Swimmers

Lovely day with the berg wind blowing today, so we walked the beagle early and then I used the opportunity to get a few jobs done (including bathing a reluctant canine) and watched a bit of the cricket.

A far cry from a few months ago up the mountain, where it was grey, cold and wet. Especially for these guys:

Such were the conditions up there that it was only the next morning we saw the sign saying that perhaps swimming “wasn’t allowed”.

So obviously, if you see any of these individuals in the street, please remind them that they were inadvertently very naughty up in the clouds and they really shouldn’t do it again.

Now on Flickr…

…(finally) some photos from the last week or so.

They’re here.

And when they were lined up, I couldn’t help but noticed the sharp juxtaposition between the photos taken in Cape Agulhas last week, and those taken on Table Mountain just a couple of days later (not least the ‘grass-in-the-bottom-left-hand-corner’ pics, top left and fourth middle):

Check out the washed-out, near-monochrome top four, compared with the bright, heavily contrasted, colourful selection below them. But that wasn’t merely my photographer’s eye: it’s a genuine representation of what was there.

Cape Agulhas was sunny, full of vivid blues, greens and whites, busy skies and reflective seas. Table Mountain was the complete opposite: greyscale, dull, grim and sullen. ‘Togging the Victorian infrastructure of the dams on the mountain top was easy in those conditions: the dour, powerful, solidity fitted perfectly with the elemental, moody, unforgiving weather.

I enjoyed the fresh air and the walking on each of the days we were out and about, but it’s interesting to note that I probably wouldn’t have taken any photographs at all had the weather conditions been reversed for the two locations. It just wouldn’t have made sense.

Good job I was there on the right days, then.

Overseer’s

A night up the mountain at Overseer’s Cottage last night then. A 10km hike to get us there, up into the clouds and the peace and quiet of the Table Mountain National Park.

And a great night around the fire with friends, beer, wine, brandy… and some education. The clouds occasionally broke just enough to allow us to catch the odd glimpse of Cape Town below us, before the rain rolled in overnight, blanketing the plateau in thick, chilly fog for our walk down this morning.

No real review here. Suffice to say that the accommodation was basic, but decent enough. The beds were great, although I only managed to crawl into mine at about 2 this morning. Take plenty of water, food and booze, some power banks and battery-powered lights and a variety of clothes for the distinctly variable weather. Be advised that whatever your forecast says for Cape Town really doesn’t apply to the top of the mountain.

And then just chill in the peace and quiet and take in this sort of view of the hustle and bustle of the city below.

I’ll be getting some photos up onto Flickr this week as well. But weirdly, having drunk out the whole of the summit of Table Mountain last night and then hiked back down this morning, I’m feeling rather tired today.

More tomorrow then…

Mountain Heights

This would be a TIL, but I actually learned this some time ago and just never blogged it.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa and Snowdon, Wales, United Kingdom are exactly the same height.

That height is 1,085m or 3,560ft.

Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, and the 19th highest in the British Isles. All the higher mountains in the British Isles are in Scotland (Ben Nevis being the highest at 1,354m/4,411ft), meaning that Table Mountain is higher than any point in England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. I knew this bit anyway, but I didn’t know that Ol’ Flat Top (as no-one calls it here) and Snowdon were exactly the same height.

For the record, Table Mountain isn’t even the highest peak in the Western Cape, let alone South Africa. Those records go to Seweweekspoortpiek (2,325m/7,628ft) in the Klein-Swartberg and Mafedi (3,451m/11,322ft) in the Drakensberg.

And for another record – and just because it’s a number that has stuck with me since I visited it in 1986 – Mafadi is just 10ft short of being the same height as the highest railway station in Europe: Jungfraujoch sits at 11,332ft. Aside from its altitude, one of the things I will always remember about going there was running along the train platform despite several warnings not to, and becoming very short of oxygen, very quickly.

Something I should probably keep in mind when I pop up Mafedi on my next visit to KZN*.

 

* Presented solely as a nice conclusion to a simple blog post. I have no plans to climb this extremely remote peak. 

Viewz for dayz

Everyone is busy at this time of year. I am also busy.
Who am I to buck a trend like that?

We’ve just got the boy back from an exciting, fulfilling, but exhausting Scout Camp, and there are a million tales of derring do which need to be told. I’m ready to listen. We’ve missed him.

Quota photo time then. And another one from the DuToitskloof Pass on Monday:

That’s the Paarl Valley there in front of us, with the Paarl Mountain in front of us and beyond that – under a wisp of white cloud in the distance – Table Mountain, some 65km away. Looking out west was equally breathtaking (although decidedly less busy), but I haven’t edited any more photos, so you’ll just have to imagine what it was like.

(Spoiler: It was equally breathtaking, but decidedly less busy, like I told you.)