PRINCESS Anne, the Princess Royal, has performed official opening duties at the new Highland Rugby Club ground.
Hundreds of primary six pupils from schools throughout the Inverness area participated in a touch rugby festival on the ground’s new artificial surface and the Calcutta Cup, presented to Scotland captain John Barclay by the princess last month after the team’s win over England, was also on display.
The new clubhouse and 4G pitch was completed in December as part of the £55 million West Link development and the princess was shown around the facility yesterday by club chairman Andy Little.
Meeting many of the children, teachers and club officials in attendance, one of those she spoke to was Highland RFC’s club development officer, Iain Chisholm, who was delighted to see royalty getting involved in the opening.
"It’s great to see Princess Anne come down and actually wander about, I didn’t think she was going to have time to do that," he said.
"She’s obviously a patron of Scottish Rugby and it’s great to see her come round and engage with the kids. It’s not very often you get people of her calibre who will take the time and be genuinely interested."
Mr Chisholm was also impressed by her knowledge of the game from a coaching perspective.
"She’s quite knowledgeable about skills development and I was surprised to hear her talk about the game-based approach to coaching," he said.
"She was referring a lot to Scottish coaches Gregor Townsend and Ian McGeechan, talking about getting [kids] involved early in touch rugby, and seeing where they go from there."