Coniston Wildcamp

September 01, 2019

Is there anything nicer than an early morning swim in a warm still lake? The surface of Coniston Water is a mirror reflecting the surrounding hills as I swim out from the small beach above which I pitched for the night. The water is lovely, warmed by the sun over the past few weeks its at that lovely sweet spot of being warm enough to be pleasant but cool enough to be refreshing.

Peel Island is famously the inspiration behind Wildcat Island, a place of adventure and exploration in Swallows and Amazons. I had paddled over in my packfraft the day before with the intention of camping overnight on the island, however having explored the nearby shore I found a lovely spot hidden amongst oak trees above a tiny gravel beach.

I was using my Alpaka Caribou cargo fly for the first time and must admit to being slightly nervous. This is a rather neat storage solution where you keep all your camping kit inside the inflatable section of the raft itself. This obviously means access is required so Alpaka installed a half meter long air tight zip in boat. Whilst to me this seams rather worrying I have to admit its working fine so far, and certainly leaves the cockpit area much less cluttered than otherwise.

My campsite is lovely but within 10m of where I have pitched I find evidence of 4 fires, this appears to be becoming more and more of an issue as wild camping becomes more popular, and I'm not sure of an easy way to educate people against it.  With the shelter up, I  wade out into the lake for a swim out to Wildcat Island for an explore.

The lake is busy with swimmers, paddlers, and the odd boat making their way here and there. The island is a focal point for stopping for a bite to eat, but although it's small I find a corner to a relax in the sun before swimming back to my campsite.

The following morning I'm up at six hoping for some nice sunrise photos; it's perfectly  still giving lovely reflections in the surface of the lake but unfortunately also overcast. I play around with my camera for a bit then because its super early on a Sunday strip off for a skinny dip.  

It's lovely swimming out from the beach into the undisturbed water, the visibility looks great and I make a note to invest in a snorkel so I can see whats going on below the surface. Ten minutes into my swim and it starts to rain causing the surface of the lake to jump wildly around me, a delightful experience.

I'm becoming completely sold by camping via packfraft, I can't wait to take it to Scotland and explore the lochs.


 

 


 

 

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