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24 September 2014

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Coniston & Donald Campbell
The Coniston valley
Coniston - steeped in history and the home of a number of world records - is set in the centre of the Lake District.
John Ruskin and Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water.

Donald Campbell and the pop band Marillion
(A number of the band were involved in the raising of the wreck)

Bluebird Project
The team which raised the wreck from Coniston.

National Trust
(Owners and operators of Gondola)

Coniston Launch

Furness Railway Trust

Honister Slate Mine

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Coniston facts
Coniston in Norse means "King's Town"

Old Man in Norse means "Pile of Stones"

The water was originally called 'Thorstein Mere'

The bed of the lake is owned by the Rawden Smith Trust who control the moorings, jetties, etc

Campbell facts
Donald Malcolm Campbell, son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, was born in Horley, Surrey on 23 March 1921

Donald was the first person to complete an officially timed run with a jet-propelled hydroplane, on 23 July 1955, at Ullswater

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The modern town owes much of it's size to copper mining in the 19th Century which brought over 500 jobs.

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Coniston is often omitted from the agendas of visitors to the county in favour of areas such as Grasmere and Windermere. By doing so they miss out on some fantastic scenery, great walks, world records and industrial heritage.

The Old Man of Coniston at 803m dominates the landscape above the town, which is built out of the native grey and green slate.

A railway built in 1859 to take the copper and slate towards the deep water port at Barrow soon made Coniston a tourist destination.

Bluebird being recovered from Coniston Water in 2001

John Ruskin, the Victoria philosopher and artist, made his home near to the town at Brantwood and is buried in the parish church.

Donald Campbell, who along with his father set a number of water speed world records on Coniston Water, is buried in the new parish cemetary. This can be found about 200m from the original parish graveyard.

The headstone on Donald Campbell's grave
Donald Malcolm Campbell C.B.E.

Going out on the water
Two ferry services are available on Coniston. The National Trust operates the Steam Yacht Gondola whilst a private company, Coniston Launch operates a 30 seat boat.


Steam Yacht Gondola
The Steam Yacht Gondola was first launched in 1859 and following complete renovation by the Trust, now provides a steam-powered passenger service on Coniston Water. Travelling on the 'Gondola' is an experience in its own right and the perfect way to enjoy some of Britain’s most dramatic scenery from the yacht’s opulent interior. It carries 86 passengers.

Until the coming of the railway in 1859, the 5.5 mile ribbon of Coniston Water was a remote and little-visited place. One year later, the railway company launched the elegant, 84-foot steam yacht Gondola as an added attraction for tourists and it continued to ply the lake until its retirement in 1936.

By Road

How to get to Coniston  

How to get to Coniston
Image produced from Ordnance Survey's Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.


By Bus
Stagecoach Cumbria
run the 'Coniston Rambler', an hourly service (505) from Windermere and Ambleside. Alight at the Waterhead Hotel near Coniston to catch the boats.
Service details can be obtained from Tourist Information Centres or Traveline on 0870 608 2608.

Tell us about your visit and send us your digital photos of Coniston or other Cumbrian attractions. E-mail so we can include them for others to enjoy.

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