SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS
This summer spend some quality family time in the Lake District, Cumbria and celebrate the release of the BBCs new film adaptation of Arthur Ransomes classic childrens book Swallows & Amazons.
Follow in the footsteps of the four young explorers (the Swallows) or have your very own pirate adventure like sisters, Nancy and Peggy. Visit the locations that originally inspired and captivated the imagination of many generations to follow, including the picturesque village of Coniston where Ransome himself spent many childhood holidays.
There is no better way to explore the locations than by boat, so it is time for you and your family to get on board, and experience life out on the water with a sailing adventure all of your own. Let outdoor adventure company Joint Adventures guide you around Coniston Water. Travel to places only accessible by canoe or Kayak, such as Secret Harbour on Wild Cat Island, where you can explore for yourself and see where the Swallows set up their tents, played pirates and even make the Jump.
If you fancy exploring on your own you can have a totally authentic experience by hiring a dingy in true Swallows style or for a modern twist you could even try your hand at stand up paddle boarding from the Coniston Boating Centre. For a more relaxing way to explore take an afternoon cruise on Coniston Launch, or aboard Steam Yacht Gondola – once a houseboat which was one of the inspirations behind Captain Flint’s houseboat) and travel down the peaceful East side of the lake to find locations including 'The Amazon River' and 'Octopus Lagoon.'
If by now you are completely hooked and want to continue your adventure, then perhaps its the perfect time to learn to sail for yourself. With the stunning backdrop of the magnificent Eastern fells surrounding Ullswater, the Lake District's second largest lake, head over to Glenridding and book a lesson with Glenridding Sailing Centre. Fully equipped with traditional Swallow type boats during the session you will learn semaphore, hunt down treasure, end your day with an epic battle against Captain Flint, complete with a cannon, and walking the dreaded plank!
Once you have returned to dry land and if you want to learn even more about Ransome, visit the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry in the historic market town of Kendal. The new BBC film is on release nationwide on the 19th August, following an initial premiere on July 24th.
Reach the summit of Kanchenjunga
It is believed The Old Man of Coniston is probably Kanchenjunga in Ransome’s story. Head up around the back of Coniston Old Man and tackle it via The Cove and Goat's Water. The gradients aren’t too challenging, being in a series of manageable steps, and the scenery is breath taking.
The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry in Kendal has a dedicated exhibition to Swallows and Amazons author, Arthur Ransome. In this room you can see many of Ransome’s personal items including his library, sketch books, and beautiful pen and ink illustrations for his stories and his desk where he worked.
‘Wild Cat Island’ by kayak
Joint Adventures guide around Coniston Water. You will travel to places only accessible by canoe or Kayak. See ‘Secret Harbour’ on ‘Wild Cat Island’ where you can disembark to see where John, Susan, Tatty and The Boy Roger set up their tents, played pirates and even make the ‘Jump’.
Take in the film’s locations
Derwentwater is the third largest of Cumbria’s lakes and the deepest point measures 75 feet. Join Keswick Launch on a cruise of the spectacular lake, used as one of the filming locations in both the 1974 and 2016 Swallows and Amazons films (as well as a recent famous sci-fi movie).
Walk into Swallows & Amazons
Join Cumbria Tourist Guides on this cruise and walk into the world of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons. Sail on the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola with your guide who will then lead you on an inisghtful panoramic walk back along the eastern shore of Coniston Water.
Sail like Swallows and Amazons
Glenridding Sailing Centre on Ullswater offers family friendly Swallows and Amazons adventure days throughout August. Perfect for the kids, learn to sail aboard traditional ‘Swallow’ type boats, learning semaphore, hunting down treasure and to end the day, an epic battle against Captain Flint, complete with a cannon and walking the plank.
Picnic on Darien
Friar’s Crag looks down on Derwentwater towards Borrowdale. Before the creation of Swallows and Amazons, Ransome had sent his illustrator a postcard of the view, and is believed to have had it in mind when creating ‘Darien’ - the peak from which the Walker children first spot their island, whilst picnicking.
Learn more about Coniston
Arthur Ransome fictionalised the lake and The Old Man [The Matterhorn/Kanchenjunga]; borrowed Peel Island’s secret harbour for Wild Cat Island and SY Gondola for Captain Flint’s houseboat; and used the Copper mines and slate quarries as the context for Pigeon Post. At the Ruskin Museum, visitors will discover the sailing dinghy Mavis - the inspiration of the fictional Amazon - complete with centre-board.