Monday, 9 April 2012

Day 4 - Four Go Sailing on Lake Coniston

When we were in the shop on the campsite, we were collared by a very nice National Trust lady who was looking for volunteers to help her try out a new booking and payment website for the Coniston Steam Gondola.  We agreed to help out and 20 minutes of our time earned us a free family ticket! Brilliant.  Don't you just love free stuff!  I know I do.

Now for some unknown reason, it always rains whenever we visit Coniston, and this day was no exception.  Fortunately, it was just the occasional session of light drizzle rather than the torrential downpour of our last visit.  Not bad enough to put us off anyhow.

Lunch at the Green Housekeeper Cafe, another little gem.  Free wifi and a sideline business in ecological household products. I especially liked the vintage cup and saucer I got with my tea.

After a quick look around the shops in Coniston and the emergency purchase of gloves for the girls (the good weather we had enjoyed so far was beginning to turn a lot cooler and there were grumbles and shivers from the girls), we headed off for the lakeside.
Gorgeous old rowing boats on Coniston
Coniston is a lovely lake. Every bit as nice as Windermere, albeit on a smaller scale, but it's much less commercialised here and a bit more simple.  I like it a lot and was really looking forward to our trip on the Steam Gondola
The Steam Gondola steaming to the pier
The trip was brilliant and I highly recommend it if you are ever in the area. The crew are very friendly and informative and real enthusiasts.  There weren't very many passengers on our cruise around the lake so all the children on board were able to clamber up with the captain to steer the boat and (the most fun of all) toot the steam horn a few times.

Very exciting for them all.  The captain gave an interesting commentary with lots of information about the Campbell family, Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons), the various poets and artists that have lived in the area (Ruskin etc) and the history of the boat, the lake and Coniston.  It was a really good trip.
Peel Island - aka Wild Cat Island in the Swallows and Amazons
Ice Creams on the lake shore
Water walking - human sized hamster balls that float.
Not so much walking going on but lots of falling over!

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