Day 9 Ingledene to Mt Clear Range

Three walkers tackled the ascent from Smiths Road Ingledene up to the Clear Range on day 9 of the Walk the Border ACT.

Group

The cool morning was welcome as the group passed through rural lands on the 400 metre vertical ascent up to the range.

Breaks on the way up gave opportunities to appreciate the broad views on both side of the ridge.

Rural 2Walking 1

The walking was a combination of on and offtrack walking with some solid bits of scrub to ensure some patches of very slow going.  Some very pretty dry schlerophyll forest covered the top of the range.

 

Throughout the day however we encountered feral deer and horses and evidence of pig damage countered by some great bird sightings and many wallabies and kangaroos.

An example of a stock yard was an unexpected find.

yards

A long day with 24.4 kms of walking and 1363m of ascent  and 990m of descent.

Great walking with Alex H and Tom T and fabulous support from Jeff M.

 

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Bird sightings from Day 8 – Royalla to Ingledene

Having experienced bird-watchers walking with you means you can capture great data and information about the birds living in the area.

Day 8’s walkers included Matthew and Lia = thanks to Matthew for providing this comprehensive list of the birds seen throughout the day.

Swainsona Reserve, Royalla, New South Wales, AU
Oct 14, 2017 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
14.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:     travelling south along NSW-ACT border
45 species (+1 other taxa)

Australian Wood Duck  2
White-faced Heron  1
Wedge-tailed Eagle  1
Masked Lapwing  2
Crested Pigeon  4
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo  1
Pallid Cuckoo  4
Fan-tailed Cuckoo  2
Rainbow Bee-eater  2
Nankeen Kestrel  1
Galah  30
Little Corella  4
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo  10
Crimson Rosella  8
Eastern Rosella  6
White-throated Treecreeper  1
Superb Fairywren  10
Eastern Spinebill  1
Yellow-faced Honeyeater  20
Noisy Miner  30
Red Wattlebird  1
Noisy Friarbird  2
Spotted Pardalote  4
Striated Pardalote  11
Buff-rumped Thornbill  4
Brown Thornbill  2
Yellow-rumped Thornbill  10
Weebill  5
White-throated Gerygone  2
Dusky Woodswallow  4
Grey Butcherbird  2
Australian Magpie  25
Pied Currawong  3
Black-faced Cuckooshrike  7
Rufous Whistler  10
Olive-backed Oriole  2
Willie Wagtail  1
Grey Fantail  6
Magpie-lark  4
Australian Raven  5
Little Raven  2
Welcome Swallow  5
Fairy/Tree Martin  15
Silvereye  4
Common Starling  10
Australasian Pipit  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39909774

Day 8 Royalla to Ingledene

Eleven walkers joined Walk the Border ACT today, marking the beginning of week two of our fund-raising endeavours for the Conservation Council ACT.

The day was mild, and towards the end, the terrain scrubby – most of us crawled at some stage. But the company was good, and we welcomed many walkers back from the last week.

railway walkers

The wildflowers were out everywhere the eye could see, and offered a pleasant reason to stop and catch our breath.

yellow flowerspaper daisiespurple orchid

The incline to the top after Angle Crossing was worth the views, which were expansive to the south and a reminder of the coming days heading down into Namadgi National Park – even so, the going was definitely tough.

views to southview to south 2view from the topinclie climb 1

incline climb 2

Congratulations to all of the walkers who made it to the sign-post at the ACT/NSW border and to Geoff and Margaret for their floral expertise.

Thanks to Robert N for this group shot at today’s half way point.

MAtthew Frawley image edit

 

 

Day 7 Gilmore to Royalla

One week down already!   And what a range of landscapes the 39 participants have experienced over the past seven stages of Walk the Border ACT 2017!

Day 7 was another day of unexpected views and interesting walking.  An early diversion was a meeting with a much maligned resident – a brown snake sunning itself on disused railway track near Gilmore in the south of the ACT.  It’s always good to get the heart pumping early with a close encounter. But we observed it from afar, keeping a safe distance, and left it to its sun-baking.

Brown Snake

We didn’t see any more.

The day was spent on and around the old railway line which winds through the hills south to Royalla.  It gave us plenty of examples of the engineering feats needed with lots of cuttings and fills forming the basis of the track.

The twists and turns of the route opened up unexpected views.  These are views of Tuggeranong Hill, Mt Tennent and Mt Taylor that are from less travelled perspectives.

Tuggeranong Hill viewMt Tennent viewMt TAylor view

Occasionally the railway infrastructure would present some quandaries.  What happens to the staff once they stop, as directed, at this point?

Stop

There were also other touches of whimsy.  Is this a modernist sculpture?

Sculpture

Naturally there were border markers, maybe not as many as we had hoped to see though some came with friends.

BM1Horses and BM

A blue tongue lizard greeted us near Royalla.

Blue tongue All up it was another fascinating day in the borders of the ACT.

Group2

Map Stage 7

Day 7 14.9 kms with 217m of ascent and 114m of descent

Thanks to the good company, of Andrew C, Tom T, Jeff I, Margaret and Robert N, Debbie R,  Jane R (and Molly & Tilly)

 

 

 

Day 6 Queanbeyan to Gilmore

A montage of endangered plant species, loads of local history and railroad infrastructure sums up Day 6.

A brisk stroll in the cattle-stocked ACT grasslands quickly lead to the impressive structure of the railway bridge spanning the Queanbeyan River.

Q River Railway Bridge

After passing through the suburban streets of Oaks Estate and Queanbeyan, the grassland enthusiasts amongst us got very excited by the outbreaks of Hoary Sunray in the fields opposite the industrial area of Beard.

Geoff

The railway line near Woods Lane showcased some interesting examples of railway infrastructure as well as sites of the beautiful yellow flowered Button Wrinklewort (not the world’s best name).

Further along, Woods Lane provides a vista of the broad valley leading to Hume. Wood Lane

We were very privileged today to have a past resident of the valley with us.  The walk brought forth many wonderful reminiscences of life in the valley, from the intrigue of the bridge near Tralee (just recently removed) where the Soviet diplomat Vladimar Petrov would leave documents for ASIO agents during the cold war to stacks of tiles left over from her old homestead and still there despite the homestead itself having moved!

With a lot of land disturbance along the route only one lonely border marker was spotted.

Border marker

Many thanks to the walkers who shared Day 6’s experiences: Phil C, Graeme F, Tom T, Anne F, Geoff R and Margaret N.  A special thanks to John B from the Office of Environment and Heritage for his ongoing efforts to protect the endangered species in the area.

Stage 6 Map

Day 6  – 16.1Km with 311m of ascent and 224m of descent (The days walk covered both the light blue and the breadcrumbed sections of trail above.)

Day 5 Kings Highway to Yass Road

Things kicked off very quickly on Day 5.  Within half an hour of starting we were well into an emergency rescue of a shingleback lizard which had caught its head in a wire fence.  Some judicious “adjustments” to the fence saw our friend freed and watered.  This picture below is after it was rescued.

Rescued Shingleback

The next piece of excitement was when we passed the most easterly point of the ACT, where just across the boundary from this the land we could see some good examples of dry woodlands.

Near the Easternmost border

Almost all of the day was spent walking down the ACT side of the border next to the Goulburn to Canberra rail line.  It was amazing to see the amount of left-over and discarded equipment that had made its way into the ACT side of the border – including this old telegraph pole.

Old Telegraph Post

ACT Forests were doing a sterling effort in spraying serrated tussock and it was very obvious how easily this can be transported into an area by contaminated vehicles or soil.  The two lines of serrated tussock shown here follow closely the two communication lines laid in the area.

Serrated tussock

But not everything in the forests is in tip top condition as the state of this sign shows.

Kowen Forest sign

Being close to the rail line did mean we got to see three of the day’s trains.  Each one greeted us with a toot of the horn and a wave from the driver as it went past.

Train

A highlight of today’s walk was following the Blue Tiles Trail in the Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve.  The Molonglo River has carved a deep course through the sedimentary rocks of the gorge.  And the occasional ferocity of the river was evidenced by the large log jams scattered along sections of the gorge.

MOlonglo Gorge

Toward the end of the walk, we were privileged to be joined by two of the team from the Conservation Council ACT Region – Elle. and Belinda, and Belinda’s two children, Hamish and Amelie.

Hamish and Amelie did not come empty-handed. They have raised more than $250 to contribute to the Conservation Council – a significant achievement.

Congratulations to the walkers, David C, Trevor & Joan L, Deb R and Quentin M for getting through what was a long and eventful stage in great spirits.

Group

Stage 5 Map

Day 5 has a distance of 22.1 Kms with 537m of ascent and 814m of descent.

Day 4 Sutton Road to Kings Highway

Day 4 was the first of three days where we could be accompanied by our dogs!

Molly and Tilly had a ball … not literally, just a really good time. Over the 22 kms of the walk, many bushes, rocks, sticks and trees were sniffed and investigated.

Group

A steep climb greeted the 14 walkers, but the first hill rewarded them with a fantastic view back to Black Mountain.

First ClimbView to Black Mt

The day wound around the northern part of the ACT and was filled with unexpected views and discussion about the history of the various border markers that we encountered.

The track undulated, as promised, and the group spread out as we went up each of the many hills. The group’s enthusiasm carried them through.

Red T View

Morning tea was welcome at Poppet Trig, after Tilly avoided a close encounter with a shingleback.

Poppet Trig

Shingleback

The rural views dominated towards the end of the walk, with views to the wind turbines at Woodlawn, and reminders of the slow pace of regeneration of the woodlands.

Rural View 2Rural View 1

Thanks to the walkers, Philip C, Graeme F, Deb R (and Molly), Tom T, Gerry N, Judy H, Trish C, Peter F, Rob L, Shelley C, Mary N, Tom Tr, and Jeanine Tr. And Tilly, the blackdog.

Map Stage 4

Day 4 – 22.1kms, 744m ascent, 647m descent

Day 3 Federal Highway to Sutton Road

Today was mainly across the northern boundary of the military firing range at Majura and, fortunately,  the only bangs we heard were from the distant Canberra Rifle Club.  This did mean, however, that a 3.5 km segment of the border was a no-go zone, being in the firing template, but we took that news stoically.

Rain overnight had freshened up the landscape and we were lucky that the threatening skies at the start did not result in more rain.  Proceeding up the NSW side of the boundary from the Federal Highway we could see Old Joe Trig where we had lunch on Day 2.

Starting view

The land rose up through scattered gums and rock and we were welcomed at the north-west corner of Defence’s land by two officials from range control. A quick chat and we were all on our respective ways.  We were to follow the boundary trail for the rest of the day and it dropped down initially through the open forest to the valley floor bounded by the numerous neighbouring rural properties.

Lockspits and carved wooden markers dotted our progress across the valley and continued on as we started the ever increasingly steep ascent up to Greenwood Trig.  Every now and then gaps in the woodlands would provide glimpses of Black Mountain, Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura.  We were given a whole new perspective of these familiar mountains from our northern vantage points.

Lockspit and Marker

 

We were surprised by the sighting of what appeared to be a one metre high squared wooden border marker and our suspicions of its nature was confirmed when another was sighted soon after.

After a number of short but steep ascents and descents we settled in for lunch with a view that stretched all the way to Parliament House.

A male mouse spider provided a bit of colour as it hunted on the rocky trail.

Male Mouse Spider

An easy descent followed, and then a flat 4 k walk to the Sutton Road was lightened by the marvellous woodlands held by Defence and stretching north into NSW. We made a quick phone call to Range Control to say we were out of Defence’s land and the stage was finished.

Majura woodlands

Thanks for the excellent company of Tom T and David C.

(Postscript – Permission was obtained to enter the Department of Defence land.  There are significant potential hazards associated with the Majura Firing Range and access should only be attempted after obtaining Defence’s permission.)

Day 2 Mulligans Flat Road to the Federal Highway

It was a fine day for walking through some of the ACT’s best examples of grassy woodlands, with a cool temperature and light, overcast skies.  The second day of Walk the Border ACT was completely in the Mulligan’s Flat and Goorooyaroo Nature Reserves; the Conservation Council played an active role in advocating for and planning the establishment of both sites.

The border follows the northern edges of these reserves and the adjacent rural  properties in NSW.  It undulates moderately at the start, flattens out and then begins the slow climb to Gooroo Hill and Old Joe Hill – the highest point on the day’s walk.

Mulligans Flat 1

Following the border, the ground was dry underfoot with the leaf litter sparsely dotted with Early Nancy.  The flowers of the acacias that were in full flower a month ago had died off along our way. At the edge of the reserves, the grasses and undergrowth were more vigorous, interspersed between the lowland eucalypts.

The echidnas were out in force again, with another two sighted today.

Stage 2 Echidna

The top of Gooroo Hill is a pleasant open area which gave us our first chance to view the extent of yesterday’s walk, while in the distance, far beyond Gungahlin’s suburbs, the bold shapes of the Brindabellas dominated the skyline.

In the property bordering Gooroo Hill a massive cairn of rocks stands several metres tall.  Someone has gone to a lot of trouble but for what purpose?

Gooroo Hill 3

A moderate climb to Old Joe afforded a picturesque place for lunch, with a 360 degree panorama.  There was just a hint of rain in the air as we descended off Old Joe to arrive at the best preserved wooden border marker of the day’s walk, before heading across the grassy plains to the Federal Highway.

OLd Joe 1Old Joe 2

Thanks to Paul and Sue A and Maino M, who backed up from yesterday, and to Mel T and Tom T who joined the Walk today.

Stage 2 Group

11.8kms with 376 metres of ascent and 341 metres of descent.

Stage 2 Map