BARRYDALE TRAIL : HOW IT CAME ABOUT In 2002/03 my old friend, the late Chris Shaw asked me to join him in finding a suitable route to establish a Cycle Trail near Barrydale. Chris was the tourism representative on the Barrydale Ratepayers Association Committee. We did a lot of walking surveying the surrounding areas of Barrydale. Due to the nature of the terrain it would have been very expensive to make a pathway smooth enough, even for mountain bikes. Chris became ill with cancer. I told him that instead if the cycle trail, I would have a hiking trail made that would link Barrydale with the Bosmanbos Wilderness. It was sort of dedicated to him. So, I started surveying during 2003, with a hiking friend, Richard Voigt. We established the general route to Bosmansbos where we would link with the Wilderness trail. I started, alone, to cut a path. After a few outings and about 400 meters along members of the Barrydale Hiking Club, Brian East, Don Kelly and Richard Voigt joined me. By the end of the 2003 hiking season we had a couple of kilometres of trail. Later Dick Usher and Keith Tourien joined us as volunteers, and then Peter Nevett as well. FUNDING It became obvious that six old men, on their own, would not be able to cut another 8 kilometres of trail in increasingly difficult terrain. A fundraising event was held to raise some money to employ some younger people to help out. The Cape Town Welsh choir came to Barrydale. About R2000 for a lot of hard work was raised. So, for the year 2004, Don Kelly and I approached the Swellendam Municipality for funds. Don Kelly used the skills he learned as a Catholic priest to get a donation of R10 000 to employ labour to get us going again. We reached the top waterfall. The municipality provided another R10 000 for 2005. At this stage and to the end volunteers Don Kelly, Peter Nevett and Peter Naryshkine supervised construction. Peter Naryshkine was responsible for surveying and marking out the trail using small flags for the workers to follow using the Surveyor General 1:50 000 maps and a GPS and, of course plenty of walking and climbing. Don Kelly was responsible for provisioning and cooking for the workers and payment of wages through the local municipal offices. Camp sites for the second and third stages were established at Rusklip and The Camp Site near the stream below Vaalkop. Rusklip was a point used many, many decades ago by shepherds who took sheep up the mountain for better grazing in the summer. At the end of 2005 funds ran out and we were about one kilometre short of reaching the wilderness trail. Grootvadersbosch administrators came to our rescue by providing the services of the firefighting team and they cut the final bit of the trail.
|Kelly’s Kitchen:Top Camp. Don Kelly having breakfast after the workers have eaten. Barrydale in the background.
A donation of R1000 was made. The donor, a Barrydaler, asked to remain anonymous. The Barrydale Garden Club donated about R1000.
The volunteers made contributions in kind, estimated to be R7 000 over the three year period which consisted of materials, tools and private travel.
Left to right – Peter Naryshkine: Pierre van den Berg (Cape Nature) : Brian East : Keith Tourien : Tracy Petersen (Grootvadersbosch, Senior Ranger)
Pierre vd Berg Cape Nature Don Kelly presenting Net vir Pret with camping equipment.
Don Kelly liaised with the owners of the freehold land through which the trail traverses. This land is “communally” owned by farmers and the municipality. It is, by law, designated water catchment area, and no development whatsoever can take place there. We needed “no objection” from the owners. This was achieved.
There was, initially, some concern that we would not be able to link our trail with that of the wilderness. Cape Nature informed us that our trail could not cross the boundary of the wilderness. Wilderness status affords the highest level of protection. Higher than the Kruger National Park. We fortunately realised that the wilderness trail went outside it’s boundary on the crest of the Langeberg Range. We joined it there.
The Bosmansbos Wilderness has subsequently been declared a World Heritage Site along with six other areas in the Cape Floral Province, including Table Mountain.
It is felt that it is necessary to have the catchment area declared “Conservancy” in terms of the conservation legislation. It will form a buffer for the Bosmansbos Wilderness. It will also provide some teeth to police for the protection of the fauna and flora in the area. Some hunting with dogs does take place. It is suspected that some plants are being removed. There are some very special plant species. There are a surprising number of mammal species, amphibians and snakes and lizards. Perhaps some undiscovered species!
It must be mentioned that Dick Usher, an ex -newspaper journalist got various publications to feature articles on our trail. Amongst these were Country Life and Getaway magazines.
Heritage Day at Grootvadersbosch : Yellowwood Tree planted by Peter Naryshkine and Richard Voigt.
Don Kelly with a group of Barrydale schoolchildren off on a camping trip on the trail.
A group of Cape Town ex-street/abandoned children from Ons Plek childrens home with Monica Wood guided by Peter Naryshkine
ALIEN INVADER PLANT SPECIES