A warm, friendly Heather welcome

We are delighted to share Heather, an historic boat, artistic refuge and home for over a century, laying on the ancient Broads Waterways of Norfolk.

It is our aim to preserve the distinctive character of Heather, enabling future generations to enjoy her charms. We welcome you to explore the houseboat and bountiful riverside beyond...

Andrew, Timothy and Christopher

6 December 2013

Winter Wherrying


Grey, misty and still.  Not the most auspicious start to a day's wherrying on Monday, but opportunities in the depths of winter to go out and enjoy 'Maud' are few and far between.  Driving up from Suffolk, I kept anxiously checking to see if there was wind in the sky, even a slight zephyr would have been enough.

My musings were cut short however, as being the first to arrive I quickly fell to the tasks of removing hatch VIII, sweeping away the cobwebs, removing the cuddy doors, etc...

At this point, I should add that whilst I have had some experience of sailing 'Maud', today is the first time where I shall be skippering her.  In some respects I am very grateful for the benign conditions!

Soon, Linda (owner) and Chris arrive, and then moments later Jimmy (rcc Caress) Joe (a friend) and Isla appear.  In a very short space of time we find ourselves outside the shed, vane on, mast rigged and ready to depart. 

Slowly, we motor downriver to Thurne junction, where the familiar 'clankclankclank' of the winch intrudes on the river's solitude.  Bizarrely, the lack of wind makes it difficult to ascertain the correct height of the peak!

Busying myself below, I quickly apply black lead paint, kindling and matches to the stove in the cuddy.  Before long a kettle simmers away, whilst the smoke does it's best to distract the helmsman.

Tidally, the day wasn't out to help us, and so we gently motored on towards St Benets.  Jimmy's inspiration was to heat some donuts in a frying pan for us all.  Delicious.

Once moored, the box chimney was raised and with this extra 'draw' the stove soon kicked out enough heat for us to dispense with the spirit cooker, and kettle after kettle soon furnished our thirsts.  An adventurous few walked to admire the recent restoration work on the ruins of the abbey, although soon came back to sit near the warmth!

Both Joe and Isla had never been wherry before, so it was a pleasure to give them such a 'textbook' day in terms of the Broadland landscape.  Both of them we hope to see again soon.

Motoring downstream, a vigorous clean of 'Maud' was attempted with right ups, gaff, winch posts, timber heads, eyes, rudder stock, etc all receiving attention!

All too soon, we entered Womack Water and began the process of de-rigging prior to mooring in the shed. It struck me, that once again, 'Maud' had succeeded in bringing together a group of strangers and very quickly integrating them into a productive team.  In seemingly no time at all, we were alongside, squared away and fitting VIII again.

A perfect day.  Here's to January's trip.

Joe Farrow, Skipper

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King's Head Staithe, Hoveton, pictured from Wroxham public Parish Staithe