Source to Sea: River Dee (Audio Story)
In the first of three “Source to Sea” projects, Scottish endurance cyclists Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham bike, hike, and packraft from the trickling source of the River Dee to its estuary at the sea. Along the way, they produced six audio episodes that document the journey. Listen to their story and find a map of their route here…
With the climate crisis looming, a simpler and more local approach to adventure could prove fundamental as we work toward a more sustainable future. With this in mind, the Adventure Syndicate introduced Source to Sea, a project that explores the inherent childlike curiosity and imagination that comes with bikepacking adventure. In each Source to Sea series, Scottish endurance cyclists Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham will bike, hike, and packraft from the trickling source of one of three Scottish rivers to their estuary where they meet the sea. The focus of the series will be on the moments spent exploring and appreciating the natural ecosystems of these rivers while traveling entirely under human power.
The first of the three Source to Sea series follows the exploits and thoughts of Lee and Jenny as they travel slowly down the course of the River Dee with bikes, packrafts, and camping gear. Find the map of their route below, then scroll down to listen to the six-day episode series below.
Day 1: Calling in from the Pools of Dee
Today, Lee and Jenny start their adventure high up in the crags of the Cairngorms. As they cycle and paddle, they wonder what it is about being outside that brings us so much joy, even when the heavens open up.
Day 2: I should have put my helmet on!
It’s time for Lee and Jenny to use their packrafts for the first time. Despite being experienced adventurers, they continue to challenge themselves through doing things outside their comfort zones and taking the time to stop and explore.
Day 3: I dug a hole and it unsettled me
This morning Lee and Jenny share their cycling journey with local schoolchildren. As water pours from above and below, they spend the day moving their bodies and digging holes, while continuing their quest to understand what it is that makes us happy.
Day 4: House martins or pine martens?
Day four sees our two adventurers ponder how we access spaces, how we treat them, and the assumptions we make about the people who use them. And sometimes mammals and birds are very easily confused.
Day 5: We’ve not had a shower for five days
On a mission to escape ‘stuffocation’, Lee and Jenny continue their slow trip and contemplate how to live more with less. They want to encourage others to spend more time outside, and we meet some younger people they’ve managed to inspire.
Day 6: This really is a very silly thing to do
Our cyclists leave the countryside and arrive in Aberdeen on the final day. Despite initially feeling deflated that their trip is coming to an end, their chirpiness returns as they are met on the river by children who have been following their journey. Plus, listen to the full version of Julie Fowlis’s beautiful song written to accompany the trip, with words by the poet Nan Shepherd.
Source to Sea is a Tandem Production, in association with the Adventure Syndicate and with the support of the Audio Content Fund. The music is by award-winning folk singer Julie Fowlis, who has taken words by the poet Nan Shepherd, and created a beautiful new song to accompany Lee and Jenny’s journey down the River Dee. Learn more over at TheAdventureSyndicate.com.
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