From L to R; Claudia and Jill Hodgkinson,  Janet and Greg(back) Moore,
Cheryl Devine, Rina de Leur (meet leader), Avril Fichardt, Gillian and
Dave Manley, Greg Devine, (taking pic Eugene Fichardt)

Right at the start of the Garden Route in Mossel Bay lies a little gem, the St. Blaize Trail. On Saturday 27 August 2016 11 happy mountaineers set off in Mosselbay to do the scenic coastal walk. The weather predicted was 28 – 30 deg C with no wind.

The St. Blaize Trail is a popular 13.5 km trail (indicated on the notice board but we actually measured 14.6 km). The trail follows the 30 metre contour along the cliffs westwards from the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse and ends at Dana Bay.

The trail starts with a short, but steep climb from below the cave up onto the contour path. The trail is a little technical & undulating at times, and drops down to sea level a few times via little boardwalk stairways.

StBlaize3 StBlaize4 StBlaize5 StBlaize6

The walk can be classified as a moderate grade 2 walk, with beautiful, stunning views on the coast line and lovely scenes with waves crashing off the rocks. We experienced it all on Saturday. The path is a bit treacherous and slippery at some narrow sections. Scrambling and climbing over the rocks put our hips, knees, ankles (old and newly replaced) under stress.

StBlaize7 StBlaize8

A lovely tea break after 6 km rewarded us with excellent viewing of dolphins enjoying the ocean. Unfortunately no whales were spotted.

StBlaize9 StBlaize10 StBlaize11 SrBlaize12

The coastal flora did not disappoint us; we had spectacular views of flowering vygies, fynbos, kerriebos and other indigenous plants.
During our recce on 13 August 2016, we met with a big puffadder and were very observant incase we met him or his family again! On this trip we only spotted a very tame bloukopkoggelmander and some large dassies.

StBlaize12 StBlaize13

Many members cited no interest and participation in the meet due to the Pinnacle Point Golf Course development that borders the trail, that requires hikers to walk around their well-manicured greens. Fortunately the mist obscured much of the development It is true that the grand scale of the development imposes on the lovely scenes offered by the route. The urban flavour offered us a meaningful opportunity for reflection and to set our maths to the test, to calculate what the unit price per swing could possibly be….. and to realise (with relief) that the hiker still has the best deal, financially and aesthetically.

Kindly take note: In the middle of the trail you’ll find the entry and exit guard houses to the Pinnacle Point Estate. A quick check in/out sets you on your scenic way, no permit is needed.

The route is marked with the traditional Oyster catcher emblem, but in some areas we seemed to lose the path due to the intersection of other paths and missing oyster catcher emblems. This needs to be addressed by the authorities.
A lovely meet it was, characterised by the traditional camaraderie spirit of the mountaineering people. A special word of thanks to Eugene and Avril Fichardt, who assisted me with the recce, photos and logistical arrangements.

StBlaize14 StBlaize15

Rina de Leur – meet leader