Time for the sailing season's coda...
Early (recklessly early) on the morning of October 24th, Daisy II was relieved of her sentry duty on the Orwell. I woke up at 3am in St Ives (roughly high tide at Pin Mill) and, on a whim, decided there and then to head off to the coast to take the boat off her mooring, rather than to wait, as planned, until the tide later in the day. Arriving at Pin Mill at about 4.30am, there was little time to lose, since the tide was already disappearing from the workable end of the hard. Somehow, through wind and rain and almost pitch black darkness, I managed to take my dinghy out to the boat, start up the outboard, cast off, and feel my way back to shore. How I didn't crash into other moored boats, I will never know. I managed, only just, to ground the boat on the end of the hard, jumped off the boat and dragged her a few feet further aground, so that her bow was safely pointing towards land, and the stern was hanging over the edge of the Grindle. I then waited for the tide to disappear, backed the trailer down the hard, and winched the boat onto the trailer from the mud. By the time I was back up at the slipway, dawn was upon us. Why do I do these things...?
A simple answer is a promised trip to the Norfolk Broads the following day.
The Broads have a series of short visit tolls which are expensive for the two day visit I had planned. It is a pity they do not offer a daily or two day option. Tolls can be paid for at the boatyard at Hickling.
The depth of water on both stretches rarely exceeds a metre, as shown by my echo sounder, but there is a workable consistency of depth for a Drascombe with a dropping centre plate which seems to provide access to the whole broad, barring the odd obstruction invariably marked out by convenient withies. I have heard reports of problems with weeds on centreplates in the summer, but encountered no such issues on this trip.
I have to confess, I was brought up with Exmoor as a backdrop and, having been spoilt from such an early age, miss the landscapes offered by rugged moorland. However, East Anglia offers its own peculiar charm. I referred to this in my account of the area around Orford Ness and Snape Maltings. The Norfolk Broads offers a similarly inspiring landscape. There is something truly magical about the combination of wind, reeds and water. Thanks to an inconveniently narrow bridge at Potter Heigham, the Hickling and Horsey area of the Broads is far less cluttered with hire boats and, for the most part, boaters, fisherpersons and nature lovers are able to indulge in their respective hobbies free from reckless interference...
This picture shows the inviting view from Hickling Staithe, onto Hickling Broad.
The total GPS track for the season now stands at 348.9nm. Whilst the boat will now stay off her mooring until next Spring, I'm planning a couple of trips to some inland reservoirs - such as Rutland Water - prior to putting on the wraps for winter...!