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Dalton, Millican (1867-1947)
Dalton, Millican (1867-1947)
After the Great War, one of the first people to try his hand as a paid mountain guide was eccentric vegetarian teetotaller Millican Dalton. The self-styled ‘Professor of Adventure’ lived during the summer months in a Lakeland cave at the foot of Borrowdale’s Castle Crag and introduced clients to a number of outdoor pursuits such as camping, sailing and climbing. His advertising boasted that he offered adventure and ‘Hair-breadth escapes’, which was certainly realistic enough, as he rarely bothered to belay on his rock climbs. This didn’t seem to put off customers, who were plentiful thanks to Dalton’s budget-priced adventures, made possible thanks to a frugal lifestyle. Not only did he have minimal overheads (he swapped his cave ‘office’ for winter quarters in huts in the New Forest and Epping Forest), but his main living expenses were Woodbine cigarettes and coffee, both of which he was addicted to. The eccentric guide’s routine of pedalling a bright blue bicycle into town for his weekly shop wearing sockless nailed boots was one of the picturesque ‘sights’ of Keswick during the 20s and 30s. He frequently sported a broad-brimmed hat decorated with a pheasant’s feather, together with a home-made jacket and breeches which were as weathered and leathery as his skin. It is said he rarely washed, and that it was a good idea to stay up-wind of him.
Further reading: A Century on the Crags, Alan Hankinson 1986
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Dalton, Millican (1867-1947)
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