Arthur Ransome Wiki
Windermere - Main Road

Rio's shopping area

Cumbria, Westmorland, Bowness, Boat Landing

Boats and piers at Rio

The little town is known in guide-books by another name, but the crew of the Swallow had long ago given it the name of Rio Grande — (SA3)

Rio is a town on the shore of The Lake which serves as the principal link with the rest of England, having a railway station (on a hill a short bus ride up from the village) and shops. On Rio Bay there is a steamer pier (one of several piers) and the boatbuilders.

  • the little town a mile higher up the lake than Holly Howe (SA3).


Rio is named for the destination Rio Grande mentioned in the sea song 'Away to Rio' (SA3). The canonical pronunciation of Rio might be "rye-oh" rather than "ree-oh".

Nancy says ... we'll agree to Rio. It's a good name (SA10). Like Kanchenjunga the native name for Rio is never mentioned.

Native prototypes[]

Rio is obviously based on the small towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere, which share the same geographical layout with, for example, the railway station in Windermere, a short bus ride uphill from the steamer pier in Bowness. The name Bowness is mentioned in Winter Holiday by the smith: Did you hear Bill Bowness got right down to Low End on the ice and a wetting in the river and all, for trying to go too far (WD13).

Bowness-on-Windermere photograph and location map