Prince Charles visits Ross-shire textile and pottery business


Prince Charles has officially opened a new warehouse at a Ross-shire business known for making textiles and pottery.

The Duke of Rothesay, as he is known in Scotland, met members of staff at ANTA Scotland, by Fearn, as he walked around the new £500,000 complex.

Prince Charles with director Annie Stewart (centre) and Rhiannon Laing during a visit to Anta home furnishings in Fearn, Scotland
(Jane Barlow/PA)

The company employs about 40 staff at the site - many of them young employees who have been trained since leaving school.

Owners Annie and Lachlan Stewart opened their first shop in London in 1984, but six years later returned home to the Highlands to start making their products - all of which are sourced and made in Scotland.

At the end of his tour the Duke, a patron for The Campaign For Wool, said: "I am very pleased to open this wonderful new factory. I am such an admirer of what you do here and I do hope this factory gives you more scope for all your exports."

The Prince of Wales
(Jane Barlow/PA)

ANTA's e-commerce manager Heather Robertson said: "In terms of local employment we are hugely important. It supports the whole community and certainly with the opening of a new factory, about a dozen more jobs have been created. The important thing is that it's providing training and skilled labour in the local manufacturing industry."

The Duke spoke firstly with staff in the textiles team as they demonstrated how they make products such as bags, seats and rugs.

Textiles technician Vincent Kilcollins has been working for ANTA for nearly two years and moved from the USA to be with his family, who are from the area.

The Prince of Wales
(Jane Barlow/PA)

He said: "As well as talking to the Duke about the process of making the rugs, we spoke about the military. He served on HMS Norfolk and I was based out of Norfolk, Virginia, so we had that commonality."

The Duke also met ceramics decorator Jane Swanson, who has worked for ANTA for 14 years.

She said: "He commented on how marvellous it was that we managed to paint such straight lines on the pottery. I said to him it's down to years of practice. This new building has made a huge difference. We have all of these windows along the side of the building now which makes it far brighter, and there is just a lot more space."

On Friday, the Duke will visit Wick Sheriff Court to mark its 150th anniversary, and a new business in the town which sustainably harvests seaweed on the Caithness coast.