Cruising on the Southern Rivers and Broads is a different experience, ghosting through acres of marshland with nary a person in sight only wildlife and so good for the soul. Even better was the dawning realisation that the devices we use to run our busy lives, become things we can live without! Read on.....
A boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads is always good fun but especially when blessed with all the wonderful sunshine, balmy nights and no wind that have been a feature for the last two months. We set off from Wroxham on the northern River Bure for a week's cruise on the southern rivers The Yare, Chet and Waveney.
We set off around midday drifting along towards our destination for the first night, Stokesby which is about halfway between Wroxham and Great Yarmouth. The river and the village are very pretty and there are plenty of moorings, both in front of the really good pub and along the bank -as these moorings are private, there is a small fee for staying the night.
At 7.30am the next morning we set sail for Great Yarmouth journeying through the flat marshlands and floodplains taking advantage of the ebbing tide to carry us along at a fair old lick, arriving at the bridges in Yarmouth at slack water and having cleared them easily, we caught the flooding tide which shoved us along nicely across a calm Breydon water towards Somerleyton.
It is quite noticeable how the landscape changed as we entered the southern rivers, with lovely mixed woodlands set back and standing tall on higher ground which gives a feeling of coziness and being shepherded down the river. We decided to stop for lunch just before Somerleyton Bridge, so we tied up at the free moorings and hurried up the pathway to enjoy a very pleasant lunch in the garden of The Dukes Head in Somerleyton.
After that respite decided to head on down to Beccles, which is a few hours further on, easily cruising along on the remaining ebb and slack tide. Again lovely landscape and lots of birds, the usual cormorants and geese, but also buzzards, marsh harriers and so exciting, an osprey hunting the riverbank and marshes, wheeling quite unconcerned over our heads. We reckon he was also on his hols, taking time out from the migration journey to Africa.
We arrived in Beccles early evening and moored stern to the quay and plugged in the umbilical cord to recharge the batteries. The marina which is on the outskirts of the town, just a ten minute walk to the centre, is more like a park with lovely trees, beautifully tended grass, people walking dogs, children playing ball and those less active, just sitting on the benches, relaxing and watching the world going by.
Beccles has everything you could want, delightful boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, great pubs and plenty of things to keep you entertained. The Lido is just a short walk from the marina and an early morning swim in heated water basking in the sunshine is just a wonderful experience.
The town is very peaceful and to be honest I could have stayed there for a week. As it turned out, because of an engine problem, we were there for two days. So on our second day with all problems resolved, we took the opportunity to explore further along the Waveney, cruising down to Geldeston Locks and enjoying a lovely lunch at the 'Locks Inn' before returning to the Beccles Marina for the evening.
The following morning under cover or glorious sunshine, we headed off back up the Waveney to the New Cut and through to Reedham for lunch at The Ferry. The tide here can be tricky, but we managed to get sorted and wandered into the pub for a bite of very tasty food.
The tide turned and so with the flood tide with us, we set off again upstream to the turning off to Loddon.