Up the river Orwell (August Bank Holiday)

Not having seen the good ship for quite a few weeks a trip to Shotley was well overdue. It had to be a flying visit though because of work.

The team was young and strong in the shape of young Jack and his mate Ed. We arrived and the good ship was looking as lovely as ever, tidily snugged up in her mooring. With next to no wind we slipped out of the berth but I could feel straight away alot of weed on the prop and manoeuvring was far less easy as a result. Not too much of a worry though because 'parking by touch' has always been a strength for us. We enjoyed a lovely beat out to sea and then turning round, a sloppy run down the river to Ipswich Yacht Haven.

We've never been here before ... we always head straight out to sea so the whole trip was relaxing but new. To get into the Yacht Haven you need to lock in ... it was a great experience. Once we were all in, the lock the gates were shut, and then ... like a fair ground ride, a loud, sing-song voice blasted out of the tannoy ... 'heeeere weeeee go' ... I thought we were going to take off,  it was brilliant. The lock filled, the gates opened and the lovely lock keeper thanked us for using her lock; how brilliant is that? Our whole visit to Ipswich could have just been for the 'lock experience'. The staff at the yacht haven were lovely as well and we were soon snugged up in a berth in the heart of Ipswich.

A nice dinner in one of the harbour side restaurants and a few restorative pints rounded up a lovely day.

The following day we took the tide back up the river to Shotley stopping off at the empty visitors pontoon of the Royal Harwich Marina to get an ice cream. The lads sped off whilst I stayed with the boat. Sadly though a 'jobsworth' sent them back saying there was no way we could stop for a couple of minutes to grab an ice cream ... who did we think we were? I set off in search of the officious official but frustratingly I couldn't track him down and went off to buy the ice creams instead! I always thought of the The Royal Harwich as a friendly place; I'm sure it is but keep your eyes peeled for the wally in the little wooden hut.

Ipswich is still a real port. Great to see the still active dock

Looking back towards the Yacht Haven

We mooched back to Shotley locked back in and put the good ship to bed. A lovely weekend.

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