THE Prince of Wales yesterday visited Cromarty on the north-east tip

of the Black Isle to see what has been described as the jewel in the

crown of Scottish vernacular architecture.

Cromarty had been created a Royal Burgh around 1200 but lost its

status 600 years later. The Prince, however, had been invited by the

trustees of the award-winning Cromarty Courthouse Museum which was his

first port of call.

He then visited the various seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth

century buildings still inhabited in Cromarty: these included the house

in which Cromarty's most famous son, polymath Hugh Miller was born.

The local community turned out to wave him off on ''The King's Ferry''

from Cromarty to Nigg, the first royal prince to use it in 500 years.

This was used many times by James IV as he travelled to Tain.

Meanwhile, the Queen was at Holyrood Park yesterday where she

presented a new Standard to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

The regiment was praised for its actions as the Queen told Commanding

Officer Lieutenant Colonel Simon Allen: ''You have played a substantial

part in bringing the Cold War to an end.''