The most inspiring, and surprising, piece of television over the Christmas break was undoubtedly "Bear Grylls' Wild Weekend....
The most inspiring, and surprising, piece of television over the Christmas break was undoubtedly "Bear Grylls' Wild Weekend with Stephen Fry". Fry, in his 50's, is not someone noted for his love of the physical life, quite the reverse, yet the programme covered his and Grylls' descent from high up a peak in the Italian Dolomites.
This descent wasn't made any easier by a not unheard-of but not completely expected summer snowfall.
Having watched as the suitably equipped pair, tethered onto the fuselage of a helicopter while balancing on the its landing rails, were carried up to their destination, their subsequent disembarkation was not made easier by the helicopter's inability to land due to the weather conditions. While the chopper hovered a metre or so above solid ground the pair hopped off, and then started their descent of the slippery mountain terrain, Grylls on foot and Fry sometimes on foot, sometimes on another part of his body.
They then cleated themselves onto a steel cable - a kind of loose "handrail" attached to the cliffs, and a relic from the second world war - and thus attached walked under and down the course of a mountain waterfall. All the while Fry was alternately scared out his wits or displaying an admirable amount of guts and determination. At the bottom of the waterfall, the pair made camp and cooked. The following morning there was the descent of a tricky and treacherous scree slope, the difficulty of which was attested to by the state of the seat of Fry's trousers!
At the end of all the effort it was wonderfully uplifting to hear from Stephen Fry how exhilarating he had found it and how fulfilled he felt by his achievement. We can't say that we can expect to see him much in the pages of SGSC, but if someone of such a hitherto exclusively intellectual persuasion as Stephen Fry can appreciate and feel the benefits of exercise and the physical life, then there is hope for us all.