Windermere is without a doubt much the most interesting of the lakes to sail on. You will not have explored it all, of even after 2 days sailing. Due to fluky lake winds, it generally takes a full day to sail from one end to the other.
Coniston Water is lovely and quiet, and the bottom end is marvellous, but there is a long and rather dull middle section. You can sail up and back down its whole length in a day, even including going down the River Crake to Allen Tarn (a must).
Ullswater is also worth considering: the lake is almost as long as Windermere and has the mountains falling into the water, but there are not the same number of little bays and islands to explore that there are in Windermere.
Derwentwater is even smaller than Coniston Water, and although it is worth visiting, would not stretch you over a 2 day visit.
Those are the four main navigable lakes.
If you want waterfront accommodation ashore, there is a waterside youth hostel at Ambleside with its own jetties and private rooms. Otherwise try to rent one of the chalets or flats at Hill of Oaks - this is on the southern end of the lake which is much quieter than the northern end. There are also various hotels, but I have never stayed in any of them.
On 28 Nov 2017, at 04:20, Mark D [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
We are thinking of breaking our drive from Devon to Fort William for the Sail Caledonia Raid with a couple of nights in the Lake District in May. We will be trailing our Swallow Bayraider.
I have never sailed in the Lakes.
If you were to pick one of the Lake District Lakes for two days of day sailing while staying ashore (preferably waterfront accommodation) which lake would it be and why?
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