Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Back to Backs

There is one section of the river that has always remained tantalisingly unexplored by Lucky Duck. We have walked across its bridges many times, and punted up and down it during our time as students. 'The Backs' encompasses that stretch of the river Cam which has been photographed more often than any other, where the colleges line the water, and tourists come to experience quintessential England, watching students drift along in punts drinking Pimms. From April until October, all powered craft are banned from this part of the river, and rightly so, as it is carnage enough with inept punters blithely unaware of the rules of navigation.

But in the Winter, with permission, powered craft are allowed to navigate (if not moor up). We have always wanted to ascend Jesus Lock and attempt to cruise down to the head of navigation at the Mill Pond, so this year, we are going to celebrate my birthday by doing just that. I emailed the Cam Conservancy last week, and yesterday got a reply saying that yes, we have permission, and that the punt companies will be duly informed.

It has been done. This is a photo from the Camboaters website

St John's Kitchen Bridge is the lowest bridge, and the most likely to cause a problem. Under nomal river conditions, the height is given as 2.08m. The Duck has got under 1.70m on the Nene, but that was a flat bridge and this is arched. Hmm. But we could turn round if it all goes wrong, and there's only one way to find out. We'll be heading upstream, so won't be swept onto it, and will equip the cabin corners with tyres to prevent scraping. We'll also remove the cratch board, fill the water tank, and get lots of people to stand in the bows to weigh it down. 


  1. Sunday 18th. You would be most welcome!

  2. If you would like to read a report of the trip made in 2001 with photos then go to http://www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk/Tour_01/01Backs.html

  3. Thanks, I read it a while ago, as well as nb St. Kilda's account.