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An April Week On Royall Satin


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The video record of this holiday will be up loaded later to YouTube for anybody interested and I will then put a link in this thread.



Generally a good week with only one night of rain but rather cold overnight and in the wind.


Three Otters sighted together with a few Kingfishers plus the usual ducks, geese, swans etc but once again very few coots, in fact only saw one.


I did remember that this boat’s rudder centralises very easily with a burst of forward throttle so didn’t get caught out when stern-on mooring this time.


Every morning use of the heating was necessary (without starting the engine) due to temperatures down to  4℃ inside the boat.  We had taken the precaution of asking for an extra quilt, just as well we did considering the overnight temperatures.


The water was very high all week (less than 7’ 9” under Ludham Bridge one day).



Saturday 16th April


This being the second time we had hired from Royall’s the handover was a walk through and paperwork (with a trainee in attendance as well so it took a bit longer than normal), no trial run necessary, then we were told ‘good to go’ and were away from the yard by 14:00.


Since the rivers were quiet we decided to try for Ranworth for a change and sure enough there were a few moorings available, we were going to moor on the main section facing the Broad but the boat in front of us was taking his time so settled for the section to the left.  Had to have two goes at mooring due to the wind playing silly b*****s.


Once settled down it was time for a few photographs and then dinner.


Sunday 17th April


A quiet night was had apart from the rain which my wife heard but I didn’t.  Woke in the morning to an interior temperature of about 5℃ so it was heating on without starting the engine having checked the battery voltmeters to ensure that the batteries were well charged, once the boat was up to about 12℃, which didn’t take long, the heating was shut down and then bacon sandwiches for breakfast.


Today was to be a trip up the Ant and, depending on the number of boats about, overnight at Gaye’s Staithe.  The Ant was uneventful with few boats at How Hill but an awful lot of trees have been cut down above How Hill and once we got to Gaye’s Staithe were flabbergasted at the reduction in the number of trees.  There was a large dinghy on the side-on moorings preparing to raise his sails so initially we moored stern-on and filled up with water.  Once the dinghy had gone we moved round to the side-on moorings which is always our preference here, at this point there were no other boats present.  Claire did a bit of video and I did a few stills but not much of interest, I think the cold weather had delayed the water birds hatching and not even any spring flowers.


Monday 18th April


Today was a bad day.


Usual routine first thing, filled up with water after moving the boat up a length so that the hose was a easier reach (this hose is still full of kinks and leaks, it really does need replacing).


Set off for Womack.  Nothing of particular interest apart from a couple of dinghies being difficult below Ludham Bridge and on the Bure, then mooring at Womack!!!


One boat had moored side-on and there were, maybe, two other boats stern-on, so got the boat lined up very nicely and was just gently nudging the quay when Claire slipped on the step in the stern well as she was about to step off banging her head and shoulder, she got up and got off the boat with a mooring rope saying “I’m ok”.  At this point I left the boat gently in reverse to hold her against the quay and went out the back to take the other rope only to find Claire with blood all round her neck.  Got Claire inside and sat down, she seemed ok so I secured the boat properly.  It turned out that Claire had cut the back of her head on the door when she fell but she’s got so much hair that I couldn’t really see how bad it was so decided to call ‘111’ for advice, after about half an hour on the phone they finally decided to send an ambulance out but the call centre had trouble locating where we were even though I went to The Little Shop to get a postcode.  The ambulance arrived after about 2 hours (fair enough since it wasn’t a dire emergency) and the crew cleaned her head up and located the cut which by that time had scabbed over nicely so they just applied a dressing and bandaged her up.  The ambulance crew were actually superb (many thanks Julie and the other guy if you ever read this).  That was the afternoon over sitting quietly in the boat, apart from feeling a bit sore Claire was ok.


During the afternoon Royall Swan moored on one side of us and a Richardson’s boat on the other.


I did phone Sara at Royall’s to confess to a rather bloody Life Jacket which I didn’t try to clean in case I triggered it not having any instructions for disarming it, she said ”not to worry she’ll sort it when we get back”, at least it proved that Claire was wearing it.


We had intended to get some of Thrower’s nice ham on the bone but since I didn’t want to leave Claire we ate what we had brought with us for dinner.


I have to say that I was very surprised that the mooring charge was still only £3.


Tuesday 19th April


Another cold night but a lovely sunny morning.  Usual morning routine, water was easy since we were right by the water point, still a very slow fill here.  Claire had had a good nights sleep and was back to normal.


After getting a few pictures and video of the local Heron cleaning his self opposite we lifted the Mud Weight (leaving it just in the water to wash it) and were away having decided that it would Sutton Staithe tonight.


On entering Barton Broad we saw some sailing boats tacking and all of a sudden I had a boat come past us on the starboard side at a high rate of knots and then two more on the port side one (a hire boat) slowed when he saw the yachts but the other (private) carried on at high speed and passed between the yachts  quite close to the bow of one of them.  Other than that an uneventful trip but did spot an Otter swimming across Sutton Broad at the Staithe end.


Once moored up towards the end of Sutton Staithe it was an afternoon soaking up the sun for a change.


Wednesday 20th April


Usual routine on waking but this morning we had ice on the decks so decided not to attempt to get off the boat to take photographs of the mist rising over the Broad since discretion is the better part of valour.  Once breakfast and engine checks were over we decided that it would be back to Womack since we like it there especially when the sun is shining and we wanted the ham we had missed on Monday.


Pretty uneventful but another Otter spotted on the Thurne between Thurne Dyke and the Womack turn, this time it popped its head up in front of us and immediately dived.


Uneventful mooring this time thank goodness.


Spent the afternoon in the sun, down to photographing Terns since nothing mush else was about although we did briefly see a Coot (pretty rare these days) and a pair of Swans.


Walked to Thrower’s for our ham this time.


Thursday 21st April


Cold morning again, we were close to the water point so it was easy to fill up.


Today was our penultimate one since we always return the boat on the Friday afternoon so a slow trip back up the Ant to Neatishead.


Another Otter spotted poking it’s head up and then going straight back down between Ludham Bridge and How Hill plus a Kingfisher in the same area.


In Lime Kiln Dyke we managed to meet the Nancy Oldfield sailors with their rescue boat lashed to a yacht coming down which didn’t leave much room and they weren't going to slow down, but with all the tree cutting that had been going on it is now much wider.


Initially we moored about half way down the staithe but later on moved to the end to make life easy in the morning, I needn’t have worried because most of the other boats left to return to Stalham before us in the morning.  No fun and games with boats trying to moor which was a bit unusual but all this week everybody has been very good by approaching moorings slowly and gently.


Managed a few photographs then it was to The White Horse for dinner.  The pub was reasonably busy, quite a few locals and as usual my steak and Claire’s fish were very good as was the Treacle Tart.


Friday 22nd April


Left Neatishead at about 08:00 and a slow run down Lime Kiln Dyke spotting a Kingfisher skimming the water and then down to How Hill for a short stop, at least the quay heading is nice and high there so it was a straight step off the boat for a change.


Stopped off in Salhouse Broad for a bit on the mud weight and then back to the boatyard.  The wherry Solace was moored across some of the moorings at Royall’s but reversed the boat in at an angle then used the bow thruster to straighten it up.


Nigel and Sara were out so Paul sorted the diesel refund out which was £72 meaning we had spent £58 on fuel, very nearly identical to last year in April.



In summary a very good week with quite a good amount of sun and virtually no rain but cold.  Pity not too many young wild fowl but spotting three Otters was a bonus.  Excellent boat and yard just a massive shame that 2017 will be the last year with Royall’s, still we have booked their boats for next year, Velvet II for a change.


Back in June with the same boat.

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What a lovely read Bryan. Hope Claire is feeling fully recovered. Something like that can really shake you both up even if the injury sustained isn't too serious. 

Looking forward to the video. Can never get too much of other people's holiday tales. :)

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