I HAVE just visited the Wordsworth Trust's exhibition about Dorothy Wordsworth's historic ascent of Scafell Pike (Gazette, August 19, 'Dorothy Wordsworth's Scafell Pike climb inspires exhibition') and I was disappointed to see that in focusing on Dorothy it missed a good story about her companion, Mary Barker.

In the Kendal Mercury of May 26,1855, geologist Jonathan Otley (under the pen-name Anthony Loajet) explained that the background to Dorothy's walk was a three-day excursion from Borrowdale to Eskdale in the summer of 1818 by Miss Barker and her faithful maid Agnes.

On the return trip, they were unexpectedly abandoned in upper Eskdale by their guide, who pointed towards Esk Hause and assured them that the route to Borrowdale from there was easy to find.

Miss Barker added further risk by being so enchanted with the views from Esk Hause that the pair did not leave the col until the sun was well down. Luckily, however, they did find the route to Seathwaite (about which Mr Otley wrote a follow-up letter concerning a famous early mountain rescue tale in the Mercury of June 9, 1855) where they met with a neighbour who, after hearing their story, promised to be their guide for the October excursion with Dorothy.

David Bradbury