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Lake District Coniston & Lake Coniston

The village of Coniston is located in the south west of the lake district by the side of the infamous Lake Coniston water, where Donald Campbell attempted the water speed record.

Lake Coniston Lake District

A view of Lake Coniston

Coniston water is a very great part of The Lake District, the main image used in the website is Parka Moor overlooking Lake Coniston. The Lake its self is great for many watersports also there is many islands to explore. The most famous being Peel Island where Donald Campbell turned his boat 'The Bluebird' round to take his final shot at the record, when disaster struck and his boat flipped.

The easiest way to travel to Coniston is down a windy road from Ambleside. The village of Coniston has a few shops, a filling station and several pubs one of which produces its own beer on the premises. Why not in the summer months sit on a boat and cruise the lake, the perfect way to relax deep in the heart of the Lake District.

The Village of Coniston is well served for accommodation. There are many campsites, hotels, B&Bs and a youth hostel within the vicinity but they do fill up early in the season so book as soon as possible.

donald campbell lake coniston bluebird

Donald Campbell and his Bluebird on Coniston Water

Donald Campbell on Lake Coniston in the Bluebird

Donald Campbell on Lake Coniston in the Bluebird

Lake Coniston and Mountain Biking

Why not try mountain biking, Parka Moor is great and has great views onto the shores of Lake Coniston.


The area is great for relaxing whether its sailing or windsurfing on Lake Coniston.


The history of Donald Campbell

Son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald was born on March 23rd 1921. After Malcom's death it became Donalds destiny to follow in his fathers footsteps, Donald Campbellsattempts at records began with the Water-speed record, Donald used the K4 boat for his first attempts but despite some valiant efforts he struggled with the K4 formally used by his father Malcolm Campbell. Then in 1951 Donald Campbell suffered a 170Mph crash.

Donald Campbell decided to develop a completely new boat, the K7 was born. The K7 and Donalds talent and expertise set 7 World Water-Speed records between 1955 and 1964. The first water speed record was on Ullswater where he set a record of 202 Mph. In 1955 Donald Campbell raised the water speed record to 216mph at Lake Mead. These amazing runs triggered a sequence of record raising runs at Lake Coniston where he managed to clock in 1958 248mph. Donald finally raised it to 276mph in 1964 at Lake Dumbleyung in 1964. A great achievement for anyone the water speed record, Donald campbell decided to turn his attentions to other things mainly cars.

Donald Campbell while attempting a record run in 1960 at Utah and crashing very heavily in the process ,this resulted in a long convalescence period. It was during this period that people questioned his ability and many people believe that cracks in his consciousness started to appear. However this never thwarted Donald Campbell, in 1964 at Lake Eyre, Australia, he set a new World Land Speed Record of 403.1Mph then In December 1964, again in Australia, this time at Lake Dumbleyung he achieved an incredible second world speed record, this time on water at 276.33 Mph. This made Donald campbell the first to hold both Water and Land Speed Records at the same time.

In January 1967 on the 4th, during his attempt to become the first person to go over 300 Mph on water he crashed at Lake Coniston also known as Coniston water. Donald Campbell first achieved 297 Mph, but turning around at Peel Island without refueling and not waiting for his wake to settle, Donald Campbell set off on the second leg, his return journey. Fatefully, the boat lifted out of the water after exceeding a speed of over 300Mph, somersaulted and disintegrated on landing of the surface of Lake Coniston. Donald Campbells body wasn't found till 2001.

On the 8th March 2001 Donald Campbells craft 'The Bluebird' was recovered from Coniston Water where she had lain since the 4th of January 1967 then on Monday 28th May 2001 it was announced that human remains had been recovered from Coniston Water and it was believed they were the remains of Donald Campbell. This was confirmed in August. A large crowd paid their respects to one of our country's greatest heroes and most respected men. Many local people did not want the Bluebird recovering from Lake Coniston, most accepted it, hoping that the Bluebird would be returned to Coniston its rightful home some time in the future.  

Superstition and luck were a major part in Donald Campbells life, night before the water speed record Donald pulled a "bad luck" hand at cards, this convinced Donald Campbell that his run in the infamous Bluebird was doomed.


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