So when I tweeted about wanting to drive a steam boat, Coniston gondolas tweeted me saying “there’s only one boat to do it on and in one of the best locations in the UK”. So I contacted them,they were so friendly and helpful. They said to give them a buzz when I was wanting to go and they would sort it for me.
The steam yacht Gondola is a Victorian, screw-propelled, steam-powered passenger vessel on Coniston Water. Originally launched in 1859, she was built for the steamer service carrying passengers from the Furness Railway. She was in commercial service until 1936, then was retired as a houseboat. In 1979, by now derelict, she was almost completely rebuilt with a new hull, engine, boiler and most of the superstructure. Put back into service as a passenger boat, still powered by steam, operated by the National Trust. She truly is a thing of beauty and elegantly glides through the water.
A gorgeous day in the lakes and I was on my coffee girl travels in the Langdales. I had no plans for my lunch break, so rang the crew and they said come on down to the next sailing.
The boat was quite full and I did stick out as was in a dress and shoes (flats no heels today). Paul the crew member came up to me and said I know who you are!! He said that once the boat was out that Val (the driver) would give me a shout and I could take the helm.
So my time to drive, such a beautiful day and can’t believe I’ve never been on the boat before. I gently guided her down the lake until we had to turn to head back to the pier. I let Val steer her round then took over again until we neared the jetty. Val again expertly guided her in.
Will definitely come back and do the longer cruise, Coniston is a beautiful place and is always nice seeing and enjoying it from a different prospective.
Thank you all at the NT steam yacht gondolas for letting me be in charge and drive the boat.