Bear Grylls, Chief Scout

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, explains why boats and waterways are special places for him and his family.

"We’re lucky to have Canal & River Trust as our partner. While I’m on the river, I can let my mind unravel, get new ideas and spend quality time with my friends and family."

Bear Grylls

When Shara and I first got married we were pretty broke but wanted to live in London where a lot of our friends were. Up to then I had been sleeping on and off in the back of my old London taxi since leaving the military! But when I saw an old Dutch barge houseboat on the Thames come up for sale (that once belonged to a Polar explorer) it was the perfect solution.

It was over 100 years old and we had to do a massive amount of work to turn it into our home, but it was so worth it. We created 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, a deck-roof for more outdoor space and installed a hammock, barbeque and pull up bar - we were away! As a family, it was and still is a real refuge away together. And when it came to messing about on the river, I remain hooked. We have a small inflatable tender for shopping at the supermarket across the river and a canoe I often take my boys out in. For the first 7 years of our married life it was our main home and we love it still today more than ever. She is an old but loyal friend.

Water connects us to nature

That’s why I was so pleased when Scouts chose the Canal & River Trust as one of the key partners for our brilliant campaign, A Million Hands. Water has an amazing effect on people – it connects us to nature and speaks to something deeply elemental inside us. Canals and rivers are great places for us to recharge our natural energies and see the world from a different perspective.

Canals and rivers are amazing outdoor spaces and have huge potential to deliver social action. By partnering with the Canal & River Trust, Scouts can bring real community action right into the hearts of our towns and cities.

Using our canal and rivers, Scouts will be able to work on issues that affect young people in their lives today. A Million Hands recognises the role the waterways can play in improving health and wellbeing.

Health and wellbeing

Scout group adoptionScouts can chose to adopt a stretch of canal and use the waterways as their chosen form of social action. Supported by the Trust, Scout groups will be able to carry out practical improvements and enhancements while improving the lives of those in the wider community.

They’ll be running events and guided walks. They’ll be making physical improvements to waterways, for example, to make their canal dementia friendly or improve access and keep the canal and towpath clean and smart for disabled people, including those with sight loss. These are brilliant, practical actions that can really change lives.

We’re lucky to have Canal & River Trust as our partner. While I’m on the river, I can let my mind unravel, get new ideas, seek new inspiration and spend quality time with my friends and family.

Quality time with friends and family

Scouts have a fine tradition of adventures on the water and I’m proud that this is continuing with this new chapter in our history.  Let’s not forget what beautiful and inspiring places our canals and rivers are, and the powerful effect they can have on us all.

Bear Grylls
Chief Scout

Last date edited: 5 October 2020