Ranulph Fiennes has entered the public imagination as the intrepid explorer par excellance. Taunted by his wife over the challenge of the never-before attempted circumpolar navigation of the globe, he set off in 1979 on a gruelling 52,000 mile adventure. Together with fellow members of 21 SAS regiment, Fiennes left from Greenwich, travelling over land, passing through both ends of the polar axis. Completed over three years later, it was the first circumpolar navigation of the globe, and justifiably entered Fiennes into the record books.
TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH is the record of that journey. It captures the natural beauty of the landscapes they passed through, and the cameraderie that necessarily grows between men who had served in the British forces' elite regiment and were now throwing themselves into danger of a different sort. Time and again, the expedition found themselves in life-threatening situations, weaving through the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean or sharing a single sleeping bag to ward off the -40 degrees celsius Arctic night. The calm and measured approach which made Fiennes such a great expedition leader shines through TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, deftly recreating the last unexplored regions on earth.
It is also a book which lays the foundations for what was to come for Fiennes, confirming a need to exist outside the comfortable norms the rest of us inhabit. As the expedition progresses, there is also a mounting sense of tension as attainment of the final goal also spells the end of the adventure. TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH is a compelling account of one journey and Fiennes' drive to push himself to ever further extremes.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In the 1960s he was removed from the SAS Regiment for misuse of explosives but, after joining the army of the Sultan of Oman, received that country's Bravery Medal on active service in 1971. He is the only person yet to have been awarded two clasps to the Polar medal for both Antarctic and the Arctic regions. Fiennes has led over thirty expeditions, including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth, and in 2003 he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in aid of the British Heart Foundation. In 1993 Her Majesty the Queen awarded Fiennes the Order of the British Empire (OBE) because, on the way to breaking records, he has raised over £14 million for charity. He was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 ITV Great Briton Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.