The Lake District. It says in the name – Lake. Ironically there is only one ‘Lake’ - Bassenthwaite Lake. Most of the rest are actually Waters. When I decided on a whim to move to the Lakes as I mentioned in July’s blog there were two reasons, mountains and Lakes. I need both in my life to feel alive. It’s hard to explain but Mum did always tell me I was a water baby and would constantly be found lying belly down in any puddle I could find, literally any, even manure puddles weren’t off limits for me apparently.
Anyway, living walking distance from Cumbria’s 5th largest lake, um, water, means I get to fuel my creative mind with all sorts of water-based activities. Coniston water is the perfect place to do just that. There are limited speeds on the water which is great, except for one day a year when they open the limit which brings a weekend of water speed records like the old days of Donald Campbell who sadly died during his attempt in 1967.
Moving at a slightly slower speed than 300 miles per hour one activity we do is to head down with Shackleton my Lakeland Terrier and rent a SUP from the man in the booth and paddle over the water and head up for tea and cake at Brantwood, the only manor house I know where you can walk in barefooted, wearing nothing but Speedos. (PS. I’m making the Speedo fact up. Please wear pants . . . and a shirt)
Sitting on the terrace with a cup of builder’s tea for me and Earl Grey for Shackleton I see two small luggers, red masts out in full, racing each other up the lake. I immediately transcend into the world of Swallows and Amazons, a book written by Arthur Ransome which was inspired by Coniston water. I promise myself one day that I’ll get an old dilapidated sailboat with a wooden mast and red sail.
Our other favourite activity is taking the Canadian Canoe out. My godmother who lives in Canada had some authentic paddles made for our wedding. They’re amazingly light and only let down by our inability to paddle in a straight line. It’s so much fun though heading down to Peel Island and letting the dogs run riot without worry of them chasing any sheep.
Life on the water is so wonderfully therapeutic and I urge everyone to make the most of the wonderful waters we have in the UK. Whether it be canals, rivers, lakes, lochs, tarns or the ocean, go out and be more Swallows and Amazons.