This is a blog concentrating on the Veld and Vlei Adventure School which was based in Estcourt, Natal. The Veld and Vlei Trust acquired the historic homestead of Sir Frederick Moor (the last premier of Natal) on the farm called Greystone, just outside the town of Estcourt and overlooking the Wagendrift dam.
From the farm’s name Greystone the location of this Veld and Vlei camp is often simply referred to as Greystone.
The first Veld and Vlei Adventure School was established in Sedgefield near Knysna in 1958, followed by one in Elgin. The Greystone school was started in 1966. Courses were traditionally over the July and December school holidays.
Attending a Veld and Vlei course was often a pivotal experience in a boy’s life. Most were in standard nine or matric at the time they enrolled on a course. The three-week period covered a range of physical activities ranging from an obstacle course, map reading and camping, to early morning runs, swims, sailing and a long hike in the Drakensberg. Decades later, past trainees of the Veld and Vlei Adventure School look back with fond and proud memories of their time spent there. Many returned in subsequent years as voluntary instructors or helpers, such was their loyalty and enthusiasm for the movement.
This blog aims to keep those memories alive, and it is hoped that friends from those early times will share their stories, photographs, and anecdotes with others.
Early pioneers, organisers, wardens and instructors of the Greystone courses also need to be acknowledged and thanked for their tireless and enthusiastic dedication. It would be rewarding if their stories too could be woven into this blog.
Hugh Solomon course G8 July 1970, Pete Swanepoel course G12 July 1972 and Anthony de Souza course G19 December 1975 decided we needed to get this going.
Peter Swanepoel was chosen leader of Uys patrol that year, and he writes how G12 ended up differently in that a meningitis outbreak cut it short just after the start of the long high-Drakensberg hike. ‘We had already set out but were called back, told to walk SLOWLY and sent home with an envelope full of big white pills. What a bummer!’
‘We were given blue felt badges and a poor-you-ous letter, but no course-completion certificates. And rightly so, I feel: A lot can happen on a six day hike in the high Berg in winter! Here’s the letter:’
I wonder if I ever got my R3,79? Who’s running the tuckshop account these days?