Queen meets ‘mischievous’ duck on visit to city farm

The Queen visited a city farm in Edinburgh where she met volunteers and was joined on a tour by a "cheeky duck who thinks she's a human".

Concluding her week of royal engagements in Scotland with a visit to Gorgie City Farm, the "very interested" monarch spoke to volunteers, staff and community groups who use the farm.

She was taken on a tour of the farm, where she was shown a range of animals and was presented with gifts and flowers grown in the gardens.

During her walk through the animal enclosures, the Queen was accompanied by one of the farm's most-loved residents – a duck named Olive, who has been known to wander out of the farm and get on a bus in the city.

Farm worker Maia Gordon escorted the "mischievous" duck ahead of the monarch and told her about Olive's attempts to board buses in the city.

Ms Gordon, 25, said: "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and a bizarre moment.

"I never thought I'd be meeting the Queen and walking a duck with her but it was brilliant, lots and lots of fun.

"She asked me a little bit about how long Olive had been here, how old she was and she asked me a little bit about my day-to-day job, which was lovely.

"She seemed really interested in the farm and everything that we do."

The four-year-old duck "is not very keen on the rabbits and guinea pigs but loves people and thinks she is a human being," Ms Gordon explained.

She said: "She used to be a free-range duck but kept on trying to make her way down to the bus stop and once made it on to the number 25 bus and had to be escorted back to the farm by the rather confused driver.

"She goes for a walk every day with volunteers and staff members because she loves to get out and about.

"Visitors adore her and she's a bit of a favourite at the farm."

The Queen's visit to the farm, which was saved from closure after a huge fundraising campaign in 2016, was described as a "great honour and recognition" by its chief executive Iain Herbert.

Mr Herbert said: "Everybody's inspired by her coming here and I think it's recognition of the work our volunteers do.

"The farm's been here for 40 years and it's had good times and bad times but today's visit was a great honour and recognition and it gives that inspiration to the workers and volunteers, as well as being a real privilege.

"The Queen was very interested and was talking about the animals, their welfare and understanding about people working with the animals.

"She had lots of questions about the chickens on the way round."

On her tour, the Queen also stopped to speak to four women who were spinning wool from sheep on the farm.

The spinning group were formed alongside the creation of the farm and one member, Joan McGowan said: "She was delightful and so charming, so interested in what we were doing.

"I'm so honoured and happy that she stopped to talk to us."

Moira Black was one of the volunteers who handed a bunch of flowers to the Queen and spoke to her about having volunteered at the farm for 20 years.

Describing how she felt to meet the Queen, Ms Black said: "It was amazing, the best feeling in the whole world.

"I felt very privileged to meet her, very honoured. I've waited my whole life to meet her, ever since I could crawl and walk.

"My mother brought me up to love the Queen and I love her to bits."