Queen Elizabeth at South Queensferry
On the 4th September 2011, I had a feeling of déjà vu as I had stood on the same spot many years ago and taken photographs of the RMS Queen Mary 2. The sight was very similar, including the tones and colours of the sky and clouds.
Anchored on the Forth Estuary just downstream from the world famous Forth Railway Bridge, the passengers were ferried to shore and whisked off on trips to Edinburgh’s historic tourist destinations.
It seems a shame for the local shop keepers and residents whose lives are disrupted by parking restrictions to facilitate the visit, but who do not benefit as the visitors are whisked away to other places. Their normal trade is hindered and they don’t benefit.
Although the latest “Cunard Queens” were built abroad, Scotland has a proud heritage of shipbuilding the original fleet of Cunard liners and others. As modern cruise ships often visit here on the Forth or Clyde Estuaries there is usually a feeling of nostalgia for the glorious bygone age of the “Pride of the Clyde” along with a certain sadness that it has all but gone. I’m not sure what the ancients would make of the multi-deck ships reminiscent of massive floating condos, albeit extremely luxurious ones. At least the Cunard ships retain some of the old style & character, instantly recognisable as Cunard.
As well as shipbuilding Scotland has a history of great innovation and pioneering engineering technology. Viewing the MS Queen Elizabeth through the mighty pillars of the world famous Forth Rail Bridge is a reminder of great engineering achievements that characterised the Victorian era throughout the UK.
This is one of the best images I’ve been able to get of the Bridge in recent years as it has been getting a special paint coating that means the surface doesn’t need any more attention for many years to come.
There was an old saying that things were “like the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge” when they went on a long time and were never finished. The bridge is so large it was rumoured (probably incorrectly) that it was time to start over again as soon as each painting was “finished”. It does show some appreciation of the enormity of the task.
This time the old traditional paint surface, that was an accumulation of many repeated paintings, has been blasted off and resurfaced with a modern paint coating developed for use on deep water North Sea oil rigs. The bridge has been partially and progressively covered in scaffolding and shrouding to perform this work for the last 10 years, so was not ideal for photographing. This is about the minimum “wrapping” I’ve seen on it for a long time.
Coincidentally after I posted this article earlier today I saw media reports that the “Forth Bridge painting is coming to an end” and included this quick update. Maybe I’ll be able to get some “wrapper-free” digital images at long last.
Not far along along the shore there is a Victorian Post Box (Pillar Box) that is still in use today. It was an unique opportunity to capture a shot of great old “Victoriana”, still in use, along with one of today’s feats of modern engineering.
A final shot for this series of the Cunard Queen Elizabeth anchored in the Forth Estuary with Dalgety Bay behind.
All the photographs were taken by West Lothian photographer Norman Young and are copyright ©. Please respect copyright.