Norfolk Wherries are delicious aren't they? Their grace and strength still shines through despite their age and for those who love history, boats and the Norfolk Broads, go and visit them, learn about their history over the last couple of centuries, talk to those who care for them and who knows, get to sail along the rivers and broads that they have been floating on since their birth.
The Norfolk Wherry Trust recently held an Open Day at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club located on Wroxham Broad, which showcased their work and gave visitors an up close and personal experience of the Wherries under their care. Whilst the weather was a little grey, it could not detract from the grace and strength of these magnificent craft.
While hundreds of wherries have existed overall since the 19th century, today only eight are left. Most were built for commercial use and a number of wherry yachts, identified by their counter sterns, where built for pleasure.
If their planks could talk, I am sure that their stories would entertain for years but perhaps 'Ardea' the largest wherry ever built, endured the most colourful and chequered past ending up in complete disrepair in Paris where she had been a brothel, her stories would certainly makes us all blink! Thankfully she was found, rescued and lovingly restored by the late Philip Davies and is now being cared for by the Norfolk Wherry Trust.
Normally the only unconverted trading wherry afloat 'Albion' is based at their yard on Womack Water, where Maud (privately owned) can also sometimes be found.
The other wherry Hathor and wherry yachts Olive, Norada and White Moth at located at the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust base on the Bure in Wroxham.
Pleasure wherry 'Solace' who is privately owned, can often be seen moored at Wroxham Broad.
So it was a real pleasure to see them altogether and watch them as they took visitors for sedate tours under sail around the Broad. This went on throughout the day with tours on the moored wherries too. It certainly gave us all a taste of life on the water in years gone by.
All the wherries apart from 'Solace' are available for day charters over the summer and of course, the fees for this help maintain these beautiful reminders of our past.