/ Moving up north
My partner and I are thinking about moving from London up north to be closer to the great outdoors and so I thought I'd ask the people of UKC their advice!
What we are looking for: a place close to outdoor climbing/hiking, where weekend excursions are easy, and even possibly after work evening trips. Somewhere not too far from the bigger mountain areas. Nowhere too small - so we still have options to do things other than climbing/hiking and where work opportunities will be available.
Work-wise - I am an indoor climbing instructor and administrator, and aspiring to get some outdoor qualifications (RCI - aka SPA & ML). And my partner does research and evaluation of health services.
We have a couple of places in mind already but would be interested to know what else might be thrown up
Thank you in advance for any help anyone sends!
Sounds like your wife’s job might put more constraints on location than yours, are you thinking of somewhere with easy access to either Leeds or Manchester?
Other than choosing areas that may be over populated with indoor instructors have a think about Cardiff. Close to Brecon Beacons and coast for walks, Pembroke & Gower and a myriad of other crags for climbing. Also a run to north Wales doesn't take too long.
Work/life balance is good, the indoor climbing sector is expanding in the area, and there is movement in the Health service atm.
good luck in the search..
depends where your wife can get a job/commute from. But there's a DoH of some sort in Leeds and PHE have offices in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. From the point of view of someone who currently lives in Leeds, it's great if you like climbing in the peaks but it's a substantial drive (not London-scale ofc but still more than a reasonable day out) from basically anywhere else. It's one of the reasons my OH and I are planning a move to Liverpool in the near future - we miss dolerite and slate! Manchester is a fairly central option to get anywhere from, and property prices in the north are to die for.
what does "up north" mean to you ? For me it would start at Inverness, for others I suspect Birmingham.
Glasgow's the obvious answer.
Stirling or Inverness if you can get the jobs you want (Stirling, at least, is within commuting range of both Glasgow and Edinburgh).
> It's one of the reasons my OH and I are planning a move to Liverpool in the near future - we miss dolerite and slate!
Interesting. I moved from Liverpool to Leeds because Leeds had better access to climbing! My rationale was that for a weekend trip it doesn't matter that much whether North Wales is 2 or 3 hours away but Leeds had much more climbing accessible after work. Plus you've got Yorkshire grit and Malham/Kilnsey really close by.
Hebden Bridge is popular for people/couples working either side the Pennines ie Leeds, Manchester, Huddersfield, N to Preston etc
Seconded Hebden Bridge, it's a really laid-back and cosmopolitan place where I'd be happy to live except that in winter some sides of the valley don't see sunshine for months. I bet a lot of climbers live there.
Otherwise Manchester is an absolutely hopping city, there have never been more tower cranes.
>Cardiff........a run to north Wales doesn't take too long.
Seriously? Is there some new tunnel I'm not aware of? Colwyn Bay-Cardiff by car takes around 5 hours - not much quicker than CB-London!
Heh, it shouldn't really, but it does still amaze me when someone talks, on UKClimbing, about 'up North' and gets replies about Manchester and other places in the middle bit of England!
Cardiff's a new one, though. That isn't even North of London!
As stated in my post it wasn’t geographical, but more based on job availability. Having lived all over the UK I’d rather be north of Carlisle or south of Birmingham..
For someone in London it could mean anything north of Watford, but realistically probably the Peak to the Scottish border ie the North of England, if they mean Scotland, they would say Scotland.
The reason I ask specifically about Leeds and Manchester is because of the job opportunities particularly in the field of work that the OP mentions his wife is involved in.
The English do tend to mean 'north of England' when they say 'up north' which, as Skog noted, looks very odd to many of us. And in this case the OP has now said "I’d rather be north of Carlisle" so clearly did include Scotland in 'up north'
Aye, fair enough - it's probably somewhere worth considering for what the op is actually looking to do. I'm just easily amused.
And I like throwing in left field options ????????
Pembroke also sways things.....
I may be biased, but I still think Leeds is as good a base as any for climbing in the UK - at least as good as Sheffield say. One always has to do a lot a driving as a climber anywhere. Places like Cardiff that some people have mentioned are just not in the same league. Driving from Cardiff to North Wales is awful. Sometimes the advice on this forum can be pretty weird.
The OP hasn’t responded.
> Sometimes the advice on this forum can be pretty weird.
It can indeed. Leeds seems an odd choice for someone who says they want to be "not too far from the bigger mountain areas"...
I suppose it's all subjective!
I don't like grit :'(
It's better for getting out generally, without a doubt, but I don't like the climbing round here
I've read or heard Dave McLeod say somewhere that it's good to live 15 minutes from the crag if you want to climb regularly. Within an hour would certainly be advantageous, if you want to pop out in the summer evenings.
"Somewhere not too far from the bigger mountain areas", presumably means Scotland or Europe. But, there are some nice hills near Lancaster, where I live! And you've a bunch of fairly decent crags within 30mins - 1 hr drive, ranging from Thorn Crag to Trowbarrow, with Langdale maybe 1hr 15 away.
Also, we need someone to do some serious evaluation of our healthcare services up here, where the Tories have cut services to shreds...!
> The English do tend to mean 'north of England' when they say 'up north' which, as Skog noted, looks very odd to many of us. And in this case the OP has now said "I’d rather be north of Carlisle" so clearly did include Scotland in 'up north'
North of Carlisle includes a fair bit of England.
'The North' as a geographic idea in England is pretty distinct, I'm always surprised Scots get so confused by the idea that each country in the UK has its own North.
I wouldn't bother moving to Northumberland. If you were based in say the Hexham area you would only have about 200 crags within 50 miles, all with really soft grades. There are only 35 climbing walls within 50 miles. You'd have to drive for nearly an hour and a half to the Lakes and a bit more to Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Peak District. Its a massive 3 hours to the ferry for Arran and 4 hours to Glencoe. There are only 7 NHS Trusts in the area, so not much help there. Northumberland is also overcrowded and the quality of life is rubbish. So knock that off your list for a start.
Hope this helps
> 'The North' as a geographic idea in England is pretty distinct, I'm always surprised Scots get so confused by the idea that each country in the UK has its own North.
That's not surprising at all.
What is maybe a little surprising, on UK Climbing - replying to a post which doesn't specify England and talks about wanting to be not too far from the mountains and somewhere good for climbing and hiking - is that the default assumption is that the country being asked about is England, rather than the UK.
It certainly doesn’t exclude the North of England, which you seem to be doing!
Oh, I'd include the actual north of England - Carlisle, Northumberland and Newcastle all might fit the op's criteria.
Have you thought about the Wirral? Cheap housing, close to North Wales, not too far from Peak District. I moved here a year ago, I love it.
I'd have assumed that someone from London wanting to move "up North" to be nearer to hills and crags want to move far enough North to be nearer to hills and crags. It seems weird to assume that they can't mean Manchester even though it's relatively handy for hills and crags because it doesn't meet someone's arbitrary latitude requirement for being In The North, but it also seems weird to assume that they can't mean Scotland because they didn't explicitly include it as a possibility...
Try not to let the fact that you are geographically challenged influence your contribution to the thread.
But the actual North of England is much more than that, certainly all of Yorkshire and Lancashire for starters.
Given that there is an entity geographically called "The North" in England its unsurprising that when people say they want to go up North they are taken to refer to England - in Wales, North Wales has a similar distinct entity, but in Scotland that role seems to be taken by The Highlands, rather than "The North" of Scotland.
Charming. Was Glasgow not a worthwhile contribution, then?
Care to explain why I'm "geographically challenged"?
Plus 1 for Kendal. I haven't lived there but visit it to see a friend with whom I climb, and really like it. For a Lake District town I much prefer it to the honey pots like Ambleside and Keswick. It seems really friendly. I could be tempted to move there, but I would miss the generally much nicer and drier weather of Sussex which keeps me down here even though the climbing opportunities in the south are more limited.
> Charming. Was Glasgow not a worthwhile contribution, then?
> Care to explain why I'm "geographically challenged"?
I think his post was tongue in cheek!
You may be right, and this is just regional dialect.
To me, 'up North' means 'to the North of here', wherever I happen to be and with the suggestion that it's a significant distance that way.
In England, does it really just mean 'the region of England known as "The North"'?
Typical English language thing - it means both of course!
Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, Lancaster, Preston.
All give great access to the lakes, the Peak, Scotland, Wales and the dark place. Personally, I wouldn't bother with Leeds, Sheffield too far from the mountains.
> Charming. Was Glasgow not a worthwhile contribution, then?
Nothing wrong with your contribution of Glasgow.
> Care to explain why I'm "geographically challenged"?
Because you don’t think the great Northern cities of Leeds and Manchester are in the North of England.
They're in 'The North', right enough.
Is 'middle' another word that means something else down south?
Move to some rough Derbyshire town like Ripley and raise exotic pets from Codnor pet shop.
Leeds, but particularly the northern reaches of the city. It genuinely qualifies for: after work climbing (caley, almscliffe etc less than 30mins in traffic away), within an hour of quality limestone bolt-clipping, just over an hour for peak grit if you ever get bored of Yorkshire grit, and loads of work opps. Plus 4 walls within the city for winter.
Second would be split between Penrith or Kendal. Both have great access to mountains. Penrith much smaller but loads of NHS work in nearby Carlisle.
Lancaster as decent in between option.
There seems to be a opinion that places such as Cumbria or merseyside are 'close' to the peak. They're not really, as over 2hours on a good run. Close relative to London but not in northern terms.
Congrats on your decision though, you won't regret it
I moved me and family to just outside Leeds just over a year or so ago and so far it's been ace. A good balance of city life and outdoor lifestyle, much more than I was used to in Liverpool/Wirral.
Other than proximity to the M6 and the eastern fells I don't think Penrith has much going for it. Could just be me, but Penrith has this really 'odd' atmosphere (and I live in West Cumbria). I'd prefer Kendal, or even Carlisle at a push, to Penrith.
> For a Lake District town I much prefer it to the honey pots like Ambleside and Keswick.
That might be because it isn't really in the Lake District in any meaningful sense.
Ha, fair enough! I've a pal who's lived there for years and seems to like it. But it definitely has that small town feel.....
Apologies for using this term so loosely. It appears to have caused quite a stir ;) When I said 'Up North' I did quite frankly mean north of London - including Scotland. I was purposely vague geographically speaking because I'm keen to get as many suggestions as possible and did not want to steered the responses to a certain area of the UK.
So far the suggestions have been golden! We had Sheffield and Manchester in mind (and to a lesser extent Glasgow) but it seems we have a whole ton more options than we realised! Thanks everyone - keep them coming
Love the response I'll be sure to steer clear of Northumberland then!
Try living in North Somerset if you want to really confuse maters!
Everybody is wrong, except those people who said Kendal.
I would live in Kendal, if only to save a 20 mile drive to get to the wall, but the missus refuses.
Its not all sweetness and light however.
I hate the multi storey car park, sldc,ldspb, both junctions at either end of the bypass and the one way system.
I also had an argument with the registrar when we tried to do the initial paperwork to get married .
The bells on the town hall are also well out of tune.
I bet Andy Pollitt would second that. He had a thing about bells.....
> I bet Andy Pollitt would second that. He had a thing about bells.....
Must be why he moved so far away.
Personally, I would say Glasgow gets tired quickly for close cragging options (close eg after work summer evenings). But then I say that as someone who's never really clicked with dumby.. Auchinstarry is good, cambusbarron is good, Dumby is good if you are braver than me. After that you're driving at least an hour. Proximity to the mountains isn't bad, 2 hours to Glencoe, obviously FW and the Cairngorms a bit further.
I'm moving elsewhere to be in a better position for local cragging.
Firstly, everyone knows that the borders of 'up north' start where the inhabitants start talking funny. Coming up the M1 it's just past Nottingham, coming up the M6 it's Stoke On Trent.
More seriously, don't underestimate how important quick drying rock can be to being able to climb all year round. I'd head for Yorkshire (or possibly Northumberland) as North Wales and The lakes are definitely a pain through the winter.
Watch Michael Portaloo on BBC2 this evening, he's in the North West. It will give you a taste of what's available. He interviews some characters at the Clarion house, one of whom used to teach my son.
This is the kind of thread that can just keep spiraling as opinions are like ……….. well something we've all got !
the only advice Id have is look at the places you want to be visiting and find a central point, then move that point closer to the areas / activities you want to do after work. once you've found a rough area stick the pin in the closest town that's on major transport links to the city.....
Areas that spring to mind are the Peak side of Manchester and the Aire valley side of Leeds. both good for after work cragg'in while not far a drive for weekend jaunts to the lakes, north wales.
For me I also need to be close to an airport that allows access to the alps ( snowboarding ) as well as being able to get to places with good train links etc...…….. again both Leeds and Manchester have these.
Id love to be in north Wales or Pembroke but for me these are just a little to isolated and small ( personal pref )
am truly intrigued as to where your thinking after reading all the comments - do let us know …….
If Scotland is an option, consider Stirling. Well placed mid way between Edinburgh & Stirling & on the A9 to travel southwards if required (eg weekends in the Lakes) but also to the Cairngorms & beyond. Glencoe not too far away & good for winter days in the Southern Highlands. Many local outcrops for summer evenings, with some bouldering at Bridge of Allan suitable for lunchtimes if you work at the university or nearby. As its relatively small (at least compared to somewhere Glasgow) its quick to get out off so summer evenings are not wasted in traffic jams.
> Everybody is wrong, except those people who said Kendal.
Kirby Lonsdale, much more pleasant town but close enough to access all kendal has to offer.
For Northern England, be aware that the west side of the Pennines is generally much wetter than the east side.
Although the east side does contain Yorkshire...
There is plenty of quick drying rock in North Wales: Slate, Orme, A55, Tremadog, Llyen, South Stack are all good on the right day.
In my view you are more likely to be able to climb with a rope there in December/January than your are in the Peak.
Lakes is dire in a wet winter.
I don’t see the appeal of Manchester. Bad traffic, poor after work climbing, and it rains lots.
Sheffield is drier and has much better cragging close by. You do add 1 hour to your journey if you fancy a weekend away but that’s worth it in my view.
> Move to some rough Derbyshire town like Ripley and raise exotic pets from Codnor pet shop.
Funnily enough even before reading that comment I was thinking about how this discussion relates to the age-old and impossible to resolve debate about where the English North stops and the Midlands begin. I was brought up in the lovely Ripley/Codnor area (father from Ironville in Derbyshire, mother from a mile away in Jacksdale, Notts, me raised in Denby then Swanwick from where Ripley was the regular shopping trip), so it's been a background interest all my days even though I've long lived in Scotland.
There are those (eg in various bureaucracies) who argue that the whole of Derbyshire is Midlands, but that's clearly nonsense and wouldn't be well received as a line of reasoning in a pub in Glossop or Chapel, say. Pretty clearly the south of the county isn't the North, though, so it's a question of where the boundary lies. I buy into the argument that the Pennines are entirely in the North, so it then comes down (in part, at least) to where the southernmost Pennine hill is. Crich near my old haunts is a very good candidate (and hence is North) whereas the Chevin near Duffield seems a dodgier idea and has always felt (including when I visited the summit trig) like it's Midland.
Incidentally, having lived for a dozen years in Glasgow and now 20ish in Stirling, I'd say that the latter is fantastic for hill access. Also, were I to move back south of the border (not that I've any intention), then I'd probably go to Kendal...
“Bad traffic” is an understatement.
Have you looked at anywhere near the Burnley/Clitheroe area. Its fairly near to the geographical centre of Britain for a start. 1.5 hrs to Langdale, on the edge of the Yorkshire dales (Malham, Kilnsey etc. for a summers evening climb after work), 1.5 hrs to the Peak District. 2.5 hrs to north Wales. Lancashire quarries on your doorstep. Loads of bouldering around (Widdop, Bridestones etc) within easy reach.
More walking and rambling than you could do in a lifetime.
Mountain bike trails/ bridleways in abundance.
Plenty of Climbing walls within an hours drive. 3 International airports within an hours drive.
Everything you need really
Seconded Clitheroe but not necessarily Burnley, unless you're on a budget and desperate. In practical terms the old days of jumping in the car on a Friday evening to motor off to Wales or the Lakes are long gone; using the M6 you can expect to spend several hours stuck in traffic. So Clitheroe being on the A59 is a good choice because you're close to the Dales and if heading up the M6 you've only got to crawl a couple of miles to where the Blackpool motorway splits off. This counts for a lot and will count for more as traffic worsens.
I Lived south of Pendle Hill (Fence) for a while, it rarely stopped raining.
Good access to Yorkshire Moors though
I'm moving from Bristol to York shortly 😬
I've been up there for work a few times, and it's a great city. Small, but not too small. A bit white, and you do need to drive to the crag. I'll be dusting off my bouldering mat and buying more beanies 😂
I'm looking forward to it, Bristol is amazing, but so expensive because of all the fffing Tarquin's that have moved from London.
York is pricey for 'the North' but cheap for us southerners 😁
Pah, Crazy talk! Auchinstarry never gets tired ;)
Moving to work 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle next week for a few months, I guess only the Polar Bears will be saying that's not the real North ;-)
> Pah, Crazy talk! Auchinstarry never gets tired ;)
Indeed not, all you have to do is wait a few years and the local council comes along and remodels the crag for you....
Read about why Dave Macleod chose to move to Fort William area. He talks a pretty good argument.
Friend of ours moved from Edinburgh(which is "here" to us) to Fort Willie a couple of years ago. Loves it - climbing, snow stuff, and recently, his own house (which he couldn't afford in Edinburgh!).
However, anything you buy online costs a bit more to deliver...
> I also had an argument with the registrar when we tried to do the initial paperwork to get married .
Off topic, but you're not alone there...
Sheffield is only a good base for eastern grit and at a push Yorkshire, for everything else it's rubbish.
I'm in New Mills (with the added bonus of the perma-dry Torrs being about a minute away) and can be at Stanage, the Roaches and the Chew Valley all in 35 minutes. Llanberis and Ambleside are doable for day trips and are both an hour and a half (assuming a pre-rush hour start!), as is North Yorks grit/limestone.
You can be in Sheffield in an hour on the train, and in Manchester in 30 minutes.
There's a lot of better options than Sheffield if you like to vary your climbing. That said, Sheffield is perhaps one of my favourite cities, I much prefer it to my home city of Manchester.