Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympic Torch Relay

Above: Thames Traditional Boat Society's Sgian Dubh.            Below: In Teddington Lock.

With the help of some friendly members of the Ditton's Skiff and Punting Club, we launched Cherub down a 2 foot drop into the Thames. At 6 next morning we rowed up river to Hampton Court to wait for the arrival of Matthew Pinsent with the olympic flame. With the flame transferred to the bow of Gloriana, Cherub took up her position in the accompanying flotilla of skiffs and gigs for the row down to Richmond. On board were Dan, Mark, Lynne and Adrian. Once again Cherub proudly carried the Norfolk flag on the Thames.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Head of Navigation Challenge 2012

Last year I decided to row to the heads of navigation of all the rivers of the Broads and to visit all the navigable broads.

It's taken until 17th July this year to tick more broads and heads of navigation off the list, but yesterday Lynne and I launched Cherub at Rockland St Mary slipway. The slip belongs to the local charity. Key for the locked gates, from the first house up the hill, costs £2 for launch and recovery within 24 hours, which is very modest. The charity also maintains a free parking area.  I understand that the fee will rise to £3 next year.
Getting the trailer on and off the slipway is not easy, because of its proximity to the road, but launching from the concrete ramp is straightforward. The New Inn is another attraction, which we were unable to enjoy on this occasion.

From the staith, with its free 24 hour moorings, a narrow dyke leads to Rockland Broad. We followed the buoyed channel to the left entering the river Yare near on old pumping house. Turning upstream we  rowed into a moderate headwind, encouraged by the thought of sailing back later in the day; we had brought the mast and sail with us.

With Strumpshaw Marshes to the north and Surlingham Marsh to the south there was not a building or person to be seen, with the exception of an occasional naturalist visiting the Mid Yare Valley Nature Reserve.

At Brundall, the riverside development encroaches on the natural scene. Notice boards, bungalows and marinas occupy the north bank. To the south, Coldham Hall PH and two weatherboarded boat sheds are less obtrusive. Beyond the boat sheds a narrow dyke takes you to the seclusion of Surlingham Broad and there, amongst the waterlilies and dragonflies, we dropped the mud weight for a picnic lunch in the intermittent sunshine.

On the return journey we raised the mast and sail once back in the main river, but a gusty beam wind prevented the leisurely passage that I had anticipated.

Two more broads visited and a section of the river Yare from Surlingham to Rockland navigated. Frustratingly the section from Paddy's Pump to Surlingham Broad remains for another occasion to complete the upper reaches of the Yare.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Explore the Broads, Horning

11th July and three boats were launched at Horning Sailing Club, by kind permission of the commodore and committee. Imogen and Tony joined us for the first time as did Victoria from Blakeney Rowing Club.

The thunderstorm, which had threatened retreated, leaving a still and pleasant evening for Widgeon, Raineach and Cherub to investigate the Bure.

Heading upstream from Horning we reached Black Horse Broad (Hoveton Little Broad on the OS map). An anticlockwise circumnavigation
brought us back to the entrance from where we turned upstream again, enticed by the distant view
of a thatched boathouse on the Salhouse bank.

We turned at the boathouse and were back to Horning SC in time to retrieve the boats and visit The Swan for supper.

Everyone agreed that it had been a pleasant outing and had been a good opportunity to forge links with Horning Sailing Club and Blakeney Rowing Club.