Prince Charles pleases crowds with art and beer in Caithness

Prince Charles visited a fishing boat, a seafood restaurant, an art show and a brewery on his tour of Caithness. The Duke of Rothesay, as he is known in Scotland, wore a Charles Edward Stuart tartan as he carried out multiple public engagements before travelling to his grandmother’s Highland residence at Castle of Mey.

Prince Charles tried some beer in the John oGroats brewery Clarence House)

Charles, 68, started his trip by visiting Scrabster harbour, where he spoke to crew members of the Boy Andrew fishing vessel, which was imported from Denmark and was bought for £3million earlier this year. It is the the fifth fishing boat in the family-run Bremner fishing company since 1959.

Furthermore, the Prince spoke to the owners and staff at the Captain’s Galley seafood restaurant at Scrabster harbour, which prides itself on the sustainable sourcing of fish.

The restaurant’s co-owner and chef Jim Cowie demonstrated how his team prepared the fish and make use of every part, all of which delighted Prince Charles who established the International Sustainability unit in 2010. The restaurant is also a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, an organisation of which the prince has been a patron since 1999.

As Charles entered and exited the restaurant yesterday, a crowd of passengers from a small cruise liner, berthed at the harbour, were left stunned. Passenger Paul Voegtle, from Illinois in the US, said his wife was on a tour of the local area while the heir to the throne was in Scrabster, and that she “would not believe” him as he had no way of taking photographs.

He added: “A local councillor [Willie Mackay] told me who was coming up the road. I said, ‘are you kidding me?’ so I just hung about to see him. I told him ‘hello from America’ as he walked by.”

Later in the day, Charles attended Thurso High School, where he viewed more than 345 art exhibits, including two of his own watercolours, as part of the Caithness Society of Artists’ 82nd exhibition. The Prince is a keen artist, collector and patron of the Arts.

After this, The Prince of Wales visited John O’Groats brewery which opened in December 2015 and uses the building of the village’s former fire station. The brewery’s co-owner Simon Cottam has ambitions to expand to a larger facility in the next two years, ideally in the village, and to employ up to 20 people. As Mr Cottam poured His Royal Highness a pint, Charles remarked, “I will try a tiny bit, but I don’t want to drink all of that.”

Mr Cottam said: “It’s the first time any of us have met Prince Charles. It’s brilliant he is visiting and we know the importance of Prince Charles in the local area. We started up because there was no craft brewing in the area and we thought someone needs to start up.”

“North Coast 500 is a big thing for us at the moment. The route is bringing in a lot of tourists through John O’Groats and this is the first season we have properly been brewing. The summer has been good, but we are hoping NC500 can extend the season for us.” The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic route spanning the north of Scotland, visited by thousands each year.

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