In January 2014, we were delighted to announce the appointment of the RSGS’s first Explorer-in-Residence. Scottish explorer Craig Mathieson was awarded the four-year ambassadorial role, which involves working with the Society, promoting our work and his, and inspiring school children all over the country.
Craig has been involved in many polar expeditions, to both the Antarctic and the Arctic. His childhood dream was to ski to the South Pole, a dream that he realised in 2004. He decided then that he wanted to share this experience with the younger generation. In 2006 he trained a 16-year-old boy, who joined him on a journey to the Geographic North Pole. This trip of a lifetime inspired the boy involved, and he went from having a difficult time at school to passing a geology degree and moving to work in Australia.
Since then, Craig has established the Polar Academy charity, to take young adults from difficult backgrounds and motivate them through expeditions in Scotland, and eventually through chances to travel to East Greenland. Participants learn to work together in the outdoors as a team, learning the importance of planning and leadership. The Academy emphasises that any goal is achievable, as long as you have the right attitude.
Craig tours the country giving talks to businesses and schools, and is now doing so as a representative of the RSGS. Despite the ‘in-Residence’ part of his title, he is not confined to the Explorers’ Room, but is out and about around Scotland and on expedition, encouraging understanding of exploration and the natural world.
Craig said, “To be awarded the title of the first RSGS Explorer-in-Residence is truly an honour and a privilege. As a young boy I would read of the achievements of Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton, hoping and dreaming that perhaps one day I could also experience the harsh beauty of the polar regions. Having now stood at both the North and South Poles, I feel it my duty to share the knowledge and experience gained over the years. Therefore, working with the RSGS, who have similar aspirations, allows for an ideal partnership. Over the coming months and years, I am looking forward to inspiring our younger generation and hopefully motivating them to achieve their own dreams one day.”
Mike Robinson said, “Craig is a great guy with a gentle exterior that hides a fierce determination and an iron will. His plans for the Polar Academy are visionary and ambitious, and the RSGS is delighted to back him in this venture and, I hope, help him to achieve that vision.”