Latest News! 14th February, 2019

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Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day! - Photo: iStockImages.com

Valentine's Day

We are good at arranging things, but it was a complete fluke that our news release this week co-incided with Valentine's Day. So what better theme to tackle in our news release, than a romantic note. That got us wondering how many romances were kindled (or children conceived) at the summit point of some or the other mountain pass around South Africa and if the nightly goings-on at the lookout point on Uys Krige Drive (overlooking Table Bay and the mountain) are anything to go by, then that tally is probably quite high!

If you were one of those who were proposed to or did the actual proposal on a pass, why not send us your story and the winning entry will receive a free gift from us. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have moved!

The MPSA head office moved premises last weekend. The finishing touches still need some attention and a lot of boxes are scattered about the floorspace, but we have completed the move and this news letter will be the first to be published from the new premises. Our contact numbers and email details remain the same. If we were a little slow in responding to email requests, that is the reason, but we are back up to speed again now.

Pass of the week:

Our featured pass of the week is actually three back to back passes which cover a distance of 19 km through some of the most beautiful and rugged parts of the southern Cederberg and which we traversed during our Southern Cederberg Tour two weeks ago. [More lower down]

The story behind Valentine's Day - The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

St. Valentine

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men.

Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement.

Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.

By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France. [Courtesy of History.com]

New Tours:

We have had many requests to run tours to the Swartberg/ Die Hel as well as to the Baviaanskloof. Both of those tours are scheduled before the end of June. As soon as we have finalised dates and details, we will publish them on the South African Mountain Passes Shop & Tours website, as well as via our Tours Newsletter.

This Saturday we head off on our Stettynskloof Tour and an exploration of the tragic final flight of the Avro Shackleton 1718. We will report back on this tour next week Thursday.

Podcast: Our podcast this week covers the salient points of the Shackleton disaster in 1963

Pass of the week:

Last week for the first time ever, we ran a double feature of Pella and Charles' Pass. This week we (purely by coincidence) are featuring a trio of passes along the R303 between Citrusdal and Op die Berg, which we recently refilmed. The passes were all traversed in our recent Southern Cederberg Tour, which also featured Grey's Pass, the Piet Esterhuysen Pass, Wilzenberg Valley Pass and the timesless Gydo Pass. Enjoy the new videos and if you're in the area, we highly recommend driving them.

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Trygve Roberts

Thought for the day: "Everything you ever wanted lies on the other side of fear" ~ Brian Tracey.

(Many years ago I attended a course where the word FEAR was used as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. Just think carefully about that for a minute........ Capiche?)

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Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.

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