By Alison Ballance
Antarctic geologist and one-time sled dog handler Malcolm Laird died recently. The retired University of Canterbury sedimentologist made more than a dozen trips to Antarctica during his lifetime, beginning in 1960 as a dog handler, and more recently as part of the Cape Roberts Drilling Programme. He also visited a number of times as a lecturer on board cruise ships. In 1978 he was awarded the Polar Medal for his services to Antarctic research. Laird Plateau and Cape Laird in Antarctica are named after him.
At the 2014 IceFest, held in Christchurch, Malcolm Laird shared the stage with retired surveyor Peter Otway, another frequent Antarctic visitor, in a session entitled Old School Antarctic Explorers. The session was chaired by Alison Ballance, and the pair showed slides and talked about the challenges and excitement of working in remote locations, using sleds and sled dogs to travel.