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Ivy House

Cumbria, England

Millican Dalton - The Lake District's very own Victorian-era Bear Grylls

Posted by Luci Ackers on Sep 18, 2017
Millican Dalton - The Lake District's very own Victorian-era Bear Grylls

The man who single-handedly transformed adventure pursuits in the Lake District National Park

Millican Dalton (1867-1947) paved the way for outdoor pursuits in the Lake District. Born in Cumberland, Dalton moved to London with his family and became an insurance clerk. But at the age of 36, he did the unthinkable and packed it all in to go wild, live off grid and return to his roots.

Borrowdale Valley became his home, and cave became his house. Dalton was an eccentric man but he is now known as the Victorian adventurer who first offered activity trips to visitors of the Lake District. He was one of the first operators of multi-activity holidays, and believed in inspiring others to get as much love and adventure as he did from the great outdoors. He offered up rock climbing, camping, ghyll scrambling and rafting.

Millican Dalton’s cave is found at the base of the eastern flank of Castle Crag in Borrowdale, just 20 minutes from Braithwaite. It was here that he lived, and from here that he organised his outdoor activities. Before Dalton, especially during this Victorian era, it was relatively unheard of to have camping parties, or even outdoor adventure holidays in mixed-sex groups. He changed this, encouraging all people to get involved. Even women.

Dalton was undeniably an unconventional man, but his passion changed the way visitors came to enjoy the Lake District’s incredible landscape. His legacy lives on today and people are still visiting the cave in which he spent nearly 50 years of his life. Right until his death at the age of 79, Millican Dalton was living in the great outdoors and loving all that his beloved Lake District offered. His unconventional way of life not only encouraged people at the time but continues to inspire visitors to that Lake District from all walks of life.

Visit Borrowdale Valley yourself and take advantage of a stunning area of the Lake District World Heritage Site. Borrowdale is now a part of a National Trust-owned portion of the Lakes and there is a wonderful variety of walks and activities on offer. Take a look at the website to see what there is to see and do.

Click on the link below to see how you can stay in nearby Braithwaite Court where you’ll have access to all the best places.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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