Prince Charles picks Highland Games over the London Olympics


PRINCE Charles will be umpiring a “tug o war” competition at a highland games near John O’Groats as the rest of the royals attend the Olympic Games in London.

The Duke of Rothesay will be almost 700 miles away at the Mey Highland Games in Caithness as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will be watching the 2012 London games.

Organisers of the Mey games did not expect Charles to be in attendance this year due to the Olympics.

Prince Charles will be spending the week in Caithness on holiday


But the Prince insisted he was coming so he could keep up the memory of his late grandmother, the Queen mother.

Other strongman events such as tossing the caber and putting the shot will be watched and umpired by Charles at the Mey Games on Saturday.

However, on the same day, the Duke will be missing the opportunity to cheer on some of Britain’s best medal hopefuls.

These include favourites Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres, Britain’s men’s coxless four, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and triathlete Helen Jenkins.

Charlie Simpson, President of the Highland Games committee, said:
“It’s very good that he’s coming, it really keeps things going up here.

“He has been coming for about ten years now, since his grandmother died.”

He added: “I think he really likes it here. He can just wonder about by himself and nobody can bother him.

“Stone throwing, a weight throw, Highland dancing, solo piping and track events will also take place at the traditional event this weekend.

The Mey Games is one of three Highland Games held annually in Caithness. The biggest games are held in Halkirk, south of Thurso.

A spokeswoman for Clarence House confirmed that the Duke would be attending the Mey Games but said it was a “private visit.”

Charles met a small crowd of people yesterday who gathered outside Keiss church where he attended on the first day of his week’s holiday in Caithness.

He arrived at Wick airport on a royal flight on Saturday and is staying at the Castle of Mey.

Charles has engagements today at the office of North Highland Initiative and Wick harbour at a farm at Sibster and at Castletown-he will open two 19th century restored flagstone cottages.

The cottages-known as ‘backies’- are the last two former quarry workers’ cottages that have survived in the village without being largely altered. The pair have remained redundant since in 1960s.

Once the two cottages are re-opened they will be used as a base for staff from the North Highlands Initiative and available for holiday lets from September this year.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust brought the cottages back to life along with the village’s heritage trust and local residents.

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