Scottish Daily Mail

The one lesson I’ve learned from life

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

- Interview by LIZ HOGGARD

SIR ranulph Fiennes OBE, 73, has led more than 30 expedition­s, including the first polar circumnavi­gation of the Earth. He lives on a farm in Shropshire and is married to his second wife, horse trainer Louise, 46, with a 12-year-old daughter and step-son, 22.


AS A CHILD i was surrounded by strong women. i never knew my father, who was killed in a landmine accident in 1943, four months before i was born.

Because there were no other males in the family i was spoiled rotten.

We moved to West Sussex when i was 12, and with great good luck the most wonderful girl lived next door — Ginny, who had extraordin­arily big blue eyes. i took her out when she was 13 and i was 16. her father hated it. he hated me.

When she went to boarding school i’d visit her in secret, but her father had her trailed by Securicor. nothing could deter us though, and we were married in 1970; five years after the wedding, her father finally came round to the idea.

For 17 years, we tried to have a family, but it didn’t happen. nobody could find anything wrong and we were turned down for adoption because we didn’t have a predictabl­e income.

in 2004, Ginny died of stomach cancer, aged 56. Today i often fundraise for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

i met louise when she started coming to my lectures. Our honeymoon was spent at the everest base camp. louise was pregnant and it was full of rubbish and bodies so it was a bad idea, really.

louise is the most wonderful mother. She doesn’t believe in social media for young children and luckily our 12-yearold daughter, elizabeth, hasn’t objected. She’s keen on Shetland ponies, and that, i think, staves off boys for a bit.

But i am aware that in a few years, men’s attentions might click in, so i will be watchful. it’s made me sympathise with what Ginny’s father went through.

For the first time i regret i behaved as i did and realise how strong and primitive the father’s instinct to protect his daughter is. i shan’t ban boys from seeing her, but i will vet them thoroughly and make them swear on their lives to look after her well.

For tickets to An Evening With Sir ranulph Fiennes, visit fane production­­nnes

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