Explorers of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society

If you’re a follower of The Hazel Tree, you might remember my post back in March about my work for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Fair Maid's House (2)

The Society’s headquarters in Perth

Ever since it was founded in 1884, the Society has had a close connection with many of the world’s most famous and fascinating explorers.  My task was to sift through the archives and find things that had been half-forgotten – facts and anecdotes that might be secreted in old books, newspaper cuttings or transcripts of lectures – and breathe new life into their stories.

The articles that I wrote are intended for publication in the Society’s quarterly magazine, ‘The Geographer‘.  I also collected information for fact files about each explorer in turn.

But, having spent six months writing about all 65 of the Society’s Livingstone medal holders, from the present day right back to 1901, I knew that I had still only scratched the surface.

Isabella Bird Bishop - I'm reading about her right now

Isabella Bird Bishop – just one of the people I’m researching

Why?   Because the RSGS has no fewer than 14 different kinds of medal, each with a long list of recipients;   it has an illustrious roll of Presidents, speakers and Fellows;  and the artefacts that it holds are worthy of stories in their own right.  I have barely started.

The true instinct of exploration is to keep going, and so that’s what I’m going to do.  These people are so fascinating, and their stories are so compelling, that I know it’s going to be an exciting mission.   I intend to gather a selection of stories together in a book, and I have set up a new blog, Explorers of the RSGS, in which I will share my thoughts and findings.

I therefore invite you to join me – follow my blog, learn a bit about the RSGS, and come and meet some amazing men and women who lived extraordinary lives.

Explorers of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society


  1. You have a wonderful job, and we are so fortunate that you share this information with us.

    • I am very lucky, Pat, and lucky to have such appreciative readers as well! 🙂 I’ve finally accepted the fact that writing is what I’m meant to do, and I’m seeing where it leads!

      • Susan Abernethy says:

        Yes Jo! You are a writer. 🙂 We will have to be sure any intrepid women you find are posted in the European Women group on Facebook. 😉

      • Thank you for your support, Susan! 🙂 Yes, I will definitely take a look at that page! I’m writing about Isabella Bird just now – what an incredible woman.

      • Susan Abernethy says:

        She visited Rocky Mountain National Park here in Colorado! Can’t wait to read about her.

  2. Bravo and good luck with the new blog.

  3. What a brilliant idea, I’m looking forward to reading about the explorers.

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