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My work life has always involved travel. The past year has been epic and the last month even more so. LA three weeks ago; Portland, Oregon two weeks ago and last week, filming in the far north in minus 35C. I’m not at liberty to say where we were but it was awe inspiring, savage and unbelievably beautiful.
Still, as I head into the dusk on my way to my Dad’s 91st birthday and I peer through rain-streaked train windows at black Scottish mountains, I am minded to hang up my cowboy boots for a while. Stationary living appeals, domestic experience to be embraced, a little inertia welcomed.
We are on the return leg of an amazing week in Scotland visiting relatives, friends and old haunts. By the time we get back to London, we’ll have traveled over 2,000 miles in a week.
Much of our time was spent in the very far north west of Scotland in Sutherland visiting special people in Scourie. We stayed at the Kylesku Hotel which is highly recommended and has the most amazing views at breakfast.
Judge for yourselves, but for me, Sutherland is the most beautiful part of the country.
In June 2007 we landed in Jayapura, West Papua at the start of a four month expedition. I was heading up an expedition to make a series of films (called Living with the Mek: The adventures of Mark and Olly) for Travel and Discovery Channel. I’d been planning this trip for months. Our goal was to seek out then live with mysterious Mek mountain tribe (if they’d let us).
There was a lot to do before we headed inland. We had to organise plane loads of supplies and make all the final preparations to allow our group of fifteen or so to be virtually self sufficient in the mountains for four months.
There is no doubt we were all nervous. No matter how many precautions we’d taken, the mountains of West Papua are fraught with dangers. We planned on managing just one mile a day as we searched for the tribe.
To acclimatise and rest up before the expedition got fully underway, we organised a day out on local canoes to a remote island west of Santani. On the way back at dusk, we hit a boiling shoal of tuna. The boatman hooked one and that evening we ate a last supper of fresh raw tuna marinated in lemon juice. It was a perfect end to the day and exactly what we needed before we headed into the uncharted mountains.