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Posted By Discussion Topic: Want to try the Broads again....

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johnash
Jul-19-2010 @ 11:40 AM                           Permalink
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I first had a boating holiday on the Broads with my Dad and I think it must have been 1959 or 1960. I was hooked!

We had many happy cruises since. But our last trip was in 1997 and we have not been back since.

We always used to go out of season, usually April, always for 2 weeks, in order to experience relatively quiet rivers.

However, in '97 and on our previous trip, possibly in '95, the whole system was overrun by people using newspaper coupons (The Sun, I think)for cheap, short holidays. This offer was run by Richardsons and Heart Cruisers which I assume they owned. It was a nightmare as their only interest seemed to be to speed between pubs and we actually took to renting bikes at each mooring in order to get away from the chaos. We vowed never to return.

But, never say never and I am hankering after coming back (from Spain now, where we retired to).

I've been told that there are now far fewer hire boats on the Broads with many boatyards going out of business. So, my question for this forum is:- if we were to book a boat for next April, avoiding Easter whenever that is, would the rivers be as quiet as we used to experience back in the 80s and 90s (Sun offer periods excluded)?

We are really looking forward to coming back, hopefully! I'd be grateful for any advice you guys can give us.

PS On the past few occasions, we rented a GL2 from Connoisseur - I think they have moved?

JohnA

DanHorner
Jul-19-2010 @ 12:16 PM                           Permalink
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Hi John

Yes, if you hire in April and not during Easter holidays the rivers are normally fairly quiet and not manic, a nice number of boats about really.

There's been a bit of a revival in very recent times and hireboat numbers have increased a bit rather than the decreases we were seeing ten years ago, though most of this has happened on the northern Broads.  The Southern Broads are noticeably quieter, especially with the large-ish hirefleets of Hearts, Broom etc closing.

First Choice who owned Crown Blue Line, Connoisseur & Emerald Star have rebranded the three companies to now come under the "Le Boat" banner and as you say they now run out of Horning, to allow the fleet to expand and have more boat styles (including those that cant fit under Wroxham bridge and others).  They now call their GL2 models "Swallowtail".  Still nice, spacious boats for two but there are lots of other models and new designs that have emerged since your last visit.

I cant see you would have the same experience again other than in peak school holiday weeks (though I guess you cant guarantee meeting a boat or two with this outlook) so it seems a good plan to me - have a great holiday!

All the best

Dan

http://www.fbwilds.horning.org.uk (My website on the Caribbean bathtub!)
http://www.dhorner.horning.org.uk (My General Boating Website)

This message was edited by DanHorner on Jul-19-10 @ 12:18 PM

johnash
Jul-19-2010 @ 12:25 PM                           Permalink
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Hola Dan!

That's great. Thanks, we are much encouraged. Prices have gone up, of course, and income gone down. So it may be for 10 days this time. We could still get quite a bit done, including the southern rivers which I love.

The boat my Dad hired was from Geo. Smith of Wroxham (how can I remember that and not what happened yesterday?). Sewage was pumped out into the river and we had an ice box with frozen water container, changeable at any Blakes' boatyard.

We sailed up to Norwich Yacht Station and had it to ourselves, almost.

JohnA

zacthedog
Jul-19-2010 @ 2:23 PM                           Permalink
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John, i did one of the sun offers years ago, it was with pennant - another name gone, from potter hiegham,5 days for £45.00 so not bad for the two of us.
April should be fine, i said we would spend my 40th on the broads, got the calander out and yes... Thursday 16 april - easter week, bugger, picked the boat up from acle and went down south for most of the week, had no problems at all with crowds, it was so peacefull,then went to wroxham on thursday and the differance was unbelievable. But that was easter week

Gary
1hr 30mins 60mls away
forum girly swot 19/3/2010

GalleySlave
Jul-19-2010 @ 5:04 PM                           Permalink
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well I dont think those Sun offers run any more (sounds frightful!)

we have usually visited for the second easter weened week for the last few years.  OK the actual bank hol is a bit busy, but after that? its really rather quiet, never really had a problem mooring where we want to etc

probably being in a smaller two person boat helps

Have sharp knife and can burn water

johnash
Jul-20-2010 @ 12:07 PM                           Permalink
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Yes it was all pretty horrendous. We can put up with the odd boatload of lads wanting to have what they think is a "good time" by speeding between pubs but not rivers-full of them!

Just hope we can make it back next year. I have just retrieved my box file of books, maps and logs and having nostalgic fun going through them. It includes a Hoseasons map from mid-70s, I'm guessing. It cost 30p.

By the way, do boatyards still rent out sailing dinghies? I see "Le Boat" are only offering a rowing dinghy.

Thanks for all the feedback. Much appreciated.

JohnA

Craig
Jul-20-2010 @ 9:25 PM                           Permalink
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Not many yards hire sailie dinghies nowadays, but NBYCo in Horning do - I did notice a boat from another yard towing one of their dinghies this June.

Craig
http://www.horning.org.uk
http://boats.horning.org.uk
http://broadlandarchive.horning.org.uk
http://www.ThreeRiversRace.org.uk

johnash
Jul-21-2010 @ 7:48 AM                           Permalink
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That's useful. Thanks Craig.

JohnA

johnash
Jun-08-2017 @ 12:47 PM                           Permalink
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I'm reviving this thread in the hope of an update!

Despite the best of intentions, we never did make it back to the Broads. But some friends, who actually live in Lowestoft, are about to take a week's holiday on a hire boat and this has once again got the juices going to get back on a boat again!

Has there been much change since my initial post here, I wonder? Our friends, first timers, are going to restrict their week to the southern rivers so they won't be able to report back on the business or otherwise of the northern rivers and broads.

When I went with my Dad (out of Geo Smith, who it now emerges was run by the father of a friend who now lives in a local village here in Spain - what a coincidence!), most of the rivers were fairly quiet and the southern rivers all but empty in stretches!

I don't think GL2s are available any more from "Le Boat" now at Horning? Loved that boat. I think it was probably the most expensive 2-berth for hire, then!

JohnA

Moderately_Slow
Jun-08-2017 @ 2:15 PM                           Permalink
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You'll find the Southern rivers quieter than the North. Scenery is varied from the downstream marshes to the densely wooded banks of the upper Yare and of course Loddon, Beccles and Norwich too.
Brooms are back with a very nice hire fleet. Started off with 3 boats about 3-4 seasons ago. Now have a good selection of posh boats. Come at a posh price though. For the budget conscious you can't beat the Southern yards for price or service. Try Freedom Boats on the Yare, Maffet and Pacific up at Loddon. There's plenty to see and do without going North. Forgot , there is also Sandersons at Reedham and Silverline at Brundall (nice tidy looking boats).

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