6.00am start for Glasgow to catch the stern and last section of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier being taken out of BAE System at Govan on the Clyde, piggybacking on the huge AMT Trader barge, the second biggest in the world and under tow.
It was a beautiful morning on the river, mistily painterly early on, looking upriver to Zaha Hadid’s Riverside Transport Museum and the tall ship Glenlee on the north bank, with the Science Museum and the revolving tower to the south.
The air and the water were utterly still, the cranes doubled in size; with the carrier section on the barge looking surprisingly modest against the scale of the engineering scene that has created her.
It didn’t take her long to reassert her superiority.
But she didn’t move. Even the gulls were waiting for the moment.
And where were the tugs?
Others arrived, cameras ready and with good conversation on what the river used to be like, with all the yards busy and the slipways full; how the old unionised attitudes killed the goose; the size of the last big ship to be built at Govan – the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry; and where the best place on both sides of the river are to catch something like this on the move. Interestingly, the the order for two new North Sea Ferries ships was split, with each of the two operating companies ordering one. The English company ordered theirs on the Clyde; with their Dutch sister company ordering from Japan.
Still no tugs and she was due to move out in ten minutes.
A cyclist wheeled up [enviably serious bike], with the news that she wasn’t now going to leave today, but might go on Wednesday. That explained the ‘late’ arrival of the tugs.
On the way back, always looking for good vantage points, the camera caught an ocean going anchor handler, the Carlo Magno, tucked into a dock round a corner, looking as if she was hanging around, waiting for something. And perhaps she was. She came into the Clyde on Saturday from Rotterdam.
All will be revealed on Wednesday, or…
BAE Systems have since told us that although this morning they still intended to move her out, they had to stand the operation down because the weather forecast for the next few days, en route round to Rosyth, is not good.
We’ll keep you posted.