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HRH Prince Anne, The Princess Royal, delights staff and volunteers at Gairloch Museum and the National Trust for Scotland's Inverewe Garden during visits to the Wester Ross sites

By Philip Murray

DELIGHTED staff and volunteers at two Wester Ross attractions feel “honoured” after a special royal visit this week.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, visited the new £2.4 million Gairloch Museum to officially open it on Tuesday and stopped off at Inverewe Garden to see a new Peace Plot exhibition set up by the two sites.

Unveiling a commemoration plaque at Gairloch Museum, she was introduced to staff, board members, volunteers and the design team who created the building and displays. She also met staff from West Highland College UHI which will have a base in the building from next month.

Housed in a former cold war bunker, the museum gives visitors an insight into the natural history and cultural heritage of the Gairloch area, from the making of mountains to the modern day. Those behind the museum believe the new facility will become a landmark attraction. Two floors of displays are housed within the building, as well as a shop.

Chairman of Gairloch Heritage Museum, Roy Macintyre, said they were “honoured” by the visit, adding that the project had taken “a monumental amount of voluntary effort”.

He added: “We are delighted to see the community out in force today to welcome Her Royal Highness and support the museum.”

During her visit to Inverewe Garden, in nearby Poolewe, Princess Anne toured the garden, met staff and volunteers and visited the newly-created Peace Plot exhibition, which runs until late August. It commemorates the peace-making which went on at the end of World War I.

The princess also unveiled the foundation stone for the garden’s next project – a new viewing tower – met representatives of local community groups working with the trust and presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland.

Kevin Frediani, operations manager at Inverewe, said: “The royal visit marks a significant milestone for Inverewe and for our community of interest. It was a great day for us all here in Wester Ross.”

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