This will be the first of 4 bloggs about my Easter weekend on the Norfolk broads organised by my good friend Nick Dennis of the OCA and hosted by Barton Turf Adventure Centre.
The full moon was shining brightly so I awoke early on Friday morning at 5.50 am With a fabulous weather forecast on the cards I decided it would do no harm to arrive in Norfolk early so I got up.
Most of my kit was packed I just had sandwiches to make and Canoe and paddles to collect from the workshop.
Having left early, I arrived at Barton Turf Adventure Centre at around 10.15am. This was to be our base for the weekend and I soon had my tent set up and was ready for a paddle.
I took Peterborough No 1 to the put in where it is very easy to slide her off my trolley over the boardwalk and straight into the water. Then I tied her up and took the next picture which shows how I fit her out for these conditions.
The rear airbag is looking a bit warm and so I released a little air from it!
Some may ask “why the air bags this is not moving water?” but I will be crossing a large body of water when on the broad itself and I like to paddle in the morning when there are not so many people around. If I was to capsize righting my boat is easier with air bags as they exclude a lot of water from inside. I also have my two paddles, my just in case bag (containing amongst other things a change of clothes) my water bottle and kneeling mat.
You will also notice my adjustable moveable kneeling thwart with its registered design of bracket which I, and others who have tried it, have become a really big fan of.
I still use my back seat but have removed the front seat completely as I can move the thwart to the front when needed.
On making my way towards the broad I noticed there are some new signs like this one.
As I reached Barton Broad itself a small wave approached made by a passing boat the sign of things to come. I knew this would be a busy weekend with the forecast being so warm it would tempt lots of people to hire boats.
There was a bit of a breeze against me so I decided to paddle clockwise around the broad so I could return with it behind me and I found myself at this island which I hadn't noticed before as I normally paddle on the other side of the broad.
In the distance I spotted a couple of fellow canoeists and one disappeared quickly from view.
To have a little respite from the wind I paddled into a far corner where I saw a small house that though intended for birds if you closed your eyes a little you could imagine a bronze age settlement.
Further round I passed this boathouse in a delightful shade of blue.
Although I prefer this green one on the way to Neatishead which was where I was headed for my lunch. Note the interesting recycling of a boat stern as a seat.
I made my way up to Neatishead Staith and had my lunch which I had made when I was at home.
Despite the heat I had brought a flask of soup ( I didn't know we were in for a heat wave when I did my shopping earlier in the week.)
I decided to go straight back to Barton turf along the edge of the broad to see if any more people had arrived for our weekend of fun on the water.
With the wind behind me it didn't take long.
After a quick break, some chat and another snack back at base I managed to persuade Mark to paddle to Neatishead for a pint before supper. In truth his arm didn't need a lot of twisting
We soon found us amongst a lot of hire boats rushing around trying to find moorings for the night. Its a bit like musical boats on a bank holiday weekend!
Amongst the chaos I saw a mother and ducklings bounced around in the bow waves. Luckily for them their fluffy down makes ducklings extremely buoyant.
I moored up whilst the boats passed.
and got a chance to photograph the ducklings once things had calmed down.
At the white horse we sat outside having a pint and then Mark spotted an unusual looking dog and asked the owners was it a Spanish Water dog?
It turns out it was, and mark also has one which is how he recognized the breed.
I couldn't leave without a picture of Maisy.
We paddled back as the sun began to sink. A perfect finish to a fabulous day.