Source to Sea: River Tay (Audio Story)
In the second installment of “Source to Sea,” endurance cyclists Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham bike, hike, and packraft from the faint source of Scotland’s River Tay to where it meets the sea at the Firth of Tay. Along the way, they produced five 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 second of the three-part Source to Sea series follows Lee and Jenny as they travel slowly down the course of the River Tay. With bikes, packrafts, and tents, they’re seeking adventure and peace of mind in the great Scottish outdoors. Lee and Jenny embarked on their second of three Source to Sea adventures by traveling with their bikes by train before walking up to the source of the River Tay. Find the map of their route below, then scroll down to listen to the five-episode series below.
Day 1: Slurping from the source
Today, Lee and Jenny embark on their second of three Source to Sea adventures, travelling with their bikes by train before walking up to the source of the River Tay. Sitting by the river, they debate the point at which the Tay’s water tastes best, and wonder whether the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dampening effect on our ability to experience joy.
Day 2: Moving our bodies and taking time
Travelling slowly allows Lee and Jenny to enjoy today’s route as they cycle along a disused railway, visit a ruined castle, and gently float along the River Tay. They reflect on the disparity between different sections of society and focus on the fact that, at the end of the day, we shouldn’t let ourselves get too bogged down in the admin of life.
Day 3: Finding roots
It’s the beginning of autumn, and there’s a shift in the air. Lee and Jenny find an ancient tree that makes them think about roots: roots connect us with other living things and they root us back to what’s important. Plus, they meet inspiring women who have taken to walking four miles every single day.
Day 4: An antidote to anxiety
Watching the sunrise from the middle of a loch, Lee experiences a special moment before the schoolgirls who have joined them debate navigation options. Lee and Jenny also think about those experiencing anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and why getting outside to connect with green spaces can be a wonderful antidote.
Day 5: What we need to do is less
Day 5 sees Lee and Jenny arrive in Dundee, where the River Tay meets the sea. They find themselves amazed at how quickly a landscape can change and reiterate their mission to promote sustainable ways of traveling through beautiful places. They also look ahead to their third and final journey, which coincides with COP26, and the changes we can make to help avert the climate crisis.
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. Learn more over at TheAdventureSyndicate.com.
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