HIGHMOOR-AASVOELKRANS CAVE - Saturday 7th May 2011

Report & Photos courtesy of Rose Dix

Keith took the High Road to the top of Mt Erskine while we opted for the Low Road. ("we" being Cheryl and Terry. Almut and young Max - plus Duracell Granny (Margaret Robberts).

Keith kindly allowed me to lead a hike to Aasvoels Cave, for which I was grateful as Highmoor is as beautiful as ever and is always full of surprises for those who care to explore off the well-trodden paths.

The walk to Aasvoels Cave is always rewarding with its beautiful waterfall and contour path which skirts the winding river to the cave. We explored the "splash pool" at the top cave which is a shallow pool offering easier access than the main deep pool under the Bottom Cave Falls. We then took a walk along the escarpment hoping to catch Giant peeping out from his cloud, but - no luck. Then I took them to that enchanting spot where, after scrambling down a tussocky slope and clambering along a narrow stone spit, one can view 3 cascading waterfalls. White water tumbling over black rocks.

I am grateful to the hikers who came with me as I love showing off these beautiful places to appreciative people. Max at the age of 6 was a delightful hiking companion with great stamina and a ready smile. The two grannies (Margaret and I) started walking back to camp, but were daunted by a sudden thundery downpour, however, we managed to make our legs work a bit more by going to meet Keith and Company who fooled us by coming down a different way, so after patrolling up and down the road for almost an hour, we gave up and did a pretty little circular walk around Mountain Shadows.



HIGHMOOR - CLEOPATRA - Sun 8 May 2011
Report by Rose Dix, Photos & comments courtesy of Keith Ashton

Keith and Margaret, Marie, Nevil, Cheryl, Terry, Margret K, Margaret Robberts, Barbara (a visitor from Germany), Libby, & Margie. For those chirpy souls who were still eager after their impressive Saturday climb, and for us who had taken the easier route, the 9k hike under Cleopatra (or what is left of the poor Dame after a spectacular landfall) was a bonus. A couple of short sharp scrambles through a rock band and we were rewarded with an easy contour along the firebreak to view hidden waterfalls. We were also able to see where Keith’s Saturday party had descended from Mt Erskine - an awesome sight.

Keith and Margaret literally 'went that extra mile' through heavy brambled valleys and up rough slopes to allow us to enjoy these two beautiful hikes - off the beaten track which is the very best way to see the Berg. We are very privileged to have such dedicated enthusiastic leaders - Keith and Margaret, we salute you.

Thank you to everyone for a super weekend.


Start of climb during Keith & Margaret's recce of hike up Cleopatra

Margaret head down on her way up during recce

Cleopatra Mountain view on way up - pity her nose dropped off recently in a rock-fall

Nice view of waterfall gully from the higher slopes of Cleopatra

Closer view of waterfall

Margaret's leg, Keith's foot & faithful local Jack Russell, with views towards Highmoor

Jack Russell waiting patiently whilst Margaret & Keith finish lunch

Our Sunday group climbing up the steeps slopes of Cleopatra


MISS MOUNT ERSKINE – SAT 7 MAY 2011 – BY CHRISTIE EXALL
Photos & comments courtesy of Keith Ashton

Approximately 30 hikers descended on the ever popular Mountain Shadows Resort during the weekend 6-8 May.

It also served as a farewell to Hettie Randall, who is returning to England, after her two months stay in South Africa. She won the Midlands Hiking Club Competition for the best write-up last year. Her prize was a two-night stay at Mountain shadows Resort. She brought her family along, including her delightful, 8 year old granddaughter, Jessica.

On Saturday morning two groups of hikers set off at 08h00. The one hike was to go to the top of Mount Erskine, led by Keith Ashton. The other was to drive up the pass to Highmoor and to walk from there to a most beautiful cave called Aasvoelkrans, led by Rose Dix.

Jessica set off with the Mount Erskine hikers. It turned out to be a tough (for some!) ever upwards, hike to the top of Mount Erskine. The last bit was a rocky scramble to the top through a gully. Once on top we were met with amazing views of the Kamberg valley and unusual rock formations, some free standing, as well as skirting a large Tarn, surrounded by a shear rock wall. Here Shadow, the border Collie cooled off in the water. Another grassy scramble took us to our lunch spot at approximately 11h30. Here we sat down and simply admired the view until the dark clouds overhead prompted our leader to move on.

I understand that the total climb height was over 700m and this Jessica did without ever complaining!! We decided to crown Jessica MISS MOUNT ERSKINE. Well done Jessica, you must be the first 8 year old girl to climb this mountain.

The descent was steep in a bit of a drizzle. Halfway down took us to a contour path, which we followed until we reached an old ruin built against the rock face, for what reason and by whom we will never know. Photographs were taken and then we were off on the last gentle slope back to Mountain Shadows. Shadow, the Border Collie, followed us from beginning to end, always keeping an eye on us.

We arrived back, all accounted for and everyone in one piece.

Apparently Rose’s hike was 12km long but her and Margaret did an extra 4km!! – See separate write-up by Rose.

Saturday evening a braai and get together was enjoyed by all in the Boma.

Sunday morning dawned misty and cold. The intrepid Keith and followers did a short hike to Cleopatra, a rock formation against the mountain side at the beginning of the pass leading to Highmoor. So called because the rocks resemble the profile of Cleopatra’s face. Sadly her nose has fallen off during a rock fall but the name remains.

Some of us took a leisurely stroll around the surrounding farms perimeter. Then it was back to the business of packing and leaving this peaceful area until a next time.

My thanks to fellow hikers and friends for their love, understanding and camaraderie.


Part of our weekend group - 16 came on this hike - note our part legless leader left of photo

1st break on our way up Erskine - note Mount Lebanon in background, one of our usual hikes

Continuing to climb Mount Erskine

Hettie & grand daughter Jessica having a rest & quality time together on our way up

Still climbing higher & higher

Even more steeper climbing

Edging along towards an even steeper gully (the only way up this side of Mount Erskine)

Looking down on members (small figures) at the top of the gully

A tele-photo closer view of members at the top of the gully

En-route from the gully to the top of Mount Erskine

At last on top - Now for some lunch - Faithful Mountain Shadows sheepdog still with us

Beautiful natural dam wall & tarn as we traverse the top of the mountain

View from the top down into Kamberg Valley - Notice the threatening black clouds

Another view of the natural dam wall & tarn - a shear drop from the rock dam wall

"On top of the world" looking down into Kamberg Valley - Make sure you don't slip here

Christie, please shout "I resign" if you slip from that point - we don't want any club member deaths

Had to descend from the top to this point due to weather - now finding route past next escarpment

Three lovely young & very young ladies at entrance to old stone building on slopes of Mount Erskine . Note:- This old stone ruin in the middle of nowhere (i.e. a quite remote spot) is now thought to be an old stone hut built & used as a hunting base - Information via Harry Holderness whose doctor own a farm in the area.

Margret Kirsten promoting the club with her bush hat & "Walkaholic" Tee Shirt in the ruin doorway

Our group now a bit wet with Mount Erskine top in the background - that's where we were

On our way down - Top of Mount Erskine now covered in cloud - we got down just in time


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