My life in travel: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

'I spent time in Oman, and found it to be the loveliest place on earth'

First holiday memory?

Going to Hermanus in South Africa when I was about five years old. All my sisters were deemed old enough to be taken to the Kruger National Park, but I was too young. It sticks in my mind because I saw someone drowning.

Best holiday?

I have just had a six-day holiday with my fiancée in Morocco. We had a guide and a donkey and we walked into the mountains south of Marrakech. It was beautiful but cold.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The islands off the west of Scotland. When my late wife Ginny and I were first married we had a rubber boat that we'd strap on to the roof of our Mini and drive up to Scotland. We'd take the boat out with some food and explore.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I wrote a book called Beyond the Limits a few years ago and at the end of each chapter, I give the lessons I have learned from my travels. There are well over 400, so it's hard to choose.

Ideal travelling companion?

It would have been Ginny. If I'm travelling to remote places it would be Dr Mike Stroud, who comes with me on my expeditions.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

If it's an expedition rather than a holiday I like physical or geographical challenges, but if I'm with children I don't want to take risks. I would like to be a culture vulture but I'm certainly not.

Holiday reading?

It's quite nice to read in your tent at the end of the day. During my last holiday I read Richard Adams' Shardik and Mervyn Peake's The Gormenghast Novels.

Where has seduced you?

Oman. I went out there in the 1960s with the army of the Sultan of Oman. I spent two-and-a-half years in Dhofar and it was utterly unspoilt. There were also people who hadn't seen non-Dhofarians before. I found the area to be the loveliest place on earth. I have been back eight times on archaeological digs, and on one occasion we uncovered the lost city of Yuba.

Better to travel or arrive?

If you're constantly looking forward to arriving you never enjoy the present. The temptation to always look forward is a real shame.

Worst travel experience?

I once spent a month in the Soviet Union. I was staying at a military base in Shredny on the north coast of Siberia. I can't even begin to describe the lavatories, nor the food.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Alaska near Nome. It was used by dog-sledders during the winter and it only had one floor, which was for the dogs. The men slept outside in tents. I had been booked into a room inside, which was swarming with mosquitoes and stank of dog poo. It was awful.

Favourite drive?

From the capital of Jordan down to Aqaba, trying not to be killed by passing lorries.

Best meal abroad?

A restaurant that I can't remember the name of in Cape Town. I ate there with Ginny and Charlie Burton the night before our ship left for Antarctica, where we were due to be for 18 months. It was our last supper and was utterly delicious. We ate fantastic fresh fish, beautiful beef and drank the best South African wine.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

If it's a hotel, I've got a habit of checking fire exits. If not I check to make sure that I can open the windows because I'm a fresh-air fiend.

Dream trip?

I would fly to Muscat, catch an internal flight to Salalah and rent a 4x4. I'd then take at least a two-week self-drive tour of south Oman.

Favourite city?

London. If I'm given holiday time I like to spend some of it in London because I know the ins and outs of it better than anywhere else.

Where next?

Tibet, for the Jagged Globe Everest expedition.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is climbing Mount Everest with Jagged Globe (0845 345 8848; www.jagged-globe.co.uk) in March, in aid of the British Heart Foundation's Healthy Hearts Appeal (020-7935 0185; www.bhf.org.uk)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore