Thursday, November 18, 2010

HMS Ark Royal, final voyage to Scotland.

This is what we had come to see. HMS Ark Royal, the third in the Invincible class of light aircraft carriers.

She was launched in 1981 and commissioned in 1985. She weighs 22,000 tons and measures 210m by 36m.

She can carry up to 18 Harrier GR 6/7 aircraft. Her ramp is steeper (than that of her two earlier sister ships) to enhance the Harriers' take off performance. She is currently flagship of the Royal Navy fleet.

 Here she is  moored at Glenmallan pier in Loch Long to off load her armaments.

There is an exclusion zone that extends all round Glenmallan, almost to the far side of the loch! When munitions are being loaded or unloaded it is patrolled by a naval launch and so we made a point of sticking to the far shore. I wasn't sure if photography would be exactly welcomed and my white barrelled Canon L telephoto lens  is not exactly inconspicuous. I tended to take photos when other boats were traversing the edge of the exclusion zone and distracting the patrol boat!

Sadly HMS Ark Royal is to be decommissioned...

...and so we said our farewells to this fine ship. We were glad that we had managed to kayak past her on her final trip in Scottish waters.


  1. Espionage is tricky business Douglas!

    Tony :-)

  2. The Ark Royal came here and my friends ignored the exclusion zone!! See here for the piccies and report!

  3. Hello Tony, the Navy are very sensitive about sea kayakers in the Clyde. In the 1960's Hamish Gow used a kayak in a CND protest against Polaris nuclear submarines. He tried and climb the anchor chain of an American Navy supply ship in the Holy Loch.

    Hello Mary, I saw that report :o). The exclusion area at Glenmallan is not just about the warship, it's about the loading and unloading of munitions which may be nuclear. There are patrol boats constanly on guard whenever a ship is being loaded.

  4. You will also have been photographed from probably somewhere in the woods... a couple of sniper teams will have been on duty... Mug-shots taken & recorded..

  5. We were out on Loch Long a week too early, alas. Even so, we were stopped by the MOD Police patrol vessel and asked where we were going. Apparently we did not appear to pose a threat and were told to "have a nice day". Another Police vessel approached as we finished lunch on the shore, but they were happy just to buzz past after stopping to observe something interesting in the water near us. I dare say security was being ramped up in preparation for the Ark's visit.

    What you need is a nice little discreet waterproof camera ... ;) :D

  6. Mike you are so right, the bushes were rustling! Glad it was just sniper cameras and not rifles!


    Pam, you are not suggesting I get my Optio out of its drawer are you?