Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Boat Trip Along The Broads From Wroxham

Last summer we took a two hour cruise along the Broads at Wroxham, with the Broads Tours, the trip departed from Wroxham sailing into Salhouse Broad and onto Horning Reach before the return journey

The Vintage Broadsman is one of the boats that cruise up and down the Broads.  It was launched in 1988 and has some lovely patterns and lines, which really stands out against the blue sky.

This is the boat we took our cruise on, Queen of the Broads, launched in 1977.  Originally a single deck passenger craft, an upper deck was added in 2002, and can now carry 120 passengers.

These are some of the self-drive day boats and holiday cruisers that can be hired through Broads Tours.

I have a love of the different types of weathervanes that you come across stretching up to the sky, this one is no exception.  This one looks like a Viking Ship of some description.

During the cruise the Captain gave a running commentary of some of the items of interest, along this stretch of water it was the stunning properties and how much some of them are on the market for.  A lot of them were thatched, which I guess is not surprising when you consider that a lot of the raw material used in thatching would have grown around here.

The gardens surrounding the properties were equally as stunning as the properties themselves.

This was a busy stretch of water with the sailing club being put through there paces, cutting through the glistening water.

I have to say that I was surprised at how little you could see along the route, considering we were on the Broads which is pretty flat, the views were blocked out with some quite dense areas of trees and vegetation.

There were several fishermen about, although not the quietest stretch of water for a bit of peaceful fishing.

I always think looking down at the ripples in the crystal clear water with the sun shining on it looks like an oil painting.

One of the old Windmills along this stretch of water that still remain standing, its new role is a holiday let with lots of character and a beautiful location.

Coming towards us was the Sky Lark 982X, a Farrington 30 river cruiser, a traditional Broadland yacht (gunter rig), built in 2015.

Even cruising down the broads you can find an ice cream seller,   Aldous Ice Cream was founded in 1921 in Norwich and has been serving ice cream every since.

This Heron had found a lovely spot to stand watching the world go by in the afternoon sunshine.

This one had found an even better place to patiently wait, in the hope of getting a free meal.  I wonder if the couple knew it was there?

If you get the chance put one of these trips on your list, a lovely relaxing trip.

Useful websites:


Sunday, 1 April 2018

Ironbridge, Shropshire

On our way back from Bridgnorth we stopped off at Ironbridge.  It was getting later in the day so it was a fleeting visit but it was good to see this iconic bridge, all be it that it was looking a little bit sad for itself.

Here we are walking across the bridge that crosses the River Severn, which runs through Ironbridge Gorge. The town of Ironbridge runs along the right hand bank of the River Severn and part of it can be seen here.

The bridge which was constructed in 1779 is currently having some major renovation works carried out.  While we were visiting last September, works were underway to cover the bridge in scaffolding ready for the works.

The bridge is 30-metres (100ft) long and was the first bridge of its kind to be fabricated from cast iron.  The bridge and the gorge became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986.

English Heritage is overseeing the repairs the original cost of £1.2 million pounds has now been revised to £3.6 million and is one of their biggest ever conservation projects.

Many of the buildings in Ironbridge were workers cottages built in 17th and 18th Century, Georgian houses built by Ironmasters ( a manager or owner or a forge or blast furnace for the processing of iron), mine and river barge owners, and early Victorian villas.

I liked the window dressing of the Truffles Internet Cafe.

Useful web sites:

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Severn Valley Railway - Bridgnorth to Kidderminster

We have been on a couple of narrow gauge steam trains as Bressingham Steam and Gardens in Suffolk but this was to be our first full size steam train adventure from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster in Shropshire.  Unfortunately at the time of our visit the station at Bridgnorth was nothing to write home about as it is being renovated.  But it was still busy with several engines around, also the stations along the line were getting ready for a train festival which was due to start a couple of days after our visit.

The line here was originally opened in 1862 and the station building is mostly original from this date, although there have been alterations to it over the years.  Behind the platform you get a glimpse of the locomotive yard containing a Boiler Shop completed in 1989 and a former goods shed dating back to 1863.

Behind the locomotive yard you can just make out a grass bank climbing steeply the is Pan Pudding Hill, it was built as a siege castle by Henry I in 1101 to attack Bridgnorth Castle using Trebuchet (large catapults).  In 1646 during the Civil War the hill there was a gun placed here used by Parliamentarian forces against the Royalists.

Here is the engine of the train that we will be travelling on, the LMS (London, Midland and Scottish Railway) Ivatt Class 4 43106, built in 1951 and originally in service out of South Lynn in Norfolk.  This class of Locomotive with its raised running plates gave rise to the nicknames 'Doodlebug' or 'Flying Pig'.

The British Railway logo which you can see on the engine was designed around 1955 and shows The British Lion holding a Silver Locomotive Wheel whilst standing in a Heraldic Crown of gold with the leek (for Wales), rose (for England), the oak leaf (for all Great Britain), the thistle (for Scotland) and again another leek.

Here you can see some of the carriages that are attached to the Locomotive which will be taking us on our journey.  The ticket you purchase allows you to get off at any of the stops along the way, but we have decided to stay on until we get to Kidderminster, have a look around there and then come back.

Alongside us on the other side of the tracks is the GWR (Great Western Railway) 7800 class 7802 Bradley Manor, which as it happened was the Locomotive that pulled us on our return journey.  This engine was built in 1938.

On our way, the locomotive that you can see here is getting into position to push the carriages up ahead.

Parts of the Hagley Hall 4930 looking rather sorry for itself, the banner asking for donations to be able to restore this Locomotive to its former glory.  This Locomotive first entered service in 1929.

A view of the rolling hills from the window, we are following the River Severn.

We have pulled into the pretty little station of Arley, we are also now in the county of Worchestershire.  There is archaeological evidence that there has been a settlement here since Roman times, today most of the village is privately owned.  This station had been abandoned and near derelict up until 1971 when a group of volunteers restored it and they certainly did a lovely job.

We are now crossing the Victoria Bridge that crosses over the River Severn.  The bridge was built in 1861 and was the longest engineering structure on the line and the longest single span bridge in the world at that time at 200 feet.  The bridge appeared in the 1979 film 'The 39 Steps.'

This lovely little locomotive is the SECR (South Eastern and Chatham Railway) P class 323 'Bluebell', she was originally built in 1910.

The green locomotive parked behind the Bluebell had this plate on it.  It belongs to the SR (Southern Rail) West Country class 21C127 Taw Valley locomotive, built in April 1946.

The GWR (Great Western Railway) Pannier 1501 locomotive built in 1949, and now the only surviving example.  The red coloured disc with the letter 'c' on it represents the axle load of up to 20 tonnes and the letter 'c' represents the power classification.  You can also see the pre 1950's British Railway logo with the yellow lion sitting astride of the locomotive wheel.

Not something you see everyday when you are steaming through the countryside, although we were passing the West Midland Safari Park.  Not very clear pictures as I only just managed to focus in on them before they had gone.

And here we are at Kidderminster.  The building in the the back of the shot was once the Goods Shed and was built to handle the transshipment of Kidderminster's carpets,  Today is now the carriage workshops.

The center of Kidderminster is a 10 minute walk from the station, however I have to say that we found that it was not worth the walk.  After a quick walk around we decided to head back to the station, grab some lunch and wait for the return journey.

We stopped at the pub, The King & Castle which is located in the station for a sandwich.

As I mentioned before the stations along the track were getting ready for a festival so I guess there were maybe more props sitting around than usual, but they really added to the atmosphere.

Some lovely colourful sweets on the stall.

This station is very deceiving as despite its old appearance it was built in the mid 1980's and opened in 1986, following the design used for the station built in Ross-On-Wye.

This impressive looking canopy over the concourse and the Valley Suite Restaurant were only added in 2006.

Inside the ticket office.

Here we can see the former Great Western Railway Warehouse which used to store wool and grain, today it houses the Kidderminster Railway Museum.

If you look closely you will notice that all the bikes are vintage and look like they would shake you about a bit when riding them.

This Station Signal Box again was only constructed in 1987 and houses the largest signalling installations in use on a heritage railway in Britain,

This building is the Diesel Depot which was constructed in 2015 and provides undercover storage and maintenance facilities, to keep the 50+ year old diesel locomotives in running order.

Here comes our train, looking slightly strange as the engine is facing the wrong way.

And we are back on the train, inside some of the carriages.

In the end we decided to sit in the buffet car for the return journey as you sat up a bit higher and could see more out of the windows.

Judging by the labels underneath these controls it looks like they may still be used, they certainly look good.

Selfie time.

This is the first time we have been anywhere near anything related to The Flying Scotsman.  Severn Valley Railways has a total of four of these carriages called 'Teak Open Thirds'.   410 of these carriages were built between 1934 and 1938.

Didn't expect to be seeing the roof tops from our seat.  Apparently we are crossing Wribbenhall viaduct which overlooks Bewdley a Georgian town.

While we were enjoying our drinks we noticed some wooden bungalows down by the river.  Apparently they were built before World War II as holiday homes and weekend retreats for fishermen.  At that time there used to be several trains that used to run along the Severn Valley line especially for the fishermen.

Some more of the countryside, not sure if that is part of a village or a private estate perched on top of the hill.

All the way along the line, I have been noticing people with cameras waiting to catch a glimpse of the trains running along the track, I suppose with the festival happening they are hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the more rarer visitors.

And we are back at Bridnorth, it was a really lovely day steaming along, looking forward to our next outing somewhere else in the country.

Useful web sites:

http://www.svr.co.uk/ Severn Valley Railway