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Wondering what to do for a Day Out?

My Dad's Day out in Coniston - this is His trip down Memory Lane.

Our wondering 'what to do for a day out' had brought us on this great idea for Father's Day, an outing to Coniston. But that didn't mean we had to go to the Lakes on the same Sunday as everyone else, so we chose mid-week. I tried to be the perfect daughter, remembering to ask if we should stop at the services en-route. It was obvious though, we were all keen to just get there. To be in Memory Lane. We talked of how it had been. Four kids, two very large dogs and a car-full of camping gear...yes those really were the days!

We remembered the year the rain was so heavy that Dad donned his swim-trunks (a very rare event) to put up the tent. How the unusual chimneys of Coniston Hall had always fascinated us. The time Dad's parents were both ill, and we teens were left to fend for ourselves for a day, walking into Coniston at night for supper, whilst they sped down to Southport to the hospital.

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We knew exactly where we were headed. To the Jumping Jenny, a favourite haunt of Mum and Dad's, to sit on their terrace overlooking Coniston Water. We were spoilt for choice and somehow resisted dessert knowing we'd be tempted by another great Coniston cafe later in the day.

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Pausing to look at John Ruskin's rowing boat, the original 'Jumping Jenny', we walked the short, but steep path to this wonderful view from Brantwood.

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As an Artist and book-lover Dad was appalled to learn I'd never actually been inside Brantwood. That was soon to change. I shouldn't have been surprised at how much he knew about Ruskin and his life there both happy and sad.

We watched the Gondola glide gracefully across the Water before dragging ourselves away from the view that had captivated Ruskin all those years ago.

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The lane is narrow, thankfully we met little traffic. Our next stop was Holly Howe, or Bank Farm - as it is really known. Being brought up on Ransome books it was no surprise that my parents had chosen to stay here a few years back.

Holly Howe

Tucked away, as it is The Ruskin museum was a real treasure trove. Packed with memorobilia from Cumbrian legends Arthur Ransome, Beatrix Potter, Donald Campbell and of course Ruskin himself.

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It was time to dip our toes in the water....well perhaps we didn't, but we watched lots of happy children with their bright fishing nets squealing with delight as they did.

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You could be forgiven for thinking that just because the Bluebird cafe occupies prime position, right there on the edge of Coniston water, nestled under the Old Man, waiting for the Coniston launch to arrive; that they might compromise on their food ... but don't be fooled. This is definitely a cafe worth a detour and the ideal place for that coffee and cake, we'd been promising ourselves. The slight breeze did nothing to deter the happy kids with their bright fishing nets...but we opted to make use of the floor to ceiling windows and enjoy the view from indoors.

The menu is impressive and with hindsight we should have returned here, later in the day, to sample more of it, for ourselves - they are also happy to do smaller portions for younger tummies - just ask!

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Dad's interest of Campbell and his Bluebird record, Ruskin, and Arthur Ransome brought us to Coniston when we were children. The magic, exists still.

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