BLUFF (4200’) HAS NO TERRORS
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During the midsummer we had been debarred from our favourite sport by the presence of devastating bush fires all over the state. The continued dry weather had made the bush very dry and the ravages of the fires were widespread and of an alarming character. In the month of January the fires reached their peak and the flames were often reported to be leaping a hundred feet high. Several timber mills were razed to the ground and quite a number of outback homesteads met a similar fate. In Launceston we were subjected to a heat ranging around 90 degrees F. for many days and the sky was invisible except immediately overhead due to the great smoke clouds enveloping the district. The sun would not penetrate the haze until about two hours after sunrise and then it would appear a dull, red, luminous ball, casting its pale fiery rays below. For a while about midday it would assume its normal appearance but would soon regain that fiery red hue after it passed its zenith. Large organised bands of firefighters strove heroically to keep the flames at bay and, although they have several good saves to their credit, it was chiefly due to the wind changing and blowing the fires back along the trails of havoc they had wrought, that the situation was relieved. However small fires soon sprang up again and even as we embarked on this expedition we knew that the pres¬ence of a good quantity of smoke in the air would strictly limit our view from the mountain peak.
It was at 1.55 p.m. on Saturday, March 14th 1934, that we left Newstead on an effort to scale Quamby Bluff. We spent a little time securing a few snaps near Hagley and it was not until 4 p.m. that we passed through Westbury (20 miles). Taking the Great Lake Road from there, we set out for Golden Valley passing the Deloraine turn-off (29 miles) at 5.5 p.m.. Soon after misfortune overtook us as my companion's bicycle was damaged by a mishap to the rear forks and wheel rendering it unridable. As we were so close to our destination for the night we left it nearby and, while Jeff undertook to walk the remainder of the distance, I rode on ahead to arrange our camp for the night. I reached Golden Valley (34 miles) at 6.40 p.m. and was very fortunate in happening upon the postmaster who obliged me by allowing us to occupy one of his out-sheds where some hay was stored. He also supplied us with a couple of rugs and later, when Jeff arrived, some hot water for our tea, all of which we deeply appreciated.
We were astir early next morning and after breakfasting began our journey at 6.55 a.m. for the mountain. We made our ascent on the north-eastern side directly behind Golden Valley. The mountain-side was fairly steep, naturally, but we were not troubled with excessive undergrowth, although an over abundance of blackberry hushes caused us some little delay. We did not meet with many rocks until approaching the summit and these were easy to negotiate. The mountain is rather flat on top and the exact spot which occupied the highest point was not easy to ascertain but at 9 a.m., however, we were in occupation thereof.
Quite a wide and interesting view should be gained from Quamby Bluff on a clear day as it is a mountain on its own, distinct from any range. Owing to the smoky conditions we were not fortunate in this respect and our vision was limited to a very short range. Very prominent in the south-east the blurred bulk of Dry's Bluff arrested our eyes and following the Western Tiers westwards, a good closeup of Mt. Projection is obtained immediately to the south. The peaks further westward were indistinguishable through the haze while the country to the north was obliterated from our vision by a sea of smoke. The Great Lake Road could be seen winding its way towards Mt. Projection and below us on the western side the road to the Meander district was discernible. On our east we could see a well-established fire near the Liffey valley.
We wandered over the plateau which would have a diameter of about a mile, to see whatever sights the mountain possessed of interest and recording a few with the cameras. The plateau, itself, is not rocky and is covered sparsely with small stunted bushes and mountain grasses and mosses. Nevertheless, there are some fine cliffs at several points of the mountain wall. We raised a small cairn of stones to designate Quamby's 'peak' to which we bade adieu at 10.30 a.m.. At 12.10 p.m. we arrived back at the previous night's camp and after packing we set out for home at 12.45 p.m..
It was agreed that one of us should take my bicycle and, picking up Jeff’s
en route, ride to Westbury, have it repaired and return to meet the other.
The walking part fell to me. Little did I think that I would have to walk
the whole way to Westbury (fourteen miles) for I expected Jeff to meet
me half way at least. Unfortunately he experienced great difficulty in
getting his bike satisfactorily repaired and when I arrived at Westbury
at 4.30 p.m. after my long and arduous tramp (I did receive a lift for
about a mile) it took me a good while to locate him. When I found him,
his bicycle had not been made roadworthy and the prospects of having it
made so appeared very remote. At length he abandoned his cycle at a Westbury
carrier's for delivery to Launceston later and set out to walk until he
could receive a lift into Launceston. At the same time, 5.20 p.m., I mounted
my cycle and commenced my ride home. I had experienced rather a gruelling
day's travel and my progress home was consequently slow and I did not
gain Launceston until 7.10 p.m.. About half an hour after, Jeff arrived,
having received a motor ride home from near Carrick, after having walked
about eight miles.
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