We woke in Fingal to drizzly rain, a blustery south wind that felt like it blew right from Antartica and heavy grey skies. I feared we were back into the "waiting on the weather" game. When your whole life is about being outdoors, getting stuck indoors even for a single day is virtually intolerable - at least it is for me. I went off and wandered around town for a while, but, a clearing weather trend sent me scurrying back to find Doug. The rain had stopped, the clouds had lifted and we could almost see the dolerite columns and high country of Ben Lomond National Park from the valley bottom.
Doug arriving on the alpine plateau
Highway B54 climbs to about 600 metres from Fingal passing through a couple of small villages (a few houses really), and, at a hairpin bend in the road, about 21 km from Fingal, an old wood sign proclaims Ben Lomond. We parked about 50 metres down this very minor road and began walking.
The first third of the walk is on a very old road which basically goes fairly straight up. Abruptly, the road ends, and a flagged track begins. I say track, but, like many Tasmanian tracks this one is more akin to a vertical wombat tunnel lined with razor wire than a track. Some track notes we had found online noted the track was "currently overgrown with prickly pink mountain berry native shrubs, making the climb unsuitable for children." I would probably concur with that.
Doug overlooking Stacks Bluff
The bluffs, a series of dolerite columns that appear to hold back the high alpine plateau, soon appear through the trees and look a long way away. The track head sign indicated two hours to the top and I thought we would never get all the way to the bluffs in that time, but, we were on top of Bent Bluff looking out over Stacks Bluff in well under two hours. It was howling on the plateau and very cold. We soaked in as much of the view as we could without turning to ice cubes before finding a semi-sheltered spot for a bit of hot tea. Stacks Bluff and Denison Crag are both impressive from the plateau and there is also an access track to that end of the plateau.
Getting down was quick as all the vegetation was sloping down hill and we had gloves on so could grab hold of the occasional prickly bush to help our descent. I felt amazingly better for what amounted to under four hours exercise.
Stacks Bluff and Denison Crag