Is punting easy on the river cam?

Punting in Cambridge


Punting is one of those activities that looks so unchallenging – people effortlessly gliding along the river taking in all of the beauty that surrounds them. You start to think: is punting easy on the river cam?  It is definitely one of the safest and easiest activities to do in Cambridge if you are on a guided punting tour of the College Backs. Trained punters make it seem so effortless with the way they navigate the punting boat along the cam. Whilst narrating interesting anecdotes about the history of Cambridge and its university. However, looking out onto the River you may also see some punts, looking rather unsteady, with a tourist, instead of a trained chauffeur, on the deck giving punting a go – if you are watching these self-hire punters, then this activity starts to look rather difficult and not so mellow.

So is punting as easy as it looks?

You start to think about how easy it is to go punting on your own. In fact, one of our frequently asked questions at the traditional Punting company is how easy it is to do self-punting? Even though we do not provide self-punting tours as all our tours are chauffeured, we thought we would give you a bit of a background about punting and its ease.

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The long-awaited answer

The truth is, punting is challenging if you are not a trained punter.  It takes some time to master the different aspects of this skill. Moreover, the tour takes up to 50 minutes approximately, which can be tiring if you are not used to punting and normally take self-hires a couple of hours to navigate the entire stretch of the College Backs in Cambridge.  Nonetheless, it is quite simple once you get the hang of it. So it’s okay if you wobble around when it’s your first time punting. As there are more variables to consider than just steering the boat.

Cambridge Punting 

Safety comes first when you are out on the river regardless of the activity that you are undertaking. You have to bear in mind your safety as well as other river users around you. Secondly, the river at Cambridge can get quite busy, so it is important to be attentive of your surroundings and other punting boats around you.  And Thirdly, there are many low bridges that require you to adjust your posture. So if you are taking out a self-hire punt all of these obstacles can impede your journey along the Cam and potentially cause you to have a crash, fall in or slow down.


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The Quant (setting pole)

In addition to the quant, which is what we call the setting pole in the punting world.  It is used to push the boat through in the needed direction.  The setting pole is pretty much your steering wheel on the boat. You can either steer forward or use it to stop the boat altogether. Using the pole correctly you can rudder the boat in the right direction in one smooth motion but this is a skill that no beginner picks up straight away.

A trained punter standing on the helm punting the boat, Kings Bridge

The easiest punting in Cambridge experience

The easiest way to go punting in Cambridge is by joining a guided punt tour, so trained professionals can take you out along the cam, showing you all of the sights as well as providing commentary along the way. You can book yourself onto a guided punting tour either online or at a river location on the day. By booking online in advance you will receive a discounted rate of up to 50% as well as a guaranteed departure time so there will be on stress or hassle on the day. At the Traditional Punting Company, our trained punters are at the helm to show you the best of Cambridge, so you can relax, and not have to worry about navigating the punt by yourself. By booking online onto our highly-rated guided punt tours, you will certainly receive the easiest, cheapest, most hassle-free and fun punting experience ever. You can check out our punting Cambridge website for more details or give us a call any day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on 01223 782 306.

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Posted on July 10th, 2022, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor