A 76-year-old retired project engineer, originally from Scotland but since 2012 a Sir Lowry’s Pass resident, has published a guide to the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountain Rim, which comprises not only information related to mountains, trails, caves, rock art and rock climbs but also encapsulates a lot of the history and legends that go along with it.
Steve Chadwick, a qualified summer and winter mountain leader, is a former member of the Scottish Highlands Mountain Rescue Team, where he was for 15 years, and since coming to the Western Cape has been busy on the local hiking front, being hike master of the Gantouw Hike Club from 2018 to 2020.
Along the way he developed a fascination for the history and trails of the local mountains and the book is the result of eight years of careful research.
Chadwick is also a writer who has had articles published in climbing club journals, monthly climbing magazines, national mountaineering club journals, travel and Scottish interest magazines.
In part of the preface of his latest book, he writes: “Driven by curiosity, I have spent many years slowly gathering data regarding the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Rim.
“I am guilty of becoming increasingly passionate in my search, and have lately been encouraged by friends to collect all my research in one place, in case the history and stories are lost forever . . .
“It is my earnest hope readers will have as much fun as I have had and be as fascinated as I have been in teasing out the intriguing stories and history of the mountains that tower above us.”
Chadwick told DistrictMail & Helderberg Gazette it was during his college and university days that he became interested in rock climbing and enjoyed the challenge and adrenalin, which then opened the doors to snow and ice climbing, and then he moved on to expeditions.
“Wherever in the world my work took me I went climbing, Europe, the Middle and Far East, and Africa, and all along indulged in adventures and experiences.
“As soon as I came here my eyes were opened to this mountain rim, and soon after I started writing about it.”
As a member of three PAACs (Protected Area Advisory Committees), he is a passionate believer in right of access to mountain tops, and is part of a pressure group that campaigns for the reopening of the many trails currently closed by Cape Nature.
“We do this for the good of the community, to promote eco-tourism,” Chadwick pointed out.
As part of the research for the book, he spoke to locals, old members of mountaineering clubs and others, and when sometimes stories disagree he has put both versions out to allow the reader to decide.
The father of three, who is also a guitarist who has played many a mountain-top ditty and continues to do so with gusto, says the book will appeal to all in the community interested on the history of the mountains, to trail runners and hikers as well as wider interest groups eager to learn more of the tales that the mountains hold.
The book was completed at the end of November last year and is Chadwick’s fourth publication, the other three being about Scotland.
V Copies of it can be found at Idiom restaurant, at Helderberg Nature Reserve or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org