Number of hikers: 15; 3 visitors; Distance: 17 kms
Report and photos by Alistair Nixon
[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]
This was the first time this route had been hiked by MHC as it is known predominantly as an MTB route. The route is set on the historic Baynesfield estate and follows around the fields and along the Mlazi river.
The meeting point was at the Recreation Club where we paid R20/head. There were also a number of families preparing their MTB bikes for their morning's outing. Out of the gates we turned right towards the river which, because it was a hot day, gave us welcome shade for most of the walk. It is a flat walk but the meandering river and path make each corner a new vista. The river was our predominant route which we punctuated with stops to appreciate the natural beauty. As with all our hikes the chatter is constant which is always a good indicator.
Our lunch spot was up on a farm road which gave us an elevated view back towards the farm and the historic Baynes home and farm. From this point we decided on our return route to go and look at the glorious historic home. Our return route gave us a challenge as there was no obvious easy river crossing. There were two parallel gum poles across the river but these were about 10 metres long and about 3 metres above the river. Common sense prevailed and we decided, in good tradition, to bundu bash across the river - a fun challenge!
Once across, the road led to the historic museum and home. We came across a tree laden with orange spiky fruit not often seen and which I have always known as Rhodesian Cucumbers. A treat for some but for the uninitiated maybe a mile too far for the taste buds. Then on to the historic home and buildings. The farm and home were in their time at the cutting edge of farming technology and innovation. See http://www.baynesfield.co.za/heritage-centre/history.aspx
Some of Baynes's achievements:
started the bacon industry in the young Colony of Natal
the first man to dip cattle and became known as "The Conqueror of the Tick"
first butter factory in South Africa
started a chain of shops called Model Dairy tearooms These "Model Dairies" were modern tearooms where customers could enjoy fresh country milk by the glassful, and buy butter, eggs, ice cream, cheese and cream cheese in large premises which were spotlessly clean and well decorated.
He died without an heir and so in his will he left the estate in a trust. Some of its objectives were and from which we benefit are:
In laying out such a portion or part of the Estate as may be thought fit as a public park
In beautifying and developing the Estate
In creating agricultural schools or colleges
The current Salvation Army's Childrens Home was originally the Baynes Childrens Home which he established.
From the farm we made our way back to the club and enjoyed well deserved refreshments - not milk!
Photo 2: bmx family outing
Photo 3: concerned hikers straightening the tree
Photo 12: helping hands
Photo 13: success
Photo 14: the alternative route over the poles
Photo 15: a rather gissly find
Photo 16: Cucumber tree
Photo 17: cucumber vine on the tree
Photo 18: the fruit
Photo 19: ready for eating
Photo 20: beautiful reminder of past times
Photo 22: lookout tower