After a career in the military, in 2004 the Gulf War veteran went on to lead the first dedicated Scottish expedition to the South Pole. The route of the Scot100 Expedition took him from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, hauling a 180lb sledge for 56 days over a total distance of 730 miles in temperatures below –55°C.
In 2013 he was the first person in 129 years to be named ‘Explorer-in-residence’ by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS).
His talks focus on fulfilling ambitions, resilience, physical and mental strength, changing career path, inspiring young people and sourcing funding for passion projects.
Craig knew he wanted to be an explorer since the age of 12 years old, having read so many fascinating stories of adventure and history books. But his school teachers did not encourage this deep-rooted ambition.
His own mental determination allowed that to happen and he has have followed in the footsteps of his heroes and he has lead every step of the way.
After many years of providing motivational talks about his South Pole expedition in schools across Scotland, he decided to quit his job as the tax partner in an accountancy firm to establish the children’s charity, The Polar Academy in 2013.
At its heart is the objective of positively turning around the lives of 13-17-year-old youths whose self-esteem and self-confidence has been crushed by personal circumstances at home and / or school. Many suffer from mental health issues. Deemed by Craig as ‘invisible’ at school, annually the explorer selects ten teenage boys and girls who he believes can most benefit from his training methods.
Craig draws upon his formidable experience to inspire these young people through exploration, transforming those he supports into role models for the next generation.
After ten months of rigorous training at school, in the Scottish Highlands and in Arctic Greenland, the youth’s life is transformed. Given the chance to redefine his or her physical and mental limits, each participant returns from Greenland with a ‘can do attitude’ and equipped to be a positive role model for the local community and among his or her peers.
The Polar Academy trains the young adults participating to lead and to become future role models and leaders. The children lead the 10-day Arctic expedition in Greenland. Only because they are given the opportunity to lead. They are trusted to lead. They become confident leaders.
On their return to Scotland, each pupil shares their experiences with their peer groups, speaking to more than 20,000 school children in their region. They are living, breathing proof that dreams are attainable and that ordinary pupils can achieve the truly extraordinary.
Craig is also a STEM Ambassador for Scotland, regular speaking in schools across the country on all matters polar. Topics include the importance of mathematics for navigation and sailing, looking at the scientific research undertaken by the world’s greatest explorers including Scott, Shackleton and Bruce; and giving pupils guided tours of the Discovery in Dundee.
For his contribution to education, Craig received an Honorary Doctorate from Abertay University in July 2018 and later that year was named an International Member of the distinguished, The Explorers Club - an illustrious club of astronauts, polar, deep sea and mountain explorers.
Taking the lessons learned from my time in both the Antarctic and Arctic, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share my experiences. I believe everyone has their own ‘South Pole’ ambition and whatever it may be, I can show you how to achieve it.”