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A Few Days On The South Side

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After the prompting from YnysMon (elsewhere) for more tales and a little bit of chivvying, here are a few photographs with descriptions:

I have often wondered why we call the Yare etc. the “southern broads” given that this term includes the Norwich yacht station (again, an odd term “yacht station”, because the bridges prevent all but motor cruisers from getting there).  That aside; I had been invited to spend a few days with Pauline and Mervyn on their syndicate boat.  I set off quite early so that I could avoid the worst of the rush-hour traffic on the A12, A14 and A120 and there were few delays, so we were able to leave the Brundal moorings at about 9:30 on the 17th, which was not far off low tide slack water


We have had several holidays together on the broads, in various boats, and we usually have a few general ideas for an itinerary but no fixed plans.  On this occasion we anticipated going to Oulton Broad and back, but with no reason to hurry we kept the rev’s low and watched the world go by.  We decided to stop at the public moorings at Cantley, partly to wait for the tide and partly to have a look around that area.


We walked a short way along the road and then back to the path that runs between the river and the sugar beet factory.  Prior to consulting the map, I was not aware that there is a path along there because from the river it looks like the factory car park extends down to the water.  Once past the factory it becomes a bit more rural!


We popped in to The Reedcutter for a brief refreshment where we were able to enjoy the sunshine sitting at one of their tables outside, before moving on.

We didn’t go far.  Just to Hardly Cross, where we stopped at the Northern end of the moorings, some way from a private boat at the Southern end.  This mooring provided another opportunity for a walk along the Wherryman’s way



We walked  along the bank of the Chet towards Hardly flood but unfortunately the path becomes very overgrown just past the little staithe used by the Broads Authority


We were not sure if we could get to the Northern side of the flood by following the road so we returned to the boat for a drink or two before supper, and an opportunity to watch the marsh harriers. 



Whilst sitting inside, I noticed a hired Broom boat passing and guessed he would moor between us and the other boat.  I then became aware of him reversing at high speed near the other boat, he turned as though stern-mooring and struck the staithe firmly in reverse.  By the time we had stood up to do our meerkat impressions the other boat owner was out, giving instructions and taking the ropes of the new arrival; I suspect he was concerned about the proximity of the hired boat to his own. He quickly got them turned through 90 degrees and tied up, side-on. He spent a little time explaining that reversing a boat is not the same as reversing a car.  We felt a little guilty that we had not helped too, but the other boat owner had got there before we were really aware of the problem.

Another couple of  boats arrived soon after that, slotting in to the gap between us uneventfully.


Pauline cooked an excellent meal, and the combination of a couple of walks, the sunshine, evening drinks and a film on the TV meant that we slept easily.

The next morning was very calm and still.IMG_2900.thumb.JPG.7f2b1213d111d95e5cd3291df0a1941c.JPG

I walked the other way, along the bank of the Yare to Hardly Dyke.  The signs there don’t lie, it is quite narrow and would be difficult, if not impossible to turn a 42 ft boat at the end, particularly if someone was moored on that staithe.


I continued on up to the church,


and if I had studied the map before setting off I should have carried on and walked the short distance along the lanes to the Chet to complete a circular walk.  It would have been quicker than what I actually did, which was to retrace my steps back to the boat for breakfast.  I hurried back, having said that I would be gone for less than an hour and arrived with only a minute or two to spare within my self-imposed deadline.


We timed our departure to use the last of the ebbing tide, passing through Reedham when the bridge had just opened for a sailing boat going North.



Our timing was almost perfect; we had the last of the tide behind us as we started down the new cut, it then pushed gently as we headed up the Waveney towards Oulton.  Like the previous day, we were in no hurry and with the tide helping us all the way we had just idled along but made very good progress, enjoying the views and the sunshine. IMG_2920.thumb.JPG.10460bd46983dde746446b93419b308c.JPG

We stopped at the Oulton Dyke moorings just before Oulton broad, having never been there before.IMG_2928.thumb.JPG.20cd06dadcf8c57836f07478ed7d4d59.JPG

We made a bit of a mistake at this point.  Looking at the O. S. map there appears to be a path along the river bank that joins up with the roads into Oulton so we set off walking that way,


but at the southern-most point (see red arrow on map below) the path ends.  It is slightly more obvious on this Google map!


and we were obliged to walk back up the track (marked as a grey line above),


over the railway line, to St Michael church (at the top of the map)



and then follow the roads back down over the railway again and on into Oulton, so the last part of that walk was not particularly picturesque because you can only catch an occasional glimpse of the broad between the houses!

We all enjoyed lunch at The Commodore pub, where we sat inside by the fully open window/wall overlooking the broad, before walking back to the boat.  Yet again, we thought that there must be a pathway through which we had missed, so we walked down Boathouse Lane but there really was no way through that one property, and it was necessary to go back to the church and then down to the dyke.



We had been concerned that there may have been an electrical problem with the boat because we noticed that, since disconnecting from the home mooring shore power, the domestic battery had dropped alarmingly.  We had not done many hours cruising the previous day, but with the long trip from Hardly to Oulton (albeit at low RPM) we still did not have 100%, so we switched the refrigerator over to the inverter battery (which we had not used at all).  On returning to the boat after our day in Oulton that battery was also depleted.  At this point Pauline noticed that a previous syndicate owner had turned the refrigerator up to its maximum, so the compressor was running continuously.  Returning it to a middle setting restored normal service and with great relief, we noted that the battery consumption went down to “normal” (i.e. very slow!).

Having walked a number of miles and eaten at the pub we just had a lighter supper …… and a few drinks.  So the evening slipped by quickly and we were up early the next day.

Setting off Northbound with the tide soon after 7:30 we had calm water and that made a slow pace seem appropriate again and we were able to watch the flora and fauna drift by.


At these speeds the boat generates negligible wash.2099835835_IMG_2933(2).thumb.JPG.f95db3d514be383d3f7dc658b31d4fb1.JPG 

We were pleased to watch the battery levels climb rapidly back to 100% (even at low RPM) before we had reached he new cut.

Pauline provided breakfast whilst we were under way, and we soon had lots of hot water for showers, so I was left alone at the helm along the new cut again where the Spirit of Breydon hurried past (I accept that we were going quite slowly).  One moment it was a long way behind:IMG_2942.thumb.JPG.866f3ea104ea7a8f9110b51a232daa9c.JPG

But in no time it was quickly disappearing ahead: IMG_2944.thumb.JPG.4446ab1c6cda24622282161bafb72022.JPG

We managed to catch the tides almost perfectly again, so it was slack through Reedham and then gently pushing us up the YareIMG_2946.thumb.JPG.e4b9bf652d90bd2d225beea586d2ad6e.JPG

It remained overcast that morning and the breeze made it feel cooler.   

Whilst I was distracted, trying to get enough signal to answer a telephone call that I thought might be urgent (it wasn’t),


Pauline used my camera to take pictures of cows and geese:IMG_2957.thumb.JPG.87df15f87e59ff486647d517567337d4.JPG


We continued (still with the tide) all the way passed the closed Commissioner’s cut where repair works were under way,


to Whitlingham.  As we arrived, the sun decided to come out again and we did the obligatory circular walk around the lake




Stopping for a very good locally made ice cream and cold drink at the café, where the local ducks insisted on sharing whatever was available.1990205826_IMG_2978(2).thumb.JPG.f200eb8a3000a6624fe6dc2a3c627556.JPG


Returning to the boat, we sat on top for a couple of hours watching the rowers and the swans sliding past.




Pauline created another enjoyable meal “using up” as many of our provisions as possible, and our last evening went by very quickly.321702799_IMG_3006(3).thumb.JPG.f067572e34c31e6804d320cae74c1cd8.JPG

[Pauline dislikes this picture because the sunshine and camera flash have given her a red nose.  It’s really nothing to do with the gin (also in the picture)]

Setting off before 9 the next morning we were treated to a very calm river.



And the geese again


After a meander through Surlingham and Rockland broads



the three-and-a-bit days ended with the return to home moorings after water refill, diesel, pump-out, unloading and cleaning.  The weather chose to rain throughout these procedures but stopped just when we were almost finished.  As always, the drive home was rather frustrating, partly due to the holiday having finished and partly because of slow traffic.

I must thank Pauline and Mervyn for their hospitality, the continuous flow of cups of tea or coffee, cakes and snacks in addition to the alcoholic beverages and cooked meals, but even more for their very enjoyable company.

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That was a good story.

I throughly enjoyed it.

I love the Southern waters and I thank you for showing them in such a positive way. They have much to offer the discerning boater.

You may invite me next time if you so wish. I am in great demand.

I so wish!



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Thank you so much for posting Jonathan. Sounds like you had a lovely week!

We must try out those walks at Cantley and The Oulton Dyke moorings sometime. Were you able to go into Hardley Church? It’s really fascinating inside, some of the the best bits being the old carvings of sail boats that the kids of the parish graffiti’d on the backs of some of the pews.

Also, I as glad to see that the moorings at Whitlingham are available again, having been closed overwinter. Did you notice whether the electric posts have been removed or not?

Good to see that there are works going on to reopen the Commissioner’s Cut fully again.

I especially love blogs where you can glean such a lot of information!

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Enjoyed your write up very much, coincidentally I only discovered.  the path between the sugar factory and the river on our last trip a few weeks ago. It's a nice walk and good for us dog owners as, when we went, the walk in the other direction was a bit tricky for our dog where the ground had dried and cracked leaving dog paw sized 'traps'

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4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

It was only 3 days, Tuesday to Friday!

Wow, you packed in a lot! So much that I overlooked how short a stay you had!

Shame about the electric at Whitlingham, but at least the moorings are still open. I have a suspicion that they didn’t retain the electric as one or two liveaboards might not have observed the 24hour rule when they were BA moorings. I might be wrong, but it seemed that the same boats were there on several of the occasions when we passed. 

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