Ray Mears bemoaned Britain ‘becoming nation of snowflakes’ as he demanded: ‘Toughen up!’

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The 57-year-old returns to screens today as he stars alongside on the much loved ITV favourite James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen. The adventurer will be given a variety of tasty treats from James, and fellow chefs Tommy Banks and Paul Ainsworth, including recipes for watercress soup, pork fillet and choux pastry. The food is set to be a world away from the usual grub Ray eats, as seen in his previous ITV shows, including Extreme Survival and Ray Mears’ Wild Food.

Each adventure puts Ray’s skills to the test, often forcing him to rustle up meals from whatever he can get his hands on, regardless of the conditions.

Ray once claimed his lust for the outdoors was a dying art, as the world had become less enchanted by getting in touch with nature.

In 2017, Ray told the Daily Telegraph how he had endured Lyme disease for 16 years, a condition he sustained after being bitten by a tick.

This left him “exhausted and debilitated”.

He has since been cured, having discussed how the experience gave him more energy to pursue the adventurer inside him.

Yet, he no longer has time for “townies who flinch at the sight of mud”, the publication reported, or those who get nervous at the idea of killing an animal before eating it.

He said: “Britain is becoming a nation of snowflakes.

“We all need to toughen up a bit.

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“People sit at desks all day and are so far removed from nature and natural processes that when they are transplanted into an environment like this, they feel far out of their comfort zone.”

Ray added: “The problem is we’ve become a risk averse society. That’s a big mistake; risk management is a very different thing.

“Perceived and real risk are often miles apart.”

Although he has faced the challenges that afford a man who embraces extreme conditions – including a being involved in a near-fatal 2005 helicopter crash – Ray noted that his most difficult was seeing his first wife Rachel die.

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She passed away as a result of breast cancer a year after his crash aged just 50.

Ray said that he “couldn’t fix” her condition which was “hard… very frustrating,” adding, “I live in the present.

“It’s just the way I am; I don’t think much about the things I’ve done in the past.”

In an interview with The Guardian in 2013, Ray discussed how he hoped his programmes would encourage more people to become environmentally minded.

He did, however, warn that the world could be in danger of “loving something to death”, with people unwilling to cull some animals to ensure other species survive.

He said: “In Britain, with wildlife, we do need to maintain balance.”

Ray, who also helped track murderer Raoul Moat after he fled his temporary tent-based shelter in the village of Rothbury in 2010, used Ashdown forest, near his home in Sussex, as an example.

He noted a huge beech tree which needed pollarding, but locals were so in love with the shrub, its branches weren’t cut and it collapsed.

He added: “If it had been pollarded 20 years ago, it could have gone on for another 600 years.”

Ray concluded that the conversation on conservation needed to become smarter or we will be responsible for “one of the largest extinction episodes in history”.

James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs today at 9.30am on ITV.

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