Prince Charles opens luxury Granary Lodge development at Castle of Mey
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PRINCE Charles was in Caithness this week to formally open a luxury 10-bedroom bed and breakfast in the grounds of the Castle of Mey.
Invited guests were present within the lounge and dining room of the Granary Lodge on Wednesday afternoon to meet the prince, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland.
They heard that the Prince’s Foundation had worked "tirelessly and with great attention to detail" to create the Granary Lodge, a multimillion-pound development that will open to its first guests on Monday.
Prince Charles was initially greeted by Lord and Lady Thurso along with Ashe Windham, a trustee of the Prince’s Foundation.
Lord Thurso said: "I am here today wearing my hat as chairman of VisitScotland. How wonderful it is to see this incredible addition [to the castle] finally come to fruition. I feel confident that when our quality team visit they will be able to give it a good score.
"Tourism needs good product so investment like this anchors people to stay who might otherwise have driven through. The knock-on spend in the community goes up.
“It's good for Mey as it delivers revenue. It's good for Scottish tourism because of its quality. And it's good for the community as it delivers spend and jobs."
Shirley Farquhar, administrator of the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, said: “We welcome HRH to the Castle of Mey each year for his holiday and, given his strong affinity and family connection to Caithness, it was fitting that he paid us the honour of formally opening the Granary Lodge."
The Granary Lodge will, we hope, create a considerable positive ripple effect within the local economy
Ms Farquhar said the development would secure "year-round employment for local people and provide a valuable asset to tourism in Caithness".
She added: "As luxury accommodation, a unique wedding venue, and a conference centre, the Granary Lodge will, we hope, create a considerable positive ripple effect within the local economy.”
The Castle of Mey was the property of the Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996, when Her Majesty gifted it with an endowment to the Castle of Mey Trust. The castle and adjacent two-acre walled garden represent a five-star visitor attraction from May to September that last year attracted 30,000 visitors.
The long-term future of the Castle of Mey Trust was secured in January as the Prince's Foundation was named as its sole trustee.
Robert Lovie, director of outreach for the Prince’s Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the prince’s vision for the Granary Lodge has been realised and hope the development means more people will visit the north Highlands of Scotland to experience its unique offering to tourists.
“Our team has completed a wealth of hard work in recent months and is pleased with the result, which we hope will encourage people to spend longer in beautiful Caithness – an area so close to the heart of His Royal Highness."