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Discovering Fiennes

17 June 2010

Sir Ranulph Fiennes captivating an audience of more than 400 at this year's Hadyn Ellis Distinguished LectureSir Ranulph Fiennes captivating an audience of more than 400 at this year's Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture

One of the world’s greatest adventurers has enthralled an audience of more than 400 at this year’s Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes took the audience on a journey from his South African boyhood and army career through to the series of breathtaking expeditions which earned him the title of "the world's greatest living explorer".

His gripping lecture marked the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole. On the 15th June 1910, the SS Terra Nova and Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition sailed from Cardiff bound for Antarctica. They were beaten to the South Pole by a Norwegian expedition and, tragically, Captain Scott and his team perished on their return journey.

Marking the exact centenary with his public lecture at the University, Sir Ranulph described with honesty and humour the teamwork, leadership, determination, patience, discipline, enthusiasm and above all courage that was by himself and his own team of explorers needed to conquer some of the world’s most remote and inhospitable areas.

Entitled ‘Living Dangerously: In the genre of Captain Scott’, his inspirational talk demonstrated his own steely determination to discover unchartered terrain. To date, he has been the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis – a feat never to have been successfully repeated.

The lecture also marked the launch of the School of Earth and Ocean Science’s own public lecture series which will see a number of high profile guest speakers from the world of polar exploration and scientific research speak at the University throughout 2010/11.

Dr Simon Wakefield from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: "Holding this special lecture at the University on the day that the city of Cardiff celebrates the 100th anniversary of Captain Scott’s departure from Cardiff has been very fitting. Sir Ranulph completely captivated us all with tales of life as a modern explorer and it turned out to be a blockbuster start to our own series of lectures.

"The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences participate in world-leading Antarctic and climate change research. It seemed logical that we should play to our strengths and offer a public lecture series over the course of a year celebrating what we know about southern polar science."

The Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture Series has become one of the most high profile events in the University’s calendar. Sir Ranulph’s lecture was the third in the series, following Mary Robinson, former Irish President, in 2008 and Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, in 2009.

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