Adventurer and TV star Bear Grylls reveals the wild places he heads to when back home in Great Britain
Explorer and bug-eating survivalist Bear Grylls has revealed his top 10 mind-blowing locations for adventure in Britain. The man famous for trekking and traversing some of the most dramatic and hostile landscapes on the planet is a huge fan of the outdoor opportunities on his doorstep in Britain. “We truly live in the most incredible country… spectacular and always beautiful… and it’s where I learnt so many of the skills I use on adventures around the world,” said Grylls.
He was speaking at the launch of a campaign by VisitBritain to showcase the diversity of Britain’s amazing wild places. The campaign carries the hashtag, #OMGB (Oh my GREAT Britain)
No.1. Climbing Ben Nevis
Where: Nr. Fort William, Scottish Highlands
What: Britain’s tallest peak has a snow capped summit for much of the year and can be treacherous in winter. The broad Pony Track is the easiest way to the summit but experienced climbers and mountaineers will prefer the thrilling Ledge Route ridge to Carn Dearg, on the way to the top.
Bear says: “I’ve spent much time here, scaling the highest mountain in Britain, and it’s where my dad learnt to climb!”
No.2. Paragliding around Sugar Loaf
Where: Black Mountains, nr Abergavenny, Brecon Beacons
What: Paragliding is flying with a motorised parachute, and Sugar Loaf is a conical hill, 556m above sea level, with commanding views over the surrounding moorland.
Bear says: “One of my favourite things has to be flying around in my powered paraglider, riding the winds and soaring through the mountains near my Welsh home.”
No.3. Scaling Pen y Fan
Where: Brecon Beacons National Park
What: One of the principle peaks in the Special Forces selection trial, nicknamed the Fan Dance, Pen y Fan is the tallest peak in south Wales, approached by spellbinding ridges.
Bear says: “The views from the highest summit in south Wales are so impressive and I love the little lake under the north face, half way up the mountain.”
No.4. The isolation of Ben Loyal
Where: Sutherland, Scottish Highlands
What: This isolated 764m peak towers above Loch Loyal and rewards a climb to its summit with jaw-dropping views out to sea.
Bear says: “ This is my favourite mountain in Britain, on the north coast of Scotland, and where I met my wife Shara!”
No.5. Climbing and caving at Malham Cove
Where: Malham, North Yorkshire
What: An extraordinary 300m-wide amphitheatre of limestone in the Yorkshire Dales, this vertical cliff plunges almost 80m from the rare limestone pavement at its top to the valley floor. Maintained by the National Trust, it’s as close as the UK gets to El Capitan in Yosemite!
Bear says: “The Yorkshire Dales are amazing and have been shaped by some fierce forces of nature, including this inspiring limestone formation that you can get inside… and up on top of!”
No.6. Summit of Skiddaw
Where: Nr Keswick, Lake District
What: The sixth highest mountain in England nudges the clouds 931m above sea level. Its summit is more of a scree-covered plateau, but standing alone to the north of Keswick it delivers sensational views over Derwent Water and the northern Lakes.
Bear says: “This is the first mountain I climbed with my wife Shara. It’s one of the largest fells in the Lake District and the walk up from Keswick has superb vistas.”
No.7. Walking the Llŷn Peninsula Coastal Path
Where: Gwynedd, Wales
What: This peninsula to the west of Snowdonia juts out into the Irish Sea. The Coastal Path is one of the finest maritime trails in Britain, and for the truly devout three hikes to Bardsey Island, two miles off the Llŷn Peninsula, was said to be worth one pilgrimage to Rome. Bear says: “Chilling out in Wales, lying in the long grass, with Shara and our three boys beside me – this is when I am happiest. The rest of our year is so busy, so we tend to holiday just us as a family on our small island hideaway in Wales, where we have limited communication and no mains power or water. This nearby coastal walk, is spectacular.”
No.8. Sea cliff climbing at Culver Downs
Where: Isle of Wight
What: Dramatic chalk cliffs, topped by open downland and capped with far-reaching sea views, make this a great spot whether you’re walking or roped-up and climbing.
Bear says: “I used to run up to Yarborough Monument here when I was training for the military, and some of my earliest, fondest memories are of making boats and learning to climb with my Dad on the sea cliffs. These were the foundation stones for all my love for adventure, and that closeness with him.”
No.9 Snowdon by foot
What: There are several paths up to the highest point of Wales, each with its own views and difficulties. The Llanberis Path is the easiest, tracking the train to the top; the Ranger and Rhyd Ddu paths on the west tend to be quieter, and have magnificent views; The Pyg Track feels like a walk through the heart of the mountainous national park; the Watkin Path is challenging and can be technical in poor weather; and the sheer, exposed Crib Goch ridge is pure brown trouser territory. Bear says: “Adventure is at the heart of what we love as a family and hiking in stunning Snowdonia is a favourite.”
No.10. Scrambling in the Cuillins
What: Knotted, gnarled, exposed and thrilling, a scramble along the Cuillin Ridge is a two-day adventure that demands a head for heights, rope skills and nerves of steel. The reward? Unrivalled views and an unforgettable sense of achievement.
Bear says: “These rocky mountains – where I guided Hollywood actor Ben Stiller for my TV show Bear’s Wild Weekends – are widely considered the most challenging and rugged terrain in Britain.”