“You’re gunna need a bigger boat.” – Brody, Jaws.
The River Cam is the main river flowing through Cambridge in eastern England. After leaving Cambridge, it flows north and east into the Great Ouse to the south of Ely at Pope’s Corner. I’ve taken the punting tour a couple of times, even attempted to punt myself in a desperate bid to woo my date. I didn’t succeed in securing a second date so that gives you an idea on how I faired. Yes, shit. However, the tales of the River Cam, no matter how tall or farcical, are deeply fascinating.
I recorded a chat with Scudamore punter Daniel Burke and he gave me the low down on some of the tales told and some of the common fabrications made about the River Cam.
What’s the biggest highlight of the tour?
The Kings College Chapel is distinctive, it’s on every company logo its like Cambridge Eiffel Tower. It’s big, often mistaken for a cathedral. Looks beautiful from the river. Anytime you see in a painting, or postcard its usually taken from the river where you get some of the best vistas.
What’s one of your favourite stories of the River Cam?
There’s a bunch of people called the Cambridge Night Climbers, famous in cambridge. They like to climb stuff at night and leave a calling card. In 2002 theye clambered up one of the pinncales of the chapel, 100’s feet up, no equipment and plonked a traffic cone up there. So the autorities had to get this traffic cone down. They didn’t want to climb it so they had to get a team of scaffolders to get it. So the scaffolders set up the scaffold, sun goes down, they went home. They were going to come back the next day, finish the scaffold and remove the cone. However, the Night Climbers came back that night and moved the cone to a different pinncale and the scaffolders had to start from scratch.
Scudamore punting is available on the River Cam every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day. Check out the website for a full history and prices.