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Clive Louw (leader), Cheryl Devine, Fran Hunziker, Irmela Kohlsdorf, Hans v Ameyde, Greg Devine, Maretha Alant, Fred v Berkel, Lindsay Smith, Saartjie v d Merwe, Charles Smith, Karin v Niekerk, Nicky v Berkel (taking photo).

The weather was perfect with light breezes and ample cloud cover to take the sting out of this summer’s day hike. The start is from Sparrebosch down a well maintained Fisherman’s Trail, mainly through indigenous forest to a lovely beach at the bottom. This is as far as Nicky and Karin had planned to go.

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The others were to follow a very rugged coastline with plenty of scrambling and the occasional sign of a local fisherman track. The day was chosen with low tide at 11h00, since the route is often just above the water level. The ocean swell was rather large that day, and the waves caught us at times.

We soon came across our first rock barrier, which we got around by climbing a steep chimney with dubious rock in places. The rope was taken out here to assist some of the party.

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The next hurdle was a gully with a steep descent. The scramble down and gully crossing were quite easy, but the big waves caught many by surprise. A few of the members were soaked from top to tail, but importantly nobody lost their footing during the wave distraction.

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The next feature was East Cape, a small peninsula, which is about half way. A shortcut is taken across the peninsula on an old fisherman path through the bush. The path is overgrown, and the bush had all sorts of thorns. We arrived at the other side with some clothes torn, and exposed epidermis worn through in places. Some were donating blood quite generously, while somebody was muttering that mountaineering is not supposed to be a blood sport!

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Straight after that is an impressive huge rock buttress with a tunnel right through it. The obvious way is through the tunnel. We then found a convenient shady overhang for our lunch break, but had to share it with flotsam in abundance.

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We did not tally for long, because we knew about another important rock scramble just at the end. We did not want to be caught by the high tide, which had given an earlier party a lot of trouble.

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We were then surprised by a gully we were not told about. You can’t get around it as there is impenetrable bush at the head of the gully. We had to wade across and got more than just our feet wet.

Towards the end of the route, some of the party chose to take a popular fisherman track that detours around the top of the last rock challenges. The remaining six members stayed low and continued with the scrambling. We arrived at the last big challenge well in time and the waves were of no concern. The challenge is a short undercut face that is steep with poor footholds, but compensates with very good handholds. The rope was taken out again to assist some over the hardest technical challenge (Rock grade C).

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Soon we were at the Eastern Head where there is a sandy beach. For those who wanted to, the route was finished off in style by having a swim. We were then able to really feel the force of the big waves that had been bothering us. We were all happy and safely back at the carpark by 14h30.

This is truly an impressive and challenging part of our rocky coastline. Hence the so-called short route of 6.5 km route was completed in 6.5 hours. Yes, that is 1 km per hour, and we don’t want to hear any snide comments about our speed!

Clive Louw – meet leader

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