As you walk down the busy city streets, dodging the many bicycles and pedestrians along the way, you will surely be approached by at least two or three students competing for your punting pleasure. The cost is negotiable, depending of course, on your attitude, or eagerness to go punting. The original cost is £12 per adult, but we managed to get a deal for £9 for a guided tour, by passing up the first few guys that were accepting no less that the quoted price.
The tour lasts about 30 minutes, as you glide down the river, crashing into other less experienced punters who are brave enough to try it on their own. Not to worry, just keep your hands inside the punt! Do not attempt to hold on to the sides of the punt at any point, because you may have your fingers crushed by a novice punter. The guide will remind you, along the way, to duck when approaching lower tree branches, etc.
Remember the black swan from my homepage? Here you can see why the water is so green because of reflections on the river.
The following web site has currently 120 high quality professional photographs, of all of the colleges in great detail, and the city of Cambridge, as well. I bought several of their postcards, which are protected by copyrights, but beautiful to see.
The following tips will give more details of my punting adventure. Please read on ...
The weather was ideal to go punting, or rather to be taken punting. It's much easier to sit down comfortably and have someone else do the work. We passed a few visitors who were really having trouble, one poor lady didn't even get her boat to start. She kept going in circles, so I think it's a lot more difficult than it looks like.
We learned one interesting fact, in a country where you drive on the left side, you punt on
the right side. We were told this by a professional punter after we had gone under a bridge on the left side and almost bumped into him. It looks like these punting guides have a lot
of experience with stupid tourists going in the wrong direction. They managed to prevent most crashes and were still telling their customers stories about college life at the same time.
We passed the gardens of the colleges, absolutely beautiful in summer! From time to time a hopeful duck would swim by, but in vain, as we didn't have any bread at all.
One hour self-punting costs 8 GBP and you have to leave your ID as a deposit.
The hour passed by very quickly, in fact we were a few minutes late returning the boat, but
didn't have to pay extra.
As I said in the beginning, these colossal colleges, could easily be mistaken as a palace, by an unknowing tourist as myself. Beautiful architecture and designs that took centuries to accomplish is a bit mind - boggling, in my opinion. This is St. Johns College near Wren Bridge. I can only imagine being a student in a place like this. It must be incredible, but it is only a building, after all.
Our guide was truly amusing, and it was a pleasurable experience. There was a wedding going on at one of the chapels, and it was lovely to see, but my favorite (favourite) moment was when a tiny little duckling, swam away from its mother, came right up beside the punt, and put on a hilarious show for the audience. (namely ... us)
He (guessing here) quacked, while the mother shrieked a warning that was totally ignored, as he had our undivided attention. He was much quicker than his brothers and sisters, and didn't seem the least bit concerned about being hit by the punt. He sang us a duck song, did complete circles next to the punt, before taking a bow, and returning to mother duck. She was not amused, but I tell you, that baby duck laughed at us, and winked with it's heart, before waving farewell. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I shall never forget it, and still smile when I think about it. I guess you really just had to be there, as words cannot adequately describe it.
A punt is similar to a venetian gondola but without the curved edges, it is a narrow flat bottomed boat propelled by a long pole.
You can do the sensible thing & hire a guide who expertly navigates you round the punt novices or hire one yourself & try not get wet.
A punt holds 12 people & costs £14 each with a guide although large groups could negotiate a discount of £10 depending on the season & how busy they are. We went with the Traditional punting company who left from the Magadelene Bridge. As you are walking down to the river there are many touts selling tickets, Jan Jarus (aka The Ghost) appeared out of nowhere, stared us in the eyes and before we knew it the 5 of us were seated in a punt.
The trip takes around 45min taking in all the sites as well as additional expert knowledge from your guide who are
There seems to be several places in which to pick up a punt in Cambridge. Ours was from Scudamores by the Anchor pub. It costs around 8 GBP but you may be able to get a discount for larger groups (and if you have a great negotiator with you like Gillian :))
The boats are very comfy but remember to keep your arms inside and your head down when going under the low bridges! When the river is VERY busy, collisions are inevitable so be prepared for the knocks and bumps!
It is possible to hire the punts yourself, but I am not sure that's such a good idea when the river is sooo busy! Our guide told us that LOTs of people fall in!
Tickets are around 8GBP each and the largest boats carry up to 12 people. It is possible to hire punts privately, but my guess is it could be a very damp experience for novice punters if they don't know what they are doing!
we went punting twice when in cambridge,first time we hired a punter ,and it was really as cosy as we imagined,but the second time was another story...we punted by ourselves the second time,tho it was mostly a boy friend of us did that,the quant was really really really heavy,and it's also hard to control the direction,we spent about 20 mins staying at the same place on the boat,i did think everyone else was laughing at us.....but anyways it's really a unforgettable experience ,and the scenery was really amazing ,we even saw a wedding was being held at one of those colleges,soooooo romantic*S*
Punting is a traditional activity. There are a couple of ways to go. The way we chose was to hire a punter whilst enjoying the views along the river, enjoying each others company and giving our 19 year old punter a few lessons about life.
One may also choose to be an amateur punter and rent only the boat and not the guide/punter to make it a very relaxing ride.
If you are going to be your own punter, be aware that there can be a bit of congestion on the river. Beware VT'ers bearing pigs....)
There are several companies offering punts for hire but we went with the Traditional Punting Company.
Typical rates are 10-14 pounds per person depending on group/individual rates as well as the season.
Punting is a great tradition at Cambridge and one of it's chief attractions. Punts are flat bottomed boats, without a keel, steered with a 10-foot-long pole. Punts were introduced to Cambridge in Edwardian times. Before that, fishermen and reed cutters in the fens had used punts. The design itself dates back to medieval times.
We were fortunate to have a nephew, Alan Wheeler, a student at Cambridge, who served as our personal punting guide. But not to worry. If you don't have a nephew at Cambridge, many other enterprising students usually make themselves available near the Cam Bridge and offer their services to visitors who want to participate in this "must do" activity.
Selction is 9/10's of the law ........... Oh no thats Possession. Well us girls decided to be cheeky & ask if we could select our punter so let the competition begin.
These next photo's are definetly one for the ladies!! Remember to go with the Traditional Punting company so as to get a fit punter :-)
"Punting the Cam" is the local way of describing the act of using a long pole to push yourself around in a small boat, known as a punt. The Cam River winds peacefully through Cambridge, creating some of the most beautiful scenery I saw anywhere in the UK.
We did a punting trip with work colleagues once and I can tell you that this is not very enjoyable if the punter is an amateur. Leave this work to the professionals and you 'll enjoy some of the best views of this town.
Punting is one of the best subjects to photograph in Cambridge. You imagine the past where speed does not matter as much as today, where you can savour the moment.
And, by the way, do you see? Here you can see the cows again! Even within Cambridge! This photo was taken at the Backs, behind King's College.