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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Holiday Tales / Three nights on Sweet Freedom in May
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Three nights on Sweet Freedom in May

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sierramikehotel
May-07-2017 @ 1:27 PM                           Permalink
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Learning The Ropes
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The journey up wasn't great, including a two-hour wait on the M25 while an accident was cleared ahead of us, so the planned exploration of Norwich will have to wait for another day and we headed straight to the boatyard.

Freedom is a small boatyard but very professional.  It was a good handover with everything explained that we needed to know.  We're novices so the lesson was very much appreciated.

Sweet Freedom is not exactly the height of modernity or luxury, but at the price we paid she absolutely met our expectations - basic and rather dated, but in perfectly acceptable condition.  This isn't meant as criticism, as the price is set just right!  As novices it was good to start out on a smaller boat, too.

As we had a bit of a late start we didn't get too far on day one, but moored for the night at the New Inn on Rockland Broad.  The pub's a friendly little local, with basic but good quality food in enormous portions.  

We were up quite early and discovered we were out of gas, so decided to head for Reedham in the hope of finding breakfast there.  It felt a bit early to be phoning the boatyard and we wanted to be under way.

At Reedham the gas was sorted out in the time it took us to get takeaway coffee from the little shop so we were able to make bacon sandwiches for breakfast.  Fortunate because, according to the very helpful Broads ranger, there's nowhere in the village to eat.

Onwards along the New Cut to St Olaves.  I went to a St Olaves school so it was for the name as much as anything else.  The Bell is an excellent pub for food and another exemplar of the Norfolk Pub Portion - enough for a family!  We enjoyed poking around the ruins of the priory and meeting the llamas, then had a restful afternoon playing cards and reading on the boat.

Fortunately the warm air heating aboard Sweet Freedom is more than capable of getting her cabin hot as the weather was not exactly warm.

Day three dawned and we wanted to get a bit of a voyage under our belts.  We had to get back somewhere close to the boatyard but decided to go the long way round.

It was a beautiful morning so the canopy was opened and we cruised up to Burgh Castle in shirt sleeves.  We were ahead of schedule so enjoyed our bacon sandwiches and had a good wander around the castle ruins.  Good views across the water to the Berney Arms.

Up to the end of the Waveney before turning back down the Yare, with the little stretch of open water giving me a real wish to cross Breydon Water.  Not enough time on this trip, but maybe next time!

The Berney Arms is a lonely spot, and I can see why the pub's struggled to survive.  We continued on with the landscape slowly and gradually changing from reeds to grass and trees.  We continued on to Reedham where we'd hoped for lunch in the Nelson but they're not doing food at the moment so we had pasta on board.  The sky was clouding over so the canopy went back up.  A good decision - the temperature really dropped during the course of the afternoon.

Onwards to our final overnight mooring, the Ferry Inn at Surlingham.  Best pub of the trip, we thought - really nice inside, friendly staff and excellent home-cooked food.

The final morning saw us heading back to Freedom boatyard.  My partner kindly scrubbed and tidied on the move as I steered so we had a quick handover.

So, to recap.

*Sweet Freedom is an excellent boat for first-timers and anyone wanting to dip their toes in the Broads (as it were).  She's small and easy to manoeuvre, cheap to hire if you're on a budget, but has all the basics you'll need.

*Early May is really quiet on the Broads.  We barely saw another boat and we could have moored wherever we wanted.

*The Southern Broads are great if you're all about the cruising.  I could have happily just kept going all day, watching the surroundings slowly change, and ending up at another decent pub.

Hylander
May-07-2017 @ 2:56 PM                           Permalink
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It was so interesting to read your holiday tale.  A bit naughty having you run out of gas the first morning, that is something that should never happen.  It must have just been completely overlooked.  As I cook all meals on board from scratch the air would have been blue and I wouldnt have cared how late or early they would have had to come out to replace the cylinder.    You are so laid back and so unlike myself.   I know all the spots you visited well as we used to have our own boat and were moored at St Olaves Marina.   The Priory is a good place to eat as well.   If you ever go there to eat , try the Halibut and prawns in a cheese sauce.   Out of this world.



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sierramikehotel
May-07-2017 @ 3:12 PM                           Permalink
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I skimmed over that to not make the post too lengthy - it was a small issue and quickly solved.

The second gas bottle was full and it just needed switching over - however at the boatyard we'd been told we wouldn't need to worry about gas, and I'm inexperienced so didn't want to start mucking about with it.  A more experienced boater probably would have sorted it out themselves.

Hylander
May-07-2017 @ 3:17 PM                           Permalink
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Oh dear not so tragic after all.   I tell you every day you learn something new so they say.    It would not have occurred to me either but may be to hubby.  My department is the cooking any mechanics is his department.

Are you looking forward to your next holiday.   It is like a bug once you get it , you cannot shift it.  It gets in your blood the Broads.

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Islander
May-07-2017 @ 3:38 PM                           Permalink
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Hi SMH, glad to hear you enjoyed your trip on the southern rivers. You don't have to go too far to find good food etc. Avoid school holidays and the South is very quiet.
Freedom provide excellent boats at reasonable prices and a very personal service. I gather from your later post you had a full gas bottle onboard but we're not confident in swapping the regulator over so I don't blame you for giving them a call. I didn't think Andy and the team would have overlooked such a basic requirement. Some boats have a switch over valve and twin hoses but these can be expensive. Simple is safer.
Hope you are thinking of your next trip already.
Colin Cheers

sierramikehotel
May-07-2017 @ 4:07 PM                           Permalink
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It's a funny thing, I do most of the cooking and cleaning at home as my partner has a more high-powered job and works longer hours, but the minute we were on the boat we slipped into more traditional gender roles!  We both enjoyed ourselves just as much though.

Yes definitely planning to go again, and for longer next time.  I'd absolutely recommend Andy and the Freedom team but might go elsewhere next time just to see different areas... we'll see!

I went on the Broads a couple of times as a child (9 and 10, I think) and I've always wanted to go back.  This was the first time as an adult and it was just as good as I remember!  First time for my other half (although she has done a couple of canal trips) and she loved it too.


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