Scottish Charity No. SC004427



held at Millburn Academy, Inverness, on Wednesday 22nd February 2017



CHAIRPERSON Alan Thompson took the chair at 19:30 and welcomed all those present.


1.      APOLOGIES were received from John Adamson, Eddie Lynch, Bill Peppé and Ann and Peter Reynolds.


2.      THE MINUTES of the AGM held on Wednesday 17th February 2016 had been distributed to members prior to the meeting. The acceptance of the Minutes was proposed by Stephen Young and seconded by Andy Leggatt; these were duly signed as correct. There were no matters arising.



          In a further effort to streamline the information submitted to OSCR, the reports from the Chair and the Treasurer have been brought together in a single document. The new Annual Report was distributed to members ahead of the meeting and the Chairperson reminded those present of the society’s charitable purposes as given in the report. The accompanying summary of fieldtrips and lectures demonstrates how the society met its responsibilities in 2016. The Chair emphasised that the success of the society relies on the hard work of the members, especially the committee, and, in particular the Secretary who was thanked for her efforts on the society’s behalf.


          The Chairperson then moved to the financial part of the report, pointing out that the society remained in good financial health. The report is presented as Income versus Expenditure, with most of the income coming from membership subscriptions and associated Gift Aid payments. It was noted that the income given doesn’t necessarily exactly reflect the number of members as cash payments may be received in different financial years to that being reported. It was apparent that, unsurprisingly, the biggest expenditure was expenses for leaders (and speakers); efforts are made to try and ensure a balance between local and out-of-area lecturers but this will vary from year to year. The cost of insurance is a significant, but necessary, expense.


          Given the society’s secure financial position, no change in membership fees was proposed.


The Annual Report had been reviewed and signed off by the committee; no objections were received from members and the Chair will submit this document to OSCR in due course.





          The Chair stated that two resignations from the committee had been received (John Adamson; Rhona Fraser) and that he intended to step down as Chair after three years in office.  He also thanked Rhona for her work as Treasurer for the last two years.


Alan Thompson proposed that Stephen Young be elected as Chair in his stead and this was seconded by Anne Cockroft. Stephen asked the group to note that he probably knew less about geology than more or less everyone else in the room but, given the nature of the role, this was not felt to be an issue and Stephen duly accepted the position. It was agreed that Alan Thompson would continue to chair the meeting.


David Jarman proposed that Alison Wright continue as Hon. Secretary and this was seconded by Stephen Young.


Andy Leggatt proposed that Alan Thompson be elected as Hon. Treasurer and this was seconded by Jonie Guest.


Peter Christie proposed that Andy Leggatt be re-elected as Website Manager and this was seconded by Rhona Fraser.


It was proposed by Alan Thompson that the remainder of the extant committee be elected en bloc and this was seconded by    Alison Wright; Anne Cockroft, Eddie Lynch and Ann Reynolds thus continue to serve as committee members.


Two additional members were elected to the committee: David Jarman (proposed by Alan Thompson; seconded by Rhona Fraser) and Dave Longstaff (proposed by Alison Wright; seconded by Andy Leggatt) meaning that the committee remains at nine.


5.      AOCB


(i)           The Committee had recently drawn up a guideline summarising the charges made to members and guests at lectures and field trips.  This reflected current practice and there was no strong pressure for any change.  However, the Committee had decided that visiting guests will now pay £5 at lectures to further differentiate the charge between members and non-members.


(ii)          Anne Cockroft noted that the Book Auction had gone very well with the majority of books having found a new home.  Those books remaining were available for members to peruse after the meeting and a small donation welcomed if anyone wished to take a book with them.


          (iii)         The Secretary drew the members’ attention to Professor Iain Stewart’s forthcoming talk in April, noting that the meeting would take place in the Main Assembly Hall at Millburn Academy. As this will be an open event, numbers need to be monitored to ensure that adequate insurance is in place and that the capacity of the hall is not exceeded. Members were asked to book a place by email, thus ensuring that they had a virtual ticket number. Details of the event will be circulated to other interested groups and societies so a good attendance is anticipated.


          (iv)         Peter Christie asked that John Adamson be thanked for dedicating so much of his time to supporting the society, not least as a long serving committee member. Alan Thompson agreed to pass this message on to John.


          (v)          Stephen Young requested that thanks also go to Alan Thompson for his guidance, skill and diplomacy during his chairmanship of the society.


          (vi)         Jonie Guest stated that Scotland’s Rock Art project (ScRAP) was now underway.  This is a 5-year project, led by Dr Tertia Barnett from Historic Environment Scotland, in partnership with Edinburgh University, Glasgow School of Art Digital Design Studio, Archaeology Scotland, Kilmartin Museum, and the North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS). The project aims to record Scottish rock art in a consistent and useful way and NOSAS will undertake the pilot field work before the project is rolled out across Scotland. Jonie noted that there are 150 known sites in Ross-shire and that most of the carvings are in mica schist. Whilst delivery of the project is still some months away, she hoped that there would be some involvement with the HGS; Alan Thompson as NOSAS liaison committee member for the project will also work with the HGS committee where appropriate.


          (vii)        Dave Longstaff suggested that the society reintroduce a members’ night to the programme, and this was widely supported. The Secretary said that in previous years a lack of expert knowledge had made this difficult but agreed that an event could be added to the programme; a ‘Fieldtrip review’ after the 2018 AGM is planned and this could be broadened in scope.


          (viii)       Andy Moffat informed the group that he had recently attended the NW Highlands Geopark AGM. The meeting was well-supported and the local MSP was also in attendance. The Geopark team have achieved a great deal with very limited funding and need community backing to secure money for future projects. Andy suggested that the society should look to become a ‘friend’ of the Geopark and the committee agreed to investigate this further.


          (ix) Peter Christie stated that the Lochaber Geopark also needed support, especially as lack of funding meant that they had lost their UNESCO status, so the society needs to be more proactive in offering support.  The Secretary said that information received from the Geoparks is passed on to members via the newsletter wherever possible.


There being no other business, the meeting was closed at 8.05 pm.


          The floor was then given to Alison Wright for what proved to be an excellent short talk about research undertaken as an undergraduate at the University of Aberdeen in support of the hunt for life on Mars.



Present:          Alan Thompson (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary)

                        Anne Cockroft; Andy Leggatt; Stephen Young (Committee Members)

Apologies:      John Adamson; Rhona Fraser; Eddie Lynch; Ann Reynolds


0.         Notes from the last meeting

These were accepted as an accurate account of the meeting.

1.         Annual Report and Accounts

AT circulated the Annual Report and Accounts prior to the meeting.  The report now incorporates all the necessary information for OSCR in a single document and the accounts have been signed off by the external examiner. The committee approved the report and AT will submit the documentation following the AGM.  

                                                                                                            Action: AT

2.         Preparing for the AGM

All members will be sent the Agenda and Annual Report prior to the meeting, either by email or post as appropriate.

Two committee members have asked to stand down at the AGM (RF and JA) and AT will also relinquish the role of Chair.  SY has agreed to stand as Chair and AT as Treasurer, with AW remaining as Secretary. Dave Longstaff and David Jarman have been proposed as additional committee members and, subject to other nominations from the floor, it is anticipated that these changes will be confirmed at the AGM.

AT noted that details of Iain Stewart’s talk, the recent Book Auction, and the change to the Guidelines for Charges at society events would be discussed under AOCB at the AGM. The change to the Guideline information will be notified to members at the AGM; there will be no need to vote on this at the meeting.

Action: AT; AW; AL; AC

3.         Programme of Events

The current newsletter contains information for summer field trips and forthcoming winter talks. The date of the 2018 AGM will be 14 February with the business part of the evening being followed by a review of the field trip season. This would encourage participants to take photographs on the excursions and to share their observations. AW asked about payments for field trips and AT said that electronic transfer of funds was preferable to members sending cheques by post.

AW informed the committee that plans for the ‘special event’ due to take place on 12 April were firming up. SY will investigate the cost of additional insurance (if required); AW will keep a list of participants and issue virtual ticket numbers. AC had prepared an outline flyer that could be used to promote the event; it is planned to distribute flyers at the RSGS meeting in Inverness on 13 March and AW agreed to get permission from the organisers for this.  A number of other societies were suggested who might be prepared to distribute details to their own members and AW agreed to liaise with these organisations.

                                                                                                            Action: AC; AW; SY

4.         Charging for lectures and field trips

AT circulated proposed changes to the way that the society charges for lectures and field trips. It was agreed that non-members should be charged £5 to attend lectures, thus making a bigger financial differentiation with members who will continue to pay £2. Following attendance at 3 lectures, a non-member would be encouraged to join the society rather than continue to participate on an ad-hoc basis. The changes were approved unanimously and AT will inform members at the AGM (see above note).

                                                                                                            Action: AT; SY

5.         AOCB

Book Auction – AC noted that this had been a useful exercise and that ~40 books had now found new homes, raising additional funds for the society in the process. Those books that remain will be offered to members at the AGM.

                                                                                                            Action: AC

50 Best Places – The committee agreed that running an event in support of the ’50 Best Places’ geoheritage festival (to be held in Oct 2017) was not be feasible but that we should continue to contribute to the discussion via the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and to conduct site visits within our geographical area if asked.



Minutes of Committee Meeting held on 20 October 2016 at 12 Island House, Inverness.

Present:  Alan Thompson (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary); Rhona Fraser (Treasurer); Anne Cockroft; Andy Leggatt; Ann Reynolds

1. Apologies

John Adamson; Eddie Lynch; Stephen Young

2. Previous Minutes and Actions Arising

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.  All actions arising had been dealt with except as carried forward onto this agenda.

Alison had been delayed by traffic and the agenda items were taken out of sequence.

5. Final Risk Assessment forms/procedure

Revised forms had been circulated.  It was suggested that the procedure should ask for printed names rather than signatures on the lecture attendance list, and that a few more lines could be added to the field trip attendance list.  Subject to these minor changes, the procedure and forms were approved.

Action ART

4. ‘Sale’ of surplus books

Anne outlined alternative two methods of allocating the books to those expressing an interest in them, and these were discussed.  Note that this is not a sale or auction of the books for money.  The intention is to distribute the books fairly to members, who may choose to make a donation if they wish.  It was agreed that:

A list of the books along with the ‘rules’ for expressing interest in them would be included in the next Newsletter.  For these purposes, couples express interest as separate individuals.

Once the deadline has passed and all expressions of interest have been received by AMC, she will follow her procedure to determine who gets what.

Any remaining books will be taken to a lecture meeting for members to take if they want.

Any finally remaining books will be given to a charity shop.

Action AMC

Alison then joined the meeting.

3. Future programme of events

A possible longer trip in 2017 was discussed.  The committee decided on Islay for 2017, and suggested Shetland for 2018.


For the Islay trip a provisional week 6-13 May 2017 was suggested.  The new guide book means that a self-led week is realistic, but it would be good to involve one of its authors, perhaps David Webster who is thought to live on or at least be a frequent visitor to the island.  Accommodation was also discussed, options being shared house(s), youth hostel, or camping/camper van.  The main campsite is at Port Charlotte so ideally any other accommodation should be nearby to help keep the group together.

We need to find out how many people would be interested, and a note will be put into the next Newsletter.  It will also be mentioned at the next lecture meeting on 9 November.

Ideally we need a volunteer to organise the trip as it is unlikely that Alison will be able to attend.

Action AJW/All

A ‘High Profile’ Event

Alison has continued to progress this, based on a lecture on Wednesday 12 April.  The scale of event, costs, risks to the Society, and possible locations were discussed.

It will need to be publicised (perhaps via other societies’ mailing lists), numbers will need to be managed (booking?) and a suitable size venue will be needed.  Smithton church hall was suggested as being big enough (for 300?) and having good audio-visual equipment.  There are also the speaker’s costs (hotel and flights) to consider.  We would need to charge say £5 to non-members.  After a good discussion it was concluded that we would if possible like to go ahead with such an event, and Alison was asked to investigate and if possible begin to firm up some of the details, and keep us informed.

Action AJW

Summer Programme 2017

Various ideas and possibilities were discussed and noted by Alison, who will begin to follow these up.

Action AJW

Winter Programme 2017/18

Although it seems a long way off, nothing is planned as yet, and Alison asked for some suggestions.

Action All

Agenda Items 6 and 7

There was insufficient time to discuss these items, which are carried forward to the next meeting.  The next meeting will be convened when there is sufficient progress on some of the matters actioned above.

Thanks to Rhona for the use of her flat for the meeting.







Scottish Charity No. SC004427

MINUTES of the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING held at Millburn Academy, Inverness, on Wednesday 17th February 2016

CHAIRPERSON Alan Thompson took the chair at 19:35 and welcomed all those present.

1. APOLOGIES were received from Karen Deans, Pam Draper, David Jarman, Eddie Lynch, and Janet Trythall.

2. THE MINUTES of the AGM held on Wednesday 25th February 2016 had been distributed to members prior to the meeting. The acceptance of the Minutes was proposed by Peter Christie and seconded by Peter Reynolds; these were duly signed as correct. There were no matters arising.

3. TRUSTEES REPORT 2015 Each year the Society submits a Trustees report to OSCR. This contains basic information about the Society, the Trustees, and a very brief summary of the year's activities. In addition the Chair produces an annual report which provides more detail on our activities. This had been circulated in advance and the Chair summarised its main points. He noted in particular the number of members who had enthusiastically contributed talks or led field trips in the previous year. He also mentioned the field trip to the Garvellachs and the excellent help given at short notice by Tony Spencer. Finally, the sad death of society stalwart Peter Webster was also noted and his widow was thanked for the very generous donation that was subsequently made to the society. There were no matters arising.

4. TREASURER’S REPORT The Chairperson went on to present the accounts for the previous year. A good surplus for the year was recorded, partly due to lower speaker/leader costs, and also due to the donation received as mentioned above. There was thus no pressure to change membership fees. It was also noted that the accounts did not yet show the monies received as Gift Aid and that this would appear in the accounts for 2016. Again, there were no matters arising.

5. ELECTION OF OFFICE BEARERS Stephen Young proposed that Alan Thompson be re-elected as Chair for a second term (the Chairperson is elected every two years) and this was seconded by Ann Reynolds. Peter Christie proposed that the rest of the committee be elected en bloc and this was seconded by Peter Reynolds. Alison Wright will thus continue as Hon. Secretary, Rhona Fraser as Hon. Treasurer and Andy Leggatt as website manager, with John Adamson, Anne Cockroft, Eddie Lynch, Ann Reynolds, and Stephen Young continuing to serve as committee members.


(i) Dave Longstaff suggested that our secure financial position should encourage us to recruit a stellar speaker for an event at a larger venue (e.g. the new UHI campus in Inverness) and several names were put forward. The Secretary agreed to investigate this further.

(ii) The Secretary noted that Facebook had been suggested as a means of improving communication with members (and a wider audience) but that a volunteer would be needed to take this forward should we move into the realm of social media. There being no other business, the meeting was closed at 7.50 pm. The formal meeting was followed by a presentation to Peter Christie of a sandstone clock to thank him for his long-term commitment to the society. Peter spent 16 years as Chairperson, providing leadership and direction to the society, before actively recruiting his replacement so that he could resign with a clear conscience. Peter was delighted with the clock and reminded members that he had spent so long as Chair because he wanted to and that he very much enjoyed getting out in the field with the society. The floor was then given to Andy Moffatt for a most interesting talk about his discovery of a deposit of gem-quality zircon at Badcall and its subsequent removal by unscrupulous mineral collectors.



Present:          Alan Thompson (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary); Rhona Fraser (Treasurer)

                        Anne Cockroft; Andy Leggatt; Ann Reynolds; Stephen Young (Committee Members)

Apologies:      John Adamson; Eddie Lynch

1.         Notes from the last meeting

These were accepted as an accurate account of the meeting.

2.         2015 Accounts

The accounts, prepared by RF, were accepted by the committee as an accurate reflection of the society’s finances. It was noted that the £20 affiliation fee had not been paid to the Friends of Hugh Miller and thus 2015 and 2016 will be paid together. It was agreed that the Chair could sign off the accounts on behalf of the committee. It was also noted that the Independent Examiner had signed the accounts without comment, which reflects the effort put in by the Treasurer and Chair to ensure the accuracy of the information presented.

3.         Trustees Report

The Trustees Report outlines the work of the society and is one of the documents submitted to OSCR at the end of the financial year. More detail is given to members in the Chair’s Report (presented at the AGM) but AT wanted to ensure that the two reports are consistent with one another.

                                                                                                            Action: AT

4.         Trustees and Officers for the next year

AT reminded the group that all officers and committee members were due for election at the AGM.  The position of Chair is a two year post; all other positions must be renewed annually. All office bearers and committee members have confirmed that they are willing to stand for re-election at the AGM.

                                                                                                            Action: AT

5.         Conduct of the AGM

The agenda for the AGM and supporting information has been circulated to members; AT undertook to conduct the meeting as efficiently as possible.

                                                                                                            Action: AT

6.         Other current actions

Insurance        SY previously circulated information about insurance available through affiliation with the Geologists Association, which received a positive response from the committee. SY has submitted the necessary paperwork and is awaiting a response from Zurich Insurance. If the insurers are unwilling to accept our application, SY will proceed with our current insurers (Event Insurance) to ensure that we have suitable cover in place before the start of our field season in April.

                                                                                                            Action: SY

Membership Renewals   AT will put out a gentle reminder at the AGM that subscriptions were due last month. RT will liaise with AL to identify those members who paid in 2015 but have not yet paid this year so that follow-up action can be taken.

                                                                                                            Action: AT; RF; AL

Whisky Gifts   The society has traditionally given both speakers and excursion leaders a bottle of whisky in thanks for their efforts. In the light of new advice re alcohol consumption it was decided that a choice of whisky, wine or a book token should be offered and the appropriate gift given. 

                                                                                                            Action: AW; AT

Presentation  In recognition of Peter Christie’s tenure as HGS Chair for 16 years, JA purchased a sandstone clock on behalf of the committee for presentation at the AGM. AT confirmed that he would close the AGM and then make the presentation to Peter.

                                                                                                            Action: AT

7.         AOCB

Public access to Inverness library    SY noted that he had been refused access to the HGS collection on a visit to the central library on the grounds that the stacks were not accessible to the public. AR stated that this was contrary to the guidance notes issued to library staff and that, should this happen again, a request should be made to speak to a more senior member of staff.




Present:          Alan Thompson (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary); Rhona Fraser (Treasurer) (latter part of meeting only)

                        Anne Cockroft; Eddie Lynch; Ann Reynolds; Stephen Young (Committee Members)

Apologies:      John Adamson; Andy Leggatt


1.         Notes from the last meeting

These were accepted as a true and fair record of the meeting; actions arising from the meeting have been completed.

A brief meeting was held at Killunaig Church House, Mull, on 29 April to confirm the changes in bank signatories following changes in office bearers. This process has now been resolved satisfactorily.

2.         Programme

AW confirmed that the programme for winter talks was in place, with two events taking place on 17 February. As some members are likely to remain in Inverness, AW agreed to look for a suitable dinner venue in town.

A number of possible leaders and / or localities were suggested by committee members. It was agreed in principle to continue with at least one self-led trip; duration of excursions was also discussed as longer trips do not suit all members but, wherever possible, options are given for people to (e.g.) attend either day of a weekend trip. It was also noted that our recent geographic spread had not been as diverse as some years and AW said that she would try and achieve a better balance but that trips were very much influenced by the availability of leaders.

3.         Communications

AT noted that we use the website and newsletter as our primary means of contact with society members, an arrangement that appears to be working well. The possibility of running an open Facebook page was discussed and AW will add a note to the next newsletter asking for comments / advice. Members should be encouraged to submit short reports and accompanying pictures to help keep the information fresh.

4.         Health and Safety arrangements

It was agreed that AT and SY would review our present health & safety arrangements for field trips and redraft forms for further discussion if necessary.

5.         Peter Webster donation

AT informed the group that he and Peter Reynolds had met with Margaret Webster to thank her for the generous donation of books and money following Peter’s death. Some of the money will be used to fund a subscription to ‘Down to Earth’ and members will be able to pick up at meetings.

Peter’s books will be subsumed into the society’s collection at Inverness Central Library. EL was thanked for his generous contribution of ‘The Geology of Norway’ which will also be added to the collection.

6.         AOCB

The date of the next meeting is provisionally Thursday 11th February to allow the office bearers to prepare for the AGM; the date is dependent on the accounts being returned by the auditor and will be confirmed nearer the time.

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