Rayner Trophy 1989 Report
Route: Witte River and Baviaanspoort in Bainskloof
In 1943 eight British columns secretly crossed from India through Japanese lines into Burma and for three months spread confusion and panic. The expedition wiped out Japanese outposts, exploded ammunition dumps, wrecked airfields, put roads out of commission, blew up bridges and dynamited the railway.
The raiders were the Chindits, named after the dragons which guard Burmese temples. Their leader was Brigadier Orde Wingate. The raiders were the 1989 Rayner Trophy teams and, in their minds, Burma was the mountain kloofs of the Bains Kloof mountains above Wellington.
Twenty-nine teams set off on Saturday afternoon 25 February down to the river behind the ruins of the old Hotel on the top of Bains Kloof Pass. Boulder hopping up the recently rain-swollen river that afternoon was tough going with full kits but most teams made the Hugo's House supper stop by nightfall.
On the way up river that afternoon teams did tests on estimation, rescue from drowning and artificial respiration, heat exhaustion, swimming through a 50 metre river pool with their kits, crossing tile river gorge on a deadmans crawl rope, and travelling half a kilometre along a narrow aqueduct on lilos.
After cooking Burmese food and stir-fry vegetables, the teams continued their hike into the pitch darkness of the mountain, to various bases. At one base they had to rescue a man from a deep crevasse, at another, splint a broken leg and transport their patient on an improvised stretcher. The route then doubled back on itself and headed back along the gravel road of the Boland hiking trail back to the top of Bains Kloof Pass. Along the way the teams used their torches to estimate heights, treat a patient for hypothermia and find directions using the stars.
At midnight, exhausted teams arrived back to the overnight sleeping spot at the top of the Pass. Spare Time Activities were handed in and by 1 am all were asleep.
Anxious not to be caught by the Japanese, teams headed once more down into the river behind the Hotel at lam on Sunday morning. This time, they climbed up and out the gorge on the other side and headed around the mountain into the Baviaanskloof valley. During the two hour hike up the kloof on the high level path, the teams were tested on observation, their ability to pin-point their position on a map and had to pass and receive a message using semaphore.
By 9h30 the leading teams had dropped down into the river where they could rest, whilst cooking cheese omelettes for breakfast on cardboard and wax stoves, which they had previously made. Thereafter followed an extremely arduous hour of hiking up the river, swimming the impassable pools, and carrying out two diving tests in some of the magnificent deep pools. The weather was beautiful and sunny.
Most teams made it up to the very top waterfall pool, where they delighted the judges there with cooking the most remarkable pancakes for lunch. Then began the retreat down the kloof. Tests such as composing and singing a song, snakebite, Scout laws, finding 202 ½ degrees magnetic using a watch and whipping a rope were done along the route.
Just as the teams were nearing the end of the kloof and thinking all was now plain sailing, they were cruelly directed back down into the river 300 or so metres below them, down a well-bushed ridge. After a cup of tea and a swim in the river gorge they proceeded with the half hour or so of boulder-hopping back to the start point at the top of the pass, where the competition ended.
I am indebted to my judges, Albert Snyman, Buzz Macey, Colin Edwards, Dave Page, Errol Kotze, Denzil Roberts, Graham Korck, John Mutti, Mike Case, Paddy Milner, Alan Thompson and Charles van der Spuy for a job magnificently done. Area Commissioner Norman Osburn kindly came out for the presentation of the Trophy to the winners, 1st Pinelands. A special mention must be made of the St Albans Troop who came down especially for the competition from Pretoria - even though they knew that they couldn't take the trophy away from our Area.
The results were as follows:
|4th||2nd Somerset West||235|
|5th||St Albans (Pretoria)||225|
|6th||16th Cape Town||218|
|7th||12th Green and Sea Point||214|
|10th||1st Wynberg and Plumstead||195|
Chief Judge: Richard Goldschmidt