Forsaking his job as a London insurance clerk, Millican Dalton dropped out long before it became fashionable or even acceptable.
He lived under canvas, in a cave or in his woodland hut for the most part of his life. He styled himself Professor of Adventure and offered Camping Holidays, Mountain rapid shooting, Rafting and Hair's breadth escapes.
Primarily remembered for his eccentric asceticism, Millican Dalton was a man who had the courage to follow his dreams and to live by his convictions. Dissatisfied with the life dealt him, he created his own.
He had a disdain for modern urban materialism, rejecting it in favour of a life of stoic simplicity. Millican Dalton lived a life at one with nature - growing his own food and sewing his own clothes. He was a teetotaler, a vegetarian, a socialist and a staunch pacifist.
Many people have considered walking out of the office and chucking it
all in for a life of simplicity. Millican Dalton lived that dream.
Millican Dalton neither wrote books nor painted pictures. His legacy can be difficult to asses and easy to dismiss. Having lived a life outwith contemporary norms, it is easy to mistake his eccentricity for affectation. Indeed he is often defined by his odd habits, his homemade clothes, his cave dwelling or his mountain guiding. All these things were true, but they were merely consequeces of his quest.
Millican Dalton was many things, but first and foremost he was a man in search of a simple life.
Millican Dalton lead a very conventional existence, when, at the age of 36, he broke with irksome conformity and shallow materialism in favour of a nobler existence. He cast off all that weighed him down and rejoiced in what remained.
Millican Dalton was unmoved by the whirlpool of ego, aspiration, envy and material acquisition that keep the rest of us in our place.
He was an ascetic for our modern age - a man who will be remembered by
many and emulated by few.
Below is an excerpt from the first Newcastle Mountaineering Club newsletter
- December 1948