WE SCALE RAGGED
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On Saturday, Nov. 11th. 1933, Jeff and I left Newstead on a week-end venture to Ragged Mountain. The weather had been a little rough prior to our departure but it appeared to be settling down again. Being our first bicycle ride of any distance for quite a while, our progress was rather slow. We passed Evandale by at 3.25 p.m., reached the bottom of Englishtown hill at 5 p.m., surmounted it and reached Mr. Brown’s residence at 6 p.m.
Leaving our bicycles here we made our way along the Ben Lomond track as far as the small creek which crosses the track about half a mile along. We pitched camp at 6.20 p.m. about three hundred yards downstream and were kept busy in gathering in a large quantity of fuel for the night and cutting a quantity of long dry grass to act as a mattress. We built our camp-fire up against a fallen tree and later made another on our other side. The heat from the two roaring fires was intense and, lying between them, we were able to pass the night in comfort and freedom from cold. Sleep cannot be indulged in for long intervals for the fires have to be attended to regularly but we managed to obtain from four to five hours sleep nevertheless.
The bush country around here is well represented with bird and animal life. A family of kookaburras which lived in the neighbourhood must, evidently, have been enjoying a happy party for ever and anon throughout the night their unmistakable laughter would ring out. These birds are not common in Tasmania but they are now well established in the Nile valley which fairly teems with bird life. At the first streak of dawn we were entertained by the call of the “whistling dick” whose note was soon taken up by another in the vicinity.
We were astir early and broke camp at 6.5 a.m. and continued along the Ben Lomond track. At 7.15 a.m., after covering over three miles of the track, we forsook it and, striking off at right angles to it on the right, we commenced the ascent of Ragged Mountain. And what a climb it was! Pursuing our way up the steep, rocky mountain wall, at times held up by some particularly steep ascent but luckily always able to scramble over all obstacles safely, we could not help thinking of the aptitude with which this mountain was named. Never pausing a moment for a spell, we put all we knew into the climb and I don’t think we have ever recorded such a fast performance. At 8 a.m. we gained the topmost pinnacle of the peak after ascending an altitude of nearly two thousand feet and all in only three quarters of an hour.
Ragged Mountain consists of two jagged peaks differing very little in height (approx. 4200’) joined together by a narrow rocky neck. Both peaks are particularly rugged on their northern sides facing Ben Lomond but are somewhat weather beaten on the southern side. The peak of which we were in command was the western and probably the highest, while a peep down its grim, jagged cliffs was a spectacle as grand as it was awe-inspiring.
Quite a nice view is provided from this peak. There was not a single cloud in our vicinity but far away to the west around the Tiers the sky was full of them. To the south lie the small hills of Fisher’s Tier and turning eastwards from here a glimpse is obtained of the distant St. Paul's Dome (3368') before our attention is claimed by the gigantic bulk of Stack's Bluff (5010') the southern culmination of the great Ben Lomond plateau. This lofty peak, lying about six miles away to the E.S.E. was for a long time regarded as the highest point of the whole plateau but about ten years ago it was definitely deposed from that position by Legge’s Tor. Practically due east lies the other peak of Ragged Mountain, and a couple of points farther north brings Magnet Crag (4700'), on the Ben Lomond plateau, into line. The great plateau continues along until just before Ben Nevis appears in the north. Mt. Barrow presents a glorious sight about fifteen miles to the north-west with Mt. Arthur just visible behind it. The mountains in the far west and south-west were generally obscured by overhanging clouds but in the near west Evandale is easily recognisable. The Tamar River, too, is easily distinguishable.
We spent quite a while on the western peak in taking photographs from
all angles and finally finished up by building a small cairn on the peak.
It was not until 10.5 a.m. that we commenced our journey to the other
peak and half an hour later we
Once again we set to work with the camera and so as not to arouse any jealousy between the two peaks, we also crowned this one with a small cairn. Then we lunched, had a rest and began our return at noon. We passed to the south of the western peak and then, after turning north, began our descent. Here the grade was much easier than that by which we had ascended. If it had been any steeper it would have needed to be perpendic¬ular. When we reappeared on the track we found we were within about two and a half miles of our camp of the previous night.
We arrived at the camp-site at 1.45 p.m., boiled the billy again and
paused for a short respite. We resumed again in an hour and were soon
awheel. I had the misfortune to puncture twice, while we were also handicapped
by a strong head wind. We did not reach Newstead until 6.50p.m..
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