A striking viewing tower at the peak of Inverewe Gardens has been given the royal seal of approval during a visit by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.
Princess Anne was piped into the historic gardens by Pc Neil Rathbone shortly before noon before exploring the grounds accompanied by operations manager Kevin Frediani and head gardener Kevin Ball.
During her visit, Her Royal Highness saw the National Trust for Scotland’s latest investment, a spectacular 65ft observation tower below the High Viewpoint overlooking Loch Ewe.
In celebration of the milestone project, she unveiled a foundation stone in front of Trust members and volunteers.
Mr Frediani spoke of the interest she showed during the visit for how the historic vision came to fruition.
He said: “This is really a celebration, to actually have the royal visit allows us to tell the story of the investment we have made but it also allows us to make the connections with the volunteers and staff that are really the tory behind all this. The garden wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a vision of someone 160 years ago, the garden and the tower is a celebration of the future and connection between the people we have here.
“She was really interested in terms of our history, that pioneering vision that Osgood Mackenzie had and how we are trying to carry that on today. In terms of the house, because she hadn’t been in Inverewe house as it’s hadn’t been open to the public before, so she was really interested in the way we presented that and trying to tell the story and link back again to Mairi and in terms of those touch points with the new planting we are doing and how well they are growing.”
As part of the two-hour tour, Princess Anne met a host of staff and volunteers whilst visited the newly created Peace Plot exhibition – created in collaboration between Inverewe and the Gairloch Museum to commemorating the peacemaking at the end of the First World War.
She also presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland in commemoration of their conservation work.