Lake District

May 2001

During half term, we went for short holiday to the Lake District, staying in Broughton-in-Furness. Planned some months ago, the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease closed meant that our visit was shorter than originally planned, and we weren't able to take to the high tops (many of which were opened from 9 June). However, we were determined to have a good time whatever!

On Monday we travelled to Tarn Hows, one of the very few areas with footpaths open. Even in normal times this is one of the most visited spots in Lakeland, and with seemingly half the people in the southern Lakes doing the same as us in seeking what walks there were, it was very busy indeed.

The tarn, to the north of Coniston, is partly artificial, being three tarns joined together in the 19th century, and most of the trees surrounding it are planted by man.

When the tarn and its setting came up for sale in 1929, they were bought by Beatrix Potter who sold the half containing Tarn Hows to the National Trust, and bequeathed the rest of the estate to the Trust in her will.

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Part of the attraction of Tarn Hows is the glorious views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes. However, we didn't see those views - during our visit, the already heavy cloud descended further. By the end of our visit, it was thick and very wet mist, but the crowds just kept growing.

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We took a path down from the Tarn towards Yew Tree Tarn - Lucy is standing beneath a rather unusually shaped tree.

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At Lakeside, Stephen watches Repulse run around the recently arrived 1053 from Haverthwaite. Repulse, a 0-6-0ST built in 1950, is named after a World War II battle cruiser, and spent its working life with the National Coal Board until withdrawn from service in 1975.

The Furness Railway branch from Plumpton Junction near Ulverston to Lakeside was opened in 1869, designed from the first to link with steamers on Windermere. The line was closed in 1965. With the A590 road built on part of the line, only the section from Haverthwaite to Lakeside was able to be reopened in 1973, and it is now a popular tourist attraction.

Today we had taken the train from Haverthwaite to Lakeside, and then caught the steamer Teal to Bowness.

Built by Vickers of Barrow in Furness in 1936, Teal was transported in sections by rail and assembled at Lakeside. She is 142 feet long and 25 feet wide, and can carry 550 passengers at speed of 11 knots.

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The chain ferry from Sawrey to Bowness

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The next day, we went went for a sail on Coniston Water Pictured here is the steam yacht Gondola. The Gondola was launched in 1859 by the Furness Railway Company as a tourist attraction on Coniston. She finished this service in 1936, was then used as a house-boat, and abandoned in the 1960s. In the mid 1970s a group of  enthusiasts raised enough money to restore her for the National Trust, and she was relaunched on 25 March 1980, and re-entered  the tourist trade on Coniston Water.

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We finish our sail in a Wayfarer dinghy.

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It was quite wet and windy, and we finished up rather wet, but it was really fun sail - very exhilarating.

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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson