Michells Pass, Ceres

Michells Pass Michells Pass Trygve Roberts

Michells Pass (frequently misspelt as Mitchells Pass) was named after Charles Michell who planned the original route through the Skurweberg & Witzenberg Mountains from Tulbagh and Wolsely through to Ceres. He was a talented military engineer, who perhaps gained more fame for his exploits by eloping with the 15 year old daughter of a French colonel. This might explain why he was "transferred" to the Cape of Goof Hope! Michell went on to build several prominent Cape passes.

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The pass was deemed to have significant financial importance to the region as it opened up a decent trading route to the Warm & Koue Bokkeveld farming areas, cutting off some 150 kms of the alternative route to Ceres. The pass was completed in two years and built by none other than Andrew Geddes Bain. The pass was widened and concreted in 1938 just before WW2 (due to a shortage of asphalt), but closed in 1969 when an earthquake shook the area and caused serious rockfalls. It was given a complete revamp in the same year, utilising sections of the original Bain construction and drywall supports. These remains have been declared a national monument in 1998.

It is an easy and comfortable gradient to drive up. The Old Toll House, halfway up the pass, is worth stopping at where refreshments are available. Further up the pass there is a large viewsite on the right, where one gets a good view of the waterfall at the head of the Dwarsrivier, which can be breathtakingly dramatic in the rainy season. If you're lucky, you may catch an exciting glimpse of a kayaker shooting the falls.Just above the waterfall and to the west side, the railway line (now fallen into disuse) disappears into a tunnel.


FACT FILE

GPS START

S33.397736 E19.282590

GPS SUMMIT

S33.378545 E19.293459

GPS END

S33.374997 E19.299158

AVE GRADIENT

1:44

MAX GRADIENT

1:10

ELEVATION START

313m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

491m

ELEVATION END

452m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

178m

DISTANCE

7,93km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

North

TIME REQUIRED

10 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

60 - 80 kph

SURFACE

Tar

DATE FILMED

17.08.2012

TEMPERATURE

12C

NEAREST TOWN

Ceres (10km)

 


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    Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.

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Michells Pass, Ceres Trygve Roberts

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