Between 28th June and 4th September 2021, residents & tourists could enjoy a bit of cow-spotting around the city of Cambridge! Cows are a familiar sight in public spaces such as Midsummer, Stourbridge and Coldham’s Commons and the meadows in Grantchester and Newnham. However, the Cows about Cambridge didn’t need a grass diet (with some obvious advantages!) This was a sculpture trail around the streets, parks and some indoor spaces around our beautiful city.
There is a serious side to the art project. Cows about Cambridge has been raising money for the children’s charity, Break. They’ve done this by producing a fundraising pack with sponsored event ideas, setting up a text-to-donate facility, and, perhaps most excitingly of all, they’ve organised a charity auction! On 23rd September 2021 at 7pm, 43 cow sculptures will be auctioned to raise money to support vulnerable young people and families across Cambridgeshire.
One particular cow is of huge interest to fellow Cambridge United supporters and me. On display next to Parkside swimming pool was the beautiful cow below – Four-Four-Moo proudly wore her Cambridge United kit, and on the 11th September she was spotted at the Abbey Stadium!
Sadly, she was only there for the day. Cambridge Fans United – the club’s supporters’ trust – is crowdfunding to raise the money needed to bid at the auction to (fingers crossed) bring Four-Four-Moo back to the Abbey. If successful, any money raised above the auction price will be donated to Break; if unsuccessful, all donations of £49 and under will go to Break and donors of £50 and above will have the option of a refund. So it’s a win-win all round!
In true Smith style, we finally organised ourselves and did the trail on the very last day! Turned out to be a good decision; it was dry and sunny but not too hot to be outside all day. We took our bikes on the train from Ely and enjoyed exploring my beautiful home city, with stops for refreshments along the way.
There were a few cows to spot at the station and by the Botanic Garden. From there, we took a circuitous route via the Graduate Hotel and along the Backs before returning townwards, through Quayside to Jesus Green and working our way up to Trinity Street.
We stopped for a brunch of Bloody Marys, smoothies and pancakes at Brown’s Cambridge on Trumpington Street. After an early start it was an appreciated injection of energy!
Back on the bikes, we headed for the marketplace, then locked up and went for a wander around Lion Yard and Grand Arcade. While there, we couldn’t miss an opportunity to visit the U’s shop – the boys were pleased with their purchases!
Wearing their brand new shirts, we got back on the bikes, through Sussex Street, around Christ’s Pieces and New Square Park, onto Midsummer Common before stopping at the Grafton Centre.
At this point, it was definitely time for another refreshment break! Hidden away down a quiet back street, just a minute from the hustle & bustle of the shopping centre, is The Free Press. This delightful little pub has generous outdoor seating, perfect for a pint of beer for Rob & I, and a lemonade and ice-cream for the boys.
Now it was time to brave the indoor Grafton Centre – not somewhere we’d normally go on a Saturday but there were so many cows and mini moos inside, we happily made an exception!
Last leg now, which took us around Parker’s Piece, pausing to watch a few minutes of the NCI cricket match, off to a side street to see our penultimate cow, tucked away on Gresham Road, before finally heading to see the cow we’d all been waiting for…
And here she is: Four-Four-Moo, standing proudly in front of Parkside Pool, adorned in the famous Amber & Black. Hands down, this was the one that made me smile the most!
We loved spending the day exploring, using the back streets, showing the boys parts of Cambridge they’d never seen before. Sometimes you need a reason to make time to do things like this, and Cows about Cambridge gave us the motivation. We’d heard from friends that the trail was worth doing, but I hadn’t expected there to be such a variety of designs, some of which were real conversation starters – particularly STEM Cow and Dairy Curie.
In total, there were 44 large cows designed mainly by local artists, and 45 mini moos decorated as part of a school and community programme. We managed to see most of the cows; it certainly pays to get into the city early morning.
So many different themes were represented. Some were very specific to Cambridge and showed local landmarks, famous events, extraordinary individuals from the university, while others covered environmental issues, abstract art, mental health, diversity. One was just all about the bling!
We hope the auction on 23rd September raises a tonne of money for the Break charity. And I have everything crossed that whoever wins the bid for Four-Four-Moo, she makes the Abbey Stadium her forever home.
Bye for now!