Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE (born 7 March 1944), better known as Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records. He is also a prolific writer. Fiennes served in the British army for eight years including a period on counter-insurgency service while attached to the army of the Sultanate of Oman. He later undertook numerous expeditions and was the first person to visit both the north and south poles by surface means and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. In May 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. According to the Guinness Book of World Records he is the world's greatest living adventurer. Fiennes has written numerous books about his army service and his expeditions as well as a book defending Robert Falcon Scott from modern revisionists.
Fiennes was born in Glasgow, Scotland shortly after the death of his father, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, who was killed in action in the Second World War at Monte Cassino in 1944. Fiennes inherited his father's baronetcy, becoming the 3rd Baronet of Banbury, at his birth. Fiennes is the third cousin of actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes, and is a distant cousin of Britain's royal family.
After the war his mother moved the family to South Africa where he remained until he was 12. Ranulph then returned to be educated at Eton, after which he joined the British Army.