Welcome by the Chieftain 2016:
Captain Craig Mearns RN
Captain HMS Neptune and Captain of the HM Naval Base Faslane.
ROSNEATH PENINSULA HIGHLAND GATHERING 2016
I am greatly honoured to be Chieftain for 2016 and I take great pleasure in welcoming both visitors and competitors to the Rosneath Peninsula Highland Gathering. Whether you live locally or will be travelling from the other side of the world to be at the event, I hope you enjoy your day taking in the sights and sounds of the highland games and the wonderful warmth of the welcome from the communities here on the beautiful Rosneath Peninsula.
A Gathering is a traditional coming together of friends and neighbours and as Captain of the Naval Base at Faslane I am aware that we as neighbours have a much larger responsibility than most to our friends in the local and wider communities around us. The Naval Base is the largest single site employer in Scotland, and the Royal Navy, along with our Industrial Partners work hard to ensure the Base makes a positive economic, social and cultural contribution to both the local community and wider region.
By coming along to the Gathering you will be part of the Rosneath Peninsula community sharing in the fun and excitement of this traditional event. The Gathering is run by volunteers, funded by local businesses and organisations, for the benefit of all in the local community and visitors alike, who all want to share in and enjoy a memorable experience. It is a particular privilege for me to be at the event in the capacity of Chieftain as I lived on the Peninsula for a few years as a young boy and attended Rosneath Primary School from 1975-1977. It’s great to come back and if you come and join in the fun and see me walking the field please come and say hello – I would love to meet you and have a chat. After all, that is what a gathering is all about!
Captain Mearns Bio:
Craig graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1987 (MA(Hons)). After a 6 month spell in Australia, he entered BRNC Dartmouth in January 1988 as a Supply Officer. Early appointments included a mix of sea and shore appointments, including Commodore Minor War Vessels in Rosyth, the LPD HMS FEARLESS and a tour in Gibraltar. He completed Supply Charge Course in 1996 and then served as Supply Officer on Armilla deployments with HMS SOUTHAMPTON (1997) and HMS GRAFTON (1998). This was followed by a tour in MOD (Defence Logistics) (1999-2001), Advanced Command and Staff Course and then time with the submarine community as Deputy Base Supply Officer, Faslane (2001-2003).
He served on the UK Maritime Battle Staff from 2003-2005, which included 2 tours to UKMCC Bahrain and embarked logistics roles onboard HMS INVINCIBLE (MARSTRIKE and NRF) and HMS ST ALBANS (CTF 150). On promotion to Commander in 2005, he returned to Gibraltar as SO1 J1/J4 and then deployed to Afghanistan in late 2007 as SO1 J1 HQ Jt Force Support. Subsequently he completed a further tour in MOD with ACDS (Log Ops), leading on Joint international and multinational logistics.
In 2011 he achieved a major ambition, returning to sea as Cdr Logistics of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS seeing the ship through from the end of refit to high readiness and the COUGAR 12 deployment. He was then delighted to be afforded the privilege of being the first Commander Logistics of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH from late 2012 and doubled up as the acting Executive Officer for the first 18 months of this fascinating assignment. Selected for promotion to Captain in April 2015, he is now even more delighted to be the Captain HMS NEPTUNE.
His wife Lesley is a partner in a law firm based near St Andrews, his son Charlie is at Aberdeen University and daughter Nina is approaching her final year at Strathallan