What an awesome Transbaviaans Supporters weekend…


English: Willowmore station, Eastern Cape
English: Willowmore station, Eastern Cape (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See, what did I tell you?

Didn’t I say last week that it was going to be a totally awesome weekend?

And you know what?  It was.  Like totally.

We left on a sunny, but cool Friday at around 10:00 and drove through towards Steytlerville.  The farm, once owned by Danie Craven, is located just outside Steytlerville.  Baby Girl was as good as gold in the car.  She is such a precious little thing and was very excited to think that all her friends are at school, while she was in the car on the way to an exciting weekend.

On the way to Steytlerville are these amazing flags, showing South Africa’s history painted on the side of the mountain – into the rock.  It’s amazing.

Valley of Flags

“This part of the R329 has been colourfully adorned with flags that have had a historical impact on Steytlerville.  The flags were painted by a nearby farmer pre 1994 and updated after South Africa received its new flag.”

Reference: http://www.baviaans.co.za/page/steytlerville_attractions

Anyway, once we arrived in Steytlerville, we met up with hubby’s team for the Transbaviaans Race, and although we had already eaten, we chatted with them while they had lunch at the Royal Hotel in Steytlerville.

“Have a memorable stay in the historical Royal Hotel in Steytlerville.  Whether you are an adventurer, a historian or a romanticist, you have entered the ideal accommodation site!  The Royal Hotel, dating from 1897, has a tranquil atmosphere with typical old-fashioned rooms.  Watching the “activities and people” from the street facing verandah with an ice-cold drink is a lasting experience  Vaalheuwel, our neighbouring farm, has an “open-sky” spot in the veld where you can have a braai (barbecue) and a campfire, watching the most beautiful sunsets over the Baviaanskloof Mountains.  Bring your children to experience the farm during the lambing season.  Activities like feeding the “hanslam,” horse riding and much more!  Hikers come and enjoy a day’s hike with beautiful views.  Steytlerville is a gem of the Karoo, about two hours from Port Elizabeth and two and a half hours from George.  Steytlerville nights invite you to the brightest stars that you can imagine and you can watch them from a telescope on a neighbouring farm.  Talk to your friends about the donkey cart ride through town or visit one of the biggest Gregorian style Dutch Reformed churches in the Southern Hemisphere.  Comprehend where the poet A.G. Visser got his inspiration from and do not miss a show over dinner!  Have a picnic at Draaikrans (rotated rocks) or just come and relax in the quiet Karoo.  Should you have a group to entertain, contact us to create a customized program.  Whether it is for a family reunion, hiking, birthday party, hunting, biking or family getaway, we will make sure you have a weekend full of fun, which you will never forget!”

(Reference: http://www.steytlervilleaccommodation.co.za/)

After hubby and his team touched base, we headed off to the farm.  And what a beautiful farm it is.  Stunning.  Baby Girl loved seeing the cows and sheep, and played around as hubby and sat on the verandah just enjoying the calmness.  Do you know how quiet a farm can be?  And do you know how cold it can be once the sun sets?  Oh.  My.  Word.  It was seriously cold.

The name of the farm is Noorspoort Farm.

“The first recorded farmer at Noordse Poort was a G C Strydom in 1820.  In 1863 George Nathaniel John Hayward (1826 – 1890), third son of the 1820 Settler, James Hayward (1799 – 1882), bought the farms Noordse Poort of 994 morgen and De Poort from Marx for £1 000 (actual transfer took place in 1871 and T I Ferreira, F Gerds and J Mosel were listed as co-owners).

John Hayward must have bought out his partners, over a period.  The farm later became known as Noorspoort.  The original farmhouse was built on the eastern side of the present homestead and was later used as a shed, but was demolished in about 1950.

Later he bought De Poort, Oude Post and Kranskop.  John was instrumental in making an attempt to provide Steytlerville with water by constructing a furrow from a site where the Oudepost Loop enters the Groot River.  When £60 had been spent (all the funds available), the project was abandoned.  As late as 1911 traces of this venture were still visible.  Over the entrance of one of the large outbuildings at Noorspoort is a stone on which he had inscribed “1863 J Hayward.”  In about 1878, John went to England to visit relatives.  The painting that John had done while overseas is still on display at Noorspoort.  John became a wealthy farmer who left farms to all his children and built houses for his daughters in Steytlerville.  He subdivided the properties Kranskop and De Poort into three sections of 900 morgen each and for three of his daughters and called the central property Chelmsford.  John died in 1888 as a result of a kick from a horse.  His wife, Dina, died in 1892 and both are buried at Noorspoort.  After his death in 1888, Noorspoort went to his only son, John James Hayward (1859 – 1937).  John James built a stable for his horse and later added on to the building, which was the start of the present homestead.  In 1885, John James moved to Aberdeen district where he bought the farm, Oorlogspoort, but continued farming operations at Noorspoort.  John James became a very successful farmer and established the Noorspoort irrigation lands.  This scheme included a weir on the Groot River (constructed by a Mr. I Ferreira in 1890), a 5 km long furrow and 80 morgen of lands.  Part of the schem was undertaken by a neighbour, Mr. Walton.  In 1907, after his completion of his studies at Victoria College (Stellenbosch University), George Nathaniel Hayward (1886 – 1977), eldest son of John James, started farming at Noorspoort.  George recorded that he had to pay £100 per year for the hire of 3 391 morgen and his father gave him 300 Angora goats.  His father also arranged to have a wagon made for George on his homecoming.  The wagon was built by one Andries Somers of Graaff-Reinet and made of stinkwood, ordered from Oudtshoorn.  It weighed three tons and was railed from Graaff-Reinet to Baroe.  This wagon was used for many years to cart wool and mohair until tractors replaced it.  The wagon is now in the Steytlerville museum.  In 1914, the Noorspoort farmhouse was renovated and enlarged for George’s bride, Hannah.  George’s father gave them a very large teak dining table and twelve matching chairs as a wedding present.  This suite is now in the possession of George’s eldest grandson, George Craven.”

Reference: http://www.noorspoort.co.za/page15.html

But, although the history of the farm is extremely interesting, the nicest part was that the host and farm manager (wife and husband team) went out of their way to aide all the cyclists.  On Friday night, she cooked the most delicious chicken pasta, with salad and bread and Malva pudding for dessert.  On Saturday morning, she got up early and cooked baby potatoes for all the cyclists to carry with them on their race.  Seriously?  No one asked her to do that – and it was greatly appreciated by all the cyclists.  She also cooked the most delicious Jungle Oats for breakfast and lovely coffee.  It was very nice.

We then headed off to Willowmore and did I mention that it was freezing.  Thankfully, we brought warm jackets with and I was able to keep Baby Girl nice and warm with a blanket in the car.  She was very tired though.  The travel the day before took a bit out of her and we had to get up quite early on Saturday and then rush to get finished.  So, on the drive to Willowmore, she slept in the car – how nice to be able to do that, and hubby and I could spend a few precious minutes together with uninterrupted chatting.  How nice was that?

The weather, unfortunately, did not play along and not only was it freezing, but raining as well.  Being wet and cold at the same time is not a good combination.  Fortunately, though, at the start of the race, the wind wasn’t blowing – in fact, it was amazingly calm.  So, hubby started his race at 10:00 and Baby Girl and I waved him off and then drove in convoy to Jeffrey’s Bay.  With a few stops here and there, and more coffee breaks than were strictly necessary, we finally came through to Jeffrey’s Bay a little before 17:00.  Baby Girl slept in the car for about an hour, but she was as good as gold.  Seriously – I could not ask for a more well-behaved child.

When we got to Jeffrey’s Bay, I took her to Spur so she could play in the play area, and get rid of some of that excess energy from sitting in the car the whole day.

We eventually got back to our Bed ‘n Breakfast establishment where we were going to spend the night in Jeffrey’s Bay, had a lovely warm bath and got into bed for the night.  They B’nB didn’t have any pay TV, so we had to settle for the free channels, which had nothing on.  So it was Baby Girl on the iPad and me on the Kindle and eventually dozed off to an early night’s sleep.  Only to be woken up at about 22:00 to get the keys so hubby can get there after he finished his race.  Only to be woken again at about 00:30 with other cyclists coming in, and the wind and rain and the huge storm that hit Jeffrey’s Bay kept me awake for a long time after that – I really felt for hubby doing the race in this weather and inside I was saying little prayers to keep him safe, even though I know that he would be.

But, hubby said that they only hit the storm with about 10 kilometers to go, so it wasn’t that bad.  His team eventually finished at about 01:45, and he got to bed at about 03:00 that morning.

And a very proud moment for me, was when he was called up to receive his special plague commemorating his fifth Transbaviaan Race.

Yes, my hubby has now done this race FIVE times (actually sixth, but they pulled out about 70 kilometers from the finish when his partner started suffering from hypothermia).

What an amazing weekend.

Hubby may not know this yet – but Baby Girl and I will be joining him again next year.  It was so much fun, that I’ll definitely be going with more often.

Thanks for a great weekend!

 

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