Millican Dalton, (1867-1947).

Tuesday November 29, 2011

 I first heard of Millican Dalton nearly two decades ago.

Since then I have spent many nights by the fire in Englands most beautiful valley, Borrowdale, the home of Millican Dalton, The Keswick Caveman, The Monarch of the Valley, Professor of Adventure, Rock Climber and Mountain Guide.

 It was on a trip to this valley while sitting by the warmth of the fire that I heard the name Millican Dalton. He had lived in a cave a little way north of the valley where I was camping that night.

 Castle Crag is the perfect venue for the Cave Hotel and all the parties that have gone on there over the years. Inscribed into the rock walls is a saying often attributed to Millican "don't waste words, jump to conclusions". The memory of Millican seems to hang around the cave even to this day and potatoes still grow just feet from the entrance.

 Millican was a man of strong beliefs, he left the world of nine to five, clean clothes and a steady wage to live life to the full, to experience living closer to the land and to fulfill his dreams. Vegetarian, pacifist and teetotal, Millican did not fit in with society.

 Having now spent many nights in the Cave Hotel, and introduced others to it, I feel an association with Mr.Dalton and his adventures, an awareness of his soul and a deep appreciation of the type of human his character so easily expresses.

 A friend now long lost but held firmly in my heart once lived a life similar to Millican, spending much time at the Cave Hotel, earning a crust working outside on the valley walls. Dai is not vegetarian that I remember or a pacifist and he certainly is not teetotal (excellent Mull I remember) but a truly inspirational, real and heart-warming character. If you find the time have a look at youtube and listen to Dai's song about Millican, or even better attend one of the renowned Cave parties held in honour of Millican Dalton , I cannot tell you when these are but the dates are usually passed on by word of mouth or happen to fall upon nights suitable for such occasions, like the full moon, summer solstice and new years eve.

 Matthew Entwistle has written a biography of Millican Dalton, A Search for Romance & Freedom. There is also a website dedicated to Millican and if you ever have lunch or a drink in Keswick, photos and references to Mr.Dalton adorn the walls of the hostels.

 Here's to you Millican and Daltonites everywhere, I'll see you there, by the fire.





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