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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 13:41 GMT
Royal surprise at mountain hostel
Braich Goch bunkhouse
The royal visit to the hostel was said to be 'informal'
Owners of a hostel in north Wales have spoken of their surprise when Prince William arrived with a group of mountain rescue trainees.

The Prince had been taking part in a two-week exercise with the RAF at the Valley base in Anglesey.

He and 20 other trainees stayed at the Braich Goch bunkhouse in Corris, near Machynlleth, for five days.

Ann Bottrill and Andy Williams said they found out about their royal guest just an hour before his arrival.

The couple regularly host groups from the RAF at their 26-bed bunkhouse near Cader Idris, but all they were told about the expected group was it was "something special".

"We had about an hour's warning," Mrs Bottril told BBC Wales' news website. "It was a very nice surprise and we didn't have to panic for too long."

Prince William
The prince is to enter Sandhurst military academy in 2006

She said media coverage of the prince's visit to north Wales had led them to suspect what the nature of the "special" visit might be.

Although security was tight, the visit was kept informal with the pair advised to call the prince by his first name and treat him the same as the other guests.

The rescue trainees spent one night during the Monday to Friday visit camping out on nearby Cader Idris.

During another night, William mingled with locals in the bar after playing darts, pool and table skittles.

Mrs Bottril described the prince as "charming" and said he did his share of cooking and cleaning during his stay.

"Security was tight, but not overbearing. The locals were a bit put out because we didn't tell them about our royal visitor. But we just couldn't," she said.

"Prince William was charming and we felt at ease throughout his stay.

"We have told him that there will always be a welcome here at the Braich Goch, even if we do change the name to Royal Braich Goch."

Mr Williams added: "Prince William watched a DVD of the Wales v Barbarians 1978 match and seemed to know his rugby."

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