Last December my best mate introduced me to the amazing experience that is QE2, the worlds most famous, and last, ocean going cruise liner. The weekend cruise that we went on was triggered by the news that QE2 was to be sold to Dubai to become a floating hotel.
Well this past weekend was QE2’s last ever visit to her home river, the Clyde. It was over 41 years ago the Queen Elizabeth II launched her and today the Clyde, and it’s people, showed QE2 a magnificent time as she came home.
My mate had booked tickets to do several cruises on the MV Balmoral; a morning trip to sail down the river and lead QE2 up to Greenock, a daytime trip to sail past while she was berthed and then an evening cruise to escort QE2 from the Clyde. I was really glad when he offered me one of the tickets for the morning and evening trips.
Sailing out of Greenock early on Sunday morning and going down the Clyde we knew that it was going to be a glorious day. For the last couple of weeks it has left that autumn had well and truly arrived in Scotland, but for one last day, the day QE2 was coming home, we had a final day of glorious summer sunshine.
My mate has made a complete page on his website for the day, I was using his video camera so all the shaky handed movies are my work, but his photos are amazing.
The flotilla of boats that were out there to meet QE2 was incredible, and included HMS Manchester, which gave the liner a military escort up the river, and at one point put the pedal to the metal (can you do that in a ship?) and showed some impressive charging through the water.
At Greenock, in fact all along the coast, the crowds came out to welcome and cheer QE2, lots of saltires and lion rampants were flying, from both ship and shore. I think it is fair to say that a lot of people around the Clyde, who remember the ship being launched or perhaps even worked on it, still that she belongs to them.
The evening sailaway was another amazing scene; fireworks going off over QE2 and still a fair few boats were out on the Clyde to escort her down past Toward and watch her sail off.