Born in the UK in 1944, just after his father was killed in the war. Brought up in South Africa and schooled in Eton College where he failed his A Levels. At the height of the Cold War, Sir Ranulph joined the Royal Scots Greys (Tanks) and went on to join the SAS in 1965/1966. At the time he was the youngest Captain in the British Army. Between 1968-1970 he fought Marxist Terrorists and received the Sultans Bravery Medal from HM the Queen. Between 1984 and 1990 Sir Ranulph was Vice President of PR and Adviser for Western Europe to Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp. In 1970 he married his childhood sweetheart and together they launched a series of record breaking expeditions that kept them ahead of their international rivals for three decades.
Some of these huge challenges include:
- First to reach both Poles (with Charles Burton).
- First to cross Antarctic and Artic Ocean (with Charles Burton).
- First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis (with Charles Burton).
- Led the first hovercraft expedition up the longest river in the world (the Nile) in 1968/1969.
- Achieved world record for unsupported northerly polar travel in 1990.
- Led the team that discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border in 1992.
- Achieved world first in 1992/1993 by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent (with Mike Stroud). This was the longest unsupported polar journey in history.
- In 2003, only 3 months after a massive heart attack, 3 day coma and double bypass, Ranulph Fiennes (with Mike Stroud) achieved the first 7x7x7 (Seven marathons in only seven days on all seven continents).
- March 2005, climbed Everest to within 300m of summit raising £2 million for the British Heart Foundations new research MRI scanner.
- March 2007, Sir Ranulph climbed the North Face of the Eiger and raised £1.8 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s delivering Choice Programme
- Winner of the Greatest Britons 2007 Sport (beating the other main nominees Lewis Hamilton and Joe Calzaghe)
- May 2008, climbed Everest (Nepal-side) to within 400m from the summit raising £2.6m for Marie Curie Cancer Care
- Care Delivering Choice Programme Marie Curie 2008 ‘Above and Beyond Award’ Winner
- Successfully summited Everest May 2009 raising a total of £6.2 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care
French Parachute Wings 1968, Dhofar Campaign Medal 1968, Sultan of Oman’s Bravery Medal 1970, Man of the Year 1982, Livingstone Gold Medal Royal Scottish Geographical Soc 1983, Gold Medal NY Explorers Club 1984, Fndr’s Medal RGS 1984, The Polar Medal 1984 with Bar 1995 by HM the Queen (first wife was first female recipient), ITV Award for event of the decade 1990, Explorers Club (Br Chapter) Millennium Award for Navigation 2000, Oldie of the year 2004; Hon DSc Loughborough Univ; Hon Dr: UCE 1995, Univ of Portsmouth 2000, Univ of Glasgow 2002, Univ of Sheffield 2005.
Eighteen books including the UK bestseller (Times and Telegraph) in 1991 (The Feather Men) and in 2003, the top selling biography (Times).
To date Ranulph Fiennes has raised over £14.2 million for different UK charities.
Web Site: www.ranulphfiennes.co.uk
Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.