ASK BEAR

What is your new series, ESCAPE FROM HELL, about?It’s about people who had real-life experiences of going through hell, whether lost in the Amazon or in the Australian Outback. In some cases, these guys were lost for seven weeks, and it was brutal. I travel to those places and relive parts of their struggle for survival, showing what they did right and what they did wrong, and along the way I give cool little tips that could have made a difference.

How else does it differ from BORN SURVIVOR?What I wasn’t prepared for was that it was very emotional. A lot of these guys had never talked in public about their ordeals. They all felt they were never going to see their families again and that changes people dramatically. It was both life-changing and life-enhancing for them, which made it much more emotive than any of the shows I have done before. It shows the hard reality of survival- how it hurts and is terrifying- and how it will take you to the depths of your despair but that ultimately it all comes down to spirit – you have to fight and hang on in there despite the pain, and to trust that the pain will never last forever.

What are your favourite stories in the series?One story that stands out for me is a guy called Eric LeMarque, a former ice hockey player whose life had spiralled out of control because of drugs. He got lost snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada and spent eight days in the frozen wilderness. He was super lucky to get found, though it cost him both his feet because of frostbite. He had a real life-turning moment when he ditched his crystal meth so he could use the bag to carry water. He realised it was the crystal meth that had got him into that mess. That was a turning point for him. It gave him the determination to pick up his life, get out of there and start again.

 

What are some of the survival tips that viewers will see?In the first programme, I show how one of the survivors could have made a fire by using a chewing gum wrapper and a battery. What I have always loved about survival is the resourcefulness of it, how you can take a shoelace and a tea bag to make something useful. That stuff is fun, and something I have always being good at. It is ingenuity that can change a situation dramatically.

Your series usually involve you eating disgusting creatures. What did you try out this time?
I did end uop drinking snake blood, roasting a tarantula and cooking up a frog in the Amazonian rainforest. But survival isn’t pretty and it will never taste nice but it’s about doing what you need to do to give yourself energy and keep moving.

Are there any themes that link all the survival stories?

Few of these guys had any survival skills or knowledge, but they realised that survival is all about your spirit, that fire and will to stay alive. I can sum up survival in one quote: when you are going thro hell, keep going.

Do viewers ever contact you to say your programmes have helped them?We get loads of amazing letters and emails from people, whether it is from kids who have fallen through frozen lakes or skiers who have ended up in a snow-hole overnight. We had one recently from a guy who got lost in the Australian outback. It is always inspiring for me to read these stories and it is a great encouragement to me to keep going.

Do your three sons enjoy your shows? My kids have watched so many Born Survivors over the years that they think they know everything! I try to tell them that you never stop learning and if you do then it is time to reevaluate your attitudes! We went to Zambia as a family recently and I found my nine-year- old Jesse was teaching the local guides how to survive a hippo attack. They started calling him Dr Livingstone!

Do you have to increase your fitness regime whenever you start filming a new series?
I try to maintain fitness all of the time really; I consider it part of my job. I train hard most days. I also do a lot of yoga which keeps me flexible and bendy for hanging off trees etc. It is functional strength that I am looking to achieve rather than big muscles.

Your new series, ESCAPE FROM HELL, tells the story of ordinary people who escaped death in the wild. Might it put viewers off the idea of adventure?
I want to show the reality. People always see me jumping around with music playing in the background and it looks really romantic, but the reality of survival is that it’s terrifying. I learnt from filming the show that we’re all more resilient than we believe. We’re like grapes, when we’re pushed and squeezed, you see what we’re made of.

Have you got a personal favourite “grape moment”?Well if we are talking tight squeezes then I remember once making a wet suit out of a dead seal skin. It was a snug fit but it kept my body core really warm in the freezing water!

You must be used to finding things a little ‘out of the ordinary’, but has anything you’ve ever come across or done on your adventures struck you as being particularly bizarre?how big the world is when everyone tells us it is so small! There are still so many unexplored areas out there.

Your television programmes and books are immensely popular, why do you think people find them so appealing? Is there a bit of an explorer/adventurer in all of us do you think?Every one of wants adventure in our lives and I hope to inspire and encourage people to get out there and find it. Thats what the shows are about, as welll as the scouts. There always gateways for people to think why not, screw it, lets just go!

Your latest TV series Escape from Hell looks at other people’s survival stories rather than your own. Did you enjoy it?
Absolutely and it was a real privilege to explore these stories and meet the real life heroes. It was very emotional; alot of these guys had never talked in public about their ordeals. They all felt they were never going to see their families again. It was life-changing for them, so it was much more emotive than any of the shows I have done before. It shows that the reality of survival can be brutally hard and take you to the depths of your despair, but after the pain comes the good stuff if you can just hang on in there and endure those tough times first. Thats the lesson of the series: hang on in there!

For someone who seems perilously close to death at times, has there been a single defining moment when even you felt that your number was finally up? In the series I got into a sticky situation in a rapid (yes another one!), getting caught in a submerged tree – but in the past there have been many times where I thought I might die, whether close calls with nasty snakes, sharks and salt water crocodiles. I have been in deserts where they have said if you don’t get water in three hours you are going to die. I also broke my back in a freefall parachuting accident whilst serving with 21 SAS and was told I wouldn’t walk again..that was one of the hardest times in my life.

You are a religious person. So has your faith been a useful companion when you found yourself on your own and against the odds?
It feels like the rock in my life and it has taken me a long time to no longer be afraid to say that. But I have learned that it takes a proud man to say he needs nothing. Faith gives me a strong backbone and when we find that within ourselves we can then live more exciting, effective, kind, passionate and giving lives. Life has a meaning again. It doesn’t though make life easier in any way, and I still battle with my fair share of struggles and doubt and often great self-doubt, but that is just the product of trying to stretch beyond the norm and to live life fully. I depend on a few simple verses everyday that have held me thro so many tough times.They are a mix of these:

“I am here to help you”, “I am holding you by your right hand”, “The lord himself

watches over you”…
That’s it for me in a nutshell.

 

If you were offered the part of James Bond would you take it!? You would be perfect! Yep, that would be a really fun part to play. It’s not a million miles away from Worst Case Scenario, which is why that particular show was so fun to make. Bond was also an Old Etonian, ex SAS, Naval Commander which makes me smile!

Where do you get all your survival stories about people who have been lost in the areas that you are surviving in? I have a fantastic research team who provide me with loads of amazing stories before I go into a region. They are a great team.

How important is your charity work with SSAFA Forces Help? How did you become involved – through your work with the British Special Forces? I have been so lucky in my life not only to survive my parachuting accident but also to be able to have a job that is just what I always dreamt of when I was a boy. I consider it a real joy to try and use that privilege to encourage young people worldwide to be able to follow their dreams in return. I am Chief Scout to 28 million scouts around the world and it is my hope to be able to encourage those who might not normally get the chance, to get out there, go wild and build their own adventures!

 Your tv programmes are shown in over 150 different countries, reaching over one billion people worldwide! What is your most favourite place in the world? Home.
You have been voted 7th coolest man in the UK….do your boys think you are pretty cool dad? Not when I am in the bath with the boys, surrounded by bubbles and rubber ducks and giving them grief for stealing the hot towel!

Did becoming a father have any impact on your wanderlust? Make you slow down? Adventure has always been my job. But fastherhood has also made me more cautious and taught me to double check stuff better before I commit to a big climb or big animal encounter for example. Before, I was 100% reckless, now I am 85%!

Are you planning to have adventures with your children as they grow older? I hope so! My father taught me to climb when I was very young and it was such a powerful feeling for me to be close to him in exciting moments. We have a lot of that together already really with our boys and they love to climb and sail and eat ants! I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing?

Do you try to spend time on your small Welsh island? Tell us what that is like? It is a real haven for us and I try and take all august off each year just to be together up there with good friends coming to stay as well. It is very simple but is very cosy and we swim, climb, bbq, sleep in the heather and go every other day to the mainland for supplies (and kid’s ice-creams!)

How much time are you away from your family each year? Normally it has been about 7 months of the year on the road, which feels a lot. I have always struggled with that. This is why it is so nice to be changing that a little and to tighten the time spent away. For me the goal is always to come home safe and fast and to be able to be together more and more.

Your family and boys have been with you – do you try to make sure they travel with you as much as possible? How does that work with schooling? I have never been able to take them with me before. Normally we are in some nightmare jungle, swamp or desert, that is impossible to take them. But Worst Case show was great as it was all filmed in LA so I had the chance to bring them out. We would have a tutor most days for the boys and they pack in 2 hours intensive work, then can mess about or come down to the set to watch some fun worst case scenario stunts which they love.

You have been filming in LA – how have you enjoyed that? Would you consider making it your home? We tend to work the filming schedule so we can come out to LA during the UK winter, (and miss the bleaker UK months!), but then come back for the summer which we love at home. The rest of the time is on the road.

What is the worst scenario you have had to face in real life? Probably breaking my back in a freefall accident in Africa, or falling through a big crevasse at 21,000ft on Everest. Or in fact maybe jumping on top of a big 16 ft tiger shark once from a raft!

What was the worst scenario in the show for you personally? Probably being buried in a building we blew up to re create an earthquake. Or driving my car off a bridge into a deep lake. That became quite scary actually!

Does your wife share your love of adventure? She loves home.. and she is my reason for getting back safely.

How does your wife feel about you putting yourself in dangerous situations? (eg dog attacks, failing elevators and car brakes)? She has lived with the danger of my work ever since we first met whilst I was still serving with 21 SAS. I think since then she works on the principle of not wanting to know too much! But she has had to deal with a lot of injuries over the years with me from broken backs to broken shoulders and evacuations from Antarctica to the Arctic. She has to be classified as an angel! She does though trust me to make smart calls and to be careful despite the obvious dangers of Born Survivor and Worst Case Scenario.

You’re involved in a series which shows people what to do if they find themselves in a crisis. Do you ever try to prepare your own family for worst case scenarios? The boys? Imagination runs pretty wild with my kids, but it is all about being prepared! The other day in LA a mini-tsunami was predicted after the Chilean quake and the boys packed a survival pack and made us all leave the beach house. So we had a picnic on a hill overlooking the ocean and waited. But luckily in never appeared – although the boys were kind of upset!

How did you come to be the star of Discovery’s Man v Wild show? What has the experience been like? After I climbed Everest, Discovery and Channel 4 approached me, (having read my book The Kid who climbed Everest, that tells the story of what happened and the four guys who lost their lives on the mountain), and they said can we drop you in some difficult places and you show us what to do to survive. They knew my background of having taught combat survival with the British Special Forces and wanted to explore the whole thing of survival in the extremes. I was nervous of doing TV at the start an took a little persuading, but it has been a blast and a great privilege to be involved with.

Why did Bear and Shara first decide to take an Alpha course? What or who captured their attention or persuaded them decide to give it a go? We thought it would be a fun thing to do together as a way of exploring the whole idea of faith. It was very laid back and fun and gave us the chance to ask some big questions together.

Bear,do you encourage youngsters to become an adventurer like you? Yes, that is why I love heading up the Scouts. It is all about inspiring young people to follow their own dreams and get out there and experience real adventure. Life is a great gift.

I’m interested in the jacket you wore in the show w/Will Ferrell? Thanks it is one of our Bear Grylls Survival range – designed by me and the BG team. It is actually my favourite one and incorporates all the features I find useful in a survival mountain jacket. Available from www.beargryllstore.com. Enjoy!

Hi Bear, I don’t really have a question, just a comment. I saw an ad on a public bus for the Alpha course. It drew my attention since I’m a fan of yours. I just wanted to tell you thank you. I have enrolled in this class and find it life changing. Thanks again! thank you. It did the same for me! Life is all about finding our home and our joy. Go for it!

Bear what do your green and yellow wristbands mean? One is for Global Angels. The other I wear is the Scouts.

Your show w/ Will Ferrell and then with Jake Gyllenhaal, displayed a different side of you, and I think taking people out on your expeditions would make for some great TV. If you ever go down that path, it would be a dream come true to go out on an expedition w/ you. I’m an avid adventure racer, marathon runner, triathlete w/ a great mind and spirit. Best of luck with all of your adventures. It is in the plan to do a few programmes that are like a Man vs Wild boot camp where I train people in all these skills. Wait out! I also filmed an episode called Fan Vs Wild where I took two rookies out with me- that was wild ride!

What was it like being with Will Ferrell for 2 days and do you guys still talk today? he was great – and yes we still keep in touch. When I am in LA I need a guide just like he needed me in the Arctic!

How many camera/crewmembers are with you when you film Man vs Wild? Are they trained adventurers like you to be able to climb sheer cliff faces and follow you wherever you go? Also, where do they hide when we see aerial shots of you and no camera crew nearby?? Generally about 4 or 5 of us – including a camerman, sound man, director/AD and our rope safety guy to get the crew in positions to film on cliff faces etc. And yes, in the main, they are all trained climbers. (As well as being best friends) In short…they are the real heroes.

Bear how do you deal with being away from your family for so long? I struggle with it. It is the hardest part of the show for me.

 How do you feel about the people that say you hand out potentially life threatening advice in the shows as people will try and copy you? There are a lot of silly people in this world and some may actually take certain parts of the show out of context. I mean I know not to jump into a frozen lake in the first place just because you do! However, ‘Joe Blogs’ may not It is about what to do if you have run out of options and all has gone wrong – then watch this and it could save your life. I always work within my own parameters and skills. This is also important. What is safe for one man might not be for another. I just do what I have been trained for and I show how I would get myself out alive.

How are destinations chosen for the show? We sit down at the start of each season and throw in ideas and listen to what all the fans are saying – ie many people wanted to see me surviving Siberia in winter in -35, so we did it – just!

Of your new episodes, which was your favorite experience and why? Probably the desert island show off the Sumatran coast – l love islands and we live on one 6 miles offshore in the UK. The toughest though was the northern territories of Oz and the most memorable was the Urban episode on season 4 – it felt like a cool show!

 Least favorite? Definitely the swamps of Indonesia where the tsunami hit – stinking black swamps full of man eating crocs that have been feeding off 65,000 human corpses since the tsunami hit. Teeming with snakes as well – a real hell hole!

Tell us about your Man Vs Wild book? Every man should know how to make a snow cave, light a fire in the rain and deal with snakes!

At the end of your life, what do you want to leave behind you as a legacy? To have touched peoples lives and to have encouraged many to not be scared to follow their dreams.

How long do you see yourself doing Man Versus Wild? I always feel like I have done it since I was 4, just without the cameras. I hope to keep living this life but maybe with less mosquitos and danger. We have wrapped up season 6 now, and I never imagined we would have done so many!

Generally, how do you prepare for and recover from filming? Eat healthy, train hard and spend cosy times with my family.

How do you feel right after you finish filming a Man Vs Wild Episode? Whacked!

How did you get your own show? Was it unexpected? The producer came to see me 3 times to see if I would do it – but I was nervous of tv and was also focussed doing my stuff- all the climbing and expeditions- and if I am honest I wasn’t sure I would be any good at it! It was a confidence issue mainly. But he kept saying forget about the TV. We don’t want a slick host we just want to film what you do- mistakes and all. As soon as I felt I can just be me, be caked in mud, talking to the cameraman about what I am doing to get myself out of this trouble and how it feels, then it all kind of took off.

How is life now, since you are famous? Weirder!

Are you really as cheery as you appear on TV all the time. It must be tough to spread happyness all the time? My Dad always said ‘be the most enthusiastic person you know!’.

Like you i have an interest in watches. I know in the past you have worn the likes of Luminox and Brietling Emergency’s, but you looked to be wearing another one in Mission Everest. Which one did you have on? I think an old army one with an altimeter on it.

How did you get the nickname Bear? I was christened Eddie, that became Teddy, and that became Bear. Not very butch but there we go! I used to find it a bit awkward as a kid but it could have been worse, and since then it has always stuck, from teachers through to Seargant-Majors in the Army.

Do you recommend any survival courses? Yes. I believe some of the best courses I have come across are run by www.bushcraftexpeditions.com. I have worked with Woody who runs these courses and he is in my view one of the best bushcraft experts worldwide. (and a cool, mellow, laid back guy.)

How do you remember all your survival info? I get very thorough briefings when I arrive in country on all the dangerous and non-dangerous local wildlife and seasonal plants, as well as going through all the evacuation and rescue plans if something goes wrong with either me or the crew. We also always use a bushcraft consultant to advise on the shows. I have also been doing a lot of all this since I was a kid and slowly the info sticks over time!

Will you encourage your kids to join the army and climb big mountains? My late Dad always used to say to me that what matters is to follow your dreams and look after your friends. That to him was life in a nutshell. I hope to do the same with my two boys, although if they wanted to then climb Everest with a 1 in 8 chances of dying I might be a bit less enthusiastic! I have seen the raw end of those statistics and I am not sure I would want my kids to go through that themselves.

How do you overcome your fear of heights? I take my time, check my safety and remind myself that most fears are irrational – then I just get on with it! (That last bit is the real key.)

Have you ever heard of anyone surviving as a result of something they learned from watching your show? I have received quite a few letters over the last few years from people who say they have used some little bit of info they learnt from the shows in a real-life scenario when they found themselves in trouble, and it is so heartening to read about. Recently there were some kids who fell through the frozen ice of a lake, and a mother and daughter who got lost hiking in the mountains. Much of the stuff I do is for quite extreme survival and often requires a certain level of physical skill, but there is also much in the shows that is relevant for anyone. Little tips that can save your life if you remember it when it matters.

Can you sum survival up from your perspective? To me, survival is all about ingenuity, thinking outside the box, being inventive and resourceful and ultimately having a simple determination never to quit.

What was your best childhood memory? Climbing with my late father on the sea-cliffs on the Isle of Wight, where I was brought up. To me those times, trying to stick close to his heels and trusting his grip, were pure magic and shaped so much of how I try to live my life.

What was the worst experience for you when making the Born Survivor Series? Quite a long list! Anything from eating maggots the size of a baby’s fist, to doing battle with a giant porcupine down a narrow, dark, underground pit. Or floating down a croc and hippo infested river in a rotting zebra carcass, to sleeping inside a dead camel’s chest cavity. Or eating raw goats testicles to biting the heads off snakes. You name it! Sometimes I think ‘Bear what the hell have you got yourself into here!?’

Just wondering how tall are you? and what languages other then English do you speak? Six foot. (I used to be a bit taller before I broke my back!) I speak Spanish and French.

Are you planning any new world record attempts on the horizon? Always! But I try and keep them under wraps until they are about to happen.

I am doing a talk on you at school – can you tell me something about life? Life is really very simple- what you put in, is what you get out.

Who were your hero’s when you were growing up? My late father, and Robin Hood.

Do you have any hobbies? If so what are they? Guitar, piano, yoga, running with my dog, paragliding and skydiving and climbing, and playing with my three young sons!

Do you ever used any vitamins to help you with you training? Yes, I have used a natural product called Juice Plus since I was a teenager. It’s great stuff that I have used through so many big expeditions and what I like is that the research into its benefits is so strong. It is a 100% natural, and is wholefood based, and I also love the fact that it provides raw, antioxidant fruits and vegetables in a capsule form. For me it fulfils a key part of my nutritional and training needs.

How did you recover from your back injury? I fractured T8 T10 & T12 vertebrae in a freefall parachuting accident in southern Africa. My recovery involved endless back braces and setbacks but I credit it to the great care and attention given to me by the Armed Forces Rehabilitation clinic at Headley court, who looked after me and helped me get back to strength. Here I was given intensive physio, water therapy, stretching, exercising, counselling and encouragement. I know how lucky I was to be able to recover fully and for me it is all about the love & hope that both my family and my Christian faith gave me. I now practise yoga most days as a way of keeping my back strong for my life and I feel this is the key to what I do day in and day out. Sometimes it takes a knock in life to give us the drive to get up and start pursuing those dreams that beforehand are often just fantasies. My motto is ‘to live boldly, follow your dreams, take risks, look after your friends, & smile when the mountain is steepest.’

What is the best survival tool to carry with you besides a knife, flint, and canteen? Our brain is our greatest survival tool- survival is all about ingenuity: thinking your way round a challenge, calmly, in the heat of the moment. And a big heart is then needed to keep going and to never give up.

What are you scared of? Any nightmare? Heights and cocktail parties!

Does your wife and sons have adventurous spirit? My three young boys are pretty wild. They love climbing everything, running around canoeing, they have been paragliding with me, you name it! Shara is adventurous in the sense she puts up with it all! She is my dream girl, and always my reason for coming home.

Which was the worse thing that you eat/you drank in the Man vs. Wild? Frozen Yak eye balls in Siberia and snake skin urine were quite low points, I guess.

Bear, firstly is it true your a vegetarian (or did my mate make that up) and secondly what was your favourite survival situation throughout the born survivor series? I try not to eat a lot of dairy as a rule, but when I am in man Vs Wild mode anything goes!

What was one of the scariest moments you had while filming man vs wild? Always the moment before it all starts when I am in the helicopter or plane with my parachute, I am always so nervous, mainly of the unknown. The briefings I always get from the Rangers and search & rescue guys, do little to calm my nerves! They generally tell me back to back horror stories of how many people have died in the jungle, desert or mountains below! But I try and get in the zone and calm everything down for a few minutes before the door opens, then I am into it. Then it is all about trying to just trust my instincts and give it my all.

How is your Christian faith important to you? It feels like the rock in my life and it has taken me a long time to no longer be afraid to say that. But I have learned that it takes a proud man to say he needs nothing. Faith gives me a strong backbone and when we find that within ourselves we can then live more exciting, effective, kind, passionate and giving lives. Life has a meaning again. It doesn’t though make life easier in any way, and I still battle with my fair share of struggles and doubt and often great self-doubt, but that is just the product of trying to stretch beyond the norm and to live life fully. I depend on a few simple verses everyday that have held me thro so many tough times.They are a mix of these:
 “I am here to help you”, “I am holding you by your right hand”, “The lord himself watches over you”… 
That’s it for me in a nutshell.

How does Shara cope? She is super long suffering! and provides me with the strongest reason for always coming back safely.

Which is worse extreme heat or cold? Both when you are in them! At times I have been in such low temperatures, your core goes numb and fingers and toes loose all feeling – then all I can think of is being somewhere hot. When you get the other end of the scale in 130o heat and 100% humidity all your waking thoughts is of an ice-cool beer! The truth is that the place I love the most is curled up with my three boys & Shara at home!

What did you do before Man Vs Wild? In many ways I did basically exactly the same as I do in the show, but without it being filmed! I climbed, skydived and survived my way off mountains, oceans and deserts, either leading expeditions or as part of the Special Forces. I feel very lucky to now have this as my way of doing all this as my job..

Whats it like living on a boat? It is fun! We bought it when we got married in 2000. It is 105 years old quite rusty but full of character. It can be quite cold in winter but it is so cosy inside, we love it. It is home. We have a workout area on the deck and an outdoor old rusty bath, a hammock and bbq-that’s about all you need to sustain life really! The boys adore it, even though the room they share is about the same size as an average wardrobe!

What made you join the army and what did it do for you? As a kid it is what I really wanted to do. I always loved being filthy dirty, covered in mud and climbing things. The Army seemed a good route to achieve this. It did though give me a great sense of pride and a confidence in my abilities that I never had before. I owe so much to the friends I made in the Army and the extraordinary training it gave me. My parachuting accident meant that I had to leave and I remember very vividly what a low point in my life that was, turning my back on all that sense of family I had there. That tight knit community within the SF world is very strong and it is probably why I wanted to return to my climbing after I left. It was the nearest thing to re-finding that intimacy in adversity. But I have been lucky and a whole new world opened up after I left. I think life teaches us that we need to keep on moving, to keep smiling, to go for it and follow our dreams. We only get one shot at life after all, and as my Mum used to say: ‘if it is to be, it is up to me!’

Does your wife minding you being away so much? Yes, we both hate being apart. It is the hardest part of my job, leaving her and our three small boys. But it makes the times at home all the more special. I am so blessed with them.

What star sign are you? Gemini. June 7th 1974

Do you hire yourself out, by the hour perhaps, or are available to help out people in trouble, a bit like Superman does? yes I still give quite a few talks all around the world, on what qualities have kept me alive in the extremes: and that always boils down to friendships, committing to things, managing risk, and being able to summon up that little bit extra when every cell in your body is screaming out for rest. That’s my talk in a nutshell. I also make time to still lead small select groups on various adventures (away from the cameras) which are always fun!

Where are you at your happiest? Lying in the long grass on our Welsh Island hideaway with my family. No phones, just family and good friends and surrounded by nature at her most beautiful.

Which adventurer do you admire the most and why? Ran Fiennes. He has helped and encouraged me so much. Quite a father figure. Ran has also always used his expeditions to raise funds and awareness for charities, and we both know we have a great opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives. That is in itself a real privilege.

What’s going through your head when you’re paragliding over Everest or facing imminent danger in the wild? You’re in the moment; that’s the magic. Nothing clouds you. Life is reduced to just life – no fluff.

Bear how do you train for the programmes? I train 5/6 days a week, alternating running, circuits and yoga. I also try to eat healthily with a mostly dairy free diet.

What knife would Bear recommend? I have teamed up with Gerber Knives to design a range of kit that does all that I ask of it when in the wild. (I have tried loads of different knives over the early series, but I have been using the BG ultimate knife for all the recent seasons and it has been incredible – simple, tough, and built to last. See http://www.gerbergear.com/Survival

Where can I buy a good flint? Any survival store – they are basic kit for the wild. I either tuck mine into the sheath of my knife or wear it on a lanyard round my neck. See http://www.gerbergear.com/Survival

What did your time with the Special Forces teach you? To be able to look after myself and those around me when the chips are down and it is all turning nasty. It gave me a confidence in my own ability that I didn’t always have growing up.

Where do you get your inspiration from to undertake such daring challenges? My late father, the man who encouraged me to climb as a kid. He was so proud to have lived through all my Everest climb, having seen that dream grow from so young. But I feel sad he died before my boys were born; he would have adored them.