John Rae Challenges

16 September 2020

We thought we would list some of the many challenges people are taking to raise money and awareness of John Rae and the restoration of his birthplace, the Hall of Clestrain.

If you are planning to do something then please email me at or if you would rather then please donate via our JustGiving page.


President – Andrew Appleby

Andrew on the steps
of the Hall of Clestrain
Photo by John Welburn

John Rae, our own Orcadian Arctic Explorer, achieved so much, yet he is still not properly recognised. This will happen and my challenge may help to do just this.John Rae walked 3,645 miles in sometimes terrible Arctic conditions. I intend to complete my wild swimming challenge of one stroke per mile that he strode. This might not seem a huge feat, but so much of it will be done in the autumn and oncoming winter time.I can’t do it all at once. I’m a rather asthmatic, a weak swimmer and getting on a bit: However, I’m determined to do it.This will mean so much to The John Rae Society. You can have fun funding and following my progress. You can sponsor me through our page on our website, Or, if you’d prefer, send a cheque made out to The John Rae Society to Andrew Appleby, Harray Potter Ltd, Fursbreck Pottery, Harray, Orkney. KW17 2JR.I am aiming to swim at several locations in Orkney.”

Andrew Appleby | Harray Potter Ltd.

Liz MacInally

Liz cycling 300 miles
around Orkney

Liz MacInally, one of the new trustees-elect  of the JRS has chosen to do a bike challenge in aid of society funds. Seen here approaching the Mill of Eyrland, she intends to cycle 300 miles around the roads of Stenness and Orphir over the next few weeks. These are roads the young John Rae will have walked or ridden over many times, and Liz is sure if bikes had been available in the early 1800s he would have cycled as well. She hopes all her family and friends, including those on Facebook and Twitter, will support her in this worthy cause, to restore his birthplace and create a brilliant new Arctic explorer visitor centre and café at Clestrain.