Bank Holiday Monday
What a lovely day. The sun shone, yes, even here, in Cumbria, where I often think my blogs are nothing but a belated weather report. I became a tourist for an afternoon and, with mum and dad, went on the National Trust steam yacht gondola on Coniston.
For once I was looking up at the hills from the water, not down on the water from a hill. On my last walk up Loughrigg I was delighted to name most of the hills I could see and it was good today to name the Coniston Range. Especially so as it brought back memories for mum from when she used to hike up the hills with my brother and I.
Brown Pike from Dow, just creeping out from behind the Old Man. Brim Fell, down to Swirl, with the foreground of Yewdale all but hiding the crags leading to Wetherlam.
The boat is rather special. Beautifully restored and chugs along with the noise of a steam train rather than the chop of diesel. Everything, inside and out, is polished to within an inch of its life.
The engine provides and wonderful outdoor central heating system, with seats round it wonderful to warm your back on, especially, when, like my dad, you are 87.
So much better to enjoy the hills and water from outdoors rather than in. I learned a my dad’s last trip on a steam boat had been in the war, travelling from Germany to Denmark. He had slept on the engine to keep warm, but rather than swallows flying overhead, shells rained down. I am glad he lived to tell the tale.
There was a stop at Brantwood, home of Ruskin. Visit the house and walk back, or pick up the boat again, or even take a longer trip.
There is a charge, even for NT members, and the car park is not NT either, so prepare to pay there.
The Bluebird Cafe is good for light lunches. I can vouch for the Belted Galloway burgers.
More pictures of the boat and day here.