Lewis Pugh is an endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans. And in September, he will also become one of the prestigious Medallists of the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) following a special public talk and ceremony taking place in Perth.
But who is Lewis Pugh? Over the years, he’s been described as ‘the Sir Edmund Hillary of swimming’ and an expert in ‘speedo diplomacy’. And both are pretty apt.
Over the past 32 years, Lewis – who initially worked as a maritime layer – has pioneered swims in some of the most vulnerable and hazardous ecosystems on Earth. And always wearing just speedos, goggles and a swim cap.
In salt water temperatures of -1.7 degrees Celsius, for instance, he became the first person to swim across the North Pole in 2007. In 2010, he swam across one of the highest glacial lakes in the world beneath the summit of Mount Everest. And, more recently, in 2018, he completed a swim traverse of the entire length of the English Channel.
But these shows of remarkable physical and mental fortitude are not just for the sake of adventure. Lewis uses his swims to demonstrate the effects of climate change across the world and the plight of our oceans.
“I am often asked why I do it.” Lewis commented, “At a simplistic level, I am passionate about swimming and I enjoy pushing boundaries. But there's a lot more to it than that.
“Through my swims I have had a unique perspective on climate change. I have witnessed retreating glaciers, decreasing sea ice, coral bleaching, severe droughts, and the migration of animals to colder climates.
“Through my swims I have had a unique perspective on climate change. It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to draw attention to the fragility of our enviroment
“It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to draw attention to the fragility of our environment and to encourage everyone to take action.”
Widely regarded as one of the world’s most inspiring speakers, Lewis will take to the stage at Perth Concert Hall on Thursday 12th September to present a talk entitled Achieving Your Impossible and to receive the Society’s Mungo Park Medal for his outstanding contribution to geographical knowledge through adventure in potentially hazardous environments.
In receiving the award, he will join an impressive list of previous Medallists – names such as Sir David Attenborough, Sir Edmund Hilary, Neil Armstrong, Annie Lennox and Mary Robinson to name but a few.
“Lewis’ example and stamina in his ocean advocacy work are inspirational,” commented Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSGS, “It will be wonderful to host Lewis in Perth to celebrate his invaluable contribution to the fields of environmental protection, climate change and sustainability. And, of course, to hear his remarkable stories of adventure in some of the world’s most dangerous and delicate bodies of water.”
We have a fantastic competition for all of our avid future adventurers! Enter now for your chance to win four tickets to this talk and attend a private reception at the RSGS offices with Lewis Pugh before he takes to the stage at Perth Concert Hall.
Lewis Pugh will be discussing his fascinating career and what motivates him during his talk “Achieving the impossible” at Perth Concert Hall on Thursday 12th of September.
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