Wednesday, September 30, 2009


SALT MARSH & MUD by Nick Ardley

I’ve recently reviewed a selection of new books which have come my way. Salt Marsh & Mud – A Year’s Sailing on the Thames Estuary is not the kind of book I would normally choose to read. I’m not the best of sailors, as family and friends know, but I loved this book which is a compilation of interlinked stories about cruising around the lower Thames, Swale and River Medway. Not a lot is known about this area and I feel it has been very much overlooked in the yachting literary world. Yet it is quite wonderful, embracing history, wildlife and seemingly remote anchorages and is beautifully written

Nick actually grew up on the Thames estuary aboard the spritsail barge May Flower, and his stories revolve around a skipper and his mate reminiscing and bringing to life the often barren and empty marshland landscape. We find out about old ports and muddy creeks and dilapidated wharves where ghosts of the past linger, even some with new life oozing from them. As the title suggests, the stories range from the end of a December to the next so we observe a complete year afloat. More than one hundred photographs and drawings illustrate Nick’s super book which is priced £16.99 and published by Amberley Publishing PLC, Stroud. ISBN 978-1-84858-491-1.