Over 40 people from the Overstrand and Cape Town joined the first of the 2020 Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse series of practice walks on Sunday 15 September in Hermanus.

Susan Bartens was one of the volunteers who walked a dog from Hermanus Animal Welfare. Here she is with Oprah.

To make this walk even more special, the Lighthouse committee had arranged with the Hermanus Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) to walk a few of their dogs along a section of the route to not only exercise them, but also to help increase their chances of adoption.

The walkers met at The Beanery at 07:15 for the 22 km walk and made their way onto the contour path above Mountain Drive behind group leader Elaine Bayer (co-owner of The Beanery and Lighthouse committee member). The group thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the early morning, misty view of Hermanus. Unfortunately, not too far into the walk, local resident Sonja Oosthuizen, broke her ankle.

The sweeper on the walk (the person bringing up the rear of the group) was Lighthouse committee member, Elna de Villiers. After the accident, Elna quickly called her husband (an ortho surgeon) who contacted emergency services. The rescue teams arrived shortly afterwards and carried Sonja down the mountain, where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.

The rest of the walk went off without a hitch and the walkers stopped in the Fernkloof gardens for a quick break before setting off towards Voëlklip by way of another hiking trail. Along the way they had a friendly encounter with a troop of baboons and saw many beautiful flowers beginning to bloom.

The path took them down to the residential area of Voëlklip, where the group continued on to Grotto beach and had a slightly longer break under the trees at Dutchies Restaurant. Here they were met by HAWS and ten young dogs wearing ‘Adopt Me’ bandannas. The dogs were excited to meet their walkers (who all had water and poop bags for the dogs) and were anxious to get going on their walk.

Part of the route took the walkers through the beautiful Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

The group set off along the cliff path from Grotto beach to the Old Harbour in Hermanus, with the dogs eagerly sniffing at everything along the path. The walkers were also blessed to see a few whales performing in Walker Bay as the sun came out and the sky cleared.

HAWS met the group of walkers and dogs at their last stop on the lawn in front of Village Square where they were waiting with more water for the dogs. The walkers had another short break before continuing with the last stretch of the walk, back to The Beanery at Gateway Centre.

The walkers were relieved to reach The Beanery just after 13:00, as aches and pains were starting to set in. In spite of this, the group thoroughly enjoyed their walk together.

The next practice walk will be on 13 October in Kleinmond. More information on this event and on the dogs that were walked on the first practice walk can be found on the Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse Ladies Facebook page.

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