2 Star paddle on the Cam - 16 June 2012

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A group of seven 1 stars and one 2 star went on a one day trip. Starting at Cambridge Granta Punts and Canoes, where we hired 4 pre-booked canoes (Old Town 158s) for the day, costing £40 per person from 10.30 to about 5.30. We paid on our return in the evening. Granta is about 20 minutes walk from Cambridge station. We were kitted out with buoyancy aids, and given a rough idea of the best route for a day by the very helpful staff there. There were no changing rooms, but we were allowed to use the pub loos right next door.

The advice was to head downstream though The Backs to Jesus lock to see the city sights, and then back to the Mill pool weir near Granta thus avoiding the busiest time for the punts, which were everywhere and generally out of control – unlike us of course.

The weather was a mixture of sun and cloud but with a strong wind. Departing at 11 am we spent an hour negotiating the punters before returning to the Mill Pool weir, where we carried the boats up the punt rollers and headed towards Grantchester. After about an hour and a half we reached Grantchester (two white buoys in the river marks the spot) and pulled the boats out for packed lunches. The Orchard Tea Rooms was 100m on the opposite side of the field behind the trees. They do lunches there, as well as tea and cakes (+loos!).

After an hour stop watching cricket and eating cake, we headed further upstream to a mill, where we had to turn round and head down the other fork to the weir at Byrons pool, where there is a portage. The river here is quite narrow and tree-lined – all very peaceful. Headed further upstream avoiding fishermen, under the M11 to a turnaround point, which we calculated would get us back to the start point by 5pm. It was much quicker heading back downstream with a following wind, and had time for an investigation of a side branch. Even attempted an improvised cag sail.

Map of route