Monday 26 January 2015

FEEDBACK: Saturday 31 January, Devil's Peak

It is not often in January that we have overcast conditions and drizzle for a run.  The runners took advantage of the cooler weather to circumnavigate Devil's Peak - a rather tough route.  All three groups left the Newland's fire base along the jeep track and set off towards the Block House.  The gravel jeep track gave way to a wet single track, and back to gravel at the Block House.  From here, the walk/run group headed south along the contour path, to complete a 11 km circuit in just over 2 hrs.

At the Block House, the Main and Recovery groups headed north, above Tafelberg road, along a very flat and easy contour path.  The Main group continued for some distance along this contour path before turning left off the contour and up past Oppelskop.  From here, the Main group headed over the saddle to the top of Newlands Ravine.  The Recovery group turned too early and instead took a rather difficult zig zag route up to the saddle.  However, they did make it to the top of Newlands Ravine.  Both the Main and Recovery groups had a steep climb down Newlands Ravine and into Newlands Forest.  Once in the forest, the moss covered rocks and many tree routes made this a slow-going downhill.

The Main group covered 10 km in 2h 40 and the Recovery group completed 12 km in a not-to-be-done-again 4 hrs.
Above - the correct route taken by the Main group; Below - some zig zag route taken by the Recovery group.

A view down to Rondebosch.  Overcast conditions make for great running. 

At the Block House
The Main group on their way down Newlands Ravine.
Looking back onto a sleepy CBD - Near the top of the Recovery group's zig zag route to the saddle. 
And when the Recovery group finally reached the top!
After 3 hrs (more than 1 hr being non-stop up), on our way down back to Newlands - very steep downhill.

Monday 19 January 2015

FEEDBACK: Saturday 24 January 2015: – Weary Willie's, Spes Bona Forest Circuit, Kalk Bay Peak & Nellie's Pool

One of my personal favourite runs with TMT is through the Spes Bona forest. This magical, dessicated fairyland inspires mental images of leprechauns, elves and even the odd hobbit, so tangled are its branches and dappled is its shade! The steep and breath-taking climb up the steps and rocky path from the town centre is well worth the panting and sweating (and probably some silent cursing). Weary Willy was no doubt named after his climb up to his namesake pool and not before.

Apart from the intricate tree architecture, this route is full of fabulous flora. Familiar watsonias and proteas aside, there are very many interesting plants flanking the path. I'm going to quote Karen Watkins of here, because I have no knowledge of the indigenous growth in the area myself. 

"Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Silvermine and a stalwart group of hackers (those who clear alien vegetation), the Silvermine area is practically clear of plants that do not belong here. This part of Silvermine has some fascinating plants which are endemic (occurring nowhere else) plants such as Erica urna-viridis, a straggling plant with very sticky green coloured urn-shaped flower heads. Another interesting plant is Diastella divaricata Peninsula silkypuff, a low-lying scrambling shrub with small pink flowerheads. Look closely at the flower and you will see why it is a member of the Proteaceae family. "

She goes on, "TMNP have done a magnificent job of path building and maintenance, particularly evident through Spes Bona Forest, with boardwalks to protect the roots of ancient, and often rare, trees. Spes Bona is a fine remnant of forest, rich in indigenous trees such as rooiels, Cape beech, milkwood and Podocarpus latifolia, the only yellowwood that occurs naturally in the peninsula."

And there I was, thinking they built the boardwalks not to protect the roots but for trailers like us... ;)


Arriving at Kalk Bay Peak, we drank in the gorgeous views and took a moment to revel in the privilege of living in such a beautiful corner of the world. High above the clouds, we gloated -just a little bit – the feeling making us magnanimously state that Eskom could shed its load anytime it liked, as long as we had our mountain to escape to.

A particular highlight of the morning was the visit to Nellie’s pool, complete with mating display by frogs and a haha moment courtesy of Geoff Nell and his suggestion that ‘where there are frogs, there are boomslang to eat them’. Ahem. 

Amongst the names on  the register were Neil and Felicity Garbers arrived at the start, but decided to rather do a flat Tokai route instead seeing that there wasn’t a walking group. We welcomed a good number of new faces to the group, many of whom declare their intentions to return, despite the steep climb and random conversation.

The main group of 12 intrepid trailers did 11.2 or 11.4 km, depending on whose GPS you were using, in 2h20 (or faster, for Julian & Co).  The recovery group did a very similar distance in just a few minutes more, due to either an incorrect turn or FOMO and general over enthusiasm - who knows? :)

Report by Lorraine Nevin, with additional photo contributions from Bonnie Floyd, Gae Tompkins and Richard Rossiter.

Monday 12 January 2015

FEEDBACK: Saturday 17th January, Sunbird Centre and Silvermine SE (Amphitheatre)

A large group of almost 40 smiling, happy faces arrived bright and early on a glorious Saturday morning for one of Gaeleen and Julian’s famous downhill start runs: Sunbird Centre and Silvermine S/E.

Three groups were quickly formed and the usual formal advice given by Gaeleen before setting off on our way. The first few kilometres were pleasantly shady and allowed us to warm up gently. The recovery group caught up with the main group at the first regroup position, which made us feel like real athletes. However, this meeting was the last time we breathed the dust from the heels of the Spartans. We did however, meet the walkers about a kilometre from the end of the run, and exchanged some pleasantries with them before leaving them to ramble down the last single track as we jogged down through the proteas.

At this time of year, the flora in Silvermine can be quite exciting. We spotted quite a few bright crassula (thanks to Liz for identifying them) amongst the otherwise muted greens and greys of the dry mountain growth.

Back at the cars, Garmins, Endomondos and Stravas were compared and combined and it was agreed that the main group did 15.05 km in a speedy 2h 25min; the recovery group did 11.8 km in a slightly slower 2h 15 min with the walk/run group hot on their heels with 11.4 km in 2h 20min!

Welcome to new member Bonny from JHB, who was only in CPT for a couple of days before joining up with us, and other new members whose names are still to be learned.

Congratulations to Liz Brash and Neil Gerbers who completed 75 sorties and have earned purple t-shirts.
Route details and profile for main group.

Perfect day out to play with some filters on landscapes.  Thanks Bonny for this great pic.

The famous crassulas.

The main group at the amphitheatre

The recovery group at the amphitheatre.

Sunday 4 January 2015

FEEDBACK: Saturday 10 January, Table Mountain North Face

Thirty-one bright-eyed, bushy-tailed runners full of good New Year intentions pitched up at Kloof Nek parking lot. We all slogged up the hundreds of steps to the contour path, with much muttering about this being the worst start to any of our runs (it is, but it is short and brutal and over quickly if you are fittish).  All three groups covered the same route from the Kloof Nek car park, up the steps, and along the contour path on the front face of Table Mountain.

The main group was smallish with about 11 of us, although that number constantly changed and was a bit tricky to keep track of.  Hein took off to the Blockhouse to meet his sister, who had overslept, and so he came back, found us, scooped up Julian and in a cloud of testosterone they were off with Hein managing to cover 20 kms in the time it took us to cover 14! (We did regroup a lot.)  Elite runner, Kevin Hurwitz, mumbling something about having just taken 2 months off, joined us until the Oppelskop path and is probably still out running. We managed to temporarily misplace 2 runners when we turned off to the Oppelskop path (note to run leader, when your last 4 runners are all wearing blue t-shirts don't just see a blue t-shirt and presume they are all together like a flock of birds).  Geoff caused consternation when he suddenly disappeared from view.  One minute he was behind Bels and in front of Elvera and the next minute ‘poof’ he was gone. Convinced he had fallen off the side of the mountain without anyone noticing, I was just about to call mountain rescue when he appeared from behind a bush after performing emergency ablutions.

We all got back safely and agreed this is one of our favourite routes.  The Main group covered 14 kms in 2hrs 30, Recovery group 10 kms in 2hrs 10, Walkers 9 kms in 2hrs 20.  Thanks to Julian and Alex for leading Main group and Geoff for sweeping, Nicole and Peter for leading Recovery and Peter for leading the Walkers.  Thanks to Gae and Adien for the scenic pics.  Another lovely morning out on the mountain!

Some achievements: Allison completed her 60th sortie, Sam [Brinkman] her 30th, Chantal her 25th and Elvera her 10th which promotes her to the quick check-in at the top of the page.