Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth makes first visit to west coast of Scotland

Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·3-min read

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has visited western Scotland for the first time.

The fleet flagship arrived at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty at Glen Mallan, in Loch Long, on Monday as part of final preparations before her first operational deployment.

The £3 billion vessel, which was assembled at Rosyth in Fife, has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trialling her latest equipment.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of the Royal Navy’s fleet to visit the new £64 million facility, built at Glen Mallan by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

HMS Queen Elizabeth
The vessel is designed to operate up to 40 strike aircraft (MOD/PA)

Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, said: “We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British engineering and craftsmanship, including Scottish shipbuilding, and it is a privilege to return to her birthplace of Scotland.”

Operated by Defence Equipment and Support through Defence Munitions, the Northern Ammunition Jetty is specifically designed to support the surface fleet, allowing them to continue entering and berthing at Glen Mallan.

This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited western Scotland, after she became a familiar sight in the Firth of Forth where she was assembled.

She berthed at the jetty for a routine loading of operational stores.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth has a very proud affiliation to Scotland and it is only fitting she returns before her first operational deployment later this year.

“The £64m investment into the new Northern Ammunition Jetty reaffirms our commitment to supporting our core capabilities and defence estate across all corners of the UK.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail for Portsmouth at the end of the month, and will deploy to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and East Asia later this year, as part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

The 65,000 tonne carrier is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft and is primarily used to launch F35 strike aircraft.

Authorities have warned that drones and aircraft must not be flown in the vicinity of the ship due to operational security.

Police Scotland tweeted: “Please be advised that for the duration that HMS Queen Elizabeth is visiting Glen Mallan, no aircraft are allowed to fly within three nautical miles of the ship and below 6,000 feet within the three nautical mile radius.

“Drones must not fly within three nautical miles either; this includes while the ship is travelling to and from the harbour.”

They added: “If anyone sees someone flying near to the ship, or preparing a drone for flight near the ship, they should contact Police Scotland on 999.”