Ranulph Fiennes : Mad, Bad and a Proper Legend

There are those of us in life who find it hard to get out of bed most mornings, who live for the weekends and a lie-in, maybe a stroll to the pub later on if we can be arsed. And then there are those people who really show us up for being the lazy gets that we are. Take one of Proper Mag’s heroes, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, pretty much the closest you can get to being a living Super-hero. From fighting in the Middle East and being in the SAS, to rafting down some of the world’s most dangerous rivers, crossing both poles on foot, running seven marathons (in seven day, on seven continents) and reaching the summit of Everest. Plus climbing the Eiger, Nazi hunting and many, many more unbelievable feats and not forgetting of course the millions he’s helped to raise for various charities. Pretty humbling isn’t it? Ran is indeed the man. Inspired by recently reading his thrilling autobiography ‘Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know’ I thought I’d drop him a line to see just what it is that makes him tick. Despite being an established author, he’s clearly a man of action when it comes to interviews as his answers are somewhat brief/no nonsense or maybe he just thinks we should buy his book to find out more (can’t argue with that). Along with the answers he also very kindly included some brilliant some photos from his travels. All hail the living legend that is Ranulph Fiennes….

NS: Of all your expeditions, which item or items have you found the most useful?

RF: Land Rovers in Deserts, Big mitts on ice, Antisthan cream in jungles

NS: Many of our readers are somewhat obsessed with outdoor, technical clothing, who makes the best coats in your opinion?

RF: Can only answer in terms of down-coats … PHD are the best

NS: How is the vertigo these day? I myself suffer from it and get the urge to jump off things, do you get that too?

RF: My vertigo is as bad as ever. But I Don’t ever want to jump off!

NS: A friend of mine will be attempting Everest soon, do you have any tips for him?

RF: Enjoy it all. Go carefully in the icefall.

NS: In ‘Mad,Bad & Dangerous to know’ you mention a climber who starts hallucinating and ends up finding a life-saving bottle of oxygen thanks to a corpse pointing to it up on Everest, have you ever encountered any strange visions yourself?

RF: No strange visions! Sorry!

NS: Due to severe frost-bite you ended up cutting the tips of your fingers off with a hack-saw, just how difficult was that to do?

RF: Very slow but not difficult

NS: You famously ran seven marathons, in seven continents in just seven days, not long after having a heart attack, how on earth did you manage to stay alive?

RF: By running very slowly

NS: The Feather Men is one of my all time favourite books, although it’s a novel, a lot of the content appears to be based on fact, just how true is it?

RF: Due to a coming film of the book. The media are attacking me at present. My publisher has put out a statement and I’m saying “no comment”.

NS: Speaking of thrilling stories, you were very nearly cast as James Bond once upon a time, how different do you think your life would have been had you got the job?

RF: Not as interesting

NS: Your outstanding charity work and your adventurous life in general are a huge inspiration to myself, who or what has inspired you the most?

RF: I most look up to my father although he was killed before I was born (in World War II)

NS: Have you hung up your expedition boots or is there something else in the pipeline?

RF: If I can get sponsorship, there is a trip I’d like to do. Not a vertical one.

To learn more about this living legend, go and buy all his books here, we recommend the Feather Men to get you started…

Neil Summers


  1. Swiss James

    Apparently didn’t get the 007 gig because his hands are too big, and he has a face like a farmer. FACTS!

  2. Jimmy James Jameson

    Haha Legend. Love the blunt answers. I share the same birthday as Sir Ran. Sadly, that’s where the similarities end… I can barely climb out of bed in a morning, never mind up a fucking great mountain, despite dressing like I’m about to, naturally.

  3. An amazing fella, read a few of his books currently finishing off Mad, Bad & Dangerous to know – superb read 🙂

  4. A genuine inspiration in the field of beards/warm coats/hard work.

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