75-year-old Bear Grylls survival show contestant hopes to inspire others

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

A 75-year-old great-grandmother who took part in the Bear Grylls survival show Treasure Island has said she hopes she will inspire other older women.

Irene Cattanach is 51 years older than the youngest contestant on the show, which sees 12 “castaways” fighting to survive on a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific.

Mrs Cattanach was surprised to be invited on to the show as she thought her granddaughter had deleted the application form which they had filled in together as a joke.

Despite not liking the sea and being unable to swim, she enjoyed her time on the island and was determined her age would not get in the way of participating to the full.

She told BBC Radio Scotland: “It was wonderful, I loved all these creepy crawlies – each one was a pet – and I would recommend it as a holiday. It doesn’t cost very much, you have the beach and the water, you have all the jungle to go through, lovely.”

The great-grandmother is the oldest contestant ever to take part in the show.

She said: “Between myself and the youngest was 51 years so you’ve got to understand that I could not only have been their mother but I could also have been their grandmother.

“But, you see, I never looked at it that way and I just felt that these other ones on the team saw me perhaps as a mother or grandmother and were quite prepared to take care of me but I wanted to do the same as them – I was just on that island to fight for survival, hunt, and I wanted to do that as well but I think they were trying to protect me.”

There is also £100,000 in cash hidden across the island for contestants to find in the Channel 4 series, which began earlier this month.

Mrs Cattanach, from Aberfeldy in Perthshire, said she hopes seeing her taking part in the show may inspire other people.

She said: “I just hope it’s an inspiration to some of these older ladies. Get out there and do it!”