We had arranged to use a friends' motor boat to tow Heather up the Bure to Coltishall, although the plans changed a few days before. Not wanting to withdraw from the event, we considered the use of a hired day launch, however immediately dismissed this when advised day boat providers insurance wouldn't cover towing. We then asked the Bure Navigation Trust organisers if they knew of anyone who was heading to Coltshall who would consider towing us along. Stuart Wilson, Chairman of the BNCT put out an appeal for a tow, including a request on BBC Radio Norfolk, broadcast two days before the event. Thankfully, Faircraft Loynes Boatyard, by Wroxham Bridge offered us the use of their tow boat BUSTER. We set off after the yard closed on Saturday and just managed to squeeze through the old bridge, following some downpours of rain.
We had all the seasons in one day, but mercifully the sun shone most of the afternoon for the centennial celebrations. The day reflected the thoughtful efforts of the Bure Navigation Trust. There were many stalls and cheerful traditional folk music was played. A token cargo of local barley and potatoes were transported by local Sea Scouts on a flotilla of canoes ~ the first delivery of cargo in a hundred years. They embarked from Alysham and paddled some nine miles down to Coltishall to exchange the cargo to ALBION and then ashore.
Heather was popular with visitors; they peered through the window and saw the cabin inside. For some, Heather's basic interior took them back to simpler times. A lady from the Netherlands commented on how cosy the cabin appeared and remarked how there are many similar boats on the Dutch waterways. The overall experience was a joy and the crew had a chance to explore the winding upper navigable reaches of the River Bure in the manner of the original adventurous houseboats of the 19th century ~ which many believe developed into the first motor cabin cruisers.
Jason, Calvin, Chris and Timothy
The crew are sincerely grateful to Paul Greasley and Pat Tubby of Faircraft Loynes, Wroxham.