The Isle of Wight's majestic landmark, The Needles, has topped a list of UK landscapes best viewed by boat – according to a sea-faring mum who has spent the last five years exploring Britain's coasts.
Mum-of-two Heather Kemp has compiled the list based on her boating adventures with her family, which she documents on her Instagram account, @kemp.life.
Her travels have taken her the length and breadth of Great Britain – and beyond – from Scotland to South Devon.
And some of her favourite coastline sights include the iconic 30m chalk stalks, The Needles, rising out of the sea on the Western tip of the Isle of Wight, followed by Salcombe in South Devon, and Anglesey's Menai Strait, in north-west Wales.
Mallaig, in Scotland, is also named by Heather as a must-visit location, known for its stunning sunsets and wildlife including dolphins, whales, and sea eagles.
And Carrick Roads, in Cornwall, offers numerous rivers, creeks, and beaches to explore, making it another worthy addition.
Heather, who worked in partnership with Honda to compile the list, said: “Owning a boat has transformed our adventures and being on the open water, just us and the incredible natural world around us, is where we feel most at home.
“We have seen natural beauty that we never knew existed, and experienced some of the best days of our lives as a family from the most unique position – out on the water.
“We rarely go back to the same place, always looking to experience somewhere new. We have a list of places we want to visit, and we decide where to go based on the forecast at the time – always heading for the sunshine!”
Heather and husband Sam, who both grew up in Birmingham, said living centrally fuelled their appetite to explore all parts of the UK – and beyond – at a young age.
Now based in North Worcestershire, the couple embarked on their first adventures by camper van following the birth of their two children, now aged eight and five, and hired a boat wherever they visited.
Seeing places in a different light from a new angle prompted Heather and Sam to invest in a boat, as travel opportunities emerged as the Covid lockdown eased in early 2021.
Heather now estimates the family, joined by their working cocker spaniel Ruben, spends at least six weeks of the year out on the open road and the water, seeking new places of natural beauty and quiet retreat.
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Heather, who worked with Honda Power Equipment and uses a Honda BF100 outboard engine with a six-metre rib boat, said: “Getting out on the water offers a feeling of adventure like no other.
“The key to a successful boat day is preparation. Being prepared for any eventuality, and having the knowledge of what to do in an emergency, means you can relax and get the most out of the experience.
“We also firmly believe in doing your research, and buying and maintaining quality products that you can trust. Our requirements when it came to an engine were reliability, efficiency and power.
“Having your engine serviced annually, changing the water separator filter, maintaining the quality of the fuel in the tank, monitoring the 12V battery health, and checking the electrical system regularly, are all essential steps to ensure your boating trips run smoothly.
“Finally, after a trip, always wash your boat down and flush your engine out with fresh water.”
Heather's list also featured Skomer and Skokholm Islands, off Pembrokeshire in Wales, which between them house the largest puffin colony in southern Britain – with numbers reaching almost 50,000.
Wales’ Cardigan Bay also made the list, due to having the largest population of dolphins in the UK – best spotted in summer immediately after high tide.
The Isle of Mull, in Scotland, where basking sharks and sea eagles can be spotted, and Poole, in Dorset, which is Europe’s largest natural harbour, complete the list.
Heather also provided tips for planning a day out on the boat, with preparation being key.
A well-stocked boat should include life jackets, man overboard equipment, spare fuses, fire extinguishing equipment, flares, and spare fuel, among many others.
Beyond that, it’s recommended to carry certificates of boat ownership and insurance, as well as a mayday guide for emergencies.
Steve Morris, Head of Power Equipment for Honda UK, added: “We’re coming to the end of the summer season, but there is still plenty of fun to be had on the water.
“Even if you’re not really experienced, starting off with small trips around the coast can be incredibly rewarding.
“We have a wide range of powerful and reliable marine products, enabling people with different needs and budgets to have boating adventures – from portable and lightweight inflatable boats, right up to powerful V6 engines that can be used with sportsboats.
“And as Heather rightly says, the better prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy the scenery around you – and the safer you will be.”
Honda will be exhibiting a range of its Marine products at Southampton International Boat Show at Mayflower Park, Southampton, until September 25, 2022.
HEATHER’S TOP 10 BOATING DESTINATIONS IN THE UK:
- The Needles, Isle of Wight
- Salcombe, South Devon
- Menai Strait, Anglesey
- Mallaig, Scotland
- Carrick Roads, Cornwall
- Skomer Island and Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
- River Dart, South Devon
- Cardigan Bay, Wales
- Isle of Mull, Scotland
- Poole, Dorset
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