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Western Light 2. 26th Sep' to 3 Oct'


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Moderators:  I have a lot of photographs, and will attach a selection here.  If anyone thinks I'm taking up too much space feel free to "prune"!

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Saturday 26th:

With a good weather forecast for the week, Saturday started cool, clear and bright. I was soon on my way to my friends Pauline and Mervyn.  There was some delay as Mervyn was still working, but the car was then packed. I had taken what I thought was necessary (although I always bring some unworn clothes back), some items that Herbert Woods suggest on their web site and a few treats.  Pauline always includes some groceries too, so we would not starve.  Nevertheless, on the A140 we stopped off at Goodies for some more provisions and a cup of tea, coffee and cakes.  Arriving at Potter Heigham at about 13:00 the boat was ready.  I had telephoned the boatyard earlier in the week and they said that because it was not hired-out that week we might be able to get on board sooner than the 16:00 that their web site states.  The additional time allowed us to settle-in to the boat and spend some time cruising during the shortening daylight hours.

We had hired “Western Light 2”, which only has one sliding-door entrance part-way along the port side, there are then three of four steps (almost a ladder) down to the boat floor.  Oddly, this door is covered when the sliding roof is retracted, so quite often during the week, we travelled with the roof partially open to enable access via the door.  With Mervyn on-board and distributing items, I walked luggage from the staithe, down the side, and lowered them down into the doorway, and whilst leaning into the doorway with one item my ‘phone slipped from my shirt pocket and into the water.  I spent some time “fishing” using Mervyn’s fish-landing net, which had to be extended to its full length to reach the bottom.  I found several lumps of plastic but no ‘phone, and got very muddy in the process; so had to start with a wash change of clothes.

Hand-over completed we left Potter Heigham with South Walsham in mind as a potential destination.  The rivers seemed quite busy, and the moorings along Fleet Dyke were already occupied when we got there, so after a tour of the inner broad, we found a spot just on the (outer) broad for the night.

Pauline conjured up a vegetable stew, and with wine, cake and TV the day ended quickly!



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Sunday 27th

Sunday morning was still, with mist rising.  I tried to photograph the many fish which were appearing at the surface, but they quickly “rolled” back down into the opaque water, so I was not able to focus quickly enough.

The sliding roof on “Western Light 2” seems to have better draft exclusion than other similar designs, but we still found benefit in fitting the cloth privacy screens which Velcro around the top of the glass panels.  Unfortunately, these are designed to hang vertically, and the windows slope in towards the top (particularly the front screens), so we ended up wedging the bottom edges into the bottom of the windows and there were therefore some gaps.  However we did discover, during the week, that the additional heat insulation that they provide when installed this way is very worthwhile.  The heating system works, but it is warmer with the screens “tucked in”.

Normally, we all get up quite early and so even though we were in holiday mood and “laying in” we were all awake and ready for tea at first light.  That enabled me to step outside and get some very “misty” photographs. (Picture 1).

After a hearty cooked breakfast, having determined that the water does not stay hot over night we decided to travel early, and so set off for Acle.  I find it quite annoying to run the engine just to heat the water, so the meander to Acle gave us a chance to enjoy the still morning, clean the leaves and dust from the boat provide plenty of hot water for a shower.

(Picture 2 & 3)

We were disappointed by the content of the shop at the bridge and because we did not actually need anything we decided not to walk into the town (the road without a path does not look inviting)

Much of the day was taken up by lunch at the bridge where we met some relatives, so it was quite late when we went for a quick tour on the down-river side of the bridge and then returned to refill with water and set off up river again to find a mooring near Upton.

Judging by the mast, I think it was Raisena that came past us later (Picture 4), but it was too dark to read the name.  The hand-held camera shots I got are not particularly clear either.

We had a clear view of the moon, but quickly succumbed to another early night after a snack and more of the coffee cake from Goodies  … all quite unnecessary after the pub lunch, but we were on holiday.





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Monday 28th

Monday morning was glassy calm again, so we had a light breakfast and ambled slowly towards Malthouse Broad,

(Picture 1, 2)

passing a Heron, presumably drying its wings, in a rather unusual pose. 

(Picture 3)

With hot water available, we stopped on the broad for ablutions and then moored at Ranworth.  Whilst there, walk around the Broads Wildlife Centre is more or less obligatory, although most of the wildlife had chosen to be elsewhere.

(Picture 4)

Then on to St Helen’s church to admire the views from the top, including the Brother Pacificus weather vane.

(Picture 5, 6)

A short walk to the private moorings to the East where we looked at Mervyn’s brother’s boat was followed by lunch at the Maltsters.  Returning to the boat we refilled with water and set off towards Horning where we passed an amphibious car,

(Picture 7, 8)

and then went for a circuit of Hoveton Little Broad,  There seemed to be far fewer boats out and about on Monday than there were on Sunday.

(Picture 9)

After having a good look around, we found another wild mooring a short distance up stream.











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Tuesday 29th

Tuesday morning was glassy calm again with mist lifting from the water.

(Picture 1)

So, we adopted our, now familiar, routine and set off for a tour to and round Salhouse broad to heat water, where we spoted an “old friend” San Marino whose occupants were yet to emerge.  After a brief stop for breakfast at the public staithe on the main river we went on towards Wroxham and Hoveton.

(Picture 2)

After a brief stop for the Pilot we were through Wroxham Bridge, and a trip to Roy’s provided supplies.  We sat there for a tea break, and Pauline was highly amused by the man fishing from the boat on our starboard side, who was getting very annoyed at the ducks that were being attracted to the bread being fed to them by the young child in the boat moored on our port side.  For several days after this we kept on looking out for “Mr Angry” whenever we saw a similarly coloured “bathtub”, but I don’t think our paths crossed again.

(Picture 3)

We crossed from that mooring to take on water and then, having not been that side of the bridge for some years, a trip around Bridge broad seemed in order which is when we spotted a Fox heading for the island.

(Picture 4, 5, 6)

We continued to Coltishall at a slow pace and were overtaken by another boat.  As they passed I apologised that we were dawdling, and they commented that they were in no hurry either, but had passed us to get clear of the diesel fumes!  We had noticed that whenever throttle was used for manoeuvring vast clouds of smoke were emitted, and when moored there was a distinct diesel at the back.

The public moorings where quite full, with only one or two spaces still available, so we ambled past the pubs and finally turned around when it started to look quite shallow and narrow.

Most days we saw several kingfishers, and the Coltishall stretch did not disappoint, but their rapid flight and reluctance to perch nearby means that I didn’t get any non-blurred photographs.

We retraced our route and found a wild mooring spot about half way back to Wroxham, so with plenty of provisions (both food and alcoholic) we settled in for another night.







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Wednesday 30th

Wednesday started with the now familiar calm misty morning.  We were sheltered by the trees, so it was very still.

(Picture 1, 2)

A slow cruise back to Bridge broad whist water heated, followed by breakfast whilst mud-weighted allowed us to be back at the water point and then staithe, from where another trip into the shops was made for a daily paper and a few other (totally unnecessary) “essentials”.

I had intended to meet up with someone at Coltishall or Wroxham, but lack of 'phone and 'phone signal had frustrated those plans.

The pilot took us back through bridge soon after 11:00, so we returned to Salhouse Broad for the walk up to the Fur & Feather and a nose around the brewery shop, where a few purchases were made.  After another pub lunch (has anyone spotted a trend?) and walk back to Salhouse, we set off down stream to another wild mooring.  From where we admired the sunset and fed ducks.

(Picture 3)




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Thursday 1st

Thursday morning saw the mist rising not only from the water but above the reeds too.

(Picture 1)

How Hill looked like a good destination, so that’s where we headed.

(Picture 2)

Where showers were taken and swans fed.

(Picture 3)

The tour of How Hill served as a token gesture towards working off the lunches, breakfasts evening meals and snacks that seemed almost non-stop.  Disappointingly, there was little to see from the hides that overlook their broads, but the “Secret Garden” was still open.

(Picture 4, 5)

With the obligatory picture of “our” boat and the windmill/pump taken from the house,

(Picture 6)

we set off North over Barton Broad for a brief water stop at Barton Turf, then on to Wayford Bridge and back to down the Ant to the Stalham fork, where Mervyn enjoyed some more fishing (as he had done most evenings).

(Picture 7, 8)

Apologies for the marks on the fish picture; it was taken through the cabin window.









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Friday 2nd

Friday morning we again crossed Barton Broad to Neatishead our hot water and refill.

(Picture 1)

After a walk to village shop and a cup of tea we were the only boat moored at the staithe, but as we left three boats were arriving, presumably for the pub lunchtime.

Back to South Walsham was our intention and on the way we saw what we believe to be a stoat on Fleet Dyke.

(Picture 2)

After another circuit of the broads we stopped right at the end of the public staithe and watched a man on the next (private) boat fishing contentedly.



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Saturday 3rd

It's all come to an end!  My camera was in the cabin and remained unused that day.

I apologised to the fisherman who was already active for our early departure, and set off soon after 7:30 in very thick mist (almost fog) for Potter Heigham.  It remained misty until we turned up the Thurne, and we eventually stopped with the boat yard just in sight, for breakfast.

Back in the yard, we unloaded and handed the boat and lifejackets etc. back.  We had used 41 Litres of diesel, and I reported the engine “smoking” in the office.  I don’t think there was a catastrophic problem, I guess that the engine is just “well used”!

Back down the A140 to Goodies for another tea and cake, and another opportunity to buy unnecessary treats was followed by a quiet journey home and the slide back to normality.

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Hi Jonathan,

Many thanks for the superb pics, not too many at all! Also your very descriptive blog. That style of craft are known to be a bit noisy out the back, but never too smokey.

Looks like you had a very relaxing holiday, and have put me into holiday mode for our long drive down tomorrow..

Thanks once again taking the trouble to post a blog and pics.


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Hi Jonathan,

Many thanks for the superb pics, not too many at all! Also your very descriptive blog. That style of craft are known to be a bit noisy out the back, but never too smokey.

Looks like you had a very relaxing holiday, and have put me into holiday mode for our long drive down tomorrow..

Thanks once again taking the trouble to post a blog and pics.


Actually Iain, I just posted a set of pictures in date order, but whilst waiting for them to upload (which seems to take forever) I jotted down a few notes about where they were, just to give them some "context".  It was not supposed to be a blog.  Now that I have read it through again I notice that I missed a few words and there are some clumsy phrases where I started to write one thing and then changed it to another; which just goes to show that you should never hurry these things!  ... and it's too late to edit it now.

Actually, we never considered the engine to be "noisy", probably because we generally travelled slowly, but there were thick clouds of smoke (not steam) when turning around sometimes, and a visible "oil slick" when moored, along with that diesel aroma.



I tend to prefer "Jonathan" because there are so many "Johns" about and I get confused easily. :)

I will answer to almost anything!

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Hi Jonathan

another tale of a great holiday and another set of brilliant photos.

those of us who were lucky enough to be out last week certainly saw Broadland in all it's glory.

So until next time (theres always a next time) 

thanks for taking the time


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Morning Jonathan,

Lovely photos and I enjoyed reading about where you had been.

Glad to see someone else has discovered what a delight Goodies is for stocking up on little treats - I can highly recommend the lime and coconut cake if they have one next time you're passing. :)

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Thanks for writing and the photos. You're someone else who was on the Broads just the right week for weather whilst I was stuck at work!

Interesting to read about the engine smoking issue. As you say, not catastrophic but indicative of mechanics that could be better. The Connoisseurs are over 20 years old now so perhaps they're in need of those smooth Nanni diesels being fitted as replacements elsewhere.

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