Published Friday, 08 March 2013
Sir Ranulph Fiennes on the This Morning sofa. (© Ken McKay)
The explorer, 68, has already lost fingers to frostbite and suffered another bout during training for his latest expedition - a gruelling trek across Antarctica in winter, called The Coldest Journey.
While Sir Ranulph is undoubtedly disappointed at having to pull out, he's still staying philosophical.
"Over 42 years, 50% of our expeditions haven't succeeded. Because we're trying to break records," he told Eamonn and Ruth on Friday.
"And it would be arrogant to think our team can do it, when others - possibly better people - haven't done it. So we accept the fact that some win and some don't."
Just don't cry over spilt milk.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Many people pushing 70 would feel they'd earned a rest, especially if they'd achieved so much already, but not Sir Ranulph. Instead, he braved sub-zero temperatures falling as low as -90C.
Even the simple act of taking his gloves off to fix a binding during a white-out proved costly.
"In those things, you can't peel a banana, never mind fiddle about with things," he said, explaining how he had developed frostbite.
But he can't understand why it happened on this particular occasion and added: "Something has happened to my circulation in that area over the last two months, and the suggestion is I'm on the verge of diabetes. I will go to a vascular surgeon."
In the meantime, the Antarctica expedition will continue without him after being five years in the making and encountering many obstacles along the way - not least the reluctance of the Foreign Office to allow Britons to undertake such a dangerous expedition, without rescue services available.
"It is the last great polar expedition, without a doubt," Sir Ranulph said, explaining why this mission - the first time such a trek has been attempted by anyone - is particular important to those involved.
"And there are other people who live in Norway who are apt to try and do things before we do."
When it comes to those still out in Antarctica though, Sir Ranulph can't speak highly enough of them.
"The team is fantastic, the five of them - probably the best you'd get anywhere in the world," the explorer declared.
And there's even a Northern Ireland connection, as one of the team's two mechanics is 30-year-old Cookstown man Richmond Dykes who made it through the intensive selection process.
The expedition will carry on – we’re raising $10m for Seeing is Believing. During the six months of this expedition, worldwide, three million people will go blind.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Even after being forced to return from Antarctica, Sir Ranulph still leaves little room for doubt that he has well and truly earned his Guinness Book of Records title as The World's Greatest Explorer.
He is the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the first man to trek unaided to both the North and South Poles, the first man to cross Antarctica on foot and has previously completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
"You're not finished, you're not retired?" Eamonn asked.
"Nor are you ..." Sir Ranulph laughed.
The Coldest Journey aims to provide unique and invaluable scientific research to help climatologists and also runs alongside a fund-raising initiative which hopes to raise $10m to help fight blindness.