Senior Members attending: Merv & Jean Prior, Dave & Fay Jones, Don & Marie Bands, Hettie Esterhuyse and Brenda Falconer.

A senior Johannesburg member of the MCSA, ex – president Roland Magg who rose to the MCSA birthday challenge set to all Old Timers, boasted of climbing a peak in the N.W. Province with three generations: his mother Uschi, himself and his young family. Our Merv easily topped that boast.

When the seven S.Cape senior members who responded to his and Jean’s invitation arrived for morning tea and cake at their delightful forest cottage at The Crags, they were met by a horde of children, grandchildren, great -grandchildren and various parents and friends, easily making it four generations. (An attempt was made to count the children but they never kept still long enough. Jean guessed around 1 dozen.)

From The Crags all departed to Keurbooms for a planned walk to the iconic Arch Rock as a first stop, all at low tide according to the tide tables. From there the plan was to climb a headland overlooking Arch Rock and to toast the mountains at noon, but the weather gods had other plans. With a strong westerly wind and rain threatening, the “easy” beach walk turned out to be rather more challenging than planned. Heavy surf and frequent storm surges meant that low tide never seemed to happen, while high tide appeared to return at irregular intervals. This resulted in a very challenging hike over slippery rock and all of the seniors getting thoroughly wet.

Meanwhile, the young set, who were able to skip over the wet and greasy boulders with ease, arrived in good time at Arch Rock and relieved their boredom by stripping, to skinny-dip and to dodge the huge waves that crashed through the arch. They did not seem to feel the cold at first but were more than ready to move on when the senior party finally made it. A quick re-arrangement of the schedule was made, a bottle of sparkling grape juice was produced and a cork popped. The youngsters greatly enjoyed the fun of trying to catch the cork and having bubbly dispensed by Merv, before disappearing with their parents up the hill and on a long circular, inland walk that was planned to exhaust them all, hopefully in time for bed.

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Looking up from beach level at the towering Arch Rock, Merv declared that as a free- standing rock, even if it had its feet in the waves, it could be called a peak, and altered his planned schedule. He set off for a daring solo ascent and had reached a respectable altitude on a steep rock face before his party declared an age-handicap could be applied. In other words, he was judged to have climbed high enough, at his age, to have summited.

Honour satisfied, and enjoying relative peace with the youngsters off on their hike, a proper champagne bottle, correctly fortified, was produced. The MCSA and the mountains were duly toasted and lunch was declared, even if a bit earlier than planned.

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This turned out to be a wise decision as the trip home across the same greasy rocks was even more demanding with the real tide coming in. When the car park and Enrico’s Restaurant were finally reached, a hot coffee break was declared. The staff at Enrico’s, where posh clientele were busy wining and dining on crayfish and the like in a packed dining room, could not have been kinder. They made space in the service area of their bar for a very wet, cold and bedraggled senior party, right next to a warm, hissing coffee machine. Here they soon recovered enough strength to head for their cars and home.

Before they dispersed, Fay Jones as one of the younger seniors at only 75, did a careful calculation and declared the average age of the game, S. Cape, senior citizen, 2016 celebration party to be 81.

Dave Jones – meet leader

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