As you know, since the switch to WordPress, I’ve been diligently updating old posts. It’s had its moments, but generally it’s now reached the really annoying stage.
Way back in 2011, photos were uploaded in a pretty slap-dash method (as in none). Let alone finding them on hard drives. I have so many images, I’ve officially given up sorting them into some sort of system. The only framework I have is, ‘the system’s rooted’ .
Anyway, in between the updating, I’ll tap out the occasional post. Just to keep my sanity. As I was pondering a topic, I was scanning the list of old walks. I’ve got over ten in the the Goldfields I’ve never mentioned before, so I thought about one of those as a topic. Then it hit me. Everyone visits the usual joints, but how about something no one has written about? Ever?
Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton is one of those places. It’s small, with the longest walk being only 5 km, but I found it’s a great spot to spend a few hours. A year ago I’d considered heading up to have a look, but deferred, as it seemed a bit of a saga to drive up the highway for only a couple of hours of walking.
Ah, but guess what? I was wrong. I’ve been there twice now and I can confidently proclaim the place as 100% ACE (I’m embracing the occasional 1980’s slang).
My dithering about attending came back to bite me though. Last spring I was finally going to have a wander, but cancelled for some reason. Who knows. Maybe it was to lie on the couch and eat more potato chips. I really should have gone, as when summer came, you can guess what happened. Yep, a fire ripped through the entire reserve and gave it a thorough torching. Oh no! I was cursing myself, so the place was off-limits for months.
Back in June, I thought I’d finally get the visit done and considering it was over six months since the fires, I assumed the place would be open for business.
Driving up on a bleak winters day, I finally found the reserve, but I was greeted by a disappointing sign at the front gate.
Oh, that’s not all. Even the gate was looking secure.
Mm… It had only taken me a year or so to get there, so what do you think I did? Firstly, abandoned and gone to the local chicken shop for a lazy half a chicken and chips or secondly, jumped the fence and walked anyway? I know you’re thinking the former, but it was actually the latter, as I hopped the fence like a felon and elected to do the walk I’d always intended.
Sure, these places are closed after fires for a reason. I assume the main problem is falling trees. As it is, I was relying on my ninja-like, sloth on Valium skills to avoid any branches if they decided to plummet.
In the end I did the walk, survived and loved it. The thing is though, it was such a miserable, cold day, the photos were a shocker. A grey/white sky left me feeling photographically underwhelmed. The only solution was a return visit, which I did late one afternoon as the sun was setting. The results were far tastier and will make up most of the photos in this post.
The reserve has a pretty simple concept. There’s a track around the reserve called, you guessed it, the ‘circuit track’. Then there’s another, named ‘ridge track’, which as its name suggests, heads up over the highest point of the reserve. At 614 metres, you won’t need supplemental oxygen. I elected to a bit of a circuit/ridge style combo, which I think is the best choice.
On my first visit, the bleak conditions made the outlook a little depressing, as the fire really did burn the reserve. As in the lot. Heading up the circuit track, there was so little vibrance to be seen, I’ve elected to put the photo in black and white, as there’s nothing to see if it’s colour anyway.
Oh, I missed something a few paragraphs back. On my second trip, the reserve was open again, so all the ‘keep out’ signs have been binned.
The circuit track was wide and comfortable walking, but to me, the main attraction of the reserve wasn’t visible. I’ll get to that in a minute. Passing a small dam, I did my best in June to generate some colourful mojo, but I was struggling.
Aha, but on my return trip, the blue sky and warm glow of late afternoon sun, made all the difference.
Not to mention the same location as the earlier image. Judging by the metal thing on the side, there must have been some rain, as that little dam was a lot fuller.
Now, I mentioned earlier about the main appeal of the reserve. Not long after the dam, I could see why I’d love the place. Big rocks. Lots of them. I do like big rocks.
Oh, make sure you read the last sentence with your glasses on, as I don’t want you thinking I’d written something else. I was also concentrating fiercely as I typed that. A typo could have been fatal.
Anyway, the place is full of enormous boulders. It’s only when you get into the park, do they become visible. They began appearing next to the track…
…and quite a few are massive. The low sun was certainly giving them a glow.
Not so in June, but they still looked pretty impressive.
The track gradually climbed, but it was still relaxing. Another interesting observation is to one side, it’s completely cleared farmland and on the other, it’s trees and boulders. It really is a small reserve. I’d show you photos of the cleared areas, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll only show you pictures to give you the impression I’m in the wilderness somewhere.
Fallen trees lay everywhere…
…but, as is the way with these places, regrowth is in full swing.
I found a turn-off, which would take me up over the ridge. There are a couple of look-outs that needed tracking down as well. I’d loved to have seen the place pre-fires, but what can you do? It was still interesting, even though the hillside was looking a little bare.
The rocks kept coming…
…and before I knew it, I’d reached the top. Now, the lookouts. I won’t explain, which lookout looks at what, as I think their names are fairly self-explanatory. ‘Northern Lookout’ was my first stop.
There was a problem on my first trip. I couldn’t find it. Yeah yeah, I knew where north was, but what I meant was I couldn’t see the official viewing area. I did a lot better on the second visit though, as there was some random bloke standing near a directional plinth and he told me where to go.
In the end, I clambered up a large boulder and the official title is correct. There are some great views out to the north.
I noticed a bolt in the rock I was standing on. Is it for climbing? Maybe? I hope it has some use, because with my clumsy walking style, it was a tripping hazard.
The setting sun was great to look at and it gave a warm glow to the boulders. The only problem was I couldn’t get any photos without the shadow of some clown in them.
I visited the directional thingo. I reckon it’s on a plinth, but I’ve no idea of the correct terminology. It’s easier to show you a photo, as explaining it does my head in. Here it is. Sans helpful bloke who told me where the lookout was.
Where now? That’s easy, as I was off to ‘Eastern Lookout’. This one I’d found on my first visit, so I quickly zipped up for another perusal. Again, there are nice views to the, um… east.
There were a number of interesting rocks near here, performing balancing acts…
…and again, the late afternoon was giving me the best light. If you compare the photos between the two trips, you’d think they were taken at different locations.
I was now on the ridge track, which I think is the best part of the walk. As per usual, boulders were on display…
…not to mention the ubiquitous fallen trees.
Along this route, there’s a spot called ‘Cave Rocks’. I think I went through them? I’m only taking a punt, as there was a massive rock, where I had to get down low to get through. Being a tall, generous sized gent, it meant my knees were placed into full stress mode in order to get through here…
…but no matter what joint pain I was experiencing, there were still some nice photo opportunities.
After the ‘cave’, it was now a matter of following the track…
…as it continued passing rocks…
…and before I knew it, I was descending down and within minutes, had rejoined the circuit track.
Another few hundred metres and I was back at the car. It flew by and I guess the distance can explain that feeling. It was 4.4 km in total. Yeah, but there was a lot of worth in that short distance. I’m contemplating a return visit for potential sunset/tripod action.
Yeah, it’s a bit of a drive, but if I was a local, I reckon I’d be up there every few days. It would beat the 5 km walk I do at home around the suburban streets. Also, if I was a runner, it would be a fantastic little jaunt. Alas, I don’t run or live in Kyneton, so I’ve got a few problems right there.
What next? I’ve no idea. I’ll keep updating and I think I’m up to page 42, so I’m on the downhill stretch. I hope. My next post might be another place I’ve been to multiple times, but it’s not so well known. Anyway, the next photo kind of sums up the blog at the moment.