Competitors in the Annual Maldon Mud Race
The River Blackwater
The upper reaches of the River Blackwater
harbours a secret or two. Whilst there are some great little creeks and
and intruguing harbours, there is also an Island that was a top secret
naval base and Maldon, which made the area famous for its Sea Salt.
Blackwater is wide and deep as it runs past Mersea Island and Tolesbury
to its North and Bradwell to the South. The river narrows as it
approaches Osea Island and the Marconi Sailing Club, which is where our
Moorings on the southern edge of the river near Marconi SC.
A shoreline dotted with masts and a series of mooring trots denotes
the Southern side of the river as we pass the Stone and then Marconi
Sailing Club. A Green lateral mark (No1) to the North indicates the
channel leading off Goldhanger Creek.
Marconi Sailing Club and the Marconi red lateral mark (chart point 1)
Deep water passes to the South of Osea Island. A green lateral
mark (No3) keeps you clear of the drying bank called ‘The Doctor’ on
Osea’s SW side and marks the
SW extent of the popular Barnacle anchorage that nestles off Osea’s
South East corner. Osea has been inhabited for approximately 5000 years.
In more recent times, it was a Victorian alcoholic rehabilitation
centre and, rumour has it, local sheep farmers who crossed the tidal
causeway had a roaring trade smuggling bottles of ‘medicine’ to patients
by hidding the bottles in the fleece.
requisitioned Osea during the 1st World War for use as a top-secret
naval base. ‘S.S Osea’, was so secret that many locals had no idea that
over 1000 sailors were based there. Today the island is privately owned
offering holdiay accommodation.
Barnacle anchorage to the South East of Osea Island (chart point 2)
The start of Lawling Creek is opposite to the Southern tip of
Osea Island. Red lateral mark (No2) indicates the start of the channel
which courses South Westerly towards Blackwater Marina. The Marina was
created during the 2nd World War, the government financed the building
of a boatyard in Mayland to allow the Cardnell brothers, Tom &
George to build much needed Motor Torpedo and Gun Boats.
Distinctive house and remains of the landing pier on the Southern tip of Osea Island (chart point 3)
to the Blackwater and Osea Island, as you pass Green lateral mark (No3)
the channel turns North West until the Northern bank starts to show
itself and moorings start to increase once again. Red lateral mark (No8)
indicates a sharp turning point whereby the channel sweeps around to
the South West becoming Colliers Reach. The Northern bank is home to
Blackwater Sailing Club and the area is very busy at the weekends with
Blackwater Sailing Club on the Northern Bank as the channel turns SSW into Colliers Reach. (chart point 4)
A couple of cables into Collier Reach brings you to CRS Marine
Boatyard which has the odd mooring by arrangement and where the old
chandlery has been converted into a tea room managed by Wilkin &
Sons of Tiptree who are famous for their jams.
The lock, buildings and
traffic signals at Heybridge Basin come clearly into view. The basin is
the start of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation which is a 13 mile
canal connecting Chelmsford to the sea. The project commenced in 1793
and was a main supply artery until it fell into disuse in the 1970’s.
It’s trade now are the multitudes of pleasure craft and moororing is
available to visiting craft within the basin.
out occurs first and when the traffic light is green you can make your
approach. Leave the lock approach buoy close to starboard and head
towards the withies. Call the lockeeper on Channel 80 for advice.
Entering the lock at Heybridge, the traffic light on green can be seen on the shore to the left of the withies (chart point 5)
Sea Lock is operated 1 hour before HW to 30 minutes after HW. During
the summer months (April to September) the lock operates on all daylight
High Waters. Due to it’s popularity during the summer months it it is
always advisable to book a berth in the Heybridge Basin, especially at
weekends when yacht club rallies often visit the Basin.
The Heybridge lock & basin.
Colliers Reach continues to the South South West, turning to the North
West and hugging the Northern Bank. The channel continues to hug the
Northern bank until you are roughly North of the Maldon Pier head, near
the Maldon Sailing club, at which point the channel crosses to the
Southern bank and stays there all the way to Maldon.
Pier head at Maldon (chart point 6)
The first settlers to the
district came in the Bronze Age and settled to the north of what is now
the town of Maldon. Salt marshes proved popular for salt harvesting as
shown in the 1086 Doomsday survey where 46 salt pans were recorded in
the Maldon area.
Hythe Quay at Maldon takes it’s name from the
Saxon word Hythe meaning landing place and typically a multitude of
Sailing Barges are seen moored up. Maldon sailing barges traded up and
down the east coast and supplied much of London with agricultural
products. Today, it’s a barge and traditional boat mecca and many barges
still trade but now mainly with human cargo - for charter and river
It is best to contact Maldon tourist Office for
availablity on the Quay, but if you are staying you should be capable of
taking the ground.
Maldon Quay lined with barges (chart point 7)
Maldon is a
popular tourist destination by land and worthy of a visit by sea as long
as you keep a keen eye on the tide to avoid becoming stuck in the mud
of which there is plenty. So much in fact that Maldon now hosts an
annual fundraising mud race with competitors running through the mud
from Maldon across the other side of the river and back again.
|Ch 80 or 37 phone 01621 869202
|Ch 80 or 37 phone 01621 776235
|| Ch 37
phone 01621 740264
|| Ch 80 phone 01621 853506
||Phone 01621 854684
(Maldon Tourist office)
|Walton on the Naze
|| MHWS 4.2
| MLWS 0.4
|| MHWN 3.4
| MLWN 1.1
|| MHWS 5.3
|| MHWN 4.3
| MHWS 2.9
| MHWN 2.3
Barnacle Anchorage South East corner of Osea Island
Avoid anchoring on the Oyster beds
Chart Y17 is reproduced with the kind permission of Imray.
Chart copyright UKHO. www.ukho.gov.uk
pictures By Simon & Vicky Jinks, SeaRegs www.searegs.co.uk
© Crown Copyright and/or database rights. Reproduced by
permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the
UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk).
This material is not for resale, redistribution or copying.
Not to be used for navigation.
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