VIDEO: Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to birthplace on Forth

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The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned to her birthplace on the Forth.

The 65,000-tonne ship was spotted today as she made her way to Rosyth for a scheduled period of maintenance.

She lowered her pole mast to fit under the bridge. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

She lowered her pole mast to fit under the bridge. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: “A lot of water has already passed under our keel since we left Rosyth in 2017. Our return here is yet another first for HMS Queen Elizabeth and another important step on her journey as Britain generates a big deck carrier strike capability.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth was floated in July 2014 and sailed from Rosyth Dockyard for the first time in June 2017.

Since then she has crossed the Atlantic to conduct historic trials with F35 Lightning test fighter jets in the USA and worked up towards her official in-service date of 2020.

The boat lowered her pole mast to get under the three bridges on the Forth, and will now wait for the right tidal and weather conditions to manoeuvre safely through the lock into Rosyth Dockyard.

The 65,000 tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft carrier goes under the Forth Bridge. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith/SNWS

The 65,000 tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft carrier goes under the Forth Bridge. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith/SNWS

A video posted today by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, shows how close the vessel gets to the underside of the rail bridge.

An inspection will be carried out on her 920 foot-long hull, with any defects being rectified and marine growth removed.

The head of Marine Engineering on board, Commander Mark Hamilton, said: “This routine maintenance will include changing many of the large underwater valves, inspecting the rudders, propellers and stabilisers, as well as cleaning and touching up the underwater paint scheme. Having completed this work, HMS Queen Elizabeth should not have to dry dock again for another six years.”

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