Boats light up Norfolk broad for stunning artwork

Some of the boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Some of the boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

The waters of Barton Broad provided a mercifully tranquil backdrop for an innovative art project which saw a flotilla of boats lit up to create a stunning display.

The Green Space Dark Skies event involved dozens of people on board wherries, punts, half deckers, dinghies and kayaks, all fitted with differently-coloured electronic beacons, or 'geolights'.

As the sun went down, the vessels created a 'light artwork', which was captured on drone footage. Light airs meant there was as much drifting as sailing involved.

The project was on of a series of 20 gatherings being organised at beauty spots across the UK, as part of a national campaign originally conceived as a celebration of Brexit.

A light installation which was part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

A light installation which was part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

The dusk display was accompanied by a newly-composed acoustic soundtrack by Oliver Payne from Musical Keys, a Norwich charity.

John Wassell, Green Space Dark Skies’ creative producer, said: "Illuminating one of the most precious wetland habitats in the UK - for one hour at dusk - is important to our ambitions to create more guardians of our landscapes.

"To do this with the combined heritage fleets of wherry yachts, half deckers and Edwardian pleasure wherries is extraordinary.

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"They are a precious part of this landscape, as are the sailors within them, many of whom may never have had the chance to do something like this before.” 

A scene from the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

A scene from the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

The project involved a series of local charities, including the Great Yarmouth-based Herring House Trust, GYROS and Feathers Futures.

The Norfolk Punt Club, which is based on the Broad, and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust were also involved.

Boating charity the Nancy Oldfield Trust, which operates from Neatishead, next to Barton, provided some of its vessels for the show.

Among those on board the boats were many disabled and local people who are rarely able to access the Broads.

Rob Leigh, from the Broads Authority, which was also involved, said: “It was a privilege to be one of the national parks involved in this unique series of events."

People taking part in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

People taking part in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

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The Green Space Dark Skies gatherings are being run as part of 'Unboxed: Creativity in the UK', which is co-ordinating a series of events throughout the UK this year.

The project was previously called the Festival of Brexit - a term coined by senior Conservative MP and Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg - and was intended to celebrate the UK's departure from the EU.

The Brexit branding was rejected by the festival's organisers and it was renamed in October last year.

The overall cost of Unboxed, which will include 10 distinct events spanning science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, had been reported to be around £120 million. 

Some of the boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Some of the boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

People in boats as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

People in boats as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

Participants hold lights as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Participants hold lights as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

Participants hold lights as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Participants hold lights as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

Participants hold lights as part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Boats taking part in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

A boat taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

A boat taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

Boats taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Boats taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

People taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

People taking part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

A light installation what was part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

A light installation what was part of the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

Boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Boats in the Green Space Dark Skies at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

People taking part in the Green Space Dark Skies event.

People taking part in the Green Space Dark Skies event. - Credit: Malachy Luckie

People taking part in the event at Barton Broad. 

People taking part in the event at Barton Broad. - Credit: Malachy Luckie