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LondonRascal

Brinks Omega & The Fun Filled Week

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Day One Captain's Blog

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmhDTUvwsIs

 

 

And so it was that on a very mild, bright and sunny Monday morning I left the morning rush hour behind and boarded a very calm, and pretty empty train bound for Norwich.  The Rascal was returning to the Broads.

 

I was already excited as the first adventure of 2014 was beginning and before long I would be once again cruising the waters of the Norfolk Broads.

 

I was heading for Barnes Brinkcraft, who I had turned to for something a with a bit of luxury inside and bit of 'bling' as far as style went on t e outside, Brinks Omega would be by home for the next week and upon arriving at the boatyard noticed her moored waiting for me to get onboard.  Alas, she was still being prepared so it was off to Ken's Fish & Chips for - fish and chips, it would appear being a young man in the eat in part of this Wroxham institution on a Monday afternoon was a rare sight - for my fellow diners were, let us say taking full advantage of the OAP special.

 

Filled up and feeling content it was off to Roys whereupon the boatyard called to say they were ready when I was - so a quick shop 'supermarket sweep' style was undertaken and before long I was plodding towards Barnes Brinkcraft with far too many carrier bags seemingly weighed down with more beer and wine than actual food. 

 

The hand over was pleasant and Warrick who I had met before took me through the quirks of this particular boat and then a signature was all that was needed before I was once more underway and heading downstream for Horning. 

 

It only took a few minutes and I was already feeling a million miles away from work and noise and city life and back at home on the water oddly feeling as if I had only been gone a short time not the 4 months it had in fact been.  Omega was is a very comfortable boat, but the one issue was the helmseat - have it so your feet touched the foot rest and it was too low to really see out the windows, have it high enough for a good view of the river and your feet were left dangling.  As the holiday went on I found the bin mad an excellent footrest and wished I had thought of this sooner.  But other than this minor point, the boat was responsive (though its hull shape and high sides meant a slight cross wind had you wandering over the river), quiet underway and very nicely fitted with lovely upholstery, Holly & Teak flooring and a boon of having a large separate shower cubicle in the heads. 

 

I had not really got a destination in mind - Horning, Ludham Bridge maybe?  I was just cruising along and letting things work themselves out lead more with the time and sunset than anything else.  I got my new handheld radio out and within a short time of so doing suddenly heard the familiar voice of Charlie Griffin on the airwaves.  Unfortunately I could not reply to begin because I had set my radio to scan all channels but it was set to transmit on the wrong one - some fiddling later I was able to figure out what was what and reply, only to find out Broad Ambition was moored at Horning Staithe. 

 

I really can't stress how handy these radio's are, and be it you an owner or hirer getting a pair and having them set on channel 4 (perhaps the unofficial NBF radio channel) will certainly make communicating with other 'ships' a breeze.  As it was there was space at the moorings for me and I was soon alongside.  I popped into the local shop for a few bits I had forgot in my haste in Roys earlier and then it was time to catch up and have a coffee with Griff.  We decided it would be a good idea to head for Salhouse for the night where Macie could stretch her paws and legs and us humans could drink and chat and eat.  So it was we departed for the short journey from Horning to Salhouse Broad.

 

And that was that - it might have made for a short first day, and equally a short first days Captain's Blog but it was none the less very good to catch up with a good friend and as it would happen for the remainder of the week out paths would cross several more times.   Once back on board Omega unpacked, beds made it was time to fall into a deep sleep which always seem that little bit deeper and more restful afloat than at home.

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Good to see you are Back Robin, I've been watching some of your videos during the winter and the have helped with the winter blues. Have a fun week!

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Great start, Robin.... :clap :clap :clap

 

It's made us wish we'd had Friday Girl back in the water March 1st rather than April1st!

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For those of you who just enjoy watching them, or indeed for anyone thinking of hiring Brinks Omega - here is the 'video review' of the boat.

 

From how much it costs to what it is like inside you will find it all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1YQHXNhxYA

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Day Two Captain's Blog

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghC5PtxMK2I

 

After leaving Salhouse Broad and Broad where I had spent the previous night – along with Griff on Broad Ambition, I had a plan to head to Ranworth Staithe and from there have a walk to Ranworth Broad through the wonderful nature reserve broad walk.

 

As it was, the day began cool but bright and before long I was turning a the bend opposite The Swan in Horning   - coming out of season really has its boons for if this was high season, you would have to plan on coming to Ranworth after those who had overnighted had left but before the lunch time crowds had arrived.   Today I would not have to have such worries and passing through Horning places like the New Inn were deserted of moored boats and indeed it was not until I reached Ranworth Dam that another boat – Far Horizon as it happened, also happened to following me down.

 

Malthouse Broad is such a haven – tucked away off the Bure with the statihe and view to St. Helen’s Church.  Because the broad is small it feels ‘just right’ somehow.  It was now a little overcast and there was a breeze blowing which I knew would make stern mooring in Omega a challenge.  The slightest crosswind will take her bow and if you’re not careful your end up with an unceremonious side on mooring.  Using the flag flying on the green of the staithe I knew which way the breeze was blowing and could make allowance for it.  I was rather chuffed with the resultant mooring, far better than the double try it had taken the previous night at Salhouse and help with such from Griff.

 

Off the boat I met briefly with John who was out on Nyx – and found the large bin provided for rubbish was not there for the season had not got underway.  Fortunately my rubbish was just some dry recyclable bits not foody/smelly things so put it by the side of the overflowing single wheely bin.

 

I then wandered off past the Malsters pub towards the church, but took the first turning on the right towards the nature reserve and Ranworth Broad.  It really is a pleasant walk and on a day such as this, it could not have been better.  Despite the breeze the sunshine was starting to come through and it was nice when I arrived at the start of the walk to see how things had changed since I  was last there (October 2013) without the leaves on the trees, the scene was more open and full of light.  It just goes to show you may go to the same place often, but the changing seasons really do make a difference to it.

 

While dogs are not permitted, it makes for a lovely walk along the walkways with numerous signs showing what to look out for and the changing landscape that you are walking through.  At the end you reach the floating information centre – which is not open in early March – but it does not stop one taking in the great view over the Broad – which is closed to boating traffic.  There were several avid birdwatchers with some pretty spectacular camera lens trained on birdlife.

 

From here, I came back to the main road and the staithe and departed – destination River Ant and Stalham.  My girlfriend had wanted to and now could come up and I was due to meet her train tomorrow, so wherever I was going to end up this evening I would have to take into account getting back to Wroxham for the following day.

 

It was not long before Ludham Bridge came into view and I was pleased with the fact there was almost 9ft clearance under the bridge.  Omega confusingly says 8ft 6” on dash but 8ft 4” in the manual onboard.  In truth I think it is more likely somewhere between 8ft and 8ft 4”.  The moorings at Ludham Bridge were empty apart from a Nancy Oldfield Trust boat and as I continued up the river I passed only fishermen not another boat until I came to Barton Broad where I could see a boat from Bridge Craft at Acle.

 

By now the sun was really shining, but there were some lovely puffy white clouds – by now too I had figured a way to put the external camera mount on the boat and be able to reach it to start and stop the Blog Camera – time to explore and see something new to me, and rarely seen by many other boaters, however it was now time for the Rascal to pay a fleeting visit.  I had looked on Google Maps and had a fair idea of the location to the entrance, and I found it with ease – a gap in the reeds pointed the boat straight for the small inlet and took it easy – oh what a magical place you feel as if you have just found a secret backwater unknown to anyone else, you feel as if an explorer charting new waters – you also feel fear that there is enough depth under you considering the amount of height afforded to me at Ludham Bridge.

 

Well all was ok, and I was able to turn with ease, but would not like to go there with more than 35ft and try the same manoeuvre unless one had help and could turn the boat on the ropes. Should you pay this special part of Broadland a visit, do respect it and remember the other moorings are private and indeed are the foot of someone’s private garden. 

 

Back on to the expanse of Barton Broad I headed to Paddy’s Lane for a brief stop and bit to eat for a late lunch.  Then it was off to Stalham Staithe where I planned to overnight, and in doing so could get to Tesco.  However the fishermen were out in force so about turn and back to the main river where a sharp left would take me into Richardson’s Boatyard.  It was full, I mean really full up with boats seemingly everywhere but at the head of Kingfisher Quay next to Broadlander was a space – I nabbed it and before long was off to Tesco.  Upon returning to the yard I had an idea to go to Irstead – there was a new electric point, it would mean less cruising tomorrow to Wroxham too and despite the falling light I headed off from Richardson’s boat yard – it was not until I had passed the first cut which leads to Sutton Broad and I had a Facetime call did I suddenly remember Sutton Staithe has electric points and of course the hotel to pop into for a drink.   About turn and now heading back towards Sutton I went.

 

You see I wanted to, for once spend a night ‘on shore power’ a good thing I did head to Sutton since the Irstead electric post is not actually (at time of writing) hooked up to the grid.  With the sun setting behind me my arrival at Sutton Staithe was lit with a warm yellow light, and apart for a small private cruiser and a Herbert Woods hire boat the staithe was empty.  Lovely! 

I would need to be up early tomorrow to head from here to Wroxham but as I sat in the aft well on Omega watching the sun set and having a beer life felt very much perfect.

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Hi Robin,

 

What happened with the above?

 

Regards

Alan

 

Seems liek it starts a few minutes in - just scroll back to the start and should play the whole video.

 

Seems a You Tube issue as I don't remember wanting the video to begin a few minutes in from the start.

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You have by now really wetted our appetite for our holiday next month, Robin!   :clap :clap

 

Our dog/house minder is booked and we're so looking forward to it all!   :wave

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Day Three:

 

Day Three Captain's Blog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3BpQa4Jh0w

 

And so it was an early start at Sutton Staithe for the reasonably long (for the northern Broads) cruise to Wroxham. 

 

I was meeting my girlfriend at Wroxham and she was due there by 1:00pm I had read it takes about 4 hours to reach Wroxham from Sutton and planned to stop enroute but because of the still waters and amazing light of the morning I was away before 7:30am to get some good video while the light was still 'fresh' and the waters calm.

It did not take too long and I entered a magnificent Barton Broad - flat calm, no wind and with the sun getting ever warmer on my port side it made for a breathtaking trip with just the water birds for company and not another boat in sight. 

 

I was taking things nice and slow and just enjoying the scenery around me, I had a keen eye for the tell tale flash of blue of a Kingfisher but alas I was out of luck but the upper Ant has proved a good place to see these pretty birds before.  Through Irstead, then down to How Hill and by now the warmth of the sun was really making its presence felt.  Under Ludham Bridge and despite being calm much of the way down the Ant, it is always so that here you could feel the breeze had got up and it was shortly after passing the 'dog leg' and moorings I saw a yacht who had just raised her sails and was pulling away from the starboard bank.  I took it slow just in and out of gear and would have been happy to stay that way for seeing and hearing the sails flutter in the wind one has to admire the oldest forms of propulsion still has the most calming effect.

 

Not long now and I would be at the mouth of the Ant and making a right turn on to the Bure.  Again I found this to be almost deserted and with the sun now behind me it really made the water look blue, the reeds colours being brought out all the more - if it was not for the fact leaves were missing from the trees one could have been forgiven for thinking today was not a summers morning.   Despite the lovely landscape I had news that my girlfriend was now on an earlier train and I had suddenly lost an hour in order to get to Wroxham, moor and walk to the station to meet her.

 

I planned on stopping along the way with piping hot water to shower, shave and generally make myself look half decent for my girlfriend, it would be her first time on a boat and had taken some convincing to get her to give it a go - me turning up unkempt would hardly sell the idea of a boat being a 'home from home' to her.  So it was that just opposite Wroxham Broad - somewhat later than I had planned I stopped and moored.   I need not have rushed getting ready and grabbing a quick bite to eat for as it would turn out things would not work out so smoothly far as public transport for her.

 

I arrived in Wroxham to find Barnes Brinkcraft full - I wanted to stop off here to get an extra blanket and have them look at the starter battery, as despite being plugged in overnight on shore power it was very sluggish starting this morning and was showing under 10v on the volt gauge.  There was nothing for it I had to turn and come in for a double mooring manoeuvre on the main river - solo. 

 

For those of you who have not done such a thing, it is something one has to plan for because the boat you are approaching is likely to be moving gently - further more when you have come alongside, stepping on to it means your boat goes up and it goes down - only a bit, but I knew I had to be quick to secure my bow line to the stern cleat of the boat I had come alongside and then hot foot it along to my stern and repeat.  Well I did well - well enough for the chap on  the quay to compliment me - however he did have a worried look as if to say 'what is wrong with your boat'  Popped into reception and got the blanket and by the time was walking back to the boat an engineer was there with volt metre and amp metre - within 5 minutes he was off and back with a new battery and I might add  a Rolls branded AGM battery (let's just say these don't come cheap).  From me arriving to me heading off it must have been all of 20 minutes, very good service.

 

I turned around down river and came back - by plan to moor at the Café where the day boats can be hired from - and so did and it was time to get off the boat and head to the station, I was going to just make it by my calculations, only then I was called to say there was a problem at Norwich and she had not even left for Wroxham - the rail car would not start and there was all sorts of goings on trying to get passengers on a replacement.  It was now me who would be waiting after all.

 

Well it was 1:00pm when her train rolled in and a gentle walk back through Wroxham, showing her the delights of Roy's and it was decided that we should get some things in their - girls seem to need extra of everything but it also meant I got stock up with more beer so I was cool with having to look around at everything from cheap tops to make up removing wipes.  Finally we could head back to the boat and thankfully she was impressed with my choice of craft 'it looks cool' and so paid for the mooring time and it was time to head down river.

 

We began slowing taking in all the places me point out what was what, then we came to Wroxham Broad where she took over the helm and urm rather annoyingly got the hang of it right away.  No over correcting the steering, and apart form being a little nervous was loving it - not helped by the fact I was now pointing a camera at her introducing her to the internet. 

 

We left Wroxham Broad, then further along the Bure looked in and out of Salhouse then through Horning and then briefly down Ranworth Dam to Malthouse Broad, before we turned about and headed back up to the Bure.  I am not sure if it was here that I heard over the radio the unmissable voice of one Charlie Griffin -  he was giving instruction to Geoffrey who was helming Cheshire Cat and so I called Griff up on the radio and found them to be between St. Benets and Thurne Mouth (not bad range on the PMR's) so it was decided we would head for the same location as they - the Bridge Inn at Acle.

 

Shiela took the wheel a few more times and it was a lovely late afternoon cruise to Acle and although the temperature had reduced, the sky was blue and the landscape was bathed in sunlight.  We arrived at Acle to find we would be the only three boats moored there for the evening, and once introductions were made and Sheila had a brief tour of Broad Ambition and saw the book detailing her restoration it was decided we all would eat in the pub - Sheila also had made a new friend with Maccie dog, and Geoffrey's glossy black Labrador Austin. The welcome, food and service at the Bridge Inn were as usual excellent. 

 

I have never had a bad meal or experience at this pub, and it was the first time this season I had the chance to sip some lovely Wherry Ale.  Oh to have this in London!  Tomorrow was forecast to be much the same as today, warmer than usual and wall to wall sunshine, but back on board the boat Shiela was learning the fact one had to pump flush a toilet and I could be a devil and turn off the water and claim 'sorry hun that's it, no more water left' as she was mid shower.  Well, you've got to be a cheeky Rascal sometimes!

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Day Four:

 

Day Four Captain's Blog

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbPnQrO8jAw

 

Having spent a lot of time boating alone, it takes some adjustment to having female company on board – the heads taken over with lotions, conditioners, shampoos and shower gels not to mention hair products and bags with makeup – then my clothes neatly taken from hanging space to drawers. Far from annoying it was nice that the boat had a ‘lived in’ feel.

 

It was a bright morning, and while there was a crispness to the air it was not too chilly.  It had the feel of a good, sunny and mild day ahead.  As time passed and after dogs were walked, we were off in convoy towards Potter Heigham.  I find it special – a sort of  charming and happy feeling when you are in the company of friends all heading off together down the river, with radio banter along the way and everybody enjoying themselves on the water and today was one of those occasions. 

 

Before long we were at the mouth of the River Thurne, and on the starboard bank one could see a lot of dredging had been carried out and it would be a short time before the chalet bungalows would begin to appear lining the river.  There is something unique about this – perhaps the eccentric English ways, but you really feel like this is a river ‘high street’ with rubbish being collected by boat and all that is needed for their homes delivered with a boat.  It only needs a small stores along the way with launches moored up outside to make the ‘river street’ complete.

 

Shiela of course found this fascinating spending a lot of time in sunshine outside taking photos and filming.  Despite her being in the UK for over three years, most of her time has been spent in London so to see these wide open skies, boats, odd single story homes and the like which many of us take for granted was of course all new to her.  Before long it was time to moor and Broad Ambition placed herself majestically outside Herbert Woods showing everyone what a proper boat looked liked.  I turned and came in to moor behind Cheshire Cat and then it was time to have a walk.

We had a look at where the old hotel once stood, its tiled floor part of the car park – me wondering what reason it was not rebuilt after its fire, then over the medieval bridge and then seeing the new Lathams tackle shop – despite things being a bit ‘sleepy’ for ti was not in full swing and high season, it looks a lot more alive, and smart than I can remember seeing it for years.  With Herbert Woods yard now looking smart and welcoming, the Broadshaven Pub with specials on the board and even the bright yellow bus that came over the bridge – it had the sense of things going on, a community.

We popped into Lathams – I stopped myself buying something I did not know I needed for 99p or less, though was dearly tempted with the electrical tape for some reason.  Shiela on the other hand was stopping me excitedly saying how cheap fabric conditioner was or that if you had a garden how you could stock it with everything you could need.  We could have walked out with a combination of ‘man tools’, plants and laundry sundries but alas we managed what had previously been unknown – walking ou empty handed.

 

It was then over to Waterside Marine sales to look at boats – some that looked ok in photos proved in person to need about as much as they were for sale spent on getting their exteriors up to scratch, others however looked very smart.  It was by now a glorious day and as we walked back over the old bridge and surveyed the scene around us everything felt just right.  Little did we know things would soon be getting even more excited!

 

I had seen Griff coming over the bridge – and did not think too much of this since he was going to give a quote for tiling a boat and would be collected, but in fact he called me over to say there was 6ft 8” under the bridge.  Could I have a word with the pilot to see if this was expected to reduce, stay constant or decrease within the next couple of hours. 

 

I’m not sure if the chap I spoke to was the pilot, he was doing up a day launch in the back of the pilots office – but was a typical Norfolk chap, friendly and full of conversation and once I had told him how many times I year I pop up to the Broads and of spending my childhood messing about in Hickling with a rented Caravan – I’m told by one Mr Turner who used to work at Herbert Woods – we got on and chatted for some time and the outcome was that the levels should have decreased because this was ‘high tide’ but had remained the same all day.

 

I had a good idea that this news would mean upon Griff’s return we would be heading under ‘that bridge’ – so I got on the radio to Geoffrey and thought it would be rather nice since we had not already, to have a late breakfast – and if I was cooking for two, it would make sense to cook for four and invite everyone onboard.  And so Sausages, bacon, beans and eggs were duly cooked up and we put the table out in the rear well and found 2 dogs and 4 people could all fit.  Lovely it was too.

And then we washed up and time to meet Broad Ambition who now had moored behind us and so it was that we boarded her and without any messing around cast off and were heading astern lining up for the bridge.  I grabbed the Blog camera but rather was taken with the scene unfolding in front of me than doing justice to the filming.  Approach was steady and then a few metres away the Beta was opened up, you could really feel the torque as the 4 bladed prop gripped the water and Broad Ambition was propelled forward at every greater speed – and that bridge sure looked low!  Griff, as if he had done this day in and out took her through spot on centre and then it was over, we were through and everyone was noticeable happy – the sound of beers being opened shortly after filled the air and we glided up towards Heigham Sound.

 

Sheila was allowed to have a go at helming Broad Ambition, but she was more responsive than Omega in steering and so the old over and under correcting took over – not to mention of course this was amongst new people – I am not sure if she realised how fortunate we were to be here – how many boats hire or otherwise these days make it this side of the bridge.  You did get the feeling you had almost come through to a new secretive world not only were people looking, recognising and admiring Broad Ambition, but I got the sense of look – its a boat from ‘the other side’.

 

It did not take too long and the wide expanse of Hickling Broad was before us, the sun was high and although the wind was bringing a chill it was very special to be here – the last time I was here on a cruiser was 1992, and it was 2012 since I was last here on a day launch.  There is something to this place, maybe the sheer size and amount of water – or the fact it is so often not possible to reach these parts by many cruisers, alas we would go to just before the staithe, turn and make our way straight back to Potter Heigham.

 

Once we were back heading towards the bridge, the height under the bridge had reduced – only by an inch, but an inch is a big deal when you’re dealing with bridges and I love the fact Griff said “well it will have to be enough” and it was, but as your see in the video clip it was tighter returning than when we had passed.

 

We then went our separate ways, Broad Ambition off to Womack Island, Cheshire Cat stayed put and Shiela and I headed for – well a rough plan would have been towards Horning because she was returning to London the following day and so the closer we got to Wroxham today the less early we would need to be up in the morning. 

 

As it happened along the way I realised she could catch a number 12 bus from Ludham Bridge and be in Wroxham in minutes this would save much time and fuel for me to cruise to Wroxham to drop her off.  With this in mind, How Hill was our new destination and so it was we arrived just before 5:00pm and went for a lovely walk along the river before returning with the sun setting and dinner to be cooked – what a lovely end to the most exciting day!

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Great start, Robin.... :clap :clap :clap

 

It's made us wish we'd had Friday Girl back in the water March 1st rather than April1st!

You're not putting her in on april fools day are you john ? LOL . Lori

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Now, now Lori, he would be a "Fool" not to would he not? I'll get my coat! :naughty:

 

cheers Iain.

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Day Five:

 

Day Five Captain's Blog

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVZHemaHrZ8


I had looked, then looked again to ensure the number 12 bus did in fact stop near Ludham Bridge and would be there for 10:26am this morning.  All was set until we opened the curtains and found we could not see Turf Fen wind pump.  It was foggy!

We waited anxiously and ever so slowly the fog began to disperse – I could now see the width of the river and about the same ahead.  Decision time – leave now in unsavory conditions and catch the bus and her train – or leave it and she have to pay full whack for a single ticket to London.  I went for the first option.

We left the mooring and on tick over proceed down river keeping close to the Starboard bank a couple of bends later and the fog was lifting even more phew I thought and brought the revs up a little – however this was short lived as when we got on to the straight (passed the water outlet with the 4 MPH signs attached to the structure) the fog swept in once more – this time it was hard to see the port bank.

Back down to tick over and now I thought about, and then decided to go ahead and sound the horn once for a long blast at 1 minute intervals.  The international standard I think is every 2 minutes, but in 2 minutes we could have met someone coming up river and they be well out of ear short of our feeble horn.

Between sounding the horn I was then listening out the window – my idea being that if someone was to hear this, they may twig what it meant considering the conditions and use their horn back.  Logic and common sense however don't always come together.

We were not too far from Ludham Bridge and still taking it very slowly and keeping to the starboard bank when out of nowhere a private boat appeared – by its bow wave I'd say in excess of the 4 MPH speed limit and well over towards the centre of the river. Sure, it had its navigation lights on but so much for taking things carefully, keeping to their starboard side and keeping a listen out for what may be about when you can’t see much around you.

Thankfully we arrived at Ludham Bridge moorings not too much after this, and it did not take too much longer for the fog to move to a mist – and then begin to disperse altogether.  We saw a number 12 bus go over the bridge – away from the direction of Wroxham, so we knew they were running ok and to time. We topped up with water had a coffee and a walk along the moorings – then back on the boat with 20 minutes before the bus was due – only to see a bus go over the bridge towards Wroxham.

Panic ensued – get the laptop out, turn on – only it decided this moment to refuse to get past 12% of configuring its latest updates, there was now 10 minutes before the bus should be leaving – so I said come on I am sure it will be ok Shiela – to which she said, yes but this is Norfolk they seem to take things easier up here. 

As it happened there is a lay-by but I noticed the telephone box has gone – referred to on the timetable I had – but we waited and at bang on 10:26am her bus arrived. It was only when I had got back on the boat I realised how quiet it was and took some readjusting to things without her - but it was none the less time to think of the day ahead and depart the mooring.

I then took a very sedate cruise down the Ant, then on to the Bure in the direction of Horning.  I then Google Boulters and called them - £1.18 a litre for fuel compared to £1.40 at Barnes Brinkcraft.  I would have some of that so told them I would be arriving in a hire boat and carried on my way.  Now I know where you go to Boulters (its the first dyke on the right just before Ferry Marina) but what I was not expecting was to arrive at quite a tightly packed location full of peoples private boats - time not to cock anything up I thought so eased Omega down the dyke and came into moor in a gap about 35ft long - a chap saw me, and came round and took over the controls brining me into the small cut, whereupon other chaps were moving boats out of the way for us to get to the quay where the fuel pump was. 

 

It is interesting seeing different marine engineering businesses and how they work, Boulters had small aft cockpit boats moored next to a huge Princess that was probably about 42ft long and looked about as tall - proper sea going job but looked the business! They did not know me form Adam but were chatty, helpful and very decent to deal with. 

I had paid an £80.00 deposit for fuel, and with a larger engine and a lot of long cruising under my belt together with copious warm air heater use when Shiela was onboard I feared the fuel bill would eat a long way into the deposit.  Still, the litres clicked past on the pump and rather suddenly and surprisingly stopped - he looked at me, I looked at him and it was decaled 'she is full'.

 

Well, £40.12 was the damage in five days from Wroxam to Horning to Salhouse, Salhouse to Ranworth, to Sutton, Sutton to Wroxham then to Acle, Acle to Potter Heigham, to How Hill and How Hill to Horning. I was happy at the service, and the savings. 

 

I left Boulters and went down to Horning Staithe, only to find it full, so an about turn and back down the Bure - this time I took the right off towards Ranworth not with the intention of stopping there but to do a little demonstration to camera on the GPS speed App I use on my phone.  It was then back to the Bure and I had not long turned to head towards St Benets when Griff came over loud and clear on the radio.

 

I learnt just how gullible I am for he told me he was heading back up the Bure from Breydon Water - eh? I thought he was not going that far south and anyway these PMR radios he has have a damn fine range on them - which I then replied with still bemused at just how clear the reception was, it was only then I see Broad Ambition coming straight towards me round the next bend just before the mouth of the Ant!

 

I followed him up the river - and he stopped at Ludham Bridge Boatyard to do some bits onboard - I then carried on through the bridge, turned and moored then popped over the way to say hi to Jason, and you know how it goes I then found myself helping cut plywood with Griff, well using my sheer weight and a nearby rock as an outside workbench and vice. I then heard that The Corsican was about on t e water and moored at How Hill, so I duly called and before long was saying my goodbyes and heading back over the road and onboard the boat.

 

Back up the Ant to How Hill then turned and came into moor just opposite Turf Fen wind pump - now glorious in the afternoon sun, but this morning of course shrouded in fog. After some time spent on The Corsican having a catch up chat I was once moor heading up the Ant - in a bit of a mixed mind.  Did I want to eat on the boat tonight or did I want to go out for food - or even have a takeaway?  Food then took over where I would overnight, only interrupted by stopping briefly on Barton Broad to admire the scene as the sun slowly began to fall towards the horizon.

 

I decided to head to Richardson's boatyard then I could walk into Stalham and get something - only issue would be space in their yard to moor.  When arrived I looked down each quay and it was full of boats, I was about to give up when I came down one last try to the moorings outside their reception/booking office - also where they are having extensive work done on proper marina style decking.  Oh joy of joys one space between a Broadsman and Crown Gem - by now I had got the hang of stern on mooring with Omega - just aim way away from where you intend to moor and by the time you reach there the boat will be lined up and ready to slot in - I have never had a boat whose bow would just drift off at the slightest crosswind, but I was winning the battle and so came in perfectly - always the case when there is nobody to witness such events.

 

And so ended another lovely day - after a clean down of the boat and fitting of the outside vinyl screen covers (hellish things whatever was wrong with press stud interior curtains!) it was time to head off into Stalham, the sun setting a lovely walk and found the chippy with a queue out the door - always a good sign and so it was the Cod and Chips were lovely and I recommend you visit next time you're in Stalham.

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Day Six:

 

Day Six Captain's Blog

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db_gSiHAB-U

 

 

Having spent the last night at Richardson's boatyard in Stalham, I was keen to be away earlier so not to cause any hindrance to their quayside works going on.  In so doing too I could use the time cruising to hear the water up to have a shower with.   I arrived at Paddy's Lane moorings and they were deserted - lovely.

I got ready, then cooked myself breakfast - I was going to leave up to Barton Turf to use the water hose but decided I could wait for topping up so instead decided to head down the River Ant - not before taking a nice slow round about cruise on Barton Broad.

 

So many simply traverse the Broad in a rush to go somewhere, but to simply drift in the wind letting it take the bow where it wishes can be a very relaxing experience - especially when you happen to be the only boat on the broad at the time - and this was so until the radio came into life and it was Broad Ambition, making its way up the Ant back to Stalham where Griff would be soon off back to 'God's Country'.

 

Today, I thought would be my 'lazy day' which means the tale, and accompanying Blog on You Tube is not perhaps the most interesting. After leaving Barton Broad behind, by destination would be Womack Island - a place I have often seen and passed by but never overnighted at.  It was a bit brezzy today, but still bright and the sun was certainly adding to the warmth - the river Ant looked splendid as ever and when Ludham Bridge came into I knew it would not be long before I was at the mouth of the Ant and turning left onto the Bure. 

By the time I arrived at the Bure, the wind had got the water rather confused but I soon figured that the wind was blowing one way and the tide going another which I rather like, since it makes the boat feel like a boat for a change - you can feel the roll, hear the sound of the water on the hull and have to take more care keeping the boat on course for the wind is always wanting to take the bow and head just where you don't want to.

 

The moorings at St. Benet's were all free, and other than a private Bounty 28, I did not see another boat - by the time I reached the mouth of the river Thurne I would have the wind behind me, and things were suddenly a lot smoother on the water as I turned on to the Thurne.  When I took the left hand turn into the dyke that leads to Womack Water (sign posted Ludham) I was half tempted to stop at the 'wild mooring' I often moor at since it is always very quiet and I had not so far moored anywhere on this trip that had required Rhonde Anchors.  However, I soon decided not to and carry on to Womack Water itself.

 

I found the area very different to how things look in the season when the public moorings are taken, often with Herbert Woods boats on their last nights and people keen to walk to the Kings Arms in Ludham.  Now thought it was very much empty, I noticed too the water hose was not out either.  I turned the boat and then headed off to the Island, which has some pretty shallow edged lined with tree roots and some tight bends - so take it easy and be prepared to put some large steering inputs in to get around - before long the moorings came into view - a part form a pair of Ducks, they would be all mind.

 

Annoyingly one of the posts is missing so there is a large gap between the pattern of the mooring posts, but the fact Omega had a centre cleat meant I could moor where I had and not disturbed the Ducks on the the part of the mooring. One the engine was off it was just the sound of the wind through the trees, and the noise of Ducks - no other boats, no other sounds to speak of - bliss.

 

So that was it, as far as my usual cruising day goes a very sedate day, but it is nice to set off early - find somewhere nice and just moor up and not need to move until the next day.  I spent the time cleaning the boat, doing the boat review and then reading.  Cheshire Cat came around the island, but other than that I did not see another boat in the time I was moored there - though I know in the summer season often people see this on the way to Womack Water through he trees and so will moor meaning it is a bit like Irstead, lovely to moor - if you can get in!

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Hi Robin,

 

You are probably fed up hearing this, but your videos are superb.

 

This, Womack Island will be our first stop when we set of from Herbert Woods in may, it is within range as it's a late afternoon pick up and after a 300 mile drive it'll be nice to have some peace and quiet to unwind.

 

Quick question: The radio hanging upside down in front of your phone, is it a Marine VHF or PMR 446?

 

Thanks again and we are looking forward to Number 7.

 

Kind regards

 

Colin

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hi v8 its good to have a place in mind for your first night but be mindful Womack island only has room for two boats,if your going in high season and late in day it will probably be taken but Womack staith has plenty of space and is one of my new favourite moorings. or if you want peace and quiet moore in the middle of Womack broad.

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Colin it is both - but I have it programed just for PMR frequancies - one does not use VHF much on the Broads, and anyway I have no licence to transmit on such frequanceis anyway.  You can look at the radio here on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BX5G89S

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Day Seven:

 

Day Seven Captain's Blog

 

http://youtu.be/-qgQnpK2Qbs

 

Today normally would not be the day I would have to return the boat but because of work commitments I would not be spending tonight on the boat and so had to return it to the yard Sunday afternoon.

 

I am not sure if it was because of this, but the whole day had a air of slowness about it, I did not get up too early and having packed everything away pretty much the night before meant there was just a few items to be put in my suitcase - this meant I used the final day to conduct the review of the boat so it would be shown 'as is' not with all my belongings about as I walked through the interior.  With that done it was time to leave Womack Island - it was getting on for the afternoon now.

 

Wouldn't you know it that today, my last day was the warmest and most sunny of them all -  it was on days like this I missed not having a boat ether with an outside helm or a sliding roof as you felt rather trapped inside when all this wonderful sunshine was going on outside.  Down the Thurne I travelled and despite the warmth and sun, it was still March and very few other boaters were about which for a Sunday really surprised me.

 

It was not too long and was approaching Fleet Dyke on the River Bure, I took a left and slowly travelled up noticing how many more trodden down areas of Reed there are on the port bank where people are using this area for informal moorings - and indeed how last October when with 'Lads Week' we had spent a night there, the fishing at the time was very poor due to a salt surge but it appears this is a very good place to fish from otherwise - and quiet.

 

I turned the boat around and came back down towards the Bure, the blue sky and ruins of St Benet's looked too good not to stop off and have a look round and take some video - however it was coming into moor (or rather getting off the boat) I realised just how high the water was.  We had not had rain, but for the last couple of days there was a breeze that had got ever stiffer and more constant - I can only presume it was helping hold up the tide and thus the water levels were now a lot higher than had been just the previous day.

 

I walked along the moorings, apart from a couple of boats deserted.  It  is times like this when there are so many hundreds if not thousands of boats north and south on the Broads tied up at their berths and with the weather so fine in the lead up to the weekend why I thought would you not be flocking to your boats to take advantage of some rare March warmth and sunshine.  Still, it meant for us lucky ones on the water moorings were plentiful and the going was quiet.

 

St Benet's looked splendid in the sunshine, and I was surprised when I was last hear (in October 2013) much of the site was bare earth and now it was grassed over - there was easy access to all areas and despite the new look of the improvements you can tell in time they will weather and blend in making this important Broadland  moment a quiet place for reflection and somewhere for many a visitor to stop off at in the future.

 

Time to get underway again, and things got a little busy at Horning with the sailing club preparing for a race but once around the bend in the river outside the Swan, it was back to a very quiet river.  What I call the 'Salhouse Hills' came into view and it would be just around the next bend that the entrance to the Broad would be upon us - so I popped in did a circuit and popped back out again, it is a lovely place Salhouse almost a little oasis tucked away off the main river.

 

I then moored at the moorings just on the river side of Wroxham Broad and found something out.  If you want peace during the day, don't moor here.  It was not even the summer, but it was almost constant the day boaters coming along - you would hear their small engines, their wash first then the talking and shouting and often would come along in pairs towards horning one moment, away from it the next and each time they seemed to want to pass close to the boat and it would rock in their wake.  I imagined how this mooring would be in the season with many hire and private boats added to the mix so while surely a good mooring in the evening, in the afternoon not one you would fine still and quiet. The action did not bother me as I was busy with the clean down in and out of the boat, and once this was done left the mooring and carried on up the Bure wondering if I would find space in Barnes Brinkcraft boatyard!

 

It is not far to Barnes Brinkcraft, and of course being a Sunday their offices were closed - being out of season also meant their yard appeared full.  I had prepared myself for the fact I could well have to double more, after all their boat had to be back 'home' and then I spied a place, next to Ladymore on the far edge of their moorings - it was an easy mooring but how on earth do I get myself and luggage round to the roadway from this mooring hmm I thought when I noticed another mooring over the way on the backside of the river front moorings they have.  I eyed it up, standing on the foredeck when I heard 'go on give it a go' from above - had God finally spoken, no it was a couple on the balcony of one of the apartments that Barnes Brinkcraft have for hire.

 

Great, no pressure then I thought so took the boat and was impressed with myself getting in to the space, without a bow thrusters and using my propeller wash to at the stern to move the bow of Aries to the side and I slotted in perfectly.  Sorted - and so a final addition to the Blog, and then it was time at around 215 minutes to four in t e afternoon to head off into Wroxham, for some food. My train would be leaving just before 6:30pm from the station and was dreading the Sunday trip back complete with closures to the mainline meaning a hellish journey awaited - but the right here and now there was still warmth in the air, and I had enjoyed a great week afloat and as I was preparing to say goodbye, I was relishing the time I could return again.

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Hello Robin,

 

Thank you. I enjoyed number 7 and that's a nice bit of parking (mooring). The great thing about your videos is that it gives the viewer a very good idea of what to expect afloat on the broads.

 

It is good to know where all of the places to eat, sleep and fuel up are, especially for the likes of myself who's one and only trip on the broads was last year when my wife and I rented a day boat and pottered about.

 

This year will be slightly different as we are returning in 44.65 days  (counting down, cannot wait) for a week and have rented a cruiser from Herbert Woods. We will have the portable MiFi unit (Three) that you have been using and an electronic guide book by London Rascal. So we will know where to go.

 

As for the radio, oddly enough I have a pair of those UV5R's in my watch list on fleabay so I will grab those too as they are quite easy to program... God bless youtube!

 

Thank you again for a very enjoyable 7 day tour of the broads and I do hope that you continue to visit and make videos for many years to come.

 

Kind regards

 

Colin

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hi v8 its good to have a place in mind for your first night but be mindful Womack island only has room for two boats,if your going in high season and late in day it will probably be taken but Womack staith has plenty of space and is one of my new favourite moorings. or if you want peace and quiet moore in the middle of Womack broad.

Hi Andy,

 

Thanks for that. The original idea was to try Thurne as it is as close, knowing my luck that will probably be full. Someone did say that you can moor at Swallowtail boatyard so we will probably play it by ear... famous last words!

 

cheers

Colin

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