A quant is a pole that is used to propel a barge or punt boat through the shallow waters while punting in Cambridge. The barge quant has a cap at the top and a prong or teeth resembling a pitchfork at the bottom. This stops the pole from sinking into the mud. A quant used for

Cambridge punting is usually around four meters or thirteen feet long and is generally made of hollow metal or wood. This way, it can always float even if it is left in the water. Depending on the size of the punt, a longer quant might be required to propel it. In earlier days, these poles were essential to drive yachts when there were no engines or if the wind was not strong enough. Sailors for large vessels relied on quant poles that were at least twenty-six feet long. Aside from propelling a Cambridge punt, the quant is used to steer the boats by acting as a rudder. The rudder is a primary control surface that helps boats move through the water. The chauffeur using the quant can quickly stick it behind the punt to safely control and navigate the direction it moves. There is also a common saying, “I wouldn’t touch that thing with a barge pole,” or “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole,” which usually referred to a long pole that is meant to tread through dirty slush and mud at the bottom of a river.

How to Use A Quant

The main reason quants are used for punting is to propel the boat from the rear or front deck. The angle that the chauffeur holds the quant depends on how deep the water is and how fast they want to travel. For large tour groups, they will go relatively slow because punting in Cambridge is a relaxing trip for you to see the sights around the university, so you might notice that they are not holding the quant at a steeper level, which is meant for deep waters. This is because the bottom of the quant should be able to reach the bed of the canal, and a shallower angle is needed for speed. Your chauffeur might hold it relatively straight because they do not want to go all fast and furious with families and children on board.

Your Cambridge punting chauffeur will drive the quant downward and then push it slightly back, which propels the punt. On larger boats, the chauffeur will walk along the side of the punt and brace against the quant to drive forward at the speed they are walking in. For reversing, the quant needs to be pushed forwards and then pulled out of the water. Your chauffeur will place their hand over it and then pull up, as though they are climbing up and down the pole. While punting in Cambridge, the chauffeur will usually stand at the back for most of the rider and then slide their quant in the water at a forward angle. This will glide the punt loosely in the direction they want it to go. They will then push the quant just past a vertical angle, sloping it downwards from front to the back of your punt, and then push on the quant to propel forward. At the end of this stroke, the quant gets twisted with a downward roll of their wrist to break it free from the bottom and then retrieve it by throwing their hands forward, getting ready for the next stroke. You will notice how smooth and rhythmic this style is, which is the best form to give you a safe yet adventurous ride that will satisfy all your Cambridge tourist needs.

Punting in Cambridge is the most popular activity that is enjoyed by residents and tourists every
year. You can either go book a tour with a group or hire a punt to enjoy exploring the historic
River Cam. A traditional punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow that is perfect for
rowing on shallow water and small rivers. They were initially used as cargo boats and are now
used for pleasure trips for those who want to enjoy the sights around the world-famous
Cambridge University. These boats can be rented by the hour if you want to experience your
own unique Cambridge adventure. If you are hiring a punt, you will need to know how to row
safely along the narrow and crowded waters because punting is not easy. Here are some
rowing techniques to learn for your next self-punt to ensure safety for everybody on board.

Rowing Style for Cambridge Punting
The most basic technique for a Cambridge punt is to push the boat along with the quant, which
is the long pole you will be using while shoving it directly against the riverbed. The Cambridge
tradition most punters use requires them to stand on the back of the boat and punt forward
with the open end. The River Cam is narrow and very crowded full of punts, but you will see
most chauffeurs using this style, which is known as the “Cambridge End.”

Rowing Technique for Beginners
When you have a firm grip on the quant, stand near the back or “Till.” It would be best to
position yourself closest to the side as much as balance allows as you look over the side of the
punt. Using your forward hand, push the pole down vertically close to the side of your punt and
guide it with your lower hand. Let the quant fall down all the way until you feel it touch the
bottom of the riverbed, and then reach forward with both hands by gently pushing the pole
past your chest. It is essential to be gentle for the first time so that you can control your
steering. When you complete each stroke, relax your muscles and let the pole float upwards
behind you like a rudder. This relaxation habit after each stroke will prevent you from falling
over if the quant gets stuck unexpectedly.

Rowing Technique for Experienced Punters
Instead of using the quant as a rudder, more experienced punters will steer during their
strokes. They do this by standing forward further and stay close to one side of the punt. If they
want to turn the boat in the direction they are facing, they throw the pole close to the punt and
pull it towards them. This type of stroke is known as “Pinching” the punt. To face the other way,
they throw the pole slightly further out and pull their feet towards it. This style is called
“Shoving around.” Some Cambridge punters with a lot of experience might also use a one-
handed technique, which is more challenging. The one-handed method requires a punter to
throw the pole forward instead of pulling up, which is a “Bucket recovery.” The advantage of
doing this is so the punter can drop their pole directly onto the riverbed at an angle facing their position without slowing momentum. The pole is in a vertical position, and pressure is applied
to steer the punt. This style is beneficial if you want more power in fast-flowing streams or if
the punt is already racing.

Just because Halloween is over, it does not mean that going on a haunted trip and hearing
about ghosts isn’t still a lot of fun. Instead of the usual walking tours, why not take a ride
through the River Cam and hear spooky stories about Cambridge University that will put every
horror movie to shame. This will make punting in Cambridge a lot more exciting, especially if
you want a little more thrill rather than the usual stories about the architecture.
St. John’s College
This college is one where people have reported several haunted sightings and bizarre incidents.
It was built on a Medieval hospital that was forced to shut down. You can ask your chauffeur
about the ghost of Doctor James Wood, who was an impoverished student at the college. He
could not even afford a light in his room while students today are spoiled with laptops,
televisions, and mobile phones. Back in the day, he used to sit in the O staircase in the Second
Court and use the light from other rooms to work through the night. Some people reported
that his apparition is still haunting the same place at nights and surprised a few students by
following them to their rooms.
Another famous ghost is James Ashton, who was brutally murdered in 1746 in the First Court
next to the library. He was discovered stabbed in his room, and everybody suspected that his
friend John Brinkley killed him. However, Brinkley escaped justice because his father had some
very powerful lawyers. He fled after the murder, and Ashton’s angry spirit can sometimes be
heard screaming loudly in the building.

King’s College
King’s College is a very popular haunting site. This is because the founder, King Henry VI, had
gone insane after prison when he was defeated in the War of the Roses. The chapel was used
during the civil war by Oliver Cromwell to house parliamentarian cavalrymen. Students at
Cambridge have reported noises coming from inside the chapel at night. You might hear horses
neighing and soldiers scraping their feet. Even the police were called many times by students
and teachers because they spotted moving figures on the roof.
Another unusual haunting story is that of Barret’s Coffin. A scholar named Barret was a very
eccentric person and lived in the Gibbs Building while strangely keeping a coffin. People often
heard him screaming loudly throughout the night but ignored him because of his quirky
personality. One day, the screaming stopped, and when scholars entered his room, they found
him dead, lying in his coffin with a smile on his face. For a long time, the Gibbs building was no
longer used for accommodation because people could not sleep and always complained about
the random screaming. It was so bad to a point where the college tried exorcising the building.
The exorcism did not work, and now people just continue to tolerate whatever happened in the

Clare College
When you are punting in Cambridge, ask your chauffeur about the Black Widow of the Cam.
Her name was Elizabeth De Clare, and she was married off to the richest man in England against
her wishes when she was only twelve years old. Her husband died after the wedding, and
Elizabeth had to remarry. Her second husband also passed away after getting married. Then she
went on to marry a third wealthy husband, who perished from food poisoning. Elizabeth
became the richest woman in Europe and was unstoppable. Then the people of Cambridge
formed a mob and tortured her until she confessed to murdering all her husbands. The local
men tied Elizabeth to a boat and floated her until Clare Bridge, where she was then killed by
burning arrows. She suffered an agonizing death, and her vengeful spirit continues haunting the
River Cam.

Cambridge is an exceptionally scenic and ancient university city. There are many romantic
activities for couples to celebrate their love and punting in Cambridge is an excellent way to
each other’s company. You can surprise your partner with a tour on the River Cam and relax
while you are being chauffeured around this beautiful location.
Instead of sharing a punt with other tourists, you can hire a private ride to take your significant
other on the most exciting historical journey. While booking the tour, ask your company to
personalize the ride. Rather than going the usual route, you can let them know about any
special preferences. The tour company can make suggestions about which are the best spots.
The River Cam provides the most gorgeous setting for a romantic outing, and it is inspirational
to share that with a special person. Ask your chauffeur to take photos of you together so that
those memories can last forever.
This is one of the most relaxing tours after exploring the city together. After spending the day in
Cambridge, your significant other would really appreciate getting a chance to sit back and rest
their feet while taking in more breath-taking sights. The boat can be decorated with rose petals,
and cushions to give you the best experience possible. If this does not impress your date,
nothing else will. If you are celebrating an anniversary together, you can arrange to have a
chilled bottle of champagne on board with flutes to sip along the ride while toasting your
You do not have to worry about the weather because the tour operator will have blankets and
covers on the punt. They can even supply you with strawberries and cream to share together to
make the trip extra special. The views you will see along the way are nothing short of
something from a Jane Austen novel, which is what makes Cambridge such a romantic city.
There are lots of activities for couples to partake in and strengthen their bond. After the
romantic punting tour, you can stop at a quiet spot to have a picnic in the nearby gardens. If it
is not too cloudy, you will see the most magnificent sunset from the water that will literally take
your breath away. Dusk is the most romantic time of the day when the sun is going down, and
you can stroll under the soft pastel-coloured sky while holding hands as all the buildings light up
around you.
At the end of the night, you should cosy up together in a local pub, especially one that has a
wood-burning fireplace to set the mood. Enjoy some great food and drinks in Cambridge, and
before you know it, you will be coming back to this city for more. Traveling together with loved
ones is one of the most unique experiences. As you look at all the beautiful sights together, you
are celebrating that there is nobody else you would rather be with to share these magical

Cambridge has a wealth of fascinating history that captures the soul. Punting in Cambridge is
the most popular tourist activity for a reason because you get to see all the beautiful
architecture and hear the most enthralling stories. Cambridge is also a very picturesque
location if you enjoy taking photographs or even a few selfies for Instagram. Here are the best
spots for your next punting adventure on the River Cam, so that you can truly experience
everything that Cambridge is famously known around the world for.

Mathematical Bridge
This historical bridge was built during the seventeenth century and was inspired by bridges in
China. You can see that very little material was used to create this long-lasting structure. Most
people believe that the bridge was designed by Sir Isaac Newton. But it was his student, William
Etheridge, who designed it in 1748. The bridge is right beside Queen’s College, which is one of
the oldest and largest colleges at Cambridge. It was founded in 1448 and spans both sides of
the River Cam. You should ask your punting chauffeur to tell you all about the bridge’s design,
and how the timber sturdily holds it in place despite being a weak material.

The Wren Library
The Wren Library was built in 1695, part of Trinity College in Cambridge. It was designed by
famous British architect Sir Christopher Wren, constructed in 1695. The same architect also
designed the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. This is one of the most beautiful views on
the River Cam, especially during sunset. Sir Isaac Newton, Prince Charles, George VI, Eddie
Redmayne, and many more have studied in this library during their time at Trinity College.

Bridge of Sighs
This gorgeous bridge looks like something from Harry Potter. It was named after the Venetian
Bridge of Sighs by Queen Victoria. It was built back in 1831 by Henry Hutchinson. The bridge
crosses the River Cam linking between the New Court and Third Court colleges. Queen Victoria
once said that this was her favorite spot in the city, and that’s how this bridge became such a
popular tourist attraction. There is also a common myth that the word “Sighs” came from
Cambridge University students who were very stressed during exams. In 1928,

There is more to punting in Cambridge than taking selfies while admiring the breath-taking greenery. Punting is a storytelling experience, and it has a history that not many people know about unless they go on a specific historical tour.

What is Punting

Punting is an activity where people ride a small square-ended boat that has a flat bottom. A chauffeur then uses a long pole to push against the riverbed, which propels the boat in whichever direction you want to go. That propulsion is what’s known as “Punting.” Cambridge is surrounded by water, and there is lots to see, which is why tourists go for a punting adventure because they can take in the best views of the world-famous university.

History of Cambridge Punting

The little boats or “Punts,” were built in medieval times to row in shallow water. Cambridge has marshy flatlands that the locals lived near to take advantage of hunting ducks, eel fishing, and transporting cargo until the nineteenth century. Punts don’t have a keel, which is a flat blade that sticks down into the water. They do not need it because they’re only meant to be rowed on very shallow water. This makes the boats more flexible to move around in narrow waters. Their stable and generous width allows plenty of room for passengers to sit and enjoy the ride.

Modern Day Punting in Cambridge

Punts became a recreational mode of transport in Cambridge at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, they were popular on the Thames and in Bath. Even during poor weather and strong winds, people still use them because they are unconcerned about a quick dip in shallow water that they can easily climb out of.

A punt is a little harder to navigate compared to a rowing boat, but people still enjoy riding them and getting their sightseeing done from the waterways around Cambridge. At times, the long poles get stuck at the bottom, and a chauffeur could get knocked off the boat if they yank it out too hard. They might have to go in the water to pull it out, but in the Cambridge area, there are stone beds in many areas that prevent poles from getting stuck easily. These stone beds were placed during a time when horses were allowed to wade up the river, so riders didn’t have to pay tolls to the university if they were crossing their lands.

The next time you go on a Cambridge punting tour along the River Cam, ask your chauffeur about the history of punting and what makes it so unique compared to any other mode of water transport. There are many punting tours to choose from, and they regularly compete because of the influx of tourists coming to Cambridge University. Hopefully, the number of punts can be reduced because some of the waterways are very narrow and boats can knock against each other if there’s too much traffic.