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Page 3 Profile: Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Adventurer

That's an unusual name isn't it?

Wait until you hear the whole thing: Twisleton-Wykeham is his middle name.

So where is he off to now?

It's not so much a case of where, as when. Fiennes is planning to lead a team across the South Pole during winter, a feat which will involve four months of skiing through the snow in sheer darkness. On top of that, the temperature will at times drop as low as -70c. The expedition has been on Fiennes' mind for 25 years, but it was only now – thanks to new technology - that he has considered it to be possible. Two caterpillar-tracked bulldozers will drag behind him with all the equipment necessary to complete the dangerous six-month trek.

But why does he have to do it at all?

Well apparently climbing the world's highest mountain doesn't quite cut it for the 68-year-old anymore. In his own words: "Everyone's grandmother goes up Mount Everest at the weekend." That said, he had to give up on his first attempt to climb Everest in 2008 after suffering from heart problems, although admittedly he did manage to conquer it a year later.

He's not a quitter then?

No way. In fact as he gets older he seems to be more determined to prove himself. In 2003, just four months after a heart attack and consequent double bypass operation, Fiennes ran seven marathons in seven days in seven continents. Back in the 60s he went up the Nile on a hovercraft and in 1979 and 1982, he was the first to travel around the world on its polar axis by land.

When will he be back?

If everything goes as planned, Fiennes and his team should arrive at their destination by 21 September. But conditions will mean that they won't begin their return journey until January 2013, so at least some of us will be having a white Christmas.

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