i travelled to the lakes today but even finishing work an hour early and not ‘sparing the horses’ didn’t get me there in time to get onto the low wray site on windermere as i’d planned.
instead, after joining the m6 at junction 15, i did 25 miles in the next hour and a half.
so low wray was full, ullswater was a bit far (it was already past 8) so i headed for coniston and the coniston hall campsite there.
it is a lovely site, right on the water’s edge and with good facilities but unfortunately it is almost exclusively populated by chavs. there also seemed to be a gathering of Europe’s loudest children. there was litter blowing across the site; people were already being sick from drinking too much and the whole place throbbed to over-sized car stereos playing bob marley and dire straits (of all things)…
clouds gather
i pitched and went for a walk. i returned as it got dark, took this picture, fitted my ear-plugs and went to bed…


in an effort to stay away from the campsite for as long as possible, i was on the water by 7.15. i paddled from the site down the entire length of coniston water and back again. i had a few stops, one to get out of the rain and another on peel island.
this lump of rock is owned by the national trust and sits in the middle of the lake doing very little. there is a small beach to land on and being only about 8am by then i felt like the only person on the planet – quite a contrast to the swingball and breezers on the campsite
not  far now
after getting back and marvelling that the lunatics had travelled to the lake distict just to have a(nother) bar-b-q, drink some more and sit outside their tent swearing at their children(apart from the ones who were driving around the campsite as fast as they could, wheelspins and drainpipe exhausts) i had a bit to eat, changed character and became a mountain biker.
then it was off through the shoppers in coniston and over the ridge between me and the grizedale trails.
i last rode these trails on the day after new years day. the many sections of ‘north shore’ style planks are far more fun when they don’t have ice on them
quite a work out – 9 miles of paddling and then 20 odd on a singlespeed

after eating in the pub with a couple of beers and then this coniston ale on the shores of the lake i was asleep in no time – a good day
coniston on coniston


after yesterday’s exertions, today was more of the same.
i woke at about 6 with the rain on the tent encouraging me to stay exactly where i was, but i had other ideas.
i wanted to paddle windermere today and after yesterday’s peace and quiet on coniston, i really wanted to get there early and have the place to myself.

so a quick breakfast and on the road by 20 past. i was tempted to thrash about and make loads of noise, revving and wheelspinning the car as the stereo blared, but something told me the people who had been so noisy late into both of the previous nights were going to have a miserable enough day anyway, given the way the site was gradually filling with water.

i was on the water by 7 and paddled around the top end of the lake and along the brathay and rothay rivers as far as i could. my arms and shoulders reminded me how far i’d been yesterday
i have to tell you blogland that sitting on a piece of plastic at 7am on a sunday morning, with 220 feet of water beneath you on england’s largest lake, with not a ripple on it apart from the drops of rain, hearing that rain create a hiss all around you, watching a goosander lead her chicks out into the stillness, or a heron fishing… well, its pretty special…

home again

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