For me one of the best times of the year to cruise the rivers and broads of Norfolk has to be late autumn/early winter.  Gone are the crowds of summer with their pirate flags and captain hats.  The reeds turn gold and on a fine still day there is a peace.  Wildlife encounters are around every bend, maybe a majestic Marsh Harrier or elusive Bittern, a flash of electric blue as a Kingfisher speeds by.  Flocks of ducks and geese abound and if you are very lucky you may glimpse a shy Otter.

On the River Bure

What would you choose?  A sleek modern cruiser with all the features and comforts of home?  Or perhaps you prefer the traditional wooden boats of the 1950’s.

Approaching Ant Mouth

I spent forty years working as a boat builder on the Broads.  In that time I have made everything from rowing dinghies to around the world sailing yachts, cheap and cheerful holiday cruisers to a £million  floating palace for an Arab prince.  The best times however were when I was out moving the boats from one yard to another at this time of the year!


29 thoughts on “Cruising

  1. Modern every time. I couldn’t sail for the life of me.
    I had a wooden sailboat my father built when I was around ten or eleven.
    We were at a family reunion at Peterborough one summer and we were picnicking by the river so we sent the boat out on its maiden voyage – attached to a long piece of string, of course.
    It was in the water no more than five minutes when a motor cruiser came by, took up the string, dragged my sailboat under and chopped off the masts!

    Ah … happy days! *Smile*.

    My father sailed as a lad when he lived in Newquay, and my younger brother also did a bit when he was at Uni while he stayed in Southampton.
    I got seasick on a boat during a school trip to Bristol zoo and I wasn’t very happy in the very choppy water when we took a boat out to Seal Island off the Cape coast.
    As you might guess, I am not a water baby!

    I have great admiration for the level of craftsmanship that blokes like you possess, Brian.
    To me, a saw or a paintbrush is always something someone else should be holding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ark that is a tragic way to lose your boat! I can’t sail either!
      As for seasickness I too suffer, first time was on a ferry across the north sea, flat calm! Mind you the cheap ale might have played a part 🙂 However being in a dingy, fishing for pike on the broads, in a mid-winter gale with the waves coming over the gunwales didn’t bother me in the slightest!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have our rivers nearby , but for the most part pretty landlocked here in the Heartland – always appreciate those will craftsmen skills especially with the added element of the notorious flaw finding ability of water!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve heard it before, but why stop me now~?

    “A boat is a device for making a hole in the water, into which you continually pour money …”

    —and it’s a damn good excuse for being English.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid in the summer those that have the flags and hats are not generally here to enjoy the serenity or wildlife, quite often they are seen way over the speed limit, music blaring out as they dash from one pub to the next. At times the rivers can resemble a motorway, it brings in much needed tourist money to the economy and jobs which is good but at what cost? Us ‘locals’ can enjoy the Broads when it is quiet. I must say it is better now than say 30 years ago, probably because it’s cheaper to fly to islands in the Med to ‘party’.

      Liked by 1 person

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