Jump to content

Turqoise Emblem Short Break: March 2016


Recommended Posts

Okay, perhaps this is a bit soon after posting up the tale of our July 2016 holiday, but I've been working on diaries of our three Norfolk Broads jaunts for some time now.

This was a much-needed break for Graham and I.  Through 2015 we just had one week’s holiday away from home, thanks to my dear cousin who came to stay in our home to look after my elderly Mum whilst we took our first holiday on the Broads.  We knew that we wouldn’t be able to ask my cousin again though, as my Mum’s mobility subsequently deteriorated .  Thankfully, we were granted Adult Social Care support for a certain number of respite care days for 2016, so our March break was the first opportunity to take advantage of that. 

Saturday 19th March

Just me, Graham and our dog Marvin on this trip.  We’ve hired a boat from Ferry Marina, Horning.  We originally booked Bronze Emblem but got upgraded to Turquoise Emblem as it was the first week of the season and not all the Marina’s boats were ready.  Looks a newish boat, so hopefully it will have good heating as it’s still very cold this time of the year. We’re hoping Marvin will be okay.  He was diagnosed with an oral cancer just after Christmas and is on painkillers and antibiotics.  He’s still eating tinned dog food okay and is enjoying his walks but gets bouts of ‘huffing’. 

We started off from home early, aiming to get to Norfolk about 10am, stopping off for breakfast at Costas on the way.  The weather looks okay with sunny spells.  Made our way to Wroxham and visited Roys for the first time.  We had brought most of our food with us, so we only picked up a few bits and pieces in Roys.  Had lunch in one of the Fish and Chip shops.  Very nicely cooked haddock (best I’ve had for a while, a decent amount of fish within the batter, not overcooked and very moist), a huge portion of chips, mushy peas, bread and butter and tea.  After lunch we went to the Marina, getting there around 1pm.  The boat was ready for us, so we unloaded our gear and got ourselves settled in.  We had to wait a short time for the handover and eventually got underway around 2pm.  Rather odd to be driving a motor cruiser rather than sailing, but its lovely to be on the river and good to be under cover, even though it’s not raining. 

I chickened out of taking the helm to leave Ferry Marina, and left that to Graham, as he’s had a lot more experience of boats than I (he used to help out in his Dad’s boatyard at Trearddur Bay as a teenager, both with sail boats and helping to man the rescue launch for races).  I soon had a turn at the helm and after a couple of very slight zig-zags got the hang of it. 

We headed down the Bure and then turned up the Ant, the aim being to check out what the Ant is like before we attempt to sail up it later this year.  Just after Ludham Bridge we tried to pass a slower moving privateer to port but they wandered across our bows.  I guess I should have either fallen back or beeped them but instead tried to pass to starboard.  Big mistake, as they then wandered back across our bows again, so I did beep them, only to have them shout that I was passing on the wrong side.  Humph!  Lesson learnt…and chill.

It’s very pleasant cruising though, with very few other craft on the river.  Several long stretches where we have the river to ourselves. 

There appeared to have been quite a lot of cutting back of trees along the upper stretches of the Ant.  Whilst this seems a shame on one hand (I love trees), the sailors in us thought it might make sailing up the Ant a little easier (actually, when we sailed up the Ant later in July the gaps weren’t that evident, it seems that a lot of the cut-back trees had sprung new growth very quickly). 

It was late afternoon when we got as far as Barton Broad.  We cruised very slowly down (the very narrow) Limekiln Dyke and moored at Limekiln Staithe.  It was just us and one other boat and very quiet.  We set off with Marvin to the pub and managed to get a table in the bar area where they allow dogs.  Got chatting to the couple at a nearby table who were from the other boat at the staithe.  They had lost their dog recently and were very sympathetic about Marv.  The meal was really excellent, both of us having Confit Duck Legs with Gratin Potato, Fricassee of Bean and Pea and Redcurrant Jus.  Walked back to the boat around 8pm and put the heating on for an hour or so before turning in early.  The bed is quite cosy and comfortable – a bit too snug initially as the duvet was very thick.  Very chilly getting up to go to the loo in the night.  Marvin was coughing a bit in the night and woke us once or twice.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another good start to a holiday tale Helen and no it's not too soon after your first one.

We always have a week in April and love the quietness.

Last couple of years we've been south in April and virtually had the rivers to ourselves. 

Looking forward to part 2

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely to read your boating adventures. We were out on Rose Emblem the week before you. Ferry Marina were great and went out of their way to let us take the boat out the week before their season officially started. You will find my holiday tales written up on here if you haven't seen them yet. It serves as a good reminder later on of what you did, where you went and where you moored each day. We wouldn't hesitate to go back to them having hired Silver Emblem as well a few years ago.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps I should add that they don't normally allow dogs on Turquoise Emblem.  They only allowed Marv on as an exception since the boat that we'd booked wasn't ready, and we had assumed them that Marv is short haired and that he was trained not to get up on sofas or beds. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I woke early around 5am and had to crawl over Graham to get out of bed.  Gave Marv some food (which seems to help lubricate his throat and lessen the coughing) and a painkiller, got dressed, wrapped myself in a blanket and settled down to read.  It soon started to get light with a very noisy dawn chorus.  I think the most noisy elements were pheasants in the woodland surrounding the staithe.  Graham got up around 7am and we put the heating on for a while to warm the place up.  There was a lot of condensation on the windows and doors which we wiped down before making breakfast.  Whilst I was preparing breakfast we saw a heron on the opposite bank trying to down a very large fish it had caught.  It took it quite a while to swallow the fish, resting its beak on the ground in between attempts to get that huge fish down its gullet.

The morning was very quiet.  Just after 8am we set off back down the dyke to Barton Broad, this time turning left to head on up the Ant up to Stalham.  There was one space right at the entry to Richardson’s boatyard which we moored at, before walking into Stalham.  There didn’t seem to be much in the high street (perhaps we didn’t explore far enough), so Graham popped into Tesco for a few things before we headed back to the boat.  The Museum was closed – opening the following weekend (Easter weekend).

Back on the boat we headed back down the Ant, past How Hill, through Ludham Bridge and then turned left to head down the Bure, past the mouth of the Thurne to Upton Dyke, intending to go to The White Horse at Upton for lunch as it had very good reviews.  We ran into problems getting down Upton Dyke though as it is pretty narrow and a stiff wind was blowing the boat onto the port bank (fortunately not the bank that had moorings along it).  Most of the starboard bank was marked off as ‘private’, so we looked for a section that wasn’t.  We eventually moored up and turned the boat around on its ropes (with a little help from the bow thruster), only to be told (quite kindly) that it was someone’s private mooring and that there was space to moor up right at the head of the dyke.  So we had to turn the boat around again and found a space opposite Eastwood Whelpton’s boatyard.  Then we realised that we’d left the sailing dinghy that we’d hired with the boat behind so Graham had to walk back to get it and row it down the dyke.  By this time it was almost 2pm and we were worried that we would be too late for lunch at the pub.  We walked really quickly up to The White Horse.  Fortunately they hadn’t stopped serving and we had really excellent tasty roast beef with yorkshires and beautifully cooked veggies which was very reasonably priced too, sat by a roaring fire.  Good beer too.

It was getting on for 3.30pm by the time we left the pub, so we didn’t want to go too far from Upton to find a mooring.  We headed back up the Bure and passed a wherry just before Thurne mouth.  We continued up the Bure and then turned down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad, getting there about 5pm.  Initially we mud-weighted on the Broad and we each had a go at sailing the dinghy before pulling up the mud-weight and turning back up the dyke to moor at the mooring closest to the broad.  We’d moored in the same spot last summer on Wood Violet (a Hunter’s Yard sail boat), but that time we bagged the last space whereas this time we had the whole stretch of moorings to ourselves.  Lovely!

Had haggis, mash and veg for dinner, and turned in for an early night.  Although we’ve got a telly and have brought DVDs with us we were happy reading (or in my case messing about on an iPad).  Graham has been switching on the TV in the mornings for the news and weather, but we haven’t used it much otherwise.

I was going to add a couple of pictures, but they won't upload for some reason.  I wonder why?


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had another go just now of trying to load photos...still no luck.

Anyway... Day 3: Monday 21st March

Marvin was coughing again early morning, so I woke early again and gave him food and a painkiller.  It was pretty cold overnight but we had a gleam of sunshine this morning.  Set off early again up the Bure past Horning on all the way up to Wroxham with a slight detour around Wroxham Broad.  It got quite warm and we even opened up one side of the roof for a while.  We thought of going under the bridge up to Belaugh or even Coltishall, but the pilot service wasn’t due to start up until the following weekend, so we just turned around and chugged back down river.  We noticed that the upper Bure above Horning was exceptionally quiet with very little traffic.  Had a peek into Salhouse Broad but didn’t moor as some work was being done one side of the moorings.  We thought of going into Hoveton Little Broad (which is privately owned) but that was closed, again opening the following weekend (we’re just one week too early for everything!). 

We carried on past Horning eventually deciding to stop at the moorings at Cockshoot Broad to give Marvin a walk.  We had a pleasant walk and then stayed at the moorings and made some lunch.  Then Graham had a snooze whilst I read.  We got on our way again mid-afternoon and chugged slowly down the Bure past Thurne Mouth and down under Acle Bridge.  Decided not to go further down beyond Acle Dyke, so turned back upstream and then up the Thurne and along Womack Dyke.  Lovely to see Hunter’s Yard again with all the boats on the water ready for the coming season.  Womack Dyke banks have been extensively re-profiled since last year, and although they looked really horrible we couldn’t help thinking it will be much easier to sail down Womack Dyke.  Hopefully the reeds will have re-grown by the summer.  We didn’t fancy mooring at Ludham Staithe as there were several other boats there already, and we weren’t sure exactly where The Island was until we checked out maps later, so we headed back down the Thurne intending to go to Ranworth to moor up.  By the time we got near Fleet Dyke the sun was almost setting, so we decided to moor up at Fleet Dyke again.  There was another boat at the moorings we used last night, so turned around and stopped at the moorings on the bend in the dyke instead.  The sunset was pretty spectacular and I got some lovely photos.  Shame I can't post any!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuesday 22nd March: final day (sob)

I woke early once again and was rewarded by the most wonderful sunrise.  (Shame I still can't post photos!!)  Once Graham woke we had a quick breakfast and set out about 7am, as the boat had to be returned by 9am.  Graham took the helm and I packed our stuff away as we made our way up to Horning in lovely sunshine.  We made good time so took the opportunity to go down Ranworth Dam to have a quick peek at Malthouse Broad before continuing to Horning. 

It’s been a really lovely few days and we were very lucky with the weather.  We were very impressed with the boat:  easy to helm, well equipped and very comfortable with effective heating.  After leaving Ferry Marina we went into Horning to get breakfast at the Staithe and Willow, which we thought was really good quality, especially their sausages and bacon, complemented by very friendly service.  We then spent the rest of the day driving around Norfolk visiting various churches to take photos of medieval painted rood screens.  For those interested in such things, we went to the following churches: Ludham, Barton Turf, Worstead, Smallburgh, East Ruston, Potter Heigham.  Then we completed our holiday by going to The Ship Inn in South Walsham for dinner before driving home. 

Next Broads booking July 2016 (see my previous posts on Hustler and Hustler 3).


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Marvin’s condition started to deteriorate about a fortnight after this holiday, so along with our vet we decided that it was time to say goodbye to him.  We’re very glad that we had this break with him, as we have very fond memories of these few days.  He’s been such a lovely good natured dog.  We got him from a rescue kennels in 2000.  Our vet thought he was about 7-8 years old at that time.  He had obviously been much loved at an earlier stage in his life as he was fairly well trained.  We think the rescue kennels had called him Marvin as he looked so miserable (as in Hitchhikers Guide…).  When we first saw him he was just staring at the door to the kennels, oblivious, waiting for someone, whereas most other dogs were jumping up and barking.  They told us he had been in the kennels for three months.  We took him out for a walk in nearby woodland and he walked along beside us quite docilely, but with head and tail down.  It took a couple of days at home with us before his outlook changed and his head and tail perked up.  We do miss him. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing Helen,  I enjoyed your tale.  How sad it turned out to be the last trip with your dog but hopefully it made those last days with him very memorable. 

I look forward to seeing your photos if you can get them to upload.  I'd be interested to know your views on the boat and if you thought it's worth the fairly premium money Ferry Marina ask for hiring it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed reading about your holiday as well Helen. You certainly covered a good number of miles over those few days. I am sure that there are now many more places you still would like to moor up at and get to see. When we go back in May I am already thinking about which moorings we haven't used yet and hoping to tick one or two off the list.

8 hours ago, Broads01 said:

I'd be interested to know your views on the boat and if you thought it's worth the fairly premium money Ferry Marina ask for hiring it. 

Simon I haven't hired this particular boat but on the subject more generally of the all inclusive price that you pay with Ferry Marina, I can say the following. Yes, you can look at similar boats and quite possibly pay less depending on how the fuel deposit works out for you. But what we like with Ferry Marina is that the staff are really helpful and friendly, the location is more central to the Broads so you have more choices of your first and last night's moorings and itinerary and the boats are very well turned out.

As I already mentioned, they went out of their way to let us hire just before their season started. Plus we wanted to moor at the yard on our last night but there were no spaces at the front. We phoned them up and they immediately sent one of the lads to wait for us outside and he then moored us up. So the price might work out a little higher but we like what we get for our money.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since Simon asked for my views on the boat please see a detailed review below.  I've only just written this though, and it is 10 months since we were on the boat, so if I've misremembered anything bear that in mind.  I did read it out to Graham though, and it tallies with his recollection, so I don't think I've gone way off the mark. 

Turquoise Emblem Review

Two things to bear in mind when reading this review: firstly it was our first time on a motor cruiser, so I don’t have a lot of compare it with (comparison with Hunter’s Yard boats being completely inappropriate!) other than having watched the London Rascal’s video boat reviews and having read other people’s accounts; secondly we were upgraded, so I guess that might impact on our view of things.

Before booking I looked at the website of several Broads boating companies, including Richardsons, Barnes Brinkcraft and Herbert Woods.  Having narrowed down on the type of boat we wanted (not too high an air-draft, thinking that we wanted to get under bridges) I did myself a little chart to compare features and cost.  Ferry Marina came out cheapest apart from a couple of much older boats from other yards.  Of course the final cost may not have been cheaper as we would have had some money back from the fuel deposit from other yards, but it was certainly an encouraging factor.

We booked Bronze Emblem.  Turquoise Emblem (TE) was not considered as it doesn’t appear in search results if you are looking for a boat that a dog is allowed on.

The booking process was very easy and they answered queries that I sent by email very promptly.  I received a call approximately a week before our holiday to offer us an upgrade to TE.  Once I’d checked out the boat online I called back to say that would be fine, only that we had a dog with us, but that he didn't shed very much and didn't get on furniture.  After a little consultation their end they said that would be fine.

One of the things that we had considered beforehand was whether we should buy a buoyancy aid for Marvin.  Hunter’s Yard had provided one when we hired with them the previous year.  Ferry Marina advised that they had a small number of doggie buoyancy aids but couldn’t guarantee that they would have one to fit available.  We decided to risk it as Marvin has slowed down a lot and we knew that he wasn’t going to launch himself off the boat to get at birds or anything. 

When we arrived at Ferry Marina at 1pm we had a very friendly welcome at the office, were shown where we could park our car (free parking) for the week and advised we could first bring the car up behind the boat to load on our stuff.  They were also able to lend us a very good quality doggie buoyancy aid which fitted Marvin well, again for no extra cost.

We loaded our stuff on the boat and started to unpack.  Shortly before 2pm a very friendly chap came on board to talk us through the essentials.  We mentioned what boating experience we had during this conversation, and as a result he didn’t take us for a trial run, just talked us through the features of the boat, how things worked (engine, heating, gas cooker safety), how to locate and do the necessary checks on the engine, where the lead for shore-power was stowed and so on.  Whilst he was doing that another young chap came along and cleaned the windows.

And so to the boat itself.

We thought it very accessible, with the interior being all on one level, and Graham had no issues with height anywhere on the boat (he’s about 6’2”).  Easy to get on from a stern mooring and also easy to get on from side-on mooring, with a couple of steps up to the side of the boat from the lower level bathing platform.  The bow is also easy to step onto from side-on mooring, with a set of steps up from door at the front of the lounge area.  There is no outside seating area on TE, but that obviously wasn’t an issue in March.  It does have a split retractable roof, so the one day that we did have some sun we were able to retract one side of the roof but kept the other side closed to protect us from the wind.

The boat is very easy to steer as it has bow-thrusters.  We didn’t do any stern-on mooring as that wasn’t required at any of the moorings that we visited.  In hindsight I wish we’d at least had an attempt at stern-mooring because this year we’re sure to stop somewhere that requires it, and with a much bigger boat!

From the stern the door leads directly into the rear cabin, with a double bed to the port side and door to an ensuite loo/shower room on the starboard side.  Apart from the door windows, the window for the cabin was along the side of the boat, slightly overhanging the bed, with shelf below.  At the foot of the bed was a recessed area for the bed and over that some additional shelving for storage.  There was a drawer or two (sorry, can’t remember exactly) and heating outlet on the side of the bed and above the head of a bed was a cupboard/wardrobe, about 3’ wide and deeper than the depth of the door.  Also stored in it was a bucket and a dustpan and brush.  This was handy for storing our bags, coats etc.

We found the bed very comfortable, the bedding good quality.  The duvet was very warm.  We were too toasty when we first got into bed, after the heating had been on, but just right in the middle of the night and the morning, despite it being very chilly outside.  I did get a few drops of condensation fall on my head from the window in the night, but it wasn’t a major issue and there weren’t enough drops to make the bedding damp.  It’s not surprising that there was condensation on the windows…the nights were very chilly.

It was a real boon having an ensuite loo.  I also very much appreciated having an electrically powered loo, rather than the manual pump-out ones we’d previously experienced. 

The heating worked really well too, being very quick to heat up the boat and with an adjustable thermostat.

The door from the rear cabin leads to the lounge area of the boat.  The engine cover being on the left with a deep shelf above that holding a microwave.  Along the starboard side are kitchen units and a full-size gas cooker with oven, separate grill and hob with four rings.  The hob has a glass top to it, which extends the work-top area when the hob is not in use and gives the kitchen a more ‘quality’ feel.  To the left of the cooker are three deep drawers containing crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, including a good non-stick fry pan, and other kitchen implements.  We thought everything was good quality and that it was a very well equipped kitchen considering the space restrictions.  A shelf behind the worktop recessed below the window holds mugs, glassware, teapot, cafetiére etc.  Below the sink is a small refrigerator with ice box.  There was plenty enough room to store the food that we had brought with us in the drawers and the fridge. 

The helm is positioned roughly opposite to the sink.  When we first saw the boat we thought this a bit odd and wondered if it would compromise visibility for the person at the helm.  Actually it didn’t, being amidships seemed to be quite a natural position for the helm.  Visibility to the rear from the helm was really bad, but Ferry Marina had fixed that by installing a rear camera.  I liked that the helm seat was big enough for both of us to sit side-by-side.  However, I did find it a bit tiring that the height of the seat left my legs dangling rather, until Graham came up with a solution involving the bin. 

At front of the boat there are two sofa seats, which could be used as extra beds as they are about 6’ long.  These we found very comfortable and the pattern of the upholstery reinforced the ‘quality’ feel.  We thought the colour scheme (red, cream and wood veneers and the holly and teak flooring) and materials used throughout the interior conveyed quality.  Although the sofas are positioned quite high, with a bar just in front of them to help you step up, I found I was tending to curl my legs beneath me to get a better view out of the front windows.  A table could be set up between the two sofas.  This consisted of a single metal cylinder which slotted into the floor and the table top which slotted on to that.  Whilst perfectly adequate we felt that this arrangement made for a slightly wobbly table – needing care if you were cutting up your food whilst having drinks on the table. 

When the table was not in place we positioned our dog’s bed between the sofas and he slept there at night.  At night we found that the blinds for the lounge area windows were very easy to put up as the Marina had replaced changed the fixing for these from press-studs (which sometimes cease to work properly) to Velcro (as the chap doing our handover had explained). 

Returning to the yard we found everyone very friendly again.  We just said hello, unloaded the boat and were off.  No hanging around for any checks or fuel calculations. 

Would we pay extra for TE had we not had an upgrade?  Yes, I think we would consider booking the boat again if it became available for dog owners.  Certainly when we were considering booking a boat for just two of us this year we looked at Silver Emblem and White Emblem and not Bronze Emblem.  This year  we also considered Norfolk Broads Direct, as their prices and a couple of their boats are comparable to TE, and I like the idea of their loyalty discount.  However, we were entirely satisfied with the experience we had last year with Ferry Marina, so they certainly have our loyalty.  Ferry Marina have a 'Harry's reward scheme' with a code to pass on to friends and family which I notice some slightly less scrupulous people have posted on Trip Advisor reviews, but it would be nice if they offered a small discount for loyalty and return bookings as Norfolk Broads Direct appear to do.  

As things have turned out we’ve booked Royale Emblem, a three bedroom boat as we’ll be five adults and a dog.  We decided on that one because the accommodation seems very suitable for a party of adults, it was an additional plus that it wasn’t as expensive as some other options and  that it doesn’t have too high an air-draft.  All three bedrooms have ensuite loos/showers, the front cabin has floor room for the dog’s bed (we won’t be leaving our puppy alone in the lounge unless she gets used to sleeping in her crate with the door shut).  Other plus points are that the raised central helm area has a large bench for the rest of the crew to sit there with the helmsperson and there’s a really large lounge area with plenty of seating space and floor space for the dog to play safely.  The fridge is also a good size. 

All in all you can see that we were very happy with Turquoise Emblem.  We especially appreciated having an ensuite with electric flush loo, the ease of getting on and off the boat, its warmth and it being easy to steer.  Graham also appreciated the head-room. 

Niggles (and they are very minor niggles): having a few drips drop on my head at night; having to crawl over Graham to get out of bed at night (I would probably look for a boat with an island bed in future); and the helm-seat and footrest being set a tinsy bit too far apart from each other for my short legs.


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Helen

thanks again for another set of great write ups

I'm glad you got to share the holiday with Marvin, I know what it's like to loose a friend, our's (Sam) used to love his boating holidays. 

They are  such a miss when they have gone to Rainbow Bridge (search the forum for Rainbow Bridge)  but such great memories to look back on.

Regarding the photos, I think it's a restriction in the forum software that until you become a full member (50 posts then proposal & seconding by full members) you aren't able to upload but I'll check that out for you.

as for the full membership, it's nothing to worry about, just how the software works. You'll soon get there.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll have another go...

The error message says:

'There was a problem processing the uploaded file. -200.'

I have been assuming that it must be something to do with the way I had loaded that particular set of photos on my laptop, as I have been able to load photos from July 2016 and July 2015 without any problems, but not the photos from March 2016.



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.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

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