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Overnight mooring at De Belt

One of the big differences between the Holland waterways and those in UK or France, is the casual stopping places. On canals in UK and France, there is invariably a tow path on one side and one can almost stop anywhere one feels like it, whether it be for a lunch stop, or an overnight stop.
In Holland there are no tow paths. The waterways are generally wider, with dredged or buoyed channels, and it is not advisable to just pull over to the bank.
Karen missed the tow paths. She used to enjoy hopping off the boat and jogging alongside, or indeed running ahead, to get in her daily excercise. No such luck in Holland.

Lunch stop at Eekt Island near Elburg

However, there are a number of designated free/public mooring spots – usually well marked on the charts. There are no facilities, but the moorings are good.
We made use of 2 of these spots.
The first was a place called De Belt. (above) It is near the Vollenhovermeer, and we overnighted here en route from Steenwijk to Kampen.
A very secluded backwater – very narrow and hard to find and rather shallow. We only had about 0.4 metres clearance under the keel most of the time, and at one moment on the way in the echo sounder showed 0.2 metres! A touch nerve-wracking.

However, it turned out to be very pleasant, relaxing and quiet, despite the fact that quite a number of boats arrived later to overnight. A brief venture ashore, over the very narrow jetty, and up onto the dyke revealed us to be really in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by farmlands and a few horses.
The other spot we tried was a lunch stop on Eekt Island near Elburg, while en route from Harderwijk back to Urk. Again a very quiet and peaceful mooring.

Buitenhaven Marina in Kampen

Back in Kampen again – after the unhappy berthing at Ijsselmuiden, we preffered to go on the Kampen side of the Ijssel River, and moored up in Buitenhaven – right close to the town centre.

A very good marina with excellent facilities (except fot internet, of course).

We stayed 2 nights here. One – because Kampen is a lovely village with a wonderful Monday market, and some pleasant eating and drinking spots.

Also, it was relatively close to Zwolle railway station, and we went off to Groningen by train to look at a boat I was interested in. (More on the boats I looked at in another post)

Urk Harbour – yacht marina

Our last night we moored in Urk itself, at the town marina.
A large and busy marina with far more sailing yachts here.
Urk is right on the edge of the Ijsselmeer, which is an ideal place for enthusiastic yachtsmen – a large open area of water with generally steady winds. Again good facilities.
Although no internet, the harbourmaster pointed us to a pub/cafe quite close which did offer free wifi!
(next post will be about some of the harbour/marina facilities and costs in Holland)
Bon voyage!

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