2nd February 1985 - Cantera House

John G wanted to go to San Carlos but as I had been there several times I agreed to go in Ray K's landrover with Stirling M and Dave N. We would part company after Camilla Creek and go to Cantera House while the others went on to San Carlos. There were fewer of us as Matt G was on leave, John S preferred walking, Bill J had to stay for a leaving party and Mike S was in Stanley. So there was John G, Dave D and Ian W, Dave R and Mike B, both newcomers, Ray, Stirling, Dave N and myself. Pat N had wanted to come but I put my name on the list late and when he saw I was going he decided not to. Everyone thanked me for getting rid of him. Lists had started a month or so before because too many people and landrovers were going on trips.

We camped in a valley after Camilla Creek House. It was a bit cold again, it had hardly ever rained when I had been camping and I always slept in a bivvy bag with a piece of polythene wrapped under and folded over the top. It did rain slightly this time. I put my hand out once and the moisture on the polythene was slippery and icy. I generally kept a woolly hat on and folded part of the bivvy bag top over the top of my head leaving my face in the open, but some people zipped up the bag completely. I thought that would be claustrophobic and possibly suffocating.

I woke to hear the sound of engines and two BVs roared over the brow and down towards two people sleeping next to the track. It wasn't very light but I expect the drivers saw them. Later Ray, Stirling, Dave and me separated and we went back to Camilla Creek House then west to Cantera House. We had radios so we could contact the other group if we had trouble as we were in a single landrover. Ray drove carefully and only once got into some soft stuff but we managed to push him out. The "camp" had dried out much later than the year before.

Cantera House on 3rd February 1985

Cantera House on 3rd February 1985

Just as we opened the gate at the house the Islander flew low overhead. We knew that would be the LMA QSs going on their trip to Carcass Island so we waved. The shepherd at the house had incredibly red eyes. Its a lonely life at the distant farms and there is little to do except drink. He had a teenage son there but his wife was in Goose Green. There were stories of incest. Divorces seemed to be common.

We went to the coast, and had a walk in a strong wind while Stirling was left to snooze. We found an enormous cormorant colony. We rejoined Stirling, got a fire going and had a full lunch of potatoes, sprouts, chops, steaks, coffee and cheese, apples and eggs poached in sea shells. We left some apples with the farmer. I looked up at Sussex Mountains miles away through my binoculars and saw two landrovers come over the brow. Radio messages confirmed they were on their away so we headed back to Burntside House where we had agreed to meet them.

23rd February 1985 - Walker Creek

Ray K with Bill J and Phil P in his landrover and Dave D and Pat N in G & T's landrover. We had to use the shore (winter) track at Burntside House as the tide was well in over the beach route. We carried on across the suspension bridge in the dark under a clear, starry sky and camped just the other side.

We set off east to Walker Creek along unfamiliar and faint tracks. We reached Arrow Harbour House and turned south as the map suggested. At a branch in the tracks Ray wanted to go south-west while I wanted to go east. It could be disorientating in the southern hemisphere with the sun in the north. We went his way and twisted around sometimes going south, sometimes north. He had seen a house in the distance but I managed to convince him it was Low Bay House to the south, not Miles Creek House to the north.

Ray's landrover had new, larger diameter tractor-tread tyres while mine didn't. There was one occasion where Ray crossed a narrow ditch and Pat N guided me to the exact same spot. His tyres had damaged the sides of the ditch and my smaller tyres just went straight down in the gap. If I had been unguided I would have chosen a different spot. Eventually we found a fence line and a reasonable track that took us to Walker Creek without ever seeing Miles Creek House.

Les Whiteley and his wife Agnes were welcoming and gave us several beers, then tea and biscuits. Out of eighteen residents there were only four there as the others were in Fitzroy for a piss-up and bull-riding. Les took us to a newly-cut track not shown on maps. It was only rotovated to get rid of the bumps, but provided fast travel half way to Arrow Harbour House, missing Miles Creek House again which was far to our south that time.

10th March 1985 - Van Tan

I went for a walk with Matt G to the ridge above the Van Tan river culvert east of the Fitzroy River in sunny but very windy weather.

24th March 1985 - Smoko Mountain

Matt G, John G, Dave D and I climbed Smoko Mountain, walking up the Van Tan River. It rained very hard but we had good waterproofs.

The weather was already getting stormy and autumnal. Camping trips ended. We had other things on our minds as we looked forward to the opening of the airport and the Stanley Road. For the rest of this season and most of the next we tended to go east along the new Stanley Road climbing the peaks west of Stanley or walking south to The Lagoon.

The Lagoon on 7th April 1985

The Lagoon on 7th April 1985 looking north

7th April 1985 - The Lagoon

The two ends of the new Stanley Road had been linked across Little Wether Stream on 2nd April so now there was a lot of traffic to and from Stanley. I went with Graham C, John G, Dave D, Ian W, Matt G, John S, Brian S, and Dave N. We parked on the Stanley Road and walked about seven kilometres south to Bold Point and the Lagoon. We saw Gentoo penguins, upland geese and dolphins.

21st April 1985 - Mount Harriet, Goat Ridge and Two Sisters

John G, Dave D, Brian S, Matt G, John S and I parked near Mount Harriet and climbed in superb sunny weather, walking on to Goat Ridge and Two Sisters and returning through Goat Ridge later. We saw the remains of munitions and shell holes. There weren't any minefields marked in the areas, they seemed to be further down the hill on lower ground to the east and west, but I was wary.

Mount Harriet, Goat Ridge and Two Sisters