The distinguished writer, editor and publisher Walt Unsworth died on 7 June aged 89.
Walt was for many years editor of Climber magazine. In the late 1970s he found he was receiving a large number of articles about walking and he suggested to the publisher Holmes McDougall that the time was right to launch a magazine for walkers. The idea was accepted and in March 1978 the first issue of Great Outdoors appeared.
Walt was originally a science teacher but in the 1980s he and his wife Dorothy moved to Milnthorpe, just outside the Lake District, so that he could pursue his career as a writer and publisher.
Walt wrote over 20 books including definitive studies of climbing on both Mont Blanc and Everest and a ground breaking Encyclopedia of Mountaineering. He also wrote two novels.
Perceiving a gap in the guidebook market, Walt and Dorothy along with Brian and Aileen Evans had already launched Cicerone Press in 1969. It was an immediate success and their lists have steadily expanded to include guides to walking and climbing in every part of the world.
Walt retired in 1999 and Cicerone was then sold to Jonathan and Lesley Williams who have continued to build on its success.
Under a sometimes apparently gruff exterior Walt – who was also no mean climber himself – was a kindly man always willing to give advice to others. He was a founder member of the Guild of Outdoor Writers and Photographers and held many other posts in the outdoor world.
Walt will be much missed and our sincere condolences go to Dorothy and the family.
Roger Smith