WHILE most mums wish their kids would calm down a bit, Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton wants her two sons to be ‘that kind of feral little thing that little boys are meant to be’.
The glamorous 36-year-old former Blue Peter presenter certainly hasn’t let becoming a mum — to Ernie, four, and two-year-old Louis, with professional rugby player hubby Richie Myler — hold her back in a career that has seen her travel to many far-flung locations, including the Amazon rainforest and South Pole.
Posting pics of a recent action-packed family holiday, she wrote: ‘Naively once thought having kids would clip my wings. They just changed the adventure.’
Now Helen, who has just led an expedition to the summit of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, has spoken about how she hopes her boys will follow in her footsteps.
‘I think adventure and outdoors activities and challenging yourself in those kind of environments gives you a really good grounding,’ she said.
‘Before I became a parent I thought academic stuff would be important to me, but it’s not.
‘I want my kids to love being outside, to get muddy, to get wet, to climb trees, to be that kind of feral little thing that little boys are meant to be.’
But while Skelton wants her children to enjoy the great outdoors, she isn’t the sort to ban them from screen time altogether.
She said: ‘I think it’s totally unrealistic to expect kids not to have an iPad or a phone or a tablet. There’s no point saying kids are never going to have that.
‘Also, if I denied my kids any access to technology, they’d be the odd ones in the classroom who couldn’t engage with their peers. So you can’t do that.’
For her latest adventure, Skelton led a group of youngsters from the PEEK project, based in Glasgow’s East End, on a ‘brutal’ 5-hour hike up Scotland’s Ben Nevis, to celebrate 25 years of the National Lottery.
‘It was horrific,’ Skelton said. ‘I say this as someone who has been to the South Pole. At one point the rain was hitting my face so hard, I couldn’t even open my eyes. That’s how brutal it was.’
Despite the challenging weather, Skelton said she enjoyed the experience, adding: ‘It was exhausting, but brilliant.’
The climb marks the launch of The National Lottery’s Guide to 25 Amazing Outdoor Adventures, which includes a variety of outdoor locations to visit, all of which have been funded by the Lottery over the last 25 years.