Saturday 17 June 2023: Orroral Valley recce ! – L/M,W. Up the middle, return true left side of Orroral River.
From Garmin Connect (MAP66i) – Distance: 21.74km | Climb: 400vm | Time: 5:12 moving + 1:39 of stops = 6:51 | Grading: L/M,W; M(11).
Photographs Photographs are available here. Heaps of them, many not embedded in trip report.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
This old fella had an excellent day today! Several objectives achieved. 1. A recce for one or two upcoming Wednesday Walks I am to put on – now I won’t make such a fool of myself. 2. Found a crossing point over the Orroral River. 3. Visits to some old sites – a bit of nostalgia. 4. This one was not so successful – trying to show younger walkers some sites before I die, but I’m not sure of the level of interest ;-). 5. But my companions did learn what a Spot Height is!
A glorious blue-sky day, breezy and cool. Perfect walking weather. Wonderful company with unceasing chatter (between themselves), perfect for introverted me. Huge views to the tops on both sides of the valley and beyond.
Walking by 8.15am from the Orroral Valley Tracking Station site car park. There is some excellent historical information, including photos, about the Tracking Station here.
Pretty cold till the sun got over the north-eastern Ridge of Stone. Grand tors on the opposite ridge.
We passed the weather station. At the Link Track we turned left up to Cotter Hut Road, tromped it for a bit, then turned right at the next intersection. The reason for this was to visit the Winston-Gregson OR13 Stockyard site. Just about all reclaimed by nature, just a couple of posts remaining. On a previous trip on 15 Sep 09 we’d found old tins and bottles.
The track took us down to Rowleys Orroral Valley Hut site.
A bit further on was another nature reclaimed hut foundation. Still visible on 23 Jun 09, now only a star picket is left (but we found some evidence on the next trip on 28 Jun 23. This is Patrick McLaughlin’s Hut site.
A little further on we found ourselves on the Orroral Valley Circuit track, which we followed all the way up the valley to Smokers Trail (where it turns left and goes on to join the Cotter Hut Road).
We left the track to visit Fishloch Yards.
The photo shows SH1339 behind, a popular destination for walks. So began the Spot Height lesson.
We next headed down to the Orroral River. No crossing point here.
Back on the track, we followed its arc to the NW. SH1339 was a constant companion in this northern part of the valley.
Approaching Sawpit Creek we first had some stepping stones.
Closing in, I was expecting the bridge. It was there the last time I crossed it, on 30 Jul 16. Alas, gone.
To this point, a few boggy bits of track. Here, our first wet feet for the day.
At the junction of Orroral Valley Circuit and Smokers Trail, we turned right. Paralleled Sawpit Creek for a while with its expansive reed beds.
Then north and down towards the northern Orroral River crossing. Some little shrubs beside a lovely Banksia gave us shelter from the breeze for smoko.
The Orroral River ford was dry and unexciting.
We immediately turned right into a scrubby start to a leg paralleling the Orroral River on the true left side, but it soon became easier going.
The going opened right up as we approached Booroomba Creek. I was fooled into thinking we’d get across with dry feet.
SH 1339 continued to dominate.
But, of course, the creek was across the open dry approach and over under the start of the incline up to the northern end of the Ridge of Stone.
There are 2 boulders marked as red asterisks on the Corin Dam 1:25000 topo map.
Views west to ‘Dutchies Peak’.
Dutchies Peak (UTM 55H 670009-6060840) – “I was accompanied by six or so Club members and a foreign visitor to our shores, a delightful young Dutch woman whose first name was Antja. Antja (a keen bushwalker from the Netherlands) made a very strong favourable impression on all of us. l originally toyed with the idea of naming the peak Mt Antja, but it didn’t sound quite right to me. “Dutchies Peak” seemed much more poetic and appropriate and doubtless that would have been the name that I would have ascribed to it in my trip report for the Club Newsletter.” Source: Frank Bergersen email 29/3/19.
More boggy patches as we crossed a few drainage lines running down from the Ridge of Stone.
Great open views.
Just before lunch we found someone’s home.
Lunch was called at 12.25pm.
After eating we went down to the river to check out an open run between the reed beds. No joy for crossing.
Around 1km further south we again checked the river for a crossing point. Great to see the water clear and much vegetation thriving in the fast flowing water.
Continuing downstream we at last found a crossing point, albeit with wet feet again. It was just by the Winston-Gregson OR 12 old footbridge site:
“Re-used plywood on old battens; two tree trunks; the whole nailed and wired togetherthen wired to neighbouring rocks. [in 1978] Poor condition, presumably built to enable sheep to graze both banks of Orroral River.”
OR11 – Rowleys Orroral Valley Hut, OR12 – The footbridge, OR13 – Stockyard site
A couple of hundred metres downstream was a small, but noisy, cascade.
It would be possible to cross here with dry feet and I have in the past.
A little further south, another possible crossing point.
Nearly all over bar the shouting now. We regained the Orroral Valley Circuit, crossed the boardwalk over James Creek and came to the Link Track at 2.18pm. There was a last place my companions had not visited, so we headed NE on the Link Track to cross the Orroral River bridge. I was gallantly walking through the puddle so as not to widen the route, when my companions passed me via the trodden down reeds. I joined them.
We wandered up to the boulder.
This is another Winston-Gregson identified site which he classified as an indigenous shelter.
We squeezed through the internal slots, a bit like a mini Split Rock.
Back over the bridge we turned south to a ‘concrete thing’. Anyone know what it was for?
Back through the laser sites.
Excellent day. These ladies can certainly walk and talk!
Relive the trip
Here’s where we went.
The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.
4 walkers – Shannon, Ming L, Sandra T, me.
I’ve started up a FaceBook page. Each trip report posts to it. So it’s another way to get some info to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air. Why not pop over and Follow the page, or give a post a Like.