Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2010 - CABLE STATION TO KINGS BLOCKHOUSE TO NEWLANDS RAVINE AND BACK VIA SADDLE

Report Back - I don't often do these but for this last run I have to say something

I must admit that I was a little nervous at the start of our run on Saturday as our main guide, Chris, was laid low by a bug on Friday and I had heard a few scary stories about Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine. I had some comfort in the fact that Richard Acheson arrived and I knew he had done the route once before. But I bottled up my concerns and we set out and I am so glad we persevered. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ROUTE!!!!!! I don't think anyone thought otherwise, despite a few nervous moments on the scrambles. And disas galore in the ravine! We even saw a blue disa on the flatter section at the top of the ravine. And then the highlight for me was seeing a klipspringer silhouetted against the sky as we descended Llandudno Ravine. Its the first time that I have seen one after they were re-introduced post the controversial eradication of the tahrs a few years ago.

Saturday was also a welcome back to Kathleen Shuttleworth who brought along another Stellenbosch "victim", and I am ashamed to say that I tail-gated their cars all the way down Constantia Nek on the way to the run and then barged past them going up Suikerbossie (sorry about that). And welcome back too to Caitlin, sporting a nifty CV Grape Run race shirt - very trendy - and it must be noted that our stand-in guide, Richard Acheson, was in fact the designer of the same shirt. She threw her cousin into the fray as a first timer and then usurped Sandra's position as the recipient of the Fumble-Foot Award, taking a tumble on the flat section on top of the mountain which resulted in the usual knee grazes which bring the customary innuendos from mates and raised eye-brows from parents. As I said, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream will take care of those.

Then the now Hard-Core Triumvirate of Sandra, Bronwyn and Margaret took a group off on the long route up Grootkop, despite the heat, and still finished disturbingly close behind the rest of us short route runners. These three are really becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of trail running. Despite being only about 9km, the short route still took us a solid 2 1/2 hours and the long route runners must have done 13 or 14km.

A huge thank you again to Fay for being there with maps galore and ready to lead the Brisk Walkers, this week being herself and Murphy. Much appreciated, Fay.


WEDNESDAY INFORMAL RUN

We kick off with this again this coming Wednesday straight after work. I must point out that I am a doubtful starter for this as I have now come down with a stinking cold and will soon be dashing off home to go and get back into bed. I am hoping that the usual suspects will be there to run though.

Route will be decided at the start. So be at the Car Park at Kloof Nek (outside the TMNP kiosk) ready to run by 17h15.



SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2010 - CABLE STATION TO KINGS BLOCKHOUSE TO NEWLANDS RAVINE AND BACK VIA SADDLE


Start Place

At the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road (foot of Table Mountain on the City side).


The Route

We will cut up to the contour path directly beneath the cables of the cable car. From there we will follow the contour path all the way to the Kings Blockhouse and then continue around on the Newlands side of the mountain. We will ascend either Newlands Ravine or Dark Gorge (depending on the size of the group and how adventurous we are feeling). From the Saddle we will drop back onto the contour path on the City side of the mountain and follow it back to the start.

Short Route will turn at King's Blockhouse resulting in about a 10km run. Fairly easy going all the way, especially if you run back along the tar road.

Brisk Walking Group: I would suggest they hike up to The Saddle from the City side of the mountain, turn and descend Platteklip and then drop down into the Park below the road on the return trip. We can finalise the route on the day.


Start Time

06h30 ready to run.


All other details will follow on Friday as my head is a little fuzzy at the moment and any details will probably be even less accurate than usual.

Friday, February 19, 2010

SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2010 - SUIKERBOSSIE / MYBURGH WATERFALL RAVINE / JUDAS PEAK / LLANDUDNO RAVINE / HOUT BAY CORNER

acsis VOB SATURDAY RUN and BRISK WALKING GROUP - SUIKERBOSSIE / MYBURGH WATERFALL RAVINE

The run is definitely ON.

Executive Summary

Meet at The gates of Ruyteplaats Residential Estate (just below Suikerbossie Restaurant), ready to run by 06h30. Relatively tough run.

Don't expect to finish until between 09h00 and 10h00.

Warnings:

Its going to be HOT so bring extra water, nutrition (as you will be sweating out minerals etc more than usual), sun protection and extra sense of humour.
Walking group - remember extra water and bowls if you are bringing dogs. Even if the SE is blowing, the dogs often lose the benefit of the cooling effect as they are low and sheltered by vegetation. This is not a particularly dog-friendly route though.
Douglas Rossouw has advised that they did our Short Route last week and its much longer than I thought. Thanks Douglas. That could have resulted in a very long day out there in the heat. The old Short Route now becomes the Main Route and I recommend we all do it. Only those looking for significantly more distance should event THINK about the old Long Route. So there is no real Short Route and it will be a matter of Groups (Faster and Slower). Walkers, we will discuss it at the start and choose a route.



SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2010


Start Place

The parking area just below the Suikerbossie Restaurant and outside the gates to the Ruyteplaats residential development.


The Route


We take the path the starts just to the left of the Ruyteplaats gate and follow it up past the Suikerbossie Restaurant on the Constantia Nek side. Just above the restaurant and above the pine trees, we turn right and skirt the pine forest and get onto the contour path running towards Constantia Nek. Just before the Orangekloof fence, the path turns left and upwards in Myburgh Waterfall Ravine. Fay assures me that the Disa's are in flower as she walked there last Sunday. The ascent of Myburgh's is tricky in places. I am going to confess right up front that I have not ascended the ravine myself. But fear not, I will round up a few veterans who have done the ravine before. I know you're out there so will anybody who has done the ravine before please let me know as soon as whether you are available for Saturday morning. So I guess that's an R.S.V.P.A.S.A.P.

Long Route:

Once we reach the top of the ravine, those wanting to do a longer run are going to be chased off in the direction of Grootkop, over Grootkop, through Oudekraal, Corridor, Slangolie and Woody Ravines, right at the HUGE CAIRN (Margaret) in the middle of the path just before Kasteelspoort and follow the path to the Woodhead dam wall, cross the wall, turn left and follow the edge of the Woodhead dam to Hely-Hutchinson dam wall. Cross back (left) again to the other side of the dams following the base of the Hely-Hutchinson wall. Pop out on the road on the other side and turn left. Run back to the Woodhead dam wall, passing the museum and other various club huts / buildings. Then retrace your exact route out from the top of Myburghs, back through the list of ravines above and follow the path to the top of Llandudno Ravine where you join up with the short route (below).

Short Route:

From the top of Myburgh's, the short route will turn left and trot over to Judas Peak to enjoy a rest and the view. We will continue to the top of Llandudno Ravine, descend the ravine (CAREFULLY) and then down the steel staples (even more carefully). We then traverse over to Hout Bay Corner and descend via more steel staples in the tricky bits and down to the cars in the parking area.


Start Time

06h30


Distance

Short Route: about 10km (max)

Long Route: about 20km


Running Time

Short Route: Bearing in mind that these runners are often slower, allow at least 2 hours.

Long Route: Normally the faster runners, allow about 3 1/2 hours.


Difficulty

This is a reasonably tough route with some quite steep but spectacularly scenic climbs and descents. Short Route is about 50% - 60% runnable and the Long Route probably 65% - 70% runnable.


Notes

Please carry water. These are the dry months.

Watch out for snakes.

Dress strictly according to weather conditions.

Remember the cap and sun block.

Please be careful in Myburgh Waterfall Ravine as there are one or two tricky places which are not going to kill you if you just exercise a little caution and apply common sense. The same applies on the descent from the top of Llandudno Ravine. Its not a race, just take it easy and enjoy the incredible views.

Sign the register before starting.

BRISK WALKING GROUP

The Brisk Walking Group will follow the same route as the Short Route runners. But I must issue this caution. To be honest I don't know if dogs are allowed in this area but I have seen people with their dogs anyway. But please be advised that there are some areas where you are required to climb up and down between ledges in the path. It is quite simple when you have hands as TMNP have kindly put some very steady stainless steel staples in the rocks. Dogs may battle in these areas although they do have the advantage of having four legs to assist with balance. Not so many hands or opposable thumbs though. Only you know your digs and their capabilities. If they are not adventurous dogs or you have any doubt at all then it may be kinder to them to leave them at home.

Please also carry water and a water bowl if possible.

That's it for now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

SATURDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2010 - MUIZENBERG PEAK

SATURDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2010 - MUIZENBERG PEAK

This weekend Steven Goodill has very kindly offered to take the run as I am still hobbling around with my Zimmer-frame. And this week it is an all-new route. It sounds fantastic. Thanks Steven.

Start

Silvermine Gate 2 (i.e. Muizenberg side of Ou Kaapseweg)


Route

I quote from Steven's email:

"From there (the Parking Area at the gate) we climb straight up to Muizenberg Peak ( Awesome views mainly walking ) From there, over the top, pass muizenberg cave and along sea path till we take a right up Weary Willy's when almost at the top take a left and scramble up a few boulders till we are above Clovelly golf course. From there we make our way to Amphitheatre and over Crasula and join up with path we all did a couple of weeks ago??"


Start Time

07h15 (Gates only open at 07h00).


Distance

I quote:

"It is not all that far I think about twelve but has some good climbs and amazing views ( Weather dependent ).


Running Time

I would guess at about 2 hours at least. But feel free to ignore this estimate.


Notes

As always, please carry your own water as you cannot rely on finding drinkable water on the mountain at this time of year.

Watch out for snakes.

Apply sunblock liberally and where a running cap.

Carry your Wildcard if you have one.

Technically, I think your Wildcard gets you in free but please bear in mind that the chap at the gate watches your cars too. So please take some extra cash and tip him generously. You're paying for security and peace of mind.

Please sign the register before starting out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY & SATURDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2010 - KARBONKELBERG

WEDNESDAY INFORMAL RUNS

Bearing in mind that we are now in the middle of the Summer Trail Series (every Wed afternoon) and with my rather soft injury, these runs are postponed until after the Trail Series. So we will start these again on Wednesday 24 February 2010. I WILL be running again by then.

I would like to suggest that Wednesday runners please either join up with the CRAG runs - see details below - or the New Balance Wednesday trail runs in Tokai Forest (also see details below).


BRISK WALKING GROUP

I know ideally I would like the Walkers and Runners to be in the same area. But bearing in mind that I am not sure who will arrive and then I don't know who knows the routes, Fay has very kindly offered to take a group up to the Dams on top of the mountain from Constantia Nek. I would like to have sent the Walkers around the Sentinel but it has been some years since I last did the route and I would prefer to check it out myself first. And they call me a control freak ! Oh yes, I am. So Brisk Walking Group to start at Constantia Nek at 06h30. Please RSVP to me because if there are no takers then we want Fay with us instead.


SATURDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2010 - KARBONKELBERG

Start

Hout Bay Harbour. Do not park in the car park just before Mariners Wharf (at the beach). Rather drive past Mariners Wharf and take the turning left into the harbour. Meet just to the left of the gates in the parking area. Better security here anyway.


The Route - Karbonkelberg & Suther Peak

I know I have done more than the usual Route Description Overkill below but as I won't be there I don't want anyone to have any excuses. Print it out and carry it with you. This is a "copy and paste", more or less, taken from the route description for the first leg of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge (hope you don't mind Claire.....I have added a few little bits too......thanks) which is a "must run" event coming up in July:

Exit the Harbour, 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. The road doesn’t really look like a road anymore so watch carefully. Cross straight over the road back onto a narrow path that keeps climbing. Then watch out carefully for the next path to the left. DO NOT MISS IT! Take this path which then soon rejoins the "road" which you now follow to the top. 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 and into a small forest of yellow wood trees. Please take care in the yellowwood forest as this is an ecologically sensitive area. As you almost crest the slope / peak you know that you must look out for the path to be 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 but is marked by cairns. Follow these cairns down to a gravel road. Do not follow the road. Cross over the road and the path continues down a short way to the top of the sand dunes. Please be vigilant in this area.

Turn right and run down the clearest looking path that leads down through the dunes in the direction of the harbour. It heads down the left side of the dunes. It then comes to an abrupt and confusing end, but if you walk a little through the dunes to the right you will come across an exit from the dunes into the residential area. Follow the roads generally downwards and in the direction of the harbour. You'll get there easily with a little common sense.

Start Time

06h30 ready to run.


Distance

About 11km of real trail running.

For those who want to run longer, I would suggest, for the adventurous, perhaps you would like to reccie the circuit around the Sentinel. For this, keep running down to the end of the harbour road in Hout Bay and look for the path off to the right that follows the coast around the Sentinel to Seal Island. From there, there is a path back over the nek between the Sentinel and Karbonkelberg. Once you get to the top of that nek, keep LEFT and head over to the left of the valley and head into the houses on that side. When I last did this route I tried going down to the right (towards the fishing community flats) and was greeted by two men with pangas........fortunately they were only interested chopping wood but it was still one of those moments when, as my cousin Graham says, you wish you were wearing brown corduroys. Please only do this circuit in a group which includes at least one intimidating-looking beast of a male, who can absorb a mugging while the others run away......for help.

But please discuss this option amongst yourselves before the start of the run. I will try and get a map through to Liz before Saturday (yes, me and my maps).


Running Time

Allow at least 2 hours


Difficulty

This is quite a tough run. There is nothing technical about the ascent to the top of Karbonkelberg and whilst it is all runnable in theory, I have been know to walk sizeable chunks of it, even when racing it. From Suther Peak to the dunes is technical downhill running for the most part but descending the rope section is a slow process, but great fun and not dangerous if you exercise just a little patience and caution.


Notes
  1. Definitely carry your own water.
  2. Watch the weather report prior to the run and make sure you dress accordingly.
  3. Running cap and sun block highly recommended.
  4. Snake alert still applies in this nice sunny weather, esp early in the morning while those critters are building up heat reserves for the day.
  5. Stay in groups for security purposes and because this is a run where one can easily get lost. Front runners please stop and regroup from time to time. If you get lost, turn around and work your way back to the road to the summit of Karbonkelberg and just follow it back down to the gate and houses.
  6. Please try and sign a register before starting.