John Rae appointed as honorary chartered surveyor by RICS

14 September 2018

The achievements and life of pioneering Scottish explorer and surveyor Dr John Rae were celebrated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) today.

Fronted by RICS President John Hughes, RICS has appointed John Rae an honorary chartered surveyor and will present the John Rae society his posthumous RICS diploma at RICS HQ.

Last night ( 13th Sept 2018 ) the President of the John Rae Society, Andrew Appleby, received the award on behalf of Dr John Rae. There were presentations from Andrew Appleby, Orkney council Convener Harvey Johnston and Orkney historian Tom Muir.

Dr John Rae’s important contribution to Arctic exploration and surveying opened up new trade routes connecting different parts of the world, and in celebration of Rae’s achievement RICS is also sponsoring the Arctic Return expedition taking place in March 2019. The Arctic Return expedition team will return to Naujaat to embark upon a 650-kilometre trek across Boothia Peninsula, following the route taken by Rae and his Indigenous companions, William Ouligbuck and Thomas Mistegan in 1854.

Michael Palin, Patron of the John Rae Society, added: “In researching my new book on the life of HMS Erebus I discovered, with a growing sense of revelation and admiration, something of the life of John Rae. He clearly was one of the key figures in Arctic exploration. He was, in his methods, his outlook and his determination, a precursor of the great Scandinavian explorers that were to come later. A man ahead of his time.

“I found him to be an inspirational figure. A man who knew the Arctic as well as anyone, bar the Inuit whose ways and whose culture he so respected. I hope that his part in the story of those times will, in future, be given the prominence it deserves.”

As part of the celebrations, RICS has commissioned Rae’s artefacts to be loaned from the Stromness Museum to form a temporary exhibition about his life and surveying achievements. These can be viewed as part of the RICS 150th anniversary exhibition at Parliament Square by the public during Open House London on 22-23 September.

The RICS sponsored Arctic Return expedition in March 2019 will see the expedition team return to Naujaat and embark upon a 650-kilometre trek across Boothia Peninsula that will follow the route taken by Rae and his indigenous companions. Travelling on skis and snowshoes, the Arctic Return team will pay tribute to and honour one of the greatest Arctic explorers. John Rae’s success was due in great part to his willingness to learn from the indigenous people of the region and the team will follow this example.