In the Footsteps of the Swallows and Amazons: Around Lake Coniston

Pirates on Lake Coniston

If this post will have any merit, it won’t be in the quality of the photos, taken from a distance from a moving boat; it will be in the subject.

For fellow admirers of Arthur Ransome‘s Swallows and Amazons, here follows part two of Waterblogged’s tribute to Arthur Ransome and the beauty of the Lake District: today we’re going on a tour around Lake Coniston.

Lake Coniston

Lake Coniston and its shores are the location for the first two novels in the Swallows and Amazons series. Visiting the Lake District, we took advantage of a lovely sunny day and climbed the Kanchenjunga, better known to the locals as the Old Man of Coniston – you can see the photos here.

But the next day the weather was somewhat discouraging…

Kanchenjunga disappeared into the clouds

…so we bought tickets for the steam yacht Gondola to tour Lake Coniston itself.

S.Y. Gondola

S.Y. Gondola‘s claim to fame – in addition to being a beautifully restored steam yacht – is that it served as the model for Captain Flint’s houseboat in Swallows and Amazons. Launched in the 19th century, the steamboat carried passengers on Lake Coniston and after its retirement it was converted into a houseboat.

Bought and restored by the National Trust in 1979, the Gondola again carries tourists around Lake Coniston. Our trip was made particularly memorable by the captain allowing Young Friend of the Elephants, aged 11, to steer the boat (afterwards other passengers had their turn).

(Click to enlarge the gallery.)

And while his passengers steered his boat, the captain occupied himself with pointing out locations from Swallows and Amazons:

Wild Cat Island

To be found on the map under the name of Peel Island, this is the island for which the Swallows had to fight the Amazons. (Click to enlarge the gallery.)

Holly Howe

The farm where the Swallows came to spend the holiday with their mother and baby sister, and the boathouse where they found their sailing boat, Swallow.

Holly Howe and the Swallows’ boathouse

The Amazon River and the Amazon’s boathouse

At the other end of the lake, more or less as described in the book, you can see the entrance to Amazon River among the reeds. Nearby the model for the Amazons’ boathouse.

You might also like:In the Footsteps of Swallows and Amazons: Climbing the Kanchenjunga
⇒ Arthur Ransome had led quite an exciting life; he's rumoured to have been a spy... Read more on The Arthur Ransome Society.
⇒ All Things Ransome

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