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The southern half of the Lake District is pretty much divided into two halves; the major tourist area centred on Windermere lays to the east. while the Scafell / Bowfell mountain massif rises to the west. Between these two areas, however, nestles a third; an area with an atmosphere and charm of its own, an area that marks a transition from undulating, forested hills to high fell country; the area of Coniston.

Coniston is centred on Coniston village and has its own major lake and its own celebrated body of fells. The lake is Coniston Water, Windermere's smaller and quieter sibling. The lake is almost synonymous with the activities of Donald Campbell, who died here in the mid sixties while attempting to beat his own world water speed record in his powerboat, Bluebird. Coniston Water was also the home of John Ruskin, who lived on the eastern shore at Brantwood, which is now a museum.

The fells to the west of the village form a single group centred on the Old Man of Coniston, a little over 2600ft in elevation and formerly the highest summit in Lancashire before the revision of county boundaries in 1974. The Old Man attracts a good many visitors to its summit though it was also once a working environment, there being a number of old mines on its eastern slopes. The Old Man is accompanied by a number of outliers, notably Wetherlam, Brim Fell, Swirl How, Grey Friar, Dow Crag and Great Carrs. The fells continue to the south to include the lesser heights of Walna Scar and Caw, and also to the northeast where the small but delightful tops of Black Fell and Holme Fell overlook the spectacularly lovely Tarn Hows, arguably the most beautiful spot in England.

Coniston is demarcated to the west by Dunnerdale (otherwise known as the Duddon Valley), and to the north by Little Langdale, while to the south it extends to the Furness peninsula on the Morecambe Bay coast, and includes the towns of Broughton-in-Furness and Ulverston (birthplace of Stan Laurel).

Gallery Index

Walna Scar (14th April 2006)

A first visit to the fells "Back o' Skiddaw" during the Mayday weekend of 2005..

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This page last updated 9th May 2006