Up the Creek - Isle of Wight
There are virtually no facilities to speak of and as a National Trust administered harbour is a natural harbour where you can anchor or use one of the visitor's buoys. The main anchorage is in Clamerkin Lake to port but the majority of the mooring buoys are straight ahead from the entrance. The area can get very busy at weekends, leading to much fending off at the turn of the tide for those that didn't quite get it right. The current can get quite strong at times also so, if anchoring, make sure the hook is well and truly stuck. It’s a sight watching a vessel leaving the harbour, on the ebb, stern first with the anchor still down. This normally occurs of course at about 2 o'clock in the morning. The beach to the west of the entrance is the usual landing place. It is quite steep and, if landing at low water, you need to haul the dinghy quite high if staying ashore for any length of time. Barbecue on the beach here or walk along the shingle a short way if it's too crowded. The walk along the beach and up the hill to Hamstead Farm yields great views over the Solent and if you're feeling fit you can walk all the way to Yarmouth. Take the dinghy up Clamerkin Lake, past the Oyster beds, and you can land on the starboard side at a small fishing quay (don't try to land or return at low water). There's a very pleasant walk through the woods and you can visit the bird hide overlooking the saltings. The whole area is a gem for bird watching especially when most of the visiting vessels have departed. As they say “a Twitcher’s dream”.
From the Solent start your entrance from the Red buoy NNW of the entrance channel. The entrance itself is buoyed and there are leading marks to guide you. Once past Fishhouse Point on port the choice of mooring starts. Turn to port into Clamerkin Lake and follow the stream with the old Sea Wall on starboard and either pick up a buoy or anchor keeping well clear of the many Oyster beds. Should you decide to keep on from Fiches Point, bearing to starboard then either pick up a buoy or anchor again keeping well clear of the Oyster beds but beware of the ruins of the old Sea Wall on starboard. The nearest pub of note is a walk about 1 mile to Shalfleet where the food is good. Dinghy to the east side of Shalfleet Quay, Lower Hampstead remembering to use a long painter and walk beside Shalfleet Lake. There is a slip and Boat Yard at the Quay. There are also a couple of walks to be found by taking the public footpaths turning off the track. A visit to the peculiar old town hall in Newtown is also worth the effort. The price for anchoring to picking up a buoy used to be around £5 to £10 with a 50% discount for National Trust members but in 2006 news came that the RYA after years of discussion have finally persuaded the National Trust that they have no legal right to charge for anchoring in Newtown river. They have agreed to drop the charge and will, instead, be 'passing the hat' and asking for a contribution to the upkeep. This I feel is very fair for the good work they do in maintaining the perches and the surroundings. The east side of Fiches Point is a bird sanctuary and thus no landing. The waters can be very warm and a swim tempting but be very wary of the sometimes very strong tide. The last photograph is of a sunset from near the entrance although better observed from the west bank. Should you wish to be more adventurous then moor much farther up nearer to Shalfleet Quay and the pub but you will then have to forgo the attractions of the west bank. Alternatively, drop anchor west of the entrance.