Scots isles to recognise late Arctic explorer
The man described as the greatest Arctic explorer of his age is to be honoured in his native Orkney today.
A ceremony in Stromness will bestow the Freedom of Orkney upon explorer Dr John Rae.
The posthumous award will be accepted by his great-great-great niece, Ruth Matches.
Council convener Harvey Johnston and the council’s leader James Stockan will confer the honour at a short ceremony at the John Rae statue at Stromness Pierhead.
As part of the proceedings local musician Jennifer Wrigley will play a specially composed piece on Dr Rae’s fiddle.
Orkney Islands Council agreed to bestow the hon- our in recognition of Dr Rae’s outstanding achievements as a world renowned explorer including discovery of the final portion of the Northwest Passage, Canada, also known as the Rae Strait.
Ten such awards have been presented in Orkney since 1948.
Council Convener Mr Johnston said: “It is commonly viewed that Dr Rae was never awarded the public recognition that was due.
“Our granting of the Freedom of Orkney will further recognise the outstanding achievements of the late Dr John Rae as a world renowned explorer and I, and my fellow elected members, are honoured to bestow this recognition on him on behalf of the people of Orkney.”