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A Spot of Peak Bagging – At Knocklofty Again!

Since I haven’t quite finished what I’ve been working on, let me tell you about a recent mini adventure. As you know I’m not normally a Peak Bagger, but having noticed a sign saying "To the Summit" the last time I was at Knocklofty, I thought I would give it a try. There are at least two good things about climbing mountains. The first is that you are usually rewarded with a great view. The second is that it’s downhill all the way back. 


This is the view from the picnic area, so it had to be even better up top

With my trusty trekking pole in hand and proper walking boots on my feet, I lumbered up the broad track that led up from the now empty Frog Ponds. Progress was slow. The early part of this track is quite steep and the vegetation changes rapidly. In the valley there are tall straight trees and many different types of vegetation. Here nature is not as generous, with only a few twisted and scattered trees - tenacious gums, dry looking grasses, fallen tree limbs and abundant loose bark and rocks. 

On quite a few occasions I thought I should quit while I was ahead. This was already about the longest walk I'd done since my ill -fated walk on Mt. Wellington. However, as I reached one bend after another, there was always something to lure me on – a glimpse of Mt. Wellington which promised to get better if only I continued on a bit further, encouraging words from a dog walker or marathon runner as they lapped me for a second time, or a patch of blue that suggested the skyline could only be a few metres further on. 


A glimpse to the South

 The higher I climbed, the sparser the vegetation became. Now there were blackened stumps and tall bleached “stags” – the remains of a long -ago bushfire. Knocklofty is apparently what the locals call a “breadloaf summit.” Scoured by successive ice sheets, it is long and sloping without a defined peak, leaving mostly flat granite at the top and all the topsoil in the valleys below, often with a layer of clay on top. “Reverse stratification” I believe my Geomorphology lecturer called it. There are many like it around Tasmania.

The Organ Pipes on Mt. Wellington come into view


The terrain changes quickly

This is hungry and thirsty ground. Only a few species survive here


I have arrived! The sign says so

 At last I break through to open ground. This was it. I'd made it. The sign said so, but there wasn't much else to reward all that effort. There was no picnic table, no  trig point, not even a view unless you count the sight of parallel high tension wires marching down the hill. Spoiler Alert! don't scroll on if you think you may get here.

I feel there should be some kind of monument here. A cairn perhaps. A seat? A Portaloo with a view? Given the industrial setting - there's a truck parked up here as well, I personally would welcome a coffee machine. The power supply is already there

 Fortunately, the way down was a lot more attractive. It was a little bush track that wound its way beneath the trees on the more sheltered side of the hill.* I also had a nice chat with some of the track workers who did their best to identify some plants I'd seen and told me about the "breadloaf" description. The rest of Knocklofty has a lot more to offer. My finest achievement was that my phone said I'd walked 7.2 Km.

*I hesitate to call Knocklofty a mountain or my reputation as a Sloth Bagger will be irreparably damaged.



Anonymous said…
I live adjacent to Knocklofty and as much as I enjoy running its tracks I also have trouble seeing it as a mountain. I feel blessed to have the scrappy thing so close by though.

Anyway, I’ve been a long time reader of your adventures which for me began with reading your Walking the Derwent series. What an intrepid explorer you are. Thank you.


Veronika Wild said…
Thank you Andy,

I didn't know there were readers in Hobart. Perhaps we'll run into one another on one of those adventures. Perhaps we already have. When Hobart Readership hits 10, we'll get together on Mt. Wellington and celebrate,


Good to know that comments work again!