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Let’s move to Sedbergh, Cumbria: lovely in its isolation

A convivial and unpretentious ‘book town’, though it may be too lonely for some

What’s going for it? Being an introvert, it’s the lonely spots that attract me most. Sedbergh is only 15 twisty-turny minutes up the steep western escarpment of the Yorkshire Dales from the M6, a little longer from Kendal, but high up, all alone in the fells, it might be halfway to the moon. Bald moors, big skies and Alfred Wainwright’s beloved Howgill Fells loom all about, and there’s not much bar sheep, the Wensleydale Creamery and the odd village or teeny town between you and the other side of the UK. Bliss. I don’t think I’ve ever been lonelier, in a good way, than waiting on the platform at Garsdale station with only crows for company. Still, Sedbergh itself is a convivial spot, despite its isolation, and utterly unpretentious in the way only this part of the world can be – home to doughty shops, hardy people and excellent pubs where hikers battle farmers for space at the bar. And, as one of three of Britain’s “book towns” (with Wigtown and Hay-on-Wye), filled with bookshops, writing retreats and poetry festivals, even the most taciturn hermit is never short of a conversation opener, even if it’s just your take on the latest Jack Reacher plot twist.

The case against… When the wind blows, Sedbergh gets blown away. The lonely spots aren’t for everyone.

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