Monday, 7 March 2011
Britain says "Happy Birthday" to an old explorer' called Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, the Scottish adventurer and holder of several endurance records is 67 today.
What you probably didn't know about 'Ran' was that, he :
* was born in Glasgow, shortly after the death of his father, a 'Lieutenant-Colonel' who was killed in the Second World War in 1944 at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
* inherited his father's baronetcy, became 'Sir Ranulph' at his birth and is the third cousin of actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes.
* moved with his family to South Africa after the War, remained there until he was 12and then returned to Britain where he was educated at Eton.
* joined the British Army, served for 8 years and was 'seconded' to the 'Special Air Service', where he specialised in 'demolition'.
* was offended by the construction of a concrete dam built by '20th Century Fox' for film 'Doctor Dolittle' in a pretty Wiltshire village, demolished it using explosives, evaded search dogs, was traced and after a court case, and was fined and discharged from the SAS.
* spent his last 2 years in the Army, 'seconded' to the Sultan of Oman and in the 'Communist Insurgency', led several raids deep into their territory and was decorated for bravery by the Sultanate.
* since the 1960s, has been an 'adventurer' leading expeditions up the White Nile on a hovercraft in 1969 and on Norway's Jostedalsbreen Glacier in 1970.
* undertook his 'Transglobe Expedition' from 1979 until 1982 and journeyed around the World on its polar axis using only surface transport.
* in 1992, led an expedition which discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman.
* in 1993 attempted, unsuccessfully, to become the first to cross Antarctica 'unaided' and again, in 1996, to walk 'solo' to the South Pole.
* 1n 2000, failed to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole when his sleds fell through weak ice and was forced to abandon the attempt when he sustained severe frostbite to his fingers.
* in 2003, after a heart attack and double heart bypass, completed 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents in the 'Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge for the 'British Heart Foundation.'
* in 2007, despite a fear of heights, climbed the Eiger by its North Face, with sponsorship totaling £1.5 million for the 'Marie Curie Cancer Care Delivering Choice Programme.'
* in 2009, at the age of 65, became the oldest Brit to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
* has published 13 fiction and non-fiction books, including a biography of 'Captain Scott' which defended Scott's achievements.
* was apparently considered for the role of 'James Bond' and was rejected in favour of Roger Moore by Cubby Broccoli for having "hands too big and a face like a farmer".
* was appointed OBE in 1993 for 'human endeavour and for charitable services' in recognition of his expeditions which have raised £5 million for good causes.
* was ranked 94th in a list of the 'Top 100 living geniuses' by The Daily Telegraph Newspaper.
* is, according to the 'Guinness Book of World Records', the World's 'Greatest Living Explorer.'