Gareth Southgate’s Greatest Challenge: Bear Grylls Plus Dartmoor

Gareth Southgate’s Greatest Challenge: Bear Grylls Plus Dartmoor

Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson

Most people visit Dartmoor to escape from busy city life and enjoy the peaceful serenity and rugged charm of being surrounded by nothing more than flora and the odd wild pony. Bear Grylls probably doesn’t fall into that category of ‘most people’; he is on a survivalist mission and by his side, trading in his waistcoat for a Barbour, will be Gareth Southgate.

Tonight on ITV, viewers will be able to enjoy Bear’s Mission With Gareth Southgate, a show that will follow the pair as they tackle the Royal Marine Commandos’ training course on the wilds of Dartmoor.

It turns out that Gareth’s grandfather was in the Marines and for one night only, I mean, one day only, he gets to follow in his footsteps.

Expect adrenaline-fuelled antics alongside campfire-lit deep-and-meaningfuls. After jumping out of a helicopter, the England manager will have to dangle ninety-feet above a treacherous rocky gorge while tying a knot in his emergency rope. If that wasn’t enough, he’ll then attempt to abseil down a sheer cliff face and finally, in the most dangerous act to his career, he’ll challenge Bear to a game of footy.

At the end of the episode, Bear presents Gareth with a touchingly funny memento of their time together. I won’t spoil it for you, though I am sure many of you will guess.

If you’re feeling inspired by Bear and Gareth’s adrenaline-fuelled antics, there are many ways that you can follow in their footsteps and enjoy Dartmoor’s more adventurous side.


Camping in the wild

Dartmoor is a unique location for camping; it is the only place in England where you are legally allowed to wild camp. No tent is required, instead you can sleep under the stars in a bivvy bag, though I would advise waiting until a less frostbite-inducing season. If wild camping in spring or summer, you will also be able to forage for your own food in true Bear Grylls-style.


Wild riders

Not all of us can ride onto Dartmoor in a helicopter, so if your chopper is in the shop, don’t fear, there are other ways to ride on the wild side. Explore the moors on horseback with a range of terrain suitable for beginners all the way through to more experienced riders.

If you’re after something more mechanical than a horse, Dartmoor is a great destination for cyclists. Be warned, you will need strong legs and plenty of stamina for the moor’s plentiful inclines. The views available to either method of riding are truly stunning, as long as you don’t pick one of Dartmoor’s characteristically misty days.


Dangle like Gareth

True adrenaline junkies, this is for you. Not happy unless you’re dangling over a crevasse? Dartmoor has plenty of tors for all of your abseiling, scrambling and caving needs. Experts should check out the likes of Foggintor, Fur Tor and Bonehill Rocks while beginners can sign up to Crag 2 Mountain for a taster.


All for the quiet life

Love the look of Dartmoor but running a little low on adrenaline? Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the moors in a more sedate manner. If you’re a pub-lover like me, you’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of cosy destinations to enjoy a brew away from the fierce winds that Dartmoor is known for, especially at this time of year. Enjoy the roaring fire at the Dartmoor Halfway Inn while appreciating the beauty that the moors have to offer from a squashy armchair by the window. Savour a beer at the CAMRA South Devon pub of the year 2015 and 2018 at the Bridford Inn. Take in the fifteenth-century charm of the Royal Oak Inn and appreciate the 800-year-old oak tree from the comforts of this cosy free house.

And for all those who are feeling truly worn out at this time of year, take the simplest option of all; enjoy Dartmoor from the comfort of your living room and think ‘thank goodness that’s not me’ as you watch Gareth be put through his paces.

Catch all of Bear and Gareth’s antics in Bear’s Mission With Gareth Southgate tonight on ITV at 9pm.


Photo by Liam Richards on Unsplash

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  1. Brian Gower

    Just watched the programme, can you tell me where they filmed the forward walk down the rock face please?

    • Sofy Robertson

      Hi Brian, thank you for your comment. That’s a great question but unfortunately we were not involved with the making of the programme so I am afraid we can’t answer it! We know that most of the filming took place on or around the Royal Marine Commandos training ground. Perhaps try asking ITV directly through their website or on Twitter. Sorry we wouldn’t be of more help.

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