Oct 22, 2005
In the past Coniston grew in size due to the copper and zinc deposits found in the surrounding mountains
. These were extensively mined during the 18th and 19th centuries. We drove up to one of the disused mines which had a great view over the valley.
Although the Lake District was beautiful we didn't have much time there as we had to continue on our way to Scotland. We drove for most of the afternoon and found ourselves in Carlisle where we checked into our accommodation for the night. It was a student dormitory during the university term and a YHA in the holidays. We had a whole apartment to ourselves with single bedrooms each, a huge kitchen and bathrooms. It was very reasonably priced and extremely comfortable. We all got a great night sleep after our takeaway Chinese dinner and woke feeling refreshed to continue our way to Scotland.
A short drive away from the hostel was Coniston Water a huge pebble beached lake. The water was absolutely freezing and, although there were some people brave enough for a paddle, we opted for a boat ride in one of the solar powered boats available from the jetty. The Skipper and his mate gave us a run down on the events of the lake including the famous water speed record attempt made by Donald Campbell in 1967 where he crashed and lost his life in his jet powered boat, Bluebird. They have actually found the wreckage of the boat, but are waiting funding to retrieve and buy it off the Campbell family. We checked out the memorial plaque on the shore when we left the boat. In all honesty we wonder if the town would have been quite so popular if Donald Campbell had survived as they seem to use his death to sell the town to tourists.