The Princess Royal unveils new quay at Port of Cromarty Firth
The Port of Cromarty Firth has developed into one of Scotland’s leading cruise destinations, having welcomed 104 ships and over 167,000 passengers in 2019 - representing the busiest season recorded since we first welcomed cruise ships into the Cromarty Firth over 40 years ago. The season brought with it some of the world’s largest cruise ships, taking advantage of the Firth’s deep sheltered water and the incredible local tourist attractions. This activity has boosted the Highland economy by a massive £18m.
HRH The Princess Royal visited the Port of Cromarty Firth where she unveiled a plaque officially naming the new £50m expansion as ‘Quay West’.
The Princess Royal was welcomed aboard the pilot boat Dalmore for a tour of the Cromarty Firth and the Port’s facilities, before meeting staff and board members.
Quay West, which is made up of two new berths, offers a 372m quayside and an open laydown area of over 80,000sqm, making it one of the largest port laydown facilities of its kind in the UK.
The site will be able to accommodate the largest cruise vessels and major offshore wind components, such as turbine blades, tower sections and foundations - which in recent years have all dramatically grown in size.
Bob Buskie, Port of Cromarty Firth Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted HRH The Princess Royal could join us to officially name our latest expansion and at the same time tour our facilities to see first-hand our ambitious vision and commitment to securing the Port for future generations.”
During her guided tour Princess Anne, who is Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy, also visited the Queen’s Dock, which had been officially opened in 1987 by The Queen.
Port board member, Commodore Graham Peach, and Strategic Business Development Manager, Joanne Allday, who were delighted to be tour guides for the Royal visit, spoke about the Firth’s rich naval and energy history. This highlighted the Port’s journey serving the region and Scotland over the past four decades as a Trust Port, generating £275 million a year and supporting one in six jobs in the Invergordon area.
They also spoke about the Port’s leading cruise performance and world-class local supply chain, as well as its future ambition to become a strategic national renewable energy hub and Freeport Zone.
Before leaving the Port and while following COVID-19 guidelines, The Princess Royal spent time talking to staff and was presented with gifts from local shops, florists and distilleries.
Bob Buskie added: “Thanks must be given to all those involved in organising this fantastic event, particularly the Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Mrs Joanie Whiteford, and her predecessor, Mrs Janet Bowen CVO, who worked incredibly hard to make this visit happen.”