Frost and grey skies forecast, but as we arrived at Barton Turf, little or no wind and glimpses of blue behind the clouds promised better – and better it became. I timed my arrival to perfection. Hoi Larntan was in the water, oars shipped and just waiting for me to clamber aboard and squeeze into the cox’s seat. Gently gathering our rhythm we followed the channel towards Wayford, passing a bunch of chaps felling trees and generally tidying up the banks.
Bare trees silhouetted against the skyline and plenty of twists and turns to keep us on our toes, we came to the bridge at Wayford with its exhortations to “Lower windscreen etc, Keep off deck and Sound horn” – none of which did we do. With five firm strokes as we approached and a swift pulling in of oars, we shot calmly through and continued on our way. There seemed, unusually, to be very little wildlife of note and only a passing helicopter to break the silence.
Just because it was there we took the narrow branch toward Dilham – not realising just how narrow it was going to get. Inching past overhanging branches and skirting reeds, we came to an empty bay where we could tuck in against the modern wooden quay and jump out to stretch our legs.
Coffee consumed (and Tom’s rich fruit-cake wickedly enjoyed) we couldn’t resist the temptation of a sign pointing us further to ‘Dilham Staithe and Turning Point’. If the journey so far had been in narrow waterways, this was paddles-only stuff. We scraped through and duly executed our turn – Robin now coxing.
This must be the farthest we have explored up this channel. Certainly there was no chance of going any further.
Easing oars to glide past a couple of boats with men (and dogs) fishing we wended our way back to Cox’s yard.
A delightful outing and the sun did finally make a wan appearance.
Thanks to Robin for the photo.