Prince Charles has officially opened his own restaurant and gift shop in Ballater, and said he hopes it will give a village a boost after it was devastated by floods.
Charles and Camilla, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, paid a visit on Tuesday evening to open the Highgrove restaurant and shop.
The venture has been named the Rothesay Rooms, and it is hoped it will not only attract visitors to the area, but also provide young people with training in the kitchen.
Plans were revealed for the Rothesay Rooms in July, however workers managed to complete the building project in just five weeks.
The “pop-up” initiative to breathe new life into the derelict former Co-op on Netherley Place is part of Charles’ Ballater Flood Appeal, which since launching in January has raised £160,000.
More than 300 homes and 60 businesses in the village were devastated during Storm Frank when the River Dee overflowed on December 30.
Guests at the opening included private donors who contributed to the flood appeal and local business owners and councillors.
Charles told the group that the whole idea for the project stemmed from a comment made by local butcher, Barry Florence, following the floods.
He said that during a visit to HM Sheridans on Bridge Street, Mr Florence had asked him “why don’t you put a Highgrove Shop in Ballater?”
Prior to Camilla revealing a plaque to mark the visit, Charles said: “That is what really started this whole idea. It was entirely due to my going into Sheridan’s butchers to see how they were getting on.
“There has been a lot of effort in the last six months or so since the disastrous floods that did so much damage to poor old Ballater.
“(I hope) this particular restaurant and shop will help to give a little boost to Ballater, particularly in the off-season.
“I am hoping we may be able to use the kitchen facilities here as part of a skills training for young people.”
Guy Fenton – who will be head chef for the first six months of the enterprise – said the focus would be on “sustainability” and locally-sourced produce.
The restaurant will open in November to allow for the recruitment of members of staff, whilst the attached Highgrove Shop will open at the end of this month.