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[On-bike video material supplied by Mike Liecester / Video cover photo by Derek Keats]
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Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.
Digging into the details
Getting there: From Kroonstad head east on the R76 to Steynsrus. Continue east after Steynsrus on the R76 for 24 km to arrive at the western end of the pass.
Just before the start of the pass, a small gravel road leads off to the left (north) to the farm Tweefontein. On the farm there are many examples of corbelled houses, where even the roofs have been built from dry-packed stones. These stone huts date back to a very long time ago when the earliest inhabitants settled the area. The official maps list as them as "beehive shaped stone huts" and in Afrikaans as "byekorfvormige kliphutte". Inquire in the town of Lindley as to obtaining a permit to visit the stone huts.
The road starts climbing at a gentle gradient of 1:33 in a straight line for the first 2,6 km. It then starts bending through an easy S curve to the left towards the summit, where the gradient gets a bit steeper at 1:11. There are some cuttings near the summit which is at an altitude of 1565m ASL at the 3,2 km point. On our video aerial animation section, the scars of the old road can still be clearly seen on the northern side of the existing road.
The descent is easier and shorter than the ascent. The easy and long S-curve starightens out after the summit, where the road heads dead staright towards the end of the pass at a gradient of 1:16. The pass ends at the 5,15 km point at an altitude of 1509m ASL.
This pass is suitable for all vehicles and holds no apparent dangers.
Towards the end of the pass, on the eastern side, another two gravel roads peel off on either side. The first one to the left (north) leads to the farm Vaalhoek and a second farm Sedan a little further to the north, whereas the second road, which appears quickly after the first, heads south to the farm Kiepersol, where there are another 8 corbelled huts.
Once you have reached Lindley, and you want to visit the old Anglo-Boer battle sites, head north out of town on the main tarred road and turn left (west) onto the R725, shortly after crossing the Valsrivier. Head west for 2,5 km to visit the memorial to the Imperial Yeomanry.
On 3 May 1900 Lord Roberts' force left Bloemfontein while a new division, led by Lt-Gen Ian Hamilton, marched away to the east. This column of 15 000 men and 38 guns had fought at Houtnek on 7 May 1900 and, in turning the flank of the
Boers at Zand (Sand) River on 10 May, had suffered less than 100casualties. On 18 May the column approached Lindley, which had been proclaimed the new provisional Boer capital of the Free State after Kroonstad had fallen to Roberts
on 12 May. When Hamilton's vanguard neared Lindley, however, the town had been abandoned by President M T Steyn and his government.
On 19 May 1900, Hamilton's force entered Lindley. With them was a young correspondent, Winston Churchill, working for The Morning Post. He describes what he saw: 'The houses - white walls and blue-grey roofs of iron, were tucked away at the bottom of a regular cup, and partly hidden by dark Australian trees ... a typical South African town, with a large central market square and four or five broad unpaved streets radiating therefrom. There is a small clean-looking hotel, a substantial gaol, a church and a school house. The town's folk were unwelcoming, except for the British inhabitants one of whom owned two shops.' Churchill went to the home of one of them. Above the doorway hung a Union Jack.
'I advise you to take that down', said Churchill.
'Why?' asked the resident, 'The British are going to keep the country, aren't they?'
'This column is not going to stay here forever.'
'But surely they will leave some soldiers behind to protect us, to hold the town?'
Churchill wrote: 'I told him I thought it unlikely. Ours is a fighting column. Other troops would come up presently for garrison duty. But there would probably be an interval of at least a week'. Churchill was to be proven correct.
The British 47th Company Imperial Yeomanry were completely routed by the Boer forces in the koppies near Lindley, leading to an embarrasing defeat recorded into the history books. The full account of the battle can be read here.
Lindley is a small town situated on the banks of the Vals River in the eastern region of the Free State province. It was established by an American missionary named Daniel Lindley, who was the first ordained minister to the Voortrekkers in Natal.
The settlement of Lindley was laid out in 1875 on the farm Brandhoek and was proclaimed a town in 1878. The main route to the town is the R76. Lindley, together with its neighbouring towns of Reitz, Petrus Steyn and Arlington form the Nketoana Municipality.
Stella Blakemore, popular youth author in Afrikaans, who wrote series such as Maasdorp and Keurboslaan, was born in Lindley in 1906.
Danie Craven, the famous Springbok Rugby Union player, administrator and coach was born in this town on 11 October 1910.
Tourist attractions in Lindley include a British memorial in the local cemetery to British soldiers who died on 31 May 1900 at Yeomanry Hills during the siege of Lindley; prehistoric stone huts of the original inhabitants of the area as well as a miniature replica of the Dutch Reformed Church that was erected in 1928 in memory of those who died during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
[Source: Steve Watt & Wikipedia]
|GPS START||S27.926061 E27.789284|
|GPS SUMMIT||S27.914431 E27.818759|
|GPS END||S27.906161 E27.834144|
|DIRECTION - TRAVEL||North-East|
|TIME REQUIRED||3 minutes|
|SPEED LIMIT||100 kph|
|NEAREST TOWN||Lindley (11 km)|
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