Story Time: The Giant’s Castle in The Land of Dragons

I’ve been struggling to articulate my thoughts on the next concept following the Wards of Sadness. It revolves around having an aim in life and how my aim of climbing changed mine. So to fill the space whilst i’m chewing on that I thought Id try something different and recount one of my past adventures. Something I would like to begin doing for future adventures as well.

Once upon an Easter in 2017, a group of four of us embarked on a four day hike around the Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. A stunning feast of pure awe awaited us.

This was roughly our route.

The Giants Castle is a section of rock that juts out from the more distinct line of the escarpment forming a small peak on a spine whose tail is a prominent feature in the valleys below. The area to the north of this point forms a bowl of large cliffs and converging valleys. The aim of this hike was to summit the giants castle point and the hike back along the edge of the escarment over a large ridge called Mt Durnford and come down Langalibalele Pass. It would give us views of the point and of the bowl of valleys below from two different sides.

We camped in a campsite close to the hotel from which we would start our first day. We were all quite fit and covered the hilly sections of the lower escarpment quickly.

It’s in these early slopes below the towering edges of the plateau where the Drakensberg really starts to come alive. The rolling green grass and magical slopes of the barrier of a thousand spear as it is known in its local Language name. The Giants Castle itself was veiled in cloud that first day but the views were no less impressive.

As we came closer to the mountains the clouds lifted briefly showing the cliffs of the Castle in their full splendor as we hiked passed them on the way to Giants Pass.

The pass was grueling and I was apparently the slowest of our group at ascents. But slow persistence paid off and the views from close to the cave where we would sleep our first night were worth the effort.

In the morning the clouds had closed in thicker, covering the valleys below. We were in our own mountain world now. We had breakfast in the cold and with the mountain air filling our lungs we were ready to explore this dream like world.

Further up the pass we saw just how cold the night had been with these impressive plant freezes a common sight.

We crossed over the bulk of the Giants Castle which was a longer hike than anticipated. The back side of the Castle slopes away from the valleys and we were walking in the pathless and more barren terrain of the plateaux. When we came up the last slope up to the point it seemed that we suddenly stepped out of an elevator and onto a viewing platform.

To our left were the cliffs we had walked passed the day before and the bowl of valleys covered in a magnificent white blanket.

To our right was the rock spine which stretched out into the ocean of cloud which mesmerised us as it rose and fell. Sometimes covering the spine and sometimes revealing it.

Lourens had brought with him the remainder of our friend Schalk’s ashes and we made a cairn of rocks to place them in. A fitting resting place for a dearly loved friend and adventurer. Despite him taking his own life, I will love him until I die. I miss you Bro.

We hiked back off the point and got some good distance in before rounding a ridge which ran along the edge of the plateaux. We camped on its slopes facing the escarpment eager to be shielded from the eyes of the local herders. We had had an encounter that day which left us feeling less than comfortable with their interactions

On day three we would conquer this ridge, Mt Durnford. It was a much bigger slog than I thought it would be. I was constantly lagging behind and need more than a couple of breaks. There was a specific spot we had to crest the ridge at so that we could find the only gap in the mini cliff on the other side. The path down was treacherous but we got right spot in the end.

Whilst crossing through the various valleys of the plateaux that day we had another encounter with the local herders which was tense to say the least, they are pertty pushy and just say ‘give give’ the whole time. All the while covered in ponchos which gave me the impression they were armed and hiding it.

We had planned to camp at Bannerman Cave above Langalibalele Pass but were put off buy the increased density of local herders in this part of the plateaux. We decided instead to push on and come down the pass a bit to camp. For views this was a fantastic decision. The lower slopes of the Drakensberg are truly magical and we all sat and watched them talking of the hike as the shadows lengthened and called us to a deserved sleep.

We had only a small distance to cover back to the hotel and we took our time walking slowly on our tired legs. Savouring the clearer view of the Castle and the escarpment we had hiked through.

There are few times in my life when I’ve felt more connected to the mountains than the hikes in the Drakensberg. They are epic arduous adventures but each time I went I was reminded anew of the awe that I feel when hiking through them. I wish one day to experience that awe again, for I cannot recall the feeling and there are not the words to describe it. I recount this adventure here to remind myself of what I seek. To light a flame of hope in the amidst the chaos. Hope that I may one day be able to do these things again, however daunting the dragons may be.

Thank you for indulging me and I hope that you too experience this awe one day, in whichever form it calls to you in.

1,559 thoughts on “Story Time: The Giant’s Castle in The Land of Dragons”

  1. Generally I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that
    this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so!

    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  2. Pingback: cymbalta wiki
  3. Pingback: snort zoloft
  4. Pingback: fluoxetine bipolar
  5. Hello are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m
    new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create
    my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  6. Excellent post. I was checking constantly
    this blog and I am impressed! Very useful
    information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot.
    I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  7. I am curious to find out what blog system you’re using? I’m experiencing some
    small security problems with my latest website and I’d like to find
    something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

  8. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it
    helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you
    helped me.

  9. Pretty portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to
    assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing on your feeds and even I success you
    access constantly quickly.

  10. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested
    to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is
    now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to share it with someone!

  11. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and
    wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog
    posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed
    and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  12. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I might
    check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to looking at your web page for a second time.

  13. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog.

    You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d absolutely love to write some content for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested.
    Many thanks!

  14. I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how a lot attempt you place to create any such wonderful informative web
    site.

  15. Бизнесмен и меценат Максим Евгеньевич Каганский родился в Москве 19
    ноября 1980 года в многодетной семье
    сотрудника МВД. В 1998 году поступил в Московский Юридический Институт МВД России
    (сейчас – Академия МВД России), специальность – юрист-правовед.

    максим каганский последние новости
    максим каганский последние новости http://extenxion.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=altapress.ru%2Fpotrebitel%2Fstory%2Funikum-kaganskogo-v-chem-sostoit-konkurentnoe-preimushchestvo-karelskih-ribnih-zavodov-287098%3Fnew_pda%3D1

  16. Бизнесмен и меценат Максим Евгеньевич Каганский родился в
    Москве 19 ноября 1980 года в многодетной семье сотрудника МВД.
    В 1998 году поступил в Московский Юридический Институт
    МВД России (сейчас – Академия МВД России), специальность – юрист-правовед.

    максим каганский новости
    максим каганский новости https://www.ittacenter.org/index.php/k2-listing/item/335-work-hard

  17. Бизнесмен и меценат Максим Евгеньевич Каганский родился в Москве 19 ноября 1980 года в многодетной семье сотрудника МВД.

    В 1998 году поступил в Московский
    Юридический Институт МВД России (сейчас – Академия МВД России),
    специальность – юрист-правовед.

    максим каганский жена
    максим каганский жена http://yaye.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.fontanka.ru%2F2021%2F06%2F24%2F69986933%2F

  18. Бизнесмен и меценат Максим Евгеньевич Каганский родился в Москве 19 ноября 1980 года
    в многодетной семье сотрудника МВД.

    В 1998 году поступил в Московский Юридический
    Институт МВД России (сейчас – Академия МВД России),
    специальность – юрист-правовед.

    максим каганский последние новости
    максим каганский последние новости http://pcsmobilesolutions.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=altapress.ru%2Fpotrebitel%2Fstory%2Funikum-kaganskogo-v-chem-sostoit-konkurentnoe-preimushchestvo-karelskih-ribnih-zavodov-287098%3Fnew_pda%3D1

  19. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you will
    be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may
    come back later in life. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have
    a nice afternoon!

  20. Wow, awesome weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been running
    a blog for? you made running a blog glance easy. The whole look of your web site is magnificent,
    as smartly as the content material!

  21. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog
    article or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  22. This is the perfect website for anyone who hopes to find out about this topic.
    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally
    will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for years.

    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!