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24 September 2014

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Online punting on the Cam
Punting on the Cam
Punting on the river Cam
What could be finer than punting on the river Cam on a lovely sunny day? It's an image often associated with Cambridge - lazy summer days, champagne picnics, men in straw boaters... we tell you all you need to know about punting on the river Cam!
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If you go punting in Oxford you'll be doing it from the front! Yes, they stand at the front of the punt in Oxford, rather than the back like us sensible Cambridge people!

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What is punting?
Punting is one of Cambridge’s chief attractions. Punts are flat-bottomed boats which, because they don’t have a keel, are usually steered with a long pole (about 10 foot long).


Take a virtual punt without the fear of ever getting wet!

A perfect alternative for the non-swimmer and those who dislike fresh air.

Try it nice 'n leisurely
Try it at 4x normal speed!

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Somebody (usually the drawer of the short straw!) stands on the platform at the back and pushes the pole against the river bed in order to move the punt. The end of the pole that goes in the water has two metal prongs on it to help you get a grip - especially if you are unfortunate enough to get stuck!

What to do when things go wrong!
Check out some of our top tips to make sure your journey is plain sailing »

Punting in the rain
Punting in the rain!

Where did they come from?
Pleasure punts were introduced to Cambridge in Edwardian times. Before that, they were used by fisherman and reed-cutters in the Fens. The basic design was developed in Medieval times and made it a very stable craft, particularly suitable for shallow water. These craft were therefore perfect for use in the marshy Fens.

Where to punt in Cambridge
You can punt between Grantchester and Jesus Lock, by Jesus Green, a route which takes you along the Backs (the backs of some of the older Cambridge colleges).

Instructions for punters:
• Wear sensible footwear
• Make sure platform is dry to avoid hilarious banana skin-like slide into water
• Get your balance
• Drop the pole straight down into the water. Let it slide through your hands until it touches the river bed
• Push
• Pick up the pole
• Repeat as often as needed
N.B. Try not to splash your puntees and if you ever need to decide between staying in the boat and keeping hold of the pole, remember that you can always go back for the pole.

Where to hire punts:

• The Granta pub on Newnham Road
• By the Anchor on Silver Street at the end of Mill Lane
• Trinity College
• The Quayside near Magdalene College

Instructions for puntees:
• Sit in punt
• Eat
• Shout ‘helpful’ instructions to punter
• Shout ‘helpful’ instructions to other river users e.g. "Please can you get out of the way!"
• Occasionally try to steer the craft yourself by frantically dipping your hands in the water and paddling like mad.
• Don’t rock the boat.

What to do when things go wrong? More!
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