FEATURE - GUY NOWELL: DOING THE TIMBERTOP TRAILS WITH 'ROO

You only regret the things you don’t do, they say, so in Chris’ last year at Corio, when he said he’d like to go back to the High Country and find some places “that we were always in too much of a hurry to stop for”, off we went. I had no intention of hiking up to The Bluff, so a good friend lent us a 4WD and Timbertop contributed a Trangia for the duration.

I knew the Timbertop hikes intimately, albeit at one remove. When Chris came home at the end of Y9 we sat down with all of his collected Hike Notes and a copy of S R Brookes’ Map of the Watersheds - King, Howquah and Jamieson Rivers (available from the GGS Uniform Shop) and carefully marked in every expedition that he had undertaken during the year. From Mt Buller to Sheepyard Flat and from Mt Lovick to the King River Hut – I’d been there in my imagination and wanted to see some of it for myself.

Chris’ agenda started with Tunnel Bend. “There’s meant to be a tunnel there, but we never stopped to look.” There is a tunnel right through the spur, the entrance to the leat that once fed the mine workings at Howqua Flat. This, of course, was the place where Nevil Shute’s character Zlinter built his hut in The Far Country (why don’t they teach this book at Timbertop? – it’s history and literature rolled into one and it’s all about the Howqua Valley). 

Over the course of the next ten days we camped at Tobacco Flat and Timbertop Saddle. We slept at Bluff Hut, where Chris played his bagpipes, on a gem of an evening when the sky turned rose and tangerine as the sun set. We blew through The Blowhole, threw stones off Mt Eadley Stoney, and walked up to The Bluff. We headed for Mac Springs, but got stopped by unseasonably snowy weather somewhere beyond Lovick’s Hut, so retreated back to the main road and headed for Mt Stirling, the GGS Hut and picturesque Craig’s Hut, built for the movie The Man From Snowy River.  “No, we never saw this either,” said Chris. 

It was a truly fabulous holiday. I got to indulge my curiosity and Chris got to tie up a few loose ends. He describes Timbertop expeditions as some of the most memorable events of his life, but wishes he had seen the dawn come up a few more times!

Here’s a suggestion from a Past Parent: every year, one Timbertop expedition should include parents. 

And here’s another: if there are any Timbertop PPs out there with an urge to walk the Crosscut Saw and see The Devil’s Staircase (immediately recognisable as the Tailor’s Stitch and Satan’s Steps in Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden, former TT teacher) please get in touch (gfnowell@gmail.com). Bring your sons and daughters. Bring a tent and a Trangia. We’ll hike out to Mt Speculation and look down into The Terrible Hollow. 

Guy Nowell (PP)
Chris Nowell (M’12)

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