World's Greatest Living Explorer
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Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham Fiennes was born in 1944 and educated at Eton. He served with the Royal Scots Greys for a time before joining the SAS. In l968 he joined the Army of the Sultan of Oman and in 1970 was awarded the Sultan’s Bravery Medal. Since 1969 when he led the British Expedition on the White Nile, Ranulph Fiennes has been at the forefront of many exploratory expeditions.
Described in 1984 as the `World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records, his expeditions around the world include Transglobe (the first surface journey around the world’s polar axis) 1979-82; North Polar Unsupported Expedition (furthest North unsupported record) 1986; Anglo Soviet North Pole Expedition 1990-91; Co-leader of the Ubar Expedition (which in 1991 discovered Ptolemy’s lost Atlantis of the Sands, the frankincense centre of the world); leader of the Pentland South Pole Expedition (which achieved the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent and the longest unsupported polar journey in history) 1992-93.
Sir Ranulph’s expeditions have raised millions for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which has enabled the building of Europe’s first MS Research Centre in Cambridge. In l993 he was awarded an OBE for `human endeavour and charitable services’. Sir Ranulph is also the author of several books including his autobiography Living Dangerously, The Feather Men (UK Number One Bestseller), Atlantis of the Sands, Mind Over Matter, a harrowing account of an expedition, Beyond the Limits, his novel The Sett, Fit For Life and his latest publication, Captain Scott, the best-selling biography of 2003.
Sir Ranulph is the only explorer to receive a double clasp Polar Medal acknowledging both Arctic and Antarctic achievements. He was awarded the second clasp by Her Majesty the Queen on 14th December 1995. In 1996 Sir Ranulph embarked on one of the world’s last great unconquered challenges – to cross the whole of the Antarctic unsupported and single handed: The Dyson Antarctica Solo raising huge sums for the charity Breakthrough.
In 2003 the world famous explorer suffered a heart attack, not while on expedition, simply while sitting on an aeroplane reading the in-flight magazine. Following his recovery Sir Ranulph joined up with the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Healthy Hearts’ scheme of which he is now President. His first big charity fundraiser was the 7x7x7 challenge, seven marathons in seven days across seven different countries. He also competed in the Flora London Marathon on 18th April 2004.
March 2005 saw him flying to Kathmandu in preparation for another extreme challenge, to climb the more difficult Northern route on Everest and raise GBP 2 million to help the British Heart Foundation save the lives of children and young adults. He came very close to succeeding the ascent in June but had to turn back at over 8500 metres due to breathing difficulties and his lungs being compromised by the extreme altitude and extensive reliance on oxygen.
At the age of 65, Sir Ranulph became the oldest Briton to conquer Mount Everest, raising more than GBP2.5 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care. After motivating, amusing and thrilling some 500 professional and business groups around the world, he is now ranked as among the world’s greatest speakers. HRH Prince Charles said of him “My admiration for Ran is unbounded, and thank God he exists. The world would be a far duller place without him…”
"My admiration for Ran is unbounded, and thank God he exists. The world would be a far duller place without him." Hrh Prince Charles