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David follows in the footsteps of a hero; expedition Adventurer will retrace 400-mile trip through snow and ice.

Byline: Chris Taylor

An adventurer is heading to the Arctic to retrace the footsteps of a Scots explorer - dubbed the greatest of his age.

David Reid is following the route set out by Dr John Rae when he discovered the final link in the Northwest Passage in 1854.

European traders could finally sail to Asia by circumnavigating frozen wastelands in northern Canada after the route was uncovered.

David is leading an expedition through 400 miles of ice and snow to raise funds to repair his hero's family home on Orkney.

An organiser said: "The Arctic Return Expedition team will embark upon on a 650-kilometre trek across Boothia Peninsula that will follow the route taken by Rae and his indigenous companions.

"Travelling on skis and snowshoes, expedition leader David Reid and 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.

"He traveled with patience, humility, respect and honesty. "The Arctic Return team will follow that example.

"The expedition and team will bear witness to a land, a people and a history, and attempt to understand what it meant, 165 years ago, to enter into and travel through this white, dangerous and uncharted wilderness."

Bishopton man David has taken on more than 300 Arctic and Antarctic adventures.

He moved to Canada almost 30 years ago and will produce a book of his latest trek with historian Ken McGoogan.

They want to raise cash to renovate the Hall of Clestrain, near Orphir on Orkney.

Rae was born there in 1813, but it has fallen into disrepair.

The Victorian has been hailed as one of the greatest explorers of his era - but fell out of favour after making controversial claims about a previous British expedition in the north.

He found the remains of the failed Franklin trip, which set out to uncover a route through the Northwest Passage.

Rae claimed the crew had turned to cannibalism, before perishing in the snow.

His report caused uproar, with critics insisting sailors from Great Britain would never resort to "native practices".

Canadian scientists from the University of Alberta substantiated the claims after examining remains in 1981.

The team added: "Orcadian explorer John Rae set out from Naujaat in the central Canadian Arctic.

"He discovered both the catastrophe that had engulfed the failed Franklin expedition and the final link in the first navigable Northwest Passage.

"In doing so, he accomplished one of the most significant expeditions in the history of Arctic exploration.

"The expedition is driven also by a concern for John Rae's birthplace and boyhood home, the Hall of Clestrain.

"Built in 1769, it is in urgent need of repair and restoration.

"The expedition enthusiastically supports the John Rae Society in its determination to renovate the Hall and transform it into a worldclass interpretive centre.

"That centre will not only honour Rae and his accomplishments, but celebrate Arctic exploration and the importance of indigenous knowledge in that endeavour."

Rae died aged 80, in London, in 1893, and is buried at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, near his family home.


Mission David Reid will lead expedition to the Arctic

Birthplace Rae's home, the Hall of Clestrain, on Orkney

Renowned The great Arctic explorer Dr John Rae
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Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:0ARCT
Date:Jan 10, 2018
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