It’s not previously known for its tourist attractions, but that could change with new boat tours of the Fens on offer.
PUBLISHED: 10:45 12 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:45 12 October 2015
Â© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015
It may never be the tourist attraction that nearby Cambridge is, but one businesswoman is offering to share the delights of the Fens with tourists and locals alike.
Sheena Hartley, 63, is offering a narrow boat tour taking in the sights along the waterways from her home in March Riverside, Upwell, to either March or Salters Lode, which are both about nine miles away.
The destination depends on which way the 58ft boat is facing at its moorings outside her home, as it cannot be turned around in the narrow waterway. The boat can only be turned around at Outwell basin.
She takes up to 10 passengers on every day trip and said they were constantly amazed at the beauty of the route and how much there was to see.
She said: “People may think that it’s just flat and there’s nothing to see, but it’s beautiful. People are always surprised.
“On the March route we pass under some huge wind farms, which appear giant-like as you go under a bridge. There’s lots of wildlife to see and great expanses of Fens countryside.
“Each route is about nine miles and we only travel at about 4mph.
“On the route to Salters Lode you go though Nordelph, which is a very pretty village, and it’s wonderful going under old bridges, seeing people’s homes and gardens, and seeing Upwell and Outwell from the river.”
The mother of three, who is originally from Glenartney in Perthshire, Scotland, came to Wisbech in 1974.
She was a nurse in the area before employing 25 people at her Wisbech business, Top To Toe.
She retired four years ago and bought a house in Upwell.
She added: “I decided I needed a hobby. This hobby has turned into a new business.
“I decided to buy a boat, didn’t like the second-hand traditional ones and had a new and innovative boat built from scratch.
“The hull was built in Stoke and then she was taken to Lancashire to be kitted out on a farm.
“This semi-traditional boat is painted in white, has under-floor heating, surround-sound music, and an up-to-the minute design.
“There is no other boat like her in the area or business. I take people on a skippered and catered day cruise. I supply coffee and biscuits, a three-course lunch and afternoon tea on the return journey.”
She uses Fenland business for supplies and said Upwell had welcomed her with open arms.
She added: “It has become a birthday, anniversary, surprise, friends’ boat, and I am very proud of her.”
South-West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who is keen to promote rural enterprises, joined her on the tour last Friday.
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