How lovely to look at the Holy Loch from the old American car park and see this brig, the Stavros S. Niarchos, at anchor where once the US Navy Submarine Refit Facility Site One dominated the Loch for 31 years.
In autumn 1959, the US Government had to provide forward servicing facilities for the first SSBN squadron to be based in the UK, and studies were carried out to determine the most suitable location for such a refit facility, leading to the final selection of the Holy Loch in July 1960. The area offered deep, sheltered access, and had already seen service during World War II, as a Royal Navy submarine base. Following an approach to the British government, requesting permission to establish a refit site in the United Kingdom for Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarines, an agreement was negotiated which permitted the US to use the Holy Loch, on the Firth of Clyde, for the anchorage of a submarine tender, a large dry dock, and other supporting craft.
Today, standing close to where I once took part in several CND protest actions, I took this photo of the Sail Training ship Stavros S. Niarchos, a British brig-rigged tall ship owned and operated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT). She is primarily designed to provide young people with the opportunity to undertake voyages as character-building exercises, rather than pure sail-training. She is also used for adult voyages and holidays, which help subsidise the operation of the ship. Stavros S Niarchos is a brig, that is a two masted vessel with square sails on both masts. She carries five yards on each mast (moving up: Course, Lower Topsail, Upper Topsail, Topgallant and Royal), and a total of 18 sails. In good conditions she has managed speeds of just over 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph).
Today no-one asked me what I was doing, no-one told me I was trespassing, no-one tried to move me on. And today they started telling us on the news that another Cold War was threatening ...