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Another Brilliant Broads Holiday


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Well before I start on our holiday tale proper let me tell you a little about what we take into account when choosing a boat.

Mum is 85 and has loved coming to the broads since we first came in about 1983 or 4 and long may it continue.

Now at that age she feels the cold and draughts (even when it's not really cold) so sitting outside isn't really an option.

She gets onboard when we pick the boat up and is on until we hand back at the end of the holiday so we need something that will give her some comfort with good views.

I like to helm from outside in all weather, even in April (I usually spend most of my time indoors as mum's carer ) and always take my foul weather clothing so the inner position isn't really an issue.

We need 3 cabins one each for me, mum & brother and 2 toilets so always hire a six berth plus. So it has to be either a dual steer or centre cockpit boat

We first considered an AlphaCraft Lowliner  (Swan Rapide) a couple of years ago before we hired Silver Elegance, The Rapide wasn't available when we booked (Richardsons had just acquired the SwanCraft boats at the time) so decided to try Rio Light 2 from Herbert Woods.

I know how much negativity there is about these boats and know they are not everyones cup of tea but this is our holiday tale so I hope this doesn’t turn this into another of those Lowliner bashing threads.

We looked on board Rio Light 2 last year when we were down and it fit the bill perfectly for us. 



The higher L shaped seating area at the rear of the lounge offered a very comfortable seat for mum where she could sit with her feet up and have an excellent panoramic view of everything that was happening and the bow seating area  was great for sitting around at night to chat or plan the next day's trip.

Yes the headroom is lower at the bow but it's a boat and compromises have to be made, My brother is 6'2" and knows he has to take care (on all boats) but he could stand up in the corridor and all the cabins.

As for the bed's, they were comfortable & we all slept well, in fact mum who doesn't sleep too well anyway managed some really good nights sleep..... Mind with 2 people they would be tight.

 I had no problems using the upper helm, granted the seat is hard (aren't they all even with padding?) but a cushion helped and the wheel is low but I had no problems,  (although it might not suit the white knuckle brigade who need to hang on for dear life, no backache, neck ache and we did 125 miles over the week. The boat was very responsive and handled very well

I suppose the old saying of 'one man's meat is another man's poison ' works here.


Mum loved the boat and said on a number of occasions that she has had the best view of all the boats we've had over the last few years.



So would we hire this type of boat again? 


Yes...... In a heartbeat

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As you say David it is a choice to cater for each individual parties needs when choosing which boat to hire. I'm sure the perfect boat for everyone has yet to be built. 

Glad your Mum enjoyed herself, I wish I could get my Mum up on a holiday but she is on a walking frame and couldn't do the steps on and off.


looking forward to the holiday tale and some pics. 




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Well, it's about time ;)

Smashing, can't wait for the next instalment. As for the Boat, she looks a cracker to me, the most important thing is your Mum's comfort, it looks like your choice of boat was very much the right one, as long as the boat floats is reasonably comfortable and she's on the Broads, enough said

Grace :kiss

p.s When is the next instalment please? :naughty:

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I know how much negativity there is about these boats and know they are not everyones cup of tea but this is our holiday tale so I hope this doesn’t turn this into another of those Lowliner bashing threads.


Hello Dave,

Great write up about the boat and it is nice and refreshing to see someone have positive things to say about these boats, I am still getting used to mine and have not really spent a lot of time aboard since getting her but like you, I am learning to cope with the issues and she is really growing on me now, the points you raised are all spot on and very valid. Good for you mate and glad you had a great holiday, look forward to hearing the day by day accounts.


take care


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The Adventure Begins

Car packed and all ready we left home at 6am, the roads were pretty quiet and after and uneventful journey we arrived at a sunny Potter Higham at 11am (very early but I’d rather be hanging around here than sitting in traffic)

We went straight to Herbert Woods to check in which was all done in a very friendly and efficient manner.
We checked in and were told to come back at 1-o-clock which was fine as we needed to get a few things from Lathams and get something to eat.

we decided to try  Bridgestones restaurant (formerly the gift shop) and very nice it was, the food (fish & chips) were lovely and well presented and the staff very friendly.
Highly recommended.

All fed & watered it was back to the boatyard and out boat was ready so we were able to get straight on.

The yard was busy, I’d phoned earlier in the week and I was told they had 60 boats going out on Friday and 50 on Saturday……… last week in September!

Handover complete, no trial needed and it was into Broads mode and we were on our way again.

The first thing we noticed was how busy the river was.
Our plan, well as much as we make plans anyway was to head to Acle for our first night. who knows if there will be any moorings here next year.

We found a space and got the boat sorted and before long all the moorings were full, the last one being taken by a HW boat coming in at full throttle at about 90 degrees to the bank BANG! Quay heading split..... Into reverse for a second try.

Out we went to help him in and save ourselves from a possible sinking.

Looks like we are in for a busy week.

After a walk to the Bridge for a couple of well needed beers it was back to the boat for a reasonably early night.

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Awoke from a good night's sleep to a lovely sunrise so it was out with the camera.




Breakfast cooked, I always look forward to a cooked breakfast on holiday although I never bother at home.


So what to do today? Usually we stay either North or South when just down for a week and we had a week South in April, however the tides were very favourable this week and it's been a while since we made the crossing so we decided to make towards Beccles as we would need some shopping by Monday.


A quick call to Yarmouth Yacht Station and we were told we'd be ok to head down and go straight across. The boat is only 7' so no problems with the bridges.


We had a pleasant cruise down towards Yarmouth but hadn't realised how long it had been since we down that way and were a bit saddened at how run down it all looks now. It never was very pretty but looks really neglected now.


Through the bridges and round the yellow marker I was pleased with the way the boat handled. I was catching up and passing boats all the way across..... Not much fuel deposit coming back this week me thinks!


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I really enjoyed the crossing

We turned left towards Burgh Castle, Somerleyton and on as far as Waveney River Centre where we would stop for the night.


sunday map.jpg

This is the GPS log of the journey. A long but enjoyable trip.



WRC wasn't too busy although we did encounter a little unpleasentness, not directly but a young family (not on a boat) came to the space beside us to do a spot of fishing and were having a really nice time on a sunny afternoon causing no one any harm when this really obnoxious man on one of the private boats moored in the basin started having a real go at them for killing fish (which they didn't) and about the cruelty of fishing. This guys language was disgusting in front of youngsters. 

I'm pleased to say that the mother of the family reported this man to the office and someone came to have words with him.


The family soon left, no doubt putting them off returning again.


After a meal & shower we had a couple in the pub then came back and watched a couple of episodes of a series downloaded from Amazon prime onto the ipad connected to the tv then off to bed.


This fresh air certainly makes you tired.

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Not such a bright start this morning but it's dry and not so cold.

After breakfast we decide to take a run down to Oulton Broad (not stopping) and then up to Beccles for supplies. The tide was still flowing out on the run up to Beccles so we were punching the tide all the way..... Oh my poor fuel deposit!


We did our shopping and had a pizza for lunch from the new Dominos (just along from the Chineese). 

Mum stayed on the boat and just watched the comings and goings.


We thought about going up to Geldeston but time was against us and we really wanted to get back to Somerleyton for the night so Geldeston would have to wait till next year.


The wind had picked up while we were at Beccles and the sky darkened. Part way down the heavens opened and it rained for a couple of hours.

Not a great day for photos today


The moorings looked very busy as we approached Somerleyton and we started to think of plan b but there was room between a couple of boats and two kindly chaps waiting to take our ropes so all was good.

The rain had stopped by this time and it turned into a pleasent if breezy evening.

I spent a couple of hours fishing before heading up to the pub (just to support the local economy you understand) and back for another couple of episodes of Game of Silence from Amazon Prime.

Another great day.

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Hi John

I have a Garmin Gps map64 which comes with its own mapping software called basecamp.


I save each trip as a seperate track then capture part of the screen using a program called Snagit then add titles, arrows etc and save as a jpg.

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After a very windy night,The morning was very bright & very breezy.


Getting away from the mooring was a bit of a challenge but we made it.

We wanted to cross back to the North today and slack water was around 3.30pm if I remember rightly ,so had decided to take a trip along the New Cut, the most boring (in my eyes part of the Broads……. but I’d still rather be there than working.) turning right at Reedham and travelling down to Berney Arms to wait for the tide.


It’s such a shame to see Berney Arms these days, we’ve spent many happy evenings there in years gone by.

A number of other boats moored up with the same idea.

We had lunch here and just chilled until I called the Yacht Station who said we were fine to go.



I had expected Breydon to be choppy with the wind but it wasn’t bad (Shame I like it choppy). The water was still flowing out so it didn’t take us long to get across.

Once we turned into the Bure the last of the tide was still flowing out but not too bad.

It never fails to amaze me when you get to the yellow post how the water levels are noticibly different.

As we got to the yacht station a boat decided to turn directly in front of us and try to moor in a space barely big enough meaning I had to try to slow right down. Well the boat hit the 2 boats either side of the space it was trying to moor in with some force but the rangers managed to eventually get him in on the ropes........ Another reason why we never moor here.

The further we travelled, the easier the going was, the wind seemed lighter on this side and we made good going. We did see one of Richardsons boats stuck in the mud outside of the posts ...... He looked stuck fast and rather embarrassed :blush:


One thing we noticed this time was a number of black bags of rubbish dumped on the mud. We also noticed a lot of little dog waste bags floating in the rivers..... Not nice to see.

We made good going and tied up at Stracy Arms for the night after another long but enjoyable day.

Again we noticed that there were a lot more boat out compared to the last few Septembers...... even on the South


I did a bit of fishing and caught a few tiddlers, while I was here the boat that was stuck came past so either the he’d been towed off or the tide had come in sufficiently, anyway there seemed to be no damage

we made a meal, washed down with a few beers / wines whilst watching some more of the Amazon stuff before heading off to bed after another amazing Broadland day

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7 minutes ago, deebee29 said:

One thing we noticed this time was a number of black bags of rubbish dumped on the mud. We also noticed a lot of little dog waste bags floating in the rivers..... Not nice to see.

Sadly Dave, but it was always on the cards, due to the short sightedness of the councils, it will grow worse untill it becomes a dangerous health hazzard. 

Thankfully, it did not spoil your holiday. :)


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Thank you Jean

some of the pictures are stills captured from GoPro video fixed to the screen  ( the ones with the front of the boat to the bottom left ) 

while the others are taken with a Canon dslr

I thought the maps might make it a little different and add some interest 

thanks for the likes & comments folks cheersbar

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Woke up to a bright sunny morning, this weather is great for the end of September.

Breakfast cooked an cleared away, engine checks done. This is the first boat we've had to check for a number of years.

Just oil & water on this one ...... Never had to top either up all week.

Today our destination would be the Ant and up to Stalham for some supplies. And then see how the mood takes us.

The weather was lovely, blue skies white wispy clouds and the breeze had dropped. Is this really the end of September?


We just plodded along at around 4mph enjoying the day and 'our' Broads at it's best.


The rivers are really busy this week, felt more like August. I'd checked availability before we came away and there was very few boats to be had.


Ludham Bridge brought the usual fun & games with a boat trying to turn before the boatyard and finding himself stuck at 90 degrees to the river hey ho!



Once through the bridge we were going to stop at How Hill for a couple of hours but on the approach could see a few pillars of thick smoke drifting across the moorings, they were burning off the reeds opposite so we decided to take a deep breath and get through it. Pity we fancied a little walk.

Untitled Project.jpg

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It was here that we spotted Silver Elegance, which we had for the last 2 April trips and said we hope they are looking after her...... Does anyone else feel possessive when you see boats you’ve hired I wonder.


Well we continued on to Stalham & moored in the middle basin but realised there are no water points in that basin so moved up to Kingfisher Quay and found a spot right on the end on the river where the quay heading returns by the slipway  rather than in the basin so we turned and moored here.

Mum enjoyed this mooring watching boats coming and going so we decided to moor here for the night, it didn't feel like we were in a boatyard. We were to be glad we did later as we were treated to a lovely sunset.






We diid our shopping then did a bit of fishing while watching a Kingfisher flitting up & down they are stunning little birds. 

I say fishing but think all I was doing was teaching maggots to swim. I saw fish rising and even jumping (I swear one jumped over my float) but who cares I was out in the fresh air.

After a walk to the Swan it was more Amazon and off to bed

By this time in the week we were really relaxed



Goodnight all

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Awoke early (it was still dark) and realised the wind had picked up but I was warm and toasty so was't going to get up yet.


When I did get up it was very dark & overcast and blustery, don't think I'll get a tan today.


After breakfast the decision was made for Salhouse Broad today, we really like mooring there an watching the world go by.

We set off as the first spots of rain started and as I turned down Paddy's Lane decided I'd better get my waterproofs on which I did just in time.


As I turned onto Barton Broad the heavens opened and the wind showed it's hand..... Well I did say I love helming in all weathers.

No photos today I think

Once we got to the shelter of Irstead and the Ant the rain eased to a drizzle and continued to improve.

The rivers were again busy, as we passed How Hill again engulfed in smoke from the fields and on to Ludham Bridge which wasn't so congested this time.

After a steady run with the weather improving all the way we reached Salhouse and found a mooring (just in time) we did find that moorings filled up quickly.

We spent a pleasant afternoon helping people moor and chatting with others and fishing.

Met 2 separate couples who were at the end of their first boating holidays, they'd both thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were talking about coming back next year .... The bug strikes again I think.

A visit to the Fir & Feathers was on the cards for the early evening before coming back for more Amazon tv episodes.

 We only have a couple of beers when we go out as we don't like to leave mum alone on her own for too long.



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Oh Dave, this is a wonderful read and the photos, especially the the sun set at Stalham (my favourite place on the planet) absolutely stunning

As for being possessive over past Boats you've hired, I am completely the same, I was chatting to some very nice people who had hired Broadland Mars while we were out on Melody and politely told them to get orf my boat lol, extremely fond of Mars as she was one of the first boats I hired with my very own family

Grace :kiss



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I agree with Grace ... great write up and lovely photos. And yes, spotting boats we've hired before, or already booked for the next trip, is very definitely something we do. Mind you, given that there are a couple of boats we have hired a number of times, the list isn't very long!

So that's a question for you Dave ... do you like to try different boats or do you like sticking to something you know to be just what you want?

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Hi Jean

In the past if we liked a boat we would hire it twice and have had both old & new

we had both Cherry Willow from WillowCraft (Brundall) and Compass Viscount from CompassCraft (Horning) and were the second hirers on both of them.

both boats are still on the Water although the yards have long gone....cherry is in private hands and Richardsons have the Viscount but its been renamed to San Lucia

but lately we've changed boat every time apart from Silver Elegance which we had twice.

initially we were only going to have Elegance once and actually were looking at Swan Rapide when we booked her. But liked the boat a lot.

I think we've got the new boat thing out of our system now and like Grace like the character of the older boats.

we also like to vary our starting point as it gives a totally different holiday each time but of course that's becoming more & more difficult.

we have booked our April boat from Herbert Woods again (booked before this last holiday)


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That dreaded last day always seems to creep up on you and here we were at Friday already.

The morning was lovely, bright and sunny and the wind had dropped altogether. 


Today's final destination would be Herbert Woods boatyard. 

We always spend our last night at the boatyard as it's too much of an upheaval for mum to have to moor away then do all our packing on the Saturday morning.

We decided to take a slow cruise down to Ranworth and around Malthouse Broad, not stopping although there was space. 


we got a great view of a Kingfisher  on the way & Peter managed to get a great picture


We then cruised down and around South Walsham inner broad before mudweighting on the main broad for lunch. As we were leaving the broad we noticed a space at the moorings so decided to spend a bit of time there before heading back and spent a final couple of hours fishing before packing my equipment away for another year.

We set off on our final trip with heavy hearts back to Potter Higham having had another wonderful holiday in our favourite place.






Back in the yard I noticed one of our forum members Frank's boat (Hakuna Matata) moored opposite.


Once moored we set about that awful task of packing & cleaning.


Sad but happy we'd had a great time.




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The car was mostly packed on Friday night so we only had the last little bits to load and the fuel to be filled...... Wasn't expecting anything back, in fact thought we'd have to pay some more when we got to the office.

Well you can imagine our delight to be told that we had £65.00  (out of £125.00) to come back (which was in the account on Monday) we had travelled 121. 1 miles over the week

We had a good journey home with no delays and were home around 2 having had a great holiday.

And a very pleasant experience with our first time with Herbert Woods. (We are back in April on Caribbean Light)

As I said at the start this boat suited our needs perfectly and as the week went on we loved her more & more. And mum said several times throughout the week (and has since getting home) how much she liked the boat.

Incedently for anyone who has read the book ‘A Broad Experience’ by Robin Godber which was discussed earlier in the year this boat was Alexander Cruisers ‘Annabelle’ and still has the Alexander Cruisers nameplate on the dashboard



Would I hire this type of boat again? A big yes

Infact within 2 hours of getting home and checking what's available for next September we booked Swan Rapide from Richardsons for 2 weeks.


So until next time........ There's always a next time!


Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and hope I haven't taken up too much space on the server



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