The northern village of Mopp and Bucket Head

A piece of satire aimed at the Brough Bay Association and their supporters back in 2010 will we are sure fly off the bookshelves… or rather Lulu…. at the end of February 2019.


Here is an extract:

“The village idiot was pouring over the association’s work of fiction, generally known as the accounts, wondering how he was going to get another grant. He hadn’t had one for a few years. Now that the snob was out of the way, it should be easier in theory. He had noticed that a book was due out about the Battle of Brough Bay at the end of November. He was a bit worried about that – the lairds would put him right. ” Read more soon!

Letters flew back and forth

The owners of Windhaven, Brough, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 8YE


22nd November, 2012


Brough Bay Association,



KW14 8YE


To: Committee members – Brough Bay Association


Further to our conversations and emails, we outline below the issues caused by the previous administration of the association and hope that we can resolve matters in a civilised and timely manner.  We would have preferred to discuss these matters face to face with the committee so that all committee members could be made aware of the problems and give their feedback.  However, the Chairman preferred that we write to you and we hope the matters can be discussed at the committee meeting to be held on 7th December 2012.


Thank you for removing the blue boat and attempting to clean up the mess which has been made at the Bay. It will still not be possible to clear the drain while the larger boat is in situ, but hopefully SEPA will get it moved shortly. There is, however, no guarantee that the perpetrator will not put something else on the site when he returns.


In order to provide a background to the problems at Brough Bay over the last few years for the benefit of newcomers to the executive, we outline the main points below:


  • In 2009, we had a meeting with two of the committee members of the Brough Bay Association as they wanted permission to construct a car park on land owned by Brough Bay Limited. This was to be incorporated into the plan for improvements at the Bay of which we were supportive in principle. The outcome of the meeting was that we would receive a letter from them stating what exactly they wanted to do as well as the arrangements for insurance and assurances that land ownership would not be compromised.  This was never forthcoming and the proposed work on the car park did not go ahead.
  • In April 2010, we discussed with another resident about the possibility of placing a barbecue and waste bin be placed at the Bay for use by visitors. This would have been at no cost to the association. We also wanted to clear up the section above the retaining wall below the footpath and make a picnic area.  In the event, we did provide a barbecue and waste bin which were subsequently stolen.  The police were not able to establish who the culprits were.
  • In May 2010, we received a letter from the association stating that the land did not belong to the Company, but to the association. There was a great deal of correspondence between the association, the Company and the respective lawyers. The letter to the association’s solicitors, Georgesons, dated 2nd April 2011 remains unanswered.
  • In May 2010, two unseaworthy boats were placed on the land at the Bay, causing many difficulties, not to mention a lot of public time and money being spent in trying to resolve them. This included the police, the Highland Council, SEPA and even John Thurso MP.  Unfortunately the boats have attracted rubbish and a general feeling of neglect at the Bay.


Further to our discussion with another member of the committee at the Bay on 10th November, we outline the issues below and hope that they can be discussed at the committee meeting during the first week of December 2012 and to receiving a reply shortly afterwards.


  • We have not received a response to our letter to Georgesons of 2nd April 2011 requesting sight of the surveys which were done at the Bay to establish ownership of the car parking area which, until the last couple of years, has been considered as belonging to the owner of Windhaven and, since 2008, to Brough Bay Ltd. of which the residents of Windhaven are Directors. Problems could arise in the event of any potential sale by either party as the plan drawn up by the previous administration of the association would not pass muster if it were challenged in court.   Windhaven and the surrounding land are currently for sale. If a sale is compromised due to the actions of the BBA, the issue of land ownership will be raised again.  Perhaps you could contact your solicitor to ask why we have not been provided with evidence that the surveys were carried out, as outlined in the BBA’s letter of May 2010.
  • As the association considers that it owns all of the area at the Bay, we should be grateful to receive your comments as to how the drainage of water from the land above can be managed. In the past, the BBA have occasionally cleared the drains with a machine, but the last time the area was cleaned was in 2010 and this was done at our own cost.  Once the oil has been cleared, the matter of maintenance of the drainage needs to be addressed in order to make the car parking area more useable.
  • In our opinion, the association seems to have been run as a secret society for many years. It would certainly be beneficial if it were more open and all Brough villagers were advised of activities and meetings.   We have not been informed of AGMs for several years, and this is one reason why we are not currently members of the association. The noticeboard at the entrance to the village (which belongs to the Dunnet Head Educational Trust) can be used to display posters / news about the association at no charge.


We look forward to hearing from you in due course, receiving formal notification of the AGM in February and the subscription so that we can consider becoming full members of the new Company. We prefer communications by email to which not only saves on postage, but also means that we can continue to deal with matters when we are away.  We should be grateful if you could also inform all village residents of the meeting.


Yours sincerely,





………………………………                                                …………………………………..

The Battle of Brough

Brough Bay is a lovely little Bay, just below the tearooms at the foot of Dunnet Head.  The villagers were at war for years over the ownership of part of the Bay which was clearly marked on the deeds of Windhaven which had belonged to John Eden and then to Brian Sparks.

What followed between 2006 and 2016 was partly a comedy of errors, but sadly ended in tragedy.  Two of the villagers stood up to the bully boys of the Brough Bay Association, masquerading as a community group.

Community kept out

Dear Sirs,

If you are a potential funder of the Association, we would advise you to investigate the history of the Association and their claims that they own all of Brough Bay.  They do not own all of the Bay.  Brough Bay Ltd. owns a part of it and the Company does not give their permission to the Association to work on it except in writing.

In 2010 the Company placed a bench and barbecue at the Bay which were subsequently removed.  We can only assume that this was by the Association as they had already removed a seat from the area overlooking the Bay.  The police were involved on a number of occasions regarding the seat as well as matters at the Bay.  The winch was also stolen from the Company’s land and the Company’s CCTV camera interfered with even though that was not within the disputed area.

The Company asked for the Association’s books to be audited by the administrators of LEADER but it fell on deaf ears.  You should perhaps carry out an audit now if you are planning on funding them.  The main issues are:

1.  The Association does not own the land – it was gifted to the village of Brough by a local benefactor.

2.  The Association excludes many villagers from the Association.

3.  The Association does not consult with the villagers.

4.  The Association is a nefarious secretive body.

5   The Association’s members dump unseaworthy boats on the land and make a complete mess causing environmental problems as well as health and safety.

6.   The Association has not fulfilled it obligations under the previous funding.

We have all documentation relating to the dispute including the original application forms to HLF and LEADER for the funding received in 2010.  If you would like to view any of this documentation, please do not hesitate to contact us.  If the Association is using materials developed by the Company in the wake of the launch of the North Highland Way, please note that these are copyright and protected in law.


Tina Irving and Brian Sparks.
Brough Bay Ltd. t/a LetsGoNorth
KW14 8YE.

Brough Bay Association update

The Association have recently changed their registered address to the offices of the Caithness Voluntary Group instead of Georgesons.  You can get company information from Companies House Scotland for a few pounds.  The association remains a secretive organisation.  The accounts were not audited from the last grant they received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER and they have done nothing in the bay since fixing the pier in 2010.  There have been no events since the grand opening.  The planned school trips to the Bay have not materialised as put in the original application.   For funding bodies reading this information, it is advisable to get an audit of their accounts.

The storehouses are now owned by a local family and of course the section in the corner of the Bay belongs to Brough Bay Ltd.   See more about the Bay in our newsletter at


About Brough Harbour

The Bay is owned partly by a local community group and partly by Brough Bay Ltd. which owns the campsite, B&B and cottage above the Bay.The natural harbour at Brough has been used for fishing and landing boats for hundres of years.  It was described in the Old Statistical Account (1794).  There is photographic evidence (in the Johnston Collection) 1900 of harbour related activities such as drying nets and hauling out boats being carried out.  A winch was installed to hal the boats.

In 1830 the Northern Lighthouse Board built a pier/slipway as a servicing point for the Dunnet Head Lighthouse.  In the 1970’s the harbour users formed a group called “the pier committee” with the purpose of maintaining the slipway.  Later the group was formalised with a constitution under the chairmanship of Ian Munro of Clett Cottage, Brough.

1978 – After the near destruction of the slipway in a storm, the group raised money to repair the slip.  Without this initiative, the harbour would have become unusable.

1983  The community group reached agreement with the Northern Lighthouse Board to take over the Board’s interest in the Harbour.

1985  The boat park was originally created by Mervyn Sinclair, a local and resident of Brough.  Mr. Sinclair also helped with keeping the place tidy, and he and his father often launched their boats from the pier. The community group later concreted this part as well as installing a wall along the shore, north from the lighthouse store was built to give the cliff some protection from erosion.

1991 The community group installed rock armouring along the seaward side of the boat park as its own expense with money gathered from the local community.

1993  The harbour and surrounding land was gifted to the community group by Margaret Munro, widow of Ian Munro who was chairman of the group since its formation.  Members of the committee each made a contribution towards the local costs.

The community group has now been formed into a company registered with Companies House Scotland.