An article by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, for the Winter 2016 issue of Dumfries House Magazine

The Duke of Rothesay at Dumfries House
The Duke of Rothesay at Dumfries House

"I can scarcely believe that this publication is on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust. What an astonishing amount has happened in the last decade! I look back to those very early days with immense relief at the extraordinary reality that we did, indeed, save the House and its marvellous contents, but then there was the frightening thought about the road ahead. First of all, the small matter of repaying the loan had to be dealt with and then, as we looked more closely at the House and the infrastructure, the challenge of discovering just how much needed to be done. As you will see in this publication, the restoration of the collection was at the forefront of everyone’s mind but, needless to say, rather more prosaic matters such as heating, lighting and hot and cold water were pretty important and needed to be fixed as well.

"The House very quickly began to take shape as rooms were restored and items of furniture were re-presented, thanks to some remarkably generous donors and sponsors. 

"The enthusiastic support from local people, and from our very first Guides, was incredibly heartwarming. Everyone exuded such a sense of optimism as to what could be achieved, but I could never have foreseen that this same optimism and enthusiasm would still be at the same high level ten years on. This project has been as much about people as it has about a physical place. The way that our local communities and our employees speak with such pride as to what has been achieved is enormously rewarding and wonderfully motivating.

Dumfries House

"As I walk around the estate now, I find it harder and harder to remember how it was without the paths and roads, the new planting and restored features – but, most of all, without the incredible array of buildings for education, recreation and training for future employment.

"Each time we tackled something it seemed it was the most important thing we had ever undertaken; such as the early days of the creation of the Coach House Café, the Visitor Centre, the Sawmill and the Laundry (which was a roofless ruin with trees growing out of the walls), not to mention the new buildings we erected to create the Cookschool and Engineering Centre. All rather paled into insignificance when we faced the task of restoring the Walled Garden which, in itself, turned out to be an amazing feat of engineering. Before long, the Temple was painstakingly being restored to its former glory at the same time as we witnessed the addition of the Bunkhouse and Sports Hall.

"This year, of course, was made even more special with the re-opening of New Cumnock Town Hall – the very first project in our heritage-led regeneration work in surrounding communities. Tantalisingly, the re-opening of a restored and rejuvenated New Cumnock Outdoor Swimming Pool is ahead of us for next year…!

"Of course, as I mentioned earlier, all of this is about people. We now have over 150 employees and thousands of individuals using the estate. My hope, therefore, is that this publication can help to involve a wider audience of supporters by providing an insight to all that happens on this estate and to its even more important outreach work."