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Isobel Awards

The Isobel Award is an annual event that champions and honours our unsung heroes who have overcome adversity and made a positive contribution to their community.

Inspired by Isobel Wylie Hutchison, renowned explorer, botanist, and poet who grew up in Carlowrie Castle, The Isobel Award celebrates the power of community and giving back to people and the planet.

In May each year, to commemorate Isobel's birthday, we bring together groups and individuals with shared values for our Isobel Award ceremony.

Winners of the Award have all faced challenges and not only risen to meet them but have excelled and brought meaningful positive change in their wake, just as Isobel did throughout her lifetime.

Winner of The Isobel Award 2024

On the 30th of May 2024, we were delighted to present our sixth Isobel Award to Scottish mental health charity, With Kids, for their life changing work helping children navigate their mental health.

With Kids is dedicated to working alongside children, their teachers, and parents to provide them with the necessary tools to grow up to be happy and healthy adults. We admire With Kids's flexible approach and their focus on relationships, which allows them to create a safe space to support children and their carers through difficult times.

We look forward to supporting With Kids over the course of the year so they can continue to provide essential mental health support and resources to children and their families.

If you would like to find out more about With Kids, please visit




Isobel Wylie Hutchison


Isobel Wylie Hutchison was the longest resident and owner of Carlowrie Castle. As a child, Isobel lost her beloved father and two brothers in quick succession. Her grief and emotional fragility in the wake of these events is in part what spurred her towards her future, but Isobel faced other challenges as she contemplated the life of an explorer and researcher. It was the early 1920s. Few women could vote and the majority were not given the opportunity to venture beyond the domestic sphere. Isobel's mother, and society at large, saw the only acceptable future for Isobel as one of matrimony and children. Striking out against such fiercely held tradition and conservative values, Isobel confounded society by travelling to regions of the world that were widely considered unsuitable and indeed unsafe for travel: the frozen expanses of the Arctic, the interior of Iceland, the wilds of Greenland, Alaska.

Having chosen this path, Isobel threw herself into it with curiosity and passion. Isobel funded her travels through her interest in botany and her travel writing. Initially, she presented herself as a botanist to cross the strictly controlled borders of Greenland. Thereafter she discovered that there was considerable interest in her specimens. Throughout her expeditions, Isobel gathered thousands of botanical specimens, sending them back to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and Edinburgh, the Natural History Museum in London, Research Laboratories at Oxford University and private collectors.

Isobel was a prolific writer whose accounts of her travels opened up the places she travelled to new audiences, bringing these remote regions a little closer to the experiences and minds of her readers back in Britain. Isobel was committed to understanding indigenous peoples by living amongst them, exchanging haggis for seal meat and learning their languages and customs. While living in a Greenlandic village Isobel captured footage which is recognised as being some of the first documentary film footage ever recorded, simply celebrating people in their everyday lives.

Isobel earned the respect and endorsement of some key figures within the explorer community. In 1934 Isobel became one of the first recipients, and the first woman, to be awarded the prestigious Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. The award recognises significant contributions to geographical knowledge, often acquired at grave personal risk. It was presented to her by none other than the future King George VI. National Geographic also expressed a keen interest in her work and published a number of her articles.

The Isobel Awards Previous Winners

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