Malaga is the place we decided to base before heading to the ferry for Africa. I arrived on Easter Saturday to find pretty much most of the city shut down and roads closed. This is all for the parades which are huge.

After a bit of drama finding a park (I got the roof stuck in a carpark.. apparently 1.9M Height Limit doesn’t include lights and sprinklers), a few fluorescent lights and an angry parking attendant later, who made me pay the 30 cents to get out, I got to the hotel.

The receptionist said not to bother going outside that night as it would be really busy, just outside the hotel door. This is what was going on outside.


And it just got better as the night went on.


This was just one part of town, it went all the way through to a main centre with seats installed like for a football match, which you have no hope of getting near, where all the people and floats gather together for the final ceremony.

I’m pretty pleased I went outside!



Who knew Don Quixote was a delusional 50 year old man on a journey through Spain on some kind of quest..

This is Tembleque where I stopped for a horrid quiche thing and coffee for breakfast, and then saw all these Don Quixote statues. Turns out it is one of the sites mentioned in the book and nearby is where he tried to fight a windmill.

It also has this incredible “Plaza de Toros” which opened in 1653 to be both a traditional bull fighting ring and a town square.


Everywhere I stopped while driving through Spain I saw these floats. They are for the parades throughout Spain over Easter. They are either inside the local church, or under shelters in the town square. Each town has this amazing collection of floats, all with uniquely crafted depictions of the Crucifixtion, Mary, Jesus and saints.

Having a Catholic upbringing makes travelling through Spain really enjoyable, as each town church or cathedral is unique but all based on the same system of statues, stations of the cross, stained glass, etc. So, it is like going home in every single place you stop, where you can admire the different depictions of the same people and the same stories that you have seen throughout your life.

Oh, and of course, have a bit of a pray.. there needs to be a patron saint of Landrovers..



This is an oven tray I bought from a supermarket on the outskirts of Madrid. It is actually part of a nice set, but I took this one out in the shop and pretended I didn’t know that.

The pretty patterns are made by petrol leaking out of the petrol tank. I am trying to measure if the leaking is slowing down or not.

I was made aware of the petrol leak at a service station by an attendant the other side of Madrid, on Good Friday evening with the prospect of no mechanics being available for the next three days. It was actually gushing out from under the truck after I had filled it up. So I was…a little worried..

These photos are of a Defender petrol tank from Google images. Apparently with Defenders the gasket can go, and so when the tank is filled above where the pipe enters, it pours out until the petrol is below the gasket line. Then it is fine to drive.

Lesson Two: Google is your friend when you know nothing about trucks



One of the most amazing places I saw in Spain was this valley. It is just out of Santander, which is a beautiful little port town with great accommodation, great food and tapas bars.

This is the site of a Neanderthal settlement. I wanted to go into the caves but the queue was huge with schoolkids. So I just went for a walk up to the top of the hill that overlooks the valley.

You can see why it would have been such a perfect place to live. The rivers converge and everything is sheltered. This hill provides a lookout for trouble, and also it must have been so inspiring for them to stand up here and look the other way out towards the ocean, knowing that if they wanted to they could just keep following it around the coast, a journey that would be safe with a clear route home.

I’ve always been astonished by the drive to keep moving, and keep discovering. Why did some of these people, way before our ancestors homo sapiens, keep walking out of Africa?

When you see these places and stand where they stood – imagine them looking at where they came from in the distance, their beautiful home beneath them, where most of them stayed for tens of thousands of years, and then the ocean horizon further North– someone stood here on this spot and made some big decisions.



The idea was to take the truck on a bit of a drive to Africa, to see how it is to do some big miles, and what I need to prep for if I want to do a more adventurous trip next year.

This plan is to leave from England, drive through Spain, across to Morocco and then as far as possible towards the Sahara – and then back. I only have a few weeks so there is going to be a lot of driving.

This me looking happy because I made it to the ferry in Portsmouth and got the truck on it.

What this photo belies is the six days it took to get the WOF for the bloody thing in Peterborough (Do not listen to ordinary mechanics when they tell you about Landrovers). But with the help of my mates who store it, and the Landrover guys at Marshall Motors, I got here on time. The alternative was three days driving down France.

However, it also doesn’t show the next 24 hrs which I spent on my back on the ferry trying not to vomit. I had somehow forgotten I get quite seasick.

Lesson One: Next time just drive through France.


We had been invited for lunch by Bill and Cathy Robertson. Bill and his sister Evelyn share a great, great, grandfather with us ( I think, Ant help me out in the comments!)

On the way to their house we knew that the village of Torpichen was important, as that was where everybody in the family records were baptised. It was a good five miles from the farms we had just seen. We couldn’t figure out why they would go so far, surely there must’ve been closer places!

But when we got there, and saw the historic places signs on the way, we got it. This church has been here since the 1100’s. Probably from the time of the first Stormin’ Norman de la Haye.


In the graveyard we found an Isabelle Walker and James Hay from the 1800s, and a James Hay ( Bill’s uncle) who died in a submarine attack in the First World War.

Lunch was AMAZING. How could Ant have possibly thought that this wasn’t going to take a while.. perhaps right up until his first whisky. Or his second wine. The soup. The beef, or the sponge?


When the photos came out we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We think this is the brother of our great, great, great grandfather. This couple were the last two to live on the farm. They left it in the 1890’s, just thirty years or so before our side of the family emigrated to New Zealand.


If you are reading this and you remember my father, then the shock of this image will probably hit you as much as it did me. All I can see in this photograph is Dad.

Halfway through this trip I had a brief moment where I didn’t really want to carry on, as I have mixed feelings about this side of our family history. But seeing this photo made me realise that families are about a lot of people and a lot of lives.

Look at these two. They must have worked so hard. And they are so dignified with it.

Ok, so this really is the end now for our journey. It has been such good fun and neither of us could believe just how emotional and rewarding it has been. But Loxy needs a rest before her next big adventure, and so now the final word can go to our intrepid Time Team navigator..


So we headed further into the farm to look for the next one.

This one was actually a little more exciting, as you might be able to tell from my voice in this video. As we didn’t expect it, and also because it took us a long time to find it as the woods were quite dense and we couldn’t see anything for ages.

It was very overgrown, and harder to make out what it might have looked like, but it was awesome.


Further along was what was obviously once a road or a track and gateposts and fences.


And this would have been their view..


So the Time Team journey was over, we had found another farm, which was much more likely to be the Hay’s we think, as well as our original goal of seeing the ruin we knew about.

But the next stop was a visit to the long lost relatives who still lived up the road to see what they could tell us about who lived here and when.



The first farm

So we are heading to the site that we have seen on Google Earth. When we approach it we can’t quite believe what we are seeing. It is so much more significant than what we expected.


The stonework is really beautiful and it must have been a really solid house with perhaps outbuildings and maybe stone pens for gardens or animals.

We walked around the ruins and just took it all in. Imagining them perhaps building it, quarrying the stone, living in the rooms and of course working from dawn to dusk on the surrounding land.


We had heard another story that after Culloden many of the prisoners were taken by boat to a nearby place called Bo’ness. So it could make sense that between that time, 1746 and the 1780s, the Hays and many others established themselves after being released as tenant farmers ( they didn’t own the land, they just worked it) in this area as they couldn’t go home.

They married into the families of all the nearby farms, the Walkers and the Gentlemans. So this house could have been occupied by a number of these families.

So, we were very pleased with ourselves for finally  getting here to finally walk in their footsteps.



While this site is what we had always understood to be called Drumbowie Farm, which possibly refers to a number of cottages and farmhouses in the area, the farmer whose land it is told us that there is actually ANOTHER farmhouse/cottage ruin further into the woods. And he said that the local name for that farm was Drumbowie Farm..


There is only one thing for it. And we know who to call..


The Farm

Ok, so we are getting ready now for the big event. We had found the ruins of a farmhouse several years ago on Google Earth, and Ant had been in touch with relatives who had told us that this was the family farm from around 250 years ago.

Ant had got permission from the farmer for us to go onto the land, but it is about a mile from the road, and pretty sludgy. So we needed to get prepared.

We ran into the farmer after this, gumboots on ready to walk, and asked him for directions. He asked us what kind of car we had. “Er, ..< proud pause > ..we’ve got a Landrover.”

“OCH, yewl ba FYNE!”

We love Loxy…

We are getting closer now..