Brandwacht to Donier Trail Run

Our trail grading: ORANGE 2A
Distance: 17km
Extremeness: Number of dead ends
Location: Wine farms, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Joggers: Andries Heyns, Cobus Potgieter, Deryck Nel & me

This morning we started early on our exploration jog. The mission: to jog from Brandwacht to Lourensford (in Somerset West) via trails & off-road sections above the wine farms of Stellenbosch. Not all the way down to Lourensford’s settlements of course, but to the highest contour path of Lourensford as identified on Google Earth. What we should have also spotted on Google Earth was how long and treacherous the off-road sections really are.

The jog started well and we took the shortest route uphill to the top of Paradyskloof and headed towards Helderberg at the foot of Stellenbosch mountain. We hit a dead end after 2km and here Andries jogged into some trouble (he told me not to post this on the blog). I suppose we can forgive him since he came second at the Western Province Biathlon Championships this week and is heading for the South African Championships later this year! My two remaining accomplices and I took the road down towards a random farm, looking for an alternative route. Again we found only a dead end! So we decided to go uphill again, seeing if someone has not thought of continuing the contour single track in the direction we required. Again, no luck! So here we were faced with the following choices: (1) go all the way up Stellenbosh mountain; (2) Bundu bash for two hours or (3) head all the way down to Blaauwklippen road. Option three seemed to be the best option for reaching our goal and we headed downwards.

After I tore my shorts climbing over a fence, we were on Blaauwklippen road (7km into our run). Cobus decided to head back home at this stage and Deryck and I started jogging towards the Helderberg mountain, NEXT to the Blaauwklippen road... avoiding some dreaded t@r on our trail run. After about 9km into our jog we decided to abandon the mission. A better idea would be to drive as close to the mountain as possible and then try to reach Lourensford again. When we turned back the sun was baking already and the jog back home was fairly tough. Although we failed the mission, we had fun and a great deal of information was gathered during this exploration/ reconnaissance jog!

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