Paddle Boarding in the Lake District – Coniston Water

United Kingdom

Route recommended by:

John McFadzean

john mcfadzen

One of the most scenic places anywhere on planet Earth, it’s no surprise that, every year, more than 15 million visitors flock to the English Lake District to take part in activities such as walking, climbing, sailing and yes, of course, stand-up paddle boarding. There are 16 large lakes in the area, but the general public are only allowed to SUP on 12 of them.  

 In 2020, passionate paddler, John McFadzeantook on the challenge to paddle all 12 of them! So, starting in Coniston Water, John shares his top tips for paddle boarding in the Lake District.  

 

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. 

Highlights

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.

Route Directions

  1. . 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.
  2. .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.
  3. . 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.
  4. .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.

Local Knowledge

Sat Nav
@54.3415323,-3.0703238,13z
Nearest Parking

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 

Launch Point

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. 

Places to stay
Coniston Hall Camp Site
Places to Eat/Drink
Black Bull Inn

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.