Photo Journal of Events and Activities in Scotland

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

This article includes photographs of the Queen Mary 2 from 2004 on her first tour and some from the visit to Greenock in 2011. Scroll down to see.

South Queensferry 13th July 2004

There has been significant interest in my photographs of the recent visit of the MS Queen Elizabeth to the Forth Estuary near South Queensferry, so I dug deep into my archives and found these images of the visit of the Cunard RMS Queen Mary 2 to almost the same spot on the 13th July 2004. At 151,400 GRT, QM2 is the largest ocean liner ever. The other Cunard Queens, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are around 90,000 GRT. (Apparently MS is an abbreviation for Motor Ship while RMS is an abbreviation for Royal Mail Ship.)

Queen Mary 2 anchored in the Forth Estuary at South Queensferry

Photograph of Queen Mary 2

As a child I recall listening to elderly people reminiscing about some of the great ships and ocean liners. Not only were these the technical wonders of their generation but many had connections with them having worked in the local Colville’s steelworks (latterly British Steel prior to closure). They would have provided steel plates for shipbuilding on the Clydeside at Clydebank, Govan and Greenock.

Queen Mary 2 viewed under the span of the Forth Bridge

Photograph of Queen Mary 2

One of the ships frequently mentioned with affection was the Queen Mary, launched on 26 September 1934. She is now retired but still floats, moored at Long Beach, California as a hotel and tourist attraction.

When I took these images of Queen Mary 2, in the back of my head I could hear the voices of these elderly people, all long gone, speaking with affection and pride about things that were icons in their day and to which they had contributed. At that moment, although these modern ships were built abroad, I must have vicariously felt or at least understood their pride of association with such magnificent ships, albeit now in name only.

Photograph of Queen Mary 2

These images show the “wrappings” and scaffolding on the Forth Rail Bridge to enable the stripping and repainting of the structure, soon to be completed.

Greenock 16 September 2011

It wasn’t the best of weather for the visit to Greenock but many people lined the esplanade and at risk to their lives some descended slippery steps to the shore as the high tide turned, including a man I spoke to who had come all the way from Cumbria to get a close look.

Queen Mary 2 in evening light viewed from the shore at Greenock Esplanade.

Photograph of the QM2 at Greenock

When QM2 visited Liverpool and when visiting the Forth at South Queensferry she drops anchor out in deeper water and the passengers are ferried ashore via motor launches. So berthed at the Greenock’s Container Terminal a much closer view is possible.

Queen Mary 2, up close

Photograph of the QM2 bridge at Greenock

As heavy showers blew through, the sky was dark and moody and not the most conducive to picturesque photographs but the rain went off in time for a splendid firework display.

Queen Mary 2 at Greenock Container Terminal

Photograph of the QM2 at Greenock

It’s always difficult to shoot moving objects in the semi-darkness but I pushed my gear, my skill and experience to the limit to get a few worthwhile shots.

Photograph of the QM2 at Greenock

Sometimes with digital photography you can “push” shots until night is turned to day but I have tried to reflect some “truth” with these, reflecting the darkening conditions.

With the less than favourable weather, the lights on the QM2 glowing in the night provide a certain “romance” that dull grey skies and rain struggle to produce in daylight.

Queen Mary 2 drifting offshore in the darkness as passengers
line the decks to watch the fireworks.

Photograph of the QM2 leaving Greenock

Two tugs provided illuminated water spouts, saluting the QM2 as she slipped out into the Clyde Estuary, away from the “Tail of the Bank”. Despite using a tripod, the long telephoto used and a time exposure were too much to provide a pin sharp shot. This tug image is only nearly publishable but is included to give the atmosphere.

Tug water spout salute.

Photograph of the QM2 salute at Greenock

Greenock’s farewell to the Queen Mary 2 was an excellent display of fireworks. I had my work cut out attempting to create sharp, well defined images combining a moving target in the darkness using slow shutter speeds and the bright intensity of the fireworks.

Queen Mary 2 with the Tug ahead and the fireworks at Greenock

Photograph of the farewell to QM2 with fireworks at Greenock

Photograph of the farewell to QM2 with fireworks at Greenock

South Queensferry 18 September 2011

The QM2 visited the Forth Estuary on 18 September 2011. I didn’t go along as the weather wasn’t so good and I didn’t anticipate any opportunity to get better shots than I already have.

You can find out more about the Queen Mary 2 on the Cunard website including a frequently updated webcam image from the ship’s bridge, a map of the current location and itinerary details.

All the photographs were taken by West Lothian photographer Norman Young and are copyright ©. Please respect copyright.


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