Veld & Vlei

Veld & Vlei at Greystones on the banks of Wagendrift Dam in the July holidays of 1972. ‘Leadership School’ – a physical and mental challenge, they say.

Memories of a busy week: The tough obstacle course – carry that 44-gal drum over the wall without letting it touch the wall! And HURRY!

Chilly winter nights in these old canvas bell tents – we slept like logs:

Cross-country runs; PT by military instructors (what’s with this love for things military?); Brief immersion swims in the frigid water of the dam every morning; The lazy bliss of sailing an ‘Enterprise’ dinghy out of reach of anything strenuous! Then the second week: Being chosen as patrol leader; A preparatory two-day hike in the area.

Then the climax, the big challenge: The course-ending six-day hike! By bus to Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. We set off with our laden rucksacks down the valley, up the other side towards the snow-topped peaks, heading for Langalabilele Pass and the High ‘Berg. We had walked about 5km when a faint shout sounded and continued non-stop until we stopped and searched for the source. It was an instructor chasing after us and telling us to “Turn around, abort the hike, return to Greystones! Walk SLOWLY!” Someone had come down with meningitis and the whole course was ending early!
We were given medicine and sent home with strict instructions to take it easy: No physical exercise.

But our rucksacks were packed and our wanderlust aroused, so we headed straight off to Mt aux Sources soon after getting home.

(In those days only the left-side ladder was there)

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