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Mary Moffat: Dealing with the Daily Dramas of David Livingstone

Written by Jo Woolf, RSGS Writer-in-Residence and Author of The Great Horizon. David Livingstone’s name is immortalised in the annals of glorious exploration, but comparatively little is known about his wife, Mary Moffat. Yet Mary, with her quiet determination and practicality, was by his side during many of his adventures, looking after their children, helping in their engagements with African people, and making the best of life-threatening situations. She has been called ‘Livingstone’s greatest asset’, and with good reason… On 9th January 1845, in the church at Kuruman in Bechuanaland*, Mary Moffat and David Livingstone were married. Aged 23,...

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School Strike for the Climate

by Mike Robinson, RSGS Chief Executive On Friday 15th March, I attended the school climate strike in Edinburgh. I had come in support because I wanted to gauge the mood and see how many young people would be bold and take the day off school. Similar ‘strikes’ were going on all over Scotland and in perhaps 100 or more countries around the world, involving tens of thousands of young people demanding a right to a future without having to fear climate change. I cannot think of a similar event in my lifetime, and it felt something that needed to...

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A Box of Delights!

by Jane Griffiths, RSGS Collections Volunteer On a wet Monday morning at the RSGS offices in Perth I am about to investigate the contents of another box of the Society’s glass lantern slides. There is always a sense of anticipation! I open a small box labelled Lapps. The first slide is that of a Sami herdsman standing in the snow beside a reindeer with enormous antlers almost as tall as he is. He sports a beautiful four-cornered hat, called a Four Winds hat, typical of Sami dress in Northern Norway. In subsequent slides reindeer are herded, families fish, make...

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Isabella Bird: Living with the Cowboys of America’s Wild West

Written by Jo Woolf, the RSGS Writer-in-Residence, who recently authored The Great Horizon in which Isobella Bird features. “I am forming a plan for getting farther into the mountains… There is a most romantic place called Estes Park, at a height of 7,500 feet, which can be reached by going down to the plains and then striking up the St Vrain Canyon…”   (Isabella Bird, 1873) High in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Estes Park was named after Joel Estes and his son, Milton, who went there looking for gold in 1859. They found no fortune, but built a cattle ranch and...

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Geographical Research in Trinidad

Last year, we helped support RSGS volunteer Erin Fowler on a geographical research trip to Trinidad with the University of Glasgow Exploration Society. This is how she got on… Trinidad is comprised of a diverse range of landscapes, from beautiful coastlines and wetlands with mangrove forests, to the great mountains of the Northern Range which are covered in lush green jungle. Nestled in these mountains is a tropical research station that is popular with scientists from all over the world – and this is where I stayed with a team of 14 students from Scotland to conduct three months...

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