Demagtenberg, 25 April 2021

Report by Neville Lee

(photo from previous Demagtenberg hike on 7 April, 2019)

It was a perfectly clear day with bright sunshine although we felt neither too hot nor humid. Due to a puncture on the way, Kostya and Patricia were unfortunately unable to join us and so 15 of us set off on the hike. Chris Dobson, our brave and determined leader, strode off followed by Keith and Margaret, Geoff and Janet, Ali, Rebecca, Liezel, Merle, Julia (Lloyd), Mary, Libby, Debbie, Cheryl and myself. It was a fine group of friends with lots of joking around. The long and strenuous first uphill resulted in lots of huffing and puffing and the need for a bit of resuscitation for those who were taking a bit of strain. After enjoying our lunch break at the top, we started the long trek back to our cars via a circular route and all 15 eventually arrived back exhausted but proud and happy.

Hopefully, Chris will continue to offer this very enjoyable hike from time to time.

Demagtenberg is the site of the very first successful heavier-than-air flight by John Goodman Household in 1871, beating the more famous French glider flight by 25 years. John built his own contraption (we would call it a glider nowadays) and he flew it for over half a kilometre before landing safely. While standing on the ridge and looking over the valley to the ridge on the other side, it is all the more mind blowing when you bear in mind that all previous attempts to fly a heavier-than-air contraption had failed and so it was not yet known whether or not it would ever be humanly possible. After gliding proved to be possible, the way was cleared for the Wright brothers to achieve the first engine-powered flight in 1903. Then came regular passenger flights, humans landing on the moon, and possibly in our lifetimes we will see humans landing on Mars (if yet another South African born gets his way).

Once around the Earth : 40 000 km
Earth to the moon : 384 000 km
Earth to Mars : 300 360 000 km