Every so often, you meet someone quite extraordinary, with an incredible tale to tell. Today was one of those days, and the extraordinary person I had the pleasure of chatting to was Hugh Middleton. Hugh has become somewhat of a Helderberg legend in the last 6 years, having hiked to the West Peak 78 times. Yes – you read that right – 78 times! And he’s not slowing down. In fact, you may hear a bit of whinging from the groups of hikers he escorts up to the West peak – Hugh is just too fast! As a regular hiker / trail runner, and having been up to the West Peak a few times, I dared to ask him how fast is fast. Quickest time, 3 hours 30 minutes. Stunned silence from me!
By the way – Hugh is 79 years old (!!)
So – here comes the fun part. You are ALL invited to join Hugh for his 79th hike up to the West Peak this Saturday, 3 December, starting at 7.30am. There will be 2 hiking options – the ‘shorter’ version will be doing Leopard’s Loop (Grade 2B, approx. 3 hours) – lead by the experienced hiker, Ron. The fitter group will be led by Hugh and continue on to the West peak (Grade 3B, approx. 6 hours – slower than Hugh’s normal blistering pace, as we’re expecting quite a crowd).
Hugh turns 80 in December this year, and will be spending a restful day racing up to the West Peak for the 80th time, accompanied by his 3 sons for a family celebration!
Hugh – you are a true inspiration! Congratulations – on behalf of the Friends of the Helderberg, we wish you MANY more happy hours spent on the mountain.
For more information about joining Hugh for his 79th hike, contact Don on 072 270 7972
Please note, you need suitable footwear – good boots are mandatory for West Peak. Bring sun protection – and at least 1.5 litres of water and snacks. These hikes are hosted by the Friends of the Helderberg Reserve and are open to visitors as well as members. No fee to join the walk, however the entry fee to the Reserve for visitors in R20,00 per person, R10,00 for seniors and R10,00 per car.