Only a few weeks until I embark on one of my most serious expeditions for many years. With me will be explorer, surfer, Californian, anthropologist and all round super dude Alex Ayling. We are searching for the eternal flame which signifies the heart of the lost Himba tribes of the Otjihipa Mountains – a bastion of some of the world’s last hunter gatherers, trapped between Namibia and Angola.
My grandfather was an explorer and hailed from Mull. He was a true Hebridean and as tough as the rock he walked over. One of the most significant characteristics of Scotsmen is they are some of the world’s most active and successful explorers and conservationists—and they love their whisky. Only a couple of months ago in the cradle of humanity we managed to toast to our ancestors with some Bowmore 15 year old dark – and it tasted so good because we had managed to cool a precious dram of water to go with it by swinging a small wet bag in the air for 5 minutes. The genius of natural convection.
We are taking a great leap of faith, cut off by hundreds of miles of deserted bush. There are lions and elephants, hyenas and jackals and no escape from the heat and lack of water. Hopefully with luck we will find these amazing people who still cut with stone and live a nomadic and peaceful life, connected to the sky, stars and their ancestors by a fire that never goes out. Tradition means a lot and encourages us to remember that which is important. We will drink a dram of Bowmore somewhere in that wilderness to remember all of our ancestors.