Mad But Marvellous
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Join Sir Ranulph Fiennes & members of the Transglobe Expedition in a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the start of the only polar circumnavigation of the world in history. Hosted by Joanna Lumley.

When: 2 September
Where: Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AT
United Kingdom
Contact: 02075913135

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On the 2nd September 1979, the Transglobe Expedition’s ice-strengthened ship MV Benjamin Bowring set off from Greenwich on the start of a three year voyage to complete a longitudinal circumnavigation of the world via both North and South Poles. It had never been done before and no one has attempted to do it since. Described by the expedition’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, as “Mad but Marvellous”, under the leadership of Sir Ranulph Fiennes and accompanied by Charlie Burton with, in Antarctica, Oliver Shepard, the extraordinary journey covered over 50,000 miles. The team were assisted by Sir Ranulph’s wife Ginny who led the basecamp support group, and over 50 volunteers who all gave up three years or more, unpaid, to ensure the success of the expedition, as scientists, ship’s crew, air crew for the De Havilland Twin Otter support plane and the team of helpers in London who provided essential back up and logistic assistance.

Borne of an idea by Ginny Fiennes the Transglobe Expedition took seven years to plan, three years to execute and a further two years to wind up. It was without doubt one of the most ambitious private expeditions in modern times and, apart from being the first polar circumnavigation, it also broke a number of records including the first crossing of both polar icecaps. Ran Fiennes and Charlie Burton became the first people ever to have reached both Poles by surface travel. They also completed the first transit of the North West Passage in an open boat and “Bothie” Ginny Fiennes’s Jack Russell Terrier was the only animal ever to visit both Poles. Ginny became the first woman to receive the Queen’s Polar Medal and the expedition ship, under the command of Captain Les Davis, reached further north than any previous British ship and as far south as it is possible to go.

Join Ran and his colleagues including Oliver Shepard and Anton Bowring under the supervision of the evening’s host, Joanna Lumley, as they tell stories (accompanied by photographs and film) about the expedition and each other - many of which will be revelations never before heard in public. It promises to be an eye-opener!

The talk will be accompanied by an exhibition of photographs by the expedition’s photographer, Bryn Campbell, paintings and sketches of the Arctic stage by Maryclare Foa and a number of original artefacts which will be on display at the Royal Geographical Society.

Tickets £35
To order tickets online via Paypal please go to or visit their website and follow the links or, if you prefer, please send a cheque made payable to Transglobe Expedition Trust with your name, contact telephone number and “Mad But Marvellous” on the back together with a stamped addressed envelope to:
Transglobe Expedition Trust, Walnut Tree Farm, Benhall, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1JB
All enquiries - tel: 01728 604434 or e-mail:
Doors open at 6pm. Refreshments can be bought both before and after the talks
Transglobe Expedition Trust is a registered charity number 1029586