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Saltpeterskop chessboard etching

Saltpeterskop chessboard etching

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Description

During the last 1800s, British soldiers created a chessboard on the top of Saltpeterskop, a 1514m high koppie in the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock.
While hiding out during the Anglo-Boer War, they played chess with their fellow soldiers in the old fort in town, transmitting moves using a mirror, which had the official purpose of communicating warning signals.
The story goes that a certain farmer – unbeknown to the soldiers – picked up the signals and started a game against the soldiers while sitting on the stoep of his farmhouse.
The chessboard and the names of the soldiers are etched onto a flat slab of rock at the top of Saltpeterskop. Names recorded include the 5th Lancashire Fusiliers, the Coldstream Guards and some privates, corporals and a captain.
The park does guided hikes up Saltpeterskop, but it’s recommended to make bookings well ahead of time.