One time my friend Harry Abbott got himself badly stuck in mud in a tidal section of the Clutha River in New Zealand. He realized that the incoming tide would drown him if he couldn´t free himself. In desperation he hollered like hell and was eventually rescued by his fishing buddy, David Blair. This is a story he Harry has kept from his wife for fear of having further adventures curtailed although I did let the cat out of the bag in my book Dry River.

I have never met the man who rescued him although I may have a chance to do so next year if, as Harry suggests, we manage to get a little barbel fishing organized here in Spain.

Harry has mentioned David several times. He was involved in organizing fly fishing adventures in the remote jungle rivers of Thailand and the more I hear the more remarkable a character he appears.

Last year the two boys headed off on an adventure in a microlight that David learnt to fly at the right old age of 68 and I featured some of the photos taken during their expedition (see post “Harry´s Adventure” December 2015)

I asked Harry to tell me a little more about David and he sent me a potted biography this afternoon which I have pasted below:

David Blair is his name. Quite a character. Started life on stations breaking horses, 

educated himself and became a teacher then did a postgraduate degree related 

to enviroment and did 4 years research into the rare Stewart Island robin (during

its breeding season I presume and lived on a yacht offshore during the research periods)

He then went to work for DOC heading teams controlling invasive species 

of both plants and animals, shooting goats, deer etc and spraying invasive plant 

species like broom etc. 

Decided then he should be tendering for this work on his own behalf 

(this would be at around age 50 I guess) and started a company to not only control non native species but also replants areas with native plants and trees. 

Good government contracts and he flies teams in to remote areas  to do the biz.

Finally at 68 years of age he started to learn to fly himself and of course 

now has his full licence

(A you know he and I have flown in to remote areas in his microlight to fish)

Finally last year while I was there he took delivery of a machine from Canada 

which basically takes a tree in at one end and sends out wood blocks at other end.

What a man! At 74 or thereabouts starting a new buisness which he hopes eventually  to hand to his daughter!

In between times I believe he was a keen mountaineer!

I am in awe of this very special NZ friend.

I guess we all get to choose who our heroes ought to be but, more and more, I am drawn to those with an adventurous spirit and the determination not to limit the excitement they can derive from our little stint on the planet as they age.

So hats off to Mr Blair.

I hope I have a chance to meet him next year.

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Harry Abbott (rear) and David Blair during their microlight fishing adventure in New Zealand.

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He seems to have his priorities sorted out.

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Cecil Peak Station valley running down to lake Wakatipu. This is one of a several photos taken from up in the sky.