I’m just back from a visit to HMS Sceptre at the Faslane Navy base. I was luck enough to be invited to join a group visit to the submarine by the Nottingham Services Club.
HMS Sceptre (S104) is a Swiftsure class nuclear attack submarine commissioned in 1978.
I met Dad, Philip and a group of about 20 at a Hotel just north of Helensburgh on Gare Loch. We had a very pleasant dinner in the hotel with the group and a couple of officers from Sceptre’s crew.
In the morning we were split into three groups to tour the submarine. Philip, Dad and myself were in the first group. We headed up to the navy base to go through security – all very imposing with armed guards and police very much in evidence. Once we had our passes we drove to the submarine dock before boarding the submarine.
Access was only possible via a long vertical ladder from the deck. Once aboard I was surprised at what a mix of old and new the submarine was – a real mix of 1970’s plumbing, pipework and ducting with modern displays mixed with ancient instruments. We were freely shown the whole boat – the bridge, sonar room, torpedo room, reactor and engineering spaces, escape airlock, living quarters (VERY small) and officers mess.
After spending about and hour and half looking round the submarine, we let the next group on and headed away. We had a quick lunch at a pub on Loch Lomond and then I headed back to Aberdeen and the rest of the group headed for Nottingham.