Ranulph Fiennes

World's Greatest Living Explorer

Ancestry traceable to Charlemagne’s court.  First Fiennes to England in the 11th Century with the Normans.  Educated Eton College.  Lieutenant in Royal Scots Greys (tank regiment).  French Parachute Wings 1968.  With Special Air Service (SAS) in 1966.  Seconded to Sultan’s Armed Forces in Oman.  Fellow of Royal Geographical Society 1968.  Vice President World Expeditionary Association.  Dhofar Campaign Medal and Sultan’s Bravery Medal 1970.  Top Medal of Explorer’s Club of New York 1983.  Livingstone Gold Medal for Expedition Leadership by Royal Scottish Geographical Society 1982.  Leader of five major expeditions 1969-83.  Writer of six travel books, many articles and news features.

The remarkable story of the Transglobe expedition, the first circumpolar journey round earth, described in the New York Times as the world’s last great adventure, and by the expedition patron, HRH Prince Charles as ‘mad but marvellous’.

All the rapids, whirlpools, avalanches, deserts, swamps, terrorist bullets and faulty parachutes that have hitherto provided the ingredients of Ranulph Fiennes’ eventful career take a poor second place to the horrors and triumphs of his Transglobe expedition.

His wife Ginnie, conceived the circumpolar idea.  For seven years they strove to raise support for it and finally set out from Greenwich in a thirty-year-old ice strengthened vessel, “Benjamin Bowring”, with a colourful crew of volunteers from many countries and backgrounds.

The 100,000-mile route took them across the Sahara via Tombouctou, through the swamps and jungles of Mali and the Ivory Coast, over huge unexplored crevasse fields of Antartica, the inhospitable North West Passage, grave-yard of so many famous venturers, and into the unpredictable hazards of the Arctic Ocean.  Ranking alongside the journeys of Amundsen, Scott and Peary, the Transglobe endeavour, a chance housewife’s dream, became of the 1980’s a truly historic voyage.

The achievement of this “dream” by Ranulph Fiennes is an inspiring example to all of us of what can be accomplished in spite of hardship, frustration and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Ran Fiennes (full name:  Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes Bt – pronounced Fines – D.Sc,FRGS.) was in 1986 selected by the Guinness Book of Records for their World Hall of Fame as the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer”.  After motivating, amusing and thrilling some 50 of their major business conventions around the world, IBM managers rank him among the world’s greatest speakers.

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