FIRST WYLD’S CRAIG FAILURE
(THE CLIMBING OF RECONNAISSANCE HILL)
|Home to Index|
Note: The reports have been scanned in as written. I have included the height and distance indications, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.
On Tuesday, Feb.13th.1940, I left Launceston at 3.45 a.m. per car on a mountain bent vacation, selecting Wyld’s Craig as a possible objective for the first day. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the entire sky and the barometer was at a high level. Taking the main highway to Melton Mowbray, thence via Apsley, Bothwell, Hollow Tree and Hamilton to Dunrobin Bridge across the Derwent. I located the turn off to the Florentine about a mile farther along the Ellendale road at 7.15 a.m. and 130 miles from Launceston. The first two miles is negotiable through loose sand at a ten mile per hour pace. Then the road becomes quite firm with very short intervals of gravel spaced by rough boulder strewn bumpy patches. Four and a half miles along the road, the Broad River (330’) was crossed. The road then becomes infinitely worse and progress must be slow and wary. After another mile, the Repulse River is bridged and rough hilly going is encountered. Four miles of this has to be endured before the old timber mill (1120’), with its few rough dwellings, is attained 9½ miles from the turn off.
Leaving the car at the mill, I set off at 9 a.m. up the gradually ascending and winding stock track which continues westward. Clerk's Hut (1570’ 2 miles) was reached at 9.30 a.m.. The track was lined with olearia, wattle, gum and patches of dogwood, tea tree (melaleuca), mimosa, mint tree and dicksonia with glimpses of sassafras in the background of the hut. After passing Clerk's Hut, the forest growth starts to deteriorate and the grade of the track soon becomes very easy. Three miles out, the one mile sign (1770) is passed and huts appear through the trees on the left and, 1½ miles farther on, another hut (1885’) is gained at 10.10 a.m..
There is quite a clearing here but the track carries on through alternate thickets composed of myrtle, sassafras, leatherwood, tea tree (melaleuca and leptospermum), waratah, laurel, native pepper and ferns. Additional beauty was supplied by the presence of those delightful berries of the pink cherry (aristotelia penduncularis) and the snow berry (gaultheria hispida).
Two miles from the 4½ miles hut, a button grass clearing appears on the right and soon a tiny creek is forded to make the 5 mile tree at 11.5 a.m.. A 6 mile tree is located another mile afield and there are probably trees bearing two, three and four-mile markings as well – distances are reckoned westward from Clerks Hut.
At 11.35 a.m. I reached the highest point of the track (2370’ – 8½ miles out) where it crosses the Misery Range Saddle before descending south west to the Florentine River and here I had my first glimpse of Wyld's Craig. The peak was still some distance to the north west and any possibility of making it in the day appeared very remote and I decided to climb the rocky hill on the left to acquire a view of the route ahead.
About half a mile of comparatively easy going brought me to the top of the rocky eminence (2550’) by noon. Wyld’s Craig lies to the north west and a great view of this attractive peak is procurable over the top of the gums immediately below. Alhough only about three miles away as the crow flies, many hours of hard labour must transpire ere the peak could be obtained, for dense myrtle forest bars the way as well as the deep gulf of the Florentine.
The jagged serrations of the Denison Range were silhouetted against the western skyline and to the S.S.W. a grassy clearing was discernible farther up the Florentine valley through which the stock trail goes. To the S.S.E. the Misery Range continues on to Mt. Misery itself and on its right, to the S. by E., a glimpse of Mt. Field West is available. To the north, the Misery Range rises up from the pass below but tapers away again to the north.
After lunching and sun bathing on the rocks for quite a while, I left 'Reconnaissance Hill' (as I termed it) at 1.45 p.m. for the return journey. I soon regained the track and, the long journey back, in spite of its refreshing bush scenery, soon became irksome, but mile after mile slowly slipped by and at last the mill hove in sight at 4.15 p.m..
I did not have sufficient rations with me for another day and, as I would
probably need two day's supply to again attempt Wyld's Craig, I was compelled
to abandon the trip and adhere to my original plan of doing Mt. Field
West on the morrow. At 4.30 p.m. the car was on its rough and tortuous
course. After the more difficult portion was over, I managed to add a
rabbit to the night's menu and at 6 p.m. I was able to heave a sigh of
relief as the Ellendale road came in sight. At 6.20 p.m. I selected a
parking spot near Fentonbury and spent the night there in the car.
|Home to Index|
If you would like more information on Keith Lancaster's diaries, please feel free to send me an email.