Saturday, June 1, 2013

#20 Report Back, May-June 2013

1. Maps 3 and 4

2. Bakkrans

3. Snippets, Thanks and Allsorts

And before we start, welcome back to SA, Matt the Brit! our intrepid map-researcher nearly disappeared into the depths of the United States, but he’s back!

1. Maps 3 and 4

Lots of bits and pieces to report on this month; it’s hard to know where to start.
The big news is that Map 3 beta is almost there; Map 4 is 99.5% done and dusted, and maps one and two just need to be separated into two maps at 1:40 000 rather than 1:50 000. So once the checking is complete, here goes ... within 60 days the maps will be [at the very least] AT THE PRINTER! And I hope I haven’t stuck my neck out so that you can cut it off ...
Below is a sample from map 4 of a part of the Kromrivier area, to show our final decisions on characterising paths, distances, co-ords, etc etc. Click on the map to enlarge it.
Speaking of Kromrivier, does anyone have news of Rudolf Andrag? He has not answered any recent emails ... Rudolf, please get in touch!

Nicky Lombard kindly sent the attached pic and co-ords for another arch “on Apex Peak”. However, the co-ords place it firmly on Arch Peak. Nicky records its name as Hondverbrand Arch – any other offers? The arch is similar to the Vlerkboog, but if you look carefully you’ll see that it’s not the same. See map below for its position.

Lost in the rush was this email that came some time ago from Mike Scott – apologies for no earlier acknowledgment, Mike – “the picture from Johan Lanz of the arch in the ‘Klein Beesgat’ area, might be more familiar to many mountaineers, especially MCSA members, as Di Wilson’s arch, or Doc’s Rock arch as it is on the ridge above Doc’s Rock (named after the late Doc Watson). Doc’s Rock is usually gained from the Suurvlakte side, and is a useful campsite for climbing Apex Peak, or continuing a traverse to Sandfontein area.”

I can’t put all three names [Di Wilson’s Arch, Doc’s Rock Arch, Klein Beesgat Arch] on the map and would appreciate some comment on which name to choose. In the meantime, Charles Merry sent this pic of Doc’s Rock, including some familiar characters ...

The boundaries of the MCSA property still have to go in to map 4; Martin Hutton-Squire is kindly working on these.

2. Bakkrans
Thanks to Johan van der Westhuizen and Arrie Beukes we visited Bakkrans and came away with even more names and some great info about the Rooi Cederberg Karoo Park: see our blog about Bakkrans at Maps for Afrika for more details. There is another sample piece of map 4 on the blog.

3. Snippets, Thanks, and Allsorts

a. David Fox of Cape Hike confirmed that the mystery hut in last month’s blog is definitely ‘Africa Hut’ at Beaverlac. Many thanks, Dave. Unfortunately Beaverlac is too far south to be included on the new map, but you can download a free maplet of the place here 

b. Rika du Plessis of CapeNature has provided us with a maplet of Truitjieskraal ... we’re looking at producing a full-colour freebie in due course. Thanks, Rika!

c. Annette Mason sent us these two pics of the old Forester’s House at Heuningvlei – some more for your collection, Pieter Malan. Annette says these are from about 1989.

d. Denis le Jeune tells me that there will be an article on the Cederberg Heritage Route and Cederberg 100 in the July edition of Country Life

e. Sam Jack sent this post-fire report:
“Had another lovely weather trip to the Cederberg couple of weeks ago. Spent time in the Welbedacht, Heuningvlei and Rocklands environs. Both Heuningvlei and Rocklands burnt out, Sneeuberg too. Pity some of the old cedar plantations near Groothoek near Heuningvlei have burnt...the largest one remained unscathed, but trees are dying there and little/no recruitment.”
Sam also sent this old Cameron photo of Dassieberg, taken from Grootlandsvlakte, looking south-east [date unknown]. If you look carefully you can see that the base of the rocky hill is fringed with a healthy growth of young cedars. If you go there now, there are none ...

f. Speaking of fires, CapeNature has circulated info about the new cottages and campsites at Kliphuis
I was a little mystified by the pic of the cottages – can you help here, Patrick? What are the spanking new cottages across the road, where the old wooden houses used to stand?

g. We need much more of the following if conservation is to achieve anything in the New SA ...

During the celebration of the Big Brag event of the Green Fingers project in October 2012 an art competition was held for the participating learners. Bothashalte Primary school won the competition and received an environmental educational camp at the Cape Leopard Trust as the winning prize. The prize was sponsored by Witzenberg Municipality and Essen Municipality, Belgium. In February 2013 two teachers and nineteen learners went on the camp. Different themes like biodiversity, leopard biology, birding and animal tracking, geology, rock art, and astronomy and survival skills were introduced to the learners. Each learner got the opportunity to do artistic pictures of the fynbos plants which they thoroughly enjoyed. The learners had some physical and emotional challenges when they were participating in hiking activities and sleeping out in the wild in a tent. 
The learners had great fun when they were given the opportunity to swim in the river. Both teachers and learners were amazed by the different types of birds, animals and star gazing. The most interesting part of the camp for the learners was when they explored the Stadsaal. The Stadsaal is a cave where different San rock art and stone tools are found. The camp which was a combination of adventure, art and science left both the teachers and learners with an enriched knowledge of the environment and wildlife.

h. Dermot Moore sent this last word on the aircraft crash in the Pakhuis area, in 1945. Many thanks, Dermot.

As my cousin, Paddy O’Leary has probably informed you, I am the son of Kevin O’Leary who was one of the SAAF members killed in the Cederberg accident of 1945. As I was only 2½ years old at the time, clearly I do not have any recollection of this unfortunate incident. By its very nature, it was a turning point in the lives of my mother and me, not to mention the O’Leary family who were awaiting Kevin’s arrival in Cape Town.  My mother remarried with her new husband formally adopting me and giving his name in the process. Thus, my surname is now Moore and not O’Leary.

Over the years I have been preoccupied with pursuing a career in higher education (with the career occasionally pursuing me) and bringing up a family, leaving little time for leisurely activities such as research into my own family history. Ironically, I started my academic life as an historian having done post-graduate research on the SAAF’s role in the Korean War, among other topics. In retirement, I finally have the opportunity for reading and research of a more personal nature. I am currently working with pdf copies of a number of official documents from the Military Archives pertaining to my father’s SAAF career, including the proceedings of the Inquiry that looked into the accident. I will keep you posted as the narrative unravels. I look forward to orientating myself with the help of your very detailed maps.

You have already drawn attention to the incorrect date in the article in the May 2012 issue of the Go Magazine, however, the Travel Section of a recent edition of the Sunday Times carried an account of a hike to the crash site, also carrying the incorrect date of 1946.

As far as a memorial is concerned; Kevin O’Leary is buried in West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg where the military graves are cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, while he is commemorated along with all the other airmen who lost their lives in SAAF uniform at the SAAF National Memorial overlooking Zwartkop Air Force Base. His name is inscribed in the official SAAF Roll of Honour kept at the National Memorial. I hope that my own research and writing will be a memorial to him that can be passed on to my own children and grandchildren, and to interested members of the O’Leary family.  

My own view is that the pristine beauty of the Cederberg is the most suitable on-site memorial to those who died there on 8 July 1945, sans graffiti and braai debris. 

Thank you for the great service you render with the compilation of your maps.

Kind regards,
Dermot Moore 5 April 2013

Inputs acknowledged from:
Rudolf Andrag, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Chris Berens, Arrie Beukes, Willem Beukes, Hendrico Burger, Lizette Burger, Theresa Burton, Eleanore Colyn, Andrea and Moritz Connrad, Louis Conradie, David Donald, Rika du Plessis, Connie & Lizzie du Toit, Laurence Elton, Kerneels Filander, Ferdi Fischer, David Fox, Carina Hanekom, Petrus Hanekom, Theunis Hanekom, Peter Hart, Ronnie Hazell, Tony Heher, Martin Hutton-Squire, Sam Jack, James Joubert, Jeroen Kant, Gerrit Karsten, Tony Kings, Isak Koopman, Thys Kruger, Paul la Grange, Patrick Lane, Johann Lanz, John Ross, Justin Lawson, Denis le Jeune, Margie le Roux, Nicky Lombard, Tony Lourens, Sandy MacDonald, Pieter Malan, Quinton Martins, Annette Mason, Charles Merry, Eugene Moll, Dermot Moore, Wim Morris, Greg Moseley, Anneke Nieuwoudt, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Jannie and Katrin Nieuwoudt, Marianna Nieuwoudt, Pip Nieuwoudt, Barry Ockhuis, Joey Ockhuis, Kellie of Grasvlei, Caro & Steve Oldroyd, Paddy O’Leary, Mare Olivier, Linton Pope, Peter Jan Randewijk, Trevor Rennison, Galeo Saintz, Mike Scott, Mariet Smit, Mariaan Smuts, Haffie Strauss, Julyan Symons, Gert Theron, Edmund Thompson, Ingar Valentyn, Anne-Marie van der Merwe, Leonie van der Merwe, George van der Watt, Andricus van der Westhuizen, Hennie van der Westhuizen, Georgina and Johann van Biljon, Johan van der Westhuizen, Mike van Wieringen, Charité van Rijswijck, Kosie Viljoen, Jill Wagner, Torben Wiborg, Ezan Wilson, Steven Windell and Louise Esterhuizen, Mary Anne Zimri

– Kaartman, J-J-June 1st [it’s c-c-cold!]

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