Minutes of the KCDC AGM, Wed, 1st December 2021, 19:00 @ Talla nan Ros

Present: Ian Moffett, Len Cruickshank, Jan Morse, Alastair Bell, Gilmour Strang, Kenny Deans, Sandy Maxwell, Gus Mitchell, Catriona Morrison.

Martin Stanford, Jim Moyes, Lena Moyes, Jinty Moffett, Carol Bell, Susan Strang, John Robertson, Judy Buckingham, Russell Jones, Rachel Avery, Andy Dunn, Jen Dunn.

Apologies: Bob Kinnaird, Eileen Stuart, Anne Cruickshank, Ailsa Schofield, Alan Hunt, Brian Dziennik, Shirley Nield, Tom and Kate Prescott, Mary Mackenzie, John Patchett, John and Gail Macpherson

IM welcomed attendees.

Minutes of previous AGM were approved with no amendments.

Chairman’s report (IM)

IM warned that as a result of Storm Arwen, Tom Baraidh is currently dangerous with fallen trees, debris & ‘balanced’ trees. He has been in touch with Pitmain who are dealing with it but it will take several weeks & heavy machinery, so it is strongly advised not to venture there until all is cleared.

The hydro scheme has improved due to all the work done. Thanks given in particular to AB & GS.

Paths & woodlands report is on agenda.

CFK report is on agenda.

Report of proposed new path on Arbroilach Road is on agenda.

Town Centre project report is on agenda. Thanks to KD, BK, GS & others involved in the project.

Finance Report (LC & Peter Graham, Goldwells)

Peter summarised & explained the accounts, copies of which were circulated.  When finalised, the accounts will be available on the KCDC website.

LC thanked PG.  

LC noted that taking away the grant monies etc., KCDC does not actually have much money.

IM asked that accounts are approved & adopted. Confirmed.

Goldwells were reappointed as accountants for KCDC.

Election of Directors (IM)

3 directors are due to retire by rotation – AB, LC & ES. All have agreed to be re-appointed.

There are 3 co-opted directors – SM, GM & CM. All have agreed to be re-appointed.

There were no new applications/recommendations.  The re-appointments were confirmed.

Subscriptions (IM)

These have remained at £2 for several years & IM suggested they remain at £2. This was agreed. GM advised he was investigating a mechanism to enable the payment of subs & donations via the website to simplify the process.

Hydro Report (AB)

Hydro was constructed in 2014 so this is its 7th winter.  This is the 1st year that a lot of money has been spent on repairs & replacement parts. We replaced 2 of the screens; the new ones are strengthened so there will be less damage. We also have spare screens ready for when the others need replacing.

Thanked, particularly the Path group & other members, for their help. Because of the volunteers, all we have had to pay for are the actual parts.

Output this year has been 10-20% higher than in previous years. This October almost broke a record and this November did break a record – previous highest output (April 2015) was 6027kwh & this November was 6750kwh. This is largely due to the new screens & the efforts of volunteers.

It has been a strange year weatherwise!

System generates around 44,000kwh p.a. which gives £12-14k income.

7 years is 1/3rd of the notional life of the system.

IM thanked all involved.

GS added that because there are no running costs, all the income is profit.  It was due to Donny Grant’s fundraising and therefore no borrowing that the scheme is so profitable.

Grants (LC)

Grants of over £10k have been awarded to local causes.  There is currently £20k+ in the account so applications are welcome.

This year, grants have been awarded to:-

  • Brownies/Rangers/Rainbows
  • Senior Citizens Xmas meal
  • Hanging baskets
  • Allotments
  • Bowling club
  • School of Shinty – Russell Jones reported on good progress of the initiative.
  • Market Stance project – John Robertson said thank you & reported that a lot of work has already been done & there are big plans for next summer.
  • Arts Group
  • Hogmanay fireworks

Approx £40k in grants has been awarded since inception of the fund.

IM reiterated that there are 2 categories – small grants up to £500, and large grants over £500 & up to £2,500. The large grants go before an independent committee so take slightly longer to approve.

Sustrans Projects & CFK (IM on behalf of BK)

Within the covid guidelines, CFK activity has continued over the past 12 months. As an indicator of the strength and enthusiasm for CFK, 22 volunteers attended an action planning meeting recently. This short report can at best only provide an insight into the main activity.

The Tuesday evening rides have been as popular as ever and once again CFK will be running a Christmas ride from Cairngorm to Kingussie on the 18th of December. The electric bike loan scheme also continues to be very popular and effective. CFK are about to increase the loan fleet. The Bikeathon was cancelled last year and delayed until September this year, but was well attended with over 400 participants, over 4k was raised for the High school.  A second maintenance column and pump has been purchased as part of a grant from Cycling Scotland and will be positioned in Kincraig.

Infrastructure projects have also been progressed during the year. With the completion of the Gynack gardens the priority has now moved to the Spey Street junction and Newtonmore road projects. Sustrans are working with the Highland Council on the Spey Street junction application and it is hoped that funding can be secured to make this happen. The Newtonmore Road project is more complex with Transport Scotland an additional public Sector stakeholder, as this is a trunk road. Work is continuing to try and find a formula to allow this project to go ahead. CFK are continuing to look at progressing a pump track/skate park facility.

Paths network report (SM)

Works done over last 12 months:-

  • At end of Nov 2020 we were hand building path on the south side of Creag Bheag
  • End Nov /Dec 2020 moved across to Shepherds Hut (top of golf course) & re built  path using new power barrow for first time
  • End Dec built a bypass to muddy section of track at top of Tait’s Brae until lockdown.
  • Used the spare time in lockdown to write H&S statements & upload to website
  • Re-started outdoor work in March 2021 – resurfaced a lot of paths, repaired culverts, removed rotten boardwalk, etc in Tom Baraidh.  Helped by Rural Skills students from KHS & some individual students who also helped on Creag Bheag.
  • May 2021 back up on south side of Creag Bheag, rebuilding path down as far as woodland gate.
  • Early July moved to Loch Gynack. Permission received from Pitmain Estate to re-route part of path to avoid muddy section. Pitmain helped move the hardcore on to site. Completed new link plus rebuild up to 4 ways junction in Oct & moved back to Creag Bheag to blind path with mineral dust.
  • November  carried out more repairs to Tom Baraigh paths and
  • Repaired path between Tait’s Brae & St Vincents Hospital.
  • Also helped Hydro scheme move boulders and dam for screen replacement.
  • Placed benches – 1 above golf course, 1 at Loch Gynack, 1 near summit of Creag Bheag & 1 at RSPB @ Torcroy.
  • Calculated at least 40 work parties, with an average of 10-12 volunteers. Rural Skills joined us on 5 occasions
  • At least 450m of paths built or rebuilt, using over 105 tonnes of purchased quarried material and probably the same again in locally gained stone and surfacing from borrow pits.

Many thanks to all volunteers, to Pitmain Estate especially Graham Mabon as well as Tim and Torben, Neil Reid & Ali Mackenzie for delivering material.

Update on proposed extension of access from hydro bridge to Pitmain pillars, along Arbroilach Rd, There is currently a ‘desire line’ which needs work done on it & we thought that if we were going to repair that, when not extend the path up alongside Arbroilach to the pillars, where there is a path into Tom Baraidh. This would make it safer than walking on the road.  We then had to find funds & get permission – the land belongs to Dochfour estate & they are happy to sell the land for £1, but lawyers are involved & their costs are steep.  Piers Voysey gave advice about the relevant section of woodlands, so that we could combine work on the path & the woodland.  Recommendation to get rid of sycamore & snowberry.  We have applied for grants.

IM gave an update on our dealing with Dochfour – there have been delays but we are getting there.

Future projects:-

  • Possible path up Gynack Rd from village centre to Ardvnie car park, both bridges into the MillTrail and to the golf course circular path at the golf club car park. This is in discussion with CNPA to see if it can be included in their Heritage Horizons project.
  • CNPA are supporting KCDC with signage & maps & KCDC are setting up a 5 year action plan from Prather work and replacement of signage.

LC advised that at the end of August he got an email from Paths for All asking for applications for grants, associated with their Volunteers of the Year programme, so he hurriedly sent off an application.  At the virtual presentation, Kingussie Volunteer Group got an honourable mention & Sandy Maxwell got a certificate!  LC looked at the Paths for All website & it appears the overall winners did not even get together this year. He has high hopes of us being successful next year.

Gynack Gardens report (KD)

CFK wanted to find better ways to connect the community (and visitors) with – NC7, the Badenoch Way, the Speyside Way, and the A9 NMU route.  ‘Sustrans Places for Everyone’ provided the majority of the funding with further support from two Town Centre Funding packages. The support from Sustrans was excellent and particularly, Bo Hickey.

The project has:

  • Opened out the gardens – and;
  • Provided a place to play
  • Provided a venue for markets and events
  • Allowed the opera to come to town
  • Illuminated the entire garden with solar lighting
  • Made a feature of the memorial and replaced the lighting
  • Replaced an avenue of bushes with elegant flowering cherries
  • Planted nature hubs on the riverbank with native species
  • Renewed the interpretation panels
  • Provided a peripheral path and an entrance to the Primary School
  • Created numerous seating areas – incorporating several all-ability areas
  • Improved fencing to create a better connection to the Gynack at the north end – (HC have been alerted to the South end issues).
  • Planted a living Christmas tree with power for lighting
  • Added further tree planting to reflect the symmetry of the gardens with 2 Betula Jacquemontii 
  • We have created a space people want to travel though; engage with and spend time in.
  • And in our estimation delivered an incredible project for the people of the town and the visitors.
  • The team involved many of the directors but the main works were undertaken by Gilmour, Bob and KD. The hours of work is best not revisited as it would put anyone off getting involved in such an endeavour.
  • Special mention should be made to McGowans whose work and management was excellent.
  • The garden team also need to take a bow – a new group has come up trumps with an excellent display.

Articles of Association (IM)

IM advised that we are in the process of modifying the Articles of Association.


Member asked about the website. GM explained that although he first got involved with KCDC as a paths volunteer, he then got involved with fixing the old website & it was decided we should have a completely new website, so he made one which has now been launched. There are not many visitors but it is kept up to date, e.g. the warning about Tom Baraidh after Storm Arwen.

Member asked question about Gynack Gardens sculpture. KD advised that there were no funds & the concept was not supported. Gynack Gardens are Highland Council gardens not KCDC, so they would have to be contacted with queries.

John Robertson stated that the gardens seem to work really well for things like the Farmers Market. It is an impressive improvement – congratulations.  

JR also thanked KCDC on behalf of the Hogmanay committee.

There were no further questions.

IM thanked all for attending.

Meeting closed @ 20:05.