Famed explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s greatest challenge may be over for the time being, but the engineering expertise of a Northampton firm is still guiding his colleagues.
Sir Ranulph personally phoned Radio Structures Ltd to ask if it could provide equipment for his attempt to conquer Antarctica in winter.
The Round Spinney-based firm was more than happy to oblige, once staff had accepted it was really Sir Ranulph on the phone and not a hoax call.
Sadly, it was announced on Monday that Sir Ranulph had been evacuated from Antarctica due to severe frostbite. His colleagues are now continuing the trek without him.
Radio Structures makes radio masts and antennae for the telecommunications industry, and has been trading for more than 30 years.
It has supplied the expedition team with lattice mast sections, which are connected to a radar boom.
The boom is used to find where ice has broken and frozen back over, as there is a danger anyone walking across it could fall through.
It is only switched on when the explorers get tired and feel they are not alert enough to judge the dangers themselves.
Office manager, Lisa Clayson, said: “He rang himself and I thought someone was pulling my leg. The more we spoke I realised it was him. He was so articulate.
“He is the sort of person you could have spoken to all day.
“I’ve no idea to this day how he found us. It is really amazing. The crossing will take six months and has never been done before.
“The temperatures get down to minus 90 and everything will be in complete darkness.”
The expedition, called The Coldest Journey, started in December, and involves the participants facing some of the most inhospitable conditions known to man.
The steel in the masts is galvanised after fabrication, but no other special measures are needed for it to operate in the extreme cold.