EMOTIONAL TIES: Ben Fogle on the little things that mean the most

Presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle on losing his wedding ring, posing in lederhosen and an icy memento from Everest.

Ben Fogle
Gemma Day
Gemma Day

When I reached the summit of Everest, I scooped some ice into my drinking bottle as I’d run out of water and hoped it would melt. After I got back to base camp, I decided to keep it, so I had a special bottle made with an inscription – it’s my lucky water.

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My wife Marina is Austrian, so we spend every summer there, it is the happiest time of my year. This photo is of us with our children Ludo [now nine] and Iona [now seven] in tracht, the national dress – Austrians really do wear lederhosen all summer.

Gemma Day

I got this Breitling Emergency watch when James Cracknell and I rowed across the Atlantic. It has a beacon – if you’re in trouble, you pull a pin and a helicopter comes. I signed a waiver saying if it was a drunken call-out, I’d have to pay a lot of money.

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This is my son’s bear, named ‘Poder’ because Ludo couldn’t say polar bear when he was little. He’s had it since he was born; it travels with us wherever we go. I have heart palpitations about losing Poder – it’s unique and can’t be replaced.

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I’m acutely aware of the environment but I’m far from perfect – I love Land Rovers and fly too much. I do try to reduce my carbon footprint a little bit by travelling around London on my electric bike. A lot of people raise their eyebrows but I love riding it.

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If you ask people how I dress they’d say, ‘a pair of shorts and desert boots’ because that’s my uniform. These boots are named after Norman Schwarzkopf – the army general during Desert Storm, the first Gulf War. I’ve had three pairs.

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My first wedding ring fell into a lake six hours after we got married, so I’ve always been nervous about losing this one. On Everest, it’s dangerous to wear rings because your body starts to swell, so we made this necklace as a family in Sri Lanka before I went.

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Storm is my second labrador. I met Marina while walking Inca – who was my first. I’m the son of a vet and grew up with golden retrievers. Dogs have always loomed large in our lives but labradors have the nicest personalities: kind, loyal and caring.

Words: Emily Hill

Ben’s new children’s book Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit is published by HarperCollins, price £5.99. To order a copy for £4.79 until 28 April, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; P&P is free on orders over £15.