Monday 17th - Friday 21st July 2023

Cambridge Bumps

A Guide for Spectators

About Bumps Racing

Bumps racing in Cambridge began during the 1820s to allow several crews to compete simultaneously on a river that is too narrow for much side-by-side racing. For more than forty years, the fun of this exciting form of pursuit racing was only enjoyed by members of the university’s colleges, but the first town bumping races took place on the Cam in 1868 and have become a regular July fixture. See the About Bumps page to learn more.

The Cambridge Bumps are organised by the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association, supported by sponsorship from Savills Cambridge

Start Times

The Cambridge Bumps 2023 will be held over five nights, with each division racing on four nights. This avoids multiple days of racing starting before the end of the typical working day, which removes a barrier to participation.

 Map of the Course

Finish Points:  1st Divisions use finishes A & B;  2nd Divisions use B&C; Other Divisions use C & D

Where to Watch

The Bumps run from Baits Bite lock, near Milton, up-stream to Chesterton, with finishes at different points for each Division, as marked on the Map of the Course. 

Watching from the towpath that runs alongside of the river is somewhat perilous, as the towpath needs to be kept clear during racing, as the "bank parties" and race officials have to cycle to keep up with the racing crews, and spectators seated on the bank have to leap up to avoid the oars of boats that come to a sudden stop after bumping. Spectators are strongly encouraged to watch from the south bank of the river, where The First Post Enclosure and the garden of The Plough offer excellent vantage points. Neither the Bumps Committee nor the CRA can accept any responsibility for any injuries sustained by spectators on the towpath. Cycling alongside racing crews is limited to pre-arranged bank-parties, whose size and composition is strictly controlled.

First Post Enclosure

The CRA welcomes spectators to watch the racing from this vantage point on the Fen Ditton side of the river near First Post Corner. With views downstream to the A14 Bridge and upstream to Grassy Corner, visitors can expect to see plenty of exciting racing. Visitors are welcome to bring folding chairs or a blanket and perhaps a picnic, but NO GLASS OR BARBECUES are allowed on site - please bring any drinks in cans or plastic bottles and don't forget plastic/paper cups! 

The First Post Enclosure is reached from Fen Ditton High Street by turning right onto Church Street and following Green End past The Plough towards the north end of the village, where the field entrance will be seen on the left (see Locations). Car parking is available on site for £5 per night, which supports the Fen Ditton Townland Charity. 

Spectating from the First Post Enclosure

The Plough 

For those wanting to buy refreshments, an alternative spectating spot is the garden of The Plough pub, in Fen Ditton (see Locations). 

The Plough is well positioned along the course for watching the higher divisions and is also where most crews will practice their start sequence as they make their way downstream to race. Parking at the Plough is limited but extra parking at the Recreation Ground will be open from 4.30 pm to 9.30pm on Thursday and Friday (only) for a small charge of £5 to the charitable trust which maintains the ground and facilities. Please park there and walk to the Plough - it is not far. 

Please respect the needs of Fen Ditton residents and the emergency services by only parking in the official parking sites, rather than risk blocking the narrow road.


First Post Enclosure, Fen Ditton
The Plough, Fen Ditton
Race Control, opposite 1 Fen Road

River Crossings

Cyclists and pedestrians can cross the River Cam  at Baits Bite Lock, just downstream from the start;  using the Chisholm Trail bridge adjacent to the Railway Bridge; or via the Green Dragon footbridge upstream from the finish lines and Race Control.

Between divisions of races there may be a ferry service allowing pedestrians to cross the river between The Plough's garden and the Towpath, for a small fare.  Bicycles are carried when space permits.

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