Social Events

We hold three social events during the year. The main event is our Annual Gathering and Supper and we also hold two smaller socials in the Spring and at the Summer Solstice. If interested in attending please look out for announcements in the Club newsletter or contact the Secretary.

Annual Gathering and Supper

The ANNUAL GATHERING and SUPPER is held each November to bring together members, guests and young expeditioners. Its purpose is to encourage the exchange of information and advice for the planning of future expeditions and to enjoy the company of like-minded Arctic enthusiasts. We organise an afternoon programme of talks and slide shows on recent and historic expeditions by members and by recent SAC grant awardees. Plenty of time is also allowed for the informal exchange of information and experience, as well as eating and drinking! Our AGM is also held at the Annual Gathering.

The 2024 Annual Gathering and Supper will be held on Saturday 2nd November at the Nethy Bridge Hotel. Members and guests are also invited to an informal get-together on the Friday evening. A booking form will be circulated with the Newsletter or please contact the Secretary for further information.

Spring Meet

The SPRING MEET brings club members together to enjoy a week of outdoor activities in the Scottish Highlands.

The 14th Spring Meet will be held 20 – 27th April 2024. For details see the January 2024 newsletter.

The following report from Pat Duchart after the 2016 Meet captures the spirit and activities of our Spring Meets:

The SAC week at Attadale was enjoyed in whole or part by 15 members. It was unusual in that there was not a drop of rain all week but it did have its share of sunshine, wind and grey skies.

Activities were as ever many and varied. The 5 kayakers/canoeists enjoyed an interesting paddle on Loch Maree, a brief paddle off Portchuillin, when wind and tide thwarted other plans but beach and sunshine were much enjoyed, a round trip from Portchuillin to Plockton and a very windy paddle on Loch Sgamhain. There was a steep learning curve on the assembly and use of Frank’s new origami kayak. Loch Coruisk remains a challenge for the future.

The walkers preferred distance to height with walks which included the Elgol area, the shores of Loch Torridon, a very rewarding circumnavigation of Maol Chean-dearg and an investigation of the valley North East of the Strathcarron Hotel for flora fauna and a previous canoe route. The cyclists had two good days in the saddle.

The estate lambs provided much entertainment as they enjoyed life. There were many visits to the gardens, which were looking particularly good, especially the rhododendrons. The home baking was also much appreciated.

We had a communal meal on Sunday with plenty of salmon, quiche and good stew and again on Thursday with the main course amply provided by the Danish lady at the home farm. Every night had its share of good food, good drink, good conversation and most importantly good company.’

Summer Solstice Meet

The SUMMER SOLSTICE MEET was originally conceived by our first President, Iain Smart, as a suitable Scottish alternative to outings on the east Greenland coast. Co-founder Phil Gribbon writes ‘His proposal was that the Club should not waste the long daylight hours of the solstice and … should avail themselves of what was offered on their doorsteps and explore the innermost corners of their own country.‘ Initial solstice treks crossed the ‘high tundra’ of the Cairngorm plateau to the Spey valley. Although this tradition lapsed for a number of years it has recently been revived in modified form with the Simpson family generously hosting a Saturday evening barbecue at their home near Kincraig. Adventurous journeys to the Solstice Meet are strongly encouraged, with arrival by canoe being popular given the more extreme age range (young and old!) of our current membership.

The 2024 meet will be held 22-23rd June, for details see the January 2024 newsletter.

Talks given at previous Gatherings

The 2023 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2023, Fort William.

Ikasartivaq Ford Mountaineering Expedition – Oliver Smaeje, Eve MacCallum & Harry Newman (SAEF grant)
Arctic Circle Residency on Tall Ship Antigua to Svalbard – Ellis o’Connor (SAEF grant)
Rowing the North West Passage – Tuppence Mellish (SAEF grant)
My time in Tuktoyaktuk: Listening, Learning and Co-developing a Community Based monitoring programme – Louise Mercer (SAEF grant)
Revisiting Sami Reindeer Herders in Kautokeino – Bryan Alexander
A tribute to Robbin Buzza, Svalbard – Jim Barton
John Rae and the Project to renovate Clestrain, Orkney – Fiona Gould, of the John Rae Society

The 2022 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2022, Carr-bridge.

Rowing the North-West Passage – Mark Agnew (SAEF grant)
Humpback whales, Westfjords, Iceland – Flo Dodds & Jessica Ward (SAEF grant)
Field research in Svalbard – Hamish Rodger (SAEF grant)
Solo ski expedition across Finnmark – Liam Tracy (SAEF grant)
Ice Warrior Project expedition to Northern Pole of Inaccessibility – Kris Law (SAEF grant)

SAC 50th Anniversary Expedition
Introduction – Stella Spratley
The Climbers – Noel Williams
St Andrews University Mountaineering Club – Bethany Carol and Hannah Mortlock
The Smart/Roy/Smith Family – Jinty Smart
The House Four – Pat Duchart, Sheila Russell, Iain Allison
Stella and the Families – Vingerhagens and Ranfords

The 2021 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2021, Fort William

Fat biking along the Arctic Circle trail, March 2020
Huw Oliver (SAC Expedition Fund Grant)
Gardening at 78°N – a summer spent researching the effects of climate change on the Svalbard tundra
Lia Lechler (SAC Expedition Fund Grant)
Bird research and conservation, Skálanes, East Iceland
Lotta Ruha and Avery Holmes (SAC Expedition Fund Grant)
A bit of Scottish Arctic Club history
Audrey Scott
1970’s Myrtle Simpson
1980’s Bryan Alexander – The Inughuit’s Seasonal Cycle in NW Greenland
1990’s Kathleen Cartwright – Travels in Siberia and beyond
2000’s Douglas Anderson – The Ledge: The Anderson Family’s Expedition to Milne Land, the Bear Islands, Island Fjord and the Liverpool Coast – that was even more dodgy than ‘The Hole’

The 2020 Gathering and Supper was cancelled due to coronavirus.

The 2019 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2019, Fort William
Arctic Coastal Heritage, Longyearbyen Svalbard
Laura Ferguson (SAC grant)
Arctic Connections
Hazel and Luke Robertson (SAC grant)
Dog sledding in Sweden and Alaska
Dave King
The 2019 Arctic Return Expedition: Retracing the foot steps of John Rae
Richard Smith
Geological Excursion to Disko Bay, Greenland 2018
Iain Allison

The 2018 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2018, Fort William
Fieldwork in Svalbard (SAMS/UNIS)
Regina Huttunen (SAC grant)
Environmental Change in East Finnmark (Uni. Oxford Expedition)
Holly Unwin (SAC grant)
Expedition to the Stauning Alps
Matt Hay (SAC grant)
Bear Island: Staffing a weather station in the 1970s
Dag H-Kjelldahl
Polar Academy
Craig Mathieson and Polar Academy Explorers (keynote speakers)
Greenland 2016: zodiac boat expedition
Peter Talbot
Isostatic Rebound, SE Greenland
Noel Williams
40 years of family exploration in SE Greenland (in 10 min!)
Douglas Anderson

The 2017 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2017, Carrbridge
Research into waders on Baffin Island, Nunavut, High Arctic Canada
Ronan Dugan
BSci Geography Research in High Arctic Svalbard
Emily Cave (SAC grant)
Research into insect faunas from Tonsnes, northern Norway
Aythya Young (SAC grant)
2017 Expedition to British Stauning Alps, East Greenland
Jennifer Roberts & Oliver Mentz (SAC grant)
Migrating further North – Eider Duck research in Ny-Ålesund (video)
Emily Hill (SAC grant)
The passive igloo project – a year in the Arctic
Peter Gallinelli (keynote speaker)
Revisiting the Serotetto Family
Bryan Alexander
Ellesmere-Island, Sverdrup-Pass, 2000
Hans-Peter and Brigette Grossman, and Denise Martin
John Rae and the Halkett Boat
Louise Hollinrake

The 2016 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, November 2016

Fortrose Academy expedition to Ammassilik Island, East Greenland 2013
Donald MacRae (SAC grant)
Moss, soil and carbon storage – Ny Ålesund, Svalbard 2015
Nora Mielke (SAC grant)
Chasing the Pole Star – Finnmark 2015
Paul Quast (SAC grant)
North-west Passage 2015
Benno Rawlinson (SAC grant)
Dove Bay, NE Greenland 2006
Hans-Peter and Brigette Grossman
The Wild Bunch: Belgian climbers
Bob Shepton (keynote speaker)
Arctic Eider Project (Canada)
Mairi Fenton
Cruise on the River Lena (Sakha Rebublic, Russian Federation)
Mike Lea
Ballooning in the Arctic: 5 minute film
introduced by Chris Calver
A story from Svalbard in 1630
Louise Hollinrake
Flying in support of the Worksop College Catalina Expedition to East Greenland
John Thorogood

The 2015 Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, 21st November 2015

An academic session at UNIS, Svalbard
Sam Black (SAC grant)
A multi-media presentation on Svalbard
Felix Butschek (SAC grant)
Geology expedition to Gardar, Greenland
Sue Clark, Ruairidh Mitchell & Jim Thomson (SAC grant)
BES Leadership Training, Svalbard
Matthew Burke & Joshua Key (SAC grant)
Northern Exposure’s Arctic Skills training in Svalbard
Susannah Challinger (SAC grant)
Traditional Life in the Arctic
Bryan Alexander (keynote speaker)
Three years on a BAS base, Rothera, Antarctic Peninsula
Mairi Fenton
Presenting artist Steve McQueen’s pictures, sketches and photographs
Eve Gilmore
Canada’s Northwest Passage
Louise Hollinrake
Shackleton Bjerg 2002 Expedition
John Thorogood

The 2014 Annual Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Fort William on 15th November 2014

Arctic Finnmark with British Exploring Society
Eleanor Hopkinson (SAC grant)
Harding Ice Field, Alaska, with Banchory Academy
Kirsty Bremner (SAC grant)
Lofoten Expedition with Ocean Youth Trust
Emily Whyte (SAC grant)
Greenland 360 – Climate change, Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland
Cameron Mackay (SAC grant)
Iceland, Winter 2014
Ashley Buchan and Ronan Dugan (SAC grants)
Russian Taiga, a short film about his 2013 expedition studying black cock
Ronan Dugan
Arctic Reflections – Scoresbysund, landscape, birds, seascapes
Brigitte &amp Hans-Peter Grossman
Scottish Association for Marine Science’s work in the Arctic
Dr Finlo Cottier and Lucianne Marshall
North Liverpool Land Expedition 2014
Jim Gregson
Maud (a Dundee whaler) in the Arctic
Mike Lea
One of the grant holders, Dr Joseph Cook, was unable to be with us but he had sent a poster outlining his research on cryonite holes on the ice sheet’s surface and this was on display during the day.

The 2013 Annual Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Fort William on 16th November 2013

British Exploring Society’s Expedition to Arctic Finnmark, Northern Norway 2013
Mairi Gilmour, Ed Lavender, Katie Lumsdaine & Esme Moore (SAC grants)
Northern Exposure
Jenny Newall (SAC grant)
Svartisen Ice cap, Northern Norway
Alexandra Messerli (SAC grant)
South Stauning Alps
Chris Gilmore
East Greenland memories 1961-1990: 30 years of expeditions in NE Greenland
Geoffrey Halliday
Insects and farming in SW Greenland
Ashley Buchan
Schrimshaw and the whaling disaster of 1777
Mike Lea
East Greenland, summer 2013
John Peden
Twenty years in East Greenland
Jim Gregson
Geological fieldwork in southern Greenland
Anna Bidgood (presented by her father, Nigel, in her absence)
Alaska in January
Stella Spratley

The 2012 Annual Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Pitlochary on 10 November 2012.

BSES Arctic Odyssey Expedition to Finmark, 2012
Lara Bently & Eilidh McNab (SAC grant)
Qassiarsuk, S. Greenland fieldwork
Ashley Buchan (SAC grant)
Fieldwork in Svalbard while studying at UNIS
Kirsteen Allison & Pail Rhodes (SAC grant)
Fortrose Academy: exchange with Gjoa Haven
Alistair Ferms, Ben Beasley, Tim Milner, Rebecca Ross (SAC grant)
Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge
Ronan Dugan
Richard Hamilton’s Arctic Journal
Elspeth Hamilton
St Andrews University Expedition to S. Greenland 1971
Phil Gribbon
Kongakut River, north slope Alaska
Chris Gilmore
Jameson Land
Pete Nelson
Hold with Hope 1989
Liz Patterson
Towards the North Pole
Hugh Simpson

The 2011 Annual Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Fort William on 19 November 2011.

Zooplankton phenology in Arctic waters
Jordan Grigor
BSES Summer (Templefjord) Expedition to Svalbard
Jenny Newall & Susanna Challinger
Canoeing down the Mackenzie River
Steven and Maya Doughty
Shorebirds and spruce trees of Northern Interior Alaska
Ronan Dugan
Flying in Greenland
Sigurður Aðalsteinsson
Tourism in Ittoqqortoormiit, East Greenland
Helana Dejak
An Arctic Alphabet
Nancy Campbell
Mikki’s Fjord Trip and Spring in Sermilik Fjord, East Greenland
Douglas Anderson

The 2010 Annual Gathering and Supper

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Dundee on 13 November 2010

Talks given at the Annual Gathering and Supper, Dundee 13 November 2010
The Harding Ice Field, Alaska, 2010
Banchory Academy
Exchange visit from Gjoa Haven school, 2010 – PDF – 1.4MB
Fortrose Academy
BSES Expedition to Svalbard, 2010
Timothy Hunter
The Arctic Voice Project
Glen Morris
The Watkin’s Mountains – PDF – 1.7MB
David Matthews
Kong Oscar’s Fjord, 2010
Kathleen Cartwright
Wildlife in Alaska, 2010
Ronan Dugan
Expeditions to Alaska and Greenland, 2010
Chris Gilmore
Svalbard 2010 – PDF – 3MB
Maude Tiso
Stauning Alps Expedition from Dundee University, 1970
John Peden