Monday, 5 April 2010

When is a wherry not a wherry?


SO how many wherries are there left in existence? I’m ashamed to know that I didn’t know the answer until I came across the Wherry Yacht Charter website a few weeks ago. Mind you it depends what you mean by a wherry, so stand by for a short history lesson. The original wherries were of course waterborne HGVs, transporting huge cargoes up and down the Broads network. Two of these so-called trading wherries survive. Albion I’ve spoken about before, it’s looked after by the Norfolk Wherry Trust. Then there’s Maud, which was resurrected from the murky depths of Ranworth Broad by Vincent and Linda Pargeter in 1981. Trading wherries have black sails – they are often known as Black Sailed Traders. Next there are the white-sailed pleasure wherries. These were made to pretty much the same dimensions as the trading wherries, but they were fitted out – largely in Edwardian times – to cope with a growing tourist market. Hathor is the most famous of the three surviving pleasure wherries, the other two are Solace and Ardea. Finally there are the wherry yachts, which are much smaller and more manoeuvrable. Three of those have made it into the twenty-first century: Olive, Norada and White Moth. The Wherry Yacht Charter charitable trust owns Hathor, Olive and Norada – pictured above. There’s much more good stuff on the history of all eight on their website.

* I’ll be giving a talk to WYC members – and signing copies of my Wherryman’s Way book - at Surlingham Ferry House on June 11th. All welcome. Kick off 7.30pm.

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