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Bear Grylls death – Adventure ends in Tragedy

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Surviving winter outdoors in the Scottish wilderness by living off the land may seem a romantic ideal to people such as Bear Grylls, but in reality it would be almost impossible for anyone to accomplish successfully. Sadly, it certainly proved too much for 29 year old David Austin whose body was found in a remote hut by a railway worker on New Years Eve 2011, known now as the Bear Grylls death.

Mr Austin had taken a year off work and decided to live in the Scottish wilderness for a year in a Bear Grylls-style challenge. He had apparently prepared for his survival challenge by attending courses on bushcraft skills and outdoor survival.

He left his Derby home in November after informing his family that he intended to travel North and survive by living off the land. He didn’t even take a mobile phone with him on his adventure so he was entirely unable to contact anyone should he get into difficulties. It appears that he did experience difficulties of some sort fairly early on in his attempt. His body was found on December 31st in a hut near Corrour railway station. His journal, knife, and other possessions were nearby. It is believed that he died of Hypothermia. He had survived in the wild for less than a month.

The area in which Mr Austin was found is extremely remote with only four permanent residents, all of whom where unable to shed much light on the circumstances on this Bear Grylls death. According to an employee at the Loch Ossian SYHA hostel located on Rannoch Moor David Austin told him he had been camping in the woods on the north side of the loch. The nearest big town to the area is Pitlochry, which is a distance of 65 miles. The only way to access the area is to walk in or take the train line that cuts across the moor.

Ian Moran, a survival specialist school instructor who teaches bushcraft skills believes that “it was extremely unlikely anybody could survive a Highland winter outside living off the land.” He added “It would be a tall order for even the most professional person who calls himself a survivalist. Maybe centuries ago, when Scotland was covered in woodland and teeming with wildlife, but not now.”

According to Ian Moran with core skills it should be possible for an individual to survive for up to 72 hours before rescue if the weather conditions are not unfavourable. The core skills he teaches include navigation, rabbit skinning and creating rope from nettles. He states that his top four priorities for survival are water, shelter, fire, and food. It is possible to survive for up to three weeks without food but taking water to remain hydrated is essential or you will quickly become sick.

Would you call this a “Bear Grylls death”?