A new cycling film, premiered at the Fort William Mountain Festival, recreates the adventures a Scottish teen detailed in her diaries from the 1930s.
Mary Harvie was 17-years-old in the summer of 1936 when she and her two sisters, Ella and Jean, set off on a two-week 500-mile cycle and hostelling adventure.
The trio, from Shotts, explored the north west Highlands, Skye, Highland Perthshire and Stirlingshire.
Mary’s son, Harvie Paterson, transcribed his mother’s diaries from the trip during lockdown and passed them onto Hostelling Scotland, thinking they might want to keep them in their archives.
Instead, they partnered with The Adventure Syndicate to bring the diaries to life through the film What Would Mary Do?
What Would Mary Do?
The Adventure Syndicate is a group of female adventurers and storytellers who promote mental and physical wellbeing through their outdoor endeavours.
Lee Craigie, Philippa Battye and Alice Lemkes from group embarked on a five-day, 300-mile trip from Glasgow to the Highlands and Skye, inspired by Mary’s diaries.
Ms Cragie explained how thinking of Mary helped them along the way.
“Our respect and admiration for Mary Harvie’s spirit grew and grew the more we thought about the trip she made with her sisters in 1936,” she explained.
“In her diaries Mary comes across as someone totally up for a challenge, really curious, full of energy and above all, humble and understated about the things she did.
“Mary’s willingness to stay in each moment and make the very best of every situation became our guiding mantra. If we were cold, lacking enthusiasm or looking for the easy way out we asked ourselves, ‘What would Mary do?’. She developed superhuman attributes by the end of our trip.”
‘Too exciting to be hidden away’
The cycling film What Would Mary Do? was created by Maciek Tomiczek and was premiered at the festival on February 19.
Changes to Scotland’s landscape in the last 86 years meant the group couldn’t follow the Harvie sisters’ route exactly, but they still managed to pay homage to it.
They used forgotten single track roads, made coffee in scenic spots, read, sketched, and stayed at seven hostels along the way.
Margo Paterson, chief executive of Hostelling Scotland, said: “The great thing about hostelling is the sense of community and the unique relationships our members and guests have with our hostel teams.
“This adventure was born from a chance conversation between Mary’s son Harvie Paterson and Karl and Lorna who manage our Port Charlotte Youth Hostel on Islay. Harvie told them that he had transcribed his mother’s diaries during lockdown and wondered if we would be interested in adding them to our archives, but Mary’s story was far too exciting to be hidden away.
“We were delighted that Lee, Philippa and Alice shared our vision and at a time when sustainable, active travel has never been more relevant, they have created a fantastic story of their own.
“This has been brilliantly captured on film by Maciek Tomiczek who has managed to tell a fantastic adventure story showcasing the outstanding beauty of Scotland (no matter what the weather!).”