12 March 2013 Border Markers from Blue Range Hut - Canberra Day Toast Walk
... or how Ian saved the day

Bushwalkers celebrate centenary of the naming of Canberra at 11.15am on 12 March at Sheaffe's 32809.83 link border marker

Map: Cotter Dam 1:25000

Walk Description

This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk:

Tuesday 12 March: Border Markers from Blue Range Hut - L/M-R,ptX. From Blue Range Hut, climb via fire trail to Blue Ridge. Follow the straight line of the ACT border NE to past Two Sticks Hill. Return via fire trail. Around 14km and 800m climb. Map: Cotter Dam. Limit: 8. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$7 per person.

6 of us drove from Canberra via the Cotter, Brindabella Rd and Blue Range Rd to the Blue Range Hut car park.

Further Information

This is a Canberra Day Community Toasts event. At 11.15am we'll raise our (plastic) stemware containing Australian sparkling (never Champagne) - or mineral water - in honour of our fantastic city. Well, it turned out to be soda water in plastic tumblers!

Track Maps

Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture

Track overview

Track 1

Track 2

Track Notes

Not a good start to the day when, on switching on my GPS, I realised I had no waypoints loaded. Thank goodness I included techno-babble in the final email of arrangements and - joy oh joy - Ian had stuffed them in his GPS. Saved! Thank you, Ian!!

In the end, a most successful hunt. 100% success. Perhaps the 2 newly initiated hunters will return. We found 24 link markers on the straight line (including 2 extras for which I did not have the locations from ACTPLA survey records) - 23210.28, 24000 Three Mile CB - 24010, 24561.12, 25542.1, 26550.81, 28000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 28010, 28436.45, 29456.44, 30528.04, 31485.6, 32000 Four Mile CB - 32010, 32809.83, 33975.86, 35501.7 - Cut on bdy (Por 161), 36000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 36010, Extra linkage marker 1, 37199.66, 38200.64, 39156.2, 40000 Five Mile Gas Pipe - 40005, 40213.1 - Cut on bdy (Por 167), Extra linkage marker 2, 41060.2 - Cut on bdy (Por 167), 44000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 44010.

6 pairs of markers (24000 Three Mile CB - 24010, 28000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 28010, 36000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 36010, 40000 Five Mile Gas Pipe - 40005, 44000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 44010) I've treated as one location. In general these refurbished lockspits are quite long and no doubt incorporate the main linkage point and whatever the additional maker was 10 and 5 links (2 and 1 metre) further on.

A tough climb up via fire trails up to the crest of Blue Range, including a short patch of blackberries as we switched trails and a very steep 1.2km and 300 vertical metres. We reached the top at 9am. A short foray SW, picking up the pair 24000 Three Mile CB - 24010, and 23210.28. (These numbers are the distance of the marker from Mt Coree in links.)

About turning, we headed NE along the straight line of the border for the rest of the hunt on 42°M. The leg to morning tea was 1.7km and took 1hr. The going was mainly scrappy scrub with plenty of bracken fern, but relatively easy to find the markers. With Ian navigating (via a route which automatically switches to the next waypoint once within the proximity radius - much quicker than my use of waypoints and having to manually change from each one to the next) and me photographing and recording, we made as good a time as the going allowed. We found 24561.12, 25542.1, 26550.81, 28000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 28010, 28436.45, 29456.44 and 30528.04.

Rang home at morning tea. I like a good walk on which you can also check your email and access the web (grin).

After our break, our good fortune continued and we found 31485.6, 32000 Four Mile CB - 32010 and 32809.83. At this point it was close to 11.15am, so we sat along the 32809.83 marker and toasted the naming of our city 100 years ago, not with Australian sparkling in stemware but with soda water in tumblers. Probably a good choice, as grog on this tough walk would not have been wise. With permission to publish from the participants, I snapped a photo (and John H did one with me in it). I tweeted it around 6pm and Katy Gallagher, the Chief Minister of the ACT, was kind enough to retweet it. So did the beaut girls at @In_The_Taratory.

We'd come upon an old benched and overgrown track (now used by trail bike riders) near our toasting marker. It's not marked on either editions of the Cotter Dam 8627-2N 1:25000 topo map. But it took us quickly down to 33975.86 and 35501.7 - Cut on bdy (Por 161), the latter just off the side of the main fire trail at this point.

Continuing on, we visited 36000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 36010, found an extra marker at UTM 55H 670635-6095532 (MGA94), visited 37199.66 in the bottom of a gully and visited 38200.64.

Our next destination was up the other side of the fire trail that runs along the W side of Two Sticks Hill. However, there was a HUGE blackberry barrier, so we did a big U along fire trails to get near our objective.

It was getting hot (29°C forecast for Canberra) and the climb up the flank of Two Sticks Hill was demanding. We found 39156.2, 40000 Five Mile Gas Pipe - 40005 and 40213.1 - Cut on bdy (Por 167). We found an extra marker at UTM 55H 671348-6096018 (MGA94) and the marker 41060.2 - Cut on bdy (Por 167). Both of these I'd seen on 6 Mar 12, but at that time did not know what they were.

We backed up to the top of the hill to find shade and breeze and had lunch.

At this point it was decided that 2 party members would return to Canberra for afternoon appointments, as soon as we reached the next fire trail. I was loathe to admit to my generous companions that the next leg of the trip was just to more closely follow the line of the border, as we'd previously visited the next markers on 13 Mar 12.

I now know why we previously didn't follow the line. The scrub was really quite horrendous. First we endured a steep down to the fire trail running across the NE side of Two Sticks Hill. 2 left and the remaining 4 of us further endured both horrendous scrub and up, then down. The leg from the fire trail to 44000 Gas Pipe covered by Cairn - 44010 was 450m and took 30mins. But we made our objective. (There's another marker between the fire trail and 44000-44010. It's 43128.7 - Two Sticks Trig. But I'd visited it on 13 Mar 12, so didn't worry today. (BTW, the last trig is labelled 'Two Sticks Trig'. There's no trig there, but maybe the map-marked Two Sticks Hill is not so. But that's another story.)

2.10pm when we reached our last marker. My original plan had been to return to the fire trail and go out across the N and W of Two Sticks Hill. The map showed better and more inviting - we crashed SE to the nearby cleared land, no doubt walked private property as we went S along the tree line, eventually joining a fire trail.

1 hr for the 4km back to the car.


Distance: 15.6km Climb: 900m. Time: 7.45am - 3.35pm (7hrs 50 mins), with 50mins of breaks.

Grading: L/M-R,ptX; H(13)

You can see the parts of the border I've covered to date here. And the border markers in this area are listed here.

Walk Participants

6 walkers - Eric G, John H, Stewart J, Aman S, Ian W, me.

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This page last updated 2Sep22