Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Royal Yacht Britannia to close for repainting in Leith

Royal Yacht Britannia
Image caption The Royal Yacht Britannia will only travel a few hundred metres across the harbour in Leith

The Royal Yacht Britannia is to be moved from its berth in Edinburgh for the first time in almost 14 years.

The iconic yacht is to close on Saturday for a month so it can go into dry dock to have its hull repainted.

The visitor attraction will only travel a few hundred metres across the harbour in Leith.

However, Bob Downie from the Britannia charitable trust said it is essential for the vessel's future. It travelled more than a million miles in its day.

Mr Downie said: "Britannia was last in dry dock in May 1998 when she first arrived in Leith and ever since then we have been conscious that, like all ships, there would be a future requirement to take her out of water again and have her hull surveyed and repainted.

"That said, every year Britannia is subject to a comprehensive independent maintenance survey and divers also inspect the hull to ensure that all is in good order, and whilst there is no particular need to undertake this work now our insurance company is keen that their own surveyors can inspect the vessel, with a view to not having to dry dock Britannia again for another 20-25 years.

"Although we will spend only a fortnight in dry dock, we will take advantage of the down-time to scaffold the funnel and masts so that they can also be repainted, thus avoiding this unsightly work taking place whilst open to visitors."

It will reopen to the public on 1 February.

Work began on the ship at John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank in June 1952 and she was launched in April 1953.

Last year was one of the attraction's busiest years with over 275,000 visitors, a 12% increase on the previous year.

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