Coniston Water

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Coniston_Water_from_Holme_Fell.jpg
Coniston Water as seen from Holme Fell, 3 kilometres to the north.

Coniston Water (sometimes 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

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.

Immediately to the west of the lake sits the Old Man of Coniston, the highest fell in the Coniston fells group.

History

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 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 north end of the lake.

Children's novelist Arthur Ransome based his book Swallows and Amazons and some of its sequels on a fictional lake but which drew much of its inspiration from Coniston Water. Some of Coniston Water's islands and other local landmarks can be identified in the book's landscape.

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) on Coniston Water in Bluebird K4. Between 1956 and 1959 Sir Malcolm's son Donald Campbell set four successive records on the lake in Bluebird K7.

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. Tragically, he then lost control of Bluebird, which somersaulted and crashed, sinking rapidly. Donald 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 and Donald Campbell's body were recovered from the lake in 2001.

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