Punts will again be a familiar sight on the Cam at the start of JulyMIKE MCBEY/FLICKR

Cambridge punters get back to business

After months of an empty River Cam, punting tours will safely resume on 4th July as companies such as Let’s Go Punting and the Traditional Punting Company re-open. 

In order to ensure social distancing and avoid overcrowding, a virtual queuing system will be enforced via an online booking platform. Customers will be notified by text when their punt is ready to depart.

The number of people on any one punt will be limited, allowing only two families per tour, with perspex screens to divide people from different households and protect both staff and customers.

Punters will wear face masks, visors and gloves and punts will be cleaned appropriately between tours. For customers, wearing PPE will be encouraged but is not mandatory. The traditional blankets will also be replaced by wipeable cushion covers.

Let’s Go Punting was inspired by Bill Bremner who makes PPE using recycled materials. They received donations from a local brewery (Jolly Good Beer) and Cambridge pub (the Blue Moon) who used plastic beer kegs to make face visors, and bed sheets to make washable face masks. Biodegradable disposable gloves will also be used to reduce carbon footprint.

“We feel that the measures we have put in-place will enable this much loved activity to go ahead this summer,” said Zoe Smith, Company Director of Let’s Go Punting.


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The launch of an audio tour app for punting will also provide an informative, historical and engaging tour whilst helping to reduce human interaction for safety purposes. The app uses GPS to play audio clips which match the sights that customers pass on their tour.

“The lack of international tourism will likely have the most significant impact on our business,” said Smith. “We are envisaging the majority of our customers will be local families from Cambridge and other visitors from the UK.”

“As a small local business these are difficult times, but we are looking forward to welcoming customers on our punts this summer,” she told Varsity.

“We will ensure that our customer service and standards will remain our top priority and we feel that we can offer safe guided punting tours on the River Cam.”

Cow rescued after falling into River Cam

On Saturday 20th June, Cambridge firefighters came to rescue a cow which was stuck in the river for multiple hours.

The firefighters in the water tried to direct the cow towards the Midsummer Common bank but the cow did not seem to conform. The cow swam a significant length of the river and ended up near the boat houses.

They eventually managed to pull the cow out of the river using a rope.

A crowd of around 300 people stood watching the scene and gave a round of applause for the firefighters.

Heart-shaped air display to celebrate graduation

On Thursday, St Catherine’s college arranged an air display of a large, heart-shaped vapour trail in Cambridge in order to celebrate their graduating students. This would have been the first day of graduation ceremonies in Cambridge.

The college shared their pride in their hard-working students through the heart which was also enjoyed by everyone in Cambridge and its surrounding villages.

“I hope everyone in Cambridge who sees the air display will enjoy this special moment that marks the next chapter in the lives of our students,” said Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s College.

Students are reminded that they should be able to come back to celebrate in Cambridge together at a later date when larger gatherings are permitted.

Cambridge annual Festival of Wellbeing

This week Cambridge hosted its annual Festival of Wellbeing, a programme of talks and activities to promote increased mental and physical health amongst staff and students.

This year’s selection of virtual events consisted of mindfulness classes, yoga, crafting activities and nature tours. The aim was to encourage people to enjoy looking after their wellbeing, particularly in a global pandemic.

“We are all facing a wide and varying range of challenges during the lockdown, so it is really important to take a bit of time, put ourselves first and focus on what we need to do to stay healthy in our minds and bodies,” said Dr Hisham Ziauddeen, University Wellbeing and Disability Champion.

Oscar Holgate, Head Gardener at Wolfson College, gave a virtual tour of the beautiful college gardens.

Some of the events have been recorded and are available on the University of Cambridge website for those who missed it.

PhD student launches comic book company

Osarenkhoe Ogbeide, an Electrical Engineering PhD student at Churchill College, is celebrating the launch of a start-up comic book company.

New Africa Comics (NAC) tells stories inspired by African mythology, culture and people.

Osarenkhoe was a finalist in the Churchill College Enterprise Competition 2019, entering the competition with his comic company.