Born in the Midlothian town of Kirkliston, Hutchison began her eclectic career as a traveler, film-maker, poet and novelist when she was in her thirties. In 1927 she embarked on her first exploration to East Greenland, and in 1928 she spent the year living with the indigenous Eskimos in North Greenland. In 1934 she travelled to Arctic Alaska. What distinguishes her travels from other explorers is the attention she paid to day-to-day, often humble behaviours. This was complimented by her interest in botany. The books she produced relating to her travels are illustrated with her lively watercolours. She had a long association with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society as Honorary Editor and Vice President. She was awarded the Mungo Park Medal in honour of her exploration and research.