Day 1

Trip Start Jul 31, 2011
Trip End Aug 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
Coniston cottage
What I did

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, July 31, 2011

We left hot, sunny Surrey at 10.45am and after making only 2 stops for packed lunch and driver change we arrived in drizzly Coniston at 5.15pm. As we were towing this was a very good time. There were no accidents and very few sections of traffic moving slower than we were.  Time passed rapidly while listening to Martin Jarvis reading a long PG Wodehouse novel "Something Fresh".  

We were surprised by how much traffic there was on a Sunday but 6 hours is a record for boat towing to the Lakes.   We hadn't got to the end of "Something Fresh" by the time we arrived.  

A good start to the holiday . . . . .
As we got out of the car we met the family who are holidaying in the end cottage.
Our cottage is a very old mid-terraced stone dwelling close to the shores of Coniston Water.  It was built in the days of small windows, low doorways and big fireplaces.  We opened the front door (Captain and 2 tallest crew members remembering to duck when crossing the threshold) and entered the dark, cosy sitting room where the smell of wood smoke lingered.  

We unpacked the car and decided to drive to Coniston in search of something to supplement our pork pies for an evening meal.  We soon discovered that everything was shut in Coniston on a Sunday evening.  The Crew saved the day by remembering the BP garage and after joining the rows of campers shopping there (no-one seemed to be buying petrol) we triumphantly turned back for the cottage clutching a 4 pack of Heinz baked beans.  

In the kitchen we removed the cream crochet tablecloth (for its own safety) and laid the table for a feast. 

As soon as we had eaten and loaded the dishwasher we were back outside to tow the boats the short journey to the public slipway nextdoor.  

Unfortunately The Authorities had placed a new rock at the entrance to the path down to the shore.  Last year we had been able to push our road trailer with 2 dinghies all the way down to the shore.  This year our trailer axle was 6 inches too wide to pass between the rocks.  The Authority only wants to allow slim fit trailers to launch now.  Not very PC. (Politically Correct)

We carried The Empress and took Bears Away down on her launching trolley.  We met a fellow boat owner measuring the gap to see if the trailer he had made himself for his Heron dinghy would fit.  
In the fading evening light and barely-there drizzle we prepared to paddle the boats round the fence separating the cottage garden from the public land.  While the Captain towed the trailer back round to the cottage we kept the dog occupied with her ball and watched the last group of weekend revellers sitting on the shore with an illegal fire to keep the midges away.  The water was almost deserted and the view to the misty fells in the North was beautiful and empty.   

We all piled into the 2 boats and paddled them round to scrunch up the shingle of our home beach for the next 11 days.  Once safely tied up and covered against the rain we left our trusty vessels and walked up the steep muddy stretch of garden to the cottages at the top.  

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