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This new pilot guide to Norfolk, the Wash and Humber is indispensable and provides in depth information for anyone sailing this area, says Julia Jones

Norfolk, the Wash and Humber: book review

Norfolk, the Wash and Humber
Peter Harvey
Imray, £22.50

Henry Irving’s Tidal Havens of the Wash and Humber has special status in my personal pantheon of pilot books.

We have used the 6th edition, published 2011, and found it not just factually indispensable but gloriously opinionated, knowledgeable and well-written.

It’s a companion as well as a guide. Peter Harvey’s new look at the area does not disappoint.

He is, if anything, even more companionable as he is unafraid to recommend leaving the boat and taking to one’s bike, paddleboard or the local bus service to get fuller appreciation of this supremely atmospheric area from Lowestoft to Spurn Head.

I’m tempted to describe it as an ‘underappreciated’ area but, while I’m sure that Irving and Harvey would agree with this word, it’s perhaps necessary to accept that there are cruising sailors whose hearts may not lift at the sight of chartlets where the only descriptors are ‘soft mud’, ‘high mud’ and ‘mud’.

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Channels are characteristically narrow as well as shallow and changeable and, where the grounding is on hard sand rather than mud, even these committed authors occasionally take the take the executive decision to say if you’re not local, just don’t go there.

Thornham in North Norfolk is one such non-haven.

It is, however, in an area of outstanding natural beauty whereas Hedon Haven on the Yorkshire shore of the Humber is so industrialised with a chemical park as well as a power station as to ‘beg the question as to why one would venture in’.

Generally, this guide is written with missionary zeal and intense positive appreciation for all the local sailing clubs and dedicated enthusiasts who mark and re-mark the winding channels leading into such inaccessible spots as Wainfleet Creek and Tetney Haven.

Peter Harvey regrets some of the missed opportunities for public sector groups to open up facilities for yachts, such as in the development of the Boston Barrier.

Overall, however, he is able to point to some notable advances in the area’s ‘offer’ to yachtsmen – more mooring opportunities in the Wash, a better route into Grimsby and vastly improved marina ambience since Hull was designated a City of Culture in 2017.

Peter Harvey’s new guide is motivating as well as indispensable. It’s hard to resist the urge to set off at once.

Buy Norfolk, The Wash and Humber at Waterstones (UK)

Buy Norfolk, The Wash and Humber at Foyles (UK)

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Norfolk, the Wash and Humber: book review

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