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  • Alick Burt

A Paddle on The River Cam with very few punts to dodge!

Last Sunday I met up with my friend Fi and we went for a paddle on the Cam.

Having checked the forecast we knew the weather was going to be good and with a bit of luck we might even have a bit of sun. The plan was to paddle from Grantchester into Cambridge taking in the backs and then returning the way we had come.

This is an easy flat water paddle which begins with the easiest of put ins by this bridge.

As you set off with eyes peeled you may spot a few sculptures. I have paddled this route a few times and hadn't spotted this one before.

Probably because there were far more leaves on the trees.

Before long you enter one of my favourite parts of the river with ancient looking branches of trees snaking across above your head. Given the right light,these create the most fabulous reflections on the water.

The river banks have lovely grass areas usually filled with people having picnics and reading books whiling away the hours but today we were early so there seemed to be more folks out for an early morning run or letting their sheep out!

The flow is minimal but with two of us paddling we made rapid progress and were soon over the portage. We decided to stop for a coffee break.As I paddled over to our coffee spot Fi took a picture of myself and our Mascot Alfie.

Alfie spent most of his time right at the front of the canoe sitting on the air bag and occasionally ventured even further out onto the bow deck but for the moment he was happy getting a good view with his front paws on the gunwales.

As I sat drinking my coffee we had a very close encounter with a duck. She hopped right up onto my gunwale. They are obviously very used to being fed around here so are very friendly despite Alfie being in close proximity.

We set off again and took a left up to this punt hire place where we could see people were beginning

to get on the water.

Towards the end of this section is this building with what looks like an oast house at the side and to the left of it on the river is a little backwater that we decided to explore.

It was shallow and we didn't go too far before we were unable to go much further but it was an interesting diversion. On the way I chatted to a chap who showed an interest in having a canoe made, possibly a future client so I gave him a card.

We turned around and paddled on into town.

I love the view you get of architecture from a canoe seat so took a few more pictures.

Meanwhile people around us on the shore and in passing punts were pointing and smiling at Alfie on the bow. We heard comments like “He's in charge” and “He's so cute” or “Look at the doggie”

and cameras were clicking as though he was a celebrity.Later on we passed a large punt full of Tourists who all exclaimed Coooool! As we passed.

There were surprisingly few punts on the water compared to other trips I have done here but I suppose we have yet to reach the height of summer.Spring is definitely in the air and blossom abounds.

I bet the occupants of this building would n't want to step out of the wrong door in the morning!

On our return journey we found a light breeze behind us and river traffic increased a little but we had a lovely paddle there was a violinist playing on the bank at one point and a chap asleep in his hammock further up so you get a feel of the fabulous atmosphere we experienced.

We were soon back at the put in and it was early so we adjourned for tea at the Orchard Tea Garden.

Happy Paddling!


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