Lying in the shadow of the Old Man of Coniston and close the scenic village of Coniston, Coniston Water is one of the most spectacular bodies of water you will ever have the pleasure of paddling on. It’s certainly one of my favourites. Coniston is perhaps most famous as the location of Donald Campbell’s unsuccessful and fatal attempt to break the water world speed record on 4 January 1967. You can still see one of the marking posts from his world record attempt on the eastern shore of the lake.
While in the area you simply must visit the historic house of Brantwood, the former home of the 19th Century writer and philanthropist John Ruskin. The house is interesting in itself and you can take a very pleasant and peaceful walk through the woodland to the rear of the house. The views from the gardens on a good day will take your breath away.
- . Get on the water at Bluebird Café and head north for a few minutes and then turn around and head straight down the middle of the lake as far as Brown Howe.
- .You will be following the historic path of Donald Campbell’s famous jet powered boat, the Bluebird, although you might not be travelling as fast.
- . If you have transport, you can make it a one-way trip and get off at Brown Howe. If not, turn and come back up the lake again. Paddle around Peel Island which is said to be the setting for the famous novel ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Arthur Ramsome.
- .Alternatively, if you have time, you can paddle the full 19 km perimeter! Maybe you can spot the bronze statue by Anthony Gormley at the bottom end of the lake.
Brown Howe car park is perfect to access the bottom end of the lake, but it fills up quickly. what3words: ///chopper.crusher.calibrate
There is also a larger car park with an overspill area near the Bluebird Café at Coniston Village: ///backyards.wand.financial
Brown Howe Bay is 1 minute from the car park. What3words ///throwaway.louder.scowls Or launch from the small beach at the Bluebird Café near Coniston Village. ///dare.purse.efficient
EAT SLEEP SUP
Coniston Hall Camp Site is one of my favourites. Great value for money, no need to book ahead and direct access to one of the most beautiful bodies of water anywhere in the world. There are a few hotels in and around the village of Coniston if you want a more substantial roof over your head.
Take an after paddle walk from Coniston Hall Camp Site into Coniston Village for a delicious meal at the Black Bull Inn. Don’t forget to take a torch so that you can find your way back in the dark.
Things to know
- If you choose to launch at the Bluebird Café, there is a £2.00 launch fee. No other permits or permissions are required
- Watch out for the steam powered yacht Gondola and the swell it leaves in its wake as well as for open water swimmers.
- On a windy day, the wind can blow ferociously up or down the length of the lake. Check the weather forecast before you set off.
- If you intend to paddle on more than one lake, please give your board a good wash and dry between lakes to avoid the spread of non-native invasive species.