A few weeks without a day off work, and all of a sudden I have a Friday, Sunday and Monday free. So naturally it’s straight to the drawing board to come up with some places where the sun might shine on us, and that’ll fit into a day. Came up with the relatively close by Woods Quoin and Old Man’s Head, mainly because I was keen to do Woods Quoin while it was still Gunns land so as to not have private property issues. I didn’t realise until the night before that technically Old Man’s Head is on private property, or so the signs say..though we concluded that they were probably there to keep shooters out (yes, there’s deer, or at least near Woods Quoin – we saw two!).
Anyway, a word out on Facebook and we had a great little group of 6 in the end. We met up at Granton at 8.45, had a bit of a chat, and eventually arrived at Woods Quoin round 10ish. The road up is pretty straight forward, just drive to Bothwell, then turn Right at the signposts that point towards Lake Sorel. Keep heading up the road till you’re a bit north of due west of the peak, you can pull off the side of the road and park there.
You can head straight to the highpoint (in that case may as well be due west exactly), or you can take the path we did, and head further north till you get to a gated road, at 55G 507017 5319099. Keep following this road, past a cute little stone building on the left, over (or under) a second locked gate, until a more poorly defined road branches off to the right. It can be difficult to follow, but eventually it pops onto what is a very clear, very nice road. Follow that up until you’re due west of the peak. Look out for deer, this is where we caught a glimpse of two.
The scrub is minimal, all avoidable, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some tapes. Follow them, and they’ll turn into cairns as you’re about to start the climb. They take you zig zagging up the side, quite a short climb really, until you pop onto the top. The summit is just a few metres south, you can’t miss the cairn (3 metre high Sprent cairn!). It takes a bit more searching to find the trig point, which is a concrete square block, about 10cm x 10cm, with a galvanised nail in the centre, about a metre or so from the southern edge of the cairn (helps to have a surveyer with you!).
It’s a really lovely little walk, taking us just under an hour up, and 45 minutes back, at a moderate pace.
So we were back at the car by 12.30, and off to check out Old Man’s Head. The drive involved going up and around between the lakes, but wasn’t too long.. As we pulled to a stop in front of the gate across the road to Old Man’s Head a vehicle came up behind us, and we wondered for a second if our plans were to be squashed before we started, but we got a wave and the vehicle passed us on the other side of the road. We figured we’d give it a crack, pulled onto the side of the road and got ready. It didn’t take long, cos we were already kitted up mostly from Woods Quoin.
We jumped the gate, suffered a moment of temporary illiteracy as we passed the no trespassing sign (figuring the gate looked like a forestry one and it was mostly to keep shooters out), and headed along the road. It passed a dwelling on the left, then we took a turn to the left, heading straight for Old Man’s Head. Following it round as it headed to the left, we eventually decided to leave it and head straight up. We should have waited just a little longer, but it didn’t really matter.
Stopped for a brief moment by a wombat, followed immediately by a pair of wedgies, we then continued up, sidling slightly left until we found a spot that wasn’t quite so straight up… maybe the man’s nose.. this provided a gentle and short ramp to the somewhat bald summit, which sported another lovely little cairn and some ok views for that part of the state too. It threatened to rain, so we didn’t take too long for lunch on top, but nothing eventuated and we made it back to the cars within an hour and 15 minutes of having started (lunch included).
All up: Woods Quoin: 5.1km, 2.08hrs, 272m ascent; Old Man’s Head: 2.9km, 1.02hrs, 109m ascent.