Earlier this year, the Three Broadsketeers set off on their first outing of 2019, canoeing from Thurne to Ludham Bridge and back. A splendidly fresh, bright blue sky, hardly any breeze and snow on the ground, with the canoe acting as an icebreaker as we put in at Thurne dyke.

The river was so calm and quiet, with hardly any other craft around, I think we only saw two or three other boats all day. Brought it home how peaceful the Broads would be without any powered craft, or at least if all went electric – we’ll comfort ourselves with the thought that it’s got to happen one day. And of course the benefit from the lack of noise was that the birdlife was much more visible – marsh harriers, barn owls, all really close.


We made gentle progress along the river Bure, stopping at St. Benet’s Abbey to take in the view. From the higher ground around the site of the old Abbey, the views of broadland are breathtaking. You can see back to Thurne with its white windpump, down river to Acle bridge, across to Ranworth and up the river Ant to How Hill. Without question one of the highlights of the Broads.

From here we paddled on to Ludham Bridge and wandered to the Dog Inn. Unfortunately, despite a decent pint of Wolf’s ‘Santa Paws’, the pub itself was disappointing. Having started to improve over the past couple of years, it looked as though the current landlord had just given up, which is a shame. As the kitchen was closed for a ‘deep clean’, no food, so back aboard with just some crisps, stollen left over from Christmas and Tipple’s ‘Crackle’ to keep us going on the return journey.

A further stop at St. Benet’s, so that Lee could get all ‘David Baileyed’ while John got ‘Crackled’, before one final stop just before Thurne mouth to catch the sun heading down. This was a true Broadsketeers day, one of the best that any of us could remember.

If only more people could come and experience the tremendous power of the landscape at this time of year; its tranquility; abundant wildlife; huge skies with almost uninterrupted horizons in all directions. It is magical.

What a great day – can’t wait for the next one.