Saturday, June 24, 2006

Norfolk Wherry Vane

Norfolk Wherry Vane, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

I find it mildly amusing that the Norfolk Wherry has become such an iconic symbol for the Norfolk Broads; sure proof - if proof was needed - that you don't miss what you have got till its gone.

I can remember seeing the hulks of four or five wherrys rotting away at Surlingham ferry. They had just been abandoned there and allowed to sink because nobody wanted to know about them. This was less than forty years ago.

I can remember clambering over more hulks than I could be bothered to count on Whitlingham Marsh and they were still there - although flooded - at the very start of the seventies.

There are of course no Norfolk Wherries left. They are just a memory.

What we do have is Wherry yachts which bear the same relation to a Wherry that a camper van has to a tractor. Even the most authentic of them, The Albion, was quarter way built as an industrial wherry when they realised that it would not be needed and severe design changes were made to turn it into a pleasure boat.

The heritage industry, of course, doesn't care about authenticity only what sells and what doesn't. So the County that unceremoniously dumped hundreds of sailing Wherrys between 1930 and 1960 now celebrates them as an undying symbol of Norfolk along with that other symbol we have looked after so well The Bittern.

Lets pause to have a laugh.

Wherry Vane

No comments: