The first day was a real treat as we were sailing past the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in company with HMS Dasher, another P2000. As we sailed around her, her commander invited us on board and we became her first visitors since she was launched. Our whirlwind tour took us up to the bridge, the aircraft hangar (which is bigger than a football pitch) and one of the systems control rooms before we had to leave to sail to the Orkney Islands.
In Orkney we took part in the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of HMS Vanguard, a St Vincent class dreadnought battleship that had served in the battle of Jutland. On the 9th July 1917 in Scapa Flow her magazine supply exploded killing nearly everyone on board. From our small role in the proceedings it was clear to see that the tragic accident still has a powerful effect on the relatives of those who lost their lives and those who live on the island.
For the rest of our trip around the west coast of Scotland we were in company with HMS Dasher, Bristol URNU’s affiliated ship which had travelled from Lands’ End all the way to John O’Groats. Sailing past the stunning scenery of Cape Wrath and the Kyle of Lochalsh, arguably one of the world’s most stunning natural environments, our final stop was Portrush where we bid farewell to HMS Dasher and headed back to Scotland to conclude the year’s summer deployment.