Jump to content

Belmore | The Big Tour


Recommended Posts

Day One:

Watch day one of the Captain's Blog:



So let's just first of all apologise on two counts:  Firstly I have lost my intro's for the videos, and the backup of my computer which has them is with my Mum, who three times now has forgotten to bring over the backup drive.  All very well being super secure with computer backups but not so good when your mother gets forgetful lol.

Secondly, I urm managed to screw up rather badly and loose day ones footage and have some camera problems to boot.  So, we begin the first part of this new series actually on day two mid way into the day on the river Ant.  Things do improve as we go through the series but I feel a bit rusty at this video lark after a break so bear with me.

Now, on to the back story.  We arrived at Barnes Brinkcraft on the Friday, in heavy rain and as predicted the boat was not quite ready but this was fine as Shiela and I could pop into Wroxham, go shopping and grab a bite to eat.  This we did, Shiela buying some new fancy perfume and becoming official ordained as a boater when she bought some Wellington Boots to tackle the wet weather, muddy banks and general muck you seem find cakes on to your shoes when you go boating in the rain (I of course stuck with some trainers and regretted it).

We got a call to head back to the yard as the boat was ready for us - we duly arrived and all was about to smoothly proceed until like a last moment glitch on a rocket launch pad all was stopped.  The sliding doors on Belmore had a serious issue - the runner on them had collapsed and so the doors could not be closed.  Engineers came, heads were scratched boat builders fettled and a solution was come up in about 20 minutes with bearings, rollers and stainless steel fixtures drilled through the frame and doors and while not smooth gliding was a great fix in a short space of time - we could now get on board and our break start for real.

It was a one of those days where the rain came and went and just generally was grey and damp - we decided for a change to play it like 'first timers' and not go far at all, finding a space at Horning outside the Swan.  We tied up, popped to the Post Office and bought a couple of electric cards and plugged Belmore in.  Despite the weather it was lovely to be afloat and we set about unpacking things and making the berths up.

I talked to a lovely couple on San Fernando on a two week trip - regular watchers of the Captains' Blog and promised to mention them in the video.  It never happened - I am truly awful at this, not that would made much difference after all the footage was lost anyway as it turned out.  On the boat I put on the heating on.

Belmore has a 'wet system' so you have a total of 4 fan/matrix units with two thermostat controls one in the front cabin and one for the saloon.  Alas there was an issue.  The heater came on for three minutes, then went off for two minutes - then cycled like this continuously.  Everything seemed fine but it just felt like something was almost overheating cooling off and then repeating the process over and over.  But where was the header tank for the system? - was it filled? was there an air pocket in it?  But I had no luck in finding it, so I called Barnes who had an engineer with us within 20 minutes.

It was the header tank, it was almost empty and no wonder I had not seen where it was - it was under the vinyl cover for the front windows with the Rhonde Anchors in the port locker at the stern of the boat. He filled this up (with Evans window cleaner) or at least that was what the 5 litre container said on it - whatever was in it, the heater came on, stayed on and before long the boat was getting nice and toasty - I was unhappy about the air flow from two of the matrix fans though so torch and tools out I find the fans have sucked in through the cold air return vents copious amounts of lovely dog hair and dust. I cleared these out the air flow much improved and really hot air now coming out - along with the floor and me covered in hair and dust - Much to Shiela's annoyance.

I tried to rescue things by suggesting we have a lovely meal in the Swan  - so we headed on in to the pub (after I changed) and settled down.  The atmosphere is nice in this pub, I like the menu and drinks but the service was slow (as always seems to be when I have visited) but the food was always good which makes up for it - only this time not so much.  A long story short clearly our food (and that of others near us) had been cooked then left waiting for someone to bring to our table under heat lamps - Shiela had ordered the steak and it was luke warm and the chips were no longer hot either. My burger was nice but she sent her food back and it just marred an otherwise nice evening made all the more amazing that I had 4G on my phone (I use O2).

We came back to the boat and had not long been on board when the heavens opened after a long day traveling it was lights out pretty early for us but tomorrow I hoped would bring a dry day - at least Belmore was cosy and dry inside.  
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Three:

Watch day three of the Captain's Blog:

Yes this is confusing me too - its day three, but only the second video!  hang in their viewer it sorts itself out in the coming days.

But what of this third day on the river?  Well, we begin at Acle where I had been 'left to sleep' by Shiela - you see she does not understand what alcohol can do, since she sticks to the soft drinks but myself having had several pints in the Bridge Inn the evening before came back to the boat and began on the beer we have on board and now I seem a bit 'worse for wear'.  Quite unlike me and it must be the Norfolk air doing it.

We have been taking things easy anyway and I have not been concentrating so much on filming while I have Shiela with me, so today will be a cruise to Potter Heigham for a visit to Lathams - a top up of water - and then in the early afternoon leaving for Wroxham, where Shiela needs to catch a train back to London.

I was pleased that the rain and grey sky had finally given way to fluffy clouds, blue sky and sunshine however the wind was still gusty and with Belmore being a tall light boat with a planning hull kept one concentrating whenever underway. We arrived at Potter Heigham, turned near the bridge for we needed to use the water hose outside the Pilots office - once done, we moved the boat along and left for Lathams.

I noted that the single wheelie bin was full, this is early season goodness knows how this will be come summer. Please to report Lathams now have larger baskets, and after getting a mix of sensible food items and cleaning supplies it was then the junk food nibbles and cakes to finish off proceedings.  We did not stop for long here, and once back on the boat was soon ready to depart from Wroxham.

It was now a very nice day, and the sunshine made all the difference - not much to say or report on our journey to Wroxham, and not a lot of filming was done either but suffice to say a good time was had and the miles slipped by.  I had called Barnes Brinkcraft who would get an engineer with me to sort the throttle out which was very stiff indeed and making harder work than needed from moorings trying to move the throttle between ahead and astern - since it was Sunday I was not going to bother them today but would overnight in their yard and in the morning someone would pop along - as it turned out a chap came and attended later in the day and with some adjustment and oil it was smooth and perfect.

In Wroxham we walked about but by the time we were there, most of the 'Roy's Empire' was shut and you see what a sad, quiet place Wroxham is when the shoppers have departed - it makes me wonder again just what direction the Broads is going in, where more larger, expensive boats are produced attracting new boaters willing to spend on their accommodation but then faced with locations like Wroxham with so little to do in the evening.

We went back to the boat and collected Shiela's things, and it was then I was hit with the unhappy feeling she would be leaving and it was then just myself.  I am fine alone and indeed enjoy boating solo but when you have someone there to begin the journey and they go it is harder.  To the station we walked and before I knew it the train was there and a goodbye kiss and I was alone once more.  I walked back through Wroxham, and did a rather odd thing whereby I went to McDonalds for a Big Mac but then went to a fish shop for the drink and chips - and proper chips and a Mac go very nicely together.

I remembered that I had ended the  Blog for the day saying 'tomorrow we might go to Oulton Broad' and now I felt rather committed to it - 9 odd hours at the helm alone and looking at the map it seemed an awful long way - how might I do this without a stop? find out in the next episode.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a prayer - I have a duff router, takes me on average half an hour just to receive / send mail, I'm well surprised I made in onto the NBN this morning after 40 odd mins trying to get on the site, and without notice it will drop out.  Youtube etc is just a pipedream at present


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Four (Part One):

Watch part one of day four of the Captain's Blog:

I did not need to get up early today but I had done anyway and pondered my sanity about heading off to Oulton Broad from Wroxham.  It was not the fact this was likely to take 9 odd hours, but the fact during the trip I would make no stops and of course be alone doing it all - nobody to make a cup of coffee, take the wheel while I answered the call of nature etc so anything like this would need to be done with a 'nose into' the Reeds type thing and back on the wheel as soon as possible.

None the less, the adventure gripped me - I do enjoy these long days and knowing I have an actual destination to arrive at and such being some distance not just an hour and half down the river type affair.  So around 9:20am I was underway leaving Wroxham.  It was a little warmer than other days, but that cloud remained along with a chilly wind and I was pleased to be on a boat with such a good, and controllable heating system as Belmore. To aid my comfort further I had a pillow for my back to make the helm seat that bit more soft and all the items I would need for the day were close at hand.

The rivers were quiet - I think many of the previous boaters I had seen had been up for the weekend or returning their boats back on Monday morning, but it made things almost feel more calm and while some may not like it so much, the trees along the Bure heading towards Horning being baron of leaves gave you glimpses through their branches of what lay beyond. Indeed at Salhouse Broad I had never known there to be a substantial house behind the trees just as you pass the large red posts on the right hand side of the river. 

Prior to departure I had studied two distanced and time calculators and worked out roughly what time to leave, to arrive at Acle and then at Yarmouth and so on - as I progressed I found these to be very much 'out' and I noticed that despite sticking religiously to the speed limit (or even under) I was very early in my estimated arrival at Acle.  Things did not improve and by the time I was on the 'Acle straight' (as I call it) past the mouth of the Thurne and heading towards Upton Dyke something needed doing or I would be arriving at Yarmouth in a tall boat over an hour an half before low water.

My solution was to use the mouth of Upton Dyke as a lay-by and simple use the wind to my advantage and keep me more or less onto the bank while I kept the boat in position on the throttle and kill some time.  The minutes past which felt like an eternity but I figure it was now a good opportunity to go and continue my passage down towards Great Yarmouth.  The river twists and turns the Reeds and the muddy banks this really does have a very 'wild' feel about it and the pretty up reaches of the Bure seem a world away.

I still had an issue with the current and the timings - I passed Runham Drainage Mill, Yarmouth was now sighted - what was going on I thought?  Clearly the distance and time charts I was using were not at all accurate so I was once again on course to arrive at Yarmouth too early, with masses of ebb current taking me towards bridges I was not too certain would have enough clearance under for nearly 9ft of boat so I turned back in the direction of Acle and killed more time.  

I actually used this as an experiment - different angles and revs to see just how the current was to deal with, slow turns, fast turns, less power, more power and so on so if I needed to deal with currents on the southern rivers I would be more confident and know what t expect.  Here the worst that might happen is I would go into a muddy bank, at moorings it might be a quay heading or another boat.  I looked at my watch and thought '**** it we'll do it anyway' turned the boat around and headed for Yarmouth.

I was monitoring VHF Ch12 and was interested to know a boat was due to pass under Breydon Bridge and it was likely I would arrive as this was happening, this would be a first.  For some weeks now I have studied a great deal about VHF with a view to take an exam and get 'certified' yet here I was listening to the Bridge and boat in question breaking all the rules as far as radio transmitting goes and being very informal which just goes to show what the real world is like and the classroom.  Passing Marina Keys more of the buildings here have literally fallen off - what a waste I thought - do it all up, dredge the river, floating pontoons and have the Yacht Station here well away from the Bridges there is even a large park 'Bure Park' very close by to the moorings but alas it is all to do with money.

In part two we head out on to Breydon and continue the journey to Oulton Broad.

Edited by Hockham Admiral
Robin'so request, delete video. New one coming
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I'm getting caught up nicely but on trying to watch Day Four, Part One - it states  'This video has been removed by the user'  is this my duff router playing up once more? don't think so as I'm still in here and posting, what's occurring then?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Four (Part Two):

Watch part one of day four of the Captain's Blog:


As the journey continues I reach the Yacht Station at Great Yarmouth – but no time to stop it is straight through.  A quick check of the bridges shows about 9ft 2" clearance – plenty enough – and Belmore is quickly though them both with the current behind me I know once I turn right at the yellow post, things will suddenly slow down.

As I have been on approach to Breydon a motorboat is waiting on Breydon Water for Breydon Bridge to lift and has been in communication with the bridge on VHF.  As luck would have it, just after turning at the yellow post the bridge signals for the boats to proceed and it lifts – all captured on film which was a first for me.

I saw the boat pass to my left, with ‘trade plates’ on it clearly off out to sea to be delivered somewhere and I felt jealous of the journey they would be having, but for now I was now heading on my own to Oulton Broad. Belmore has a larger engine and prop (or perhaps a high pitched prop) than Belmore TC and together she has a real turn of speed and power – alas little of this can be used for any length of time for anything at or above 2,000rpm and she begins to overheat quickly passing into 90c and above so realistically the most revs you can put on is about 1,800. However for a few minutes you can ‘put your foot down’ and her bow will lift slightly the steering becomes feather light and everything comes to life, along with a nice growl from her engine.

I was surprised to see Amethyst an ex Connoisseur Cruiser now in private hands, flying along. Despite being on hydraulic drive, these things sure can shift now in private hands and the engine unrestricted.  She made a great bow wave, but equally a colossal stern wave (drag) was not helping her economy. I thought it would be good to ease right back and ‘play with the wash’ which I did, only to turn around and see a small spec with a lot of white froth around it approaching fast from behind.  Bullocks to the ex hire craft, let’s turn about and go through some proper wash.

I did and it was great, real smile making stuff and the Princess 30 hull on which Belmore is moulded took it perfectly, very little spray her chines on the hull deflecting almost everything out and down – but it got better, for moments later the high speed craft, turn and came back for another run – two opportunities to go thru some nice wake. I was a happy man.

In part three the journey continues – deciding to avoid the Yare and take a risk to continue to St. Olaves and head under the bridge there – would we have enough room or would I need to double back after all?


  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, BroadAmbition said:

Good stuff and I'm up to date.  You need to take 'B.A' over Breydon in a 5ft swell - great fun.  You appetite should be sated come our sea day.


Well, as you know I like to make mountains out of mole hills - or as you put it so well when I posted a video on my return trip 'I've seen more waves in a tin of paint'


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robin - I've now caught up with all the videos so far and what can I say - fantastic! I enjoyed the comedy scenes with Sheila,  Ludham Bridge tight squeeze (captured very well) the demo of leaving the mooring at Potter (looked spot on to me) and best of all your Breydon fun! When I cast your videos to the tv and it's just me and you in the room, so to speak, you transport me to the Broads in a very skilled way.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Four (Part Three):

Watch part three of day four of the Captain's Blog:


The wait for the next installment is over - and day 4 is brought to a close (finally some will cry).  In this episode I decide not to takje the River Yare, and instead gamble on there being enough air draft at St. Olaves for the boat - thus take the quicker route of the River Waveney.

I think the journey from Breydon Water and up towards Somerleyton is not exactly what you can call pretty.  The Fisherman's Inn pub for example sat at an angle at Burgh Castle would not win any award for a quant riverside pub, and just along the way Goodchild Marine again festooned with 'private' signs and commercial activities might make the average holiday maker wonder if they did the right thing leaving the pretty northern rivers behind and heading for Beccles or Oulton Broad.  

This section of the Waveney really is rather like the lower Bure towards Acle - wide, reed lined banks but then you approach St. Olaves and it feels a bit strange - as if a Potter Heigham 'chalet village' that never quite got off the ground - so just a few properties line the banks of the river here.  Where boatyards and outbuildings are (indeed hire yards once were) I wonder how it would have been for the family to have arrived here, taking over their boat at low tide and seeing so much muddy banks and wondering 'where does the beautiful begin' but fear not, for the further towards Oulton Broad you travel the landscape begins to open up, change and delight.

Next on the bridge list to tick off was Somerleyton Railway Bridge - it was closed, but there was plenty of room to pass under, but I stopped to let a boat pass who was coming the other way with the tide before I carried on and passed under the rusting structure.  I do wonder what might happen when the time comes that these massive moveable structures become structurally unsound - I just cannot see Network Rail investing in a swing bridge but only time will tell.

I am feeling pretty fresh, but none the less looking forward to mooring up at the Yacht Station - the time begins to feel like it has slowed down as I recall when I left Wroxham at around 9:30am and how much has passed and how many hours have too.  Sometime later Oulton Broad is signed - teh Waveney towards Beccles passes to the right of the 'triangle' and I take the left fork - it is not long before the sharp left hand turn brings you on to the wide expanse of water that is Oulton Broad - my destination is now within sight.

I arrive at the Yacht Station to see I am the only visiting hire boat, now usually I more on the 'quay wall' but I thought it would be nice to have a pontoon berth, but where can you moor?  I have never done this before and I see the area looks pretty lifeless so I ponder and spin the boat around and come side on for a nice slow mooring.  After making the boat secure, time to head off to the office - but it is all shut up - this is about 5:50pm so what can I do - nothing but stay where I am and enjoy a free night here.

Once back to the boat time to clean the outside of all windows since they have some slat spray on them from the fun on Breydon, then find, clean and fit the vinyl cover or the front screens before I mop the decks and inside of the boat and generally tidy all away - yep even if it has taken 8 odd hours without a stop, I can't bear leaving the boat untidy to come back to after a meal and know it needs doing then or in the morning.

I now take a walk into town - only 'town' turns out to be some 35-40 minutes' walk (to the sea front) of Lowestoft despite beginning the walk, I allow sense to prevail and there is no trains scheduled for some time so the seaside and Captain's Blog will have to wait...For now food is reacquired and into the Wherry Hotel I go.

Now, I am used to Toby Carvery's so what I wonder is  Castle Carvery like?  Pretty dire as it goes.  You find a table, then you have to go to the bar to order drinks and food - despite waiters being about to clear tables and oddly take desert orders - you are given a receipt to show to the 'carver' the meat selection was not the best, dry Beef but even the beg and Potatoes all seemed oddly put out in coloured coded (plastic?) trays - stuffing in perfect squares, carrots that had not been cooked through enough, Yorkshire Puddings that had not risen to the occasion and gravy that was very watery.  Toby is not everyone's thing I know, but my local does a good spread and I was left disappointed with the Wherry's offering.  

After dinner I had a walk about seeing some places have closed in the vicinity of the Yacht Station - Tides Streakhouse and Winelodge bar/club - a shame certainly about Tides.  So back on the boat and a movie before lights out and a new adventure tomorrow.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, LondonRascal said:

The above is not available on Mobile or Tablet. Because of music used and being blocked in Germany. Back to the editing then...

Oops Robin, I hope you didn't use that well known WW2 tune....Hitler:hardhat: has only got....nope, thought not:naughty: Happy tune hunting! I shall wait patiently for the revamped version ! Honest :liar


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.