I have been enjoying watching Bear Grylls’s The Island on Channel 4. Where two groups of about 14, one men, one women, go off and try to survive – and ultimately thrive – on two separate tropical or at any rate sub-tropical islands for a period of seven weeks.
I have loved it, actually, especially last night’s 12th and final episode of the men’s adventure which I watched on the old Ch4+1 into the early hours of, well, this morning with puppy Lucky sleeping peacefully on the beanbag beside me (except for the pig-sticking bit when he jumped up and barked)!
Yes it was a really fascinating final instalment where everything came together and the camaraderie and bonding between the chaps after some pretty tough times in previous episodes was truly heartening to see. There had been arguments, there had been hunger, there had been emotional ‘to-cameras’ but in the end there was 160 pounds of freshly barbecued pig meat to be eaten in a sensational feast, followed by reconciliation and much more than that, lifelong friendships made, and even a game of rounders.
What a great show (but then I’m a big Bear Grylls fan – he admitted – ever since I reviewed his book for Men’s Fitness magazine on his becoming Guinness’s world youngest climber of Everest about 15 years ago having previously broken his back in three places in an Army parachute-jump). It was an epic moment when their sojourn on the island ended with Bear – “It’s only Bear Grylls!” said one of the men – splashed off a launch on to the beach. Bear, who this week committed to his role as Chief Scout for another three years [for which, respect] was particularly good throughout in his analysis of people’s behaviour in a survival situation.
Meanwhile, the other Bear Island is out on the River Varzuga in Russia. In fact there are two Bear pools there – one at Middle Camp (pictured above) and one, actually called Bear Island, at Lower Varzuga camp. The chaps and ladies are pulling fish out of those now (more than 120 fish yesterday) in the season which opened on that fabulous river last weekend. Follow Roxtons’ blog via the link on my home page, but here’s a salmon I caught on my 2011 visit to the lower camp, I think from Jannaway’s.