Scottish Charity No. SC004427



Present:            Stephen Young (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary); Alan Thompson (Treasurer)

Anne Cockroft; Andy Leggatt; Dave Longstaff; Ann Reynolds (Committee Members)

1.          Apologies:        David Jarman

2.          Notes from the last meeting and matters arising

These were accepted as an accurate account of the meeting and there were two matters arising:

Item 7:  DL reported that a subscription to ‘Geology Today’ costs £68 per person so this will not be taken further.

Item 8: AL has now bagged and re-labelled the rock specimens donated by Tony Harris.  They are nice samples from of a range of UK lithologies but too specialist for a general museum handling box. AW was asked to contact Pete Harrison at the NW Highlands Geopark to see if he could make use of them or if he suggest someone else who might like them. Action: AW

3.          Approval of annual report and accounts

These were approved by the Committee and duly signed by SY in preparation for the forthcoming AGM and for submission to OSCR. Action: SY; AT

4.          Committee membership

SY was elected Chair at last year’s AGM for a two-year period so will not require re-election in 2018.  The membership must approve the appointment of all other office-bearers and committee members at the AGM. AW stated that she is willing to remain as Secretary for the coming year but, having filled the role since 2010, would like to be replaced in 2019. The death of Eddie Lynch has depleted the committee and it is thus hoped to elect at least one other member.  AC said that she is happy to continue but would be willing to step down if other members of the group wish to join the committee.  SY agreed to ask for nominations prior to the AGM and to sound out a prospective member for possible nomination. Action: SY

5.          Conduct of the AGM

Information about the AGM will be circulated with the appropriate papers before the meeting.  SY agreed to draft a covering note and AW will email the details to the membership and post the papers to those members not using email for correspondence. Action: SY; AW

6.          Programme of events

AW updated the committee on progress re the summer programme.

Plans for the week-long excursion to Arran are continuing. At present AW is maintaining the list of participants but it was agreed that this would be passed to AR to manage. Action: AW; AR

It was agreed that the Ariundle Centre would be a better base for the excursion to Strontian 8-11 June and AW agreed to book accommodation for 6 people at the centre (one twin-room, one 4-bedded room).

Dates for day-trips in July and August still have to be arranged and AW will ask the prospective leaders to confirm ASAP.

The NW Highlands trip will run 1-2 Sep, with the group based in Ullapool.  This weekend will be used to launch the Achiltibuie Geology Trail as part of the NW Highlands Geopark Geofestival.  It was agreed that £100 would be donated to the geopark in return for Pete Harrison (PH) leading the weekend. Action: AW; AT

DL circulated information about stone used in Inverness shop-fronts compiled by Sinclair Ross for a previous evening excursion.  This took place some years ago and it was agreed that a recce of the city centre would be undertaken on 19 March to see how much revision was required.  The group will meet outside the Central Library at 10.30 am. Action: all

7.          AOCB

Amendments to 2018 membership/renewal form: A number of minor amendments to the membership form have been considered by SY, AT and AW to take account of updated legislation re data protection that is due to come into force later this year.  AC is involved in similar discussions with NOSAS and agreed to pass on pertinent information to SY for further consideration. Action: AC; SY

NW Highlands Geopark: At the recent AGM held by the NW Highlands Geopark it was suggested that a ‘friends scheme’ should be set up which would allow for group/corporate membership, donations and offers of help. The original proposal was to make group membership £100 PA and the HGS committee were asked by PH to comment on this.  It was agreed that £100 was a suitable subscription as supporting the geopark is consistent with our charitable aims and objectives.  It wasn’t thought necessary to ask for any tangible benefit in return but our support could be credited on information produced by the geopark. AW was asked to pass this information to PH.  Action: AW

Post-IODP Conference 30 May-6 June: Stephen Bowden (SB) from the University of Aberdeen has asked for HGS support during an international conference that he is organising in Ullapool for members of a 2016 IODP deployment to the Nankai Trough, offshore Japan.  AW was asked to contact SB and ask for greater clarification in order for us to determine what support we could offer. Action: AW

8.          Date, time and place of next meeting

It was not considered necessary to set the date for the next committee meeting at this juncture.





Present:            Stephen Young (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary); Alan Thompson (Treasurer)

Anne Cockroft; Andy Leggatt; Dave Longstaff; Ann Reynolds (Committee Members)

1.          Apologies:        David Jarman

Note: Stephen was delayed by traffic so missed the discussion re item 8 but the notes are given in agenda order for ease of reference.  Item 9 was discussed with Item 3 but is again shown as per the agenda.

2.          Notes from the last meeting and matters arising

These were accepted as an accurate account of the meeting; there were no outstanding actions and hence no matters arising.

3.          Current financial position

AT outlined the financial position of the society, which is currently very strong; a number of donations have increased our income and lower than expected expenses for fieldtrips have also reduced our outgoings. Both are due to the generosity of members (or former members) and fieldtrip leaders so are difficult to predict.  This does mean that no new financial proposals need to be implemented just now (e.g. changing membership rates / charges for meetings etc.) but we may want to consider how we want to use the surplus generated (e.g. inviting speakers from further afield).  It was agreed that no action would be taken now but the situation reviewed again prior to the AGM. Action: AT; SY

4.          Summer Excursion Programme – 2018

A number of suggestions had been made prior to the meeting re possible locations for a week-long self-led trip next year.  Eigg was discounted for 2018 as being more suitable for a long weekend.  Shetland was also deemed more suitable for a later date as the anticipated guide book has not yet been published.  Consequently Arran was considered the most promising option for 2018 as there is a lot of published information about the geology.  A trip 21st – 28th April (or the following week) would mean that bracken would not be a problem and AR agreed to investigate the accommodation options available to the group.

The possibility of a long weekend for the group in Strontian was discussed and SY agreed to investigate this further.

Day trips to New Aberdour, Glen Roy and the Ailnack Gorge were put forward and AW will speak to potential leaders re these excursions.  DL suggested an evening excursion looking at the building stone of Inverness city centre based on a previous trip led by Sinclair Ross; DL, AR and AW agreed to look for the notes from SMR. Action: AR; AW; DL; SY

5.          Future evening lectures – March and April 2018 and Winter 2018/9

A number of suggested speakers were put forward by the group and AW agreed to contact Ian Parsons (University of Edinburgh) re a possible talk in March.  It is still hoped that Mike Simms (National Museums Northern Ireland) might be available in April.  Action: AW

6.          Arrangements for members’ evening following AGM on 14 February 2018

It was agreed that the post AGM talk should highlight the field trips undertaken by the society.  Many more members attend the talks than the excursions so this would be a good way of showing people what they are missing!  AT felt that we should also highlight the considerable contribution that Eddie Lynch made to the society, particularly his willingness to step in at the last minute when the planned leader for the weekend excursion to Rum dropped out.  Consequently AT will pull together some images from Eddie’s trips for a 15 -20 minute presentation, followed by DL’s compilation of pictures from Islay this year and AC’s round-up of Mull from 2014 and 2015.  Anyone who has photographs of any of these excursions is asked to pass them on to the relevant coordinator. Action: AT; SY

20th Feb 2019 was set as the date for the 2019 AGM and it was suggested that this should be a members’ Rock Night.

7.          Renewal (or not) of “Down to Earth” subscription

It was agreed that a renewal for 15 copies would be made, with the magazine to be sent to SY rather than AT.  DL asked if a group subscription to ‘Geology Today’ would be possible and agreed to investigate further. Action: DL

8.  Residue of Tony Harris rock/mineral collection

AL bought the box of mineral specimens which he is storing on behalf of the society to the meeting; the specimens are wrapped and numbered and AW agreed to source some suitable sample bags so that the rocks could be repackaged for further assessment. Action: AW

9.  Publication (or not) of accounts on website

After some discussion, it was agreed that the HGS accounts would not be published on the website but that this would be kept under review, subject to further guidance from OSCR. Action: AT; SY

10.  Additional books

The society has a number of books and papers that are surplus to requirements and not suitable for inclusion in the HGS Library Collection.  It was agreed that these would be offered to members at the next meeting (13th Dec) in return for a small donation.  SY agreed to forward the list of titles available so that the information could be circulated prior to the meeting. Action: SY; AW

11.  Scotland’s Geodiversity: Charter Launch and Conference – 16 November 2017

SY attended the launch and conference on behalf of the HGS, which is a signatory of the charter.  He reported that the event had been well attended and that it afforded a useful networking opportunity for the wider geological community.

12.  AOCB

There was no AOCB.

13.  Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 1st February 2018 at 6.30 pm at Millburn Academy, Inverness, to prepare for the AGM being held on 14th February.





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.


For earlier Minutes and Meeting Notes, Please Go To Relevant Folder in Library

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