Sunday 14 January 2001

The day started somewhat cloudy with the summit of Swartkops covered in cloud.     Luckily it cleared before we reached the summit.   The hikers were Adrian, Alison, Aris, Barbara, Campbell (our hike leader), Cathy, Deneys, Deon, Joan, Lorraine, Louise, Margaret, Melissa, Prema and Nicolette.   Deon, his sister Nicolette, her work colleague Melissa, and Prema were new club members and we extend a special warm welcome to them and hope they will become regulars.

The climb is a fairly gentle grade 3 or tough grade 2, depending on your viewpoint.   The last few hundred metres are quite steep.   There is plenty of shade en route in the plantations where the ambience is peace and quiet broken only by the music of the birds.   The top of Swartkops is flat and a walk to the edge will be well rewarded by a panoramic view of the back end of World's View, Midmar Dam, Henley Dam and Albert Falls Dam.   The hike to the summit is about 2 hours which brought us to a late tea / early lunch after which we set off on Hike No 2.    Involuntarily Campbell decided that instead of going back along the lovely gentle down-sloping cool shady smooth forest path, we should take a short cut.   Slap over the top of the adjacent peak (every bit as high as Swartkops)!   We'll never know if this was a case of the-shortest-way-over-is-the-quickest-way-home.   Suffice to say that one of the hikers (who is now in the witness protection program) started calling Campbell by the name Atilla!

We did make it back to the vehicles in good humour having enjoyed the exercise, beauty and deepening of friendships.   We were all grateful to Campbell for his expert leadership, defined in part for me by his observance of the golden rule that the first and last hikers should remain within sight and sound of each other.

Deneys Mann