Peter Scott age 25 when he came to the lighthouse

           Peter Scott at age 25 when he came to stay at the lighthouse

Sir Peter Scott is a name that means many things to many people.

To some he was known as the son of the famous but ill fated Capitan Scott, the polar explorer that died reaching the South Pole and of famous sculptor mother Kathleen nee Bruce.

To others he was the world’s most famous naturalist, conservationist, broadcaster, writer and television presenter: the cement between the building blocks of global conservation and founder member of the World Wildlife Fund as well as originator of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Then again, while at the lighthouse he achieved fame as a wildlife artist and, creator of his own special style of painting wildfowl. That of birds flying, birds landing and birds feeding against a backdrop of sunrises, sunsets and mists in the marshes and wild areas that he loved.

WWF panda logoTo him are credited the building blocks of many of our modern methods of data recording. He is credited with introducing the Red Book endangered species list and may campaigns including Save the Whales and for helping bring China onto the side of global conservation including painting the WWF panda logo.

Loch Ness Monster paintingHis reputation as a science based naturalist was damaged among some of the more serious minded  when he produced a painting of the legendry Scottish ‘Loch Ness Monster’ based simply on a grainy photograph purporting to show a fin. To make matters worse, he gave it the Latin name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx.  

 He did this because as he explained, if a monster had been discovered, then without name and identification, it would not have been able to protect it, meaning it could have ended up in a zoo. This was yet another example of his practical approach to conservation regardless of risk to his reputation. If he thought something was right, he would do it.

The last laugh was on the others anyway when the name was found to be an anagram of ‘Monster hoax by Sir Peter S’

In competition sports, he may have been known as a highly skilled wildfowler in his younger days, approaching world championship standard at ice skating, the winner of an Olympic bronze medal in single handed dinghy sailing, or as helmsman of ‘Royal Sovereign’ in the America’s Cup sailing challenge. It could equally have been a British national gliding champion.

He held many other roles including that of Lieutenant Commander in the navy with a highly charged wartime career. He was also champion of many other wildlife and people related causes throughout his life, always interested and encouraging and forming great company in all strata of the community.

Some met the bar of steel and highly competitive nature that lay at his core but most did not. Perhaps for all his huge accomplishments, the greatest accolade is that so many people around the world knew of him as a friend of all wildlife and all people.

 Sir Peter Scott Blue Plaque

                                           14 September 1909 – 29 August 1989