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The party left Launceston at 7.5 p.m. on Friday, March 28th., 1952 in "Waltzing Matilda" and travelled via the Bass Highway to a camping ground beyond West Ulverstone, where camp was made and all retired at 11.15 p.m..
Next morning was fine and, after journeying along the coast for another half mile, we breakfasted at the first stream, resuming at 9.25 a.m. for Mt. Duncan, the highest peak of the Dial Range. Leaving the Bass Highway at Penguin for the Pine Road, we passed Riana and South Riana, seeking a suitable by-road which would bring us within easy range of our goal. It was not until the third attempt that we located the desired by-road which left the Pine Road nearer to Riana than South Riana. After a rough passage along the ensuing 2-3 miles, we arrived at an abandoned homestead on a grassy plain from which reasonable access to Mt. Duncan seemed assured.
Following the old timber track inwards, we found it advisable to park the bus in the fringe of bush adjoining the clearing (1120'). As we had been advised that the old timber track led to the foot of the mountain, which seemed quite near and easy to climb, we elected not to carry any food except very light rations as we anticipated returning for dinner soon after 2 p.m.. Leaving the bus at 11.20 a.m., we found easy, pleasant going along the early track section but steadily it became more and more overgrown as it swung away towards the Leven, making elevation along the crown of a ridge.
Finally the track disappeared altogether and we inclined to the left and soon obtained a glimpse of Mt. Duncan on 10 deg. mag.. We were quite a distance from its base with about a mile of intervening thickly-scrubbed ridge ahead of us. The density of the mixed scrub created unexpected delay and we were slow in gaining the valley at the bottom and accounting for the climb out of it. By exploiting the clearer going on a ridge crown leading upwards, we made easier progress which improved the higher we climbed.
From the rocky summit (2060’ – 2½m. - 2 p.m.), a pleasant view was available. Scattered cirrus cloud, distant haze and nearby smoke impaired our vision. The whole of the Dial Range was spread out before us and Mt. Montgomery and the Dial looked temptingly close in a rolling sea of forest. The mountains to the southward must present quite a spectacle on a clear day. The diversity of the landscape can be visualised from a magnetic check made of the salient points: Mt. Montgomery, 16½; Mt. Roland, 138½; Black Bluff, 186; route home, 190; Mt. Everett, 193½; St. Valentine’s Peak, 221½; Companion Hill, 226; Table Cape, 304.
At 2.45 p.m. the descent homewards began down the mountain-side and along the eastern ridge. We were close to our outward route all the way and often held it for a while in its more legible patches. Approaching the point where we believed the track to exist, we kept a close vigil for it, moving from one likely ridge to another and zigzagging about but all to no avail. At length there was naught to do but push along through the light scrub in the direction of the clearing adjacent to the bus. Still swinging to and fro as we progressed in further efforts to secure the advantage of the track, we slowly made our way southwards but not a sign of the track appeared throughout as we were paralleling it over to its eastward. Darkness gradually surrounded us and a split in the party delayed us sufficiently to make our last stage in complete darkness.
Soon after 7 p.m. we emerged at the clearing but had quite a walk before we located the track between hut and bus and followed it back to the bus (1120’ - 7m. - 7.25 p.m.). Gathering some firewood, we hastened away, still without our dinner, realising that three members had been awaiting our arrival back at Penguin since about 5 p.m.. A thunderstorm broke upon us as we drove northwards. Joining our three re-inforcements we journeyed, after a lengthy milk bar adjournment, on to Sulphur Creek picnic ground where we arrived about 10 p.m. and set about camp. The storm was over and the sky clearing rapidly as we began cooking our late dinner and all were settled down in their sleeping quarters by midnight.
Next morning the sky was cloudless and the air had that perfect clarity which only a thunderstorm can produce. However, much of the crispness had vanished under a hot rising sun ere we were ready and away at 9.25 a.m. for Mt. Montgomery. Returning to Penguin, we turned southwards along the Iron Cliff Road, leaving the latter close under the mountain for a short sandy turnoff which led to the Hydro transmission line (400’ - 6m. - 10.10 a.m.).
Leaving the bus at 10.20 a.m., we tramped along the rough track under the transmission line until we gained the crest of the first little ridge, where we turned right into the light "burn" and soon located a foot track leading towards the cone of Montgomery. Those of us who had chosen shorts for climbing repented our selection as dwarf ti-tree and heath trespassed upon the narrow path. Soon clearer country emerged and an easy climb up a steady slope brought us to the summit (1440' - 11.10 a.m.).
Visibility still remained excellent and a surprisingly wide panorama surrounded us. Looking hack at Mt. Duncan across the singed wooded gulf below, at the intricate patchwork pattern of well-kept farms and paddocks all around, at a maze of near and distant mountains, the broad stretches of the Leven, a rugged sea coast and the coastal towns of Ulverstone and Penguin supplied a variable scene of unusual diversity. Far to the east, Mts. Arthur and Barrow showed clearly, as did all the peaks of the Western Tiers, the Walls of Jerusalem, Mt. Roland, Black Bluff, St. Valentine's Peak and even Pelion East and Ossa.
Photography and sightseeing at an end, the call of dinner sped us on our way at noon and we arrived back at the bus at 12.25 p.m.. We had dinner amidst the soothing greenery surrounding “Ferndene” and explored the pretty gully and a mine tunnel before departing. Our homeward journey was broken at West Ulverstone so as to permit the swimmers an opportunity of cooling off after a warm day. We had tea at the picnic ground, gathered in Bruce at Ulverstone and, continuing homeward, gained Launceston in the early evening.
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