Report by Stella Wells; Photos supplied by Harry Holderness

Harry and I had the privilege of joining Mark and Mary, together with Carolee and Bev, at one of their family cottages, this one being in the beautiful Monks Cowl area. We arranged to meet up on Friday afternoon and follow them, on a fairly rugged dirt road, through to the cottage, arriving in sufficient time to settle in and take a quick stroll before enjoying sun-downers and chatter in front of the log fire. On Saturday morning, after a leisurely breakfast and a short scramble, we picked up the contour path which led us ,via a stretch of forest, through to Nandi Falls. Here we were joined by a very tame and beautiful Chorister Robin who had obviously worked out that this was a favourite picnic spot and therefore a good source of food . After sharing an early lunch with our birdy friend who, in return, obligingly posed for many photos, we continued our hike to Sterkspruit Falls with a stop on the way to allow Bev the opportunity of a very quick and brave dip in the river. As a result, we agreed that she definitely has the potential to become a club member. After one final pull and approximately 12 kms, with Cathkin Peak continually watching over us, we arrived back at the cottage where we were joined by Mary s son and his wife together with their three  children  Thando a pointer puppy and Nono and Tonto the two ridgebacks. After supper most of the group took a moonlight walk which resulted in meeting up with a police patrol who were apparently tracking some illegal gun smugglers from Lesotho. Sunday provided another glorious day and with Keith having already set off on a run up Sterkhorn (oh to be young and fit!) the rest of us, Cas and mutts included for the first part, set off in the other direction to hike through another beautiful indigenous forest where, apart from many Yellowwood trees, it is deemed the largest Cabbage tree in Natal exists. Having seen one equally as big near Mount Gilboa this could well be disputed by many of our club Dendrologists! Sadly it was time to head back to the cottage where, after tea on the front lawn, we bade our farewells.

Thanks to Mary and Mark for a wonderful and hospitable weekend, to the rest of the group for their company and to the weatherman for getting it just right.

1. Cathkin : View from "throne" of the outdoor doorless toilet
2. A sky high-five?
3. Tarzan the ropey swinger of the jungle. Jeepers Creepers Photo courtesy of Jane
4. Bev
5. Harry and the Chorister Robin
6. Cathkin
7. Cathkin and Sterkhorn
8. Keith (the mountain runner) and Cas with their beloved Pointer Thando
9. view of the Rock Castles
10. Our host Mark . This was on the Rustlers trafficing route into Lesotho
11. Our hostess trying to transplant the huge Cabbage tree