The Royal Navy has a bunch of coastal patrol vessels that are named after rivers around the UK. From what I have read, HMS Severn is one of the first batch of vessels and it is less capable than the later batch. Although originally planned for retirement, it has been kept in service patrolling the UK coastal region. It was heading out of Portsmouth when I saw it. I think it was originally painted grey when it was commissioned but it currently has more of a camo scheme applied. It made me think of the disruptive camouflage used during the First World War. I actually shot a pano of it as it headed out taking advantage of the lack of an immediate background to avoid any issues with the movement between shots.
Tag Archives: portsmouth
Slotting A Large Ferry In A Narrow Space
The car ferry terminus at Portsmouth has moved locations over the years. The current Gunwharf location is tucked in quite a tight spot and the ferries are getting ever larger. It requires some skill to get a boat that big in to the berth frequently and quickly. I had multiple opportunities to watch them do this when in Portsmouth and when waiting to board so I got stills and video. A little video of them working is below.
We also were close to the terminus when we had our lunch on Spice Island. The ferries actually come around Spice Island and in to dock and the view along the shore looks almost continuous so, when the ferry goes in or comes out, it looks like it is emerging from the land. For some reason, I don’t tire of watching this happen.
Missed One Chinook But Got Another
During our day out in Portsmouth, we had lunch at a very nice pub by the harbor. We sat outside enjoying the various boats coming and going. I popped inside before leaving and, when I came back outside, Nancy had to inform me that, as soon as I went inside, three helicopters had flown by. There had been on Chinook with two smaller, unidentified, types flying formation with it. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed but such is life.
A while later, as we were walking along the sea wall at Southsea, the sound of rotors returned. The nice thing about Chinooks is that they don’t really sneak up on you. I had ample time to switch to a longer lens and set up the camera for something more appropriate for a helicopter (although the Chinook rotor rpm is so low, it still is not ideal). Sure enough, it came right towards us and flew through the harbor entrance and right by. A nice surprise. It then flew out to sea and I wondered whether it was going to return. Instead, it appeared to be hovering over one of the forts out in the Solent. That would have looked great from closer up.
Back To The Island So Back To The Hovercraft
We left plenty of time to drive to Portsmouth to catch our ferry to the Isle of Wight so, naturally, traffic flowed smoothly and we got there with an excess of time. Nancy wasn’t in the least surprised that I decided to park up on the seafront at Southsea to kill some time. Oh, was this next to the Hovertravel terminal? Well, that’s lucky.
We had just enough time for one arrival and one departure before it was time to head to our ferry terminal. That wouldn’t be all though. The hovercraft passes the car ferry during its crossing so I was able to get some shots of it in operation from the deck of the ferry as we left Portsmouth. We also took a walk along the front at Ryde after lunch with Mum. Just enough time to see the hovercraft arriving and departing there too.
One interesting addition was Solent Express. This was used on Hovertravel’s services a few years ago but was withdrawn when the new hovercraft were commissioned. I had understood it was stored somewhere. Apparently, they needed space wherever that was because it is back at Ryde but still looks stored. There is plenty of seaweed around it making it look like it hadn’t gone anywhere for a while. I wonder what its future holds?
Handbrake Turn In A Ferry
When you look at something like a ferry that can hold 180 cars and a thousand passengers, you don’t immediately think of agility and maneuverability. However, the Wightlink ferries that run between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight have surprising capabilities. The entry to Portsmouth Harbour is followed by a rapid change of direction to get to the terminal at Gunwharf. From the Spinnaker Tower, you get a great view of how rapidly the ferry can be thrown around. The St Clare is a bi-directional ship so it doesn’t back in like Victoria of Wight. Instead, it looks like it is doing a handbrake turn. The wake ends up almost combing out of the side of the boat!
A Broken Aircraft Carrier
The Royal Navy has recently commissioned two new aircraft carriers. At 60,000 tons, they are the largest ships the Navy has ever had. The first is HMS Queen Elizabeth and the second is HMS Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales was due to undertake its first major exercise off the east coast of the US but, shortly after departing Portsmouth, it experienced some technical issues. I don’t know whether there is official confirmation of what happened but there is a suggestion that one of the screws contacted the seabed.
Whatever the issue, she had to return to port and the Queen Elizabeth was substituted for the exercise. There has been discussion that the ship will need to go to Rosyth for dry docking but, as of our visit, it was still alongside at Portsmouth. I was able to get some good shots of it from Spinnaker Tower as well as some from the ferry as we headed to the Isle of Wight. I hope they can fix whatever the issues are rapidly.
A long time ago, as part of the redevelopment of the harbour at Portsmouth, a tower was built. It is alongside the Gunwharf Quays development and rises above the waterfront providing a view across to the Isle of Wight and back to the South Downs. The tower is shaped like a spinnaker from a yacht and so it is named Spinnaker Tower. I have seen the tower on numerous occasions when taking the ferry from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. However, I had never actually been up it.
On this trip, we had a lot of time to explore Portsmouth and I decided to go up the tower as part of the visit. There are three visitor levels. The main level is the lowest of the three (but still a decent height). It has the most space and includes a glass floor section to allow you to look directly down. The next level up is a little smaller and has a café. The top level is smaller still and doesn’t really provide much the first level doesn’t have. The windows are also angled in steeply which makes them more problematic for photography.
The view across the whole of the dockyard including the Victory and Mary Rose was great (although one is indoors and the other is currently under covers) and you could see across the Solent or back towards the city. I really enjoy elevated viewing locations so this was a great place for me to spy on the world around me.
Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard. HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship. See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties. Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty. Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.
I have not ever visited her. I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit. I have photographed her from a distance though. Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point. With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.
Old Victory Shot
I was searching through my archive looking for some ship shots and the keyword search threw up a few extras that were separate from what I was after. It included some shots of HMS Victory. Victory is one of the most famous warships in the UK. She was the flagship of Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and he died on her deck as the battle was won. She survived after her main career was over and sat afloat at Portsmouth for many years before being restored and put on display in a dry dock in the navy base.
I have been on board a few times over the years. I have some old photos from the film days that I took and also some aerial shots of her and thought I might share them here. I understand that she has recently undergone a further restoration. The hull had been sagging around the supports underneath and so she has been repaired and the support system modified. It is also now possible to go under the hull as part of the visit. This is something I would like to try when I next have time during a visit to the UK.
Royal Navy Warships at Portsmouth
My aerial photo searches brought me to some shots of the Royal Navy’s dockyard at Portsmouth. One or two shots from this were used in a post about a flight I took with Pete but not very many. Flying over the home of the Royal Navy, we got to see a bunch of ships – large and small. HMS Bristol was moored for use as a training ship. I think she may have now been relieved of that duty so don’t know whether she is still around and for how long.
Plenty of frigates were moored alongside and there were surplus Type 42 destroyers at various locations too. This got me thinking about a day many years ago when we were in Portsmouth for some reason. We took a trip around the harbour in a sightseeing boat and I got a few shots of some ships then too so these are interspersed here. Now the arrival of the two carriers to the fleet would mean a good chance of getting a far larger vessel alongside. Might have to think about doing something like this again at some point when I am in the UK.