The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) was delighted to present Honorary Fellowship of the Society to adventurer Sue Stockdale, in recognition of her achievements in exploration and her commitment to inspire others. Sue, who has travelled across the globe for her adventures, was awarded her Fellowship at her talk in Galashiels on Tuesday night for the RSGS Inspiring People talks programme. 

Stockdale, originally from Edinburgh and residing in Wiltshire, became the first UK woman to reach the magnetic North Pole in 1996. Since then, she has been on many expeditions to remote parts of the world including Antarctica, the Greenland Ice Cap, Wadi Rum desert and the Geographical North Pole. Sue is also known for her work as an inspirational speaker, executive coach, and host of the Access to Inspiration podcast where listeners learn from other’s stories and life experiences to harness their potential.

First awarded in 1888, RSGS Honorary Fellowship is conferred in recognition of services to RSGS and to the wider discipline of geography. Previous recipients include some of the most inspiring academics, campaigners, and explorers of the last century including Ernest Shackleton, Michael Palin and Sir David Attenborough. 

RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson commented “we are very pleased to award RSGS Honorary Fellowship to Sue Stockdale, for her work in inspiring others through her many adventures. Sue has dedicated her career to communicating the importance of encouraging people to expand their horizons. She has an innate understanding of the value of storytelling in inspiring others to achieve their goals. 

This is particularly evident through her podcast Access to Inspiration, in which we collaborated with Sue to create six episodes on how to promote climate solutions and encourage people to be more active.”

Stockdale commented “I am proud and honoured to follow in the footsteps of many renowned people including Isabella Bird, the first woman to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the RSGS in 1891. Through her travels and writing Bird significantly influenced perceptions of the role of women in the Victorian era, challenging gender norms and encouraging future generations to explore more of the world. 

Sue Stockdale receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of RSGS

“I believe that her ethos lives on today as we all need inspiration to discover new places and push ourselves out of our comfort zone, because the world is constantly evolving. Those who are willing to step into the unknown will be better equipped to adapt to these changes because they can develop resilience and the flexibility needed to thrive in uncertain environments.

Exploring the unknown also exposes us to diverse cultures, viewpoints, and ways of life, which can broaden our perspectives, as well as foster empathy and understanding which is much needed in today’s world.”