SIR Ranulph Fiennes, the only man alive ever to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface, is heading out on very different travels around Britain.

On July 25, the man named by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world’s greatest living explorer" – and in Burke's Peerage as Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet of Banbury – will present Living Dangerously: An Evening With Ranulph Fiennes at the Grand Opera House, York.

At 7.30pm, he will discuss his record-breaking private expeditions, travelling by riverboat, hovercraft, manhaul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski as he reflects on a life in pursuit of extreme adventure, risking life and limb. Among his many achievements, Sir Ranulph was the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, as well as the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis.

Living Dangerously spans Sir Ranulph’s childhood and school misdemeanours, his army life and early expeditions, through the Transglobe Expedition to his Global Reach Challenge: his goal to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

"I’ll be talking about my life: my childhood and schooling, and training with the SAS – and being chucked out of the SAS," says Sir Ranulph. "I'll talk about my very first posting with the British Army, and being the youngest captain in the British Army – even though I didn’t deserve it – and how that inspired my love of exploring.

"I’ll also touch upon some of my favourite expeditions, one of which was finding an Arab city with my first wife Ginny that we spent 26 years looking for, and how, in the first year after we got married, we did our first journey together: a 2,000-mile long boat trip down one of the toughest rivers in the world, in a rubber dinghy.

"There’s so much to talk about that I can only briefly touch on being the oldest Brit up Everest and the oldest pensioner in Great Britain to go up the north face of the Eiger. I’ve tried to get a good mix of polar exploring and my other adventures."

Are there any expeditions or challenges Sir Ranulph would still like to conquer? "The record I would like to have broken is to cross all the ice caps and climb all seven of the highest mountains," he says. "Everest is the most difficult, I've done that. And if when I'd done Everest I had done the minor ones, that would have been no problem.

"It was 2009 and I was in my 60s and quite fit, but when you’re a bit older, things start to go wrong. Your circulation heads towards your core so if you have ever gotten frost bite before, you are even more likely to get it again. The mountains that you can actually climb when you are in your 70s have to be much lower than the ones you could have climbed before. There are only 3 of them out of 7 I haven't done, so it's very annoying. I'm sure someone else will complete it soon."

Sir Ranulph is competitive, which is not a good trait, he says. "When I was first asked to climb Everest, I said no because of my extreme vertigo. Then, six months later, my wife died and I just wanted to do something, anything to distract me.

"So I did months and months of training and then I got a heart attack when I was 300 meters from the top and my friend got hypoxia on the way down. I told the doctor when I got down to base camp that I was never trying it again but he told me that if you go up the other side, from Nepal, it’s dead easy.

"Four years after that, 2008, I did that and nearly got to the top, didn't get a heart attack, but the body of my Sherpa’s father appeared in the snow, as he had previously died trying to climb Everest. There hadn't been that much snow that year so the bodies just reappear. It was awful.

"The next year, 2009, by which time I was an OAP, I had worked out why I had failed twice: I was being too competitive. The next time I tried, I went with a Sherpa who was so fit, there was no point in trying to be competitive. I went very slowly that time."

Sir Ranulph, who relaxes by sleeping, listening to Irish musician Enya and running/"shuffling" around the Serpentine a couple of times between lectures, is considered by many to be superhuman but what super-power would he choose?

"Mine would be to not have extreme vertigo," he says. "When I was in Dubai recently, they wanted me to go on the World’s Highest Zip Wire and break the record of going 160mph, and I said yes because I didn’t want to be unpopular with the client. I sort of opened my eyes as we left the platform, but I then kept them shut for the rest of the ride!

"When I did the north face of the Eiger, I was being led by this guy who has done Everest 11 times. He is very clever at teaching his climbers how not to get vertigo temporarily. It’s pretty simple – don’t allow yourself to think below your feet at all. It seems obvious but don’t look down! Last August at home, the gutters got full of leaves, and I was too scared so I sent my wife up and I held the ladder. The north face of the Eiger has killed off 80 people but I could only do it because of that guy."

Sir Ranulph, 74, declines to reveal his next adventure. "The enemy are constantly listening to what we are planning," he reasons. "If it’s a first, you don’t want to let anyone know, so unfortunately, I can’t divulge as to what I am doing next. You’ll just have to wait and see."

In the meantime, who would he invite to his dream dinner party? "Honestly, I would invite my wife. Although I would also like to invite Jesus to make sure I haven't wasted my time in believing in him," he says. "And maybe Stalin, Hitler and Mao so that I could poison them before they had done all their damage."

Tickets for July 25 are on sale from £24 upwards on 0844 871 3024 or at