The Dive Centre today welcomed HRH The Earl of Wessex, who arrived in Lochaline by helicopter at 1230pm. After being introduced to Mark & Annabel, HRH was treated to a beautiful gaelic song by the children of Lochaline Primary School on the old pier, before being greeted by Sea Cadets.
HRH was then invited by Annabel to meet various groups and individuals within the marquee on the pier, which included the staff and visiting divers (fresh from the sea!) staying at the Dive Centre and representatives of the Sound of Mull Artificial Reef Trust (SMART). HRH was intrigued by the idea of sinking a decommissioned naval vessel in the Sound, and immediately recognised the potential benefits such a project would bring by boosting marine tourism in the area. Also present in the marquee were representatives of HIE and LEADER, both of which contributed funds along with the Dive Centre to the recently completed SMART Feasibility Study which puts a very strong business case forward for the artificial reef project. HRH also met representatives from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Historic Scotland, Northern Lighthouse Board, Scottish Sea Farms, Morvern Community Development Company, Morvern Community Council, Morvern Heritage Society, Morvern Community Woodlands and the Lochaline Primary School Parent Council, before being invited to unveil a plaque commemorating the visit.
HRH was then invited for lunch at the Dive Centre (thankyou Gordon!) where Mark & Annabel’s three daughters Otilie, Floriana & Verity, at last managed to sit down & eat with a real Prince!
A big thanks to all those who attended, the various community groups, HIE, and to Molly, Andy, Alan, Robin, Emily, Claire & Gordon for all your help today.