Sunday, April 6, 2014
The sun was shining as passengers embarked on their first Big Dog Ferry trip of the year yesterday, setting off from Beccles down the River Waveney.
The ferry took to the water for the launch of the summer season, equipped with new padded seats, a new engine and a new co-skipper.
The Big Dog Ferry is run by Beccles Lido Limited and runs between Beccles Lido and the historic Locks Inn at Geldeston.
The ferry, which can carry up to 12 passengers, takes you on a relaxing 40 minute boat journey along the beautiful stretch of the River Waveney, with the opportunity to spot otters, marsh harriers and kingfishers along the route.
Skipper Carl Murray, whose 22-year-old son Mark has now also joined the crew, said: “We had a great season in 2013 although it was marred towards the end with engine problems. But now we have our new engine we expect the Big Dog to go from strength to strength.
“This bit of the river is a hidden gem. Because of the low iron bridge it stops a lot of people coming down here in their big boats so we pretty much have the river to ourselves.
“It’s on a lot of people’s doorsteps but some people have still never seen it.”
The ferry was set up by Mark Ford in 2006, but after three years it was stopped for two seasons before Paul Aldis, of Worlingham, took on the responsibility and set up at Beccles Lido. When Mr Aldis announced in 2012 he was unable to continue due to health reasons, Beccles Lido Limited stepped in to save it with the help of the Broads Authority and Graham Elliott, Waveney district councillor for Beccles.
Like last year, there will be five return trips each day during peak holiday weeks starting at 11am and returning at noon, which run on the hour thereafter. During off peak there will be two return trips each day.
Passengers have the choice of disembarking at The Locks Inn to enjoy a meal or drink, or after a short stop they can stay on board for a round trip. Alternatively you can buy a one-way ticket and walk back along the footpath.
Trips over the Easter weekend will also coincide with the Locks Inn Easter Beer Festival, which runs from April 17 to April 20, where local craft beers, ales and ciders will be on offer alongside a full line up of local bands.
A funrdraising tribute concert in aid of the Big Dog Ferry was held at Beccles Public Hall on Saturday night, to help cover the costs of running and continuing to improve the service. The money will go towards paying for the new engine which cost more than £3,000.
For more information and the full timetable call Big Dog Ferry on 07532072761 or visit www.bigdogferry.co.uk