Bear Grylls: ‘I made a wetsuit out of a dead seal’

Bear Grylls takes on more extreme survival challenges in a new 10-part series of Born Survivor, beginning Monday, June 6 on Discovery at 9pm. The former SAS man tells us about his adventures in some of the world’s most inhospitable places, including the Canadian Rockies, Scotland, Australia and the Mojave Desert…

What was your most hair-raising experience this series?

“It was while I was in the Rockies. What a dangerous trip that was. I was glissading down a steep ice face, with the cameraman on a metal sledge behind me. He crashed into me and, if the camera had hit my head, it would have taken it clean off!”

And the most challenging?

“In the Mojave Desert, I skydived from 32,000ft. The temperature went from -40C to +40C in about four minutes.”

Did you come up with any new survival tactics this time?

“In Scotland, I made a wetsuit out of a dead seal. I skinned it and wore it like a tank top. A few bits of hair and blubber were sticking out, but it kept my body really warm.”

Tells us about the episode in Australia…

“A huge saltwater crocodile burst out of the water next to where I was fishing. By sheer fluke, it took the fish I was hauling in rather than me.”

What other lucky escapes have you had?

“I broke my back doing a parachute jump, and while climbing Everest I had a fall into a crevasse that should have killed me. Last month, I was bitten by a snake in the Borneo jungle, but it didn’t inject its venom. I’ve been lucky, really.”

Are you completely fearless?

“No. I do worry about dying. I have three gorgeous kids and a lovely wife, so there’s a lot to stay alive for. In my earlier days I was reckless, but I’m more aware of how precious life is now. The more I do these dangerous things, the more I realise I need my faith.”

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