Thursday, 17 July 2014

Craigow Hill

Wednesday 16th July 2014

Craigow Hill
There are a vast number of fire trails, old vehicle tracks and mountain bike tracks in the Meehan Range Recreation Reserve and today I thought I would check out some more of the old tracks, as well as some of the new mountain bike tracks on my way to and from Craigow Hill. I have actually been there before but via a different route than today.
The walk starts at the end of Belbins Road, which is just off the A3 before Cambridge.
Main Meehan Fire Trail
I set off a little before 0800. The weather was okay, somewhat overcast and quite cool. I firstly walked along the fire trail and then turned right and headed uphill slightly before coming to a bike track, which I followed for quite a distance up to Golden Hill. The initial section of this track went away from the fire trail and then returned close to it and then paralleled it up to Golden Hill. It was more pleasant walking on the bike path than on the fire trail.
Bike Track
The bike track finally returned to the fire trail and I guess the plan for the bike riders would be to ride back down the fire trail from here to where they started. The fire trail/track deteriorated markedly from here and I could see no evidence of bikes using it. It went quite steeply downhill and had large washout ruts that had to be negotiated.
Fire Trail going downhill from Golden Hill
After arriving at the bottom I turned left and walked along beside Cross Rivulet before crossing it. There was not a drop of water to be seen. The track then went steeply uphill for a while before levelling out somewhat. Along a good section of this track someone had used machinery to excavate large ditches across the track, thus making it impassible for vehicles.
Ditches across the track
It was quite easy walking and the track was in fairly good condition apart from the ditches, which were easily bypassed. The country up here was rather nice and consisted mostly of open bush.
Open country on the way up to Craigow Hill
The track followed the ridgeline up and when it finally levelled out I could see the trig marker for Craigow Hill. I simply made a beeline for it across country. There were acceptable views from here of the Derwent and I stopped for a short while for a snack. I didn't linger too long as a breeze was blowing and it was rather cold.
Trig Marker Craigow Hill
From Craigow Hill
From here I headed in a south easterly direction and picked up an old track which I followed along the ridgeline. Along here I was either following the track as well as off track, but all the while just walking along the ridge. The path went up and down a few small hills before coming to a working quarry. All along here were great views of Hobart, The Derwent and Mount Wellington.
View of The Derwent
At the quarry there were a couple of excavators working and one was perched precariously on the quarry wall. Before I took the photo it was around the other way with the last quarter of the track  hanging in free space. It looked very dangerous but obviously the operator was quite skilled.
Quarry operation
At the quarry I turned left and walked down an old track, through a gate which had been unceremoniously opened, and arrived at the main fire trail once again.
One way to open a locked gate
I walked along the fire trail for about 1.0 km. before turning right onto a new bike track that basically followed along the top of some high cliffs and provided great views. The track eventually met up with the fire trail once more which I walked all the way down to the start of the Clarence Mountain Bike Park. There were many bike tracks that I could have taken but I just stuck to the fire trail. From the bike park a track ran all the way along the highway to Belbins Road and then back to the car.
This was a most enjoyable walk with some great scenery and was quite easy with no scrub bashing required. The walk could be varied easily as there are so many tracks to choose from.
Distance: 16.5 kms.
Time: 5'13"
Ascent: 870 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Grass Trees on Craigow Hill

Hobart from ridge

Hobart and Mount Wellington



Along the Cliff Top track

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An alternative shorter route

Click here to download GPX for this track.

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