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Weekend On Broom Captain


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Hi all,

Not posted a holiday blog/write up before - so apologies in advance if i start to ramble....and will attempt to post some pics as well  :default_biggrin:

We have made 2 bookings with Brooms this year - one in September (as we usually do) - but also decided to have a few days before the season really gets underway - and we are so glad we did...

Thursday 8th March.

We both managed to work from home today so, in between emails & phone calls / online meetings managed to get the bags packed and essentials boxed (for essentials basically read alcohol) during the day.  By 5pm we had the car packed, house locked and were on our way.  Slightly different to previous visits to the broads as we would usually head across to Norfolk on the day of the hire, but as we live south Sheffield area and had not seen the parents for some 6 months or so off we headed to their place in Caister Christmas presents in hand honestly

Great run to Caister arriving about 8.30pm for dinner, drinks and pressie giving/receiving..

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Friday 9th March

It was really nice not having to get up at the crack of dawn to then drive for 3 and a half hours as we had previously done in order to get to Brundall.  So leisurely up at 8 had breakfast then said our goodbyes and off we went to Sainsburys in Yarmouth to do the shopping followed by Asda in Yarmouth because Sainburys did not have exactly what we wanted.. apparently.

We had previously spoken to Brooms (they ask that you complete an arrival form some 2 weeks beforehand contact number / time of arrival if after 2pm / how many beds needed making up etc) so we did this over the phone and were informed that if we wanted, we could take the boat at 11am suffice to say we pulled up in the yard at about 11.15 happy times.

Walked into the rental reception deserted no one around was just about to telephone the main reception (on other side of building) when one of the lads appeared (it was Danny we had met last year) and we got sorted straight away.  There were only 2 boats going out that day - & they had moved ours right to the end of the yard opposite the fuel / pump out station.  Drove the car down to unload alongside the boat completed the paperwork in 2 mins and as we had been on Broom Captain before (we had the actual same boat Captain 4 last September) there was no need for any additional information or trial run.  Car unloaded then parked in yard and keys handed to Danny (they keep all car keys tagged in a safe now).

We decided to unpack fully rather than the usual dump everything & sort later as we were not rushed being so early.  Everything stowed champagne opened (before we left the yard..) we set off down the Yare just after 12.15 1st night plan to stop in Loddon

NB before we unpacked we did take some photos of the boat (as requested by a few people) which we will post up in the Hire Boat Discussion thread later.

On leaving Brundall Jules turned to me and just commented that as soon as we get on the water, drink in hand, all the stress etc just goes we really do enjoy being back on the water..and to cap it all off the sun was actually shining.

We knew the broads would be quiet this time of year - & in 3 hours of travelling down the Yare and subsequently the Chet we only saw 2 other boats on the river lovely

On the Yare...



On arriving in Loddon apart from one other private boat we were the only ones there so had our pick of the moorings.  First mooring in 6 months stern on absolutely perfect stopped the boat literally 1 inch from the quay heading where Jules stepped off to sort the ropes and I headed up front to drop the mud weight.

We had purchased a couple of electric cards from Brooms so plugged in and all sorted.

We had not been down to Loddon before, so we decided to have a walk around the village, familiarise ourselves with the facilities / shops / pubs / takeaways etc before returning to the boat for a restful couple of hours.

We had planned to head out in the evening and go to the White Horse for a meal and then drinks back in the kings Head, but it got to about 7pm and to be honest we were both shattered I think work fatigue had caught up with us so we decided to stay put snacks and drinks bit of tv before we headed to bed.  (Having not ventured out will give us an excuse to visit Loddon again when we are back in September) 

Moored up in Loddon


Trying to be 'arty' with a pic....


Saw this fella from across the staithe...


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Saturday 10th March

Having done all the usual pre planning before we came we had specifically booked this weekend as the tides would allow us to cross Breydon and travel through Yarmouth (something we had not done for a number of years) & subsequently upto Acle bridge where we had booked a table at Pedros for the evening - & that was the plan for today.  We (well i) was up at about 6.30 coffee in hand just taking in the quietness of the morning bliss.  Jules woke a little later I made her tea and then we started our preparations for leaving we had to be away at 8am to get to Yarmouth close to slack water.  I decided to top the water up as the hose was on at Loddon and I was not sure where else we would be able to top up if we left it as we were still out of season and I knew from the forums that Reedham for example would probably still not have the hoses out as yet (i was right).

Mudweight lifted, ropes untied and off we pottered up (or is it down the Chet in this direction), onto the Yare and through Reedham going with the ebbing tide.  Whilst we were underway, Jules made the bacon & egg sarnies blinking lovely

Loads of room under Reedham bridge (think it was showing in excess of 11).  Still no other boats around until we got onto Breydon and saw one in the distance travelling in the same direction to Yarmouth but had 4 or 5 pass us coming the other way all cheerily waving as we passed which of course we reciprocated.

According to the tide tables, slack water was due at 10.50 and we turned at the yellow post at about 10.30 tide still on way out but certainly did not feel too strong.  I was a little concerned that the clearance under the bridges was going to be tight as the low tides were actually still quite high this weekend but I had predicted there would be about 9 and a half feet under the lowest of the two sure enough the height marker was showing about 96 as Broom Captain is 86 with the tv ariel down we had no issues.

All the way to Acle again we were the only ones on the river.  As we were progressing we were discussing the fact that we would probably get to Acle by 12.30 but what would we do then?  We decided to press on and ended up heading up the Thurne to Potter Heigham approaching the bridge we did a quick u turn and moored up at the BA moorings arriving at about 13.30 some 5 and a half hours of cruising.  Jumped off the boat, had a wander around Herbert Woods yard there was at least one hire boat being loaded about to head out but the yard was obviously very full.

Moored at Potter Heigham


Back to the boat, had a quick bite of lunch washing up done we decided to head back to Acle.  Coming into Acle again apart from one boat all of the moorings on both sides of the river were completely clear and we had our choice.  We had actually booked a mooring with Pedros when we booked the table and decided to go into the yard where the Broads Boating Company fleet were.  Again, perfectly executed turn in the yard and stern on next to one of the BBC boats (I was very proud of my mooring techniques this time around as I kept telling Jules.).

All tied up & mudweight thrown we were sorted for the night.  Just as an aside here (and I have seen this commented on other boats when moored stern on) the Broom Captain does not have any fenders on the stern just the rubbing strake, so you can suffer from the boat bumping the quay heading all night long not the best for a good nights sleep sometimes.  We overcame this by slackening off the stern ropes Jules then held the boat away from the quay with her foot whilst I went to the bow and swung the mudweight as far forwards as I could then tightened the mudweight rope on the front cleat which then held the stern off the quay just by a few inches but enough to stop it bumping all night long.

Popped into Pedros to tell them we had arrived and confirm the booking for later no problems back on the boat for some pre dinner drinks and to get showered & ready.


7pm and we were in Pedros we thought it would be quite quiet how wrong we were it was probably 3/4 full great to see it so busy and we had a great meal for those that have not been - they do small sharing portions that arrive as & when they are ready we ordered 5 or 6 dishes and it was excellent.  Service was brilliant and we were back on the boat for about 8.30pm more drinks / TV and then off to bed.

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Sunday 11th March

Woke up to a very misty Acle but very peaceful we had been the only ones moored in the yard all night and there was still only one other boat moored on the river.  Plan for today was to head back through Yarmouth and across Breydon and overnight in Rockland as we have done previously then it would only be a 30 min trip on Monday back to Brooms to hand the boat back.

Slack water at Yarmouth was due at 11.51, so we headed off at about 10am (had our bacon & egg sarnies before we left today) again on the run to Yarmouth we only saw 1 other boat and got to the Yacht Station at 11.45 perfect timing and still had a foot clearance under the bridges.  Went past the yellow post turned right and onto Breydon lovely

Journey was quite uneventful all way across Breydon & through Reedham saw the other Broom boat that was out for the weekend at the Reedcutter moorings passed the Beauchamp Arms and headed upto Rockland just before 3pm we turned into the short dyke again not a boat in sight headed down into the staithe where we turned around and headed back to the short dyke moorings we prefer to moor here on our last night as we always like to cook on the boat at least once and love being able to look out across the fields as the night closes in.

Not a soul in sight...


Ready for the new season....


Crossing Breydon...



And safely moored up at Rockland


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Monday 12th March

Had a bit of an eventful nights sleep fast asleep Jules suddenly wakes me telling me someone is on the boat as she can hear them talking. A few seconds to gain my composure and I realise I had left the VHF on at the helm and at 2am in the morning someone was on channel 16 (we did see a few fishermen out & about in the evening) I was duly shoved out of bed to turn the radio off. Of course then we were both wide awake for a while.  Anyhow lesson learned.

We did not have to take the boat back until 10am but still had to get everything packed so by 8am we were both up coffee & tea consumed and set about packing / tidying etc before heading off at 9.15.

Always hate this last trip back to Brundall as we know we would much rather be staying but time it was went past the fuel hut & turned the boat around as this enables the fuel filler and pump out to be on the correct side for Malcolm at Brooms tied the boat up and again no one in sight lol

Was just about to ring the bell for service when Malcom and one of the lads appeared (think his name is Shaun). Brooms changed the policy slightly last year on return all boats moor upto the fuel quay they are then fuelled / pumped out / water refilled before one of the lads then takes the boat into the yard you stay on board - it is only then that you are able to collect your car keys and start unloading your bits & pieces (previously you could do this whilst the boat was being fuelled etc but I think something happened previously with people trying to reverse their cars where the fuel hut is).

All the above duly done (again -  we were the only ones there as the other boat that had been out at the weekend was already back in the yard).  Malcom sorted the fuel refund out a paltry £20.00 but we had covered some miles and we had also had the heating on for the majority of the weekend  so to be expected.

Shaun had said that we could moor where we had left on the Friday and he was more than happy to let me do it just tie the boat up come and collect your keys and leave the boat keys in the ignition were the instructions.

This was done & by about 10.30 we were pulling out of Brooms and on our way home having spent an absolutely lovely few days again on the water.

This is the first time we have been out so early in the season, but apart from the inclement weather (obviously much better than previous weekend) and the fact that some of the facilities and pubs may not be fully operational / open as yet we absolutely loved being on the empty rivers having our choice of moorings without having to worry about having to get somewhere early to guarantee being able to moor etc we are back again in September for another long weekend and whilst we have other holidays booked in the meantime cannot wait to come back.

Took some pictures on the last morning whilst still at Rockland





Hope you enjoyed the read and the pictures we will post some pictures of Broom Captain in the Hireboat Discussion thread.

Just as a final note - (and not broads related - but boat related) we are off to Fort Lauderdale again in 2 months time - this is our view whilst lounging in our 'yard' watching the world go by..


And we get some temporary 'pets' for the time we are there....


Mark and Jules

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