Journal

Millican Dalton | The Spark

Millican Dalton The Spark

“This was not the life for me. I gave up my job in the commercial world and set out to seek romance and freedom in nature.”
– Millican Dalton

Ask anyone around here about Millican Dalton. He’s a local legend. In the early 1900s, his irrepressible curiosity and thirst for life inspired him to swap his conventional existence in London for a life of adventure in the open spaces of the Lake District. Seeking solitude from the bustle of the city, he listened to his inner voice and followed his own path.

He was way ahead of his time. He was a pioneer, an original maverick, a worldly eccentric – and a fiercely independent thinker. It was in his footsteps that we found our own way to the Lake District, and in his name that we started making our bags based on the principle of simplicity. We respect his philosophy, his refusal to conform and his insistence on going his own way.

“Use is everything. We dress too much, we eat too much, almost everything we do is too much. Put a man to it and see what he can come up with.”

When he was a boy, they say he would climb trees and scale windows the same as any other adventurous kid. Later on, he would break free and hone these skills in the heart of the Lake District as a climber and mountain guide during the golden era of British rock climbing. As one of the early adopters of the ‘cycle camping’ movement, slow living and sustainability was in his DNA.

“One of my favourite camps is a steep fell side in Borrowdale, commanding a perfect view of a perfect lake, Derwentwater, framed by mountains on each side, with the purple bulk of Skiddaw in the distance; and I have watched many gorgeous sunsets from that spot, as we cooked over a wood fire and dined in the open."

For the most part, he lived in a cave in the Borrowdale Valley, not far from where we’re based. He roamed all around these mountains, making whatever gear he needed and enjoying the freedom of living in tune with nature. Life was on his terms, he challenged conventional thinking, and he sought out happiness over material gain.

“On one such occasion we reclined in our red blankets, gazing on the ever changing tints of the sky, yellow, orange, crimson, pink and grey, merging into the blue, purple and violet of the hills – all these colours duplicated in the lake beneath.”

Turning to nature for happiness and fulfilment, he spent his time surrounded by the wide expanse of the open landscape, free to dream and to think without the interruptions of modern life. He spent his evenings with open fires, starry skies and good friends. It was on these evenings that he would recount his adventures and share his ideas and thoughts. When he spoke, everyone listened.

“People are shutting their eyes to the foundations of the universe.”

By all accounts, he was an extraordinary man.

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