Featured Image

Could You Survive the Bear Grylls Survival Academy’s Toughest Course?

Anyone who has done a bushcraft survival course for a day knows what fun it can be to learn some survival skills in the forest, perhaps filtering water through your sock, building a shelter with some wood lying around the forest, lighting a fire with cotton wool your instructor happened to have in his or her pocket, and then finishing with a treat by roasting a marshmallow over the fire you started.

But are you tough enough to survive a Bear Grylls Survival Academy course—the real deal designed by the survival expert himself, where you have to cross steep mountain gorges, camp in the wilderness, and catch and gut your own food to survive?

Addressing a Need for Survival Training

could-you-survive-bear-grylls-survival-academy
Image by Bear Grylls Survivor Academy

Bear Grylls spent three years in the British Special Forces as part of 21 SAS regiment, where he learned many survival skills. “So many people have asked me over the years where they can learn extreme, practical survival, the type that requires spirit, determination, and the skills to self-rescue against the odds, in some of the harshest terrain around,” said Bear when he launched the survival academy back in 2012. Along with his books and TV shows, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy is one way he has found to pass these skills on.

Bear does not teach the courses himself, but his instructors are survival experts and some have worked with Bear on his filming projects. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy has run courses and adventure days in the U.K. and the U.S., as well as Greece, UAE, China, and South Africa, but one of the toughest courses in the whole academy is the original course—the Survive the Highlands Group Challenge, an extreme survival course in the Scottish Highlands, which has been running for more than 10 years.

Survival in the Highlands

could-you-survive-bear-grylls-survival-academy
Image by Bear Grylls Survivor Academy

The Survive the Highlands course is five days long and has a similar format to Bear’s TV shows like Running Wild, in which participants learn survival techniques and then have to do a self-rescue survival challenge at the end before they are “extracted.”

The course is designed for a group of up to 12 people. Participants start at basecamp in a remote wilderness location and camp each night in military-style tents.

The first three days of the course involve learning Bear’s survival techniques from the team of trained instructors—all of the skills that will be needed for the final part of the course. Day one includes knife skills and survival knots, plus the priorities of survival. On day two, there are lessons in river crossing, shelter building, fire lighting, trapping, fishing, foraging, and wild food preparation, plus navigation and astronavigation.

Situational awareness, mindfulness, and resilience training is also covered, as well as wild camp survival training. Day three is about mountain survival, with lessons in mountain skills, alpine movement, dynamic rope activity like rappelling, gorge crossing, commando crawling, and rope climbing.

Self-Rescue Survival Challenge

could-you-survive-bear-grylls-survival-academy
Image by Bear Grylls Survivor Academy

Once the training is complete, there’s no resting, as the next step is the toughest—the self-rescue survival challenge.

“You’ll be dropped off by 4×4 away from any form of civilization and from then on, you are on foot as a team with no instructor support,” says the course material.

“You’ll need to head up into the mountains where your survival adventure begins. Your aim is to cross the mountain range, summit the highest mountain in Alladale and make it back down safely. Remember, reaching the summit is only half the challenge. Along the journey you’ll need to set up a survival camp, forage for food, prepare and cook wild food, cross rivers, climb, scramble, raft, rappel, zip line across a high gorge, and if you get back down in time, you’ll be rescued with an exciting, dynamic extraction.”

Last Remaining Wilderness

could-you-survive-bear-grylls-survival-academy
Image by Bear Grylls Survivor Academy

The course takes place in Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Highlands of Scotland, which the academy describes as “an extreme environment like no other and perhaps one of the last remaining wilderness areas left in the U.K.”

“You will be pushed to the limit crossing difficult terrain and putting all your new-found skills to the ultimate test in order to make your way back to civilization,” it says.

On successful completion of the course, participants receive a certificate, badge, buff, beanie hat, and a survival knife. Most importantly, they will have learned and practiced a long list of survival skills—and probably learned a lot about courage, determination, and teamwork along the way too. 

While there’s no mention of s’mores at the end, the natural high on completing the course is probably a thousand times better than any sugar high. Would you complete this course?

Featured Image

Two Climbers Scaled 20 Peaks in Four Days at Zion National Park

Featured Image

Donald Glover Shares His Embarrassing Hiking Mishap

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top