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'Living Dangerously' with Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt. OBE

On Wednesday 15 October, British explorer extraordinaire Sir Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes Bt. OBE captivated an intimate Annabel's audience with an enthralling talk recounting extreme expeditions to unknown frontiers facing the most hostile conditions on the planet.

Within the elegant setting of Annabel’s convivial Dining Room, Ran treated Members to a fascinating insight into his exhilarating life as one of the world’s greatest-ever explorers, documenting with compelling wit and humour the significant learning curves and world record achievements which have shaped his remarkable career.

Evoking juxtaposing reactions of both shock and amusement throughout the talk, images depicting the punishing physical effects of polar exploration prompted gasps in the room, while laughter ensued as Ran relayed countless anecdotes of his early life; from schoolboy escapades at Eton College to a flawed bank robbery challenge during his time in the SAS.

As the first to reach both poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Artic Ocean and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis, Ran emphasised the importance of pushing boundaries and remaining ahead of his rivals. Members were interested to hear that it was Ran’s late wife Ginny who, at breakfast one morning, decided cold polar exhibitions would be necessary for continued sponsorship, and they should begin with a complete 52,000 mile journey around the earth.

‘[Ginny] said we will go polar and we will start ambitiously, by doing both poles in the same expedition…She sent me to a library to find out the best route.’

A question and answer session presented Members with a rare chance to ask Ran what he enjoys most about an expedition. Ran revealed; ‘The planning, which can go on for seven years, is enjoyable and challenging. You get to know lots of sponsors, you have a big circle and a trust, and you gradually, like a jigsaw puzzle, get everything ready until the finest detail is ready.’

Truly awe-inspired by the motivation and determination of the man who has taken global exploring further than anyone before him, many Members seized the opportunity to purchase signed copies of Ran’s best-selling books following the talk, before ending the entrancing evening enjoying a wonderful three course dinner at the Club.