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Review: An Evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes - Living Dangerously

PUBLISHED: 10:45 20 February 2019

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Archant

If you had to find one word to sum up Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, dauntless would be a good choice.

In this engaging two hour chat, it’s clear that the adversity faced by the explorer has been extreme. But each set-back has only egged him on.

‘When a weak voice comes in my head, I think of my father and my grandfather,’ he says. Giving up is not an option when he imagines their disappointment from beyond the grave.

The adventures that he has endured are enough to make anyone shiver, and not only with terror. He describes the sponsors as ‘God’. Without them, his work cannot take place. The money is influenced by the media. Early in his career, the media decided that the ‘hot’ expeditions all took place in freezing places.

Which is why the man The Guinness Book of Records named ‘the greatest living explorer’ ended up frost bitten and starving. It is the reason he circumnavigated the globe from pole to pole and nearly died on an ice flow with polar bears tapping at his door.

It also explains why there is so little photographic evidence of what he has done. Pictures of vast, white, snowy wastes are about as interesting as a white piece of paper.

But the map of his past is far from blank. In fact, it is deliciously full of smudges. From failed ‘A’ levels to being thrown out of the S.A.S, it’s a life distinguished by its imperfections.

Age is another barrier that the 74 year old is busy breaking down. Slowing the pace? No way. He will not divulge the details of his future plans, although it is certain there are many.

But with rival teams snapping at his heels, he is not in a position to give anything away. This seemingly candid reflection on his work in fact reveals very little.

Apart, that is, from his determination to keep going.

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