Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
“The answer was obvious. The useless finger ends must be cut off at once, so they could no longer get in the way and hit things. I tried tentatively to cut though the smallest finger with a new pair of secateurs, but it hurt. So I purchased a set of fretsaw blades at the village shop, put the little finger in my Black & Decker folding table’s vice and gently sawed through the dead skin and bone just above the live skin line. The moment I felt pain or spotted blood, I moved the saw further into the dead zone. I also turned the finger around several times to cut it from different sides, like sawing a log. This worked well and the little finger’s end knuckle finally dropped off after two hours of work. Over the next week I removed the other three longer fingers, one each day, and finally the thumb, which took two days”
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes OBE, 3rd Baronet, has been described by the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘World’s greatest living explorer‘. Above, he describes the time he removed the frost bitten fingers he sustained on a solo, unsupported attempt on the North Pole. He was the first person to travel to both poles on land, also the first to cross Antarctica on foot. He was also awarded the Polar Medal in 1986 and is the only person to hold a double clasp for that medal.
His adventures astound- he is the oldest Briton to have climbed Mount Everest and despite his fear of heights, ascended the north face of the Eiger. Four months after a heart attack and undergoing a double heart bypass, he completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Throughout this life of adventure, he has used his exploits to raise over £14 million for various charities. and was awarded an OBE in 1993 for ‘human endeavour and for charitable causes’.
Book in featured image:
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, The autobiography. Ranulph Fiennes. Hodder & Stoughton, 2007. ISBN 9780 340 95168 2