Coniston Water is more than five miles in length; it averages a width of one and a half miles. At the foot of the lake, the scenery is gentler and becomes much more impressive towards the head of Coniston Water. It is worth taking a boat trip from the foot of the lake and watching the fells come into view gradually. Eventually Coniston Old Man, Helvellyn, Fairfield, Weatherlam and the Red Screes are all in full view.
This is the straightest of the lakes, which is what attracted Donald Campbell to attempt the world water speed record in his boat, the Bluebird. The attempt in 1967 ended in tragedy and Campbell drowned. His body was recovered from the bottom of the deep lake only a few years ago.
The other claim to fame of Coniston Water is that it was the inspiration for a series of books by Arthur Ransom. “Swallows and Amazons” was about the adventures of a group of children on the lake and its islands in the 1920s. Another author, who lived on the shores of this lake, was John Ruskin. His former home is still there and is now an exhibition centre with a gallery in the grounds of the estate.