- - "Slymefoot Slyde": Bikepacking Northumberland, UK

“Slymefoot Slyde”: Bikepacking Northumberland, UK

In a new film by Tommy Wilkinson and Wahoo called Slymefoot Slyde, riders Dave Sear, Jess Stone and Harry Wickham set out on a three-day bikepacking trip through Northumberland National Park. The purpose of their trip was to survey the area, learn more about the River Breamish and Coquet, and find out if there is still clean water and healthy fish in this remote northeast corner of England, where rivers are dying from pollution and gross mismanagement.

The rivers that cut paths through our land are the arteries that connect us to the wider world. From birth, we learn to love these meandering and glistening wonders that our very civilisation was found upon. Yet, English rivers, that form such a romantic and integral part of our psyche are being slowly suffocated by a potent mix of nutrients, sewage, interference and gross mis-management. They are dying, and with their death the very wonders that capture our imagination and sustain our lives will be lost forever.

Here, in Rural Northumberland, two rivers cling on to their health with a tenacity that is reflected by the communities who would seek to preserve their lives. Both the river Breamish and Coquet take their places in the last 14% of English rivers that maintain good ecological health. Yet they themselves are vulnerable, like every river in England, failing their chemical test in 2019.

The upper reaches of these rivers are where we headed on an exploratory, three-day bikepacking trip through the Northumberland national park, in search of clean water, healthy fish, and experiences that are increasingly rare in a polluted nation.


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