There is something awe inspiring about people who have an insatiable drive and desire for life. I imagine most people reading this will have a least a passing recognition of the feats of Sir Ranulph Fiennes and possibly a recognition of his amazing achievements during his 70+ laps of the sun.
I haven’t yet read any of Ranulph Fiennes books, although I have two to read, including his latest coffee table offering, Beyond the Limits - the lessons learned from a lifetime of adventures. This was the basis for his talk at the Sage in Gateshead on the night of Tuesday 12th June.
There is no doubt this guy is a one off - listening to him recite an overview of his lifes adventures, from living and being educated (albeit to a somewhat lesser standard - his words) in South Africa, to fighting a guerilla war with the local Muslim tribes against Communist Revolutionaries in Dhofar, as well as his many exploratory and expeditionary challenges was quite mind blowing. The arena sat in baited silence and laughed on cue when his many one liners were uttered.
His recollection of all his adventures were gilded with a pretty dry sense of humour, of which his aristocratic accent supports fully. One could easily assume that the guy is seperated from reality due to his upper class style accent - but in reality is probably more in touch with the world than most people I know.
His feats around the world, in the most inhospitable of environments are a testament to the guys mental strength. From the deserts of Arabia, tackling Communists, snakes, spiders, scorpians and spiders. To the inhuman cold of the north and south pole (traversed, not once but twice!). All these accounts are mind blowing. There is (from me) a certain fascination with historical exploration of the South Pole - both the Falcon Scott expedition and the Ernest Shackleton ventures were pretty much disasterous, but made heroes out of the victims. Both stories showed examples of huge amounts of heroism and stoicism, something that is lost in the modern day culture of disposableness.
Fiennes is without doubt up there with these historical heroes.
His recount of his many stories was extremely entertaining and full of energy for an elderly gentleman - and his adventures don’t seem to be stopping just yet. One gets the feeling that the fire is still burning bright for his next adventure.