Chilling out

As I write this in my cosy study in Edinburgh Africa seems a long way away already.

I got back just in time for a lovely Christmas with the family

As expected, the contrast between the Scottish Winter’s depth and the Namibian summer’s heat is extreme and welcome. After three months of sweltering heat, the chill air and snow are refreshing, though I could do without the dark mornings and afternoons. I got back just in time for Christmas, cooking dinner for the family is traditionally “Dad’s job”, so I was busy and everyone seemed to have an excellent time. We escaped to the cottage up north for some quiet, reflective time and will be there again over the New Year.
Unfortunately, I did not manage Christmas cards this year, the last day of posting was the day I got back so sorry to all on the list and I will do better next year. From now until I return to Africa in April, I will be busy with our grandson, some courses and a long list of chores and projects, which I will not bore you all with, so I will take a break from posting now until then.
The Africa trip up to now was by far the hardest trip I have undertaken, although small sections were on very tricky roads the real challenge was the densely populated coast of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon. In these areas, security was an ever-present concern, finding a place to stay a constant challenge (as there are no campsites and often wild camping is not safe), and the few open tourist attractions were often underwhelming. In contrast, the villages were welcoming and friendly when we were in the proper countryside, and the deserts in the north and Angola/Namibia were lovely for overland travel.
All the posts have been archived on, and one of my next jobs is to turn all this into an article for Land Rover Monthly.
Catch you all again in April for South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe Zambia and beyond for the final instalment of the Celtic Safari.
One of the first stops on my return was to call in to see Holly and Harris now 10 months old his first Christmas
Harris stole the show at the family Christmas gathering on Christmas Eve
The moon lights up the woods from the front door of the cottage
Driving up to the cottage through the pass at Glenshee I am reminded that some of the best roads and most beautiful country are on our doorstep here in Scotland
The sun is low in the sky even at 2.30pm but the light on the forest by the cottage is lovely
Nice cosy fire means the now well insulated cottage stays at a comfortable 22oC even with the heat pump off, burning our own wood from the forest (bought some bags in case our wood was not dry enough but it was)
I could have done with Nelsons off road capabilities it was a bit of a struggle to get the Passat on normal road tyres out of the woods when we had to go back to look after a sick cat.
The woods are beautiful in the snow, a great contrast to Namibia but can hold their own in wow factor

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