Cwav Annual Frostbite Meet 2018

Some may be confused by this title as technically Cwav (Canoe with a View) no longer exists as the forum it once was but a few of the die hard members still keep up the tradition of the Frostbite meet Once a year at Ludham Bridge in Norfolk.

2018 sees us without our leader as Nige had messed up his holiday entitlements so was unable to attend.

The day before arrival I had been paddling with Andrew on the Wensum so it was the 22nd February when we arrived and pitched our tents.

The site is adjacent to the Dog Inn where we are given a warm welcome and are able to get a good meal at night as well as lashings of fine Ale.

Very handy in mid February after a days paddle.

As I was pitching my tent I noticed Pete was watching a pair of barn owls in the field next to us. There was just one there the last time we were here so hopefully there is now a breeding pair.

Next to Pete was Martin's tent and towards the entrance was Sean's tent with Alex to his right. Between me and them Steve and his Dad had come with a caravan for more luxury accommodation.

Then to my right was Andrew and later on Pat turned up making a full compliment of 9.

After a few beers the day after was a slow start for some so after a brief wait at the bridge Andrew, Pat and myself decided to make a start and catch the others later. Our route was to be roughly heading in the Ranworth direction. There was a cold easterly breeze which seemed to be a feature of the camp site in particular, but once we were on the water we could often escape it when down between reeds.

Breaking the low line of vegetation around us I saw this tree reaching to the sky.

and a while later we emerged from our reed lined world onto Ranworth broad where we made the crossing to the village complete with church and pub.

As it was still early I decided to take a walk to the church before lunch. As I recall the last time I visited I didn't get a chance to climb the tower as a party of school children went up it and I was in a hurry to get back to my fellow paddlers so left it for another day. This time I was able to make the climb up all 84 steps.

Where the view is quite spectacular even if it was windy.I took this video.

Part way up the tower you get a great view of the mechanics of the bell ringing system. I love it when I see wood being used for things like this from a time before metal and plastic was in vogue.

Back down in the church I also saw another splendid piece of woodwork in the form of this well carved Eagle.

Then it was back to the landing area where we had lunch and I took a rather stiff group photo (Must have been the cold!)

Our route back took in some interesting paddling at the far end of the broad taking us on a winding route through a tree lined narrow backwater.

We then emerged onto the river and at the next junction our party split as some decided to paddle to St Bennetts Abbey and explore other parts whilst Alex and I decided to return to base camp.

We were expecting a stiff breeze through the bridge on our return but it wasn't as bad as we feared.

After a brief rest I decided to go for a walk. Partly because I wanted to, and partly because of the unrelenting easterly breeze at the camp site.

I went for a walk to the Abbey (by now the others would be on the way back) and I was glad to get there because... yes you guessed it! I was exposed to that easterly breeze on the way there too.

My reward was some excellent light conditions for pictures like this.

and I couldn't resist one looking up the windmill tower that was built onto the abbey ruin.

The sunset on the way back made it all worthwhile.

Happy Paddling!

Alick

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