It was with much yawning that Brett and I piled into my parents’ car at 3 am on Good Friday, to begin our trek up to Swartkop Camp Site. One last goodbye to three extremely unhappy dogs, and we were on our way. We arrived in Springbok at ten, to meet up with the Harrisons at the Springbok Lodge for breakfast, and then a short side trip to Steinkopf to meet a new member, Fanie, and bring him with us for the weekend. On arrival at Swartkop we set up camp, and then spent the rest of the day panting in the shade, and waiting for everyone else to arrive. After dark, we went for a drive to try and find some scheelite, but alas, we were not successful. We did however find a fluorescent scorpion on the way out of the camp!

The next morning, after much to-ing and fro-ing, we eventually left for Blesberg at around 8:30. On arrival at the mine, we were given safety instructions by Charlie and Ken, and then promptly dispersed to see what we could find on the dumps and surrounds. Some members managed to find nice samples of clevelandite and phenakite, as well as quartz, lithiophilite, garnet and two horned adders, one of which caused a commotion by lying on a patch of quartz crystals. A lunchtime trip to the epidote site produced specimens of epidote on quartz, after much hard work from Graham, and an afternoon trip to the Isis serpentinite mine was well worth it for the view alone. Then, back to camp to wash up and compare specimens.

On Sunday morning, we gathered for a road trip to various sites that John Landon had scouted during the week. Our first stop was Groenhoekies, where after a memorial moment for Father Tony, we gathered specimens of green beryl and mica from the quarry. Some nice pieces of spodumene, lepidolite and tourmaline were found as well, possibly having been dumped there from Norrabees. After that, we went 4x4-ing via the scenic route through the bush to a quartz crystal site, an absolutely brilliant find by John that had everybody exclaiming. We found many small, perfect surface crystals, and then Ken hit the mother lode. A large pocket produced beautiful floaters and clusters, with a few people sharing the hard work of digging them out from the concrete-like sand. All I can say is, thank heavens for the pressure sprayer, it worked wonderfully! Then, onward to yet another koppie, where smoky quartz clusters were found. After a long, hot and rewarding day, we headed off back to camp for a well-deserved rest. An excellent, end-of-dig braai was enjoyed by all, and then to bed in anticipation of a long trip back home.

Many thanks to the organizers, Ken, Carol and John, for a wonderful field trip - it was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody, and as always, we had a great time. Marion and Brett