Misc / Swimming

The Kop – Meet the real one!

It is quiet, on that hill where so many soldiers rest. The sun bakes down on the white stones marking the graves. The only sounds are the wind sighing through the grass and the cattle grazing. It’s peaceful.

This is Spioenkop.

In January 1900 about 600 British and Boer soldiers were killed during a bloody fight for possession of the Kop. The hill is dotted with graves and memorials.

Compare it with this: The Kop at Anfield, home of Liverpool FC.

“So what?” you might be tempted to say. So what indeed! You see, the Kop at Anfield was named after Spioenkop in South Africa.

Which brings us to our visit to this windswept and lonely hill.

After bumping along the (terrible) dirt road that led to the hill, we finally arrived at the gate of the heritage site, where we filled in the guest book and paid our entrance fees. One comment dominated amongst all the previous entries!

Inside the site, the roads were much better. We ground up the steep hill in our little Golfie, thankful to have avoided any more 4 x 4 conditions!

A little way up, the hill leveled out slightly. Here, we had our first encounter with the permanent residents of this hill – a herd of pretty active bulls!

After some judicious use of the hooter, we were able to continue up to the top of the hill.

We parked in the parking lot and nervously surveyed the bulls through our closed car windows. I noted that none of them seemed to possess a nose ring. Dare we get out?

Yes, we do!

Cautiously, we got out of the car and began to take a look at the surroundings. The view was absolutely stunning!

We had a lot of fun climbing on top of the information walls. The previous photo was taken from the top of one of these walls.

The memorials and graves really touched us. The thought of all of those people who died here was pretty overwhelming.

Of course, everything in South Africa has a South African twist to the tale!

The sign reads: “Please close the gate to prevent cattle from rubbing themselves against the graves.”

This is a Kop to remember…


3 thoughts on “The Kop – Meet the real one!

  1. ’twas a tragedy of errors, that battle. If you haven’t already done so, you should read Deneys Reitz’s account of it, in “Commando”.

  2. Yup, it was indeed. I’ll see if I can get hold of Commando, should be interesting. All I’ve read so far about the battle is on Wikipedia!

  3. Strange when you get past a cetain age, you ponder these things more often. I once sat next to the grave of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick in the Eastern Cape…( the guy who wrote “Jock of the Bushveld” ) …what can we say to this? carpe diem! seize the day. Tomorrow somone else will be reading our gravestones, hopefully they same something nice when they do!

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