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Thousands of athletes and kids completed the Bear Grylls Survival Race obstacle courses at Winton Castle last Saturday, and many more visitors enjoyed the Family Festival. In this first ever Bear Grylls in Scotland, there were rivers to wade through, monkey bars to swing from, ammo boxes and Atlas balls to carry, barbed wire to crawl under, mountains to scale and regular survival challenges.

Runners uncovered their inner ‘survivor’ and learned to ‘never give up’ as they progressed through the Jungle, Mountain, Desert and Arctic zones in the 10k, 5k and kids’ obstacle races.

BG Survival Race works with more than 300 charities across the UK in collaboration with the Run for Charity programme. Scottish Power sent a 100-strong team who were raising funds for Stand up to Cancer and Crossfit Skirmish also entered a big team.

“What a day! The event is not called a Survival Race without reason!” says Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton Estate. “The 5 and 10k races are unlike any other;  whoever blended jumping down a sock from a great height to be followed by lighting a fire, climbing a wall with ice axes, pulling a sled that felt like it was laden with lead, trail running as if in a Scottish Jungle and carrying stone Atlas balls, and all for fun?

“Yet everywhere you looked, the expressions around the field were of satisfied participants – glad to have taken part and survived.

“There was a marvellous atmosphere in the festival area with families spanning three generations. My children, for sure, will talk about the race for a long time to come – not least, because I was roundly beaten!  We’re hoping there will be another next year!”

The Festival zone was a great success: from gourmet food stalls, craft shops and charity stands to lots of festival entertainment for all ages – bungees, Segways, water zorbs, falconry and live rock music.

On the main stage the Bear Grylls Survival Academy ran bush survival demonstrations and a bush-grub eating contest; some parents were persuaded to eat grasshoppers, mealworms and maggots, much to the delight of their children!

“​The launch of the Bear Grylls Survival Race Edinburgh was a fantastic success, hosted in the beautiful grounds of Winton House, where crowds flocked to conquer the race and attend the festival as families,” adds Tamara Fitzgerald, Festival Operations Manager.

“It was great to see BG Kids wearing their medals and t-shirts with such pride afterwards. It brought a smile to all our faces!

“Participants were especially impressed with our ‘Eye of the Eiger’, mountain obstacle, made possible by our partners Overbury and Morgan Lovell, part of the Morgan Sindall Group.​ Reaching heights of 15 metres, racers conquered their fears with a ‘never give up’ attitude and also enjoyed wonderful views of the lush surrounding greenery.”

Sponsors for the day included Land Rover, AQUAÇAI, Triumph Motorcycles, Gamo, Bushnell, Exile Medics, Overbury, Epic Action Imagery and Morgan Lovell, with support from The Royal Marine Reserves.

Pre-registration is opening shortly for next year’s Edinburgh Bear Grylls Survival Race on the Bear Grylls website. See more at

Bear Grylls Kids Race

*Photos courtesy of Epic Action Imagery