Swallows & Amazons forever!
Coniston Travel Blog› entry 20 of 35 › view all entries
So to continued my literary trail, I headed to the Lake District - the home of William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome. As the latter is my favourite (oh I loved Swallows & Amazons as a kid) I spent a day on & around Coniston Water. I was wishing I knew how to sail, as that would've made it much more fun, but had to settle for a cruise around the lake & wandering through the hills. Unfortunately the dedicated S&A cruise only goes during the week, so I had to settle for a general cruise & a few tidbits of S&A trivia. (I did momentarily think "wow, it really is exactly as I imagined it, what an amazing writer!" and then I had to remind myself "no, Erin, it's exactly how you remember it from the film - no surprise seeing as they filmed it here").
So we saw Wild Cat/Peel Island, and the Amazon's boathouse, and just the general scenery. Plus Coniston Water is where Donald Campbell died trying to break (his own) water speed world record in 1967, so there was lots of Bluebird/Campbell trivia too.
I spent part of the afternoon wandering around Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin (artist, writer, art critic, social reformer...). The house was very nice, and there were lovely rambling gardens and of course fantastic lake views. Ruskin has quite a fascinating life, with an extensive output of work, and was quite forward-thinking in terms of social reform - he recommended free education, rent-subsidised housing, public transport, public libraries, minimum wages.
Then I decided to go for another countryside stroll and headed up to Tarn Hows, which was not as pretty as it looked in the pictures. The walk up there was lovely though - across fields & over stiles & through little lanes. And although the weather forecast was 12deg & rain, it was actually quite warm, there was no rain, and I got sunburnt.
Sat night I stayed @ the Coniston Holly How hostel, which was a big old house & quite close to the village. Sun night, however, they were booked out (a large number of schoolchildren descended on the place) & I had to stay @ Coniston Coppermines - it was a mile or so trek up hill to get there, but it was actually very sweet: an old miners' cottage, set up in the hills with only one or two houses & a bunch of mines for company (although the isolated peacefulness was punctured by the excess schoolchildren from the other hostel).