was also re-iterated that the Surgery should be asked for a donation towards the cost.                                            Action John

3.2.1    Caravan Site Entrance at Dunnet Bay. Councillor MacKay read out a reply from Hugh Logan, Senior Engineer, Policy Standards and Safety Team whose team had been out to investigate and that he had searched the records.

3.2.2.   There had been no record of any accidents reported within the past five years, and over the years there had been some improvement of sightlines which he felt they fell below the required standards.  Any further improvement lay in the hands of the Caravan Park owners who owned the entrance.  A sign on the main road could warn the drivers of the location of the entrance, but not those driving out of the exit.

3.3.      Canisbay Church Gate. Barbara Hiddleston had passed on the relevant information to Rev. Lyle Rennie, responsible for Canisbay Kirk. She understood Historic Scotland’s approval would be part of the Planning Permission process.

3.4.      Dunnet Children’s Playpark. John Green reported that as Patrine had received a quote for further work to be carried out on the Playpark, its Committee will recommence in January to enable application for funding.

4.         Chairman’s Report

4.1.      Railway Timetable. The Chairman reported on the new timetable on the Far North Line from 14th December onwards. It had the intention to improve the reliability of journey times, although this was not of the opinion of the Caithness Transport Forum.  The changes to the timetable is attached

4.2.      Highland Council Master Plan. Query regarding inclusion of tidal stream projects. This was in hand.                                                         Action Willie

5.         Treasurer’s Report

5.1.      Chris Hobson reported the balance stood at. £3,264.42.

5.2.      He reported that there was a need to tackle the drainage problems associated with The West Dunnet Links path. He had visited the area with a Contractor who had given a quote of £166.50 to carry out improvements which he proposed to be accepted.  This was seconded by Ann Shearer. Action Chris.

6.         Planning.

6.1.      Natural Retreats:   Change of location of the turning circle and carpark at John O’Groats. John Green reported that he had been spoken with Adam Gough , he informed him there would be a meeting with stakeholders(similar to previous) no date at present so they could give their views.

 6.2.     Planning Lists. These were noted.

7.         Stroupster Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

7.1       CARES Application.  John Green announced that we had been successful in our application for funding from CARES. £6,000 plus VAT was the Consultancy’s Cost;

£1,500 to Services provided by Foundation Scotland and £1,300 Resources Budget for such things as postage, hiring halls etc. The next step was to get Tenders from the Consultants who had been selected which would be known by 15th December.

7.2.      Ann Shearer proposed that Eric Green be our representative on the selection panel, which was seconded by Chris Hobson. Eilidh Gunn agreed to liaise. Action Eilidh

7.3.      It was intended that a public meeting be held sometime in January regarding the Fund.  John and Barbara agreed to liaise regarding the final list of relevant groups, which Eilidh agreed to contact.                       Action Barbara & John & Eilidh.

7.4.      The relevant financial forms were handed out to be completed. Action Chris & John

7.5.      Memo of Understanding. Barbara Hiddleston proposed that we accept in principle the proposed Memo of Understanding between Foundation Scotland and Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council.  This was unanimously agreed by all.  John Green requested an email copy from Eilidh Gunn, which she agreed to pass on.                                                                                                                        Action Eilidh          

7.6.      Eilidh Gunn passed round an email from Sinclair Bay Community Council with an application for funding.  As there was no funding as yet, and not likely to be until after the production of electricity from Stroupster Wind farm in late 2015  Barbara Hiddleston agreed to write to their Secretary with an explanation, but would assure them they will be added to the above list.                               Action Barbara

8.         Berriedale Braes.

8.1.      Slippage. Councillor MacKay had spoken to the Factor of Langwell Estates who was aware of this matter, but reassured him there was no danger.

8.2.      Improvements. John Green told those present that proposed improvement plans on the Braes were in place and were reported in the local press.

9.         Wick High School.  Councillor MacKay was able to announce that preparations had begun regarding the building of the new Wick High School, but as yet no contract had been signed.

10.       Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2014.  As Barbara Hiddleston had great difficulty in finding a contact to send our letter of concern to, John Green agreed to investigate the matter.                                                                                 Action John 

11.       A.O.B.

11.1.    Caithness District  Partnership.  Chris had attended this drop in meeting, and noted that the smaller villages were not represented.  Nor was there much reference made to the Heritage of the County.  He agreed to complete the relevant survey on our behalf.                                                                                      Action Chris

11.2     Damage to the Road at Upper Gills.  Ann Shearer reported damage to the roads created by work carried out on the BT improvements.  She agreed to take relevant photos and sent them to Stuart Bell, with a report.                         Action Ann

11.3.    John O’Groats Mill,  Huna.   Bill Mowat raised the issue of progress on this project, which had been taken up by North Highland Initiative.  Barbara Hiddleston agreed to make some enquires.                                                              Action Barbara

12.       Date of Next Meeting.

            The next meeting will be held on the Wednesday 14th January 2014, in St. Clare Village Hall, Aukengill at 7.30 p.m.




1. Improved Timetable

2. List of Groups

ScotRail Time Table Improvements for the Far North Line

Monday to Saturday

From 15th December 2014

Journeys will on average take 5 minutes longer, except the 08.02 Wick to Inverness.

06.18 Wick - Inverness (Previously 06.20).

It will no longer call at Scotscalder, Altnabreac, Kildonan, Invershin and Culrain.

08.02 Wick – Inverness (Previously 08.12)

Calls at all Stations (Dunrobin Castle is Summer Only)

This has an increased journey time of 21 Minutes

16.00 Wick - Inverness

 No longer calls at Fearn, Alness, Conon Bridge and Beauly

11.00 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh (Previously 10.58)

No longer calls at Conon Bridge

17.54 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh

This is no longer combined with a service to Wick (It used to divide at Dingwall)

18.28   Inverness – Wick

This  is no longer  combined with a service to Kyle of Lochalsh.

 In addition, as a direct result of a freight train that operations in the Lairg area,

this service may run approximately 15 minutes later on certain days between Ardgay

and Wick.

13.46  Kyle of Lochalsh – Inverness (Previously 14.37)

This departs Kyle of Lochalsh 51 Minutes  earlier


13.15 Inverness – Invergordon (Previously 13.02) and

 14.11 Invergordon – Inverness (Previously 14.12 from Tain)

This will no longer start at Tain.


Draft List of Societies, Clubs, Associations and Committees: Those in italics have recently been added

Britannia Hall, Dunnet

Mey Village Hall,

Canisbay Village Hall, Canisbay;

John O’Groats Village Hall.

Mey Gardening Club

Pentland Rifle Club

John O’Groats Football Club

Dunnet Forest Trust


St. John’s Loch Association

Dunnet Christmas Lights

John O’Groats Christmas Lights

P.T.A. Canisbay School

Mothers & Toddlers Group, Canisbay

Children’s Play Group Crossroads School

Children’s Play Park Committee, Dunnet

Dwarwick Pier Association

Brough Bay Pier Association

Freswick Hall Committee

Auckengill Hall Committee

Pentland Football Club

Wednesday’s over 50’s Club

Canisbay Youth Club

John o’ Groat Junior Football Club

Any local School Clubs to get the 14-18 age Group feedback

Crofter’s Commission Grazing Bodies

Gills Harbour Ltd.,

John O’Groats Business Promotion Group.

Freswick Village Hall

St .Clare Village Hall, Auckengill

Sinclair Bay Community Council



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