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The Norfolk Broads Forum / First Time on the Broads / Picnic boat, PH Bridge, Mud Weights,& Other Advice
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Picnic boat, PH Bridge, Mud Weights,& Other Advice

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Monty2018
Apr-15-2018 @ 3:38 PM                           Permalink
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Hello all,
I've stumbled across your forum whilst researching a trip to the Broads for my significant birthday in late May. Any help that you could give me would be very much appreciated, as I have practically no boating experience. Any knowledge that I have picked up is from searching the internet over the last few weeks, so please accept my apologies if I am talking rubbish at any point!

The original plan was to hire a boat for a week, but due to my other half's worries about midges (which I can vouch for the fact that they are exceptionally attracted to her whilst keeping well clear of me) this has now been boiled down to a holiday cottage for a week by the sea and a picnic boat (it must have a loo) for the birthday, hired from Wroxham or Potter Heigham or thereabouts.

I am hoping that my wife will be so enamoured with our day visit that we will return for a full week later, so am hoping to try and get the best taster day that I can. With that in mind can anyone offer any helpful advice re the following.

1. Do picnic boats (as opposed to day boats) all fit under Potter Heigham Bridge, at any time of the day, and if so do you need a pilot?
2. Do picnic boats have a mud weight, as I would quite like to potter around and then rest up in the middle of a broad for a bite to eat rather than at a mooring.
3. To get the best out of the day, and as we both like peace and quiet, I fancy the idea of sticking to say the area above Potter Heigham Bridge, or would we better going for a longer trip from Wroxham e.g. Salhouse and Ranworth Broad and anywhere else we can get to. I guess I am trying to weigh up whether that area will be too busy for us or will it give us more variety?
4. The icing on the cake for my birthday, would be to see a kingfisher - any ideas where the best chance would be?
5. Are midges a problem, either during the day or if we were to return for a full week? We have a campervan and tend to avoid any campsites near water, so maybe I am being too ambitious to consider a week actually on the water?

Sorry if this is a bit long winded, but any help would be gratefully appreciated, before I take the plunge and book a boat.

Jillywix
Apr-15-2018 @ 4:21 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Monty - firstly I may get corrected here, but I have never encountered a midge on the Norfolk Broads.  I've been harassed by them in Scotland but never on the Broads.  Plenty of mosquitoes here though.

If you want to experience the waterways above Potter Heigham, then I recommend hiring a picnic boat from Whispering Reeds at Hickling which is above the bridge. They have the lovely Bittern - a great picnic boat with mudweight.

As for Kingfishers, they are there above Potter Heigham but more spaced out.  I regularly see them on Meadow Dyke and Waxham Cut.    Below the bridge I've seen plenty on the River Ant, but to see them you need to be there when it is not busy, which makes it tricky but not impossible.  Otherwise keep an ear out for a high pitched shriek and then look for a blur of blue! Hope that helps.

Matt40
Apr-15-2018 @ 6:13 PM                           Permalink
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I can tell you pretty much exactly how and when to see Kingfisher's in Potter

Monty2018
Apr-15-2018 @ 6:58 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Jillywix,
Thanks for that, I hadn't thought of Mosquitos - all biting insects seem to love my wife, but I guess we should be OK during the day.

The bittern was already on my list to consider, thanks for the information on the mud weight, also the kingfishers. Does it seem a good idea to restrict ourselves to the area above PH for the day or should we try to see a bit more. I don't particularly want to spend all my time driving around, but at the same time would like to get a taste for what a week would have to offer.

Exile
Apr-15-2018 @ 10:43 PM                           Permalink
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Keeping north of Potter would not give a full experience of a week on the Broads. However... It is certainly one of the best bits of Broadland (in my personal opinion, the best bit) and will give a good impression of the area. Particularly as you both like peace and quiet.
The two pubs at Hickling and one at Horsey are worth a lunch break.
If you are going to spend the whole day on the boat you will be able to comfortably go down from Potter to Thurne and possibly South Walsham as well. Any further and it will all seem a bit rushed. If you want to spend some time off the boat avoid that last bit and stretch your legs on one of the numerous local footpaths. I would normally suggest the walk from Horsey Mere to the seal colony on Horsey beach (via the local pub if required). But that may take a bit too much of your hire time if you only have the boat for a day.


On the whole I find that mossies and midges are a problem near water rather than on it. They seem to be a pain for most on the waters edge but not once they get on a moving boat.
Get your wife some of the Avon cream that most (including my wife) swear by as an insect repellent. Off hand I cannot remember the exact product name but someone on here is bound to know. It works brilliantly and unlike normal repellents does not smell rank.

Finally, if boating fails to impress your wife you seem to have won anyway. The Norfolk coast is a great holiday destination too! Particularly IMO the long stretch from Old Hunst'on to Overstrand.

Edit to add. Whispering Reeds would be my choice for a day boat too.




This message was edited by Exile on Apr-15-18 @ 10:45 PM

Sheque1
Apr-16-2018 @ 8:32 AM                           Permalink
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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Avon-Original-Spray-Jojoba-Citronellol/dp/B01EB6FNCI/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1523863895&sr=8-3&keywords=avon+-+skin+so+soft

Urbanbushman1
Apr-16-2018 @ 8:33 AM                           Permalink
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Hello Monty. I have to agree with Exile. Hire whispering reed and explore the tranquility which north of potter has to offer. Some beautiful locations in which to unwind and enjoy the total peace and quiet. Then perhaps a lazy short cruise down to south Waltham to enjoy your lunch with a bottle of chilled wine ( the wife will be impressed ) whilst out in the middle of the broad. You will both be hooked !
Regards kevin

Urbanbushman1
Apr-16-2018 @ 8:36 AM                           Permalink
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Ps. The cream you want to keep the insects away is called Avon skin so soft. We had an eight day walking holiday in the Scottish highlands last year and this spray really did work. It's not greasy or smelly either !

Jillywix
Apr-16-2018 @ 10:09 AM                           Permalink
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Monty, in response to your question, I would not necessarily restrict myself to just above Potter - but, if you are only hiring the boat for one day then there is plenty of water to explore above the bridge allowing for lunch etc.  Depends whether you want quiet, wild beauty or the hubbub of busy cruising and popular spots.  If you want to hire a boat for the entire time and not a holiday cottage then I would go below the bridge.   There is a chance your picnic boat would fit under the bridge dependent on tides, but if not then hiring above the bridge gives you the access your original post mentioned.

insert
Apr-16-2018 @ 10:44 AM                           Permalink
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Just to add that Martham Ferry (under new ownership) also have day boats above Potter bridge

http://www.marthamferryboatyard.co.uk/

They have Siesta 20 (not listed on the website for some reason) which has a loo I think but is smaller than some so better if you also want to go through the bridge.

Should also mention Martham Boats, but if you want a toilet then Jayne is their only suitable one I think https://www.marthamboats.com/hire/motor-cruisers/14-jayne#jh-dateStart and she's normally hired for more than a day (although I think they may hire her for a day if she's not out).


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