WHEN Glasgow cyclist Lee Craigie set off from Glasgow Youth Hostel on an epic trip round Scotland, she was following in the tyre tracks of an equally intrepid teenager.

Seventeen-year-old Mary Harvie, from Shotts in Lanarkshire, made the two-week, 500-mile trip from Glasgow to the north west Highlands via Skye, Perthshire and Stirlingshire in 1936, with her sisters Ella and Jean.

Lee, with fellow cyclists Alice Lemkes, and Phillipa Battye of The Adventure Syndicate, a group of female adventurers and storytellers who promote mental and physical wellbeing through their outdoor endeavours, are recreating the journey based on entries from Mary’s diary.

Glasgow Times: Mary with her sisters and two friends

Bikes and roads have changed considerably in the 85 years since, and while Mary painstakingly recorded her travels with pen and paper, Lee is using social media.

“It’s day four of our journey north and we find ourselves almost as far from a road as it’s possible to get,” she tweeted yesterday.

On day four of her trip, Mary – who died aged 81 in 1999 - wrote in her diary: “At the end of Loch Eilt. Beautiful scenery here too.

“But the road becomes dreadful. Gosh, stones, holes and no road in places.”

The trip is part of Hostelling Scotland’s 90th anniversary celebrations and in support of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

Mary’s diary extracts, which capture the true spirit of hostelling, are a very poignant and insightful account of the journey, both on and off the bike. Featuring some of Scotland’s most iconic sites, stunning countryside, environment and natural heritage, they were discovered by Mary’s son - retired solicitor Harvie Paterson, 75 – during lockdown.

Glasgow Times: Lee Craigie (red top), Alice Lemkes, and Phillipa Battye (silver helmet) from The Adventure Syndicate Pic: Wattie Cheung

Now Harvie’s transcription has been included in the members’ handbook of Hostelling Scotland.

Lee, Alice and Phillipa set off on their own seven-day, 500-mile, on and off-road cycle adventure last week, in appreciation of the Harvie sisters’ incredible trip.

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

Lee, who founded 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.”

She added: “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.

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“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, departed from Glasgow Youth Hostel and incorporates overnight stays at Crianlarich, Glencoe, Ratagan, Portree, Torridon, Gairloch and Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostels.

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