Mt Barrow June, 2013.
Today we accidentally climbed Mt Barrow – that is, we didn’t get to the top and say “Oh no. This is not Ben Lomond after all”; rather, we climbed it as a mistake in our interpretation of the weather, thinking the forecasted rain would spoil anything further afield. This was the ‘poor little sister’, the wet weather option. There were big clouds around. For this reason, we had only gone to the gorge in the morning – but I had not had enough exercise, so suggested during lunch that we walk up Barrow after a bit of a read. We packed our anoraks and more, and drove off. It is rather embarrassing to admit that, although we have lived in Launceston for 25 years, and although we quite often (so it seems) drive 4-5 hours to climb mountains down south, my husband has never been up Mt Barrow, and I’ve only run up it twice.
We parked at a kind of picnic hut thing down the bottom, and set out walking. I didn’t have a clue how long walking would take, but it was a rarely used road, so we could descend in the dark if necessary. Bruce was most unimpressed to be walking up a road, but I assured him we’d have it to ourselves, and we were there for the exercise, not so much for the scenery – it was only Barrow, after all. A car and a motorbike farted by after about 12 minutes. That did not augur so very well. Fortunately, after that my grand prophecy was correct.
The higher we climbed, the lower the sun dropped, and the more spectacular the landscape became in the golden light. Whilst waiting for Bruce at the top car park, I sussed out how I would get to that alluring summit trig. All the space-age towers with huge circular ear-muffs or robot eyes looked like something from a sci-fi horror movie and quite spooked me, actually. In the end I did the rocky bit solo. The rocks were very slippery, the moon equipment foreboding. The promised clouds and nightfall were approaching too quickly.
Our descent was absolutely magic. An imposing cloud mass had built up, but remained in a narrowish strip, and fiery rays of light projected in streams above and below the banks of louring grey to the west.
An eastern hump of dolerite cliffs (which faced west) took on an orange mantel for long enough for me to photograph it before it donned its dull night jacket. The ocean was clearly visible in the evening light, and the mass of mountains to east, north and west made wonderful silhouettes. No rain fell. We plotted our return as we drove home.