Friday, January 29, 2010


Report Back

Well Well Well Well Well !!!!!!!!!!! Saturday saw us do a very interesting run indeed. Geoff Perrott described it very accurately as "wandering through unchartered territory". Any resemblance between it and the route I described in last week's email or indeed the map I handed out at the start was purely coincidental. There shall be minimal naming of names or pointing of fingers save to say that Greg Sneddon's Navigator Licence has been revoked and he will have to re-sit the test. And Sandra receives a red card for foul language as well as a special new trophy for the most spectacular fall..........while she was WALKING. Tammy gets the Grumpy Award, although it was partially justified by the fact that she had an important engagement later in the day which would have gone much better if she wasn't late and bleeding profusely from lacerations on her legs. And I think I am also not out of place awarding myself the Hypochondriac Cup. I would like to blame, 100%, a sore Achilles for my extremely lame walk up the valley from the Homestead but the truth is that I was very hot and tired and was seriously considering a future leading the Brisk Walking Group.

But I have the deepest empathy for Greg as I have been there many times before and actually, some / most of us loved the fresh new experience; although I promise not to repeat it too often. It is a run leader's nightmare when the path that you thought you knew so well..........suddenly...........disappears...........completely. The lesson learned on this run is:

How to tell when the Route Leader is Lost.

First of all he / she grinds slowly to a halt. They stare accusingly at the ground ahead of them and look increasingly confused. Then comes the true tell-tale sign........the glance back over each shoulder with a blank look on the face...........Then you know its over. What you need to do at this point and which we failed to do on Saturday, is TURN AROUND AND GO BACK TO WHERE YOU KNOW WHERE THE H*LL YOU ARE. No matter how much abuse you take for it, it is the wise thing to do.

Never mind Greg it was still a superb run and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I, for one, really appreciated the effort of you stepping up to the plate and showing us something different. Good work.


Despite last Wednesday's injury affected effort, there will definitely be a Wednesday run this week. Be ready to run at 17h30 at the TMNP kiosk / information centre in the Carpark at Kloof Nek. 10 - 12km. 2 hours max.


As I have done too much waffling above, the route description will be an Executive Summary:

Start Place

Constantia Nek Car Park.

The Route

We will follow the LOWER jeep track as we usually do, through Cecilia Forest and over into Kirstenbosch as far as the turn at the steps up Window Ravine. Instead of climbing the steps we will drop down the Silvertree Trail Route (Celtics Group Route) through to Newlands Forest and then follow the Plumpudding Hill UPPER Route. Just before Plumpudding Hill we will take the path up to the gate just below the King's Blockhouse and then follow the contour path and upper jeep track all the way back to Constantia Nek.

Start Time

06h15 ready to run.


Just over 20km but one can take a wide variety of short-cuts and make some very decent shorter runs. I would be very happy to advise on the day.

Running Time

Allow at least 3 hours for the whole route although the racing snakes will do it much faster than that.


The route OUT is more difficult than the route back. On the way out you will have undulating jeep track most of the way. Some of the hills are quite tough but I would say 90% runnable. The route back is mostly beautiful, easy single track and a bit of jeep track towards the end. 100% runnable.

  1. Please carry your own water. You can get water from three different taps in Kirstenbosch but otherwise there is not likely to be drinkable water on the mountain at this time of year.
  2. Dress according to weather conditions - watch the weather report.
  3. Sunblock is a good idea, as is a cap.
  4. The normal snake alert applies. Just keep your eyes on the ground ahead of you when you're running.
  5. Security: Please stay in groups. This is a run through an area where there have been muggings (and worse) in the past. Its a question of being aware and taking responsibility of your own safety as well as those around you. If you encounter someone who is struggling to keep up, please stay with them until others arrive and a group forms again.
  6. Try and carry a cell phone, preferably an old one and put my cell phone number into it. You can then call for help if necessary. And if in the unlikely event of you running into troublesome characters who wish to relieve you of your valuables, it is actually not a bad idea to have a cell phone to give them so that they don't get even uglier with you.
  7. Carry a loud whistle. One with a pea in it like sports referees have. When in doubt, blow it like hell. Not only does it make trouble-makers flee but it alerts us to the fact that you are in trouble and we can find you easily. Keep blowing till help arrives.
  8. Please sign the register before the run.

That's it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


acsis VOB Saturday 23 January 2010 - Old Wagon Trail & Silvermine East

This time I am "competing" with one of the BIG road events for the year, The Red Hill Classic and Red Hill Marathon. Again, I am not yet ready to face a race but am happy to do a training run in the mountains. And in an effort to keep things fresh, I am trying a route I haven't run all at the same time but am stringing bits and pieces together.

Starting Place

Just inside Silvermine Gate 1 i.e. the gate that leads to the Dam. But don't go all the way up to the Dam, but turn left immediately on entering the gate and park there.

The Route

We start just inside the Silvermine Gate 1 and work our way upwards and towards the Old Wagon Trail in the direction of Noordhoek Peak. Then we follow the Wagon Trail all the way down to Ou Kaapse Weg. We cross the tar road and enter Silvermine East at the Homestead / Environmental Centre. We pass the building and start heading up the valley towards the waterfall. Early on, we cross the stream and head up the valley on the Fish Hoek side of the stream. Once we get up to the level of the waterfall, those wanting a short run can turn left and run back to the cars but the rest of us will turn right and follow the contour path towards Fish Hoek, looking down on the Homestead. The contour path then bears left and heads steadily upwards. At the summit, there is a short drop into Echo Valley. There is another bail out option at this point where bailers can turn left up through the Amphitheatre and then down and across to the cars (a more difficult route to follow than the first bail out point). The main group will head down Echo Valley to Weary Willy's Wait where we turn left, cross the stream and then start heading up and towards Muizenberg. We run past the Spes Bona valley path and keep going gently upwards until we pop out on the flattish top of Silvermine again. Go straight over at the first 4 way gravel track intersection. We then take the single track off to the right and follow this all the way around to the left ( I forget the names of the peaks we pass - I don't have my maps with me either) and then drop down an exciting technical little descent towards the Ou Kaapse Weg tar road. Pretty much the same route, at this stage, as Race 1 of Summer Trail Series. At the bottom of the descent we swing left and follow the path around to the parking area (and toilets) just inside Gate 2 of Silvermine. We exit at Gate 2, cross the road (carefully), turn right and look for the little path leading to the left into Silvermine West and which leads straight back to the cars.

Start Time

07h15 (the gates only open at 07h00).


I am guessing at around 15km.

Running Time

Again an estimate at around 2 1/2 to 3 hours (maximum).


Moderate. About 70% runnable. The hills make very pleasant walking.

Other Points

  1. Please bring water. Don't count on there being drinkable water en route.
  2. If you have a Wild Card, please bring it plus a tip for the car guards. If no Wild Card, I think the entry fee dropped to R15 but bring a bit more just in case.
  3. Dress according to the weather conditions.
  4. There is very little shade on this route so a hat / cap is recommended, as is sunblock.
  5. The snake alert is definitely relevant. If in doubt, run behind Bronwyn as she attracts the snakes like no other person I know. We suspect she speaks parseltongue. Harry Potter fans will understand.
  6. Please sign the register before starting.


I will be making an announcement about this group a little later in the week. So I haven't forgotten; I just need to check logistics.

That's all for now.

Have a great week Everyone.



Before I get angry emails from irate parents, LSD = Long Slow Distance.

And yes, I know its the Hohenort 15km but I am sacrificing it this year. Apologies to Pinelands Athletic Club. The Hohenort is a great race. And bearing in mind the nature of our trail run this weekend you may well consider it as an attractive option.

The Route

This is a long run with many short options for the bailers.

As we did a few weeks ago, we are going to start at the Arboretum and work our way over to the mtb Switchbacks. Up the switchbacks and over to the tar road. This time, Margaret, Liz et al, we are going to take the tar road up to the Constantiaberg Mast. From the Mast we will take the single track down to the top of Blackburn Ravine. There we swing left along the stone highway back to the ring road in Silvermine. At the road we turn right and head up the road to Noordhoek Peak and then steeply down the road and around to the Silvermine Dam. From the Dam we turn left and head up the concrete zig-zigs. At the top of the zig-zags we will turn south onto the Steenberg Ridge path down to the Mountain Biker Car Park. From here I am going to run back up to the Dam, possibly have a swim, then run around the Dam, back up to the bottom of the zig-zags and turn right and follow the gravel road back down to the MTB Car Park (I will explain why on Sat). From there it is down the tar road and left onto Level 5 back into Tokai Forest. First steep road down to the right and onto Level 4 and then along to the main road back down to the Arboretum.

Start time

06h00 ready to run.

Start Place

Car Park at the Arboretum (near the Manor House in Tokai Forest).


Between 30 and 35km. But there will be PLENTY of short-cuts and I can customise runs to meet all requirements from about 10km upwards on the day.


Long. Make a morning of it if you want to do the full run. Between 4 and 5 hours.

The shorter runs will start at about 90 minutes.


The difficulty is mainly in the length of the run. We run one massive uphill basically from the Arboretum to the Mast. In theory its 100% runnable but I will be walking at least 40% of it. From the Mast there is some excellent technical downhill to Blackburn Ravine. You will need to be careful on this. The rest is 100% runnable although the climb up to Noordhoek Peak (on jeep track) may necessitate a little pleasant walking. This is a tough run though and, either some endurance is called for or you will need to take one of the abundant shortcuts.

Important Points
  1. Carry lots of water. It may be hot and there is nowhere between the start and the Dam where you can fill up again.
  2. Bring nutrition of some sort for sure. It will definitely be required for the full run.
  3. Sunscreen and cap / hat a must.
  4. Sensitive topic: Mainly for the guys. Take nipple-chafe precaution. My big lesson from Bay to Bay.
  5. Snake awareness if very important.
  6. Dress according to the forecast weather.
  7. I will be kicking off with the register this week. Please remember to sign in.
  8. Large sense of humour required.

That's it. Have a great week Everyone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Yes we're back and ready to give 2010 a FULL go ! Welcome back. My good wishes for the New Year from my last email in 2009 still apply so I am not going to bore you by re-hashing them.

acsis VOB Saturday Trail Runs

January and February (and March for that matter) are host to some big road events. I am going to be participating in many of these and am going to be forced to try and "fit in" the trail runs whenever I can around these events. I am not as unkindly disposed towards tar as most hard-core trail runners. However, I am not going to abandon the trail running group and the organisation of the runs. I am just going to need a little assistance wherever possible. I will appeal for help when necessary though.

So this coming weekend, being the weekend of the 30km Bay to Bay, will be a BYE for trail running. The Bay to Bay, co-hosted by Atlantic Athletic Club and Hout Bay Running Club is one of the finest road events on the calendar and deserves a little bit of respect and focus. And NO, Grant, that sad little bit of dirt road on the return leg does not qualify it as a trail race.

The following weekend sees the running of the Hohenort 15km on Saturday 16 January. This is also a superb race but I reckon we can squeeze in a trail run on the Sunday.

SO: The first weekend trail run will be on Sunday 17 January 2010. Details to follow next Monday.

acsis VOB Informal Wednesday Afternoon Trail Runs

These will kick off THIS COMING WEDNESDAY 6 January 2010. We will meet at Kloof Nek car park at the SANParks kiosk. 17h20 for a 17h30 start. I intend running our Lions Head / Signal Hill route in reverse. About 13km.

See you there.


Existing Members don't forget to renew your Licences as soon as possible. Potential New Members, if you are interested in joining or want any further information on the club then please feel free to drop me an email.

Check out the acsis VOB website ( for the two relevant forms. Simply complete the forms, pay the membership fee into the acsis VOB bank account and then email / fax the two completed & signed forms plus proof of payment to Charlotte Kettlewell, the club secretary. You can then collect your Licence Number from the club at your leisure. So easy.

Cheers Everyone and happy running.