HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Firth of Forth :: Shared Description

The last large part, known as Lower Block 04 [weighing 11300 tonnes, 86 m long, 40 m wide and 23 m high, and with the carrier's two main engine rooms, the sick bay and quarters for some of the 1,500 sailors and air group personnel who will serve in her], was built on the Clyde by BAE Systems and is now heading to Rosyth to be joined to the other bits. It left the Clyde on Sunday 4 November, towed by the tugs ‘BB Troll’ and ‘Carlo Magno’, part of the Augusta fleet. It was originally going to go round the north of Scotland but as a result of the weather forecast it was decided to take it the long way round, through the English Channel [2280km]. The tow was off Girvan at midnight on 4 Nov.; on Tuesday 6 they were in St George’s Channel between St David’s and Rosslare at 0200, and rounding Land’s End at 1800 that evening; abeam the Isle of Wight on Wed. evening; by Thursday morning [8 Nov.] the tow was passing between Folkestone and Calais, and early Saturday morning it was off the Yorkshire coast, and arrived in the Firth of Forth early Sunday morning 11 Nov. BB Troll left the tow early Sunday morning and Carlo Magno handed over to three Forth tugs off Hound Point to take it the last 3km to Rosyth, passing under the Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge at about midday.

Here’s a bit made earlier - this could be part of the front NT0982 : Here's a bit we made earlier..., and other bits are also parked at the dockyard NT0982 : 'HMS Queen Elizabeth'.

Another large part, the 'forward island', in its finished state, with windows and final paint finish and weighing 700t, was towed from Portsmouth where it was built to Rosyth, in February 2013, arriving at Rosyth on 11 February 2013. It was towed by the tug 'Keverne', built in 2006, 32m x 12m and 393t gross wt. The tow [550 miles = 885km] took 4 days at the stately pace of about 5kt [ca 9km/h], and 'Keverne' handed over to the two Forth tugs 'Forth' and 'Oxcar' downstream from the Forth Bridges.

The final large part, the aft section, the centre for on-board flight operations, was constructed at Scotstoun on the Clyde and transported to Rosyth. It left the Clyde on 16 June 2013 and arrived in the Firth of Forth on 21 June 2013 after a tow around the north of Scotland by the tug 'Keverne'. For some reason, in the early hours of 18 June, while passing through the Pentland Firth, it executed a 6km long loop - perhaps the crew had got a bit bored! It is 30 m high and weighs 750 tonnes.


After various delays the ship finally left Rosyth Dockyard on 26 June 2017, for sea trials and then to Portsmouth. After much uncertainty and rumour, without any official news, that the ship would leave sometime between 21-24 June, a departure that depended on a high spring tide to leave dock and low tide to pass under the Forth bridges, it was finally announced that it would leave dock on 26 June [high tide 1731] and pass under the bridges - low tide was 2329, and the ship passed under the Forth Bridge at 2348...a low-key departure under cover of darkness, which seemed a pity for what one might expect would be the pride of the British Navy. A lot of people collected at various viewpoints to see its departure. Its emergence from the dockyard provided good views, but it was then moored well away until it moved forward to pass under the bridges, led and followed by tugs, and accompanied by a clatter of helicopters above. The ship was in darkness, apart from a few navigation lights, so it was only visible from the sodium flood lighting of the Forth Bridge as it quietly passed through as midnight approached, so a bit of an anti-climax - a public relations faux pas, given the interest and local capital invested in the ship over the years it was being built? I know it was tide-dependent, but surely 12 hours earlier or later would have been manageable without any great hindrance to the already delayed programme. It was also rumoured that it would moor off Kirkcaldy, but it proceeded straight to the mouth of the Forth where, in the morning it was beginning its trials.
by M J Richardson
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72 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

NT1379 : HMS Queen Elizabeth passes Queensferry by M J Richardson
NT0982 : 'HMS Queen Elizabeth', 2 April 2017 by M J Richardson
NT1279 : AMT Trader barge and Forth Bridge by M J Richardson
NT1279 : Aircraft Carrier Alliance by M J Richardson
NT0982 : HM Naval Base, Rosyth  by M J Richardson
NT1279 : North Queensferry and the AMT Trader by M J Richardson
NT1379 : The tug 'Deerhound' by M J Richardson
NT0982 : Helicopter fly past for two Queens by M J Richardson
NT0981 : Rosyth dockyard by M J Richardson
NT1379 : Forth Bridge from the Road Bridge by M J Richardson
NT0982 : HM Naval Base, Rosyth by M J Richardson
NT1279 : Firth of Forth at North Queensferry by M J Richardson
NT1180 : 'HMS Queen Elizabeth' and a Forth bridge by M J Richardson
NT1181 : 'HMS Queen Elizabeth' in St Margaret's Hope by M J Richardson
NT1379 : AMT Trader and the Forth Bridge by M J Richardson
NT1180 : R08 - 'HMS Queen Elizabeth' by M J Richardson
NT1279 : Port Edgar Marina by M J Richardson
NT0982 : Rosyth Dockyard from the air by M J Richardson
NT1279 : Going under the bridge by M J Richardson
NT1279 : Tugs in the Firth of Forth by M J Richardson
NT1279 : The tug 'Oxcar' by M J Richardson
NT1379 : Three tugs and a barge by M J Richardson
NT1379 : HMS Queen Elizabeth by M J Richardson
NT1180 : 'HMS Queen Elizabeth' and The Queensferry Crossing by M J Richardson
NT1278 : Forth Bridge from the Forth Road Bridge by M J Richardson

... and 47 more images.

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Created: Sun, 11 Nov 2012, Updated: Tue, 27 Jun 2017

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2012 M J Richardson, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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