A Press Trip Triathlon Leaves Us Beat in Coniston

Today we did the Press trip Triathlon, starting out with a hike up a small mountain, then boarding canoes and paddling across Coniston Lake, and finally riding mountain bikes through the woods and up a steep hill.

We did all of this as intermittent showers drenched us, and after tipping a canoe near shore we had very wet feet and pants mid-way through. At one point we had hail pounding down on our waterproof pants and jackets, and it made me love these Britishers who don’t ever let weather stop their fun.

Though tiring, it was a good way to get a taste of the typical Lakes Region holiday, and I got a chance to ask Johan, our guide, about life here in the very middle of Great Britain. He said that some of his guests from the US wouldn’t do any of these activities in the rain, preferring to sit by a fire for an entire day. “They said it was raining. I said so what,” he explained. He also said that Americans seem to drink a whole lot more water than they really need to. This was after we craved water and got hot chocolate instead.

As we climbed up the mountain path, crashing through the brown fallen weeds, he said that in this part of England, tourism and farming are the only really substantial businesses. Once there was a copper mine above the village of Coniston. Utility officials here have installed a hydro-electric system to generate power using the water from the stream that runs green from passing through the copper.

Johan said municipal councils in Britain lost billions last month when the three banks in Iceland went bust. Many had invested reserve funds into these banks, that paid high interest. Today, even charities lost millions of pounds and the two governments are threatening each other with lawsuits over the issue.

The flow of tourism dollars into Britain’s North country hasn’t slowed down, since people still want to take a holiday and it’s cheaper to come here than to fly to Spain or France. Johan and his wife Emma sold their van a few months ago and now use regular cars and trailers, and lease vans when they have to. Their business, riverdeepmountainhigh, is thriving and he proudly said he owns 50% of his house. The bank owns the other half.