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  • Writer's pictureStuart Mathieson

The Story Behind the Design - The Antarctic Clan

Scotland's native penguin population live predominantly in the Orkney Isles, the South Orkney Islands that is, roughly 600km North of Antarctica. During the 19th century, Penguin Relation officers at Dundee City Council put a programme in place for the building of hardy, ice-defying boats to maintain the connection with this chilly, ornithological outpost.

By the late 1900s, these boat building endeavours had caught the attention of the British Antarctic Expedition. A boat which could withstand an ice cube or two was exactly what they needed for adventures that required gloves, and in 1901 the custom built RRS Discovery was launched from Dundee.

With the aptly named Captain Scott at it's helm, the Discovery set off for Antarctica. Although not in the official records, it's widely accepted amongst blog writers on this website that he probably had supplies on board for the South Orkney Islands en route, copies of the Dundee Courier translated into penguin etc.

Fast forward 100 years and quickly brushing over the frozen demise of Captain Scott, the centenary anniversary of Discovery's launch was celebrated at Discovery Point in Dundee along with the displaying of the Antarctic tartan. In fairness, the tartan itself seems to have been created before 2001 but as you can tell, historical accuracy isn't our forte...

Rather fittingly, cards & prints of Lana's Antarctic tartan-clad penguins are available in the gift shop at Discovery Point and the lovely folk at Dundee Heritage Trust even took them along to an event on Antarctica held at the Scottish Parliament! The attendees apparently discussed several pressing matters including the Dundee Courier's refusal to translate it's website into penguin...

The Original Penguin Drawing

The Clan at the Scottish Parliament

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