Coniston Water – Lake District National Park

 

Coniston WaterConiston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District. Five miles long by half a mile wide and has an elevation of 143 feet above sea level.

Coniston Water is ideal for kayaking and canoeing. Boats can be hired from the lakeside, from small canoes and kayaks to large personal craft. The steam yacht Gondola tours the lake in the summer months.

The lake is well-known as the place that Donald Campbell set four successive world water speed record in Bluebird K7. On January 4, 1967, he tragically died, when he lost control of Bluebird, in an attempt to achieve a top speed of over 320 miles per hour.

After a week of living in a tent whilst Horatio was in the garage, we are on the road again.  To celebrate we decided to visit the Lake District National Park. Our first stop was Coniston Water. What better place to get back out and explore new and previously unseen areas.

According to the AA journey planner, it was going to take six hours to drive to Coniston Water. With this in mind, we planned to stop for the night after four hours. We do get very bored with the driving part of our adventures. Unfortunately, four hours into our journey we were stuck on the M6 between Birmingham and Liverpool. We’d hit Birmingham right a the start of rush hour. Unfortunately, due to road works along this stretch of the road and rush hour, we found ourselves in a lovely big traffic jam. We didn’t feel we had much choice but to push on until we were out the other side. 

By the time we were clear of the traffic it was three hours later. So close to our end destination that we could almost smell the fresh air. It felt rude not finish our journey at this point. So turned up at our campsite at 8.15 pm and a day early, hoping that someone would be about. Lucky us, the warden was waiting for a late arrival. So we were able to secure a spot in the late arrivals pitch until reception opened the next morning.

After 10 hours of sitting on our bottoms, we were desperate to get out and explore. Not to mention two dogs with crossed legs. Not knowing where the path to the lake was at this stage we followed the first one we came to. This actually turned out to be a lovely walk heading toward the town of Coniston, with odd glimpses of the lake along the route. It was a bit late for a proper explore so we just enjoyed a lovely relaxed walk, with the Old Man of Coniston as a beautiful backdrop.

Coniston old ManAfter moving to a proper pitch we couldn’t wait to get out and explore Coniston Water.

The site isn’t quite on the water’s edge, but close enough that it only took us five minutes to walk to it. The weather was overcast and drizzly but warm, which was good enough for us.  Our plan was to spend a few days gently walking around the lake. And not kill ourselves with idiotic hill climbing after such a long time of inactivity. 

Yah, right! The first day was at least mostly flat, following the water as best we could to Coniston Village. This small walk did take us most of the day as Nik had his cameras and there was so much worth photographing. We had no real interest in the town itself at this stage, so quickly passed through before finding a fairly circular route back to the van.

Our second day, however,  took us on a very pretty, circular walk. Along the edge of the lake, past the Raymond Priestly Centre. Which has a little pier, from which you can catch a ferry to take you across the lake. Through woodland, along the edge of Torver Back Common to Torver Common. 

Here we decided we really didn’t want to go back along the same path, and possibly miss something as yet unseen. So we ended up walking up Anne Riggs Fell in the hope of seeing a path that would circle around toward the lake. We did find that path which lead us back to Torver Back Common. This time the other edge. We criss-crossed several more commons and small hills on our journey back. Walking for seven hours before virtually crawling back to the van. Gosh, we’re out of practice.

It was cold and gloomy on our third day. So we gave our aching muscles a rest by taking an easy stroll to the village again. It was pretty bloomin chilly but amazingly full of families picnicking in shorts and t-shirts around the water’s edge. It’s  easy to see why the people of northern England call us southerners softies  ūüėČ .

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