Survival Training in Central Park–The Scottish Way with Bear Grylls

you only get this TShirt after you survive the academy

not an easy T-Shirt to earn

Sarabeth’s, a restaurant on Central Park South in New York, is a perfect place for a Manhattan weekday breakfast; oh the fresh-baked muffins, scones and more… but it’s not the place I’d expect to meet instructors from the Bear Grylls Survival Academy.  After a few cups of coffee and a savory meal, I realized that unlike last year, the “Year of the Creative” for Scotland (when I leaned to paint for pleasure with artist Hazel Campbell ), this year, the “Year of the Natural” had become a bit more, “physical” with it’s adventure.

bear grylls survival academy in new york central park

sometimes you need to get down to the ground

This visit to Central Park wouldn’t be about walking off breakfast, meandering through the meadows or lounging on the great lawn.  No, I would use this picturesque setting to learn basic several survival techniques including; evasive combat maneuvers, repelling down boulders, creating clean drinking supplies, learning how to start fires, and enjoying unique protein (no, not worms).

Bear Grylls instruction - preparing to rapell down the face of the rock in central park

coming down the rocks in Central Park

drinking "filtered" water from the ground in Central Park

special Bear Grylls Canteen - pour mud in and out comes water (I hoped); better after the "protein"

Over the course of an hour we were briefed on many of these activities under the guidance of Scott Heffield, one of the main instructors who works side-by-side with Bear Grylls (the Man vs. Wild) at his survival academy in northern Scotland. Scott gave us an excellent (and thankfully quick) sampler of what it’s like to attend the Survival Academy in Scotland and also told many stories.  The finale to the week long course is surviving thirty-six hours in extreme conditions, but as Bear Grylls says, “It may hurt a little.”

Although, I received a taste of the intensity  (and of mill worms), I still left smiling. If you are looking for some extreme adventure, this might be something you need to sign up for. No, they are not running it in Central Park again, but with “survival” adventure in demand the Bear Grylls Survival Academy recently announced they planned to open a second academy in the Cat Skill Mountains of New York. It is set to open in November.

Stay adventurous,  Craig.

I’d like to thank Visit Scotland as well as LDPR for the invitation to this event and giving me a true taste of survival, the Scottish way. Also, all still photos not watermarked with Stay Adventurous Travel Photography are courtesy of LDPR. Thank you. 

the group photo of the Bear Grylls survival teaser inside Central Park

the group... we survived a few minutes with Bear Grylls


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  • Maria

    Hilarious and scary – simultaneously.

    I would thoroughly enjoy the physical side of this training but the insects… not so much. *laugh* Kudos Craig for putting yourself out there.

    • craig zabransky

      Maria, it wasn’t as easy as the video looks, I’ll be honest. But it is staying adventurous, Craig

  • Jim from Inside The X Ring

    Now we’re talkin’ Adventure! Nice job Z.

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks Jim, appreciate it… stay adventurous, Craig

  • TripsByLance

    I didn’t expect to see a Vine showing that nice meal you had. Looks, um, interesting.

    • craig zabransky

      It tasted like a nut, a little fatty. Not sure it was the “protein” source of champions… but all in a days adventure. Stay adventurous, Craig

  • Helensburgh Online

    Sounds to be an interesting activity! I love to be part of these kinda trainings. I can understand that it needs lot of dedication and patience but at the same time, I found it scary to participate!