Norfolk Broads – Albion Wherry

For the last three years I’ve organised the Hike Norfolk trip to the Norfolk Broads, which has included hiring a Broads cruiser from Wroxham. Last year we were walking around Ranworth for our lunch break and we saw the Albion wherry and the volunteer on board mentioned about it being available for hire. So, I decided that was a marvellous idea and that’s what twelve of us did for this year’s maritime expedition.

The Albion wherry was first built in 1898 and remained in use carrying cargo around the Norfolk Broads until the middle of the twentieth century.

The Norfolk Wherry Trust took the boat over in 1949 and initially continued with carrying cargo, but it had a couple of little incidents when it sank twice and it was agreed that this wasn’t ideal. So from 1961 it was decided never to carry cargo again, just carrying passengers around the Broads.

Our boat is ready to sail.

This photo was taken out when we were taken out in small groups using the wherry’s dinghy to get photos of the wherry itself.

A swan.

The sail, which is 1,200 square feet in size.

This subtle little thing is the Quant Pole, which lets the crew punt the boat along. We had three crew aboard the Albion and they were all helpful and enthusiastic.

The downstairs quarters of the boat, which can be used for overnight hire, so hence the bunks.

Getting the food ready. Susanna and I had heated the water up for coffees and teas, a process that took considerably longer than we had expected. There is an oven and basic cooking facilities on board, all fuelled by gas.

Our picnic on board.

The view of the Norfolk Broads, we went from Oulton Broad to nearly into Beccles.

Part of the wherry, I don’t know the technical term….

A dragonfly.

All told, it was a warm day and the twelve of us from Hike Norfolk were very fortunate with the weather. Although I thought that it was too hot…. Sitting downstairs was though much cooler, so it was handy to have the option of where to sit and there were plenty of spaces around the wherry.

It was only when I went on the dinghy to circle the wherry that it was clear just how beautiful the Albion is, and many people had taken photos of the wherry during the day as we went past.

For any group or so, a charter for the day is recommended, especially as it isn’t that much more expensive than taking out a Broads cruiser for the day. And this is certainly more of an experience.