Prince Charles and Camilla delight locals with a tour of Ayrshire, enjoying some haggis and a wee dram
The red carpet was rolled out as Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay embarked on a tour of Ayrshire on Thursday.
Prince Charles and Camilla delighted and surprised locals as they visited Alloway, Burns Cottage, Dumfries House and officially opened new refuge accommodation for South Ayrshire Women’s Aid.
In Alloway, the Royals enjoyed a dram at the birthplace of Robert Burns to celebrate the National Trust for Scotland’s 90th birthday.
The couple were met by the LordLieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, Sheriff Iona Sara McDonald, in Alloway Main Street and spoke with local residents, school children and business owners including Alloway’s Post Office and Village Store and Poet’s Corner Cafe.
Alloway Pharmacy were thrilled to receive a royal visit and posted on their Facebook: “It’s not every day we get royalty stopping by!
“Prince Charles and Camilla kindly spoke to the staff for a good two to three minutes about our hard work during the covid pandemic.”
The Duchess then visited South Ayrshire Women’s Aid to officially open their renovated refuge accommodation.
The organisation’s refuge accommodation was originally built as a communal facility, but thanks to a major overhaul it has been reconfigured as eight individual flats to allow women and children fleeing domestic abuse their own space and privacy.
Camilla viewed one of the flats and congratulated SAWA on the “incredible job you all do for violence against women.”
She added: “I can understand the importance to you of having somewhere safe to go, but also somewhere that offers you privacy as well as support and advice.”
And no Royal visit to Ayrshire would be complete without a stop at Dumfries House, which Prince Charles saved for the nation in 2007.
The Duke and Duchess visited the
Palladian country house in Cumnock to unveil a very special knitted art installation which celebrates the traditional craft.
The patchwork mosaic, which weighs an impressive 130kg, was draped over the estate’s historic Adam Bridge, creating a joyous kaleidoscope of colour and textile for visitors to admire.
HRH Prince Charles came up with the idea for the project in an effort to get the world knitting and highlight the associated mental health benefits that practising the skill can bring.
More than 9000 hand-knitted squares were contributed by individuals and knitting groups from all across the world, including Italy, Belgium, Tasmania, the United States and Canada.
And of course many locals got
involved with the project, which saw a wide range of contributors ranging from nine-year-old Sasha Bolt from Sanquhar to 101-yearold Ethel Carlyle from Troon, who sadly passed away shortly after contributing her square. Ninety-two-year-old Jessie Boardman is the oldest living person to take part.
The squares were sewn together to create the patchwork piece by staff from The Prince’s Foundation, participants of the charity’s textiles programmes and prisoners from Cornton Vale Prison in Stirling as part of a rehabilitation initiative.
The patchwork will be dismantled into smaller blankets and distributed to charities in need.
Ashleigh Douglas, future textiles manager for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “We are proud to have finally unveiled our beautiful knitted art installation and would like to thank every single person who has contributed to it for their efforts.
“It has been wonderful to see so many people come together to celebrate this dynamic craftform.
“Ayrshire was once home to a booming textile industry but lack of training in traditional techniques such as hand-knitting, sewing, pattern-cutting and weaving has led to a skills shortage in the area.
“The Prince’s Foundation runs a number of different programmes and initiatives, such as Knitwise, which aim to help revive and revitalise these invaluable skills in a sustainable way.
“Knitting is known to have multiple benefits for the mind and body including reducing depression and anxiety, relieving stress and helping improve motor functions.”
Camilla also attended a Women in Journalism mentoring event at Dumfries House, attended by our reporter Abi Smillie, and gave a poignant speech about the situation in Afghanistan.
Before leaving, The Duchess addressed the room and said: “I’ve been reliably informed that in 2020, there were 700 female journalists working in Kabul. Today, there are fewer than 100.
“With the loss of 600 voices, the experiences of countless Afghans will remain untold.
“All journalists who fight for truth and justice in the face of retribution deserve our thanks and admiration.
“Let’s do all we can to support, promote and, crucially, listen to the brave female journalists of Afghanistan, whose work puts them in danger every single day.”