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Obituary: Mary Welsh, prolific author and columnist

We were very sad to hear of the passing of Cicerone author Mary Welsh. The OWPG have written a touching obituary and here is an extract.


Mary Welsh, whose 50 books, and countless published walks led thousands of walkers over mountains and through the countryside for 35 years, has died at the age of 88.

Mary wrote her first book in 1982, at the age of 53. She had moved from Islington in central London to the Lake District. ‘A Country Journal – The diary of a Cumbrian Naturalist’ charted her delight in the nature she saw as she explored the village of Broughton-in-Furness, where she had moved to, and wider Cumbria.

Her latest walk appeared in the December 2016 edition of Country Walking.

Starting with the publication of ‘A Country Journal,’ and finishing with her last book ‘Walking Fife, The Ochils, Tayside and Forth Valley’ in 2012, Mary authored 38 books and 12 substantial booklets. Many went into third, fourth and some even fifth reprints, selling more than 200,000 copies.

Mary shared walks in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire beyond her books, with the readers of The Times, The Express, Country Walking, Lakeland Walker, Cumbria, The Big Issue in the North, and the Westmorland Gazette for whom she wrote 692 columns, for many years taking and providing the accompanying photos as well.

Mary was meticulous about checking and noting every stile and waymark, determined to ensure that her readers didn’t get lost. Her joy was in sharing the sights and sounds of the countryside she discovered. She had extensive knowledge of flora and fauna, and a passion for ornithology, identifying and delighting in birdsongs wherever she went.

Mary grew up in Hemel Hempstead, the third child of Walter and Ethel Croker who had moved from the West Country before WW1. She spent her childhood exploring the local countryside and once into her teens started youth hostelling, eventually exploring and falling in love with Scotland.

Mary died of a heart attack on January 11 2017. She is sadly missed by her two daughters, her two sons, their partners, and six grandsons, all of whom had often accompanied her on her walks.

January 23 2017

The full obituary can be viewed here: Mary Welsh Obituary.

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