Hugh Middleton of Somerset West has only been hiking up West Peak in the Helderberg Nature Reserve for the past seven years, yet on Saturday morning at about 8am, he set off to do the hike for the 100th time, and he’s just short of two weeks from his 81st birthday on December 27.
That’s just a shade over once a month that he does the West Peak hike, and that’s not the only route he hikes.
“How tough is the hike?” I ask.
Hugh contemplates the question and I add helpfully: “By comparison with Simonsberg?”
“Not quite as tough as Simonsberg,” he says with a grin. I’ve done the Simonsberg, and believe me, it is one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done.”
Prior to setting of, Hugh was crowned “King of the Mountain” when Penny Clifton-Smith of The Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve presented him with a certificate of recognition, and Steve Chadwick of Gantouw Hiking Club, officially crowned him, and presented him with a life-membership of the club.
Speaking after completing his 100th West Peak hike, Hugh had this to say:
“It felt pretty much like all the other times, but what was different, was having these 16 wonderful people accompany on my 100th hike up West Peak. That made it very special.”