Last week I promised a certain 11-year-old moontrug fan that I would blog about two things for him: Bear Grylls and blobfish. So here they come…
Bear Grylls: Mud, Sweat and Tears
Whether he’s eating raw snakes or sleeping inside dead camels, Bear Grylls is never far from the limelight. Just last week he hit the headlines when hundreds of onlookers called fire engines to Battersea Park Power Station claiming it was on fire. The truth: Bear Grylls was scaling up it amid projected flames as part of a stunt for his new TV series, Escape from Hell.
Bear Grylls has become known around the world as the face of survival and outdoor adventure. He learnt to climb and sail on the Isle of Wight, he trained in martial arts from a young age and then served three gruelling years in the British Special Forces serving with 21 SAS. At 23 years old, he was one of the youngest climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest and has led record-breaking expeditions from Antarctica to the Arctic. He starred in Discovery Channel’s Man vs Wild and Born Survivor series which has become one of the world’s most watched shows with over 1.2 billions viewers and has authored ten books, including the Number 1 Bestseller: Mud, Sweat & Tears.
So what’s the big deal about Mud, Sweat and Tears? It’s the first time the man who flings himself out of aeroplanes and squeezes water from elephant dung has revealed the truth about his life before his success as a TV personality. Firstly, he recounts his youth on the Isle of Wight, at prep school and at Eton College and from the first few pages, it’s easy to see why his Mum claimed that growing up, Grylls seemed ‘to be a mix of Robin Hood, Harry Houdini, John the Baptist, and an assassin.’ Grylls then goes on to talk about his brutal training regimes with 21 SAS, the most elite special-forces division in the British military, roughly equivalent to the Navy SEALs. And finally, Grylls details his impressive ascent of Everest after enduring a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa where he broke his back in three places… Gripping, moving and wildly exhilarating, Mud, Sweat and Tears is a must-read for adrenalin junkies and outdoor adventurers (Click here to buy it on amazon). And for tips on how to stay alive in the most unforgiving conditions on Earth – crossing piranha-infested rivers, building bush fires and fighting off grizzly bears – read Born Survivor (Click here to buy it on amazon).
Facts about Bear Grylls you may not have known:
- He carries a picture of his family in his shoes
- Bear Grylls’ real name is Edward Michael Grylls but his sister gave him the nickname Bear when he was one week old
- Bear Grylls has eaten the following things: raw frozen yak eyeballs, camel intestine juice, raw goat testicles, a live snake, maggots as big as a hand (pulsating with yellow pus) and a giant live spider
- His favourite TV show as a kid was MacGyver and the A-Team
- Some of the injuries he has suffered over the years include: crushed shoulders, a sliced finger, a broken elbow, a smashed knee cartilage, a broken big toe, a chipped shin bone, a dislocated hip as well as various bites from snakes, bats, scorpions and 4,319 mosquitoes
- His son has already saved a life at the age of 7 when he rescued a girl who was drowning in a pool
- In June 2005, Bear Grylls broke a world record by hosting a dinner party at a table suspended below a hot air balloon at 24,500 feet. He rappelled down a rope from the balloon’s basket to the table, where in full naval uniform he ate a three-course meal before saluting the queen and skydiving to earth
- You can click here for Bear Grylls’ Born Survivor Tips
Moontrug’s Top Outdoor Adventures
Book onto an action-packed Wildwise camp: everything from fire-making and animal tracking to night paddling and Wildwise Hunger Games
Spend a week in a timber cabin on the shore of a private island off the coast of Scotland: swim with dolphins, porpoises and seals; swing from high ropes; wallow in mud-pits, canoe on the rolling Atlantic Ocean, build a den on an uninhabited island and explore prehistoric caves. Runs May – September (for 8 – 13 year olds).
Join a ‘Build Up’ session during term time or join an Expedition during the school holidays: Sherpa Mountain Experience, Buccaneer Sailing Adventure, Bushman Survival Challenge, Viking Canoe Journey, Winterscape and Summerscape 2014
Want to get your eye in like Bear Grylls did in the 21 SAS? Then spend an afternoon at the award-winning Barbury Shooting School in Wiltshire. Young Shots days (for 10+ years) cover team shoot offs, a variety of clays and a round of water-filled balloons!
The World’s Ugliest Animal
At last it’s official. According to the Ugly Animal Preservation Society (yes, such an organisation does exist), the world’s ugliest animal is the blobfish, a saggy-skinned, slime-drooling sea creature that squats at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Australia. Apparently the society felt the need to raise the profile ‘of some of Mother Nature’s most aesthetically challenged children’.
Blobfish are rarely seen by humans; their gelatinous mass allows them to float just above sea level at depths of between 600 – 1,200 metres. But because of deep-sea fishing and trawling, the blobfish faces extinction. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society are keen to draw attention to it as an endangered species saying that ‘for too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten.’ I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the endangered golden snub-nosed monkey –
– but perhaps now I should start embracing the blobfish (not literally – ewwwwwww). After all, any animal that can look as fantastically grumpy as that all year round is worth a look in. The blobfish beat several other funny-looking endangered animals on the list, including the aquatic salamander, the axolotl:
Big up for the blobfish. And because at moontrug we’re big into books, why not buy Ugly Animals for a further snoop at creatures as ‘aesthetically challenged’ as the blobfish and the axolotl. Click here to buy it on amazon. Or for two more serious (but totally completely brilliant) books dealing with main characters who struggle with the way they look, try: Wonder by R J Palacio (Click here to buy it on amazon) and The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico (Click here to buy it on amazon). And lastly, to see the world’s very best animal photographs this year, visit the National History Museum’s incredible exhibition: The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. Click here for tickets and more info. From 18th October 2013 – 23rd March 2014.