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Ray Mears shares his tales of endurance in new stage show

11:28 08 January 2016

Ray Mears

Ray Mears

Archant

He is known for his survival techniques.

Woodsman Ray Mears will be bringing his new show to Dartford as part of its UK tour.

Mr Mears has made a number of TV appearances, specialising in bushcraft and survival techniques.

His six-part series Wild Australia is due to begin on ITV in April, and he has written a number of books about travelling in the Artic Circle.

His new show is called Tales Of Endurance, and it will involve Mr Mears talking about his adventures, as well as taking questions from people in the audience.

He said: “People always seem to want to know whether what’s shown on television programmes like mine is real.

“But I like to think the viewer understands that, if you want to really know how to take care of yourself in the wild, I’m the person to talk to.”

Speaking about his occupation as a woodsman, he said: “I absolutely love trees and forests. I’ve now got pretty good at divining what the weather will do by listening to the leaves as they respond to the wind.

“The longer you spend outdoors, the more intuitive you become. And there’s something very therapeutic about being alone in woodland, being at one with nature.”

Before his career in TV took off Mr Mears was a woodcraft teacher.

He was approached by the BBC and asked to appear on a show called Country Tracks - being invited to contribute five three-minute slots about his speciality, which later rose to 10 six-minute slots.

“In those days, you had to win your spurs to appear on television unlike now when it seems that anyone can get their five minutes of fame and for no very good reason,” he said.

Mr Mears has since travelled around the globe and encountered natural predators - including a five-metre crocodile on the northern coast of Australia.

“I’d pitched tent on the beach. I’d speared a stingray that day and I’d wanted to cook it inland in the shade but the TV director persuaded me to do it on the beach because it made better pictures. What I didn’t know at the time was that crocodiles have the most amazing sense of smell and that they have a particular penchant for cooked shark or ray meat,” he said.

The crocodile had actually been looking at the beach, travelling along the water’s edge all day.

“As I was later to learn, when a crocodile watches you like that, it’s thinking about eating you. It was nighttime and I was asleep in my tent – no more than a dome made of mosquito netting. I was awoken by a noise and, looking over to my right, there was the crocodile four feet from my head,” he said.

“I put my hand on my machete which I had with me and which I reasoned I could use to hit it on its nose if it attacked although I now know that would have been a complete waste of time. If that crocodile had wanted to eat me, it would have done, no question.

“Luckily, though, it was just passing through on its way to what remained of the ray on the campfire. So the food had brought it ashore but it also saved my life.

“Of course, I couldn’t be sure where it had gone at the time so I didn’t dare venture out of my tent. I just lay very still indeed for the rest of the night.”

Mr Mears will discuss other similar tales in the show, which will be on stage at the Orchard Theatre on March 10.

For more information or to book tickets you can visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the ticket office on 01322 220000.

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