It was great to go and see Ran Fiennes on Monday in Barrow-in-Furness to tell us about how his big adventure began and go into detail about his greatest achievements.
Ran didn’t do very well in school, didn’t pass his A-levels and had no chance at university. After his 8 years in the army he joined the SAS but got thrown out for getting into ‘a bit of mischief with some explosives’!
Some of us just have to do our own thing. In Ran’s case, his own thing was travelling around the world, in the remotest of environments, walking the wild world around both poles, breaking world records and ‘being the first’ in many cases.
He was the first to circumnavigate the globe by both poles on land, a project that took 10 years from conception the first to cross Antarctica on foot.
At 73, Ran must be the funniest OAP I’ve known but you can tell he’s not the most natural spokesman. He makes light of most of his mishaps, like loosing fingers to frostbite and having a double heart bypass operation after attempting Everest, he has everyone laughing along.
He says that he climbed Everest because he’d been around the world and needed to get to the top of it. In 2009, at 65, he was the oldest Brit to get to the summit. As he points out himself, this was after 2 failed attempts, one of which came to an end because he had a massive heart attack not far from the top!
Five months after having a double heart bypass he ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.
Ran is still going strong. He’s set the challenge of being the only person to have circumnavigated the globe on foot via both poles and climbed the highest mountain in all continents. It’s called the Global Reach Challenge.
Global Reach Challenge – Marie Curie
He’s doing this in aid of Marie Curie as his first wife Ginny, who helped plan, organise and execute all of Ran’s challenges died of cancer 12 years ago. Here’s the link to his Marie Curie Challenge.
His adventuring career has spanned four decades. In this time he says they’ve risen over £18 million for charity. The audience are applauding him at this point and he’s just trying to get to the end of the sentence. He gives thanks for the support he’s been given and asks that it continues, then simply walks off the stage like applause embarrasses him.
Before the presentation, during the interval and for an hour after Ran signs books and tickets for those of us who have the books. He smiles for photos and selfies. He even looks at the correct place on my iPhone for our selfie.
Ran has inspired people to ‘push through’ and achieve their goals for over 40 years, this is what you would call a true British hero.
This is my favourite Ran Fiennes book, Cold. He tells of his adventures circumnavigating the globe via both poles and includes tales in freezing conditions. He’s written so many books, on subjects like the SAS, killers, Heat and Captain Scott of the Antarctic – take a look.
Why Not Read…
yEWBARROW & nETHERBECK
Come with me, virtually, around the Netherbeck Round for a wild camp in a boulderfield. I tick off 10 Wainwrights, starting on the challenging Yewbarrow.