Play tells life story of hermit

Professor of Adventure
Professor of Adventure

A one-man play based on the extraordinary life of a Cumbrian eccentric will be on stage at two north Northumberland venues.

The Professor of Adventure is written and performed by Peter Macqueen.

He plays Millican Dalton, an alternative lifestyle pioneer who sought freedom in the Lake District and lived in a cave on Castle Crag in Borrowdale.

Reputedly smelling like a mountain goat and chain-smoking Woodbines, Dalton was a mountain guide, philosopher and the self-proclaimed inventor of shorts.

Leaving his stifling job as an insurance clerk in London at the age of 36, Millican dropped out before it became fashionable and set out to seek romance and freedom living amid nature in cabins, tents and caves for the rest of his 79-year life.

The play is set in 1941 and finds Millican, born in Nenthead in 1867, in what he believes is ‘the safest spot to escape the kind attentions of Mr Hitler’ – his cave in Borrowdale.

However, Keswick’s air raid warden has just ordered him to “put that candle out”, and the hermit is far from happy.

This is a chance for Northumbrians to learn more about a true English eccentric, known in his home county as the Caveman of Borrowdale. The play celebrates his unique outlook on life, his philosophy and his quest for freedom.

Macqueen is no stranger to rural touring, having previously done the rounds of village halls with Old Herbaceous, a one-man play adapted by Alfred Shaughnessy from a novel by Reginald Arkell.

Following the play’s opening run at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, The Professor of Adventure is being staged in various villages as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme.

It will be at Whittingham Memorial Institute on Friday, April 22, and Amble Parish Hall on Saturday, April 23, both at 7.30pm.