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DateOriginal Topic
24th June 2005South African Adventure - ' Swartkop Challenge '
By Coll
While looking through an evening newspaper last night, I found this interesting article, although more to do with the Boer War.

A group of soldiers were given the task of hauling a naval 12-pounder gun up the near vertical Swartkop hill, commemorating an event from 105 years ago, when soldiers and sailors physically dragged 14 artillery pieces to the summit of the same hill during the Battle of Vaalkranz.

The modern soldiers had to work closely with another team from the Royal Artillery to construct pulleys using ropes, chains and blocks. The winning time was 32 minutes.

Apparently, this incident during the Boer War became the inspiration behind the famous naval gun run at Earls Court.

I know it is not AZW - related, but it was a fascinating small news item to read.

24th June 2005Peter Ewart

There was a very interesting piece about the forthcoming event by Stephen Coan in the Natal Witness on 9th Feb this year, with subsequent correspondence in that paper's letters pages discussing the specific historic origins. There is a report of the 2005 event (which wasn't without mishap!) on the Swartkop Challenge website.

It seems that plans for next year's event are under way.

25th June 2005Coll

Thanks for your reply.

Yes. There was a mention in the article about one of the incidents, along the lines of it being ironic that the winning time to take the gun to the top was 32 minutes, but it took 2 hours to get it back down to the bottom of the hill.

I usually tend to avoid reading most newspapers (too much bad news) but I was glad I noticed this article, especially on a subject of such interest.

26th June 2005Bill Harris
It just so happens that the above event has its own website:

Bill H.
27th June 2005Zane Palmer
This year they rolled the gun and caused it some damage. Hope for better luck next time.
28th June 2005Alan Critchley
I noticed on the website that although the event is to haul the gun up and down the Swartkop hill, the location of the event is yet to be decided???