PHOTO GALLERY: Afternoon of events at Coltishall Common to mark centenary of great Norfolk flood
It rained heavily on the morning of August 26 1912 – ditto exactly a century later.
Fortunately for the hundreds who flocked to Coltishall Common to mark this afternoon's centenary of Norfolk's great flood, history had stopped repeating itself by lunchtime.
Though squelchy underfoot, the show went on, including the arrival of 39 1st Buxton and Lamas Sea Scouts and friends who had canoed their way from Aylsham, carrying token cargoes of Norfolk-grown potatoes and barley.
They handed over their load at Coltishall to the waiting wherry Albion, in a symbolic recreation of the days of the Bure Navigation when wherries carried goods between Aylsham and Coltishall, and then on to Yarmouth and the sea.
The 9.5-mile navigation ended forever when the catastrophic flood washed away all five locks along its length, together with bridges including that at Coltishall.
The boating party set off in the rain at 8am from Dunkirk in Aylsham, site of the old staithe, carrying their canoes at four now non-navigable points along the route.
Stuart Wilson, chairman of the Bure Navigation Conservation Trust, said the unwelcome rain had also caused the Albion problems as she squeezed under Wroxham Bridge en route for Coltishall, with only one-and-a-half inches to spare.
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But the afternoon – which included a fete, folk musicians, heritage and water-related charity stalls – had been a great success, raising awareness about the Bure, its flora, fauna and history.
The trust was formed earlier this year to commemorate the centenary and spearhead legacy projects. A first history of the navigation, written by Aylsham Local History Society with UEA backing, plus a DVD about the route were both on sale.
Mr Wilson said the emphasis now was on extending the existing Coltishall to Burgh-next-Aylsham public footpath, all the way to Aylsham.
The trust was also working as an important pressure group, reminding Norfolk County Council of its duty to keep the existing footpath clear of vegetation which was sometimes forcing walkers too close to the river's edge, he added.