Cromarty hosts Royal visit


Awarmwelcome as HRH arrives at Cromarty Primary



HRH The Earl of Wessex received a warm Highland welcome when his helicopter touched down on Cromarty Links earlier today (Monday 26 June). All 60 pupils from Cromarty Primary were cheering and waving flags as he arrived to spend the afternoon meeting them, representatives from local clubs and organisations, community volunteers and people living and working in the village.

On landing at the Links the royal party were received by the Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Mrs Janet Bowen with cadet Flight Sergeant Jasmine Henderson in attendance.

The first visit was to Victoria Hall for a lunch with guests, including Mrs Anne Short MBE, a former resident of the Falkland Islands who is greatly involved in the community alongside High Life Highland Youth Development Officer, Wanda Mackay.

After lunch the Avoch Sea Scouts formed a Guard of Honour outside Victoria Hall and  Vice Convenor of The Highland Council, Councillor Isabelle Campbell and Black Isle councillor Jennifer Barclay were presented. HRH was then introduced to members of Cromarty Camera Club who chatted with and showed HRH an exhibition highlighting the work of club members over the last two years.

Wanda Mackay then introduced representatives from Cromarty Arts Trust who had a display highlighting their work in the community. Next to meet HRH were members of the local bowling club who invited him to try his hand at carpet bowls and so good was his shot, it received a loud cheer from onlookers! Assistant Youth Worker Fraser Thomson then took HRH to meet 10 young Youth café members and they chatted to him about how they had got involved and the activities they have helped organise.

On returning to the main hall the Earl was treated to a song performed by members of Cromarty Four Ways Club before Edward and Clare Caswello had an opportunity to talk about the Youth Opera project. Before leaving Victoria Hall, HRH spent time with young people working for their bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and some of the adults helping them, including the Head Teacher of St Clements school in Dingwall Toni McCartney who has 9 pupils participating in their bronze awards.

The next stop was Cromarty Primary where children were lined up outside eagerly awaiting their special guest. Head Teacher Mrs Henri Shepherd invited HRH into the school where P7 pupils Molly MacDonald, Milosz Maslyk, Anthony Gull and Ruaridh Mackenzie were waiting to show him a display showing the history of their school including old photos and transcripts of interviews from grandparents and poems written by students.

After a visit to meet year 5, 6 and 7 pupils in their classroom with teacher Mrs Sophie Collard, HRH paid a visit to P1,2 and 3 children who were busy decorating cakes with union jack icing with their class teacher Mrs Kerry Martin.

There was then time for HRH to have a chat and cup of tea with guests including former pupil and teacher at the school Mrs Moira Munro, representatives from the Highland Council’s education service, local Councillor Craig Fraser, school support and administrative staff, parent council representatives and secondary school pupils from Fortrose Academy who volunteer and run a number of activity clubs for Cromarty Primary pupils.

HRH was then invited to join parents and guests in the hall to listen to the pupils singing after which he unveiled a plaque to mark his visit and signed the visitor book before, on behalf of the whole school,  Orlagh MacIver (8) presented a gift thrown and painted by local potter Barbel Dister entitled -  “Cromarty in a bowl”

The Royal party then moved on to pay a call to Cromarty Courthouse Museum where Paul Monk, Chair of the Trustees and Honorary Curator for the Museum was waiting to present the team of volunteers before taking HRH on a tour of the building.

It was then a short walk up the road to East Church where Tristram Clarke, Chairman of the Scottish Redundant Churches organisation and David Alston invited HRH into the church to view the restoration work and find out more about its history from the group of volunteers waiting inside. Before leaving the church, the royal guest of honour couldn’t resist having a go at ringing the church bell after being “shown the ropes” by pupil Ben Fleiger.

The visitors were then taken to Cromarty Harbour pontoon where skipper Sarah Perns from Ecoventures was waiting to talk about her business taking people on wildlife spotting boat tours. Keeping the boating theme going, HRH had the chance to admire the Cromarty built Skiff boat as it was being placed in the water by members of the Cromarty Rowing Club. There was then just time for a quick visit to Cromarty Brewery founded by Jenni and Jonathan Middleton. Their son, brewer Craig Middleton, took HRH on a tour to see the brewing process before inviting him to sample a selection of beers.

The busy afternoon drew to a close with HRH returning to Cromarty Links and after thanking the Lord Lieutenant, took off in the waiting helicopter.


26 Jun 2017
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