Punting is no longer the safe haven for moderate alcoholics, Chinese tourists or students that it used to be, HEATHER MCKAY reports.
Poor manners and bad punt-iquette have created a minor war zone on the once calm waters of the Cam.
The worst of these Cam-kerfuffles was a hit-and-punt last month involving a pensioner. The 67 year old man had been enjoying a leisurely outing when a larger ferry punt collided with his boat. The man’s leg was left broken and heavily bleeding.
The culprit did not stay around to help however, but ‘sped’ from the scene. Rescue came in the form of a fellow punter who lashed the two punts together before pulling him to shore.
This episode of river rage is just one in a line of many incidents where Cam-mon courtesy has not been respected.
Reports have even been given of rival punting operators damaging each other’s boats. Three were recently filled with concrete and left to ‘sleep with the fishes’ of the River Cam.
One Cambridge student said that he’s ‘too afraid to venture on to the river anymore’ and will now ‘drink his Pimms in the comfort of his own room’. Another disgruntled student-rower said that ‘This is what happens when bumps become mainstream’.
A spokesman for the Cam Conservators has called for “etiquette classes and fines” for forgetting one’s manners, saying that ‘there has been some really quite boorish behaviour, with people who were in the wrong not apologising and just being rude.’