Burra. Copper country. Once saviour of the state. Digging ore from the ground, getting a very good rate. Burra creek flowing through, but comical though, because “Burra” means creek as it happens it’s so. So Creek creek in our modern tongue. Lack of creativity perhaps, or a satirical joke being sprung.
Believe it or not, when copper was mined, Burra had more people than Brisbane and Perth both combined. Who woulda thought? History abounds, in this sleepy little town. Cornish and Scottish heritage, and the mines in the ground.
Our 14k hike from the Paxton of Square, by the creek in town in the fresh country air. The first of two days, and the first for the season. A big test for our legs. Fit and lean, or tired and beaten.
The town with it’s flavour, distracts just a little. Perusing the old, with pack walls and odd kibble. Missed the turn off we did and realising our state, returned to the path with quickening gait. After getting somewhat lost a few times in last year, we are a little more disciplined and less cavalier.
Once out of the town, the road wandered through, the fields of short grass, and up the steep hill. The first day a warm up, without such great challenge. Taking it easy this day, so as not to inflict damage. The quest that we face on the following day. A bit longer stroll , a “mere” 24 k.
Now, in the past , two cars did we take. One for the end and one for the start. But after my mishap with my less than “off roady”. This time we used, Ken. The one and the only. He went with us to the end, where we left Grant’s car, then took us off to the start point, at Paxton Square. Travelling up in one car, was the best from my view, except Grant had to bear the ramblings I spew.
Ken “of Burra”, knows the area quite well, and got us right up to date. There was nothing he wouldn’t tell. Local goss, and the farms, and the wildlife too. He promised a wombat, but all we got was kangaroo. Our first end point was Tiliqua Reserve. Where a a young Uni student was there to observe. Conducting research on the Pigmy (with a) Blue Tongue. This chicky was living in the middle of grass, and dung. Good luck to her and her study, I do say. Didn’t realise we had Pigmy Blue Tongues, here in this way.
The Morse cottage in Burra we stayed for the night, popping into the Commercial, later, for a bite. The Black Sheep unfortunately, was fully booked, but maybe next time, we’ll get in early, and a fine meal will be cooked. It comes recommended from many I know. Looking forward to the pasta and maybe a nice red, from bordeaux. The open fire at Morse of which Grant, (the pyromaniac) loved to poke, throwing on more wood, as the fire he stoked.
Second day we were up nice and early, and after a well cooked breakfast, we were off hurly burly. Met Ken at White Hill Rd, near the end of the day’s walk. In the middle of nowhere beneath circling hawks. Dust Hole Creek Road is in a state of decay, with pot holes like canyons and the verge fading away. It is traversable by most, perhaps in the dry, but I would not recommend it without a 4 wheel drive. Some of the creek crossings we edged close to the brink. Grant’s all wheel drive is a bare minimum I think.
Ken promised a Wombat we would see on this walk. Is he right on the money? Or is it all just his talk. A Wombat photo will add nicely to my lot, of Aussie close quarters, animal shots. We saw rabbits and Roo’s, and a few Kites hunting too. But try as we did over hill and in dale, my elusive quest for Wombat did fail. So Ken if you read this, we’ll see you again, and I’ll be wanting my Wombat from you on the trail.
My inlaw, Michael, who is well ahead on this trail, warned me of the heart breaking hills, on which we could fail. Up and down we went, hill after hill. Although knowing it prior, did not help us at all!
Grazing country this is, with very few trees. Grant thought of bald heads, closely shaved if you please. But my mind wanders off, to a sight better, I suggest, to nothing less, than a woman’s full breast. A much better sweet vision on a 24k walk, than old men’s heads, lacking of locks! The sun was quite warm, with a coolness of air, making for perfect weather, for walking I swear.
The smooth bald terrain soon turned into scrub, and after resting at Black Jack’s, we set off, on the last leg. Passing red creeks and flora, and homesteads long gone. Mount Bryan looming large, while we currently push on. Emerging round a bend, down the valley below, was the beauty of Grant’s car, shining in the sun’s glow. Tired legs and sore feet, as we unclip our gear, flip open the eski, for a well deserved beer. So our first walk for Forteen, has been done in two days, seeing off Burra’s bald hills, over 37 k’s.
In Short :
Day One :
Distance : 15.1 kms
Duration : 3 hours 1 min
Pace : 5.0 kph
Day Two :
Distance : 21.9 kms
Duration : 4 hours 10 mins
Pace : 5.3 kph
Terrain : Rolling hills through grazing land, and good dirt roads. Hills are not huge but are many with one section, hill after hill after hill.
Best Part : Meeting the legend, Ken of Burra. Heading into more interesting countryside with natural bush, creeks and Mount Bryan in distance. Also seeing some Kites circling for dinner. Not quite close enough to get a good photo, and yet to identify it, Black, Square tailed, or Whistling Kite. Any suggestions? (see photo below).
The rest in pictures.