Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Three days before the mast

Just back from our weekend on the Norfolk Broads with a largeish group of friends organised by the unflappable Marilyn Bunnage. The weather was kinder than last year and the breezes were mostly favourable if occasionally slight.
The whole thing revolves around the hire of two half decker sailing boats from Martham (plus a larger live aboard sail boat and some chalets close to the Lion inn at Thurne. Much to-ing and fro-ing of cars gets all the required people to the boats in the morning and off we sail to wherever we can reach. On Saturday it was up to the huge and desolate Hickling Broad and the Ferry Boat Inn. Here are Rick, Marilyn and Kath struggling to overhaul us (not that we're competitive or anything!).
True to tradition and custom, Franks boat ran aground on the way up, and then I managed to steer her on to the mud on the way back too. Bob's bigger boat came to rescue us and we got off the mud while he then got stuck on, and so it went. All very jolly really.
Returning to Thurne for the night we have to get under the low (6ft 6in) Potter Heigham bridge which means lowering the sails and the mast and rowing through, and then putting it all back up again. By then we were beginning to work out which rope did what.

The Lion at Thurne is to be recommended if you can find it (easier by water than by land). Plenty of room, nice food and a good pint of Woodfords Wherry.
On Sunday we sailed down the river Bure to Malthouse Broad and the staithe at Ranworth in heavy boat traffic, mostly huge plastic cruisers. Biggest of all was the mock paddle steamer which seemed to be carry mostly people even older than us!

The non sailors in the party all piled aboard an electric day boat hired by David and Heather and caught us up as we approached Ranworth.

Frank got Kath to take the helm all the way back and she did so unscathed although I managed a coming together with a cruiser at one point. No damage done to our boat that couldn't be mended with a Swiss army knife!

Bird life is varied on the Braods. We saw a number of Marsh Harriers and I managed to get this shot of a reed bunting using my zoom lens flat out.

On the final day, it was back up Candle Dyke (the approach to Hickling Broad)again before returning the boats in one piece (is this a record?) to the hire base at Martham.

Lunch near Hickling Broad. The grass was too wet to sit down.
Calm waters near Hickling

Tonight we're off for an extended trip on Herbie. If we can find some wi fi hotspots we'll try to update the blog en route. Otherwise, dear reader, you'll just have to wait till we get back.