Arnie in Namibia & Botswana
May 21st to July 2nd 2016
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This is how the story began

One day in 2011, out of the blue, Richard happened to mention that he had dreamed of owning a Defender.  Common amongst guys I've since learned, but lost on me at the time, however, with open minds we started our search both unaware of what lay ahead.  

We named him Arnie, a big, strong brute of a vehicle with a personality of his own.  

Our first off-road experience with Arnie was on a beautiful spring  day in the Lake District.  In just 5 hours Richard was smitten, by the time my legs had stopped shaking I was prepared to admit that we had had fun.  

Then followed a very cold weekend in Wales; inadequately prepared with a flimsy 2 man ground tent and a tarpaulin shelter cable tied to the roofrack, it's,a marvel that we survived the freezing night.  The ice inside our tent should have put us off, but it turned out to be the very beginning of our adverntures.  Bewildered by the kit that we saw on other folks 4x4's, Richard's virtual shopping list began.

A rooftent was purchased  for our next weekend in Yorkshire later the same year and around the campfire fellow travellers shared a photo book of their off-road trip across the Pyrennes.  You've probably guessed where we went in 2013!  By then we had a new roofrack, a snorkel and  2 inch lift, did I mention the new tyres and  alluminium roof box!

The 2 week experience was incredible and left us itching for more adventures.  In 2013 I got a new fridge freezer for my Birthday! and yes it fit the slider in the back of the cab perfectly!  Richard bought himself Gull Wings and a solar panel for Christmas and off we went to explore Portugal .  From the beautiful golden sand surfers beaches in the South-West, through the olive orchards of the Alentejo and vineyards of the Duoro valley, to the North-East corner.  

By now we'd met many like-minded travellers and had made some great new friends, and with these friends we enjoyed a three week tour of the Western Isles and west coast of Scotland.  Other than midgy nets and warm clothing what do you need for a trip to Scotland?  Nope.  Nope.  Closer.  Shall I help you?  OK!  Two new tanks! one for water and the other for fuel, of course!
Now-then, who (or what) is responsible for denting the bank balance unapologetically often?   After much contemplation I have to admit that it all seems to be the fault of the campfire.  The magnet of warmth extending long days into the next, encouraging tales and creating dreams in the smoke.  Add beer, wine and an extraordinary guy who happened to whisper 'Namibia" in Richard's ear one late balmy evening back in Portugal 2014 and our destiny is sealed.  

Our Carnet turned up last week.  The air tickets are booked.  Somehow we managed to get six weeks off work and Arnie has a third fuel tank, new Ostrich Wing, extended roofrack and a working CB radio (which is a rare thing indeed!).  For the rest of the story I'm afraid you'll have to wait to read our blog.  

If I had the chance again would I politely suggest that a hatchback was more practical for the 10 mile commute to and from work?  Would I promote the cost-saving benefits of skiing in Andorra or a week on the Algarve and a cottage overlooking a beautiful loch?  No I would not!  Arnie is a massive part of our lives now and our experiences over the last five years are priceless.  Roll on desert skies and dunes, we're ready for you! ... evenmore so now that we have mud-tyres!  Oh dear!!