The furore caused by TV presenter Bear Grylls’ latest episode of ‘Britain’s Biggest Adventures’ highlights once again the uneasy dynamic between the thrills and enjoyment to be found in outdoor adventure and their inherent safety risks.

The Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) has made an official complaint to ITV about an episode which saw the adventurer visit the Yorkshire Dales.

Grylls was shown heading into the Long Churn Cave System, about 14 kilometres north of Ingleton, without basic equipment, after 24 hours of non-stop rain. At one stage the programme showed Grylls and his crew having to rush from the cave as water levels rise.

He was also shown doing a back flip into Stainforth Force, north of Giggleswick.

The stunts prompted CRO chair Heather Eastwood to write a blisteringly critical letter to ITV, in which she claimed the channel and Bear Grylls had shown ‘a total lack of responsibility’ because the presenter had not worn appropriate clothing, a helmet and was not carrying a hands-free torch.

The CRO has to deal with many call-outs to people who have had accidents while exploring caves in the area and it is understandable that it would highlight safety issues.

To be fair to Grylls and ITV the programme stressed that he is a trained professional backed by an expert safety team and warns other people not to mimic any of his ‘dangerous activities’.

And the show is there to entertain and, arguably, people should realise that they should not simply imitate such an extreme adventurer’s behaviour.

All outdoor activities carry some risk, be they caving, climbing, swimming in rivers or simply fell walking. That should not put anyone off trying them out. The last things we want is to become the kind of society feared by poet Ted Hughes, where we become soft and unadventurous, ruled too much by intellect rather than instinct.

As is so often the case, it is important to maintain a level of common sense. Enjoy the outdoors - but take care.