A bit different this year, starting from Stalham instead of Wroxham where we had hired from for many years.
There will be a link to the video at the end of this writeup but a distinct lack of wildlife, the goslings appeared to be just hatching but no duckings, no coots, few Grebes, plenty of Marsh Harriers and plenty of Herons. Bare with a lot of photographs/video of a couple of baby rabbits (kits) and a Heron stalking fish.
Just a short few notes about the boat:
Very impressed, the first thing of note was that the bed was made up (not expected) with a spare blanket which was used on most nights, towels supplied (expected), hard flooring throughout. Plenty of storage space in the bedroom and galley but no drawers or cupboards in the saloon. The bed was across the boat with the headboard against the windows and plenty of space down the sides of it, hooray at last, the bathroom with whirlpool bath (not used) and fully automatic electric flush toilet and the door opening into the bedroom, again hooray at last. Helm position good but boat is too high for me (6ft) to see over the top when standing, bow thruster, no GPS, demisters for the windscreen which proved useful one morning, no mud weight winch though. Gauges for fuel and water but the holding tank only has a “FULL” light, no gauge.
Saturday 21st April
On arrival in the area we detoured to Womack for sandwiches and coffee then made our way to Richardsons at about 12:00.
We were told that checkin didn’t open until 12:30 so after a long chat with one of Richardsons staff (may have been Clive) we went and located the boat on Swan Quay. Back to the office at 12:30 to be checked in and given a map, brochure, paperwork and picked up a Broadcaster. Proceeded to the boat via the Buoyancy Aid office, checked in to the Quay office at 13:00 as instructed, and then loaded the boat.
The instructor came on board and took me round the decks having first insisted that I wear my lifejacket, rather surprised to find a lump hammer provided for the Rhond Anchors.
After being shown where everything was and how to operate it (do not touch the engine or weed filter) the instructor asked if I wanted a trial run, this was declined, so engine started (at 13:45), into reverse to hold the boat against the quay, the instructor untied and we were away in lovely sunshine.
We headed down the Ant with the intention of mooring at Irstead if possible (no such luck) or continue to How Hill which was to be. Good mooring near the cottage and then a walk up to the grassed area where some considerable time was spent watching a couple of baby rabbits munching grass, I had been hoping for a few early Damselflies and Butterflies but no luck, I guess the poor weather has delayed everything.
Once back on the boat we finished unpacking and then thought about tea of Chilli (brought with us frozen) and rice. Quite an early night (as is our wont on the Broads) at about 21:00. How Hill staithe stayed quite empty all night, in fact we found that all moorings were half empty every day and the rivers very quiet.
Sunday 22nd April
Left How Hill at about 08:15 and were a bit undecided where we were heading so proceed north as far as Jonny Crow’s Staithe then decided to make for Womack so it was about turn and back down the Ant. Made a detour down to South Walsham with my wife at the helm, some boats she will helm others she won’t but she was happy with this one.
Arrived at Womack, relaxed for the afternoon, had a chat with a few people, filled up with water and decided to eat at the Kings Arms in the evening. Dropped the mud weight overnight. Kings Arms pretty busy, food good but far too much of it, I had Baked Brie and a Sirloin Steak and my wife had Battered Cod and Chips, neither of us could manage a dessert, in hindsight I wish I had gone for the Carvery since the steak was a bit underdone for my liking (once it arrived I remembered that the waitress hadn’t asked how I wanted it).
Monday 23rd April
Nearly put my back out retrieving the mud weight this morning (had a winch for many years) and vowed not to drop it again unless absolutely essential.
Left Womack at about 08:30 having decided on Neatishead for tonight.
Saw a Marsh Harrier in a tree above How Hill but no photos I’m afraid as it flew right over the boat before I could grab the camera.
Got to Neatishead at about 12:00 to find just two boats there so we moored on the end nearest the dyke on the east side. During the afternoon a guy on a private boat opposite us decided to fish (he really should have known better, if it had been a hired boat I would have mentioned it to him), a little later a BA launch came up and had words with him.
We went up to the shop for a few bits and pieces then just had a quiet afternoon.
Tuesday 24rd April
Left Neatishead just after 08:00 and stopped at Gay’s Staithe to top up the water even though it wasn’t strictly necessary according to the gauge.
Saw two Kingfishers perching down the Ant but again failed to get photographs (I will succeed one day with a good one). We had intended to go down to Russells at South Walsham for a pump out but decided to head for Ranworth instead, on arrival at about 11:30 found plenty of spaces (in fact there were spaces all afternoon and overnight). The weather had now started to deteriorate but we did manage a walk between showers then heavy rain in the evening and overnight.
Wednesday 25th April
Today we headed to Stalham having decided that a pump out was in order to play safe. Bit of a surprise at Richardsons, we didn’t have to pay since it was one of their boats.
After the pump out we tried for Irstead but again no luck so it was Gay’s Staithe and managed to get one of the side on moorings. There was heavy rain and then hail across Barton Broad so I slowed right down in the hope that it would stop before we wanted to moor which it duly did. Sunshine and showers all afternoon and evening but a lot of time was spent photographing/videoing a Heron stalking fish.
Thursday 26th April
Woke up this morning to find that the fridge had defrosted itself overnight.
Due to the fact that everywhere was going to be pretty wet and soggy and we needed an engineer decided that Womack (again) was going to be our best option.
On the way across Barton Broad I noticed that the Rev Counter was playing up, every so often it would jump by 200 revs (but no engine note change) and even when steady it seemed to be reading low so another reason to call Richardsons.
Once we got to Womack (again stacks of space) I called Richardsons and spoke to an engineer who advised a visit was necessary. Engineer arrived and found a connection in the engine bay that was loose (3 turns on the nut) and he replaced the fridge with a brand new one albeit smaller than the original. Good service.
Nice sunny afternoon apart from one shower.
Friday 27th April
Woke to a sunny morning but checking the weather forecast showed that it wasn’t going to last with heavy rain forecast from about 10:00 all day.
We had intended to have our last night at Sutton Staithe but once the rain started, as forecast, the decision was made to continue (demister used) to Sutton Staithe but then pack, clean up, go to Richardsons and then drive home. Arrival at the yard was uneventful and efficient, fuel used was just over £31 so a nice refund of nearly £119.
The drive home was horrendous in places with very heavy rain so I think we did the right thing.
An excellent week (apart from the rain in the latter half), very pleased with the boat and Richardsons.
This is the link to the video:
I have just noticed that there are one or two clips out of order but I will leave them for now, sorry about that. I always sync the time on the cameras and video camera but the video camera never fully syncs on clip times with the cameras.