Sunday, 30 August 2009

Are The Broads less friendly than the canal network?

Stupid question, of course, because everyone will have different experiences.

We found many stern 'No Mooring' warnings on the banks of The Broads. That may just be a reflection of the more general 'moor anywhere' attitude in Norfolk though.

We found there to be far fewer moorings close to key places - such as Horning - but maybe offset by more non-village staithes. There was a mixture of very pleasant boaters and very arrogant boaters: same everywhere I suppose. The most arrogant were always, always, always in the biggest boats.

At The Swan Inn, after spending maybe 25 quid at this pub we stopped briefly in our little day boat - no more than 4 minutes to pick up something we had left in the car. While we were gone, the man employed by the pub started having a go at my teenage children who were left on board. He wanted them to move the boat immediately because there was a bigger boat that wanted to use the mooring. The fact that it had plenty of space to moor forward of us was immaterial to both the boaters and this idiot - they just wanted 'our space'. He just bullied our children while the 'big boat' family looked on. You bunch of cowards.

He disappeared before my wife and I returned. Shocking behaviour, and fairly disgraceful intimidating attitude from the big boat (know the name, tempted to name them bu won't). We were in the little day hire boat.

We had looked at booking to stay at The Swan Inn for a long weekend in October; decided against it. Would rather patronise somewhere more friendly.

At the public staithe, also in Horning, we asked to raft up alongside a bigger boat. "We'd rather you didn't," came the disdainful response from the flying bridge. We had fenders, they had fenders. We shrugged our shoulders.

"How's about I come down from the Midlands in 15.6 tonnes of steel narrowboat and provide you with the luxury of two can call them Bow and Stern?" I am thinking, but I smile through gritted teeth.

The jury is out on the friendliness issue: it always will be. Bet there are plenty of Norfolk-big-white-plastic-boat-with-blue-cushion-covers who make it onto the GU near Northampton and recoil in horror from the inconsiderate behaviour of narrowboaters. I understand that The Broads sailing community call the GRP boats "stinks": It is, however, supposed to refer to the boat, not the crew.

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