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As the summer draws near and the marina is filled with the sound of people tinkering on boats, our thoughts turn to the adventures to be had in our local cruising grounds. We might be biased, but we think we are spoilt for choice! With the beautiful River Stour and River Orwell on our doorstep providing stunning scenic sails, rural stop-offs and idyllic waterside pubs, it is no surprise that many of us struggle to decide where to drop anchor. But, fear not, here are our top three locations to help you plan your next trip...
About half an hour’s sail down the River Orwell from the SYH to the mouth of the River Stour is the historic town of Harwich. Harwich is a traditional fishing town and home to Ha’Penny Pier. Dating back to 1853, it is now one of the oldest surviving wooden piers in the UK. The pier was originally named after the half penny toll charge but thankfully this fee is no longer and Ha’penny Pier moorings are free to use between 9am and 6pm.
When hunger strikes we recommend The Alma Inn, especially if you are looking to taste a scrumptious Harwich lobster dish. Hidden from the crowds, the walled beer garden is a true sun-trap and the perfect spot to soak up the rays in the afternoon while enjoying a pint of something cold.
Why not take a trip to the Butt and Oyster pub located on the south bank of the River Orwell? The short scenic sail from SYH takes you up river to the rural shores of Pin Mill providing access to a huge range of country walks across the Shotley Peninsular.
Pin Mill sailing club provides visitors’ moorings on a first-come, first-served basis and takes a more traditional approach to yachting. If you are planning to explore on foot, you will need to tow a dinghy and row ashore (pack your wellies and expect to get a little muddy).
If you fancy anchoring beneath the stars with only the sound of water lapping against your hull, this part of the river is perfect for an overnight stay. On a sunny day, you can enjoy breath-taking sunsets over the upper reaches of the Orwell. The Butt and Oyster pub is a great location for lunch or dinner with outside seating overlooking the river or cosy inside tables for cooler summer evenings.
If you are looking to venture a little further afield on a bit of an adventure, then the Walton Backwaters are definitely worth a visit. The sailing is a little trickier but the narrow channels are easily navigated by following the channel markers. We recommend heading to Stone Creek and Stone Point on the east of the channel; a popular anchorage spot to access the isolated beaches. The area is a hive of activity for river wildlife and the perfect location for spotting birds and seals.
We are immensely lucky to have access to such diverse cruising waters so we hope this will inspire you to get afloat and explore. If you are off on any adventures this season, make sure to tag us in your Facebook and Instagram photos as we love to see what you all get up to!