50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 21

Charles Mason Chief Vela Dave Cobbledick & Barry Willan below No.1 notes: 1. 2. 3. 4. 4b. 5. 6. 21 1. A note on the Dusi: Umko people do love mocking the Dusi, but (whisper it) Umko people actually also love and admire that race. Most have done a Dusi or two; Many started paddling on - and because of - the Dusi; And never forget: The Dusi King is one of us! Graeme Pope-Ellis was a proud Kingfisher who also was an Umko winner. His paddling prowess was often underrated. Winning the Umko was one of his “I can paddle too” statements. Mr Umko Charles Mason - also a dual Dusi-Umko winner - played a prominent mentoring role in Graeme’s career, and seconded him on the Dusi for many years. Hear Wynonie Harris sing his 1951 hit “Don’t Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes At Me” on www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR_A4Su-TrI and imagine you’re listening to Fred in the valley. For the full account of Player & Schmidt’s trip, see: http://theumko.com/2015/06/12/ian-player-fred-schmidts-1952-umko-trip-full-account/ For the full account of Gouldie & Co’s trips, see: http://theumko.com/2015/01/22/both-rob-gouldie-trips-the-full-accounts/ Yes, we know its not “St.” Josephine’s - Derek Freeman told us so! But that’s how Gouldie wrote it. One of Gouldie’s trip mates, Denny Sterling, believes these trips actually happened in 1957 and 1958. He writes how he paddled a 3m X 900mm mallacca cane and calico ‘Skinoe’, pointed at both ends with a flat deck and a massive rudder in the front. It was “brilliant for shooting rapids so all rapids were shot first by myself and then the rest of the group (in canoes).” He also remembered the clear, drinkable water and “the locals who were always very friendly and most juveniles had never ever seen any whites in their lives”. Essentials packed for the trip included cigarettes, matches and Mellowwood brandy which fortunately “came in a flat type of bottle and was easy to pack”. Dennis remembers the first trip as being four days long and successfully completed to the river mouth. Charles Mason: “The next year in Cape Town - when down there to paddle the 1966 Berg River Canoe Marathon - I visited the Admiralty Office to purchase the latest 1:50 000 contour maps of the Umkomaas valley. I pointed out the locality of the waterfall to the cartographer in charge, but he denied its existence! However, on checking the aerial photographs on their 3D machine he conceded its presence and thanked me for bringing it to their attention!” (As we now know, Charles never did return for a second ‘Berg’!) For the full account of Charlie Mason’s introduction to canoeing, his epic Upper Umgeni trip, the idea of racing on the river and the decisive trips and valley explorations that led to “The Umko” as we know it, see: http://theumko.com/2015/05/01/charles-masons-story-on-the-beginning/ UMKO 50 Years