Up the Creek - Isle of Wight
I’ve written this article on Newport because I feel it deserves a special mention by itself. At the furthest navigable reach of the Medina river, Newport was a market town with a busy port until the mid nineteenth century. In the 3rd century the Romans built a fine Roman Villa in Cypress Road and in the 11th century the Normans established a stronghold on the site of a Saxon Fort at Carisbrooke, then the Island's capital. Richard de Redvers founded the town of Newport, laying out streets in a grid pattern, with a straight road from Quay to Castle. His grandson Baldwin de Redvers rebuilt Carisbrooke Castle in stone during the reign of King Stephen.
Once you get passed Island Harbour Marina it gets very interesting. Pass on by Newport Rowing Club and Blackhouse Quay (starboard side), then Corporation Quay and New Quay on port and moor. With what seems very little water you would be very surprised at the size of vessels that make it all the way to Newport. One, “Donald Redford” plies its hold of sand or shingle from Newport all the way to the top of Fareham Quay and of course the new Wind generator Vanes are made just north of Newport some being over 100 feet long. Shoal draft vessels will be able to moor alongside on pontoons and dry out in the soft mud but deep fin keels should moor alongside the Quayside itself and the Harbourmaster will provide free barge boards for the privilege (stored at the rear of the Harbourmaster’s office). Electricity (very cheap) and water are available on both moorings and the facilities are sufficient. Should you be a regular one can even your own ships key. The Quayside mooring onto hard shingle gives you the opportunity to inspect the hull, undergo some minor maintenance or even a complete pressure spray and antifoul.
Stay on the East side and head North walking to visit the Classic Boat Museum and the Bus & Coach Museum, both well worth spending the time. In the evening try joining a guided Ghost Walk around the town which can be rather frightening especially in the dark. The organisers come all dressed up in the clothes of the time and the tours have proved very popular. Should you wish for a meal or just sample some ales then just stroll around the corner to the Bargeman’s Rest the other side of the water, but be prepared for a very large meal and on Saturday evenings good entertainment. It is from here where you can drink and at the same time keep and eye on your vessel. Should you wish to try another pub then just amble around the town which has some 26 at the last count to choose from, the oldest being the Castle Inn in the High Street dating back to the 14th century and once reputed to have been connected to Carisbrooke Castle itself.