30 September 2014


Today we met Kate, Paul and Pauline, and went up the zigzags from Tafelberg Road to the Saddle. The idea was to walk all the way up and over and down to Newlands Forest, where we had left the Land Rover.
There were hundreds of Berry Heath (Erica baccans) in flower,
making the views over the city rather spectacular.
A little lone lachenalia flowering in the middle of the path.
Beautiful flowers everywhere. The Food Lady is breaking in a new camera - and hasn't quite mastered the macro-technique. But here are some while Felicia fruticans,
and Brown-beard Sugarbush (Protea speciosa).  
More ericas up on the saddle, this time millions of white ones - probably the Honeycomb Heath (Erica calycina).
First pink watsonia of the season! With Lion's Head in the background.
We detoured to have tea at Pulpit Rock.
Kate had oranges, and cheese and nutty bread - mmmm.
Tea spot high above Cape Town - the Alph, Pauline, Kate, Paul in the front and me at the far right keeping a look out for baboons and dassies.
We then walked up and up and Laddie found the top of Newlands Ravine - "Come on you lot! I am dying to hunt Sambar Stags so hurry hurry!" he is saying.

But the Voice of Authority held him back while the others caught up.
Looking up at the gently zigging and sagging path down Newlands Ravine.
We descended into beautiful LOTR* forests,
and almost Bushveld like patches.
Keurbooms (Virgilia oroboides) lined the rocky route further down. Me checking for hobbits and haggises (which the Food Lady says is what she is but I know better) in the undergrowth.
The Alph waiting for slowpokes.
A LOTR tree.
Tummy cooling and thirst quenching in one of the numerous cold streams. Perfect for Scots.
Through the forest,
and across the river,
past ferocious hounds that had to be restrained, 
and benign hounds that just wanted to play. This is where we nearly lost Laddie to another pack. A few months ago I would have been overjoyed to have lost him, but he has improved a lot and I am quite fond of him now in a Scottie-ish kind of way.
There were lots and lots of cars on Tafelberg Road when we went back to fetch the cars that we had left there earlier. It took ages to get on our way. Luckily we were in the Land Rover with the Alph so we couldn't hear the Food Lady moan about all the cars. 
Then is was home to wait for Harvey and Georgie to come and play - and Kerryn and Sue with them - bringing roses, pavlovas, gifts from the frozen north and wine ...
Glad to have you back Kerryn. And Phil gets home tomorrow.
*And in case you are wondering, or haven't ever been to New Zealand, LOTR means Lord of the Rings.

22 September 2014

To the lighthouse

Today's walk started at Slangkop Lighthouse where we met Pauline, Sue and Honey, and my best friend Maddie, and Alice. Always nice to be three black dogs together again.
Once up the first bit, you have to cross the busy road,
then you are up and in the mountains. Still seeing and smelling tortoises everywhere ...
and everywhere were creeping Green Snakestem Pincushions (Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron subsp. hypophyllocarpodendron).
No, we are not at the open air mosque - Pauline and the Alph are just having a sniff of the creeping pincushions which are very fragrant. I wondered if there would be any rolling, but maybe they didn't want to be shouted at by the Food Lady who shouts at us when we roll in good smelling stuff. 
There were lots and lots of these Cape Peninsula endemic Cluster Spiderheads (Serruria glomerata). (Click on the name to go to Alice's post on PlantZAfrica.)
The path through the serrurias and ericas.
On the path were some strange little scroffy plants with black flowers called Lyperia tristis. According to Nick Helme on iSpot, its an unusual brown form (usually yellow or cream).
And in the fynbos, tortoise hunting, was a strange little scruffy black dog with a pink tongue called Coco.
We chose a nice tea spot in some rocks, but as the Food Lady couldn't see the screen on her camera, she managed to cut off Alice and Maddie. But in the photo are Pauline, Sue and the Alph.
Maddie in front of a rare erica that Alice was very excited to find, called the Hairy-tube Heath (Erica brachialis). Only six known subpopulations exist on the Peninsula, estimated to number less than 1200 mature individuals. It is a slow-growing reseeder and declining due to too-frequent fires, competition from alien invasive plants and habitat loss to coastal development.
There were lots of bulbs, like this little Geisshoriza, possibly juncea,
and Moraea fugax with ants.
Lots of mesembs, like this Ruschia macowanii,
and lots of little orchids, including this Oumakappie (Pterygodium catholicum),
and these weird red Catnails (Hyobanche sanguinea) which are also known as Skilpadkos - but not one skilpad did I find, and not for want of searching.
Back to the Cobra Camp ruins,
and down the hill, past Arctotis aspera in full bloom,
and spectacular bushes of Felicia fruticosa,
back into the milkwoods, 
and down to the rocks in front of the lighthouse
for a very welcome, icy cold dip in the ocean. What more can a little hot Scot ask for?
We found some sea anemones under the water, 
and some Cape False Limpets (Siphonaria capensis) on the rocks,
and along the boardwalk on the way back were hundreds and thousands of little blue and white Romulea tabularis flowers.
And to end, here is a miniature painting of the Slangkop Lighthouse done by a Cape Town artist, Lorriane Loots, who also painted a scottie in the forest that I think is me.