Fairly impressed with Brisbane and if you are riding a bicycle it is one of the best cities around. Dedicated cycle lanes, built on stilts over or under the main highway. The cycle lanes are also open for walkers and jogging alongside the river. What chance a similar facility alongside Loch Linnhe back home, to avoid the A82.
The free City Hopper Ferry, links various places of interest along the Brisbane River. If you are looking to cool off and access the internet for free, the city library is the place to seek out, next to the river in carefully landscaped tree lined area. Free WiFi in Fort William High Street? That would certainly encourage more visitors.
Spent a day at The Gabba, watching England getting thrashed. I appear doomed to attend big games, where the team I am supporting get beaten. Still a good atmosphere and I have never seen so much lager drunk at a major sporting venue! Either the Aussies are good drinkers or the beer is pretty weak. The latter is my opinion and you are welcome to it.
We also visitedKata Tjuta, which is equally impressive and more easily protected with cams. However, the two locations are not open for climbing, so do not bother. There is an easy but steep walk, via a chained walkway on Uluru, but it is discouraged and in recent years the numbers making the ascent has reduced significantly, to the point where the National Park authorities are considering a total ban.
From a distance it appears that Uluru (Ayers Rock) would be very difficult anyway, unless you are interested in unprotected ‘crimps’ on steep sandstone. Kata Tjuta might succumb to cam protection, but again is out of bounds for sacred reasons, to honour the feelings of the indigenous locals, who also own the park.
A quick tour of parts of the Australian state of Victoria, took us along the Great Ocean Road Route and on to Mt Arapiles for a sample of the best rock that the continent has to offer. In fact, any global climber would be hard pressed to name a better location. All grades up to Aussie 34, some with bolts and others are definitely trad. Camping is currently $5 per person per night. Anyone considering a good cycle tour would not be disappointed following the Victoria coastline. Work out wind direction before you go and definitely use the The Great Ocean Road Backpackers at Lorne Further inland the landscape is very flat, unless you visit the Grampians or of course the climbing on Mt Arapiles
Mt Arapiles has undergone serious geological metamorphism over thousands of years, much to the delight of modern climbers. It is the most solid assortment of Quartzite cliffs you are likely to find anywhere. Sue and I found the grades a little hard to understand and even Tip Toe Ridge, grade 3, depending on which guide you read, had its moments. By comparison I found the same Aussie grades in Tasmania at Freycinet to be softer climbs!
We also visited Hall’s Gap in the Grampians. The weather was not great, but we found a splendid backpackers in Tim’s Place
Now is the time to get on the white water. We have Regents Canoe Club using our base this week. Also Richard Bentley running a mountain leader course. Calluna is a great location for running your own courses or just hanging out after a good days recreational paddling or climbing. Loads of space up until Christmas and through the winter. Check us out.
Fort William and the Great Glen are busy just now migrating birds following the natural fault line from Inverness south. I’m no expert, but did recognise a flocks Whooper Swans and their bugling call as they left Fort William this morning heading south. On recent days the skies over our home have been full with flocks of smaller birds, such as Fieldfare with their distinctive chatter, migrating towards warmer climates.
Photos taken with a new waterproof camera (Lumix FT5), as my old Pentax Optio has given up, after many years of valuable service. I have a Lumix G3 that I’m fairly happy with also. Our autumn migration is taking place shortly, so photos from a much warmer location will hopefully be posted as November progresses.
The Chris Walker Trust is helping to sponsor a Mountain Training CPD winter weekend at Glenmore Lodge. For more details click here
Check out the detail of Finlay Wild’s record scamper along the most difficult mountain ridge in the UK. World class effort Finlay.