Ness Award

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The Ness Award is an annual award of the Royal Geographical Society to travellers, particularly those who have successfully popularised Geography and the wider understanding of our world and its environments.[1] It was established in 1953 and named after Mrs Patrick Ness (1881–1962), an intrepid and well-to-do traveller throughout Africa and the first female Fellow of the Society.

Mrs Patrick Ness was born Elizabeth Wilhelmina Miller in Brighton in 1881 and married Patrick Powell Ness in 1903. She accompanied her husband to Kenya before the First World War and then returned alone in 1920, when she made several epic journeys across the African and Asian continents. In 1923 she crossed the Syrian Desert, in 1927 she travelled from Khartoum to Nairobi and on via the Congo to the Cape, the first European woman to travel on Lake Kivu. She later wrote a book of her adventures entitled Two Thousand Miles in Two Continents [2][3]


Source: RGS

Year Name Citation (where known)
1954 Charles W.M. Swithinbank[4] for research in Antarctic glaciology
1955 Ernest Frederick Roots [5]
1958 Anthony Gerald Bomford
1959 J. Homes Miller[6][7]
George W. Marsh [8]
(jointly) Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition
1960 Raymond John Adie[9]
1961 Robin Hanbury-Tenison[10][11]
1963 John Baird Tyson [12]
1964 Dennis Alexander Ardus [13]
1965 David Stoddart [14]
1967 Peter Opie-Smith[15] for geodetic surveys in the Solomon Islands
1970 Dr John D Thornes
1971 Lieutenant Colonel J D C Peacock
1972 Major David N Hall
1973 Dr D J Moffat
1974 Colonel J M Adam OBE, OStJ, FRCP
Ian Douglas Hamilton
1975 Adrian Thompson
1976 Squadron Leader Tom Sheppard MBE
1977 Lieutenant Colonel Harry R A Streather OBE
1978 Miss F A Street
1979 Nigel de Northop Winser
1980 Richard Snailham
1981 Chief Petty Officer S R Williams
1982 Miss Shane Wesley-Smith
1983 Roger Chapman MBE
1984 Andy Eavis
1985 Paul Vander-Molen
1986 Dr Caroline Sargeant
1987 Miss Nicola Bennett-Jones SRN
1988 Dr John Matthews
1989 Steve Bowles
1990 Dick Willis
1991 Dr Richard Crane
1992 Mandip Singh Soin
1993 Michael Asher
1994 Alasdair Kennedy
1995 Paul Salaman
1996 Major Alastair Rogers
1997 John Birdsall
1998 Michael Palin
1999 David Rattray
2000 Nick Danziger
2001 Peter Drake
2002 Dr Nicholas Middleton
2003 Ray Mears
2004 John Hare for raising public awareness and conservation of endangered wild camels in Mongolia and China
2005 Neil Laughton[16] for leadership of expeditions and encouraging others to recognise their potential as travellers
2006 John Pilkington for the popularisation of geography and the wider understanding of our world
2007 Paul Rose for supporting and promoting the popular understanding of geography
2008 David Wright for the popularisation of geography among young people
2009 Neil Oliver for popularising and promoting understanding of the British coastal landscape
2010 Professor Iain Stewart for popularising geography and earth sciences
2011 Colin Thubron CBE for popularising geography through travel writing
2012 Simon Reeve for popularising geography through television travel documentaries and writing
2013 Wade Davis for popularising geography through writing about places, cultures and history
2014 Nicholas Crane for popularising geography and the understanding of Britain
2015 Robert Macfarlane in recognition of his work in communicating 'geography to a wide public by means of writing about nature, landscape and place[17]
2016 Andrea Wulf for popularising the histories of geography and of scientific botanical exploration via her book The Invention of Nature
2017 Kathleen Jamie for outstanding creative writing at the confluence of travel, nature and culture[18]

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