And Nobody Woke Up Dead Find!
Author Jan Levi has written a fascinating account of Mabel Barker - a quite remarkable woman whose life deserves to be better known. She was born in Silloth in 1885 and grew up to become one of the leading female rock climbers of her generation as well as following a career as an educational pioneer whose ideas are as relevant today as they were a century ago. "And Nobody Woke Up Dead", published in 2006, is the story of this inspirational woman.
Mabel made the first female ascent of Central Buttress on Scafell which is still rated as one of the most severe and exposed routes in England. She was a member of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and often climbed with many of the foremost male climbers of the day. She enjoyed camping out, especially with groups of friends, and from a young age developed a true passion for the hills. She wrote 'For I not only went there alone - I met nobody. The fells were empty, and they were mine, mine with a great emotion of possession, like a secret love, a passion which could not even be shared with the beloved'.
Mabel's career in education also makes for some fascinating reading. From the outset she regularly took groups of children into the 'great outdoors' on camping and climbing trips. She was a talented naturalist and believed passionately that children needed to learn outside the classroom. She founded her own school, Friar Row, at Caldbeck to which children came, not only from all around the UK, but also from Europe.
During the course of 1927 she started to explore Carrock Fell, her local hill, and wrote a detailed description of its geology and structure. I'm sure the 'Two Idle Apprentices' (see earlier blog) would have been interested in the things she found during the course of her explorations which included burial tumuli and possibly the only Iron Age Fort in this part of Britain.
Mabel was a lifelong friend of Millican Dalton, one of Lakeland's true characters. He gave up his life as an insurance clerk to live wild in caves and home-made shelters. For the summer months he based himself in a cave in the Borrowdale valley but retreated south to Epping Forest each winter. They regularly climbed together and enjoyed many hours talking around Millican's camp fire.
Mabel Barker lived life to the full. She believed passionately that people should live in close harmony with the landscape and that they should respect and understand their environment. Thanks to Reading Detectives I've discovered Mabel Barker and this gem of a book.
1 October 2009 from Mary Rossall
- On Lindale Hill
- Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township
- The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland
- Red Ike
- Cumbrian Privies
- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
- The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
- Beyond Scafell by Alan Robinson
- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
- In There Somewhere
- The Bondwomen by W G Collingwood
- "Ah'd Gaa Back Tomorra!"
- A Cumbrian Copper by Ray Huddart
- The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
- The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
- T'Bacca Queen by Theodora Wilson Wilson
- Furness and the Industrial Revolution
- The Shadow of Black Combe
- The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly
- Ivver Sen
- Lakeland in the 1830s
- Wasdale Climbing Book By Michael Cocker
- Riding High by Barbara Sneyd
- Deborah in Langdale
- Early Recollections of Grange
- Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
- Yan, Tan, Tethera
- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
- Mildred Edwards: Our City Our People 1889 - 1978 Memories
- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
- Haweswater by Sarah Hall
- Coast to Coast by Jan Minshull
- Sunshine To The Sunless
- Geese, cattle wallopers and secret Irish paths
- Anarchists, Angels and wet Bank Holiday Mondays
- A more unconventional kind of find...?
- Skiddaw Summit by Kathleen Jones
- Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland
- Wednesday Early Closing
- Smoke Across The Fell
- The Sand Pilot of Morecambe Bay
- The Chronicles of Boggerthwaite
- Carrock Fell
- Feet in the Clouds
- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
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