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Dav and Pen

Norfolk broads boating

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After to many years narrow boating and barging in France we still wish to go boating but without so much physical effort. The broads being lock free would suit the crew and I wonder if it is possible to enjoy the broads or are they just to busy to consider them as a base.

Obviously July and August would be avoided.

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26 minutes ago, Dav and Pen said:

After to many years narrow boating and barging in France we still wish to go boating but without so much physical effort. The broads being lock free would suit the crew and I wonder if it is possible to enjoy the broads or are they just to busy to consider them as a base.

Obviously July and August would be avoided.

An alternative is the Fens, good NBs for hire from Bridge Marina (Ely) and Foxes (March). Only a few locks .....

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If you're used to canals and barging in France then the broads may seem a little dull. The scenery doesn't change much... I say this as a narrowboat owner in Northampton when I live 20 miles from the broads!

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34 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

If you're used to canals and barging in France then the broads may seem a little dull. The scenery doesn't change much... I say this as a narrowboat owner in Northampton when I live 20 miles from the broads!

Yes this is one of the worries, we have been very actively boating for over 50 years but now having sold the barge still would like to have a boat. It maybe that hiring occasionally will get it out of the system.

i do know the Fenland waterways having been raised by and occasionally in the Nene, and also being on the well creek trust in my iwa days.

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I've done the Broads the last couple of years and really enjoyed it. We went in April which, if you avoid Easter was OK. No problem getting in at the popular mooring sites. We did the Northern rivers, but I believe the Southern rivers are quieter if you are concerned. Though they do have a greater tidal range. 

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We have done a lot of our cruising, both on our own boat and on hire boats, on the Norfolk Broads and have never found it boring.

 

We have been at all times of year from Early march, mid summer, school holidays and right through to the last hire weeks in November. It is beautiful at any time of the year.

 

It can get busy during the school holidays but that is all part of the fun and we have always managed to get moored up where we have wanted too.

 

The last time we went in October was during a period of prolonged heavy rainfall and the river levels were very high which made getting on and off the hire boat very difficult. But this is the first time we have had such difficulties and we worked around it.

 

The Southern rivers are much quieter than the northern rivers but there are much longer stretched between towns and villages and the scenery is more reeds then anything else. Not to everyones taste but we quite enjoy it. The last boat we hired had a flybridge which offered great views across the reeds.

  • Greenie 1

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7 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

Keep in mind the number of pubs on the broads lessens each year unfortunately... :(

And several of the open ones are not worth the effort of visiting.

  • Greenie 1

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1 hour ago, Naughty Cal said:

And several of the open ones are not worth the effort of visiting.

Afraid that goes for just about everywhere. We hired on the Broads in 1964 a sea master I think it was and loved it. A couple of years later after I had left the MN we brought a little Dolphin cruiser from Braunston and stuck to the local waterways as work was in Northampton.

If we buy another boat I think we would get good use out of it on the Broads and will go over in the new year to look over some possibilities.

thanks for the replies.

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2 hours ago, Dav and Pen said:

Afraid that goes for just about everywhere. We hired on the Broads in 1964 a sea master I think it was and loved it. A couple of years later after I had left the MN we brought a little Dolphin cruiser from Braunston and stuck to the local waterways as work was in Northampton.

If we buy another boat I think we would get good use out of it on the Broads and will go over in the new year to look over some possibilities.

thanks for the replies.

NYA have a load of Summercraft ex hire boats for sale at the moment. 

 

We never hired from them but by all accounts they were very well maintained and looked after.

 

The price includes a repaint in your choice of colour. They all have modern Nanni engines installed as well.

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Hello, we had a boat on the broads for a few years and then moved to The River Great Ouse. The downside of The Broads is limited mooring spots, although you can usually squeeze in. As already said can be quite busy, although we moored on the Southern section which is quieter. I much preferred The Great Ouse. Much fewer boats, I think just as pretty and quite a few towns/villages on the river. Plenty of moorings, join the Great Ouse Boating Association as they have a lot of moorings for members. The river does ofcourse have locks but it is lock free from Hermitage Lock all the way to Denver or back down The Cam to Cambridge. The locks from Hermitage through to Bedford are quite widely spaced so not too onerous and most are electric guillotine gates so easy to operate. The section between St Ives and St Neots is really pretty, proper Wind in The Willows stuff. The navigation is often closed during winter months due to high water levels and fast flows but fine the rest of the year.   

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Michael.

thank you for your reply I think we will have a look at the Ouse as it’s a long while since I have even though we live not far away as for the last 18 years our boating has been on the continent. If the locks are now electrically operated that would be a big plus.

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Another possibility could be a boat in the north east of the inland network. The river Trent from Nottingham down is all powered locks. The Fossdyke will take you in to Lincoln. From there, it is two locks to Boston, only one of which is entirely manual. A boat able to handle tidal estuaries can cross the Wash to enter the Nene, Middle Levels, Cam etc. At the other end of the Trent, you can reach the Yorkshire waterways. Again, sea going capability gives access to various waterways off the Humber. The Stainforth and Keadby is a problem, with one manual lock and several manual swing bridges, but if you can get past them, or go in via the Ouse to Goole, or Selby, there is miles of push button boating with powered locks and bridges to Rotherham, Leeds and Wakefield. The Ouse will take you to York and the Ure to Ripon. Miles and miles of canals, rivers and estuaries, with mostly push button boating and few other boats for long stretches.

 

Before anyone says, I know that narrowboats cross the Wash and go round Trent Falls, but you are not so restricted in the conditions with a more suitable boat.

 

Jen

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Moved to Norfolk and decided to sell nb and go Broads cruising. Worst days work we ever did and now back with a narrowboat on the Great Ouse (but back to canals next spring). Broads are crowded in summer and only about 130 (I think) miles are available to cruise, assuming you can get under all the bridges. If you want lock free then I recommend ( as did an earlier poster) the Great Ouse and its tributaries. There is also a bonus here, if you keep the narrowboat you can always take a trip up on to the canals should you so wish. Broads are great for a week or two but as a constant cruising ground they soon become boring. You will also feel at home on the Great Ouse as there are many narrowboats. Be prepared though, neither the Broads or the Great Ouse have an infrastructure to compare with the canals.

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On 06/12/2019 at 18:39, Naughty Cal said:

NYA have a load of Summercraft ex hire boats for sale at the moment. 

 

We never hired from them but by all accounts they were very well maintained and looked after.

 

The price includes a repaint in your choice of colour. They all have modern Nanni engines installed as well.

One of the last of the small family-run yards.  They were in a backwater on the edge of Hoveton.  They were also private boater friendly.  They used to have a strict winter refit scheme.  We've been away four years now.  We always recommended Summercraft, Royalls (Alan Royall used to talk to me), Fineways and Swancraft.  all now gone.

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The Broads are much better suited for sailing boats, being more or less open countryside you get the wind in yer sails. rather than roaring around flat out in a mtor boat which can cover the whole system in a few days, why motor boats are rarely hired for more than a week and have undersize poo tanks. By reading Arthur Ransomes ''Coot club'' will give a good account of this, especially the envolvment with the Hullabaloo's in the monster motor cruiser the '' Margoletta''.

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At present we do not have a boat having sold the barge In France this April. Before going over there we had narrowboats including 2 working boats which now seem to be called historic. Our last one a 50 footer was built on an old station boat hull and after we retired we took it over to Ireland for a couple of years.

Age is catching up I’m afraid and if we do get another boat it won’t be extensively cruised and that was the reasoning behind thinking about the broads but the fenland waterways could also be a consideration.

when we had narrow boats we did the Trent a few times and down to Lincoln, after getting the 50footer we went from Stockton right up to Ripon via Wigan and the northern waterways that the 72 ft boats couldn’t go.

probably we should just hire occasionally until we get the waterways out of our system.

thanks for all the replies

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7 minutes ago, bizzard said:

The Broads are much better suited for sailing boats, being more or less open countryside you get the wind in yer sails. rather than roaring around flat out in a mtor boat which can cover the whole system in a few days, why motor boats are rarely hired for more than a week and have undersize poo tanks. By reading Arthur Ransomes ''Coot club'' will give a good account of this, especially the envolvment with the Hullabaloo's in the monster motor cruiser the '' Margoletta''.

Brought up with the Coot Club read every book and they were  responsible for me getting on the water with the first canoe aged 11 on the nene at Northampton 

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3 hours ago, Dav and Pen said:

Michael.

thank you for your reply I think we will have a look at the Ouse as it’s a long while since I have even though we live not far away as for the last 18 years our boating has been on the continent. If the locks are now electrically operated that would be a big plus.

All the guillotines are now electrically operated on the Fens (and all but six on the Nene).

Some of the vee doors on the Ouse system are power operated (what are called mitre gates in the rest of the country), but most are still human operated. Only a couple near Bedford are a bit hard work (eg Castle Mill). As far as St Neots they are very easy. 

If you want to look at some recent photos there are lots on my blog. https://scholargypsy.org.uk/contents/

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16 hours ago, Dav and Pen said:

Brought up with the Coot Club read every book and they were  responsible for me getting on the water with the first canoe aged 11 on the nene at Northampton 

And the sequel to Coot club is of course ''The big six'' my favourite. He wrote a couple of odd quirky ones, good though.  Missie Lee and Great Northern.

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On 05/12/2019 at 18:45, Dav and Pen said:

 

i do know the Fenland waterways having been raised by and occasionally in the Nene, and also being on the well creek trust in my iwa days.

You'll be pleased to hear (if you didn't already know) that the Well Creek Trust is still in existence. We were members for a couple of years when our boat was moored at theend of our garden as per my avatar.

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28 minutes ago, Athy said:

You'll be pleased to hear (if you didn't already know) that the Well Creek Trust is still in existence. We were members for a couple of years when our boat was moored at the end of our garden as per my avatar.

And some very fine flowers etc on the staithe at Upwell.

 

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Yes, I always notice that someone has worked hard on them each year.

The "new" part of the staithe has weathered in quite well now. It was extended when the IWA Rally was held at St. Ives on the Great Ouse (about 2008 I think) and we had greatly increased boat traffic through the village that year.

   I hope you took that stove chimney off before going through Church Bridge (visible in the background): it's higher at one end than at the other, as some boaters have learned to their cost.

Edited by Athy

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2 hours ago, Athy said:

 

   I hope you took that stove chimney off before going through Church Bridge (visible in the background): it's higher at one end than at the other, as some boaters have learned to their cost.

That's not my boat,  but I did take the chimney down for all of Well Creek....

Edited by Athy

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15 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

That's not my boat,  but I did take the chimney down for all of Well Creek....

Good idea. From memory there's a bridge at Nordelph which is particularly low.

Incidentally I just corrected my typo, in my post an in your quotation of it, from "atone" to "at one" to, as it were, atone for my mistake.

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