Ben Lomond Adventures

A few weeks ago we managed to tick off another three Abels, bringing me to the verge of double digits while getting to see some beautiful new sights in Tassie. The plan was to camp in Fingal as our base before climbing up Stack’s Bluff and then doing East Tower and Legges Tor the following day. We drove up past Campbell Town (home of the busiest Banjos in the Universe no doubt) and then turned onto the A4 towards Fingal but took a wee detour up Storys Creek Road on the way passing through the rather quaint village of Mangana complete with chickens running wild, alpacas, an odd fire station and a cool looking church.

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The drive into Fingal offered some great views of Stacks Bluff.
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Storys Creek Road also had some tasty viewpoints.
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A rather primordial viewpoint along the way.
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The Mangana Fire Brigade 🙂
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Our cozy car camp for the night at Fingal. So many stars and distant lightning storms.

The next morning we packed up our tent and headed back up Storys Creek Road to the start of the Stacks Bluff Trail. The early stages of the hike pass through some nice dry forest with plenty of red triangles marking the way up onto the main rock scree to the top. I love a bit of rock scrambling so the climb up onto the plateau was very enjoyable indeed.

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Giant boulders make for a fun fun hike.
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Gemma navigating her way along the boulders.
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Can you see the way up?
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Another summit complete. Standing atop Stacks Bluff.
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Gemma checking out the distant edges of Stacks Bluff.
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Pretty fluffy wildflowers which I’m struggling to identify.
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Looking out over the Ben Lomond plateau from our position at its southern end,
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The view back down the narrow gully on the return leg was cool.
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The aptly named Tranquil Tarn can be seen from the top of the scree climb.
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We tried to make it to Tranquil Tarn but were thwarted by the ring of trees and steep sides on the approach we took. I think swinging round to the left side closer to the cliff face would be the way to go.
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Sure looks tranquil though.
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You can see the narrow gully which leads to the top to the left of centre.
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Denison Crag is a favourite among rock climbers…..I wonder why? 🙂
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Passing back through the lovely forest on the way to the car.
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What a quaint view at Mangana.
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Aren’t Alpacas hilarious looking creatures?

On our way back to Fingal we both were overcome with that desire that comes after a good climb, a nice cold beer. We knew Fingal didn’t have a pub (sort that out lads) so we made our way to St. Marys on the East Coast. Not only does St. Marys have a lovely pub, it’s also home to a rather spiffy campground which we promptly upgraded ourselves to instead of staying at Fingal another night. Some delicious wedges and possibly a second beer later and we set up camp and even enjoyed a shower which was a luxury we hadn’t expected. Car camping is such a great way to explore Tassie, especially when you get lovely campsites like the one at St. Marys.

The next morning we got up and had a lovely breakfast before hitting the road again for our next summit, East Tower. We knew it was possible to drive fairly close to the top but that most likely a gate would be closed preventing us getting to near the summit. As luck would have it, the gate was open and Gemma was able to wrestle the Corolla to the summit parking area. There was a Landrover parked up as we arrived so we assumed someone was there to fix a weather antenna or something. What we didn’t expect was the Bond villain hideout that’s been built at the top!

Access is via some rather steep metal stairs and walkways and as we reached the top, we were greeted by a friendly voice. That voice belonged to Bob, whose job it is to watch out for fires and warn the fire service and thus save lives. From his office atop East Tower, you have full 360 degree views which on a clear day stretch as far as the mountains on Flinders Island to the North and Mount Wellington all the way back in Hobart to the South. On the day we paid a visit, it was rather pleasant but Bob told us he’s had to climb up those steep metal stairs in howling icy winds which have blown in the windows and just been genuinely frightening. MUCH respect to Bob and his fellow watchers keeping us all safe.

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West Tower is another Abel which we look forward to climbing in the future.
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Bob chilling out in his office, listening to classical music.
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Gemma taking in the view of Ben Lomond plateau from an observation deck on East Tower.
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Gemma’s Corolla parked up next to Bob’s Landrover.
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So impressed that people put this in place here. Not an easy construction I’d imagine.

Following on from the unexpected delights of East Tower, we got back onto the road (if you can call endless kilometres of gravel a road, although we still had fun) and made our way towards Ben Lomond from the northern end. Anyone who’s been that way before will of course know all about Jacob’s Ladder, the awesome entrance to Ben Lomond National Park. It’s a series of super tight switchbacks that wind their way steeply up the side of the mountain, the kind you usually only see in the Alps. Certainly makes for a cool photo! We parked up shortly after reaching the top and enjoyed a lovey short stroll……..to the second highest mountain in Tasmania, Legges Tor. Sure, Mount Wellington is even more taking the piss with its easiness of getting to the top, but to be able to stroll to the top of a 1,572m mountain is kinda nice. The view from the top is pretty nice and we were able to look back across to East Tower and give a wave to Bob (who would have required his binoculars to see us).

So there you have it, two days, three summits and a pretty damn lovely road trip. Ben Lomond is famous for its skiing but that doesn’t mean that’s the only time you should visit as it makes for a rather spectacular visit in the Summer months also. Looking forward to getting back up there and ticking off the other Abels in the area.

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Jacob’s Ladder which is a pretty terrible ladder if we’re being strict on what a ladder looks like.
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Look at this chunky monkey! A Mountain Katydid chilling at around 1,500m.
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Loved this shack on Legges Tor, so full of textures and charm.
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Gemma and meself atop Legges Tor.
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Woooooop!
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That’s Bob’s office there atop East Tower in the middleground.
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A rather inviting looking tarn on the Ben Lomond plateau.

 


6 thoughts on “Ben Lomond Adventures

  1. Bob has a heck of a commute to the office — but what a view! Stunning post; loved your gorgeous photos and your storytelling.

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