MIDLANDS HIKING CLUB CHRISTMAS PARTY
Held at EAGLE RIDGE ESTATE, Howick
7th December 2014

Report and photos by Rod Hart
(Extremely annoying snowflakes courtesy of the Webmaster - "but it is Christmas...")

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]


EAGLE RIDGE ESTATE Clubhouse

For the second year Carolee and Annie arranged for the Hiking Club Christmas party to be held at the EAGLE RIDGE ESTATE Clubhouse. In addition Carolee arraged and led the pre-party hike around the Beacon Hill conservancy and Annie for her part arranged for the Club's newly acquired overhead projector to be connected up and scrolling through a selection of hike photographs that had been submitted throughout the year.

The day started off with mince pies and coffee before those doing the pre-party hike set off. On our return it was time to catch up with many friends and fellow hikers that we hadn't seen through the year. Because of the theme "come as who you want to be" there were many strange outfits on show. Brigitta filled the roll of Master-of-ceremonies and led us first in the Christmas spirit with the singing of Christmas carols and then had the quick thinking members on there toes with her "question time" handing out bags of chocolate coins in somewhat discriminatory fashion to those who got their shout in first and loudest.



Following the more frivolous festivities we got down to the serious matter of announcing the winners of the Photo of the year and Report of the year. Rod (me) announced that the winning photo had been selected from the 1188 photos submitted during the year, and I paid tribute to the number of photographers whose photographs were selected for the "Best 10%"; from this set of approximately a hundred photographs a further selection process got it down to 20 photos which were submitted to our judge Leon Heyes. Leon graded his top ten photos of which the top two, Katy Hart (winner) and Charlie Guiot (runner up) received vouchers for Cape Union Mart. All top ten photos are shown below - click on any photo to see it in full size:



1st: Hiker taking photo - Katy Hart
2nd: View from inside Sherry Cave - Charlie Guiot
3rd: Reflection of Keith - Charlie Guiot
4th: Early morning view from Sherry Cave - Charlie Guiot
5th: Grey Mist backdrop - Dave Sclanders
6th: Mountain View - Alistair Nixon
7th: Morning Beach scene - Charlie Guiot
8th: Silouette against the mist - Dave Sclanders
9th: Path to Bannermans - Charlie Guiot
10th: Catepillar - Katy Hart

It was intended to display the winning photos on the overhead projector - but unfortunately at the time ESKOM did not oblige and cut the power...

Brigitta presented the Report of the year award, telling us how the Writer's Guild had come to their choice of winner - essentially noting that the report had to be technically well structured, gramatically correct, informative and interesting - a report that takes you on an adventure and makes it exciting. The well deserved winner is... Alistair Nixon.



The presentations were followed with braaitime!



Following on after lunch was selection of the best dressed "Be whoever you want to be!" with Alistair (Exkom - works directly off bright ideas) having the longest and most innovative story but the prize went to Margret with her colourful "prepared for any weather" umbrella. By this time Eskom (the real one) had turned our power back on and we were able to view overheads of the winning photographs as well as go through a number of the other photos in the top 100.



It was then that "Father Christmas" and her "Fairy" swept into the room (with the Fairy riding a broom) to hand out presents to all the good boys & girls of the Hiking Club who had brought presents to share. The way the present giving/taking works in the Hiking Club (for those who still don't understand...) The Fairy draws a number, if you are the holder of that number come up and select any present from the Christmas sack and open it - if you don't like what you got you can swop it with anyone who has already received and retained their gift (they can't refuse you) - consequently the tin of Quality Street Chocolates that emerged from the sack quite early in the proceedings changed hands quite a few times, as did a rather neat little camp seat, and a couple of bottles of wine.



With the gift giving having been done, the party was over for another year - great thanks to Carolee and Annie especially and all those who contributed to making the day so entertaining and enjoyable.

Happy hiking for next year!



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