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Andy Torbet: the extreme adventurer and TV presenter

WE TALK to extreme adventurer and TV presenter Andy Torbet about his love of extreme sports and the outdoors.

Andy Torbet

Andy Torbet is a well-known television presenter and is the author of Extreme Adventures. Photo: Martin Hartley


ANDY TORBET lives a life packed full of adventure and his passion and expertise in extreme sports including skydiving, deep sea diving and kayaking among others have seen him present several documentaries for the BBC.


Having grown up in the Highlands, which provided the ideal base for a young adventurer to explore and understand nature, Andy followed in his brother’s footsteps to become a soldier. He credits the Army to playing a large part in the development of the person he has become today.


In this exclusive interview Andy talks to us about some of his greatest diving adventures as well as some of the places in  the world his passion for extreme sports has taken him. Read on to get an insight into his book, Extreme Adventures, and to find out about the exciting projects he will be working on during the remainder of the year. 


When did you first realise you wanted to be a soldier and could you tell us a little about your time with the British Forces?


Myself and my older brother always wanted to join the Forces. My Mum’s side of the family came from a farming background and my Dad’s side were all miners.  I remember when the mines closed and there was no work and joining the Army seemed a way out.  That coupled with the fact even as a youngster I loved the outdoor and having adventures (if not always sensible ones) and that my brother, who joined years before me, had a good life and convinced me it was a path worth following.


Andy Torbet

Andy knew he wanted to join the Army from a young age and went on to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and become a soldier. Photo: Andy Torbet Collection


There was also the idea that it was a professional with a degree of nobility and honour, something often lacking in other walks of life. I did a few different things in the Forces but I commanded the Army Underwater Bomb Disposal Team, the Army Airborne (Para) Bomb Disposal Team and the High RIsk Search Team which was part of the UK’s Maritime Counter-Terrorist Group. I went on lots of exotic holidays to places like Ireland, The Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghan and Iraq (where the weather is lovely and the beach is massive).


How much do you owe to the military for making you man you are today?


I am, and forever will be, a soldier.  I may now be an ex-soldier but I’ll never be a civilian.  I’m still fanatical about timing (on time is not on time it’s 5 minutes late – one for the Forces folk reading this), being extremely organised, looking after your team, being thoroughly professional and getting the bloody job done you came to do – without excuses or whinging.


It also gives you perspective in life. You see gallantry and cruelty in equal measures and visit some horrific places during horrific times.  It made me who I am and who I always hope to be.  Whenever things get hard, I feel weak, I start making excuses or starting becoming a little bit of a diva and want to snivel I remember who I was and with whom I served… then I regrow a set and crack on.


Andy Torbet

Andy has had a lifelong passion for diving and has seen the sport take him to exciting dive locations around the world. Photo: Janne Suhonen


When did you start diving and what have been some of your biggest adventures in the sport?


I started snorkelling at the Aberdeen diving club then SCUBA diving at 14.  I always wanted to be a diver since I was 4.  So at 12 I got a paper round and that paid for my training and second hand kit.  You couldn’t use SCUBA back then until you were 14 but a bit of shelf stacking in Iceland covered that and I built my own kit from old stuff given to me.  Since then I’ve mapped new underwater cave systems on my own including The Cave of Skulls, found lost shipwrecks, swam with sharks, investigated ‘Atlantis’ off Japan and dived to 120 metres on the Britannic – the sister ship (and much bigger) than the more famous Titanic. And a whole lot more.


Andy Torbet

Andy had wanted to dive since the age of four and saved up for his first diving kit by getting a paper round when he was 12. Photo: Janne Suhonen


Tell us about your passion for other extreme sports and where are some of the places in the world they’ve taken you?


I’ve climbed since I was 14 and last year I did a project for Suzuki where myself and Dave Talbot rode a couple of bikes to Slovenia to climb the north face of Triglav – that 1500 metres of vertical climbing.


I love sea kayaking too and have recently taken up paramotoring but in the past few years skydiving has overtaken everything else as my second passion (after diving).  I’m entering this year’s UK Speed Skydiving Championships (the fastest human powered sport in the world, forget Usain Bolt, my friend and British No. 1, Mike Lovemore can reach speeds of over 350mph!


I am also getting really into wingsuit flying.  I was lucky enough to do a jump to collect science samples on a BBC project a few years ago where I left the aircraft at 28,000ft over the Arizona desert.


Andy Torbet

The last few years have seen Andy take up the sport of skydiving and this year he will compete in the UK Speed Skydiving Championships. Photo: Parker Brown


When did you find the time to write your book, Extreme Adventures, and what can our readers expect from your style of writing?


…em…watch less TV, get up earlier and get your admin sorted – you’ve got more time than you think if you stop wasting it and procrastinating!


The book is written in the first person and has autobiographical moments in there as well as explanations of equipment and techniques they may not be familiar with, along with some top tips. Hopefully it’ll not only inspire people and showcase what’s on our doorstep in the UK but people will learn some handy stuff that they can use tomorrow.  I also take the piss out of myself a lot.  I do it to everyone else so it only seems fair!


Tell us about your passion for wildlife and nature and some of the documentaries and conservation work you have been involved in?


I grew up in the Highlands surrounded by nature and loved watching the David Attenborough stuff on TV.  I’ve a pretty broad academic interest and I actually studied Zoology and Archaeology at University but had to specialise in one in my final year and went for Zoology.


I’m also a lover of physics and maths – you can’t be a deep or cave diver and not be a science geek.  If you can’t understand the physics and physiology of what you’re doing, calculate the right gas mixes and quantities then you’re dead.


I’ve presented documentaries for the BBC and Discovery which have included everything from Peregrines and Shearwaters to Polar Bears and Soay Sheep. Having done Coast for 4 years and The One Show for the same period has let me see a huge amount of the UK and it’s wildlife, some often off limits.  Earlier this year I ‘raced’ a Peregrine Falcon, the fastest animal in the water, in freefall. I need to go over 220mph…. I did it.


Andy Torbet

Andy has several projects lined up for the remainder of 2016 including a deep diving BBC documentary. Photo: Martin Hartley


What projects are you currently working on and what’s planned for the rest of the year and beyond?


I’ve got another BBC shoot in Orkney doing some diving, freediving, kayaking and climbing, a few days in Northern Ireland to finish another deep diving BBC project, I’m producing a biking and freediving film for Suzuki, I’m entering the UK Speed Skydiving Champs, finish my paramotoring course, finish a wingsuit film for the BBC… and that only takes me to mid-September.


In mid-September I’m off to Europe for a bit of deep cave diving exploration.  We’re looking to push over 2km into underwater tunnels and reach depths over 160 metres – the dangers, technology and mindset is only analogous with going to space.


You can find out more about Andy on his website and social media. Go to, or Twitter @andytorbet, or

Instagram andy_torbet.



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