Friday, July 10, 2015

Oatlands to Parratah

Apparently, Oatlands has some of the “best bouldering in Tasmania,” and the on-line guidebook sported photos of nice clean looking sandstone boulders that, apparently, are “generally quite solid,” so I thought I would drive up and take a look. I also planned on walking the Lake Dulverton track (about 8 km each way) that runs from Oatlands to the small hamlet of Parratah, following the lake shore and the alignment of an old railway line. 

Driving north from Campania, big grey clouds lay right across the northern horizon and I began to wonder if rain was perhaps imminent. I parked by Lake Dulverton in Oatlands, and immediately put on my rain jacket and gloves. A strong north wind was blowing and the temperature felt quite frigid. Last time we had been in Oatlands, at the end of summer, a strong south wind had been blowing and it also felt quite frigid. Perhaps Oatlands is just cold and windy all year round. 

 Front approaching Lake Dulverton

It began raining almost immediately as I followed the track around Lake Dulverton past the two bund walls to the site of an old flax mill and Freds Point. Beyond the second bund wall, there is little water in the lake but the upper lakes have water fed into them from Arthurs Lake up in the Central Highlands to provide bird habitat; a strategy which is obviously working as there are lots of birds. 

At the end of the lake at Bacons Bay, the track follows the Tunnack Road to Parratah. This is still pleasant walking, however, as the track is mostly sheltered from the road by trees and there is minimal vehicle traffic. Near the junction with the Inglewood Road, the track passes by a private forest reserve and a beautiful forest of eucalpyts. I was in driving rain by this time so my camera had been tucked away. 

 Someone is going to get wet

For some reason, the track ends about 900 metres before you reach Parratah where there is a huge Macrocarpa tree (over 10 metres around) planted sometime in the early 1800's. As I was so close to Parratah, I wandered into town which is perhaps looking a little down at heel. There is a restored railway station, closed, an old hotel, closed and for sale, and a brightly painted general store, also closed. In fact, apart from three workmen – two watching, one working – the entire town seemed “closed.” There was not a single curtain open in any of the houses along the main street. 

The rain stopped and the wind even died down a bit which made the walk back much more pleasant as I could now actually see what was around me. The clouds over Lake Dulverton were quite fantastic. 

 Fabulous clouds over Lake Dulverton

At Freds Point, I walked down to the lake and walked across the dry lake bed back to the second bund, checking out any likely bouldering along the way (lichenous and loose). I crossed over the second bund and spent a fair bit of time walking past what I assume is all the bouldering in the area, but it was overgrown, dirty, and, when I jumped on one horizontal roof, both handholds broke and I landed flat on my back in the gorse below. 

Instead of going back to the track, I followed the lake shore around and did find three or four areas where there was some evidence of climbing, but the routes were way too hard for me, and, I was so stiff and cold from being out in the rain and cold wind for hours, that I doubt I could have climbed even a VE. Finally, I was back at the first bund, where I hopped the fence and walked back to the car for a hot cup of tea.

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