Keith Lancaster
Mountaineering in Tasmania 1931-71 Volume I, pp 45-46

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Note: This report has been scanned in as written. I have included the height, distance and time indications where used, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.

[45] Five minutes after 6 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9th. 1938, in company with my usual mountaineering partner, I set out for Mt. Roland. The occasion marked a new era in transport, for we no longer had to face an arduous cycling journey, but travelled de luxe per motor car, permitting us to commence the climb whilst still fresh. It also enabled us to carry some accessories and comforts with which we had been obliged to dispense previously owing to the limit imposed upon us by the cycles. Furthermore, it should permit us to convert into day trips what would have meant week-end trips on cycles and it should bring most Tasmanian peaks within reasonable striking distance.

The weather gave great promise and we journeyed via the Coast Road as far as Sassafras, owing to a misunderstanding concerning the correct side road. Leaving the bitumen behind here at 7.30 a.m., we travelled south-west via Railton and Sheffield and found ourselves at the Mt. Roland side road at 8.35 a.m. after a good seventy miles drive. At the head of the side road the aneroid recorded 1100'.

A few minutes later we were striding out along the mountain track across cleared farm paddocks. Owing to recent ploughing, the route was obliterated in one paddock and soon we found ourselves on a wrong trail which came to an end after a short distance. In order to save time retracing our steps and searching for the blazed trail, we agreed to continue straight up the mountain wall. During the early portion of the climb, we were hampered by thick scrub which later gave place to steep rock-climbing. In fact, we were rewarded with a few cliff-climbing tests as we neared the summit of the steep rocky ramparts of Roland.

At 10.35 a.m., we gained the plateau at an elevation of 3600'. About half a mile to the south-west, we encountered the mountain track and, continuing farther in the same direction, at length located the pinnacle of Mt. Roland, set amidst a number of elevated points of more or less similar altitude. It was 11.25 a.m., when we reached this 4047' summit.

Owing to the early morning promise of a clear view, we had hoped for an uninterrupted view from the top but, as we approached Mt. Roland, it became obvious that we would be lucky, indeed, to have our hopes realised. The clouds were hanging around the peak at a 4000' elevation and proved to be just a little too low to permit us an extensive view. The two adjoining peaks (Mt. Vandyke to the south and Mt. Claude, lying S.W. by W.) were all that was visible to the southwards, whilst the northern view was a little more extensive. N.E. by E. Railton was to be seen with Port Sorell farther to the rear. N. by E., Devonport appeared to view, whilst Ulverstone on the Leven was prominent in a N. by W. direction. Close at hand below us, the town of Sheffield was situated in the N.N.E.. with Burnie occasionally visible in the background.

As the clouds showed no sign of lifting and the cold south-westerly wind made our stay less inviting, we commenced our return journey at 11.40 a.m.. After 1¼ miles walking to the N.W., we located the track at the point where it forsakes the plateau and descends the mountain-side. It was 12.7 p.m. when we began the real descent from a height of 3550'. The track led us down a steep gap enclosed by rocky walls - the track being composed of loose stones in many places and being rather pretty. After a three miles walk from the plateau, we were back again at the car at 12.55 p.m., having descended 2450' in the course thereof.

Just before reaching the car, we were able to ascertain how we had strayed from the track so, for possible future assistance, I will give particulars of how to find the track. At the end of the motor road is a farm house. Do not enter the yard of the house but continue towards the mountain, keeping the paling fence [46] on the right and the small stream on the left. A few hundred yards afield, the paling fence turns at right angles to the right, then to the left, back again to the right and, finally, once more to the left. Then it ends abruptly at its junction with a hefty fallen tree trunk and it is here that the track enters the scrub and is thereafter simple to follow.

At 1.5 p.m. we began the return journey via Paradise, Minnow Creek, Dunorlan and Deloraine, reaching Launceston about 4 p.m. after experiencing a little difficulty on the rough road around Minnow Creek.


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