The YHA used to have a nice hostel right alongside the river at the very head of navigation in the City of Colchester. Unfortunately this hostel closed a few years ago but when it was open we occasionally made a sailing trip up the Coln (I read somewhere that you should not call it the river Coln) and spent a night at the hostel. Perhaps a few canoeists also visited this hostel by river but I would be surprised if many other sailors were mad enough to struggle up the last mile above the commercial quay, dropping the mast for a low bridge and squeezing past obstructions such as an old car which someone had dumped in the middle of the narrow channel. The picture above shows our two Wayfarer dingies with the hostel in the background. Colchester has a long history, being the first town founded by the Romans in Britain.
Picture above was taken on board HSC club boat Merganser using the flood tide to drift up the Coln to Colchester. This was a few years back when Colchester was still an active small port and our helmslady is keeping a wary eye on a small ship coming up behind. We may have to get the oars out soon, given that there appears to no wind and that ship probably won't want to stop. The commercial quay at Hythe in Colchester is now closed but small sand barges still use the river up as far as Rowhedge, a few miles downstream from Colchester.