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So far I have made two helicopter trips over the city, the latest in April 2022 which features at the bottom of this page.
For Christmas 2018 my wife surprised me with a voucher for a Glasgow City Tour helicopter flight. I booked for Saturday 30th March well in advance knowing that as this was the weekend immediately before the first of 2019`s Joint Warrior exercises, there was potential to capture some of the warships berthed at the Glasgow docks. The large-scale event usually takes place twice a year and participating vessels gather between Faslane and the city for their crews to receive a pre-exercise briefing. The number of ships at each location various year-to-year but the Upper Clyde usually sees a fair amount of traffic.
The weather is obviously an uncontrollable factor, but I was very fortunate as conditions for the flight were ideal and I believe the gathering of 17 naval vessels was the largest-ever number of Joint Warrior participants at the city`s King George V Dock. I also managed an upgrade to the front seat position next to the pilot so the views were excellent. Surprisingly, the tinted glass screen was totally clear of scratch marks and as the sky was partly overcast reflections only spoiled a small percentage of shots. The curvature of the windscreen did result in some images blurring towards the edges but overall the Bell LongRanger makes a superb photographic platform and the trip, with Adventure001.com, is thoroughly recommended.
Pilot for the trip in G-PTOO was Captain Graham Martlew.
Above: Views of a crowded KGV Dock and couple of BAE Systems` Govan yard.
The above view looks west along the River Clyde to Dumbarton Rock with Greenock beyond. BAE Systems` Govan Shipyard is in the foreground with the company`s Scotstoun yard further downstream on the opposite bank. Most new-build vessels in recent times have been assembled and launched at Govan then towed up to Scotstoun for fitting-out. Also on the right side of the river is Rothesay Dock with a tanker at the oil terminal. Two Titan Cranes are visible with the furthest away located on the site of the world famous John Brown`s Shipyard at Clydebank.
Above: A better view of BAE Systems Govan. HMS Medway (P223) is in the dock having recently returned from sea trials. In the distance are the Campsie Fells, a range of hills extending from Strath Blane in the west to Milton of Campsie in the east where they adjoin the Kilsyth Hills. Although the highest point of the Campsies is Earl`s Seat, 578 metres, the most well known hill is Dumgoyne, 427m (1,401ft), a distinctive volcanic plug at the plateau`s west end, which can be seen above, partially sunlit towards the left-hand side.
Please bear in mind that all my images are subject to copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
The three main Glasgow football stadiums: Ibrox, Parkhead and Hampden.
On Good Friday, I finally managed to use a helicopter flight voucher which was given to me as a Christmas present over 2 years ago. The Coronavirus pandemic and unspecified operational reasons given by the company meant that previous bookings were cancelled at short notice. As with my previous successful trip with Adventure001, I was down for a local departure from one of the farms near Erskine, but this was changed late on Thursday evening to Cumbernauld Airport. Conditions were ideal for flying but a bit hazy for photography. Also, with the Clyde and the area around Glasgow Airport being my main points of interest, a fair part of the trip was taken up flying over the countryside between Cumbernauld and the river - a bit disappointing as an Extended City Tour taking in Dumbarton Castle had been booked. The pilot on this occasion, Captain Nick Key is usually based in Oxford and spends much of his time flying sightseeing tours along the Thames in London. He was very obliging when I told him and said he would take me as far as the Erskine Bridge even though it slightly exceeded the flight time.
Even so, it was still worthwhile but given potential of cancellation at short notice and the hassle involved attempting to find an alternative slot, which could be a year or more away, I don`t think I would bother again. My voucher included an upgrade to secure the front seat beside the pilot and this is recommended for anyone into photography.
Aircraft present at Cumbernauld Airport but not photographed included Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee Warrior III G-SBOY, Cessna 182P Skylane G-SPCI, Reims F150L G-FINA, Reims F172M Skyhawk G-GBLP and Piper PA-39-160 Turbo Twin Comanche N4297A. Helicopter passengers waited in the airport`s upstairs café while the operators prepared the aircraft for departure, The windows give a decent view of the main ramp, on which several choppers were parked, and part of the runway. An immaculate bright yellow vintage plane, which looked like a Piper Cub, was wheeled out of the nearest hangar but left tail-on to my vantage point. No photos are allowed when walking to or from the helicopter for safety reasons so I missed out on a shot.
The countryside between the airfield and Glasgow city centre is fairly featureless with not a great deal to shoot on the way.
Below: Auchinstarry basin on the Forth & Clyde Canal hosts a 50 berth marina with long and short term moorings and makes an ideal base for a stroll along the canal, a walk to the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site or Dumbreck Marsh site of special scientific interest. Mountain bikes can be rented and the adjacent quarry is a popular climbing centre.
Above: Celtic Park and the Emirates Arena which includes the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
The Glasgow Science Centre, The Waverley and TS Queen Mary. TS Queen Mary was built in 1933 by the world famous Dumbarton shipyard William Denny and Brothers, for Williamson Buchanan Steamers. The 252 ft 'pocket liner' is the original 'Queen Mary', giving up her name in 1934 in deference to Cunard's new liner (becoming TS Queen Mary II) before reclaiming it in 1976. The historic steamship is the largest and most luxurious vessel of her type ever built to serve Glasgow and the west of Scotland, and in that role she carried 13,000 passengers each week.
During WW2 the vessel maintained lifeline services on the Clyde. During her career notable passengers included King George V, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Her Majesty The Queen (then the Princess Elizabeth), the Princess Margaret and Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt. Following retirement, TS Queen Mary relocated to London where she remained until 2009 by which time she was in poor condition. Following an appeal, sufficient funds were raised to return the steamship to the Clyde. It was initially planned that following restoration she would be permanently docked at Pacific Quay as a heritage and maritime training centre. But it has now been decided that the vessel will hopefully sail again on the Clyde by Summer 2024, to support post-pandemic recovery and help boost tourism.
Above: Glasgow`s Riverside Transport Museum and much of the city`s West End. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and Kelvinhall are pictured below.
HMS Glasgow, the first Type 26 frigate for Royal Navy under construction at BAE Systems Govan yard. The Type 26-class will partially replace the navy's thirteen Type 23 frigates. The first steel was cut for Glasgow in July 2017 with the ship expected to be delivered in 2024 and fully operational approximately 2 years later. Glasgow and her sisters will be multi-mission warships designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defence and general purpose operations.
Bulk carrier Adastar had sailed from Derince, Turkey, to the KGV Dock via Liverpool with a cargo of soda ash.
Above: Renfrew and part of Braehead Shopping Centre. The drydocks at BAE Systems Scotstoun yard can be seen bottom right.
Above Left: Ibrox Stadium, home of Glasgow Rangers.
Above: The Titan Crane and Clydebank`s Rothesay Dock with FPV Minna berthed alongside. The ground adjacent to the golf course toward the bottom of this view on the Renfrew (left) side of the Clyde and Rothesay Dock on the opposite, Clydebank side has been earmarked for a new pedestrian and vehicular bridge linking both banks. Once up an running the crossing will replace the Renfrew/ Yoker ferry which has been operating at its current location since the 1790s. The line of the new access road on the Renfrew side has already been partially cleared.
Above: This is a view of the same area from the opposite direction.
A small boat heads upriver passing what was formerly the Erskine Bridge Hotel. It`s now operating as the Muthu Glasgow River Hotel & Spa - quite a mouthful!
The shot on the right above shows the Mar Hall Hotel Golf Course on the south bank of the river with Old Kilpatrick and Bowling on the right. Bowling Basin marks the western terminus of the Forth & Clyde Canal and watercraft are able to transit between the river and canal by means of a lock system.
Above: Part of Duntocher, Clydebank.
Above, Milngavie, Dumgoyne and the Mugdock Reservoir.
Arriving back at base.