The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first formal visit to Glasgow yesterday.
They spent the morning meeting young people at the city’s recently opened £113 million Emirates Arena. The flagship venue will host badminton and track cycling events in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It is a key part of the city’s bid to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2018. Later this year the Junior Track World Championships and World Youth Netball Championships will take place there.
During their tour of the state-of-the-art facility the Royal couple watched pupils from the Glasgow School of Sports and other aspiring athletes, training in athletics, track cycling, badminton, football and netball. They then viewed a Glasgow 2014 exhibition where they met young people including Beth Gilmour who designed Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde and apprentices who were employed as part of the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative. They also met Mahad Ahmed and Jasmine Main – young ambassadors for Glasgow’s bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games – and some City Building apprentices who worked on the construction of the Emirates Arena.
Next they went to Drumchapel’s Glasgow Club Donald Dewar. There they launched a Scottish pilot of the innovative Coach Core project. Launched last July just before the London 2012 Olympic Games, Coach Core aims to inspire and train the next generation of sports coaches across the UK.
It is hoped that the Glasgow project will form an important part of the legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the city’s bid to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
The Royal Foundation is partnering with Glasgow Life and the Hunter Foundation on the initiative.
Chair of Glasgow Life and the Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, Councillor Archie Graham, said: “This visit highlights our shared vision and commitment to sport in Glasgow, from investing in world-class facilities such as the stunning new Emirates Arena through to our partnership with The Royal Foundation, which will create coaching opportunities at a grassroots level. Sports coaches are at the very heart of sport in Glasgow and we are honoured that their Royal Highnesses chose the city to launch the Scottish pilot of the Coach Core initiative. London 2012 inspired a generation and we want to continue that journey through the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Coach Core will help us do that.”
Sir Tom Hunter, Chairman of The Hunter Foundation which has provided funding to The Royal Foundation to enable the delivery of the Coach Core programme in Glasgow, said: “Coach Core is an exceptional model of positive social intervention because it uses sport to enable lasting change at grassroots, community level. We are delighted to have supported The Royal Foundation in bringing this important initiative to Scotland. Our hope is that the apprentice coaches employed by Glasgow Life each year will deliver transformational change in their communities through sports development. We’d also like to see Coach Core in every local authority in Scotland through the leadership of The Royal Foundation and Glasgow Life.”
Glasgow 2014 Chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, said: “We were absolutely delighted to show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge how young people are an integral part of the journey towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the biggest multi-sport event Scotland has ever seen.
“Young people have been involved in all of our major milestones from the creation of our official games mascot, called Clyde,
to the design of the official Glasgow 2014 tartan and right through to the Commonwealth apprentices who work on delivering the Games at our Glasgow headquarters.”
Glasgow 2018 Youth Olympic Games ambassador Jasmine Main said: “It was a fantastic experience being able to tell the Duchess of Cambridge about the city’s plans to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.”
Tuesday 26 February 2013
The race to find £2.7 million to create a Mountain Bike and Activity Centre at Cathkin Braes was launched today.
‘We already have £50,000 promised,’ said Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust which is behind the project. ‘It’s a big ask so late in the day, but we are confident this Centre will be ready for the Commonwealth Games next year.’
She praised the ‘synergies’ of an already popular mountain bike track being created at Cathkin Braes by Glasgow City Council and the willingness of Glasgow Archdiocese to allow a redundant, B-listed, church building to be adapted as a centre for the mountain bike activities and for local community use.
Architects responsible for the proposed transformation of St Martin’s Church are award winning Elder and Cannon who are based in Glasgow. Their feasibility study and appraisal plans were commissioned by Ardenglen Housing Association Ltd in Castlemilk.
Said architect Alison Hesketh who with colleagues Stephen Hoey and Tom Connolly has devised the plan: ‘The main challenge is to get this open for the Commonwealth Games and to accommodate a wide range of facilities. There will be a community cafe, performance space and education activities as well as mountain bike changing facilities and a bike repair workshop all contained in the church building on Cathkin Braes and all easily accessible.’
Lord Provost Sadie Docherty: ‘This is very much a community led project. I’m delighted to see this proposed Commonwealth Legacy project emerging to support the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Track.’ She said the iconic church building had fantastic memories for many Castlemilk people who attended the Sunday discos run by the church. ‘They led to a lot of marriages…’ she added.
Councillor Archie Graham, who has Executive responsibility for the 2014 Commonwealth Games said: ‘This is a fantastic project. It builds on the challenging mountain bike course which is already well used. It promotes cycling, puts a derelict building to good community use and encourages a healthier lifestyle. We should celebrate all of that. And it comes with a panoramic view of Glasgow!’ He added: ‘Once the elite athletes have gone, there will be something tangible for everyone. I forecast that when 2019 comes and the Games are reviewed, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike and Activity Centre will still be up there among the best legacy projects.’
Local cyclist Colin Hyslop, a member of the very active Mitchelhill Community Group which is one of the key partners driving the idea said: ‘We are getting positive feedback all the time. On Sunday, out on the Track, I could hardly get cycling for people asking me when would the Centre be ready to use? My only concern is that it won’t be big enough!’ The facebook page has already got 687 ‘likes’ and more than 2000 people use it each week to get information on cycling activities at Cathkin Braes.
On behalf of the Archdiocese, surveyor Kenneth Crilley said: ‘The church building is an architectural jewel in Castlemilk. This project will bring it back to life and allow it to be used by the wider Glasgow community. We are all delighted at the prospect.’
Glasgow’s Emirates Arena is up and running!
The £113 million sports venue at 1000 London Road in the city’s East End was opened on Friday 5 October 2012 by Glasgow City Council Leader, Gordon Matheson.
He stood at the door and personally welcomed some of the 400 pupils from Sacred Heart and Dalmarnock Primary Schools who were among the first official users into the building. They were trying out the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Scotland’s only indoor velodrome, which is an integral part of the venue.
During the weekend following the opening, the place attracted well over 10,000 people who were freely able to inspect the new facility.
Located next to the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village and Celtic Park, the Emirates Arena is the largest facility of its kind in Europe. During the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it will host the badminton and track cycling events and will be called the Commonwealth Arena for the duration of those Games.
The 10.5 hectare site also contains an indoor sports arena, three full-sized sports halls, 12 badminton courts, four outdoor 5-a-side football pitches, a 1km outdoor cycle circuit, one of the largest of Glasgow Club health and fitness centres and a luxury spa.
While it is home to Scotland’s only professional basketball team, The Glasgow Rocks, it is also home to citizens of Glasgow who are members of the Glasgow Club.
Said Councillor Matheson: ‘By investing in new facilities such as this, we will help to inspire a generation to become more involved in sport.’
He took a party of VIP guests on a tour of the Emirates Area. They included Shona Robison MSP, Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport; Gordon Arthur, Director of Communications and Marketing at Glasgow 2014; Michael Cavanagh, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland; Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland and Denise Holmes, Emirates’ Sales Manager for Scotland and North East England.
Said Minister Shona Robison: ‘This will be an excellent venue for the 2014 Games, a world-class venue for Glasgow and a legacy for the West of Scotland.’
Emirate’s Sales Manager, Denise Holmes said: ‘This facility is unlike any I have ever seen. The thought that has gone into the design and execution makes it one of the best equipped and high-tech venues of its type, worldwide. The Emirates Arena is a flagship venue and we are honoured to be able to have such a close association with it and the people of Glasgow.’
Commented Lord Smith, Chair of Glasgow 2014: ‘This landmark venue is ready to welcome the best Commonwealth sportsmen and women, competing for glory in the badminton and track cycling events in less than two years’ time. The fact that it is now open to the local community and will host world-class events well in advance of the Games, is a tangible example tha the Games’ legacy is starting now.’
Said Michael Cavanagh, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland: This truly fabulous facility will be one of the iconic venues in 2014. It all adds to the excitement for the athletes and their determination to be competing for Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014.’
Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, said: ‘The Emirates Arena opening marks a key milestone on the road to Glasgow 2014. It is a truly phenomenal facility which will help inspire future generations to become involved in sport and physical activity. It will undoubtedly provide some fantastic sporting moments for years to come – the World Cup Track Cycling and the World Cup Gymnastics for a start. It will also be a real asset to the surrounding community who will benefit from regular access to this world-class facility.’
Between now and early February 2013, the Emirates Arena will be host to eight Scottish, European or World level sporting events.
For further information and ticket details see website: www.emiratesarena.co.uk
Glasgow Rocks fans describe the venue as ‘amazing’ despite the fact that their team lost to Newcastle Eagles in the very first game in the new arena. The Eagles won 106 – 84 after a strong push in the final quarter of the game.
Ahead of the formal opening of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow Business Club members launched their new season’s programme there on Tuesday 18 September.
A lunch with more than 100 people heard Gordon Arthur, Director of Communications and Marketing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, detail business opportunities open to companies of all sizes.
‘The railings around this place were all made by a local company who’d never done this before but who saw the business opportunity,’ he said. ‘There are £126 m worth of contracts at tier one – and there are three tiers to go!’
He advised members to sign up with the Glasgow Business Portal and register their interest.
He also emphasised there were many ways to be involved. ’The opportunities for people to make the Games their own are unbelievable,’ he said.
People can register now to buy tickets when they go on sale next summer. The Queen’s Baton Relay will cover all 71 Commonwealth countries competing with 4000 people needed in the UK to carry the baton here. Employers will soon be given information on how to support employees wishing to be among the 15,000 volunteers needed. But there are only 673 days to go….. he encouraged!
Legacies from the Games are already in place with hockey pitches opening next year, Toryglen Soccer Centre is already busy and even the Velodrome itself, is being used as a Glasgow Club venue for sports and health activities for people in Glasgow.
A culture programme would also be part of the Games which take place between 23 July and 3 August 2014. A total of 17 sports are programmed.
The Games tartan – a winning design by Shawlands Academy pupil, Aamir Mehmood – has been launched and Gordon Arthur promised ‘you’ll see a lot more of it from now on.’
The Games Mascot will be announced this week – Thursday 20 September.
An easily digestible catalogue of facts and figures on the Games went down well with the Business Club members. This was the first occasion that three separate business clubs covering – south, east and west of the city – had met formally under the new banner of Glasgow Business Club.
Said Norman Ferguson, President and host on the day: ‘Echoing the words of Remo Pisaneschi the previous President of Glasgow South Business Club – this is an ideal opportunity for a larger club to offer more to members by joining together. It also means Glasgow Regeneration can continue to be supportive as it has been for 26 years. The new Glasgow Business Club is a city wide agency providing one point of contact for companies.’
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 23 October at Ibrox Stadium where new members will be welcomed along with established members of the three previous Clubs to a networking lunch. Contact www.glasgowbusinessclub.co.uk for further information.
Glasgow did the Olympic and Paralympic athletes proud! The crowds turn out in their thousands. People did a Glasgow traditional ‘window hing’ and the sun shone on their parade. An estimated 17000 packed George Square and everyone had a good time.
Here are some of the first pictures as the parade approached Charing Cross before heading to George Square where First Minister Alex Salmond awaited them. He then took them to a reception at the Old Furitmarket. He said: ‘These Games were good and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be even better. But London Olympics has set the bar high indeed. We hope to do even better.’
At the start of the parade from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum around 4pm today (Friday 14 September 2012) Sir Chris Hoy said: ‘Thank you for this support not just today but throughout the Games. It has been a special summer for sport.’
Among the medalists on parade were: Sir Chris Hoy, cycling double gold; Katherine Grainger, rower, gold; Neil Fachie, paracyclist, gold. Scott Brash, equestrian, gold; Michael Jamieson, swimmer, silver; Aileen McGlynn, cyclist, silver; Luke Patience, sailing, silver.
A ‘very proud’ Helen MacKenzie and her friend Kathleen Westwood had travelled from Kirkcaldy to wave their flags and cheer on the Olympians. Said Helen: ‘This has been fantastic for Britain. We just wanted to show the athletes how much we support them.’ Added Kathleen: ‘We’ve spent the whole summer glued to the Olympics and Paralympics. It has been wonderful and we wanted to share the success.’
And local Lanarkshire family David and Gillian Haggart and their daughters Lindsey (6) and Emily (3) were there to cheer on the Olympians.
Said curler Gillian: ‘We watched it on TV and went to London last weekend and watched the games in Trafalgar Square on the big screens.’ Added David: ‘We’re here to day because this is a once in a lifetime event and we won’t get the chance to do this again.’
The £25 million Clyde Gateway (the East End Regeneration Route) opened to traffic on Thursday 26 April 2012. It is a key piece of infrastructure associated with Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the expectation is it will bring jobs and economic advantage to the East End of Glasgow – Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular – by improving accessibility.
The four-lane, 2.6km carriageway links the Oatlands and the M74 junction at Polmadie in the south to the Forge Retail Park in the north. Designed by Gronmij and built through a joint venture between Farrans and I&H Brown, it will give easy access to Celtic Park, where the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will be held, the Commonwealth Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Athletes’ Village.
This will be a critical route to transport some of the 18,000 athletes and support staff and hundreds of thousands of spectators expected during the Games. Afterwards, the roadway will be a legacy for the benefit of the local community.
Traffic congestion on existing local roads should also ease, especially during peak times. Recent traffic modelling studies have shown that there will be a reduction in traffic across the major east/west arteries crossing road around London Road and Gallowgate and in association with the new M74 link, this will free up road space to allow for additional walking, cycling and bus routes to be put in place.
Phase 1 of the road opened in April 2007 as part of the development of new housing in the Oatlands area and was officially re-named- New Rutherglen Road. Phase 1A followed in April 2010, running from the Polmadie junction of the M74 and Shawfield Stadium. This stretch totals 1.5km.
Phase 2 is the longest section, crossing the Clyde at Rutherglen Bridge and passing Dalmarnock Railway Station, the Commonwealth Arena and Celtic Park before joining the Parkhead by-pass at the Forge Retail Park
Brian Devlin, Executive Director for Land and Environmental Services said: ‘The Clyde Gateway creates a new, direct link between the completed M74 and the heart of Glasgow’s East End. This will offer fantastic new opportunities for people and business either currently living or based in this part of Glasgow or looking to move there. This is part of the wider regeneration of the city.
Neil MacDonald, Chairman of Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company said: ‘The M74 has already shown that new roads play a very important part in businesses choosing where to make crucial investment decisions and there is no doubt that Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular will benefit from this new piece of infrastructure. Our on-going efforts to attract developers to the East End have been helped immensely by this road opening and I’d like to thank Glasgow City Council for again demonstrating their commitment to the long-term regeneration of the Clyde Gateway area.’
Prior to the formal opening when traffic started flowing, children from four primary schools in the east end were given the chance to try out the newest section of the road.
More than 100 Primary 6 and 7 pupils from St Michael’s, St Anne’s, Dalmarnock and Quarrybrae primary schools cycled around an obstacle course set up on part of the new tarmac running from new Oatlands over Rutherglen Bridge, through Dalmarnock to Gallowgate.
The children experienced, first hand, the road’s new cycling facilities including dedicated cycle lanes and extended footpaths that are provided along the full length of the route.
They also got the chance to brush up on their safety skills with Glasgow City Council road safety officers and Strathclyde Police cyclists and motorcyclists. Dr Bike offered advice on maintaining bikes and gave practical demonstrations to ensure they were fit for the road.
As well as providing better facilities for cyclists, the new road, funded entirely by the Council, will improve public transport links and accessibility around the East End.
With phase one opened as part of the Oatlands new neighbourhood development last year, phase two of the 2.4km stretch runs over Rutherglen Bridge, continues via Dunn Street, Poplin Street, Dalmarnock Road, Mordaunt Street, London Road and Camlachie to join the existing road network at the Parkhead by-pass, Forge Retail Park.
TheClydeGateway (Phase 2) Facts
1. More than 35,000tonnes of asphalt used to lay roads, footpaths and cycle ways.
2. 800m of 2.74m diameter tunnel used to alleviate storm water flooding.
3. More than 250 trees planted and 40,000 sq m of landscaping to the road corridor.
4. 10km of new drainage pipes installed for new roads.
5. 250 new traffic signal heads installed over seven junctions.
6. 330 new lighting columns.
7. Construction period 2 years (April 2010 to April 2012)
Glasgow Bike Station is freewheeling in good directions.
First – this weekend – they re-locate to new, bigger premises in Haugh Street, Yorkhill. ‘We’ve over run the tiny space we started with in Barrowlands,’ explained Richard Kidd, the workshop manager.
In the expanded space, they’ll have more space for recondition bikes for sale and bike repair workshops among the other bike related activities the charity fosters.
Their newly acquired Awards will also be given display space in the sales show room. Earlier in March The Glasgow Bike Station won first prize at the Scottish Green List National Awards. The 2012 event honoured those working to make a difference to sustainable development in Scotland.
Gregory Chauvet, Bike Station Project Manager, said: ‘I am extremely proud of everyone at The Bike Station for their continued hard work throughout the year and for winning this prestigious award.’ It was presented by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson and announced by Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, Derek Robertson.
The Glasgow Bike Station picked up a further two awards the next day (Wednesday14 March) at the Grow Green Awards held at the Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green.
The first was for Best Sustainable Transport Project in Glasgow and the second for Outstanding Green Project in Glasgow.
The awards recognise individuals, groups, schools, and local businesses that made a real difference; whether getting people out on their bikes, growing their own food or even setting up community composting schemes.
Greg said: ‘These awards act as a catalyst for everyone at The Bike Station. It pushes us all to work towards a more cycle and environmentally friendly city.’
The project is one of more than 40 across Scotland granted Scottish Government Climate Challenge Funding. Their ‘A Better Way to Work’ events which promote cycling, walking and public transport as convenient and sustainable ways to travel to work, continue to keep The Bike Station on the move.
Both Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, have clocked in their 1 millionth visitor.
Less than four months after re-opening, following a three-year, £47 million transformation,
the National Museum of Scotland welcomed its millionth visitor. That person was among the party from Stockbridge Primary School
The landmark figure has been achieved eight months ahead of predictions, and outstrips the previous record figure for a full year. The Museum’s highest attendance then was 833,324 visits in 2007/08, the year before it partially closed for redevelopment.
Visitors from across the world have poured through the Museum’s impressive new street-level entrance and into the spectacular Grand Gallery, from where they have been able to enjoy 16 new galleries. The beautifully-restored Victorian building only last week won the Andrew Doolan Award for the Best Building in Scotland for 2011.
Over 8,000 treasures are on show, 80% of them for the first time. The Natural World Galleries with their life-sized T.rex, and the Museum’s re-positioned Millennium Clock, are among the objects proving the biggest hit with visitors. Another firm favourite is the Window on the World, the UK’s biggest single museum installation, which features an array of nearly 900 objects representing the diversity of the Museum’s collections.
A spectacular opening ceremony on Chambers Street in July saw nearly 6,000 people pass through the doors in the first hour. Now the entire first year target has been reached in under four months.
National Museums Scotland is building on this success with a programme of blockbuster exhibitions in its new, larger, purpose-built space for special exhibitions. The first major new shows will feature Ancient Egypt and a Russian Empress when ‘Fascinating Mummies’ and ‘Catherine the Great’ open in 2012.
Gordon Rintoul, Director, National Museums Scotland said: ‘To reach this monumental visitor figure so far ahead of our predictions is an incredible achievement. Years of planning, fund raising and hard work have gone into realising our vision of creating a world-class museum that sits firmly at the heart of Scotland’s cultural landscape. To receive such a positive response from the public is truly amazing. People really are voting with their feet and giving a massive endorsement to all of the dedication, knowledge and creativity of our staff and supporters. We are delighted.’
Equal enthusiasm was shown at Glasgow’s £74 million Riverside museum which is now become the city’s most popular attraction since it opened on June 21. On June 25 more than 15,000 people streamed through its doors.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council was on hand this week to welcome the 1millionth visitor – 7 -year-old Sam Irving and his family from Dumfries. Said Councillor Matheson:’ The public response to the Riverside Museum has been phenomenal and the museum has coped brilliantly. The place has comprehensively beaten the visitor number projections and is now a ‘must see’ attraction in Glasgow and Scotland. I’m delighted for Sam that he is our 1millionth visitor and we look forward to many millions more in years to come.’
The Riverside Museum houses more than 3000 exhibits in over 150 interactive displays demonstrating the quality of ’Clyde Built’. From massive steam locomotives to recreation city streets of the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of Glasgow which was ‘Second City of the Empire.’
Sam said it was ‘cool’ to be the VIP 1 millionth visitor. The family were on their second visit and Sam’s favourite display was the bikes: ‘Because I like to go out on my bike at home.’ His mum Susan, added: ‘It’s a fantastic place and great for kids with all the interactive displays. It’s also good for Sam’s dad who was a mechanic and acts just like a big kid himself when he’s here. It’s a great day out for all the family.’
The Museum has played host to big events such as a seafood festival and a spellbinding performance by Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill whose bike is one of the exhibits. Highlights at the Riverside include the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, the South African Locomotive, No 9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck. For more information see: www.glasgowmuseums.com/riverside
Cathcart resident, Chris Muldoon, has conquered one of the world’s toughest amateur cycling challenges, along with 11 of his colleagues from Sky in Scotland.
They took part in the Etape du Tour – a race for amateur cyclists covering the same route as one stage of the iconic Tour de France only days after the professionals.
Chris and the Sky team covered the gruelling Issoire to Saint-Flour route in the Auvergne region – one of the toughest sections of the Tour de France. Each cyclist who completed the course clocked up a total of 130 miles across the mountainous terrain in the worst weather in the history of the event. Organisers even withdrew many of the cyclists for their own safety.
A manager at Sky’s Livingston site, Chris, who is 28, completed the ride in nine hours 36 minutes after being forced to take an alternative route due to the dangerous weather conditions.
He said: ‘Despite the torrential rain, the freezing winds, the numbness of the hands and the uncontrollable shivering from the cold, the entire day was such an experience. Riding a stage of the Tour de France that the pros had completed only seven days earlier, with over 4,000 like-minded cyclists, was immense.
‘I was a complete novice before beginning my training with Sky for the Etape. I hadn’t owned a bike for years and only bought my first road bike in March this year. Despite the tough challenge of the Etape, I will be keeping up cycling.’
Sky supported 150 of its employees across the company to ride the 2011 Etape. Ranging from hardened cyclists, regular commuters and determined beginners, the team received six months of training, guidance and support in the lead up to the event from British Cycling, a Sky partner since 2008.
Involvement in the Etape du Tour is part of Sky’s overall commitment to encourage its staff and customers to cycle more, with the aim of getting one million more people cycling by 2013. The company also runs initiatives such as British Cycling led lunch time cycle rides from its offices, a free bike lending scheme for staff, and annual Sky Ride events which see staff and members of the public enjoying mass traffic free cycling events in city centres across the UK.
Anyone interested in cycling with Sky can sign up for one of these events – the Glasgow Sky Ride – on Sunday 11 September. Aimed to raise awareness of cycling and to encourage more people to get on their bikes, registration is via the website: www.goskyride.com.
Sailing down the Clyde took on a new meaning when an enormous ‘slice’ of an aircraft carrier was loaded onto a barge at BAE’s Govan yard on Sunday 31 July to be transported to Rosyth for the next stage of production.
It took six months of planning and a 10-strong team to move the 8,000 tonne mid-section block 200 metres out of the shipbuilding hall on Friday 29 July, across the specially reinforced tarmac of the yard to the quayside for loading. The highly technical operation took one hour and used 64 remote controlled transporters.
The block – Lower Block 03 – is a mid section of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of the new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy being created in Govan. This was the first time the general public had sight of the giant warship embryo which was manoeuvered into place within the hour.
Said one on-looker from the luxury flats across from the yard: ‘It was incredible to see. The block is so big. It is difficult to imagine the size of the complete ship but you realise a little more when you see the people walking around the block looking like little toys.’
Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class Project Director at BAE Systems, said: ‘I’m extremely proud of the team’s huge achievement of successfully moving the mid section of the hull out of our hall on time.’ He said it was: ‘built to an exceptional standard’ and added: ‘This is a fantastic showcase for British engineering. It is the culmination of months of preparation and is only possible because of the strong partnership with our Carrier Alliance Partners, the skills of our workforce on the Clyde and the thousands of people working on the programme across every region of the UK.’
After being moved out of the hall, the block was loaded onto one of the two biggest sea-going barges in the world in preparation for her 600 mile journey round the north coast of Scotland to Rosyth where the aircraft carrier will be assembled. That voyage begins on Tuesday 16 August. On the same day, more than 50 cyclists from across the Alliance, will leave the Govan yard to ‘beat the block’ by peddling the 500 miles round the North of Scotland to Rosyth in the hope of getting there before the mid section of the hull arrives. The gruelling challenge expects to raise £10,000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
As a member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, BAE Systems is working in partnership with Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence to deliver the nation’s flagships. With advanced construction underway at six shipyards across the UK, the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme is sustaining thousands of skilled jobs.
The steel for Lower Block 03 was cut in July 2009. When loaded onto the barge it was more than 20 metres high, 60 metres long and 40 metres wide.
Approximately 350 Govan-based employees will follow the block to Rosyth where they will work with Babcock workers to complete the assembly phase of this section of the ship.
Construction of Lower Block 04, the largest and most complex section of hull, is progressing in Govan. Production on the second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, started in May.
BAE Systems is also manufacturing the forward and lower stern sections of the hull at its Portsmouth facility, along with the ship’s forward island structure. Additionally, the company is responsible for the integration and testing of the ships’ complex mission and advanced communications systems.
Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief and all will be operational by 2020. The QE Class will be the centre piece of Britain’s military capability and will operate at least 12 of the carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter jets.