Acclaimed wildlife filmmaker Doug Allan has been presented with a prestigious award on a return to his former school, Dunfermline High.
He was given the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Mungo Park Medal by RSGS vice president Alister Hendrie in front of a 350-strong crowd.
The medal was for Doug’s inspirational contribution to geographic knowledge through his critically-acclaimed film-making, much of which was produced at great personal risk.
His charitable work for schools, not-for-profits and organisations such as the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers, of which he is the president, was also noted.
The veteran cameraman, who has worked extensively with Sir David Attenborough, said he was “honoured and touched” to be to be joining such a stellar list of previous recipients – names such as Thor Heyerdahl of Kon-Tiki fame, the modern-day explorers Karen Darke and Ed Stafford and, most recently, round-the-world pilots Betrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.
Sir David, himself a medallist of the RSGS, passed on his congratulations to Doug in a letter to the Society.
He said: “Doug is not like other men.
“He seems impervious to cold. He can hold his breath underwater longer than anyone I know.
“He delights in company – particularly if he can find someone who has not heard his jokes – yet he can tolerate, even welcome, long periods of total solitude.
“And he has that mixture of physical bravery, technical skill and zoological expertise that you need if you are to be one of the greatest of natural history cameramen, which he is.”
Following the presentation, Doug gave a talk about his favourite animals – whales – which included an array of video clips from BBC series such as Blue Planet in his back catalogue which have earned him five BAFTAs and four EMMYs.
RSGS chief executive Mike Robinson said: “It is very easy to get swept up in Doug’s films without realising the dangers he constantly puts himself in to capture his stunning and inspirational footage.
“This prodigious filming talent, combined with his consistent promotion and support for wildlife, geography and the environment makes Doug a very worthy recipient of our prestigious Mungo Park Medal.
“We look forward to working with Doug as his award-winning career continues and hope to collaborate further to inspire people, young and old, to pursue their passions and care and learn more deeply about the world around them.”