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Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE - Biography

Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Image credit: John Cleare

Image credit: John Cleare

Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE has been titled by the Guinness Book of Records as “The World’s Greatest Living Explorer.”

He is well-known for a series of record-breaking expeditions with Charles Burton, including being the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Artic Ocean, and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis. The latter challenge was a three year, 52,000 mile odyssey requiring intricate planning, 1,900 sponsors, a 52 person team, complex communications and an iron determination mixed with flexibility. The circumnavigation has never been successfully repeated.

Other remarkable achievements include:

  • Leading the first hovercraft expedition up the Nile
  • Achieving the world record for unsupported northerly polar travel in 1990
  • Leading the team that discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border in 1992 (following seven previous search expeditions over a 26 year period)
  • Achieving a world first by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic continent (with Mike Stroud) – the longest unsupported polar journey in history
  • Achieving the first 7x7x7 (with Mike Stroud) – seven marathons in only seven days on all seven continents – only three and a half months after a massive heart attack, three day coma and double bypass
  • Climbing Everest (Tibet-side) to within 300m of the summit in 2005 and climbing Everest (Nepal-side) to within 400m of the summit n 2008. These expeditions raised £2 million for the British Heart Foundation and £2.6 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care respectively.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is also a prolific author. He has written seventeen books, including the 1991 UK bestseller The Feather Men (The Times and The Telegraph) and 2003’s best-selling biography (The Times).

To date he has raised nearly £14 million for UK charities, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, the British Heart Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care.