Cicerone founder Walt Unsworth dies

We are sad to announce that Cicerone founder Walt Unsworth died on Tuesday night after a short illness. He was 89.

Walt founded Cicerone with his wife Dorothy and Brian and Aileen Evans back in 1969. The first guides were climbing guides to the Lake District and Cairngorms. Walt and Brian were fed up with waiting for other guide publishers so decided to show them how it should be done. The guides sold, they reinvested the earnings, and so a publisher was born.

Cicerone, which is the Italian word for a guide, quickly expanded into its trekking, mountaineering and walking niche where the business has developed ever since, adding cycling and broadening internationally over the years, so that it is now the leading specialist publisher in this field, both in the UK and worldwide.

An author as well as a publisher, Walt was also the editor of Climber magazine and one of the instigators of TGO. He wrote definitive historical studies to Mont Blanc and Everest, amongst over 20 books over four decades of writing. These were mainly mountaineering books but Walt also wrote two novels.

Originally from Lancashire and a teacher in his early career, Walt and Dorothy moved from near Manchester to Milnthorpe just outside the Lake District to concentrate on Cicerone and writing.

As well as winning a range of prizes for his writing, Walt was also a founder of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

Many authors, trekkers and mountaineers have been inspired by Walt’s positivity and creative ideas. Walt, with Dorothy, Brian and Aileen were fine mentors to Jonathan and Lesley Williams when Cicerone changed hands in 1999. Walt and Dorothy continued to live in Milnthorpe, about 100m up the road from the Cicerone offices and Walt used to pop in from time to time to welcome new team members and check up on what was going on, always having a cogent view on new projects.

Our thoughts are with Dorothy and the family at this difficult time.

Thank you, Walt, and God bless.

Jonathan and Lesley Williams

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