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Justin Smith

Norfolk Broads : Can you usually get through the Potter Heigham bridge ? !

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We`re having to hire broad beam cruisers* at the moment and since The Thames is so expensive it`s been The Broads for the last two years. We`ve done most of the Broads now so want to go north of the Potter Heigham bridge. However, it`s been implied to us (and even says quiet clearly on this webpage) that hardly any cruisers - as opposed to day boats - get through the bridge these days. Is that true ? If we hired a Connoisseur from Herbert Woods would that fit under ? We`d be going early May.

 

* We need the Grandparents to come and watch over our three year old, thus we require a boat with three cabins (which can be "left up") and there aren`t that many canal boats of that type. And if there are they`re very expensive !

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We`re having to hire broad beam cruisers* at the moment and since The Thames is so expensive it`s been The Broads for the last two years. We`ve done most of the Broads now so want to go north of the Potter Heigham bridge. However, it`s been implied to us (and even says quiet clearly on this webpage) that hardly any cruisers - as opposed to day boats - get through the bridge these days. Is that true ? If we hired a Connoisseur from Herbert Woods would that fit under ? We`d be going early May.

 

* We need the Grandparents to come and watch over our three year old, thus we require a boat with three cabins (which can be "left up") and there aren`t that many canal boats of that type. And if there are they`re very expensive !

 

You will be required to use a pilot anyway.

 

The pilot won't take a boat that wont fit. The boat description should say if it will fit under the bridge in normal conditions.

 

ed - a quick scoot around their site confirms that 'class' will go under but you can double check with the exact name of the boat here.

 

https://www.herbertwoods.co.uk/boating-holidays/our-boats/

 

Connoisseur Cruisers are half way down the page.

 

PS - you are right BTW about the price of Broads hire boats v canal hire boats - the Broads offers much better value IMHO (If of course a different experience)

Edited by MJG

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Hi. Herbert Woods and the other hirers will tell you which of their boats can't get under (in my experience). And you need to use the Pilot too. I've only hired the old style sliding roof boats which a pretty low and go under ok.

You will be required to use a pilot anyway.

 

The pilot won't take a boat that wont fit. The boat description should say if it will fit under the bridge in normal conditions.

Cross-posted with you there. Agree completely.

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As above.

 

The Connoissers were built in Wroxham by Porter & Haylett to go under the all bridges. Their boatyard was just above Wroxham bridge. Whilst the tide does rise and fall at Potter and can restrict passage, the biggest factor is the weather system. You need high pressure to over Britain/north sea to 'press' the sea and river levels down.

 

We have always had doubts about the 'delights' above Potter. Quiet, good bird spotting etcbut always windy, only a pub mooring at Hickling, some narrow weedy dykes etc. That having been said we always enjoyed staying at West Somerton.

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As Herbert Woods are right by the bridge they will know the exact procedure, I guess they may have their own pilot,

 

 

Last time I went through I didn't have a pilot! (we did have to drop the mast though)

 

P1030800_1.jpg

 

More seriously when I was there last year there were plenty of cruisers (albeit the smaller ones) above the bridge.

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If you do get through Potter Heigham be sure to go to Horsey Mill and walk across to the beach to see the seals.

 

P1030778.jpg

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The Connoisseur will go through so long as the wind is not pushing down the North sea. You have to slide the cockpit roof back so if it is a rainy day coats :) There can be quite small window when you can get through the bridge and I would suggest that you check with Herbert Woods the best day to go through and come back as it might be quite early in the week.

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As an aside my dad once hired a broads boat in the early 70's with a wooden superstructure from NBYC at Wroxham. It bore obvious evidence of several repairs to the upper part of the cabin.

 

The pilot who took us under the bridge explained it had hit the bridge in a previous season when a hirer decided he would 'have a go, after all how hard can it be?'.

 

He found out that actually it can be quite hard for the inexperienced, and lost his deposit in the process.

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I think you will find that hirers have to use the bridge pilot, his hut is on the right hand side facing the bridge, A mate of mine was bridge pilot at Wroxham and at least 2 or 3 times a year he would come home and tell of a hire boat who had declined his services and taken a chunk of roof off.

Phil

Edited by Phil Ambrose

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I think you will find that hirers have to use the bridge pilot, his hut is on the right hand side facing the bridge, A mate of mine was bridge pilot at Wroxham and at least 2 or 3 times a year he would come home and tell of a hire boat who had declined his services and taken a chunk of roof off.

Phil

Is your post aimed at me Phil? It follows on directly from my post so just checking.

 

If so yes I am aware.

 

If not just ignore me.

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I think you will find that hirers have to use the bridge pilot, his hut is on the right hand side facing the bridge, A mate of mine was bridge pilot at Wroxham and at least 2 or 3 times a year he would come home and tell of a hire boat who had declined his services and taken a chunk of roof off.

Phil

 

In the summer as teenager I used to enjoy sitting, with a camera, by Potter Heigham bridge, it was amazing how many hit it. I used to have a nice collection of photos of boats stuck or halfway etc. :)

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Our first ever hire of a boat (about 35 years ago) was on the Broads (we've never been back - got hooked by canals) and included Potter Heigham. I remember the pilot going round collecting assorted members of the public to stand on the front to get us under. I don't suppose that would be done now, for H&S reasons and insurance.

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Our first ever hire of a boat (about 35 years ago) was on the Broads (we've never been back - got hooked by canals) and included Potter Heigham. I remember the pilot going round collecting assorted members of the public to stand on the front to get us under. I don't suppose that would be done now, for H&S reasons and insurance.

I remember a Union Canal Carriers Dutch Barge style narrowboat (hire boat) doing the same to get under the low bridge leading out of Stratford Basin onto the canal. The bridge has been rebuilt higher since.

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In the summer as teenager I used to enjoy sitting, with a camera, by Potter Heigham bridge, it was amazing how many hit it. I used to have a nice collection of photos of boats stuck or halfway etc. smile.png

Never had a camera but spent ages sitting there as well. Good fish and chips from the hut

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Never had a camera but spent ages sitting there as well. Good fish and chips from the hut

 

lol Never had the money for fish n chips, used to rely on Nanna finding some Bread n Cheese or something. Mind you cheddar was good in those days. All my money went on film or chemicals to develop the film.

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You could always hire a genuine Broads classic woodie from Martham. Both "Juliette" and "Silver Jubilee"are well blessed with space.

Really economical as well. Glide through the water with not much more than a ripple. Can you tell I like them?

Lovely up there too, Horsey has the walk to see the seals plus a cracking pub, The Nelsons Head", West Somerton for "The Lion" and a walk to Winterton for some "seaside experience"! The "Pleasure Boat" is now in the hands of the same landlord as The Nelsons Head and has improved immensely.

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Is your post aimed at me Phil? It follows on directly from my post so just checking.

 

If so yes I am aware.

 

If not just ignore me.

LOL, no not aimed at anybody, just a bit more of interest I hoped.

I also had a friend who moved boats under Wroxham bridge for Connoisseur Cruisers before they became Le Boat and moved to Horning . He used to load up with 50 gallon drums of water plus as many bods as he could find to get under at times of high tides or water levels

Phil

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Ever so slightly off topic,off topic.

 

Looking through some photos of the sixties and seventies of family on the Thames. Hired the old woodies, they weren't then! one was Gay Monica! Means different now I guess. Anyway, what lovely boats they were.

 

Dad must have been only fortyish but why do people of that era look a lot older. I have exceeded his age by eight years so far, but I reckon I still look younge than he looked.

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All my money went on film or chemicals to develop the film.

How times change! You wouldn't find young people spending their money on chemicals nowadays.

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How times change! You wouldn't find young people spending their money on chemicals nowadays.

 

lol Instead they buy printer cartridges to print them out lol I am sure they cost more in real terms than the chemicals did bought from the local chemist in brown bottles with hand written labels. :D

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The hire yards websites tell you which boats will or won't go through the various bridges.

 

They do tend to air on the side of caution though. The boat we are hiring next year claims not to go through Potter Heigham but we know that it does as we have seen boats of the same make and model through there.

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You could always hire a genuine Broads classic woodie from Martham. Both "Juliette" and "Silver Jubilee"are well blessed with space.

Really economical as well. Glide through the water with not much more than a ripple. Can you tell I like them?

Lovely up there too, Horsey has the walk to see the seals plus a cracking pub, The Nelsons Head", West Somerton for "The Lion" and a walk to Winterton for some "seaside experience"! The "Pleasure Boat" is now in the hands of the same landlord as The Nelsons Head and has improved immensely.

Indeed great traditional boats on hire at Martham. We used to hire their traditional wooden sailing cruisers, ''Vagabond'' the cheapest on the broads and Javelin. In 1972, a hot summer. We were on Javelin at Horsey and walked to the Nelsons Head. It was about 4pm, closed really, door open, chickens popping in and out. In we went on the off chance. The elderly landlord came out and said they were closed really and that he was going for a lie down. There's the tariff, serve yourself, just leave the money on the counter 'he said'. Incredible. We were in there a couple of hours, didn't see the landlord again or any other soul, just chickens. We left the money, plus an extra pound tip on the counter. Marvelous.

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The hire yards websites tell you which boats will or won't go through the various bridges.

 

They do tend to air on the side of caution though. The boat we are hiring next year claims not to go through Potter Heigham but we know that it does as we have seen boats of the same make and model through there.

 

The thing that worries me is the hire companies have a get out "under normal tidal conditions". Neither Richardsons nor Herbert Woods would say any of their boats would (always) go under the bridge. What concerns me is the info on the link I put on the opener :

 

With the rise in water levels over the past few years the amount of boats able to negotiate the bridge have dropped from over 10,000 to less than 1800 per year.

 

and

 

This year (2016) water levels have been so high few boats other than small day boats have been able to pass through

Edited by Justin Smith

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berth

You could always hire a genuine Broads classic woodie from Martham. Both "Juliette" and "Silver Jubilee"are well blessed with space.

Really economical as well. Glide through the water with not much more than a ripple. Can you tell I like them?

Lovely up there too, Horsey has the walk to see the seals plus a cracking pub, The Nelsons Head", West Somerton for "The Lion" and a walk to Winterton for some "seaside experience"! The "Pleasure Boat" is now in the hands of the same landlord as The Nelsons Head and has improved immensely.

There are a few reasons I`d like to do that, but, unfortunately, even the biggest 9 berth is unable to provide three cabins where the berths can be left made up. That would basically mean me and the wife would draw the short straw and have to wait to go to bed, then make up our bed, be the first up, then have to unmake the bed. Plus I`d have thought there`d be a shortage of storage for clothes and stuff in what is actually the kitchen area. So, tempted, but not that tempted.......

Edited by Justin Smith

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Further to posts about boats failing to go under bridges, I remember Richardson's had a fly bridge boat that would barely pass under Acle bridge. The hirer went south and tried to go under Beccles bridge , failed of course and he managed to dive out of the way, hus wife was less fortunate and was pinned to the face of the bridge. Miraculously she escaped with very minor scrapes and bruises.

The chap couldn't understand why he lost his deposit nor why Richardson's wouldn't give him another boat.

Phil

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