Up the Creek - Isle of Wight
Yarmouth was the first Island settlement to be granted a royal town charter in 1135. The town was sacked by the French in 1377 and 1524, and suffered numerous raids until Henry VIII improved the security situation by building a stone castle in the town which was completed in 1547 and is now managed by English Heritage. An impressive feature of the town is the unique 700ft long timber pier dating from 1876, which is a Grade II listed building. 552 deck planks record the names of those who helped fund the pier's restoration in the 1990s. The annual Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival which is held in late May and early June is one of the largest events held on the Isle of Wight. More than 100 Old Gaffers - gaff rigged boats - participate in the event which is complimented by shore based entertainment. The Yar estuary attracts walkers and bird watchers and there is a cycle way to Freshwater, along the route of the former railway line. The Hamstead walking trail runs for seven miles from Yarmouth to Brook across the Downs to the South, starting at Hamstead Ledge. This walking trail also takes you to the Red Lion pub just over the first bridge of the Yar river next to the church. It is here that should the restaurant be full they will lend you coats, blankets, etc. for your meal to be served on picnic tables in their garden or on a return after dark they will lend you a torch for the journey to be handed back to the local newsagents in town.
Approach from the north dropping anchor for free just north of the Groynes marked with Green beacons and west of the Bathing area. There are small craft anchorages and visitors small craft moorings just outside the Harbour further east for a small fee but useful should the weather turn. Should the weather go foul then mooring inside the Harbour will give full shelter. There is a water taxi service but this can prove costly pending number of crew and journeys. Most of the moorings inside are now connected to shore and have water and electricity. If busy then try pre-booking with Harold Hayes Ltd for a pontoon mooring with all connections, right next to the swing bridge. Alternatively try mooring alongside the harbour wall on the east side with long lines but beware of the slip near the Lifeboat enclosure on low tide. On a good day try swimming in the buoyed bathing area next to the groynes. There are unrivalled shower and laundry facilities, ice and gas in the Yarmouth Harbour Office on the South Quay just over the swing bridge. From the harbour car park you can take a bus to the many attractions in the area. Should you feel a little more energetic then take a stroll along the coast, West to Fort Victoria and enjoy the many attractions within the complex E.G. very large Model Railway and the Island Planetarium. Maybe a BBQ is the order of the day making use of several BBQ areas on the green almost on the shore itself. The town speaks for itself and deserves a visit during the day and night. An excellent meal and ales may be had from the Weatsheaf pub dining in their conservatory. Also try The Bugle, a very old pub in the centre of town.