Chris Blake, just turned 30, a geologist, avid fisherman and a native of Inverness, decided on an impulse to travel half a world away to catch some trout in the highlands of South Africa.
Arriving in Dullstroom on a chilly evening a couple of weeks ago, a little bit lost, a wee bit homesick, Chris spotted a welcoming sign that read 'Whisky Tasting'. "Yeah, right..." thought
Chris but curious, he wanted to check it out and stopped his hire car outside an imposing double story venue called Auldstone House.
Once on the premises he noticed warm inviting lights glowing from a bar called Wild about Whisky and now intrigued, entered.
Later Chris would tell us that initially the warmth and the smell of whisky took him straight back to Scotland and specifically to the Glen Ord distillery, where he once worked.
Then he noticed that there were a few more whiskies than expected, 850 to be precise and realized he hadn't seen a bar in Scotland with this many!
We started chatting and while the single malts were being poured we touched on Geology, trout, whisky and travelling in no particular order, relishing the opportunity of sharing and connecting passions.
Then a question was asked: "Chris, of all the places you've travelled to, where would be your absolute favourite?"
"That's easy" said Chris. "On a boat in the middle of Loch Ness, a Highland breeze ruffling the surface, my line in the water, looking for brown trout or salmon and then later I would pull into the shore, pitch my tent, light a fire and with my favourite dram at hand cook the fish I had caught earlier that evening."
He sighed with the memory and said it was time for bed and an early trout rise in the morning.
Chris, it was great to meet a fellow lover of all things, we hope your trip was memorable, that you will visit us again and we shall think of you and Loch Ness...often.