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Historic wherry Hathor back home - as a floating classroom

PUBLISHED: 11:27 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 09 July 2019

Hathor in sail at How Hill. Picture:  Richard Batson and How Hill Trust

Hathor in sail at How Hill. Picture: Richard Batson and How Hill Trust

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An historic Norfolk boat is back at her spiritual home for the summer - and teaching children about bygone Broads transport.

Hathor’'s Egyptian interior. Picture:  Richard Batson and How Hill TrustHathor’'s Egyptian interior. Picture: Richard Batson and How Hill Trust

The wherry Hathor is moored outside How Hill, the former home of architect Edward Boardman, who also designed the boat's stunning Egyptian-themed interior.

The house, near Ludham, is now a residential study centre for the environment, mainly for schoolchildren who also visit Hathor's float classroom to learn about local and social history.

But the impressive vessel does viewings and day trips for all ages, and in August hosts a week-long How To Sail A Wherry holiday with its guests getting the chance of a lifetime to help on deck and take the helm of a classic craft.

The man at the tiller is also back on familiar territory. Hathor's skipper Peter Bower, from Wroxham, is a retired teacher whose visits to the house date back to 1960s school trips with Cromer Secondary Modern.

Skipper Peter Bower. Pictures:  Richard Batson and How Hill TrustSkipper Peter Bower. Pictures: Richard Batson and How Hill Trust

He loves explaining the history of the boat, and her sister vessels, which worked and gave pleasure trips around the Broads a century ago when the waterways were busy highways before the arrival of mass road and rail transport.

He said: "People love to learn about the connections with How Hill, and to see the amazing woodwork craftsmanship inside.

"The children like see how the mast works, sitting in the saloon and imagining what it was like to have tea served to you - and are amused to find a toilet on board."

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Adults on sailing trips get the chance to "have a go" on the wide expanse of Barton Broad.

Mr Bower added: "They enjoy the pleasure of sailing a traditional Broads vessel in the same manner as 100 years ago and some even get a go at the helm."

And he revealed that many a Wherry skipper steered with, not his hand, but his behind, on the tiller - leaving his arms free for sail hauling.

Hathor is in view at How Hill until the end of September. Day trip details are at wherryyachtcharter.org. More about the sailing week holiday (August 27-31, £425 per person) at www.howhilltrust.org.uk or call 01692 678555.

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