Homeward through the Netherlands

Our Route South through the Netherlands

We posted more detail about crossing Holland by the inland Staande Mastroute back in 2015 when we went out to the Baltic. So if anyone reading this is contemplating the trip, you might want to have a look at that old post too. This time we tried to vary our route as much as possible, and almost completely avoided stopping at places we had been to previously.

The entire route runs from Delfjzil in the North to Vlissingen in the South. You meander down rural canals, sail across vast areas of enclosed water, share wide, and sometimes fast flowing, waterways and locks with huge commercial vessels, wait ages for key railway and motorway bridge openings, traverse cities, and all in a sea-going sailing boat with 18M of mast above your head and 2M of keel beneath your feet. It’s a uniquely Dutch experience. I can’t think of anywhere else where boats and water are so interwoven into the fabric of a country. And, with the exception of a few local town bridge tolls, it’s all free!  Quite amazing. Thank you Netherlands !

 

Interesting bridge. Great engineering

 

Waterway travel encourages a slower pace of life

Our only disappointment en-route was the Amsterdam “night convoy”. We planned to take the direct route through Amsterdam, which you can only do at night in a convoy, as lifting the city-centre bridges is too disruptive by day.  However, despite calling the canal authority and getting instructions on how to join the convoy, it didn’t seem to run on the night we were there. So after a night of little sleep waiting for the first bridge to open, we decided to cut our losses and re-route via Haarlem. Slightly further, but at least the bridges opened! In Haarlem we had the unexpected pleasure of meeting up with 2 other CA boats and their crews. So we had company for a while. This was particularly welcome, as we hadn’t met any other Brit boats since Cuxhaven. Hi to Neil and Diana, and Graham and Pauline. We wish you luck on your respective trips further into Holland, and back to the UK. 

 

Is our mast gong to fit under here?

 

Now that’s a big lake, I can’t see the other side yet…..

Obligatory windmill pictures 

Great old towns to explore

During our time on the inland route, I kept an eye on the weather out in the North Sea. A lot of the time it was N/W’ly and quite strong. So we don’t regret our choice to “go indoors” for this part of the voyage home. 

Traffic on the Westerschelde. Wide berth required!

Now we are in Breskens, at the mouth of the Westerschelde. But before we can continue on our way towards Belgium and France, we need to take a break from the boat for a few days to retrieve our van from the yard in Germany and return it to the UK.

 

Good to be in Breskens again at the end of our inland journey

 

If you are planning to do this trip, we particularly enjoyed the following places this time:

(From North to South).

Port Hunzegat Zoutcamp. A peaceful haven, and the Harbour Master collects Seagull outboards! (A guilty secret passion of mine.)

Oostmahorn. Beautiful natural surroundings in a lake type setting.

Leeuwarden. Town centre moorings in a park. Leafy and peaceful.

Enkhuizen. Fascinating old town on the Ijselmeer. 

Haarlem. City centre mooring near the old windmill, in a quiet area adjacent to some private houses. 

Braassermermeer. Another beautiful lake setting which we also enjoyed on the way out in 2015.

YH Strijensas (Hollands Diep).  Beautifuly rural setting, adjacent to extensive nature trails.

Middelburg. Classic old Dutch City. Central moorings in old harbour basins efficiently run by yacht club.  

 

 

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