Waist-deep in water, my troop moves stealthily up river, avoiding the ‘enemy soldiers’ on the bank.

We’ve mastered deep water crossing, slithering on our bellies across thick ropes; we have the skills to make a fire and shelter, set snares for rabbits, and we even collected dandelions to make tea.

We are ready for anything and could be anywhere – but in reality, this is Dartmoor and it’s taken us just 24 hours to learn all this.

Bear Grylls is an international icon for outdoor survival and these courses have been specially designed by him and his team for people to rediscover the outdoors.

It’s a growing market; similar courses in Surrey are booked up months in advance and the team have chosen the bleak and beautiful landscape of Dartmoor for their newest venue.

If you don’t think sleeping out in the wild is your preferred option on a Saturday night, think again. Where else could you learn to navigate by starlight, and listen to bats and owls as you fall asleep in a shelter made by your own hands?

When we met our friendly and capable instructors, Matt and Rich, at Brimpts Farm just outside Dartmeet, we were a group of people thrown together by circumstance.

But by the time we helped and supported each other through various obstacles and tasks, we were a team.

You can’t borrow someone’s sock to filter drinking water without getting to know them quite quickly.

Matt and Rich, both ex-Marines, are clearly in their element, helping and harrying us as we achieve what would have seemed impossible a day earlier.

“Most people have never been in a survival situation,” says Matt. “But it’s good to know, just in case. Plus it’s great to just enjoy being outdoors."

Outdoor survival seems a world away from our technology-driven lives. But our obsession with tales of courage and beating the odds shows that we're not that far away from our ancestors, for whom all of this was real.

“The important thing is not to panic,” Rich advises. “Bear says you have to focus on your priorities: shelter, water and a plan for self-rescue.”

For fans of his TV programmes, there's plenty of opportunity to try first-hand what you’ve watched from the comfort of the sofa.

The course also has a strong focus on fun, which is why we took a dip in the River Dart, pretending to be avoiding our enemies.

But after dark, around the campfire, Rich shares his own survival story. Up to now it’s been a game, but we suddenly realise that skills like what we’ve just learnt can be the difference between life and death.

As a serving Marine in Afghanistan, Rich battled for over a day to save the life of his friend and commanding officer, as they awaited rescue from a village surrounded by enemy soldiers.

There’s a lot to take in over 24 hours, and I arrived home exhausted.

But, if the intricacies of a drop snare escape you a week later, what you learn about yourself will stay with you forever.

Bear Grylls: It's good to push yourself 

Bear Grylls said: “The beauty of the 24 Hour Adult Course is that it’s ultimately designed for everyone – I think that’s one of the reasons the Survival Academy is seeing such rapid growth.

“The longing for adventure in people hasn’t changed; it is only that opportunities are harder to find. These courses are for anyone who wants to learn a bit more about themselves and what they are capable of, as well as have a challenging adventure. Some of my toughest times have lasted for less than 24 hours yet have had the greatest impact on me.

“And that’s the goal on the 24-hour course: push yourself and learn life-saving skills and attitudes such as resourcefulness and calm under pressure. It’s intense but has proved itself so rewarding.”

The course costs £389 per person, limited to ten people per course who are over 18 and physically fit and active.

To book contact 01483 424 438, visit beargryllssurvivalacademy.com or email enquiries@ beargryllssurvivalacademy.com