Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Wherryman's Way book and blog

A few weeks ago I spotted a book on a desk at work entitled The Wherryman's Way with an enticing aerial photograph of the River Yare and what looks like The Wood's End pub at Bramerton. And then I noticed the name of the author. Steve Silk has been a colleague for at least ten years. I had no idea he was writing a book. And then, a couple of days ago, Brian of NB Harnser alerted me to Steve's blog. Again, I didn't know he had a blog.

I haven't read the book, so I can't offer a review, but Brian speaks well of it, having received it for his birthday.

On the other hand, I can recommend the blog. In a post from earlier this month, headed "When the Bure had locks", Steve writes about the Aylsham Navigation, and the disastrous flood of 1912. This swept away many locks and bridges, destroying the navigation. There's much of interest here, especially if you have a connection with Norfolk or the Broads.

Here's an extract:

THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY of the 1912 floods might still be more than 18 months away, but it’s already got some people thinking. Among all the loss of life and damage, the floods also brought an end to the Aylsham Navigation on the River Bure. Long forgotten, this waterway dated back to 1779. It meant that the people of Coltishall, Horstead, Hautbois, Oxnead, Burgh and Aylsham were all connected by river to Great Yarmouth for the first time – a huge boon when it came to getting cargo in and their produce out. Essentially – as a new website says – the navigation was a series of locks designed to get around pre-existing Mill streams. It mostly used the River Bure for its 9.5 miles but it did include some canal cuts. But all that was pre-flood: 

“When the flood came on August 26th 1912 all of the locks and some of the bridges (including the one pictured between Coltishall and Horstead) were washed out. The navigation was already in decline as the coming of the railways in the 1880's had dramatically cut the trade. After the flood the Navigation was never re-opened. Trading wherries caught upstream were abandoned with the exception of the Zulu which was man-hauled around the obstructions to gain her freedom.”

Steve explains that he "pinched" the painting from the website of a group which wants to raise the profile of the Aylsham Navigation as the centenary of the flood approaches.

Jan and I walked part of the Wherryman's Way, in the rain, just over a year ago (write-up here). So perhaps I should buy the book, and complete the walk - "Norfolk's long distance footpath" according to the cover (what about Peddar's Way, then? Or Boudicca's Way?)


Captain Ahab said...

Interesting Blog Halfie - almost as nerdy as my own!

Halfie said...

I knew you'd like it, Cap'n!