The View

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

Dorothy Wordsworth, maps, old guide­books, TV walks...

Two hun­dred years ago this month, Dorothy Wordsworth climbed Scafell Pike. Back then, Eng­land’s high­est peak was not the mo­tor­way it is to­day. There was no path, no Cor­ri­dor Route, and lit­tle in the way of ac­cu­rate map­ping, and only a hand­ful of ad­ven­tur­ers had reached the sum­mit be­fore. But none of this pre­vented Dorothy and her friend Mary Barker from set­ting out from Seath­waite back in Oc­to­ber 1818.

Dorothy’s ac­count of their ex­pe­di­tion now forms the cen­tre­piece of an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Wordsworth Mu­seum in Gras­mere. This Girl Did ex­plores how Dorothy in­spired peo­ple to find new ways of look­ing at moun­tains: not about con­quer­ing them, but the jour­ney they of­fered.

Says his­to­rian Dr Joanna Tay­lor of Lan­caster Univer­sity: “Dorothy’s ac­count is part of a rich tra­di­tion of early moun­taineer­ing about which we of­ten for­get: women’s pi­o­neer­ing roles in ad­vanc­ing moun­taineer­ing and up­land walk­ing as recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The project also in­cludes a film, Scafell Pike, which will pre­miere at the Ken­dal Moun­tain Fes­ti­val (No­vem­ber 15-18). It fea­tures a group of Dorothy fans re­cre­at­ing her as­cent of the pike. And on De­cem­ber 1, Si­mon Bain­bridge presents a talk ti­tled Women in the Moun­tains

1787-1829 at the Jer­wood Cen­tre which ad­joins the mu­seum. www.wordsworth.org.uk, www.moun­tain­fest.co.uk

“There, not a blade of grass was to be seen – hardly a cush­ion of moss, and that was parched and brown; and only grow­ing rarely be­tween the huge blocks and stones which cover the sum­mit and lie in heaps all round to a great dis­tance, like skele­tons or bones of the Earth not wanted at the Cre­ation.” – DOROTHY WORDSWORTH ON THE SUM­MIT OF SCAFELL PIKE

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