2 kites, 2 cameras and a windpump

The rain radar showed a clear spot half an hour from where I was working, I watched the met data update and clipped off work as quick as I could to try and catch the light over the marshes.

All day long the wind was tugging hard so I packed 2 Bft 4 kites and headed out. The logic was to use the DL Trooper as an autoKAP lifter if it was rough and the DS equipped Levitation if I needed some power to lift a big camera. I left behind the light wind lifters and set off along the Weavers Way to see what the walk would bring.

This is a place of wide skies and boggy pastures with a network of drainage channels and mills dating back to the middle ages. The wind is straight off the sea, sweeping in across the dunes to riffle the waters and reeds. These are the winds that brought the terror of Zeppelins a hundred years ago, the same that brought the difters home with the silver herring by steam and sail for a hundred years before that. This is flat land, the wind, when it blows it is perfect for kites and the settlement pattern is such that overhead wires are few.

With 2 cameras, harness, line, radio and 2 kites on my back the walk out was a cumbersome affair and as soon as I was clear of hedgerows and grazing livestock I let the wind take the load.  I have learned that the DL Trooper does not carry a big load, even in a Bft 4 bluster but the breeze gave me the confidence to try a 640g Canon Eos M autorig.

_DSC3463The fantail is new, fitted in 2008  to replace the previous one lost in a gale. The Trooper swung upward, the rig followed and rose oh so slowly…

_DSC3433The Tropper is a gentle kite, even in a biting draw, the lift is gradual and the pull light but you need a lot of space to work with it.

_DSC3420 I was able to begin a walk around the mill but things began to go awry, I thought I’d overloaded the kite as the line began to slacken …


_DSC3471dramatic close-ups are one thing but I was hauling line like billy-o to keep the rig from snareing the sail frames.

Windspeed 14082015The wind had cut from a handy Bft 4 to a patchy Bft 3. With line all over the meadow I brought down the Trooper and swapped in the 9′ Levitation with a big directed camera to make the best of what was a vanishing oportunity.



The listing description from Historic England:

HALVERGATE  MARSHES TG 40 NW 4/44 Mutton’s Mill. G.V. II* Windpump, mid C19, restored c.1980. Tarred brick tower and boat shaped weather- boarded cap. Tapering circular tower of 4 storeys. 2 ground floor doors, 1 window at first floor and 1 window at second floor level with segmental brick arches. Complete cap frame, fan and machinery. Cap gallery added c.1980. Wooden clasp arm brakewheel, cast iron windshaft, wallower, and wooden drive shaft. Cast iron crown wheel and pit wheel to internal scoop wheel. Two stocks, four clamps and remains of four 8 bay patent sails lie on ground near mill. The internal scoop wheel is the only surviving example in the Broads area.

Halvergate Mutton’s mill was originally called Manor Mill but became known as Mutton’s mill as Fred Mutton was the last keeper.

  • 1947: Mill ceased working with Fred Mutton as the keeper
  • 1984: New cap and six bladed fantail fitted
  • 1998: A single pair of patent sails fitted
  • 2005: Fantail blown off in a gale
  • 2008: New fantail fitted

Mutton Mill 3 frame montage_02

A wonderful Norfolk capped mill, it stands as a real credit to the efforts to restore it. A monument to wind power-  shot from the very winds that powered it.


About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
This entry was posted in KAP, Windmills and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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