Littlehouse Media

Sustainable active travel and food tourism at the heart of new adventure film

Exploring the rich larder of Scotland’s North West Highlands is at the heart of a new bike and hostel adventure film, Appetite for Adventure, from Hostelling Scotland and The Adventure Syndicate.

In recognition of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, Hostelling Scotland and The Adventure Syndicate, will premiere their new off-road biking and adventure film, ‘Appetite for Adventure’, which promotes sustainable active travel and food tourism in the North West Highlands, at Hostelling Scotland’s AGM today (19-11-22).

On this two-wheeled, 250-mile, hostel packing adventure, Lee Craigie, Alice Lemkes, and Phillipa Battye from The Adventure Syndicate, a group of female adventurers whose endurance endeavours and storytelling inspire others to adventure sustainably, rode from Strathcarron in the south to Durness on Scotland’s north coast. Welcoming, comfortable, and bike-friendly accommodation was provided at Hostelling Scotland’s Torridon, Gairloch Sands, Achmelvich Beach, and Durness Smoo Youth Hostels for this trip. 

The chosen route, specially designed to keep away from the busy tarmaced roads of the North Coast 500 as much as possible, even if that meant sections of pushing and carrying bikes up rock and scree slopes and through bogs and rivers, featured some of Scotland’s most remote and majestic landscapes, environment and natural heritage.

While tackling the off-road trails Lee, Phil and Alice also experienced the best of Scotland’s natural larder, from wild foraging and croft gardens to community food hubs, cafes, and restaurants.   The top quality, locally produced, in-season food they collected became the signature ingredients for their evening meals, prepared in the hostels’ self-catering kitchens.

However, the Syndicateers required expert support with the foraging and cooking.   They joined forces with Scottish Food Tourism Ambassador, food writer, broadcaster, and food anthropologist, Ghillie Basan, and her son Zeki for part of the trip.  With an extensive knowledge of artisan food producers, farmers, crofters, fishermen, and distillers in some of the remotest parts of Scotland, all to be found in her recent book, A Taste of the Highlands (October 2021), Ghillie compiled a list for the Adventure Syndicate to visit every day, while Ghillie and Zeki had their own list, more accessible to four-wheeled transport.  In the hostel kitchens and on outdoor fires Ghillie brought her love of food to life, demonstrating her cooking skills with some original and accessible recipes conjured up from the fresh produce sourced that day, perfectly balanced meals for weary mountain bikers.

Appetite for Adventure was commissioned by Hostelling Scotland and directed by The Adventure Syndicate.  It was filmed and edited by accomplished cycle filmmaker Maciek Tomiczek,  assisted by Zeki Basan.  The film captures the true spirit of hostelling that has continued for more than 90 years – affordable and flexible accommodation, shared spaces and shared experiences, camaraderie and friendship, discovering the real Scotland through sustainable active travel, and enjoying the benefits of being an integral part of the local community with access to world-class local food and drink on the doorstep.

Margo Paterson, CEO of Hostelling Scotland, said: “We pride ourselves on being able to offer our guests expert local knowledge on where to go and what to see and local food and drink is a key part of that. This campaign is a celebration of the world-class produce that can be found on the doorsteps of our youth hostels. Restrictions on social distancing during the pandemic prevented us from opening our self-catering kitchens and we know this was one of the facilities that hostellers missed the most. Being able to cook up a storm in the company of family, friends and fellow adventurers is a key part of the hostelling experience and we are very pleased they’ve made a welcome return.”

Lee Craigie, Director of The Adventure Syndicate, said: “This adventure was not just about taking our bikes to daft places to avoid the traffic.  It was about choosing how we want to be in the world, what we chose to spend our money on, where we stay, where we source the food we eat, and the time we are willing to dedicate to preparing it and sharing it with good friends. The easy and convenient road isn’t always the most joyful, satisfying and rewarding.”

As an occasional cyclist, Ghillie Basan also joined the Syndicateers for some sections of the trip, tackling the miles on an e-bike. Of this experience, she said: “So, my arse may have been in tatters after riding a very firm e-bike but the whole trip was a joy from beginning to end – the outstanding company, the fresh local food and the comfort and welcome of the hostels.

“I used to stay in the youth hostels back in the seventies and by god they have changed!!  We had to perform duties back then like cleaning the toilet and we lived off boil-in-the-bag Vesta curries as there were no utensils to cook in!  What a transformation!  For the Appetite for Adventure trip we dined on crab and langoustines, local vegetables and artisan produce with ease. The hostel kitchens were better kitted out than my own and I am supposed to be some sort of cookery expert!”


Media contact:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E: [email protected] | M: 07913 951717

Images and video:

The film trailer (mp4), other trip images, route maps, and Philippa Battye’s sketches of the daily routes can be downloaded from Dropbox:

Please credit Maciek Tomiczek for all photos, and Philippa Battye for the map sketches.

Notes to Editors:

Appetite for Adventure can be viewed on YouTube:

Film credits:

  • Commissioned by Hostelling Scotland
  • Produced by Hostelling Scotland and The Adventure Syndicate
  • Directed by The Adventure Syndicate
  • Filmed and Edited by Maciek Tomiczek
  • Food Expert and writer – Ghillie Basan
  • Camera Operator – Zeki Basan
  • Syndicateers – Lee Craigie, Alice Lemkes, and Philippa Battye

Food and drink producers:

Thanks to the food and drink producers who appeared in the film: Applecross Smokehouse, Little Swallow Foods, Sheildaig, Cromasaig 9, Kinlochewe, Shellfish Safaris, Dry Island, Alligan Self Harvest, Badachro Distillery, Black Pearl Creole Kitchen, Gairloch, The Bridge Cottage Bistro, Poolewe, Ritchies Aultbea, The Green Bowl, Elphin, Lochinver Larder, Ingrid Ritchie’s Garden, Achmelvich,  Highland Charcuterie & Smokehouse, Oldshoremore, Cape Wrath Oysters, and Lochview Croft.

Hostelling Scotland:

Useful links:

Hostelling Scotland is a self-funding charity operating a network of nearly 60 exceptional youth and affiliate hostels for the benefit of all those wishing to learn and experience what Scotland has to offer. Their unique sites provide affordable, comfortable, safe and quality-assured accommodation with a warm friendly welcome, local knowledge, activities and services for guests travelling around Scotland.

Following a strategic review of the organisation, early in 2018, the much-loved hostelling accommodation provider is now known as Hostelling Scotland. The new identity follows on from extensive marketing research and reflects the organisation’s commitment to understanding the needs of its members, guests and employees as the modern face of Scottish Hostelling.  The name also more clearly indicates its representation of Hostelling International within Scotland.

Both the changes in trading name and logo highlight a commitment to ensuring Scotland’s leading hostelling organisation remains relevant in the modern context.

The Adventure Syndicate

Useful links:

The Adventure Syndicate are a not-for-profit organisation made up of female adventurers and storytellers whose ambitious endurance endeavours inspire, encourage and enable others (especially women and girls) to adventure sustainably for the good of their health and happiness and that of the environment.

The Adventure Syndicate is led by Lee Craigie, the former British Mountain Bike champion, child therapist and Ambassador for Active Travel, an independent of Government engagement role that focuses on championing diverse and inclusive participation in active travel and active travel decision-making.

Ghillie Basan:

Useful links:

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