This page has been renamed and, we think, for the better. Its title is now both alliterative and assonantal and also describes the nature of the contents which is what titles are for. The page has also been restructured to follow the sequence of the main narrative.
DARTMOUTH – Day 83 – 26/09/14
The public loos and showers were located by Keith in record time. Access was excellent, a two minute walk, decor was basic, cleanliness wasn’t bad all things considered. Showers were large with three hooks and oodles of hot water. Sadly, there was no seating provided within the shower cubicle. This presented the dilemma about whether to dry one’s foot before inserting in trouser leg (virtually impossible as not enough hands) or inserting one’s foot in trouser leg and then drying it. Choosing the latter option ended in disaster as the first wet foot stuck in trouser leg, balance and hold of trousers were lost simultaneously, trousers grounded on wet floor and then firmly stood upon. Dartmouth receives 3/10.
ST PETER PORT – Day 81-82 – 24-25/09/14
Access was a problem in that it rivalled Bangor for distance (nearly ½ mile) although the weather was better. Once there, the facilities were excellent and spacious. One could use three different rooms: urinal and water closets, shaving and general beautifying and showers. Three hooks were normally provided as was one seat albeit small. Hot water was abundant and the overall experience was gratifying. St Peter Port receives 7½/10
ST HELIER – Day 79-80 – 22-23/09/14
After the hiatus of Alderney, the facilities at St Helier were a welcome sight. Access was on the long side of satisfactory and, with a tidal range of 8.5m, slopes were sometimes steep. Cleanliness was excellent and units plentiful – probably the highest number on the whole trip. Four hooks, a shelf and a towel rail made up, in part, for the lack of seating. Space was criticised by one crew member and having to keep pushing the hot water button did not please another. These were balanced by the author’s pressing need so St Helier receives 8/10.
BRAYE – Day 78 – 21/09/14
RBE was on a swinging mooring and thus a dinghy / water taxi ride away so access not good. Adding to that the extreme knackeredness of the crew, the reader will not be surprised that facilities were neither used nor evaluated. Many, including the author, went into full clench mode and lasted (just) to St Helier. No marks will therefore be awarded to Braye.
WEYMOUTH – Day 77 – 20/09/14
Access was excellent – just a short walk along the quay to the Harbour Master’s office and facilities. Cleanliness was excellent and fittings almost new and well maintained. The showers were spacious with sufficient hooks though, in all honesty, the author cannot remember exactly how many. Adequate seating was provided. There was one unusual feature: the showers worked on a movement sensor as shown below.
The author thought they were quite jolly but Skipper Phil, who knows his facilities, stated that the comment whiteboard has always contained derogatory comments about the sensors since their installation. After much debate and consideration, Weymouth is awarded 8½/10.
EAST COWES – Day 76 – 19/09/14
Access was the far side of perfect – it was quite a long walk but nothing like Bangor for example. Once there, all was consistently excellent. Cleanliness, hooks, space, seating, hot water: all boxes were ticked. Skipper Phil reckons “they are the best heads on the south coast, boyo”. We would respectfully suggest that they do not match the standard of Plymouth’s Sutton Marina (what could?) but we are pleased to award East Cowes 9½/10.
BRIGHTON – Day 74-75 17-18/09/14
Sadly, we have had to revise our assessment. Observations from the female members of the crew were not as complimentary as those of the author. Moreover, on the second sampling, suite 1 was selected rather than suite 2. Two hooks were missing and there was a hole in the floor which took the gilt of the proverbial gingerbread. Brighton now receives 7½/10.
Access just right. Condition very good and proper mini-suites comprising wash basin, loo and shower. Five hooks were most welcome. Drainage was raised as an issuette by one of the crew: all the showers drain into one gully which then flows merrily away. The gully was properly covered by a metal grid so rubber ducks and er … pooh sticks weren’t an option. Seating was excellent and we are pleased to award 9½/10.
RAMSGATE – Day 73 – 16/09/14
Access on the long side of comfortable particularly at low tide when the walkways are at their steepest. Facilities were of generally good standard. Cleanliness was very good, showers were spacious and hot water fine. Two niggles: firstly, there was little space on which to put one’s equipment while shaving. The more churlish of our readers might observe that little space would be more than enough. Secondly, the scarcity of hooks. Each shower cubicle had but one hook – indeed, one hook had been removed for some unfathomable reason. We can only award 6½/10.
FITTLEWORTH – Day 69-72 – 12-16/09/14
Access was immediate and could be achieved without turning any lights on. Space was adequate though the shower could be bigger. Copious hot water and cleanliness excellent. Only two hooks but a towel rail also provided as well as wardrobes close by. The facilities at Fittleworth made one feel quite at home and are therefore awarded 10/10.
LIMEHOUSE – Day 69-72 – 12-16/09/14
On his first visit to the Limehouse facilities, the author felt in tune with them as he was very tired. Access was fine apart from having to take the key fob thingie to get out of the dock. Two urinals/loos/showers were just adequate although the overall space was limited. Cleanliness was ok. The showers offered plenty of hot water and three hooks but everywhere seemed to get steamy very quickly. There was seating but it was tailored to a rather slimmer derriere than that used for testing. The general impression was that the whole installation needed a makeover / re-design and was awarded an unexciting 5/10.
QUEENBOROUGH – Day 68 – 11/09/14
We are not sure whether Queenborough offered any facilities. The Almanac is unclear and the Harbour Master proved untraceable. Accordingly, we feel unable to give any opinion on Queenborough nor can we give any undertaking to go back there.
WOOLVERSTONE – Day 66-67 – 09-10/09/14
Access is the further side of perfect but still ok. No 1 advises that all MDL marinas pipe local radio into their facilities: a laudable quality which would be heightened if the station was Radio 4. Condition, loos, space and hooks were all satisfactory and the hot water was copious. Woolverstone is awarded 7½/10.
LOWESTOFT – Day 64/65 – 07/09/14
The stench from the public loos at Lowestoft (next to Wilco) rivalled Eyemouth. Indeed, with a moderate south easterly, it could probably reach there. Access to the marina facilities was just right. The loos were fine and the condition was quite satisfactory. The showers were also fine: four hooks (or was it three?), adequate seating and space and reasonable hot water. The only criticism was that the author managed to leave his very useful mini-bottle of shower gel. On quick reflection, this reflects more on the author than the installation and Lowestoft is awarded 7/10 – and an apology.
GRIMSBY – Day 63 – 06/09/14
Now we do remember Grimsby! Access was just right as were the facilities. Condition was properly satisfactory and space/hooks were sufficient. Showers were electric but worked fine with the temperature control being unusually good. Grimsby is awarded 6½/10.
WHITBY – Day 62 – 05/09/14
Access was a tad extended but the facilities were worth waiting for and the view of the harbour was beautiful. Though only five days ago, the details are beginning to fade. Space was excellent and the overall impression was good so Whitby is awarded a rather vague 6½/10.
HARTLEPOOL – Day 61 – 04/09/14
Access just right: no faffing needed with security codes / key fobs etc. Loos excellent and in good order. Showers also good but electric so minor temperature control problemettes. Three hooks per shower were just adequate but there was room for at least two more. All going well but then we had another example of the Bangor Syndrome – and late at night too. Undoubtedly, all our readers will remember the near disaster that occurred in Bangor (cf. day 25-29). Hartlepool was much worse for reasons which need not be described in detail. The night was saved by the timely arrival of another customer and lo, the lights came on again. We will award Hartlepool 7½/10 as catastrophe was avoided and all the staff were very nice. Was it not Napoleon who said “Give me lucky marinas”.
BLYTH – Day 60 – 03/09/14
The bogs in Blyth were on a boat. Actually, it is an ex-light vessel which houses the splendid Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in general and its facilities in particular. Access at 200m was about perfect – as it wasn’t raining. General cleanliness and space were excellent. One gripe: the amount of hot water was limited. According to a RNYC member and co-showerer, the guy who used to do the maintenance had ‘spat his dummy out’ and there was a minor problem with the hot water system which wasn’t being addressed. ’Never mind, the hot tank will be full in ½ hour’ was amazingly positive considering he must have just had a cold shower. The memorable characteristic was that everything was not quite level. Happily, the URL✝ was benign and the showers not too slippery. We are pleased toward RNYC 7/10.
✝Not Uniform Resource Locator but URinal Lean.
EYEMOUTH – Day 59 02/09/14
This town was not one to be savoured: Keith and Richard encountered a public loo the state of which was too appalling to relate. The excellent facilities provided by the harbour therefore came as a very pleasant surprise. Access was ideal and space was plentiful. General state, late in the day, was average but the showers were very good. Genuine monsoon jobs for 2 x 50p with four well-sited hooks! One minor gripe: there was nowhere to sit in the shower area in order to dry between one’s toes et alia. Nonetheless, a pleasing experience and we award Eyemouth Harbour 6½/10.
ARBROATH – Day 53 28/08/14
Access just on the edge of satisfactory as low tide meant a steep climb from the pontoon and it was raining quite hard as well. Two loo / shower units housed in proper permanent Portacabin together with snail like washing machine and dryer. Four hooks in a very neat line were just sufficient and space plenteous. Shower water was of good temperature but not copious. One unit housed a most interesting arrangement where said shower water was contained by a low, moveable shower screen with a full length shower curtain inside it – see photos below.
Keith, who spends half his waking hours in the shower, advises that it is for the benefit of wheelchair users. Whatever the target beneficiary, the mini shower screen forms a sort of corral for the water and works um … ok. Normally, Arbroath would receive 5 but, in presenting the opportunity for a shamefully bad pun, it receives 6/10.
STONEHAVEN – Day 52 26/08/14
The facilities are genuinely temporary at Stonehaven. A reliable source informed us that the local council had refused planning permission for a permanent building so the Portaloos were installed every April and removed to a local industrial estate every September. One unit was provided for Gents and one for Ladies. Absolutely no hooks, except in the shower where there were two. Washbasin water was provided by min-Ascot and the showers were also electric but did work well. Cleanliness was fine. The view across the harbour was lovely and so Stonehaven temporary Portaloos are awarded a rather unscientific 5/10.
PETERHEAD – Day 50-51 24-25/08/14
The first night at Peterhead was spent deep in the commercial docks and no comment has been made on any facilities if they existed. Peterhead Bay Marina was a different kettle of herring. Access was excellent, hooks plentiful and showers 1 & 2 were excellent being of the traditional turn on tap, turn off tap design. Shower 3 was electric and therefore to be treated with caution. Cleanliness was very good and Peterhead Bay Marina scores 7/10.
WHITEHILLS – Day 49 23/08/14
The access to Whitehills was a walk of about five minutes and thus quite satisfactory. The standard of cleanliness was excellent. The facilities were not numerous: one urinal, two loos and two showers. Sadly, there were only two hooks per shower so hardly a plus. A 7.5 minute shower cost £1 and there was plenty of hot (and cold) water.The showers were electric so command and control was an issue albeit not a serious one. The one major problem, in the author’s view, was that of egress. On exit, one could turn either left or right and walk down a slight ramp to car park level. Alternatively, after two glasses of wine, three whiskies and a pint of Guinness – and in poor light – one could walk straight on, trip on the small parapet and reach car park level rather more quickly and with less poise and deportment. The consensus among the crew was 6/10 but, given the danger and the possibility that he might have looked a bit of a plonker, the author can only award 5/10.
WICK – Day 48 22/08/14
Facilities are but a short walk from the pontoons. They are protected by key fob security and are very clean and tidy. They have an admirable six hooks per shower cubicle which is the most we have ever encountered. The electric showers cost £1.00 but provide almost unlimited hot water. Temperature control was still an issue but patience and experience won the day. Wick receives 8/10.
STROMNESS – Day 45 – 47 19-21/08/14
The loos and showers are housed in the Ferry Terminal building and are thus open to the general public. The standard of cleanliness is excellent at any time of day. Access is also optimum: not too far but just far enough to flex the muscles and unravel the intestines. There are four showers and two loos, all with plentiful hooks. A shower costs £1.00 which pays for a huge amount of hot water. Two small negatives: shower 1 has no adjustment for the height of the shower head, excellent for ladies who do not want to get their hair wet and poke-all use for elderly gentlemen that do. The temperature control for shower 2 (all are electric) takes a bit of knowing going hot when the temperature is turned down and vice versa. An unexpected bonus: shower 4 is large enough to accommodate the entire RBE crew though it has yet to do so. We are pleased to award Stromness 9/10.
SCRABSTER – Day 39 – 44 14-18/08/14
What can we say about Scrabster? Not a lot as far as loos and facilities are concerned. The only loos were situated at The Ferry Inn and at the Ferry Terminal, the last being a fair hike away from the boat. Neither installation was inspected, let alone used, by the author so no marks will be awarded to Scrabster. We are well aware that ‘Scrabster’ means something entirely logical in Old Norse but, in 21st Century English, it is entirely onomatopoeic and no further mention will be made thereof.
KINLOCHBERVIE – Day 38 12/08/14
First, it must be recognised that Kinlochbervie is remote. For those of a non-geographical bent, go to the top left of the British (at least for now) mainland and come down a very little bit. The roads round here don’t go anywhere apart from back where they came from. There is a public loo, relatively close to the dock at that and, for a public loo in a place where it is always raining, it is not bad. Showers there ain’t. So we can only award Kinlochbervie 2/10 and one of those is for access.
We now turn to a shower that is not remote; indeed, it has been hiding in plain sight. It is the shower on RBE herself. To be properly precise, it is the shower forward on the port side which is intended to be shared by the oiks (Keith and Richard) in the forepeak and Tank, the skipper. The quality in the aft cabins (Sue, Jackie & Peter) have ensuite facilities.
Th RBE shower must be marked in a similar way to all the rest so scores a maximum 10/10 for access, indeed, it is so close that Richard has gone in there three times by mistake. Water quantity is very good (8/10) and the temperature is also good but only gets 7/10 as someone decided to do some washing-up while your correspondent was abluting. Where RBE falls down (well it would if it had the room) is space which is extremely limited and thus receives 2/10.
Cleanliness is completely in the gift of the users and, as Keith is involved, receives 10/10. The overall score comes to 7.4/10 which we choose to round up purely for the surprise factor. RBE receives 8/10!
KYLE OF LOCHALSH – Day 35-37 09-11/08/14
The facilities at Kyle of Lochalsh are a genuinely public convenience. Entrance is free at the time of writing but users are invited to contribute towards the upkeep of the establishment: the cost of a shower is recommended as £2 minimum. The general state of cleanliness is very good – which is heartening given the vile weather on the day of this review. The number of WC’s (3) is adequate. Each has two hooks and reasonable space. Light levels are lowish but nothing like the great black-out experienced at Bangor. There is one shower (which might become very busy in peak holiday periods). Space therein is excellent and hooks adequate. A basin and mirror are also provided thus enabling the discerning user to shave and shower in private (the first activity of the famous trio is not catered for in this part of the premises). The decor is basic and the air-conditioning stretched to its limit by 100% humidity but the overall experience is most gratifying.
We are pleased to award Kyle of Lochalsh 7/10. We recognise that this might be seen to be inconsistent but it is a pouring wet day (micturation does come close) and the reviewer is looking for something to be cheerful about: the bogs at KoL nicely fill that need.
MALLAIG – Day 34 08/08/14
Mallaig started on a high point in that there was no mooring charge for training boats such as RBE. Downhill from there in that the public toilets provided were closed. A rather terse notice recommended using the loos at the Community Centre but fell short of divulging its location. As it was still raining, your correspondent gritted his teeth. clenched other parts of his anatomy and grumbled his way back to the boat. A rather soggy Mallaig receives a generous 2/10.
TOBERMORY – Day 32-33 06-07/08/14
The facilities were nicely accessible and open to all. The cost of entry was 20p unless one knew the code (1490). They were generally well-maintained although, being open to the Great British Public, that must be a continuing uphill struggle. Showers were quite spacious and cost £2.00 which bought exactly seven minutes of copious hot water. Wash basins were fine as were the WC’s though only two were provided. Tobermory scores 6/10.
ARDFERN – Day 31 05/08/14
Admirably accessible, no route marches necessary a la Bangor. Very clean and tidy. Shower cubicles on the small side for the purist but three hooks and loads of hot water. Would normally warrant 7/10 BUT a bonus point has been awarded for the very useful (and tasteful) shower scrubber / pink thingey shown in the photograph. Being this colour, it will undoubtedly be appreciated by at least one crew member and we are pleased to award Ardfern 8/10.
PORT ELLEN – Day 30 04/08/14
There is no marina per se at Port Ellen. There are some excellent pontoons with shore power and running water but no facilities as such. Loos and showers are provided by a nice looking B & B very close by but, to the best of our knowledge, none of the crew availed themselves thereof. We cannot award a mark but we do wish them well.
BANGOR – Day 25-29 30/07-03/08/14
We will start with the secondary negative which is distance. Keith and Richard agreed that it is an eight minute walk from RBE to WC. Very pleasant on the way back as one can gawp at all the gorgeous boats on display – not so diverting on the way there if need is high. The second secondary negative is insufficient hooks on which to hang washing bag, towel, clothes, rucsac etc. Only two are provided per cubicle – and that’s another thing: there are only two cubicles. There is a large multi-person shower area a la school but we had enough of that in Howth. The positives are many and honourable: freshly decorated and extremely well-maintained; oodles of hot water; very interesting tap arrangement; pleasant ambient temperature. And now to the primary negative: lighting. The gent’s loos share most of the admirable qualities of the showers (including two hooks). The author can confirm that the seating is most comfortable. He can also confirm that the lights are activated by movement sensor which, now it is mentioned, is rather apt. What is not apt is the length of time the lights stay on between said er… movements. Admittedly, the stay had not been particularly short but I am sure all male readers will agree that plunging the gent’s loo into Stygian darkness breaks all the rules of God and man. Succour was sought by vigorous waving of hat above the cubicle but to no avail. I will not go into details: suffice to say that total discombobulation was narrowly avoided.
In the interests of journalistic balance, we will award two ratings for Bangor Marina. Lights on: 7/10, lights off: -10/10.
PEEL – Day 22-24 27-29/07/14
We first docked at dead of night next to a ketch of similar size which, in turn, was moored next to this enormous, rusty fishing boat. Accessing the dock was a major feat; accessing the facilities was not possible as the code was not known. RBE moved to nice pontoon on morning 2 so a) no bloody obstacle course b) slightly less far to walk to loos and c) access possible as code now known (1966). Standard ok but marked down on architectural grounds (portacabin). Loos adequate, showers few (only two in the Gents but Ladies reportedly ok). Peter v unhappy about operation of showers. Lefthand stall worked ok both days for the author but we feel we can only award 5/10.
HOWTH – Day 19-21 24-26/07/14
Howth’s facilities are provided by Howth Yacht Club which is a large and busy business. The male loos and showers resemble a school changing room both in architecture and in clientele as schools have just broken up. The shower installations are identical to those in Arklow but manage to provide acceptable volume and temperature. The major shortcoming is lack of clothes hooks near the showers. This means that one has to hang clothes, valuables, even towels some distance away from the showers. No-one is suggesting that such items may be purloined while one’s back is being washed but it certainly leaves the author feeling slightly uncomfortable. 5/10 reflects this insecurity.
ARKLOW – Day 18 – 23/07/14
Arklow’s facilities were acceptably accessible though the walk looked longer than it was. Loos were absolutely fine but the showers were unisex. Being a thoroughly modern crew, we make no comment and move swiftly on to the water which scraped a pass on temperature but definitely failed on quantity. The surroundings were less than salubrious and we feel (retrospectively as of 29/07) that 4/10 is fair.
MILFORD HAVEN – Day 16-17 – 21-22/07/14
Milford Haven was a very good standard although the walk to the facilities was not short. As this was due to the size of the marina and our position therein (as opposed to the loos being miles “off campus”), no marks have been deducted. Space, water and cleanliness were most acceptable and Milford receives 7/10.
ST MARY’S – Day 13-15 18-20/07/14
There is no marina per se on St Mary’s but there are some very good public facilities. These received high marks for spaciousness and accessibility (once one had reached the harbour – usually by rowing) but did get marked down as each shower cost £1. Quantity and temperature of water both satisfactory. St Mary’s receives 6/10.
NEWLYN – Day 12 17/07/14
Newlyn does have facilities but we were strongly advised not to use them by Duncan who gave every indication of being quite serious about the matter. Consequently, we will not award any rating but quietly abstain.
FALMOUTH – Day 10-11 15-16/07/14
Pendennis Marine in Falmouth achieves a good standard. There are only two urinals, water closets, basins and shower cubicles which seems a very small number for such a large establishment. It is also a significant journey from the pontoons. Pendennis receives 6.5/10.
PLYMOUTH – Day 9 14/07/14
Sutton Harbour in Plymouth is the stuff of legend. Scrupulously clean and offering wet rooms which could accommodate a football team (a possible way for England to get to know each other). All the furniture is beautifully designed; it is a veritable treat on the eye and body and receives a unanimous 12/10.
SALCOMBE – Day 8 13/07/14
Salcombe has been very unfairly treated in an earlier draft and therefore receives the writer’s sincere apology. It is open to the public between 08:00 and 21:00 but available at any time provided that the entry code is known. The code was known to the boat but not to the writer so the Man on the Clapham Omnibus would probably class this as a problem of communication rather than hygiene. Good authority states that it offers one cubicle for each gender though that didn’t stop Keith from doing it a bit of cross-washing. The general standard is reckoned to be good rather than palatial and Salcombe receives 6/10.
BRIXHAM – Day 1-7 06-12/07/14
Brixham marina scored very heavily in that there was an endless supply of hot water and the loos were kept scrupulously clean by a charming young man. The purist would mark it down on the size of the ablutive cubicles but these easily accommodated one customer and could take two provided that they were on very good terms. Another negative score was recorded against the basin plugs – these are of critical importance for wet shavers – and many of them leaked. Brixham receives a very creditable 8/10.