Three Female Adventurers to Take on Epic 1936 Cycling Adventure

Pictured at the start line of GBDuro 2021, Lands End, Philippa Battye, Lee Craigie, Alice Lemkes from the Adventure Syndicate.

As part of their 90th Anniversary celebrations and in support of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, Hostelling Scotland have teamed up with The Adventure Syndicate, a group of female adventurers and storytellers who promote mental and physical wellbeing through their outdoor endeavours, to recreate an epic 500-mile cycle and youth hostelling adventure from the 1930’s.

The original two-week, two wheeled holiday was carried out by 17-year-old hosteller Mary Harvie, from Shotts in Lanarkshire, with her two older sisters, Ella and Jean, in 1936.

This epic journey, that began in Glasgow and saw the women explore the North West Highlands, Skye, Highland Perthshire, and Stirlingshire, was documented in Mary’s diary.

The diary extracts, that capture the true spirit of hostelling, are a very poignant and insightful account of this epic journey, both on and off the bike, featuring some of Scotland’s most iconic sites, stunning countryside, environment and natural heritage.

The extracts were recently published in Hostelling Scotland’s 2021 Members’ Handbook in celebration of the charity’s 90 Anniversary.

Find out by clicking here.

On Thursday 14 October 2021 Lee Craigie, Alice Lemkes, and Phillipa Battye from The Adventure Syndicate will set out from Glasgow Youth Hostel on their own seven-day, 500-mile, on and off-road cycle adventure, an appreciation of the Harvie sisters’ incredible cycling trip.

In order to avoid some busy traffic on their planned [but not set in stone] route, they will head off road making use of old drove roads and forgotten single-track, while also facing sections of mountainous ‘hike a bike’ and bog trotting.

Lee Craigie, founder of the Adventure Syndicate, said:

“We’re so excited to take the inspiration for our next challenge from a journey between Hostelling Scotland’s Youth Hostels, first made in the 1930’s, and add our own modern day twist!

“Bike technology has evolved since the 1930’s but the mentality of exploration and adventure has always been present.

“People have been using bikes to explore remote places for generations so now, with the increased traffic on our roads since this journal was first written, we’re keen to explore the off-road alternatives where possible.

“Our ambitious route around Scotland will take us to lots of remote places that cars can’t access.

“It might mean slower going and wetter feet but that will just make arriving in the evenings at our warm, dry accommodation all the more welcome.”

The Adventure Syndicate’s chosen route, inspired by Mary Harvie’s diaries, will depart from Glasgow Youth Hostel and incorporate overnight stays at Crianlarich, Glencoe, Ratagan, Portree, Torridon, Gairloch and Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostels.

In recognition of VisitScotland’s Year of Stories (2022) the Adventure Syndicate will document their adventures through daily social media posts, mobile phone photography, and a travel journal, their own 20th Century diary.

A short video of their cycle challenge will be launched in 2022.