Over 500 people came out to hear Doug Allan speak at Perth Concert Hall in December, as he reflected on successes and setbacks from 40 years of natural history film-making. Sharing some truly incredible stories and images from documentaries such as Planet Earth and Ocean Giants, the night was truly one to remember.

“I always look forward to events in Perth” commented Doug. “The audience is always inspiring and there is a tangible energy to their curiosity that makes delivering a presentation especially rewarding.”

Crowds of over 500 people to hear Doug Allan

Doug shares stories from his 40 years of film-making

The talk also saw some other familiar faces as RSGS took the opportunity to award RSGS Honorary Fellowship to Dougie Vipond and David Connor, and the prestigious Scottish Geographical Medal to Professor Iain Stewart.

Dougie Vipond is best known as one of the founding members of Scottish pop rock band Deacon Blue, but it is for his work across many broadcast genres, presenting series such as BBC Scotland's The Adventure Show and the rural affairs series, Landward, that he was awarded RSGS Honorary Fellowship.

Dougie Vipond with RSGS Honorary Fellowship

On presenting Dougie with his Fellowship RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson commented “During his time on Landward, Dougie has helped increase the public understanding of rural problems and shared stories of life in the country, expertly capturing the wonders and wildlife of the Scottish landscape. Dougie has also made invaluable contributions towards promoting the importance of Scotland’s outdoors and the spirit of adventure, throwing himself, almost literally, into every sport imaginable and shining a spotlight on so many of Scotland’s world class outdoor events and opportunities.”

“I am utterly overwhelmed and grateful to be awarded RSGS Fellowship” commented Dougie, “knowing all of the incredibly famous and important figures throughout history that have also received this award.”

David Connor was Regional Director of Warm Zones, set up to trial a new not-for-profit area-based partnership approach to delivering energy efficiency measures and address fuel poverty.  The scheme he has managed has resulted in 370,000 homes having physical energy efficiency measures fitted since 2001, and is probably the UK’s leading fuel poverty programme of the past decade.

David Connor with RSGS Honorary Fellowship

We are delighted to present David with RSGS Honorary Fellowship,” commented Mike Robinson, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to fuel poverty alleviation through a remarkable programme of work as a Director with Warm Zone over the past 12 years.”

On receiving his Fellowship, David commented “RSGS is an organisation with a uniquely rich heritage but also one whose vision of promoting greater geographical understanding of people, places and the planet is more urgent and important than ever. As such, I’m both delighted and genuinely very humbled to be awarded RSGS Honorary Fellowship, noting that this is also recognition for the many talented, committed people I’ve worked with over the years.”

Professor Iain Stewart with RSGS Scottish Geographical Medal

Finally, the prestigious RSGS Scottish Geographical Medal was awarded to Professor Iain Stewart MBE, for his work as RSGS President over the last 10 years. From 2000 to 2015 Iain was a familiar face on our TV’s with his popular Earth- Power of the Planet series, Planet Oil, Men of Rock, How to Grow A Planet, and Rise of the Continents. He is now currently El Hassan Research Chair for Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society in Jordan, Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth and UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.

On introducing Iain, Mike Robinson commented “Iain’s dedication to RSGS as our 19th President, and his contributions during a critical period of change and growth for the society have been invaluable.  He has done everything that we have asked of him and more, is a great friend to us all and a real ambassador for Geography more generally. I cannot thank him enough for all of his help and friendship as RSGS President over the last decade. It is with great honour that we award him with the Scottish Geographical Medal, the highest accolade that we offer – a sort of Scottish “Nobel Prize” for geography.”

After receiving his medal from Doug Allan on stage, Iain commented “RSGS has long played a brilliant role in inspiring people about the wonders of our planet, and celebrating the exploits of those that have boldly gone forth to explore it. It inspired me back when I was a Geography student at university and it continued to do so over the 10 years that I spent as its President. Never has the need for inspiration been more essential, and I know that the RSGS will continue to lead the way in showing how a deep appreciation of the natural world is vital for the future wellbeing of humanity.”