A Day Out in Coniston

The trees in the Lake District are showing their most beautiful autumnal colours at the moment, which tempted us out to the village of Coniston for a lake cruise.

A 40-minute drive from Joiner’s Mews, Coniston has the feel of a proper working community, albeit one that attracts its share of visitors.

We headed for the lakeshore to board the National Trust’s SY Gondola, an elegant Victorian steam-powered yacht that had fallen into disrepair and sunk in Coniston Water before she was rescued and rebuilt at Vickers shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in the late Seventies.
Today she’s popular with visitors who enjoy relaxing in the restored salons or taking to the deck for views around the lake.

We took the head of the lake cruise, leaving from the jetty close to The Bluebird Café (always good for coffee or lunch) and heading south down the lake, passing the landmark Coniston Hall with its distinctive multitude of circular chimneys.

A crew member gave an interesting commentary, pointing out the spot where Donald Campbell lost his life in January 1967, while trying to break his own world water speed record in his famous Bluebird hydroplane.

With the towering peak of Coniston Old Man a majestic backdrop, we broke our journey at Brantwood, the former home of the Victorian art critic, sage and writer, John Ruskin, where we visited The Terrace coffee house for coffee and cake before catching the SY Gondola back to the village.

We rounded off a lovely morning with a stop on the way home at Chesters by the River at Skelwith Bridge, one of our favourite places for lunch and a look around the well thought out interiors and gift shop.

By the way, these photos were taken during the last week of October – look at that blue sky, it doesn’t always rain in the Lake District.