You’re part of the BBC (Pictures of the week)

A real day of activity on Barton Broad when it was learnt that Mary Ann Ochota, formerly of Time Team and Britain’s Secret Homes was coming down with a camera crew to film a documentary about the history of boats used in the UK. A great opportunity to display the traditional Norfolk Punt.








Once the goose pooh had been removed from the Punt Club pontoons on Barton Broad, punt sailors from the county began to arrive. Some had distinct reservations – not of a photographic nature – but about the strength of the wind, which was “brisk” and occasionally “gusty.”









Nevertheless there were brave souls who were prepared to challenge the prevailing conditions in the interest of possibly being seen on the box. The wind continued to do its best. Carl the assistant camera man was heard to remark as the third punt capsized in front of him, “Is it always as lively as this?”


The crews obligingly circled the pontoons, showing off their best sides, best tricks and determined faces. There was a distinct air of “we are going to enjoy this even if it does capsize us.”


Guess who’s watching who










Around 5pm – when the crews had been circling for a couple of hours, news reached the organisers that the presenter, Mary Ann Ochota and the main camera crew had arrived and once a formal interview had taken place in the safety of Barton Staithe with David Adler who recounted the history of this class of boat, the young lady and her entourage ventured on to the water.



Meanwhile of course the wind had dropped, the sun had come out and more gentle conditions prevailed. Just as well as it happened because the presenter had decided that she ought to venture out in the oldest punt on parade. “Been in a punt before Mary Ann?”

“Er well not actually and I have never used a trapeze on a boat before!”










Hmmm – sounded a bit like a recipe for disaster or amazing pictures, depending on your point of view.

However after a two minute instruction session by Bill she ventured out in the boat. The evening sun obliged and the photography rib purred alongside to record the event.





Verdict on the day? A great success. We shall watch for forthcoming series on the development of boats in the British Isles in the hope that a minute or two may be about the history and the usage of the Norfolk Punt – with perhaps the concession that the sailing of them and keeping them upright in blustery conditions is quite a special skill.


A whole host of photographs from this event will shortly appear on my website at – click on the gallery for “sailing” to access them.