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The Prince of Wales and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Dumfries House

5th April 2013

The Prince of Wales and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Dumfries House

The Prince of Wales and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Dumfries House

The Prince of Wales was joined by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today during the opening of a new outdoor centre at Dumfries House.

His Royal Highness has led a regeneration project at Dumfries House in Ayrshire since 2007.

Hundreds of locals and 600 members of youth groups including the Girl Guides and Scouts turned out for the official opening of the Tamar Manoukin Outdoor Centre.

As The Prince prepared to address the crowd, The Duke rubbed his cold hands and joked with his father to "make it brief".

Gwen McLelland, 68, lives near the 18th Century home and took her nine-year-old granddaughter Eve Park along to see Their Royal Highnesses.

She said: "The Duchess thanked us for coming out in the cold and we told her it was worth it."

The Prince, who is known as The Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, remarked on the freezing conditions himself, telling the crowd "many people are probably about to pass out".

He said he was "enormously grateful" to the Manoukian Foundation for funding the outdoor centre and its 10-obstacle assault course, but that he would not be attempting it himself.

"I told them I'm far too old," he told the guests.

Dumfries House and its adjoining land were bought by a consortium led by The Prince and which has overseen major renovation work in the last six years. The outdoor centre is the latest addition and houses up to 52 young people.

Members of the youth services already have the venue booked every weekend until December. Local young people have access to the centre during the week.

Among the groups at the event were the Boys' and Girls' Brigade and the Sea, Army and Air Cadets. The Prince created the umbrella organisation Youth United in 2009 to promote the young people's associations.

Youth United chief executive Rod Jarman said it aimed to make at least one of the groups available to every young person in the UK, with a particular focus on deprived areas.

Northern Scotland's most senior sea cadet, Hannah Strachan from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, met The Prince and The Duke who asked the 17-year-old about her time with the cadets.

"They were really friendly," she said. "I think it's great they came today, it shows that they know we are here."

Stephen Kay, head of education and training at Dumfries House, said the assault course was designed to test critical thinking, problem solving, and to encourage people to work as a team. The estate already boasts an art studio and a hospitality training centre.

Mr Kay said: "It's all part of The Prince's vision of getting people out and into activities.

"To have him and The Duke and Duchess here today has been great. The young people have got the chance to see there's a lot of interest in what we're doing here."

The visit ended with a flypast by two Typhoons of 6 squadron RAF Leuchars - the base near St Andrews where The Duke and Duchess met as university students.

The couple will later visit Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where they will meet the Naval crew of Astute Class nuclear submarine Artful.

Their Royal Highnesses at Dumfries House

Their Royal Highnesses at Dumfries House