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Sir Ranulph Fiennes

In a world increasingly populated by dare-devils posing as genuine explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is an inspiring model of cool nerve and real deeds. Though he is aptly defined in The Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer,” it is a description which doesn’t do justice to a life so full of adventure travel, personal risk and literary achievement. His official title is Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, which isn’t surprising when you learn that he is a distant cousin of Britain's royal family. Yet he is usually called Ran, a simple name for this complex British explorer who holds several endurance records, led an expedition up the White Nile on a hovercraft, discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman and attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the north pole. Despite these achievements, he set out to become the first man to visit both the north and south poles by land. This famous journey, the Transglobe Expedition, was undertaken from 1979 until 1982 when Fiennes and Charles Burton journeyed around the world on its polar axis using surface transport only. They covered 52,000 miles and became the first people to have visited both poles by land.

 

Still not content, in 2000 Ran attempted to make a solo and unsupported journey to the north pole. Disaster struck when his sleds fell through weak ice, forcing the solo traveller to pull the life-saving supplies out of the frozen water by hand. The expedition was cancelled when severe frostbite attacked the tips of his fingers.

 

After being forced to return home, a surgeon insisted Ran’s necrotic fingertips be retained for several months so as to allow regrowth of the remaining healthy tissue prior to amputation. Having lost patience at the pain caused by his dying fingertips, Fiennes removed them himself with an electric saw (his first attempt using a hacksaw having met with limited success).

 

More recently the explorer suffered a heart attack which forced him to undergo a double heart by-pass operation. Nevertheless in 2003 Fiennes managed to accomplish the extraordinary feat of completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Having been to the top and bottom of the globe, Fiennes is  now reaching for the stars. In 2005 he reached 28,500 feet in his attempt to climb Mt. Everest. In March 2007, Sir Ranulph Fiennes intends to climb The Eiger in aid of the Marie Curie Cancer Care center. His aim is to raise £1 million for the charity.

Living Dangerously

ISBN 1590481445

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My admiration for Ran is unbounded and thank God he exists.  The world would be a far duller place without him.”

HRH Prince Charles

'Look for a brave spirit' is the family motto of the Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, an old English family whose ancestry traces back, via French and English kings, to the ninth century. The tradition of a thousand years of courageous, resourceful and wild forebears lives on in Ranulph Fiennes. Brought up in South Africa, he never knew his father, who had died in the Italian Campaign the year before he was born. Ranulph followed his father's path into the Royal Scots Greys. After that came the SAS, from which he was dismissed for blowing up an American film set at the idyllic Cotswold village of Castle Combs, then two vicious years as a volunteer fighting communist insurgents in Oman. Then began the series of expedi­tions for which Fiennes is best known and which caused The Guinness Book of Records to hail him in 1984 as 'the world's greatest living explorer.' Up the White Nile in a hovercraft, parachuting onto Europe's highest glacier, forcing his way up 4,000 miles of terrifying rivers in northern Canada and Alaska, overland to the North Pole and to the ends of the earth, across the world's axis-the Transglobe Expedition-which took ten years from conception to completion. He writes here too about his attempt to reach the North Pole without dogs or motorised equipment, beating the world record by 300 miles, his determination to find the lost city of Urbar in the Arabian desert and, finally, his extraordinary journey across the Antarctic Continent via the South Pole.

Living Dangerously is a remarkable testament from a remarkable man. Writing with great honesty and humour, Ranulph Fiennes gives us a taste of the excitement, hardship, vital teamwork and the sheer courage which is the life of the modern explorer. He is an English hero in the classic mould – a man of whom it can justly be said that he has been everywhere and done everything.
 

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