Punting around the world
Punting is one of the best things you can do when in Cambridge, but this is not an activity that is exclusive to our city. Punting is an international mode of exploration and can be done all around the world.
In the region of Spreewald, punts are used to move between a series of small villages, and in Spring, Summer and Autumn there is a ‘Post Punt’ that delivers letters and parcels between the villages.
Punts are also used in Spreewald by tourists to explore the region, much like in Cambridge!
Also, on the River Neckar in Tubingen, punting is a university tradition, like here in Cambridge, and their punts are known as stocherkahn. The stocherkahn are larger and deeper than our traditional punts, with benches in them for seats.
The stocherkahn are also used in an annual punt race between the university students, in different fraternities, just like several places around the world.
So, whilst punting in Cambridge is a beautiful thing to do and a wonderful way to explore our city, it is not necessarily a unique thing.
In Pune, on the Mutha River, at the college of Engineering punting is something that is done by students and tourists. Mostly a leisure activity, but there is also an annual regatta, similar to our annual punt race!
There is also a beautiful display at the end of the regatta called ‘The Punt Formation’ where the punts are illuminated to create a stunning display once the sun sets.
In Botswana punts are used for a more practical use. In the Okavango Delta punts or makaros, are used to punt tourists around each of the different islands as they explore the local area on walking safaris.
The makaros can also take passengers along the delta as they are punted by locals to see Hippos and Crocodiles.
Similar to punting in Cambridge, the pushers stand on the back of the boat as they push, but instead of standing on a platform at the back, they stand in the back portion of the boat.
In an area of Marshland called The Marais Poitevin, there is a series of canals that navigate the marshland. Here the punts are known as barques, and were originally used for transporting goods and livestock, but are now used by tourists to explore the region.
New Zealand is another city in the world that does punting like we do. The Avon in Christchurch is a major tourists attraction, and punting there is a way to explore the city, just like in Cambridge!
There are large similarities all across the world when it comes to punting, from shape and size, to our love of racing them. This reinforces that punting is a special thing to do and they are an excellent way to spend an hour of your day. So whilst a trip to the Okavango Delta might be a step to far, a day trip to Cambridge certainly isn’t, so come and join us this Spring on the River Cam!
What are you waiting for?