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Last updated at 10:58 GMT, Friday, 07 December 2012

Exploring Antarctica


7 December 2012

An expedition ship has set off from London, heading south to the world's coldest continent. It's the first stage of an adventure that Sir Ranulph Fiennes hopes will see him become the first person to walk across Antarctica during the southern winter.


Matthew Price

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes plans to walk across Antarctica


Click to hear the report


The ship's mooring is wintry cold. Nothing, though, compared to Antarctica. Temperatures can hit minus 90 celcius. And Sir Ranulph will be skiing the 2000 miles.

On the ship's bridge, the 68 year old says he hopes to raise millions for charity, and conduct scientific research. The team of six must be self-sufficient, so they're taking bulldozers to drag their living quarters and supplies.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes: "The vehicles, I would think, personally, are a bigger potential problem than the people. Minus 80 could be… damage to lung tissue when you're breathing in when you're skiing. But, in the vehicles, you have got steel, you've got rubber, which don't like minus 70, never mind when they're towing everything that they have to tow."

Can he do it? Even Britain's most acclaimed living explorer says he just doesn't know.


Click here to hear the vocabulary



the place where a boat is secured, or moored


measurements of heat


platform from which a boat is steered


carry out


relying only on themselves to survive


pull behind

living quarters

rooms to sleep in

lung tissue

cell material which forms part of the lungs


pulling using a vehicle


praised publicly