Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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FROM CAMBRIDGE TO ELY ON THE RIVER CAM.
A LONG-DEFERRED visit to Cambridge and the River Cam has at last been accomplished. This river, also known as the Granta, flows some 40 miles through Cambridgeshire to near Ely, and is navigable for a short distance above Cambridge. It is said, however, that a canoe can travel some 20 miles higher up stream. Grantchester being the starting point selected, we chartered a boat which took us up as far as that place some three miles above Cambridge, at which part the Cam is a moderate-sized river, with pleasant rural surroundings.
As everybody knows, the Cam is identified with the 'Varsity crew, who do part of their training, here, and the colleges have bumping races on these upper reaches. The colleges also have their boathouses along the river banks, and are all of interest to the boating man.
In fine weather next morning we made our start on the Cam proper doing that part where the college lawns slope down to the water's edge. There are a number of bridges, and amongst them still another "Bridge of Sighs," of quite a Venetian character.
The route down stream cannot be commended for its beauty, the country all around being very flat, as is to be expected in the Fen district. Still, there are parts on the route that make a strong bid for pleasant scenic effect, and that particularly near Clayhithe, 6 miles down our course.
A little lower down we come to Upware, where we land at a primitive little inn, with the prominent sign on the gable of the house, " Five Miles from Any where - No Hurry," and here, in this unpretentious place, we did full justice to a good lunch after our 11 miles run down stream.
The Cam is, generally speaking, a fairly good river with plenty of water, although at certain times of the year it is sluggish and weeds are encountered here and there. The uniformity of the course was remarked upon, the width being about the same nearly all the way down.
The motor boat has come to stay here, and there were a number of them about, but chiefly of the smaller type. Besides, there were many sailing and rowing boats afloat, and the piscatorial fraternity was, as usual, well represented on the banks, so the river is fully taken advantage of.
At last we came to Pope's Corner, where the Cam joins the Great Ouse, and here the "Fish and Duck" - a hostelry - is a prominent landmark. We then espied Ely Cathedral, prominently situated on a commanding elevation on the left bank, and soon we reached our destination (Ely) and finished what had been to us an enjoyable little week-end outing, enhanced by good weather.
Picture related to this cruise