The Botter Trail run - A Mountain Trail Run to Celebrate Spring!

Words & Photos: Ugene Nel

Trail Running

Way back in 1672, merchants from the Cape would trek across the flats and over the Helderberg Mountains with a variety of produce and trade it for caskets full of 'botter' (butter) from the Khoi-khoi, who lived along the banks of what became known as the Bot River - a name derived from the Afrikaans word for butter ‘botter’ and the Khoi-khoi's word ‘Couga’, which means 'abundance of fat'. The name stuck, and today this river flows through the small, picturesque village of Bot River into a large lagoon, which forms a marsh at its mouth. These wetlands are home to thousands of waterfowl, and one of the only remaining herds of wild horses roams the area.

The Botter Trail run - A Mountain Trail Run to Celebrate Spring!

Nestled in the foothills of the Houw Hoek Mountains, the fertile valley that surrounds the mountains is covered in fynbos, and the historical wine farms and fields of wheat are what makes this area a real gem; a sanctuary in a world gone mad. And so it comes as no surprise that over the last two decades, Bot River has transformed into a destination that offers plenty of good old fashioned outdoor activities, as well as things near and dear to all our hearts; great wines, good food and friendly folk.


Driving through town, the first place that catches the eye is the Bot River Hotel in the village square, which is said to have been built in the 1890s. A split second later, the wine barrels at the entrance to Beaumont Wines suggest that one should pop in and experience bliss in glass. The Beaumont family runs the cellar and farm with total passion and it’s evident once you meet with them. This is also home to the region's oldest wine cellar, and in recent times one of the oldest water mills in the Overberg was restored to working condition - 80 years on!


This little ‘undiscovered’ gem is well worth a visit and an excellent time to do so is in spring, when the Botrivier Spring Festival is held over the weekend of 31 August 2013. For those who also want to experience the great outdoors, Quantum Adventures has created another Country Classic trail run that will blend in well with the spring festivities. The inaugural Botter Trail Run takes place on Saturday, 31August 2013, and will see runners enjoying pristine single track against the majestic backdrop of the surrounding mountain slopes, as well as stunning vistas of the valley.


An added bonus for Capetonians is that all of this awesomeness is only 90-minutes away on the N2. So with plenty of time to book your accommodation and prepare for and enter this trail run, there’s no reason why you can’t ‘botter’ your bread on both sides - right? But be sure to enter online when entries open on 1 March 2013, as it’s bound to sell out in no time at all.


Did you know?

• This will be the fourth run of six in the Quantum Country Classic (QCC) Series 2013.
• You will be part of and share the trails with a very special crowd of ‘trail’ runners when you enter and take part in one of these Classics.
• Race winners within the series will each receive R6,000 cash and an invitation to tackle the 100 km Verdon Canyon Challenge in the French Alps, in July 2014. Entry and accommodation will be provided courtesy of the French. In return, they will send their male and female winners to take part in one of the two-stage trail runs organised by Quantum Adventures.


What to expect

• Pack your trail shoes, mountain bike and any other outdoor gadgets you have and rock up on the Friday evening.
• It’s been a thirsty, 90-minute drive from Cape Town, so pay a quick-ish visit to the Bot River Hotel to quench that insatiable thirst. Or perhaps check out where you are sleeping in the village first!
• If you fancy a cracking, crisp, fresh pizza, wander across the village square and visit the Shunt n Shed, a lively pizza joint inside an old train caboose. The pizzas are great!
• Once you’ve carbo loaded, and if you haven’t already found your abode for the next two nights, this would be a good time to do so.
• Wake up around 06h30-ish, stretch and grab some breakfast and real coffee.
• Just to warm up, consider taking a slow jog to the edge of the village where the ‘Botter’ starts. Take it easy though, as you won’t want to overdo it just yet.
• Arrive at the start just in time for the run briefing, and whilst hanging around see if you can recognise any pre-winter friends and reacquaint yourself.
• Listen to run briefing - I know it’s a tough two minutes, but well worth it!
• Set off and experience blissful running on splendid single tracks, pristine views and crisp, fresh air!
• Depending on which distance you choose to run - 21 km or 8 km - you might be out there for a good three hours in the case of the longer route.
• After your mountain trail experience, grab a chilled drink, recline with your mates, exchange war stories and enjoy a relaxed prize-giving. You might be one of the lucky ones to win one of many awesome prizes up for grabs!
• The rest of the fun entails wine tastings, indulging in good food, meeting the wine makers in person, more wine tastings, beer and more good food. There’s not many better ways to spend a day with friends!
• Other activities on offer include fly fishing, horse riding, visiting the art exhibits, live music and, of course, taking your mountain bike for a spin!
• You’ve now entered the ‘timeless’ zone, where time is not a concern during this weekend.



Quantum Country Classic Dates for 2013

1. Oorlogskloof Mountain Run: 27 April - 5 km,
18 km and 42 km - Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, Nieuwoudtville
2. Arangieskop Trail Challenge: 23 February -
10 km and 24 km - Robertson
3. Grootvadersbosch Trail Challenge: 19-21 July - Day 1 = 30 km, Day 2 = 20 km plus a shorter, separate 5 km - Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, near Swellendam/Heidelberg
4. Botter Trail Run: 31 August - 21 km and 8 km - Botrivier Spring Festival
5. Berg & Beach: 4-6 October - Day 1 = 23 km coastal trail, Day 2 = 27 km mountain trail - Hermanus, Whale Festival
6. Muizenberg Mountain Challenge: 7 December - 12 km - the turkey earner!


Spur Adventure Sprint races

1. Paul Cluver Estate, Grabouw: 13 January
2. Lourensford Estate, Somerset West: 10 February
3. Oak Valley Estate, Elgin: 17 March
4. Oak Valley Estate, Elgin: 27 October
5. Lourensford Estate, Somerset West: 10 November
6. Oak Valley Estate, Elgin: 1 December


Expedition Adventure Race

250 km Namaqua Quantum Leap (the Sequel): 21-25 August - Namaqua, Hantam Karoo and Cedarberg. Unfinished business!


For more information on the above events and to enter visit To check out the images of past trail runs and interact with other runners, visit the Quantum Adventures Events FB page.


Issue 21 Jan '13
Ugene Nel