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February 2006 Newsletter

Hi Guys

Listen up! It will soon be AGM time, time for you all to think about the committee and who will be running the TCSA in 2006. There are a few, currently serving members, who are not going to make themselves available. I have been on the committee for five years and the constitution bars me for serving so you will need a new EDITOR. Patty wanted out last year, Ros has stated that she wants quit now and Tony also wants to make a break after five years. Think carefully guys, it depends on you now, make yourselves available. Meetings are short and only take place every two months or so. We will need an EDITOR. a MEMBER SECRETARY, a SECRETARY and a TRAILS ORGANISER. Also think about a SOCIAL ORGANISER, Denise has been doubling up on this one. Janet is also standing down so the important post of TREASURER needs to be filled. It’s your club, things don’t run themselves, people need to stand up and do their bit. Don’t worry that you have no computer, the club will supply one if it’s needed. Phone Denise if you are interested.

We have also lost a number of HIKE LEADERS, those that remain on the roster have had to take up the strain, and it’s not fair on them. Please let Denise know of any one who you think could be a leader.




I knew this would be tough and it was! But as always so very worth while when one climbs the final rock face and reaches the summit. The views are indescribable, probably the best in the Peninsula. Right across the top we went on an excellent path. (When the club first did this many years ago, bushwhacking was called for.) We stopped now and again for Ian to peer down to look for a WW2 plane that had crashed into the sea, to no avail. A long steep descent to Smitswinkel but one had a wonderful view of Cape Point, the sea and if there had been a whale or shark, a bird’s eye view. Thanks to Ian and all, a real hike.


Another favourite popular hike on Table Mountain. The Parks Board have cleaned and cleared the entire route making it almost impossible to go wrong. Tea on breakfast rock ¾ ways up Kasteelspoort. 2nd tea and fresh water in Valley of Isolation. Lunch at the top of the ladders above Blinkwater Ravine outside caves shown to us by Alex. Some of us explored them briefly and I wonder if these are where American sailor Joshua Penny spent 14 months in 1799. He jumped ship after taking part in the Royal navy’s battle of Muizenberg. Fountain Ravine is close by and he would have had a good source of fresh water. Unbeknown to Josh his ship, the Sceptre, sunk in a storm shortly after his desertion. On to Platteklip and the descent which we and our knees had earned. Numerous young tourists were passed on their way up. Something we have NEVER done. Well done to all, especially Jenny, Iris and Margarethe who had not previously done this route.


With the admin work, i.e. buying permits, getting code no. for the gate etc. behind us, we cheated a bit and drove to the parking area. After a mild slog up we joined the Oliviers and Thomas’s who had walked the whole way. So there we were the Young and the Restless, poised at the start of the Wolfberg Cracks. There are two ways to the first platform, the dark safe little cavity way and the “B” way. Larry, Mary, Tommy (with a little arm twisting) and I opted for the “B” route.

All records were broken on this trip. Justine Thomas at 20 months perched on her fathers shoulders. Malcolm, 6, in his mother Jenny’s charge, loved every minute. On the other end, Vic,80+, and Corrie 70+ inspired us all. An all Africa record was set with the time taken for 17 bodies to go through these awesome cracks. Everyone had good reason to pat themselves on the back. The two awkward pitches were made easier with the aid of Anthony’s rope. A few also made use of it to climb over the post-box (a short dark tunnel) instead of going through. The front runners who went through the awkward way, on their backs, mopped up all the water for the last ones in the queue. Despite the “experts” I have always gone through easily frontward on my stomach and knees. Enabling me to see the exit hole. Such fun! I can’t wait for the next time. I think it should be renamed ‘panic Passage’ or Passion Passage, what with all the panting, sweating and screaming and hands on bodies manoeuvres.

Six hikers had excess energy and hot footed it to the Arch. We all returned down the other crack taking away memories, mud and photos and leaving behind blood, skin and sweat.

On Sunday most of us hiked to the Maltese Cross. It was a wonderful weekend. Thanks to all the above plus visitor Christine, Derrick, Gesine, Margaret, Paul and Wendy. Very well done. A bit pricy with the extra R50,00 for permits. Tommy and I had to cough up R3,000.00 for shocks and Conrad had to buy a new tyre for his Landy.


How far do you walk in a day?

The Pedometer/Stepcounter is a small compact digital device, about 53x39x10 mm in size. It is clipped unto your hip (pants/belt), to detect movement, therefore counting steps as you walk. It is not expensive, easy to use and ideal for RUNNERS, HIKERS, GOLFERS or just for curiosity.

By using the MODE button you can easily scroll between these functions:

Step Counter: counts steps as you walk.

Total Distance Counter: calculate the total distance over a period of time until you reset it.

Calorie Counter: work out the total calories burnt over the distance/time of exercise.

Digital Clock: has a 12/24 clock.

 Cost: R60. Available in blue from Denise Hopkins.

Phone 072 264 1070 to place your order.


I don’t know where Tony was gallivanting the night before but he arrived late and seemed out of it all day. Never the less he did take us on a great hike. Some would say there was too much bundu bashing but I am rather fond of bashing so I had a ball. We lunched at Kleinplaas Dam before taking the wrong path back and having to back track twice. We arranged to have beers at The Southern Right Hotel. Tony was still out of it a bit and went to Dixie’s instead, when he didn’t find anyone there he eventually joined us. Thanks Tony for a fun day.



There were more Mountain Club members on this great hike than TCSA members. Only Jaap, Vasco, Larry and I were purely TCSA members. Derrick & GeoffB are dual members and our three visitors James, Don & Karen are Mountain Club members. 7H30 and we were off up to the start of Diagonal. We ascended Porcupine ravine and traversed on the Jackson Route up Jubilee Buttress. The route is not easy to find, there are a number of short rock scrambles and the route is very steep. Any thoughts of bailing out were thus squashed as I would not like to descend on this route a feeling endorsed by all the others. A short chimney near the top was conquered and we were on the summit. We were now on our way to Echo ValleyCamps Bay were magnificent. From where we were the cliffs drop straight down for a hundred metres or more. From Echo valley we hiked towards the aqueduct. I had always wanted to be on this path, which one can see from the path from the aqueduct to the dams. So here I was at last. We had lunch at a pool. I should say the others had lunch; I was too tired to eat. We joined the path to the dams and past the Mountain Club hut and on to Kasteelspoort. We were down at the cars by 14h30 and I was in bed by 15h00. A GREAT HIKE AS ALWAYS DERRICK. Thank you very much guys. along a route I had not even known existed. The views down to


“T he great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot, strewn with cutting flints”

Robert Louis Stevenson.

New Year’s Blast

The Eikenhof lapa Cottages had not to my knowledge, been visited by TCSA before. Tony did not know what to expect nor did any of the 30 people who had decided to spend the weekend there. Well, what a pleasant surprise.  We could have been on a lake in Switzerland. The only thing missing was snow. The cottages sleep 10 in three rooms. There are two showers and two toilets in each cottage. The communal kitchen has two gas cookers, two wash up sinks, a huge indoor table, a deck with enough seats and tables for all 30, braai area with wood and grid, the only let down is a small gas fridge which battled to keep all the food and drink cool. Hiking in the area is very good. We hiked on both days we were there. Ian hired two Indian canoes. Those who were brave enough all chipped in to take a turn at paddling. I am afraid that not all of us were able to see in the New Year. Maybe the hike took more out of us than we realised. Most of us were in bed before midnight. New Years day brought another hike before lunch. The result was that there was a somewhat better party that night. Monday morning, most of us packed up and left quite early. Some to return to replenish so they could go to do the Harkerville and Tsitsikamma Trails later in the week. Eikenhof is definitely a place to visit again. It is only an hour from Cape Town and has all the facilities TCSA want when on a weekend away.


See photo’s on the website



For those of you who don’t know, KARRIMOR is no longer in SA. Don’t despair! The company that used to manufacture for Karrimor is still in business, just under a new name –RED MOUNTAIN. (The Karrimor royalties became too expensive). You will soon see this name on all the familiar backpacks, clothing etc. etc. at cheaper prices, but the same great quality. They will be marketing through smaller outlets and a display area and shop at their factory in Kanarie Rd. Lansdowne. The shop will be ready mid February. The owner said he would contact me as soon as they were up and running and I will spread the word as soon as I hear Maybe the TCSA could arrange an evening at the shop, with some discounts, as an opening promotion. Listen up guys…. Please support this new outdoor company- Cape Union Mart needs strong opposition!



Ancient astronomers split the stars up into random groups called constellations. Additional constellations, mainly in the Southern hemisphere, have been added, some of the patterns representing modern instruments like the microscope and telescope. The rather faint and obscure constellation of Mensa is of local interest. It was originally called Mons Mensae (Table Mountain). It lies under the large Magellanic Cloud, the name been suggested by Table Mountain which is also frequently capped by cloud. It is the only constellation named after a geological feature on Earth.

There used to be a large number of constellations but in 1922 the International Astronomical Union redefined the boundaries to make a total of 88.

Most professional astronomers only know a handful of the brighter constellations. They find objects by entering into the computer a set of co-ordinates just like longitude and latitude on Earth. Most amateurs find objects by matching the patterns in the sky to those represented in star charts.

Astronomical distances are so enormous as to be beyond the grasp of many people. The distance from Earth to the Sun is 149,597,870 km and astronomers call this one astronomical unit ( A.U.) The distance to Pluto is 40 A.U. and to the nearest star is over 270,000 A.U.


BANK and BRANCH:             STANDARD BANK Claremont (025109)

Cheque Account Number:     072528451

Remember to write your name and what you are paying for on the deposit slip and send it to the treasurer.

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Answer: Your editor has an address.

E20 Ambleside, Lwr Hope Rd.
Rosebank, 7700.

He even has an E mail address.


You can even fax your report to 447-4182.
Marked for his attention.
See, it’s easy. You have no excuse. Send your reports and/or articles now.

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