HMS Edinburgh sailed into the Capital for the last time this morning before being decommissioned.
The 30-year-old type-42 Destroyer arrived at Leith docks at around 7am and will remain in Edinburgh for six days, during which time the crew will parade down the Royal Mile to mark the decommissioning of the ship.
HMS Edinburgh is the Navy’s largest type-42 warship and is sailing around the UK in a farewell tour which will end in Portsmouth next month. It left London on Sunday and will reach Liverpool, where it was built, on Tuesday.
Despite the warship being based in the south of England, the commander called Edinburgh its “spiritual home”.
Some of the crew are from the Scottish capital and are delighted to be home.
Able Seaman Greg Douglas, 22, said: “It’s nice to be back in Edinburgh, it’s not often we’re this close. I’ve been on board for about a year and I’ve only been back for one month during that time while on leave.
“I’m a bit of a novelty on the ship ‘cos I’m from Edinburgh. I used to get pictures taken beside all the signs on board when I first joined the company.
“I’ve family and friends coming down over the next few days and that’ll be nice to show them what I do and what happens on a ship. I’m part of the ceremonial party marching on Friday and that will be great to bring the Royal Mile to a standstill because I’ve been in hundreds of traffic jams on the street.”
Around 250 crew are on the ship who will be redeployed in the Navy at the end of the tour.
Commander Nick Borbone has been in charge of HMS Edinburgh for 18 months.
“This marks the end of the ship and the life of the type-42 Destroyer so it’s a really significant trip and a huge highlight of that is the visit to what we consider to be our spiritual home of Edinburgh.
“Although the ship was built in Liverpool and is mainly based in Portsmouth, we’re named after Edinburgh city and have had really strong links with it over the 30 years or so of the ship’s life.
“It’s one of the cities we visit most, so to be able to pay our respects and let the people of Edinburgh look over what is really their ship will be great before we go back to Portsmouth and decommission. Myself and many of the crew are strongly attached to the ship so this will be a particularly emotional visit.”
Joseph Neale, a lead chef on the ship, is looking forward to seeing his family during the stop in his home town.
“I’m based in Portsmouth theses days and only get to come up to Edinburgh on the odd occasion, so it’s good to come in with the ship and to see my mum and my family,” he said.
“It’s a real treat ‘cos I only get to come home to Edinburgh two or three times a year and that’s usually through leave.
“Before I joined the Navy I did some work experience in small kitchens and it’s nothing compared to on board a ship.
“We cook for around 240 or 250 people three times a day so it’s hectic but really enjoyable. When the seas are rough it’s crazy. You have to roll with the waves, so if you’re stirring or chopping you can be all over the kitchen. It’s hot and sweaty but you get used to it and just plod on.”