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The Prince of Wales attends the National Sheep Association show at Dumfries House

6th June 2012

The Duke of Rothesay visits the National Sheep Association's biennial Scotsheep event at Dumfries House, Scotland

The Duke of Rothesay visits the National Sheep Association's biennial Scotsheep event at Dumfries House, Scotland

The Prince of Wales, known as The Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, got into the spirit of the National Sheep Association's flagship event as he arrived carrying a shepherd's crook.

His Royal Highness officially opened the biennial Scotsheep industry show which attracts thousands of farmers and other professionals.

This year's venue is Morrisons Farm in the grounds of Dumfries House in Cumnock, Ayrshire.

The Duke travelled to Scotland after appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the climax of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee events, and spent the night at the 18th Century stately home.

In his capacity as Great Steward of Scotland, The Duke of Rothesay headed a consortium of charities and heritage bodies which bought the house and its 2,000 acres of land in 2007.

In 2009, supermarket firm Morrisons embarked on a joint venture with The Duke to farm about half of the Dumfries House estate's land.

The Duke started his visit meeting staff in the Morrisons tent and sampling the freshly made treats on offer. After trying a piece of potato scone, he said he preferred to have them deep-fried.

Wearing a bunnet (flat cap) and black Argyll wellington boots, The Duke insisted he was not to blame for the day's wet weather - a reference to him recently having a go at reading the weather when he visited BBC Scotland's headquarters in Glasgow.

Dorothea Holland, 60, from Stranraer in Galloway, had her picture taken with The Duke.

She said she asked him how The Duke of Edinburgh was.

"He said he was doing well and thanked me for asking. He just said it was a shame that he hadn't been able to take part yesterday, and said they had all had a very busy few days.

"It was lovely to meet him and get a photo. He was very friendly and didn't mind at all."

The Duke viewed some of the 140 trade stands at the show, before officially opening the event.

He said: "I must say I am incredibly proud to be at Dumfries House and to be able to open Scotsheep 2012 in the farm.

"I'm particularly grateful to Morrisons who have played such an incredibly important role in bringing the farm back to life again - you should have seen it five years ago when I first arrived - and the fact that they have got involved has made an enormous difference to the whole place.

"Now, I claim no responsibility for the weather whatsoever, despite a few remarks about weather forecasting. But I am told that if it had been a nice day, then so many people wouldn't have turned up as you would have had something much more important to be doing in the sunshine. So, in a way, rain is a blessing.

"If I may, I would like to pay tribute to all those remarkable, resilient and unbelievably determined sheep farmers and cattle farmers all over this country, and particularly in Scotland, who contribute an enormous amount to this country's economy and its social and environmental future. You are a remarkable breed."

The Duke also visited Scotsheep's Wool Centre to hear about the Campaign for Wool, of which he is patron, and met Primary 6 pupils from the local Mauchline Primary School. The campaign is an industry initiative to expand the market for British and Commonwealth wool and to promote awareness of its environmental benefits.

His Royal Highness then watched a sheep being sheared and was given a spinning demonstration.

As he made his way around the arena, The Duke was handed gifts such as a framed tie and script from the National Sheep Association.

The Duke was also involved in launching the Mutton Renaissance campaign in 2004 to help sheep farmers sell older animals.

Scotsheep chairman Neale McQuistin said: "The practical, on-farm research work taking place on the Morrisons Farm at Dumfries House, which Prince Charles has initiated, will be of great interest to the thousands of visitors attending the event and will be of immense benefit to both the sheep and beef industries in the longer term."