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x-11th Bulawayo (Riverside) Scout David Davies

Dave and Theresa on Bluff Knoll, Western Australia 2005

Dave Davies' Hike in Western Australia 2005

(A copy of the email to Mol)

11 July 2005

Dear Richard and Gayle,

Thank you for your e-mail and photos a few weeks back about the Three Peaks Challenge.

What an effort? you all did very well, I wish I was there although I fear may not be as fit as you guys but would have enjoyed the Chinese and breakfast organised by Gayle and Mary. You and your team's efforts inspired me on a recent family holiday.

Not to be outdone though, but also not the same challenge level, a couple of weeks ago we (my wife Theresa, myself and our 12 yrs old Gareth) went away for a week holiday to Mount Barker which is about 400 kms south of Perth.

Click to see big picture

Now Western Australia is, as they say here, flat as a tack - it's basically a desert and we all live on the coast - mountains are not a common feature, and if you want to see snow and real mountains you have to travel 4000km's east to New South Wales or Victoria.

Click to see big picture
climbing... climbing...

But near Mt Barker we do have the Sterling Ranges which are named after Captain Sterling who "founded" Western Australia - or as he called it the Swan River Colony. Bluff Knoll is the highest Mountain in the Sterling Ranges rising to around 1090 metres (different publications show various heights from 1050 - 1150) and about every 5 - 6 years when the conditions are perfect gets a small covering of real snow.

After some great motivational speeches, I eventually persuaded Theresa and Gareth that we should attempt Bluff Knoll, although a 6am start was scuttled by Theresa and I had to settle for 10am.

Click to see big picture
View of Stirling Ranges.

The next day as we drove to the national park we could see Bluff Knoll looming in the distance and I was worried that my "team mates" would back out, but to their credit they held their nerve and we arrived at the car park ready to do battle with the mountain.

I'm not sure of the altitude of the car park but a sign warns you that the round trip would be 3 - 4 hours, was 8km and water must be carried.

Click to see big picture
Dave and Theresa on the summit.

We started the walk / climb around 11am and reached the summit at 2.30pm with quiet a few rests and stops in between, Gareth almost ran it (young legs) and kept running back telling us to hurry as he wanted to get to the top. We probably could have done without the water as there were beautiful little streams which we crossed on the way up, so perhaps the warning was for summer months when the conditions would be different.

Click to see big picture
From the summit looking down on the carpark.

What a fantastic view, we could see Albany on the coast about 50km's away to the south, someone in a glider passed over head, and Wedge Tail eagles squawked and chased each other high above us. Then there was that absolute silence that one misses living in a city.

It was magnificent.

Click to see big picture
Looking towards Albany.

After a 30minute rest we made our way back to the car park - completely knackered.

We were very lucky that day, for mid-winter we had perfect weather but my suggestion that we look for another peak to climb the following day was met with mute silence.

Attached some photos of our adventure

Click to see big picture
We came from thereeee...


PS our climb was on 11 July one month after your very impressive 3PC.

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Acknowledgements:- With thanks to Dave Davies and his family for sharing their experiences with us all.