Arctic adventurer Craig Mathieson from Bo’ness has been honoured for his devotion to exploration for the past 30 years.
Craig (44) of Dean Road, is making history as the first Explorer in Residence at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
It is a dream come true for Craig who told the Journal and Gazette that, as a child, he was mesmerised by Captain Scott of Antarctica and longed to follow in his footsteps.
That longing was fulfilled in 2004 when he led the first Scottish expedition to the South Pole.
Craig said: “It was a real surprise to be given the title of Explorer in Residence but it is truly one of the greatest honours I have received in my life. I am just so proud.
“This is the first time it has been awarded by the Geographical Society in its 129 years of existence which makes it even more special.”
As well as fulfilling his own exploration dreams, Craig says a huge part of his ambition is to inspire young people to be all they can be.
He said: “I tie in my expeditions to schools and have spoken to many primary and secondary pupils in my local area and across Scotland. I particularly relish getting through to the quiet ones, the children who don’t think they have it in them to do what I do.
“You can spot them a mile away. There was one lad who wouldn’t say boo to a goose and after going with me on an expedition to the North Pole, the difference in his self-confidence was incredible. He went on to graduate from university and is now in New Zealand.”
Craig has set up a charity called the Polar Academy, whose aim is to take young people from disadvantaged backgrounds on major polar expeditions.
He said: “The Academy will be heavily involved with the RSGS with the expeditions having a strong scientific element as well as inspiring all those who are involved.”