Didn't we have a lovely time the week we went to Norfolk....
This post was updated on .
Last week 11 Cutters made the trip to Norfolk for a rowing Tour of the Broads. We took Langstone Lady and
Bembridge and were joined by three boats from the Coastal Rowing Association of Blakeney and one from the Lower Thames Rowing Club. We had a fantastic week, racing on Barton Broad, rowing down the Rivers Ant, Thurne and Bure and mooring up overnight at Ludham and Hickling Broad. The galleys were much admired and photographed wherever we went, and despite the best efforts of some very large motor cruisers and the challenges of some very narrow bridges we brought them back unscathed by their adventures. We saw all manner of wildlife including kingfishers, herons, marsh harriers, dragonflies, grass snakes and lots and lots of reeds. If you are interested ( and I won't be offended if you're not! ) there is a more detailed account of our expedition below.
Boats moored at ice cream stop
We set out on Monday in the maximum number of vehicles possible (don't ask, the whole thing was like herding cats).Barry and Nigel towed the boats and kept smiling even when it took us 7 hours to get there and 7 more to get home! Andrew and Debbie took the cheap option and had their car and caravan taken both ways by transporter to avoid having to pay for fuel. On arrival we eased the pain of the journey with a BBQ and plenty of wine supplied by Jenny.
The tour started with racing on Barton Broad, where even with a 4 minute handicap over a 15 minute course both crews acquitted themselves well. We stopped for lunch on a floating pontoon and then rowed 10 miles up the Rivers Ant and Thurne to Ludham where the boats were moored overnight. This involved navigating the very narrow Ludham Bridge with the added hazard that all the large cruisers make U turns right in front of it. I learned a new and very useful coxing technique here, shout 'back down all' a lot to get as far away as possible and then swap seats with someone who knows what they're doing....thanks Steve.
Andrew coxing through Potter Heigham Bridge
On Day 2 we rowed from Ludham onwards up the Thurne to Hickling Broad with a brief detour up a very narrow dyke for a pleasant but mosquito infested lunch. One crew remembered to turn around after lunch and arrived at the Pub in Hickling in time for refreshments before afternoon racing. The other crew made an unscheduled visit to Horsey Mere before realising that they were lost .... you know who you are. Those of us with the energy left to race did so, with a couple of sprints between Bembridge and Hoi Larntern. We swapped crews to try each other's boats and a great time was had by all. The upshot was that galleys are faster on the straight but don't round markers very easily. Tim happened to be in the winning boat both times and is slightly prone to mentioning it. Dinner at the Pleasure Boat Inn was lively, sociable and well lubricated.
Lunch with mosquitoes ... notice our new member Kevin trying to stay out of the picture and wondering what his mate Alan has got him into
Serious race analysis at the Pub at Hickling
Day 3 was the longest, with a row of 21 miles from Hickling to Ludham via the Ferryboat Inn at Horning for one crew and a slightly shorter 14 miles for the other. Philip from CRAB rowed with one Cutters crew and his wife Tessi was passenger in the other which improved language and behaviour in the boats significantly and was enjoyed by all. It rained very very hard for 2 hours in the afternoon so we arrived back in Ludham soaked to the skin. This revealed the limitations of rowing in padded shorts and the amazing powers of Dyson 'hand' driers. Sue chose a more dignified approach to drying out and sat regally in front of the heater dressed in a bin bag. The Tourers dinner was held in an excellent Pub in Neatisead and was enjoyed by all.
Maybe we should have seen it coming ...
Drying out after the downpour
On the last day we wearily rowed the boats back from Ludham to where it all started at Barton Turf, with a stop for morning tea on the way. Having loaded the boats we had a welcome buffet lunch provided by the excellent folks at the campsite before wending our way home. Let's see if we can persuade Adrian to do it all again next year
Truly a great event with some challenging rowing/coxing coupled with much banter, but it would not have happened without someone organizing us and 2 people towing the boats.
So huge big thanks to Rachel for the organization and to Nigel & Barry for towing the boats.