Friday, August 05, 2016

A Conversation with the Coot Club

It came as no surprise to pass "Death and Glory" as we made our way back up the Bure from a short cruise on Cygnet. I had been having an internal dialogue with the Coot Club ever since we came through Horning.

Back in the golden day, when I was a lad, before the old Ferry Inn had burned down and the wherry Albion was still trading, there was nowhere near the river traffic there is today. It seems to my inner dyspeptic, grumpy old git that nothing will ever be the same. "Take a grip!" The positive. open, hopeful self replies. "Its change. All things change and yet nothing changes." The Coot club reminded me that although the Hullabaloos have taken over the pub, they tend to congregate in  certain places and the Broads are still a magic breathing space. More than ever  guardians of the Broads are called fight to protect, nurture and celebrate this unique environment.



You are right boys and the good news is there are lots of us at it. Horsey, where we had moored for two nights is in the care of the National Trust, Hickling and Barton broads in the care of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We'd seen Hathor of the Wherry Yacht Charter ( http://www.wherryyachtcharter.org/index.php) out on Barton Broad and moored at How Hill.  Hunter's Yard Fleet boats (http://www.huntersyard.co.uk/)
were in evidence everywhere, as were the Martham Ferry Boatyard fleet (http://www.marthamferryboatyard.co.uk/) and the Welpton fleet too https://www.eastwood-whelpton.co.uk/index



There are new developments in hand, the is nearly complete Three Rivers Way,  and a bike routes network that is expanding (https://norfolkbroadscycling.co.uk/).

Before long a riverside path from Ludham Bridge to St.Benet's will be open and there are plans afoot to improve and improve the  access to Hoveton Great Broad http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/2m_of_lottery_cash_awarded_for_work_on_private_broad_1_4147300)

Even now Hoveton Great Broad (access from the river or by ferry from Salhouse Broad http://www.salhousebroad.org.uk/ferry.html) provides a haven of calm away from one of the most congested part of the Broads river network. What do you expect?  Its August!  Out on the river a 45 foot hire boat, skippered by a child and encouraged by adults is powering past a day boat at 7 knots, or more,  creating a prodigious bow wave! Hallabaloos ! Unimpressed,  Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies feed quietly on Hemp Agrimony.

On Wednesday night the White Horse, Neatishead there were morris dancers - Kemp's Men (that's me on the left) and an appreciative audience. Beer and dancing, cakes and ale - what could be more English?

And the built heritage was being maintained too - work on the Horsey Wind pump, St. Benet's ruins freshly restored, church towers raising eyes heavenward and windpumps, soon to benefit from the Water, Mills and Marshes project (http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/looking-afte
r/projects/water,-mills-and-marshes)
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There are places where the Broads river network is over crowded. The increase in the size of hire boats over the years has reduced the number of boats that can fit on moorings.

Air draught limits where the biggest boats can now go.
And so at some spots like the Bure by Salhouse Broad, with Hullaballoos racing to the next congested pub mooring, the river is pretty busy. In other places, the southern rivers and above Wroxham and Potter Heigham bridges, there is less pressure.

In fact, the 6 foot air draft of Potter bridge acts as a Hullabaloo filter. There was plenty of room on the morrings once we were through - all very Swallows and Amazons (to stay with Arthur Ransom but to leave the Coot Club behind) ! A walk across the meadows to the beach revealed very few humans bathing and sunbathing.


Seals were something else!

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