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Coniston Water, Cumbria

Coniston Water
Coniston Water is the third largest lake of the Lake District in Cumbria. It is a classic glacial ribbon lake left formed during the last Ice Age. The five mile by half a mile wide lake is often locally known simply as Coniston and lies at 143 feet above sea level. The lake reaches depths of around 185 feet and has a surface area of 1.89 square miles. The River Crake flows out of Coniston to the south and joins the upper estuary of the River Leven at Greenodd. The lake was also once known by its Norse-derived name of Thurston Water but use of this name faded from common use at the end of the 18th Century.

The lake is infamously the site of Donald Campbell ís tragic death while attempting to beat his own world water speed record. The son of famous record-breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell , Donald Campbell had obviously inherited his fatherís love of speed and world records. Donald Campbellís boat, the Bluebird K7, flipped suddenly out of the water on the return run of a 320 mile an hour dash across the water. Had he survived the return run then the attempt would have been a new world water speed record at the time. The story of Campbell is told at the Ruskin Museum , which is dedicated to the Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin . The artist lived at Brantwood house on the eastern shore of the lake from 1872 until his death in 1900. The house is now open, in parts, for public viewing and contains many artefacts from the artistís life and work.

Despite the legacy of speed, messing about on Coniston Water nowadays is done at a much more leisurely pace. There are various ways to take to the water, even if you arenít lucky enough to own your own launch or dinghy. Pleasure trips are available on a variety of craft but perhaps the most charming of them is the restored Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola , which is owned by the national Trust and sails between March and November.

Taking to the lake itself isnít the only way to enjoy the outstanding beauty of Coniston Water. Walking is very popular in the area and a complete circuit of the lake is a very popular and breathtakingly beautiful route. It also takes the walker past the Coniston Old man, the highest point in the Furness Fell.

More British Natural features?

Other Cumbria Naturals

Lake Windermere
Scafell Pike
Helvellyn
River Eden
Derwent Water
Ullswater
Bassenthwaite Lake
Solway Coast
North Pennines
Solway Firth
Wastwater
Arnside and Silverdale
ScaFell
Borrowdale
Buttermere
Aira Force
Duddon Valley
Barrow Island
Walney Island
River Wampool
River Ehen
River Duddon
River Lune
River Cocker
River Esk

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