Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes heading to region on charity mission

The man dubbed "the world's greatest living explorer" is heading to the region on a charitable mission.

Thursday, 1st March 2018, 9:40 am
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 9:45 am
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes - who has led more than 30 expeditions, was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means, was also the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot and who climbed to the summit of Everest at the age of 65 - will be speaking at a dinner in aid of the Butterwick Hospice at Ramside Hall Hotel, in Durham, on March 15.

Now aged 73, Sir Ranulph will be telling the audience about his record-breaking exploits as he seeks to help raise vital funds for the charity.

"The talk lasts 55 minutes and there are 72 slides, including one showing my amputated fingers," the former SAS officer said.

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That is a reference to what happened during a solo trek to the North Pole in 2000 when Sir Ranulph’s sledge, weighed down with supplies, slipped into the sea and was wedged under a slab of ice. In retrieving it, he removed his outer glove and when his hand was exposed to air temperatures of -63 degrees, he knew immediately that he was in trouble.

"My fingers were ramrod stiff and ivory white," he later wrote in his autobiography.

The expedition had to be abandoned and doctors later told him that the necessary amputations of four fingers and his thumb on his left hand could not take place for five months and would cost £6,000. Instead, he did the job himself, using a vice and a saw before his handiwork was "tidied up" a fortnight later by surgeons.

It is just one episode in the awe-inspiring life of Sir Ranulph Fiennes that will be told at Ramside Hall. He will also be signing copies of books, including "Beyond The Limits – Lessons Learned From A Lifetime’s Adventures" and "Cold: Extreme Adventures At The Lowest Temperatures on Earth."

* Tickets for Sir Ranulph Fiennes' lecture at Ramside Hall Hotel are £75 per person to include a four-course meal and cheeseboard.

For more details, go to www.butterwick.org.uk/sirranulph