There was a small ferry that did the rounds between Shotley, Harwich and Felixstowe, which we had been meaning to take over to Harwich more-or-less since we had arrived, but with all of the activity in getting Ruby Tuesday ready had not yet got around to it. There were a few other passengers going with us – the woman we sat next to was taking her little girl to the beach at Felixstowe for the afternoon. Although she had been born in Cornwall, she had lived in Shotley almost all of her life, and loved this little part of Suffolk, referring to it as ‘Britain’s secret’.
The town of Harwich was much smaller than we imagined, as we had naively assumed that the hustle and bustle of being a major ferry terminal to Europe would have meant that it too would have been a hive of activity. Instead, the actual ferry terminals were to the west of the town, and the town itself is now a quiet backwater clinging to its previous importance as a naval dockyard, base for the defence of the realm, and stepping off point for Europe. Much was also made of the fact that the Mayflower carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to America had been launched here, and that its Captain Christopher Jones had lived here.
Wandering around the town, we had a welcome tea and biscuits pressed on us at the Redoubt that had been built to repel any Napoleonic invasion, and spent the next hour or so looking around the museum there at its detention cells for Conscientious Objectors and the amazing collection of WW2 memorabilia, all maintained by volunteers.
Two lighthouses built here to provide leading lights for ships to enter the harbour eventually were retired from service when the sand channels changed and the became known as the ‘misleading lights’!