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Table Mountain Helderberg
It was one of the hottest days we'd had on or African trip, 35 degrees C, and not a breath of wind. It was of course the day we'd chosen to climb the Helderberg. We met Johnno, one of Cod's friends at the Helderberg nature reserve.

We were heading more or less up Disa Gorge towards the ridge, when Johnno asked if we'd like to see the only colony of Egyptian fruit bats in the Western Cape. Too good an opportunity to miss we thought, so we left the path and made our way through, over and around Porcupine Buttress to the cave. There had recently been a bush fire on the mountain, which had the advantage that the undergrowth had been cleared, but what was left made us absolutely filthy. We scrambled up the cliffs, past what Johnno assured us was leopard poo (that's a hazard you don't face on Scafell!) until we reached the cave. A few of the bats, disturbed by our presence, flew out and one very nearly got clobbered by a peregrine falcon right in front of our eyes. The bat did a quick sideslip and escaped, so we thought we'd better leave them to settle down.

Rather than return to the path, which was about half an hour away, we decided to climb straight up the hillside to the ridge. Hot, tiring and filthy work.

After a rest in the col between the West and Central Peaks we carried on to the top of the West Peak (1003 metres).

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