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Don’t Miss This Film About Britain’s First Female Mountain Guide

Gwen Moffat lived a climber's life for decades and opened the doors for future generations. Watch her fondly remember adventures from years ago

Photo by: John Cleare

Gwen Moffat was Britain’s first ever female mountain guide and continued climbing into her late 80s. She lived the Bohemian lifestyle through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, making a living from climbing. In 1945, Moffat was in her 20s 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.

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.”

Write Claire Carter and filmmaker Jen Randall teamed up a few years ago to interview then 91-year old Moffat. They give a fresh take on landscape photography, show previously unseen archive material and unashamedly real action sequences. This film will capture Moffat’s infectious excitement for a life constantly seeking something strange of beautiful around the next bend.

Operation Moffat

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Lead photo: John Cleare