Senior Scout Adventure: 1970 Cederberg
1st Cederberg Adventure - 1970/1
Report by André Foot (Troop Leader 2nd Bellville) for the Troop Log
Due to the success of last years Adventure, it was decided to hold another one. Our team had many meetings before the hike to finalize matters at the Bellville Hotel, as Scouter Rhino was the Manager at the hotel. Our team number 16 of 8 was; R.Swinnen (Leader), C.Cabu, L. Lagrancy, K.W. Pierce, A.Ranson, Stephen and Charlie from 1st Kuils River and myself. This Cederberg cost a lot more than last year, this time it was R25 all inclusive, but then it was for 12 days.
Day 1 Tuesday 29 December 1970
Half of our Patrol went with Rhino in his car and the rest with the busses provided. Halfway there, the back wheel of our car blew out and we skidded and swerved madly all over the place before finally stopping, luckily we missed all the other cars on the road. We arrived at Base Camp DrieHoek on our first day at lunchtime. The busses arrived late as one bus broke down and the rest waited while the one was repaired. The first day was spent sorting out food rations and getting settled. That night we had a huge campfire to build spirit for the adventure ahead.
Day 2 Wednesday 30 December 1970
The morning we were taken by jeep to Welbedacht Forest Station where we settled in and explored the neighbouring hills. The afternoon was spent baking cakes in Dutch Ovens and we saved the tarts for supper. That evening we concurred a nearby mountain to watch the sunset, we left 7cents on top of the mountain and named it 7-up.
Day 3 Thursday 31 December 1970
Next day the jeep collected us and took us back to DrieHoek where we built a pioneering bridge across the river, using Pine trees as poles. Some poles took five of us to lift, it was a massive construction and took us the whole day to build, then cross it and dismantle again. We thought it a massive achievement for eight guys! That night we celebrated new year like never before! Rhino left us here as he had come down with Malaria or so they said.
Day 4 Friday 1 January 1971
Just after sunup (we struggled to wake up), we were taken by open truck to Clanwilliam Dam. In our state, we forgot our food at DrieHoek and the judges at the base gave us a real mouthful before giving us some of their food.
The morning was spent water-skiing, which some just never grasped, ending up being dragged by the boat, which seemed more fun, one guy lost his costume in the water, the rushing water pulled it off. In the afternoon we hiked to Clanwilliam to see the bird life (talk about a one horse town – well this horse was dead). On return we went out on one of the boats and took turns racing it up and down the dam and jumping out at speed.
Towards tea we went off target shooting with 303’s and a big pistol. The 303 was a powerful rifle, it was my first time shooting and we each only got 3 shots, I would have liked to shoot more. I was deaf after that, especially after standing in the hole under the target to point it with a stick.
Day 5 Saturday 2nd January 1971
We were off by open truck again, making a detour to pick up our forgotten food at DrieHoek, we were starving, then off to Algeria where our actual hike started from. Up to now it was easy and very relaxed and we were dying to start the actual hiking. Algeria was alive with holiday makers and lots of birds, but we had a task ahead of us now and had to stay focused. The day was spent hiking up to Middleberg Hut, passing a huge waterfall on route where we stopped and took a refreshing bare swim. We made good time and on arrival at the Hut we explored the surroundings and swam again to cool off.
Day 6 Sunday 3rd January 1971
Just after sunrise we did a commando course training, climbing over nets and running around with full kit over and under objects, throwing pine cone grenades at terrorist targets and ending by crossing a river, keeping our kit dry. It was tough with the judges shouting us on, or was it encouraging us, either way there was no choice, this was not a base for sissies. We enjoyed it so much, we wanted to show the judges how tough we were, so we did it twice with a smile. The rest of the day was taken up hiking to Welbedacht Cave, quite a trek in the heat to get there and we arrived late that night, after fooling around and taking our time on route. The judges at Welbedacht Cave said they were worried we were lost when we never showed on time. We told them the judges at the commando course kept us up and made us do the course twice.
Day 7 Monday 4th January 1971
At sunrise we were chased up and, on our way, up Tafelberg (6 465 feet) with three super-fit mountaineers who taught us rope work, abseiling and how to climb straight up rock faces, which they seemed to sail up like spiders. We climbed three mountains that day, rock faces straight up, then traversing using ledges, abseiling down and then all the way up to the top of Tafelberg, where we left our names in a bottle at the beacon. The view was amazing and you could see Sneeuberg from there, where I was a year ago. Some of us were suffering as we had not brought enough water and wasted a lot by pouring it over us. We didn’t think it was going to be a whole day. The judges just said that’s how you learn and didn’t give us any of theirs. That night we did a night hike down to Welbedacht Forest Station where we finally rested.
Day 8 Tuesday 5th January 1971
At 04h30 we were on our way in a jeep to Eikeboom where we had breakfast and ascended to Sneeuberg Hut, following the same trail I had followed a year ago. We met a party of seven girls and two men on our way up and joined them. This was another highlight on the adventure and seemed to give us super strength as we impressed the girls and helped them along. That night was taken up with orienteering and map work around the hut, a very interesting night exercise. Then afterwards at 01h45 we had a campfire and invited the girls to join us.
Day 9 Wednesday 6th January 1971
A few hours later the sun was coming up and we sang another tune as we stumbled up and concurred Sneeuberg (6 652 feet), from where you could see Tafelberg where we had been two days earlier. It was hard to believe the distance we had come, now looking back at Tafelberg. The climb up was a struggle as we were very tired. After lunch we hike to Disa Pool via the Maltese Cross, the girls went off in another direction. We were actually glad, because they made us very tired.
Day 10 Thursday 7th January 1971
We slept very late and woke at almost lunchtime. We were totally alone in the mountains and swam stark-naked in the huge pool, jumping down 20 feet (6 metre) into the water below. It was really nice. After lunch (and breakfast), we hiked down to Kromriver Farm, where we persuaded the farmer to show us his Boer War museum that we heard about. It consisted of guns, dolls, toys, money, stamps and other items of great value. He also had a woman’s Voortrekker dress and kappie, but no woman in it.
From there we went with the Tygerberg District blue jeep again to Sanddrif, where believe it or not, we met up with our girls again. That night we went to sleep very late, sitting round a fire relating all the great things Scouts did to the girls.
Day 11 Friday 8th January 1971
Long before sunrise, I started up alone to the Wolfberg Cracks, as there was not that much time before our transport arrived. The rest were too tired and I wanted to take pictures this time around, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be back again soon.
Later we were taken back to DrieHoek where we helped pack up the pioneering base. All teams were arriving back at DrieHoek during the day. That night we had a huge campfire that could be seen as far as Clanwilliam. The highlight was our Divisional Commissioner Colin Inglis’s ‘picking up paw-paws’ song with actions, he made us do it till we sang and moved together as one, getting faster and faster. After the campfire, half our Patrol left for Cape Town with our District jeep.
Day 12 Saturday 9th January 1971
The last day, it had come too quickly, was spent packing, eating whatever was left, flag down and then we all left for Cape Town Station in busses, where we arrived towards afternoon.
It was the most unbelievable 12 days Scouting of my life and weeks afterwards we were still talking about it and telling other Scouts. I took over 70 slides and after the adventure went around to Troops showing the slides.