Now a whisky connoisseur will tell you that ideally one adds a splash of straight-out-of-the-Scottish-creek water to do a proper tasting. Any water just wasn’t good enough and the closest to Scottish creek water was the water at the source of Gawie se Water.
So the ritual was an outing to open and taste any such unique highland whisky at Bain’s Kloof village with fresh out of the stream “Scottish” water.
I’ve wondered whether the Baine’s whisky distillery down the pass near Wellington was named and established there and for this reason?
The canal was built by farmers in the Bovlei area near Wellington as far back as 1860. It diverts water from the Witte River up in the mountains all the way down the valley to their farms. In recent times there has been some controversy about the canal, as the flow of water into the canal has caused water shortages in Bain's Kloof Village at Eerste Tol. This has been exacerbated by the recent drought. River ecology experts and Cape Nature are also involved in the debate, which remains unresolved.
The pass has many stories.
There is a memorial at Eerste Tol in recognition of the Witterivier tragedy of 1895.
A group of students from Wellington went hiking up the mountains and the weather turned foul. The party split into two, with the stronger party going back to the village for help and the slower party were forced to stay overnight on the other side of the river.
It rained all night and the river turned into a raging torrent. It was so cold there were reports of snow on Table Mountain. The next day the rescue party managed to secure a rope across the river. The first to attempt the crossing was a girl by the name of Lettie de Jager. She got as far as the middle of the river, where she managed to cling on to an outstanding rock, but she could progress no further.
Three young men tried to help but also only got as far as the rock where they all succumbed to the cold after about 2 hours. Later that day the remaining survivors where winched across at a safer spot.
A sad reminder that beauty and danger can be close companions. [Source: Geocaching]
Our podcast this week is all about the history of the Penhoek Pass which used to be a treacherously difficult route across the Stormberg between Queenstown and Jamestown before the new road was built. CLICK TO LISTEN.
Pass of the week
We head off to Kwa-Zulu Natal this week to explore one of the wonderful passes on offer in the foothills of the Drakensberg. The Middledale Pass is a 6.3 km tarred pass running through the Drakensberg on a North/South axis. It is known as the S1101 route and connects the farming areas north of Bergville with the upper plateau of the Free State around Swinburne, Van Reenen and Harrismith.
Some references show the Middledale and Tintwa Passes as being the same pass, whereas they are actually two separate passes on the same road separated by a short plateau. There is a similar scenario in the Western Cape with the Wildehondskloofhoogte and Op de Tradouw Passes being the same pass, with the former being the ascent and the latter the descent.
* * * * * M I D D L E D A L E P A S S * * * * *
Words of wisdom: "Creativity is intelligence having fun" - Albert Einstein