Having messed up my timing and misinterpreted the road access the week before, i was keen to pay another visit to Briarty Hill VK3 / VC -029. This is a one pointer but it was to teach me a lesson–that the summit’s SOTA point rating is no indication of ease of access!
I parked at the gate at the northern end of Yarrloch Rd and started down the dirt road, aiming to retrace Peter VK3ZPF’s map and access instructions. I noticed a walking track veer off from the left side of the road but it was too indistinct to make me think to take it. After another few hundred meters the road turned down to the creek and away from the mountains on the left. I headed west across a field and started up the hill through open bush. It wasn’t long before I picked up what Peter refers to as the goat track. It is a reasonable walking track but it meanders around laterally and really does make you feel like you are going horizontally, not up! There are numerous tracks and track-lets running around the east side of the hill. In the end I became impatient and bush bashed straight up the hill, which was tiring but not too difficult. I kept Androzic in my hand the whole time so that I knew where I was. Eventually it leveled off and I hit the access road which took me straight to the summit.
All in all a harder and longer climb than I had been expecting, taking an hour of constant walking and climbing. I hit peak heart rate and held it for about 10 minutes whilst vigorously bush bashing, so the ascent certainly had the cardio factor! Overall the track is well used and not intrinsically difficult but as Peter notes I would not attempt it after rain due to slippery parts.
The summit is treed and generally unremarkable but hosts a large communications facility and buildings. There was so much fan noise emanating from this facility I chose to move back down the track by about 50 meters where I checked my altitude, then set up the dipole on the squid pole strapped to a telco star post.
I had 4G coverage so spotted myself. Twelve contacts followed quickly with very good reports.
Date:23/May/2015 Summit:VK3/VC-029 (Briarty Hill) Call Used:VK3HN Points: 1 Bonus: 0 Delete
|07:22z||VK3LX||7MHz||SSB||Warren, 8 watts KX3 Glen Waverley|
|07:23z||VK3OF||7MHz||SSB||Rex, Swan Hill|
|07:26z||VK2IO/P||7MHz||SSB||Gerard, VK2/IL-007, Knights Hill|
The longer than expected walk up had left me a bit short of time and the sunset was advancing. So I did not dally and packed up so as to make it back before dark. As it happened I did end up walking the last 15 mins with the torch. I was surprised to find that the much faster walk back to the car still took 45 minutes.
Briarty Hill is an hour’s solid climb from the plain below. It may be called a hill but it felt like a genuine mountain. Perhaps it deserves to have a grander name. And if I had my way, more SOTA points!