VETERAN polar explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was clocked on a speed camera clocked doing 98mph on one of Scotland’s most notorious roads.
The 68 year old, who is currently preparing for the coldest journey on Earth and one of the last remaining polar challenges by attempting to cross Antarctica in winter, was caught by the speed trap in June last year.
Fiennes, who has four live points on his driving licence, was given five penalty points which puts him on the verge of a six month ban should he commit another offence.
Sir Ranulph was represented in court by road traffic law specialist Graham Walker, who has acted for many well known personalities including cricketer Shayne Warne and famous footballers like Alan Hutton, Giorgio Samaras and Steven Fletcher.
Fiscal depute Kevin Corrins told the court that there was little to say about the offence, other than it occurred on June 20 last year about 12.55pm on a dual carriageway stretch of the A9 near Daviot.
Mr Walker said: “Needless to say, Sir Ranulph is particularly embarrassed by this matter which comes before the court and he has instructed me to convey this.
“He was travelling to Inverness to be involved in a public speaking event on a bright summer’s day when traffic was light. But that doesn’t excuse him travelling at 98mph. It was a long journey from his home in Somerset and it was perhaps a lapse of concentration on his part.
“He is not present because he is currently traversing the Antarctic. He is of course an explorer of some note and has done a great deal of charitable work. Personally, he has raised £2.5 million for the Marie Curie cancer fund and in total has raised £14.5million for various charities in the UK so he is held in high regard by society.
“He has asked that the court consider a short term ban.” Mr Walker added.
But Justice of the Peace Syder, who heard the case, refused Sir Ranulph’s request. He said: “I am well aware of his adventures and I admire him for that and for what he does for charity. But he has broken the law and I don’t think a driving ban is appropriate. I will fine him £450, reduced from the £600 but for his early plea and impose five penalty points on his licence.”
Sir Ranulph left the UK on 6 December 2012, on board the expedition’s South African ice-strengthened research ship, ‘SA Agulhas’, and a month later, set off from South Africa for the Antarctic with his support and scientific team.
During their sea voyage, the team will undertake a number of scientific tasks to provide unique data on marine life, oceanography and meteorology.
On the equinox on March 21, they will set off on the first-ever trans-Antarctic winter expedition and will attempt to raise USD10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global charitable initiative to fight avoidable blindness.
The six expedition members will begin a six month journey to reach the Ross Sea with their route taking them to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound - via the South Pole, testing the limits of human endurance.