Monday, July 27, 2009


Congratulations to all who ran in events over the weekend. I don't have any results yet but I'm sure I will be able to share of these good things with you soon. From a personal perspective, it seems that the Achilles is feeling better and I should be able to rejoin the runs again this week although it might take a while to get back up to speed. Strange how much my injury has improved AFTER Hout Bay Trail Challenge was over. But I paid my penance on Saturday morning. It was FREEZING in Llandudno Ravine. So much so that I refused to take my hands out of my pockets and poor Barry had to do all the clipping of passports.


Before the run this coming Saturday, we will do the draw for the pair of New Balance Trail Shoes. So please, if you participated in The Hout Bay Trail Challenge, The New Balance / Eden Campus Hillcrest Race or the Bloemendal Cape Winter Trail Series Race on Sunday then please email me so that I can tick off the register for lucky draw purposes. This is your last chance to qualify for the current draw.

This coming Saturday is also the first event of the next two month period. Remember, 5 attendances over each two month period gets you into the draw.


For anyone attending the acsis VOB Trail Runs for the first time, it may be helpful to you to go onto the acsis VOB website and have a look at the guidelines for our trail runs on the Trail Running page as they aren't quite the same as most of the others. In summary: instead of doing a pack run, runners are encouraged to run at their natural pace. Pace groups do form naturally though. But this poses some problems as runners don't necessarily all know the route. But there's always a sprinkling of runners who DO. You need to take note of who these runners are and then keep near them. When in doubt, STOP AND WAIT. Or come back and fetch.


This week we are going to do the run I had planned for last week. This is the contour path above Tafelberg Road.

Meet at the Lower Cable Station at 16h45 on Wed afternoon.

We will run for about 90 minutes.

The pace will be suitable for the Intermediate pace runners.

Its most flat and easy except for the small climb near the beginning to get up to the contour path. Nothing technical. Plenty of escape routes for bailers (not a word from you, Alice).

Trail shoes highly recommended because the contour path is a little stony in places.


I have decided on something a bit easier and more runnable after all the races last weekend. Also, Gary Banfield has come up with a very nice new little route but I will only do it next week or the week after because it covers some of the turf we are treading this Wednesday. Gary, I haven't forgotten, despite the beer on Saturday.

The Route

Nice and simple. Start at Kloof Nek and run the length of the Pipe Track above Camps Bay. Once we get right to the very end we will head up Oudekraal Ravine (admittedly I have never been up it before but I don't anticipate any problems) and then turn back towards Kloof Nek at the top. We will descend either Corridor Ravine or Woody Ravine (I just don't have the stomach for Kasteelspoort at the moment) and then run back along the Pipe Track again.

Start Place

The parking area at Kloof Nek at the SANParks kiosk. When you get to the top of Kloof Nek, take the road that to the Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road. Immediately on your left you will see a parking area with two levels. We will start on the Upper Level, next to the kiosk. This is the safest place to park as the kiosk is always staffed.

Start Time

07h30 sharp. So try and get there a little earlier to complete the register.


Long route: about 15km

Short route: 10km of very easy running. Turn at Woody Ravine which is about the 5km mark.

Time on the Mountain

Long Route: Allow at least 3 hours

Short Route: 75 - 80 minutes

Exertion Index

Long Route: First 5km is very easy flat(tish) running. A little stony underfoot but nothing a good pair of trail shoes and a bit of vigilance can't cope with. After Woody Ravine the path undulates a bit and after Slangolie Ravine the path becomes gradually narrower single track and is real trail running. I am not sure about the ascent of Oudekraal Ravine but in all likelihood it will be tougher than Corridor Ravine but easier than Woody Ravine. But we will walk it. Easy trail running back along the top of the mountain. If we descend Corridor Ravine it is semi-runnable but technical running and the rock is quite loose underfoot. If we come down Woody Ravine it is a steeper descent but much prettier. We will decide on the day. The last 5km is the same as the way out i.e. easy 100% runnable.

Short Route: Easy 100% runnable.

Monday, July 20, 2009

1. Our Wednesday Run

I know I promised that we would kick off with the Wednesday run this week but then I completely forgot that I would be assisting at the registration for Hout Bay Trail Challenge. I will liaise with Bronwyn and see if we can still offer one and will communicate this either later today or tomorrow morning. I have a nice safe route in mind but it would be nice if there was some brute force in attendance to keep the ne'er-do-wells at bay should they be wandering off-course. Brute McPherson ?

The idea behind the Wednesday Runs is as follows:

Initially, the runs will be most suited to those who generally run at the Intermediate Group pace. If you want to judge whether or not you are in this range then I would say that if you train on the road at between 5mpk and 5.30/5.45mpk then these runs are for you. I will try and find someone, in time, to lead a slower group but for the moment, this is what we are catering for. The runs will be between 8 and 15km and will be in the City Bowl, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Devils Peak areas.

For the next few weeks, the runs will start at 16h45 but hopefully thereafter we can move the start to 17h00. Once it is light enough in the evenings to run with CRAG again, the continuance of these runs will be debated again.

2. The Upcoming Weekend

There is so much on this weekend that there is no single official acsis VOB Trail Run. There are three races on, all of which qualify for the attendance register for New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw purposes. You need to notify me of your attendance at one of these races by email after you have run.

- Saturday 25 July 2009:- Hout Bay Trail Challenge (if you don't know about it then you ain't running it). But for future purposes and other exciting events, check
out .

- Saturday 25 July 2009:- New Balance / Eden Campus Trail Race at Hillcrest Wine Farm in Durbanville. I don't have the other details of this race yet as I haven't
received the Race Flyer. If anyone could send me one I would be most grateful. Bron ? Deborah H-B ?

- Sunday 26 July 2009:- Race 1 of the Cape Winter Trail Series at Durbanville Hills Wine Estate (check out the details on .

If any other informal groups form then I will send out a message later in the week.

Friday, July 17, 2009



The run (see details on ) is definitely still happening and will start at 07h30 from the Hout Bay Harbour Parking Area. Some clarification on the Long Run Route: Within 10 minutes of sending out my email on Monday I was getting warnings that Myburg's Waterfall Ravine is not a good idea in winter. It is muddy, slippery and dangerous. I then saw the picture on the front of the Cape Times this morning which is of a woman being airlifted off the mountain after slipping and fracturing her ankle in Myburg's Waterfall Ravine. So this is a "health warning" and reassurance that we will not be taking undue risks on the long route. We will still run as much of the route as is safe. The probability is that we will turn at some point and come down the ravine again once we reach the dangerous part. If anyone wants to continue up the ravine then they must realise that they are on their own. The "official run" will turn and come down.

I think its worth still doing as much of it as possible so as to give people a feel for that contour path between Suikerbossie and Orange Kloof. It is the one section that always gets neglected in training for Table Mountain Challenge. It is also a section where people go astray in the race because when you have crossed out of Orange Kloof, the path up the Ravine is clearer than the contour path and every year people start up the ravine and lose valuable time before realising their mistake.


This last Wednesday, Bronwyn Pithey, Karen Jennings and myself did a lovely run after work. It was the 1st Leg of the Table Mountain Challenge from Kloof Nek to the Kings Blockhouse and then back along Tafelberg Road. We thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed that we should try to keep doing these runs for the rest of the winter and the early spring as we tend not to do the winter CRAG runs as we are not keen on night running and running with head torches. So what we will be doing on an informal ad hoc basis, is some trail runs immediately after work on Wednesday afternoons. These will be shorter than the weekend runs and will all take place in the City Bowl / Camps Bay / Lions head / Signal Hill area. These will continue until it is light enough in the evenings to link up with CRAG again on Wednesday evenings as the CRAG runs are definitely worth doing.

We probably won't be able to do them every week as it will depend on availability of people who know nice routes and also a few "bouncers" will be required as generally the runs are in areas where some surly characters are spotted from time to time.

I will put the invitation out each week and anyone is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



I have created havoc by having two starting times in my initial email for this Saturday morning's run. I will bore anyone who will listen with the details on the actual run. But suffice to say for now:

Starting time on Saturday 18 July 2009 is 07h30.


I will be running Leg 1 of The Table Mountain Challenge tomorrow, Wednesday 15 July 2009 at 16h45 with Bronwyn Pithey, if anyone is interested in joining us. Please RSVP in case there is a "weather cancellation" (so that I know who to advise) and then meet us at Kloof Nel Car Park at 16h45 sharp, ready to run. The route is through Deer Park to the King's Blockhouse and then back along Tafelberg Road. About 14km (last 5km on tar).

Monday, July 13, 2009


Two weeks to go before the Hout Bay Trail Challenge and then we can start focussing on other parts of the Peninsula again as well as some interesting possibilities of runs in the northern suburbs and Boland.

Anyone who ran the Trail Run this past Saturday and didn't get there name on a list to help qualify them for the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw, then please email me. I can always ask Margaret and Bronwyn to confirm.

I will be sending out a second email this morning re the WARNING from The Table Mountain Watch re muggings in the Plumpudding Hill area. You will also find the details of the CRAG Run posted there. I don't want those messages to get lost in my ramblings below.


The Short Route / The Start of the Long Route

Start outside the Hout Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) at 07:00, weather and light permitting. The start is to the west towards Karbonkelberg. You can either use the main car gate to exit onto Harbour Road or there is a small personal gate in the fence further south opposite the Boat Yard entrance. The small gate is quicker if you get there fairly quickly but if you take too long then you’ll end up in a queue. So decide on your strategy beforehand. Once out in Harbour you turn left and cross over to the other side (of the road) – don’t forget to watch for cars! Proceed along the road until you come to some palm trees on the right. Between two of the palm trees you will see a path which leads up the fire break above the houses of Harbour Heights. This path is quite steep and is in thick beach sand. By the time you reach tar road again you will be breathing heavily and wishing you had stayed in bed (at least for a short while anyway). Turn right into the tar road (Marlin Crescent) and follow it round to the left and upwards. Then you turn right into Bayview Road which is essentially the road you need to stay in although, after passing several roads to the right, it takes a 90 degree turn to the right and then near the end takes a 90 degree turn to the left again. But eventually this brings you out at the access gate to the “reserve” where the road turns to jeep track. In theory, if you just stay on the jeep track this will eventually bring you out at the Radar Station at the very summit of Karbonkelberg. HOWEVER, there are permissible shortcuts between loops in the road but you use these at your peril. They are not as easily found as one might imagine. The first two are easy but the third needs some focus and attention.

The first one leaps out at you as you start on the jeep track just after the gate. The road does an arc around to the left and you can cut straight across the field and rejoin the road a little further up. The merits of this one are debatable.

The second one comes after you have continued up the track in a north westerly direction for a while. The road takes a little kink to the right and then sweeps round to the left. In the little kink there is a path that leads off to the right. This is a good short cut between loops in the road. Once regaining the road again you could turn right and follow the road but most people go straight across the road and into a continuation of the path you have just been on.

This is the third shortcut and the most difficult to follow. The path rises for a short while and as it starts flattening out you need to look for a clear path on the right which you must turn into and follow. Once again you will be plagued with thick sea sand and your legs will scream at you for not staying on the road. But it is a short cut and will eventually intersect with the road again where you turn left and keep following it upwards. Alternatively, where you intersect with the road again, cross straight over onto an indictinct path which carries on going uphill. Then take the next path to the left which takes you back to the road, having cut out a loop. Its definitely a bit quicker. The danger is that by this stage the road doesn’t really look like a road anymore but a wide, eroded path. It is seriously eroded and as you continue upwards it is full of dongas. It narrows and winds and climbs. Eventually it starts levelling off as you near the top of Karbonkelberg. Some old buildings come into view on your left which were annexures of the Old Radar Station. You need to pass these buildings and look for the path that leads to the old Radar Installation (Beacon 92 the high point to the west). This path is just past those building and proceeds up to the left behind the buildings and then swings right again and you will see the ruin of the Old Radar Station.

From the Radar Station retrace your steps down to the road past the last annexure building on your right. Approximately 50m beyond this roofless ruin there is a fairly obscure path to your left, marked by a small cairn on each side of the road. Watch carefully for it. This is the way to Suther Peak.

Follow the path, which is narrow and the fynbos is more like ‘pyn bos’ if you are not wearing tights. The path descends into and traverses a beautiful valley in front of you which is normally very wet under foot in winter. You will be wading through head high (and higher) fynbos which sometimes closes in tightly around you. At one point you have to bend over and barge your way through a grove and it seems impossible that the path actually leads through it, but it does and suddenly you are through it and running again. The path begins to bear right and then sharply up and left. You will scramble your way upwards and through roots, undergrowth and low hanging branches at one point when you are scrambling through the undergrowth, you will come to a split in the path. One path goes up and to the left. Ignore it ! You need the right hand path which goes down a little to the right but then swings left and into a small forest of yellow wood trees. Please take care in the yellowwood forest as this is an ecologically sensitive area. Proceed upwards to the crest of the slope / peak and look out for the path turning to the right and around the south side of the peak - dropping in altitude.

This section descends steeply and will necessitate some very minor rock scrambling. On one section there are some ropes to assist you. Use them at your own risk. The area does tend to slow people down so please be patient. This is particularly so at the roped section where only one person can descend safely at a time.
The path is not clear and is marked by cairns. Follow these cairns to the road. Please stick to the path. Make your way down to the saddle between Karbonkelberg and Klein Leeu Koppie – the top of the sand dunes. Please be vigilant in this area. Cross the sand dunes to the brick paved road.

From here the short route turns down the sand dunes, heading for the houses below. Run along the fences for a short while and look for an exit from the dunes into the houses. From there, make your own route across and down towards the harbour and the car park.

The long route runners will wind their way down onto Suikerbossie Hill. We run +- 2km on tar up to the Ruiterplaats housing estate gates (just below Suikerbossie Restaurant) and then proceed as if we were starting Leg 2 of HBTC. We follow the same path up behind the restaurant and along the line of the forest towards Constantia Nek. But then instead of turning up towards the mountain, we continue along the contour path towards Constantia Nek. If you are doing the Table Mountain Challenge in September then you will be running this path in the opposite direction. This is a very useful recce for TMC as it is very easy to miss the correct path at the Orange Kloof Fence. Just before we reach the Orange Kloof fence we take the path up Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine to the top of the Back Table. From the top we head across to the top of Llandudno Ravine which we then descend to Suikerbossie again via Hout Bay Corner. We then run down the hill on the road, back to the Harbour. It must be stressed that I have not ascended Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine before and am not 100% sure exactly where it comes out. So this is an exploratory mission and should be treated as such. Anyone not comforatble with this should rather turn at the Orange Kloof fence and head back the way we came.


Short Route: About 11.5 km

Long Route: About 23 - 25km (estimate) - Intermediate and Fast Runners only please.

Time out on the Mountain

Short Route: About 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Long Route: About 3 to 3 1/2 hours (Intermediate Group)

Sweat Index

Short Route:
I repeat my description from last time. You climb and then drop about 600m over 11km. This is a very difficult one to rate. Its basically a big uphill and a big downhill with a little dip in the middle. Its a tough run but in very few places will you find that the gradient is impossible to run. This is particularly true for the big uphill. What makes you walk is the fact that it just goes on for a long distance. If you take it slowly and just slog it out you can run most of the climb. But the average runner would be more comfortable with a walk / run strategy (so don't feel bad about it). The downhill will involve more forced walking than the uphill. Its quite technical so you'll want to be careful on the descent. Every year the race seems to see a couple of tumbles on this section when inexperienced runners (and even some experienced ones) try to go too fast. But if you don't try and get too clever then it is perfectly safe. So I am going to go with about 60% runnable on this one. The unique views more than make up for the strenuousness of the route. You will see bits of Cape Town like you have seldom seen it before.

Long Route:
As above and then a 2km slog up Suikerbossie Hill (100% Runnable), a short walk up the contour path, about a 1 - 2 km run along the contour path, walk up the Waterfall Ravine. 100% run to the top of Llandudno Ravine and then a technical run / walk descent to Suikerbossie and 100% runnable for about 4km on tar back to the harbour.

Start Place

Hout Bay Harbour - inside the harbour itself, not at the beach car park before Mariner's Wharf.

Start Time


  1. I am going to ask the slower runners to do the Shorter Run unless we have an experienced sweep for the Long Route; OR the slower runners know the route well. If in any doubt, please email me for clarification.
  2. Would anyone be willing to sweep for the Short Route so that I am freed up to take the intermediate group on the Long Run ?
  3. Much of the route is single track so please let the faster runners through, especially on the technical descent.
  4. Please dress according to the weather - very important if its cold and wet.
  5. There should be no problem with water now as we are running through clean water areas.
  6. If you are doing the Long Route, some extra nutrition may be required. Please bring an energy snack of some sort.
  7. I would like to do the Long Route as a pack run so this may require a little patience form the faster group (unless we can find a fast leader).
  8. YAY ! No car admin required !
  9. Does anyone know what time Dunes opens on a Saturday. Optional brunch at Dunes after the run ?

Final details later in the week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009



This weekend's run is definitely still on. Saturday 11 July 2009. There seems to be lots of interest in this run. I am not going to pin organisation on any one person but there have been a couple of volunteers who will be at the start. So when you arrive at Constantia Nek (at least it will be light) shout out for Bronwyn Pithey and Margaret Moller . Other possibilities are Neil Hermann and Katarina Bova.

The recommended procedure for the morning.

Everyone needs to make sure for themselves that they are covered for lifts. I would recommend then is that as many people as possible should go to Hout Bay Harbour and meet in the Car Park at 07h30.

The exact place to meet:

From Camps Bay / Llandudno, proceed straight down Suikerbossie, straight over at the lights (don’t swing off left), straight through the main shopping area and over the first circle. At the second (bigger) circle, proceed straight over. Pass the beach parking area on the left, pass Mariner’s Wharf on your left and then swing into the harbour parking area through some gates on your left. As you pass in through the gate, turn left and meet in the car park just to the left of the gates.

From Constantia Nek, go straight down to the first big circle at the police station / Imizamo Yethu turnoff. Go straight on over. Proceed to the next circle where you go 3/4 of the way round and exit left into Princess Beach Road. Proceed to next circle and take the first exit off to the left. Pass the beach parking area on the left, pass Mariner’s Wharf on your left and then swing into the harbour parking area through some gates on your left. As you pass in through the gate, turn left and meet in the car park just to the left of the gates.

There is a nominal charge for parking here but it is a safe place to park.

Do not try and park on the beach side of Mariners Wharf as the restaurant security guards get very upset and chase you away. They’re only doing their job. Rather go and park in the harbour where it is safer anyway.


Arrange amongst yourselves to take as few cars as possible to Constantia Nek and gather there with Bronwyn, Margaret and the other regulars to be ready to start 08h00.

Slow Runners:

Just for this week, I would further recommend that if you are a slower runner and you don't know the route, that you don't do this particular run. I won't be there to sweep and we don't have any guaranteed volunteers to sweep this run. So if you feel that in all probability you won't keep with the main pack and you won't find your way on your own, please rather give it a miss than end up getting lost. If anyone volunteers before close of business tomorrow then I will send out an email.

Those doing Leg 3 and Leg 1:

There are several people who will continue on to do Leg 1 after completing Leg 3 in the harbour. Although Leg 1 will finish in the harbour as well (due to not being able to run through the Kerzner estate until race day), you will finish well after the other so please make sure you sort out your own transportation.

The Attendance Register

The printed Excel spreadsheet that I normally bring has now become "out-of-control" too big. I will ask Margaret or Bronyn just to take a pen and piece of paper. Please record your name and contact number so that we can find you or an emergency contact if you get lost. I will then record all those names on my rgeister for the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw.

Email me if you have any questions otherwise.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I hope you all had a good run this last weekend. I must apologise for not being there to chat, especially at the end but it was one of those runs where sweeping was particularly important. I had forgotten how easy it is to take wrong turns on that route if you don't know it well and a couple of "rescue" efforts were needed. But all ended well with everyone safely off the mountain.

I would like to have sent you the Google Earth map of our run but my &*(^%#$@#%*( GPS packed up on me and has been sent in for repairs. But it will follow at some point in the future.

This coming weekend I am going to be away in Knysna (not) running the marathon. Unfortunately, an achilles niggle is going to keep me sidelined and scarfing down oysters instead. So I am going to "suggest" a course and ask if there is anyone out there willing to oversee it in my absence. Any volunteers ? Its a nice easy one although it does require some car administration. I will send an email out later in the week with the name/s of the run leader/s and details of car admin.

The Route

From Constantia Nek run down towards Hout Bay for 100m and then turn left at the public footpath/gate just before the entrance to Silvermist. Go through the gate and head up the broad path. Follow the road to the left and behind the Constantia Nek Restaurant. The road then swings right and drops down a bit before starting a tortuous climb up some steps keeping the vineyards on your left and Silvermist on your right. Just when you think the steps will never end, the path cuts off to the right and above Silvermist and you commence a gentler ascent up and over Vlakkenberg Nek. Do not stray from this path. Down the other side, you drop into another valley where you can see the tar road up to the Constantiaberg Mast on the far side. Drop down into this valley and across a small stream and palmiet bushes and then a bit of a climb up the other side. Ignore any paths off to your left or right. You eventually reach the tarred road. Follow the tarred road to the right for a short distance until it starts taking a substantial left turn. You will find a painted white "T" where the contour path starts on the right. Follow the contour path down leftwards (southwards; being careful not to go straight down to Baviaan's Kloof to Hout Bay Hotel (illegal short cut). The correct path to the manganese mines follows the contours of Constantiaberg. The path is easy to follow and takes you directly to the upper Manganese Mine. After the mine the path begins dropping more steeply. Be careful not to take a contour path that leads off to the left and around into Blackburn Ravine. Make sure you keep dropping down towards the jeep track that takes you onto Chapman’s Peak Drive (tar road). Follow the path down to East Fort and then down onto Chapmans Peak Drive. On race day you normally have to cross over Chapman’s Peak Drive and go down to lower East Fort (i.e. on the sea side of the road) as there is usually a check point there where you have to punch your card and return to Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Once you are back on the Chapman’s Peak Drive run down towards Hout Bay Beach on the left hand side of the road. Make your way down to the beach – you are now on the home straight – along the beach to the finish line at Hout Bay Yacht club. Your last obstacle is the Disa River. Run through it as close to the sea as possible and then run along to the end of the beach. Before you get to Mariners Wharf, hang a left and then immediately right into a lane that takes you to the Hout Bay Yacht Club and carpark.


About 11km

Time Out There

Last time we ran it we took 1hour 35 minutes, RUNNING time at a leisurely pace. But I am fairly sure that I stopped my watch when we rested so allow 2 hours for a very comfortable run as a "short route". What I would suggest is that those who normally do a long run, either do this route as hard a possible OR plan on doing some extra distance out of Hout Bay e.g. carry on and re-do Leg 1. If anyone is interested in this latter option and wants detailed directions, drop me an email and I will send you a comprehensive guide to the Leg 1 Route.

Start Place

Constantia Nek Carpark.

Start Time

08h00 as this is a short one and gives the party animals a bit of a break to go out and go large on Friday night. But I suggest that cars are dropped at Hout Bay Harbour at 07h30. As I won't be around to co-ordinate, can I ask that each person makes their own plan, just to make sure. However, if there are any people who would like to volunteer to leave cars at Hout Bay Harbour then I would be happy to circulate this information during the course of this week. Let me know.

The Dreaded Sweat Factor

Again I am going to split this run for rating purposes. Don't freak out when you see the attached Route Profile; the scale makes it look far worse than it really is:
  1. The first 4km is tough and is about 30 - 40% runnable to the average, non-masochistic trail runner, if such a thing exists. I know this probably only accounts for a small portion of you, at best, but we all like to think of ourselves as fairly normal (as untrue as it may be).
  2. The rest of the run is EASY - 100% runnable.

Points to note
  1. There should be good drinkable water on the mountain but for those with a delicate constitution, you might want to carry a little of your own.
  2. Please dress according to the weather conditions, especially if its cold and rainy.
  3. Please note that you may need to make your own transport arrangements as the end of the run is a good few kms from the start. But watch my emails as there may be more concrete plans by the weekend.

For 18 July I am planning on doing Leg 1 of HBTC (as the short route) plus an all new add-on for those who want a long route. Part of the add-on I have never run before - details to follow next Monday though so as not to cause confusion.

Have a great week everyone.