Gruelling gun haul commemorates Ladysmith siege

2008-04-03 00:00

In commemoration of the relief by the British Army of the Anglo-Boer War siege of Ladysmith, the town will hold its annual Swartkop Challenge at the weekend and bestow the Freedom of the Town on the Royal Navy tomorrow.

In the Swartkop Challenge, 22 members will move a 1,5-ton field gun up a steep, rocky 130-metre slope, using only muscle power.

“The harsh terrain is an unforgiving, often dangerous test of human strength and determination,” said head of Ladysmith tourism Fifi Meyer.

The team finishing first will win the coveted trophy and a cash prize of R8 000. Sponsors include Emnambithi Municipality, KZN Tourism and Holcim.

“This bone-crunching challenge is a unique sport with its roots in the unique history of the province,” said Meyer.

Tomorrow’s ceremony will allow the Royal Navy to march through the streets armed and follows one held at Swartkop last Tuesday, when the Irish Guard Regiment (which received the freedom of the town in 2005) marched through the streets.

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