Layatinna Hill: 27 March 2022

You’d have thought that walking over 500km in 26 days might mean I’d like to give my legs a rest for a bit. But a few days of being back and doing relatively little with them and they were itching to move again. They’d become accustomed to rather long walks and I had the perfect walk in store for them. 

Layatinna is an interesting one. I’d first pondered doing it when I walked in to Oana from the north but didn’t have quite enough time to enjoy it properly. The hitch with access from the south is that the access road runs through trawtha makuminya land at Gowan Brae. This means a call or email (former was definitely more successful for me) to the TAC to ask permission. I’d done this a few times before but then not ended up going for various reasons, usually weather. While it’s not a difficult thing to do, it is one extra step that usually turns me off, and it locks you into a set date. But it was time!

Layatinna GPS route

Thinking I had 20-30km of walking to do, I figured an early start was in order. I was out of the house and onto foggy roads by 5, arriving amongst the cows and the locked gate at Gowan Brae by 8, right on schedule despite the fog and deer on the roads! I always feel like I’m doing something wrong when I go past trespassing signs, even with permission and it took a while to shake that feeling. 

The walk starts on a good road, one that would be easily drivable if you bothered to get the key organised. It was perfect for stretching the legs over a longer distance, about 10km. I rose gradually through schlerophyl forest, passing by currawongs, kookaburras, wallabies and deer. The land was so flat it was hard to discern where the hill even was and I initially thought my gps was wrong when it told me the summit was over 1200m high! But I guess if you start high and don’t have far to climb, a hill can seem quite small indeed. 

The forest broke out to a low alpine scrubby plain and the road was much harder to follow by sight alone, despite being distinct on the satellite imagery. It took me quite close to the summit, leaving only a short walk through forest. I followed the flat ridge up, trying to connect rocks to avoid some of the deeper scratchy scrub (knee to waists high) right at the start of the ascent. It very quickly became easy open waking and in time, when I looked up wondering where the ridge went next, I realised I was in fact on the summit, a small cairn just off to the left!

I had a bite to eat, a brief sit down and then began to retrace my footsteps, looking forward to topping up my water at the river below and avoiding a drive back in the dark. I met some hunters near where I’d parked my car and learnt that there’s a standing camp available for booking through the TAC as well. I bid them a good evening’s hunting and drove home via some still-fruiting blackberry bushes!

All up: 27.42km, 6:56 hrs, 615m ascent

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