King's Lynn marks 155th stop on UK harbour master tour
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Mark Ashley-Miller is a man on a mission - to sail all the way around the UK, meeting every harbour master along the way.
The 58-year-old retired businessman left Dartmouth in South Devon on his 34ft ketch Good Dog back in March 2019.
He turned right out of the river and set sail on an 11,000-mile voyage which could take several summers, depending on the weather.
This year will see him sail down the east coast of the country from Aberdeenshire, ending up in St Katharine’s Dock in London. Next year he plans to tackle the south coast and the following year Ireland.
Estimates vary but the UK coastline is reckoned to stretch about 11,000 miles, while Mr Ashley-Miller believes he has around 300 harbour masters to meet and interview for a book he is writing about his trip.
On Monday, he met Capt Patrick Jary after sailing up the Ouse and berthing on the pontoons in King's Lynn.
"He was my 155th harbour master," said Mr Ashley-Miller, who grew up in Norfolk but never got round to sailing its coast before.
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"I was brought up at Reedham Ferry near Cantley, between Norwich and Great Yarmouth," he said. "I've never sailed a yacht here before, I've sailed on the Broads and that's it."
Any hopes of seeing the coast as he sailed past Snettisham, Hunstanton, Thornham, Brancaster and the Burnhams were dashed by a sea fret, a cold sea fog.
He admitted the passage was slightly tricky through the shifting sands and the capricious currents of The Wash.
Casting off bright and early, it was next stop Wells to track down harbour master Robert Smith MBE.
Mr Ashley-MIller is being joined by friends and family along the way. His shipmate for the Norfolk leg is Andy Bullen, from Downham Market, who compiles handbooks on ports.
Mr Ashley-Miller is raising funds for the Seafarers' Charity via a Virgin Money giving page.
"Seafarers has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and to their families, and to those in education or training who are preparing to work at sea," he said.
He also hopes to highlight mental health issues among seafarers.