Training Run: The Flat-Topped Mount Once More

After being refused entry to Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve (read about that here) I needed a backup plan for my run. After a week in the Winelands region of South Africa I was booked to stay that night in Cape Town as I would fly to Johannesburg the following day. Therefore I immediately started to plan a run up its famous flat-topped mountain.

In the late afternoon I parked my car at Cecilia Forest, which provided me access to gravel roads that wound there way up to the top of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. I would use different routes for my ascent and descent, and I tried to remember my preferred direction from previous runs. I climbed up Nursery Ravine, and reached the “top” realising how much lower I still was than the peak. As I started on a circuit around the top some low cloud started to move in, and I decided that it would be wise not to waste any time.

As I headed towards one of the best viewpoints on my route I removed my phone from my pack for a photo as the cloud had cleared for the moment. Then when I was a scant few metres from stopping for a photo I was enveloped in cloud once more. I climbed up to the high point at Maclear’s Beacon, before making my way to the top of Skeleton Gorge for my descent. The descent was slippery at the top, but definitely preferable in my opinion to the loose rock at the top of Nursery Ravine.

On the descent I passed an American, and we chatted briefly before I continued on. At the bottom of the gorge I waited briefly and when he arrived we engaged in a longer discussion. He had started his run in downtown Cape Town and would finish in the suburb of Claremont, with no definite route planned out. I suggested the option I thought best for his descent and we parted ways.

In five days of trail running in the Western Cape I had climbed over 1,000 metres each day. I had only once before put together so many back-to-back days of ascent, during a magical week in Yosemite back in 2013.

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