Schooner sailing: Harwich to Littlehampton, July 2021

The title is an accurate description of this trip, though not the original intention. The weather required the plan to be cut short, and we didn’t make it as far west along the south coast as originally planned.

Sunday 25 July

A misty morning with Trinovante moored off Halfpenny Pier at Harwich, with the ships and cranes of Felixstowe behind. I’m off for an early run around Harwich.
Departure from Harwich
That evening, anchored on the River Colne

Monday 26 July

Next morning
Underway and heading across the Thames estuary
Approaching Red Sands Fort
These seven towers from WWII are an example of the army version of the Maunsell Forts, these built for anti-aircraft defence.
They comprised seven connected steel platforms. Four towers arranged in a semicircle ahead of the control centre and accommodation each carried a QF 3.7-inch gun, a tower to the rear of the control centre mounted Bofors 40 mm guns, while the seventh tower, set to one side of the gun towers and further out, was the searchlight tower.
The forts now have severe structural defects and parts have already been lost to the sea. They can no longer be safely accessed, but are fascinating to sail past.
Anchored in The Swale, between the Isle of Sheppey and mainland Kent, looking west
Looking east

Tuesday 27 July

Next morning
Seals as we leave The Swale
The north Kent coast
Safely snugged up in Ramsgate harbour
Storm Evert is on the way, and we don’t expect to be moving for a couple of days

Wednesday 28 July

Next morning, and the wind is starting to pick up
An early morning run exploring around the harbour and then to the north…
In the afternoon, a walk in the same direction as the early morning’s run, but continuing onwards
The low level path ends and it’s a stiff climb to gain the higher route
The beach at Broadstairs
From here I took the train back to Ramsgate and walked across town back to the harbour

Thursday 29 July

The navy have evacuated the two vessels behind us, and the crews are staying in a hotel, as it will be too rough in harbour. Interesting times as Storm Evert heads our way, so we’re staying in Ramsgate and it’s more on-shore exploration.

Lucy and I took the train to Margate where we played some crazy golf and had lunch, then I left her to return by train to Broadstairs, while I walked there
The bustle of Margate starting to be left behind
The coast soon turned quiet and made for lovely walking
The coastal path here became a walk across the sand…
…and then a walk across the cliff tops
In places the beaches were busier, but never over-crowded
North Foreland lighthouse
Below East Cliff approaching Broadstairs
On Broadstairs beach where I met with Lucy. We had ice-creams and drinks before catching the bus back to Ramsgate (as it went nearer the harbour than the train)

Friday 30 July

Next morning, a run to the south
The Hugin is a reconstructed longship located at Pegwell Bay.
It was a gift from the Danish government commemorating the 1500th anniversary of the arrival of Hengist and Horsa, leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, at nearby Ebbsfleet. The ship is a replica of the much later ca. 890 Gokstad ship
Ramsgate Harbour in Storm Evert

Saturday 31 July

A final look around after four nights and three full days in Ramsgate: we will soon be underway
Farewell Ramsgate
Views of the morning, heading west from Ramsgate
Afternoon along the south coast
After 11 hours, as we approach Beachy Head, the sun is setting, but our journey continues.
Heading into the sunset

Sunday 1 August

We anchored off Littlehampton at about 3am, and here at a little after 5am we are nosing our way in, trying to make out the markers
Safely moored on the River Arun in Littlehampton
The seafront at Littlehampton – location of the parkrun that at one stage I’d hoped we might get to, but we’re a day late.
Looking down the last bit of the Arun to the sea.

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