Anglia Afloat

The last few weeks have seen me pretty busy doing things for Anglia Afloat magazine, my new regular outlet. On the paddling front, it was taking my inflatable kayak away from the Broads for a trip on the River Cam in Cambridgeshire. Not the bit you might think, fighting my way past punts along The Backs in Cambridge (although that is on my hitlist for a future trip). Instead I paddled the lower reaches, starting from the Fish & Duck marina at Pope’s Corner, where the Cam flows into the Great Ouse and Old West.

The plan was to paddle around six miles upstream to Bottisham Lock and then come back. In the normal run of things, that would be quite an easy trip, but after a winter of horrific rainfall, the sluice-controlled flow of the river had been increased, so I was paddling upstream against a pretty stiff current. And as luck would have it, the wind was coming straight at me as well. The result was a pretty tough paddle, and every time I stopped for a breather I would be going backwards instantly. I didn’t quite make it as far as Bottisham Lock, but at least when I did turn back, I had very little to do other than occasional course corrections. It worked out as five miles of strenuous paddling upstream in 2.5 hours, and back again with virtually no paddling in just two!

More recently, I had an assignment to cover a visit by HRH The Princess Royal to the Herbert Woods boatyard in Potter Heigham. Herbert Woods was one of the pioneers of Broads boating holidays, and so the company marked the 60th anniversary of his death with a Heritage Day to which Princess Anne was invited. Two of Herbert Woods’ daughters attended, including one who’d flown in especially for the event from her home in New Zealand, and boat builder Dennis George was presented with a long service award for 50 years working for Herbert Woods.

For me, the nicest part of the Heritage Day was seeing the boats they had on display, from their very latest cruiser Sovereign Light, with bow and stern thrusters, and beautifully fitted out inside, to the oldest Herbert Woods cruiser still afloat – the 1927 built all wood Spark of Light, just oozing traditional charm.

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