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| Modern * Cambridge |

Punting along the river Cam seems like it should date back to the ancients, but it’s only been around for the past 100 years - basically yesterday in the long history of the University.

People used to punt around the city, in the boggy marshes and the fens, because it was often the only way you could get through. But no one was on the river by the colleges.

This section of the river was an important waterway, definitely not the instagrammable backdrop it’s evolved into. It was filled with barges and tradesmen, moving their goods inland from the sea.

The riverbed itself was unusual. When they began to build the colleges, the horses needed for the market couldn’t ride along the banks anymore. Instead, someone had the ingenious idea of leading them through the river. The middle of the stream was adapted which allows horses to move through the water, in between the boats.

The horses and the trade boats were eventually replaced by tourists and students, and a new Cambridge tradition was created.


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