RAY Mears is definitely a man you would want to be able to turn to in a moment of crisis.

Even on the phone from his home, he exudes a certain calmness, giving the impression that there is nothing likely to happen during the day which will phase him unduly.

But then he has spent time in some of the most remote areas of the planet living with native tribes; foraging deep into some of the wildest places on earth.

Now the survival expert and TV presenter is about to set of on an expedition of a different kind - taking his new family show, Born to Go Wild, to theatres around the UK, beginning with a date at the Lowry, Salford Quays, next Sunday.

The show will celebrate the art of bushcraft and is likely to have theatre managers a little hot under the collar.

“Next year I will have been teaching bushcraft skills for 35 years.,” said Ray. “In the show I’ll explain what they are and what they mean and if I’m allowed I’m going to demonstrate how to make fire on stage.

“We’ll be taking a little voyage into our ancestors’ world and see what we can learn about them and from them.”

The second half of the show will focus on something Ray is passionate about - developing a better understanding of nature.

“I don’t see a danger in wild places,” he said. “That attitude just reflects the perceptions of modern society. We are being told on TV all the time that these places are hostile, they are dangerous, you have to be an expert to go there and if you don’t you’ll die within minutes – none of which is actually true.

“I don’t see wild places as threatening. For the native inhabitants of these regions, it’s just home. You do have to acquire a slightly different set of knowledge but that is no different if you travel to another country and go on a city break. It’s exactly the same.

“It is important to understand we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become fearful; fear itself is the most dangerous thing.”

Ray developed an interest in the world around him as a child. He would often go and camp out at night on the North Downs.

“Even as a young boy I was fairly self-willed,” he said. “So I would just do what I wanted to do.

“Very often I didn’t have a sleeping bag and it was a bit uncomfortable but I don’t remember it being a hardship. When I look back I just remember a wonderful sense of freedom and adventure.”

An ambition to join the Marines was thwarted due to poor eyesight so instead Ray tuned to his love of nature and founded his own bushcraft school, aged just 19, which he still runs.

Now 53, that love of adventure remains as strong as ever and a series of TV programmes have made him one of the most high profile survival experts. But just don’t call him a guru.

“Oh, no, I avoid all that,” he said. “Nature for me is a deeply spiritual experience and that’s very personal thing and not something I want to share with others.

“What I will do is share the skills so that they can feel those things in their own way. I don’t believe that one person should teach another person what to believe.

“If they use those skills and open their hearts to nature then all falls into place.”

Ray believes that to fully appreciate nature requires a better understanding of it but appreciates that in a modern, highly technological world, that isn’t easy.

“I think we are a little bit spoiled now,” he said. “We have better equipment than ever before but we seem to do less with it.

“If you go back 100 years people would go on a month long trip. Now it’s often an overnight stay at most which is a great pity.

“We have this tendency to look back on our forebears with this conceited arrogance but we’ve only achieved what we have achieved because they laid the ground for us.

“I also think our ancestors lived much closer to nature than we do and I don’t think that’s something we should lose. We must always remember to remain grounded.”

Ray’s idea of getting close to nature doesn’t involve the luxury holidays which are now available.

“I think the safari industry in Africa suffers from this,” he said.

“You can now go into once remote parts of Africa; you can drive to them, stay in a five-star hotel with flushing toilets and then you go out and see all of the best things before going back for a sumptuous meal and do it again next day.

“In the old days it was an adventure; you had to adapt yourself to the terrain to see these things. For that reason they were more special and you would gain more from the experience. It was more than just taking a photograph,”

Ray Mears, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Sunday, October 8. Details from 0843 208 6010 or www.thelowry.com. Australian Wilderness With Ray Mears begins on ITV on Friday, October 13 at 9pm