Norfolk port celebrates ‘truly historic day’ with arrival of renowned 30ft whelker Salford
- Credit: Archant
This is the historic moment when a 30ft whelker sailed into one of Norfolk's previously long-forgotten harbours for the first time in more than six decades.
A once thriving place, the port at Cley-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk was one of the busiest in the UK and saw cargoes of grain, malt, cloth, and spices exported and imported to and from Europe.
But over the centuries, siltation and land reclamation led its estuary becoming unnavigable - until now.
Proving that Cley Harbour is still very much open for business, this weekend saw it welcome its largest traditional commercial sailing vessel in more than 60 years. The whelker named Salford, from the Coastal Exploration Company, is best known for its role in the filming of The Personal History of David Copperfield.
Sailor Laura Hampton said she felt 'incredibly proud' following her involvement.
'Many years ago, Cley was an incredibly significant port,' she said.
'To re-invigorate the delivery of cargo along the North Norfolk coast is something we all care very deeply about. We want to bring back the golden age of sail, and to deliver more goods sustainably.
'It was a truly historic day.'
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Before 2014, when a group of volunteers joined forces to bring it back to life, all that remained was the narrow River Glaven. Little more than a ditch, it wound its way past the village and its windmill and out to sea.
Simon Read, chairman of Cley Harbour committee, explained that the event on Saturday October 27 had been a culmination of a lot of hard work by the community of Cley , over the last four to five years, to save the harbour from dereliction.
He said: 'The arrival of Salford timed with the presentation of North Norfolk District Council's environment award for the harbour has set a bench mark for its continued use.
'Cley as a port has been up and running again for the last three years after an initial dredge to clear the harbour of mud, since then it has again become a focus for the village with smaller boats coming and going on the high tides.
'A community project that has involved the whole village.'