Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cambridge (Punting on the Cam)

Peeking through the entrance to Kings College.

King's College, Cambridge, part of the University of Cambridge and home of King's College Chapel and Choir.

Clare College college was founded in 1326, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse.
Clare has a much-photographed bridge over the river which is the oldest of Cambridges bridges.

The inner courtyard at Clare College

The Mathematical Bridge is a wooden footbridge across the River Cam between two parts of Queens College. The arrangement of timbers is a series of tangents that describe the arc of the bridge, with radial members to tie the tangents together and triangulate the structure, making it rigid and self supporting. Hope that clears the matter up for you !

Usually referred to simply as "King's" the college was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI.
Kings College Chapel is regarded as one of the greatest examples of late Gothic English architecture. It has the world's largest fan-vault, and the chapel's stained-glass windows and wooden chancel screen are considered some of the finest from their era. The building is seen as emblematic of Cambridge.
The chapel's choir, composed of male students at King's and choristers from the nearby King's College School, is one of the most accomplished and renowned in the world. Every year on Christmas Eve the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service is broadcast from the chapel to millions of listeners worldwide. I always look forward to the Christmas Eve broadcast as part of Christmas.

Kings College Chapel and the Gibbs buildings.

The bridge of Sighs is a covered Bridge belonging to St Johns College and built in 1831. It is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. A common myth states that it was the students who named the bridge "bridge of sighs," College grounds means that the "sighs" are those of pre-exam students.

St John's College Cambridge, affectionately know as 'The Wedding Cake'

Trinity Halls Jerwood Library.

The name "The Backs" refers to the backs of the Colleges. From the punt there were great views of; Magdalene, St Johns, Trinity, Trinity Hall, Clare, Kings and Queens Colleges.
I'm currently reading the 'Stephen Fry Chronichles', so it was nice to identify so many of the places mentioned in the book.
There are 31 Colleges, with Trinity being the largest with 700 undergraduate students. It is also by far the wealthiest, worth hundreds of millions and owning land everywhere. Trinity has a world-renowned academic tradition, with members having won 32 Nobel prizes. In contrast Peterhouse is the oldest of the colleges in Cambridge. It was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, on its current site close to the centre of the City. It is also the smallest college, housing 260 undergraduates.

A punt is a flat bottomed boat with a square cut bow designed for shallow waters. The punter propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole.
punts were not introduced to Cambridge until about 1902–1904, but they rapidly became the most popular craft on the river, and today there are probably more punts on the Cam than on any other river in England. Along 'The Backs' the river is shallow and gravelly making it ideal for punting.

Coming back from Greenwich we took the opportunity to stop off at Cambridge, famed for it's historic Colleges and museums. Amazingly this is a first for me especially as only just over 40 miles away.
We had only been in the City centre for a few minutes before we were 'pounced upon' by someone selling punting trips. After some gentle persuasion and negotiation we signed up! Apparently 'Punting' offers the best views of some of the most famous Colleges from a part of the river known as 'The Backs'.

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