Having just returned from a beautiful few days in the Lakes I thought I'd throw up a few pics and experience to aid anyone else heading that way.
My daughter and I were doing the petrol-head version of Swallows and Amazons... and visited Wild Cat Island a number of times (Peel Island).
We had planned to stay at Coniston Hall campsite which has its own (free) access to the water for SIBs/canoes but my daughter wanted to wild camp on Kanchenjunga (Old Man of Coniston) so we did that instead and my wife/boy based themselves at Rydal Hall in a yurt which with hindsight, bearing in mind the searing temps was a big mistake!
We explored both Coniston and Windermere and found ease of access and launching trivial, although the parking charges soon mounted up.
Coniston we launched from near the village at the boating centre. Cost £5 to launch plus up to about £8 for all-day parking. We launched 3 times here and on the third I asked about their loyalty scheme and they let me launch for free
In Windermere we launched from Ambleside, next to the Waterhead Edge Hotel/YHA. Parking was the same scheme as across the whole Lake District so about £8 for a day (we never actually stayed that long so only ever paid about £6-£7). The launch here is a public slip which you can get the key for opposite, deposit £10 plus £3 to launch. They didn't sound like many people ever asked and you could lift boat/engine over the low chain blocking the slip and pay nothing.
The speed limit was a pain, we could just about get onto the plane at 11-12knots and then ease off to the speed limit of 10knots and balance precariously waiting to fall off the plane at any moment.
Needless to say, it was stunning, boating the lakes was fun, the water was really warm and we swam every day. We preferred the quieter Coniston than Windermere although Windermere has more opportunities to stop off for icecream and beer/lunch, Coniston does not really save Bank Ground Farm (Holly Howe) which does a selection of cakes and the finest wines known to humanity (cue Withnail and I)...
Midges were fairly prolific once the sun lowered in the sky... there was no breeze and temps were hovering around 25 degrees...