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Springer’s Retreat On The Rivers


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A crisp, clear morning here at How Hill, I did the circuit walk from the far end of the moorings, down the firstly gravel, then grass track. Turned left at the junction and doubled back along a leafy track, past two beautiful properties and left along a footpath, over the footbridge and left onto the lane to How Hill. A mile, about 20 mins, just right for setting the day striatum and giving the dog a run. Note to self -don’t wear crocks on longer walks, I have backache this morning after wearing them yesterday. 

I was surprised last night when I put the dog out how many spaces there were. It had been much busier through the afternoon. 

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Jude’s last day with me so needed to make it eventful. Said hello with a wave to Bluebell who came past on Chiltern Lady while we were eating our breakfast. Then a mosey upriver from How Hill to Gay’s Staithe. I wasn’t too bothered whether I moored at the staith or at Neatishead, but I don’t particularly like the stern-on side at Gays staithe - a bit midgy and no view.
We were completely lucky that as we arrived two sailey boats were just departing, one from the end mooring and one from the front side-on mooring, so we chose the side-on, just to save using the mud weight.

A relax with a cup of tea in the sun and off we set on a wander. We had an hour or so to use before a lunch date with the White Horse. Firstly up past the carpark and following the footpath across the field to join the one that comes from ThreeHammer Common. Right at that junction and down into the lane to Neatishead. If you’re not sure where I mean, it’s just before the bend where the fudge lady’s house is. So next stop there to spend our pocket money!

Then on the Neatishead moorings to watch the world go by on the bench at the end. There was no world going by for a while, very quiet indeed, but a kingfisher darted past at such a speed that we wondered if they fly faster than racehorses gallop. Good old google gave us the answer, about the same speed, that led to a big discussion about kingfishers’ lives. Robert Fuller, the naturalist and wildlife artist who lives up near me on the Yorkshire Wolds had a good report on them to read. The moorings were pretty empty when we got there at 11.45 ish.
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Then in quick succession 4 boats came along, so we gave assistance where wanted. 
Along to the White Horse, full of the same folk we’d been helping, we opted for the ‘small plates’ menu, after my experience there the other week when I could barely move afterwards and unable to finish my meal for about the first time in my life. Along with space for a pudding, it was the right decision. Pleasantly full and soporific along with a pint of cider (the normal, not the whisky cask), we ambled back to the boat. 
A stop off at Sutton Staithe boatyard for diesel and a pump out set Jude back £95 in total. Pump out was £15 and fuel at £1.72/L, was 44L for our trip, about 8.5 mpg. 
Safely moored up at our home mooring at Stalham, we wandered down to the free mooring at the end to chat with Bluebell again, who had spotted us with another wave on our way in. 
Finlay wasted no time in asking to go to bed in his favourite spot - his crate in my car. 
After fond farewells to Judith in the morning, I’ll be over to the launderette with the bedding etc as 3 more school friends are arriving later in the week for an intro to this boating lark. Let’s see how many more people I can convert!

Two more stats for the trip - Just under 49 miles walked. That includes all the steps up and down the boat etc on my step counter, not just walks. And just under 3000 extra calories burned, if you believe how it calculates it (I don’t by the way!!!), but if true, I’ve earned at least an extra day’s food, maybe I can keep that in the bank and stuff myself with cake and alcohol with my next friends turning up!!!!!

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No Helen, I haven’t. I’ll wait till I’m with someone who orders a pint and try theirs!
I love cider, make my own and used to work on a farm where I made it too, and although I love the taste of brewers grains which is barley malt after it’s been cooked up before yeast is added to make beer (I know I like this as I also used to work in a brewery!) I can’t stand the smell of taste of whisky, malt or otherwise, so doubt whisky tainted cider will be to my liking. 

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A bit of a wherry fest going on on Barton Broad this morning. I think there are 4 of them moored up, but a bit far away to see properly. How many masts does a wherry have?

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The washing and housework will have to wait till tomorrow. The day is too good to waste so I’ve got myself a nice wild mooring on the Ant. I might even clean the windows this afternoon!

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1 hour ago, YnysMon said:

Apparently they are forecasting a scorcher for Friday.

Mmmmm, but rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday.  Guess when we’re planning on going up! 🤨

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10 minutes ago, Mouldy said:

Mmmmm, but rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday.  Guess when we’re planning on going up! 🤨

It could be thundery too over the weekend. Hope it isn't too bad for you. You never know, it might be just the occasional shower. 

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16 hours ago, kpnut said:

Just under 49 miles walked. That includes all the steps up and down the boat etc on my step counter, not just walks. And just under 3000 extra calories burned, if you believe how it calculates it I’ve earned at least an extra day’s food, maybe I can keep that in the bank and stuff myself with cake and alcohol with my next friends turning up!!!!!

Like yourself, I am an avid explorer of the Broads on both water and land and burn off many a calorie or two along the way. My advice to you would be to leave the stuffing of your face with food and cake well alone, you don't realise the damage that stuff can do to your waistline, and just stuck with the alcohol instead.

You're very welcome :default_winko:

:default_biggrin:

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1 minute ago, BroadsExplorer said:

you don't realise the damage that stuff can do to your waistline

I only have to look at them and that’s 1kg added. 
The trick is not to put clean trousers on too often, the more you wear them, the looser they get and make you feel you’re achieving something. The clean ones have always contracted in the wash. 

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6 minutes ago, BroadsExplorer said:

My advice to you would be to leave the stuffing of your face with food and cake well alone, you don't realise the damage that stuff can do to your waistline, and just stuck with the alcohol instead.

A balanced diet is essential! cake AND alcohol.

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Or those yummy sloe gin mince pies that Aldi did at Christmas, but perhaps they had evaporated all the alcohol off in the baking, shame on them!

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5 hours ago, kpnut said:

A bit of a wherry fest going on on Barton Broad this morning. I think there are 4 of them moored up, but a bit far away to see properly. How many masts does a wherry have?

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The washing and housework will have to wait till tomorrow. The day is too good to waste so I’ve got myself a nice wild mooring on the Ant. I might even clean the windows this afternoon!

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Thought so! I came past earlier and thought you’d been quick doing the washing…😎

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I was thinking of doing it and hanging it out to dry on the line on the boat down the river. I thought it might lower the tone though!!! And had visions of bed sheets blowing across someone’s bow!

Epic walk today, just on my way back, about 2 hours later than planned. 

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Back at the boat, fed, watered and showered. 
I decided on a walk at about 3.30 as otherwise I was going to nod off and the day was just too nice to do that. 
I won’t describe it all but will mention places I passed and if you want to follow, an OS map will show you. 
I’m at the next wild mooring upstream of Jonny Crowes staithe (the inlet up from How Hill). So I thought I’d walk to Woodsend staithe off Barton Broad. Up the track, over fields from Cobbs Farm where the soft barley ears were blowing and making patterns in the crop. I must say whoever is meant to be maintaining the riverbank public footpaths could learn a lesson of two from the local farmers, who seem to be taking their path responsibilities very much more seriously. The paths and tracks were a joy to walk down, cut enough for ease but with plenty of wild flowers left to the sides of the field margins. 
Ending up on the lane down past Catfield Hall where I could hear the peacocks mewing or whatever it is they do, making a racket anyway!

And at the end, you follow a path past a gate and sign that is a bit ambiguous cos it sort of infers you shouldn’t go there, but then invites you to. And it pops you out at Woodsend, with a sign saying welcome to moor for 24 hours. Quite shallow though. 
 

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So my goal achieved, I should have ambled back, but no, along that path to the staithe was a track going off into the NWT reserve. Nicely mown etc to invite you in and asked for dogs under close control, so that was OK. All the NWT reserves I’ve come across before have said no dogs. 
So I had a wander down and found an info board saying I was on Catfield Fen.

 

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I continued to follow the path until it took me to a derelict drainage pump in the middle of the fen, aptly named Middle Marsh drainage mill on the map.
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The path continued, albeit more overgrown, but curiousity got the better of me and I followed along, realising I’d have to retrace my steps eventually because there were dykes all around so no way of veering off left or right. But I wondered if I would get to the river, it looked on the map like I’d end up just below and opposite Irstead if I could. Tantalisingly close, must have been about 100yards as I could hear the boats, the ground got just too wet and muddy underfoot so I had to turn round. 
No sign of Catfield Broad as marked on the map. I think before long the OS is going to have to remap Norfolk - coastline and all the small broads turning into carr. I’m going to go on Google maps and see if I can find some imagery to see it. 
Back near the entrance I met three chaps peering at something in the bushes. They were taking photos of a swallowtail butterfly. I was too late for a photo but did see it. I had thought I’d seen one earlier too but dismissed the idea as being a bit early for them. Loads of Norfolk Hawker dragonflies down there too, big fat bruisers they are! And some equally large blue ones. 
Carrying on back along the lane, I decided on another detour, to All Saints Church, Catfield which was open, and has yet more scrubbed out faces on the rood screen.  Those Cromwell supporters were certainly active round here. Oddly, I could find no info about the history of the church. 
All in all, 8 miles and nearly 4 hours, but chuffed I found somewhere unexpected. I’m very glad my little map cut off the eastern side of Catfield, otherwise I’d still be out there now searching for the head of Catfield Dyke. That’s for another day!

On returning to the boat, I could hear a strange sound. It turned out to be a swan who’d taken a fancy to the metal rubbing strake things on the side of the boat. Whether he was sharpening/cleaning his teeth, or scraping off algae I don’t know but he got cross with me when I tried to stop him. Then his family came along and he got distracted. 
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What a delightful post! I’d heard you could follow a footpath from Johnny Crows Staithe but had no idea that you could from the next wild mooring up. And to think we could have stopped there last year (we dithered too much and got too far past it and would have had to turn around).

You are an explorer!

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I have a little app called MM Tracker on my phone that uses the older memory map files which is handy as I have the whole of the UK in 1:50k and 1:25k scales, they are out of date roads and new housing wise but the hills and water courses have not moved and most paths are shown.

Due to the slightly dubious nature of the original map licencing it is not available through google play store but I can pass on if required, only good for android devices.

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Thanks Smoggy, but for me I’ll stick to good old fashioned paper maps. My phone is so ‘old’ ( in tech terms) that I doubt the battery would last a whole days walk. 
I just use the OS Explorer 1:25000, orange one, or preferably the  ‘little yellow publications’ 1:16000. These are just blown-up versions of the explorer, no extra detail, but larger so I don’t have to see the world through glasses. 
A number of them cover most of the Northern Broads and I expect the Southern ones too. They are trouser pocket size, come in a little plastic sleeve, are laminated and can be folded in infinite ways to fit most walks back to back without unfolding again. 

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