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Castle of Mey to feature in this weekend’s Royal Kitchen Gardens with TV celebrity chef Raymond Blanc

By Mike Merritt

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Raymond Blanc with Castle of Mey's head gardener Chris Parkinson in the peach house. Picture: PA/Rock Oyster Media
Raymond Blanc with Castle of Mey's head gardener Chris Parkinson in the peach house. Picture: PA/Rock Oyster Media

The Castle of Mey’s gardens are to feature on the small screen this weekend as Raymond Blanc’s Royal Kitchen Gardens visits Caithness.

Screening at 11.30am on ITV1 on Sunday, Raymond meets head gardener Chris Parkinson to discuss produce from the kitchen garden and the work on the estate.

Raymond’s second visit to the most northerly walled gardens finds him chatting to gardener Chris in the glass house about what it takes to grow produce in the blustery grounds, before making a comforting and quick ratatouille.

Stepping out of the castle and heading along the coast, Raymond visits Scrabster Harbour to meet a retired fisherman and discover what catches are coming into the busy port. He then celebrates his love of Scottish seafood by making langoustine with a herb butter.

“With many more delicious recipes, stunning scenery and memories shared of his time with His Majesty King Charles, this is an episode you won’t want to miss,” said the King’s Foundation.

The gardens at the Castle of Mey near John O’Groats were where the late Queen Mum was often at her happiest.

Keen gardener King Charles spends over a week at the Caithness castle every summer, and has even been making alterations in the retreat’s famous gardens, which were established by his grandmother, the late Queen Mother.

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who knew the Queen Mother well – and admits Mey is his favourite garden – has also donated a large collection of roses in the Shell Garden. Mr Titchmarsh is an honorary patron of the castle’s friends’ organisation.

Charles has also worked with head gardener Mr Parkinson on new layouts.

The Queen Mother first saw what was then known as Barrogill Castle in 1952, while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI.

Falling for its isolated charm and hearing that it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it.

Having acquired the most northerly-inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and also created beautiful gardens.

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