Kayaking the Amazon. Cycling to the South Pole. Running an ultra-marathon across the Namib Desert.

Helen Skelton has had some impressive adventures. But she is keen to inspire people, not intimidate them. That’s why her new book stresses that we don’t need to travel far to push ourselves.

With a little imagination we can do it close to home.

This is one message from Helen’s new book - Wild Girl: How To Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures.

Helen shares six stories of her most daring adventures in some of the world’s most extreme environments.

She explains how she embraced her fears and found positives in the toughest situations.

She also suggests ways in which the rest of us can step out of our comfort zones and reap the physical and mental benefits.

“I really enjoyed writing the book,” Helen tells the News & Star. “It was a pleasant trip down memory lane. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to write about the adventures I’ve been part of.

“I hope it might give people a bit of a nudge to have a go. It doesn’t really matter how far you get.”

Helen, 36, grew up on her parents’ farm at Kirkby Thore. Her most eyebrow-raising challenges took place when she was a Blue Peter presenter from 2008 until 2013.

She kayaked more than 2,000 miles down the Amazon River, breaking two world records.

She completed a high-wire walk between the towers of Battersea Power Station.

She walked, skied and cycled 500 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole, breaking more world records.

And she became only the second woman to complete the 78-mile Namibia Ultra Marathon, in temperatures up to 45 degrees. Despite such an impressive array of achievements, she says:

“I hate it when people say I’m an adventurer. I’m a telly person that’s been on adventures.

“The book is to show people if I can do it, anybody can do it.

“Sometimes people think these big adventures are way out of reach. It’s about doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Being out of your comfort zone is an adventure in itself.

“There are things in the book to challenge people to test themselves. It doesn’t have to be somewhere far away.”

Suggested activities include building a den, abseiling, climbing - whether outdoors or on a wall - and one of Helen’s favourite outdoor adventures: wild camping. Although some of marketing is aimed at girls, Helen insists that her book is suitable for a wider audience.

“I wrote it for my boys as much as anyone else [her sons Ernie, four, and Louis, two] so they know I’m not just the woman who takes them to school and makes their tea!

“It’s aimed at anybody with an adventurous spirit. Anybody who wants to push themselves a bit, or who might have bottled out of doing something.

“It’s not just for girls, or children in general. A lot of grown-ups have said they enjoyed it.”

In recent years research has suggested that many girls stop exercising when they reach adolescence. This Girl Can, a National Lottery-funded programme, aims to encourage girls and women to exercise. Helen says her book was not written with that in mind, as she sees evidence of girl power every day.

“I think girls are already doing it. Girls are doing more than ever before, breaking down boundaries. Every time I go somewhere I see girls exercising and pushing themselves in all sorts of ways.

“This book is less of a call to arms. It’s more a celebration of men and women who have done cool stuff, who have inspired me. It’s showcasing what other people have done.”

The motivational spirit is aimed at inspiring readers to overcome tough situations by embracing their fears and being positive.

This applies to metaphorical mountains as well as real ones.

“It’s 100 per cent about encouraging a positive mindset,” says Helen. “The message from each of my adventures is try to block out people’s negativity and cynicism.

“I went to the South Pole because everybody said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. The same with the high-wire walk. The same with the Amazon.

“I hadn’t been in a kayak since a school trip. The only reason the BBC agreed to it was because so many people were saying we couldn’t or shouldn’t. That challenge was about more than physical ability. People told me not to attempt it, but I was determined to give it everything.”

Helen regards that as her favourite challenge. It was arguably the most gruelling: kayaking 12 hours a day for six weeks, fighting heat, mosquitoes and painful sores on her feet.

The satisfaction was proving doubters wrong and inspiring young viewers. There was also the joy of teamwork.

“I was one cog in the wheel,” she says. “It was just such a good thing to be part of. It was the best and worst of times. I cried every day.”

As well as past achievements, her book also includes things Helen would like to do.

“There are lots of places I still want to visit. I’m at a stage of my life where I can’t go off for two months. But there’s lot of stuff I’d like to do with the family.

“There’s a walk in Jordan. And I’d like to do more climbing. I haven’t done enough of that, considering where I’m from.”

For the past year Helen has lived in Leeds with her husband Richie Myler; a Leeds Rhinos scrum-half.

“Rich is a hands-on dad. I’m lucky in that sense. We have to juggle it. We wish we were next door to my mum and dad. But I get back as often as I can.”

Everyday challenges. Not record-breaking or headline-grabbing. But vital.

Helen’s experience of the spectacular variety serves her well for the more mundane kind.

Her advice is the same for both types.

“Just break it down. Don’t look at the big picture. One step at a time. When I did the high-wire walk I would only do three steps, lots of times. My son didn’t want to go to school. I told him ‘All you have to do is get dressed. Then you just have to get in the car.’ Break it into chunks.”

n Wild Girl: How To Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures is published by Walker Books.