When Craig was lucky enough to win a Bear Grylls Survival Academy, voucher through a very generous Facebook competition run by Lizi’s Adventurers , the boys were so excited. As the boys are Boy Scouts and big Bear fans we were eager to book the course for August in South Downs and arranged our summer holiday around this experience!
We had a smooth experience making our booking and good communication from the team at Bear Grylls Survival Academy by email, updating us on kit lists and arrival information.
Despite this, Craig was a little apprehensive as he is not much of an outdoor type and the prospect of looking after both the boys in the wild was a little daunting. Personally, I think he was scared he would have to eat bugs! The boys were excited but James was a bit poorly leading up to the weekend and I convinced myself he had appendicitis and was going to miss everything. But, he made a rapid recovery and clearly as doctors make the worst patients, they make the worst judge of their children’s illnesses too.
We stayed in Chichester in our first Airbnb property as it was closely located to the drop off point at Bear Grylls Survival Academy.
We were relieved to see a positive weather forecast and on the Saturday off the boys went. Lara and I had a stressful day shopping, lunching and having massages. Craig sent a couple of photos in the evening to reassure us they were still alive and on the Sunday they arrived home, soaking wet, smelly and very hungry, but happy that they had survived and with stories to tell for weeks to come.
The highlights were making dens and starting fires and learning about smoke signals. They learned how to trap animals – strangle, mangle , dangle and tangle( I can only imagine). They prepared and cooked and ate rabbit, pigeon and mackerel. They ate military rations and live crickets and meal worms. They sent up flares, threw live grenades and crossed rivers. They learned how to clean water with UV rays and find North and South from the trees and the sun and shadows. I think it is probably something you have to experience to understand how much they accomplished and the confidence they gained.
Both boys would recommend this course if you are fit and brave and adventurous. The only downside of the course was that Craig felt having an adult per child would have been easier!
I would like to give credit to Frit Sarita Tam for allowing us to use her fabulous photos and to the Bear Grylls Survival Academy for a wonderful unforgettable experience.
Please note that there may be changes to the content of some of next year’s Bear Grylls Survival Academy courses.