Punting in Cambridge is one of the most quintessential English past times, and one ride is never enough. There is so much beauty and scenery around this city, and the shallow marshy waters make every corner you turn feel like an enchanting journey. Guided tours usually have a chauffeur to navigate along these waters, but nothing is more exciting than renting your own punt for the day. Now is the best time to see if you are up to the challenge because the weather is fantastic too. Anyone can rent their own private punt without worrying about waiting in queues or sitting close to lots of other people, which makes it the perfect activity as we slowly come out of lockdown. Grab a pole and get ready to go punting in Cambridge like a pro.
Standing on The Punt
This seems very scary at first because the boat can be wobbly, especially since the water is never still. The best thing to do is walk to the end of your punt and stand on deck. You may stumble a little or wobble before your Cambridge punting tour even begins, but there is no need to cling to the edge for dear life because you will adapt to balancing quick enough. It is best to take a wide stance with bent knees, keeping your foot a little closer to your preferred side of punting.
Getting Comfortable on The Punt
Gently rock the punt using your feet to get a strong feeling of its movements and structure. This may seem silly, but it will help your body find the right balance when you are on the deck. Then you will not panic when you feel wobbly at times during some turns.
How to Handle Your Pole?
Firstly, you will have to choose a side to make the punt move. For your first solo Cambridge punting tour, try to use a long pole to propel yourself along the River Cam. You can keep the pole on either side of your rented punt but will probably prefer the right side if you are right-handed and vice versa. When you are done choosing which side to use, then you need to lift the pole out of the water and raise it hand over hand, before placing the bottom of the pole against the outside of the boat and near your foot. Then let the pole drop into the water into the riverbed and past your hands.
The fun part comes when you must bend your knees and move your hands along the top of the pole while holding onto the end of it. To steer, let the pole end trail behind your punt. If you drag your pole to the left or right through the water, it will turn the direction of your punt as well. It is best to use the pole as a boat rudder, by turning it underwater in whichever direction you would like to go. Finally, to turn the boat, you will need to spin it by dropping the pole from your left or right side and pushing it away from your Cambridge punt.