View from Holme Fell, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north
|Location||Lake District, Cumbria|
|Primary outflows||River Crake|
|Basin countries||United Kingdom|
|Max. length||8.8 km (5.5 mi)|
|Max. width||793 m (0.49 mi)|
|Surface area||4.7 km2|
|Average depth||24.1 m (79.1 ft)|
|Max. depth||56.1 m (184.1 ft)|
|Water volume||113.3 x 106 m³|
|Residence time||340 days|
|Shore length1||20.2 km|
|Surface elevation||43.6 m|
|Islands||2; Peel Island, Oak Island. 1 partial; (at high water) Fir Island|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Coniston Water (usually simply called Coniston locally) in Cumbria, England is the third largest lake in the English Lake District. It is five miles (8 km) long, half a mile (800 m) wide, has a maximum depth of 184 feet (56 m), and covers an area of 1.89 square miles (4.9 km2). The lake has an elevation of 143 feet (44 m) above sea level. It drains to the sea via the River Crake.
Geography and administration
Coniston Water is an example of a ribbon lake formed by glaciation. The lake sits in a deep U-shaped glaciated valley scoured by a glacier in the surrounding volcanic and limestone rocks during the last ice age.
" 'The king's estate or village'. The 2nd el.[ement] is OE tūn, and the whole name may, like numerous English Kingstons, be from OE 'cyninges-tūn'. ... Scand[inavian] influence is, meanwhile, shown by the '-o-' of early and modern spellings, and Ekwall speculated that this could have been the centre of a 'small Scandinavian mountain kingdom' ". Plus "OE 'wæter', with the meaning probably influenced by its ON relative 'vatn'."  (OE=Old English; ON=Old Norse).
Remains of agricultural settlements from the Bronze Age have been found near the shores of Coniston Water. The Romans mined copper from the fells above the lake, and a potash kiln and two iron bloomeries show that industrial activity continued in medieval times. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Coniston Water was an important source of fish for the monks of Furness Abbey who owned the lake and much of the surrounding land. Copper mining continued in the area until the 19th century.
The lake was formerly known as "Thurston Water", a name derived from the Old Norse personal name 'Thursteinn' + Old English 'waeter'. This name was used as an alternative to Coniston Water until the late 18th century.
The Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin owned Brantwood House on the eastern shore of the lake, and lived in it from 1872 until his death in 1900. Ruskin is buried in the churchyard in the village of Coniston, at the northern end of the lake.
Arthur Ransome set his children's novel Swallows and Amazons and some of its sequels on a fictional lake, but drew much of his inspiration from Coniston Water. Some of Coniston Water's islands and other local landmarks can be identified in the novel. In particular, Peel Island is the Wild Cat Island of the book including the secret harbour.
In the 20th century Coniston Water was the scene of many attempts to break the world water speed record. On August 19, 1939 Sir Malcolm Campbell set the record at 141.74 miles per hour (228.108 km/h) in Bluebird K4. Between 1956 and 1959 Sir Malcolm's son Donald Campbell set four successive records on the lake in Bluebird K7, a hydroplane.
In 1966 Donald Campbell decided that he needed to exceed 300 miles per hour (483 km/h) in order to retain the record. On January 4, 1967 he achieved a top speed of over 320 miles per hour (515 km/h) in Bluebird K7 on the return leg of a record-breaking attempt. He then lost control of Bluebird, which somersaulted and crashed, sinking rapidly. Campbell was killed instantly on impact. The attempt could not be counted as a record-breaking run because the second leg was not completed. The remains of Bluebird were recovered from the water in 2001 and all of Campbell's body except for his head were recovered later in the same year. Attempts to find the head have been made with no success.
Lady in the Lake
The lake is ideal for kayaking and canoeing and there are a number of good sites for launching and recovery. It is paddled as the second leg of the Three Lakes Challenge. The steam yacht Gondola tours the lake in the summer months, along with two smaller motorised launches.
Boats can be hired from the lakeside near the steam yacht, with various sizes of boat for hire, from small canoes and kayaks to large personal craft. Along with Ullswater and Derwentwater, Coniston Water has a mandatory waterspeed limit of 10 mph, this is suspended temporarily for boats attempting new world waterspeed records during Records Week; usually the first week in November.
View from Peel Island facing north with Helvellyn in the distant background.
Old Man of Coniston from Coniston Water north.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coniston Water.|
- "Waterscape - Coniston Water". Waterscape.
- Ekwall, Eilert (1922). The place-names of Lancashire. Manchester: Chetham Society.
- Whaley, Diana (2006). A dictionary of Lake District place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. lx,423 p.80–81. ISBN 0904889726.
- Whaley, 2006, p.422
- http://web.ukonline.co.uk/sw.rae/tarns.htm Derivation of the Names of Lake District Lakes and Tarns
- http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/thelakes/html/west/ws02fram.htm West 1784, 'A Map of the Lakes in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire'
- "Vigil for Lady in the Lake killer". BBC News. January 28, 2006.
- "Coniston Water". Retrieved 20 November 2010.