Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Ice Cream Cruise

How do they do it? Once again the sun shone on the Norfolk Skiff Club monthly outing. This time the rendezvous was at Coldham Hall, Surlingham on the river Yare and the hardy perennials of the Norfolk rowing fraternity were joined by some fresh young blooms.

As usual the tide was out at Blakeney, so the CRAB St Ayles Skiff Hoi Larntan joined the flotilla manned and womanned by a crack crew, prepared, for once, to abandon the salty spume for the tranquility of the Broads.

Stalwart Jumping Jenny, crewed by Frances and Jeremy made the voyage from Brundall and the veteran Cherub, with matching crew made up the trio.

Thanks to the kindness of the members of Coldham Hall Sailing Club, two boats launched from the club slipway making a trip of oh 50 yards necessary before the lunch stop at Coldham Hall Tavern. However, we were not here only for the beer, so a little exploration of the river and Bargate Broad occupied the pre-lunch interval.

Selecting a long picnic bench in the pub garden and rejecting those with a tendency to list to port, 9 skiffers enjoyed lunch from Natalie's kitchen at the Tavern. Regaled with pork baguettes and Woodforde's bitter, the skiffers, once again, boarded their craft (with difficulty because of the low tide) and made their way up river. Beyond the acres of GRP with undignified names moored to the Brundall shore, the banks were densely clothed with trees in their spring foliage. Almost hidden on the southern bank is the entrance to Surlingham Broad.

With a sense that we were entering waters little frequented by today's trippers, the crews rowed on, which is why the chance encounter with a floating ice-cream seller came as a surprise.

But, this was an opportunity not to be missed and soon it was ice-creams all round. Now clutching ice-creams and rowing one handed the flotilla penetrated the remote and reedy Surlingham Broad, until we could go no further.

Then, back across Bargate Broad, with the rotting frames of long sunk wherries showing above the water, the two remaining boats returned to CHSC and the road home.

A grand day out, was the consensus view.

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