British adventurer Bear Grylls said he explored “the sewers at night with a torch” during his time at Eton College.
The 49-year-old went to Eton, the former school of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex and where other A-list celebrities and politicians were taught, in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.
He told the Radio Times podcast: “I was eight when I first went to boarding school – it was scary and I felt really ill-equipped.
“I found an escape through trying to keep a semblance of adventure in a world that was very regimented – whether it was making camps or rafts to go down the river or exploring the sewers at night with a torch.”
The son of politician and former Royal Marine commando Michael Grylls, he was nicknamed Bear by his sister when he was a week old.
‘In the wild, you only get it wrong once’
He grew up on the Isle of Wight, where his late father would get him outside “whatever the weather ... which I wasn’t super happy about. I look back now and feel so grateful for those times and our connection,” he said.
It is where he learnt about “nature and adventure” and he still has “strong memories of coming back from school, sitting at the foot of my parents’ bed, my knees scrunched up and the telly being six inches from my face”, he told the podcast.
Grylls’s TV shows, including Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Bear’s Mission and You vs Wild, often see him tackling rough terrain and high-adrenalin situations.
Asked if as a family man – he is a father to three – he knows when to draw the line, he said: “There is always risk involved in my job. You’ve got to be smart. In the wild, you only get it wrong once. You have to leave ego behind.
“If there’s any doubt about safety, you find another way. On Running Wild, I take rookies with me. They might be Hollywood celebrities but they’ve never climbed a mountain – and you’ve got to account for that.”