Who is Helen Skelton? Everything you need to know about the Countryfile presenter

Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton doesn't do things by halves, from kayaking along the Amazon to walking the tightrope! 

30th April 2018
Helen Skelton

Here are some interesting facts about Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton and her love of the countryside

1. Helen grew up on a dairy farm in Cumbria. Her father had been brought up there and he and his parents still live there to this day.

Crummock Water Lake, hawthorn tree, Lake District
Crummock Water Lake, hawthorn tree, Lake District. DEA/V. GIANNELLA, Getty.

2. Helen had an outdoorsy childhood as a result. She and her brother used to make rafts out of old palettes and float them down the river. Her favourite job was to help her dad check whether to cut the silage. "I had to lie down in the grass in the middle of the field. If I couldn’t be seen from the edge of the field, then dad would give the green light to start cutting and collecting the grass." 

3. Helen is married to professional rugby player RIchie Myler, who has played rugby league for England and is currently with Leeds Rhinos. The couple have two sons.

4. Helen has a BA degree in Journalism and cut her teeth in local radio. She went on to work on Newsround and joined the Blue Peter team in 2008. 

5. Helen is a qualified tap dance teacher, a talent that helped her when she took part in a 2012 Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

6. Helen kayaked the 2,010 mile length of the Amazon for Sport Relief in 2010. It took her 39 days and she now has the Guinness World Record for the longest solo journey by kayak and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours for a woman. She has since published a children's novel, Amy Wild: Amazon Summer, about a girl who has to survive in the Amazon rainforest.

 

Sand Dunes, Namib Desert, Namibia
Sand Dunes, Namib Desert, Namibia. De Agostini Picture Library, Getty.

7. Helen describes herself as sporty, and proved it by completing the 78-mile Namibian ultra marathon - only the second woman ever to do so. She finished the run in 23 hours and 45 minutes, 15 minutes under the 24 hour limit to complete it. She ran the London Marathon just a few weeks later.

8. As if that wasn't enough she has also walked a 150m tightrope for Sport Relief - string between two chimneys at Battersea Power Station and a hair-raising 66m above the ground!

9. Her most spectacular sporting achievement is arguably being the first person to reach the South Pole by bike. It had 20cm (8 inch) wide tyres and was custom built for the trip.

10. Helen has regularly presented for BBC Sport, covering swimming for the 2016 Olympics, the European Swimming Championships in the same year and the 2017 World Aquatics Championships.

11. Helen says her city friends don't understand life in the country. "It’s difficult for my city friends to appreciate what life is like in farming. It’s a different culture. I think a lot of people see the bad weather, being outside and dirty fingernails as a hardship, but I know plenty of folks that would rather shovel cow muck than have to get on the Tube every day." 

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