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Helen Mort Interviews Legend Gwen Moffat, 93, for BBC

Legendary climber 93-year-old Gwen Moffat was Britain’s first ever female mountain guide and continued climbing into her late 80s.

Moffat lived the Bohemian lifestyle through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, making a living from climbing. In 1945, Moffat was in her twenties when she deserted her post as a driver and dispatch rider in the Army and went to live rough in Wales and Cornwall, climbing and living on practically nothing.

Watch a trailer for the 2016 film on Gwen Moffat, Operation Moffat, below.

As a description about Moffat’s book Space Below My Feet reads, “She hitchhiked her way around, travelling from Skye to Chamonix and many places in between, with all her possessions on her back, although these amounted to little more than a rope and a sleeping bag.

“When the money ran out, she worked as a forester, went winkle-picking on the Isle of Skye, acted as the helmsman of a schooner, and did a stint as an artist’s model. And always there were the mountains, drawing her away from a ‘proper’ job.

“Throughout this unique story, there are acutely observed accounts of mountaineering exploits as Moffat tackles the toughest climbs and goes on to become Britain’s leading female climber and the first woman to qualify as a mountain guide.”

In a new poetry commission, Helen Mort attempts to do so by weaving Moffat’s memories with an original poem and binaural recordings she made of a climb in Langdale in the Lake District.


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