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I don't normally do holiday tales but this weekend turned out to be rather special.  We arrived at the boat around 1300 on Friday and after stowing the endless bags away set off down the Ant to a mixture of sunshine and showers.

On arrival at Ludham bridge I noticed 8ft6" on the gauge, now 8ft to 8ft3" is more normal so this got me thinking of getting under that bridge. A quick call to the bridge pilot and he tells me it's 6ft3" but expecting around 6ft5" at 1700 ish. Nipper needs 6ft5" (well that's what the plaque says) so we head up to Potter.  We arrived around 16.15 and the gauge was showing 6ft4". 

We had a chat with the pilot who after looking at Nipper decided it would go. Hele by this point was strongly protesting so she was ordered off the boat with the dogs and told to meet us on the other side.  We took a slow cruise up to the bridge and poked half the forward cabin under, yep she will go came the reply so reversed back to level with the day boats at HW so we could get a decent run up and off we went.  We went under with about an inch to spare and moored up outside the Broadshaven to await the return of rest of the crew and our expected guest later that evening.

Timbo joined us around 18.00 and being such a lovely evening decided to have a cruise up to Somerton as we had never been to this part before. It was a beautiful warm evening and with the crystal clear water it made for stunning cruise. We returned at around 20.30 dropped Tim off and settled in for the night.

We had been having trouble with the temp gauge showing high so a trip to Lathams to buy a meat thermometer and some new tap washers I set about some trouble shooting. It turned out to be a loose earth lead on the back of the gauge which I attended to while the girl did the Latham thing.

We had a nice cruise up to Horsey only to find a group of halfdeckers trying to tack up the dyke and any one who has been up here knows that's impossible. Safely past we stopped at the Staithe for lunch. We came across the same group of halfdeckers now sailing onto Hickling and with a strong gusty wind blowing the where struggling without any reefs in. We where buzzed many times by the windsurfers crossing back and forth and we where glad to return to the quieter water of Heigham sound only to come across the same group of sailers again.

We had to be back at Potter at around 1700 to get back under but arrive 30 minutes early but the pilot said it should go. Around 1/2 " of clearance this time we stopped outside the pilots office to drop the pilot off and collect the rest of the crew who once again had chickened out. We decided to head for Womack for the night and where supprizingly a few spaces remained. Had a chat with Cambridge Cabby while setting up the barbie.

Doug.

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Lovely to read of your experiences with that bridge. Did you have a crowd watching? You might even find yourself on YouTube if anyone was filming it. ;)

 

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When we had PL we always use to go above Potter but for some reason have never been up to Somerton, if you have never been I suggest you beg borrow or steal well maybe not steal but hire a boat that will go under as it is a fantastic unspoilt area with crystal clear water, Lilly pads and a lot of fish to see swim under the boat.

This was the first time through in Nipper but as long as it's at least 6ft4" I will give it a go myself in future.

Doug.

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Good stuff Doug. It feels such a privilege to be above Potter nowadays. I hired Bittern from Whispering Reeds for a few hours last October and it was brilliant. 

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I had to smile when I read your crew abandoned you "before" you went through "That Bridge" surely you would have been better placed to have locked them in the cabin lol...

I remember back in the 60's people be offered free one way rides through the bridge, human ballast, lol... Due to risk assessment and liability, can't see that happening now. 

In the 80's Porter and Haylett had 200 litre plastic water barrels that they placed on the side decks to get their fleet through Hoveton Bridge, happy days lol.

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and off we went.  We went under with about an inch to spare and moored up outside the Broadshaven

Not Jealous, Not Jealous - Keep telling yersen that Griff.

I'm hopefully taking 'B.A' through end o this month for five days up there, that is assuming the river / wx Gods are kind to us

Griff

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Hang on, nearly missed a trick there:-

the pilot said it should go. Around 1/2 " of clearance this time we stopped outside the pilots office to drop the pilot off

YOU - Used the Pilot? :shocked,  Just let me say that one again (So glad this is in writing for all future generations to witness)  YOU - Used the Pilot?  :facepalm:

Just what kind of Southern Jesse of a mate are you?  Victor Meldrew - 'I don't Believe it' !! 

Just gotta extract the 'Apeepee' when one has the chance you realise :naughty:

Griff

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7 hours ago, BroadAmbition said:

Hang on, nearly missed a trick there:-

the pilot said it should go. Around 1/2 " of clearance this time we stopped outside the pilots office to drop the pilot off

YOU - Used the Pilot? :shocked,  Just let me say that one again (So glad this is in writing for all future generations to witness)  YOU - Used the Pilot?  :facepalm:

 

Griff

As we had not taken Nipper under before I WAS TOLD by she who must etc if I insisted  on going under that the Pilot must be used and as I paid for the return up front I was going to get me money's worth.  Next time I will be doing it myself as now we know exactly what we need.

Doug.

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Ever since I "misjudged" that bridge I've used the pilot except on my most recent trip when I had 6' 7". (I need 6' 1"). With luck I'm getting my nerve back!

Choice... Pilot £20 return, or Repair damage to windscreen and cabin top. £50 + hours of doing things I'm not good at. Hmmm, I'll think about that.! 

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38 minutes ago, brundallNavy said:

now we know exactly what we need.

Two shoe horns and a tub of grease?:naughty:

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Given the choice of £20 return, or damage to the boat and self pride, then the pilot is the way to go. I fully respect that.

Personally, I was never wussy enough to use them though....lol...

Our Viking 23 could get under with the windsceeen up on very low water days with no cross winds, 4-5 mm clearance on the edges of the screen. Then I changed the way the screen came off, and we could remove and replace mid river. Off every time after that close shave, the bridge has different clearances, the roof slopes aghhh...  when you are 4-5 mm away, you can see the change, and boy, that close there's a lot of brick and stonework missing

We got under once with under 6' showing in the office, I aligned  the top of the boat through the bridge and against a similar boat the other side of  the bridge.  With the screeen off, the spot light tilted... off we went...  full throttle through the bridge. Certainly less than an inch to spare, that was quite scary, lol

The problem is, with your own boat, your trip through the bridge is probably the first that day, that week, that month, even the first of the season, however, the pilot has probably taken a few smaller ones through to get a feel of the cross winds and currents before taking the challenging ones through. They also have a mm accurate gauge in their office, and accurate tide tables, so they can predict the levels and I have seen them drawing up a list of boats in height order when very busy and manage to get them all through. They are certainly skilled in what they do. 

I must admit, when I was younger, I wanted to pilot boats through. You will always  remember your first ever passage with your own boat. We had launched at Martham, so our first time was down stream, for some reason, I find that more intimidating than going upstream.

Richard   

 

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15 hours ago, brundallNavy said:

We had a nice cruise up to Horsey only to find a group of halfdeckers trying to tack up the dyke and any one who has been up here knows that's impossible.

Hard work, but not impossible! In fact, I do it fairly regularly, you just need to choose a day with the right wind, keep a paddle to hand and be prepared to let the mobos past by holding up in the reeds if necessary.

The time to be afraid is when you are gently chugging up in your mono and meet another one coming the other way with a proper boat towed alongside :shocked

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Just now, Viking23 said:

Martham, so our first time was down stream, for some reason, I find that more intimidating than going upstream.

You do get better transit sight lines going upstream which makes it easier, although not for downstream traffic:shocked. The ones I was shown by one who knows are:

Upstream - keystone and the corner angle of the Potter bank support of the new bridge.

Downstream - keystone and a telegraph pole (2nd from left if I remember rightly but the old memory always lets me down so always have to have a look at the time to check:facepalm:) just to the right of the bungalow beyond Herby Woods. The key going downriver is to set up well back by the end of the Bridge Green moorings adjacent to the big unused (:norty:) dyke by the new bridge support, as this gives you the ability to both line up and get as good a view as possible of what awaits - it is also the reason why the no fishing signage was in place along there!

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2 hours ago, MauriceMynah said:

Ever since I "misjudged" that bridge I've used the pilot except on my most recent trip when I had 6' 7". (I need 6' 1"). With luck I'm getting my nerve back!

Choice... Pilot £20 return, or Repair damage to windscreen and cabin top. £50 + hours of doing things I'm not good at. Hmmm, I'll think about that.! 

I agree with almost every word. We keep our boat on the "good" side so I hope you all behave yourselves when  up there:5_smiley: 'er on board would not allow me to try navigating the bridge myself, so I have no plans at the moment to do so.

A couple of weeks ago there were two adult swans with 8 signets near Martham Broad, the adults carrying the youngsters on their backs.

Many years ago the pilots got us through in very difficult circumstances and have always been very helpful. I would think it a cheek to ask them when it was difficult but take it through myself when easy. This is no criticism of MM, just my way of seeing things. I would be quite happy to save £20 but not to lose use of my boat whilst a boatyard works out how to replace everything above deck level!

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With all these comments good and bad about "That Bridge" it certainly deserves to stand there as it is for many more years to come. What else would we talk about if "That bridge" was bypassed. 

It is a bonus to get through, it's where we aimed to be on busy bank holiday weekends, 3 hours non stop cruising point to point from Stalham,

Well, we often stopped over for a breather at St Bennets on the way. But if it was Saturday afternoon, and we were ahead of "The Fleet" from Stalham, then...  we would press on lol.

To me, it is my favourite boating place in the UK.

Some parts of the Thames are getting close, but a long way to go yet lol.

Richard

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I wouldn't take our boat through the bridge even if it would fit purely because of the other owners who would be put out if I 'got it wrong'.

As an aside we have hired Clifton Bridge this summer does anyone know if it will allow us to go the other side of potter heigham?

The best I can find out online is it's 7 foot so doesn't look likely but would have been nice to do whilst we are on a hire boat.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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As we had not taken Nipper under before I WAS TOLD by she who must etc if I insisted  on going under that the Pilot must be used and as I paid for the return up front I was going to get me money's worth.  Next time I will be doing it myself as now we know exactly what we need.

Erm,  I kinda worked that one out, hey but why let common sense get in the way of a rare chance to take the 'Apeepee' ?

TBH and FWIW, I did exactly the same thing first time we took 'B.A' through since we recommissioned her and measured her airdraft exactly for the first time.  There was not a prayer of me taking her through until I new exactly what we needed too. 

Wise decision Sir, great minds think alike

Griff

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I had planned on having a Sunday morning lay in but  the furry twins decided other wise so at 06.30 it was time to let them out to do wee's etc. Oby or as we now call him Harry Houdini decided he wanted to play so after chasing him for around 15 mins he was back on the boat, or so I thought. Maddie is getting on a bit and has trouble jumping up onto the boat so she has a plank but this means Oby can either jump or use the plank whenever he thinks I'm not quick enough to stop him.  This turned out to be the norm for the weekend and I lost count of how many times he escaped 

We topped up with water before departing for Upton to have a look at an old ladies bottom and with notes made we set off to Wroxham.  I was now suffering from the sunburn obtained yesterday so we needed a trip to Roy's for after sun.  The bridge was showing around 7ft so Hele took her under but chickened out when she realised we where going to moor stern on with a strong cross wind but we got safely in.

More chasing of Oby followered by Lamb casserole before settlingin for the night to watch Poldark.

Monday again was windy but sunny so after more Oby chasing we departed heading for Ranworth for lunch. When we arrived at the Staithe 3 boats seemed to be waiting to moor but making no attempt so we slipped past one and moored in the basin side with at least 4 spaces and 2 on the front remaining. As we where tying off the ropes a Rico's bath tub came in beside us and proceeded to squash Nipper's Nipper against the key, after a few choice words from Hele he replied we had jumped the queue and waited but as they where making no attempt to moor I shrugged it off.

After lunch and more dog chasing we set off back up the Ant to put Nipper back to bed but saw the Kingfisher outside the wet shed which ended a fantastic weekend rather well.

Doug. 

 

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2 hours ago, brundallNavy said:

More chasing of Oby followered by Lamb casserole

You casseroled him?:shocked

1 hour ago, brundallNavy said:

Butter would not melt

image.jpeg

Ah...if the butter doesn't melt turn the gas up Doug! Poor Oby...he can move in with the Beagle Brothers!  :naughty:

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Oby looks such a cutie. Now with our Seren we daren't let her off her lead, otherwise she'd be off into the blue yonder. Hope she settles down a bit as she gets older!

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Needless to say we WERE planing on taking Mal to Horsey this summer. With everything down and silly masty thing removed not just folded away she is 6/6 or 6/5 we don't know yet as we need an acurate measure. What I do know is that with new planks she will sit lower in the water at the bow than she does now which will be good. (pulpit rail is highest point)

 

For those interested before the last big resoration she was 7 feet at the rail. After she was restored and sat properly in the water (not bow up) she dropped to 6/6 or so. The transom is higher now and the exhaust isn't 5/6 submreged anymore (not in the water at all actually) but that slight change of angle over 38ft made a huge difference. Removing the windscreen wiper gave us another 2 inches on the cabin top too (to match the pulpit rail height). So Doug we will be taking your route and when all fixed and mended, polished, primped and primed, we will be asking the Pilot to have a look mate ....

Anyone wishing to witness said risky spectacle can do so from inside the boat to lower the airdraft. Daft yorkshire folks especially appreciated. 

 

 I can't wait we are all going stir crazy not being able to float.... 

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