Centenarian Sandy Alexander and Prince Charles
Centenarian Sandy Alexander and Prince Charles

The Duke of Rothesay paid a visit to Ballater Caravan Park this week.

The park is managed and operated by Ballater Community Enterprise Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ballater (RD) Limited, a registered Scottish charity, which recently took over the running of the facility.

Prince Charles saw the new site offices and met directors and members of staff during a short tour.

John Anderson was there in his capacity as photographer and Royal correspondent for the Piper.

The Park was established by Ballater Town Council in the 1950s, subsequently transferred to Kincardine and Deeside, and then to Aberdeenshire Council.

It has fully serviced stances for 103 statics, 36 pitches for tourers, plus three camping areas and makes a substantial contribution to the local economy, benefiting shops, restaurants and the Golf Club.

Ballater (RD) Ltd is a community company which is registered as a charity.

When Aberdeenshire sought interest from community bodies to manage its caravan parks, the directors saw an opportunity to acquire an income-producing project to improve facilities, such as replacement of the old warden’s office, and to fund other community projects.

A 40-year lease of the park was obtained from Aberdeenshire in 2012 and two very successful seasons have now been completed, generating substantial surpluses.

The building housing the Wardens’ Office was formerly used by the Air Training Corps and, although of sentimental value to many local residents, it was unsuitable for present purposes and very energy inefficient.

It has been replaced by a timber clad building which will house the Wardens, Ballater (RD) and BCE offices, plus the laundry.

One complete, the pitch of the roof will support photo-voltaic panels, the green output of which will be fed into the grid and this should significantly reduce the energy costs.

Once the park has been improved to a satisfactory condition, all trading surpluses will be passed to the parent charity for funding of other community projects.