Tom McClean, the former SAS paratrooper who solitarily rowed across the Atlantic, went to live at Ardintigh, North Morar, Scotland. He later married a Yorkshire lass, Jill.

It was Jill who made his house a home, where they lived on a remote spot. A life lived in a most basic way, much of it in discomfort. It was Jill who had opened Tom’s eyes to the natural beauty, making him aware of so many aspects of wild nature surrounding their croft. He was a functional, logical and practical man It was Jill who opened his different eyes to his world; he tamed it, she civilized it.

As I took my wife to the oasis of Steenbokkie game reserve, we left the lush, green gardens and hiked up the almost barren hills. Karen soon saw so much life in the desert. Peculiar little plants, spiders and insects, also different types of quartz. White, emerald or rose quartz. The white was used as flintstone by ancient people. As I stood watching her, from fifty yards away, I could see how the Karoo’s less obvious treasures had her spellbound.

Before long, Karen saw natural life from a different perspective than mine. I can follow spoor and do very basic tracking, navigate, identify wildlife but she sees the beauty in an almost spiritual way.

When we return to Steenbokkie one day, I will be sure to take the love of my life with me, on every walk.

A man has to be womanised in a different way to have his existence given meaning to afresh.

These wonderful, resilient creatures have an unfathomable depth, a spirituality that is in angled in a plane no man can measure.



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