Brinks Belmore | The Big Tour - Day 4 (Part 3)
The wait for the next installment is over - and day 4 is brought to a close (finally some will cry). In this episode I decide not to takje the River Yare, and instead gamble on there being enough air draft at St. Olaves for the boat - thus take the quicker route of the River Waveney.
I think the journey from Breydon Water and up towards Somerleyton is not exactly what you can call pretty. The Fisherman's Inn pub for example sat at an angle at Burgh Castle would not win any award for a quant riverside pub, and just along the way Goodchild Marine again festooned with 'private' signs and commercial activities might make the average holiday maker wonder if they did the right thing leaving the pretty northern rivers behind and heading for Beccles or Oulton Broad.
This section of the Waveney really is rather like the lower Bure towards Acle - wide, reed lined banks but then you approach St. Olaves and it feels a bit strange - as if a Potter Heigham 'chalet village' that never quite got off the ground - so just a few properties line the banks of the river here. Where boatyards and outbuildings are (indeed hire yards once were) I wonder how it would have been for the family to have arrived here, taking over their boat at low tide and seeing so much muddy banks and wondering 'where does the beautiful begin' but fear not, for the further towards Oulton Broad you travel the landscape begins to open up, change and delight.
Next on the bridge list to tick off was Somerleyton Railway Bridge - it was closed, but there was plenty of room to pass under, but I stopped to let a boat pass who was coming the other way with the tide before I carried on and passed under the rusting structure. I do wonder what might happen when the time comes that these massive moveable structures become structurally unsound - I just cannot see Network Rail investing in a swing bridge but only time will tell.
I am feeling pretty fresh, but none the less looking forward to mooring up at the Yacht Station - the time begins to feel like it has slowed down as I recall when I left Wroxham at around 9:30am and how much has passed and how many hours have too. Sometime later Oulton Broad is signed - teh Waveney towards Beccles passes to the right of the 'triangle' and I take the left fork - it is not long before the sharp left hand turn brings you on to the wide expanse of water that is Oulton Broad - my destination is now within sight.
I arrive at the Yacht Station to see I am the only visiting hire boat, now usually I more on the 'quay wall' but I thought it would be nice to have a pontoon berth, but where can you moor? I have never done this before and I see the area looks pretty lifeless so I ponder and spin the boat around and come side on for a nice slow mooring. After making the boat secure, time to head off to the office - but it is all shut up - this is about 5:50pm so what can I do - nothing but stay where I am and enjoy a free night here.
Once back to the boat time to clean the outside of all windows since they have some slat spray on them from the fun on Breydon, then find, clean and fit the vinyl cover or the front screens before I mop the decks and inside of the boat and generally tidy all away - yep even if it has taken 8 odd hours without a stop, I can't bear leaving the boat untidy to come back to after a meal and know it needs doing then or in the morning.
I now take a walk into town - only 'town' turns out to be some 35-40 minutes' walk (to the sea front) of Lowestoft despite beginning the walk, I allow sense to prevail and there is no trains scheduled for some time so the seaside and Captain's Blog will have to wait...For now food is reacquired and into the Wherry Hotel I go.
Now, I am used to Toby Carvery's so what I wonder is Castle Carvery like? Pretty dire as it goes. You find a table, then you have to go to the bar to order drinks and food - despite waiters being about to clear tables and oddly take desert orders - you are given a receipt to show to the 'carver' the meat selection was not the best, dry Beef but even the beg and Potatoes all seemed oddly put out in coloured coded (plastic?) trays - stuffing in perfect squares, carrots that had not been cooked through enough, Yorkshire Puddings that had not risen to the occasion and gravy that was very watery. Toby is not everyone's thing I know, but my local does a good spread and I was left disappointed with the Wherry's offering.
After dinner I had a walk about seeing some places have closed in the vicinity of the Yacht Station - Tides Streakhouse and Winelodge bar/club - a shame certainly about Tides. So back on the boat and a movie before lights out and a new adventure tomorrow.