- Born UK 1944, just after his father was killed in the war.
- Brought up in South Africa
- Back UK, Eton College
- Failed A Levels
- Joined Royal Scots Greys (Tanks). Cold War
- Joined SAS 1965/1966. Youngest Captain in the British Army
- Fought Marxist Terrorists 1968-1970 and received the Sultans Bravery Medal from HM the Queen
- 1984-1990 Vice President of PR and Adviser for Western Europe to Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp.
- Married childhood sweetheart Ginnie Pepper in 1970 and together they launched a series of record breaking expeditions that kept them ahead of their international rivals for three decades.
- Some of these huge challenges include:
- First to reach both Poles (with Charles Burton).
- First to cross Antarctic and Arctic Ocean (with Charles Burton).
- First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis (with Charles Burton). 'This 3 year, 52 000 mile odyssey took intricate planning, 1900 sponsors, a 52 person team to handle, complex communications, meticulous planning and iron determination mixed with flexibility. The circumnavigation has never been successfully repeated.
- Led the first hovercraft expedition up the longest river in the world (the Nile) in 1968/1969.
- Achieved world record for unsupported northerly polar travel in 1990.
- Led the team that discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border in 1992 (after seven previous search expeditions over a 26 year period).
- Achieved world first in 1992/1993 by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent (with Mike Stroud). This was the longest unsupported polar journey in history.
- In 2003, only 3½ months after a massive heart attack, 3 day coma and double bypass, Ranulph Fiennes (with Mike Stroud) achieved the first 7x7x7 (Seven marathons in seven consecutive days on all seven continents).
- March 2005, climbed Everest (Tibet-side) to within 300m of summit raising £2 million for the British Heart Foundations new research MRI scanner.
- March 2007, Sir Ranulph climbed the North Face of the Eiger (with Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell) and raised £1.8 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care's Delivering Choice Programme
- Winner of ITV Greatest Britons 2007 Sport Award (beating the 2 other main nominees Lewis Hamilton and Joe Calzaghe)
- May 2008, climbed Everest (Nepal-side) to within 400m from summit raising £2.5m for Marie Curie Cancer Care Delivering Choice Programme
- Marie Curie 2008 ‘Above and Beyond Award’ Winner
- Successfully summitted Everest May 2009 with Thundu Sherpa making a total for Marie Curie of over £6.2m. The oldest Briton ever to summit.
- French Parachute Wings 1968
- Dhofar Campaign Medal 1968
- Sultan of Oman's Bravery Medal 1970
- Man of the Year 1982
- Livingstone Gold Medal Royal Scottish Geographical Soc 1983
- Gold Medal NY Explorers Club 1984
- Described by Guiness Book of Records as "The World's Greatest Living Explorer" 1984
- Fndr's Medal RGS 1984
- The Polar Medal 1984 with Bar 1995 by HM the Queen (his wife Ginnie was first female recipient)
- ITV Award for Event of the Decade 1990
- Explorers Club (Br Chapter) Millennium Award for Navigation 2000
- Oldie of the Year Award 2004
- Hon DSc Loughborough Univ
- Hon Dr: UCE 1995, Univ of Portsmouth 2000, Univ of Glasgow 2002, Univ of Sheffield 2005. Abertay University (Dundee) 2007, Plymouth University 2011