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New Adventure Show presenters put endurance skills to test at Strathpuffer

By Gavin Musgrove

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New Adventure Show presenters Calum Maclean and Marie Meldrum get on their bikes in the first episode of the new series.
New Adventure Show presenters Calum Maclean and Marie Meldrum get on their bikes in the first episode of the new series.

BBC Scotland’s popular The Adventure Show is back with two new presenters, both well-known faces in the world of Scottish outdoor sports.

The first episode with the new team will air this Sunday at 8pm on BBC Scotland. Immediately following transmission, it will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

There is also a very local link – the series is produced by Newtonmore-based Adventure Show Productions, formerly Triple Echo Productions.

Gaelic speaker and BBC Alba star, Calum Maclean, who lives in Perthshire, has built up a cult online following as a result of wild swimming in far flung places around Scotland.

A TikTok video of him in 2022 swimming in Loch Morar, Britain’s deepest body of freshwater, attracted 14 million views in two days.

Calum, also a triathlete, will be joined on the programme by fellow triathlete Marie Meldrum. from Fort William.

The secondary school teacher and high profile adventurer has found solace and inspiration in taking on increasingly difficult outdoor challenges in the face of personal tragedies.

The Adventure Show, which is now in its 19th series, brings a generous helping of activities into viewers’ living rooms from kayaking to mountain marathons to surfing to mountain biking.

The first of three half hour episodes of 2024 kick off with the world-class Strathpuffer Mountain Bike Endurance Event, which took place during the weekend of 13th-14th January.

The annual 24 hour winter competition involves cycling for around 17 hours in darkness in the forest at Contin near Strathpeffer, north of Inverness.

Marie will be taking part, with Calum joining her for a lap to keep her going.

Meanwhile, British cyclist and Paralympian, Karen Darke, who used to live in Strathspey, tackles an alternative route suitable for adaptive bikes.

The Show will capture the arrival of the nervous competitors at the camping village and the exciting build up to the race, with highlights from the beginning to end and a particular focus through the night and early morning.

As well as featuring cycling stars, the show meets the unsung heroes behind the scenes who do everything from repairing bikes to encouraging competitors to continue.

Maclean said: “I was delighted to be approached to present The Adventure Show. I’ve been an avid viewers for years and always loved the events and stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary feats.

"For me, this is an exciting new adventure and I’m really happy to be working with Marie who is a brilliant triathlete and someone whose reputation goes before her.

Meldrum commented: “I’m so excited about taking on this new challenge. I’m passionate about the benefits of being outdoors and urging people to try things they would never have imagined themselves being able to achieve.

“Calum is fantastic to work with and The Adventure Show epitomises everything I believe in, including getting out in the fresh air to improve mental health and making connections with other people.”

Competing in events and setting herself challenges, has helped Meldrum the face of personal tragedy. This includes the death two years ago of her husband Donnie and her father's suicide in 2014.

"It would be easy to shut yourself away," she says. "But going for an early morning swim, a bike ride, or a run helps. You don't necessarily talk to friends about the bad things.

"The combination of companionship and exercise can be all you need.

"I have been involved with The Adventure Show team for a few years now and can't wait to take up this new role alongside Calum.

"We first met in 2016 taking part in a swimming and running event, Hell’s Hop, in which competitors swim across the Sound of Barra.

"We had to stand on the side of a tall ship anchored between Barra and South Uist and jump into the biggest waves imaginable. Then, we swam and ran across the island!”

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