I’m hard at work at BEWITCHED (given that I have to hand in the dratted ms in little more than 2 months) (PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (okay, okay, all’s well again). Right, so today I’m researching travelling by carriage and on horseback.
In Austen’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE Mr. Darcy at one point states that 50 miles on a good road are little more than half a day’s journey.
The wonderful THE ROMANCE WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE NOBLE HORSE from the San Diego RWA chapter gives the following as average speed for travelling on horseback (at least I hope that’s what they mean) and THE ANNOTATED PRIDE & PREJUDICE provides the average speed of a carriage
- men normally let their horses trot; a horse can trot from between 3 miles per hour to 14 miles per hour
- good carriage can do 7-8 miles per hour (moderate pace; mail coaches gallopped and such went faster, but they also had to change horses about every half hour); very good private carriages could a bit more
So, off I went to figure out the distances I needed for my story — online travel route planners are such nifty things! But wait! — in order to use a route planner, I first had to figure out where about in England all the different settings of the novel are situated. Sooo …
- first important setting: London (that was easy)
- second important setting: Rawdon Park, the estate of my hero’s brother, situated somewhere in the East of England, in the Fens, to be exact. I chose Downham Market in Norfolk to represent Rawdon Park
- third important setting: the estate of my heroine’s uncle, somewhere in the Midlands. In Warwickshire to be exact. So I simply took Warwick to stand for that one.
And then I could finally go one of these wonderful route planners. Here’s what I’ve found there:
- Warwick – London: ~ 99 miles
- London – Cambridge: ~ 62 miles
- Cambridge – Downham Market (Norfolk): ~ 34 miles
- Downham Market – Warwick: ~ 110 miles
Why did I choose these particular routes. Easy: hero & heroine meet in London, then they all pack up and rumble to Rawdon Park sometime in late October / early November, and on the way, spent the night in Cambridge (see link above) (I’m actually quite proud of myself that I figured out the distances correctly the first time around when I didn’t use the route planner, but simply my big, nice Baedeker map! :O) ). That’s the journey by carriage.
On to the horses: at one point in the book hero needs to travel fast from London to Warwick (or rather house of heroine’s uncle), from Warwick to Rawdon Park, and then from Rawdon Park back to Warwick.
Hmm … Perhaps I should cut down all that travelling about … *scratching my head*