Duke and Duchess given warm Highland welcome during Isle of Skye visit

The hills were alive with the sound of music as renowned Gaelic singer, Robert Robertson, entertained The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, during a visit to Portree on the Isle of Skye.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay were serenaded with a Gaelic song during a visit to the Isle of Skye on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess, who were visiting Skye for the first time since 2009, toured the island capital Portree where they were treated to a performance by award-winning Mòd Gold Medallist Robert Robertson in front of the spectacular backdrop of Ben Tianavaig.

The Royal couple also enjoyed a tipple of local gin, and sampled some fish and chips at the harbour.

The Duke and Duchess were greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Joanie Whiteford who took them on a guided tour around the town as they gained a first-hand insight into the how the local community was moving forward from the pandemic.

The visit began at Skye Skyns, where the Duke and Duchess were shown around the only remaining commercial woolskin tanner in Scotland by the company’s founding director Lydia Hartwell and presented with a sheepskin gift.

Skye Skyns marketing director Jessica Hartwell shakes hands with the Duke of Rothesay before the duke and duchess’ tour of the shop.

Their next stop took them to the design shop ÒR, where they were met by owner Jen Pearson, her husband Andy Tait, and their ten-week-old baby Laurie. Ms Pearson, whose business benefited from a Prince’s Trust loan, thanked the Duke for the support. The Royal couple received a vase made from sand from Talisker beach on the island and a pair of coralline earrings.

“They were both very nice and relaxed, and asked how the business had been doing, Charles was asking about the different designers we worked with and joked that he might have a job getting the Duchess out of the shop,” Ms Pearson told the Free Press

ÒR shop owner Jen Pearson, her husband Andy Tait, and their 10-week-old son Laurie, gave the Duke and Duchess a warm welcome during the royal visit.

The Duke and Duchess were piped into Portree’s Somerled Square by the Drum Major of the Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Peter MacDonald, and young award-winning piper Archie MacLean as they greeted a now large crowd.

Their Royal Highness spent a generous amount of time mingling with the well-wishers who were visiting the island from elsewhere in Scotland, the UK, and further afield.

Indeed East Yorkshire couple Nigel and Gillian Jessop enjoyed a conversation with the Duke, who took a particular shine to their dachshund while making his way through the square.

Meanwhile, Sabrina and Reza, who had travelled to the island “on a whim” having come to Scotland from Sri Lanka, described meeting the Duke and Duchess as an “honour”.

The Duke and the Duchess of Rothesay enjoy a chat with locals and tourists as they walk along Somerled Square in Portree.

Further stops included The Isle of Skye Soap Company, where business owner Fiona Meiklejohn presented a gift of two soaps boxes, and the Isle of Skye Distillers gin school where the Duke sampled some raspberry gin and spoke to co-owners and brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson.

The Royal tour continued down at Portree harbour, designed by Thomas Telford in early 1800s.

There they enjoyed a performance by decorated singer Robert Robertson. The Royal National Mòd Gold medallist captivated the Duke and Duchess as he sang two songs in Gaelic.

Commenting after his special performance, Robert Robertson told the Free Press: “One of the songs actually describes looking over from the Western Isles to Skye and seeing the Cuillin Hills and the mist. I thought that would be a good story to tell.”

The renowned Gaelic singer from Lochaber, who is front man for Tide Lines, added: “It wasn’t nerve-wrecking, the Duke and Duchess have a really down to earth way about them. And because they have attended the Royal National Mòd, they have a real interest in that, and in Gaelic.

“It just felt like a really nice conversation, and it was a real pleasure.”

Afterwards, the Duke and Duchess stopped for bite to eat at the harbour courtesy of Portree fisherman Dan Corrgiall whose shop served up two fish suppers for their Royal Highnesses to enjoy.

Fish and chips on the pier were the order of the day for the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay during a visit to Portree, as large crowds gathered to see the couple.

The visit came to a close at the end of the pier, where their Royal Highnesses spoke with local councillors and a wide range of first responders who played a vital role within the community during the pandemic, before chatting to members of the Portree RNLI crew who have responded to 19 callouts this year.

The Duke and Duchess departed Portree with their next destination Dunvegan Castle for a meeting with the Chief of the Clan MacLeod.

This article originally reported that the RNLI had responded to 90 callouts this year, however, the number was in fact 19 – the report has since been updated.

Article by Adam Gordon and images by Willie Urquhart.