Saturday, 1 June 2013


A few years back I was lucky enough to be offered the chance of a job exchange. The result was that I spent 3 months working on a remote 100,000ha game reserve on the edge of the Kalahari in South Africa.

From day one, it was incredible. I darted lions. I tracked rhino. I counted game from a low-flying helicopter. I helped in the live capture of 1500 head of game.

To call it a once-in-a-lifetime experience falls far short. It was surreal, like the plot of a cheap novel. But it happened.

The exchange was organised by my employer and one of our regular shooting guests. I spent a lot of time wondering how I could possibly show my gratitude for this amazing chance. The only answer I could come up with was to keep them up to date with my adventures. I emailed a daily blog.

As my time in the Kalahari went on, more and more people asked to be included on my mailing list. On my return to the UK, I was persuaded to keep writing.

My African adventure is 4 years behind me now. However it was such an amazing thing, that I can't bear for it to be over. It HAS to have been life-changing.

Yet, I feel the same. The only difference is that now I am a writer. My benefactor had my African blogs made into a coffee-table book. As I result of that, I was offered a regular column with 'Scots' magazine. A regular slot in 'Sporting Rifle' has since followed.

It might be small beer (I really don't know) but the fact is the ripples from Tswalu are still spreading out through my life.

If you're a regular visitor, you'll notice that my blogs had 'stalled' of late. Part of this is that I thought that, after 3 years, there wasn't much left to say. Part of it was also that it was getting a bit onerous. And part of it was that I could never find an answer to the question "...and why exactly am I doing this?!"

Well just recently there have been developments. The estate I work for- Invermark- is trying to develop in some new directions. One being wildlife tourism. And this blog is being pushed as a 'marketing tool'.

I still find myself asking "...and why exactly am I doing this?" because- at the moment- there seems to be nothing in it for me.

Apart from keeping those ripples going.


  1. Just returned home from the most fascinating day out in the hills with you, courtesy of Angus Walking Festival. Thank you SO much and to be sure, we will be back during the stalking season......the kitty is being replenished as I write this.

  2. Wildlife tourism on Invermark. I like that and think it could fit in well, life is all about changing to survive. Your blog is inspirational and started me off doing my own one about the glens and sketching, don't give up on your talents and do not under estimate them - many have benefited from them without you knowing!

  3. Hi Andy,

    Great to see you back again - missed your monthly instalments on my favourite glen... We'll all be there again at the end of July and look forward to seeing all the familiar faces.. :)


  4. Good to see your back! About the wildlife tourism About three years ago I brought my mostly Norwegian daughter and totaly Norwegian son-in-law to Glenesk. They saw so many birds and animals that they said it was just like a safari. Indeed the place was teeming with life. In Norway the wildlife can be more exotic with bears, wolves, lynx etc., but you hardly ever see any and in the more inhabited areas the more ordinary animals are thin on the ground because of the hard winters. It certainly looks like there's potential. EmmaW