The Motorcycle Diaries
It doesn’t seem to matter how far you go, it is difficult to leave Scotland behind. Two days out of a motorbiking tour of South Africa last month (BMW F650GS for those who are interested), I came across a memorial to John Buchan that great writer of adventure stories and colonial administrator.
This photograph was taken at the site, looking out over the great Ebenezer Dam near Magoebaskloof in the Limpopo region. This was a view that Buchan, who knew the area well, loved. The country and the people of South Africa influenced his life and inspired many of his novels; Prester John in particular. My two companions had never heard of Buchan. But I found a copy of the Thirty Nine Steps in a second-hand bookshop in Knysna later on the trip and now both are addicts.
We have an intriguing photographic portrait of John Buchan taken by Yosuf Karsh in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery collection. Created in 1937 when Buchan was Governor-General of Canada he is photographed in a headdress as a symbol of admiration to the Blood Tribe.