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A pleasant afternoon trip from Martham to Horsey ...


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Mmm, I'm not a great storyteller, but hey ho.


We launched at Martham Boatyard ... they charge £3.00 to park the car for the day (pay and display) and £2.00 to launch a kayak, so £7.00 all told.  There are of course a good number of places where you can put into the water for free, but none with easy access to where we wanted to paddle yesterday.


Set off with a good wind behind us ... and were quickly passed by two of the Hunter fleet who were on a fast run up the Thurne, past the boatyard, side by side.  Now wondering whether I should fit wing mirrors to the kayak!  They did look good though, both with a single reef in and with young crews (thanks for avoiding me folks.)


Turned into Candle Dyke and being low down, close to the water, got good wind shelter from the reeds.  It was a nice easy paddle up the dyke, but we were a bit exposed across Heigham Sound, the wind was steering the kayaks so that to head in a straight line meant only paddling on one side.  Wind was coming on to port rear quarter, so helped drive us along.  Into Meadow Dyke and again good shelter from the wind.  Met Ross, who runs wildlife boat trips from Horsey Staithe, coming the other way, towing an engineless Hunter who had been having trouble trying to get through the dyke against the wind.  Also a few electric dayboats out from Potter Heigham, but most of the trip very quiet and peaceful.  Good sightings of a kingfisher and a low circling Marsh Harrier, and a couple of small snakes in the water ... and loads of fish.  I'm not a fisherman, so no real idea what I was looking at, but there were a couple of shoals of very small fish (2-3" long) and then a handful of larger beasties (6-7" long).  By the time we reached Horsey Mere the wind had strengthened, and there was quite a swell on the Mere.  We were being pushed along from behind, almost surfing the little waves, and crossed to Horsey Dyke in quick time.  Moored up and had our picnic on the little promontory overlooking the Mere, before walking round to use the facilities and grab an ice cream from Stuart at the NT shop.  


The journey back proved more challenging with the wind strengthening all the time and in our faces now.  Half a dozen Hunters, a couple of halfdeckers, and a couple of Martham's yachts were having a great time in the strong wind.  One presumably inexperienced skipper was struggling because he hadn't reefed, he was soon in the reeds and getting the sail down.  We hugged the left hand bank of the Mere (so  much closer than a sailer or cruiser can safely get) until we made the dyke.  Some parts of the dyke were sheltered from the wind, but on some stretches we were direct into it and paddling hard, heads bent forward.


Emerging onto Heigham Sound and it was a struggle.  Wind had strengthened considerably, now a good force 5 gusting 6, full on in our faces, and a strong swell.  Hadn't been out on these kayaks in those kind of conditions before. Really pleased with how stable they turned out to be, happily breaking through the swell, but it was hard work.  


We tried to cross to the right hand side of the sound as we thought there might be a bit more shelter there.  We were most of the way across when a River Cruiser under full sail came blatting towards us at high speed in the middle of the channel.  He passed me at a comfortable distance, but I wasn't sure he'd actually seen me - too busy chatting to the floozy by his side and not concentrating on the sailing. I half turned to see him veer towards my wife who had to yell at him to hold his course ... he was very close to running her down.  Inconsiderate sailing (and I'm mainly a sailor so I know it when I see it)  Daffodil, sail number 383.  If you heard the abuse - you deserved it and more; if you'd hit her it could have been fatal!


Paddled way off to the right and into the reeds for a breather and to regather composure, wife was pretty frightened.  


Onwards again ... a really strenuous paddle all the way back - if you stopped paddling even for a moment you went backwards in the wind.  A few times we pulled into the reeds again to rest.  Eventually made it back to Martham in one piece, and felt virtuous about the exercise achieved.


Drove the half hour or so home for a bottle or two of Broadside and a take away curry from Holt.

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I'll be sailing that section myself next week, taking part in the "English Raid"



I'll certainly be watching out for kayakers, and anybody in small boats, in particular.  I guess he's like those motorists who pull out in front of cyclists and then claim "I never saw you".  Try looking!

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Hello Bob,


I totally agree there is nothing better than being on the water on any form of boat.


To do what you do however I would need to learn how to swim.

For what ever reason I just sink, my children have tried to sort me out and can not understand it. I am not freightened of the water and have been on boating holidays since 1975 quite regularly.




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Ha ha ... good point, but worth remembering how shallow many of the waterways are.  I saw a guy fall out of a canoe (well, strictly, I saw a guy trying to get into a canoe, from the deck of a big cruiser, and not succeeding :D ) on the Ant above Barton Broad a few weeks back.  He spluttered and splashed around a bit until one of his friends shouted "just stand up" ... and there he was, just waist deep.

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Haha ... we weren't out in those winds on purpose, and if we'd realised how strong they were we'd have stayed at home, or gone out sailing on our halfdecker (probably with two reefs in).  Wind got stronger and stronger as the day went on.  Once we were on Heigham Sound there wasn't much choice but to keep going.  It was a bit scary.  I was doing the big brave "it will be fine" to avoid rattling the other half, but I was certainly nervous.  In the end I was really pleased with the performance of the kayaks (we've just recently bought 'singles' - sit on tops - having previously paddled a 'double').  


We're relatively new to kayaking, just wanted to have an alternative way of getting on the water, and it does give a completely different perspective (and helps keep us fit in an enjoyable way - I hate the gym).  Usually we're exploring where bigger boats can't go, on the narrower/shallower rivers.  This season we've been (return journeys) from Mayton Bridge to Buxton Mill, Mayton Bridge to Coltishall, Belaugh to Horstead Mill, Barton Turf to Wayford Bridge, Barton Turf to Sutton Staithe ... and then the Martham - Horsey adventure!  In previous years we've done Beccles to Geldeston Lock and back, and Ludham Bridge to Wayford Bridge via Neatishead for lunch (one way, left a car at Wayford and one at Ludham Bridge and shuttled) inter alia.


We're planning to go up above Wayford Bridge this weekend, to see how far up the North Walsham and Dilham canal we can get.  One day soon we're going to try some of the coastal creeks around Morston/Blakeney/Cley too.

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