I’m rather behind on the walking blogs, thanks to all the business of life. There hasn’t been a lot of time for walking, so it was kind of nice to have to lead this walk, having put my name down to do it some months before, even though as circumstance had it, it was on a day I would have preferred not to be out.
As with almost all my walks, it was not without entertainment. We started off with a detour to Oatlands so one member could cast his vote (have you ever done that on a walk?!), then drove a much longer than expected distance to the property at Connorville.
Roderic had been most generous in granting us access and with directions and it was a pity that he and his wife couldn’t join us (it had been a possibility I was looking forward to). It might have also saved us the next bit of excitement!
Having confused myself with something Roderic had said in relation to picking up the key from him, I’d thought we’d be right to follow Connorville road south to the start of the walk, rather than going the much longer way around to the north and onto Lake Leak road. After following tyre tracks through a very green paddock full of sheep and over a stream, we found ourselves at a gate no more than 50 metres from the Lake Leak road…right where we wanted to be.
It was, of course, locked. One padlock, one combination lock. To save time but not face, we drove back across the paddock (you really couldn’t call the tyre tracks a road of any sort) to the first point we got reception, where a sheepish call to Roderic had us a combination to try. And back we went, as if we were determined to turn those tracks into a road (which, by the way, is exactly what they looked like on my GPS). The combination eventually worked with a bit of a yank and we were back on track!
The key I’d initially arranged to borrow from Roderic wasn’t needed as the bridge before the gate had recently been replaced and they didn’t want any traffic on it for a month. So we had an extra couple of km each way, but that wasn’t too much of an issue.
A road walk is always a good way to start and end a walk. It allows you to fan out and chat as a whole group, which is always nice, before having to walk single file and chat with those just in front or behind. Not having walked for a while it was lovely to catch up with friends, and to share some of the things that were going on in life.
Unfortunately, we lost two members shortly after we headed off track due to an injury that proved incompatible with scree. We promised to be a quick as we could, so they wouldn’t have to wait too long. But the walking was quite nice – very open scree almost the entire way up, the hill a tad on the steep side, and the weather managed to contain itself such that we found ourselves having frequent breaks to take it all in and catch our breath (not sure whether this was due more to the walking or the talking!).
When we hit the ridgeline on top we quickly discovered we wouldn’t be walking along the top. It was a broken line of large moss covered boulders that were as lovely to look at as they would have been impossible to walk along. So we kept to one side until we found the summit block, then found a way up around the back. It was quite a nice little boulder summit, with enough gaps in the trees to get an idea of what the view might have been like if there was a little less cloud around.
A quick lunch was in order, to avoid the cold, beat what could turn into rain, and not keep the others waiting too long. The walk back down was relatively uneventful, if you don’t count the rock avalanches we managed to get going as we slid down the scree or the seemingly very close sound of a shotgun being fired several times!
We arrived back a little later than expected, but before dark. Only to discover a gate that had been open on the way down, was now shut and seemingly locked! So we went in search of the people who must have shut it, discovered the trick to opening it, and eventually made our way back out (this time on the RIGHT road).
I think it’s fair to say that if you come on a walk with me, you can expect some sort of excitement ;)!
All up: 6:15 hours, 10.1km, 640m ascent.