But in 1978 The National Trust bought it and commenced renovations. Completed several years later it now offers luxurious cruises on Lake Coniston. Here is our first sight of the Gondola as we reached the lake on Saturday afternoon.
While we waited to board we had lunch in a crowded lakeside cafe. (Where I had the best hot dog I've ever eaten - filled with sweet pulled pork). Assuming most people in the cafe were heading for the Gondola we went to the landing stage to be near the front of the queue. In fact only six people went on board. The interior was quite magnificent. We sat in the forward lounge. As you can see it takes you back to an era of Victorian elegance.
This shows the prow of the boat with its newly restored golden sea serpent.
The engine on the Gondola was so quiet and the voyage so smooth we hardly realised we were moving.
Upon disembarking we drove the short distance to Beatrix Potter's beloved seventeenth century farmhouse near Hawkshead, Ambleside.
The cottage remains almost exactly as Beatrix Potter left it with many of her possessions on display.
And here is an original letter she wrote to a friend in which she includes drawings of her creations - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.
In this view from the end of the garden you can see her small painting easel.
We booked into our hotel later in the afternoon. Situated just about on the shore of Lake Windermere was recommended by our friends Jackie and Tony Hobbs. Next morning we drove to Tarn Hows near Ambleside for a walk around the lake. With my arthritic hip myf didn't think I could walk all that way but as Tarn Hows is a National Trust property she enquired about a buggy for me. Great idea! So here I am on my speed machine having a great time as we circumnavigated the lake. Myf walking and me driving.
That's the way to travel. And here's a view on the way round.
It appears that I've reached the limit on the number of pictures I can store on this type of blog so I'll treat this as part one of my Lake District blog and look for another version.