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The Scottish granny on Bear Grylls’ survival show


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Channel 4

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Irene Cattanach was 51 years older than the youngest contestant on Treasure Island with Bear Grylls

A Scottish great-grandmother who is afraid of water is the oldest contestant on a new reality show set on an uninhabited desert island.

Irene Cattanach, 75, from Perthshire, faced boa constrictors and tarantulas during filming for Channel 4 survival show Treasure Island with Bear Grylls.

She was signed up to the show as a joke by her granddaughter who had claimed to have “deleted” the form.

But she now hopes her TV appearance will inspire other older women.

Irene, from Aberfeldy, was one of 12 castaways who took part in the battle to survive on the remote Pacific island.

She was 51 years older than the youngest contestant on the show, where they competed to win a share of £100,000.

However the biggest challenge she faced was the water.

“I was dumped in the water, I don’t swim and I’m scared of water – especially sea water, with all these high waves crashing around. It was dreadful,” she said.

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Channel 4

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The contestants had the chance to win a share of £100,000

She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland the whole thing started as a joke by her granddaughter Lucy – who filled out an application for the show on her behalf, then “deleted it”.

Irene said: “I was not aware until I got a call from [production company] Shine saying we really liked your application and I’m going ‘…really?’.

“Don’t forget it’s an island – I don’t swim and I don’t particularly like water, certainly not the sea. I need to get even with Lucy, I’ll get her back.”

‘It was wonderful’

Irene is the oldest contestant ever to take part in the show – but said her age often worked to her advantage.

She said: “I just felt that these other ones on the team saw me perhaps as a mother or grandmother and were quite prepared to take care of me.

“But I wanted to do the same as them – I was just on that island to fight for survival, hunt, and I wanted to do that as well but I think they were trying to protect me.”

Despite the challenge of surviving on the island, she said it was great holiday.

She added: “It was wonderful, I loved all these creepy crawlies – each one was a pet – and I would recommend it as a holiday. It doesn’t cost very much, you have the beach and the water, you have all the jungle to go through, lovely.

“I just hope it’s an inspiration to some of these older ladies. Get out there and do it!”



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