A 'Taste of Game' evening was held in the Strathdearn hall on Saturday to raise awareness that the Tomatin Community Shop will be stocking a wide range of this delicious, locally produced food, as from 25th February.The night was a huge success. Jenny McCallum, of the Tomatin Moorland Group, described the evening for us:
The Taste of Game night exceeded all expectations. We had over 30 people from the area and the room was packed with a real buzz and included a few of the local estate staff. There were quite a few questionnaires returned to gauge interest of what people would like to see in the shop and everyone in the room was really positive about game being supplied there. They also wanted to see stocks of the Crossbill gin and the Connage cheese, so it all went down a storm. There was an appetite for another cookery event and also requests for hare and venison liver.
Cara Richardson, the chef, came across really well and when she compared a chicken breast to pheasant there was no comparison. She showed everyone how to cook a venison fillet in minutes and how to wrap it tight in cling film and freeze, to then serve up as a carpaccio. Not many people had eaten raw venison before and the plate was cleared. The goujons of pheasant and grouse were also a super easy and a great introduction to grouse. Some had never tried it before and were definitely converted.
The Tomatin Moorland Group are very grateful to Cara and Elaine Hepburn for their help on the evening and to Mhairi MacSween and Lee-Ann Cornwall for their assistance with the event.
SCD would also like to thank everyone for turning out on the night. If you couldn’t manage along please remember to fill out your questionnaire, which was delivered with your newsletter, or pop in and speak to staff at the shop to help plan future supplies.
Strathdearn is on the map .... the weather map! Now we have a daily weather forecast created by a local man using locally gathered data.
Highlands & Islands Weather has recently installed a new weather monitoring station in Tomatin. This records temperature, rainfall and wind speed automatically and loads the data online.
Highlands & Islands Weather is a donation run service operated by Lee Schofield of Carrbridge in his free time. Lee has a vast knowledge of meteorology and uses this to provide accurate local forecasts for the area each day on his Facebook page which has 90,000 followers. Non-Facebookers can view a forecast based on the data HERE.
Highlands & Islands Weather have a large network of reporting stations across the Highlands & Islands area which feed live data to them 24/7 enabling Lee to warn people in all corners of the area of low temperature, high rainfall or strong winds being recorded in their immediate vicinity.
[This article will be archived under 'Community Council News' for future reference]
Section 42 application – extended working hours
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHE Transmission) sought to reach an agreement with the Community Liaison Group (CLG) prior to formally submitting an application to The Highland Council for the amendment. We recognised that there is a general resistance to any Sunday working on the Tomatin substation site. Our latest consultation with members of the Community Liaison Group indicated a strong resistance from the community for any earthworks or construction activity being carried out on a Sunday but there was a general compromise to a full working day on a Saturday and an increase to weekday working hours.
Following these comments, our revised proposal seeks to further limit any works which could cause any disturbance on a Sunday whist still allowing for some progress to be made when the fitting and cabling/wiring of equipment is required (Electrical Works). Electrical works can be carried out with minimal impacts on the wider area in terms of construction noise. We propose to carry out Electrical works on Sundays from circa May 2018 – February 2019. There would be no Civils works carried out on Sundays. The Electrical works do not require heavy vehicles and machinery and by its nature is a very quiet form of working with much of it taking place inside the building. The proposal is as follows: Week day working: 7.00am – 7.00pm – Summer months 8.00am – 6.00pm – Winter months Saturdays 7.00am – 5.00pm – Summer months 8.00am – 4.00pm – Winter months Sundays 8.00am – 4.00pm – for Electrical works only (from May 2018 – Feb 2019).
SHE Transmission and the Contractor will work closely with Dalarossie Church on the schedule of church services. The proposed Sunday electrical working (from May 2018 – February 2019) will not be noisy and with the Church being some distance from the site there should be no impact on the church or other services. Nevertheless, we will ensure ongoing liaison with the Church to ensure that there are no negative effects on the services. Works at Tomatin substation are currently scheduled to be completed by March 2019 to allow the additional generation to connect to the National Grid. This will see the construction of the substation take place over two winters, the first Winter will see groundworks, earthworks and concrete works. Due to the nature of these activities and the exposed nature of the site, it is highly likely that there will be delays in construction activities due to adverse weather conditions. In particular, high winds but also potentially heavy rain/flooding and snow/ice. The exposed nature of the access track is a further factor which may lead to lost construction time if the road is closed. The Contractor has made some allowance of weather risk in the programme, however we are conscious that during the access road works in the summer months of 2017 we still lost 2 weeks of work due to adverse weather conditions (heavy rain). The full application can be found at:
Bring along the kids for a fun-filled morning with activeness games, bouncy castle, and henna tattoos.
Free Entry - Everyone welcome.
Development Officers Report 17th September 2017
Paths Project lead Director, Duncan Bryden, accompanied by C.C. Chair Vivian Roden, SCT chair Edward Usborne and development officer Charles Morgan attended a meeting with Councillor Ken Gowans and officials from roads and planning department at the Highland council offices in Inverness. The objective was to negotiate more favourable planning conditions on the proposed paths sections 7 and 8 (Shop to Juniper Drive). The council were reminded that this summer has seen more and more walkers and cyclists on this stretch of road with regular reports of speeding vehicles.
As previously reported the onerous conditions imposed by Highland Council would add significant costs to the project. The meeting was robust with open discussion taking place and the result was that Highland Council are tasked with offering a compromise solution to enable the completion of the project. Watch this space!
Broadband for Moy:
BT Openreach have commenced work on the project to supply fibre to premises to 49 houses in the Moy area. The contract is due to be complete by December 2017. The cost is sitting at £85k, and will be paid out of Moy windfarm receipts. James Macpherson and Steve Cormack continue to explore broadband options for up the Glen.
Website and communications:
Director Steve Cormack continues to mastermind the web site and improve our ‘digital’ footprint. The hall can be booked on line and regular news items are posted here and on Facebook
As previously reported the final submission of our application was made on the 21st June 2017. Due diligence is still being carried out by the Big Lottery funding officers on our strategic plan. We have a date for the Lottery Scotland main panel to meet to discuss our application. The meeting takes place on the 19th September.
The community faces stiff completion for lottery funding. SCD believes that we have a strong application and we understand that the decision on our application will be made known on the 20th September. Fingers, toes and anything else you can think of crossed! Social Investment Scotland have completed successfully their due diligence work on SCD Ltd and an offer of loan finance for the proposed new hub has been made. Up to £1m of loan is available should it be required.
Please note that other funding avenues are being explored and have been submitted. These include applications to the Regional Regeneration Fund, Scottish Land Fund and Strathdearn Charitable Community Trust (likely to require a community ballot)
Our Building Warrant is now ready to submit - dependent upon the decision on the application for funding to the Big Lottery. The tender process for choosing a contractor is scheduled to commence in October. The chosen contractor to be announced by December.
White River Trading:
White River Trading is the name of SCD’s trading company and runs the village shop. It is with great credit to Lee-Anne and her staff that we can report a break -even situation on the shop accounts April to July 2017.
Whilst there is still a lot of work to do in the shop and previously the shop was trading at a loss and required subsidy, it is rewarding to see the growing support from the community and the increase in trade.
Our development company admin assistant Victoria Cameron Mackintosh has now left the post for another position with the Calman Trust. Victoria will be greatly missed and the board of SCD thank Victoria for her invaluable contribution to the SCD team.
SCD are delighted to confirm the appointment of Mhairi Macsween as the new admin assistant. This position continues to be fully funded through the DTAS grant we receive.
There is still a need for support staff and volunteers for the shop. If anyone would like to volunteer their time, full training will be given by Lee-Anne. Please contact Lee Anne if you would like to help. The Directors are all volunteers too and we would welcome offers of help in project work. Company membership is increasing and we invite more to join.
After long and protracted negotiations, we have finally signed the contract with ENECO for the Moy windfarm opened in May 2016. The first community benefit payment was made to SCD in August.
Improved shop trading is welcome, hall income has fallen as costs have risen.
Date for your diary - SCD AGM – 27th September 2017 from 7pm