Press Centre

Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls

  • Episode: 

    1 of 3

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Tue 15 Sep 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 38 2015 : Sat 12 Sep - Fri 18 Sep
  • Channel: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 8 September.
Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls
“You don’t always have to travel to the ends of the earth to experience incredible adventures and mind-blowing landscapes. Sometimes the best things are found right here, at home, in Great Britain.” Bear Grylls
In this brand-new three-part series for ITV, adventurer Bear Grylls heads out on an epic journey of discovery across England, Scotland and Wales to experience the British Isles at their most spectacular.
In the opening episode Bear goes to North Wales,  and the glorious mountains of Snowdonia, a landscape shaped by epic volcanic eruptions and earth shattering continental fractures. 
Travelling to the west of the epic mountains of Snowdonia, Bear starts his adventure in a fast rib crossing Cardigan Bay, which at 50-miles wide is the largest bay in Wales . Its coastal rocks once being attached to what is now North America, torn apart some 65-million years ago as the Atlantic Ocean was formed. Today it’s home to a truly unique marine habitat, from seals and dolphins to turtles and sharks.
Bear is there to free dive, a dangerous and sometimes deadly sport, where he’ll plunge 52-feet down to the seabed in search of a strange and exotic predator known as the mantis shrimp.
Bear says: “When you’re free diving, even a small mistake can be fatal and the biggest danger is shallow-water blackout – fainting caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.”
Before he begins his dive, Marine Biologist Simon Webster has a warning for Bear: 
“Be careful when you’re handling the mantis shrimp because it can flip its tail around and cut you. And it also has these quite amazing claws, these shoot out at the speed of a 2:2 bullet.”
After his second attempt scouring the seabed, Bear finally spots one of the mantis shrimps, commenting: “It’s quite exotic looking.”
Not quite ready to return to dry land, there’s one more animal Bear wants to see, the grey seal, which uses the rocks themselves to stay alive and is Britain’s largest carnivorous mammal.
Grey seals are incredibly intelligent marine animals and are amongst the rarest seal species on the planet, with North Wales home to around a thousand.
Every autumn the grey seals make their way to the caves, which make ideal maternity wards for their newborn pups. Bear quietly approaches one of the caves, convinced he’s about to see one of the pups: 
“The reason I’m suspicious that there is a pup here is that I can see the mother looking very wary out there (in the sea).”
Sure enough, Bear spots a newborn pup nestled by a rock: “Truly the cutest thing you will ever see. It’s looking around inquisitively, probably a day old.”
For his next adventure Bear heads inland, 3500 feet above sea-level, to the mountain that inspired Sir Edmund Hillary - the majestic Mount Snowdon. Snowdonia is 823-square miles of ancient gorges, stunning valleys and sheer rock faces.
Bear says: “I’m on the hunt for clues that will reveal the true story of how this spectacular mountain was created.”
A lot of the cliff is made up of a volcanic silica–rich rock called rhyolite, and it’s not only incredibly rare, it’s also incredibly hard and only really came about because of one of the most violent and dynamic periods ever on the planet.
At the summit of Clogwyn Du’r (Black Cliff), Bear meets Dewi Davies, Senior Warden of the North Snowdonia National Park. Dewi tells Bear that the formation of the mountain can be explained by the presence of fossilised seashells called brachiopods.
Dewi explains: “These would have been lying on the seabed 450-million years ago, going about their business, 30 degrees south of the equator.”
Bear notes: “Rocks folded and de-formed by these incredible forces can be found all over Snowdon. A young amateur geologist came to study these features in the early 19th century, and his week-long field trip would change his life, and the history of science, forever.”
That geologist was Charles Darwin.
Also in tonight’s episode, Bear tracks down some sphagnum moss, which thrives in the local water-logged soil. He explains how it has very strong natural antiseptic properties and is very absorbent, so much so that in days gone by women would use it as a pad for menstruation. 
Bear also takes a trip into the dark heart of Snowdonia, to Sygun mine, a place that gave birth to modern Wales and now home to what could be ‘alien life’.
Deep inside the mountains is something so valuable it brought some of the first human settlers to North Wales 4000-years ago: copper ore, formed hundreds of millions of years ago.
Thanks to the revolution kicked off by copper mining and smelting, by 1851 Wales had become the world’s first industrialised nation. However, Sygun mine was abandoned in 1903 due to importing cheaper copper from overseas, and although the tunnels may now seem without any sign of life, thanks to the geology of the rocks, a strange primitive life form has taken hold.
Bear discovers that these bizarre looking things are known as snottites, which look similar in form to stalactites, a sulphur-based life-form which have built cocoons in which they house themselves.
Also this week, Bear also has to face one of his fears - bats. With the help of local bat expert Hannah Bilston, Bear learns more about Britain’s smallest bat, the endangered lesser horseshoe bat.
Hannah explains that the bats use old slate-roofed farm buildings in North Wales to give birth to and feed their young in. She tells Bear that unlike most bats, who emit sounds from their mouths, the horseshoe bats use their strange horseshoe-shaped noses. Through what’s known as echolocation, high-pitched frequency calls, bats are able to navigate landscapes, audible to humans thanks to a handheld device.
Finally, Bear is on the hunt for a remarkable eco-system hidden in the depths of the North Wales countryside, a two-mile gorge which is the gateway to a whole lost world.