Myrtle Simpson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Myrtle Lillias Simpson (née Emslie; born around 1930) is a Scottish skier and the tenth woman to receive the Polar Medal. She has been called the "mother of Scottish skiing". She was the first woman to ski across Greenland on an unsupported expedition. She was president of the Scottish Ski Club in the 1970s and has written several books.

Early life[edit]

She was from Aldershot and moved to Fort William, Highland age 21.[1] She qualified as a radiographer and worked at the Belford Hospital.[2]


She was part of the Edinburgh Andean expedition in 1958, climbing various routes with Hugh Simpson and Bill Wallace.[3] The group made seven ascents, including the first British ascent of Huascarán, which at 6,768m is the second-highest mountain in the Americas.[4] In 1965 she skied across Greenland with four others on an unsupported expedition, the first woman to achieve this.[5][6] She was president of the Scottish Ski Club in the 1970s.[1] She was an experienced climber.[7]

She wrote several books about her expeditions and on other subjects.[8][9]

She lives at Kincraig.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2013 she was given the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.[10]

In January 2017 she was awarded the Polar Medal in recognition of her arctic achievements.[7] Her husband Hugh had been awarded the Polar medal fifty years previously. She received the medal at a ceremony in London in May.[11] That year, she became one of the Saltire Society's Outstanding Women.[12]


  1. ^ a b Hart, Cat (8 December 2015). "Silver skiers: Why the over 60s are hitting the slopes". The Scotsman.
  2. ^ a b "'Mother of Scottish skiing' awarded prestigious Polar Medal at age of 87". The Herald. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ Emslie, Myrtle (4 November 1958). "Scots party combined medical research and mountaineering". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  4. ^ "William Wallace". The Scotsman. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Arctic adventure in tracks of a pioneer". The Scotsman. 10 June 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. ^ "New adventures of City's super men and women". The Scotsman. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Skier and climber Myrtle Simpson awarded Polar Medal". BBC News. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Simpson, Myrtle". World Cat. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Something in common". The Glasgow Herald. 19 April 1974. p. 6. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Roger Cox: Myrtle Simpson rightly honoured". The Scotsman. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Skier and climber Myrtle Simpson receives Polar Medal". BBC News. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  12. ^ "10 New Inductees into the Outstanding Women of Scotland Community". Saltire Society. Retrieved 14 January 2018.