Just outside Himeville on the Sani Pass road not far from Underberg, lies the picturesque southern Drakensberg farm Glencairn. To thousands of mountain bikers, this is the location for the start of the KAP sani2c three day mountain bike stage race.
The farm was purchased in 2014 specifically for the race, but has grown in leaps and bounds over recent years.
Bianca Haw grew up with the annual sani2c mountain bike stage race as part of her life, after her father, dairy farmer Glen Haw, started the event in 2005 as a fundraiser for Lynford School, the farm school near Ixopo that she and her siblings attended. She and her partner, Andrew Houston has established the farm as a wedding venue and adventure getaway for large groups.
The KAP sani2c is a family-fun event, and the development of Glencairn farm has similarly been driven by the Haws as a family, and by their drive to uplift the communities along the route of sani2c. The sani2c sees over 4000 riders travel 265 km from Glencairn down to Scottburgh on the South Coast, and local communities along the route are involved in providing myriad services.
The sheer scale of the event has meant that permanent showers, toilets and other facilitates have been built at Glencairn for the tented race villages, and this available infrastructure has led to the creation of other adventure sports events and a thriving wedding venue business.
Bianca’s sister Tamika has established the very popular Glencairn Trail Run which takes place in October each year, and Glencairn Retreats was established to run weekends filled with yoga, pilates and meditation. In March the first Glencairn Swim Run hosted an enthusiastic group of athletes who negotiated their way across farm dams and over awe-inspiring trails.
This idyllic setting is also the home to 400 sheep. “Farmer” Glen Haw, as he is known, says they bought 50 sheep three years ago to keep the place tidy and ‘cut the grass’: “They are Dohne Merinos, and the flock has now grown to 400-odd and are used for their wool and meat. We have two full-time staff looking after the sheep.”
Haw moved onto the farm in 2017 and sheep farming now forms part of her CV.
“We now employ 14 staff full-time at Glencairn, and many other people are involved in the ongoing building work. We are building a kitchen and additional toilets to facilitate the wedding parties at the moment, and there are further builds in the pipeline,” she says.