I found myself in the NW of VK7 accompanying my XYL who was attending a Harp gathering that was being held at the Claude Road Memorial Hall at the base of Mt Roland. Claude Road is C136.
Whilst Helen was at her Harp day I planned to activate Mt Roland, Mt VanDyke and Mt Claude – more on that ambitious plan later! These mountains make up what is called the Fossey Mountains.
I decided to start at the Kings Road track up to Mt Roland then across to Mt VanDyke past the O’Neills Creek Road tracks and end up at Olivers Road after activating Mt Claude. Best laid plans!! It was a cloudy day with a high of about 19 degrees and there was cloud visible across the top of the Fossey Mountains.
I signed the book at the start of the track at 8:30am and proceeded to walk up the hill. It is a steep track starting at 400m and rising another 700m (to 1100m) along about a 2.5km track to a plateau. There are very steep segments, boulder hopping and boulder clambering along the way. From the plateau you slowly rise up to 1234m over about another 2km with some boulder hopping in the middle before seeing the rocky outcrop with the Mt Roland trig point on it. It took me just under 3 hours to get to Mt Roland via the Kings Road track.
I setup and operated just below the rocky summit outcrop and well within the 25m activation zone – this got me vaguely out of the wind. I quickly made six contacts on 40m and then packed up and moved on. The track leads on down the plateau past some block fields – track can be challenging as there are muddy patches and lots of rock hopping over the conglomerate that makes up the Fossey Mountains.
A kilometre or so before the O’Neills Creek track there are duckboards and a lookout looking South Westish. The O’Neills track junction is very well marked with platform and signs 1.5 hours to Mt Roland and one hour to Mt VanDyke. I kept going on to Mt VanDyke and the track is a much easier walk mainly on dirt with few conglomerate boulders to navigate.
The Track gently rises to Mt VanDyke which is a rocky outcrop you see for most of the walk. For some of this walk you are pushing though low alpine shrubbery which when there is low cloud it is also wet!
It was very windy and I managed to setup on the leeward side of Mt VanDyke in the gap between to outcrops and quickly made seven contacts on 40m. The low cloud very quickly wets any surface so, I was not sticking around. I packed up and headed back to the O’Neills Creek track junction. It was 3pm when I started back to the track junction.
Considering there was another 3km from Mt VanDyke to Mt Claude and then another 1.5km from Mt Claude to the the Olivers Road pickup point I decided to abort that stage and plan it for another day. I did not know the condition of the track and if it was like the Mt Roland track then it would be 3km of rock hopping which my legs were starting to let me know they were not enjoying!
Around 4pm I let my XYL Helen know I would not be meeting her at Olivers Road but at O’Neills Creek Road as there was good mobile coverage across the top of the Fossey Mountain Range. The longer O’Neill’s Creek road track is well maintained – only steep in some parts and most of it from the carpark is a gently rising firetrail that follows the contours! Luxury after the Kings Road track!
I got the carpark just after 5pm for pickup.
My Fitbit told me I had walked just under 20km and my legs were telling me that was pretty accurate!
Thanks to all who made contact with me and apologies I could not stay longer at each contact site.
I am planning Mt Claude which has a telecommunications facility on it with an access track to it so, this should not be anything like Mt Roland or Mt VanDyke!
73, Justin, VK7TW