No 10 welcomes Sir Ranulph back from 'nasty Antarctic experience'

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THE EXPLORERS Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Michael Stroud were congratulated on their exploits yesterday by John Major at 10 Downing Street

The pair, who had returned to Britain earlier in the day, were asked by the Prime Minister to back the country's bid to host the Olympics in 2000.

Sir Ranulph promptly did just that, saying: 'Manchester certainly deserve it.'

During the 95-day, 1,350- mile trip, Sir Ranulph, 48, and Dr Stroud, 37, achieved the longest unsupported polar trip and the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic landmass.

Sir Ranulph said: 'I have been leading expeditions for 29 years and it was the most unpleasant, nasty experience during that time. I certainly don't want to be involved in it again.'

He added: 'We'll spend today and tomorrow at the Army Personnel Research Establishment (in Farnborough, Hampshire) undergoing a variety of treadmill, cold bath, muscle removal and other body- state recording programmes.'

(Photograph omitted)