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Brooklyn Bridge 2

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Tuesday 10th September:

With Bags strategically squeezed into the car, we set off on our one and a quarter hour journey to Acle. We finally arrived at Bridgecraft boatyard at about half past two, having stopped at Acle co-op superstore for supplies. 

We made ourselves known to reception and they told us our boat was nearly ready, so we gave Welly, the yard’s black and white moggy, a lot of attention, 20190920_192047.thumb.jpg.d8c7bf7614c68c10095e1d1d5bb2d053.jpg

did the paperwork and were issued with six life jackets and told we could bring the car down and unload. I backed up close to her and began loading the holdalls, bags and equipment on board. I let them know in reception that we were ready and was told where to park the car, then our instructor gave us a thorough run through of the boat and her systems.

I was then told I could set off when I was ready, so with the engine fired up and readied I engaged neutral and switched over to the upper helm, untied the ropes and cast off for the first time on our eleven night journey aboard this six birth Alphacraft Highliner 44 MkII by the name of Brooklyn Bridge 2.

The weather was hot and breezy and we headed under the bridge toward Stokesby, whilst I helmed the boat, Jenny undertook the arduous task of stowing everything away, there are plenty of cupboards on Brooklyn, so much so that several remained empty. 


Brooklyn handled well considering she was forty four feet in length, twelve feet in width and had an eight feet and three inch air draft. 

When we got to Stokesby, both the parish staithe and the Glebe Farm moorings were full so we continued on down to the Stracey Arms Windpump moorings, we actually moored at the Hindu temple end and the great visibility that is offered from the upper helm made for a perfect first mooring.


With the boat all secured we walked to the shop and paid the five pound mooring fee and bought some other bits and bobs. 

We had tea onboard and then washed it down with some beers,. It had been a long day so we decided on an earlyish night.

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Day 2 Wednesday 11th  I awoke to a damp morning and I put the kettle on and made the morning tea and took Jenny a cuppa in bed. The drizzle had stopped so I went up onto the sundeck and squeegeed down the padded seating, ready for the off. I started the engine, untied the ropes and we were off, it was now about half past seven. 


Our destination was a short hop back to Stokesby, we were meeting up with my siblings, We were booked in for breakfast at the Ferry Inn, who had kindly agreed to let them park their cars in the pub’s car park for the three days they would be onboard. However when I got to Stokesby everywhere was still busy, but people were up, so I continued by, for about ten minutes, turned and headed back. My hopes were raised as I passed a couple of boats heading Acle direction. Sure enough there was a space on the staithe behind a Richardson’s Commodore, tight but doable. Again we were moored up without incident and Jenny had risen in time to hold the forward rope for me whilst I tied the aft and then the front. All secured, I phoned the siblings to redirect them to us to unload their luggage. 

With everything onboard we drove the short distance to the pub to park, we were on time for our half nine booking, breakfast was lovely and we were made to feel very welcome.

With everyone sated, we showed them round the boat and they picked their berths. I did the ropes and turned round and slowly headed towards Horning at just under four miles an hour.


There was a brief shower around midday, but on the whole it was a warm and sunny but cloudy day and we had a really nice trundle down the Bure.


When we reached our preferred destination the staithe was full so we headed onwards to Wroxham via Salhouse, sadly, no ice cream boat.


So we continued onto Barnes Brinkcraft and moored up for the night. Thankfully with my family watching I did another perfect mooring, three from three, Brooklyn handled well for a big boat, having made allowances for  wind drift, the view from the upper helm helps a lot.

We sat on the upper seating drinking, my older brother Terry, his wife Janet, my younger sister Jane and her hubby Carl all catching up and reminiscing old times. We then headed to Roys and perused their wares, before getting takeaways, Janet and I went for a thai from Yim Siam, whilst the others went to Ken’s chip shop and we ate the food back on the boat.

Again more stories and drinks into the evening until the day caught up with us and we called it a night and we retired to our cabins.

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Day 3 Thursday 12th    I awoke at about six thirty, washed and put the kettle on, Carl was the first to rise, so I made him a tea too. After I had done the seats, we sat up top chatting and enjoyed the early sun. It was turning into a cracking day,so I cast off and went to Salhouse Broad.



moored on the middle staithe and whilst Terry cooked a full english and veggi version for Jenny, showers were had and the water tank topped back up. My brother makes a very good breakfast and this one was fantastic and went down a treat.



We set off at a slow pace up the Bure and took a left down the Ant, all crewed up now we dropped the screen, sides and ariel so we could get under Ludham bridge. Through safely, all hands were back to put it up again.



There were the usual numpties that felt the need to overtake us, frightened they might not get that mooring spot they longed for and to hell with everyone else, I was more than happy chugging along at around three point seven miles an hour.

We passed How Hill and Irstead, through Barton broad and we took the left fork to Wayford, stopping to let the wherry out first. We passed quite a few boats coming back from Wayford, several too tall for the bridge there, so didn’t hold out much hope of forty four feet of empty staithe. We continued down and passed even more coming back, as we arrived the staithe was full, so I stopped to turn and a chap on the second boat in, undid his ropes to leave, it was really lucky, the forty two foot boat left and we took his place. All ropes tied securely it was time for a beer or two.




Jenny booked a table at the Wayford Bridge Inn for seven o’clock and I showered and changed ready for the evening, we had a few drinks to while away the time. It was getting close to seven so we made our way under the bridge and up to the pub. Dinner was great, service was great too, I like it when they go the extra yard. 

It was our first time at Wayford and the pub, we had been past on our way down to Dilham but never stopped before, we weren’t disappointed, well worth a visit for those that haven’t been.


We had a few more drinks and chatted until we were too tired and it was time for bed.

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We have never eaten in the Wayford Bridge but have been in for a few beers.

Might use this as our back up plan if we can't get on Stalham Staithe on our last night for a takeout curry :default_beerchug:

We usually stop at Sutton Staithe for our last evening on boats hired from Richardsons but the last couple of times we have been disappointed with the food and service in the pub there so time to try somewhere different.

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1 hour ago, Cal said:

but the last couple of times we have been disappointed with the food

Same here. Visited earlier this week not having been there for a while. Quite disappointed as we used to get very good food there. Can’t fault the service though or the beer. Also visited Wayford Bridge Inn this year and that certainly gets my vote, good food and even treats for the dogs! The pub imo has a nice ambience and the staff very helpful and polite. 

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23 hours ago, SwanR said:

Wayford Bridge Inn is one of the places where we have always had good food and service. Haven't been there for a while so glad to hear it's still delivering.

Haven't ever overnighted there. Does the road quieten down in the evening?

Was noisy in the afternoon but didn't notice the noise during the night

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Day 4 Friday 13th  I Awoke to another warm, dry morning and put the kettle on the stove, Carl came through as it came to the boil and whistled merrily, the kettle not Carl. Once again we sat up top and enjoyed our first cuppa of the day and watched the two boats that were moored between us and the bridge depart. By now everyone else was stirring, so Carl put the kettle on for a refill, whilst I untied the ropes, turned in the basin and started our journey back up the Ant.


We carried on at a slow pace and Terry did some toast for our breakfast, which went down well with the mug of tea Carl had made. When we got to How Hill I moored up so we could have a look around.





First we looked in the Toad Hall cottage museum and then took the short walk up to the not so secret garden and walked round the various paths and then up to the windpump, it was another lovely day, albeit a little cloudy. 



Before I cast off, we dropped the various parts to get under the bridge later and we were underway again. With the bridge safely navigated we made our way to the Bure and turned left, we continued up to Fleet Dyke, turned right to have a cruise around South Walsham broad and then back to the Bure again.

We had sandwiches whilst on the way to the Thurne, but






decided to continue onto Stokesby to have a better chance of getting a mooring and it paid off as there were a few spaces on the Glebe Farm moorings and within an hour it was full.

We played Scattergories until it was time for dinner at the Ferry Inn., which was lovely, as usual and enjoyed by all. Then sadly, it was time for my siblings to leave, they had all had a brilliant time and enjoyed the peace and quiet that is the Norfolk broads.



Jenny fed the cygnets, whilst I watched some telly with a vodka or two and it wasn’t long before another day had run its course


and it was time for bed again.

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48 minutes ago, TostockTimonier said:

Was noisy in the afternoon but didn't notice the noise during the night

That`s why we won`t moor there. We prefer to go through the bridge and moor on the bank at the far end, immediately before Dilham Dyke. Much quieter, and the bank is good to fish off.

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Day 5 Saturday 14th  Woke up and boiled the kettle, made the tea and had some cereal for breakfast.  I cleaned the weed filters on the cooler for the hydraulics and checked the coolant level in the radiator. All sorted, I cast off and we took a slow cruise to Ranworth staithe , as we weren't in any hurry.









When we got there it was packed, so we headed for Horning village staithe. There was room for us only spread over three gaps, inconsiderate  mooring again, we had seen a lot of it about. I turned around and moored at the Ferry Inn right next to Ferry Marine. 

Maggot box in hand I walked up Ferry Rd to the end, turned right to the tackle shop and got my maggots, it’s a nice little walk. and with the maggots carefully stashed away in the gas locker, I cast off. 


Our destination was Fleet Dyke and we took a slow cruise there, when we reached the first lot of moorings they were full and as we approached the second lot, they looked full too. Jenny signalled to the boat behind that I was going to turn round and we headed back up the dyke. As we approached the first moorings again a man on a Bridgecraft boat was fiddling with his ropes, as we slowed alongside he signalled that he was leaving, so I reversed to let him out and then moored in the space.We had a light lunch and watched all the boats go by, such a lovely spot to moor, but this was not going to be our overnight moorings.



Later that afternoon, we set off to the Stracey Windpump moorings and we moored outside the temple, a little  further away from the mill than we had on Tuesday night.


We settled in with a cuppa and a slice of cake before walking up to the shop and back to pay our five pounds mooring fee,



A few drinks and snacks later, we turned in for the night.

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Day 6 Sunday 15th  Woke up at ten to five, made a cuppa and prepped the upper helm ready for an early cruise to Yarmouth, it was light at a quarter to six and we were off.




It was a lovely hour and twenty minute cruise down and according to my tide table we were about fifty minutes after slack water. As we got nearer to Yarmouth the water seemed very high up on the banks, when we reached the first height marker, it read seven and a half feet, so I turned the boat around and headed back. I couldn’t have set off any earlier due to the light and I won’t speed to make up the time, so the trip South was scrubbed.

We took a leisurely two hour trip back past the Stracey Arms tea rooms ans stores


and then continued on to Stokesby. There were no moorings free that were large enough for Brooklyn, so we carried on by for about ten minutes and then returned to find a spot at the pub end of farm moorings free.

Moored and secured, Jenny phoned her sister Marina to rearrange our meeting place. We went for breakfast at the Ferry Inn and arranged for her to park her car in the carpark, once again they were happy to oblige, so we booked a table for three for our evening meal.

The boat behind us left and we pulled the boat down on the ropes as there were posts and I was able to put the rhond anchor back in the gas locker. I spent the rest of the day fishing, whilst we waited for our guest to arrive.


Jenny’s  phone rang and Marina had arrived with her two dogs and was in the pub car park, so we walked up and helped with the dogs and her luggage.


About a million dog kisses later Marina settled into the forward cabin.

We set off to the pub, who had reserved our Sunday lunches,  jenny had a veggi option, Marina and I both had the chicken and there was so much the dogs got some too, food and service was great and they really did go the extra mile for us.

We made our way back to the boat and settled in for the night, we had a drink or two and chatted until it was bedtime.

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Day 7 Monday 16th   I didn’t get up until about seven, made the tea and did all the morning routine,  squeegeed the condensation from the lower helm screens and the dew from the upper deck seat, mop the deck, tied up the rubbish liner and put a fresh one in the bin.

The girls got up and Marina took the dogs for a short walk to do their morning necessities, that sorted I untied the ropes turned in the river and headed towards Acle.

It was a lovely morning albeit cloudy and we all sat up top, the dogs loved it, they could see for miles above the reeds and fields, they didn’t know where to look next. All the river wildlife and plenty of gulls to hold their attention, as the sun kept breaking out through the gaps in the clouds.




We came to St Benet’s Abbey moorings and I pulled in at the first mooring and secured the ropes. I had a quick shower whilst the girls took the dogs for a long walk. All clean and dressed I set off and met them on the path to the cross, we walked back to the gatehouse and mill and looked at some of the carved graffiti.










Marina and Jenny cleaned the dogs feet, as they don’t seem to wipe them on the mat like the rest of us, whilst I cast off and headed at a nice slow pace for Horning staithe and the shop. When we arrived the staithe had gaps, but not enough for a forty four footer, maybe if they all had moved up to each other, so we decided to head for Wroxham. On the way we spotted a kingfisher sat on the gates across the entrance to Wroxham Great Broads. 

When we reached Barnes Brinkcraft it was pretty full, so I turned and decided to go for a stern on space in between four other boats in the basin near the diesel tank. There were two boats moored at the pump out section opposite, just to make it even tighter. I reversed into the basin slowly, flicked the stern round, nudge the front with the thrusters, joggled the stern using foward and reverse and we were in. I tied up the ropes and tried to hide my big grin, it was perfect and it felt good. We went for a walk with the dogs, visited the shops, got a takeaway including a sausage for each dog from Ken’s, took it back to the boat to eat and it was delicious.

All devoured and armed with a mug of tea, we departed, easy with the bow thrusters, slid right out as cleanly as we had slid in.


We cruised up to Salhouse Broad for the night, as we circled checking out the spots, we came in and as we headed for the end one. Just then another boat raced in from the other way coveting the end berth. I thought heyho, if they need it that badly, I’ll moor in one of the other ten on that centre section, so we did and were roped up whilst they were still trying to get in.

The girls took the dogs for a walk, whilst I mopped down the decks, an endless task at Salhouse but worth the tenner mooring fee. The girls sat out on the bank on the foldaway chairs and I relaxed with a few drinks and snacks from the goody cupboard and all too soon it was bedtime again.

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Day 8 Tuesday 17th    Woke up to a cracking sunrise, put the kettle on and made and delivered the teas.




We took the dogs for a walk, stopping at the bins to get rid of the rubbish bags. I went to fill up with water, but the hose wouldn’t quite reach, so I moved Brooklyn over one bay using the ropes. Water filled to brimming, I mopped the decks down before untying the ropes and casting off.



We took a slow cruise to Horning and yet again the staithe was full, so we headed to Malthouse Broad. When we arrived it was full with three boats waiting, so we carried on around and headed back to the Bure. We took a right past St Benet’s Abbey and on towards the Thurne. When we reached the river we decided to follow the Bure round to the right and stop at the Boundry Farm moorings for the dogs to stretch their legs and do their necessities.

All back onboard we headed on up past Acle and onto Stokesby. When we arrived  a Richardson’s 45 had just pulled right in the middle of a hundred and ten feet gap, Jenny asked if they wouldn’t mind pulling it back a few feet to let us in, which they promptly did. 

It turned out that the boat had been for an unmanned trip up past the village staithe and had been rescued and brought back some workers about ten minutes before our arrival. The chap said someone must have fiddled with the ropes, but the rescuer reckoned that they weren’t tied correctly, guess only he knows, but as they say, all’s well that ends well. 



We went to the Ferry for a pint and to order dinner, the first boat and the Richardson’s boat left, so Jenny and I pulled Brooklyn back on the ropes to the end mooring and secured her for the night. We went back in the pub, just in time as shortly afterwards our starters arrived, followed by our main course, no room for pudding though. The food was lovely and the staff were brilliant as usual. The Ferry Inn is a nice dog friendly pub with good food at reasonable prices, beer was great and the staff were  attentive and friendly. Also special thanks for the use of their car park, so our guests could join us on our adventures, thank you. With dinner finished, Marina and the dogs bid us farewell.




It was now late afternoon and the mooring had filled, we were relaxing with a drink, when Jenny shouted from the rear cabin, “that boat is on a strange course” as it came past it was clear it was another runaway, the boat in front of us, untied their ropes and went off in pursuit. They caught up with it at the far end of the farm moorings, they lashed it to the side of their boat and took it back to where it was originally moored near the village staithe. Not something you would normally see, then two in one afternoon, it all happened at Stokesby today. There were no more incidents after that and all to soon it was time for bed again.

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Forwarned is forearmed, tie back to the boat and drop your mud weight. Having said that it was likely someone else who was visiting and they are long gone by now. It's not a place where that sort of thing is common so more than likely a passing idiot!

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