Favourite walking photos 1

Like many walkers, I’m also a keen photographer. So for your delectation (or derision as the case may be…) here’s the first part of an occasional series featuring some of my favourite photos. (After a few weeks spent cranking out a set of financial statements for release to the Aust. Stock Exchange, looking at my walking photos in iPhoto is as close as I’ve got to the outdoors.)

track down to glenridding

On the track down to Glenridding (in the Lake District) after a great day climbing Helvellyn.

Bushwalking – Mt. Feathertop via the Razorback

Looking towards mt feathertop summit

This route is probably the most popular way of all to approach Mt. Feathertop. Not only does it avoid a long climb, but it provides a magnificent 10km ridge walk along the Razorback, prior to the final 1.5km pull up to the summit.

The walk starts just below Diamantina Hut on the road up to Mt. Hotham (there’s generally plenty of room to park by the side of the road). The track is well defined and for the most part follows the spine of the ridge. A short distance from the start there’s a Y junction, the left spur continues to the top of a large hill and the junction with Bon Accord Spur, before descending into Big Dipper, the right spur avoids the climb up the hill by sidling along the east side. From Big Dipper the track continues about another 7km or so before it is joined by Champion Spur on the left (west) side. From here Twin Knobs (to the east) are passed and then the path passes to the left of High Knob, which is the top of the Diamantina Spur. The Diamantina Spur track (which avoids going up and over High Knob) joins the Razorback shortly thereafter. The path then curves slightly to the north-west, passing Molly Hill before reaching a track junction next to an old gnarled snowgum that has sheltered many walkers over the years (and miraculously escaped the devastating Razorback bushfire in 2003 which took out most of the ridge and Federation Hut).

At this track junction, the path to the west – the Bungalow Spur track – leads down 500m to Federation Hut, and a very attractive overnight camping area. The main path continues north-east, soon passing the north-west spur track to the left (the walking track on the north-west spur is called the Tom Kneen track after a skier who died when the cornice on Mt Feathertop collapsed under him as he was making a winter ascent). From here the track starts to climb, first moderately and then very steeply, before finally attaining the summit. Note that at the summit there a two ‘peaks’ close together; the highest is the second one when approaching from the south.

Views from the summit are, in good weather, magnificent.

To return, follow the same route back to the Mt Hotham road. Note that while this is an attractive walk in the warmer months, the ridge is very exposed and you should be prepared for poor weather at any time, including rain and strong winds (and snow, even in summer). Note also, that although there are no big climbs, the walk is still over 22km return, so get an early start, particularly if you are relatively new to bushwalking.

Walk date: numerous times, the last on 27 Dec 2007
Time/level: 1 day med (allow 6-7 hours), about 22km
Maps: Rooftop’s Mt Feathertop-Hotham Forest Activities Map (1:30,000), VICMAP Bogong Alpine Area, Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000)
My rating: A+, one of my all-time favourite walks


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storm over ovens valley looking down from mt feathertop summit

Photos from December 2007:
The Razorback - junction with Bon Accord Spur View of Mt Buffalo plateau from the Razorback View from the Razorback at the junction with Bungalow Spur Old snowgum on the Razorback at the bungalow Spur junction

Bushwalking – Late spring snow at Lake Mountain (Victoria)

lake mountain snow

Victoria is having a bumper snow season this year, but last year was terrible. There was however a brief cold snap which dumped quite a bit of snow around the Marysville area (about an hour and a half from Melbourne) in November including a good deal at Lake Mountain, long after the ski season had closed. This is a very unusual event – Lake Mountain tends to be a marginal snow resort at the best of times – so I decided to take a day off work and head up for a walk and a look around. There were a few other people up there including some cross country skiers, this was probably the best couple of days that Lake Mountain had last year.

Good job I went up when I did, the cold snap finished as abruptly as it started and the weather on the day was warm, so the snow was melting fast (compare the first and fourth photos below). All in all though, a good days walking and recommended for a day trip out of Melbourne during the warmer months.

I parked at the Snowy Hill car park and took the summit track up the Lake Mountain summit (about 1.5km) and then down another km or so to Gerraty’s car park before taking the Echo flat ski trail to Triangle junction and then the Crossways lookout. At this point I turned around and headed back along another of the ski trails to Gerraty’s before taking the road back to Snowy Hill. There are a lot of ski trails in the area so make sure you have a map.

Walk date: November 2006
Time/level: 1 day easy/med (around 4 hours or so)
Map: Marysville-Lake Mountain Outdoor Leisure Map (VICMAP)
My rating: B. An enjoyable and interesting walk – snow at this time of year is rather unusual outside of the Victorian Alps area

summit walk track - morning trail junction boulders on the trail up to lake mountain summit summit walk track - afternoon

Bushwalking – Mt Bogong (20th anniversary)

Mt Bogong summit cairn

Mt Bogong is the highest peak in Victoria at 1986m. Thankfully, unlike Mt Kosciusko in NSW, there are no roads going close to the summit – however you approach, there is no ‘easy’ way. The most popular approach is from the north, utilising the Staircase and Eskdale spurs. While I would normally recommend travelling clockwise (i.e. up Eskdale and down Staircase) on this day, twenty years since my first ascent, I chose to go anti-clockwise – the same way we had taken in 1987.

This route also makes for a particularly fine overnight walk, with camp at Cleve Cole Memorial Hut.

Walk date: March 10, 2007
Time/level: 1 day, hard (allow 7.0-8.5 hours)
Map: Bogong Alpine Area, Outdoor Leisure Map
My rating: A. An essential Victorian bushwalk.


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bivouac hut looking back down staircase spur junction of eskdale and granite flat spurs michell hut

Books: Country Walks Around London

Country Walks Around London (cover)

Country Walks Around London by Geoff Garvey and Leigh Hatts

I spent two years living in London while studying at London Business School. Stuck out in the ‘burbs of Metroland (Willesden Green) it was good to escape to the countryside for the occasional walk. One of the things I found remarkable about London was that, despite the number of people living in the Greater London area, it was still possible to get away from the crowds while remaining within the M25 boundary. This book helped guide me to some excellent walks, all serviced (at the time at least) by public transport – useful since I didn’t have a car.

Now sadly out of print, but still available used from Amazon resellers (and presumably other second-hand book stores) I can strongly recommend this book. While the maps are a little basic, the descriptions are (or at least were) excellent; the authors have clearly walked the routes, and they have chosen some good ones. Just remember that the book was published in 1998 so conditions on the ground may have changed since then.