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Schoonhoven

Although JH 't Wilgerak advertise space for visitors up to 14m they were a little surprised when we arrived en masse, even though none of our party were bigger than 11m. There were very few free spaces, but we were accommodated, albeit in a bit of a tight squeeze. The HM prefers to be phoned in advance, particularly for what he regards as bigger boats, probably anything over 10m, or more than one of you, and is happy to take reservations, unlike many other harbours.

The toilet and shower facilities did not impress my crew, and were the only ones we came across where you are expected to provide your own loo roll, as well as the only ones where we found a slug in residence :-( The €0,50 fee provided a minimal period of hot water, and the temperature was affected by the ups and downs of neighbouring showerers.

By contrast, the launderette facility seemed spotless and efficient - book a slot and pay at the harbour office as it is not token operated. Electricity for the bigger boats was charged at an economical €2/night for an unmetered 10A, whilst those of us squeezed into the smaller berths had to pay €1/2kWh to the meter for a 6A supply.

The Silver Museum proved an interesting visit, and some of the crews were tempted by the range of silver shopping opportunities, but we had to conclude that the boating facilities in Schoonhoven left a little to be desired. Perhaps it didn't help that it rained the whole time that we were there!

Vianen

As mentioned in the section on the River Lek, the moorings at WV De Peiler are a good alternative to the visitors moorings near the lock for a stop at Vianen. There is a friendly reception from the duty harbour master and the facilities are well kept. The large lake offers a tranquil setting for a peaceful evening, although the wash from the regularly passing barges on the river do affect the berths near the entrance quite badly. Unmetered 6A electricity, and water are included in the modest overnight fee, and some 16A supplies are available on request.

It is a 20 minute cycle ride into the town (either via the fields, by turning left at the top of the footbridge, or the more normal route through the gate and along the road, by turning to the right). A key for the gate on a giant wooden fob is provided on free loan. There is a market from 1000-1600 on Wednesdays, or if you fancy something nearer to home, you can visit Boer Bertus, an Eetcafe at the adjacent Campsite Clementie for some honest home cooking (turn right out of the gate).

Gorinchem - lock & moorings

The Lingesluis lock which gives access into the central moorings of the Lingehaven in Gorinchem no longer closes for lunch and is open 9am to 8pm May to September. Winter hours (April and October) are 10am to 4pm. The facilities are in the white block on the east side of the inner lock (which is always open) - best moorings are in the boxes in the first bay on the east side.

There isn't much space to manoeuvre in the harbour when it's busy, so I wouldn't recommend it for boats over 12m, and their summer weekend festivals make it a busy place to be so one to avoid if you don't like crowds.

If you stay four nights, you get the fifth night free, and that can be all in one go, or five separate visits.

Visit the Lingehaven website for details of their summer music events.

Tiengemeten

Since the opening of the Haringvliet locks and the introduction of some tidal flow in the Haringvliet, the island of Tiengemeten has been returned to marshland and turned into a kind of wilderness tourist attraction. A foot and cycle ferry takes visitors across from Nieuwendijk and boats can moor during the day in the small 'Grote Haven'.

There are cycling and walking routes around the island (bikes to hire for €3/day) and a cafe at the easternmost end. Try to visit during the week to get a feeling of the natural wilderness that was intended, rather than the overcrowding of visiting cyclists.