Peter & Aubrey checking out the initial descent.
Graham starting down with….
…the all important medical kit
Terry and Tony starting down with equipment.
It had to be carried stretcher style.
Peter and Aubrey negotiating the first section.
When the sun warmed our bodies we started down with Vici.
The crude path left little space to walk let alone manoeuvre a scooter.
The terrain is deceptive, what appears to be a gentle slope...
... is in places a drop of a few hundred feet.
Leaving the step section we made our way down the unstable shale.
…we checked the anchor line for damage.
Leaving Vici secured we climbed back up...
... using the supporting guy line to assist us.
We ate a hurried lunch of dates and glucose tablets washed down with water.
Then it was back to work bringing down Veni.
We rested frequently in the blazing heat.
On a steep slope we nearly lost the scooter when a rope snapped.
On the brink of a precipice the loose shale became more prominent.
Within feet of the edge the cable snapped. We struggled to stop her plummeting over...
...but to no avail she was torn from unwilling hands.
Nothing could have taken that fall and survived.
Close inspection showed a twisted chassis and broken engine casing.
We left her on a ledge. Veni the first to fall victim to the siren song of the canyon.
We removed the engines and carried them down separately then came back for the scooters.
Walking backwards down an unfamiliar path was dangerous.
The boulders became steeper...
... and it took six men to lower one scooter at a time.
Stopping Tony from walking off a cliff…
…Peter looked down to see how far it was.
It was a long drop indeed.
Taking a break while waiting for cables.
Johnnie administering first aid to Terry. A scooter had damaged his knee cap.
Tony came up with the good news, we were out of water.
Johnnie and Graham, too exhausted to reach the shade only feet away.
Terry and Peter getting out of the blazing sun.
In the next spurt Terry and Peter made it to below the Sentinel.
Graham and Tony couldn’t hear the others and wondered if they had been beaten to the base.
Rounding a corner we saw Vidi abandoned by her team who could contain their thirst no longer...
...and had crawled the last 200 feet to the river.
In a moment of madness we made a vow to take the fist Vespa into the base of the canyon.
Cursing and falling we scrambled over rocks making our way to base camp.
In a swirl of fine mica dust we pushed on.
You can see the rim of the canyon from where we had come.
Reeling with exhaustion we faced our last rock obstacle before base camp.
With one last effort we virtually threw the scooter over the rocks.
After resting the other team returned one hour later with Aubrey collapsing from exhaustion.
Here are the first motor vehicles ever to reach the base of the Fish River Canyon. History had been made.