Lion’s Heads and Table tops….

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I set out Saturday morning to go up Table Mountain. The site showed that it was closed (wind), so I decided instead to climb up Lion’s Head, which is next door to Table Mountain. I drove in to the city and found a carpark directly opposite the track up. All is good so far!
Lion’s Head and its neighbour Signal Hill are set next to Capetown, part of the mountain group that dominate the centre of the city along with Table Mountain itself.
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The path up Lion’s Head starts off as a wide clay-lined path which roams innocently up the start of the mountain. As you climb higher the past becomes progressively less friendly and narrow.
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I did make a detour out to the side to take this photo through the rocks down towards Camp Bay and the Twelve Apostles above it.
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This is an early shot of the peak    P1050978
Eventually the path turns into steps, which then evolve into a rock path which – towards the top – has ladders, staples and
chains for people to use to help them clamber up to the peak.
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In the end I was beaten by my dislike (read “fear”) of heights, with the path becoming too narrow for me to feel safe and the remaining 10 metres or so to the peak looking like a vertical climb … This was the first ladder which I had clambered up happily about 20 minutes earlier…. that was brave enough for me
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Perching prcariously on a path which was barely wide enough for my feet to fit beside each other, I decided it was not worth the difficulty, so I descended to more stable surrounds. I started to take a photo but didn’t like the feel of being blown off this small path.
Afterwards, I went to the V & A ( Victoria and Albert) and wandered around on the waterfront. In the meantime, Table Mountain had opened and from the photos below, you can see what difference an hour can make on the weather here – remarkably  like Auckland, though a lot warmer in the present year!!!
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So came Wednesday…and the day dawned clear and blue with very little wind. I put my camera in my examining bag just in case and took off to work for the day. Sure enough at 4.00, in a break, the Mountain was open and the visibility was clear…! An opportunity not to be lost. It was far the best day I have had here to go up the mountain, so I decided to go in when I finished work. It took an hour to get through the traffic in the last 5 kilometres. the traffic was simply unbelievable. Auckland has nothing like it! There are endless traffic lights on the route. Some of them so close thta you can’t move because the NEXT robots (as they are termed here) are still red so nothing happens…and the lights take an incredibly long time to change.  Not to mention that when the drivers here want to change lanes they just change lanes….and you do not get in their way – in a rental car at least. My GPS (phone) started off saying the 5 kilometres would take 23 minutes and ended up saying 44 minutes at one stage.
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Having gone this far I decided to see it out and eventually ended up at the cable station to go up. They have just opened up the Mountain to evening viewing for the season, so I arrived on the top at 6.55, having set out from 19 kilometres away at 4.55!!
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Having done that, the view was amazing! The sun was setting, so I took a shot to rival the Kawhia shot that I use as the
background on my computer. I also went on their 30 minute trek – it took me about 15 minutes, including photos – probably 33 minutes for the large american tourists……or maybe I just don’t appreciate these things long enough  🙂
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The top of the mountain is very flat, with Fynbos growing – apparently some of them found only on Table Mountain. There are glorious views all round and of course the view down towards Cape Town is incomparable. This was a truly elevating experience in every respect. The photos can speak for themselves better than I can.
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On the way down I watched the people walking down from the Mountain peak. I think it would be a lot easier climb than Lion’s Head, as the cable station is not that far from the top of the Mountain – Lions Head would be a bigger climb. However that will have to wait for another visit, as I do not feel inclined to fight the Cape Town traffic once more, though it would be another great experience. This time I will have to make do with lion’s heads and table tops….
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About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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