We met Bushy in Richmond at 09h00 before heading for Graeme and Joan Davidson’s farm in the beautiful heart of the Byrne Valley where we were cheerfully met by Joan and her dogs.
It was planned to be a fairly gentle Sunday morning hike followed by a social braai (anyone been on one of these MHC gentle Sunday hikes before?). I was made to volunteer as leader but it’s Joan who knows their area well, so six of us, Merle, Lynn, Aris, Peter, Margaret and Keith followed Joan up past the Davidson homestead and along (still rising) Bamboo Lane, shortly bearing left along “Brians Path”.
It was a lovely sunny day and we were soon sweating as we continued our climb towards “Batchelor’s Bend”. We had a short drink break here before going round the bend only to discover that Aris had left his hiking stick below. Down he went to retrieve it whilst we took the opportunity to have another welcome drink.
We then took in some beautiful views at “Byrne View” before continuing upwards along “Old Wagon Way” shortly afterwards reaching Davidson’s Dam where we took in more fantastic views.
Still continuing upwards (who said we were to have a gentle stroll) we eventually reached the junction with “Gibson’s Road”. Here we had to decide if we should go higher up to the top lookout rocks. As Margaret and I were ready to get more hiking training in (after our 9 weeks in New Zealand and Australia) we said we would climb to the top and as we had a keen team everybody joined us. It was worth the climb through very long grass and scrub to the rocky viewpoint where we had our snacks and drinks whilst soaking in the magnificent views. We then tried hiking further eastwards hoping to find a way through to Newbrough Nek and eventually Zulu Trail, however the bush was too thick and we had to retrace our steps back down to “Gibson’s Road” and then eastwards, roughly along the contour line before eventually descending down “Zulu Trail”. It was a long descent and we were all hungry and longing for our braai.
By the time we reached base, braaing was well under way with other club members who had elected to just have a leisurely braai already tucking in.
Our hardy hikers soon joined in and thoroughly enjoyed the braai in a lovely and sociable venue.
Thanks to Graeme and Joan for the marvellous hospitality and thanks to Bushy for staying at base to organise the braai, it was much appreciated (let’s hope Bushy’s knee soon gets better).