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The Crown film-makers give Caithness the Royal seal of approval

The scene at Lybster Harbour, on Wednesday where the Netflix drama The Crown was being filmed. Photo: Robert MacDonald/Northern Studios
The scene at Lybster Harbour, on Wednesday where the Netflix drama The Crown was being filmed. Photo: Robert MacDonald/Northern Studios

A Caithness port was yesterday transformed into a pre-war Falkland Islands port for filming of the hit series The Crown.

The county is enjoying a post-season economic boom thanks to production of the award-winning Netflix royal drama setting up shop at Lybster Harbour – then moving on to nearby Keiss.

The scenic location has become Port Leith in the Falklands, where Argentinians were discovered salvaging scrap metal in 1982 – an incident that proved to be a precursor to the Falklands War.

Keiss harbour will later be transformed into the site where Lord Mountbatten was assassinated at Mullaghmore in Ireland 40 years ago.

Filming of the successful show in the north of Scotland was welcomed by businesses and politicians.

Conservative MSP Edward Mountain said: “The Royal Family have strong links with the far north of Scotland, so it is great to see that the team behind The Crown are recognising that close connection by filming in Lybster.

MSP Edward Mountain

“Scotland has become a hotspot for television shows and filmmakers in recent years and I am delighted that the Highlands stands to benefit from this.”

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross added: “It’s great to see filming of such a popular series as The Crown in Lybster.

“It’s a beautiful setting and I am looking forward immensely to seeing it on screen.

“It’s a huge boost for the area and hopefully it is just the beginning of many more areas in the North Highlands being recognised for their potential as possible filming locations.”

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s history and heritage is a major draw for visitors from across the globe while Queen Elizabeth II is one of the world’s great icons whose life has inspired filmmakers, artists and writers for years.

“Netflix’s The Crown will further showcase the royal families links to Scotland so it’s wonderful that the stunning Scottish Highlands will feature. We hope this will give further inspiration for visitors to explore the country and the many real locations linked to this monarch, as well as her ancestors before her.”

The Crown, starring Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, is up to the fourth season and will focus on the Falklands War.

As well as the financial boost, a number of locals have been signed up as extras in the two episodes being shot in Lybster and Keiss.

The village’s Portland Arms Hotel has been serving as the make-up and costume change base for the cast.

Hotelier Steven Swann said the production has created a lot of trade for businesses in east Caithness and east Sutherland.

He said the production company had needed 250 bedrooms to accommodate their crew, adding: “It’s been good business for trade in our area but I know there have been some staying in hotels and guesthouses all the way down the coast as far as Golspie and Dornoch.

“You’re looking at more than quarter of a million pounds in accommodation alone and overall I reckon they will be putting a couple of million into the economy.”

Lybster Community Centre has served as the crew’s catering HQ while ground beside the village football pitch has served as the vehicle parking base.

Jo Garrett, who has a number of the crew staying in her guesthouse in Latheronwheel, said: “It’s given a nice extra boost at the end of the season.

“It’s also put the area in the spotlight and provided a real talking point.”

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