John Rae was a Scottish doctor who explored Northern Canada, surveyed parts of the Northwest Passage and reported the fate of the Franklin Expedition.
Rae was born at the Hall of Clestrain in the parish of Orphir in Orkney. After studying medicine at Edinburgh he went to work for the Hudson's Bay Company as a doctor, accepting a post as surgeon at Moose Factory, Ontario, where he remained for ten years.
Whilst working for the company, treating both European and indigenous employees of the company, Rae became known for his prodigious stamina and skilled use of snow shoes. He learned to live off the land like the Inuit and working with the local craftsmen, designed his own snow shoes. This knowledge allowed him to travel great distances with little equipment and few followers, unlike many other explorers of the Victorian Age.
In 1844–45, wanting to learn how to survey, Rae walked 1200 miles over two months in the winter forest, a feat that earned him the Inuit nickname Aglooka, "he who takes long strides." In 1846 Rae went on his first expedition and in 1848 joined Sir John Richardson in searching for the Northwest Passage.