Who was 'Professor of Adventure' Millican Dalton?

Millican Dalton lived in a cave in the lake district for 40 years after giving up on city life in London.

 Illustrative image of a cave. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Illustrative image of a cave.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

A mysterious cave lies the hills of England's Lake District that was home to adventurer Millican Dalton for 40 years in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Dalton was born in England in 1867 and moved to London with his family following the death of his father when he was seven.

When he was 36, Dalton decided that he had had enough of the city. He enjoyed outdoor activities such as cycling, climbing and camping, so he decided to move to the countryside.

At first, he lived in a cottage but then built a wooden shack in the garden. He spent winter nights in the shack and summer nights camping out in the open.

In the 20s, he moved into a quarried cave in the Lake District where he lived until he died. 

 England's Lake District. (credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN) England's Lake District. (credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN)

How did Dalton get the things he needed?

Dalton, who was dubbed the "Professor of Adventure", made his own bread and clothes and manufactured light-weight camping gear to make money. He also guided travelers in walking and climbing tours and offered camping trips to visitors.

The cave is located near Keswick, and according to Keswick's official website, Dalton was known to be a friendly man who enjoyed campfire chats and was good friends with many people.

“I don’t sleep much, and while I am awake I lie and listen and think," Dalton told a newspaper in 1941, according to Lancashire Live. "There’s a lot to think about just now, isn’t there? All the sounds of the nights, the roar of the mountain stream, the barking of our dogs and foxes, the cries of birds, how can I be lonely with such company?"

"There’s a lot to think about just now, isn’t there?"

Millican Dalton

The cave was found with an engraving believed to have been left by Dalton reading "don't waste words, jump to conclusions."

Dalton died at the age of 79 from heart failure and bronchitis. At the time of his death, he had an uncompleted book titled Philosophy of Life, and it was a journal he had kept over the years. Unfortunately, the book was lost after his death and has not been found to this day.

Dalton's legacy lives on to this day in a line of rucksacks named for him. Millican rucksacks are based on Dalton's own designs and provide travelers with multipurpose bags to store their things in.