Boyle Base Camp

21-23 September 2012

My three passengers were punctual and we departed on time, although the boot was more than fully laden. I understand that not all vehicles were so fortunate as Stan let his exceptional organising skills slip a bit

and allowed his vehicle’s battery to run flat, but the hasty reloading of passengers and gear into another car saw them on their way. We counted three traffic cop cars on the road, one of them causing consternation when it u-turned to follow us a short distance, but fortunately there were no other incidents.

We expected to be the first to the Boyle Outdoor Education Centre, but Maureen and Murray preceded us by twenty minutes. We unloaded the car and claimed a bunk each, before sampling lovely hot drinks. Other vehicles started arriving, indicating that we were sharing the premises with another, smaller party.

Friday evening passed pleasantly. Folks conversed, catching up with each other’s news, whilst imbibing beer or wine and chomping on munchies. We prepared and duly consumed our own individual dinners, and eventually settled down for a good sleep.

Saturday dawned with an overcast sky, but it soon cleared to reveal beautiful white mountain-tops. We were ready to start walking early, and Merv left with four others who were keen to not only achieve the summit of Mt Faust but to also proceed further to have a good look at Mt Mephistopheles. The rest of us waited until 8.30 for Pauline to join us for the day, but when she didn’t arrive we left without her. Maureen, who did not accompany us, later informed us that Pauline arrived only ten minutes after we had departed.

After crossing the road bridge, we made our way over several river terraces before ascending a fairly steep track through the bush. Eventually we were trudging through some snow beneath the green canopy, but immediately above the bush-line we found some exposed ground that was snow-free, so we paused for a coffee break cum scenic treat. Then it was onwards and upwards, mostly in the snow which fortunately was not icy. Unexpectedly we saw someone way up ahead waving to us. It had to be a member of the first group to leave, and when we caught up to him we found that it was Graeme. He had decided to wait and join up with our group. Continuing on, and after walking up a long ridge for some distance, many of us decided to go no further. We sat and lazed in the sunshine, enjoying a long lunch break, whilst the other four in our group continued on. Two of them achieved the summit of Mt Faust, as did the four in the first group.

Returning to base, we enjoyed hot showers before sampling our wines, beers, and munchies. As for the dinner that followed – WOW!! Most, if not all, of us succumbed to the pleasures of the palate and consumed far too much. I believe that everyone subsequently slept very well despite the discomforts of distended waists.

Our second morning dawned crisp and clear. After breakfast we zeroed in on the housekeeping chores and duly impressed Chrissy, the manageress. I think that we had completed them before anyone from the other group in residence was even astir.

We had decided to go off to do different walks, group compositions being largely determined by the cars that we had travelled in. Some went off towards Magdalen Hut, others opted for Cannibal Gorge, others again for the Nina. My group went up to enjoy snowy panoramas from the Lewis Tops. When each group had done its thing, it made its own way home independently.

This was a highly successful weekend. We all accorded a heartfelt thanks to Stan for his wonderful planning. He even arranged perfect weather for us!

Participants were: Stan and Sue Wilder, Mary and Geoff Korver, Jane Swift, Maureen Thompson, Jill Fenner, Murray Hight, John Robinson, Calum MacIntosh, Graeme Nicholas, Derek Gane, Mervyn Meredith, Pauline Hill, Carolyn Catt and Darcy Mawson. (DM)