Report by Brian Henwood
“ A place to stroll, and to gaze, a place of peace, of quiet reflection, a place to browse, listen to music, to eat and to sleep”. This is how John and Linda Hall describe their Pleasant Places B&B in the Lidgetton Valley just 23 km out of Howick.
On our arrival John gave us a few hiking options and we chose the 16 km roundabout hike via Swissland Cheese, Mole Hill and the Fifehead Dairy. After hot coffee and muffins, in a rather chilly morning, we were more than ready to tackle the well-marked trail through natural vegetation and along private farm roads. After a casual 2 hour walk we arrived at Swissland Cheese perched on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Lidgetton Valley. This was an ideal spot to relax with smoked goat cheese and garlic-flavoured melba toast while sharing the warm sun with the white goats that were already lining themselves up for their afternoon milking session.
We continued our hike passing another well-known Midlands Meander destination, the Mole Hill, where we briefly stopped to browse the shops, glass studio and art gallery. Then it was back along farm roads flanked by lush green pastures to the dairy where we were able to watch the mechanised milking of 800 fully-laden udders of friesland cows. The cows exit at about 10 second intervals. This is one of the most productive dairy farms in the Midlands.
This 6-hour hike is to be recommended for our members looking for a ‘not too strenuous’ hike. Christie Exall has agreed to lead this hike again soon. Look out for it in our next fixture list.