Ray Mears needs no introduction. We are all familiar with his superb TV programmes and books from over the years covering survival, bushcraft, history, and even foraging. This Autumn Ray will be touring the UK with his show ‘Born To Go Wild’, which your can find out more about here. Here at Boldy Goes we were particularly excited when we heard about Ray’s tour and thought we’d catch up with him before he hits the road later this year.
Ray has been a pivotal figure in laying down the foundations for us ultimately making this website dedicated to bringing stories of adventures in the wilder corners of Britain, and further afield. We met the opportunity of talking with Ray with all the zeal of your quintessential ‘Trekkie’, or a ‘Trackie’ perhaps?……..
Here’s a few questions we put to Ray when we spoke to him.
Boldy Goes: I remember your TV series ‘Wild Food’ fondly, I did notice however, that your co-presenter Professor Gordon Hill, never seemed to enjoy the food eaten on the show as much as you did. What, if ever, has been enough to induce from you a Hill-esque grimace upon eating?
Ray Mears: Gordon was wonderful to work with, I have many fond memories of experimental wild food meals that we tried some successful and a few others not so successful. There have been a few things that have made me grimace, the sight of a toredo worm being the most memorable, a long slimy insipid white worm like mollusc that bores into ships timbers and dead mangrove trees. Strangely enough it tasted deliciously like crab sandwich spread with a hint of chilli.
What are you excited about right now? And what’s next?
I am excited about being home planning future projects, enjoying being home with my wife and being out in the glorious British countryside. Right now I am preparing for the Born to go Wild tour.
Your new UK tour, Born to go Wild runs from 8th October through to the end of November and travels all around the country. Would you be able to talk a little bit about what we can expect from the show?
Yes, in the first half I am going to talk about and demonstrate skills particularly fire skills exploring why it has been important to humanity and what it still means in really wild places. In the second half I will explore the importance of watching and learning about wild life, with examples from recent filming expeditions in Australia.
You’ve travelled the world, seen it in its most extreme and hostile forms and have been to our planet’s pockets of paradise. Where is your favourite place to visit time and again? Where is a place you don’t want to return to?
It is really hard to single out one particular place there are so many and so very varied. Certainly Canada, Australia and Africa have called me back many times but equally there are the remote islands of the pacific or the country trails of the U.S.A.
While outside you often allude to the “inner silence” you find while becoming part of the forest. You have gleaned many technical skills from bushcraft masters all over the globe, but who are your biggest influences on the spiritual side of being outdoors?
That is a really difficult question, I have encountered many varied spiritual perspectives on life. Personally, I would say I have found the strongest connection with many of the spiritual beliefs demonstrated by the First Nations in Canada and the United States, although what I have learned from my visits with Australian Aboriginal communities has been fascinating and mind expanding.
When you make a programme who are you trying to please?
When I make a film with aboriginal people, they are my target audience. I want them to be happy with the way they are represented on screen. I was once stopped by an Inuit man in Yellowknife Canada. He recognised me from the TV and said, ‘I like your programmes they tell things how they really are.’ It was the best praise I have ever received, he then went on to share a skill of fire making in the tundra with me that was of immense benefit just a few days later.
Did you know that you were/are my childhood hero? Without your TV shows and books my life and experiences would have been much less rich. Not really a question, I just wanted to say thanks!
Can the Boldly Goes boys and I come camping with you sometime?
Yes please do, let’s plan something.
Ray Mears Born To Go Wild will be at theatres around the UK from 8 October, you can check the tour dates and book here now!