Royal seal for Dounreay’s place in Highland history

Royal seal for Dounreay’s place in Highland history

Prince Charles has set the royal seal of approval on a £4 million project that secures the story of Dounreay in the history of the Highlands.

He officially opened Scotland’s newest five-star visitor attraction, Caithness Horizons, in front of an audience of invited guests who included representatives from the site.

Dounreay is closing down but the remarkable story of an area of non-descript farmland on Scotland’s north coast that became a global centre of energy research in the 20th century will live on in Caithness Horizons.

An exhibition about the site forms part of the community-led redevelopment of the town hall and museum in the nearby town of Thurso.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the UK Atomic Energy Authority made substantial contributions  towards the redevelopment.

A visitor centre that operated beside Dounreay for more than 40 years closed down in 2006 and was demolished as part of the site closure programme.

Since Caithness Horizons opened in 2008 it has proved extremely popular with both the local community and tourists alike and has already far exceeded its predicted visitor numbers for the entire year.

Philip Colville, financial director of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, is also a director of Caithness Horizons Ltd, the community-led company behind the venture.

He said: "I believe that Caithness Horizons is a very valuable asset for the local community and promotes what the county has to offer. As one guest said when we opened, this is the sort of facility that one might expect in London or Paris, so today celebrates the years of hard work of many people since the idea was conceived.”