Jeremy Holdcroft... A Flying Chop


One of the Charly Hops’ Chops, Jeremy embraced the Drakensberg in recent years and became a regular face at the X-Berg Challenge. He has a passion for adventure from sailing, flying paragliders and other small aircraft to hiking and climbing. He can also play the piano and appreciate the ‘value of silence’…and where better to find silence than hiking in the Drakensberg or gliding through the air?


We believe that since the successful 2011 Paraglide Kilimanjaro expedition, whereby a handful of South African’s and a Namibian flew off Africa’s highest mountain, Jeremy has learned the value of a warm jacket in alpine conditions.


Herewith Jeremy’s tips for training for the X-Berg Challenge…


In terms of preparation for the X-Berg, I am definitely not the best person to ask because I haven’t exactly featured…anywhere! But the lesson’s I’ve learnt are the following:


– Pack as little as possible – every bit of weight makes a difference, especially over the distance. Obviously don’t forget emergency supplies however.


– Use shoes that you are comfortable with and have use for extended walks before.


– Make sure that you try to at least condition your feet and body to carry the additional load. I would suggest trying to do a number of hikes beforehand. Attempting to walk 30 km on the first day having come from a comfortable desk job will result in very sore feet – I know from experience! You may be fit enough, but is your body ready for the load and endurance?


– Don’t try to get clever with shortcuts and sneaky routes – walking off a path is always slower, especially if the grass is long. Also, it is a lot easier to twist an ankle or trip and hurt yourself.


– Try to stick to any paths you can find, be it a hiking trail or a cattle path. I do find, however, hiking on a tar road is painful on the feet after a while.


– There are differing opinions due to the weight, I personally recommend topping up on water at every opportunity. Most of the time there is water at regular intervals, but the last thing you want to be doing is walking way above any rivers in the middle of the day.


– I personally find walking poles very useful, especially for any gradients, both up and down. With the extra weight, the knees take a pounding.


– Make sure that your route includes a Spaza shop on the way – the ice cold Coke you buy will be the very best Coke you’ve ever had!


– When you get tired and irritable, remember that you are doing this for fun!


Jeremy Holdcroft