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Norfolk Broads

Bernie has organised a trip to the Norfolk Broads. His planning page is here.

What are the Norfolk Broads?

They are an area of interconnected lakes (broads) and rivers in East Anglia. The area is marshy and much is below sea level. A classic Broads holiday is spent on a hired boat.

Who's going?

Mean SwanThe Nutters in attendance:

  • Andy
  • Bernie
  • Gav
  • Jack
  • Jennifer
  • Jenny
  • Jon
  • Maky
  • Rick
  • and myself, Nick

These Pages

All images are click-able. Problems? Let me know!

Friday, October 4, 2002

Convoy to the Broads

We have booked the boat for 14:30, from Richardson's boat yard in Stalham. 

I set my GPS for the yard. The waypoint is set to OSGB reference TG376244. We won't get lost.

Jennifer provides breakfast. We leave Cambridge at 10:15.

We take three cars. In the lead we have Rick, Bernie and Gav, followed by Nick, Jon Jack and Jennifer, trailed by Andy and Maky. 

Jenny will be joining us tonight.

The Route

We take the A14, A11, Norwich, A1151. Norwich is a pain to drive through. Other than that, the journey is uneventful.

The Boatyard

Jack's cap gunWe arrive at Richardson's at 12:45, in good time for us to collect the boat. 

A "Greasy Spoon" restaurant on the site provides a good sausage egg and chips.

Some idiot buys Jack a toy cap gun. We suffer for it.

San Tropez IIBernie checks in. Jon, Jack and I collect life jackets. We are directed to the quay where the San Tropez II is moored.

We transfer our baggage and are ready.

Trial Run

An ol' boy shows us the ropes. Literally. We're shown how to secure the boat when mooring using the clove hitch

The ol' boy also shows us where to isolate the batteries and gas. Water and diesel fuel fillers are shown. The "pump out" is not an issue - we are only have the boat for a couple of days. 

Bernie is given instruction in manoeuvring the boat. This includes a three point turn and reversing into a stern mooring position. The rest of the Nutters take note. 

Rule of the road: drive on the right. 

Our instructor also recommended that everyone gets a life jacket from their stores. We now have 10 jackets.

Bernie is deemed proficient, so we are allowed to take the boat early. Off we go!


Bernie takes the boat out of the boatyard. He does a good job of it. 

After a few minutes I pester him for a go. I take the helm. Gavin has the map. He is my navigator. He is also armed with a GPS. This is total overkill, but then we are Nutters!

The response when turn the steering wheel is sluggish. I test by "plotting" a step function. Hard left lock, I see what the boat does. After a few minutes I stop playing. I have become used to the feel. 

The GPS helps us stick to the 4 MPH speed limit. 

I "drive" for 2 miles down the Barton River, through to Barton Broad where I relinquish the helm to Gavin.


We decide on Neatishead to moor up for the night. The map The Broads OL40, shows a pub, and it's not far from Hoveton and Wroxham railway station that Jenny will use to reach us this evening. She has been sailing in Ipswich today. Getting here by train should take a couple of hours.

Feeding the swansWe moor up. 

Two tame swans demand food. Bernie is brave, or foolhardy, to feed them by hand. 

His digestive biscuits are popular.
It's a short 5 minute walk to the White Horse pub. We enjoy a pint (Abbot IPA) and a coke for the lad. A table is booked for the evening meal. 


Jack is keen to swim.

"I'm bored! I want to swim!" utters the boy.

Jennifer says he shouldn't, and is not to, and he mustn't. She reminds him that there are signs saying that bathing is forbidden. 

I return to the boat with Jack. He knows I'm a soft touch when it comes to discipline.

Jack in the waterHe is soon in his bathing shorts. He dangles a foot in the water.
"It's too cold. But I want to swim!"
"Then dive in - It's not really cold!" I encourage.
He dives in, gasps and pleads to be helped out. He sits on the boat thinking. 
"It can't be that cold. I'm going in again!"
"Get me out!" he wails.

After this second iteration he gives up, and takes a shower. He is requited with the DVD player and a copy of the film Battlefield Earth.

Jenny phones. She'll be at the local train station by 21:15.

The DVD can be charged - Bernie has thoughtfully brought his 12V to mains inverter.


Rick loosing at poolWhen the film is over we decide to return to the pub. Jack and and I walk up, only to find the others returning back to the boat.  
Jack undergoing abuseAppearancesMaky decides to stay with Jack and I. The three of us play pool. I enjoy the beer and good natter with Maky. We loose several games of pool to Jack. Not deliberately: he plays well.


Jenny arrivesJenny finally arrives at 22:00 and we all retire for our first night on the boat.

Andy has brought some Scottish whisky.

Saturday, October 5, 2002

Engine Inspection

EngineGav gets shown the batteryBernie is most impressed by the engine. While we sleep he lovingly fills it with water. 

He checks the oil.

He examines its alternator, batteries and wiring.

Gavin shares his interest: it's the closest he is going to get to a smelly, oily motor bike for the next couple of days.

Ludham Bridge

On to Ludham BridgeLudham BridgeWe enjoy breakfast at Ludham Bridge. 

Gavin and Rick are happy to drive us there.

Hoveton Great Broad

RickThere's a footpath by Hoveton Great Broad. It's a nature trail, leading to several bird watchers' hides. Old railway sleepers are used as a walkway.

The trail is closed for maintenance, although obviously still used by birdwatchers. The planking has been removed from the footbridges. Some of the sleepers are dislodged and need replacing.


We journey to Wroxham. Although a pleasant enough town, we feel it's too noisy to stay for the night. 

Gavin collects food from a supermarket for breakfast on the boat tomorrow. 

We plan to moor in an isolated place. We want a pitch black night sky and quiet.

New Inn Horning

OK, the delights of a pitch black night sky and quiet were thrown by the wayside. There was easy mooring at the New Inn at Horning, so that's where we decided to stay. 

It rains.

New InnWe sample the food and beer at the New Inn. A satisfying meal, and a short walk later finds us at The Swan.

The Swan has a  "Who wants to be a Millionaire" quiz machine and a pool table. We make a modest profit on Chris Tarrant's quiz.


Tonight's DVD

We return from the pub - it's only 21:00, but we're really tired. 

"It's all the fresh air!" we complain.

Tonight's DVD is The Matrix

The whisky bottle is half full.

Sunday, October 6, 2002


Bernie and MackyA relaxed start. Jennifer makes breakfast for us on the boat. Egg on toast. 


I purge the kitchen. It is pristine once I have finished.  I relax for the rest of the day.

That's the good thing about having a large group of capable people. Everybody does their share - and then can be completely idle / relaxed / drunk for the rest of the time.


Oil SlickThe water is muddy, dark and cold, but there's no apparent pollution; no litter. The only oil slick we see on the water is after I clean the frying pan.


GoodbyeAndyAndy is to leave today - he is bound for Athens. Jack has school tomorrow so Jenny takes the opportunity for them to leave with Andy. They can travel back to Cambridge all together.

The party of 10 has become 7.

Will I let go? Will he get Wet?I play a game of "trust" with Jack before he leaves. This games involves balancing him over the quayside.


Under sailLots of them!We head east.

The other powered craft on the water pose little problem. We don't "burn up" too many boats. We're good at keeping to the speed limit of 4 MPH.

Craft with sails are difficult to overtake when you are following them and they are tacking. The rules say that power boats give way to sail, whatever's going on. If both craft are under sail, and the other boat is on a starboard tack, you give way.


Bernie Jon NickGavin and Rick work together on steering and navigating. The rest of us just relax and watch the world go by. (Mainly reed beds.)

St Benet's Abbey

Tower - an 18th Centry WindMillNuttersWe moor and explore this isolated old ruin.


We meander to the Kings Arms at Ludham. We enjoy Sunday Dinner. It's gone 14:00 but they're happy to serve us - if we can order quickly.

The Abbot ale and food is good.

We find another JPM "Who wants to be a Millionaire" machine to thrash.


Windmill - typical scene!AfternoonWe enjoy the late afternoon sun. It's cold on top without a coat. 
Inside the boat is warm - especially if the heating is turned on! 


Setting sunSt Benet's AbbeyThe afternoon soon becomes evening. Sunset is at 18:20. (Useful things GPS's)
Setting sunWe decide to moor within a couple of miles of the boatyard tonight at Irstead. There's the Angler Inn about a mile's walk away.
Maky looks onWe are moored at 18:30. Any later and it would have been too difficult to see! 

The Official UK Top 40 is playing: John Otway is at number 9.


Angler Inn

Most of the Barton Angler Inn is nearly 500 years old. It's in-between the villages of Neatishead and Irstead, and adjacent to the Barton Broads where, as a boy, Lord Nelson learnt to sail whilst staying at the inn which was then a rectory.

Pleiades Scampi and chips, starry sky, beer. Gavin and Jon are amazed by the number of satellites we point out.

In the pub is another "Who wants to be a Millionaire"  game. Do these games adjust their difficulty automatically to the ignorance of the locals? Some of these machines were a lot easier than others in different pubs.


Tonight's DVD

Tonight's DVD is Dogma.

The whisky bottle is almost empty.

Monday, October 7, 2002

I rise incredibly early at 07:30. Bernie has checked the engine, and filled it with water. Gavin starts driving at 07:45. 

Jennifer sleeps in, she is undisturbed by all the noise. She's amazed to be woken up and find we are minutes away from mooring up. 

Back at the boatyard at 09:00. We unload, and hand over the boat.  

Very little fuel has been used. 10 of diesel. It's astoundingly cheap! I'm later informed that diesel is actually very expensive: it's marine/red diesel with no tax and costs the yard about 17p a litre. They then sell it to the unsuspecting public at about 50p a litre and we think that's cheap! Rip off.

There's fried egg on toast and coffee at Richardson's restaurant. 

Everyone is on the road at 10:30. To avoid traffic problems at Norwich, we return via Acle.

We're back in Cambridge at 12:15.


A fun, relaxing weekend with friends.

Jack said it sucked big time, and that he was really pleased to be allowed to go home a day early.

GPS trail

Gav captured this GPS trail. The hatched line shows our route.

These pages

These pages were put together in a few hours after getting home. Nutters: if I've forgotten anything - let me know!

Maky provided several images. Thank you!

Bernie helped too.


Bernie has some photos and the planning page



Scottish whisky, there's no 'e' in whisky. Non Irish/Scottish malt drink is whiskey. Thanks Gav.

Future Recommendation

Surfer Tony recommends:

Try the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company. The yard is run by Mike & Jenny. Some of the cheaper boats are old and basic, the newer ones (Lapwing, Palace and America) are truly luxurious.

N G Hubbard October 2002