Continuous Cruiser on living the dream on the Norfolk Broads
- Credit: Archant
It was a little more than three and a half years ago that Miles Weston first came to the Broads to look at a boat his father was interested in buying.
By chance, the 46-year-old who was born in Uganda and grew up in the Channel Islands, ended up buying a yacht for himself after falling in love with the region's 120 miles of lock free navigable waterways.
Today he lives on board his 27ft Bruce Roberts sloop, travelling the Broads and living a life he admits, while sounding appealing, is not for everyone. He said: 'It was by pure fluke I ended up buying a boat quite cheaply.
'I spent the summer doing it up and my plan was to spend two weeks living on it and then sell it for a profit.
'But I loved it so much I never left.
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'I can honestly say there hasn't been a day where I have questioned what I am doing here.'
Mr Weston said he knew of at least 20 to 30 other 'continuous cruisers' living a similar life on the Broads.
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Continuous cruisers is a term used to differentiate people like him from 'liveaboards' - people who live on a boat which is moored at one place.
'In the summer months I generally move to the southern rivers where it's a lot quieter and then in winter come back to the northern areas when the holidaymakers have left,' he said.
Although a number of continuous cruisers were approached for comment, Mr Weston was the only one prepared to have his name published.
'I don't understand it, but there is an element on the Broads that looks down on people who live on their boats which is strange because people have been living on their boats in the UK for centuries,' he said.
'I think envy has something to do with it, and also ignorance as we all get tarred with the same brush.
'Yes, there are people living on beaten up boats and those who don't follow the rules, but there are also some wealthy people living on boats too.'
He said there were many challenges to living on a boat, but technology made it easier.
'It's very much a laptop lifestyle. For the past 10 years I have been using the Internet to generate an income, which allows to me to live this life.
'I run several commercial websites, an online forum and also maintain a YouTube channel called Sailing High Seas, which I use to share some of my river experiences with users.'
If needed, he said he could get by on about £50 a week, but was currently spending about £150 a week which included diesel and food costs.
'Don't get me wrong, it's not all easy. I have to spend a lot of time online to earn an income.
'But this is a way of life that let's you have the best of both worlds.
'If you're after some peace and quiet you can find it at a wild mooring or if you fancy some company you can moor at a village.'
He is currently spending most of his time around Wroxham, moving between various 24 hour mooring sites.
'We're often accused of hogging moorings but that's not true otherwise I'd be getting tickets all the time.
'I make sure I don't overstay because people are always watching.
He said it was important to forge good relationships with Broads Authority rangers and stick to the rules.
'I've also learnt where the cheapest places are to go shopping. Norwich, Yarmouth and Beccles are the places to go for good supermarket deals while I find Wroxham quite expensive.
'I usually do a big trip down to Norwich or Yarmouth where I stock up on certain supplies because there are places on the Broads where you can be quite far from shopping facilities.
'A bigger issue is access to laundrettes as there really aren't that many of them around.'
He said one of the major challenges he faced was protecting his boat from other water users.
'I was hit four times in one day last summer by hire boats and estimate that I have been hit on well over 300 occasions during my time on the Broads.'
Mr Weston said he did not plan to live on the Broads for the rest of his life, but was looking to sail to France to travel around the canals and eventually make his way into the Mediterranean.
'It is a very long and slow journey which is ideal for me as I really want to make a lot of videos along the way. I have a folding mast and my boat is therefore perfect for the trip.'