Explorer Steve Backshall is taking his wife Helen Glover on a romantic trip to Scotland – climbing hills

For his first romantic trip away without the kids, Steve Backshall knew where to take wife Helen Glover – Scotland.

The 48-year-old explorer and naturalist and his two-time Olympic champion rower wife will leave their three children for the first time this week for a Valentine’s break in Fort William.

It will be a chance to return to the country where he met a friendly seal and swam with glowing sharks, and the big softy is treating Helen to a trip on the Caledonian Sleeper.

While couples may dream of cozy nights by the fire, this pair will enjoy their break from kids Logan, three, and two-year old twins Kit and Willow by hitting the mountains.

He said: “For me the Caledonian Sleeper is one of the great romantic journeys in the world.

“Helen has never done it before. It’s our first trip leaving all three babies behind. I’m super-excited.”

“There’s going to be a big dump of snow this week and then it’s going to be really cold. Our goal was to do some mountaineering around Fort William. But who knows if that will be possible.”

Helen and Steve can’t wait to hit the Scottish hills this week

It’s been an amazing rollercoaster for the Deadly 60 presenter who explores the unknown corners of the world for his TV shows – swimming with crocodiles or nearly dying while kayaking in Bhutan, or attempting to be the first to climb a mountain face in Venezuela.

Since meeting Helen, 35, at a Sport Relief event in 2014 and marrying her two years later they’ve had Logan, three, whose twin didn’t survive, and Willow and Kit, two, who were born during the January 2020 lockdown.

The family live by the Thames in Berkshire but get away as often as they can to Cornwall, where Helen is from.

This summer Steve hopes to bring the family to Scotland for their first holiday in a country he thinks is among the very best on Earth. High praise from a man who has seen more of the world than most.

While filming Sky’s Shark series Steve came nose to nose with a friendly seal off the island of Coll

Steve said: “I’d really like to take them to the Inner Hebrides. I love that whole area coming through the Small Isles to Skye, Rum and Knoydart.

“The Inner Hebrides is one of my favorite places in the world and I can’t wait to introduce my youngsters to it.”

Steve has been on TV for 24 years in the likes of The Really Wild Show, Deadly 60 and the Lost Land series.

While he’s shown us some amazing animals and views, he’s also put himself in real danger to do so.

Steve broke his back in fall which nearly killed him

In 2008, Steve broke his back in a 25ft rock climbing fall and perforated his ear drums on a dive last October with whale sharks in the Indo-Pacific.

He insisted what scares him the most these days is not spending as much time with the children as he can.

He said: “The most important thing to me is my family. This stage of their childhood is so precious because it’s over in a heartbeat and if I was to be away loads now in the first years of their lives, I’d always regret it.

“I’m less worried about danger because this is what I do for a living and diving with sharks or crocodiles and climbing mountains is what I do and that’s what I’m comfortable with.

“But I’m worried if someone offers me a two-month expedition to the middle of nowhere with no contact to the outside world.”

Steve Backshall holds a black Piranha

The Bafta-winning naturalist filmed Sky series Shark last year. It included an episode solely shot in British waters including those around Scotland.

And Steve, who took part in 2015’s Strictly Come Dancing, will hit the road for a UK tour of new theater show, Ocean, including stops in April at Edinburgh Usher Hall, Theater Royal Glasgow and Aberdeen Music Hall.

Steve, who grew up in Bagshot, Surrey, fell in love with the sea thanks to his parents, from looking for crabs in rock pools to snorkelling and free diving as a child. He’s had his kids out on sea kayaking trips already.

But over the years doing his shows he’s seen the damage humans are doing to the environment and like David Attenborough and Chris Packham want to inform as well as entertain.

He said: “Places I might have dived 20 years ago that were spectacular and now there is nothing, it’s gone. But the ocean will bounce back given half a chance in marine protected areas.”

His stage show Ocean will bring the seas of the world to us. It will include stunts, experiments and big-screen footage.

Scotland is surrounded by sea but for most of us it’s about the beach and maybe a bit of paddling. However, Steve reveals an extraordinary world below.

He said: “When it’s calm in the North Sea there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be diving. Our kelp and seagrass forest are teeming with life.

“Right there off the Scottish coast I swam with glow-in-the-dark sharks at night and had a gray seal playing alongside me like a puppy off Coll.

“I was in my sea kayak off the coast of Cornwall and had a leatherback turtle swim right into me.”

Steve Backshall caused a stir when he ripped his clothes off on Strictly Come Dancing

Steve hopes that Ocean will entertain and galvanize people young and old into doing their bit to save our seas.

He wants us to reduce the use of plastic bags and single-use plastics and think about what we are eating, adding that often shark is in our fish and chip shops but labeled as other things.

While Packham has become an ardent campaigner and had a car blown up outside his home by thugs and dead animals left at his gate, Steve looks for other ways to change minds.

He said: “There are ways where you don’t get people’s backs up and don’t rub people up the wrong way.

“We are constantly feeling our way through it.

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham

“You need to tread a very fine line between being entertaining, interesting, positive and empowering and putting the tools for change into people’s hands.

“While also making sure you’re truthful and you are bringing across the real challenges that all of our natural environments are facing now because of us and the way that we live our lives.”

● Steve Backshall’s Ocean is coming to the Edinburgh Usher Hall on April 2, Glasgow Theater Royal on April 3 and Aberdeen Music Hall on April 5. For tickets, visit stevebackshall.com


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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