SY Gondola and the grandeur of Coniston

Gondola 34

The third largest lake in the Lake District, Coniston Water is a gem, with its slate-grey water surrounded by lush green gardens and meadows, and dark green trees, all overlooked by the glowering mass of the mighty hill known as the Old Man of Coniston.

It makes a wonderful backdrop for the outstanding Steam Yacht Gondola, which is operated on the lake by the National Trust.

SY Gondola is a screw-propelled passenger steamer originally launched in 1859, and built to carry passengers from the Furness Railway and from the Coniston Railway, and was in commercial service until 1936. She was designed by naval architect Douglas Hebson and constructed by Jones, Quiggin & Co. of Liverpool.

SY Gondola became a houseboat in 1946 and then became derelict. However, in 1979 she was rebuilt and is today still in service running tours of the lake. Read about how to visit her here, and about her history here.

She’s a distinctive looking craft, apparently her looks were was strongly influenced by a Venetion boat type known as a burchiello.

The big buff-coloured house belonged to the hugely influential art critic and thinker John Ruskin.

I can’t help thinking how nice it would be to own and be able to use the smart green and white rowing boat in the trees close to the water’s edge.