Thursday evening saw the University of Edinburgh host the latest in the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s (RSGS) series of its ‘Inspiring People’ talks, this week given by Mollie Hughes.
Hughes spoke to a full lecture theatre of around three hundred people in Appleton Tower at 7.30 pm, discussing both her astonishing achievements in 2012 and 2017 of climbing both sides of Everest, becoming the youngest woman to do so, and her latest 58 day skiing trek to reach the geographic South Pole, a trip she only returned from in mid-January.
Potentially one of the university’s most popular talks this year, the night sold out on tickets (accommodating both students and RSGS members) and understandably so with the audience hooked on Mollie’s every word or ‘vlog’ (particularly those showing her walking across shaking ladders from great heights).
Besides photography and videos of her trips, Mollie’s words were particularly emotional as she spoke of her many trials on her most recent trip which saw her in a ‘white out’ completely alone in Antarctica for eight whole days.
Her talks of “incredibly depressing” moments were made all the more goose bump-worthy when she spoke of her “positive affirmation” tactics to keep her going and looking after her “body and mind”.
Speaking to The Student, Hughes described her experience in the weeks since her return from her latest expedition, this being her fifth and last RSGS talk this week.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind… I got back just two weeks ago. The first week was just trying to recover a bit, see people and do some media stuff.
“This week has just been non-stop!”
Describing previous work she has done in providing talks for schools and corporate events, Mollie discusses how this has previously only been about her experience at Everest.
“Tonight… I’ll be talking mainly about Antarctica, the new fresh story. That’s not rehearsed like the Everest stuff is, it’s nice that it’s new.”
Mollie told the audience (understandably) she has no current plans for her “next adventure”, despite a clear demand for it in the questions asked at the end.
To follow her work, Mollie has her own self-titled website with accompanying vlogs and other forms of media.
The RSGS correspondent for the university’s Geographical Society, Emily Stammers, told The Student:
“Mollie’s determination was not just a product of self-determination, it was also to influence and inspire others.
“The Inspiring Talks series are a fantastic opportunity for students to engage with explorers and academics who have incredible first-hand experience not just of Geography, but of overcoming great physical and mental obstacles!
“Our next talk is on Wednesday 19th February at 2.15pm by Selina Hales, the Director and Founder of the amazing charity Refuweegee.
“We’re also really excited to welcome Johnny Keeling on the 5th March at 7:30pm, who will be talking about his work as the producer of ‘One World, Seven Planets’.”
Those interested in getting more involved with RSGS or attending talks (which are free for students) can find details both on the official website and the University of Edinburgh’s Geographical Society social media.
Image: Pavel Novak via Wikipedia