Hebden by Bike

My obsession with Warland Farm continues. It’s my favourite of the properties I’ve seen and, when Rightmove.co.uk indicated that it had been withdrawn from the market, I had palpitations. Turns out the problem was just a new uploading of data and that we’re still in the box seat. I booked the visit for Monica and I on Monday week, including a walking of the boundaries.

Then, I bestrode Stacy’s crappy ATB and cycled onto the Rochdale canal and up to the farm, just to see it again and to assess the ride as a possible future activity. It’s not far, 19 miles from Manchester according to an old sign on the canal, but it took me a while to find it in Manchester; and there were a few diversions that added time and effort to the journey. As well, the surface varied from smooth to cobbles to shale. Not much mud this time but that would normally add to the effort required.

After lunch of nuts and nibbles below the farm, I continued into Todmorden and on to Hebden Bridge along the canal, to time and assess those journeys from the farm. Tod is about ten minutes away, Hebden an easy hour. The canal’s overflows are worth noting: their cobbles are almost baby-heads and could damage a tyre thinner than an ATB’s.

By Hebden, the bike’s saddle was arguing with my posterior so I determined to research the train journey back to Mammy’s. The main Leeds-Manchester line runs through Calderdale, providing an excellent transport facility, even stopping in Walsden, a short walk from the farm. Forty comfortable minutes from embarking, I was back in the warm sunshine of Manchester city centre. After carefully orienting myself, I found Deansgate and the Stretford road home easily. Down to Rochdale, the train follows the canal so the ride has a Plan B in case of weather or mechanicals.

A fine day out; and a world record for Stacy’s bike!

Trip planning

The basic schedule for my time in England is set as:

  • Wed 06/04 arrive Manchester
  • Sun 08/05 collect Monica Heathrow
  • Tue 24/05 depart Manchester

I guess I need to plan my activities in more detail so that I can recruit some house-hunting helpers and also secure some floors to sleep upon.

The areas I definitely need to cover are Bristol, the Pennines and the Lake District. Given that Neil is keen to look around Dartmoor and South Wales, he seems prime to accompany me on that leg; Kevin is obvious for the Pennines; so hopefully Chris will be happy to mooch about the Lakes. If Chris and I can make a dash up to Knoydart, too, that’d be great.

I also need to call in to see Al & Bev, Tony, Shirley and Sylvia, so they’d best be fitted in somehow.

As I arrive into Manchester airport, it would be sensible to call in to see Mammy and Daddy and then get out to Bacup to stay with Kevin and Stacy. I guess I’ll be able to see an area per day, looking at perhaps four houses, so this area of the Pennines will need three or four days. With the weekend off for socialising, that means I leave on Wednesday 13/04 with about 22 days before meeting Monica.

For the South West, I’ll need a day each for Dartmoor and Exmoor, then maybe two each for Chepstow, Bath & Dorset and Bristol: a total of eight days. If Neil comes along, he could bail out whenever he’s bored or needs to get back to the Smoke.

The Lakes is our favourite spot and hard to get around, so I’d best set aside four days for house-hunting there. Side trips to North Wales and Scotland will take a couple of days each but would be best with a couple of extra days for walking etc, making this trip eight to twelve days.

So, that’s comfy. I have twenty days of house-hunting with Chris and Neil, plus a couple of spare to call in on friends and rellies as I move about. I’ve laid these out on my iCal calendar myLife.

When Monica arrives, there will be a few key people to visit and, hopefully, a house or two in each area to inspect. I’ve suggested some times in the Mondavia calendar. I must make a separate calendar for these that I can publish.