40 Years Living 'Up North (West)'

Almost exactly 40 years ago I moved from the Sussex coast to central Lancashire, a distance of 275 miles. I then moved 20 miles further north in 1988, and then 15 miles further north still in 2015. So, clearly, I like the North, and especially the North-West.

There are so many north-south stereotypes that it’s not worth repeating them here. But - given that I’m still here - these are my own, personal views on some of the advantages of living in the North.

First, there are simply more space and fewer people to fit into it. Traffic flows more freely (most of the time) and access to the countryside is easier and faster. And it's also faster to travel from town to town thanks to the good road and motorway network.

We now live on the Cumbria/Lancashire border and I’m still amazed how quickly we can get to various places. Lake Windermere is 26 miles away and takes 30 minutes while central Manchester is 60 miles or 1 hour away.

Second is the weather. There are certainly times when yet another rainy day is tiresome. But we rarely face hosepipe bans and our gardens and green space always look green. The satellite photo, taken in the past month when some other regions have faced hosepipe bans, says it all.

Thank goodness for the rain - still green and pleasant

Third must be the countryside. Many regions boast beautiful countryside but few can match the north-west's with the Lake District, the Pennines and a coastline with unique wetlands. Add in the UK's largest lakes, tallest mountains and rich heritage - built and literary - and you have a mix of assets which is difficult to beat.

My own theory is that northerners peddle the ‘grim up north’ myth so they can keep it to themselves and avoid sharing it with incomers. So I might have let the cat out of the bag…