Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Phil Hopkins
Group Travel Editor & Theatre Correspondent
1:00 AM 24th April 2024

'Bluebird Effect' Boosts Lake District Tourism

The pulling power of Donald Campbell’s famous jet hydroplane Bluebird has made the village of Coniston one of this year’s hottest Lake District destinations says Cumbria Tourism

Visitor numbers to Coniston’s Ruskin Museum have rocketed to record levels since the iconic craft, which crashed on Coniston Water in January 1967, returned to its spiritual home.

Bluebird arrived on March 9 this year and, by March 29th, visitor numbers rocketed to 5,396. The figure is more remarkable considering the museum was closed from March 9-18 while the display was curated. Last year the best figure was 1,549 visitors in August.

“Traditionally, people don’t come to Coniston just to visit the Museum,” says Tracy Hodgson, Director of the Ruskin Museum: “They come for the scenery, to walk on the hills or view Coniston Water.

“But they are now definitely coming to Coniston just to see Bluebird K7 – no doubt. It’s amazing the effect it is having!”

It’s been dubbed the “Bluebird Effect” and holiday accommodation company The Coppermines Lakes Cottages expects the interest to sustain throughout the summer months.

“The story of Bluebird really strikes a chord with the British public,” says owner and founder of The Coppermines Lakes Cottages Phil Johnston.

“Its return has made Coniston the hottest destination in the Lake District and holiday accommodation is in demand. Because of this “Bluebird Effect” we are advising visitors to book their holiday accommodation early this year.”

Bluebird, piloted by Donald Campbell, set several world water speed records before crashing on Coniston Water in January 1967. The boat lay hidden on the bottom of Coniston Water for 34 years, until it was found and recovered by North Shields based engineer and diver Bill Smith in 2001.

Five years later the family of Donald Campbell gifted Bluebird to the John Ruskin Museum at Coniston, which built an £800,000 wing to house it. But a long running row prevented its return until March this year.

“Coniston has always been a big draw for Lake District visitors because of its beautiful scenery, amazing fell walks and the stunning lake,” says Phil Johnston.

“Now, with Bluebird, it has yet another attraction to add to its impressive pulling power. We hope many who come to see the iconic craft will be new to Coniston, fall in love with the village and surrounding area and make it a regular holiday destination for their families.”

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