We Find A Way with Sir Ranulph Fiennes
For 2023, Chaucer is delighted to introduce the We Find A Way Series – a series of live events shining a spotlight on extraordinary individuals who have found their way through adversity to reach some incredible feats.
The first in our series saw none other than Sir Ranulph Fiennes take to the stage. Amongst his many record-breaking achievements, Sir Ranulph was the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis.
Before the event, we sat down to ask a few questions on his illustrious career.
- What inspires your sense of adventure and risk-taking?
I am not inspired by external forces as such, it is something within my DNA. I have always felt driven to explore the world and I factor risk into that, rather than seeing my expeditions as deliberate risk-taking.
- What traits have you observed and admired from other explorers that you’ve known over the years?
Great attention to detail is the main factor successful explorers have in common, which I admire and require in my own expeditions. It is important to plan in great detail, to educate yourself about where you are going, mitigate potential risks and create contingency plans.
- A lot of your work involves significant mental as well as physical strength. Can you give our audience any tips on how they can find a way through challenging situations?
It is essential to stay calm and don’t try to rush, as haste can lead to mistakes or poor decision-making. If your original expedition is not going according to plan or the conditions change, choose an alternative route.
- Over your long career, how has your mindset and attitude changed in how you approach expeditions?
Experience influences everything; over time you are bound to refine your technique and mindset as you learn what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes your expectations of the environment or of yourself are different when you are young or when you first set out on an adventure, but the realities of life force adaptation. This influences your mindset and attitude for the future.
- Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time – How has climate change impacted your expeditions?
Climate change in the Arctic has been noticeable; the decline in pack-ice has been so marked that our sledges have increasingly had to be designed as boats which are also usable as sledges. Only 20 years ago they were designed as sledges and were usable, very rarely, as boats. This reality has required a whole different approach to exploration in the Arctic.