Cambridge Scouts Boat Club: Results

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The Cambridge Scouts’ Boat Club started in 1923 and became affiliated to the CRA.  No further races are listed after 1979.

Town Bumps

The bumps are used to enable many crews to race along the narrow river Cam.  The Cambridgeshire Rowing Association (CRA) organises the non University clubs in and around Cambridge.  The boats start 1.5 boat lengths apart and attempt to ‘bump’ the one ahead.

The positions shown are at the end of racing that year.

In 1949 Scouts’ III moved from Division 2 to Division 1 being the ‘Sandwich’ Boat. This boat rows twice on one day

The following results have been taken from History of Cantabrigian (Cantabs) Rowing Club 1950 – 2010 by Ken Drake.  I am very grateful for his careful recording in this work.

The positions in the following chart are those at the end of the season’s four races.

Each boat starts where they ended the previous year.  Should a boat higher in the list not re-enter then the remaining boats below will move up one.  This explains the discrepancies.  New entrants start at the bottom of the divisions, boats can move between divisions during the competition.


Four races are held each year and the maximum gain is generally + 4, the maximum loss – 4, as highlighted. Occasionally over bumps occur but they are not generally possible (see Old Cantabs on the sample chart below)

  • Blades or Oars           The accolade of earning ‘blades’ (referring to the rowing oars used by crews) is given to crews that bump up on every day of the bumps. Crews that achieve blades are given the opportunity to purchase decorated oars.   See Scouts II 1924, the second year of racing and ‘Earning their oars’.
  • Head of the River    The ultimate aim is to try and finish Head of the River (or gaining the ‘Headship’), i.e. 1st position in division 1.
  • ‘Went head’               Said of the crew moving into overall 1st place.  They may be bumped back before the last round and not be Head of the River, as Scouts’ I was in 1933

Sample race card from 1954 showing Scouts (some years labelled Scouts’ 1) being caught (bumped) in their second race but staying ahead in the first, third and fourth. They did not bump the boat ahead.

Scout 2 were bumped in their fourth race and also dropped a place, Scout 3 were bumped in the first three races but not the fourth and dropped three places.

Also in this year

  • Central OB – Earned their ‘Oars or Blades’ by bumping the boat ahead on each of the four days
  • City and 99 – Rowed over; were neither bumped nor bumped anyone
  • Rob Roy 2   – were bumped four times and became eligible for a (unofficial) wooden spoon

From Cambridgeshire Collection: AGM 1960’s

Time Race

The Time Races began in 1930. 

  Fastest Scouts I Scouts II Scouts II Scouts IV
1930 10.21 6th    10.43 5th   10.42 12th  12.10  
1931   1st      

The Time Races are run two weeks ahead of the Town Bumps and it was the Scouts winning this event that focussed interest on them ahead of the 1931 Bumps.

The course changed a number of times and in 1967 the divisions were split by shell or clinker built boats.  Novice crews were placed in a separate category in 1973 and 1974.  The Race ended in 1975.

No longer held after this date

Scouts’ Boat Club

  • 1973    won Novice division
  • 1975    2nd in Novice division – won pennant  Bill Key rowing at No. 5
  • 1958 and 1961 2nd boat beat 1st boat

Winter League

This is a race against the clock – three separate races with a combined overall time.  It was introduced by John Newman of the Cambridge Scout Boat Club to give focus to winter work and two events were held in 1967 which lead to the start of the league.  It is still run today.

Race Card for 1932 showing four Scout boats among the 25 racing
From 2007 Race Programme

JWR Archivist Nov 2019