2021 / 2022 Autumn / Winter Zoom Talks

Along the lines of 2020, a few talks have been organised to keep us entertained during the 2021 / 2022 winter.

The outline details of the talks are below but please refer to your email for the Zoom link. The connection is open from 6:30pm on the day for those wishing to chat beforehand.


Wednesday 12th January 2022  @  7:00 pm -  Dr. John C. Taylor OBE

John will talk to the title - "Cambridge Spitsbergen Expedition 1958".

About the speaker - Alastair Macdonald was born in Derbyshire in 1936 and attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.He began working at Otter Controls Ltd., inventing controls that are used daily in over two billion kettles and small household appliances.

As well as having over 400 patents to his name, John has also conducted a great deal of research into the work of John Harrison,the early pioneer of sea clocks.The Corpus Chronophage displayed on an exterior wall of the Corpus Christi College was John’s gift to his college,funding the Taylor Library.The Corpus Chronophage is the most popular tourist attraction in Cambridge.


Wednesday 24 November 2021 @  7:00 pm -  Dougal Goodman and Alastair Macdonald

Alastair Macdonald will talk to the title - "1952 British Spitsbergen Expedition".

About the speaker - Alastair Macdonald was introduced to the Arctic at the age of 17 by participating in a BSES Expedition to Norway 50 miles North of Bodø in 1950. He was a member of the British Spitsbergen Expedition 1952 and the 1953 Cambridge Spitsbergen Geological Expedition. He then worked as a Land Surveyor in the Overseas and Home Civil Services before returning to Svalbard in 2001 working with John Muston as leaders on a BSES Expedition led by Lorraine Craig

 Dougal Goodman will talk to the title - "Breaking Ice". 

About the speaker - Dougal Goodman will talk about the story of his visits to the Arctic to study how ice is fractured in moving glaciers, by waves in sea ice, by ice forced against static structures and ships transiting ice fields.  He overcame the challenges of falling through sea ice, and down crevasses, inquisitive polar bears, bad weather and gear failures.

When offered a PhD place in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge Dougal chose to study the creep and fracture of ice which, including his post-doctoral work, took him to North-West Greenland, East Greenland and Antarctica. Later he joined BP where he led a research programme in the Canadian Beaufort Sea and offshore Alaska.


Wednesday 10 November 2021 @  7:00 pm -  Bob Comlay and Roger Wallis

Bob will talk to the title - 'The pot-scrubbers guide to the Arctic'  - about expeditions to Southwest Greenland in 1970 and East Greenland in 1971 with a 71 year old skipper and a 70 year old boat.

About the speaker - Bob Comlay, amateur photographer, reluctant gardener and occasional sailor, was one of the handful of crew-members who sailed more than once with H W Tilman. Now retired from working life, he appreciates an opportunity to set the record straight about his former Skipper.


Roger will talk to the title - 'Misadventures in the Arctic: South and East Greenland and Spitsbergen' - about a number of Arctic trips between 1960 – 1967. Expeditions with very different gear, different travel arrangements and communications from today! 

About the speaker - Roger Wallis’ first visit to the Arctic was in 1960 as a co-opted member of a St. Andrews University Expedition to South Greenland. He returned to the Tasermuit Fjord area in 1961 with Birmingham University and in 1964, 1965 and 1967 he was Deputy Leader and Leader of the University of Cambridge expeditions to Spitsbergen, with Brian Harland's CSE organization. In 1966 he visited East Greenland (Mt.Forel region) with a Royal Navy expedition - which ended with the unlikely scenario of him being the civilian leader of a Forces expedition. He emigrated to Canada in 1968. Between 1990-2006 he helped organize seven trips north of 60° to the St Elias Range, the world's third largest ice-cap.


Thursday 21st October 2021 @ 7:00 pm  -  Alasdair Flint and David Meldrum. 

Alasdair Flint will talk about his 2011 expedition when he sailed his small wooden yacht to the remote Arctic Island of Jan Mayen and climbed the world's most northerly volcano – Beerenberg.

About the speaker - Alasdair Flint is a keen sailor who has owned his 26 foot wooden yacht for over thirty years. During that time, he has crossed the Atlantic single-handed and voyaged as far north as Spitsbergen. His boat is currently in Scotland while he prepares for his third attempt to reach Scoresby Sund.


David Meldrum will talk about mountaineering in the Uummannaq Fjord area of West Greenland in the 60s and 70s. An account of St Andrews University expeditions.

About the speaker - David Meldrum studied physics and mathematics at the Universities of St Andrews and Cambridge. He became the physicist in charge of the ice-penetrating radar programme at the Scott Polar Research Institute and later he joined the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Now largely retired, David is still involved in researching satellite communication systems in support of polar science.

Click here to view recording of the talks