The Highlands welcomed a Hollywood heart-throb yesterday when Four Weddings and A Funeral star Hugh Grant took centre stage near Inverness.
The actor swapped the red carpet for a Tornado warplane flypast welcome at Fort George.
And he was back on home turf, as his grandfather Colonel James Murray Grant hailed from the Highland capital and was depot commander at the fort after World War II.
The actor was in town to launch an appeal to help raise £3million for The Highlanders’ Museum Redevelopment Project at Fort George, near Inverness.
It is a cause close to his heart as the 50-year-old often visited the museum as a child while on holiday at his grandfather’s, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for bravery during the war.
The film star’s father, Captain James Murray Grant, also served in the Seaforth Highlanders regiment.
Mr Grant hopes to return to the Highlands next summer. He said: “My brother and I used to love coming here in the summer although I was hopeless at all the activities we did like Highland dancing, fishing and target shooting practice.
“I was fascinated by the military but the subject of me joining up didn’t come up when I reached 18 and I went into acting, but that’s another story.”
Mr Grant’s father joined him at the launch, with chairman of the Highlanders’ Museum, Major General Seymour Monro, and project designer Tim Pethick.
A kilt worn in service by the actor’s grandfather and father was on display and a showcase dedicated to the Clan Grant has also been introduced to the museum.
So far, £200,000 has been donated to the project and it is expected the running total will be boosted by grants worth £1million in the next two weeks.
The appeal is to secure £750,000 from the public.
Mr Grant said: “Seymour wrote to me and told me what he wanted to do here.
“I do get quite a lot of letters asking for help and this was a cause I definitely wanted to help. We need to raise the last bit of funds that they need and it is something I am delighted to be involved with.”
The project will take two years to complete and will incorporate a new archive and study centre, which will include artifacts dating back to the Battle of Waterloo.
It is hoped the improved centre will attract 100,000 visitors every year and pump £400,000 into the region’s economy annually.
Twenty full-time positions will also be created at the museum.
For more information and to help the cause, visit www.thehighlandersmuseum.com.