Jump to content

Canoe On The Broads... Here Comes Bruce..


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

As having the main reason for boating being not being able to swim it took a bit of courage to jump into a Canadian canoe for the first time in Salhouse broad the other weekend but I've been getting ichy feet lately after seeing them seemingly gaining popularity on the broads over the last few years (and kinda caring less about falling in).. but honestly that hours canoe trip on the broad was the most fun I've had on the broads for some time! So much so I spent my Christmas and birthday money on our own 16footer from canada (well grabbed via ebay from Thetford actually). 

Naturally we've been on the broads for sometime but in all honesty I think we've become bored of it, it's kinda not fun to be on the Rivers certainly when it's warm like it is, so hopefully "Bruce" is going to help regain the love and allow us to hide away even more!

We've had Bruce for some time now and I've been learning here in the Marina at home (certainly helps being able to have alongside and go for a paddle after work), we also spent last weekend on the Great Stour here in Kent, which was truly amazing a very pretty River indeed (clear waters and very narrow with only really fellow canoeist), but yup the plan is to bring him up to norfolk this weekend and hopefully head up the North Walsham Canal as far as there's water, I'm really looking forward it and will post pictures on Orca's blog on facebook (Maybe here if anyones interested?).  I'm also thinking of a few trips down to Bungay and up past wroxham, hickling and even the fens. Thankfully too there's toll to pay on the broads thanks to British canoeing!

Oh pic of Bruce below ;) Naturally following the Jaws theme and finally showing them teeth (It's going to look pretty funny towing behind Orca I think!!)


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It will look like you`re being chased by a shark :default_laugh:.

Seriously though, when i worked in Toronto, me and 5 other of the guys took off on one of the only two weekends where we did`nt work on a Sunday, to a National Park called "Algonquin Park", i still have the T shirt. We hired 3 canoes, and paddled a round route of 25 miles, while dodging bears and gnu`s, and taking in various portaging stretches. It was amazing canoeing a mixture of broad lakes, narrow rivers, and all amongst spectacular scenery. 

I`d love to hire one on the Broads, and canoe the North Walsham and Dilham canal (no broads toll required) as well as the upper Waveney and Bure Navigations, again where i believe BA tolls are not applicable. Unfortunately, Karen will have none of it (she also flatly refuses to try sailing), as she fears tipping over and ending up soaked.

Enjoy it Alan, it`s amazing fun, as you have already found out, i only wish i could do the same.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol can't wait to see it towing.. I think I'll try and get the tow lines tight so the nose is on the swim deck, thus certainly look like Bruce is attacking!

We've been watching some youtube of Algonquin Park it looks amazing, not sure I could do some of the portages though they seem like mountain treks! plus the bears.. gulp! But maybe one day, they seem to have very posh kevlar lightweight canoes now.. Bruce is about 50kg I think!  

From what I can see is anywhere tidal is under the BA's restriction/control and a toll is thus required.. thankfully though paying the £40 something for a British Canoeing membership gives us a licence for all rivers (including the Broads) so no more money to the BA, still not looking forward to arguing with the rangers over that though.

Tell Karen that even my mum wants to try and she can't even cross breydon ;) 

Looking forward to the weekend :) Im not sure how far up the canal we will get it seems a bit overgrown towards Honing lock but will see.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wayford to Honing Lock (North Walsham Canal)

Thankfully there was a spare mooring available just by the road bridge at wayford ensuring that could jump in Bruce and head north. We choose to ignore the temptation to go out during the heatwave so waited for the saturday instead..annoyingly the temparture dropped what felt like a full season and rain was forcast but after that heat it wasn't too bad. 

We've been under wayford before both by boat and with Jaws the dinghy but the river feels a lot wider in the canoe. 

The entrance to the canal now has a "Welcoming sign" although sadly not for hire canoes (which I couldn't quite understand) soon into the canals the trees started to cover overhead, sadly the water although shallow enough was cloudy so it was hard to see any fish. 

When not paddling it was dead silent just the odd call from a bird (Sorry I'm still so bad with my bird calls!).  Further up we heard the call of fellow humans and the sound of paddles on canoe gunnels. I looked back and saw three ladies putting us to shame powering down the canal in a hire canal, we pulled to aside and let them pass, offering hello's and enjoys! It seems that canalcamping.co.uk have a dedicated fleet so no norfolk broads hire canoes are welcome.. Adding more to the feel that this is away from the broads!

Further up the reeds started to close in, and the trees cleared opening up to grazing land, just ahead a bridge appeared although the request for tolls honestly box drew our attention, we have british canoe membership and I'm sure that I read that this canal is covered under that membership but we agreed we will stop on the way back down.

Under the Tonnage bridge (which I guess was originally used to collect tolls - hence kinda cool it still is today) looking very pretty, a small private day boat moored in a boat shed raised a couple of eyebrowls, Imagine living here with this all to yourself!  Further up stream (if you say that on a canal) it was a lot more overgrown, trees hanging over the canal, or falling in, the stream covered with very thick waterlilies making it tough to get solid strokes of the paddle, we really had to zigzag to get moving, near to edges it was very shallow too. 

On the left side though some very very neat looking glamping pods appeared, some with hot tubs! I so want to try them one day £120 per night maybe not :( (tonnagebridge.co.uk). 

Further up the canal widened just before forking, we had to actually stop and check the map as I wasn't sure, we couldn't spot the tracks of the ladies who passed us either, seems like it heads to the left.. the big most overgrown!  Sections of this bit really was very shallow and very narrow, the canoe was clearly running over down trees. At this point we spotted a family in two blow up kayaks heading down, we all stopped for a quick chat, they needed the time and we asked where they had come from and how much further, it certainly seems canoeing/kayaking is very friendly! They had "Put in" about 30 mins further up which was just where I wanted to head to. We all headed off wishing all a happy paddle. The river went from narrow sections where trees had fallen to larger sections where I guess reeds couldn't grow due to sediment or some other natural reason. But it kind shows what happens if the Rivers aren't managed of if boat traffic is restricted. 

I do love seeing sheep and just ahead it seemed the river stopped suddenly in a field of sheep although I spotted a tight right turn and it carried on but now at this point it was as narrow as the canoe and you could hear the sound of running water, I knew there was a kind of weir at the end so I guess sadly we was just about to reach the end. You can get out though and carry the canoe further upstream but it had taken a couple of hours of very slow paddling to get this far an it was now raining so that was for another day!

I certainly just wanted a bit of taster and see what it was like and it was just perfect, it's hard to explain what it's like to see new bits of norfolk after spending so many years on the main rivers but we both certainly enjoyed the trip. 

It was good to have a bit of a current back down as we retraced out paddle strokes.. It was certainly almost a bit of a shame to see the main river again at wayford certainly as I had to yell at a boater who really wasn't looking but a lovely meal in the Wayford Inn finished a very neat evening doing something different on the broads.

I'm planning on doing lots more of this including some overnight canoe camping spots. If anyone wants me to share give a shout out! (Sorry for crap pictures, I'm still playing with waterproof photography bits, struggling with fogging up at the moment but I'll get there).








  • Like 4
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.