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Millican Dalton (20 April 1867 – 5 February 1947) was a self-styled "Professor of Adventure".
Born on 20 April 1867 at Nenthead, Alston, Cumberland, he spent his early life in the northwest of England before his family moved to Essex. He became an insurance clerk in London, living in Loughton where he had a cottage, but at the age of 36, he gave up this existence and went to live under canvas, in a rough wooden shack, and in a cave (which he dubbed "The Cave Hotel"), from where he offered camping and adventure holidays referred to by the BBC Countryfile programme broadcast on 20 September 2015. He spent his summers in the cave in Borrowdale, moving south to the wooden shed in Buckinghamshire during the colder months.
An alternative lifestyler long before the term was created, Dalton – vegetarian, pacifist and teetotaller – lived off his wits, surviving on a small income as a climbing guide.
Millican Dalton's cave, as it is locally known, is on the eastern flank of Castle Crag and consists of two inter-connected split-levelled caves formed by the slate quarrying process. This cave was inhabited for nigh-on fifty years by Dalton. To this day, Dalton's legacy can be seen in the upper chamber of the cave, where he carved his own epitaph into the wall above where he slept. It reads: "Don't Waste Words, Jump to Conclusions".
During the winter of 1946-47, Dalton's hut burned down, so he moved into a tent. This was too much for his 79-year-old frame, however, and he contracted pneumonia, of which he died in Amersham Hospital on 5 February 1947.
- The official visitor website for Keswick
- Millican Dalton: The Life & Times of a Borrowdale Caveman (biography 2004)
- Dalton potted-bio
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