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Cold? You don’t know the meaning of it. Not like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, one of Top Gear Magazine’s Men of the Year. This veteran explorer is about to cross some 2,000 miles in near permanent darkness in territory that is literally life threatening.

And when we mean cross, we mean walking across the surface. Well, skiing, technically. In an expedition dubbed ‘The Coldest Journey’, he’ll ski across the surface of one of the most inhospitable places on earth. And sleep outside in a tent. Yowser.

Because Sir Ranulph is skiing the entire 2,000 miles, he’s required to bring along some backup. The Foreign Office said that to head out there, his team had to prove they could be self-sufficient - if you get stuck on the ice, there’s nobody to come and rescue you. So he enlisted the help of some men (Rob Lambert, Brian Newham, Ian Prickett), and some machines. Consider TG very interested.

You can read the full feature in this month’s Awards issue of Top Gear magazine, but in short, his expedition will include two modified Caterpillar D6N bulldozers, two cabooses on skis, and some 112,600 litres of fuel towed in huge bowsers. Two skiers - Fiennes and Prickett - will lead this procession across the ice, pulling a ground-penetrating radar system that can detect crevices to help keep the machines rolling.

The journey to the shelf of Antarctica itself will take approximately a month, and the crew will set sail today from the Thames on the SA Agulhus. We’ll keep you updated on this extraordinary journey as Sir Ranulph progresses, but for now, have a click through the pictures above to check out the team’s machinery…

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