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From Source to Sea: Using adventure to inspire everyday physical activity

For the last few years, The Adventure Syndicate have inspired individuals and schools to Match The Miles, and ride 'alongside' the team as they complete some pretty amazing challenges.  Encouraging young people to ride as they go and feel the benefit of achieving as an individual or group goal.

Recognising the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to us all - this year the challenge is different.  

Lockdown has revealed the wealth of outdoor adventurous experiences that are possible right from our doorstep, no matter where we live. And, with our climate crisis looming, a simpler and more local approach to adventure could prove fundamental as we work collectively towards a more sustainable future.

With this in mind the new challenge is Source to Sea, a project that explores quietly.  The focus will not be the end goal, but on the moments spent exploring and appreciating the natural surroundings while travelling entirely under your own steam.  Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham will bike, hike and packraft from the trickling source of three Scottish rivers to the places they meet the sea.

Source to Sea will offer real time inspiration and motivation to remain everyday active, protect our natural environment and take pleasure from the simplicity of adventuring from your doorstep.

The three Source to Sea adventures will take place:

1. 21st - 25th June from Cairngorms to Aberdeen along the River Dee

2. 6th - 12th Sept from Ben Ledi to Dundee along the River Tay

3. 6th - 12th Nov from Lowther Hills to Glasgow along the River Clyde to coincide with COP26 (NB if restrictions allow this journey will begin mid October and a group of female riders will travel self supported by bike from Madrid to COP26)

Schools sign up here

Individuals sign up here:

The new challenge will be launched in Aberdeenshire on Monday the 21st June which will culminate in a flotilla of school pupils bobbing down the River Dee with Lee and Jenny to advocate active travel. They will be received with a civic reception on Friday 25th at the University Rowing Club in Aberdeen where these young people will tell our decision makers what they need before they can travel more actively.

Pretty awesome and powerful stuff!

Read Full New Release Here

From Source to Sea: Using adventure to inspire everyday physical activity

A formidable female duo, from not-for-profit organisation The Adventure Syndicate, will use bikes and inflatable kayaks to travel the length of three of Scotland’s rivers this year to promote the benefits to our health and the environment if we choose to travel sustainably. School groups and individuals will be encouraged to match Lee and Jenny’s active miles and share the joy they find in their everyday journeys to work or school.

Lee Craigie, director of The Adventure Syndicate and the Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland says:

“We can all get very hung up on ‘doing the right thing’ when it comes to our health and averting our climate crisis but we hope our Source to Sea adventures turn these motivations on their head. First and foremost, walking, cycling or wheeling short journeys instead of being stuck in a car should make us feel better physically and emotionally as well as connecting us to other people and to nature. This should be the motivating factor to moving more, not shame or guilt. By focusing on the joy and fun to be found on the journeys from our doorsteps to school or work we hope to bring people along with us on our journey to net zero.”

Lee and Jenny will begin the first of three 5-day long Source to Sea challenges on Monday 21st June. Beginning at 1200m above sea level near the summit of Braeriach in the Cairngorm mountains, they will ride and paddle an average of 30 km’s a day over the 150km route through Braemar, Ballater, Aboyne, Banchory and into Aberdeen, accompanied by an intrepid photographer and an adventurous filmmaker. The Adventure Syndicate will keep up the engaging story-telling via social media all week and will be recording for a podcast that will explore the health benefits we might all discover if we travelled actively more often.

“There’s nothing more satisfying than travelling self- supported by day and sleeping under the stars at night. Yes, it’s hard work but it’s also simple, sustainable, fascinating and above all, a lot of fun!” says Jenny Graham.

School pupils from Deeside identified some barriers to taking part in the challenge which included a fear of car traffic, time constraints and “being allowed” to walk, cycle or wheel to school, but when asked if they were looking forward to the challenge week they were overwhelmingly positive.

“Yes! Less talking and more moving!” Girl 11

“It [walking or cycling] wakes me up and makes me ready for school.” Boy 11

“It’s good for the environment and stuff and we should all be talking about that more.” Girl 10

Pupils from Aboyne Primary and Aboyne Academy will ride with Lee and Jenny on day three of the challenge along a section of the Deeside Way while pupils from Tullos Primary will join them on the water for the last section into Aberdeen, arriving at the University Rowing Club around 11.30am on Friday 25th June for a civic reception and celebration that marks the end of the school term and the start of a summer of local exploration.

Sandra Macdonald, Chair of Nestrans, the North East Regional Transport Partnership, and Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson is looking forward to meeting Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham as they near the end of their River Dee adventure.

“The Adventure Syndicate’s Source to Sea challenge offers a unique opportunity to help us think about the physical inactivity and environmental challenges we face. By focusing on the joy to be found in making changes to our everyday travel behaviour, we can engage people’s imaginations and enthusiasm rather than turn them off with messages of doom and gloom. It’s true we face very real threats with climate change and biodiversity loss but it’s worth remembering that the solutions might make our lives and communities happier and healthier too.”

Any school group in the country is welcome to take part in the online match the miles challenges in June (Deeside), September (Perth and Kinross) and November (Glasgow) which asks classes of around 20 pupils to complete approximately 30km collectively each day by walking, wheeling or cycling instead of being driven in a car. Individuals are also encouraged to sign up to the challenge via route planning app Ride with GPS and complete the 150km route before the end of the week.

Visit www.theadventuresyndicate.com for more details or to sign up