Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seeking shelter in Brodick Bay.

As the Arran ferry, MV Caledonian Isles, approached her terminal at the head of Brodick Bay, the snow covered mountains crowded round us and the sea in their lee flattened.

Lying at anchor, in front of the decorative turrets of Brodick castle, we saw an unusual ship. She was the MV Hartland Point. One of a fleet of six Royal Fleet Auxiliary Point class sealift ships. These are RoRo cargo and personnel vessels. When not being used for Royal Navy purposes, they can be contracted out for commercial trading and ferry duties. Hartland Point was the second of the class to enter service in 2002, after being built at the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast. She displaces 23,235 tons and can cruise at 18 knots with a maximum speed of 21.5knots . She is 193m long, 26m beam and 7.6m draught.

Like us sea kayakers, the MV Hartland Point was taking shelter in Brodick Bay, which is sheltered from the prevailing SW winds. She was waiting to berth at the MOD Glenmallan jetty (alt. Glen Mallen) in Loch Long before making her way across the Atlantic to Becancour in Canada's St Lawrence River system. Glenmallan jetty is licenced to handle up to 44,000kg of explosives at any one time.

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