Articles by Year

<<     >>

Articles by Category
866 740 3890



Selected Trips

    Meet C.D. Seventeen, Author of ‘The Weights We Carry’

    By Millie Earle-Wright, Copywriter
    More by Millie

    One Woman’s Solo Bikepacking Journey Across the Scottish Highlands

    Over 46 days, C.D. Seventeen pedalled, camped and explored in the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Her adventure covered over 1,060 km/660 miles. From windswept Orkney to the remote wilds of Gairloch and Applecross, C.D. Seventeen experienced the ancient landscape’s evocative, ethereal nature.

    Meet C.D. Seventeen

    C.D. Seventeen was born in Yunnan province in China, a place called ‘south of the clouds’. She moved to the UK at 17 to study psychology at King’s College London.

    She published her debut book, The Weights We Carry, in 2023. The book blends short, lyrical poems with photography to capture the intricacies of identity, place, self-expression and belonging.

    A Journey Begins

    Beginning in Inverness, C.D. Seventeen pedalled north through Brora, Helmsdale and John O’Groats to catch the ferry to Orkney. After exploring the islands, she returned to Thurso. Here, she began winding her way to Burghead via Durness, Scourie and Ullapool. The Weights We Carry is a reflection on the beauty, isolation and connections of her journey, and makes for thoughtful reading.

    We asked C.D. Seventeen a handful of questions about her book and her love of the Scottish wilderness below. The Weights We Carry is available via selected retailers online.

    An Interview With C.D. Seventeen

    What is it about Scotland that captures your imagination so vividly?

    Witchcraft, stone circles, churches, and enchanted forests… When you find yourself in such a place, it becomes nearly impossible to resist the belief that the trees themselves might open their eyes and engage in conversation with you. You can offer prayers to the mountains, and somehow they seem poised to respond. As you drink from the tranquil waters of the loch, it feels as though it could wash away your sadness. And if you dare to make a wish upon a babbling stream, it has the power to manifest itself into reality.

    Being surrounded by wilderness in solitude appears to be a catalyst for your poetry – can you talk more about your creative process, C.D. Seventeen? Do you write in the moment or more retrospectively?

    The purpose of my entire trip was, in essence, to give myself the space to process the tidal wave of emotions that life had thrown my way. I was grappling with intense emotional struggles during that period. Every morning, I would wake up with those thoughts threatening to bring me down.

    So, I made a conscious decision to confront them. I allowed myself to sit with those emotions, contemplating their origins and effects. As soon as I woke up, I would promptly pour my thoughts into my journal, aiming to clear away the mental debris through casual writing. Then, I would jump on my bike and pedal with all my might, channelling my emotions into each stroke. It was a release—an opportunity to let those pent-up feelings find an outlet. Once my mind regained stability, I would pause, find a spot to sit still and immerse myself in the surrounding view. It was in those moments of stillness that inspiration would strike. I discovered that by not forcefully striving to create something but instead focusing on clearing out the unnecessary clutter from my mind, I could uncover the inherent beauty that already existed within. It was like assuming the role of a mental cleaner, allowing the natural splendour to shine through.

    As I embarked on this journey, my primary criterion for the creative process was not how good I could write or how I compared to my fellow writers. Instead, it was about capturing something original, conveying a particular essence of beauty, and infusing my lived experiences with insights into life. This approach guided me as I penned this book. It allowed me to embrace the freedom of expression without self-doubt or external expectations burdening me.

    The Scottish Highlands and Islands have a rich cultural and literary heritage. Are there any particular Scottish writers or poets who have inspired you, C.D. Seventeen? If so, how have they influenced your work?

    I am familiar with renowned poets like Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and William Dunbar. Yet it was Lewis Spence who truly left a lasting impact on my work. Spence, an occultist and poet, captured my attention when I stumbled upon his book, “Scottish Ghosts and Goblins”, in an esoteric bookstore in 2020. Reading his words reignited my belief in the existence of ghosts, goblins, and gods in our world. This belief waned during my pursuit of a science-based psychology degree. It was a necessary shift for me to rediscover my passion for creative writing.

    In this modern era, we are often urged to dismiss magic and place our faith solely in science. While scientific methods are undoubtedly valuable, they alone cannot capture the essence of the human experience. The cold objectivity often found in scientific writing can leave the soul feeling neglected. I have chosen to embrace a broader perspective – one that acknowledges the power of intuition and magic. I found the courage to write this book through the influence of Lewis Spence. Spence dedicated decades to documenting creatures and civilisations many consider mere figments of imagination. With his inspiration, I am determined to describe the world through my own unique lens, merging the realms of fantasy and reality in a way that speaks to the human spirit.

    In your opinion, what makes the Scottish landscape and people unique, and how do you try to capture that uniqueness in your poetry?

    A wild and raw beauty that extends beyond its breathtaking landscapes resides within its people’s very essence. Regrettably, my poems have not fully captured the external beauty of Scotland. Instead, they delve into the depths of my own mind, expressing the thoughts and emotions that swirl within me. In many ways, my poems resemble the impassioned rants of an old man in a pub, unapologetically voicing whatever comes to mind. They are imbued with anger, devoid of filters, and unrestrained in their delivery. They serve as a channel for me to unleash my unfiltered truths, reflecting a raw and uncensored perspective.

    You mention that on your adventure you met a lovely man with whom you cooked, chatted and explored a cave – can you touch on any other such individuals that formed a connection with on your travels and how they impacted your journey?

    A lighthouse owner holds a special place in my heart. They are a unique duo – a mother who is a talented artist and her son, who happens to be the same age as me. At a time when I couldn’t return home for three long years due to the grip of the pandemic, this incredible woman adopted me as her daughter. She saw my predicament and offered me a sense of belonging reminiscent of the love and care I receive from my own mother. Like my mother, she embodies bravery and independence, and serves as an inspiration to me.

    Her son, too, has become an integral part of my life, holding a significant role. We both now reside in London and, while I won’t divulge too many details, I cherish our connection and wish to keep it a secret. But let me tell you this: to all the girls out there, go travel! For in your journeys, you might stumble upon a heartwarming tale painted in shades of pink. This extraordinary story unfolds in the realm of reality.

    As for my own poetic creations, they have transformed. I can no longer pen poems akin to those in my earlier book because my life has taken a turn for the better ever since this remarkable family entered my world. Scotland remains deeply intertwined with my being, for it now holds the presence of my newfound family.

    In reference to the photography included in The Weights We Carry – did you pair your photographs with the poems after the fact, or are the poems directly linked to the places they depict?

    Most of the photos I include in my collection are intimately tied to the places where I write my poems. The images are typically within a proximity of 60 km/35 miles from where the poem came to life. This deliberate connection between the words and the visual captures ensures that the surroundings are intricately woven into the fabric of each verse. It is a tangible reminder of the landscapes and moments that inspired my creative process. This allows the reader to embark on a visual journey that complements the written verses.

    You talk about feeling connected to Scotland, which part would you like to explore next?

    [With an epic soundtrack] In the remote expanse of the West Coast, nestled in the middle of nowhere, lies a hidden gem that can only be reached by foot. Here, amidst the untouched wilderness, the true essence of seclusion is encapsulated. I invite you to imagine the enigmatic location that awaits.

    Read The Weights We Carry By C.D. Seventeen

    The Weights We Carry by C.D. Seventeen is out now.
    Available to purchase from Silverwood Books.

    Meet the Author: Millie Earle-Wright

    “I grew up in rural North East Scotland. I studied English Literature and Philosophy at Edinburgh, later completing a Masters in Glasgow. Itchy feet led to time spent in New Zealand embracing the seasonaire lifestyle and travelling in South East Asia. The last couple of years I’ve spent in British Columbia, an amazing place to chase adrenaline.”

    View profileMore by Millie

    Want more Wilderness in your life?

    Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear about trip news, blogs and offers.