The facilities at Ludham Bridge for sailing boats to raise of lower masts below the bridge are quite poor so we had a longer than usual quant from the eastern, windward, bank. We moored up on the Ludham Stores side of the bridge, purchased some supplies and then headed up the road for the ‘Dog’ about 5 mins walk away. Here Peter’s wake was held with many stories of his sayings and exploits being swapped over a beer or two.
Then back to the boats for the rest of the journey to Gay’s Staithe. The day had brightened over lunch but the temperature remained cool as we sailed on past How Hill noting many bank improvements from the Broads’ Authority. Bank rebuilding, flood defence works, tree lopping and pollarding all in evidence.
As a result the river is a bit wider and the wind a bit more plentiful, especially in that piece through Irstead village which has always been a drift. Unfortunately for Chris & Dave the cutting back at low level exposed the upper branches of a thorny tree. The result was that, in tacking near the left bank their sail snagged on the thorns and was ripped. They immediately stopped and took the sail down to minimise damage and then set off back for Ludham bridge under the jib. Here they moored up and rang the yard’s number to arrange for a replacement sail.
As we passed through Irstead village there were two herons on different parts of the bank along here and some magnificent swans, one male doing a fearsome display. Then onto the open waters of Barton Broad. As time was now getting on we headed straight over to Gay’s Staithe following a grebe who seemed to be ducking under our bow as we, with the following wind, sailed in without a problem. Plenty of room for mooring this time. Our companions in Tarn had the good fortune to see the solar powered boat “Ra” that undertakes nature trips around Barton. I’ve neverseen her in real life myself.
Another bit of good news here. There is now an excellent toilet block about 100m from the staithe. Walk up to the road, turn right and then, in 25 yards, turn left past the Old Rectory. Just past the house’s grounds is the new block, complete with a small car park and bike stand, all very neatly laid out. The reason for this is to provide access to a nature observation boardwalk that is on the south edge of Barton broad. It’s only about a 10 minute walk and there’s a map to show you how to get there.
A walk down to Neatishead village brings us to the T junction and the White Horse pub with the small restaurant on the opposite corner. Some of us chose to eat in the pub whilst the young weekender ones decided on the restaurant. No real beer there, but a good report of the food and wine. The pub was busy with a set of local youngsters celebrating a birthday. Beer in fine form. The walk back to the dyke was again just lit by the brilliant display of stars in the clear night air.
To see maps of this year’s voyage visit the Maps category.