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The Rivers Ore and Alde

Received from Tony Chamberlain 13th August 2008:

Earlier this month I took Maia up the rivers Ore and Alde in Suffolk. This is a very worthwhile trip and, in my opinion, more interesting, "wilder" and less developed than the river Deben. You need to arrive at the Orford Haven buoy about three hours before HW (times in the almanac) which means coming from the south you have to punch the flood tide. The entrance is not difficult and there is an excellent website giving buoyage and other information on I would suggest a max draught of 1.5 metres. Maia draws 1.1 metres.

My intention was to go all the way up to The Maltings at Snape where there is a wharf and an excellent concert hall. Spring tides are preferred as the times are more convenient and more water available in the higher reaches of the Alde which dries out at Snape.

The first night could be spent on a mooring at Orford or at anchor if you prefer where you can leave your dingy at the Orford SC and go ashore to some first class restaurants and pubs.

You could then visit Aldeburgh YC which has an all tide pontoon landing, a good bar and modest galley for light snacks. The club has showers and is very welcoming to visiting yachtsmen. It also has some visitors moorings which you arrange though the local boatyards. You can of course anchor if you prefer as there is loads of room.

If you plan to visit Snape, as I did, you should plan to arrive some 2 hours before HW Snape (again see almanac) as the channel is very twisty and marked by withies which are not always clear as to which side they should be left! Port hand ones usually (but not always!) have a red painted plastic bottle on top. Starboard hand ones have several branches at their top but no colours. The mud is soft however and fairly "yielding" if you go aground. Assuming there is room at the Snape wharf make sure you moor up by a ladder to enable you to go ashore. The ground adjacent to the wharf is flat and soft mud so you will dry out comfortably but you will need long warps to tie up. If you are lucky as I was you may be able to get a ticket to a concert at the adjacent Maltings concert hall. There are no facilities at the wharf and no charges either. There is a good pub with restaurant nearby.

Leaving the Ore and going south means you have to buck the flood tide at the entrance where it runs hard. However once outside you have the tide with you. I anchored over night in the Butley river which is a convenient place from which to leave the next day.

It really is worth the effort to visit the Ore and the Alde and Snape in particular. Go for it! If you have any questions please free to contact me.

Tony Chamberlain

Date Published 13th Aug 2008