We are going to start at the Silvermine Dam (the main dam in the West Silvermine Reserve). The first part of the run many of you will be familiar with now as we run down the tar road towards the gate but turn left along the mountain biking jeep track onto the Level 5 road in Tokai Forest. This is a nice easy section to start on and get the legs nicely warmed up. Ignore the first path up to your left and also the road that drops down sharply to the right. Shortly thereafter, keep and eye out for the the Elephant's Eye path on the left. We will turn left (up) onto it and follow it to the first split in the path where we will turn right onto the contour path which we will follow all the way across the Constantia face of Constantiaberg (part of the Puffer route) to the tar road at Vlakkenberg which leads up to Mast. At one point we will drop back down onto Level 5 but when this happens, turn left and follow the road until it becomes a path again. Where it turns to path, there is a small intersection. Don't go right and downwards but keep going straight and flat. Eventually we will start to climb some steps and then come out on the tar road that leads up to the Mast on Constantiaberg. We will start climbing the tar road but once we reach the Nek between the two mountains (Constantiaberg and Vlakkenberg) we will start the descent into Hout Bay via the path (to the right of the tar road) that is used in Leg 3 of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge. The path is quite clearly visible off to the right just after the road takes a noticeable swing to the left towards Constantiaberg. We descend along some fantastic single track and pass the Manganese Mine before starting to drop down quite steeply towards Hout Bay (Blackburn Ravine). But this is where we start looking out for the well marked path off to the left. We will follow this path to the left and around into Blackburn Ravine, about 1/2 way up where we join the main path up the ravine from East Fort. We now climb all the way up to the wooden platform/lookout deck at the top. As most of you will know by now, its a steep climb but there are short sections of the climb that are runnable. From the top of the ravine we follow a level path eastwards to the ring road in Silvermine. We turn left onto the ring road and start the descent to the Dam via the zig-zags. But remember to ignore a road that comes in from the left. This soon becomes a path that leads to the Rangers Fire Watch Hut. At the bottom of the hill just past the zig-zags the road splits. Take the right hand fork and then follow the road which then swings off left, past a toilet block and into the car park where we started.
07h15 since the reserve gates only open at 07h00.
START PLACE The Car Park at the Silvermine Dam.
About 17,5km (as per Garmin 305 from our last trip here in May).
There is no Official Short Route but I do have an excellent, easy(ish) route in mind if anyone is keen - +- 10km. We can agree this at the start though.
You can count on AT LEAST 2 hours, depending on how much you walk. 2 1/2 hours to be safe and allow for regroups and rests.
In general - Easy all the way from the start to the final climb up Blackburn Ravine it is easy stuff and I would say it is 90% runnable.
Blackburn Ravine is murderous if you try and run it but bear in mind that it is actually relatively easy to hike. Little children hike it with ease. So consider it 5% runnable.
Top of Blackburn to the Dam - easy 100% runnable.
Have a great week Everyone.