Ken Gillings decided to make it more real this time: We’d actually walk the Fugitive’s Trail from Isandlwana to the Fugitive’s Drift across the Mzinyathi (Buffalo) River, then up a little way on the other side on Fugitive’s Drift Lodge land belonging to David and Nicky Rattray.
(Slides change every four seconds. To pause click top right corner. To speed up or go back, use arrows).
On the trail there was a bit of oofin’ and poofin’ – and some lying down and contemplating the sky.
It was 6km as the crows fly, but we weren’t equipped for flight. It took us a while, and when we eventually reached the next Quantum Leap (back into our taxis), it was good and dark. It was a lovely, unforgettable adventure.
I had run the trail before this – or the road more-or-less parallel to it.
Nephew Robbie must have wondered what the heck could be so interesting that Koos was always peering into that thing.
So he investigated.
Ten or fifteen years later, we re-enacted the scene.
The original was on their farm Umvoti Villa between Greytown and Kranskop on the Mispah road; the re-enactment was at Mangeni Falls where ‘Lord’ Chelmsford was arsing about while his men got killed at Isandlwana. Isandlwana has been the scene of many re-enactments, so this was quite appropriate!
It’s about ten years later again – time for another re-pete.
Top: Introducing daughter Jessie to the wonders of the ‘scope. Now she’s 21 and her response is ‘bo-oring!’
Dear old Ken died too soon. His tours were hugely educational – and such fun. You had to listen carefully or you’d miss his wicked Sergeant-Major little asides and throw-away comments. And you had to stay up late in the pub after the day ended to hear his best ribald Sergeant-Major jokes. We should have recorded them all. Well, here’s one, anyway.
We walked the Fugitive’s Trail from Isandlwana to Fugitive’s Drift. Ken arranged for a local man to take us to the start and fetch us at the end in his taxi – a shiny new Toyota Quantum like this:
On the way we stopped to look at something and Ken ordered us to hop out of the taxi. Then he paused, gave a slight grin and said:
“You could call that a ‘quantum leap.’“
Our traipse along the trail was not uneventful. Once again a bunch of pale people were out of their depth, just like in 1879. Also, our average age was way above that of the pommy soldiers, and we had no horses. Even though we weren’t being pursued by victorious Zulus, panting was heard and hearts fluttered. Some had to lie down a while.
We walked from the Isandlwana mountain to the Buffalo river at Fugitives Drift:
We were a bit slower than the fleeing poms at the uMzinyathi (Buffalo) River crossing. Didn’t want to get our shoes wet:
After the tour I thanked Ken for a wonderful weekend and awarded him the Victoria Cross for his brave endeavours. Or rather, my Victoria Cross-on-Zulu-Shield, which I had earned by running a 21km half-marathon from Isandlwana to Rorke’s Drift years earlier.