Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Traditional Punting

Was in Cambridge last weekend for the annual visit to friends and take them, their children and their dog, whimpering with fear, on a punting trip.

We were offered the choice of a wood or aluminium pole and chose the former, being the more traditional if heavier and more likely to cause splinters.

As we headed up the backs by St. Johns and Kings Colleges we were over taken by a number of kayaks, which given my recent paddles on the Thames brought mixed emotions.

On the one hand it would be a great place to explore by canoe or kayak, able to navigate up the smallest of tributaries, ported over weirs, and a lot less likely to cause river traffic jams due to tourists inability to propel their punt in a straight line.

On the other hand, a kayak is hardly the most traditional of craft for the Camb. And you can paddle on many a river but the Camb is one of those just right for punting, being slow moving, not too deep, and mostly having a gravel bottom.

They say when in Rome do as the Romans do, so when in Cambridge I'll continue to do the right thing and stand in my bare feet on the raised stern of a punt to propel it with a wooden pole, gliding down passed the timeless colleges.


Tillerman said...

Couldn't agree more. Our family also used to make the occasional punt pilgrimage to Cambridge when we lived in the UK and I had the pleasure of passing on to my sons the ancient skill of punting.

But where is the picture of the famous Captain JP showing off his skill with a pole?

JP said...

I'm planning another punt tomorrow and no doubt my guest will take some pics.

Will have to vet them for suitability of course