SBW Walks Programs
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms “Northcote Building,” Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No. 4476 G.P.O. Sydney.
|Editor||Stuart Brooks, 5 Ingalara Rd,Wahroonga. 4484343|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Lola Wedlock|
|At 0ur December Meeting||A. Colley||3|
|Letter to the Editor - Resigned.||5|
|A Natural History of Pseudonyms||Engaliegh||6|
|Federation Report - November 1963||10|
|Carlon's - Scrubbers Saddle - Janolan etc.||Pat Harrison||11|
|Some Helpful Hints and Recipes for New Members Going On Their First Long Trip||M.Rodgers||14|
|Good Walking Country - Extracts||16|
|The Tin Canoe Trip - Stage 1||A. Kenway||17|
|Hatswell's Taxi and Tourist Service||13|
|Roy's Friendly Plumbing Service||13|
Years are very confusing things. The siderial year-is of great antiquity and the easiest to understand, though it has not evolved without rancour. Why else would the twelth month be called December! How many wretched mortals met an untimely end protesting the Earth was not the centre of the Universe?
The fiscal year-is more perplexing. Why June? While the whole thing leaves me a little cold I must confess to a certain amount of heat-during the early days of July when I re-discover for whom I really sweat out 40 hours per week.
The S.B.W. year would mystify anyone. The meeting when March was chosen must have been a beauty. Anyway, our year is fast drawing to a close and the perennial problems rear again their ugly heads.
The election of office bearers, the site for the re-union, the parlous state of club finances, the magazine going downhill - the list would make anyone quail.
The easiest-way is to gloss over the lot as quickly as possible and bury them for-another year. But a few meetings ago, our esteemed treasurer was stirred to deliver an analysis of present and possible future finances. The rank and file were not aware of the subtle undertones (if any) preceding this event and had to accept it on face value.
Indicating, as they did, an actual loss in expenditure over income for several years past, the remorseless figures had shattered completely Gordon's usual benign and sunny outlook on life. I haven't seen him look so worried since we were wet through and lost near the Colo last winter. The effect on his audience was more diverse, ranging from complete indifference amongst the backbenchers to something akin to horror amid the purists. But the facts were there and as gently as possible, Hon. Treas. made it clear that they couldn't and wouldn't be buried. We were requested to give the matter deliberate thought before March. Rather ominous this!
My interpretation, probably quite wrong as usual, was that Committee rather felt that the best (or easiest) solution was an increase in fees, and that w -were being given the enema before the operation in March. This on paper would balance the books and make everyone happy. With such a sorry financial record, it is surprising to a layman like myself that this Club should have accumulated such healthy reserves.
And while hundreds of pounds lie around aimlessly, there seems little cause for excitement over an annual loss of twenty pounds or so, particularly as these losses completely ignore a gradual build up in reserves due to gifts and regular profits from the magazine.
If there were a vigorous proposal for the use of these reserves in furthering the wider aims of this club, support for increase in fees would be much more likely. Gordon might be just the bloke to come forward with such a proposal.
Apart from these day-to-day finances, we have the ever-present embarrassment of the Era funds. It's almost time that these were put work in the interest of those who enjoy unspoiled nature. The apparent impossibility of buying a suitable portion of land for £500 must surely emphasise the need for some early, constructive thought in this direction.
The possibility of transferring these funds, in toto, to such active bodies as N.P.A or W.L.P.S. should not be overlooked.
There has never been a meeting like the December one for hew members. The number welcomed was six - Joan Kavanagh, Kay Lockwood, Ross Wyborn, Karl Beckman, Michael Pace and Wendy Reid. This number equals our October record, but even more unusual is the fact that two of the new members - Kay Lockwood and Ross Wyborn, are the children of members. There are plenty more children of members approaching the age of irresponsibility (i.e. the time when they can become members and go bushwalking) and perhaps they too will follow in their parents footsteps, Water Board and Bush Fires Committee permitting.
In correspondence were Christmas Cards from Hilda Vines, The Victorian Mountain Tramping Club, Sheila Binns, the Rigbys, The Adelaide Bushwalkers and Paddy Pallin. There was a letter from the Rector of St. Paul's, Seaforth, thanking us for £8 donated by members towards the cost of the Hilda Stoddart Memorial Organ. A letter from the P.M.G. informed us that the “Sydney Bushwalker” had been registered for transmission by post as a periodical. This will effect a considerable saving in postage. The Adult Education Board of Tasmania wrote to tell us that a camp similar to those held under the leadership of Sir Edmund Hillary and George Lowe in previous years will be held during Easter 1963 at Mount Field National Park. The leader will be Tensing Norgay, who reached the Summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. The fee will be £10 only youth is eligible - i.e. those between 16 and 30.
In his walks report Wilf Hilder told us that in place of Tony Queitzsch's walk on Nov. 2-3-4 he had himself led a walk from Bell over Bell trig and Mount King George. From there he and his one other starter had done some interesting track finding down Coal Mine Creek and marked it with cairns. Next day a 6:20 a.m. start was made and the walk didn't finish till 6 p.m. the return route being via Bluegum and Lockleys Pylon. Roy Craggs had 8 starters on his easy and pleasant Woods Creek - Cabbage Tree Creek walk the same week-end.
Ron Knightley's Sunday walk to Burning Palms proved very popular despite its remoteness from Tooth's delivery zones. It was attended, on and off, by 19 members, 3 prospectives, 1 visitor and 3 “others” (either indescribable or untouchable). The swimming was good, but “due to the intransigent nature of the members present” the Palm Jungle was not traversed.
Frank Leyden's upper Wollongambe walk on 9-10-11 November attracted 8 members and 1 prospective. Frank reports that it was an interesting walk in new country with a great profusion and extensive variety of wild-flowers, although the waratahs were not as numerous as in previous years. Some of the party made a side trip to the “Zig Zag” a feature which could well be included in a future walk. Five members and 1 prospective accompanied Roy Craggs to the Nattai on the same weekend and cleared some of the mountain holly on Starlight's Trail. Molly Rogers had 7 starters on her Syncarpia Camp trip and reports that the trees and wildflowers were magnificent. Helen McMaugh had 17 starters on her Era Sunday trip on the same week-end. It was an easy day with plenty of swimming.
Next week-end - 16-17-l8 November - Wilf led a party of five down the Cox from Pulpit Hill and back via Carlons Head. The swimming in the Cox was good, despite low water. Several Water Board signs were sighted along the Coxs River and on Narrow Neck.
Wilf's track clearing week-end on 23-24-25 November didn't prove so popular, but he and his one other starter did some extensive clearing and blazing along Starlight's trail. The herd who went an the Sunday wa1k - 23 members, 7 prospectives and 2 visitors; 32 in all - proved too much even for Frank Leyden's organisation. Despite careful advance planning the leader was unsuccessful in stopping most of the party from crowding on to one bus and helping it miss the train. Equal lack of success attended his efforts to fit more than 3 into the Figure-8 pools. But it was an enjoyable day, as far as the feelings of the'32 could be assessed.
In response to a suggestion by the Committee, the meting discussed the question of more frequent walks programmes. Bob Godfrey favoured a 2 monthly programme. He thought it would be a better programme, would help to attract more members and would be easier to fill. It would also do away with the necessity of leaders committing themselves 6 months in advance. Bill Burke thought the present programme, extending some months ahead was one of the attractions of the Club. It allowed time for planning and choosing walks. Some Clubs had no programme and there was little difference in committing yourself 2 months, 4 months or more ahead. Wilf Hilder said that our programme was extensively copied by other Clubs and it would be an advantage to reduce the time available for copying. In 6 months there could be extensive changes in the country as it was opened up. Many Leaders didn't like committing themselves 6 months ahead. Jack Gentle thought that we shouldn't worry about others copying our programme. Frank Leyden thought it would be better if the programme conformed with the seasons. He also favoured military map grid references instead of place names on the programme and use of the 24-hour clock. Molly Ridgers said that lecturers and suppliers of films often expressed surprise at the long period of waiting for the date to arrive. No decision was made, it being decided instead to the discussion till the Annual General Meeting, when there would be more members present and they would have had time to consider.
M. Putt's letter was most interesting, particularly the appendix on Rudolph.
However, I fear that Rudolph must have followed C.P. here from New Zealand because when I was walking seriously 15 year ago we had no such inimical deities to contend with. Further support to this theory is evidenced by the absence of Rudolph over the last year or two, and I think he has departed these shores knowing full well that C.P. spends most of his time overseas nowadays. (Who else could have loused up so effectively the air transport in New Guinea?)
I have very fond recollection of our local benevolent deity, Hughie, who looked after us so well before Rudolph appeared on the scene. He seemed to have an inexhaustible fund of generous gestures - trucks along at appropriate times to offer hitches - throwing another log on the fire - a tree across a stream when one had just put on dry soaks - clear, sparkling days - bush camp sites at 5 pm with wood and tent poles laid on.
When occasionally Hughie became capricious and really sent 'er down or led one up an impossible ravine it was only in jest and served as a reminder not to rely entirely on Hughie's big-heartedness.
Vale, Rudolph! Requiescat in pace!
All hail, Hughie!
I knew he had some vital thing, a talent
Some touch of genius apart from making flesh
And blood from other than, well,
Say the normal ingredients.
(The moment gone of course, like the things
One should have said, the elegant reply).
Did we see Borovansky's Strong Man? We saw
Les Amants Eternelles or some such name.
Well that was Clem. The strong man.
Ordering this Ice-cream the woman said
“The little fellow –” and I told her
The actor in a serious farce was dead.
Among many primitive tribes, to allow a man's proper name to escape into the domain of the spirits of the air is to do that man a grave injustice. Along with hair, toe and finger nails_and body wastes, a man's name is to be carefully guarded; the finger nails to be hidden, the name to be known only to one or two elders. If either comes into possession of the man's enemies drastic magic can be worked, his manhood destroyed or his wife present him with twins fully teethed at their delivery. A man's name is very potent, very personal and is not to be known by all. Among the English, George Orwell died convinced that if his real name ever saw the black and white of printers ink his myriad enemies would destroy him piecemeal and painfully. This is not necessarily a sign of loss or derangement of mental powers. In a person who believed that television was omnipresent and personally malign on strongly held dogma confirms the other and certifies to great intelligence and perception.
Thus a scribe's relationship with his editor should be as secret as the disposition of his nail parings. The advantages to both are numerous. If the author has been indiscreet in his writing mind you, in his youth, an appropriate pseudonym will allow the editor to present new work as such; the integrity, virginity indeed, of his editorship will be maintained and the writer need not necessarily keep the attitudes of his youth. The editor also if he is sufficiently inventive can write six articles under six pseudonyms and present a picture of thriving health. The wells of inspiration run dry as often as water holes in-the Laberynth. A month of rain, boredom and the necessity to mow the lawn occasionally can promote a flood of contributions. The subterfuge, if it successfully scrapes past one issue, is legitimate.
Pseudonyms can to an extent provide instant personality. One's companions on a walk are not always inclined to tolerate a facetious report of losing their way immediately after leaving the railway station. A suitable pen name can imply that the writer received his information at least at third hand, that he was in no may connected with the misadventure and in any case wag perfectly sober when he left the hotel. If one is the only carnivore among six vegetarians one could write learnedly of the glories of other meals, the magnificent cooks one has known, the mystical qualities of “carne kowmung” which should be cooked “lunghidal caro bone”, i.e. far from its beloved or slightly green. If one signed the article Francis Bacon, honour, prejudice and anomyninty are all preserved.
Closely allied to pseudonyms are the species known as sobriquets. Since they are given rather than sought they can be recognised by brighter colour, greater aptness and at times a certain malice. Having expressed a feeling of contentment and great strength after breakfasting on a thousand fish it was perhaps natural to be called “Whitebait”, but when after half a lifetime one is accused of having made a love philtre of the eyes and poisoning The Girl it can be seen that the malice of sobriquets is more durable than the bright colours at their birth.
In fact the greater the malice the more apt is the sobriquet, provided of course that it is known only to certain people and not at all to the subject. To relieve the monotony of wandering up and down the wrong ridges one can use that part of one's mind that is not involved in purely mechanical functions, i.e. pushing aside impenetrable salley trying to salivate one's throat, to think up suitable sobriquets for the leader. (This spare part of one's mind is normally occupied in wondering where one is, whether the camp site will be another lyre-birds nest and, after several days of constant wracking, whether one will see one's loved ones again. Finding other exercise for this pert of the brain slows down the onset of ah overwhelming psychosis and is to be recommended for all who would follow.
At various stages on one trip I coined and kept to myself at least a dozen sobriquets for the leader. (It was an over-organised adventure; Day and Night Navigators, Financial Secretary, Advance Scout and Deputy Collector of Dingo Traps). Unfortunately each disaster, and there were many, made the previous sobriquet less apt. As Prince Henry, (The Navigator) led us out from the bus I had the unbounded faith and zeal of a lieutenant of da Gama setting off for the Cape. When we were cloud bound, benighted on Curroebilly I could still view the situation calmly. It was, after all, Mallory country, steep, rocky unexplored and some one was sure to fall over a cliff; there were enough cliffs for each to fall over separately. The following night having draped me tent over a lyre-bird mound, the next mound to the ornithologist, I took no part in the vulgar squabble about our whereabouts. (This of course took place before “This is for the birds” became common coinage).
That complete overwhelming psychosis mentioned earlier was much in evidence. In the thirteen members of the party there were fourteen types, mine being the split personality-genus. That pert of my mind responsible for speech, noble thoughts, epigrams was completely numbed, the areas responsible for the recording of pain, fatigue and increasing apprehension had in riot. I went the greater part of the day with not a single sobriquet entering my mind. One come late in the day, in a brief moment of peace.
The Party, minus the Advance Scout, Night Navigator and the Deputy Collector had gained the peak of Pigeon House. The Advance Scout hadn't paused at this most rewarding of views; the Financial Secretary had sent him off to Drury's to hold the bus, fearing his sinecure might dissipate if the bus went back to Nowra and had to return; the Night Navigator was helping the Deputy Collector up the wrong track. We sat alone; Whitebait, The Girl, Princess Petticoat and The Leader. The setting sun sketched with a black pencil every ridge we had di-navigated, every knob we had di-climbed, every clump of salley we had disected. It was a moment of supreme satisfaction. We knew unmistakeably where we were and only slightly less surely how we had got there.
Princess Petticoat said, “I'm sure there is one ridge we didn't climb”.
The germ of a sobriquet flashed into my mind. The Grand Old Duke of York? No. He had ten thousand men. Something biblical, the tribes of Egypt. No. The Scarlet Pimpernel. He had been here, there, everywhere. It would do. It wouldn't be a perennial like Dormie or Wandelburg, but it would do.
The Scarlet Pimpernel tied another piece of tent cord around his shoes, The Girl chewed another dry aspirin, I helped the Princess to her feet. It was getting dark and we didn't want to be too far behind the Night Navigator.
|February 3||Commodore Heights - Cottage Rock - Commodore Heights. 10 miles. This should be an interesting trip through the Eastern potion of Kuringai Chase in the Broken Bay - Cowan Creek area. Note the “R” shown in the programme. Considering the way in which the scrub has thickened during recent months, that little “R” doesn't be “maybe”. Transport. Let the leader know in good time so that he can arrange transport. JU3I88(B). Map. Broken Bay Military or Hawkesbury River Tourist. Leader: Stuart Brooks.|
|February 17||Heathcote - Lake Eckersley and return - Swimming Carnival. For those who cannot camp overnight but wish to attend the Carnival, this walk is available to ensure that you arrive in time for the first event. Lake Eckersley is a first class spot for swimming at any time. Train: 8.2O a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station t Sutherland. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Heathcote. Fare: 5/6 return. Map: Port Hacking Tourist or Camden Military. Leader: Brian Harvey.|
210 campers attended the Demonstration week-end during October, but not so many took part in the practical work.
In view of the recent construction of fire trails, it has bean suggested that a roadless, primitive-area be set aside in the Blue Mountains National Park, possibly the whole of the Grose Canyon and Wentworth Creek.
Road access is now available to within a couple of hundred yards of the Red Hand Cave at Glenbrook. It is hoped that the Public Recreation Reserve along the Nepean River from Erskine Creek to Glenbook will be added to the Park. The Blue Gum Forest, the Edward Hallstrom Reserve at Blackheath, Glenbrook Creek and the Nepean lookout at Erskine Creek are to be added to the Park. The Victoria Falls track has been repaired at the top, but is closed below the Falls at present, pending repairs. It is proposed to stock Bedford Creek with fish, probably Perch.
A grant of £250 from the State Government has been received by the Trust. Metal signs are to be erected at various points. The Electricity Commission is placing notices on gates across its access roads to the effect that vehicles may not proceed but walkers are permitted. An extension of about 50% of the acreage of the area is anticipated. The erection of fireplaces and clearing of walking tracks is in progress.
The Editor reports that the response to her request for articles has been very good. The new issue is expected to be on sale late in January 1963. The printing will run to 3,000 copies and a much better sales effort is required if the issue is to pay for itself. The fact is, unless this issue is a success, there is not likely to be any further issues will be possible.
There is a sign on the Bell road to Pierces Pass, but the Pass is not yet cleared of heavy lawyer vine infestation.
As you no doubt have read elsewhere Paddy has a terrific range of socks in stock now. The best we saw on a recent inspection were marked “200% wool.” Our inquiry brought to light the reason.
These socks were made from wool shorn from only those sheep who had led double lives.
The car was left in the clearing above the descent into Green Gully and the walk began at 2145 hours on a Friday night in September, 1962. The night was clear and the moon shone sweet1y over all as we went past the farm and up to the saddle overlooking Carlons Creek. The walk from here to the Cox was uneventful except for the presence of a dead cow in the creek. The-nettles moreover were not too bad in Carlons Creek and the water was not too high in Breakfast Creek, so that we reached the Cox at 0030 hours on Saturday morning with dry feet and sting-free legs.
Two walkers (Noel Bazely and his son) were camped under the stars alongside the Cox, and beside them a huge fire of oak logs burnt brightly and lit us with a welcoming g1ow as we walked in. We played safe and put up an abdulled tent because clouds were beginning to pile up, but during the early hours of the morning a fierce wind threw it down about our ears. However, the wind had also blown away the clouds and the stars shone again, so we left the tent where it fell.
Peter Harrington's plans were to go down the Cox, while Ken Tyrrell, Wilf Hilder and myself were to go up Scrubbers Saddle to Guouogang end down the Nooroo Buttress and so rendezvous (if possible) to same night with Peter at the junction of the Cox and Kanangra Rivers. Both plans went well. Peter reached the Kanangra River at lunch time after a very enjoyable walk, while we three reached Guouogang at 1235 via Mts. O'Reilly, Dwyer, Jenolan, Queahgnng and Hawkfell.
There was a stiffish 800 feet climb up to Scrubbers Saddle from the Cox and then a gradual climb to Mt. Jenolan (3,585 feet). The views were particularly good from O'Reilly (looking towards Blue Dog and the Carlon country), and also from Jenolan whence there was a mgnificent view of Bolworra, Cloudmaker and Crafts Wall, with the wide,flat top of Mt. Colong superimposed on Crafts Wall. It was from Jenolan also that we got our first glimpse of Guouogang, massive and bare-looking in the morning sun, and the awful pit that goes down to Guouogang Brook.
The footing had become rockier from the other side of Jenolan and we perforce picked our way down the deep saddle and up to Queahgong (3,800 ft). The scrub also became thicker here, and both it and the rocky footing persisted until we reached Guouogang (4,232 feet). We climbed the trig there to enjoy the all-round view - the Wild Dog Mountains looking particularly impressive. We could not record our entry very satisfactorily in the log, for it had been torn and dispersed everywhere amongst the sally. We gathered together what we could and put it back in its cover. It was bitter cold on the mountain and we crammed on balaclavas and every item of clothing we carried, and were on our way again at 1330.
The Nooroo Buttress is a 3,200 feet descent and overlooks Whalania Deep, the greatest declivity in the Blue Nhuntains. The buttress is extremely rocky. Some of the rocks are in the form of bluffs, others are loose and treacherous underfoot particularly when descending, while there is one spot a few hundred feet from the top where it is advisable to traverse to the left s(i.e. coming down) around the bluff. The buttress in places narrows into a jagged arete which overhangs Jenolan Creek, and to avoid sprained ankles or worse we veritably felt our way down this awesome ridge. The sun was behind us, the views were tremendous, and cameras clicked furiously. As we got further down we could look back and upwards at the grey monster we had climbed down. There were also wonderful views of the Falls in Davies Canyon on Sally Camp Creek and of an un-named waterfall in Jenolan Creek. The buttress widens towards the bottom and becomes an open forest of oaks and gums with verdant Dilwinnia growing abundantly under the trees.
we reached the idyllic little clearing at the junction of Jenolan Creek and the Kanangra River at 1535. After resting and refreshing ourselves for 20 minutes we set out for Konangaroo, where we arrived at 1745 just on dusk and just when Peter was thinking we wouldn't get in until Sunday. On the way down the river we had a look at the Norbert Carlon plaque, which is rather hard to find.
It was a happy reunion and a good camp that night and next day (Sunday) was a very pleasant walk along the most glorious seven or eight miles of Cox there is. There were no incidents except the disturbing 611 several large, shiny, red-bellied black snakes, one of which slid into the Cox While we were lunching at Breakfast Creek and which remained clearly visible under water for about half an hour.
The Cox was well patronised that weekend, for as well as seeing Alan Rigby near Merrigal Creek we also came upon Snow Brown and a party near the Heartbreaker Bend.
At 1415 hours we reached the saddle above Carlon's and lingered there for a long time, looking back at Guouogang and Jenolan, our companions et the previous day. Things went so well altogether on this walk that before going home we had time to become tourists and drive out to Evans Lookout for some good shots of King George all ablaze in the afternoon sun.
The only time a woman really listens to what her husband is saying is when she is eavesdropping.
Form a food party if you can, 4 or 5 is a good number, more than that can be a bit unwieldy. You can save weight, have a bigger variety of food and can get away with on1y 1 billy per person. Plan menus for each meal each day and from that you can work out your quantities. I allow 1/2 oz per person of rolled oats, and 1 oz per person of dried vegetables, rice, macaroni and dried fruit etc. Naturally I am assuming that these commodities will be eaten accompanied by other foods, i.e. vegetables with meat, rice with curry or dried fruit etc.
On top of the food list write route of trip, number of days planned to do it and the number of people in the food party. When the trip's over, the conscientious food party organiser can make notes of how much extra sugar etc. is needed next time and how many tins of sardines etc. were tossed away at the bottom of the hill on the last day. Keep your old food lists to refer to on future occasions, it will save a lot of time and thought.
Make a list, with menus and what food each person is to carry and give to each party member (carbon copies save time). Then if some life preserving commodity has been omitted the onus will not be entirely on the organiser.
Be sure that all your food is packed in water-proof containers but remember that plastic bags puncture easily, so if you put sugar in a plastic bag put the lot inside a cloth bag. Although it may be a bit more trouble, it's no extra weight and it's safer. Also food such-as sugar, flour, porridge etc. carried in bags are easier to pack into small corners than rigid containers. If you carry honey, take extra precautions. I carried honey once in an aluminium container with a good screw on lid and was unfortunate enough to have the container squeezed when negotiating a chimney and the good screw on lid popped off with disastrous results.
I have always found breakfast menus the hardest to think up. There's a limit to the number of days you can carry fresh meat and eggs for breakfast and you don't want to carry any more tinned food than you can help so sooner or later the question of egg powder arises. I generally leave this till about the fourth morning because by then your appetites have so increased that even egg powder becomes palatable. But you must mix it according the direction son the tin and cook it slowly over a low heat otherwise it will curdle. To make it more palatable there are a number of things which can be added to egg powder such as cheese cut fine, chopped bacon, onion, tomato or a tin of whole kernel corn.
So mach for breakfasts, here are two evening meal recipes which are favourites of mine.
Cook the apple in a little water till quite soft. Add soup, which has been mixed with a little water, vegemite, sultanas, curry powder and return to fire till cooked. If mixture is too thick add more water. Meanwhile, shred the luncheon beef (I prefer it shredded to cubed) and add to mixture in billy and add a little sugar and salt to taste. The meat only needs to be heated through. Serve with boiled rice and dried vegs. Serves 4 or 5.
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water, to which the onion maybe added, till tender. Drain and add salmon. Break raw egg into salmon and macaroni and mix well. Return to fire till egg is cooked.
She sits beside him as he drives
Through rush hour traffic's thichness
Yet never screams (like many wives)
In fact, she lauds his quickness.
She lolls, as in an easy-chair
At home, and he's unharried.
They must be an idyllic pair,
Or, likelier, unmarried.
Taken from an article on “Good Walking Country” by S.P.B. Mais, the noted commentator on the British countryside, published in “Coming Events in Britain” dated November 1960.
“Why walk?” Max Beerbohm said that walking stops the brain. Perhaps that explains why I like it. It iflay stop-the brain, but it releases pent-up emotions and, according to Sir George Trevelyan, is better for the body than any doctor.
“I have,” he once wrote, “two doctors, my right leg and my left.”
Only by walking will you discover that elusive aspect of Britain, which is not to be found in the cities or on the Queen's Highway, but in the quiet green lanes where once the ancient tribes carried their wares, the Roman legions marched, the pilgrims sang, and the smugglers crept stealthily with their contraband “brandy for the parson, 'baccy for the clerk”.
Walking is a fine art: It does not come naturally. The child has to learn how to walk, and so does the grown-up wayfarer.
First you have to learn to loiter. To enjoy walking you thus leave your watch at home and walk by the sun. There must be no schedule, no determination to arrive at a particular place at a particular time. You must forget time and count not the milestones but the heart-beats. You must learn to yield always to the temptation which in “Pilgrim's Progress” led Christian into By-Path Meadow and the Castle of Giant Despair. Our by-paths lead to treasures which otherwise might so easily remain unseen.
Never walk with the people who carry their income tax problems and hydrogen bomb fears along with them. You say goodbye to all that if you walk along as William Hazlitt walked (“I am never less alone than when alone”), or else with a very carefully chosen companion. You walk to find yourself, the most pleasant companion you are ever likely to meet, and not to listen to the tinkling cymbal of at irrelevant tongue…..
To enjoy walking, there mast be silence to enable you to hear not only the songs of the larks overhead, but the rustle of the fox in the covert and the stoat in the hedge……
At beauty I am not a star,
There are many more handsome by far.
But my face, I don't mind it,
I am behind it!
The ones in front get the jar.
It all started as an idea dreamed up on the long week-end in October, when several of us went along the Turon River from Capertee to Sofala and Hill End. The River was just at the right height, the damping looked perfect all the way along, and we found some specks of gold to add interest. Bob said it would be nice to do the whole River by boat. We could carry it across the shallow spots. Bob then suggested we could build a tin canoe in no time for very little cost, and the whole party got carried away with the idea.
After a lot of paper work and research a plan of a canoe was produced. The idea of tin was rather a shock to the canoe people, but they added their advice anyway, and two of them even agreed to come on the trip. They tactfully said they would bring their own standard canoes. The next thing we saw was the skeleton of the first canoe which Bob had put together after hours at work, and then brought home on top of Roy Cragg's car. The size was the first thing that impressed everyone. He bad said it would be 17 feet long and should hold four people and gear, and most people had been very doubtful if any tin canoe would take that many. However, when we saw it we realised this was no ordinary boat. The framework had been very carefully put together and galvanised, and it was still quite light enough to handle. At this stage everyone was new to the job, and each stage took longer than we expected. It stopped traffic when seven of us carried the whole boat out on to the footpath to wrap its tin round it. It took all of us to hold it while an electric drill was brought out through the front of the house and the holes drilled for the first rivets and screws. Then Roy got to work with the solder, and the boat began to take shape. The ends caused some trouble, as it is not easy to shape these parts without causing kinks in the iron. After sorting out thee problems things went along quickly, and by the second week-end two canoes, one with a tin shell and one at the first stage, were in the backyard. The girls were busy painting and holding the boats steady, dabbing acid on the soldering jobs, and generally acting as carpenters and plumbers' offsiders. The big moment for launching the first boat came, and we found two men could lift the finished boat on top of a car, so the estimated weight was about right.
The Parramatta River comes in fairly close to where the boats were being built, so we carried the canoe down to the mangrove flats, and found the tide half out. Luckily there is a storm water canal running in where the water was deeper, so we slid the boat down the bank and saved a long tramp across the mud, with the possibility of losing several members of the party. With six of us on board the canoe floated just right, and was steadier than we had even hoped.
After working out the weight of the average person and the weight of the gear it was decided that six of us equalled a party of four with packs, so all appears well. Keith Renwick had worked out food and gear lists to the ounce. By next week-end there will be three canoes in the yard with seven people rushing round trying to finish them in time to put on the train in time for the Christmas trip. We don't know which train as yet, as rivers are a little doubtful in this dry weather. We hope it will be one of the north coast rivers. Read the February magazine and find out!
If ever you are really stuck for something to do, talk someone into playing the pebble game with you. Two players stand facing each other and place on the ground between them an odd number of pebbles (say 17). Now, in turn, they are each allowed to pick up one, two or three pebbles as he or she chooses.
The players continue this nerve-wracking process until all the pebbles have been picked up.
The winner is the one who finishes up with an odd number of pebbles. This is really a sort of poor man's do-it-yourself Outward Bound course. Apart from stimulating mental exercise you get plenty of physical activity picking up pebbles (particularly if you use large pebbles), you learn to make split-second decisions, you learn self-control (do the lolly and throw one of your rocks at your opponent and you could easily wind up with an even number), and above all you'll learn self-reliance (carry a spare pebble in your pocket and you can't lose).
Historians, strangely, neglect some important events, being perhaps too deeply interested in human beings to consider the claims of wild nature. Read almost any history of Australia, and you are unlikely to find more than a passing reference - if it be mentioned at all - to the lyre-bird.
Among discoveries in the early days of settlement at Port Jackson, none is more notable than that made by an exploring party in January, 1798. Convicts were members of the minor expedition which collected the first known specimen of Menura novae-hollondiae, the superb lyre-bird. Generally at the infant settlement, the strange new bird was regarded as a pheasant; the more learned colanists, however, believed it to be a Bird-of-Paradise. Naturalists were almost as puzzled by Menura as they were by the Platypus, when specimens reached England.