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About Sue

Sue Stockdale, the former international athlete and polar explorer, has joined Panache Cruises’ growing list of Ambassadors. In her role as Ambassador, Sue will help the Panache Cruises team develop its programme of expedition cruises. Sue will also attend various Panache Cruises events led by our founder James Cole.

Born in Scotland in 1966, Sue developed an early interest in athletics and endurance running. She went on to represent Scotland in both the 1500 and 3000 metres and competed at numerous international running events.

In 1996, Sue Stockdale became the first woman from the UK to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. The expedition was led by renowned adventurer Sir David Hempleman-Adams, the first person to reach both the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles. Sue was selected for the team from 500 applicants.

Later in 1996, Sue joined Robert Swan OBE as a mentor on his UNESCO “One Step Beyond” expedition to Antarctica. The expedition saw 35 young people from 25 countries sail down to Antarctica onboard The Spirit of Enderby (formerly the Professor Khromov) to work on a number of environmental initiatives.

In 1998, Sue joined an international expedition to the Geographic North Pole, led by renowned polar explorer Victor Boyarsky. Dubbed “Brave Hearts in the Arctic”, the expedition covered the last degree from 89 degrees to the Geographic North Pole from Ice Camp Barneo on the Russian side of the Arctic.

Three years later in 1999, Sue became a member of the International Trans-Greenland expedition. As part of a team of four, Sue skied across the Greenland Ice Cap in 28 days. The expedition was successful, but not without peril, as the team encountered several life threatening polar storms along the route.

In 2004, Sue was selected to appear on Channel 4’s ‘Superhuman’ challenge where she was subjected to some of the toughest scientific tests ever shown on TV, including an escape from a crashed helicopter submerged under water. She finished as a runner-up.

In light of her achievements, Sue received the President's Shield for Highest Personal Achievement from the Royal Society of St George in 1996, and was recognised as a Pioneer to the Life of the Nation by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Based in Wiltshire in the UK, Sue is now a motivational speaker, executive coach, author, TEDx speaker, and podcaster. She is also a patron of Ski 4 Cancer, an alpine-focused cancer respite charity based in the UK.

In 2019, Sue co-founded a not-for-profit podcast ‘Access to Inspiration’ with her husband Clive Steeper. In 2021, it was ranked as one of the top 10% most popular podcast shows globally. Sue is author and co-author of a number of business books and writes regularly for a number of international publications. Her latest book ‘Explore: A Life Of Adventure’ was published in 2022.



“I have been closely involved with the cruise industry for some time now and regularly speak about my adventures on cruise ships visiting the Arctic and Antarctic circles. My objective in recounting my experiences is always to inspire others to do something extraordinary, whatever that might be. Visiting some of the world’s most unique and remote destinations can be a humbling experience but also extremely powerful. Through my own expeditions, I realised that we are all capable of so much, yet we often don’t maximise the potential we have. I look forward to working closely with the Panache Cruises team and meeting some new budding explorers along the way. If I can encourage people to release their ‘inner explorer’ as part of this new journey, I will be truly delighted.”