Prince Charles comments on row over Gaelic in Caithness
The Duke of Rothesay has commented on the row over the use of Gaelic in Caithness while attending the Royal National Mod taking place in Thurso.
The first Mod in Caithness was not opposed, but there have been arguments against public spending on bilingual English/Gaelic road signs in the area.
Place names in the far north are said to have more links with Norse heritage.
Addressing the Mod, Prince Charles said he would question suggestions Gaelic has no direct relevance to Caithness.
It is the first time Scotland's biggest festival of Gaelic language and culture has been held in the far north.
In recent years local councillors have opposed Highland Council's roll-out of bilingual road signs arguing that the money would be better spent on other services.
They have said their opposition was not anti-Gaelic and they were listening to local views.
Prince Charles told the Mod that he understood there has been debate on Gaelic's historic place in Caithness.
He said: "The suggestion has been made that the language has little, or no, direct relevance in this part of the world.
"If I may, I might just gently question that view.
"I would suggest Gaelic, like any other language or culture, belong to all the people and communities of a nation whether they or not they actively involved with it."