If you’re looking for an idyllic and relaxing way to explore the further reaches of Cambridge’s surrounding area then the Grantchester punting tour may be just what Tamburlaine guests are looking for. The trip down the lazy rivers of Cambridge and its surrounding countryside to Grantchester, about 4 kilometres away takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes whilst the return trip will take around 4 hours, a break in which you can sample some of East Anglia’s best country pubs is included in this. This is a great romantic getaway or family trip and gives you a great breather from the hubbub of the city.
What is Punting?
A punt boat has a flat bottom and a square boat bow and is the boat of choice to traverse Cambridge’s upper rivers and beyond. The Punt has bene in use since the early 20th century. They were originally used for fishing or angling and transporting goods up the river but were repurposed for tourism.
How to Punt
Punting is simple but requires some practice. The best place to start is by standing near the back of the boat, as close to the side as possible so that you face over the side of the punt. With the forward hand throw the pole vertically down close to the side of the punt and guide it with your lower hand. When the pole touches the bottom, use both hands to reach forward and gently pull the pole past your chest. If you shove gently, your steering will be more concise. After the stroke you should relax and allow the pole to float up like a rudder behind you. When the punt is going straight, recover the pole hand over hand until you can throw it down again and begin the next stroke.
Grantchester is a small village on the River Cam and rests in south Cambridgeshire. It has been recorded to have dated back to the Domesday book in 1086. One of the interesting facts about Grantchester is that it has one of highest amounts of inhabitants who have won Nobel prizes, presumably due to the nearby and highly prestigious Cambridge University. Poet Rupert Brooke is a notable former resident of the area as is famous scientist Mary Archer and her husband, politician Jeffrey Archer. A quirk of the Village is that it holds an annual Barrel race on Boxing Day which runs for about 40 minutes and ends with a hog roast at a local pub. The tradition has been running since the 1960’s so if you’re lucky enough to catch it after your putting then you’ll be in for a weird yet wholesome treat. Another local legend concerns that of a an underground passage which runs from the Old Manor house to King’s College Chapel two miles away. Legend has it that many years ago a fiddler offered to travel through the tunnel playing his fiddle. After a while the fiddle could not be heard any more hut the fiddler was never seen or heard from again.