Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dead Cow Quarry to Marble Hill Road

One word sums up today. Wind. Today was one of those days when I wondered why I was walking the Heysen Trail. I just wanted the day to be over. The stone wall we walked along was fascinating, but walking along it all day, in a virtually straight line in that incredible wind? It just never seemed to end! We had to be wary of the fallen stones and the naturally stony ground (the source for the stone wall) to avoid any nasty falls.

The stone wall stretched from some 10km or so north of where the walk started, southwards 40km to near Clare. Running along the ridge of the hills, the dry wall was in various states of disrepair, some sections being relatively intact and quite tall, other sections being half that height, and other sections it appeared that local farmers had bulldozed the wall entirely. Although an impressive wall, it would have been hard to maintain and it had been replaced by a parallel convention fence.

For morning tea we sought refuge from the wind by sitting along the wall. Eating our snacks it was easy to forget just how windy it was above us! Walking on, just when the wind seemed it's worst, it would get even stronger. It wasn't particularly cold, being all rugged up with a scarf and gloves. In the windier sections we couldn't talk to each other much, more or less just shout at each other, and sometimes talk to the person immediately next to you.

The areas around the wall were littered with small quarries dug by hand to source the stones for the wall. For lunch, we were lucky enough to find one such sizeable quarry to get some shelter from the wind. The sun was warm out of the wind, without the wind it would have been a very pleasant day. Apparently this section of the trail was always windy, made worse by the fact that it follows the ridge of the hills, the area not surprisingly been marked for a wind farm.

The walk ended with some road walking, which was pleasant because there was little wind and we could talk to each other.

Tea that night was at a pub in Clare, Brinkleys, I think. A pleasant change from the Burra pub, not only were the staff friendly, but there were plenty of people around in this modern pub, and a more diverse menu. I particularly enjoyed a meal of chicken breast on sweet potato with a pesto and tomato salsa base. Yummo!

I had planned to set up tent in the Clare caravan park, but as Lyn, Nicky and Yvonne had a 5 bed cabin, Jeff and myself joined them. It was nice to stay inside with a bathroom and heater!

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