Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Mind Over Matter, Lynn Corn Exchange
One of the world’s greatest explorers who has ever travelled the Earth from end to end was in Lynn on Thursday to share just some of his life’s great adventures with a sell-out audience at the Corn Exchange.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is driven by an irrepressible urge to achieve goals unthinkable to most but importantly for him, to be the first to do it. And at whatever cost, to beat the Norwegian “enemy” in pioneering polar accomplishments.
Born in Windsor, he spent his early years in South Africa returning to England aged 12 and later was sent to Eton College before a spell in Brighton, where he failed to gain his A levels, twice. He joined the Army, serving in Germany and trained with the SAS.
He told how a friend knowing of his expertise had asked him to create a diversionary explosion while he opened a dam to flood the village of Castle Combe to disrupt the filming of Dr Doolittle. It didn’t go to plan and didn’t impress his superiors either.
He described his time serving in Oman with a unit of just 140 facing an enemy of thousands, how they were trained to disarm land mines with tools as technical as a Swiss Army knife and of his ambition to be the commanding officer of the regiment that his father commanded when he was killed in the war.
His expeditionary challenges were awesome as was his driving force, his late wife, Ginny. She had suggested navigating the Nile by hovercraft and devised the Transglobe Expedition which earned him a place in the Guinness Book of Records as Britain’s greatest living explorer. Her little Jack Russell who went with them, he said also earned a place in the book as the only dog to have peed on both North and South Poles.
His experiences are straight from a storybook – polar bears outside the tent, frostbitten fingers and toes graphically illustrated with slides, freezing winds, avalanches, crevasses crossed with the metal frame of a greengrocer’s stall, near starvation and anxious waits for a rescue boat. But it’s no imaginary tale, it’s was all for real.
In later life his challenges were no less mind-blowing. Having suffered a massive heart attack just five months earlier, he completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days aged 59.
This living legend is undisputedly an example Who Dares Wins. It was a privilege to hear these adventures first hand from the man himself.