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A clan parade in Edinburgh.
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A couple gaze out over Edinburgh from Calton Hill
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  • Statue of Alexander Selkirk in Lower Largo, Fife
    Statue of Alexander Selkirk in Lower Largo, Fife
  • The Bod of Gremista, Shetland - an 18th century fishing booth devoted to Arthur Anderson the co-founder of P&O Ferries
    The living area of the Bod of Gremista, Shetland
  • The David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, South Lanarkshire
    The David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, South Lanarkshire

Scotland has produced many of the world’s greatest explorers and adventurers. Their journeys have uncovered some of the greatest geographical discoveries of their age and inspired the imaginations for generations of people.

Arthur Anderson 1792 - 1868

Anderson was born in Shetland and began his sailing career in the Navy. He served mainly as a captain's clerk but left aged 23 and headed for London in the hope of gainful employment. There he met Brodie McGhie Wilcox, who offered him the clerk's position on shipping enterprise to Spain and Portugal. After seven years, Anderson was made partner and helped the company grow from strength to strength. It soon became the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, known today as P&O Ferries. During this time Anderson was still involved in Shetland affairs and began to suggest a trip from Shetland to the Faroes and Iceland - the first ever cruise.

Dr. David Livingstone 1813 - 1873

Born in Blantyre in South Lanarkshire, Livingston began working at a cotton mill at the age of 10 but later became an explorer and medical missionary. In the 1850s he discovered the Victoria Falls, led expeditions up the Zambezi and Nile and became dedicated to abolishing the slave trade that was rampant throughout Africa at that time. It was on the Nile that Livingstone met the journalist Henry Stanley, who spoke the oft-quoted line ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume’. There is a visitor centre dedicated to Livingstone in his hometown of Blantyre, featuring journals, letters and equipment relating to his explorations.

Sir Alexander MacKenzie 1764 - 1820

Alexander MacKenzie was born on the Isle of Lewis and emigrated with his family to the ‘New World’ at the age of 10. They became caught up in the American Revolution, but managed to escape to Montreal. The main industry was then the fur trade, which MacKenzie saw as an opportunity to travel and explore. He became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean overland, a distance of some 5,000 miles. While on this expedition he discovered and charted the longest river in Canada, now known as the MacKenzie River. He published a book of his legendary adventures across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Voyages, in 1801 - demand for the volume was so high publishers could not keep up.

Alexander Selkirk 1676 - 1721

Alexander Selkirk was a real life Robinson Crusoe and the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's book by the same name. Born in Largo in Fife, he was a seaman and took part in several privateering expeditions. On his last trip, he had a dispute with the incompetent captain and, fearing the ship would sink, demanded to be put ashore. Selkirk was proved correct: the ship later sank off the coast of Peru, leaving Selkirk a castaway on an uninhabited island - known today as Robinson Crusoe Island - to survive only his wits until his rescue four years and four days later.