Sixteen MCSA members met at East Fort, Hout Bay, and set off at 08h00 in the most glorious calm sunny winter weather. We followed the Constantia Nek path from the Fort with lovely views of the Bay. What was quite interesting were the old manganese mine pits that the 2015 fire exposed – these, together with the rest of the burnt mountain-side (the Big Fire of 2015), are slowly being ‘re-covered’ with fynbos – this spring should have a good showing of wild flowers! However, around the corner and below the path, the lower slopes towards Baviaanskloof are inundated with invasive vegetation, largely Port Jacksons. Some efforts by various parties are being made to clear them but there is an enormous amount of work still to be done. Remember, every bit helps so long as it is done properly.
We branched off the contour path at ‘black rocks’ above Baviaanskloof (which is shortly before Klein Koppie) to scramble up the North-West Ridge. About halfway up we had a break for tea after having pulled out about a hundred or so hakea seedlings, many of them nailed by our illustrious and industrious new chairperson Martin Hutton-Squire! As we were setting off again, we found the two biggish pines trees I was looking for, just below the ridge (LHS), but the partly burnt bark proved too hard for our saws so cutting them down will have to wait for another time with better equipment!
We picked our way up to the peak (first beacon) for ‘second tea’, and continued on the not so clear path to the main beacon (927 m). From here we descended via the Aerial towards Blackburn Ravine, and while having ‘third tea’ (lunch?) Stephen Tooke spotted a genet being harassed by some small birds on a nearby promontory opposite our lunch spot – lovely viewing; and then a pine tree just below the ledge ‘met its maker’ thereby putting the previously ‘unsuccessful saw’ to good use!
About halfway down the Ravine we contoured back along Alfie’s Track to meet up with the Constantiaberg path, getting back to the cars just after 14h30. Thanks to the team for another ‘lovely day on the mountain’! And special thanks to recently retired Jim Hallinan for taking the team photo on the peak and a lovely panorama photo of Hout Bay and some of its mountains!
Photos supplied by Jim Hallinan.