Entity Type:
Moffat, Gwen Mary (1924-)
Moffat struck a singular blow for womens' equality in climbing, proving that female crag rats could be every bit as tough as the men. Hitching everywhere, roughing it in damp Welsh cottages, dossing under hedges, even deserting from the army – anything to avoid holding down a proper job in order to devote as much time as possible to feeding her climbing habit. Nothing new in that you might think, but this was in 1946, not 1974; Moffat was a Beatnik before the term was invented. After experimenting living communally with a bunch of Bohemian proto-hippies in mid-Wales and Cornwall, and indulging in all sorts of nefarious and dubiously legal practices, she became an early fixture of the North Wales climbing scene in the late 40s and early 50s, climbing the test-pieces of the day and generally hanging out with the boys. More adventures followed in the Alps and Scotland, during which Moffat began a career writing for BBC Radio before she became the first woman to qualify as a British Mountain Guide, receiving her guide certificate from the BMC in 1953 and the ASCC in 1957, years before others would join her and begin to redress the gender inequality in the profession. Since the 70s Moffat has carved a niche as a crime writer , setting her plots in wilderness areas from the Rocky Mountains to Sutherland, her substance epitomized by the Mail on Sunday reviewer writing of "Pit Bull": "All Gwen Moffat's skills with solitary people, lonely passions, mysterious deaths and fine landscapes are displayed in strength." Their heroine, the climbing detective ‘Ms Pink’, has now starred in numerous books. Moving on from the Miss Pink series there were stand-alones such as, among others, Cue the Battered Wife (Macmillan), 1994; Quicksand, Man Trap, (Constable), 2003 and Dying for Love, (Constable), 2005.
Further reading: Autobiographies - Space Below My Feet, republished by Hachete, 2013 and On My Home Ground, Hodder & Stoughton, 1968

Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells and amended by Gwen Moffat.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
Access Points:
Moffat, Gwen Mary (1924-)
Related Items:
B219 : Space Below My Feet
B220 : On My Home Ground